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Beyond Assault Weapons: How Washington Can Begin To Stop The Killing

Memo Pad

Beyond Assault Weapons: How Washington Can Begin To Stop The Killing


President Obama is right to insist that Congress move quickly on new gun control legislation, and to reject the idea of appointing yet another commission to ruminate.   In our attention-deficit-afflicted society, the president knows he must move on gun control while Americans are still anguished about last Friday’s slaughter in Newtown, CT. He must also know that the odds against his winning anything of real substance are enormous.

Directing the vice president to head up an interagency effort to prevent future mass shootings, Obama reiterated his support for a new assault weapons ban and limits on high-capacity magazines.  But the White House will make a terrible mistake if it follows the course proposed by leading proponents of the assault weapons ban and fails to address the fact that there are already millions of these guns in private hands.  The assault weapons ban signed into law by President Clinton was riddled with loopholes and had little, if any, impact on the overall number of gun homicides.  Since it expired in 2004, millions of these firearms have entered the marketplace.

One solution to this problem would be to bring assault weapons — semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity clips — under the National Firearms Act.  The 1934 NFA, the nation’s first major gun law, was designed to deal with what were then considered the country’s most lethal firearms, machine guns or fully automatic weapons.  A response to gangland shootings — such as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre — and an attempt to assassinate President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the law established strict limits on the sale and ownership of fully automatic weapons.

Today, it is still possible to buy a machine gun, but only if you’re willing to register the gun’s serial number with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (BATF), undergo an FBI background check, be fingerprinted and photographed, and get the approval of a local law enforcement official.  That last provision is an added check, allowing a local police chief or sheriff to deny a permit to your drunken wife- and dog-beating next-door neighbor.

In effect, this 78-year-old law says to would-be owners of the most dangerous weapons, “You have a right to own a gun, but you don’t get to decide when, where, and how it can be used.  Being a responsible gun owner means understanding that there are limits.”  Those same standards should be applied to existing owners of semi-automatic assault rifles, which are no less lethal than the machine guns covered by the NFA, particularly given the deadly power of modern ammunition.

There is, as the president has noted, no single solution to the problem of gun violence.  What’s needed is a series of common-sense laws that will make life more difficult for criminals with no impact whatsoever on the Constitutional freedoms of law-abiding citizens.

In addition to placing existing assault weapons under the NFA, here are eight necessary reforms your representatives and senators should demand.  Not surprisingly, the NRA opposes all of them:

1.  Require background checks for all gun sales.  The president has already indicated that he favors such a requirement.  But the devil’s in the details: the key word here is “all.”  The president wants checks for sales at gun shows, a major source of guns used in crimes.  But “all” should also include any secondary sale.  Under current law, only the initial purchaser of a firearm needs a Brady check.  When the first buyer sells to a second person who sells to a third and so on, there is no Brady check.

2.  Allow cross-referencing of Brady checks.  Federal law allows an individual to purchase one handgun a week  — or as many as you want, if you’re willing to be written up in a “multiple purchase” report. (More on that loophole below.)  But if I’m a straw buyer — someone with a clean record who purchases firearms for a felon — I can buy 20 handguns from 20 separate dealers on a single day, and the FBI has no way of detecting that pattern.  Why?  Because the FBI isn’t allowed to cross-check Brady background checks.  Similarly, if the straw buyer purchases one handgun a week for 20 weeks for his trafficker friend, the FBI can’t detect that pattern either — because its own records will have been destroyed under something known as the 24-hour rule.

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  1. I Zheet M'Drawz December 20, 2012

    You can pass all the Law you want but unless & until we start looking at the medical records of prospective firearms owners you’ll never stop the problem.

    My own opinion is that the Feds should issue the licenses to own firearms. Without a federal license you shouldn’t be able to buy a weapon or ammo or supplies to make ammo.

    If the feds issues the licenses than gun owners would be able to go from state to state without becoming a felon by virtue of stepping over an imaginary line separating states.

    Got an individual with diminished mental capacity living with you? Surrender your firearms until that person is no longer around. Got a DUI, felony conviction, drug arrest, domestic assualt history, no guns of any kind, ever.

    1. RSDrake December 21, 2012

      I think we are on the same page. Locking up guns when not in active use would have prevented Sandy Hook.

      1. johninPCFL December 21, 2012

        Who knows they weren’t locked up? Mine are, but my wife and kids know the combination, and they know where the ammo is kept.

        As horrible as it is to contemplate, this woman knew of her son’s problems and likely kept the weapons secure. He may have been trusted with the keys, or knew where they were because he’d been shooting with his mom or his brother, or accosted his mom on her way to the shooting range that very morning and took her weapons. A lock is only as good as the security you then put around the key.

        “Prevented” is too strong a word to use with any provision discussed so far. The best we can hope for is to lessen the chances that it happens again.

        1. Bill December 21, 2012

          I think you bring up a reasonable issue. If someone buys a gun, can anyone in that household have access to it? Depending on the age of the kids they may be given access to the guns as you have done. I agree also this woman should not have brought these guns into her house with knowing about the mental state of her son. Securing guns sounds great but people can be very resourceful when they want to obtain something.

          1. johninPCFL December 21, 2012

            I don’t know any families with emotionally disturbed children. I don’t know how they treat them with sensitive information.

            The families that I do interact with, that have guns in the home, allow the kids access past a certain age and with training. It’s unlikely that a secure safe would prevent a tragedy in those homes should one of the kids, or either spouse, go nuts.

    2. Peace December 21, 2012

      I think asking owners for serial numbers of weapons is a realistic approach, also, you should be required to own a gun safe to store the weapons. My safe has a serial number which I would also be willing to give for proof. We keep all but three guns locked up which are distributed throughout the home for protection. If we leave the home, or have company of any age, “all” guns are locked in the safe. My wife and I regularly shoot the guns at a range, both have permits. To put my 2 cents in, I feel the video games these young people are playing should be scrutinized. My 13 year old grandson came to visit and brought a military type game. He went online with other players, 4 per team, red and blue teams. He was exceptionally good. The winners who got good kill ratios were rewarded by the game with congratulations and honor. I expressed my disatisfaction to my Son, and learned the game was obtained by a friend. My Grandson gets a lot of attention at home, and is well disciplined, but what about the kids who’s parents are unattentive to them. Come home with good grades, and the parents give a OK, don’t bother me go play your video games. Then play the games and are getting praise for kill ratios. Reality and the games get confused eventually. These games need to be regulated.

      1. johninPCFL December 21, 2012

        Does your wife have the combinations? Are you sure SHE won’t flip out one day?

        Seriously, I also keep mine locked away and separated from the ammo. It’ll take awhile for the guns and ammo to come together in the event of a home invasion, so my duty is to use my golf swing while she breaks out the harder stuff.

      2. MJRinPA December 23, 2012

        You have 3 guns in the house that aren’t locked in a gun safe. A 13 year old grandson who comes to visit…and you’re worried about a video game? Lock up the guns with young men in the house!

  2. RSDrake December 21, 2012

    You might add a few more. You need to emphasize “Responsible Gun Ownership” not “Gun Control.” Your approach will not stop the mass murderers with mental problems.

    Here is a plan:

    1) Mandatory training course for new gun owners (New owner pays – reduces unemployment) with a Certificate of Completion
    2) Mandatory proficiency test at a gun range (New owner pays) with Certificate of Completion
    3) Grant Firearms Ownership License based on the foregoing
    4) Continue Background Checks
    5) Require guns to be locked up when not in control of the owner. Failure to lock up a gun that is used in a crime would result in arrest of gun owner as well. This particularly important when children are in the home.
    6) Increase awareness on mental health issues through public forums and training medical personnel to recognize the potential harm a patient could inflict.

    1. Dominick Vila December 21, 2012

      The most effective is item 5. Some of the tragedies we had were carried out by people with easy access to guns that were not theirs. If gun owners are held legally responsible for crimes carried out with their guns, because of negligence, there is a good chance they will be more responsible than they currently are. Unfortunately, I don’t think such a law could be enacted. You can bet on constitutional and Civil Rights challenges if anyone tries.

      1. johninPCFL December 21, 2012

        Not sure about that one. “Owner” is a rather loose term in this context. Dad buys the gun but doesn’t let anyone else in the family shoot it?

        Is there really a circumstance where the parents buy the guns and train their teenagers to properly handle them, but then don’t let them know where the gun-safe keys are, or keep secret the combination?

        1. RSDrake December 21, 2012

          An owner should know where his guns are and who has them. The only way to regulate this is to have them under a single lock and key. If one of his teenagers has an anger fit and decides to settle it – it is another incident. If dad was to see son in this state, he would not likely hand him a gun.

          1. johninPCFL December 21, 2012

            And again, is there any middle-class family (like the Lanzas) where the parents don’t trust their own children? Or where the children don’t watch and learn?

            What’s the chance that mom was on her way to the gun range that fateful morning and was simply overpowered after unlocking her gun safe by her emotionally overwrought son?

    2. donbronkema1 December 21, 2012

      Bravo: your approach identical to mine since 1948, but confiscation of hand-guns & automatic rifles is 80 years overdue [since Cermak], & not even conceived as 2nd-Amendment protected until mid-19th C…respondent is fed up w/rule by sociopaths, larcenous bankers & bible-pounding reactionaries, who keep us 24th in virtually everything [think Judge Welch].

    3. I Zheet M'Drawz December 21, 2012

      And just what do the above six line items do to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of crazies & gang bangers?

      You want to train them how to shoot so they can be better shots?

      Here’s an idea, ALL guns are illegal & will be confiscated & turned into something useful like paperclips.

      It’s going to be something like that if you keep listening to the NRA OR you can be vocal about HOW-TO prevent firearms from getting into the hands of crazies.

      Like for instance, this latest atrosity was done by a disturbed kid under treatment for mental health issues. His medical condition is surely recorded all over medical documents regarding him as a patient.

      Wouldn’t it make sense to have a governmental body (like the ATF) that receives daily reports from medical providers and/or insurance carriers indicating that an individual has been diagnosed with mental disability? Shouldn’t THOSE records be used to scrutinze existing & potential gun owners?

      Who in their right mind would say a mental person should have free access to firearms? (Besides WayneL at the NRA that is).

      Would YOU give a retarded person a gun? Guess what…you did by letting large weapons into a household with a diagnozed mentally ill person.

      It’s been a total failure since day one & the gun owners of America have ONE LAST CHANCE to ‘fix’ this or the ‘fix’ will be something none of you like?

      Are you with me or are you going to just follow the NRA screwballs & end up losing your weapons, your ability to hunt, protect the family & for sport?

      Which would you prefer? Face it people, I have 20 dead kids being lanted this week & half a dozen grownups too. You think you can win this? Just try.

  3. Dominick Vila December 21, 2012

    As long as there are mini arsenals, that include semi-automatic weapons and high capacity magazines, stored in thousands of households throughout the United States the massacres we have been seeing for decades will never end. It doesn’t matter what Washington says or does, what matter is what the arms industry, the NRA, and a large segment of our population decides to do. Paranoia, intolerance, hatred, a tendency to react violently, a sense of entitlement, laxed gun control laws, and laws such as Florida’s Stand Your Ground facilitate and in a way encourage some people to take the law into their own hands.
    Improvement in mental health, bringing God back into our schools, increased security in schools, and claiming that guns don’t kill, people do, will not end tragedies like the one in Newtown, Aurora, the Sikh Temple, Virginia Tech, Tucson and so many others. We have a societal problem, and guns are the instrument that allows disgruntled citizens to react to their emotions or prejudices in a way that is destroying the fabric of our country.

    1. montanabill December 21, 2012

      If you are not a gun owner, banning guns sounds like a good idea. If you don’t own a car, banning cars would save 30,000 to 40,000 lives a year. Guns have been used in a lot a violence, but so have automobiles, knives and clubs. Even fists have killed people this year. There is a common trait among the worse acts and that is mental illness. We have lots of gun laws and certainly strengthening background checks would help. Banning so-called assault rifles has already been proved to have no effect. So why is there no call to investigate any commonality of mental issues?
      As I have stated before, we have a true epidemic of autism spectrum issues with virtually nothing being done on any scale to investigate the causes, treatment or lifetime care needs of those afflicted. The boy in the Newtown case had Asperger’s Syndrome. It creates obsessions which are very hard to deal with. That boy would have likely killed his mother and whomever else he could have with any weapon he could get his hands on because of it.

      It is okay to enhance background checks, but let’s deal with the real issues that allow mentally ill citizens to feel like there is no alternative and no future. Then let’s quite kidding ourselves about the so-called help being provided to urban blacks and join with responsible blacks to find better solutions. I am not including Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson in that group.

      1. RSDrake December 21, 2012

        Need to lock the guns in the homes (i.e. safes, etc.) with the OWNER of the firearm having the ONLY keys

        1. I Zheet M'Drawz December 21, 2012

          Jesus H Christ this is NOT a training issue. It’s not about rules that sane people will follow. It’s about keeping guns out of the hands of the crazies.

          Got that?

          SO…if YOU can’t police the gun owning community then there are agencies & mechinisms that can & you will not like the end result.

          1. RSDrake December 22, 2012

            Training is a big issue. We have extensive ranges at our shooting club. The police use the range on special days of the month. They were conducting a handgun safety course in the club house and then went to the range. They came back and one of the officers shot himself in his hand cleaning his Glock.

            Mistake 1: The Glock requires one to pull the trigger to disassemble the weapon and he got his clearing back wards (rack slide, drop magazine, pull trigger.
            Mistake 2: Always keep firearm pointed in a safe direction.

            If a cop can screw up like that, would accept an assertion that a new untrained gun owner could do the same or worse?

        2. montanabill December 21, 2012

          That sounds good, but if you are not at home at the time of a break-in, but your wife or older children are, it might be to their advantage to get to the gun.

          1. RSDrake December 22, 2012

            Let’s think about that. Personally, I am the only one in the house trained adequately to handle a firearm. In your case, and under my plan, your wife would have undergone mandatory firearms training, range proficiency, background check, and a license to purchase a firearm. Same would apply to a child 18 years or older. They would have access to the guns.

            Once one takes a course on firearms management (i.e like the concealed carry course) and understands the implications of a homicide committed in self-defense, they might have second thoughts.

            I have grandchildren that stay over now and then. I live in a safe neighborhood, have an alarm system, and keep the guns in a safe. Low risk. If I lived in a high risk area, I would be inclined to have my Kel-Tec PF-9 in a small safe bedside. It would have a magazine full and one in the chamber (DA only) .

      2. Bill December 21, 2012

        Well montana I guess you would be in favor of registering guns like cars, requiring insurance like cars and having to have a license to use a gun just like a drivers license to drive a car. We could require people to take a written test and then prove an ability to know how to handle a gun just like a wtitten and road test is required to get a driver’s license. Since cars kill and so do guns (oh that’s right only people kill) I’m assume you would be in favor or this type of registration and licensing.

        1. montanabill December 21, 2012

          As a matter of fact, all modern guns I own are registered. Some of my historical guns are and some are not. All of my guns are insured and I have a concealed carry permit that required registration, a written test and proof of ability to use the gun. I have to show it any time I buy a new gun. I also belong to shooting clubs that absolutely require you to pass a range safety test which has to be re-demonstrated every few years. I am not a hunter and target shoot only for fun and skill maintenance. I have a concealed carry permit because there are times of the year when I live in areas of the country that are not as old time safe as Montana.

        2. old_blu December 21, 2012

          That’s not a bad idea having insurance on guns, that way if that gun hurt someone or their property the insurance could help pay for the damage, just like with a car, the more high risk the higher the insurance. (if you couldn’t get insurance you can’t drive the gun just like a car)

      3. dtgraham December 21, 2012

        The assault weapons ban was supposed to do something about mass killings and not necessarily overall gun violence stats. Princeton researcher Sam Wang did show a decrease in mass shootings during the years of the ban (save Columbine) mainly due to high capacity magazines reduced to having no more than 10 bullets.

        The problem with the ban was that it was too full of loopholes. Unlike Canada and Australia, there was no recall or buy back of the weapons that had just been banned. That was a huge exception as there were 1.5 million assault weapons and 24 million high capacity magazines in circulation at the time.

        As well, only 18 firearm models were banned. It was easy for gun manufacturers to modify weapons slightly so that they didn’t fall under the ban. That should have been taken into account as it was in other countries. Aurora shooter James Holmes’s AR-15 would have been banned under that previously existing legislation but he could have purchased a very similar Colt Match target rifle which wouldn’t have fallen under that ban. He shouldn’t have had that option Bill.

        1. montanabill December 21, 2012

          My opinion is that much more effort put into mental illness, especially the autism spectrum epidemic would yield far better results. Something is causing that epidemic and virtually nobody is looking.

          I gather you don’t know much about firearms. The fact is that an 1866 Winchester can shoot almost as fast and be even more effective than an AR-15 at close range. A rifle held up to 17 bullets. An 1873 Colt can be shot as fast as a modern Glock. True, the old Colt won’t hold as many bullets, but the bullets are much larger.

          Hopefully there will never be a time either Canada or Australia where the citizens wished they hadn’t been stripped of guns. Unfortunately, history tells us that governments are not benevolent forever.

          1. dtgraham December 21, 2012

            No one will give you an argument over improvements to mental health screening and early detection and treatment. I’m with you there. I just don’t believe that the United States falls SO far short of all of the other advanced democracies insofar as mental health treatment, that this alone would be the factor causing the massive difference in gun violence between the U.S. and much of the rest of the world. That doesn’t pass the smell test. There’s just no getting around the number of firearms and lack of gun control vis-a-vis most of the rest of the developed world, when discussing gun violence and mass killings. I can’t reconcile it with mental health issues when gun stats stick out like that. Mental disorders are everywhere. U.S. gun laws are not.

            Montana, you guys on the American right have got to lose this bizarre notion that only your weaponry preserves your freedom and prevents your government from suddenly turning East German. I heard Louie Ghomert say exactly that last Sunday and subsequently read posters here repeat his words. Bill O’Reilly recently referenced it and I’ve heard it plenty elsewhere. Now you. When a bright, well educated, accomplished person like you starts in with this coocoo for cocoa puffs, black helicopter nonsense that’s bad news. What are lesser Americans on the right thinking?

            Why haven’t the governments of Francois Hollande or David Cameron or Angela Merkel or Stephen Harper just “taken over”? Their nations have far stricter gun laws. If the combined might of the United States government ever decides it wants to go Ghaddafi, your gun will not stop them. Nobody’s will. The citizenry will be overwhelmed in every case. It is never going to happen montana. If, in some alternate universe, it actually did…..you’re not going to stop them regardless of how many Winchesters you have.

            I can tell you this. I never, ever hear this argument from Conservatives, or the gun crowd, in Canada……ever. I’m sure that’s the same in Europe and Asia. Be surprised if it wasn’t. This is some lunatic, detachment from reality, that likely is peculiar to the American political right only. Sorry for any offence.

          2. montanabill December 22, 2012

            I can’t think of a mass killing that wasn’t perpetrated by someone or a small group that didn’t have mental problems. What I am most concerned about is not just the screening for mental illness, but the lack of a concerted effort to find out why there is such an epidemic of autism and autism related disorders. Most officials simply sluff questions with a response like, ‘oh, we are simply more aware of it now.’ That is absolutely not true. It is used to keep from having to ask and answer the hard questions. For example, we know that a mother drinking during pregnancy can have a child with fetal alcohol syndrome, which is similar to some forms of autism. We know that marijuana affects the brain. Could it be that it has other, longer term effects on eggs or sperm? Is a generation of casual drug users to blame? At this point, no one knows, but something is definitely different than 30-40 years ago.

            Do not try to confuse short term history with long term. Please keep in mind that a good many of us were and are deeply suspicious of Barack Obama (actually a pretty large percentage of the population). He was not vetted by the press, he certainly had a lot of unsavory friends and mentors, and upon initially being elected in 2000, proposed a private police force. He rarely gives press conferences and tough questions are not asked or answered. He has ducked responsibility for everything but the killing of bin Laden. In my years in business I have heard a few like him who could talk convincingly but when the words are analyzed, they say nothing. He gets away with it because the media fawns over him. He uses class warfare as effectively as Chavez. I believe it would be fair to say that if the press were as questioning and critical of Barack Obama as they were of George Bush, many of us would be a lot more at ease and not nearly so concerned.

            You might think that a citizen armed with semi-auto’s or even pistols is no match for our military and in direct battle that would be true. But we haven’t won a war with a population that is mostly against us yet, and none of them were as armed as the American public.

            It wasn’t very long ago, that Canada was in real danger of either enduring a civil war or watching as provinces broke away. Fortunately, a generally acceptable political solution was reached.

          3. dtgraham December 22, 2012

            Outside of Quebec’s routine pouting and whining, I must have slept through the build up to war. I missed it.

          4. montanabill December 23, 2012

            Wasn’t exactly a build-up to war, but for a time, if there had been votes in Alberta or Saskatchewan and maybe even B.C., they might have become states 51, 52 and 53.

          5. dtgraham December 23, 2012

            Thanks for the info. I’ll have to look into that. I wasn’t aware of any of this. Of the three, the only one that I could possibly imagine voting that way would be Alberta. British Columbia is awfully left wing and where the Green Party is the strongest. They’re already projected to elect the New Democrats in a landslide of biblical proportions in next April’s provincial election. A number of polls have the Progressive Conservatives getting zero seats. I wonder how they’d react to Tea Party Republicans? From your political perspective, do you really want another California?

            Thanks anyway montana. I’ll check it out.

          6. montanabill December 24, 2012

            You are probably right about B.C. They only people I can into contact with were from eastern B.C.

          7. dtgraham December 24, 2012

            If you guys do take over Alberta, make sure that you take Stephen Harper with you. He’s from there and he’s part of the package.

            I don’t care what you do with him after that, although I hear Guantanamo is lovely this time of year.

            Merry Christmas to you and yours montana.

      4. Dominick Vila December 21, 2012

        Montana, we all understand and agree that improvements in our healthcare system – including treatment of mental illnesses – are an absolute necessity, but some of us also believe that more stringent gun laws are needed to preclude massacres such as the ones we have been having for decades.
        I have not heard anyone call for anything that resembles the gun control laws put in place in Australia about 15 or 16 years ago after the massacre in Tasmania, even though no more massacres have taken place since most guns were taken off the street in that country.
        What a lot of us are questioning is the need for semi-automatic weapons, assault rifles, and high capacity magazines. I have not met a single American that objects to people having a handgun in their houses to defend themselves, or a rifle to go hunting, or a historical gun collection as long as it is kept in a safe place. Again, what some of us are questioning is the need for weapons used in warfare and clips used for rapid fire.
        If Adam Lanza had not had access to his Mom’s arsenal he would not have been able to carry out the massacre in Newtown. The same goes for all the other tragedies we have experienced since we became a Republic.

        1. montanabill December 21, 2012

          First, I will disagree that Lanza would not have been able to carry out a massacre. He had Asperger’s Syndrome which creates intense obsessive compulsive actions. His fears and thoughts simply repeated endlessly in his head and he was bound to take action, guns or no guns. He was by no means dumb. He would have simply figured out another way. It might not have been 20 kids, but in all likelihood, it would have been quite a few.

          We had an assault rifle ban. The statistics show it accomplished nothing. The reality is that an 1866 Winchester in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing, can be every bit as effective as a modern semi-auto at close range. Another reality is that there is no way all guns could ever be rounded up by the government so we can never be Australia. Google ‘school killings in China’ to see what the lack of guns mean.

          Almost all massacres are perpetrated by people who are mentally ill or by gangs. We are doing almost nothing about determining why we have an epidemic of autism spectrum births and our welfare system has a lot to do with gangs.

          1. Dominick Vila December 23, 2012

            I seriously doubt a person afflicted by a mental illness, armed with a knife, a baseball bat, or a 2×4 would have been able to kill 26 people without someone stopping him or people running away. Unfortunately, it is not easy to run away from a .223 caliber rifle equipped with a high capacity magazine.
            Yes, Adam Lanza, and I suspect some of the people that massacred people in Virginia Tech, Columbine, Tucson, the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, Oklahoma City and so many other places were afflicted by mental illnesses, and I am sure improved mental healthcare would have helped them. The fact remains that the instrument used to carry out those massacres were semi-automatic weapons, and that without those weapons those massacres would not have been possible.

          2. montanabill December 24, 2012

            Given that massacres occur around the world where guns are prohibited, I would never say that without semi-auto weapons, that massacre couldn’t have happened. He had an enclosed room full of small children.

      5. Mem December 22, 2012

        Bill, you are right. The young man would probably have killed his mother and perhaps a couple of others. It seems to me that Americans lack simple common sense. We certainly need to address the issue of Aspergers in the US, however would you advocate training these individuals in the use of firearms as his mother did?

        1. montanabill December 22, 2012

          That is an absolute no-no for Asperger affected kids. Having said that, I do know of some who have learned shooting and gun safety who understand the difference between fantasy violence and real violence. But it is far better not to take a chance.
          If he had a machete in room full of trapped children, I suspect the results would have been the same.

      6. Pam Buzbee December 22, 2012

        i notice that a lot of states are now balancing their budget on the back of mental health care. Maybe all those governors who traveled to campaign for others could replace the money they used from state funds. They at least had to pay the body guards and possibly the hotel and air fares for their party from some kinds of funds. Several mental health hospitals in la and other southern states have been either closed, downsized or had programs elimated. they need to addres both the automatic weapons ban issue and the health issue.

      7. Randy Grein December 24, 2012

        Some good points Bill – guns aren’t the entire problem; allowing people who should not access to guns is. But we never did ban assault weapons. All we did was restrict the sale of them for 10 years. I suspect it’s time to further restrict semi automatics and large capacity cartridges the way we did fully automatics, but it will certainly take more than that to reduce the death toll.
        As for mental health, that’s certainly a factor – and there have been repeated calls for improving access, partly through better health care. Unfortunately it’s a young discipline and lacks precision, so effectiveness is poor, so we’ll need to do more than just provide better mental health care. Blaming Asperger’s syndrome for the Newtown case is horribly premature; we don’t know enough yet, although autism is not considered a particularly dangerous condition the way that, for example schizophrenia can be.

        1. montanabill December 24, 2012

          I’d like to see the definition of an assault weapon and the definition for inclusion of what guns fall under the ‘semi-auto’ category. Banning large capacity magazines is like banning 32oz drinks in NYC. Anyone who has a clip fed gun will tell you that clips can be changed in 1-2 seconds. It is a lot easier to carry a lot of smaller clips than one or two big ones.

          The news media has labeled Adam as an Asperger’s victim. His actions clearly follow such a diagnosis, where his obsessions include violence of various forms. If that proves not to be the case, I’m such the new diagnosis will also be a form of mental illness. The autism spectrum covers a lot of variations. Asperger’s, a high functioning form, can produce kids who are abhorred by violence while at the same time producing those who fixate on it. A very close relative is fetal alcohol syndrome.

  4. SaturNine December 21, 2012

    One other thing omitted here: Prosecute the NRA’s leadership under RICO, for facilitating all the criminal firearms distribution and possession you’ve outlined.

  5. Eleanore Whitaker December 21, 2012

    I believe Big Insurance could do much more to rein in these massacres of our kids. Force gun owners to pay premiums higher than those of normal healthcare insurance. After all, gun shot wounds cost HMOs in claims, don’t they?

    This is one area of profit Big Insurance could make billions a year from and thus reduce the number of claims for those injured by gun fire.

    1. I Zheet M'Drawz December 21, 2012

      Been to a medical provider lately?

      When you leave the providers office files a claim with your insurance company with includes detailed diagnosis codes about the condition(s) being treated.

      Do you think maybe, just maybe those codes could be used to identify crazy people, then bounce that individuals id against a database of gun owners & if they show up go get their guns.

  6. Rev James Curci December 21, 2012

    Some great ideas, but the horse has run away from the barn down the road to ruin.

  7. norman December 21, 2012

    I just DONT understand WHY people find it so impossible to understand that one of the major factors, behind many of these shootings, is mental illness. Its like people hope that just taking GUNS away from the public will stop the killing. How STUPID can these people be?

    Simple fact is that, take away guns, and there remain CARS, KNIVES, PIPES, and THOUSANDS of other devices, while can also be used either for good things, or bad.

    Banning guns will simply tell the mentally un-fit to “find another weapon”.

    We MUST address the severe, and debilitating, financial cuts, to social services. Cuts which have forced staff cut-backs, and the release, into the community, of severely mentally disabled people.

    Sure, it may cost as much as $30,000.00, per patient, per month, to retain these patients in the “controlled settings” of nursing homes, while sending them into the community “saves” tax-payers as much as $29,000.00 per patient, per month, but at what COST, to our communities?

    How do we decide how much each lost life is valued at?

    No, GUNS are NOT the problem, here. In fact, I would say that 99, out of 100, guns, will NEVER be used to take a HUMAN life. It is the HUMAN, BEHIND the TRIGGER, who decides how to use the weapon.

    THIS is what we must deal with, NOW! The HUMAN element!

    Only when we decide to return the most severely mentally disabled to the confines, of “controlled care”, with the associated tax burden, will our cities, schools, shopping malls, and so on, become safe, once more.

    Save tax-dollars, OR save HUMAN lives. Its just that simple!

    1. Bill December 21, 2012

      To say banning semi-automatic weapons with high capacity clips is not PART of the solution belies one main fact. A mentall ill person with a knife, pipe, car or whatever else you deem to be a weapon would not be able to inflict the amount of death that Lanza did last week. I know people kill not guns but a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle can fire at least 30 rounds in less than a minute, possibly more. So guys may not kill but they are the main choice of these murders.,

      1. johninPCFL December 21, 2012

        That’s backed up by the man in China who also attacked a school. He used a knife. No deaths.

    2. I Zheet M'Drawz December 21, 2012

      Great points but let me add you can’t reload a car, kife, pipe or any other impact weapons nor can you kill indiscriminately from a distance.

      Sure people are going to be murdered in many grusome ways but allowing crazy people access to deadly weapons just must stop.

    3. johninPCFL December 21, 2012

      Well let’s just check your premise. Guns versus knives on the same targets in the same environment.

      From China:
      “Chinese man attacks 22 children, 1 adult with knife outside primary school
      Case is the latest in a spate of school attacks in China in recent years. Min Yingjun, 36, slashed an elderly woman before zoning in on the schoolchildren, police said. No deaths have been reported.”

      From Newtown, Connecticut:
      “Police reported 27 deaths, including 20 children, six adults and the shooter, according to the Associated Press. ”

      Seems like having easy access to a rifle with large capacity magazines produced 26 more fatalities than having access to a knife on the same type of targets, in the same type of “gun free” environment, on the same day. For those who deal in percentages, the Connecticut attack produced infinitely more fatalities.

  8. puzzled21 December 21, 2012

    Why are we 5% of the world’s population and possess 50% of the worlds guns

  9. howa4x December 21, 2012

    We can also stop this secondary gun buying by have an official bill of sale with a copy of that sent to law enforcement. In the law we should make every seller of a weapon legally responsible if that gun is used to commit a felony and , and if used is a mass killing then the seller of that gun could face significant jail time if shown they did no backgound check. Ammo: We shoould limit the amount of automatic weapon ammo. why should someone be able to by 3000 rounds of high powered bullits. Even if bought over the internet, a flag should come up on the purchase, and again the seller should be held accountable. The 2nd amendment does not give someone the right to commit murder and the seller should be charged with adding and abetting the crime. This is the only part of the economy where no one is held accountable for their actions. If any other manufacturer of goods causes harm they can be held libel for damages , so why not the gun industry. This 2nd amendment sheild has gone way too far.

  10. JOAQUIM December 21, 2012

    Any changes in the law will do nothing to help anybody. It can actually help criminals. As you know, Mr. Criminal does not apply to a permit. He gets the stolen guns in the streets. Besides, if I do understand it well, this sick nut who killed all these children got the weapons from his mother, who had them lLEGALLY ( I assume). Shouldn’t we be talking about gun ownership responsibility here, instead ?

    1. ObozoMustGo December 21, 2012

      Joaquim, great post! You are 100% correct.

      Merry Christmas!

    2. Del WS December 23, 2012

      The mother’s gun ownership was legal.

      In order to get a handle on some of the stolen or illegal guns, any time a crime is committed, even a fairly small one, all guns owned by the criminal should be removed from his or her house, never to be returned. Find out someone is selling a gun illegally? Confiscate it. Selling drugs? House and car should be checked and all guns found taken. It’s not just a matter of limiting new purchases of military-type weapons, but also of making a serious effort to cut down the number of weapons already in the hands of criminals or the mentally ill.

  11. ObozoMustGo December 21, 2012

    For all of you so willing to trade in your liberty for perceived safety, take a look at the path that gun control takes and ask yourself if you really think more laws will stop crazy people.


    You’re sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door. Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers.

    At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way.

    With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it. In the darkness, you make out two shadows. One holds something that looks like a crowbar.

    When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire. The blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside.

    As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you’re in trouble. In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless..

    Yours was never registered. Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm.

    When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter. “What kind of sentence will I get?” you ask. “Only ten-to-twelve years,” he replies, as if that’s nothing. “Behave yourself, and you’ll be out in seven.”

    The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper. Somehow, you’re portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are represented as choirboys. Their friends and relatives can’t find an unkind word to say about them..

    Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both “victims” have been arrested numerous times. But the next day’s headline says it all:

    “Lovable Rogue Son Didn’t Deserve to Die.”

    The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters..

    As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up, then the international media. The surviving burglar has become a folk hero. Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he’ll probably win.

    The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you’ve been critical of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time. The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.

    A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven’t been reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you.. Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man. It doesn’t take long for the jury to convict you of all charges. The judge sentences you to life in prison.

    This case really happened.

    On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk , England , killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term..

    How did it become a crime to defend one’s own life in the once great British Empire ?

    It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license.

    The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns..

    Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.

    Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987.Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead.

    The British public, already de-sensitized by eighty years of “gun control”, demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)

    Nine years later, at Dunblane , Scotland , Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.

    For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable, or worse, criminals. Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners.
    Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, sealed the fate of the few sidearms still owned by private citizens.

    During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real criminals were released.

    Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, “We cannot have people take the law into their own hands.”

    All of Martin’s neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences.
    Martin himself, a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.

    When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three months to turn them over to local authorities. Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who didn’t were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn’t comply.

    Police later bragged that they’d taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.

    How did the authorities know who had handguns? The guns had been registered and licensed. Kind of like cars. Sound familiar?


    Merry Christmas to all!

    “…It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people’s minds..” — Samuel Adams

    1. Del WS December 23, 2012

      The Second Amendment allows for a ‘WELL-REGULATED” militia. What most of us want is regulation, not the taking of guns from legal owners. There are several guns in my home but none of them are military-type weapons capable of killing multiple people in a matter of seconds. No need for us to have them and no need for any average person to have them. Anyone who needs that many shots to stop an intruder or kill a deer is one p-poor shot.

      1. ObozoMustGo December 24, 2012

        Del, I’m glad you brought up the 2nd Amendment. Here’s what it says:

        “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

        Not exactly sure how you can misinterpret “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” What does “infringed” mean to you? Are my rights “infringed” when I am told what I cannot do? Certainly they are. While I agree that rights are not unlimited, such as yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, the mere possession of a gun, any type of firearm, does not harm anyone else as does yelling “fire” in a crowded theater.

        While we are on the 2nd Amendment, the entire purpose of it was to recognize that citizens have the God given right to protect their lives, property, AND liberty against a tyrannical government. That’s what it is meant for, and that’s why the reference to “militia” is in there. It wasn’t put in so you could go hunting or shoot targets. It’s odd how the very people that want to restrict and ultimately take away those rights are the very people (the government) the 2nd Amendment was intended to protect against. Don’t you think? And while I don’t foresee in my lifetime the need to take up arms against government as some of the fringe may see, I do see the importance of NOT infringing on citizens’ God given rights to prevent such an occurrence from ever being necessary. And gun control is not just instituted over night, as the true story about how it was implemented England demonstrates. It’s done little by little over time. So I follow the camels nose in the tent philosophy. Any time it sticks its nose in there, it’s gonna get smacked hard. No exceptions.

        Thanks for the discussion, Del.

        Merry Christmas!

        “Gun control isn’t about guns… it’s about control.” – I forget who said it

  12. Ads65 December 21, 2012

    I love how those who dont own a gun .. think they know how to fix the problems of this world! NOT – thats SARCASM!!! I want to hear from those who own guns & do it the legal righ way!!! Like “montanabill” said.. he does it the RIGHT LEGAL WAY!! Those who cant do it that way WILL find a way to get a gun NO MATTER WHAT!!! THIS is what needs 2b STOPPED!!! An unregistered gun does NOT make the owner a criminal.. BUT those who sell & buy with intent of doing harm IS!!! Just as making money from sells to those who are not legal & have intent of harm IS A CRIME!!! THIS NEEDS TO STOP!!! Parents NEED to teach their children BETTER & control their property so NO ONE can get it & use it in a crime!!! What ever happened to morals & respect for the fellow man – PARENTS NEED TO TEACH THEIR CHILDREN BETTER!!!!!!

  13. Ayaya Worenwu December 21, 2012

    Parents have to raise kids together. Stop people from commercializing divorce. Reduce cost of education and teach moral hygiene at all school levels. We will have a law abiding future generation of children in America.

  14. mikeopks December 21, 2012

    This would be a good start

    1. Federal and state background check. Paid for by the gun owner, must be renewed every three years.
    2. Mental health back ground check and evaluation. Paid for by the gun owner.
    3. All guns are required to be stored in a large heavy safe. Must be able to prove you own a safe at the time of purchase.
    4. Safes to be registered, to avoid fraud.
    5. 3 month cooling off period once you meet all the conditions.
    6. National data base for mental health workers to alert police and officials of at rick patients. This could also trigger local police to remove weapons from current gun owners home.
    7. 75% tax on all gun purchases, collected directly from the gun manufactures. This should include all imports and exports.
    8. An additional 25% tax on all gun purchases collected at the time of purchase.
    9. 25% tax on all ammo collected from the manufacture. This includes imports and exports.
    10. An additional 25% tax on all ammo collected at the time of purchase.
    11. Must show federal registration to purchase ammo, and it must match the caliber being purchased.
    12. Private resale of guns must go thru a Gun retailer to process the proper paper work for a Fee.
    13. Ban the sale of all semi auto rifles, shotguns, and pistols. Allowed to keep the ones they have
    14. Annual registration fee on all guns, up to $500. $50 bolt action rifles, revolvers, and non-semi auto shot guns. Semi auto pistol $100 per year registration, semi auto rifles $500 per year registration. 1 bolt action or lever action rifle and 1 shot gun are exempt from annual fee.
    15. $15,000 fine for an unregistered fire arm and up to 5 years in prison.
    16. Straw buyers $250,000 fine and up to 25 years in prison.
    17. Gun smugglers $5,000,000 fine and up to life in prison.
    18. Funds collected will fund the addition programs and the excess given to schools to improve security.
    19. If semi auto pistols are not banned. Pistol must be designed to hold no more than an 8 round magazine.

  15. Roy Mathews December 22, 2012

    I favor sensible solutions with the cooperation of the NRA and Gun control advocates such as a ban on military assualt weapons to civilians and high capacity magazines. I also favor at least two armed security officers or school police in every school to help reduce gun violence in schools. I would favor bullet proof medal doors at every entrance to schools and classrooms with bullet proof plexiglass windows on every school. We may not be able to stop or prevent future incidents but we can help reduce the loss of life with quick response.

    1. Del WS December 23, 2012

      I agree with everything you said except the armed security officers in every school. Too many schools are already cutting back on teachers and subjects because they’re hurting for money. Too many citizens are just about tapped out and can’t afford higher taxes. Most schools, particularly small ones, can’t afford to pay for what you can only hope might offer some protection. The money just isn’t there and for many schools two officers probably wouldn’t even be enough.

  16. Johnny Thomas December 22, 2012

    I don’t see many ideas that are real enough to work it has to be in the hands of the one holding the gun as we will never have control and do want control over the ones that own them ,ie the ones that deserve not mental and felons .I see no need in the laws that we have to be changed just enforced to the gill even then a person can prove them self to be deserving .We are a free country and suppose to keep it that way we have be able to defend our homes as the law enforcement cannot possibly be their just they weren’t their when those sicko’s killed all those children and people and over that it is just a matter of time before evil come over to us as they are being to forgiving of them and putting us in danger by trying to get that kind of control over us and our freedom .

  17. Susan Reilly December 22, 2012

    Make the assault weapon ban retroactive!

  18. Susan Reilly December 22, 2012

    Make the ban on assault weapons retroactive!

  19. orangeman65 December 22, 2012

    We need to have stricter anti gun violence laws enforced! Alot of these gun violent crimes start at the home! I blame this DCFS for not disciplining these kids! They need to bringback old school ass whoopings! How the hell can someone say they are scare of the one person they carried for 9 months and went throuh hell bringing them into this world! That’s stupid!

    Back in my day, gun violence wasn’t running rapidly like it is today! In my day when we fought; we fought with our fists and an hour later you’re chilling as thuhg nothing has happned! Today, these cowards (that’s what I call them) have to result to getting guns and killing people! To me; anyone who has to result to getting a gun to fight their battles is nothing but a COWARD…That’s right! A spineless jellyfish of a COWARD! I take a very strong stand against gun violence! Almost six years ago, I lost a nephew due to gun vionece three weeks after he turned 21 years old!

    To sum it up; they need to be more stricter anti-gun violent laws

  20. RSDrake December 22, 2012

    You are so right. Common sense won’t work.

    The Virginia Delegation is working on legislation to arm schoolteachers … does this pass the “make sense” test?

  21. RSDrake December 22, 2012

    Could happen — but it would happen less often with stronger “Gun Owner Responsibility” legislation. What’s a life worth? What are 10 lives a day worth? We need to improve …

  22. RSDrake December 22, 2012

    No. You want to train potential and existing gun owners by making them take a safety course, proficiency test, background check (try to filter out some “crazies”), require guns to be locked up in the home so that untrained and/or mentally ill family members do not have access to them. Further, the medical community needs to be aware of mental illness and the propensity for one to use a gun to hurt him or herself or someone else.

    In some States, medical personnel cannot inquire about gun ownership with their patients .. hmm

  23. RSDrake December 22, 2012

    Very responsible. I don’t keep guns out even when I am home. Grandchildren visit.

  24. RSDrake December 22, 2012

    I support you but know full well it would not get support by many existing gun owners.

  25. RSDrake December 22, 2012

    True – but let’s stop the rest of the horses from getting out of the barn.

  26. martha_davidson December 23, 2012

    Internet sales of ALL weapons…ammunition…kevlar, flack, bullet proof material….gasmasks…smoke bombs….hunting bows and arrows….sling shots that have the velocity of a 22 caliber gun….military surplus …ALL of that needs to stop.

    No one is even verified to be who they are represent to be on the credit card they offer…just let THAT sink in for a minute..(no one speaks to them so they could pretend to be a 75 year old man or 25 year old woman)..let alone any type of background check.

    Internet sales are not required to be delivered to the adress of the card holder!!!

    Children are able to take anyone’s credit card…if they so choose…order as the Auroa shooter did…600 rounds of ammunition, the aforesaid bullet proof clothing and helmut, gas mask, gas bomb and military grade weapon, have it delivered to ..in that case his college, but virtually anywhere…before the next bill arrives.

    They may in some cases have access to forged or stolen credit cards.

    If they are old enough to have their own credit card but yet not adults, they can stock pile an arsenal without anyones knowledge before it;s too late…as in the Auroa case.

    This is sheer LUNACY!!!!


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