Guns kill people, Mr. LaPierre

By
  • Earl McDowell, professor emeritus University of Minnesota, author of “America’s Great Gun Game: Gun Ownership VS Americans’ Safety”
January 22, 2013

Since 1991, Wayne LaPierre has served as the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. Over the past 21 years, approximately 250,000 people were murdered with firearms, 280,000 committed suicide and 600,000 firearms were sold in the U.S. Since 2000 it is estimated that, in the U.S., between 2.5 million and 2.75 million people will be killed with guns while 10 million will be shot with guns.

 In the past 21 years, LaPierre’s response to mass shootings is that guns don’t kill people: People kill people. He believes a ban on any firearm is a ban for all firearms. He has consistently opposed any ban on assault weapons, high capacity ammunition clips and background checks to purchase firearms at gun shows.

Under his leadership, the NRA was successful in ending the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which banned the manufacture, sale and possession of 19 types of semi-automatic assault weapons and outlawed magazines holding more than 10 rounds. The NRA pressured Congress not to renew the ban when it expired in 2004. LaPierre believes that the Second Amendment guarantees the rights of the general public to purchase any type of firearm.

After the mass shootings at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Tucson and Aurora, LaPierre asserted that to make America safer, what America needs are more guns instead of fewer.

On Dec. 21 of last year, LaPierre held a news conference to address the Sandy Hook elementary school tragedy. His solution is that schools should have armed guards to protect the students, teachers and staff. He reiterated this statement on Meet the Press on Dec. 23. However, he did not have the courage to go to Newtown, Conn., to address and comfort the victims’ families.

Since this tragedy, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Sen. Diane Fienstein and members of Congress suggested a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazine clips and advocate background checks at gun shows.

Former Supreme Court Justice Warren Burger stated, “The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any type of weapon.”

In 1986 Justice William Bensen, referring to the Second Amendment, stated, “... the genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptability of the great principles to cope with current problems and current needs.”

In 1994 R. William Ide, president of the American Bar Association, remarked at the National Press Conference event, “It is time we get on with the business of treating guns with the respect they require, and one small step toward that end is making clear that regulating gun ownership does not violate the Constitution.”

James Brady, press secretary for President Ronald Reagan and a victim of gun violence, stated it best. He doubted “... the Founding Fathers imagined a time when over 30,000 people each year are dying from gun violence, when high-powered, military-style weapons like AK 47s with 30-round magazines are available on the streets, when a 14-year-old can take his father’s gun and mow down his classmates or when a parent leaves a loaded pistol around and a two-year-old can easily fire it.”

Finally, Sen. Robert Kennedy, a week before he was assassinated, said, “Regulation of the sale of firearms is, in my judgment, essential for the safety and welfare of the American people.”

Mr. LaPierre: Assault weapons kill people — they kill people fast. It is time for Congress to revisit the Second Amendment to update our gun laws with the needs of American citizens in mind.

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