Flyover: National gun control debate heats up, again

Fifty-nine people were killed and well over 500 were wounded when a man showered bullets into a crowd of concertgoers from the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel. While the number of people affected by this shooting is unprecedented, mass shootings in America are not. The New York Times editorial board framed the aftermath of the tragedy in Las Vegas starkly with this headline: "477 days. 521 mass shootings. Zero action from Congress." The last major push for gun reform fizzled in 2013 on partisan fault lines. The proposed legislation, formed as a reaction to Sandy Hook, was criticized for politicizing the event — a common refrain after many mass shootings. While America is deeply divided on the place of guns in society, there are some gun control proposals that have support from both gun-owning and non-gun-owning Americans alike.So, why do all of our conversations about gun control in the U.S. lead to dead-ends? This week on Flyover, a conversation about the division between Americans who count gun ownership as a fundamental freedom and those who feel that there should be more rules around who has the right to exercise that freedom.

  • The Las Vegas shooter bought his guns legally, including the 19 more he had at his home in Mesquite, Nevada. In his hotel room, he had a dozen “bump stock” devices, which are legal and make it so rifles can fire continuously, similar to an automatic weapon. 
     
    In fact, many perpetrators of recent mass shootings buy their guns legally.
     
    What are some solutions for stopping events like these? 
     
  • Related reading: The untraceable, 'Ghost' handgun

     
    Defense Distributed, a gun-rights advocacy group, is pushing back on gun regulation laws and making firearms available to anyone — so long as they build the gun at home, Wired reports. Defense Distributed released a computer-controlled milling machine to manufacture its latest technology, the Ghost Gunner. The Ghost Gunner is “a concealable, untraceable, and entirely unregulated metal handgun.” California has taken action to outlaw these guns, but there are no regulations on a federal level. From Wired:

    “Under current US law, every other part of the gun, from its barrel to its slide to its tiny firing pin, can be ordered online with no questions asked. Making that one element at home means the entire process of assembling a working weapon requires no identification, no background check, no waiting period, not even a serial number that would allow the Department of Justice to track the gun's existence.”
  • Related reading: More guns, more violence


    Over 30 peer-reviewed studies found that an increased presence in gun ownership leads to an increase in violence, reports Scientific American. However, in cities like Kennesaw, Ga. the head of every home is required to own a gun, even though the guns have only rarely been used for self-defense. Despite research, residents believe that it is the behavior, not the gun that is the problem. Read SciAm's full article, "More Guns Do Not Stop More Crimes, Evidence Shows"
  • Father of shooting victim not mad at gunman. “I’m not mad at the gunman. He didn’t know my daughter. He acted selfishly. I’m a Second Amendment person. The weapon didn’t do it. It was the person behind it.”

    Even sadder still is the victims text to her parents apologizing “I didn’t mean for this to happen”.

    blogs.mprnews.org

    Maybe we need to begin with a discussion on the value of "Human life" vs the value of "Human rights".
  • New flashpoint in the gun-control debate: 'bump stocks'

     
    The Las Vegas shooter apparently used "bump stocks" to make his semi-automatic rifles shoot rapidly like an automatic. Now, Congress is considering legislation to ban the devices.
     
    Should the U.S. take these devices off the market? What're you thinking on the state of assault-weapon regulations in our country? 
     
    Tell us what you're thinking...
  • I worry the gun debate has been allowed to go on and on and on. It's become a Pavlovian reaction with identical ensuing debates. Repetitive slaughter and reactions become "accepted" norms as time passes. An acceptable attrition rate of bodies. Human life devalued with each passing day.

    I see no solution so long as self interest pervades our society. There are no mass marches, no societal outrage. Can you imagine a day when gun rights people march hand in hand with gun regulation groups? Absurd thinking in these times.

    This half-hearted debate is stalled, like some endless trench war.

  • I hear so many people hide behind the adage "common sense". Well, what is common sense? What may be common sense to me may not be to someone else, depending on what part of the country or what type of cultural vernacular a person comes from. I am tired of hot button topics such as this becoming a debate over party divides... Dems blaming GOP and GOP blaming Dems. Why this be a party argument? Why can't this be an "American" problem and an "American" solution?

    That being said - every day TV, radio, social media are bombarded with ads targeting anti-smoking campaigns, drunk driving campaigns, anti-bullying campaigns, campaigns for drug addiction, etc. Why can't we provide responsible gun ownership campaigns, ads that target proper gun security in the home (and/or away from home), healthier attitudes and mindsets about gun ownership, ads that target the violent mindset that often accompanies guns, etc. It is proven that these sort of campaigns do make a difference.

    From what I have ascertained by various news outlets, comments on discussion boards, etc., is that is it going to take more than just changing laws and enforcing those laws to curb the amount of gun violence or deaths resulting from guns. It is also going to take changing our attitudes and how we view gun ownership, gun violence, and the change in attitude (power) a gun brings about. Too often the responses play into the hands of the extremists on both sides of the argument. The conspiracy theorists and the socialists (as some like to refer to them as).

    Why should we not also include addressing gun violence as part of the civic responsibility these ad campaigns advocate?

    The other problem I have noticed is that people want to hide behind the freedoms of their rights, their entitlements but not the communal responsibility of those rights. They want their entitlement but not the accountability or responsibility. And any negative consequences of their actions, intended or unintended, becomes someone else's problem. The day we stop passing the buck, the day we start accepting responsibility and accountability and changing our attitude towards entitlement verses shared responsibility is the day when we can reduce a significant portion of these problems.
  • All of the people who were killed and injured will injure massive medical costs. Many of them will need care for the rest of there lives. Can we not at least have a requirement that all firearms have an insurance policy attached to them so the costs are not born by innocent victims and families?
  • I'm interested that you invited comment from "St. Louis or other big cities," or in the alternative, from "Ohio." I live in Columbus, Ohio, which is the 14th largest city in the country, and considerably larger than St. Louis. It's time to broaden your horizon about who lives where.


    Gun violence is out of control, the Second Amendment must be considered in light of BOTH clauses, not just the one (as gun owners are so wont to do) and Heller was a terrible decision, as so many of Scalia's were.
  • At what point did the right to own firearms become separated from the responsibility? I agree with the previous comment that all gun owners should be required to purchase the same insurance as car owners do
  • Why are people saying they 'don't trust the government?' Where is that coming from? On what particular incidents or events is this based on? Is that related to being geographically in flyover land?
  • Recent scientific and psychological research indicates that our identity is closely tied with the stories we tell ourselves. Our memories - whether "true" or fictionalized contributes to the sense of who we are. I would suggest our collective American history and the stories we tell about the Wild West, independence, patriots and revolutionaries play into the idea that arming our selvfes somehow makes us more "American."
  • Good show. But please drop the use of the 'assault rifle' moniker as it is essentially a cosmetic definition.
  • @ridahoan should have said 'assault weapon' moniker. Assault rifle does mean something in military terms, but I don't think it applies to any of the mass shootings. I'd suggest that all semi automatic long guns that look scary and are often labelled 'assault weapons' should be required to be pink. That would simplify everything.
  • I grew up on the Minnesota Iron Range.

    We've already heard from someone from Hibbing sharing this view.
    I think the connection between the labor movement and gun ownership is largely ignored. I think part of the reason why is that other members of the liberal coalition are uncomfortable with labor's support of guns. If you look at the Ludlow Massacre, Blair Mountain and the unionization of the Iron Range you'll see three examples where some segment of government in league with big international businesses oppressed miners with violence, and by cutting off access to ammunition, weapons, and food. Labor's ability to get their hands on weapons in those three cases to feed themselves through hunting and defend themselves was central to the survival of those labor movements.

    Those rural miners have since largely moved away from the Democratic Party, but they still support gun ownership, they are still suspicious of the government, and the less the local the more suspicious, they're still upset with large international companies particularly on outsourcing. These people are still in largely the same philosophical place, but because of the ignorance, and apathy of an increasingly urban Democratic Party Trump was able to scoop these voters up. I think those voters have a legitimate concern that corporations are getting more powerful, police are becoming less accountable to the populous, and labor rights are being limited. Trump was able to tap into that angst and scoop those voters up, which I think is to the determent of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and the country as a whole.
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