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home : opinions : opinions November 20, 2014

1/5/2013 9:59:00 PM
POINT-COUNTERPOINT DEBATE: Should we have stricter gun control laws? - NO

Whenever a tragedy like the mass murders at Sandy Hook occurs, the question of more control of firearms, ammunition and types of weapons naturally arises. With these murders, especially the murder of young children, emotions run wild. But when discussing solutions to this very real problem, emotions need to be taken out of the equation. Facts and logic are the only way to come to the best solutions.

Here is a fact: There is no way to guarantee that these human calamities won't happen. The closest thing would be to confiscate all private weapons for any purpose, and that wouldn't work 100 percent of the time. As a constitutional conservative, I believe in the Second Amendment and would oppose any such confiscation.

But the question is, should we tighten the controls we already have on guns? The definitive answer is no. Do the laws we already have on the books have any affect on a madman intent on killing as many people as he can?

Let's look at the crimes committed by Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School killer. First, he killed his mother. Then he stole his mother's guns. I don't know the particular weapons laws in Connecticut or the local municipalities there, but I think it is a safe bet that Lanza broke some laws transporting loaded firearms. It is almost certainly against the law to enter a school with a loaded firearm and, in fact, most are designated "gun-free zones." In addition to killing 26 people, Lanza committed an undisclosed number of attempt murders, at least one burglary when he entered the school after shooting off the lock, and probably a plethora of other crimes, including but not limited to, shooting into an inhabited building, shooting within city limits and negligent firearms use.

If we tighten our gun control laws, if we enact more and "tougher" gun control laws, won't that just be more, tighter and tougher laws that sociopaths can ignore? We don't need more and/or tougher gun control. What we need are laws that control the loose cannons behind the trigger.

Buz Williams is a retired Long Beach, Calif., police officer who has lived in Prescott since 2004.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Jasmine Tea- Nice change of subject.

Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

@ Attentive Listener and everyone else,

Here is something worthwhile to investigate as a �true� preventative measure for the violence we are seeing. Society has this problem of putting a �band aid� on mental problems as well as physical ailments in this country.

I propose a proactive approach to getting to root of the problems� not just taking a pill. Which have been shown to, at a minimum cause some quirky side effect, to at an extreme, cause aggression, suicidal and homicidal feelings among some of the patients.

Why does the FDA allow these to ever become available? Furthermore after they have been on the market and problems arise� why not get them off the market?

I maintain that if you follow the money trail, you will find the answer. I know this involves more effort than just repeating the old tired mantras regarding gun control.

Nvertheless I believe this to be an area where a significant difference could be made to prevent this kind of behavior� while maintain our civil rights and freedoms.

Putting government agencies in their proper place will be a winning proposition for ALL of America.

Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Liistener

@Jasmine Tea-It's interesting first of all that you tell me about a "small percentage" of crimes being committed with these weapons after repeatedly telling me that the numbers are not known, and then that you proceed to tell me what I and "those of my belief" will do in the future if conditions x, y, and z occur. Perhaps the same psychic abilities that allow you to predict the future are allowing you to conjure crime statistics from the 30s that you have already admitted to not knowing? What's even more interesting is that I've pointed this out in every single post, yet you keep right on doing it.

To be clear, I am not advocating banning semi-automatic weapons. I don't know what the solution is. I do know that we have a problem. What I am really advocating is getting beyond the stupid regurgitated talking points so that we can think deeply about this. I'm not sure why you are against that.

What I am against, now and forever, is people basing arguments on things they made up. Where I come from this is called "lying"- presenting a fiction that you created as though it were a fact observed in the world. That's why I keep pointing it out, but you just keep doing it. If I were you, I would question why you aren't allowing yourself to think critically about this issue.

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

@Attentive Listener
Let me clarify, I meant very few people clamor to own RPG’S and such.

The main point is that a SMALL percentage of the crimes that were being committed against our fellow citizens actually involved full automatic weapons... (symbolism over substance)

This also is true today regarding the semi- automatic rifles. Your argument is one of increments … if such a ban happens and mass murders of some form continue, and they will, then you and those of your belief will continue on down the line… until all guns are banned.

Be honest with yourself… get to the real source of these problems, rather than attacking a tool.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Jasmine Tea- Here you are again, with no data, telling me that not only did not many people own class 3 weapons prior to their regulation, but that few people have ever even wanted to own them. It's remarkable what you are able to conclude given the complete factual void we are arguing in.

Are you also telling me that no one would buy these weapons today if they weren't so heavily regulated? The relevance of the 1934 law does not end in 1934, because the things it regulated remain regulated today. If selective fire weapons were available with the same amount of regulation and at a similar price to today's semi-autos, who would buy the obsolete models? I wouldn't, and I definitely don't think someone bent on killing a roomful of people would.

It is not logical to believe that the disparity between the number of semi-autos, which are minimally regulated and by far the most common weapons in America (more common than more primitive and less capable weapons), versus the number of selective-fire weapons, which are heavily regulated and perishingly rare in spite of their added capabilities, is due simply to owner preference. People often cite cost, but that again is almost entirely a function of regulation. As in the case of the AR-15, 3 bits of bent metal in the trigger assembly do not make the difference between a $1,200 semi-auto and a $5,000+ full-auto. Sometimes the obvious answer is the right one: these weapons are not on the street being used in crimes because they are tightly controlled.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: Another Shooting in CA

Yet, another school shooting in California this time. Our country is going down fast and more gun laws will not stop it. A lack of responsible parenting and keeping their weapons locked in the home might help. Teaching your children what is right or wrong? Maybe paying attention to your child and their habits, friends, recreation.

Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013
Article comment by: What's Next?

Let's ban anything that sparks a fire, or bomb. More legislation. Yea, that'll work. DAH

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Gun Laws Will Make NO Difference

More gun laws will not make a difference. Chicago is proof of that as are the "inner cities" that have "armed gangs" on drugs, illegal weapons, etc. Have any of their laws worked? NO. Biden is a joke and will do nothing to make a difference with his "task force". Just more waste of taxpayer's money.

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

@Attentive listener
The correlation between destructive devices such as grenades or mortars and semi – automatic weapons is off base. There are very few private citizens desiring to own them… this has always been true.

The irrelevance I point to is not the similarity of the actual guns, rather it is the demographics of the gun owners. Interestingly enough, the government failed miserably with the outright prohibition of alcohol.

Then they enacted the GCA of 34. The information I recall from history is that this was in reaction to the roaring twenties. What I recall reading, was that the original price of a Thompson submachine gun was $200.00 while the average wage was around $23.00 per week.

Base that against an average wage of $1000.00 per week today and the average gun costing around $500.00 to $1000.00. Common sense says that not many people owned a machine gun… particularly in the depression era.

I see the GCA as a knee jerk reaction by politicians trying to justify their existence and exert control over the general public. The reality was much the same as today… a few high profile incidents garnering public emotions to push an agenda. So maybe you are right… there is some relevance.

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: @ Blatant .

"Until we each take a bite of this sandwich, we will continue to see horrendous acts"

As long as that "bite" does not interfere with you cuddling up with your precious gun?

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: ronald raygun

May 3, 1994
To Members of the U.S. House of Representatives:

We are writing to urge your support for a ban on the domestic manufacture of military-style assault weapons. This is a matter of vital importance to the public safety. Although assualt weapons account for less than 1% of the guns in circulation, they account for nearly 10% of the guns traced to crime.

Every major law enforcement organization in America and dozens of leading labor, medical, religious, civil rights and civic groups support such a ban. Most importantly, poll after poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly support a ban on assault weapons. A 1993 CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll found that 77% of Americans support a ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47.

The 1989 import ban resulted in an impressive 40% drop in imported assault weapons traced to crime between 1989 and 1991, but the killing continues. Last year, a killer armed with two TEC9s killed eight people at a San Francisco law firm and wounded several others. During the past five years, more than 40 law enforcement officers have been killed or wounded in the line of duty by an assault weapon.

While we recognize that assault weapon legislation will not stop all assault weapon crime, statistics prove that we can dry up the supply of these guns, making them less accessible to criminals. We urge you to listen to the American public and to the law enforcement community and support a ban on the further manufacture of these weapons.


Gerald R. Ford

Jimmy Carter

Ronald Reagan

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Attentive Listener

@Jasmine Tea- I fail to see how the 1934 weapons act is irrelevant. It appears to me to be extremely relevant. Machine guns, grenades, RPGs, etc are all but removed from civilian use, and are now extremely rarely used in crimes. It is an example of very successful gun control, as well as an important precedent that establishes that the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment as completely preventing government from regulating weapons is incorrect. The weapons being discussed today are the immediate relatives of the ones controlled by this act, in many cases differentiated only by a few parts in the trigger assembly. How could it be more relevant?

What I do see is you first saying that there is no way of knowing how many machine guns were used then in the same sentence claiming that even prior to the act relatively few machine guns were used. Make up your mind- you either can quantify it or you can't.

Posted: Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Article comment by: Blatant .

Why is so hard for people to see that people who commit these horrible acts break many, many laws to accomplish their goals. Therefor we can conclude no amount of laws will prevent these tragedies. Parents need to parent there children, plain and simple. If that means recognizing symptoms of mental health problems and seeking help for these people then that's what needs to happen. Boss's, teachers, friends, all need to grow a set, and call it as we see it. We are all to concerned with hurting feelings in today's world, if you recognize that someone is sick, intervene. Until we each take a bite of this sandwich, we will continue to see horrendous acts.

Posted: Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

The fact is that the Gun Control act of 1934 is not a relevant argument.

There are little, if any records that are quantifiable. Furthermore these weapons were out of the price range of the average citizen in the early 30’s. The only people who had them were gangsters who either stole them or had money to buy them.

The Act in 34 was yet another knee jerk reaction to some high profile shootouts with fully automatic weapons. The amount of them in private ownership was nothing compared to guns in queue today.

Posted: Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Article comment by: @ Jasmine Tea

The National Gun Act of 1934 has been in affect for 70 + years and has had the same tax requirement on fully-automatic weapons (machine guns). That law was enacted because of the prolific use of those types of weapons in crime.

Now, after 70 + years of it's being in effect, how many times have you heard of a machine gun being used in a mass killing (or any other killing for that matter)? Seems like an effective law, and one that didn't turn people into criminals over night.

And if they can't afford the $200 then perhaps they shouldn't be purchasing weapons and should focus on spending their limited income on more important items.

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2013
Article comment by: Jasmine Tea

Senator Feinstein’s proposed gun ban would make criminals of any gun owner who chose not to abide by it… or in many cases simply could not afford the $200.00 TAX on each weapon they already owned that was in queue.

This is a travesty in itself, and another example of the intent to discourage the ownership through taxation.

Where would the billions of dollars theoretically collected go?

Don’t listen to what Obama and any politicians say, rather become informed and watch their actions… you have plenty of prior examples to learn from.

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

And I get that crime in largely black cities like Chicago and New York won't go down with banning assault weapons. Fine. I'm good with drug dealers shooting each other. I'll buy the bullets. But why sell assault weapons go regular folks is beyond me. It's weird. And only we do stuff like that. Try buying one in a normal country like Germany. Why do we end up with all the weirdos?

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2013
Article comment by: @ Hooty Hoo No, Lanza was not a criminal..neither was his mom

... The reason Lanza was running around loose is because we, as a society, no longer have the intestinal fortitude to look evil and venal people in the eye and call them for what they are truly.

Almost every single spree shooter in the last 20 years, including from Major Hasan to Lanza, have been well identified lunatics that were left running loose, usually after being injected with psychotropic drugs, to kill and maim hundreds of innocent people. Throw in some violent video games, mass murder graphic movies, religious rants, gnarled up divorce laws, draconian civil sanctions, add a dose of the ACLU style organizations protecting crazy people, and the culture is stuck in a downward sprial of inmates running the asylum, while society hides behind locked doors and worthless Orders of Protection.

It's time we, as a society came to grips with some things. As in, cultural eroders such as not believing abortion to be murder is a cancer on societal mores. Similarly, if a young person's great grandma is only in her mid-30's the child might as well check into prison, and allowing the homeless to wander aimlessly like metro-zombies is against good public order.

If a child graduates high school and cannot read or do simple math the teachers should be fired. All these things are inter-related and our collective foolishness in not dealing with them is the issue. Not 30 round rifle magazines.

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Hey dude, last time I checked the man who gunned down 20 KIDS WITH AN ASSAULT RIFLE wasn't a criminal. He got it from mommy. And she wasn't a criminal either. So try really hard and follow me: If mommy can't buy an assault rifle and leave it around for her mentally ill son to load up and murder 20 KIDS with then many of those kids wouldn't be dead. Read this several times until it sinks in.

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2013
Article comment by: hey hooty hoo...

Tell that to Chicago! You ignore the facts - stricter gun laws= more violent crime!

Remember, (or for you, NEWS FLASH) criminals won't obey any anti gun law. (works every time!)
That is why we call them "criminals."

Sorry to sound condescending, but your naivete is startling!

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2013
Article comment by: DragonMaster 6

We will follow the advice from a retired police officer who has been there and done that!
Summary of 2013 Feinstein Assault Weapons
Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:
• 120 specifically-named firearms
• Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a
Detachable magazine and have one military characteristic
• Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept
More than 10 rounds
Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:
• Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test
• Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from
The characteristics test
• Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address
Attempts to “work around” prior bans
Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than
10 rounds.
Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:
• Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment
• Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or
Sporting purposes and
• Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons
Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms
Act, to include:
O Background check of owner and any transferee
O Type and serial number of the firearm
O Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint
O Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that
Possession would not violate State or local law and
O Dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration
Do we allow ourselves to go there?

Posted: Sunday, January 06, 2013
Article comment by: Statistics .

The problem with statistic on things like crime in a given state is that they aren't usually broken down by city. I found some old data regarding homicides in various cities across AZ and the country. I would bet that most of the homicides in AZ are in Phoenix and Tucson. Here's some 2010 numbers.
These are homicides per 100,000.

New Orleans 73, St. Louis 40, Baltimore 35, Detroit 35, Chicago 15, Tucson 10, Phoenix 8.

Since these numbers have been published, the murders in Detroit and Chicago have tripled. From what I read, most of the murders are gang and drug related. Detroit and Chicago have some of the toughest gun laws. They work well, don't they?

Posted: Sunday, January 06, 2013
Article comment by: One or Two More Laws Wont' Matter

NO-More gun laws are a joke and don't matter to "gangs" or those who can simply get them elsewhere.

Posted: Sunday, January 06, 2013
Article comment by: Hooty Hoo

Arizona has lax gun laws. The homicide rate is 3.5/100k which is very high especially considering our demographics. There's reason for everything, and it's not that AZ has a high number of wackos. More guns more homicides. Less guns less homicides. Works every time.

Posted: Sunday, January 06, 2013
Article comment by: Just A Thought

Why is it liberals can see how drug laws don't work but they think gun laws will. Conservatives can see how gun laws don't work but they think drug laws will.

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