End the Gun Epidemic in America: Model Gun Laws on Abortion Laws
December 8, 2015 The New York Times Editorial Board & The Daily Kos
Commentary: "It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war." Meanwhile, in Missouri, Democratic State Rep. Stacey Newman has proposed a bill that would "require anyone buying a gun to follow the restrictions required of women seeking abortions, including a 72-hour waiting period."
End the Gun Epidemic in America It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency The New York Times Editorial Board
(December 4, 2015) -- All decent people feel sorrow and righteous fury about the latest slaughter of innocents, in California. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies are searching for motivations, including the vital question of how the murderers might have been connected to international terrorism. That is right and proper.
But motives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.
It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection.
America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.
Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.
But at least those countries are trying. The United States is not. Worse, politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically -- eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.
It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.
Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.
What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?
(December 3, 2015) -- A Missouri state representative has pre-filed a bill that would make it as difficult to buy a gun as it is to get an abortion. According to St. Louis Magazine, Democratic State Rep. Stacey Newman's bill would "require anyone buying a gun to follow the restrictions required of women seeking abortions, including a 72-hour waiting period."
Newman is a longtime advocate for common-sense gun laws, and also a pro-choice activist, which makes her a fish out of water in the predominantly right-wing-Republican Missouri legislature, where she is regularly subjected to jeers, sneers and outright insults. Still, she has courageously drafted House Bill 1397, which states that before Missourians can buy a gun, they will have to:
* Meet with a licensed physician to discuss the risks of gun ownership at least 72 hours before attempting to buy a gun and obtain a written notice approval.
* Buy the gun from a licensed gun dealer located at least 120 miles from the purchaser's legal residence.
* Review the medical risks associated with firearms, including photographs of fatal firearm injuries, and the alternatives to purchasing a firearm, including "materials about peaceful and nonviolent conflict resolution," with the gun dealer orally and in writing.
* Watch a 30-minute video about fatal firearm injuries. (This requirement mirrors House Bill 124 from last year, which would have required women to watch a video with information about abortion they're already required to receive from doctors orally and in writing.)
* Tour an emergency trauma center at the nearest qualified urban hospital on a weekend between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when gun violence victims are present, and get written verification from a doctor.
* Meet with at least two families who have been victims of gun violence and two local faith leaders who have officiated, within the last year, a funeral for a victim of gun violence who was under the age of 18.
In a state where Republican legislators loudly position themselves as "pro-life" and insist on ever-increasing restrictions on abortion -- a constitutionally protected medical procedure -- her bill calls their bluff by applying those restrictions equally to the "constitutionally protected" right to bear arms.
In a press release, Newman explained the rationale behind her proposed bill:
If we truly insist that Missouri cares about 'all life', then we must take immediate steps to address our major cities' rising rates of gun violence. Popular proposals among voters, including universal background checks and restricting weapons from abusers and convicted felons, are consistently ignored each session.
Since restrictive policies regarding a constitutionally protected medical procedure are the GOP's legislative priority each year, it makes sense that their same restrictions apply to those who may commit gun violence.
It's clever. It's in-your-face. Maybe it's even a bit tongue in cheek. And, of course, it's doomed to fail in the legislature. But it makes a great point, doesn't it? What a brilliant idea.
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