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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Lawmakers Ready For Gun Control Debate

President Barack Obama urges Congress to take action on measures to protect children from gun violence, Thursday, March 28, 2013, while speaking in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP/Susan Walsh)

President Barack Obama urges Congress to take action on measures to protect children from gun violence, Thursday, March 28, 2013, while speaking in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP/Susan Walsh)

President Obama visits a Colorado police academy on Wednesday and next week he’ll travel back to Connecticut to make what’s expected to be another emotional pitch for gun control legislation.

Next week Congress returns to Washington, where heated debate and a vote on gun control are expected. But will there be any significant changes to federal gun laws?

Unlikely, says Paul Barrett, author of “Glock: The Rise Of America’s Guns.” Barrett says President Obama isn’t serious about gun control, poll numbers showing support for stricter gun laws don’t matter and the gun debate in Congress will once again get bogged down in debate over record-keeping for expanded gun sale background checks.

Barrett writes “stricter background checks are a start, but better care for the mentally ill will be more effective at reducing the number of shooting sprees.”

He also says that law enforcement should focus on enforcing restrictions intended to keep guns out of the hands of ordinary criminals.

Guest:


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  • Brian Wells

    Dear NRA,
    You say that more guns will make us safer. Since America already has 300 million guns, wouldn’t we already be the safest nation on Earth?

    • dizzydaisy

       The NRA is saying that we need more guns everywhere.  There is a sort of logic to it…Where have these shootings happened? Gun free zones….

      • Medivd

         I think it is more about the fact the person had connections to the place then it was targeted because it was a gun free zone.

        • dizzydaisy

           The Aurora shooter is known to have by passed several other theaters to shoot up the one theater that was posted as a gun free zone. And that still makes my point. A gun free zone is a soft easy target for these sick people.

      • Guyeser

        Yes, let us add armed guards to movie theaters, hospitals, bus stations, train stations, gas stations, super markets, street corners.. and why stop there.. in front of every house.. so that the gun makers can sell more..  Possessing Marijuana is illegal in most states.. when was the last time someone walked into a movie theater sprayed a lethal dose of it to kill innocent people.

        • dizzydaisy

           Don’t be obtuse.  The war on drugs is a huge part of the problem. Any time the government decides to ‘go to war” on something, bamm, we have huge societal problems!  The point, is to let people learn to defend themselves! MOST people have the brains to learn proper gun safety and handling.  Most criminals won’t bother someone who might have protection, it’s far easier to go after the un armed! They make much better victims. We the people need to be the armed guards, not cowering and whining demanding law breaking law makers to “protect” us from those scary guns.

        • David N

           

          Make No Mistake: Being trapped in a Feel-Good “Gun-free
          Zone” is what got some, if not many, of these children and teachers
          murdered! (Same for Aurora Colorado theater)
          These are the type of gun-free zones that are foist on an ill informed public,
          by clue-less gun-control Politicians whom work in real gun-free zones, with
          metal detectors and armed guards at the ready. There are No Laws that would
          have, or could have, prevented this Person from doing what he did!  Criminals Do Not follow the Laws!!  This person showed that he was willing to
          kill to get his hands on Guns. As has often been the case: Our Feel-Good Gun
          Laws only served to “Prevent” any Law Abiding Citizen, from possibly
          being able to render aid in the form of an Armed Response.  The Only type of Aid that would have had any
          chance of being effective in this situation.

    • Doug

      Yes, we are the safest nation on Earth.

      • Molakes

         Really, Doug?  Have you not read all the comparison statistics with other countries?

      • Carol

        What makes you say that. It’s not true according to the statistics that I read.
        You can remove 1 like since I hit the wrong icon when trying to reply. Sorry, I am
        new at this.

    • Spencer60

      And if you look at it, we are much safer than countries like the UK or South Africa where citizens have had their firearms confiscated. 

      Your comment shows you are mistaking the tools for the workman. Guns are inanimate objects that on their own are neither evil or good. 

      You seem to think that guns are inherently evil, while and rational person would recognize that what use a gun, a knife or a rope are put to depends wholly on the person using these objects. 

      Denying honest people the tools they need to defend themselves against violent criminals doesn’t make anyone safer. In fact there is very good evidence that the old saw, ‘if guns are criminal only criminals will have guns’ is the literal truth. 

      As for the NRA saying ‘more guns will make us safer’, you obviously are misunderstanding what they say, on purpose or not. 

      More law abiding citizens with firearms will indeed make everyone safer. 

      This is obvious from a single look at disarmed cities like Chicago and Washington DC, where indeed only the criminals have guns. 

    • Bigtargyle

      Are we not pretty close.

  • dizzydaisy

    We need to focus on why this type of abhorrent behavior has become more common. Guns have been around for a very long time, so what is new? Rather than point a finger at one thing, lets look at the big picture. Some say the violent videos and movies as well as the gangsta lifestyle and music, while others say couldn’t be. I think it does contribute to a degree. Along with our addiction to TV, sports, lack of general respect for each other, chemicals in our diets and homes, and lack of exercise.  If you look at the common denominators in these shootings, they were all loner, gamer types on psycho tropic drugs.  Haven’t we learned that we can’t legislate a problem away? Let’s work together rather than making a huge portion of the population instant law breakers. Because I fear that is what will happen!
     

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      lets not forget the advent of “gun free zones”

    • Manday

      All these gun control rules are stupid!!!!! Just keep guns!!!! They also save lives

  • http://www.facebook.com/mary.draper.792 Mary Draper

    No one is
    discussing why 90% approve of background checks, but wonder why there is still
    resistance. I have read that the goal is for the people doing background checks
    to be required to keep a record of the transaction, not just check and delete
    the files (Time March 29). In case you haven’t figured it out, that’s called de
    facto gun registration, which is a very different issue!

    What is the goal of passing more gun laws
    when the worst areas for crime also have the lowest prosecution rates (US News
    March 28th)? The highest rates of prosecution also correspond to lower rates of
    gun violence, and less gun laws. My simple mind takes this as all about control
    of law abiding citizens, otherwise please explain that report!

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      yup gun control is not about guns its about control. look at bloomberg he loves gu n control and portion control for the masses

  • Spencer60

    These so-called ‘stricter background checks’ are not a start… They are a piece of political theater that in their current form would:

    Cause millions of otherwise law abiding firearms owners to become felons for loaning a friend a firearm or having someone house-sit for more than 7 days. 

    Bypass due-process and remove peoples’ civil rights for merely being arrested (not convicted, or even charged) for various crimes, many of which are misdemeanors. 

    Require a forced sale to a federally licensed dealer rather than a dealer providing background checks to private parties for a reasonable fee. 

    Establish a system that is a firearms registry in everything but name. A single change of  law would then require federal registration of all firearms. 

    Set a precedent that completely undermines the concept of ‘private property’ in the US. 

    All this to ‘solve’ a ‘problem’ that even the Dept. of Justice says accounts for less than 1% of all illegal firearms used in crimes. 

    Instead we should be focusing resources on law enforcement efforts to prosecute ‘straw buyers’, felons who are responsible for almost 50% of all illegal firearms. 

    Dealers report thousands of suspected cases every year to law enforcement. Total convictions last year; 44. 

    Rather than passing repressive new firearms laws that only cause harm to law abiding citizens, we should focus on enforcing the laws already on the books, law that could make a real difference. 

    • Vanessa D

      Well said. I would like to add that more restrictive laws could very well be a slippery slope ending in the confiscation of ALL firearms. Then the only people with guns will be the criminals and the government (which includes the police and the military). I find that a scary thought. And while some of  you may scoff, be reminded that throughout history it has happened in countries all over the world. It may seem highly unlikely here in the US, but unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. Strange and sudden changes can happen before most people see any signs.

  • Chuck_Woolery

    The reason all the “support” for gun control has died down is very simple: it was all based on emotion and not logic. That initial push wasn’t based on facts or rational discussion, it was just lots of posturing and appeals to emotions. Legislation based on emotion has no place in our society on any issue. Now that enough time has passed since these shooting tragedies, people have come back to their senses. When your only appeal is screaming “but think of the children” at the top of your lungs, you are ultimately destined for failure.

  • Tim_v

    I find it laughable that Mr. Barett can admit that there has been a right shift in thought on guns and gun control since the 1990′s and then discount that the NRA isnt behind this push at all. They are a powerful lobby with political pull and to discount that fact is naive. To chalk it up to stirring up second amendment animus and some kind of culture war is reckless. He sounds like another spokesperson for the gun lobby. 

    • Blah

      You don’t think our politics have generally taken a hard right turn?  Even Obama is still debating on terms that GW laid down.  It’s not laughable at all..it’s actually quite an astute observation.

      • Tim_v

         My comment was that he said stated that there has been a right turn politically on the gun issue and then say that the NRA has virtually nothing to do with this. I do think there has been a right turn. An astute observation would not have discounted the influence of the NRA and instead chalk most of the change to Second Amendment animus.

  • Raoul Ornelas

    Paul Barrett is dead a”WRONG”! Wayne La Pierre time after time has exhibited his disregard for people being killed with guns. Wyane La Pierre has made millions from promoting false 2nd Amendment fear as a reason for selling guns. Its about selling guns and making millions to pay off Congressman to promote your greed ideas. Killing kids including the general public means nothing to those more interested in enlarging their bank accounts.  Mr. Paul Barrett is dead wrong about assault rifles….. they are more deadly then deadly hand guns because the can kill in seconds hundreds of people where a hand gun can kill many in minutes. My grandfather never owned an assault riffle and he hunted dear and not people and only once a year during dear hunting season. Question: Who funds Mr. Barrett, the NRA and the Koch brothers?

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      whats an assault rifle?

      • 65noname

        according to the merriam-webster dictionary an assault rifle is

        “any of various automatic or semiautomatic rifles with large capacity magazines designed for military use”

        a semi-automatic weapon is “able to fire repeatedly but requiring release and another pressure of the trigger for each successive shot”, i.e., without having to recock the hammer.

        Or is that also a “knee jerk” response?

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          so you want to ban all semi automatic rifles? even though all rifles together account for less than 3% of homicides involving guns? what do you hope to achieve?

          • 65noname

            less killings committed by a person shooting other people with a semiautomatic weapon.  what would you think that I’m hoping to achieve?  Perhaps the disarming of the american revolutionary militia just as it is about to save the “republic” from people attempting to  inflict a democratic government on all freedom loving people? 

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            so you want to ban handguns as well? you understand that if somehow magic laws made all the semiautomatic rifles disappear the small percent of people who are shot with rifles would be shot with shotguns or pistols or hacked up with a machete or pushed out a window instead they wont be “saved”.
            “Perhaps the disarming of the american revolutionary militia just as it is about to save the “republic” from people attempting to inflict a democratic government on all freedom loving people?”
            that sounds like a crazy paranoid statement are you serious?

          • 65noname

            Actually, I never called for banning anything.  I just added my two cents worth about what semiautomatic weapons are, can do, the effect of allowing them to be legal and the NRA’s opposition to any weapons regulation.
             
            And, no, I don’t understand whatever it is that you claimed will happen if semiautomatic weapons are banned.  It made as little sense logically as it does linguistically.
             
            As to the quote, I was being sarcastic about your wondering above as to what I “hope to achieve” as well as your previous comments about .  Next time I’ll try to speak in a more simple manner.
             

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            yes maybe next time you should try to understand what you are talking about and try to make more sense. thank you

          • 65noname

            by the way, dude, you are the person who wrote (below)  “we are not a democracy we are a a [sic] Republic”.  So, whose writing ”sounds like a crazy, paranoid statement”? 

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            i am making a statement of fact about our political system and you are imagining some sort of “american revolutionary militia”. i will leave it up to the readers to decide which of us sounds paranoid.

  • Molakes

    I am a grandma. I am for increasing gun controls. I realize that perhaps it is my fault that we are not proceeding with intelligent, well-thought out protections to keep our children and grandchildren safe.  I do not own weapons. I have never used a weapon. I have only been in the presence of a gun once in my life .. a German WWII handgun .. it made me ill .. knowing the power to take life. I don’t know the lingo. I don’t know what laws will in fact make our communities safer. I do know we need to do something now. I do know that we as communities, states and as a country need to do the right things so that we are all safer and saner. Thank you.

    • Chuck_Woolery

      So you’re saying you know nothing about the issue, have no experience in this subject, and have no solutions? Superb contribution to the discussion.

      • LianeSperoni

        She said that she knows about the issue, in her way, in her time.- you just don’t value her contribution, and you don’t have to be so rude to people.

        • Guest

          Sorry, but I had the same thought when I read her comments. My first reaction was, why did she even write this? I have to agree with Mr. Woolery.

          • LianeSperoni

            My comment applies to you as well. If you don’t have anything nice to say….

        • Chuck_Woolery

          She contributed absolutely nothing to the conversation and I’d much rather see relevant comments with pertinent information without having to sift through dozens of useless comments about being a grandma and not knowing anything about the issue at hand. I don’t think condoning comments like this helps anyone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      i would feel sad if people like you who dont know what they want made it so she could no longer protect herself with her gun

  • John Bartley

    I surely do not understand the illogic of those hwo expect gun-free zones to work. We need more gun proficiency and gun carriers by those trained and responsible. If funding for broader gun carrying was tied to universal background checks, I’d buy in.

    I also am distressed by the ant-gun bias shown by this program. We need gun solutions, not gun fear, and yet we’ve never heard this program bring on those who document the many failings of gun-free zones and offer realistic solutions.

    - A lifetime NPR member station subscriber

  • 65noname

    This guy is a joke.  In  fact, the speed at which an automatic weapon can fire IS an important factor in determing the weapon’s danger as a weapon use in mass shootings.  And, assuming that matthews actually did question whether the NRA cares about the shooting of kids, why isn’t it alright to question the NRA’s views?  The NRA consistently opposes everything being done to prevent the proliferation of semi-automtic weapons and any regulation what-so-ever on those weapons (and after all, most states require BARBERS to be liscenced); so why isn’t it appropriate to question whether or not the NRA has any concern about the mass shootings of kids?  

    It is similar to refusing to consider whether tobacco companies care whether cigarettes cause cancer.  The NRA’s actions speak for themselves; and demanding that mentally ill people be locked up and that the schools be filled with armed rent-a-guards as a substitute for considering reasonable regulations for ownership of military semi-automatic weapons speaks for itself.

    • 65noname

      By the way,allowing him to  claim without comment that semi-automatic weapons are no more dangerous than your “gandfather’s” rifle is irresponsible and a total abdication of your responsiblity as a reporter

      • Blah

        How so?  They are both as dangerous.  

        • 65noname

          Actually, semi-automatic weapons, whether labeled “assault” or not,  are much more dangerous.  They fire at an uncomprehensible rate of bullets per minute. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            do tell

      • Blah

        You really didn’t listen.  The guy is dead on.  The “assault weapons” ban only addresses appearances rather than function.  He points out that it might have been useful to deal with ammunition capacity.  You just approach the situation with your own knee jerk biases.

        • 65noname

          The only thing jerking is your knee. I actually do listen. By your canned 
          response, it appears that you don’t “read”.

          Whatever definition that a particular “ban” addresses, an assault weapon is a semi-automatic weapon that fires by simply pulling the triger without having to recock the hammer. Look it up.   Claiming that assault weapons are no more dangerous than a hunting rifle from 1945 or so is simply dishonest.

          Most cops say that the ammo capacity limits are impossible to enforce.
           

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            yeah no one ever went hunting with a m1 garand

      • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

        no more dangerous than my grandmother’s semiautomatic firearm

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      there are over 20,000 gun laws so how is there no regulation what-so-ever?

      • 65noname

        I didn’t say “that there [is] no regulation what-so-ever”.  I said that the NRA “consistently opposes everything being done to prevent the proliferation of semi-automtic weapons and any regulation what-so-ever on those weapons”

        • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

          maybe you should have said no additional regulation. we have plenty of laws. they dont do too much if you  don’t enforce them. the NRA is no longer pushing for the armed guards although that program has been implemented in one state already.  what makes a semi-automatic weapon “military”" are you for banning all semi automatic firearms?

          • 65noname

            Actually, I said what I meant to say.  The NRA opposes all weapons regulation, whether proposed or already in force  The only thing that they want to regulate are people that they define as “mentally ill”. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            thats not accurate

          • 65noname

            Sure it is.  You suggested that I say something other than I said.  I replied by saying that I said what I meant to say and reiterating what I said.  How is that inaccurate? 

            Ifyou’re attempting to claim that what I said is inaccurate, you’ll have to do more than simply saying “no, no” and explain HOW its inaccurate.

          • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

            the nra has never said that they oppose every current and possible restriction on fire arms. i can’t prove a negative but if what you say is true you should be able to provide some evidence to that effect. its a pretty hyperbolic claim you are making

          • NRA member for life

            You are an idiot. A assault rifle by definition has select fire. “Military style” is nothing more than the way the weapon looks.

  • Geirschele

    I am so very dissappointed in all the so called “experts” like Mr. Barrett who claim to know so much about guns.  I grew up on a farm in the upper Midwest where hunting has been a way of life.  I do not need someone like Mr. Barrett to repeat the same old statements that “There is no functional difference between a Bushmaster assault rifle and “Grandpa’s wood stocked deer rifle” (other than the much larger ammunition capacity of the assualt rifle).  THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE – AND IT IS ALL VISUAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Grandpa’s deer rifle was (and is) in many ways an elegent weapon intended for hunting deer.  These rifles are often handsome to see and a matter of pride for their owners, harkening back to a simpler and more sane time.  Grandpa’s gun was designed to hunt wildlife.  A Bushmaster assault rifle is designed to kill people – period.  It is not elegent, it is ugly.  These guns instill in the mentally unstable the visual ques of killing people.  The difference in these rifles is HUGE in the one area where we all agree we have a problem – for the person who is already mentally unstable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      so you would be ok with a wood stocked ar15?  i am glad at least you can admit that you don’t like these guns for the simple reason they are black.  beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • smaktcat

    why don’t we just have everyone who wishes to own a gun, get a permit. Pay a fee, have it include the backround check. any person purchasing a gun, prive transaction, gun show, whatever, has to produce the permit or no weapon. and you sell a gun to someone without a permit ya go to jail, and pay a HUGE fine.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      (slow clap) thats what we already have in MA. any state that wants to can also implement that and most have.

  • broochay

    Here’s a letter I wrote which was published February 18
    in the San Antonio EXPRESS-NEWS.  I hope it’s short enough and succinct
    enough to be of some use in the discussion.

    * * * * * * *
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    After
    the impassioned ending to President Obama’s State of the Union speech,
    gun control will probably be a hot topic again.  I’d like to weigh in
    with a few thoughts.

    1. The most important recommendation that has been made is universal
    registration.  If every motor vehicle in the country can be registered,
    so can every firearm.  It is true that people who are convinced that
    registration is the first step in confiscation will object, but nothing
    will convince them otherwise, and their ignorant paranoia should not
    stand in the way of sensible planning for the future.2. No ban is
    going to work, whether of magazines, particular kinds or calibers of
    guns, or any other form of prohibition.  We should have learned that
    from failed attempts to ban alcohol, and are perhaps learning it from
    our failed War on Drugs.  I’m not a fan of “bumper sticker” philosophy,
    but I do recommend one example – the one that says “If guns are
    outlawed, only outlaws will have guns”.  Anyone who has ever been
    bullied knows that it doesn’t take two to make a fight, and if you are
    unable to protect yourself, you are at the mercy of someone who means to
    do you harm.3. Ammunition is a better target for restriction than
    “assault weapons (that term is a misnomer!)” or multi-round magazines. 
    The extent of the carnage to children in Connecticut was due more to the
    extremely damaging form of bullets used than to the number fired in a
    short time.4. Finally, the second amendment – it says the right to
    keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, which was an acknowledgement
    of a right which already existed (a right can’t be abridged unless it
    already exists).  The well-regulated militia mentioned in the amendment
    referred to a volunteer force using personally-owned muskets and
    flintlocks, and was indeed intended to guard against government tyranny -
    the memory of George III was still strong.  They couldn’t imagine the
    sophisticated weapons available today, but neither did they know about
    the automobile, the cellphone, or the atomic bomb.  We have to apply the
    wisdom of the past to the reality of today.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      1. what benefit will come from gun registration?
      3. .223 is not a very powerful round are you saying it should be banned?
      4. under the assault weapon ban theose rev olutionary era muskets should be banned because of the bayonette lug right?

  • Tom Brown

    Paul Barrett, in the interview just concluded, declared that those who are against any significant restriictions  (“anti-second amendment ) do care about children. They say they do but it is the height of casuistry to deny that second amendment rights trump safety of not only children but all the rest of us. Background checks would not have stopped the massacre in Newtown and to say otherwise is an loutright lie. The shooter’s mother got the guns legally and he had not himself been declared incompetent. If the assault weapon with big capacity clips had not been available to him many of those children would probably be alive today. Also, I heard no mention of the manufacturers’ responsibility and culpability in the influencing of attidudes by politicians. I hope that Mr. Barrett does not have to suffer the pain of losing family members-children and others-to some unknown mad person carrying one of the weapons which a civilized scoiety would never allow out of the military arsenals, but we all are vulnearable! Deliver me from justifications of the sort he posed! It is at least more honest to say that one supports the second amendment and if that means some must die as a result then so be it! Anything else is hogwash and should be recognized as such by those of us who put safety above second amendment extremist views.
    Tom Brown, Pensacola, Florida

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      tom a law abiding persons guns do not pose a threat to you. nancy lanza was a criminal who failed to follow her states firearm storage laws. criminals like nancy don’t care what the laws are and they never will

  • Drbroo
  • Will

    The parallels between gun-control and alcohol control are instructive. We tried alcohol control and it didn’t work. Yes it did decrease the consumption of alcohol, mental health figures for those years prove that. However those people that enjoy drinking and that do not cause any damage prevailed. The cost to society from those who abuse alcohol is horrendous. Entire families have been wiped out by drunk drivers. The slow suicide of alcoholism has caused havoc throughout our culture. The damage caused by gun abuse compared to alcohol abuse is miniscule. Yet the notion of increasing the control of alcohol sales is laughable. Can you imagine having to go through a background check to buy a nice Merlot or some Jim Beam or a six pack of beer. It just won’t happen. The reason is too many law-abiding, healthy people like alcoholic beverages. Their fondness for alcoholic beverages trumps their concern for societies overall welfare. Until of course one of their kids is killed by a drunk driver. The same with gun owners and gun control.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      not to mention that alcohol control led to the creation of violent smuggling rings and gangsters. after the repeal of prohibition of alcohol the murder rate dropped 99%

  • LianeSperoni

    I hear two different things coming from those opposed to gun legislation. Seems like some are calling for citizens to be armed to prevent mass shootings and that is something more than just plain don’t mess with my second amendment rights.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      i think there are valid concerns about stand your ground laws. these laws are not a reason for more gun control however

  • Robert Levine

    It’s not true that the NRA doesn’t care about kids . It is true that the NRA cares more about preventing any new restrictions on gun rights than the do about kids, or indeed anything else.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      Mr. President,
      As a student who was shot and wounded during the Columbine massacre, I have a few thoughts on the current gun debate. In regards to your gun control initiatives:
      Universal Background Checks
      First, a universal background check will have many devastating effects. It will arguably have the opposite impact of what you propose. If adopted, criminals will know that they can not pass a background check legally, so they will resort to other avenues. With the conditions being set by this initiative, it will create a large black market for weapons and will support more criminal activity and funnel additional money into the hands of thugs, criminals, and people who will do harm to American citizens.
      Second, universal background checks will create a huge bureaucracy that will cost an enormous amount of tax payers dollars and will straddle us with more debt. We cannot afford it now, let alone create another function of government that will have a huge monthly bill attached to it.
      Third, is a universal background check system possible without universal gun registration? If so, please define it for us. Universal registration can easily be used for universal confiscation. I am not at all implying that you, sir, would try such a measure, but we do need to think about our actions through the lens of time.
      It is not impossible to think that a tyrant, to the likes of Mao, Castro, Che, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, and others, could possibly rise to power in America. It could be five, ten, twenty, or one hundred years from now — but future generations have the natural right to protect themselves from tyrannical government just as much as we currently do. It is safe to assume that this liberty that our forefathers secured has been a thorn in the side of would-be tyrants ever since the Second Amendment was adopted.
      Ban on Military-Style Assault Weapons
      The evidence is very clear pertaining to the inadequacies of the assault weapons ban. It had little to no effect when it was in place from 1994 until 2004. It was during this time that I personally witnessed two fellow students murder twelve of my classmates and one teacher. The assault weapons ban did not deter these two murderers, nor did the other thirty-something laws that they broke.
      Gun ownership is at an all time high. And although tragedies like Columbine and Newtown are exploited by ideologues and special-interest lobbying groups, crime is at an all time low. The people have spoken. Gun store shelves have been emptied. Gun shows are breaking attendance records. Gun manufacturers are sold out and back ordered. Shortages on ammo and firearms are countrywide. The American people have spoken and are telling you that our Second Amendment shall not be infringed.
      10-Round Limit for Magazines
      Virginia Tech was the site of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Seung-Hui Cho used two of the smallest caliber hand guns manufactured and a handful of ten round magazines. There are no substantial facts that prove that limited magazines would make any difference at all.Second, this is just another law that endangers law-abiding citizens. I’ve heard you ask, “why does someone need 30 bullets to kill a deer?”
      Let me ask you this: Why would you prefer criminals to have the ability to out-gun law-abiding citizens? Under this policy, criminals will still have their 30-round magazines, but the average American will not. Whose side are you on?
      Lastly, when did they government get into the business of regulating “needs?” This is yet another example of government overreaching and straying from its intended purpose.
      Selling to Criminals
      Mr. President, these are your words: “And finally, Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job. We should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And we should severely punish anybody who helps them do this.”
      Why don’t we start with Eric Holder and thoroughly investigate the Fast and Furious program?
      Furthermore, the vast majority of these mass murderers bought their weapons legally and jumped through all the hoops — because they were determined to murder. Adding more hoops and red tape will not stop these types of people. It doesn’t now — so what makes you think it will in the future? Criminals who cannot buy guns legally just resort to the black market.
      Criminals and murderers will always find a way.
      Critical Examination
      Mr. President, in theory, your initiatives and proposals sound warm and fuzzy — but in reality they are far from what we need. Your initiatives seem to punish law-abiding American citizens and enable the murderers, thugs, and other lowlifes who wish to do harm to others.
      Let me be clear: These ideas are the worst possible initiatives if you seriously care about saving lives and also upholding your oath of office. There is no dictate, law, or regulation that will stop bad things from happening — and you know that. Yet you continue to push the rhetoric. Why?
      You said, “If we can save just one person it is worth it.” Well here are a few ideas that will save more that one individual:
      First, forget all of your current initiatives and 23 purposed executive orders. They will do nothing more than impede law-abiding citizens and breach the intent of the Constitution. Each initiative steals freedom, grants more power to an already-overreaching government, and empowers and enables criminals to run amok.
      Second, press Congress to repeal the “Gun Free Zone Act.” Don’t allow America’s teachers and students to be endangered one-day more. These parents and teachers have the natural right to defend themselves and not be looked at as criminals. There is no reason teachers must disarm themselves to perform their jobs. There is also no reason a parent or volunteer should be disarmed when they cross the school line.
      This is your chance to correct history and restore liberty. This simple act of restoring freedom will deter would-be murderers and for those who try, they will be met with resistance.
      Mr. President, do the right thing, restore freedom, and save lives. Show the American people that you stand with them and not with thugs and criminals.
      Respectfully,
      Severely Concerned Citizen, Evan M. Todd

  • KathyJ

    I am one of those people who do not get the gun culture.  It is not something I was raised with and I admit I cannot get my arms around people’s need to have multiple guns or semiautomatic weapons or automatic weapons or huge amounts of ammunition and on and on.  My thoughts about gun control:
    1)  The US has taken an increasingly libertarian view of gun rights in the last years with the NRA now saying that anyone has a right to own any weapons they want and that ANY limits are wrong.  However, in a democracy, there must be a balance between individual rights and the rights of society as a whole, such as the right to be free of the threats of the current pervasive availability of guns presents.
    2)  Speaking of democracy, polls indicate that a majority of the citizenry SUPPORTS gun control measures beyond improving background checks.  Yet our politicians are siding with gun rights advocates.  I think this begs the question: is it the NRA’s money that is driving them to support gun rights over gun control?
    3)  Important decisions should be based on research but the politicians, at the behest of the NRA, have stifled all research and the dissemination of data.  I can only conclude that this is because gun rights advocates realize that actual research and data would lead to the realization that the proliferation of weaponry is a serious public health issue.
    4)  The NRA’s insistence that improvement in mental health care would result in those with mental illness not getting access to gun shows a total ignorance of mental illness and its management.  The majority of persons with mental illness have had no contact with the health care or legal systems.  Even if a person has had or is receiving care for mental illness it does not mean that that person has been legally committed to a facility.  These people would never show up on a back ground check as having a mental problem that bars them from gun ownership.  Many, many people with mental illnesses are functional enough to remain in society, but throw a major stressor into the picture and that person can become the person who becomes a mass murderer because they had access to guns and ammunition.

    This is a very complex issue with many, many factors that need to be considered.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      1.  when did the nra say anyone has a right to own any weapons they want and that ANY limits are worng? thats silly.  we are not a democracy we are a a Republic where a citizen’s rights are not  subject to the whims of a tyrannical majority. feel free to move to a democracy 
      2. read the  more recent polls. people have come to their senses
      3. the federal govt no longer finances gun control research because the studies it had sponsored were so bad and misleading. would you want tax money spent to advocate on any side of a political issue?
      4. many states like massachusetts choose not to share the records of those deemed insane or commited in a legal manner. it seems like the “major stressor” in most of these recent killings is the use of psychiatric drugs. maybe we should investigate that serious public health issue

  • Ehbeitz

    The attempts at legislation are completely upside-down. Create and maintain a registry of all people who may purchase firearms. These individuals must pass all checks – they must be stable, responsible, old enough, and above all must be certified as capable of handling the firearms they own. If they are felons or mentally unstable or challenged, they should not be included in this registry. When their status changes and they are no longer fit to be included, they should be required to surrender or dispose of their firearms, and should be removed from the registry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy
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