Gun Control 101

| 3/10/2008 5:04:59 PM

Tags: gun control, gun violence, school shootings, Virginia Tech, NIU, Northern Illinois University,

RiflesI’m typically not a paranoid person. I try to see the best in people. I’m a college student on a liberal campus in the heart of the Midwest.

But lately, there’s been a growing suspicion, a fear of the soft-spoken introverted guy in the same lecture as I am. School shootings have been a concern in the media for the past 10 years, but the issue has eluded thoughtful political discourse since the wake of the Columbine massacre. With two major shootings on college campuses in the past year, I am wondering: What will it take to make gun control an issue?

“Barack Obama offers hope and Hillary Clinton offers solutions, but they offer little of either on gun control,” Derrick Z. Jackson writes in the Boston Globe. Indeed, all that the candidates, including “straight talk” John McCain, seem to offer on gun violence are condolences. If a murder-suicide in a major university classroom doesn’t spark some debate, what will? Second Amendment preservation seems to stretch across party lines, with nobody willing to take a stand on tougher gun control laws.

In fact, it seems the opposite is occurring. Currently, 15 states are weighing bills to make it easier to carry guns on campuses, the New York Times reports. A main proponent of this movement is Arizona State Senator Karen S. Johnson, who says, “I feel like our kindergartners are sitting there like sitting ducks.” See, she felt the bill should cover all public schools, K-12.

Meanwhile, a “heavily-medicated” man who was institutionalized within the past ten years was able to legally purchase six weapons in Illinois. And the ammunition he used to kill five at Northern Illinois University? Purchased from the same website as the Virginia Tech killer.

So if I’m a little shifty-eyed in the lecture hall, please forgive me. Access to guns is as easy as ever, and with nobody willing to talk about it, I fear it’s only going to get worse.

3/16/2008 10:48:51 PM

As a confirmed skeptical/moderate, I've tried to weigh the arguments of both sides. Visited dozens of sites, many with agendas, many without. Some of the most succinct points I've come away with are: 1.Vast majority of gun crimes are by people with a ciminal record. 2.Most gun crimes happen in high crime areas (Chicago+gun free=much higher than the rest of IL. 3.Criminals will obtain and use guns regardless of the laws. 4.Gun Free/Gun banned zones don't deter mass killings (rather obvious) 5.Total gun bans are a fallacy (see 3). 6.John Stossel can cover a topic better in 30 min. than Micheal Moore can in 2 hours. Lastly, the 2nd amendment aside, "Life,Liberty and the..." Life being the first of the Inalienlable Rights in the D of I, Re:I should be allowed to protect that right via the best means available, be it laws, law enforcement, or personal means.

3/16/2008 4:16:05 PM

Liberals have a history of not using their brains and instead "just follow your heart". You can not get around the fact that any time there is well meaning or political pandering (the kind that you want) gun control put in place, crime in that community of states goes up 86% of the time. The very logical reason (something liberals strugle with is logic); Criminals do not care what law you put in front of them. That is the reason that they are criminals.... they do not obey the law. Therefore if you pass your law that no one can buy guns, the only people that you will be taking guns from are the good people that can stop the killers that Liberals do there best to keep out of prison. Liberals just hate logic....

Bill Chastings
3/15/2008 3:17:38 PM

The US is the only "advanced" nation that holds gun ownership as a sacred "Constitutional" right, and ignores the historical context of the Second Amendment in oursuit of this "right." No politician dares to talk against it; after all consider the campaign against Michael Moore for his temerity to challenge this sacred cow. The truth is,guns kill people; the statistics are overwhelmingly so. But what is really terrible, is that ONE, the gun industry is extremely lucrative and backed by politicians and their lobbyists, and TWO, that we promote this gun culture around the world as we sell them massive excess production, quite regardless of the endless suffering it causes to the least powerful people who are the victims.

3/11/2008 8:19:33 PM

What are you talking about? We already have our "militia" under the Second Amendment...our very own army of gun toting mentally ill soldiers homegrown. Check it out:

3/11/2008 10:14:10 AM

One of the biggest projects in the works to aid those with mental illness is the bipartisan mental health parity bill (championed and named for Paul Wellstone, another one of those darn liberals). While I realize there are innumerable liberal conspiracies destroying the world at the moment, is it possible that creating an army of gun-toting, mentally ill liberal soldiers isn't one of them? Or is that too far out there?

3/11/2008 12:39:19 AM

This comment is completely through the looking glass nonsense: "Its not the guns its the failure of liberals to control the mentally ill. Its the liberals fault that they are no longer in homes. " REAGAN CUT THE FUNDING FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, THUS TOSSING OUT MILLIONS OF MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE INTO THE STREETS. Trying to rewrite history to blame "liberals" is asinine, and probably not going to fly here. It is the "liberals" who want to spend money on poor/disabled people. It is libertarians/paleocons/neocons that want to cut such spending down to zero. Get your ideas straight. I often see such outright hypocrisy and ignorance from the right wing nut camp. Why is that? Example: Libertarian Lew Rockwell is blaming the contaminated water issue on "socialists." It's not the "socialist" local governments polluting the water, Lew! It's the corporations that libertarians like you don't want to REGULATE. It is private for profit companies polluting our water, which need more enforcement to get them to STOP.

Erik H._3
3/10/2008 9:26:29 PM

To Ben Miner: It is true that school shootings have actually gone down in the past couple years. But, the fact of the matter is they're still happening. And maybe my fears are an unfounded product of media sensationalism, but with NIU and Virginia Tech in the past year you would think that some of the presidential candidates would want to address the issue. Not promote more guns. This is sort of a warped analogy, but let's say there were 5 plane hijackings from 1995-2000, and 1 from 2000-2005. But that one just happened to be a major, major catastrophe. What's worse? There have been less school shootings in the past 5 years, but the two in the past year have been epic, not just in the sense of their brutality, but the fact that severely unstable people were given easy access to deadly weapons. Maybe I am buying in to media fear mongering. But maybe some of the powers that be should be too.

3/10/2008 7:46:43 PM

The same thing it took to bring the war in Viet Nam to an end. It took people marching, protesting to get the attention of the government who was quite content to have let the killing of our youth go on then. Just like now.

3/10/2008 7:15:08 PM

Two points #1 You show a drawing of a gun that is less deadly ,shoots a smaller bullet and at the same speed as a hunting rifle. Whats the point in showing that? Because you are pushing the belief that a black gun that looks bad needs to be banned. Since its not as deadly as a hunting rifle I accuse gun control nuts of being raciest. Only a racist would think something black is bad. #2 The real problem in the US is that we allow the mentally ill to walk our streets and pretend they are normal. They are clearly identified at young ages in the schools. We need to take the worst of the mentally ill and keep them in homes away from us. Letting them out and pretending they are the same is not working. Its not the guns its the failure of liberals to control the mentally ill. Its the liberals fault that they are no longer in homes. Everyone keeps asking what has changed that we now see the shootings. The only thing that has changed in modern times is the way we control the mentally ill. Put them back in homes and quit pretending they are normal. I sometimes believe that liberals want the mentally ill walking the streets and killing so they can get the gun control they want.

Ben Miner
3/10/2008 6:03:40 PM

A closer examination of crime trends will show that your fear about it getting worse is unfounded, and likely based on sensationalist media attention devoted to a few tragic, but isolated, incidents. Overall violent crime has been trending down in this country for decades while gun ownership, and the number of states that issue carry permits, is up.