Much conversation yesterday on the Sunday talk shows about what to do in the sad wake of the Aurora, Colorado violence that killed 12 and injured more than four dozen, almost all of them shot. But unfortunately, there was little optimism that the federal government would take meaningful action.
Our take may be too simple. We believe automatic assault weapons should not be in the hands of average Americans. They are meant for law enforcement and the military.
If the life of one child, or adult, would be saved by barring these weapons and large quantities of ammunition, such a law should be encouraged. The argument that it would be easy for criminals to get an alternative weapon and/or bullets, not every criminal would, and that person may be the one who would kill a child if he had the currently legal, powerful arms.
Our view is that gun owners would not be harmed by a ban.
Here are some opinions we selected from the programs:
On ABC’s “This Week,” former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat, called out Congress for “an incredible lack of character” in letting the assault rifle ban expire. No one should have that kind of killing machine. C’mon America.” Pres. Obama is also criticized.
“Meet the Press” host David Gregory noted that past history provides little hope for action to try to reduce the violence. After the assault last year on Cong. Gabby Giffords, Gregory noted that Pres. Obama said, “We must seek agreement on gun reforms.” His own advisers here saying yes, we’re going to get that conversation started again. There’s been nothing even after your (referring to guest Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) own colleague was shot. For Democrats, it seems, they don’t want to, they really don’t want to take on this issue.”
Back on “This Week,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsay echoed the pessimism about limiting weapons:
“For me the question has been, you know, what will change as far as any gun control legislation in the wake of Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech, Ft. Hood – I mean, the list goes on and on, and unfortunately, in my opinion, the answer is absolutely nothing.”
Ramsey said Washington’s “lack of courage” is at the root of rejecting discussion of stricter gun control laws, especially on restricting Internet sales and banning assault weapons.
George Will, on “This Week,” said regardless of any gun laws that we pass, the world is going to remain a broken place and things like this are going to happen.” But Time magazine’s Joe Klein said, “There are reasonable limits to every right we have.” He said that if gun legislation limits access, we may not be able to prevent but we can limit the ability to buy guns and ammunition.
Rendell agreed, saying the impact of violent episodes can be reduced. He also responded to Wasshinton Post columnist Jennifer Rubin saying incidents with assault rifles didn’t increase when the ban that formerly existed was lifted. Rendell countered, saying we can “limit the impact of them.” He believes such incidents need not be as horrendous with the appropriate legislation.
CBS political director John Dickerson saw a bit of hope for action, citing a possible loophole to close that currently allows as much ammunition to be purchased as the suspect did. He also cited the need for an easier protocol to treat people who show signs of potentially dangerous behavior.
Rubin said we need a system of recognizing reports and treating mental illness in an appropriate manner.
As to other causes of such incidents, Rubin said rather than complain about the NRA, critics should create “their own lobbying group that has the same kind of clout.” Besides the need for gun laws, Klein pointed to the Internet and the entertainment industry that he says,