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Pros vs. Cons: The gun control debate

Apr. 18, 2009 @ 09:50 PM

Other issues raised by the Brady Campaign regarding regulation of guns and the response by the National Rifle Association:

State dealer licensing

Brady believes state licensing of gun dealers help law enforcement crack down on rogue gun dealers. It allows for easier sanctioning of gun dealers. It will reduce illegal gun trafficking and make it more difficult for criminals and dangerous people to gain access.

NRA believes the federal government's licensing program already meets those desires. Any state program would simply add another layer of unneeded bureaucracy.

Record keeping and retention

Brady believes dealers and law enforcement should maintain records of gun sales, which could be used in gun tracing and criminal investigations. The lack of such records prevents identifying people who bought guns, but later became criminals. It also hinders an investigator's ability to follow traffickers and gang members who buy guns for resale.

NRA argues any type of registration could aid confiscation of guns, which has occurred in other countries. It also argues criminals will never legally register their guns, and requiring legal gun owners to do so would create a huge bureaucracy.

Mandatory theft reporting

Brady believes such a law would keep illegal guns off the streets by removing the excuse of some traffickers who "lose" their firearms.

NRA believes theft victims already report lost and stolen firearms. More legislation would further victimize the person. NRA also believes such a requirement would set an artificial time limit, which could be missed if the owner did not immediately realize the theft. NRA also contends it already is illegal for a gun dealer to falsify records.

Dealer security and inspection

Brady believes such laws would increase accountability of gun dealers. Lawmakers would set specific security requirements, and law enforcement would inspect the store, its inventories and its records.

NRA believes the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives already has authority to conduct such inspections. If agents find something amiss, they can set up shop and inspect the dealer with a fine-tooth comb.

Crime gun identification

Brady favors ballistic fingerprinting and microstamping technology. Fingerprinting would require dealers to test-fire each weapon prior to sale and submit the expelled shell casing to a database. Microstamping would engrave identifying, microscopic marks on each fired bullet. The marks are unique to the individual firearm. Brady believes both ideas would provide another method for police to investigate gun crimes and catch criminals.

NRA believes its opponents hope to use the technology to price handguns beyond personal budgets. NRA said the stamps are easily wiped off and repeatedly fail tests. NRA believes ballistic fingerprinting and microstamping would require registration and bans on private sales, both of which NRA opposes. NRA further argues the technology has never been proven to help police solve crime.

Childproof guns

Brady believes every gun should be sold with child-safety locks, and handguns should include personalized technology to allow only the authorized user to operate the firearm. Both items are supported in view of safety.

NRA argues against government intrusion, and believes voluntary firearms safety training has decreased firearms accidents. It cites statistics to show accidental deaths have decreased, as the population and the number of privately owned firearms increase.

Child access and purchase

Brady believes gun owners should be required by law to take responsible steps to prevent children from reaching firearms. Brady also supports legislation to prohibit unlicensed persons from selling firearms to those under 21.

NRA believes current laws are adequate. It believes further action would criminalize things such as gifts passed from a father to a son.

Assault and large-capacity magazine guns

Brady favors legislation to restrict the sale and possession of military-style and semiautomatic assault weapons, along with large-capacity magazines. The federal assault weapons ban expired during the Bush administration.

NRA believed the magazine limits infringe on the right of self-defense. It also believes the burden of proof to restrict one's right to own an assault weapon is on those who wish to restrict that right, not the gun owner. NRA believes there is no evidence to support the reasoning that banning assault weapons would reduce crime.

Self defense

Brady favors legislation that states deadly force is not allowed to be a first resort in public.

NRA refers to the Brady philosophy as "duty-to-retreat" laws. NRA supports laws that allow those who use firearms to defend themselves. NRA believes the pendulum has swung too far in a direction that protects the rights of criminals over the rights of victims.

Guns at workplace

Brady supports laws to protect employers, who choose to ban firearms on company property. Brady favors similar legislation on college campuses.

NRA believes such laws restrict one's right to self-defense. It questions how many would agree forced disarmament is the best protection from terrorist attacks. It also argues such policies could cause honest people to be victimized by violent criminals on company property.

Pre-emption laws

Brady favors state legislation to allow municipalities to pass local gun laws. Such legislation would ensure public safety at the local level.

NRA believes many local laws would violate the Second Amendment. NRA also worries different laws from city-to-city could cause confusion. NRA said local measures would equate to a "complex patchwork" of laws, which would unreasonably force citizens to memorize laws from every locality they travel through.