All Articles Tagged "gun laws"
(Chicago Tribune) — The debate over whether to allow Illinois residents to carry concealed guns with a permit was waged from the Capitol to Chicago on Wednesday, well ahead of any actual vote on the issue. Up north, outgoing Mayor Richard Daley warned of a city in which parks, college campuses, malls and other public places could be crowded with gun-toting citizens if the General Assembly passes the conceal carry bill. Daley said he and Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel sent a letter urging lawmakers to vote it down. ”Do you want guns at your neighborhood festival or block party? Or in a park, like the one we’re here today?” Daley asked at a news conference at the Austin Town Hall Cultural Center, where he was joined by several aldermen and anti-violence advocates. “CTA buses or trains? Do you want students with concealed weapons walking around every college campus in the state?” The conceal carry legislation cleared a House committee this year but is being fine-tuned. Sponsoring Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg, said he’s “three to four votes short right now” and said no vote will happen until late April at the earliest.
Students in Texas may soon be able to pack their books and pencils beside their guns and amo before heading to campus. More than half the members of the Texas House have signed on to a measure directing universities to allow concealed handguns, says the Associated Press. It would follow a similar bill passed by the Senate in 2009 and this one is expected to pass as well. Republican Governor Rick Perry has said he’s in favor of the idea.
With 38 public universities and more than half a million students,Texas would be the second state to pass such legislation, followed by Colorado. Supporters argue that the best defense against mass shootings, similar to the ones at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois universities, is a student who can shoot back.
History has certainly shown us that two wrongs always make a right.
Similar firearms measures have been proposed in about a dozen other states, but all face strong opposition, especially from college leaders, reports The Associated Press.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Flanked by the parents of slain Chicago Police officer Thomas Wortham IV, Mayor Daley on Monday proposed a package of new gun laws that might have kept Wortham’s alleged killers off the streets. Felons convicted of illegal gun possession or charged with other gun crimes would no longer be eligible for probation, under one of four new wrinkles in Daley’s annual package of gun control legislation. The lame-duck mayor is also proposing: a mandatory, ten-year prison sentence for pointing a gun at a first responder; a separate felony charge for parents or guardians who bring a child along when they commit or attempt a felony and automatic transfer from juvenile to criminal court for 15- to 17-year-olds charged with possession or use of a firearm. Wortham survived two tours of duty in Iraq, only to be gunned down in May in front of his parents’ home by thugs intent on stealing his motorcycle. The slain officer’s boyhood home is located across from a park the officer had worked to make safe for local kids.
(Washington Post) — In the 2½ years since the U.S. Supreme Court ended the District’s handgun ban, hundreds of residents in Washington’s safest, most well-to-do neighborhoods have armed themselves, registering far more guns than people in poorer, crime-plagued areas of the city, according to D.C. police data. Since the landmark court ruling in June 2008, records show, more than 1,400 firearms have been registered with D.C. police, most in the western half of the District. Among those guns, nearly 300 are in the high-income, low-crime Georgetown, Palisades and Chevy Chase areas of Northwest. In all of the neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River – a broad swath of the city with more than 52,000 households, many of them in areas beset by poverty and drug-related violence – about 240 guns have been registered. Although police declined to identify gun owners, citing privacy rules, they provided a breakdown by age, sex and location, from the start of firearms registration in July 2008 to the end of 2010. Of the 1,400-plus weapons, more than 1,000 are handguns, mainly semiautomatics, and the rest are rifles and shotguns. In the 20016 Zip code, encompassing some of the District’s wealthiest enclaves in upper Northwest, 151 firearms have been registered. That is more than 10 percent of the citywide gun total in an area with about 14,000 households, according to U.S. Census data.
(The Root) — In the days and weeks following the Tucson shooting, lawmakers and activists have viewed the tragedy as an opportunity for reviving debate around gun control. New York Representative Carolyn McCarthy, for example, introduced a bill prohibiting high-capacity ammunition magazines. Activists who have long organized around the toll of gun violence in urban black communities, such as the Reverend Al Sharpton, saw their efforts around gun accessibility momentarily boosted in the media.
- Martin Luther King, Jr., (New York Amsterdam News, Dec. 1963)
Are mass slayings of innocent men, women and children with guns something that we have to just accept in America? Should we become more serious about restricting access to guns? After the recent and tragic shooting in Arizona, many individuals are now contemplating whether legislative actions should be implemented to prevent people like the alleged gunmen Jared Lee Loughner from destroying lives. Over the past few days, the very common cliché that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” has been repeated over and over in the cable chatter. Certainly, this statement is a fact when the veneer is removed, but it is also true that it is easier for people to kill people if they use guns.
A plethora of gun rights advocates have voiced strong opinions that fire-arms are not the problem and that the introduction of stricter laws to control guns is unnecessary. Conversely, some protagonists of gun control and interpreters of constitutional law have passionately exclaimed that private citizens should not be allowed to possess guns. Who is right?
First, should all civilians be banned from possessing any kind of firearm? To be sure, the Second Amendment does preserve and guarantee the right of individuals to keep and bear arms. This interpretation has been clearly supported by pre-twentieth century Supreme Court decisions (e.g., Andrews v. State), a recent Supreme Court ruling (i.e., District of Columbia v. Heller), writings of the Founding Fathers and early constitutional commentaries (i.e., The Federalist Papers, The 1833 Commentary on the Constitution of the United States, etc.). However, it is relatively safe to state that not everyone- specifically, criminals and dangerously mentally ill- should be able to have a gun and be able to take it anywhere. Objective evidence and statistics do indicate that nearly 100,000 people are shot in our country every year and almost 90% of murders and gun violence are committed by convicted felons. Hence, although we do have the right to keep and bear arms, there are clearly problems that exist within the context of private ownership of guns.
As aforementioned, myriad individuals who support gun rights truly believe that stricter laws are unnecessary. Is this a valid viewpoint? Well, there are no easy answers relative to this question. There are some commentators who would state that more restrictive gun laws can actually lead to more deaths. Though not universally true, this has been exhibited in Brazil, New Jersey, Hawaii, District of Columbia, Illinois, etc.
Certain gun right advocates would also make the assertion that stricter gun control laws would not affect felons because they purchase their guns illegally. To a large degree, this statement is valid. Certainly, criminals and “crazy” people will always find a way to obtain firearms, exclusive of the legal framework for guns. Still, the continuous improvement of gun control legislation in our country is sorely needed.
Without ambiguity, it is relatively safe to state that reasonable gun control proposals that are consistent with Second Amendment rights should be considered by Congressional lawmakers. Recommended discussions and civil debates should focus, at a minimum, on the following legislative propositions to close existing loopholes:
· Extending background checks to all gun sales, including gun show sales. Currently, unlicensed sellers are permitted by law to sell firearms with no background check whatsoever. Thus, criminals can easily purchase firearms through the Internet, newspaper ad, gun show or flea market.
· Implementing a 1000-foot zone around federal officials in which no guns are allowed;
· Prohibiting known or suspected terrorists from buying or possessing firearms;
· Prohibiting criminals who have been convicted of certain violent misdemeanors from gun possession;
· Restricting high-volume handgun sales to reduce trafficking;
· Timely reporting of lost or stolen guns; and,
· Ban on assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines and armor-piercing bullets.
On the whole, overly prohibitive gun control laws may not be needed, but effective laws that make sense are certainly warranted. Currently, it is simply too easy for dangerous people to obtain dangerous weapons. The weak gun control laws that we have to date with all of the loopholes must be amended or replaced with reasonable laws and public policies that will protect our families and communities from senseless gun violence.
Anthony Jerrod is a bestselling author, speaker, and public policy expert.
(New York) — The National Rifle Association has gone uncommonly dark since the weekend shootings here. A posting on its Web site expresses sympathies for the victims of the violence, and N.R.A. officials said they would have nothing to say until the funerals and memorial services were over. In Washington, bills were being drafted to step up background checks, create no-gun zones around members of Congress and ban the big-volume magazines that allowed the Tucson gunman to shoot so many bullets so fast. Gun control advocates say they believe the shock of the attack has altered the political atmosphere, in no small part because one of the victims is a member of Congress.
(Washington Post) — The road to firearms policy in America is paved in blood. Every major change in the regulation of U.S. gun ownership was prompted in part by a national gun tragedy, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or the attempt on the life of President Ronald Reagan. The 1960s killings of Kennedy, his brother Robert and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. led to the Gun Control Act of 1968, the cornerstone of gun law in America today.
(Washington Examiner) — Let’s face it, if you want to assassinate a congressman or senator — or a president — Washington, D.C., is a target rich environment. When Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was gunned down Saturday in Tucson, Arizona, U.S. Capitol Police went on high alert. The attack, which claimed the lives of six and wounded 14, seems to have been the work of a lone, unstable young man, but members of Congress here in the capital were jittery. Terrance Gainer, the Senate’s sergeant at arms, said Monday that the Capitol Police would increase their visibility in Washington, and he added: “The direct threats are very low.”
(Washington Post) — About a hundred times a year, regulators strip gun dealers of their licenses for violations of federal law, an extreme step taken only when repeated infractions are deemed a threat to public safety. But a year-long Washington Post investigation documented about 60 cases since 2003 in which the businesses stayed open, often re-licensed through relatives, employees, associates or newly formed companies. “We’ll just have to play musical licenses,” the owner of the Highland Gun Barn in Michigan said when a federal inspector served him with a final notice to surrender his license.