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Posts Tagged ‘2012’

A Gun Owner on Gun Reform


Gabby Giffords tells Congress ‘Too many children are dying’ from gun violence

Posted by Joann Weiner on January 30, 2013 at 11:47 pm

 On Dec. 14, 2012, after having already killed his mother, a gunman shot and killed 20 little kids and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. On Dec. 11, 2012, a gunman shot and killed two shoppers and wounded another at the Clackamas Town Center Mall near Portland, Ore.. On Aug. 5, 2012, a gunman shot and killed six worshipers and wounded three others in a Sikh temple near Milwaukee, Wis.  On July 20, 2012, a gunman shot and killed 12 people and wounded 58 others in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. On Jan. 8, 2011, a gunman shot and killed six people and wounded Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others in a grocery store’s parking lot in Tucson, Ariz.

These places — a school, a shopping mall, a temple, a movie theater, and a parking lot — aren’t dangerous places. Yet, these 53 kids, teens, and adults who were merely going about their daily lives found that on that one day, their safe place wasn’t so safe anymore.

Perhaps that’s why — finally — two years after their colleague was shot, the U.S. Congress began to try to do something about gun violence in America. On Jan. 30, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to ask the question that so many  Americans desperately want answered: “What should America do about gun violence?”

The need to do something about gun violence is imperative. In 2010, 4,097 children and young adults between the ages of 1 and 24 died after being shot by someone else, according to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In total, 11,078 people died from what the CDC calls an “interpersonal” firearm fatality that year. (It’s often reported thatmore than 30,000 people die in America each year from firearms. Sadly, more than half of those deaths are suicides.)

The experts offered several solutions: conduct more and better background checks for all gun buyers, including those who buy firearms at gun shows, online, and from friends; limit the number of rounds high-capacity devices can shoot before reloading; ban assault weapons; fix the country’s mental-health system; give guns to schoolteachers and station armed guards at schools.

Former astronaut Mark Kelly, whose wife, Gabby Giffords, was shot in the head by a mentally ill young man, wants to make it harder for the mentally ill to purchase guns. “I can’t think of anything that would make our country safer,” Kelly said.

Kelly, a gun-owner himself, said that he and his wife own guns to “defend ourselves, to defend our families, for hunting, and for target shooting.” We’ll “never give up our guns” he said, yet after what happened to his wife, he insists that now is the time to act to reduce gun violence. He and Giffords co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions to try to do exactly that.

Not everyone agreed that guns are the problem. Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association, came to “give voice” to the NRA’s 4.5 million active members. After pointing out that the NRA teaches gun safety and responsibility, he said that rather than banning guns, we should “throw a blanket of security” around our school children and enforce “the thousands of gun laws already on the books.” He insisted that background controls won’t work because “criminals will never submit to them.”

LaPierre doesn’t just oppose background checks. He opposes gun restrictions of any type, including the assault weapons ban that Sen. Diane Feinstein, (D-Calif.), introduced earlier this month. “Gun ownership is a fundamental, God-given right,” LaPierre concluded.

David Kopel, adjunct professor of law at the Denver University College of Law and associate policy analyst at the Cato Institute, generally shared LaPierre’s views. Kopel said that “lawful armed self-defense in the schools, not only by armed guards, but also by teachers” is the only way to stop the violence in schools.

Kopel holds up the state of Utah as a model to emulate. In Utah, adults who pass background checks and complete a safety training class can carry guns — including teachers at schools. For those who worry that teachers might shoot each other or threaten students or that kids might wrestle the guns away from their teachers, Kopel reassured us: “We’ve never had an attack on a Utah school.”

While the experts told us what to do about gun violence, it was former Arizona congresswoman Giffords, who told us why.

“Too many children are dying. Too many children,” Giffords almost whispered, speaking slowly and with difficulty the eight most important words that anyone would utter during the entire four-hour hearing.

Joann Weiner teaches economics at The George Washington University. She has written for Bloomberg, Politics Daily, and Tax Analysts. Follow her on Twitter: @DCEcon.

Are 8 minds always better than 1?

Are 8 minds always better than 1?

Politicians are breaking out all over this week as the 2012 Presidential Election is officially on.  First, there was the Republican Presidential Debate hosted by Brian Williams at the Ronald Reagan Library.  Then Obama’s pitch to Congress to pass his more than 400 billion dollar job creation package NOW.   You can go deep on both by following the links below and in the Daily Dose but just to get your attention – did anyone else notice that Michelle Bachmann wore the same blouse in Simi Valley that she wore for the debates in New Hampshire?  (A nod to austerity or a suspicion her campaign was about to be short lived?) Or that Ron Paul’s stylist needs to tell him to pull the seat of his jacket down so the gap between the back of his neck and the collar of his jacket isn’t an even wider gulf than the US debt?  I admit we have far bigger problems to worry about but on a totally superficial note, there seemed to be a “too worried to pay a tailor or stylist” air to the whole line of ’em.. 

So, who won the Republican debate?  I think it was Mitt Romney – and not by a little but by a lot.  Romney is fighting … and finally cutting through.  He looked positively presidential next to a slightly goofy Rick Perry who was beaming and giving the thumbs up, a little like an 11 year old being praised by his teacher, when Romney mentioned his book, “Fed Up.”  Perry is telegenic and came out slugging but never seemed as cerebral or convincing as Mitt Romney.  His arguments about job creation in Texas did fall flat when you consider his state also has among the largest populations without health insurance and that no other state has as many workers making at or below minimum wage.  And if Americans already thought Republicans were mean, I don’t think it helped when Rick Perry told Brian Williams he hasn’t lost any sleep over the 234 criminals executed under his watch as governor of Texas… and the crowd broke out in cheers!  The exchange that everybody loved was when Perry told Romney Michael Dukakis created jobs 3 times faster than he did and Romney shot right back, “Well, George Bush created them a lot faster in Texas than you did.”  That’s the Romney people have been waiting to see.  Just for fun, I went back and watched the New Hampshire debates and Romney was practically mute that night compared to this debate’s “Mitt This” approach.

The “not wild enough to be a wild card” Jon Huntsman continues to be a favorite if for no other reason, because he is so earnest.  I loved when he beefed up his internationalism by saying he would like to address the Chinese people with a speech he would give in China IN CHINESE.  He also gets kudos for being a Republican who takes global warming seriously – something his rival Romney doesn’t.  And Huntsman gets points for chiding Romney about his aggressive stance on renegotiating trade deals by saying, “It might not be a good idea to start a trade war in the middle of a recession.”

As far as Pawlenty and Santorum, I’m afraid they are morphing into the same candidate for me.  The whole time Gingrich was talking, I couldn’t get the song, “I’m still Standing” out of my head!  He has a sort of pasty, days of old look on his face but if you get past his likeability factor, he is saying some really smart things, like that this campaign has to be about more than the Presidency, it has to be about electing legislators who will support the President’s agenda to address our economic woes.  And that NASA needs to get out of the way and let private industry innovate and execute the future of space.  And you can mock Herman Cain’s candidacy but you have to appreciate his one liners.  I’m still laughing at “the Stimulus Plan didn’t stimulate diddly.”  But I loved last night’s 9-9-9 tax plan (9% income tax, 9 % corporate tax, 9% sales tax) because if 10% is good enough for God, 9 percent should be good enough for the Federal Government.