Pro vs Con: Do We Need Tougher Gun Laws?
9 months ago
Two powerful arguments for an issue dividing the nation
In the hours following the July 20 shooting in an Aurora, Colo., folks on both sides of the gun control debate argued their cases for legal reform; some saying that stricter background checks could have protected the moviegoers, while others maintained that letting people legally carry guns could have prevented the carnage. We went straight to two sources to sort out all the angles in this debate. Daniel Vice, Senior Attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, is on the pro side — that is, he thinks we need tougher gun laws. On the other side of the discussion, we tapped Erich Pratt, Director of Communications at Gun Owners of America. We asked both the exact same questions; their answers have been edited only for clarity and space. Give it a read, then head to the comments to tell us where you fall in this debate. Let the discussion begin:
Daniel Vice, Senior Attorney at the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Loop 21: Could any viable changes to those state laws have prevented the mass murder in Colorado? If so, what would you change?
Vice: We must ask ourselves why a man as disturbed as the Colorado shooter was so easily able to amass an arsenal of high firepower weaponry and buy thousands of rounds of ammunition on the Internet. It is vitally important that we work to prevent mass shootings as well as the gun violence that kills eight children and teens, and a total of 32 Americans in gun homicides, every day. Strong gun laws like background checks on all gun sales, limits on military-style weaponry and restrictions on carrying loaded guns in public can help prevent this daily carnage. As a nation, we are better than this.
Loop 21: In general, are our state right to carry laws effective? Why or why not?
Vice: We have seen far too often the deadly violence that results from allowing loaded, hidden handguns on our streets, parks and playgrounds. From the killing of an unarmed teenager in Florida, to a 9-year-old girl in Tucson, allowing the proliferation of guns in public threatens our families and our communities. In the last five years, people allowed to carry hidden handguns in public have killed 14 police officers and more than 400 others. Numerous studies show that laws allowing the carrying of concealed handguns have not reduced crime and, if anything, have increased violent crime, including murder and robbery. The states with the lowest gun death rates in America — Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii and Massachusetts — all restrict the carrying of these dangerous weapons in public.
Read the rest of Vice’s PRO argument here.