Will gun controls work?

President Obama recently unveiled his proposed gun control policy reform in the wake of the latest tragic school shooting, which took place in Newton, Conn., last month.
Jan 25, 2013

The proposal, which comes at the end of a month-long review process, is broken down into four key components: law enforcement, the availability of dangerous firearms and ammunition, school safety, and mental health.

The cost of these proposals is a cool $500 million.

Here's the problem:

The president recommended requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. He recommended reinstating the assault weapons ban. He recommended restoring a 10-round limit on ammunition and eliminating armor-piercing bullets.

None of those proposals would have in any way helped prevent the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The shooter didn't use an assault weapon. He didn't use extended-size clips. A background check wasn't going to prevent him from stealing the guns he wanted.

And what difference does it make if his bullets were armor-piercing or not?

Make no mistake — assault weapons have no place on our streets or in our homes. Neither do armor-piercing bullets or 50-shot clips. They're not necessary for recreational or competitive shooting.

But will banning these things help limit what type of weapons criminals or those with serious mental issues can get their hands on? Of course not.

Marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs are illegal in the United States. Does that mean criminals have a hard time getting their hands on them?

In the end, the only ones gun control laws hurt are the honest, law-abiding citizens who jump through all the bureaucratic hoops to own their guns legally.

We're all for the other aspects of Obama's plan, including the increased funding to help deal with those struggling with mental health issues.

After all, it's people with very severe issues who are the problem, not the tools they choose with which to carry out their misguided plans.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.
 

Comments

Lanivan

No - it's my bad. Too busy to vet comments, I assumed the unfamiliar-to-me gold "confiscation" (buy back?) was linked to the familiar WWII Japanese internment, hence my WWII riff. Sorry about that. Thanks for the clarification - he was quite the wily guy to get congressional approval. Think it could happen in 2013?

rainbowjoe

Civilian disarmament might have been a bit over the top, Lanivan, and for that I apologize. There are, however, some folks close to the current administration who just plain don't like guns, or those who have them, and that's fact. All of us, you and I, want to see an end or reduction to the gun violence that exists in our country, but we differ on how to go about getting there. I am not a staunch Republican or anti-Democrat, and I don't gobble up spoon fed information from either side. I know deportation of illegals has increased under President Obama and for that I credit him. Illegal immigration and drugs, though, do remain a flood and unarguable scourge upon our country and bolster my point that all the laws in the world alone cannot solve a problem. I like to think I am as well read and informed as the next person, so here's where I'm coming from. The guns that have been in my safe for more than 40 years have never jumped out and harmed anyone, nor have they fired by themselves. Never have I thought about misusing those weapons. The same can be said for the 99 percent of gun owners in America who are responsible and law abiding, those of us ("you folks") who sit next to you at church, or who coached your kids in Little League, or who you encounter daily. I would gladly give up my weapons (except my deer and duck guns!) if I can be assured that no one would ever attempt to harm me or my family or, God forbid, that my government will never turn on me. I have life experiences, though, that have proven to me that evil exists, predators exist, and criminals exist. History has proven as well that governments are not always benevolent. I am not at all a paranoid person, but that's just the world we live in. I will join with the 74 percent of my fellow NRA members who favor sensible and responsible legislation to avoid another Sandy Hook. I am in favor of eliminating the gun show "loophole," stringent background checks for ALL gun sales, and doing whatever can be done to prevent mentally unstable people from acquiring firearms. I think the same could be said for the vast majority of American gun owners. We may think a bit different, but we are not enemies and we all want the same thing. That's the beauty of our country. We can bicker and infight and hurl invective at each other, but in the end everything seems to work out pretty well. And, though I am new to this, these discussion forums are helpful and productive to the overall cause. And enjoyable. Have a good day.

Lanivan

I appreciate your additional comments....I am now seeing your rainbow, Joe.

You are right about the positive benefits of communication, on these pages and elsewhere. I learn a lot, anyway. Thanks for contributing.

tartarus12

Watch it again. That was local Police doing the confiscating not the ATF.

Lanivan

I did. It's unclear where the confiscation order came from, as not only local police were involved, but the US Army National Guard soldiers and Deputy US Marshall's were as well. Looks like local, state, and federal ineptness - enough blame to go around.

tartarus12

Well then let me help you. That was New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass. He was not taking orders from the Federal Government. He made his decisions on his own. And he is a Democrat.

Lanivan

Where you there? Ergo, all Democrat Police Superintendents will snap under pressure and confiscate guns?

Mystic Michael

I also appreciate Joe's reasonable tone, and I certainly don't intend to demean him personally. That said, he brought up yet another anti-reform talking point that, while not a logical fallacy per se, further demonstrates the futility of the current status quo: the "just enforce the existing laws" argument.

As I argued in one of the other recent gun articles/threads here on the Tribune website, the problem with just enforcing all the existing laws is that there are literally thousands of ordinances and statutes across the country, at different levels of jurisdiction (i.e. local, county, state, federal), a great many of which establish differing thresholds of enforcement for differing types of offenses, many of which are simply inconsistent with one another, and many of which are directly contradictory and in direct conflict with one another.

It is the so-called "patchwork quilt" of gun regulation that sows the seeds of general confusion and ineffectiveness, and it didn't come about by accident. It is what naturally develops - in the absence of a universal, federal standard or set of standards. And it represents a fracturing and fragmentation of gun regulation policy that has been actively (and covertly) encouraged by the NRA and its lackeys, as a way to obtain their goal of widespread, general, de facto unregulated firearms availability. It's as simple as that.

Because no comprehensive federal standard exists, the traffic in firearms very naturally flows those states & localities with the least (or nonexistent) regulation, to those with the most. It is the reason why Mayor Bloomberg of New York has been complaining for years about the flow of illicit firearms from places like South Carolina & Georgia & Florida, to New York City - which has some of the strictest (and I would argue most effective) gun laws in the country. And that traffic will never even slow down, so long as meaningful federal regulation continues to be stymied.

tartarus12

For those of you who think "civilian disarmament" will never happen, you should know it has happened and very recently.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8...

Lanivan

Another example of Bush administration FEMA inept Katrina response.

Wingmaster

LAN WAKE UP! Can you not see it does not matter who is President or what party. You are so blinded by your liberal bias you cannot see it can and has happened. The bill of rights no matter how old the document is, is a well thought out amazing document that was put in place to protect we the people. You want to defend all that is Obama and then sling mud a the "crazy gun culture" that is trying to defend and protect the right of law abiding citizens. You are just being foolish thinking the government will protect you from thugs and warts in society. 1,145 times a day handguns are used against robbers. 416 times each day women use their handguns to protect themselves from rapists. Overall, a gun in the home is 216 times more likely to be used in self defense than to cause the death of an innocent victim. And even if you don't own a gun, preserving the right of your neighbors to own them is one of the best ways to keep criminals out of your neighborhood. You don't have to own a gun or even like guns, and you and other liberals will not infringe upon our right to own one to protect ourself, our families, or you!! This founding right is a deeply held right by many in the "crazy gun culture" who most likely include your family, your friends, your neighbors, your doctor, your therapist, your pharmacist, your lawyer, your mechanic, your politician....in this country.

Mystic Michael

You're the one who needs to wake up. Or at least start paying attention to the actual case that is being made - rather than to the fictitious case that's in your head.

Lanivan has already established the point - more than once - that nobody is talking about entirely doing away with guns. I also have made that point - multiple times. What is it about the concept "your Second Amendment rights are not in danger" that you are not able to grasp? Seriously, is it a reading comprehension thing, or what?

It's time to put this straw man to rest - permanently. And while you're at it, enough with the shouting in ALL CAPS...as if you could somehow overpower us with an irrelevant argument through sheer, blunt force.

A little less heat, if you please. And a lot more light...

MM

Lanivan

No reply needed from me, Wing - MM masterfully nailed it once again.

Wingmaster

Take a look at the bill and look at the vague way it labels "pistol grip". I know you probably don't think or care that makes a difference but there are many variations of it. Take a look at the banned list. The Ruger Mini 14 is on the list. The Ruger Ranch rifle is and identical rifle without that mean, bad grip. There is no diference in the action of the rifles. So how in the world are you and I safer because this rife (Mini 14) is banned? What happens when after said ban is passed someone shoots someone with a Ranch Rifle? Do we add it to the list? Where does it stop? I will shout and shout loud if necessary to get thru your thick heads what this chipping away of the 2nd amendment is all about. I could reference Diane Feinsteins 1995 ban and the qoutes but you will just defer and say I am taking that out of context like liberals do every time they are held to account for what they say.

So the battle goes on and I will meet any you on all fronts. Oh and the all cap thing was as the text stated to wake up, raising ones voice is what you do when someone is asleep to wake them. Sorry if in your Zen like state that is alarming

Now if I could type in such a way to shine a fricken light in your eyes so you could see the light I would. If you can't stand the heat, leave.

I'm sure you have some mystical reply that will enlighten us, oh wise one. Please include how this proposed ban will stop warts in society from harming us. At least when Lan replies she brings some points for discussion.

Mystic Michael

OK, now I get it: If you can't mount a truly well-reasoned argument against gun reform, then you try to smother it with a flood of sheer obtuseness. Brilliant strategy.

I have already made the case - again & again & again - that a chief purpose of the reform proposals is to identify the most lethal, high-powered, high-capacity firearms, and to enact strict controls such that they are no longer so widely & easily available to mentally-deranged persons, and to the casual, opportunistic criminal. And I have freely acknowledged that hardcore, career criminals will still find ways to subvert such controls - as well as the fact that honest, responsible, law-abiding citizens will still have access to plenty of guns for self-defense purposes. I know I have made that argument - more than once. I'm sure of it. I recall having done it.

If you're arguing that reform is doomed, simply because there are some flaws in the proposal(s), or simply because it does not present a perfect solution that will permanently eliminate all gun crimes, then I would refer you to my previous post, in which I identified some of the most commonly-used specious & fallacious arguments against reform - along with my proposed refutations of those arguments.

Simple common sense would indicate that many "amateur", "non-professional" criminal offenders, including those who kill spontaneously, in the heat of the moment, will have far less firepower at their disposal when/if such reform is enacted (and is not watered down by the NRA & its lackeys in Congress). Far less firepower means that fewer innocent victims are likely to get killed. It means that in any future massacre scenario, the victims will have more time to either escape, or to subdue & disable their attacker while he attempts to reload a smaller ammunition clip - instead of having to hunker down in a hail of bullets coming 60 or 80 or 100 rounds at a time.

As for your "slippery slope" construct, it simply doesn't stand up. There is no evidence to support it. It remains a paranoid fear - not an evidence-based argument.

Is there a case to be made for eternal vigilance of the citizenry against the possibility of governmental tyranny? Yes, always. But in a nation of some 315 million people - with nearly as many guns already in circulation - it's hard to conceive of the citizens ever allowing such a thing, and certainly not without fighting back. And most certainly not, so long as the citizens engage - vigorously & unceasingly - with their government, holding it strictly to account without ceasing.

Far more insidious is the corporate plutocracy under which we now live, in which extremely wealthy & powerful special interests routinely run roughshod over the public interest & the will of the people, by having bought & sold many thousands of public officials - legislators, judges & executive appointees. If you need a boogeyman against which to vent your fear & loathing, there's a real one for you.

MM

Lanivan

Thanks for breaking it down to it's truest form.

jhk1953

Plain and simple.....show me some Government controls tha have worked well. Then we can talk.

WalmartWolverine

Just heard from my old buddy Joe, ah, Biden. He says, “We need more gun laws because we don’t have time or manpower to enforce the ones we have.” Kind of sums things up that have been going around here for a while.

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