The Necessity of Stronger Gun Control

Real Talk SATURDAY

James Brady, former press secretary to President Ronald Reagan died this past week. As many reflect on his life, one cannot forget the contribution Mr. Brady had on the gun control debate. After being shot in the head by President Reagan’s would-be assassin, Brady went on to be an advocate for stronger gun laws.

Image from PBS

Brady meeting with President Clinton after the Brady Law was passed in 1993. *PBS*

Brady would live the rest of his life in a wheelchair and have various health conditions throughout his life as a result of the injuries from that 1981 day. His family enjoyed more than 3 more decades with him before he died in what is being called a homicide, that was initiated by the bullet that hit him 33 years ago.

Brady’s death and the flashback to 1981 brings us to the issue we’ve been witnessing over the past 10-15 years, probably longer. Not only do we have large scale mass shootings on schools and college campuses, shopping malls, and movie theaters, but many of our young, youth of color are being murdered on the streets of their neighborhoods. In addition, we also saw the shooting of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and other people at that event.

This is a large complicated issue that can be alleviated by using a little bit of common sense. Common sense gun control is a necessity, but people such as those who sympathize with the National Rifle Association often prevent this country from making such laws and thus make this country less safe.

Now, the Real Talk… 

Children from Sandy Hook Elementary being escorted by police after the December 2012 shooting. *CNN*

As a family member of someone who was murdered by someone with a gun, I am extremely sensitive to this issue and am sickened that tragedies involving guns continue to happen when all it takes is some common sense. In 2012, I wrote to President Obama about the murder and what my family was going through. I urged him to take a stand and take action. One week later, 20 first graders were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012.

I just new that if it wasn’t mass shootings on college campuses, high schools, movie theaters, and that the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, surely it would have been the slaughter of 20 six-year old in a first grade class that would finally bring Congress to their senses. Some did, as we say at least an attempt at some sort of gun control from democratic senator, Joe Manchin and republican senator, Pat Toomey. Sadly, that bill was rejected by the Senate and and the House never considered it. Nothing has even been considered ever since.

Unfortunately, the gun lobby is a powerful and influential one. Organizations such as the National Rifle Association continue to support and fund the campaigns of Republicans who are essentially paid to be ardent supporters of the right to bear arms. The problem with this is, too many people have died senselessly to gun violence. Even if you go with the argument that many of those people who do the shootings have mental issues and thats what we need to turn our attention to, it still doesn’t negate the fact that we need to find ways to prevent those people from getting guns. We need stronger gun control measures to do this.

People represented by organizations such as the National Rifle Association always misinterpret the constitution when that cite the second amendment as having the right for anyone to bear arms. It irks me every time someone brings that up, because it is clear that some people either don’t, can’t, or refuse to read the constitution. The second amendment clearly states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It is clearly referring to the legality of a militia, not of individuals walking around randomly with weapons. Therefore, there should not be laws that make it easy for a common person to get a gun. At the very least make it a hard process so that less people will go through the trouble.

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association *MSNBC*

Ultimately, I’m not denying that other things needs to be addressed. For example, mental health is a huge part of this particular process and we need to put more attention towards this. The Affordable Care Act does that in many was, but more can be done. However, just because individual solutions such as background checks and waiting periods won’t solve the problem completely, that doesn’t mean you don’t do anything at all.

One of the NRA’s main arguments that the only way to neutralize a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. President Reagan and Mr. Brady were shot even with several “good” guys with guns protecting them. If the secret service couldn’t prevent four people from getting shot by a deranged man with a gun, then I think it’s safe to say that controlling who has access to a gun should have been settled 30+ years ago. Congress represents the people, and the majority of the people support at least some measure of gun control. Now is the time for common sense to kick in and protect the innocent people who become victims to gun violence.

Of course, I plan on addressing this issue in the future.

 

*The Constitution of the United States

 

Related Articles

New York Times – Coroner Is Said to Rule James Brady’s Death a Homicide, 33 Years After a Shooting

Reuters – James Brady, former White House press secretary, dies at 73

Time  – Gun-Control Debate Heats Up Following California Shooting

CNN – What James Brady did for gun control

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Categories: Politics, Real Talk SATURDAY

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11 replies

  1. So basically you are saying that only the wealthy and politically connected should be allowed to own guns…

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    • Not sure where in this post suggests anything about about only wealthy and politically connected having access to guns. Ideally, nobody would have access to guns. In my opinion, and based on the original intensions of the second amendment, I think guns should only available to the military and police forces. But since we’re not there and many believe that the second amendment gives anyone the right to bear arms, it would be nice to keep guns out of the hands who are likely to do the most harm, such as those with mental health issues. In addition, guns should not be regularly available for easy purchase on the streets. We see in places like Chicago, the senseless murders seen almost on a daily basis. Once again, ideally nobody would have guns but if we’re going to allow it, then we need to take measures that protects regular citizens from being massacred senselessly and needlessly.

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  2. Regardless of your personal opinion, the Supreme Court has clearly ruled that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the individual right to own firearms (later extended to specifically include handguns).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller

    and

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald_v._Chicago

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    • And the first amendment guarantees my right to express my personal opinion. I fundamentally disagree with the interpretation of the second amendment. I think we have a gun problem in this country and even if you think citizens have the right to have a hand gun, that should not lead to massacres in movie theaters and elementary schools. Even without banning guns (which I wouldn’t mind if we did), we should be thinking of ways to control the movement and usage of guns so that more people aren’t victim to senseless gun violence.

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      • What I happen to find interesting here, is that you honestly think a ban would work. My question here is, are you so naive as to think that a ban on guns would actually remove the threat from the streets?

        First off, understand a couple basic facts. It is against the law to kill another person. You know this, I know this, and multiple murderers sitting in prison know this. Yet that law didn’t stop them did it? Do you expect MORE laws will suddenly change their minds?

        Secondly, you can make your own quite easily. With a few bucks and a trip to Home Depot, now you have a homemade gun. If you want to get fancier, then order all the parts you need, including incomplete receivers and you have another weapon, and a much nicer one at that. Shoot, these days, you can print one off at home.

        Third, what is your answer for self-defense? Police cannot defend you. The cannot protect you. And you know what they say about bringing knives to a gun fight.

        Lastly, what is to stop these same people from using explosives instead? Sure, lets ban the guns, and have them blow buildings up instead!

        You have a lot of comments up there in your article about the NRA, and “common sense” gun laws. But none of them appear accurate or truly common sense. Common sense dictates that someone about to break one law and kill people, probably don’t care about laws regarding the means to his end.

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  3. Common sense gun control is a necessity, but people such as those who sympathize with the National Rifle Association often prevent this country from making such laws and thus make this country less safe.

    Gee, so sorry that standing up for liberty is in the way of you restricting our rights.

    But tell me exactly what laws would make our country safer?
    Background checks ?
    Like the ones the UCSB shooter passed, the ones the Virginia Tech shooter passed, the 3 different ones the Washington Navy Yard shooter passed?

    Magazine capacity limiting people to 10 round magazines like the one the Virginia Tech and UCSB shooters used?

    Or the ones the Center for Disease Control couldn’t prove to be effective?

    First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws
    Summary
    During 2000–2002, the Task Force on Community Preventive Services (the Task Force), an independent nonfederal task force, conducted a systematic review of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of firearms laws in preventing violence, including violent crimes, suicide, and unintentional injury. The following laws were evaluated: bans on specified firearms or ammunition, restrictions on firearm acquisition, waiting periods for firearm acquisition, firearm registration and licensing of firearm owners, “shall issue” concealed weapon carry laws, child access prevention laws, zero tolerance laws for firearms in schools, and combinations of firearms laws. The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes. (Note that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.) This report briefly describes how the reviews were conducted, summarizes the Task Force findings, and provides information regarding needs for future research

    Even without banning guns (which I wouldn’t mind if we did), we should be thinking of ways to control the movement and usage of guns so that more people aren’t victim to senseless gun violence.

    Many gun control advocates try to tell us no one wants to ban our guns; then we see comments like this all the time and realize the end game hasn’t changed.

    And ignoring the positives that firearms bring is another favorite trick — recreational shooting is huge sport that millions safely enjoy. Hunting not only is good for the environment but feeds homeless and the less fortunate as hunters donate their game meat to shelters.

    Then there is self defense. The National Crime Victim Survey found at least 108,000 times a year where the presence or threat of a gun stopped a crime. These are called “Defensive Gun Uses” (DGU). The Kleck and Gertz survey — supported by 16 different other surveys found up to 2,500,000 DGUs per year.

    Bob S.

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  4. Your argument on interpretation is not valid. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Second Amendment is indeed an individual right to keep and bear arms. It was, and always has been an individual Right.

    Gun ownership is a Right enumerated specifically in the Bill of Rights. It is not a privilege, not granted by government, not subject to mob rule. It is a Right. You suppose to punish millions of gun owners for the actions of a few criminals.

    Why do liberals constantly drive to punish the millions instead of going after the problem, i.e., the criminals ? It makes no sense that we keep letting the same criminals out of prison to commit more crimes.

    American Citizens will never give up their Rights, nor should they. Gun Control only creates victims and empowers criminals.

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  5. You are mistaken , sir, and woefully misled. The “militia clause” is clearly a subordinate clause to the main point of the amendment ” The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. It is the same people in the Second as it is in the First amendment and all the others. Let me illustrate it in context of the First amendment — ” A well informed and educated electorate, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and read books shall not be infringed.” Constitutional scholars and the Supreme Court agree that the Second amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms. Note it does not “grant” that right, rights are God given–“endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights…”
    Also ,you do your argument no favors when you state that ” there should not be laws that make it easy for a common person to get a gun..” this exposes your elitism and those “common persons” are often the ones most in need of a firearm for self defense, especially in a hellhole like Chicago or Washington D.C. both places that already have the most draconian and restrictive gun control laws. We see in those places how efficient a job gun control does in controlling violence and criminal activity.

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  6. First of all, I’m sorry for your loss. Having lost a child suddenly, I have an idea of how devastating such things can be.

    Unfortunately, I believe that you are arguing from emotion and from a compelling need to “do something” that unfortunately I’m well familiar with. That doesn’t change the fact that nothing that any of our founders said regarding either the militia or people bearing arms supports your position and several of them were quite prolific on the subject. For over 20 years I’ve been challenging people to find a quote that would indicate support for your position. I’m still waiting for a suitable response.

    You also make the assumption that without guns we would be more like Canada or maybe some of the European countries that have low gun violence rates. That may be a poor assumption as there are many countries with very strict gun control laws that have violence rates many times ours. There is no reason to assume that our violence problem will decrease rather than increase. Violence is a societal problem, not an object problem. We are not doing anything meaningful to stem the societal problems at the base of that violence.

    I and millions of others are in the position of opposing you, not because we don’t find your desire to limit certain people from having access to firearms unreasonable, it’s because doing that without infringing on millions of people is nearly impossible to do. That goes without saying that we believe that there are many like you that would ban guns entirely if you had the chance. With that being the case, we cannot deal with you. We will and must fight you at every opportunity. This is an essential liberty that will not be lost.

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