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Time to bring back the Brady Law? Maybe that…and more

By DOUG THOMPSON - Capitol Hill Blue
July 23, 2012

Aurora, Colo. Mayor Steve Hogan, right, says a prayer with Greg Zanis, from Aurora, Ill., as Zanis places crosses for the shooting victims across the street from the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo. on Sunday.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

That’s a common argument of the National Rifle Association, the massive lobbying group that keeps Republicans and Democrats cowering in fear, afraid to do anything substantial about rising killings and murders that pop up all too often on the evening news.

Columbine, Virginia Tech…and now Aurora, Colorado.  How many more of these senseless killings have to occur before we do something about our armed society and its trigger-happy supporters of the the concept of a chicken in every pot and a gun on every hip.

I own guns:  Pistols for personal protection and long rifles & shotguns for hunting.  I have a concealed carry permit. I don’t own an AR or other assault-style weapons.  I don’t buy into the incredibly stupid argument that an AR-15 is good for “hunting varmints.”  Those who perpetuate those myths are all too often the same ones who like to dress up in camos and act tough on weekends.

James Holmes walked into two major chain stores — Bass Pro Shops and Gander Mountain — and purchased two Glock semi-automatic pistols, an AR-15 assault style rifle and a shotgun.  He passed all the rudimentary background checks because that’s all they are: rudimentary.  The Virginia Tech killer bought his guns legally too.

But Holmes was far from a law-abiding citizen.  He was a time bomb about to go off.  He went on the Internet and brought thousands of rounds of ammunition and a 100-round drum magazine for the AR — also legal under today’s watered-down laws.

Then he went online again and ordered SWAT-style gear from TacticalGear.Com, a Missouri-based company that bills itself as the “tactical gear superstore.”  Their home page today features a link to a story about a customer who gave his wife a “Pink AK-47″ for her birthday.”

Did anyone at any of the online retailers wonder why a civilian was ordering all this ammo and gear like a bullet-proof vest, tactical helmet and gas mask?

Of course not.  Making money does not require sound judgment or thinking.  It only requires greed.

The now-expired Brady law, named after James Brady — Ronald Reagan‘s press secretary who was wounded in the assassination attempt in 1981 — prohibited sale of high capacity magazines and much of the ammunition purchased by Holmes.  It was also supposed to prohibit sales of assault-style rifles but the gun industry found a way around the law by removing flash suppressors and limiting the capacity of the magazine.

Had the Brady law still been in effect, Holmes would have had more trouble obtaining the high-capacity magazines and special ammo that allowed him to slaughter people in that movie theater.

The Brady law would not have prevented James Holmes from walking into that movie theater and opening fire.

But it might have made it more difficult to amass such an arsenal of weapons, purchase so much ammo and fire at will into a crowd without having to stop and reload.

Maybe it’s time to look — at the very least — at bringing back the Brady law.  Maybe it’s also time to think long and hard about how we became such a gun-crazy, trigger-happy society.

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21 Responses to Time to bring back the Brady Law? Maybe that…and more

  1. woody188

    July 23, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I own firearms, including an AR-15. My largest magazine holds 30 rounds, but I have 4 of magazines. I also have other firearms. I have them for recreation and defense. I also have a CCW and I do often carry one or two handguns. I would like to have some of the defensive items, like a vest, but have none at this time as they are pretty expensive.

    I have no plans to attack anyone. I don’t even go to the movies as I prefer to watch them in the privacy and comfort of my own home. I live in the middle of no where. We have a pretty large pack of coyotes that like to take the rabbits, so I don’t really have to shoot the rabbits, though I do from time to time. I do worry about coyotes and my young children. My neighbor shot a 100-pound coyote last year in the back of his 30 acres. They come up to about 50 yards from the house.

    If guns were outlawed I would be upset but I would find another way to defend my home. I believe criminals also would find another way to attack and harm people. 12 people were killed and 60 or so wounded by this gun attack. Imagine had he used his skills to create a bomb instead. He obviously had the knowledge. I imagine a large fertilizer based bomb would have killed most of those in attendance. They can’t ban everything that can be weaponized. Banning firearms won’t change a thing. Has it helped England?

    Banning firearms will probably go along with an increase in attacks on the elderly. Now criminals will know they are an easy target, whereas a firearm evens things up and might even put the odds in favor of the old and infirm. How about that poor young mother in Oklahoma just after Christmas last year that had to shoot those two men that were trying to break into her home a week after her husband died. Would she have had time to craft a weapon or would her and her child now be the dead victims of two meth addicts because she wouldn’t have been allowed to have the shotgun that protected her?

    Police don’t prevent crime. It will take the sheriff 10-20 minutes to get to my home should I need their help. I’m thankful I live in a country that still allows me to protect myself and not depend on public servants for protection of myself and my property. I won’t be a victim or live in fear. Beware of owner!

    • Joe

      July 23, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Has it occurred to you that you *are* “living in fear”???

      • woody188

        July 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm

        Back when I lived in the city, a home invasion was thwarted by the home owner just one block from my home. He shot two men coming through his front door armed with knives with his 4-year old holding on to his back leg. Whether we like it or not, bad things happen. Knowing I can protect myself and my family should something like that occur isn’t living in fear. It’s simple logic.

      • woody188

        July 25, 2012 at 1:49 pm

        In the town 7 miles from where I live, a 78-year old women awoke to a next door neighbor aged 19 in her bedroom. He assaulted her, tied her down, then robbed her. She had to move as she no longer felt safe and his family and friends continued to threaten her. She became a gun owner a week after the incident as police told her it’s either that or a big dog for the best protection.

        Living in fear or practical solution?

  2. Bill Cravener

    July 23, 2012 at 9:45 am

    “Time to bring back the Brady Law”

    Yes, I believe its time to do so!

  3. Sandy Price

    July 23, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I have been upset over the ugly comments found on several forums (not Reader Rant) that used to support a reasonable reduction in the size of government. Even I have discovered that Americans cannot tend to their own world of survival. There are many who literally worship the words of Congresswoman Michele Bachman. She, like many social conservatives live in the illusion that the concept of teamwork is no longer possible, and angry action is the only way to get the government back, as she claims to be, under God.

    This means assault weapons to be legalized without exception.

  4. Almandine

    July 23, 2012 at 11:55 am

    The studies and statistics reveal that the Brady Law has had very little impact on gun crime, i.e., homicide by guns, but has probably resulted in a significant reduction in gun-related suicide.

    Beyond that, yours is a kind of a chaotic analysis Doug. One must wonder at the inclusion of all the issues and anecdotes you raise that are totally unrelated to this particular situation. Bad though they were, any link is tenuous and undefined, seemingly put in for inflammatory effect. And then there’s the particulars… as in, did he really have “special slaughter” ammo? Was he not law-abiding (except for a traffic infraction) until this incident?

    While the facts seem pretty straightforward, there are troubling aspects that have been raised that bear reflection. For example, this guy has been a student most of his life, and has never been employed at a level that woulkd have allowed him to purchase all the gear and supplies he had. The guns, ammo, tactical gear, chemicals, explosives, etc., would have cost many thousands of dollars… where did he get that money?
    His apartment was a sophisticated death chamber… how about that… and if he wanted to kill any and all, why did he alert the police to the dangerousness they would encounter there? Doesn’t make sense, eh?

    Some have asked was there some one else involved. And others have supplied speculation. I found a couple of articles at western journalism dot com that says it better than I. Is that not plausible?

    • Almandine

      July 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Could it be that “nut case” has its roots in… altered reality:

      Was Colorado Shooting Staged By The Government?

      (google that one, but please don’t say Fast and Furious!).

      • Bill Cravener

        July 24, 2012 at 2:50 am

        And yet another absurd conspiracy theory. If it isn’t coming from you it comes from woody. Incredible!

        • Almandine

          July 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

          No conspiracy theory required. It is a fact that your federal government has done this type of thing before… and the Fast and Furious debacle indicates clearly that this administration is not above any of it.

  5. woody188

    July 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.”
    -Benjamin Franklin, 1759

    • woody188

      July 23, 2012 at 2:59 pm

      Note: Further research indicates Franklin probably did not say that! :smile:

  6. Keith

    July 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Canada and the USA both have their share of nut cases.

    The difference is that, in the USA, the nut cases are armed!

    • SDRSr

      July 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm

      As are the Canadian “Nut Cases”

      4 shot in Toronto overnight in latest gun violence

      07/21/2012 | CityNews.ca staff

      http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/news/local/article/216093–4-shot-in-toronto-overnight-in-latest-gun-violence

      • Keith

        July 23, 2012 at 7:05 pm

        They wern’t nut cases…they were gang members….armed with weapons illegally smuggled in from the USA.

        Indeed, when a single murder happens in Canada….it’s national news. That’s because it happens so infrequently up here. Compare that to the HUNDREDS handgun murders that happen every DAY in cities across the USA…murders you’ll never hear about.

        Then, do a comparison of the murder RATE between the US and Canada. You’ll find ours is a mere FRACTION of what it is in the USA.

  7. Eric

    July 24, 2012 at 5:56 am

    There are millions of AR-15 rifles in private hands. If you don’t like the black anodized coating, perhaps you could paint one pink.

  8. Sandune

    July 24, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Killing innocent people has become a game in America. Even our little kids love the sound of watching adults screaming in fear from gunfire. They love the musical background and blood that fills the TV screen and monitor. Our grandkids were raised with the knowledge that anyone can kill and if a good attorney is found, the killing becomes a legal action. Ask a teenager to describe Columbine massacre and see the eyes light up when every gun/rifle is described accurately. Our culture is obvious. Parents don’t even bother to counter the actions.

  9. Griff

    July 24, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    We have laws that ban murder, and they come with some pretty hefty punishments.

    And yet people still seem to be killing one another despite these laws.

    So if murder laws will not prevent such killings, then why would one expect stiffer gun laws to prevent them?

    Perhaps if there was a glimmer of hope for the future for young people these days events like this may not happen.

    Some one once said that society resembles its government, or some thing to that effect.

    Does our government not slaughter innocent people around the world each and every day?

    Does our government not use coersion, bribery and force of arms to instill our special “values” on unwilling victims in every corner of the globe?

    This is a societal problem, not a problem that more laws or less will solve.

    • Keith

      July 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      Griff…you are right..it’s a societal problem. And you are also correct that guns are now so deeply embedded in the American psyche that more “laws” absolutely won’t change a thing.

      Clearly, the ready access to high powered firearms makes it far easier for petty disputes among otherwise law-abiding US citizens to go “nuclear” in a hurry as compared to your neighbor to the north

      http://politicalcalculations.blogspot.ca/2011/03/us-vs-canada-homicide-edition.html

  10. Sandy Price

    July 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Keith and Griff. We must never forget that our government, warts and all, are put into office by the voters. We elect some candidates for reasons we cannot explain. Obama made good sense in 2008 but McCain really killed his chance with the bimbo named Sarah Palin. I did not vote for either man and have been put off by the new agenda of the GOP.

    We need some serious change in our candidates. The laws are fine but the candidates and courts have failed us. The key word should be CHANGE not new laws.

  11. Jim B.

    July 26, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I’m with you, Doug, on this 100%!!!…Some basic things must be done….The assault-type weapons, huge amounts of high-caliber rounds, and SWAT gear should not be available to civilians….It looks like the Repubs. in Congress especially done even want to try to do anything common-sense re: this….They’re too afraid of the NRA…Very sad!