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The good folks at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence reacted this morning to President Obama’s executive action on guns with words of praise:

“North Carolinians Against Gun Violence commends President Obama for his brave leadership and for remaining steadfast in his commitment to reducing gun violence. The Executive Action measures detailed in the “FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence and Make Our Communities Safer” are broad and cover a wide range of key points including expanding background checks by clarifying which gun sellers must register as licensed gun dealers and thus perform background checks to help keep guns out of dangerous hands; making communities safer by increasing ATF action and work on keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers; and providing more funds for improving mental health treatment as well as making sure that appropriate mental health records are submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Polling shows that 90% of all Americans, including the majority of gun owners, want background checks on all gun sales. It is unconscionable that the Republican Congress has failed to act on this one important measure. We applaud the President for putting the safety of Americans above the will of special interest groups. The people have spoken and the President has done what he can to deliver. North Carolinians Against Gun Violence is committed to making sure such executive actions are implemented and is proud of our President for taking these actions.”

Meanwhile, the lead editorial in the New York Times, lauded the President for his “modest, limited set of executive actions” and the Charlotte Observer, while voicing unease that the President was forced to act without Congress, described expanding background checks as one of the “common sense things” that the nation must do.

Commentary

The good people at the online news site known at The Trace are out with an excellent new article today on the efficacy of sensible gun laws and the demonstrable benefit they provide in lowering crime and violence. Here’s the introduction to “Gun-Rights Advocates Claim Criminals Don’t Follow Gun Laws. Here’s the Research That Shows They’re Wrong. How the right kind of regulations deter criminals from getting guns”:

“Despite the fact that mass shootings are predominantly an American phenomenon, gun advocates are quick to insist that there is nothing we can do to prevent them. Instead, they suggest these murders could only be reduced by having more armed civilians — aka  “good guys with guns” — roaming the streets, a solution that inevitably involves fewer gun regulations and more gun ownership. Reducing gun violence through straightforward policies of the sort implemented in virtually every other industrialized nation is regarded as a chimera by the National Rifle Association. After all, criminals don’t follow laws, so what would be the point?

John R. Lott, the author of More Guns, Less Crime, recently evoked a version of this slogan in a piece for The Daily Caller, arguing that closing the loopholes in the background check system would not have stopped the Charleston mass shooting from happening. The alleged killer’s record included an admission of drug use that should have blocked the purchase when he bought his Glock from a licensed dealer, but an FBI examiner didn’t catch it in time and the sale was allowed to go through by default. Even if had been denied, Lott reasoned, “[i]t seems hard to believe that he couldn’t have figured out some way of obtaining a gun.”

It turns out, however, that the scientific evidence suggests precisely the opposite: criminals routinely respond to incentives, and policies such as background checks and permit-to-purchase requirements demonstrably save lives by reducing criminal access to firearms. The problem, these studies show, isn’t that criminals don’t follow laws, but rather that criminals aren’t dissuaded by weak laws. And gun laws in all but a few states are decidedly weak.”

Click here to read the rest of this compelling explanation of why tougher gun laws make us all, on the whole, much safer.

Commentary

Target assault weaponsAs yesterday’s panic at a shopping mall in Fayetteville makes clear, average Americans are rightfully terrified at the idea of people openly walking around carrying guns in public venues of this kind. They do no want it and it clearly needs to be unlawful throughout the United States. Moreover, a completely clear and permanent ban on such behavior would have no effect on “concealed carry” holders or hunters or the right of people generally to own guns.

Given this plain and simple reality, the least the NRA and other Second Amendment enthusiasts could do is to loudly and publicly support efforts to prohibit such behavior and the terror it understandably causes in the general public.

Come on, NRA. what do you say? How about helping to find one small island of common ground?

Commentary

GunsIt appears that the North Carolina House will continue its return to the hard right policies of the Thom Tillis days this morning when the House Rules Committee, after numerous false starts, takes up the dangerous proposal to further eviscerate state gun safety laws. This is from the good people at North Carolinians Against Gun Violence:

“The Rules Committee will consider one of the most dangerous and controversial pieces of gun legislation in our state on Wednesday at 9am in 1228/1327 LB.

HB 562 eliminates North Carolina’s successful pistol permitting system, which provides background checks for the approximately 40 percent of gun sales that happen through private sellers.

Polls show 87 percent of North Carolinians support the current system, which keeps guns out of the hands of felons, domestic abusers, and others. When they got rid of background checks on unlicensed sellers in Missouri, they saw their handgun homicide rate increase by 25%.

Other controversial provisions include:

  • limiting doctors’ ability to ask about guns in the home and prohibiting them from sharing information about gun possession with law enforcement;
  • instituting arduous requirements for those posting gun-free signs;
  • and allowing people who have been convicted of stalking to get a concealed carry permit after three years.”

For more information and/or to get involved in speaking up on this measure, visit: http://www.ncgv.org.

 

Commentary

GunsThe Greensboro News & Record tells it like it is this morning in a polite but firm editorial regarding the controversial House bill to further liberalize North Carolina gun laws. The editorial is entitled “Doctors and guns” and it rightfully labels the proposal to gag doctors who would ask their patients about firearms in their homes an unconstitutional abridgment of the First Amendment:

“Health and safety are their business. A patient can exhibit signs indicating a risk for suicide or aggression without explicitly expressing a desire to harm himself or others. While the bill does not directly prohibit doctors from asking about a patient’s access to guns, it prevents them from informing police. Imagine a psychiatrist examining someone like Seung-Hui Cho, the 2007 Virginia Tech mass-murderer, finding him in a troubled state of mind, learning he has firearms, but being barred from telling police because of Cho’s right to ‘firearms privacy.’

Because of physicians’ free-speech rights, this measure should not survive a legal challenge. But it demonstrates how completely many state legislators have surrendered to the gun mania afflicting the country.”

The editorial concludes this way:

“The bill has other unsound provisions. It would:

• Weaken criminal background checks.

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