Outdoor Journal: Stricter gun controls won’t stop the violence
Once again, a tragic, senseless shooting, this time involving 20 innocent children and six adults, brings out a call for stronger gun control laws and regulations.
We all had tears in our eyes when the news of the horrendous shooting was announced, and my first thought was that something had to be done soon to stop these senseless killings, but I didn’t really feel that stricter gun control regulations and rules was the answer.
Those who preach that we must take these guns off our streets are just fooling themselves. There are literally millions of guns, including these so-called assault rifles, out there. How do you find them, and how do you take them away? Taking them from law-abiding citizens isn’t the answer. How will they be gotten away from criminals? How do you stop a criminal from buying a gun of any sort? If they want one, they’ll get it illegally.
There are those certain people who are criminals, but it seems that the majority of these senseless killings are by seriously mentally ill people. I’m not a doctor, but I don’t believe this illness just happens overnight. So often, “after” the shootings, we found out that the shooter had mental problems which were witnessed by the family and/or others that knew the shooter.
The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) must be filled out when a firearm is bought from a federally licensed firearms dealer, then called in to the FBI for approval before the gun can be taken. No. 11f on this questionnaire asks if you have ever been adjudicated mentally defective or have you ever been committed to a mental institution. I know they can check their files for criminal records, but how do they check the truth of the answer to 11f? I doubt there’s a “mentally ill” registry; perhaps there should be.
NATIONAL RIFLE ASSN.
As a member of the NRA, I watched and listened to NRA executive and CEO Wayne LaPierre’s news conference on the Connecticut shooting and his promotion of having armed policemen in all of our schools. The proposal later received considerable criticism from the news media. In 2000, President Clinton pledged $120 million in federal grants to place peace officers in our schools. Obviously, he believed in it.
Let’s take a look at what the NRA’s National Shield Emergency Response Program designed to equip schools with armed security and training programs for teachers and students. The NRA is prepared to provide a budget of whatever scope the task requires. Asa Hutchinson, a former Arkansas congressman, will head this program, utilizing his experience as a U.S. attorney, director of the drug enforcement agency and undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The program will serve as a model for other security plans, using the most up-to-date technical information from the foremost experts in their fields. Hutchinson added that the program will be made up of volunteers. Schools will be able to tweak the program, based on their needs, and parents at the local level will be able to choose whether security personnel will or won’t be armed. I’d like to see trained police dogs in the schools, as well.
LaPierre pointed out that “We care about the President, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by armed Capitol Police officers, yet when it comes to the most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family, our children, we as a society leave them utterly defenseless and the monsters and predators of this world know and exploit it.”
Recently, I overheard a conversation between a teenager and 10-year-old talking about a video game they both liked to play, and the younger one was talking about his 44 kills the night before. I never was much of a video game enthusiast, but today’s younger generation is exposed to a great number of “shoot-to-kill” videos, and each year, they become more realistic.
The last one I watched was in the video department of a store. Two kids were playing, and it actually showed blood flying from the victim that was shot. Additionally, most of these action videos allow the kids to pick their own weapons, and their choices are also very real and detailed. These kids know their guns. I also know that some of these “Mature Only” video games are also filtering down to the younger kids. You have to wonder just what these so-called “games” are teaching young minds. Listen to their lingo. It will scare you sometimes.
Governor Cuomo has started discussions with leaders of the New York state Legislature concerning “new” gun-control measures, and he plans to propose a package of gun legislation in his State of the State address Wednesday. He said that he’s reaching out to the lawmakers to gauge where they stand before he makes his proposals final. He also said his attention will be focused on changing the state’s laws restricting the possession of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, adding he didn’t think sportsmen would say they needed assault weapons to go hunting. Cuomo added that he is a hunter and has a shotgun.
During that interview, he said that “confiscation could be an option, mandatory sale to the state could be an option, and permitting and keeping a gun another option.” With the exception of the permit to keep a gun, I believe the time and money that will be required for these other proposals will be extremely high, and more than likely, impossible to enforce. I really can’t see how any of these ideas will keep the guns out of the bad guys’ hands.
A good example of how difficult it will be is the recent release I received from the Outdoor News concerning Brownells, the world’s largest supplier of firearms accessories and gunsmithing tools and a highly reputable firm in the shooting sports industry. They sold 3.5 years worth of 30-round AR magazines and other types of magazines in less than 72 hours. These sales were primarily generated by the potential introduction of stricter gun control legislation.
Speaking of high-capacity magazines, “Meet The Press” host David Gregory may have a problem with his holding up for viewing of the high-capacity 30-round magazine during his interview with LaPierre. These magazines are banned in the District of Columbia, where the show was taped. The law states no person in the District of Columbia shall possess, sell or transfer any large-capacity ammunition-feeding device, regardless of whether the device is attached to the firearm. Apparently, NBC was informed that possession of a high-capacity magazine is not permissible, and its request to use one on the show was denied. The incident is currently under investigation.
On Christmas morning, I received an email from a downstate friend that “The Journal News” had published the names and addresses of 44,000 registered handgun owners in Westchester and Rockland counties and included an interactive map that allows readers to view these locations using Google maps. This definitely puts those people without handguns in danger by giving the criminals a detailed map of homes to rob.
The information was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. This is similar to what they do for sex offenders, not law-abiding citizens. What possibly would be a good reason for doing this? The Journal’s response was they knew it would be controversial, but felt sharing this information was important. There was, and I’m sure it will continue, some very strong rebuttal to this information being released, especially when they release the same information for Putnam County.
Closer to home, the Arms Fair scheduled for Jan. 12-13 at the Saratoga Springs City Center is facing signed petitions to cancel the show. As of now, it’s still on. The show, sponsored by the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates (NEACA), of which I’m a member, has been hosting these shows more than 30 years.
Dave Petronis of Mechanicville, the creator and owner of NEACA, has asked dealers to not bring magazine-fed semiautomatic |AR-15 rifles or look-alikes to the show, but will allow them to display those kinds of guns as “under-table stock” in a box on the table.
As a gun owner who currently owns a Modern Sporting Rifle (AR style) I use for target shooting and hunting (using only five-round magazines), I’m a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and my right to bear arms. I don’t believe that the confiscation of a law-abiding gun owner’s firearms will benefit anyone other than the “bad guy.”
I also believe the presence of a trained and qualified armed law enforcement individual, perhaps even with a trained dog, in our schools may not stop all this terror, but it sure will deter and stop some of it. And saving some is better than saving none. What’s most important is to get it done now, not letting it get lost in debate in the halls of the legislature. Forget the party politics. Work together to insure the safety of our children.