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AVB-AMG

I Helped Lead the Gun Control Movement. It’s Asking the Wrong Questions.

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Yesterday, April 8, 2021, Dan Gross, the co-founder of the Center for Gun Rights and Responsibility, as well as formerly, from 2012 -2017,  the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, authored an interesting Op-Ed piece in The New York Times, titled: 

I Helped Lead the Gun Control Movement. It’s Asking the Wrong Questions.
A campaign galvanized by mass shootings and assault weapons will inevitably find itself in a dead end. But there’s a way out.

Here is the link to the article with a cut&paste of it below:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/08/opinion/politics/i-helped-lead-the-gun-control-movement-its-asking-the-wrong-questions.html?smid=url-share

My brother was critically injured in a mass shooting atop the Empire State Building almost 25 years ago. Every time another such shooting makes headlines it breaks my heart to know that other families are experiencing the same shock, horror and grief that ours has.

It also breaks my heart to see gun control supporters, part of a movement I once helped to lead, repeat the mistakes that doom us all to the unacceptable status quo: tens of thousands of shooting deaths a year.

The pattern is as familiar as it is tragic: In the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting, the main demand of political leaders and gun control groups is a federal assault weapons ban. The news media, which seems to pay attention to gun laws only in the wake of mass shootings, amplifies that call, mostly taking at face value the idea that an assault weapons ban is the best way to prevent “gun violence.” Then, as headlines about the latest calamity fade, so do the hopes of federal policy change.

If this pattern plays out again after the shootings in Georgia and Colorado, no one should be surprised. One of the most common questions I have gotten from journalists has been, “If things didn’t change as a result of (insert previously unthinkable tragedy here), how can we ever expect them to change?”

I believe that is the wrong question and illustrates the problem with the gun control debate in the United States. Though it does not grab national headlines, the daily toll of gun deaths and injuries is just as horrifying as our mass shootings, and more preventable as a matter of policy. The gun control movement should focus on the deaths and injuries that are most common, rather than be galvanized by mass shootings like the one that put my brother in a coma.

Of the nearly 40,000 deaths involving guns in 2019, well under 1 percent were caused by what the F.B.I. defines as “active shooter” incidents. In an average year, around 60 percent of deaths involving guns are suicides and upward of 30 percent are homicides that don’t meet the “active shooter” definition, like episodes of domestic and gang violence. Even unintentional shootings (about 1 percent of the total) outnumber mass shootings.

There are far more effective means to prevent these sadly routine tragedies than by focusing on assault weapons. And that means that it is both wrong and counterproductive for advocacy organizations and elected leaders to use the moments when the public is focused on gun control to push an assault weapons ban.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t disagree with the intent of an assault weapons ban. I led the organization that before my tenure as president helped to pass the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004, and I believe there is no place in civilized society for guns that are made for the express purpose of killing people.

But the fact is that if one were to objectively list solutions based purely on how much they would lower the number of gun deaths in our country, an assault weapons ban would not be high on the list.

When an assault weapons ban is debated, the conversation inevitably becomes a technical and confusing one. While there is no standard definition of an “assault weapon,” much of the focus in the wake of mass shootings is on semiautomatic AR-15-style rifles. Yet most mass shootings, like most gun fatalities in this country, are committed with handguns.

As important, though, the name of the policy includes the word “ban.” Gun control supporters like to mention the backing of “the overwhelming majority of gun owners” for “common-sense policies.” But calling for a ban of any sort just makes it easy for opposing politicians and organizations to cast anyone seeking policy change as a “gun grabber” seeking to take away the Second Amendment rights of responsible and law-abiding gun owners.

To create real and lasting change, we must end the culture war over guns. Instead, gun control groups are helping to perpetuate it.

No decent human being, whether gun owner or not, wants to live in a country with our level of shooting deaths. The most meaningful way to deal with the problem, though, is not to look at how to keep certain guns from all people, but how to keep all guns from certain people — the people almost all of us agree should not have guns.

I have spent the past two years building relationships with leaders in the gun rights community, and have found that this framing leads us to common ground. And it points to five specific moves that together would have an enormous impact:

Vigorously pursue and prosecute the small percentage of gun dealers who are knowingly contributing to the illegal gun trade (a trade that is disproportionately hurting communities of color).

Identify opportunities to strengthen the background check system by adding prohibited purchasers that we all, including 90 percent of gun owners, agree should not have guns. For instance, federal rules governing privacy for health records could be modified to allow mental health clinicians to identify those who are a threat to themselves or others, so that they could be temporarily added to the National Instant Check System. This would have to include exemptions for private sales that may make some gun control supporters uncomfortable; but in the end, in combination with the other measures listed here, it would result in a significant improvement to public safety.

Invest in a large-scale education and awareness campaign on the dangers of owning and carrying guns, and what can be done to mitigate those dangers. It is crucial that these efforts be led in partnership with gun rights groups and public health experts and that they remain free from any judgment about gun ownership or connection with political advocacy. There are many initiatives already, such as public education about the warning signs of mental illness and suicide, which have proved effective and could be models.

Expand on the work of “violence interrupters” and similar programs proved to reduce gun violence in cities.

Clearly define what it means to be a federally licensed firearm dealer, with standards that include sales volume. For years, gun control groups have talked about closing the “gun show loophole.” The real problem is not specifically gun shows but people who are regularly selling multiple guns to strangers, regardless of the venue, without being required to conduct the same background check that a federally licensed dealer must. Not only does this clearly contribute to straw-man purchasing and gun trafficking; it also puts honest dealers at a competitive disadvantage.

When I was considered a leader in the gun control movement, a lot of attention was paid by other groups on how to “rebrand” the pursuit of preventing gun deaths: “Gun control?” “Gun violence prevention?” “Gun safety?”

As a former advertising executive myself, I always found this conversation superficial and frustrating. It takes more than a name and talking points to shape perceptions of any brand, no less such an important social issue. It takes a fundamental truth, a deep empathy for the people you are trying to reach and a disciplined focus on reinforcing that truth with everything you do and say.

The truth is, an assault weapons ban is not the most effective thing we can do to prevent gun violence, and the resulting debate undermines the extent to which the American public agrees on solutions that could bring us closer to what we all want, which is to make our homes, schools and communities safer.

 

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Eh, though I disagree with him on a few salient points... it does sound like this guy is FINALLY figuring out what many of us figured out a long time ago >>>  though there are undoubtedly some well-intentioned people among the rank and file of gun control groups, the leadership of those groups absolutely don't give a DAMN about saving lives! They're all about power and control and adhering to political orthodoxy. 

The violence interruption programs that he cites in his op-ed DO, in fact, have proven effectiveness... because they focus on the PERSON, not the TOOL. For example, I've long promoted the programs developed by the criminologist David Kennedy which rely on community-led efforts to pull kids out of gang life. They have an excellent track record. However, by their very nature, those programs can't help but shine a bright light on the politically uncomfortable aspects of gun crime - like the wildly disparate crime rates (by demographics), the family dysfunction/absentee dads that helps spawn criminals, the abundance of "repeat offenders" and the broken justice system that puts them right back on the street to re-offend. The gun control movement (which tends to be overwhelmingly progressive in its political affiliation) doesn't want to touch those issues with a 10-foot pole. But, if they were actually concerned about saving lives, they'd be all over those issues! And ironically, they'd find themselves on common ground, I think, with many independents and conservatives.   

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“Our proper focus “is not to look at how to keep certain guns from all people, but how to keep all guns from certain people.”

As a gun owner and a proponent of maintaining the 2nd Amendment, much of what the author of this Op-Ed piece advocates is the most sensible take on gun control/safety that I have read in a very long time. The obsessive focus on the type of gun, i.e., the so-called "assault weapon" (which nobody is agreement on its definition), is totally misplaced and counter-productive, as this essay points out. Similarly, eliminating guns in general in this country, is a fantasy, given the approximate 300 million guns in circulation today.

There are an awful lot of paranoid reactionaries on both sides of the 2nd Amendment debate. Both sides, from the fanatical 2A’ers to the fanatical gun-banners, will both likely disparage and deny the author's suggestions for policy, the ones that actually are supported by hard, empirical evidence. The 2A’ers will talk about the slippery slope, say that gun ownership is a God-given right and that the 2nd Amendment only means defending oneself against intruders and "government tyranny" and wrap up with "my cold, dead hands!" The other anti-gun extremists will talk about "weapons of war", evil "Assault weapons" and hit every heart-string about the horrific mass-shootings from Newtown and Parkland up to this past week. No sane person wants mass shootings. But how many actually CARE about urban and inner-city murders, and other wanton shootings and how many ignore it?

Talk about the government going after and confiscating guns per se is a non-starter and will not happen, IMHO. Attempting to getting guns out of the hands of the wrong people not only would get a lot more traction, but would be truly effective in mitigating the awful rate of killings.

AVB-AMG

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15 minutes ago, AVB-AMG said:

Talk about the government going after and confiscating guns per se is a non-starter and will not happen, IMHO. Attempting to getting guns out of the hands of the wrong people not only would get a lot more traction, but would be truly effective in mitigating the awful rate of killings.

So, why do YOU think the gun control movement doesn't focus on actual criminals then?  That's what the gun rights crowd has been promoting for years! How impressed should we be that someone in the gun control movement finally came to the same view, a decade or 2 later?

And also, FWIW:

  • we're certainly NOT the highest level of gun crime in the world, despite our high gun ownership rate. Though murder (by gun or otherwise) is, as you say, "awful" - let's not forget that our rate of gun homicide has been played like a fiddle and wildly exaggerated by the press and the gun control movement. There's no need to buy into that spin. This is a country of 330+Million people - even rare events rack up a high body count pretty quickly, simply because of our massive population size.  
  • if we're talking about saving lives - and want to focus on sheer numbers - we'd be far better off starting a national diet & exercise campaign than focusing on guns! Gun homicides are simply dwarfed by obesity-related deaths. Gun homicides - last I checked - don't even hit the "top 20" causes of death in the U.S. 

I'm not adding these last 2 points to minimize the issue - but merely to offer a rational, fact-based perspective and sense of proportionality.

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Biden can EO all he wants!

Raggedy Ann. This entire administration is an illegal laugh stock. I'm going to go ahead with my life and completely ignore this administration. I will not obey, I will not comply. As far as I am concerned, the US doesn't have a President or an administration right now. Maybe down the road someday, after a legal election. The administration of the most popular man to ever be elected President looks like a banana republic junta. Sooner or later even the dumbest liberals are going to wake up, look around and say, oh no, what have we done. That is when Joe will need the barbwire and military troops.

 

 

Biden.jpg

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Meh, take out suicides and drug/gang related shootings and as a country we have less gun related issues than the EU, that is the reality. Fix the issues with the gangs and drugs and figure out how to help people who want to kill themselves and we get rid of 95% of the issue but that doesn’t push the narrative so we can’t do that. 
 

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When I can read a morning paper without reading an inner city Black on Black shooting incident, then, maybe I will believe BLM.

Or when I see illegal gun possession charges actually being enforced, instead of being Plea bargained out, then I will think gun laws work. until then they are useless.

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i didn't read the whole article. there is ZERO need or reason for ANY new gun control laws, e.o.'s or any further restrictions. those in power could very easily and somewhat quickly eliminate a good 80+% of the violence committed with guns using nothing more than the laws already on the books. but weirdly, no one wants to hear that, and even worse, no one will allow that.

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In truth, Joe Biden was better on gun control 30 years ago when he supported the Clinton era crime bill.  Put violent offenders behind bars and keep them there.  That one item in one bill was responsible for a huge decrease in violent crime on our streets:  Crimes with gun and all other weapons.  

As noted, nobody wants to talk about the problem in that way.  It leads to talk of race and socio-economic issues that make people uncomfortable.  

I don't think that the gun control advocates (except the high ranking politicians) are in this for the power.  They are more of the "we have to do something . . . Oh!  We can do this . . . " crowd.  They talk about "assault weapons" because they sound scary and they look scary and they don't understand the difference between ANY two guns much less an AR-15 and an M1 Garand.  They don't actually know what's going on in the country, they only know what's on the news.  They only know about the "mass shootings" and not the individual shootings in places like Chicago and they know absolutely nothing about the number of lives that are saved by guns every single day.  

Both sides need to frame their arguments differently.  If this is a start, I'm all for it.  

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Of course there is a slippery slope.  And the Dems & Liberals love to apply as much grease as they can to  it.  Want one example?  The oringal poster thinks it's a good idea for the government take to "guns out of the hands of the wrong people".  Who get's to decide who "the wrong people" are??  People make who anti-government comments on social media against the current administration?  People who were at a "mostly peaceful" protest but committed no crimes themselves?  Maybe it's the Jews?  I remember one group of people who thought they were "the wrong people" to have firearms.  

It amazes me that people fail to realize, comprehend or just plain forgot the simple fact that the Bill Of Rights is ENTIRELY about RESTRICTING the power and reach of the governement.  The 2nd Amendment exists to restrict the governement.  As do all the amendments in the Bill Of Rights. They protect citizens from governmental interference.  In the case of the 2nd Amendment "shall not be infrigned" is pretty clear.

What other rights should we make sure "the wrong people" aren't allowed to exercise?  Perhaps we shouldn't allow people below a certain IQ to vote?  Or better yet, people who aren't really informed on the issues.  Would those type of people be considered "the wrong kind of people" to be exercising their right to vote?  I would be careful throwing terms such as "the wrong people" around.  Some may misconstrue what you mean.     

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