July 26, 2012
Tougher Gun Laws Are Needed
By Mike McManus
The day after the Aurora massacre - 12 people killed and 58
wounded - New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said “It’s time the
two people who want to be President of the United States stand
up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this
is obviously a problem across the country.”
Five days later, the mayor wrote
a column in the New York Daily News charging, “The two
candidates are back to politics as usual, attacking each other
on gaffes and trivialities. If not now, when is it the time for
them to outline their solutions to gun violence?
“After the massing shooting in Tucson last year, we heard, `Now
is not the time.’ We heard the same refrain after shooting
sprees at Virginia Tech and Columbine. It’s as if we can’t mourn
the dead and protect the living at the same time.”
Bloomberg is right. What makes matters worse is that both Obama
and Romney have taken tough stands in the past, but are now
ducking the issue.
In fact, as governor, Romney signed a ban on assault weapons
like the AR-15 assault rifle that James Holmes allegedly used to
slaughter movie-goers. At the time, Romney said, “Deadly assault
weapons have no place in Massachusetts. These guns are not made
for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of
destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing
But what did he say after Aurora? “With emotions so high right
now, this is really not a time to be talking about the politics
associated with what happened in Aurora. I still believe the
Second Amendment is the right course to preserve and defend and
don’t believe that new laws are going to make a difference in
this type of tragedy.”
Nonsense. If the Brady law prohibiting the sale of assault
weapons had not expired in 2004 after a decade, Holmes would not
have been able to buy the AR-15 that quickly shot 100 rounds.
People would be alive today who died needlessly.
During his 2008 race for the
White House, Sen. Obama said, he favored a law “making the
expired federal assault weapons ban permanent.” Shortly after
taking office Attorney General Eric Holder reminded an audience
of Obama’s campaign statement. But three weeks later, when
asked about it, Holder said, “I think we’re going to do is try
to enforce the laws that we have on the books.”
During the campaign Obama also
said “I am not in favor of concealed weapons. I think that
creates a potential atmosphere where more innocent people could
(get shot during) altercations.”
However, he has signed a law
allowing loaded, concealed guns in national parks.
Similarly, he called for “much
tougher background check system, one that’s more effective and
make sure there aren’t loopholes out there like the gun show
loophole” which allow guns sales without any background check.
However, in response to a press
inquiry about the gun show loophole, White House Press Secretary
Robert Gibbs said in April, 2009, “I think the President
believes that we can have a greater outcome in the short term
working to enforce the laws that are on our books.”
Problem is, there are virtually
no laws on those books. As Sec. of State Hilary Clinton said on
March 25, 2009, assault weapons “don’t belong on anyone’s
What’s the problem? A 2010
Gallup poll reports that support for more gun restrictions fell
34% over 20 years, while support for fewer restrictions or the
status quo grew by nearly the same amount. When there’s another
massacre, more people buy guns. From Friday to Sunday, Colorado
conducted 2,887 background checks for purchases, up 43% in a
However, buying guns actually
increases the likelihood of gun deaths.
States with the weakest gun laws
(Texas, Ohio and Wisconsin) – export nine times more guns used
in crimes than states like California, New Jersey and Hawaii
with the toughest laws.
There have been 60 mass shootings
since the 2011 Tucson slaughter. They don’t make headlines such
as five people shot at a soccer tournament in Dover, Del., three
of whom died.
In one year, 31,593 died of
gunshot wounds and 66,769 survived being shot. Most of those
deaths (18,223) were suicides! More than one million people have
been killed with guns in America since Martin Luther King and
Robert Kennedy were assassinated in 1968.
U.S. firearm homicide rates are
19.5 times higher than in 22 other populous high income
countries. In fact, 80% of all gun deaths in all those
countries were in America.
It is time to pass laws to save
lives. Does any Presidential candidate agree?