Monday, April 15, 2013

More Gun Control

In the wake of several mass shootings across the U.S., many are calling for sweeping assault gun bans as well as bans on ammunition clips holding more than ten rounds at a time. In Washington D.C. families and friends of the Newtown victims, as well as other pro-gun control activists are on a “name vigil” in which they are going to be reading the names of victims of shootings around the clock until a bill scheduled for debate today is voted on.
The bill, according to Fox News, will require background checks on gun transactions over the Internet or at gun shows to be done only after a background check has been made. Currently there are no weapons bans or high-capacity clip bans in the bill, but those could still be added later as amendments to the bill once it gets into the debate stage.
The bill does not currently include requirements for background checks on private transactions between close family members.
Background checks currently apply only to transactions handled by the country's 55,000 licensed gun dealers.
The bill will need 60 votes to pass the Senate, but it is hard to tell if it has that sort of backing, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey said to CNN, and it will be difficult to tell if it will pass. There are 52 Democrats in the Senate and two Democratic leaning independents.
The bill has the support of at least two Republicans, while there are several Democrats who are wavering on giving their support for it as they are up for reelection soon and are from districts with high pro-gun rights activities and lobbying.
The Star Telegram reported Republican Senator Susan Collins, as saying in a statement that the plan would "strengthen the background check system without in any way infringing on Second Amendment rights.”
“The question is, are we willing to take modest measures to achieve this goal that I think we all share…There is no law that is going to guarantee that a criminal is not going to get his hands on a weapon. But cannot we make a little more difficult?” Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said today in the Senate Debates.
The second amendment states “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.”
If the gun as a weapon ought to be regulated, then we ought to also ought to regulate knives as well, if the knifing in a Texas college last week is any indication. That the current bill would not have stopped the Newtown shootings is recognized. The right to keep and bear arms is not only the right to shoot ducks and deer, but also as a defense against tyranny, to which armed resistance is the last and most extreme act against an overbearing government.

Andrew C. Abbott

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