Are Firearms Regulations Too Strict?

The National Rifle Association is hosting a convention in St. Louis this weekend with speakers like Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Glenn Beck.

There will be a wide array of guns and knives for people to "ooh" and "ahh" about as the National Rifle Association (NRA) brings Friday and through the weekend at America's Center.

St. Louis is hosting the NRA convention for the second time in five years. In 2007, the city was the beneficiary of an NRA decision to abandon its original host city of Columbus, OH, a retaliation that followed the Columbus City Council's passage of a law banning assault-type weapons. The NRA moved its big confab to St. Louis and liked it so much it came back this year.

So, what restrictions on firearms are acceptable? By its actions, the NRA obviously doesn't like bans on assault weapons, but are there any restrictions the organization will accept?

Short of an all-out ban of firearms, what restrictions would you propose as a possible way to reduce the incidence of gun crimes? 

This isn't intended as a "slippery slope" that eventually leads to confiscating guns, but as a well-intentioned dialogue for all sides to determine an appropriate amount of restrictions, if any, on firearms.

What regulations would you suggest or support on firearms? Use the comments section below to weigh in on the topic.

Integr8er April 19, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Earl, the definition that is commonly used in the context of this discussion is a wrong one, but still is the one Bill Clinton used for his ban back in the 90's http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban This explains it pretty well. It is this definition that NRA is referring to when they say they are opposed to it, Machine guns have been illegal since 1933 for non FFL dealers. But I would not be opposed to making them legal. You can do a lot more damage with a 50 lb. bag of fertilizer than you can with most guns.
RDBet April 19, 2012 at 03:42 AM
It's out of whack -the millions in lobbying, the politicians pandering to the NRA, and the liberalizing of gun laws with assault weapons ad nauseam... Is it possible that protection of one right, taken to this extreme sacredness, infringes upon other more natural rights?
Striek April 19, 2012 at 04:02 PM
The constitution and forefathers were not infallible...Good folk and a good document, but let's not get crazy -times were different then. Just look at the next amendment "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." How the heck does that apply to this day and age? (I'm sure some more constitutional mental gymnastics are forthcoming.) Where is the behemoth lobbying group protecting our 3rd amendment rights? You never know ...the big bad government may be fixin to put soldiers up in your house -got to protect the house.
Earl Higgins April 19, 2012 at 04:21 PM
"Do some checking, and see what this President and Hillary are scheming with the United Nations to have control; over guns in the United States." "Bob", please, cite at least one reputable source for this outrageous claim?
David Hays April 19, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Why give a municipality any support (read$$$) if they are fighting against your basic beliefs. The Southern Baptist convention visits us here in STL as well. If we banned their beliefs, do you think they would come here?
Earl Higgins April 19, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Integr, The NRA's budget is $307 million and the Brady Campaign's budget Is less than $4 million (~1% of the NRA's). Seems to me you just proved Striek's point. Thanks for playing!
Tony Caruso April 20, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Fact: Obama has not signed a single gun control law since elected. Disagree? Show me the law. Fact: Obama did sign a bill that allows owners to carry in national parks. That doesn't sound like he's here to take away anybody's guns. In fact, that is a pro-gun stance. Fact: The U.S. has the most permissive gun laws in the world. Fact: In the U.S. for 2010, there were 31,513 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 19,308; Homicide 11,015; Accident 600. This makes firearms injuries one of the top ten causes of death in the U.S. I say, restrict the sale of ammunition to registered gun owners so stolen guns cannot be used for illegal activities.
Devon Seddon April 20, 2012 at 05:24 AM
There you go though RDBet, now we're back on the subject. Rights infringement. Isn't that the issue we're talking about. (Thinkin' about seein' if Striek wants to join my trivia team, excellent pull on that 'doesn't get enough attention' 3rd Amendment there man, but peep this...) You work. Someone else sits at home. You pay for his/her stuff including the home he sits in. That's just as dumb as worrying about whether or not a soldier might ever ask to seek shelter in your home, but if one does, will you let him/her bring a firearm?
Fatherboop April 20, 2012 at 09:40 AM
If you mean Liberals are the children, then yes, we don't want them to take our guns.
Integr8er April 20, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Rather than to quote Wiki, I used US Code http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/311 (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard. (b) The classes of the militia are— (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia. So this means just about everybody.
Integr8er April 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Earl: I think the point he was trying to make is that there is no sizeable ANTI-Gun group out there, I say Sarah Brady and the many many others as listed here http://www.georgiapacking.org/links_antigun.php Prove there is a large anti-gun group that is selling regulation with fear. I will defend what NRA is doing in the same way the left defends other civil rights when they say "you can't leave civil rights up to the whim of the voters" This means even if a town votes to be say..All white, they can't do that just like you can't be a No Gun town. These rights are protected BEYOND the vote of the people.
Earl Higgins April 20, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Thanks for those interesting facts Tony! But the NRA doesn't want anyone to know the truth... then where will they get their million$$?
Earl Higgins April 20, 2012 at 04:17 PM
I get what you're trying to say, "Integ"; really, I do. And I understand your point when you say, "I say Sarah Brady and the many many others as listed here http://www.georgiapacking.org/links_antigun.php prove there is a large anti-gun group that is selling regulation with fear." It's just that the groups you point to have budgets on the order of 1% of The NRA's budget (or less). In my mind, this clearly demonstrates the OPPOSITE of what you state. The fact that their budget is 1/100 of The NRA's proves that they are no match for the big money Washington insiders at NRA. You may be surprised to learn I actually substantially agree with your 2nd point!
Earl Higgins April 20, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Integr: reread the Second Amendment. It specifically refers to an "organized" militia. The US code that you reference so nicely (10 USC § 311), defines an organized militia as "the National Guard and the Naval Militia" (10 USC § 311(b)(1)). That's it! You said "So this means just about everybody". Sorry, but it really doesn't! Again, it means exactly what it says, members of "the National Guard and the Naval Militia" and that is it.
Kevin April 20, 2012 at 06:46 PM
The problem with gun control is just that, control. if a government controls the guns and decides who gets one and who doesn't, then the governmnet will no longer fear the people and will assume it's control over them. You know, gun control does work, just ask Stalin, Mao, Castro, Hitler...etc. If I so want to own arms (of any kind), I should be able to under the constitution. My right shall not be infringed. Liberty belongs in the hands of the people, not the government.
Earl Higgins April 20, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Kevin, that's a strawman argument; nobody here is trying to eliminate ALL private ownership of legally registered firearms. For obvious public safety reasons, many are calling (in many cases quite successfully) for reasonable rules governing the ownership of the most lethal firearms at the extreme end of the spectrum. We can all live with reasonable rules, can't we? We do it all the time in other areas of our lives (food safety laws, child labor laws, traffic laws, etc. etc.).
Kevin Lane April 20, 2012 at 08:17 PM
So the NRA & the Democratic Party DO have something in common. Start there. Now, unfortunately, neither will admit they hide the facts to gain money or votes, but it IS true. Earl, dude, we're after the same thing. However, what we need is to know what you think is enough. We have reasonable rules, it's just that the rules don't know anything about the 'segment' (as you can see from the discussion above). Also, most people who call for 'reasonable rules', don't know what the current rules are, resulting in them always wanting more. There are reasonable restrictions on "assault weapons", but it's the definition of "assault weapon" that is different in the law, than in the 'segment'. I am not putting you in this category, because these people cannot have an intellegent conversation on the subject, they let their emotions blind them, but often-times the people who got a gun law passed, will later pretend that there are no regulations (even after they get one passed) and soon they want another one, then another one, and on & on, each time pretending like there are NO regulations, when in fact, the ones that ARE there, are there because they wanted them. It's like a meal to them, soon they will need more. So, if we could start by knowing the final goal. Then not only would it no longer look like a slippery slope to the NRA, but those folks who always want more, will know when they get it.
Kevin April 20, 2012 at 08:50 PM
I should be able to own a firearm at the extreme end of the spectrum if I so desire. Gun regisration leads to confiscation, look at Great Britain, they registered it all then when they had all of them registered, they took them away. All one has to do is read what Thomas Jefferson and other forefathers wrote about freedom, liberty, and guns, it then becomes quite clear. If Johnny Appleseed wanted to own a canon, then under the constitution he can, of course one has to be responsible and no amount of laws or rules will force responsibility, all it does is make government larger and taxes higher. Knives are weapons, everyone buys them, big ones, little ones, they are just as lethal, do we need to make laws to regulate those as well, what about pencils, I could stab someone with one those too. Hammers, screwdrivers, that's a lot more laws, but I guess we'll get there someday.
Brett April 21, 2012 at 11:35 AM
Although, at the time it was written, "infringe" meant to defeat completely rather than its modern meaning. If we go by the original meaning, regulation of firearms does not completely defeat the right to bear arms and so does not infringe that right.
Brett April 21, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Where are you referring to Mac the Gun? Checked out UCR, and no county in northern California had an increase in violent crime over the last decade. In fact, all of them decreased.
Brett April 21, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Actually, we do have a natural right to fish and fowl. It is not in the constitution because it was already in the charter of every colony and an inherent part of common law at the time. The right to hunt is a far stronger right than the right to bear arms. Also, we have a natural right to defend ourselves, not a natural right to protect ourselves. There is a clear distinction there that becomes very important in a discussion like this. A natural right to protect yourself is preemptive. A right to defend yourself is reactive. Think of this in terms of nation-states if you want an easy way to see the distinction.
Brett April 21, 2012 at 11:55 AM
There are far more knife regulations than firearm regulations. Probably because historically knifes were the weapons of choice for the poor who could not afford firearms.
Striek April 21, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Since the Founding Father's get referenced so much in these conversations - worth noting is that they were slave-holders -and an essential part of keeping slaves is the slave-holder having the guns. I've already pointed out the disregarded 3rd amendment by comparison to the 2nd. The 3rd Amendment is archaic and most everybody recognizes this -yet the 2nd amendment gets used to justify people loading up on assault weapons. It's a strange society we live in when multi-billion dollar industry has so much control.
Earl Higgins April 21, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Kevin, you seem like a good guy and I'm sure you're a responsible gun owner. On this issue (owning whatever you want without regulation) I'm afraid we will just have to agree to disagree. All that can and should be said on the matter seems to have been said already, so good luck and thanks for the discussion.
Tom Hollingsworth April 22, 2012 at 12:38 PM
no one is.
Tom Hollingsworth April 22, 2012 at 01:29 PM
The second amendment has been misunderstood for a long time. The first clause ("a well regulated militia...") suggests that the purpose of the amendment is to PROTECT the State, not threaten it. The writings of Jefferson and other firebrands are not the law. The second clause is broader and is the one that makes otherwise sane people believe that they have an unalienable, and unregulateable, right to own military grade weapons. My position is that if your gun is registered and at the service of the State, then you should be able to have whatever the Army has. The State could also order you to drill once or twice a year, prove that you have a safe place to keep your arms, and if you choose to own a cannon or something like that, a host of other regulations to keep the rest of us safe from the weapon. The amount of regulation should be proportional to the destructive potential of the weapon. Character limits keep me from proposing more detailed regulations but high capactity, high power firearms should be limited to members of the militia. We have the vote and the courts to protect us from the State. The State is there to protect us from each other and from foreigners, and possibly zombies. Gun regulation is right in the State's wheelhouse.
UrsulaSmith April 22, 2012 at 10:59 PM
In the Virginia Declaration of Rights (written just before the US Constitution) militia is defined: "A well-regulated Militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free State." Note: "natural" & "the body of the people." The Bill of Rights was written to protect individual states, and the people within them from the centralized power being created. There would have been no reason to include the right to keep and bare arms in the Bill of Rights, if the rights being protected were the rights of the federal "State," as in the United "State"s. The Bill of Rights was written to express the natural rights of the people--not to grant rights from the fed. government. Remember in the arguments againt the Bill of Rights, many thought the Bill was not needed, because the rights were natural and obvious! If your argument is that it was only the individual State being protected (and not the people of the state), I do not think the Constitution would have said, "the right of the people to keep and bare arms shall not be infringed." Instead, it would then have said something like, "the right of the States to keep supplies of arms and use them..."
Earl Higgins April 23, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Ursula: reread the Second Amendment. It specifically refers to an "organized" militia. The US code defines an organized militia as "the National Guard and the Naval Militia" (10 USC § 311(b)(1)). That's it! You Imply that this means just about everybody. Sorry, but it really doesn't! Again, it means exactly what it says, members of "the National Guard and the Naval Militia" and that is it.
UrsulaSmith April 23, 2012 at 05:50 PM
The definition of a "well-regulated militia" should come from the people who wrote the Bill of Rights. Hence, my quote above from the Virginia Declaration of Rights above. The Supreme Court's job is to compare written codes and laws to the Constitution. The Constitution does not say the National Guard and Naval Militia, so we have to refer to what exactly IT says...not what laws and codes--which can be unconstitutional--say. Yes, we end up with different interpretations from different perspectives. I think it is helpful to read what else those who wrote the Constitution wrote at the time to help me interpret their intended meaning. Since the Bill of Rights purpose was to protect the individual States and the people from too much concentrated central power, I feel that the interpretation should lean toward protecting individual freedoms. We have done this over the years with other rights proclaimed within the Bill of Rights. I believe it is consistent to do so with the 2nd Amendment as well. Yes, just as free speech, there can be limits set. (Yelling Fire! in the theater, etc...) However, denying that the 2nd Amendment rights have anything to do with individual freedoms seems totally squirming and twisting to me. "The right of the People to keep and bare arms" would be a superflous phrase if it had nothing to do with the people.
Earl Higgins July 02, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Still waiting Bob!


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