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Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits the sale of handguns to anyone under the age of 18, criminals, drug addicts and the mentally ill. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993 was passed 12 years after the 1981 assassination attempt against President Ronald Reagan that seriously wounded his press secretary, James Brady.
The Brady Act created a national background check system to prevent firearms sales to the “prohibited persons” included in the Gun Control Act of 1968. Most of these checks are completed at the time of the sale of a weapon. Alternatively, if a denial of the sale is not received by the dealer within three days, it may be legally completed at that time. That certainly isn’t much of an inconvenience for a legitimate gun purchaser to endure.
Firearm transfers by unlicensed private sellers who are “not engaged in the business” of dealing firearms are not subject to the requirements of the Brady Act. Certain collector firearms are not covered, and private sellers at gun shows aren’t covered in most states.
Public support overcame the opposition of the National Rifle Association, and in 1994, under President Bill Clinton, a crime bill specifically banned the manufacture and import of assault weapons.
Despite the support of the majority of the American people for the ban, in 1996 the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted for its repeal. Because of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the repeal of the ban was postponed.
In 2000, presidential candidate George W. Bush pledged to renew the ban. In a bipartisan effort, U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and John Warner, R-Va., along with U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, R-Del., tried to renew the law for 10 more years, but the federal assault weapons ban expired on Sept. 13, 2004.
According to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, since 1997, there have been more than 200 major school shootings in the U.S. School shootings are not something new or recent. Remember Virginia Tech?
After the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, NRA executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre argued, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” His ridiculous idea would have stopped very few school shootings. We already have places that have good guys using guns to protect everyone.
They’re called prisons, and I don’t want to live in one.
Each time a gun is used for self-defense, it is used 11 times in a suicide or an attempted suicide, seven times in an intentional killing or wounding and four times in an accidental shooting. The odds are 22 to 1 that you’re going to have a bad outcome with your gun. I don’t like those odds.
The United Kingdom has 56 million residents. Last year, it had 41 murders committed with guns. Our 300 million citizens own 300 million guns, and in 2010, 31,672 of us died from gunshots.
The Second Amendment — “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” — was written in 1791. Assault weapons had not been invented.
Our laws have to change. It’s time to put the top back on Pandora’s box.
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