Is there a political solution to reducing gun violence?

Frontline’s look at the history and influence of the National Rifle Association has renewed focus on the the political challenges in addressing the problem of gun related violence.

Today’s Question: Is there a political solution to reducing gun violence?

  • Junebug

    Yes. But Americans need to contact their representatives to let them know they will pay a political price if they don’t act.

    • Please elaborate on how you think a political solution to reducing gun violence would look. I lack the creativity to see how our politicians can have any impact on gun violence. Personally, I lean towards gun violence being a social issue.

    • Pearly

      That is a two way street. They WILL pay a political price if they DO act, and they know it.

    • TexTopCat

      Yes, I agree, we need to remove some of the 65000 ineffective gun laws that exist. Let start with Brady Laws and NFA. Then pass laws to allow constitutional carry in all places that are owned fully or partially by the government,

  • KTN

    Almost can’t watch that failed excuse of a human LaPierre. I wonder if while defending the indefensible (the assault weapon) he thought for a second about what a six year old looks like after being blown apart by one. Of course he didn’t, that would take some honesty on his part, of which he is completely devoid.

    THe NRA and their braindead followers (I liken them to other terrorist organizations around the globe) used to be all for gun control – they helped then Governor Reagan write new gun control laws in California when the Black Panthers started walking the streets, carrying (legally at the time) long guns. Now of course the racists within the NRA couldn’t have a bunch of militant black men with guns walking the street frightening the pearl clutchers, so they wrote very stringent laws preventing those men from carrying – hypocrisy, hardly.

    The dismal intellectual ability of NRA and their members is staggering. They say that Obama is going to take their guns away, but wait, what, Obama expanded gun rights, how can that be. The NRA can’t even put the entire 2nd amendment on front of their headquarters, they left out the part about a “well regulated militia…” that is how depraved that group is.

    So, no, I doubt there is a political solution

    • John Dilligaf

      Regulated, in the time that the amendment was written, was used in the context of training or discipline. The militia were called up from the people. So a ‘well regulated militia’ meant a group of ordinary citizens who had been properly trained and disciplined to act as a fighting force – they probably would hold a line instead of scattering at the first firing of a cannon.

      • KTN

        My point was that the NRA does not have the honesty to include the entire 2nd A, they only choose what fits their lame narrative and that preamble is apparently too much for them to bear.

        • TexTopCat

          SCOTUS has already made your statement mute. 2A protects the individual right to have and bear arms from government infringement..

          • KTN

            I made no claim about how the Court ruled in McDonald or Heller, just that the NRA finds it inconvenient to include all the words of the 2nd, because they are afraid of what it means. Oh, and its a moot point, not mute. A common mistake.

          • TexTopCat

            I stand corrected, “moot” is the correct word that I intended.

            In fact, I seem to remember the NRA mentioning that the people standing out in front of some of the shops protecting them from the Ferguson looters were an example of a modern militia, as defined by Dick Act.

          • Cat

            Moot, not mute.

      • JQP

        gun , in that time, had a wholly different meaning as well.
        guess we could “modernize” just what exactly a militia is…. couldn’t we…

        • TexTopCat

          The Dick Act accomplished that. Namely, all adult citizens are members of the unorganized militia and have the duty to respond when needed.

    • TexTopCat

      NRA has always stood for civil rights of all people and all skin colors. The idea of gun control started with the KKK as a means to keep black people unarmed.

      NRA supports black civil rights
      http://nraacp.org/
      KKK
      http://www.wibw.com/home/headlines/Does-Race-Shape-Americans-Passion-For-Guns-278789871.html

      • KTN

        All skin color except black. The laws in California signed by Reagan, and written in large part with the very helpful NRA suggests otherwise. They didn’t enact strict gun control because they were afraid of white guys walking the streets with long guns, but the sure didn’t have an issue singling out the Black Panthers doing so. But, no, you’re right, they embrace all.

        • Matt Brown

          The law didn’t stop them from carrying guns. It stopped them from loading the guns they carried. No visible difference.

    • Matt Brown

      The militia part is not important historically or legally.

      • KTN

        Not important, really its that easy to dismiss what the Constitution says. Man, I should rethink how I approach the document if all I have to do is say things l I don’t agree are therefore unimportant. Oh, and if you have read Heller in particular, Scalia goes into great detail about the militia, so it is sort of important historically and legally.

        • Matt Brown

          Maybe you need to re-read Heller. The gist of it is that the prefatory clause is just color for the operative clause. The operative clause is the only part with any legal value.

          1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a

          firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for

          traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.

          Pp. 2–53.

          (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but

          does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative

          clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it

          connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

          (b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation

          of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically

          capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederalists

          feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in

          order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing

          army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress

          power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear

          arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.

          Pp. 22–28.

          (c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous armsbearing

          rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately

          followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.

          (d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious

          interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals

          that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms.

          Pp. 30–32.

          (e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts

          and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the

          late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.

          (f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation.

          Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor

          Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individualrights

          interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not

          limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather

          limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by

          the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.

          • KTN

            Well you copied the syllabus from the decision, but have you actually read Justice Scalia’s decision, and more importantly (at least in my view) Justice Steven’s powerful dissent. Sure, this synopsis shows Justice Scalia’ fallacy that the amendment gives a personal right rather than it being a collective right, and I believe this is wrong. The preamble is more than merely dicta, sort of like the preamble of the 1st, “Congress shall make no law…”. But Congress has made plenty of laws regulating speech and assembly and petitioning (well, I’m not so sure on that last one). Congress most certainly has the authority to restrict guns, and has done so many times in the past, with apparently no deleterious effects to you or anyone really (unless of course you favor a fully automatic weapon, or sawed off shot gun)
            I just finished re-reading the decision and Justice Steven’s dissent, and what the whole case comes down to is a pissing match between them. Holy cow. Justice Scalia is like a little boy, whining about being bullied by the smarter boy. He in the end got the votes, but like Justice Thomas’ end view, the arguments in the dissents may come around in the end, and in the case of Heller, lets hope so.

  • Bonspiel

    Only if has to do with mental health issues.

  • Jim G

    Not in the current political landscape. We are doomed to repeated slaughters until the NRA and their water-carriers.stop obstructing reasonable curbs on assault weapon ownership. I am a former NRA member (1970’s-early 1990’s).

    • Gary F

      What percentage of gun killings are with “assault weapons”?

      That’s the solution?:

      • KTN

        Not really a percentage, but the 21 6 year olds blown apart by an assault weapon might count. Not sure if does in your book, but maybe you could tell us how many little children blown apart is too many (if that number exists for you).

        • Gary F

          OK, so you ban them. What do you do with the millions of them that have been sold to the American public since the mid 1960’s?

          AK47’s are illegal in France for years, and they had a big shooting today.

          • KTN

            Two things. Gotta start somewhere, and yes, there are plenty of these male enhancement guns out their already, but the point is: these guns have no point in a civilized society. If you need one to hunt, you ought to rethink that particular skill, if you need one for home protection, you’re choosing the wrong style of weapon (those bullets go through walls and then where do they go). The only reason for owning one is to perk up your delicate manhood, ya know, make you feel like more of a man. Pathetic.

          • Gary F

            So, you make people hand them in? And if they don’t you go in after them?

          • JQP

            nope… just all of the clips. every last one of them… buy them back.
            A single shot AK-47 would be fine. Maybe an adaptor kit… convert them “down”.
            Yeah…. keep the gun… but not the fun.

          • Gary F

            And if someone doesn’t want to sell them back?

          • Dave M

            Then go ahead and keep them to defend yourself from the King of England.

          • AJ187

            KTN, sounds like the one with the irrational fear of firearms. Hurling insults will never bring the other side to the table. it just shows how bad you restrictionists are losing. In that case, please continue….

          • KTN

            I have an irrational fear of electrical wires, but not guns. I’ve got a bunch of them and use them too. If the gun supporters, especially those who believe the AR is an acceptable weapon for society have such thin skin, they deserve to be insulted by what I wrote.

          • J F Hanson

            So, you believe then that there are only certain types of firearms that are acceptable as killing machines?

          • TexTopCat

            Maybe, you should take a look at what an AK or AR is. They do not use “clips”. Magazines are very easy to make your own in your workshop. So, it seems you are totally clueless.

          • Matt Brown

            LOL. Never had any magazines and I don’t know where they all went. Dangedest thing.

          • Jim

            AK-47’s don’t have clips. So go ahead and try to ban clips. What a moron.

          • JQP

            1- ya knew what i ws talking about
            2- i dont care if ya call em a Detachable box magazine
            But happy to give you that fantasy shot at superiority, ya beat Matt. But … I suppose you always beat Matt.

          • TexTopCat

            KTN, do you understand that police have no duty or responsibility to protect you as an individual? Do you understand that you are the only person that has a duty to protect you? Your responsibility is to be trained and have the tools necessary for your protection.

          • KTN

            Sure I guess if your paranoid and afraid of everything. I chose not to live in fear (except of NRA members who are irrational and irresponsible) So knock yourself and keep on protecting yourself from all the boogiemen in the world.

          • Matt Brown

            If I want an AR15, it has a place in society. As for a need to hunt? There is no need listed in the 2nd Amendment.

            I am legally able to buy and carry an AR15 if I want to. There is no compromise on this issue.

          • J F Hanson

            aha! an oblique reference to Malarkey’s law. You win the Internets for the day!

            To collect your prize, just repeat Freud’s statement about hopolophobia 100 times. Repeat after me:

            “A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.”

          • JQP

            it took 100+ years to get to the glut….
            give us 100+ years to reduce it.

        • TexTopCat

          And the killer Adam Lanza could have used a handgun, shotgun or a bomb with more deaths resulting. Also, if the school would have cared about the safety of these children, any trained and armed staff/teacher in the office would have had ample opportunity to STOP Adam as he shot out the front window of the school to gain entrance. So, the “No Gun Zone” put in place by the school is to blame as much as anything else.

      • Jim G

        Boy, run a few errands and you miss out on all the fun. My reference to the assault weapon was based upon the video in the introduction. Let’s start to reduce the slaughters. As demonstrated today in France, high velocity, high ammo capacity, highly accurate weapons ensure the greatest numbers of dead, dying, and maimed victims in any firearm attack. If you want me to amend my original post you may remove “assault.” BTW, I know that over 50% of gun deaths in our country are white male suicides. It’s a public/mental health issue

        • J F Hanson

          The firearms used in Paris were not the “assault weapons” so beloved of gun control leaders for the past twenty-five years (and recently disavowed as being a problem). The ones used there were assault rifles aka ‘machine guns’ in the US.

          But I bet you knew that.

  • M16Smith&Weston

    Yeah sure but not every Human Being is going to like it…Pressure the U.S Government to ban Assault Weapons in the United States. See you at the polls. 2015 NOW

    • TexTopCat

      And you define assault weapons as? (NFA weapons are already regulated out of the average person’s hands)

      Shannon Watts definition of assault weapon:
      Obsessed with banning AR-15s, Watts has shown that she knows nothing about them, and has now redefined “assault weapon” to mean any firearm that can fire 10 shots in a minute, which essentially means any firearm design of the past 150+ years.

  • TCguns_carry

    Yeah, enforce and prosecute based on the sufficient existing laws.

  • AndyBriebart

    Why no talk about mental illness? Big black mean looking black guns don’t kill that many people each year. Many people with mental illness kill many people with many different types of firearms. That is our problem.

    • JQP

      of the two , which would be cheaper and easier to idenitify, regulate and control….
      I mean , if the NRA/GOA and their partners are willilng to kick in an additional $220 billion over each of the next 40 years… we could probably make a dent in the mental illness side of the equation. you know.. .to do “anything” to protect the 2nd Amendment.

    • TexTopCat

      Yes, mass killers have some form of mental illness. Sane people do not do such things. However, our health care providers have a really bad track record of identifying these people prior to their actions and many more false positives that we can possibly accept.

    • kevins

      You don’t know what you are talking about.

  • Yanotha Twangai

    No, because the 2nd Amendment absolutists are likely to be single issue voters, while those who support reasonable gun control tend to care about lots of issues. Until legislators fear losing the next election if they don’t support gun control, nothing will change.

    • Gary F

      You mean I don’t care about taxes, roads, schools, social security, national defense, or the environment? Really?

      • Yanotha Twangai

        No, I mean 2nd Amendment absolutists are likely to vote against a politician who supports reasonable gun control, even if they agree with that pol on most other issues, whereas gun control supporters are not nearly so zealous. (Yet another example in your long track record of deliberately misconstruing comments by those you disagree with….)

        • Gary F

          So 2A absolutists would vote for Hillary Clinton over Chris Christy in 2016? Even though they agree with other positions that CC stands for, but they disagree with him on gun control?

          • JQP

            You know… stupid as is sounds to you, I heard exactly that commnent from a co-worker who has a full on obsession with 2ndAmend – as well as a bonafide GOP spine-mind. Someone challenged him on various presidential match ups… and swear to god… he said “if its gun-control vs not-gun-control… thats it. nothing matters but the 2nd Amend.”
            You may be , yourself, pretty reasonable… but… there are plenty of the other type out there as well.

          • KTN

            I’ll bet that co-worker has no qualms about limits to the 1st, or 5th, or…, but man, make a play for their guns, and all manner of hypocrisy takes place.

          • JQP

            hmmm…. thinking about his rhetoric… I’d say its more a case of relative priority….
            If the guns control issue isn’t a concern… I’m thinking he could probably work up a healthy froth for those two.

          • Mark in Ohio

            The second amendment is under far greater attack than any of the others. Freedom of the press was written around materials manually copied or reproduced with the technology of the Guttenberg press. I don’t hear anyone suggesting that freedom of the press be curtailed for radio or TV as it is a technology far advanced from what the constitution was written around. I don’t hear anyone arguing that you should have to have a license or a background check to run a blog. Those sorts of parallels are routine practice, including in some existing laws, with regards to firearms.

          • Dave M

            Yeah, did you hear about that massacre in Paris today? Bunch of radicals came in and started blogging. Boom, 12 people dead.

          • Matt Brown

            Next time a strongly worded letter to the editorial page of the Times…

          • davehoug

            And just what law would stop a person who chooses to kill so many???

          • KTN

            Where specifically are the attacks on the 2ndA coming from. At the state level, or the federal. I would like to see references to actual laws, passed, and signed into law that regulate guns at the federal level.
            About a month after Obama’s first inauguration, he signed a bill allowing guns to be legally carried in all the National Parks, and on Amtrak trains too. Is that an expansion of rights or a contraction. Millions of acres of land previously off limits to guns was now open, millions of acres. Sound like he’s comin to take your guns to me.

          • Matt Brown

            Mr. Obama stated that semi-automatic rifles were weapons of the battlefield and did not belong on our streets. That is a clear declaration of war on the 2nd Amendment.

          • KTN

            I wonder, did that declaration become law? Again, if you can point to actual (not aggrieved) laws (federal) restricting your ability to own a gun, let it fly – I’ll wait. Oh whats that you say, there are none, huh.

          • Matt Brown

            Planning a law is the same as enacting one. You have to fight before you lose your rights, not after. Rights, once gone, do not return.

          • KTN

            Paranoid much. But seriously, you do know their is a process for a bill to become a law right. You could watch Sesame Street to learn it if you are unfamiliar with how it works. As I have asked before, reference an actual law, signed by the President, that infringes on your right to own a firearm. Not something fabricated on Faux News, or at the KK, opps, I mean the Powerline Blog, but an actual law.
            I’ll wait.

            Crickets

            More Crickets
            You get the point.

          • Matt Brown

            It isn’t about the laws that weren’t signed, it is about the intent to pass such laws. Of course none are going to pass as you also know how the process works. There are more NRA members in Congress than either Republicans or Democrats.

            The issue is that we fight things before they become law. We do that by getting cases to the Supreme Court and we do that by jumping down the throats of anyone that proposes legislation.

            Has Mr. Obama signed any legislation, no, but he has cut off access to overseas ammunition, guns, gun parts and so on through executive orders. He has personally limited what I want to buy without even going through Congress. It isn’t paranoia, it is a forward defense. Fight anyone at the thought of gun control and make life miserable for everyone till they drop the idea.

          • KTN

            Actually the President did sign a law, you know the one, where all the land in National Parks, previously off limits for anyone to possess a loaded firearm, are now – wait for it – OPEN FOR ALL. This incredible expansion of gun rights is curiously absent from the talking points of the NRA, and yet, not even the most clever among us can claim that this is a reduction of rights. This hew and cry about the government coming for your guns is silly – ain’t nobody coming for yours, or mine.

          • Matt Brown

            Pfft. Isn’t that great. It only opens the areas if the state laws don’t over ride so California, New York, that doesn’t matter at all. They are also working to stop use of lead. That is NOT with a signiture, just regulations. We stopped that of course in the Cromnibus bill.

            They are most certainly coming for guns in California and New York.

          • KTN

            “rights, once gone, do not return”. Unless of course you are the 18thA, then rights actually do return. Good try however.

          • Matt Brown

            Not gun rights. If we let you limit us in any way, those rights aren’t coming back.

            We could make machineguns in 1985. We could not in 1986. That right is not coming back. We could import surplus rifles in 1967, in 1968 we could not. That right is not coming back.

            We are going to take all the rights we want, get them codified and then backed up by the courts on the one hand and we are going to arm everyone that wants to be armed on the other whilst creating demand for more guns. More guns on one hand, more laws supporting us on the other.

          • Triple Lindy

            My Great Grandfather’s deer rifle was a semi-automatic 300 Savage.

          • Matt Brown

            Love Savages.

          • J F Hanson

            He also deliberately lied about the nature of those firearms in his attempts to pass his dream bill, the misnamed UBC bill in 2013.

          • Gayle

            “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.”
            Are you arguing that citizens have a 2nd Amendment right to any firearm they would like? Cannons? RPGs? SAMs? Fully automatic 50 cal machine guns? Does banning these represent a restriction and declaration of war on your 2nd Amendmant rights? I would argue that “A well regulated militia” means that the government has the right to draw the line somewhere when determining which arms are legally available to the people and which are not. Presdident Obama’s comment is a long way from a declaration of war; it is a thoughtful comment that reflects the feelings of the majority of civilians in this country and the world.

          • Matt Brown

            Old boring straw man. Every dolt knows that there are limitations on the 2nd Amendment now. There is a specific list of weapons that are covered and those that are not. To be covered by the 2nd, the weapon must be single user, not unduly dangerous, and in common use. That has been the law of the land since 1939. Nothing new.

            AR15s are protected. M16s are not. There is the dividing line.

            Now the weapons you list are not illegal either, but they need special tax stamps. In most (40?) states you can own machineguns or rocket launchers or tanks, but you need BATFE approval. You may also note that none of those weapons are ever used in crime.

            Go take your outmoded thinking and sell it at the nunnery. No one here is buying any longer.

          • Yanotha Twangai

            If the 2nd Amendment is “under attack,” that’s because it’s increasingly hard to convince people that it’s not an anachronism in the 21st Century. The Bill of Rights was not handed down from Mount Sinai. We created it, and we can change it if we want to. Why should the 2nd Amendment not be repealed and replaced with a more general right to self defense?

          • J F Hanson

            Go to it: get going on its repeal; get the proposal up, start the campaigns to get states to vote for repeal.

            See how many legislators outside of the East Coast of Democrat city strongholds will support you.

          • Matt Brown

            Be my guest!

          • john

            Why would you suppose that…there are still many Americans who favor FREEDOM!

          • TexTopCat

            Well, the BOR is not up for anyone to ignore. You can not support only parts of the Constitution.

          • Matt Brown

            5 million of us out there that believe as your colleague. We always vote and we can sway elections.

          • TexTopCat

            Maybe the right idea, but Hillary is not a friend of any gun owner,

          • Matt Brown

            No, but if anything, we know the Clintons are coin operated. She can be bought or deflected easily enough.

          • Matt Brown

            We’re more likely to try and torpedo CC before the convention. He is not a Republican because of his gun views.

          • J F Hanson

            and many other Republicans hold those same views as well. Party loyalty has no place in progun politics.

          • Matt Brown

            I would. Chris Christy is for gun control. Ms. Clinton is a proven coin operated politician and can be bought or deflected on gun control.

        • john

          Define “reasonable gun” control, “common sense” gun laws?
          We have all kinds of laws concerning firearms, but unfortunately they only effect the law abiding, and when they don’t work then the CONTROL folks call for more…enough already! Remember the NRA supported the NICS. Our rights to self defense have been compromised enough…find another scapegoat

          • Matt Brown

            We wrote the NICS so that we could get instant checks and thus eliminate the Brady Bill’s mandatory waiting period.

      • Matt Brown

        Really.

    • Matt Brown

      We are one issue voters and we remember. AND… we vote in every election. The sweep this last year was very much to do with us. If you work against us we can very possibly drop you in the poop next time you are up for re-election.

      • David P.

        You have perfectly described and endorsed the scorched earth policy of special interest groups that has forced congress to work against compromise rather than finding commonality and solutions on this and any number of other issues, related or not.
        Politicians don’t fear elections, they worry about keeping special interest groups happy (with the NRA being the 1,000 # gorilla, the anti-abortion lobby being an 800 #er) and getting run over in the primary. The districts are so politically drawn, whomever the party in power runs is virtually certain to win. Hence, general election voters are given the candidate chosen by the special interest group that bought the primary. The death spell of democracy has begun.

        • Matt Brown

          Indeed I have because that is the system of government I want to live in and what I want my children to live in. I do not want compromise or working together of any sort. I want what is my right and frankly couldn’t care less about you and what you want.

          In my world, the one in which you live, politicians rightly fear elections. They should fear elections because if they don’t vote our way we are going to put them out of office. This last election was proof of that to them. So many Democrats lost. So many of them were gun control supporters. Don’t for a minute think it wasn’t because we can activate our 5 million voters inside of 15 minutes to start calling their reps and yours to tell them not to vote for a particular bill.

          You call it a death spell, for me, for the first time in my life or at least the last 20 years, democracy is working for me.

          • Gayle

            I’m taking a wild guess that your “20 years” reference is a reference to Ronald Reagan and the old guard of the Republican Party. Here is a bit of an historical primer and quotes for your consideration.

            In 1967 Governor Ronald Reagan of California signed the Mulford Act prohibiting the carrying of firearms on one’s
            person or in a vehicle, in any public place or on any public street.

            “This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety … While we recognize that assault-weapon legislation will not stop all assault-weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals.” –Ronald Reagan, in a May 3, 1994.
            letter to the U.S. House of Representatives

            “Every year, an average of 9,200 Americans are murdered by handguns, according to Department of Justice statistics. This does not include suicides or the tens of thousands of robberies, rapes and assaults committed with handguns. This level of violence must be stopped.” –Ronald Reagan, in a March 29, 1991 New York Times op-ed.
            (FYI, the average US firearm homicide rate for the past 10 years has pushed 15,000)

            “Well, I think there has to be some gun control.” –Ronald Reagan, November 14, 1988.

            Certainly your “20 years” reference was not regarding George H. W. Bush, no friend of the NRA, who banned the import of “assault weapons” in 1989, and promoted the view that Americans should only be allowed to own weapons suitable for sporting purposes.

            Nor Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York City, whose administration sued 26 gun manufacturers in 2000, and whose police commissioner, Howard Safir, proposed a plan for nationwide gun licensing.

            Nor New York State Governor Republican George Pataki, on August 10, 2000, signed into law what The New York Times called “the nation’s strictest gun controls,” a program mandating trigger locks, background checks at gun shows and “ballistic fingerprinting” of guns sold in the state.

            Nor Richard Nixon 1969, “Guns are an abomination, free from fear of gun owners’ retaliation at the polls, he favored making handguns illegal and requiring licenses for hunting rifles.”

            Or could you be referring to President Clinton, our President 20 years ago? “I support the right to keep and bear arms…I believe we have to have some way of checking the criminal history, the mental health history, and the age of people who are buying them. Therefore, I support the Brady bill, which would impose a national waiting period.”

            I’m thinking your earlier posts would put you at odds with all the leadership of the Republican Party from 20 or more years ago, as well as the majority of your fellow Americans. Did you notice that Richard Nixon was speaking exactly about your type of scorched earth politics? Of course, he only spoke out when he knew there were no more elections for him, no need to live in fear of the NRA.

            Yes, living in fear and the politics you endorse do spell the death of democracy.

          • Matt Brown

            Wrong on all counts.

            The Mulford act only applied to LOADED guns. You could, until 2013 carry an unloaded gun in CA to your heart’s content with ammunition next to it as long as the magazine wasn’t touching. You lefties need to do some research on that…

            My 20 year comment had nothing to do with Reagan or Bush, both of whom were wrong on guns and probably wouldn’t be elected at this time or would come around to our position.

            20 years ago was the AWB which marked the real growth in the sales of “assault weapons” Before the ban, there were some few available. Interesting ones even. However when the “ban” took effect, it raised their profile and the gun buying public, being told they could not buy them, went nuts for them. The private manufacturers got their start and home builds of “assault rifles” became popular.

            Our, the NRA, contribution to the Brady bill that set up a “national waiting period” was to institute NICS so that you could get instant check and walk out of a gun store with a gun the day you walked in. So that part really came around in our favor too.

            That is really where the NRA’s scorched earth policy started. When we lost the overall vote on Brady, it really brought out troops around and we brought in a Republican Majority and the Contract With America in the next election. Mr. Clinton still talks about that on his stump speeches.

            Then we defeated the extension of the AWB in 2004 when it sunsetted. In that 10 yeas sales of “assault weapons” has increased 30-50% per year. Now they are the most sold weapon in the US. At the same time interest in shooting has risen dramatically and in the last 6 years we are selling an average of 15,000,000 guns a year. In 2013, according to the NICS, 5,000,000 went to first time gun buyers.

            All that was done during an aggressive campaign to increase gun rights in the states and the courts. 30 years ago there were 8 (I believe) states that allowed concealed carry. Now all 50 states must by law allow open carry or concealed carry. No municipality in the US from DC down to the smallest town may ban carry of weapons outside the home.

            In the past two years we have defeated most politicians that have voted or pushed for gun controls of any kind. We have recalled three state senators that supported gun control. (2 and one that gave up before being recalled).

            All this by ending all compromise.

            Compromise in gun politics is simply suicide because your side never stops until the goal of no guns in private hands is reached. No matter what bill passes, it is never enough and you come back to the well.

            Am I at odds with the Republican leadership of 20 years ago? Of course. The Republican leadership of Nixon and Reagan and Bush are far, far, far to the left of center now. While Nixon ended the Vietnam war and Reagan ended the Cold War, on the issue of guns they were too liberal.

            Now we have moved the center far to the right regarding guns and opened up all sorts of horizons that were closed to us before.

            Gun rights are more important than single party or the veneration of our elders. We are going forward with attorneys, lobbyists, marketing people, evangelists and everyday folks making guns more accessible, more common and more fun than they have ever been before.

            You can whine all you like, but 1 in 3 homes houses guns and those gun owners are far more politicized and radicalized than ever before.

          • Yanotha Twangai

            I hope you keep writing. Your over-the-top, extremist rhetoric and gloating over recent political victories will do more to drive people away from your 2nd Amendment absolutism than any merely rational argument for sane gun control can do.

          • Matt Brown

            LOL. Of course I will. As for reasonable gun legislation, we already have it. Everyone needs a background check, the records are destroyed within 3 years and no one can buy machine guns or heavier arms without a separate background check and a tax stamp.

            As for driving people away, Fine. That is my goal. There is no middle to sway, just two extremes and our extreme is on the move and yours is gasping for cash and ideas like a sucking chest wound. I just want to gloat and remind you that you are losing every chance I can get.

          • Yanotha Twangai

            That attitude (” I do not want compromise or working together of any sort. I want what
            is my right and frankly couldn’t care less about you and what you want.”) precisely names the deep spiritual illness this country suffers from.

          • Matt Brown

            Good. Compromise is a waste of time with liberals. They should be entirely marginalized and disregarded. We are succeeding in moving the entire discussion to the right and have been for 40 years. I reckon you can think what you like but our candidates do pretty well and when they don’t we still have enough votes to block Congress like an old Victorian toilet. Nothing getting done is superior to anything getting done.

          • Yanotha Twangai

            It’s hard for me to respect people who present their opinions in the style of, “I’m right, and everyone who disagrees with me is stupid.”

          • Matt Brown

            You might be very smart. I am not questioning that. I am just telling you that we are playing for keeps and we are going to take the rights we want and keep expanding them regardless of what you or anyone else want.

            This is not about democracy, our right to keep and bear arms predates this country and our democracy.

  • JQP

    Based on the SCOTUS decision to accelerate money into politics… we’ll be lucky if legislatures and congress don’t just start letting SuperPACS and Corporate boards seat the electoral college and simply end the vote as a needless expense.

  • Mark in Ohio

    You know, after reading the comments posted here, it seems that many people here want to ban assault weapons, but have no technical idea what they really are. they know what they look like, and have been told that they are somehow much more dangerous than other guns. With a lot of this argument evidently based on emotion and not facts, then I don’t believe that there are going to be political answers to the problem. When you add in the ignorance of the elected officials who write the laws, and here I refer to the inaccuracies and distortions build into previous attempts at legislation, and I am even more convinced that a political solution is not the answer.

  • Dave M

    Since there was no meaningful change after Newtown, I think the question has already been answered.

    • TexTopCat

      Yes, we still have schools that do not care about the safety of the students. We still have “No Gun Zones”

    • J F Hanson

      There has been meaningful change: Newtown followed Wayne LaPierre’s advice and now has an armed guard at its elementary school.

      Ending these gun-free zones that mass killers seek is probably the most meaningful change to make.

  • PaulJ

    Make people feel safe, by building community, ended gangs, and creating a new normal in the way people expect to be treated. A strong society doesn’t have the (political) corruption that helps people turn to violence as means to their ends

    • TexTopCat

      These things are all fine. Now, to have these things happen the good people in these high crime areas need to take back their neighborhoods. They to know that the police will support them when they need to justifiably use force to protect them selves and their families. They need training and tools, namely guns.

  • North86

    First, you can’t just blame the guns. They’re just tools, albeit terribly effective ones.
    Second, you have to acknowledge that, sadly, suicides make up a large percentage of gun deaths every year. I think it’s near 50% per the latest FBI data.
    Third, the vast majority of homicides are committed by people with long criminal histories, against people with long criminal histories.
    Fourth, rifles account for about 320 homicides per year (per FBI crime stats). While tragic for those involved, they are statistically immaterial. Almost no effort should be spent on dealing with rifles.
    Of these four points, which one is worth focusing on? If we could agree to that, then we might have some common ground to start from.

    • john

      Suicides are 2/3 of gun deaths….it is disingenuous that the control folks even bring them up.

  • Yanotha Twangai

    Both sides in this debate are completely irrational and utterly blinded by emotional commitments and confirmation bias. In particular, gun control supporters are hurting their own cause by focusing on “assault weapons,” because it’s obvious that what they mean by that term is “scary-looking rifles that you don’t have to cock between shots.” The same weapon with a wooden stock and no pistol grip could be seen as a very respectable deer rifle. Such weapons are not used in the vast majority of firearm homicides; concealable handguns are. It’s harder to use a firearm to commit criminal violence if your firearm is harder to hide, making handguns the most dangerous of firearms. Logically, rational gun control should start there.

    • David P.

      Per a 5 year FBI data base (2005-2009), 72% of homicides are committed with a firearm, 98% of those are with a handgun.
      78% of the victims were killed by a family member or close acquaintance. 22% of the victims were killed as part of a felony crime.
      41% were due to an escalated argument.
      35% of all females killed were as a result of domestic violence.
      Gang related homicides accounted for less than 10%.
      90% of offenders were male, 77% of victims were male.

      The point I’m making is that the fear based arguments are not supported by data. Handguns in the home are far and away responsible for the highest percentage of homicides in this country. Our policy priorities should be focused on data supported actions, not fears and bias.

      • J F Hanson

        I suggest you look closely at the statement about 78%; you will find that it includes fellow criminals.

        • David P.

          If by “fellow criminals” you are inferring gang members, that segment was tracked seperately by the FBI, accounting for less than 10% of the homicides. “Military assault” style guns account for less than 1%. Yet the conversation seems to focus on these two segments, even though, statistically, they are a small portion of the total. Of course, these are excellent hot-button talking points and good at revving up the base on both sides of the argument.

          • J F Hanson

            No, I was not inferring ‘just’ gang membership.

            But it does include all sorts of what would be ‘normal’ criminal behavior–and that behavior is common to people who know each other, but with whom one does not plan the behavior as a ‘gang’ activity.

            If one involves themself in hanging out with friends to terrorize the local owner of the corner store, or joining with friends to cruise the mall in a group and simultaneously carry an illegal firearm, then the crime falls into that “acquaintances” category.

            To the suburbanite, rural and city resident, the term “acquaintance” seems to carry different meanings. If one avoids acquaintances who act criminally, the personal issue of firearms injury or homicide becomes much less likely.

          • David P.

            Agreed. If one is not involved or associated with criminal activity, one is not likely to be a homicide victim.
            After suicide, the statistically most likely use of a gun would be domestic violence, a family argument gone bad or an accident. (All too often with alcohol as a catalyst.) And then there are the guns that are stolen or never used. At the end of the list of outcomes, there is a less than 2% chance the gun will be used to defend one’s castle. With all that in mind, unless one is involved in or associated with criminal activity, it would be irrational to keep a handgun in the home.

          • Ralphy

            The phrase “fellow criminals” surely implies that both parties (the victim and the perp) are criminals. It is pretty understandable that one would read that phrase as code for gangs members.
            I’m curious (and sarcastic) – Are there really groups of armed “acquaintances” that just hang together, doing crime as a common behavior, but not as a ‘gang’ activity, out cruising the mall or terrorizing store owners? Wow! It’s Amazon for me!
            If I do dare go out, how can I spot them and keep my family safe if they do not have their guns displayed?
            What if they do have their guns displayed?
            How can I tell they are not part of an open-carry group?
            Your expert advice would be most welcome.

          • J F Hanson

            Your curiosity and sarcasm combines to make for confusing observations.

            Tell us how you think you would spot people who are criminals and carrying guns illegally, concealed or otherwise.

            That way we can clarify your misperceptions.

  • Matt Brown

    I didn’t see any point in compromise when gun-control was winning. I don’t see any point in compromise now that it is losing.

  • Triple Lindy

    No. You can’t legislate behavior.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      Actually, behavior is precisely what can be legislated. What can’t be legislated are the thoughts, feelings and attitudes that motivate behavior.

  • Christopher J Hoffman

    Fully 90 percent of homicides are in our inner cities, are gang and drug related, and are committed by repeat felons who are definitively prohibited from even TOUCHING a firearm.

    Any law that doesn’t target only this group and this type of crime to the exclusion of law abiding gun owners isn’t really serious about the public safety concern of criminal misuse of guns.

    • David P.

      Where did you get your 90% from? That certainly contradicts the FBI posted data.

      • Russell Sperber

        Don Kates, in one of his studies says 75%.

        • Ralphy

          Considering that Don Kates research has been financed by the NRA and his studies largely debunked, I’m going to go with the FBI’s offical crime data as the gold standard.
          Thanks for the reference.

          • J F Hanson

            Ralphy, who debunked the Kates research?

            What about that research makes it invalid.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    The only solution is universal background checks to weed out the mentally ill and felons. Then, strictly enforce current gun laws. If you commit a crime with a gun you should spend 15-20 years or more in prison. Get rid of the revolving-door justice system where a violent criminal, sexual predator, etc. gets out of prison after only a few years–only to commit crimes again.

    • Gary F

      You mean felons, gang members, and the mentally ill will actually go through the legal procedures for a background check on a private sale? Really?

      • Gordon near Two Harbors

        Private sales to family members are a whole different story. Pretty easy to trace if a crime is committed (highly unlikely). Gang members will get guns no matter what. If the penalty for illegally using/carrying a gun is severe enough there would be no problem at all. As I recall, the Soviet Union had NO gang problems.

      • yardbird1947

        I see a difference between ‘private sales’ and the ‘Black Market.’
        No?

        • Russell Sperber

          Criminals simply pay someone to buy a weapon for them. Its called a straw purchase. I believe its responsible for around 40% of crime guns.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      I’m always skeptical about any statement that begins “The only solution is….” Unless it’s in the context of math class, such statements usually reflect a lack of imagination and openness to new ideas.

      • Gordon near Two Harbors

        I’m open to new ideas–draconian ones, actually, that would end the gang problem within six months–guaranteed!

    • Russell Sperber

      You must have missed the part where pretty much ALL the recent mass shootings were done by people passing background checks. The Navy Yard shooter even had a security clearance. The CA spoiled brat killer was seeing a Psychiatrist who deemed him safe.

      Please explain why a felon would voluntarily submit to a background check. If one criminal is selling to another criminal, why on earth would they not walk out to a dark parking lot and make a transaction.

      Also, every single Fast and Furious gun sale went though a background check. You simply find someone else to buy them for you, if you can’t pass it.

      There is also the little problem of the mentally incompetent are no more likely to commit a crime than the population as a whole. Being incompetent does NOT make you more dangerous.

      If background checks are so effective, lets expand them to drugs. That would wipe out the drug problem if buyers had to undergo a background check to buy their heroin.

      Here’s what really happens: I have allergies that I take Claratin-D for – year round. Due to the crystal meth epidemic the brainiacs in government decided to limit how many pills you can buy at a time and per month and where you must produce ID to purchase them (i.e. a universal background check). Net result? I now have to go every other week to buy a 2 week supply (can’t go off schedule) and often have to wait for an inconvenient time before I can get them. But, its all worth it to reduce the crystal meth epidemic, right? Only problem is the numbers are in and the amount of crystal meth hasn’t changed one bit. So, EXACTLY like gun background checks, the innocent are inconvenienced and the criminal are unaffected.

      Finally “If you commit a crime with a gun you should spend 15-20 years or more in prison”. NO. If you commit a violent crime PERIOD you should be harshly dealt with. Enough of this stupid “hate crime”, “gun crime” garbage. Someone is just as dead from a knife as from a gun. They are just as dead from a “no witnesses murder” as from a “hate crime”.

  • john

    Decriminalize drugs, end the so-called drug war, and vigorously enforce the current gun laws, including mental health records in the NICS. Issue more carry permits to law abiding citizens.

  • alvinjh

    No

  • Rich in Duluth

    Maybe. But, to solve the gun violence problem, we need people of good will on both sides of the issue to recognize that there is no simple solution, that both sides of this issue have valid concerns, and they must be willing to compromise. As is apparent in the comments, here, there are few such people.

    The problem is very complex. It involves types of guns, gun terminology, numbers of guns in circulation, a constitutional amendment open to interpretation, mental health, poverty, crime, politicians unwilling to take risks, and the mindset of the people. It should also be recognized that making and enforcing laws does not necessarily change behavior.

  • davehoug

    I talked to a pastor from North Mpls if the new concealed carry permit law would affect guns in the neighborhood. He said “Not a dam* bit. All the guns on the street are already illegal since most have had a conviction before.”.

    When a felon has no fear of carrying an illegal gun, none of the proposed laws will make a difference.

  • davehoug

    It is physically impossible to change the problem by trying to modify supply. The vast majority of existing guns (each good for several generations) means a total ban today will not impact the supply much. Price maybe, but a person who wants a gun will get a gun.

    • Gayle

      You are so right.
      Our armed citizenry is essentially the largest (unorganized) militia in the world.

      I served on a jury several years ago for an illegal gun sales charge. A farmer from outstate MN was buying 25 to 50 handguns at a time from G Mtn, driving into north Mpls and selling them out of the trunk of his car. He plead guilty to selling 600 guns over the course of one summer. (He was charged with selling something north of 1,500 plus ammo.)
      He got caught when his wife called the FBI.
      Why didn’t G Mtn report him? One would think that a guy ordering up and buying 50 handguns per week (with thousands of rounds of ammo) would be cause for concern at some level. G Mtn did’t report because they don’t have to! (Thanks to the NRA)

      • J F Hanson

        Please provide a citation that demonstrates that Gander Mountain does not have to report suspicious sales, and that the NRA instructed them not to.

        It’s silly inferences like this that really do lower the credibility of comments, you know.

        • Gayle

          I confess to not being fluent with the law. I did my service in Nam and have had more than my fill of guns and the damage they can do. The question was asked by one of my fellow jurors (Why didn’t G Mtn report…) and my memory is that we were told they didn’t need to. My check of the ATF web site shows that is not the case. But, according to the ATF, authorities are not required to investigate. I don’t know when the law/rule was put into affect – my jury duty was in the ’90’s.
          The “Thanks to the NRA” was my editorial comment. There can be no doubt that the NRA is the big player in restricting any sort of gun laws, from registration to reporting to background checks.
          In any event, the point I was making was in agreement with davehoug – that there are so many guns out in the population, any attempts to curb access at this point futile.

          • J F Hanson

            Thank you for being forthright about your editorial commenting. The NRA has never attempted to influence Federal or State Legislation that would impact suspected criminal behavior by dealers.

            Which makes your statement that the NRA ‘is the big player’ a canard and nothing more.

          • Gayle

            You have distorted what I wrote to refute an argument that wasn’t made. Again. I never said the NRA had attempted to influence legislation that would impact criminal behavior by dealers. I said the NRA has lobbied against registration, reporting and background check legislation. In fact, the NRA has sued government bodies that have enacted these measures.
            To argue that my calling the NRA the big player in the gun debate a canard, I wonder if you know what the word canard means. To argue that the NRA is not the big player in this debate is deliberately misleading.
            Speaking of canards, how about the ongoing argument that government is going to come and take away guns from law-abiding citizens? Or that we are safer with more guns? Or that we need to be armed to protect the castle? None of these arguments are statistically supported or realistic.
            J F Hanson – I wish you well, but I for one will see your handgun icon and pass on your future postings.

          • J F Hanson

            Well, bypass my postings as you wish.

            And, as for your last claims for ongoing arguments–I suspect you need to find better statistical sources than the ones you are using.

            But, since you did not support your claims, those comments are canards as well.

  • yardbird1947

    The problem is… defining the problem. We are running about shouting ‘the sky is falling’ without looking at the numbers and the historical examples from around the world.

    Our neighbor Mexico is an example. We are told that the problems there are caused by the U.S. Taint true.

    Our media is only for making profit. If they told the truth no one would read it.

  • Jeff

    We don’t want a solution to reducing criminal violence. We want a solution to criminal violence. Typical “editoring.”

  • WEEDREVOLUTIONLIQUORREVOLUTION

    Hey if Liquor is for sale on Sundays…NOW is the time to Legalize the use of Marijuana for all Human Beings. Let’s end all prohibition!!!

  • Russell Sperber

    Yes. There is a political solution. Good news, its quite simple. Keep the criminals locked up. The vast, vast majority of criminals have records already. Some have extensive records. I recently saw where some 95% of criminals plead guilty. Why? To get lesser sentences. Then there is turning prisoners free due to over crowding (CA released 193 murderers awaiting deportation).

    So, the choice is this: Fix the problem or don’t fix the problem and accept the consequences.

    Sorry, but symbolic gestures to take away MY rights are not on the table.

  • Ralphy

    Hey Matt Brown! I’ve read your posts here with interest. You write as if you are representing the NRA (…we did this, we will do that…). Your posts present the NRA as nothing short of the American Taliban. I’m curious – are you actually writing as a representative of the NRA or are you trying to parody the NRA, presenting them as completely inflexible bullies and idealogs? If you are a representative of the NRA, you are not doing the organization any favors. If you are only speaking for yourself, I’m not sure the NRA appreciates your presenting yourself as representing them. If this is parody, well played!

  • Yanotha Twangai

    The weapons involved in the vast, vast majority of instances of criminal use of firearms are handguns. Everything else is statistically insignificant. Therefore, if we were starting from scratch on this issue, an obvious solution would be this: Ban the carrying of concealed firearms entirely, require licenses and background checks for the ownership of concealable firearms (handguns), and let people carry unconcealed weapons (long guns, licensed handguns, swords, crossbows, whatever) to their hearts’ content. If you think you need a concealed weapon, let it be a dagger or pepper spray or some such.

    • Yanotha Twangai

      The idea being, that if you carry a concealed firearm under those rules, that would be prima facie evidence that you’re up to no good; if your motives for carrying are honorable, you shouldn’t have to hide it.