Prospects for New Gun Laws

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Newtown, Conn., town hall, near the Sandy Hook Elementary School. The Newtown, Conn., town hall, near the Sandy Hook Elementary School. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Richard Dunham, Washington correspondent for the Houston Chronicle & Hearst Newspapers, talks about the president's call for legislation to stem gun violence and the changing politics of gun control.


Richard Dunham

Comments [46]

adam merchant from florida

I am a gun owner and I am also a father of three elementary school students. I believe that the tools of massacre should not be blamed for the masasacre. If we got all up in arms every time someone was stabbed our would would be full of bite sized food. Just. Remember if we allow the government to intercede in our private lives were will be in ten years. These proposed laws may not be the ones that disarm our citizens but they set the ground work. People have to face the facts that we live in a world where there are people who will do us harm anyway they can and will not be stopped by laws. It seems like every time one of these massacres occurs the perpetrators are not around to be punished and we as a society still go on with a trial of sorts.

Dec. 21 2012 12:53 PM

@Peg: government bans actually raise the valuation of said banned items, so, it's less of an incentive for me to let go of it. the price of fully automatic pre-1986 firearms have skyrocketed ever since the public was banned from owning them.

Dec. 20 2012 02:24 PM

Re: Clyde If you can actually get someone to pay you $35000 for the antique gun - go for it! Don't wait for your investment to become worthless - sell it now while you can.

Good Luck getting the appraised value

Dec. 20 2012 02:05 PM

There is no reason why I shouldn't be allowed to have the equivalent firearms that our gov't is permitted to have. They'll have to disarm themselves first before the public is ever expected to disarm. We cannot have an institution that has a monopoly on firearms to go unchecked.

Dec. 20 2012 01:26 PM

@Dennis from NJ:
I have a pre-ban fully automatic tommy gun that's worth $35,000.
How will your gubment "compensate" me?

Dec. 20 2012 01:14 PM
Dennis from NJ

Even if a ban on assault rifles were enacted tomorrow, vast numbers would still be out there for use/misuse. It is imperative - as politically unrealistic it may seem - that assault weapons already purchased be required to be turned in and owners appropriately compensated.

Dec. 20 2012 12:17 PM

Steve - i agree... To go further - really there is also no reason for anyone to have stockpiles of guns either. There is no reason to have handguns that can fire so many rounds either. If protecting one's home requires a handgun that can fire as many shots as those the shooter in CT had.. then they live in a very dangerous place. Nor do I know person who go hunting that shoot deer with a handgun. They use rifles (the non assault type) or shotguns depending on the game. The reason handguns are the main usage in street crime is because they are easily carried and can still let go a good number shots... which incidentally is the reason the police issue them to officers.

Dec. 20 2012 11:47 AM

to: Jf from Ny
"All the guns are registered."

No, no they are not.

Unlicensed dealers do not enforce gun registration laws.

Dec. 20 2012 11:46 AM

An oversimplified gun control suggestion:
1. Anyone who owns a military style high velocity/capicity semi-automatic weapons must join a well regulated state sponsored militia. No possession of military style weapons allowed w/o membership.
2. Military style weapons must be stored in a locked metal cabinet. An owner would be held strictly liable for all harm caused by mis-use by anyone unless s/he reports it stolen w/in 30 minutes of learning of the theft.
3. All sales of firearms must have a background check, including private sales and gun shows.

Dec. 20 2012 11:39 AM

Who do you think steers the media's direction away from pharmaceutical drugs every time there's a mass murder?

All the gunmen in mass shootings have been on or off prescription medication.
Why is there never a discussion on that? Maybe some entities have a vested interest in not permitting this dialog to take place?

Dec. 20 2012 11:38 AM
Steve Guttenberg from Brooklyn

The second amendment, the right to bear arms, doesn't specify or limit the arms. So why can't we buy a tank or grenade launcher? Maybe a nuke, why not? Because that would be insane. Just as permitting assault rifles is.

Dec. 20 2012 11:37 AM

If my brother were a scientist studying to biohazards and wanted to bring a vial of his current research to a party I would not let him do it.

Dec. 20 2012 11:37 AM
Harvey Bernstein from Westchester NY (WNYC)

Let's face it, the South never thought the 2nd amendment applied to black men. Black men with concealed weapons were considered a threat and could be charged with a crime. White men with weapons on any type were just enforcing the status quo.

Dec. 20 2012 11:37 AM

For the person who wants to bring a concealable handgun into NYS & doesn't have an NYS license - Don't. It's illegal & subjects you to substantial penalties. Read the "Sullivan Law". NYC is a special and more restrictive case.

Dec. 20 2012 11:36 AM
SE in NJ from South Brunswick NJ

To those who say the answer is more guns or arm the teachers, the true answer is look at the Fort Hood military massacre a few years ago where 13 soldiers were killed. If they cannot respond to a shooter with a gun who can????

Dec. 20 2012 11:34 AM

Tell your brother to F*K-off.

Dec. 20 2012 11:30 AM
Ali from Brooklyn

Regarding the caller whose nephew is hell bent on bringing a gun to the family Christmas get together, I feel that the nephew should be uninvited. Period. If he insists on bringing a gun, he shouldn't be welcomed.

Dec. 20 2012 11:30 AM

I woul let the brother bring a gun, but leave his bullets at home.

Dec. 20 2012 11:30 AM
JR from NYC

Your brother should tell your nephew to leave the gun at home. Why does he need it at a holiday party??

Dec. 20 2012 11:29 AM
RJ from prospect hts

In NYS we have Timothy's Law around mental health, after a teenager who couldn't get mental health help committed suicide. After insurance industry lobbying, the law says that the only ones who can get unlimited outpatient mental health care was limited to 7 "medically based" mental health problems--very very limiting and complicated to prove.

Dec. 20 2012 11:29 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

If that caller's brother is planning to land in /La Guardia/JFK, and does not have a NYC permit - he will be arrested.

Dec. 20 2012 11:28 AM

Whoever throws the party, makes the rules

Dec. 20 2012 11:28 AM

Everyone- plz watch youtube video "Proof that Concealed Carry permit holders live in a dream world"

Dec. 20 2012 11:28 AM
Gene from S Jersey

I went into Camden NJ 25 years ago to meet a nurse at a bar outside the nursing shool.

While I was getting from my car I was held up by a 15 year old savage. He pointed a BIG pistol at me. I gave him my wallet and he ran.

If I had a gun I'm pretty sure i would've shot him (in the back) as he ran.

I have no desire to live in "The Wild West".

So I don't have guns and avoid areas where I'd need one!

Dec. 20 2012 11:26 AM
ramatu from Queens

When I first heard of armed teachers in schools my first thought went to Trayvon Martin and the other young man recently killed in Florida. With Black boys always deemed the most threatening, I could foresee cases of them feeling the brunt of such a ridiculous policy.

Dec. 20 2012 11:25 AM
Martin Basher from Brooklyn

Could it be possible to legislate for mandatory insurance for guns? You cant drive without insurance, why not make it the same for guns? Like a fast car, assault rifles would be much more expensive, young men would be higher risk, and all gun owners would have to operate within a much more comprehensive network of checks and balances.

Dec. 20 2012 11:25 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Joe said guns should be kept out of the hands of mentally ill people via background checks, but how many people have undiagnosed mental illnesses? They wouldn't be detected on a background check. (And again, that's too broad: not every kind of mental illness predisposes a person to violence.)

Dec. 20 2012 11:24 AM
desdemona finch from Boulder, CO

If you're on meds, you should be prohibited from owning a firearm because you're allegedly more likely to go ballistic ? What kind of meds? What if I have bad toe fungus or I'm training for the Tour De France. What if I'm on steroids? Would that count? And how would you regulate that? Some people just snap right then and there without warning. It sounds like it would be easier to limit the types of weapons we can bear. I say muskets should be the only legal firearms. Killing should take work. It shouldn't be made easy. Maybe if it were hard, fewer people would do it.

Dec. 20 2012 11:23 AM
LIZ from Weston CT

Live near Newtown. Drive past Wooster Mountain Shooting Range, where Lanzas reputedly went, often. Wondered about women in the upscale suburbs and guns, did some research.

CBS News story (8-20-2012), “Packing Heat: Statistics Show Number of Female Gun Owners On The Rise,” cites a Gallup poll where 23 percent of women reported they are gun owners, up from 13 percent in 2005. Based on polls and gun sale statistics, an estimated 15 to 20 million American women pack heat.

Figured it was a suburban thing. Not so. Women in NYC are packing heat, too! Shocking how guns are targeted to women as fashionable, sexy, cool. Shameful.

In an article in the New York Post (5-18-2011), “Hot Shots,” Stefanie Cohen writes, “Forget cocktails at Pastis. The new girls’ night out is packing heat.” The Westside Pistol & Rifle Range in Chelsea is the setting for these popular nights out, which are always sold out.

Dec. 20 2012 11:23 AM
Morgen from Brooklyn

I do like the idea of restricting gun owners to flint locks, powder horns and gun cotton... not sure why that's "ludicrous" exactly. Ludicrous in the other extreme, could we imagine Rick Perry advocating shoulder-mounted RPG's in the classroom in case of drone attacks? Every citizen gets their own backyard ICBM silo?

Dec. 20 2012 11:23 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Thanks, callers, for illustrating how nuanced this issue is and the various angles an adequate, comprehensive vetting must consider.

Dec. 20 2012 11:21 AM
Brian from UWS

repeal the Second Amendment

Dec. 20 2012 11:21 AM

Please ask Mr. Dunham to describe the people who are authorized to carry concealed weapons and the requirements for being licensed. Also, is there data on how those guns have been used to date: are they always used safely and legally? have they been effective in stopping criminal activity?

Dec. 20 2012 11:21 AM
Jf from Ny

All the guns are registered. They know who has them they know where they are.get them. Take them from cops too.they can use tranquilizers. What are we mideval?cops and securities with juge and jury what happened to due process!!!

Dec. 20 2012 11:19 AM

The very definition of totalitarianism.

"What wouldn’t you do to get back one of the children slain last week in their picture-perfect elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut? Nothing that I can think of."

Luckily her motive is good, if not blessed.
Not like those cheap politicians
who seek only to "make the trains run on time"

Dec. 20 2012 11:17 AM

Can we stop referring to guns in general.
Let’s talk about hand guns & hunting rifles on one hand and weapons of war on the other hand. Just like I can’t bring a grenade launcher to the mall I shouldn’t be able to shoot someone 20 times in ten seconds, unless im a soldier in the US military

Dec. 20 2012 11:16 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Well Joshua, I don't know but if the 2nd amendment vaguely said that citizens have the "right to bear arms" - why just guns? A handgun or an ak-47, is useless against a drone.

Dec. 20 2012 11:15 AM
Morgen Fleisig from Brooklyn, NY

Re: Rick Perry's Latest Comment:

'As law professor Adam Winkler has found, 10 states passed laws in the 1800s barring the possession of concealed weapons.

One of them was Texas, the lodestar of the gun-rights movement today. But as the Lone Star governor said in 1893, “the mission of the concealed weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, law abiding man.” '

Christian Science Monitor, Opinion: "Sandy Hook massacre: The NRA's gun 'rights' are a fabrication of modern times"

Dec. 20 2012 11:14 AM

@RCBU.. Don't follow u exactly. Don't the laws have to be interrupted in the light of modernization? I am strictly making this argument as a hypothetical as I am anti-gun.

Dec. 20 2012 11:13 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Bring back the old "zip guns" of the 1950s. They were made out of rubber bands.

Dec. 20 2012 11:12 AM

A handgun made in 1972 can kill a criminal just as easily as a Bushmaster gun made in 2012. There is no rational justification for civilians to own semiautomatic guns. Gun activists clearly have unresolved emotional issues that need to be addressed. Brian should discuss this topic with a psychologist.

Dec. 20 2012 11:09 AM
NK from nyc

this moment in gun time reminds me of Naomi Klein's book THE SHOCK DOCTRINE.
I know she comes at it from a different angle, but people wait for a moment of crisis for reforms to take place.

Dec. 20 2012 11:09 AM

If teachers are required to carry guns, we'll lose MANY excellent teachers who will refuse the mandate.

Dec. 20 2012 11:08 AM

I still say, if "they" are reluctant to control the guns, then control the ammunition. No one needs multi-bullet clips, cop-killer, exploding bullets to hunt.

Ms. Lanza (the mother) had what, six guns in her home - incl semi-automatics, none of these kept her safe in the end, she was killed by her own weapons.

Dec. 20 2012 10:53 AM
RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

@Joshua - Why should anyone take the time? The proposition ("Only weapons that existed at the time of the passage of the Second Amendment should be permitted.") is ludicrous on its face. Only religions existing at the time of the passage of the First Amendment are permitted? Only methods of publishing that existed in 1790 are free from censorship? Just nutty.

The rub of the actual conflict is does the Second Amendment apply to a states' rights to form and arm militias OR does it apply to the individual citizens that make up the militia. During most of our history, legal decisions have held the former. (There are plenty of laws - weapons exclusions, carry permits, etc. that regulate what individuals can own and carry with them) Modern lae, (see Columbia v. Heller) has been on the side of the latter.

This massacre may put some sanity back into the argument.

Dec. 20 2012 10:45 AM
Joshua from Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Hoping during the show someone speaks to the idea of relativity regarding the 2nd Amendment as relates to the sort of weapon a militia would of had at the time of its writing and what would be more realistic now. Applying old types of weapons on a modern era would be turning a blind eye to the obliviousness of the modern states of warfare and leaves the bill an empty shell, a vestige of a time gone past but not actually applicable to the era we are in. I am not a gun advocate nor user but its seems this is a interesting and important issue about "updating" interpretations of the founders ideas.

Dec. 20 2012 10:08 AM

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