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What to Do About Guns?

In the aftermath of two mass shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin, Bay Area lawmakers and gun rights activists disagree on how to proceed.

 

The  of six people over the weekend at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin was the second mass-murder committed using firearms in the United States within two weeks. The temple shooting followed in mid-July which killed 12 people and wounded nearly 60.

The two recent attacks have raised the question of how best to prevent incidents such as these from occurring in the future.

California Democratic lawmakers such as Sen. Leland Yee contend that the best way to prevent mass shootings is by creating stricter regulations on the purchase of weapons, particularly assault weapons and semi-automatic weapons which have the potential to exert the greatest damage.

Yee recently introduced , a bill to limit the damage that can be caused by semi-automatic weapons and assault weapons. The intent, Yee says, is to prevent weapons from being easily reloaded with multiple rounds of ammunition.

Join this conversation in about the potential ban on the "bullet button" Yee's bill could bring.

“While most gun owners are law-abiding, it is a fact that such weapons are more likely to be used to kill an innocent person than used in self-defense," Yee said. "One only needs to look at England, Japan, and other nations with strict gun access to see that these types of gun control laws are effective in preventing gun-related homicides."

His bill has recently gained support from other Democratic politicians including Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Adam Keigwin, Senator Yee’s spokesperson, added that this is only one of many steps needed to reduce gun violence.

Other steps needed, according to Keigwin, include mandatory psychological treatment such as anti-depressant drugs, which would decrease the likelihood of a person in a volatile state from committing a violent crime.

Keigwin stressed that while Democratic lawmakers such as Yee support second-amendment rights including ownership of hunting rifles and other single-shot weapons, "the type of weapons on the market today are too harmful to be available to anyone," he said.

“Our founding fathers could not have imagined the weapons that exist today,” Keigwin added.

Gun rights activists such as Scott Jackson strongly disagree with the regulatory approach being pursued by Democrats.

According to Jackson, the chief instructor for the Bay Area Firearms Training Group, blaming guns for mass killings is akin to blaming cars for vehicle accidents.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” said Jackson.

Jackson stressed that psychoactive drugs are actually the cause of mass murders, rather than the solution.

“Every horrific crime is because people are on anti-depressants and psychoactive drugs,” Jackson said, adding that both the shooters in Colorado and Wisconsin were on such drugs during the time of the shooting.

Jackson contends that the reason drugs are framed as the solution rather than the problem is due to the money in the pharmaceutical industry.

“Pharmaceutical companies are liars and corrupt. They buy off senators and congressmen,” said Jackson.

Jackson said the ideal solution to gun violence is two-fold.

First, Jackson claims that allowing concealed weapons will act as a deterrent to potential shooters.

Jackson points out an example of a church shooting in which, after the first shot was fired from the shooter, an armed parishioner returned fire, killing the shooter and potentially preventing a massacre.

Second, Jackson says media outlets must refrain from publicizing information about the shooters, as it encourages copy-cat killing.

Jackson offered Canada as an example, where the media does not publish information about shooters; rather they are discretely tried and sent to prison.

“We have to stop making an idol of these kind of people,” said Jackson.

Both Yee and Jackson point to statistics on how their ideas of increased regulations or decreased regulations respectively can decrease homicide rates substantially.

 

Which solution do you agree with? Or do you disagree with both? Share your thoughts in the comments, and see our article on , where you can vote in our poll and join the conversation already taking place.

 

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Andrew August 10, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Wow... so there are a couple of shootings and now the Gov't wants to tighten up the laws. Of course... Like I said in another article, "Stay away from our gun laws".
Andrew August 10, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Also, if someone had a concealed weapon on them during the shootings, then there would have been waaaay less damage. But I guess protecting yourself is illegal...
Ed August 10, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Adam Keigwin is a charlatan. Plain and simple. Let's look to alcohol prohibition as an analogy. When alcohol was banned in the United States alcohol-based crime increased, organized cartels formed to provide the now-illicit substance, and end users took advantage of legal exceptions to still obtain alcohol (i.e. the 'medicinal' exception). You had a society plagued with crime. Did alcohol cause the crime? Clearly not. Illegal enterprise, driven by *individual criminals* and *criminal enterprise* caused the crime. Both the law-abiding and the criminal elements of society went underground, the law-abiding to obtain their alcohol, the criminals to peddle it at great profit. The cost in lives became irrelevant to the criminal, just like today. This is feel-good, do-nothing legislation, the justification for which is full of lies.
Ed August 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Unfortunately, I also find Patch giving far too much space to mouthpieces like Keigwin and Yee (gun control shills, at the worst). Would it hurt the editorial staff to read some factual information, like the papers by John Lott, before delving into a subject about which they clearly know little or nothing at all? Finally, has no one considered that the man who stood against the 1st Amendment (Yee, Video Games) and lost, is now going after another Civil Right? And one of the outcomes will be to potentially disarm thousands of law-abiding minorities - Asian, Black and even gay members of society. The perception that gun owners are white, redneck, pickup truck-driving dimwits is false. Does no one care about the disparate impact on non-white persons in California? Or are they just acceptable collateral damage in Yee's plan?
Andrew August 10, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Yeah I agree. Also, the money that was used to buy the alcohol never made it to the Gov't and it probably went out of the USA. The US doesn't make much stuff anymore, but if the gov't limits or even bans one of the products we produce then our economy will suffer even more.
How many more Columbines??? August 11, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Patch, you are quoting a gun dealer on link between anti-depressants and mass murder? Perhaps you should have interviewed a psychiatrist to get their opinion on the merits of the Ar15 assault rifle. Just because some idiot makes a statement outside his area of expertise doesn't mean you have to print it.
Nancy Azevedo October 09, 2012 at 05:08 AM
AGREED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Charles January 23, 2013 at 08:02 PM
CA school district buys 14 military-grade weapons to defend against shootings http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/01/23/ca-school-district-buys-14-military-grade-weapons-to-defend-against-shootings/#.UQAq98pzhwM.twitter

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