Published on February 4th, 2013 | by Ben Pavur0
POLL: Debate: The Future of Gun Control: After Newtown, Gun Laws Need Reform vs. Gun Restrictions Threaten American Liberty
After Newtown, Gun Laws Need Reform
Ben Pavur, Contributor
Photo above courtesy of Elvert Barnes PROTEST PHOTOGRAPHY: Gun control has been a hot topic across the U.S. in recent months.
As people rang in 2013, a new term had become a part of everyone’s vocabulary. This term, mass shooting, was graphically seen numerous times throughout 2012, and in the new year, the prevention of other shootings has become a major issue.
In 2012, there were mass shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin and Oregon, but the most traumatic occurred in Connecticut. After the Dec. 14 school shooting in Newtown, Conn., many people felt that the time had come to actively work to strengthen national gun control laws. Soon after this shooting, President Obama appointed Vice President Biden to lead a commission to develop ways to fairly control access to guns, and ultimately save lives.
The commission, formed by Obama to develop recommendations on gun control, had two main focuses — controlling access to “assault weapons” and finding ways to combat fears about mental health issues and gun ownership. This commission brought together politicians, business owners and gun opponents to develop the fairest and most comprehensive gun control measures possible.
In a CNN interview, Obama said, “No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.”
Gun control is not an issue that can be easily solved, yet progress is made if some of the loopholes in laws can be closed.
The commission ended by issuing several gun control recommendations, which Obama used as a framework to issue 23 executive orders. The goal is the creation of a national “assault weapons” ban, but that is up to Congress to enact.
President Obama’s 23 executive orders focused on creating better communication with law enforcement agencies, stricter background checks and more restrictions on mental health gun ownership. These executive orders address many loopholes in the gun laws, but they are only temporary measures. Most of these executive orders only change small portions of current laws, and expire after a period of time.
Beyond these temporary measures, Obama also urged lawmakers to limit gun magazine size to 10 rounds, but this also requires the intervention of lawmakers. In the end, the commission did address some long-standing problems, but there is still a great deal of work to be done in the coming months.
Gun control is an issue that everyone seems to have an opinion on, but has little idea how to address. Following the mass shootings in 2012, the one positive is that a swell of support for updating gun laws has formed. In the end, all of the proposals, ideas, and recommendations need to be solely focused on saving lives — not fulfilling political agendas.
Gun restrictions threaten American liberty
Brandon White, Contributor
“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.”
These now infamous words are the root of extraordinary controversy — words that bravely distinguish the United States and its grand experiment in “freedom” from all other “free” nations.
As we debate the Second Amendment’s implications, many seem to have forgotten its inceptive intent.
The Founding Fathers recognized the possibility of tyrannical governments, having just defeated one in the Revolutionary War. They knew that an armed populace would be a necessary last resort of protection against potential tyranny.
Japanese Naval Commander Yamamoto once said during World War II, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
To further prove the Second Amendment’s necessity, I cite the Spanish Inquisition, Reign of Terror, Napoleon, WWI, Nazi Fascism and Soviet Fascism. Each of these tyrannical regimes/events was possible because the public was disarmed. These extreme examples show that we cannot always anticipate what threats lay ahead of us, and that without anticipatory protections, populations are left vulnerable and helpless.
Despite the language of the Second Amendment, the right to arms has undoubtedly been infringed. We now only discuss the degree of infringement that we will concede in the name of public safety. Most recently, President Obama announced 23 executive orders and legislation aimed at reducing gun violence.
After my own careful consideration of the proposals, I concluded that not one would have helped to prevent the Newtown shooting. The President’s proposals are centered on an irrational fear of guns, rather than the burden of proof that supports the effective “concealed-carry” laws.
An assault weapons ban or increased background checks will do no more to prevent mass shootings than a seat belt will prevent car accidents or a TSA full body scan will ensure you safely arrive at your destination. It is impossible to anticipate or prevent the actions of a madman.
Although it may be noble to try, I do not agree with further restricting the “inalienable rights” of 330 million people in an attempt to thwart the actions of one. Every gun in the hand of a criminal is a weapon to be used for evil, but in the hand of a law-abiding citizen, no gun has ever caused any harm.
America has been blessed with freedoms previously unknown on this earth. Sometimes we are forced to deal with the consequences of those freedoms under the most unsettling circumstances. But I stand by the idea that 221 years of Americans responsibly exercising those freedoms should be evidence enough for their unquestioned prolongation, rather than one event being the reason for their restriction.