A tale of two men and a tragic event
The reaction of two leaders to a tragic event:
Mitt Romney rejected calls for new gun laws in the aftermath of last week's movie theater shooting in Colorado, insisting new legislation would not have prevented the tragedy.
In an interview with NBC's Brian Williams, the presumptive Republican nominee pointed to the fact that James E. Holmes, the suspect in last Friday's shooting, was "building bombs" - even though it was illegal.
"A lot of what this young man did was clearly against the law," Romney told NBC. "But the fact that it was against the law did not prevent it from happening."
Asked if he had a "problem" with individuals being able to purchase large amounts of ammunition via the internet, Romney said he didn't think it was possible to "prevent people who want to provide harm from being able to purchase things to carry out that harm."
"What I wanna do is find the people who represent a danger to America and find them and keep them from having the capacity to use or buy things that could hurt other people," Romney said.
The GOP candidate argued that "changing the heart of the American people" may be the only key to cracking down on gun violence. He described himself as a supporter of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, but acknowledged he had differences with the National Rifle Association - though he didn't name a specific issue where he disagreed with the gun rights group.
And the other one:
In his broadest remarks on gun control yet in the aftermath of the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater, President Barack Obama called late Wednesday for tougher background checks designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.
"A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals -- that they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities," the president, who has called for reimposing the Assault Weapons Ban, said in a speech to the National Urban League.
"I believe the majority of gun owners would agree that we should do everything possible to prevent criminals and fugitives from purchasing weapons; that we should check someone's criminal record before they can check out a gun seller; that a mentally unbalanced individual should not be able to get his hands on a gun so easily," he said. "These steps shouldn't be controversial. They should be common sense."
But Obama also offered a nod to the difficult politics of gun control, portraying himself as a believer in the individual right to bear arms, and acknowledging that calls to action after an incident like the one in Aurora often fade.
"When there is an extraordinarily heartbreaking tragedy like the one we saw, there's always an outcry immediately after for action. And there's talk of new reforms, and there's talk of new legislation," Obama said in his speech. "And too often, those efforts are defeated by politics and by lobbying and eventually by the pull of our collective attention elsewhere."
The president also singled out youth violence, and warned that government can only do so much. "It's up to us, as parents and as neighbors and as teachers and as mentors, to make sure our young people don't have that void inside them," he said.
Which one do you want? One that says nothing can be done or one that says perhaps we need better controls?
When Reagan was shot, something was done.
The gun used to shoot President Reagan, Jim Brady, Agent McCarthy, and Officer Delahanty was purchased at a pawnshop in Dallas, Texas. The gun was a Roehm Model RG14, a six-shot, double-action revolver designed to fire .22-caliber, rimfire ammunition. The shooter, John Hinckley, lied about his address when he purchased the gun and used an old Texas driver's license as "proof" that he lived there. A background check would have caught that lie.
On November 30, 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the "Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act", also known as the "Brady Bill," into law. The enactment of the Brady law (effective February 28, 1994) changed this "lie-and-buy" system to a "background check-then-buy" system by requiring that every sale of a gun by a licensed dealer be referred to law enforcement for a background check.
The Brady law requires that individuals seeking to buy a gun at a licensed dealer pass a background check. Because guns are especially lethal weapons, it makes sense that before someone can own one, he or she meet the legal requirements for ownership. This simple step protects everyone - gun owners and non-gun owners alike - from the danger of high-risk people gaining access to lethal weapons.
The Brady Law was implemented in two stages. The purpose of the two-stage implementation was to provide time to organize and computerize criminal history and other relevant records and for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to develop the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
I believe there is still room for improvement in how people obtain guys, specifically guns like AK-47s. Why not take every opportunity to explore how we can control abuses of the system? In my mind, eliminating abuses actually strengthens support for the right to bear REASONABLE arms.
If the Aurora suspect had not had an automatic weapon, there is no doubt that fewer people would have died or been hurt.
Here is a link that might be useful: brady law