Should We Ban Guns? – TSMP #72


Intro: Guns ARE bad….right?

  • Mass shootings
  • Guns in the media
  • People outraged, angry, something MUST BE DONE!!!

Brief History of Guns in the United States

US won independence from Britain through a series of battles beginning with the French and Indian war 1754-1763 which made way for the stamp act of 1765 which set the stage for boston tea party, taxation without representation

Pennsylvania Rifle was the cutting edge weapon – however most commonly used was the British Brown Bess and French Charleville muskets

Gun Laws in the US

1791

On Dec. 15, 1791, ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution — eventually known as the Bill of Rights — were ratified. The second of them said: “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.”

1934

The first piece of national gun control legislation was passed on June 26, 1934. The National Firearms Act (NFA) — part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “New Deal for Crime“— was meant to curtail “gangland crimes of that era such as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

The NFA imposed a tax on the manufacturing, selling, and transporting of firearms listed in the law, among them short-barrel shotguns and rifles, machine guns, firearm mufflers and silencers. Due to constitutional flaws, the NFA was modified several times. The $200 tax, which was high for the era, was put in place to curtail the transfer of these weapons.

1938

The Federal Firearms Act (FFA) of 1938 required gun manufacturers, importers, and dealers to obtain a federal firearms license. It also defined a group of people, including convicted felons, who could not purchase guns, and mandated that gun sellers keep customer records. The FFA was repealed in 1968 by the Gun Control Act (GCA), though many of its provisions were reenacted by the GCA.

1968

Following the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Attorney General and U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed for the passage of the Gun Control Act of 1968. The GCA repealed and replaced the FFA, updated Title II of the NFA to fix constitutional issues, added language about “destructive devices” (such as bombs, mines and grenades) and expanded the definition of “machine gun.”

Overall the bill banned importing guns that have “no sporting purpose,” imposed age restrictions for the purchase of handguns (gun owners had to be 21), prohibited felons, the mentally ill, and others from purchasing guns, required that all manufactured or imported guns have a serial number, and according to the ATF, imposed “stricter licensing and regulation on the firearms industry.”

1986

In 1986 the Firearm Owners Protection Act was passed by Congress. The law mainly enacted protections for gun owners — prohibiting a national registry of dealer records, limiting ATF inspections to once per year (unless there are multiple infractions), softening what is defined as “engaging in the business” of selling firearms, and allowing licensed dealers to sell firearms at “gun shows” in their state. It also loosened regulations on the sale and transfer of ammunition.

The bill also codified some gun control measures, including expanding the GCA to prohibit civilian ownership or transfer of machine guns made after May 19, 1986, and redefining “silencer” to include parts intended to make silencers.

1993

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 is named after White House press secretary James Brady, who was permanently disabled from an injury suffered during an attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. (Brady died in 2014). It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The law, which amends the GCA, requires that background checks be completed before a gun is purchased from a licensed dealer, manufacturer or importer. It established the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is maintained by the FBI.

1994

Tucked into the sweeping and controversial Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, signed by President Clinton in 1994, is the subsection titled Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act. This is known as the assault weapons ban — a temporary prohibition in effect from September of 1994 to September of 2004. Multiple attempts to renew the ban have failed.

The provisions of the bill outlawed the ability to “manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon,” unless it was “lawfully possessed under Federal law on the date of the enactment of this subsection.” Nineteen military-style or “copy-cat” assault weapons—including AR-15s, TEC-9s, MAC-10s, etc.—could not be manufactured or sold. It also banned “certain high-capacity ammunition magazines of more than ten rounds,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice Fact Sheet.

2008

District of Columbia v. Heller essentially changed a nearly 70-year precedent set by Miller in 1939. While the Miller ruling focused on the “well regulated militia” portion of the Second Amendment (known as the “collective rights theory” and referring to a state’s right to defend itself), Heller focused on the “individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia.”

Heller challenged the constitutionality of a 32-year-old handgun ban in Washington, D.C., and found, “The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the Second Amendment.”

It did not however nullify other gun control provisions. “The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,” stated the ruling.

Too many to list, but some states like California and New York have some of the most far-reaching gun laws in the country. The city/county of San Francisco even outlaws the possession of hollow-point ammunition.

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Lawful Shootings

Self/Family defense

  • Guns prevent an estimated 2.5 million crimes a year, or 6,849 every day. Most often, the gun is never fired, and no blood (including the criminal’s) is shed.
  • Every year, 400,000 life-threatening violent crimes are prevented using firearms.
  • 60 percent of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they knew the victim was armed. Forty percent of convicted felons admitted that they avoided committing crimes when they thought the victim might be armed. 
  • Felons report that they avoid entering houses where people are at home because they fear being shot.
  • Fewer than 1 percent of firearms are used in the commission of a crime.

Matt’s Experience In Dispatch

  • Average police response time to a call is ~10 minutes – assuming you can make a call.
  • As 911 call taker Ihad several calls where person was hiding from a suspected intruder – from cell phones that have non specific ANI/ALI info.
  • In the case of an emergency would you rather have the ability to plan ahead, buy a firearm, train and become proficient with it. Or hide in the closest, call 911 and hope you arent discovered?

What About “Common Sense” Gun Reform?

Universal background checks

  • Background checks already occur. SOURCE: CNN
  • What Democrats want and have proposed are universal background checks to include private transfers. SOURCE: TexasTribune
    • The push to require checks for private sales would require instituting a federal gun registry. SOURCE: NationalReview
    • It simply wouldn’t work without a registry.
  • Most gun murders are committed with a handgun, not a rifle. SOURCE: PEW
    • Handgun – 59%
    • Rifles -3%
  • You have to be 21 in most states to buy a handgun already.
    • Like Illinois, home of Cook County. SOURCES: Newsweek Giffords
      • Record 1,002 gun murders in 2021
    • Texas also requires you to be 21 to purchase a handgun. SOURCE: Texas.Gov

WE NEED RED FLAG LAWS AND CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE WHO ABUSE THEM

  • Currently proposed legislation doesn’t include punishments for falsely reporting. SOURCE: CBSNews
    • In theory, red flag laws could be useful.
    • BUT the barriers must be high.
    • There must be a minimum 10-year prison sentence for false-flagging.

Just “Do Something”

BAN ALL CARS NOW

NHTSA projects that an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes last year (2021), a 10.5% increase from the 38,824 fatalities in 2020. The projection is the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s history.

  • Just doing something feels good because it removes a feeling of being powerless
  • Treating the symptom while ignoring the root sickness may feel good but in reality it gets you nowhere.
  • Mental health is a serious concern in the US
    • ~25% homeless have severe mental illness
    • ~50% homeless have some type of mental illness
    • ~50 % of gun deaths are sucide
    • ~46,000 suicides in united states in 2021-Since 1999, the suicide rate has climbed 35%
    • Per NIH – In 2020, there were an estimated 14.2 million adults in the United States with Severe Mental Illness (SMI). This number represented 5.6% of all U.S. adults. The prevalence of SMI was higher among females (7.0%) than males (4.2%)
    • The Suicide rate has remained higher than the murder rate
  • The problem isnt guns, the problem is bad people/sick people/unhealthy people 

What IS a Mass Shooting?

  • Definitions vary wildly
    • One common definition is an act of public firearm violence—excluding gang killings, domestic violence, or terrorist acts sponsored by an organization—in which a shooter kills at least four victims.
    • Gun Violence Archive, most popular gun violence statistics cited by the press, defines a mass shooting as firearm violence resulting in at least four people being shot at roughly the same time and location, excluding the perpetrator.
  • Quick review here: 
    • One definition is when a shooter(s) KILLS at least 4 people
    • Another definition is when a shooter(s) SHOOTS IN THE GENERAL DIRECTION of at least 4 people
    • This is a MASSIVE difference!

Check Your Data!

  • Active Shooters according to FBI
    • Active Shooter Incident (FBI definition): One or more shooters killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area
      • Does not include gang violence, drug violence or other forms of criminal gun violence
    • In 2020 (most recent data): 
      • 40 total Active Shooter incidents
      • 164 total casualties (38 killed, 126 injured)
  • Mass Shootings according to Gun Violence Archive
    • In 2020:
      • 611 “Mass Shootings”
      • 19,411 gun deaths (website does not distinguish any breakdown between Willful, Malicious, Accidental, Mass Shootings or otherwise)

When Using Statistics, Remember Everything Is Relative

  • Biggest issue recently? Murders have gone up but so has population…but NOBODY mentions this fact!
  • According to the FBI, violent crime of ALL TYPES – including gun violence – has gone down since the early 90s
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(FBI Uniform Crime Reporting statistics – as of 6/10/22)If people want to explore crime in the US, use this link to visit the FBI’s interactive database

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