Weigh-In
Where do you stand on gun control?

Introduced: July 26 2012

Whenever there's a shooting, both sides of the gun control debate "take up arms." It's a complex topic involving the Second Amendment, the powerful NRA lobby, crime on the streets, and the occasional traumatic event. What's your view -- and what can we do?

Does an event like the Colorado shooting make you think we need to change gun laws? Yes or no?

What's your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and the right to bear arms?

It applies to every citizen.

It applies to a "militia"

It wasn't meant to apply to the kinds of weapons available today

Other

Do you think we can make laws that would reduce the likelihood of rogue gunmen causing havoc?

Yes or no?

What legislation would you like to see passed?

 

Note From IWD: "Weigh-Ins" are no longer an active feature on IWD. Our members expressed a preference for longer dialogues. The content of the previous Weigh-Ins remains on the site for your enjoyment and enlightenment. 

Member Responses

 

Do we need to rethink our gun control laws?

98% of those who responded said Yes

2% said No

 

How do you interpret the 2nd amendment?

2% said "Applies to private citizens"

34% said "Applies to a 'militia'"

66% said "Not intended for weapons we have today"

 

Other thoughts on the 2nd amendment

The second amendment is currently being used by a powerful lobby and its proponents to further a cause that is detrimental to our country in the worst way. I believe that gun control is a real necessity and has been for decades.

 

I understand why the NRA is against gun laws – they want to sell guns. And they have been very clever to connect their campaign to the 2nd amendment. What I don’t understand is how Americans and the legislators they elect continue to be under the sway of the NRA.

Note from IWD: Here’s what President Obama said in his 2008 address at the Democratic National Convention:"The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals."

 

Maybe it takes a Brit to see America with honesty. In The Economist, there was a thought-provoking article about it being too late for gun control. http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/07/gun-control The article begins with a discussion of how we use the word “right” when we talk about bearing arms and it points out that in other “law-governed” societies such as Britain, Canada, France, Israel, the Netherlands and Japan, individuals must be “oppressed” because they do not have this right. The article concludes with this thought:“In this sense, gun control is on a long list of things that could have saved many people's lives and made the world a better place, but for which it is now probably too late: a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, EU action to avert economic catastrophe, stopping global warming.”

 

Can laws help prevent mass shootings?

88% said yes

12% said no

 

What laws would you like to see passed?

 

If I'm not mistaken, statistics, although I cannot quote them, have shown that people who keep guns in their homes are not "safer" than those who don't; and that in fact they may be less safe due to accidents, suicides, etc.

We don't have a solid registration system, it needs to be national and as accurate as our best anti crime/terrorism systems are; the penalties for selling guns illegally should be very severe, perhaps in the way that a bartender to sells to a minor, or a parent who serves to a minor, can be held responsible for injury; and the types of weapons used to commit the shooting crimes that receive the most publicity, are sickening, these weapons should be banned for all individuals. Perhaps gun control should start with those three points.

Although I firmly believe in gun control, I also buy in to the gun lobby's saying that "guns don't kill people; people do". I don't find this mutually exclusive with my beliefs. It's a huge question. Taking guns out of the hands of killers, whether deranged or not, is step one, as above; but how do we deal with the knowledge that these killers are among us? "If you see something, say something..." doesn't work; relying on schools, employers, etc to "know" when a person becomes a potential killer or to identify loners etc. doesn't work. What should we be doing about this?

Note from IWD: According to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, this member is correct about guns in homes raising the incidence of homicide, suicide, and unintentional shootings. From the organization’s web site http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/gunsinamerica : “Where there are more guns, there are more gun deaths. Higher household gun ownership correlates with higher rates of homicides, suicides, and unintentional shootings (Harvard Injury Control Center). Every time a gun injures or kills in self-defense, it is used 11 times for completed and attempted suicides; 7 times in criminal assaults and homicides, and 4 times in unintentional shooting deaths or injuries. “

 

I would like to see some kind of national database that sounds an alert when an individual buys a large amount of ammunition over a short amount of time.

 

In Great Britain, handguns have been banned since 1996 (following a school shooting) and assault rifles and automatic weapons have been banned since the 1930s. I would like somebody to tell me what would be the downside of that.

 

Now, with the shooting at the temple in Milwaukee, we have another shooting spree to be "up in arms" about. And it raises not only gun issues, but other issues – the impact of war on soldiers, people ignoring signs of someone about ready to erupt, turning a blind eye to hate groups. All of those things need our attention.

 

Even if there's no clear consensus on cases where a madman manages to kill many people, there's still the issue of day-to-day gun violence.


America is once again a leader…in gun related deaths. For example, I read that last year in Great Britain, 51 people were killed with guns as opposed to more than 31,000 people who were killed in shootings in America in 2009. Land of the free, home of the brave.

 

It is sad that both Obama and Romney are intimidated by the gun lobby. In 1994 Romney said he was in favor of banning certain guns, but how he purports to be solidly aligned with the NRA.

Note from IWD: Here’s a good article from Reuters that covers the political ramifications of supporting gun control. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/21/us-usa-shooting-guns-campaign-...

 

Discussions about gun control have been around for a long time. But I had never known (or at least forgotten) that guns are much more common in the U.S. than almost any other developed country. I read that if you total all the firearm deaths taking place in 23 countries with large populations and high incomes, 80% of those deaths occurred in the United States.

 

The AR-15 assault rifle used in the shooting would have been illegal if the federal assault-weapons ban had not expired in 2004 – and neither would the 100-pound drum magazine attached to it. There is no reason for private citizens to be carrying around weapons capable of such mass casualty.

 

I am very interested in the facts on guns and found this article in the Washington Post to be very interesting – especially in that it says gun ownership in the U.S. is actually decreasing. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/23/six-facts-about-guns-violence-and-gun-control/ (Although, that seems counterintuitive when you read that incidents such as the Colorado shooting actually make people go out and buy guns – either because they are afraid to be the “only person” without a gun or because they fear it will lead to more restrictive laws.)

Note from IWD: The six facts in this article are: 1) America is more violent than other countries, but our violence statistics are declining; 2) The South is the most violent region in the U.S. 3) Gun ownership in the U.S. is declining overall (as our member mentioned above); 4) There is a correlation between more guns and more homicides; 5) States with stricter gun laws have fewer gun-related deaths; 6) The percentage of Americans who want stricter laws is declining


Note from IWD: This conversation will contine to follow up on questions raised by an IWD Member -- see the next Weigh-In.

Will a member/supporter of the NRA please explain to this Independent voter-open minded citizen why the second amendment "Right to Bear Arms" should not have limitations appropriate for 2012?

1.  Is an assault weapon with 100-round  clips necessary to kill a deer...or protect your home from an invader?

2.  Armor piercing bullets are sold for what purpose... deer with flack jackets?

3.  Exactly what 'arms' do citizens have a  'right to bear'? In a legal discussion on the 'meaning of arms', could it include nuclear devices -We have all heard of the  'Arms' Race. Define Arms.

I believe personal Defense is now and always has been a Right.

I do not understand the Right to have arms for Offense.

I understand the tradition of hunting as a sport.

(Full disclosure, I feel hunting animals and birds with high power technology devices/sights/ammunition belies the term 'Sport' and killing a deer or duck with an assault weapon wouldn't leave much as a trophy or meal.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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