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2016 Election Archives - Ares Armor

The Politics of Gun Control

What candidates—and statistics—say about gun violence in America.

With the 2016 presidential election on the horizon, candidates from both parties have developed stances on gun control and Second Amendment rights. As you might imagine, these stances vary greatly, and the recent Democratic debate sparked controversy over gun rights in America. Of particular interest to candidates on both sides of the debate were “assault” weapons bans, magazine restrictions, and universal background checks.

At the forefront of the debate was the notion of an “assault” weapons ban. Both Martin O’Malley and Hillary Clinton support legislation that bans or severely limits the sale of “assault” weapons, but the very term “assault weapon” is ambiguous and could open the door to the regulation of a wide variety of firearms. The sale of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns and a variety of other weapons has been regulated since the 1934 National Firearms Act, and today most candidates use the term to describe semiautomatic weapons like AR-15s. But the NRA-ILA contends that banning these firearms would have little effect on crime rates and would unfairly restrict American citizens from purchasing firearms designed for hunting, sport shooting and home defense.

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photo credit: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

 

“ ‘Assault weapon’ is the term that gun control supporters use to malign general-purpose rifles like the AR-15,” says the NRA-ILA website. “Americans now own five million AR-15s, the number is growing by several hundred thousand annually, and the nation’s murder rate is down by more than half since 1991. They’re commonly used for home defense, sports (such as the NRA’s National Defense Match, NRA High Power, and Three-Gun), and hunting.”

The increase in the number of state-issued concealed carry permits and a growing number of right-to-carry laws has coincided with a significant drop in U.S. homicides—a fact rarely addressed when stricter gun control laws are being pushed.

“Forty-two states have Right-to-Carry laws, and 48 states prohibit cities from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state law,” says the NRA-ILA. “From 1991 to 2012, the total violent crime rate declined  49% to a 42-year low, and the murder rate declined by 52% to a 49-year low.”

pew research gun crime reduction

Magazine restrictions, often erroneously referred to as “clip restrictions” by gun control advocates, are recommended by O’Malley, Clinton and others. Many self-defense handguns have magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, and these firearms would, under these proposed laws, be considered unlawful to own. But the NRA contests that magazine restrictions are not an effective means by which to control gun violence but rather another restriction that is aimed at gun owners and manufacturers.

“Most modern ammunition magazines designed for defensive purposes hold more than 10 rounds for handguns and 20 or more rounds for rifles,” says the NRA-ILA. “Not surprisingly, gun control supporters who claim that firearms aren’t useful for defensive purposes, claim that such magazines are also not useful for defense, but are instead only useful to criminals. The congressionally-mandated study of the federal ‘large’ magazine ban of 1994-2004 found that such magazines had only rarely been used in crime, a subsequent study found that revolvers were more associated with criminal gun injuries than semi-automatic pistols, and the official report on the Virginia Tech shooting concluded that a 10-round magazine limit would have not made much difference in the outcome of the crime. Americans own well over 100 million ‘large’ magazines and the nation’s murder rate is nearly at an all-time low.”

The issue of background checks has also taken center-stage in 2015, and several candidates are pushing for “more thorough” checks. But according to the NRA’s findings, background checks are not an effective means by which to control violence but rather a further restriction on gun owners. Current federal law requires anyone who purchases a firearm to be screened through the National Instant Criminal Background Check, or NICS, and felons are currently prohibited from owning firearms.

“Gun control supporters demand that sales and trades of firearms that don’t involve dealers be subject to NICS as well,” says the NRA-ILA. “They claim that such a law would prevent criminals from getting guns, but most criminals obtain guns from theft, the black market, or ‘straw purchasers’—people who can pass a background check and who buy guns for criminals. Furthermore, none of the high-profile crimes that they cite involved guns bought without a background check.”

The rights of America’s estimated 100 million gun owners are at stake, and legislation that, in effect, restricts or limits gun owners and does little to address the root causes of violence, serves little purpose in making American streets safer. The notion that purported “gun control” measures will help make the United States a more secure nation has not been backed by statistical evidence. It’s more important, then, that American gun owners understand that our rights as citizens must be preserved and that other significant issues in our culture like concerns over mental health are need to be addressed immediately. Taking firearms out of the hands of American citizens is not the answer to decreasing violence and preserving our rights.

 

-Brad Fitzpatrick

Writer/Contributor

October 22, 2015

Gun Rights Trumped in Republican Debates

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Every presidential candidate was packing. Every candidate had ammo. Plenty of verbal shots were fired in the first televised Republican debates. To no one’s surprise, Donald Trump was the primary target of friendly fire since he is leading in all of the polls. Naturally, you could call Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton the biggest lower receiver or upper receiver of political criticism on the night.

Unfortunately, if you were interested in learning more about where these 17 candidates stood regarding your gun rights, you pretty much wasted over three hours of your time. In the first nationally televised Republican debates, the Second Amendment was irrelevant. It didn’t even make the top 17 issues discussed. On the stage in Cleveland, Ohio, gun rights in America basically had a silencer on them.

The first debate included the seven Republican candidates who didn’t make the Top 10 in prime time. Moderated by Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum of Fox News, it was nicknamed the “happy hour debate” because it took place at 5:00 EST (Eastern Standard Time). In the end, there was only one candidate who could be really happy. It was Carly Fiorina. She emerged as the lone big gun in the group.

It’s ironic. The only moment which touched on gun control was a commercial near the end of the first debate. In exposing Michael Bloomberg, it promoted a website www.MeetBloomberg.com.

Following the early debate, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard was viewed as the decisive winner by both the political pundits, and the general public. Carly Fiorina said she was just hoping to get known. Instead, her performance was expected to trigger legitimate contender status for her campaign.

It’s ironic. The only moment in the first debate which even touched on gun control was a commercial near the end. In exposing Michael Bloomberg, it promoted a website www.MeetBloomberg.com. A promo for the new IFC series, “Documentary Now” aired in the second debate using the word “guns.”

In the main event, moderated by Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace, and Brett Baier of Fox News, Ms. Kelly issued multiple challenges of Donald Trump. In the only question of the night which even touched on firearms, Kelly mentioned Trump favoring an assault weapons ban in the past. Trump did not address that issue. He focused on the questions of when he became a Republican, and why he has changed his position on issues such as abortion.

Senator Rand Paul was the only candidate in the Republican debates to actually use the word “guns.” He did so in stating, “I don’t want my marriage or my guns registered in Washington.”

Bernie Sanders Gun Control Debate

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Someone was gunning for Bernie Sanders last night. The presidential candidate and U.S. Senator from Vermont was in Fairfax, Virginia on a campaign stop. America’s anti-gunners were loaded with their agenda and waiting.

Honora Laszlo was at the Sanders event last night representing Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. During the open question and answer session, the 58-year old volunteer for the Arlington, Virginia chapter demanded Bernie Sanders clarify his positions on gun reform.

The liberal independent running as a Democrat defended himself telling Laszlo, “I come from a state that has virtually no gun control and it turns out one of the safest states in the country.” He also said he had some “very, very difficult votes” on gun laws. They included supporting the flawed 1994 assault weapons ban, and the 2013 gun show alleged background check “loophole closing.”

For the record, Bernie Sanders is not pro-gun. His voting on gun issues and Second Amendment issues certainly won’t remind anyone of Founding Father James Madison. But at least he is not the completely over the top anti-gun Hillary Clinton. As a Congressman in 1993, he did vote against the federal background check system outlined in the landmark Brady bill.

In 2005, Sanders voted to shield firearms manufacturers from liability if their sold guns are used in crimes. He reiterated that stance following the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, telling his constituents in a Vermont magazine, “If you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen.”

Last night’s exchange got heated when Laszlo pointed that out interjecting, “With all due respect, you also cast the vote to allow gun manufacturers to never be sued.”

Bernie Sanders shot back at her. “Right I did, OK? Why would I have voted that way? Because if somebody has a gun and somebody steals that gun and they shoot somebody with it, do you really think it makes sense to blame the manufacturer of that weapon? If somebody sells you a baseball bat and somebody hits you over the head with it, you’re not going to sue the baseball bat manufacturer.”

Sanders used a similar response in firing back earlier this week against Jake Tapper on CNN:

“If somebody has a gun and it falls into the hands of a murderer, and that murderer kills somebody with the gun, do you hold the gun manufacturer responsible? Not anymore than you would hold a hammer company responsible if somebody beat somebody over the head with a hammer.”

Laszlo left the event telling reporters she was disappointed by the remarks of Bernie Sanders. “He’s using phrases that the gun extremists and the NRA use,” said Laszlo.

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election is still more than a year away. Already, the misguided gun control attacks on Second Amendment Rights can give anyone who respects the Constitution the annoying feeling we’re being hit over the head with a baseball bat and a hammer.

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