There has been lot has been written, fingers have been pointed, names have been called – with both sides appearing to remain firmly entrenched in their positions. President Obama and the NRA are going head to head in the public arena. So will the Gun Control debate be resolved anytime soon? Keeping within the context of this newsletter, Public Safety Training Newsletter we will do our best to provide some background, data and facts from the first responder perspective.
One Debate – Two Sides
New York Side 1—New York’s Assembly easily passed the toughest gun control law in the nation. “This is a scourge on society,” Cuomo said. Prime point of the law are:
- Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family will be subject to a background check through a dealer.
- Barred from buying assault weapons over the Internet
- Failing to safely store a weapon could lead to a misdemeanor charge.
- Ammunition magazines will be restricted to seven bullets.
- Current owners of higher-capacity magazines will have a year to sell them out of state.
- Requires that therapists, psychologists, registered nurses and licensed social workers who believe a mental health patient made a credible threat to use a gun illegally. They would be required to report such a threat to a mental health director, who would have to notify the state.
- Increases sentences for gun crimes including the shooting of a First Responder, calling this the “Webster provision“
New York Side 2—
- New York new law would be considered radical by many and not effect to improving public safety, as only five of the 447 killings by firearm in New York were committed with a rifle of any type in 2011. Source
- The National Rifle Association (NRA) said it is “outraged at the draconian gun control bill” that was rushed through Albany and it said it would consider “all possible legal challenges in the near future.”
Obama Side 1—Obama set to go big on guns: President unveils his recommendations; 1) universal background check, 2) prohibition of high-capacity magazines, 3) an anti-trafficking law, and 4) a renewal of the assault weapons ban.
NRA Side 2—NRA calling President Obama “an elitist hypocrite” for dismissing the group’s suggestion to put armed guards in schools while his own daughters have Secret Service protection. Click for video. “Are the president’s kids more important than yours?”
Where each state stands on gun-control legislation
Reporters from USA TODAY and Gannett news operations nationwide reached out to governors and legislatures in each state to learn what gun-related proposals might be in the works. Click on this link to see state-by-state gun control legislative proposals
Gun control takes a back seat to the economy, the deficit and taxes. A recent poll by Most Americans say the Newtown shooting has made them more supportive of gun control, but for most people, the issue falls well short of the “highest priority” for President Obama and the new Congress. Click here to see the most interesting poll of what Americans consider their priority. (No surprise, it’s the economy)
Gun Control and the Police
Survey results showed that 76 percent of street officers and 59 percent of managerial officers agreed that all trained, responsible adults should be able to obtain handgun carry permits. Source
Mental Health In America
Prior to Sandy Hook Public Safety Training News wrote a featured article on Mental Healthand its impact and some shocking statistics. For example
- One in four adults and 10 percent of children in the United States will suffer from a mental health illness this year.
- Mental disorders are more common than heart disease and cancer combined — the leading causes of death.
Mental Health and Gun Control
Click on the video below for a discussion on Mental Health and Gun Control. The video is contains dialogue from four nationally recognized perspectives on mental Health and Gun Control. Video Link
Watch Revisiting Mental Health, Gun Control Policy After Tragedy on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
This is an excellent summarization of the position taken by both sides of the debate.
Should civilian possession of handguns and other non-hunting guns be banned or severely restricted? Source
- Criminals will always find a way to obtain their guns, leaving law-abiding citizens without any weapons to use in defense.
- Crimes are often prevented by the deterrent effect of the possibility of victim gun possession.
- The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution protects the individual’s right to gun ownership.
- Women and weaker individuals may have no means of self-defense from rape or other crimes, especially in the inner city.
- Guns in the possession of citizens are an added protection against government tyranny.
- Police are often too overwhelmed to protect all citizens from violent crime.
- Banning guns will create another potentially large source of organized criminal revenue, as a black market for guns will surely develop.
- Banning guns will take away yet another piece of our liberty, which is one more step to socialism and totalitarianism.
- Reasonable gun control & education steps can be put in place, so an outright ban is unnecessary.
- Most violent crimes are committed with guns; thus, restricting gun ownership will likely reduce the number of such crimes.
- Lunatics, bullied school kids, disgruntled workers, and others can inflict mass casualties with guns that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.
- A crime victim who has a gun may be in more danger than an unarmed person since the criminal may kill in perceived self-defense.
- Suicides and crimes of passion are higher with gun availability, as it’s much easier to act immediately on your impulses when a gun is available.
- The 2nd Amendment of the Constitution was targeted towards militia, e.g. the National Guard, rather than individuals.
- Crimes that may have been less harmful can be made more dangerous by adding a gun.
- Legalized gun ownership means guns have a greater chance of falling into the hands of kids, potentially resulting in some deadly accidents.
- Terrorism, school shootings, and other modern circumstances make guns more dangerous nowadays.