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Should Congress Enact Tougher Gun Laws?

The shootings in Aurora, CO, last week raise questions about gun laws for armor-piercing bullets, magazines and assault weapons.

In the wake of the shooting in Aurora, CO, some officials are calling again for tougher gun laws.

Baltimore County, MD, police Chief James Johnson and other law enforcement officers spoke at the National Press Club this week, supporting the notion that a high-capacity magazine like one used in the Aurora shooting “simply has no place in civilian hands,” according an article in the Los Angeles Times.

“It is ridiculous to argue that hunters or civilians who own weapons for self-defense need a 100-round drum magazine,” he said in the LA Times. “As we have seen, people don’t stand a chance against this kind of firepower.”

Police say the weapons and ammunition used by Aurora shooting suspect James E. Holmes were legally purchased.

Some officials are pushing for background checks and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said earlier this week that police officers across the nation should threaten to go "on strike" to press for more restrictions on armor-piercing bullets. Later, Bloomberg backed off that statement somewhat, noting that police in New York are not permitted to strike.

Legislation targeting ammunition magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds was introduced after the shooting of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in Tucson, but the measure has languished for more than a year in Congress.

Take our poll. Should Congress enact tougher gun laws to prevent citizens from owning assault weapons, armor-piercing bullets or high-capacity magazines?

Isabella Valentine July 31, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Well said Michael. To quote Thomas Jefferson "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government".
Jarhead1982 August 01, 2012 at 02:09 AM
1. Because its cool looking 2. Because it increases in value over time, expecially as the antis keep playing their stupid games making it a safe long term investment 3. Because it pisses the anti's off so much that I have them 4. Because it is fun to shoot 5. Because of bad shoulders, it is necessary to have the firearm cycle itself rather than I pumping the action, cycling a bolt or reloading a side by side quickly when shooting doves, waterfowl, or prairie dogs, or pigeons, or a followup shot on a running deer in thick cover, etc, etc, etc, etc making the hunting experience more enjoyable. 6. See # 3 again. 7. Because many of my friends thinks its cool and fun! 8. See # 3 again. 9. Because it reduces the decibel report enough so the neighbors dont get pissed when I practice or take care of an offending woodchuck., oh wait, we are not talking about suppressors are we? You know, that class3 device that many anti gun nations in Europe require gun owners to have and use as it reduces the noise of practice, naw, that would be too enlightened for the anti's here. 10. See # 3 again. 11. Most importantly because I can. Now if you dont like that, TJTFB.
Jarhead1982 August 01, 2012 at 02:12 AM
We are a constitutional republic, not a democracy and we WILL NOT allow a stupid f##$%^^g mob of idiots vote on whether or not we LAWFULLY EXERCISE OUR RIGHTS. Is that plain enough or does this need explained in a more tactless way?
Jarhead1982 August 01, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Wrapped up in your depends? ;)
cecil resident August 01, 2012 at 02:17 AM
very well stated Isabella I have forgotten all about the quote from Thomas Jefferson and it says it all no need to say more.
MSgt. John DeLallo August 01, 2012 at 07:13 AM
Gary: Taking your argument to its most logical conclusion, then, We the People, regardless of our level of training in psychology, should be turning in friends, neighbors, and family members if we think they are a bit "odd". From there, we could turn in our neighbors because they practice a religion that makes us uncomfortable, or perhaps because they champion political positions that are socialist; or too far to the right? Maybe we should write down the license number of every car we see breaking the vehicle code? In the late 70's and early 80's, this experiment was tried in Argentina under the dictatorship of General Gualtieri. Those reported as being communists were summarily arrested by the secret police, and never heard from again. They are known now as the desaparacedos--the disappeared ones.
Isabella Valentine August 01, 2012 at 08:40 AM
Ed M - The answer to your question, Why does the ordinary American citizen need to own a semi or automatice weapon" To resist government tyranny.
Isabella Valentine August 01, 2012 at 08:56 AM
To answer your question Outraged, No the Constitution does not define 'arms'. However, other writings of the Founding Fathers mention 'arms' in many contexts. The most used common law definition is man-portable weapons.
Ed M August 01, 2012 at 11:02 AM
The typical answers. Just because you can own something doesn't mean you need to own something. And, as expected, there were the inane comparisons to breathing and eating and drinking water. I have no problem with people owning weapons. I just don't see the need to own a semi or automatic weapon. Need = requirement, obligation
Jarhead1982 August 01, 2012 at 11:17 AM
Ok, we get it, closet Nazis believe rights that are a choice are a mandated obligation that everyone MUST do them, a position totalitarion minds seem fixated on, we get it we get it. We get you are also too stoopid to discern the difference between choice and a need. We understand you are too stoopid to understand we dont give a hoot about what you think others want. We understand you are too stoopid to acquire the authority to do anything about it, much less change the US Constitution & BOR. We understand you will whine about your inability to discern these differences until you die because you are stoopid. Uh do you want us all to send you some cheese to go with that annoying childish whine you seem destined to have the rest of your life? Step #8 -go back to step #3
Ed M August 01, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I understand quite well, Jarhead. You seem to be the one who thinks need and choice are the same thing. Just because you can doesn't mean you need to. And again the typical name calling and berating comes out. BTW Jarhead, are you gonna eat with that mouth?
Outraged Citizen August 01, 2012 at 02:49 PM
@Ed – I think we understand your point regarding the difference between need and want. I get you believe that ownership of a semi or fully automatic weapon is unnecessary and you are having a difficult time understanding why another citizen would choose to own one. I’m not so sure you understand the point regarding a citizen’s right to determine his/her own wants or needs. Given this right, why would a citizen have to justify ownership of a legal firearm to you anymore than you would need to justify to me ownership of legal property I find unnecessary?
Michael D. Settles August 01, 2012 at 03:33 PM
". . . it should be up to the federal government to decide what type of weapons we are legally allowed to own." Exactly the attitude the eletists wish to foster - to keep the Great Unwashed in line 'cause they know what's best for us. However, just the OPPOSITE idea to that encouraged by the founders (and all the men and women who sacrificed their lives to give us this Republic) - the idea that We the People are Sovereign, and to maintain that they guaranteed (through the Bill of Rights) that Governments could NOT put limits on the our means to keep THEM in line. Yet we have allowed them to talk us into putting limits on those "means", haven't we? Your arguments do nothing more than show that you have succumbed to the progressive drugs they put into your koolaid.
Jarhead1982 August 01, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Poor ED, what about "you dont have any say in what I do or dont do dont you understand"? Why do you believe you have a say? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? Oh yeah already covered why, cause your too stoopid or maybe its hardheaded to understand! Ed, we dont know how to fix your brand of stupidity, really we dont. Thats not name calling, thats just the facts.
Gary August 01, 2012 at 08:32 PM
John, if I thought the religious group next door to me was preaching about my destruction or a political group was advocating a huge upset to my way of life, I probably would report it. If a car comes speeding down my street in the middle of the afternoon with my children playing about, or I see a vehicle weaving all over the road I probably would report it. And if I thought someone with the propensity to walk into my kids class room and shoot them up with an AK-47, I would probably want to put a stop to it. Then again I could just take matters into my own hands and become judge, jury and executioner all in rolled into one I guess. And how much easier that would be when I can obtain almost any kind of fire-power I desire. And Jarhead I think it would be rather "stoopid" of my to debate with you.
Ed M August 01, 2012 at 08:55 PM
"and again, own a car that does more than 55 mph. WHY DO YOU NEED THAT....WHY?" Because the speed limit on most interstates in PA is 65 mph and in other states it's higher than 65 mph. How's that!
Ed M August 01, 2012 at 09:02 PM
My brand of stupidity Jarhead????? So the only answer you have is because it's your right to own a semi or automatic weapon? That is one sad reason. When all else fails, resort to name calling. Typical radical.
Guy Fawkes USC August 01, 2012 at 09:39 PM
"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed one." - Thomas Jefferson
Isabella Valentine August 01, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Well Ed M, that is the typical answer because that IS the answer. It's the ONLY answer, like it or not. The founding fathers didn't include the 2nd amendment to make hunters happy. They were clearly visionaries, unlike the leadership of today.
Billy Nardozzi August 02, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Bob; We "must" I repeat "must" have "Jesus" in "any" conversation that has to do with violence.... Why??? Because If we "all" conducted ourselves the way "Jesus" did; There would be "no violence"!!!......Do we "all" agree?
Roger August 02, 2012 at 12:42 AM
The "... put down our guns ..." argument reveals the extent to which Eastern Mysticism has infiltrated the thinking of our citizens.
Ed M August 02, 2012 at 02:33 AM
That makes no sense Isabella.
Dantheman2 August 02, 2012 at 03:39 PM
I don't necessarily like it, but our constitution says and our highest court has affirmed many times that people have a right to own guns with a relatively narrow set of exceptions. Fighting the 2nd amendment has been useless and has only given people a reason to donate money to the NRA. If it were my choice, I'd have the Democrats give up on the issue completely because they won't make any progress. With that being said, in an ideal world where people are rational, there are some laws that could reduce gun violence. Mandating that people report lost or stolen guns would be a good start. People shouldn't be able to sell their gun on the street and then tell police they just lost that gun when it shows up two years later in a shooting.
Erin Conners August 02, 2012 at 04:39 PM
What seems to be missing from this thread is any discussion of legislation that has recently gained media attention having to do with private gun ownership. ie: Is anyone actually trying to take away your guns? eg: Arms Trade Treaty was a really big issue this past week, and the NRA is falsely claiming some sort of victory over the Obama administration. I posted a blog about it. I just really wish that before people started pulling a Heston, they would actually read about any attempts on their gun rights. I see a lot of talk about the 2nd Amendment and hypothetical gun grabs. Much of this seems to be fueled from the attempts at polarization by our favorite partisan news sources. Very frustrating...It is similar to these cries for "FREEDOM!" without the talk about what is currently taking away which freedom. We have a tendency to get fired up before we know what we are fired up about..I do it too.
Outraged Citizen August 02, 2012 at 05:32 PM
@Erin – You know I love you, but the article is titled “Should Congress Enact Tougher Gun Laws?” I think speaking in the abstract or the hypothetical is appropriate given the topic.
Erin Conners August 02, 2012 at 05:48 PM
@Outraged - Then we will agree to disagree, as I do not think speaking in the abstract about government legislation is ever appropriate. Breeds misinformation and fear mongering. The fault is not in the question. I read the question and was inspired to read up on what is actually being discussed in congress right now, researched for hours and hours, and wrote an article (rather than try to respond in this mess). Therefore the question inspired digging for facts inside of reality and not raging against a machine that does not exist (yet...I am no prophet...Ha.). It was inspiration that I need too. National gun regulation is not really a big issue for me. USA involvement in international arms dealing is. So I thank this article for giving me that direction, and I my cyber eye roll stands over the response. I don't like when people are afraid or filled with rage against their govt without really knowing why. It makes me sad. :)
Erin Conners August 02, 2012 at 05:51 PM
That came off kind of self-righteous, and I did not mean it to be. I love discourse on politics and anything that encourages it. I just wish the conversations most typically had would be a little more relevant to reality. there is a lot of good information here...so how does it apply to actual legislation being discussed? The Arms Trade Treaty is huge! Obama's opposition should bring up a lot of attention and inquiry into the USA as the largest international arms dealer in the world! but I already wrote like 5 pages on the topic, so I will stop myself there. ;)
Outraged Citizen August 02, 2012 at 06:21 PM
@Erin – You never need to feel bad about coming off as self righteous. I hope you are willing to admit that all legislation (or the need for all legislation) is abstract until it is drafted, debated, amended, debated again, voted on and signed into law. The abstract is the birth place of legislation/public policy. To say the abstract has no place ever in discussions about the government would stifle it to a standstill. Wait a second, that might not be a bad idea. Ha! The topic of this thread is, “Should Congress Enact Tougher Gun Laws?” It’s natural that those who believe Congress should to suggest what those tougher laws might look like. It’s also natural for those who oppose to explain why tougher laws are not needed. Do these discussions become heated, yes they do. Do they get personal, you betcha! That’s what is great about issues that inspire such passion in participants. It is through this crucible that we get to the root of the issues and thoughts are laid bare.
cecil resident January 15, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Have you notice 99% of the people who are against guns and want stronger guns laws are the same people that are being protected by people carrying guns. Now that want to make the laws tougher so that I can't protect my family and home.
MSgt. John DeLallo January 16, 2013 at 03:50 PM
Yup, most of us have noted that politico's kids in D.C. go to a school with 12 armed guards. Most of us have noted that Bloomberg goes nowhere without a security detail. Most of us have noted that lifetime Secret Service protection extends to all living Presidents of the U.S. Worse, most of us have noted the specious arguments about "high cap magazines". My AR came from the factory with a 20 round and a 30 round mag. That would be "standard capacity", no? Interjecting hysteria into discussions about guns is the modus operandi of anti gunners. God forbid that facts, such as how many crimes are prevented each year by good guys with firearms, get in the way of an anti gun rant. If you are asking if many politicians are hypocrites, I guess the answer would be yes.

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