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

jayceeranger

You got one thing right, "only ones gun control hurt are honest, law-abiding citizens". Also true, "None of those proposals would have in any way helped prevent the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School."

Great, but why add the stupid statement, "assault weapons have no place on streets or homes... and not necessary for recreational shooting" First, you have no concept what an assault weapon is and even if you did identify it by characteristics that make it look "scary", what difference does it make?

You also have no concept of the primary purpose of a gun in the hands of a law abiding citizen, which is protection. This is not just protection from criminals who represent the largest threat but from an over reaching government, which was the intent of the 2nd amendment, not to kill deer, etc.

Lanivan

The threat of an "over-reaching government"?

"According to numerous reports, 62 yr old Earl Bailey, who owns a shotgun, is currently the last bastion of defense between the USofA and the federal government's plot of a full-scale takeover".

"Additional reports confirmed that Bailey's frequent practice of shooting his gun at empty bean cans in his backyard has repeatedly forced government officials to reassess both their ground and air strategies for the impending takeover."....http://www.theonion.com/articles...

GHJames

The 2nd ammendment was put in place "To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for
governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of
the United States" because a standing army of any size was at the time considered to be an over reach of federal authority. The standing U.S. armed forces were vastly smaller in size until WWII when standing armies became a weapon of deterance in the cold war ere. (Like nukes) As far as assault weapons go, the supreme court said in U.S. v. Miller (1937)"The Court can not take judicial notice that a shotgun having a barrel less than 18 inches long has today any reasonable relation to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia; and therefore can not say that the Second Amendment guarantees to the citizen the right to keep and bear such a weapon." This implies the 2nd amendment only applies to the right to keep current military grade weapons, such as the AR-15 platform and 30 rd. magazines.
A good argument can be made on both sides- either we have a right to bear the most current military arms or the second amendment is void because we now have a very large standing army. Either way, I won't be selling my AR any time soon.

Dewey Hill

You make a good point citing US v. Miller. However the conclusion that the amendment only applies to military grade weapons is contridicted in DC v. Heller (2008) by Justice Scalia in his majority opinion:

"Before addressing the verbs “keep” and “bear,” we interpret their object: “Arms.” The 18th-century meaning is no different from the meaning today.

The term was applied, then as now, to weapons that were not specifically designed for military use and were not employed in a military capacity. "

Should new firearm restrictions be passed into law I suspect a future Supreme Court case will address this contridiction.

gordbzz231

gun control will not change anything, what has happened is they closed the mental hospitals and put the crazy one,s on the streets, how about the criminals that dont care about laws

Mystic Michael

It seems to me that basing a critique of the President's gun policy reform proposal only on its direct relevance to the most recent in a long line of mass public gun slaughters is just as myopic and reactionary as it would be to base support for the President's proposal on those very same, limited criteria.

What's clearly being missed (ignored?) here is the attempt by this Administration to deal with public safety in a proactive and comprehensive manner - not only responding to previous public mass gun slaughters in which the lack of an effective background check WAS a factor (Virginia Tech), and the accessibility of high-capacity ammunition clips WAS a factor (Tucson & Aurora), etc. - but to respond to the ongoing concerns of law enforcement officials, who have too often faced the business end of an assault weapon - or a few dozen rounds of armor-piercing, so-called "cop killer" bullets - simply because the firearms industry gets to sell more product under such a scenario.

Does a human life really have a price? Apparently so. We collectively make that implicit calculation every day.

Will hardcore, career criminals still be able to acquire outlawed weapons? Of course - and nobody is claiming otherwise. But that's not the point: The point IS to gradually dry up the easy, widely-available oversupply of extreme firearms - weapons that have no place among the general public in a civilized society - and thus limit their access by the psychologically disturbed, the casual opportunistic criminal, and those who might impulsively use them against loved ones in a fit of rage.

Will there be a price to be paid by the responsible, law-abiding gun owner? Unfortunately, yes. And I personally am all broken up about the fact that they may have to wait a few extra days before they buy their next rifle - or will no longer be able to go "deer hunting" with a 100-round machine gun.

If the essential argument being made here is seriously that no further regulation of firearms should be attempted...simply because no solution is perfect, and because no solution is failsafe, then I can't help wondering how well the members of the Tribune editorial board would fare trying to make that case while looking into the eyes of the wife, or husband, or mother, or father, or sister, or brother of one of the thousands of innocent people who have been brutally murdered in recent years by these lethally-efficient killing machines.

MM

Vladtheimp

"The point IS to gradually dry up the easy, widely-available oversupply of extreme firearms - weapons that have no place among the general public in a civilized society -"

Please explain- You have all of the emotionally charged adjectives in here - but offer no support for words like "easy" - aren't background checks enough? "oversupply" - if they are still selling at record prices, based on the laws of supply and demand I would argue there is no oversupply; "extreme" - if they fire one round with one trigger pull, like most other firearms, what makes them "extreme" unless all of them are? "No place among the general public" - are you arguing that they are not useful for self-defense and hunting? "civilized society" - Did we not have a civilized society under John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Barack Obama;s first term?

Since you seem up on the subject, I wish you would look into the correlation between the over prescription of anti-depressants, especially SSRI's, and the incidents of mass shootings and school violence, and then work as diligently against them as you do against guns.

Might make me a Mystic believer.

Mystic Michael

I'll pass. If you can't clearly discern my position from the comments I've already made in my two posts on this thread, then any further "explanation" would be in vain.

But I think you already know that I wasn't referencing the term "oversupply" in a strictly economic sense. I think you already know that I wasn't referring to an ordinary shotgun or hunting rifle as an "extreme" firearm. You're just playing dumb in order to bait me.

You're actually a bright guy. That's why your ruse won't work. That's how I can see through your sophistry.

Lanivan

Appears the guantlet has been thrown.

Vladtheimp

Actually, I was simply trying to have you explain your hyperbole - which you decline - your prerogative. I also suggested that you look at another link between the mass shootings, school violence, and societal violence, and apparently you aren't interested. Too bad.

What I discern from your position, which I believe is shared by others on the left including my beloved Lanivan, is that you would be just fine if years down the road, firearms were prohibited from private ownership.

I reach that conclusion because (1) one thing I admire about folks on the left is the fact that they take the long view on their goals, and are willing to reach them incrementally if they can't get them immediately, and the Feinstein measure is certainly an incremental step, and beyond what she managed to get passed as an assault weapons ban more than a decade ago; (2) if you are willing to ban specific guns based on aesthetic characteristics, plus size of magazine, and those guns play a miniscule part in the gun deaths, injuries, and crime nationally, why would you stop there? Clearly, more "compromises" are in order. The obvious next step is to decry the violence in our urban areas, and limit the use of handguns that have a magazine. Then there's a short step to only permitting six shot revolvers. When criminals misuse those, it's simply unsafe, and an undue risk, to permit private ownership of deadly weapons in a civilized society. Game. Set. Match.

From my perspective, which you obviously can't even see, I have a right granted in the Constitution to keep and bear arms, for self-defense from law breakers as well as a tyrannical government. I also have a right to depend on the Constitution for the manner in which my rights can be altered or eliminated - the amendment process. As I see it, a significant minority, enabled by a liberal media that doesn't agree with me, wants to take away both of the rights I noted above. Furthermore, people on the left want to deprive me of my rights based on the irresponsible actions of a few madmen (and possibly drugged madmen) and the gangbangers populating the nation's urban areas. People who own guns responsibly (the vast, vast majority of gun owners) are discriminated against based on the actions of a small minority. (If you need statistics on the urban rate of gun violence, see http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis.... So no, I'm not going to roll over and let my rights be stolen by extra-legal means by a minority of voters, much less taxpayers.

If people like you wanted to reassure people like me that this is not merely an incremental step toward a total ban on private ownership of firearms, you would swear an oath to your God that if the Feinstein Assault Weapons Ban bill becomes law, you would neither call for nor support additional infringements on our Second Amendment rights. Can you put that in a rely to this post, Mystic Michael, or will you simply say that I am trying to bait you, and even though you are satisfied with the legislation in question, you will not commit yourself to saying "That's enough." Let's be honest here - I'm trying to lay out my position honestly.

I also have a prediction for you. When the government attempts to overreach and limit the supply of a good or service, like certain extreme state taxes on cigarettes, the people generally find a way to get around it, through black market or underground means. The criminals are smart enough to obtain weapons without registering - do you really believe law abiding Americans aren't that smart, and won't be willing to ignore the law in the future? The FBI estimates there are over 200,000,000 guns in the United States. Since Obama was elected, law abiding Americans have bought over 67 million firearms. I predict gun registration will decrease as folks decide it is their constitutional right, in their best interest, and the only reasonable response to an over-reaching leftist President to acquire firearms outside of the system. And as a whole the vast majority of people will be safer for it.

Mystic Michael

This is all one very big, very red, red herring. Nobody I've ever met has talked about outright prohibition of all private gun ownership. To the best of my knowledge, nobody I've ever met even believes in it. Even amongst the gun regulation lobbies, i.e. the Brady Campaign, etc. there's no evidence - not even a hint - that they have such a goal. Not overtly, not covertly. Nada.

The Right loves to use such fear-mongering over some fictitious, future "gun grab" by the Feds as a cynical means of furthering their agenda: the perpetuation of the dysfunctional status quo. But sensible, practical regulation of firearms in the public interest is NOT incompatible with Second Amendment rights - no matter how hard you try to spin it otherwise.

Very few rights - either natural or Constitutional - are absolute. Nearly all must be balanced in some way or another, such that the liberties of one group do not trample upon the liberties of another group. That's just the way it is - particularly in a developed, modern society such as ours. Yet another reason why the so-called "original intent" fad of the past 25 years is so absurd: It's like trying to apply the letter of the 18th Century law, in lieu of the spirit of the 21st Century law.

MM

Vladtheimp

I take this as your declining to say that the Feinstein legislation would end your quest to further infringe on our constitutional 2nd Amendment rights. I'm shocked!

Mystic Michael

Take it however you wish. I'm not required to jump through your little rhetorical hoops for your amusement.

The bottom line is that your framing of this issue is so stubbornly ideologically skewed as to make any further dialogue with you an exercise in utter futility. So long as you continue to insist that any attempt to rein in the excesses of the nutty American gun culture - no matter how sensible or reasonable - automatically constitutes an "infringement" of your Second Amendment rights, then we are at an impasse.

I'm done.

MM

Vladtheimp

Yup - You're done - done trying to disguise the fact that the Feinstein legislation does not go far enough in the effort to strip citizens of firearms, contrary to the rights guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment - nothing short of total control over firearms by the government (up to and including criminalization and confiscation) will be enough for you.

Too bad it's like pulling teeth to try to get an honest answer from you, but like on so many other issues, statists and leftists will never openly state what they truly believe in because such beliefs run contrary to the vast majority of the citizenry.

Lanivan

"statists and leftists will never openly state what they truly believe in because such beliefs run contrary to the vast majority of the citizenry."

You might want to take a gander at this op-ed from David Brooks, your Buckleyite buddy - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/2...

Vladtheimp

David Brooks is to a true conservative as Tiny Tim is to Dave Brubeck (thanks for the line).

Want to take bets on how long it will take a photo of "Lefty Obama" meeting skeets at the O.K. coral?

Lanivan

My point exactly about a sick gun society.

I'll wager on the odds they'll do a "Cheney" and end up shooting each other.

Lanivan

The human side to those statistics....http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/2...

Lanivan

What came first - constitutional "infringement" or our black President and woman Senator? And since when is everybody who doesn't think like you "on the left"?

Despite the astonishing, extraordinarily high-caliber debate on this, and other, page, the NRA continues it's advancement.

Yes - that NRA, the one started in 1871 as a grassroots effort for the promotion and encouragement of rifles, that has now morphed into a lobbying, merchandising, and marketing monolith, determined to shoot itself into first place in the hearts of the Lego and Lincoln Log set. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/2...

Their new target market is now aiming for the 4 year old and up, stirring up ads enticing youngsters with how cool it would be to have a "junior" Bushmaster AR15 under the Christmas tree. With the gun the hot new sexy accessory, you know there are parents out there who will run, not walk, to buy up this new twist on the cowboy gun.

Remember the long-held tradition of the 10 year old boy (or girl) given their own rifle and given the privilege of hunting and learning with father and uncles? Well, this just isn't enough for the NRA - the tax-exempt 501c3 foundation that brings in a cool $200 million (and spent over $24 million just trying to defeat Obama).

Vlad - I said it before and will again - if your idea of constitutional "infringement" is some - any - attempt to push back on this kind of sociopathic infringement on society, I'm in.

Shame on the NRA. And shame on those of us who choose to hide in lofty rhetoric and ideals, or refuse to close doors and open minds.

Vladtheimp

Unlike MM, will you agree that passage of the Feinstein legislation will end your quest to further infringe on our constitutional 2nd Amendment rights?

Lanivan

You know, Vlad, until I "met" you, or perhaps going back to the 1st Obama election, I rarely ever heard the words "Constitutional Amendment". Looking at the unholy murky mess the 2nd amendment has stirred up, I ponder on the notion if these particular words should ever have been included by the founding fathers. Does the end justify the means? As much as I have thought about the concept of the 2nd, and all the ways it has been interpreted to suit the occasion, I honestly don't think so.

Viewing the Feinstein legislation as very simply the extenuation of other bills that have come down the pike since Reagan (and before), and recognizing it is but a cog in the big wheel of necessary and vital steps to attempt to address public safety, and not personally viewing it as an attempt at infringing the 2nd (after all, Obama enjoys skeet shooting at Camp David, Biden owns 2 shotguns, and agreeing with MM in almost the entirety of his comments and can't imagine the Machiavellian glee the "Obama is going to take every single gun, right down to your hunting rifle", and "the government is poised for totalitarian takeover" that is the mainstay of their endless bag of arguments), agree without reservation your guantlet. Since I fail to see where anybody is going to take your gun, take away your right to buy a gun, or take over you, I don't see where "infringement" enters the picture, and I am happy to answer your question in the affirmative.

Hope you are both pleasantly surprised and your anticipation realized.

Wingmaster

The guns aren't the problem its the people pointing them. WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND!!! None of the discussion is going to stop what happened in Connecticut. Just penalize law abiding citizens who want to own weapons of their choice. You want to feel good about yourself find ways to address the human element that is broke and committing the crime...until then you are a pawn in this game or a willing stooge!

Funny now O is a skeet shooter...LOL wonder how the drones hone in on a clay pigeon!! As soon as you repeated that talking point Lan I realize your more hopeless than I thought and just engage you here for the entertainment value. When you put down your left koolaid and wipe off that goofy mustache we will have a serious discussion on what will help these senseless killings that are taken place.

Lanivan

Glad it took the entertainment value of "engaging" me here to take you from your bunker.

Apparently you weren't doing any reading while gone. All sorts of things are happening with "Mayors for Illegal Guns", law enforcement, and mental health task forces that are addressing ways to strengthen existing laws as well as creating new ones to identify dangerous, mentally ill people who are attempting to purchase guns. It's a whole mixed bag of remedies for a very sick gun culture.

Drones? I would think you of all people would be all about drones. Oh, sorry, it's Obama killing off Al Qaeda, not your guy.

I welcome a serious discussion any time, but first you need to get up to speed, Wing.

Wingmaster

Well Lan I can see your sense of humor has not evolved one iota, the"drone" comment was for pure entertainment as we all should recognize a drone would make a pretty silly weapon for skeet shooting. I should also point out when you use a broad brush to paint with you will not engage anyone in serious conversation and only remain in the highly emotional blather the left aways does while discussing this topic ("very sick gun culture")

Lip service is all that is being paid to the mental health issues in this country. There is no national discussion regarding mental health.

My suggestion for you is to pull your face out of the left media, all media for that matter, and get some fresh air and really think about the issues we face and apply some common sense without the influence of what is in print. You seem to fancy yourself as a well informed thinker, but you really are just regurgitating their talking points ad nauseam.

Lanivan

I did recognize the Wingzinger, but had to put in a little drone fly-by of my own. You apparently didn't read my Onion link. Humor is not my weak suit.

Re: media. I think you're barking up the wrong tree, stereotypically speaking. Having a long-time family farm/ranch/hunting tradition, I really didn't think much about guns until the recent rash of mass shootings. The more I read in general, the more my opinions took shape, and are not regurgitated talking points. Yours is a stale argument coming from someone who won't recognize that our gun culture is sick. Of course, I'm not referring to the millions of responsible, knowledgeable, experienced gun owners. I assume you are in that category.

Wingmaster

So Lan, lets say we move forward and pass any of O's bans. Now lets also say some evil wart goes into another school, mall, city event..... armed with oh lets say 6 revolvers stuck in his or her waist banned and a pocket full of ammo and starts shooting up the place. Do we start a ban on hand guns? Do we start a ban on revolvers? Do we ban all guns?

You see Lan, its a slippery slope you are on when you are not addressing the real problem. You are allowing one of our constitutional rights to be tampered with. The tampering will not stop there and neither will the violence. Well meaning as you think you might be, you are the one barking up the wrong tree.

Go back to that farm you speak of and get the fresh air I speak of...it will clear your head.

Lanivan

Vlad's maggiesfarm link re: gun statistics only reinforces the recognition that we are a nation of people so anxious about guns we feel the need to buy guns to protect ourselves from guns. You are right, Wing - troubled, weak, impotent, powerless, mostly men will always want to kill. There's really no way to stop that completely. Right now, anybody can go anywhere and kill lots of people quicker that it takes to read the preamble of the Constitution.

This "slippery slope" paranoia towards the government baffles me. The NRA, with it's ever-evolving ride down the slippery slope of grassroots organization to CEO of the 2nd Amendment is in my crosshairs. Wing - in spite of the evidence to the contrary, why do you continue to believe the 2nd is being tampered with? Do you ever stop and wonder if you are being manipulated by forces like the NRA?

I want to believe this nation became great because we, as a people, are (used to be) problem solvers. We've gotten hooked on pushing agendas as much as we're hooked on our gun addiction/love affair. Sandy Hook was so brutal, so symbolic of what is wrong with America, it must be the catalyst to look at the big picture. The current assault weapons ban legislation will affect only 6% (about 157) of currently available weapons, and yet the paranoia is overwhelming.

In some ways, I wish I could go back to that farm, but it's been sold off to the highest bidder, just like our politics.

Vladtheimp

Some inconvenient truths: http://maggiesfarm.anotherdotcom...

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