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Republican Gun Insanity & Sensible Laws

Republicans refuse to allow ANY gun safety bill to come to a vote, despite an average of 109 gun deaths a day and almost 40,000 deaths from firearms a year.

In the US, 90% of people support universal background checks, including around 70% of members of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Republicans constantly block universal background checks.

And they work to weaken our National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

  • Some people on Social Security are so mentally disabled that their checks go to somebody else to handle their money for them.
  • Social Security used to report those people to the FBI’s criminal background check system (NICS) so that they could not buy guns or assault weapons.
  • One of the very first laws Republicans passed after Trump’s election eliminated this rule, allowing 75,000 people on Social Security disability for mental illness and unable to control their finances the right to buy weapons.
  • Republicans also passed a law blocking the Department of Veteran’s Affairs from reporting to the NICS veterans too mentally ill to manage their own affairs.
  • Trump’s 2019 budget cut $12 million in funding for the NICS background check for gun purchases, including funds for reporting domestic violence, protection orders, and other crimes to the database.

In 2015, Democrats tried to stop people on the terrorist watch list from buying assault rifles but Republicans blocked it.

Even after massacres, Republicans refuse common-sense proposals to make our country safer.

  • After the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre of 20 children and 6 teachers, Democrats tried to ban assault weapons but Republicans refused to vote on it.
  • Democrats tried to ban assault weapons again in 2015 after the San Bernardino, California massacre of 14 people and in 2107 after the Las Vegas massacre of 58 people that wounded 851 people but Republicans killed these proposals, too.
  • Democrats tried to establish universal background checks after Sandy Hook and San Bernardino but Republicans killed that, too.
  • After the 2016 Orlando massacre of 49 people, Republicans again blocked a proposal to stop people on the terrorist watch list from buying assault rifles.

Republicans tried to massively expand the right to carry hidden weapons.

  • In 2017, Republicans voted to force every state to honor concealed weapons permits from other states in the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.
  • This would have stopped states from enforcing their own gun laws.

The NRA and other gun-rights organizations spent nearly $55 million in the 2016 election alone.

The NRA spent over $61 million supporting members of Congress, the vast majority of them Republicans.

Obviously, Republicans think a hundred million dollars in their pockets for campaign contributions are more important than almost 40,000 American gun deaths every year and frequent mass murders.

Strong Gun Laws in Other Countries

In the 18 years up to 1996, Australia had 13 mass shootings.  After a 1996 shooting killed 36 people and wounded 28, Australia:

  • restricted automatic and semi-automatic rifles and pump action rifles and shotguns
  • required more strict registration of guns
  • required more strict storage rules for guns
  • set up a mandatory buyback of guns, collecting 650,000 in the first year, mostly rifles and shotguns

Then 7 years later, Australia added more controls on illegal guns, restricted the use of handguns, and bought back handguns.

Since 1996, Australia has only seen one mass shooting.  And gun-related suicides and murders declined by about 80%.

New Zealand’s 2019 white supremacist mass murder killing 51 people and wounding 49 led to a ban on automatic weapons and high capacity magazines and a very successful voluntary gun buyback program.

Japan’s extremely strict gun laws give it one of the lowest rates of gun crime in the world.  In Japan, before you can buy a gun, the government will

  • check your criminal history
  • check for any links to extremist groups
  • check your mental health
  • test you for drugs
  • ask your relatives and coworkers about you
  • require an all-day class
  • require you to pass a written exam
  • require you to score at least 95% on a shooting-range test

Japan has a complete ban on handguns.  They only allow shotguns and air rifles.  They started rewarding people for giving up guns in 1685.  They limit the number of gun shops.

After you get a gun in Japan:

  • You can only buy new cartridges by returning the spent cartridges you bought previously.
  • You must store your gun and ammunition separately, under lock and key.
  • You must notify the police where you store both.
  • The police will inspect your guns once a year.
  • Your license expires after 3 years, so you have to take the class and pass the tests again.

Japanese police have great powers to search and seize weapons.

But the police never carry weapons off duty—they leave their weapons at the station after work.

Japanese police respond to violence by de-escalating it.  If a person is violent, the police will use a huge futon, roll the person up, and bring them to a police station to calm down.

Helpful Gun Laws

Here in the US:

  • 90% of people support universal background checks to buy guns
  • 77% support requiring people to get a license before being allowed to buy a gun
  • 68% support a nationwide ban on assault weapons
  • even 44% of gun owners support a ban on assault weapons

In Massachusetts, before you can buy a gun, you must:

  • complete a 4-hour gun safety class
  • get character references from 2 people
  • meet with a special police officer for a one-on-one interview
  • get fingerprinted
  • wait for police to search department records that don’t show up on background checks
  • get a permit

Also, in Massachusetts, the police can deny a gun permit if they have credible evidence the person may pose a threat to public safety.

We should at least require:

  • background checks on all gun sales
  • no guns for terror suspects
  • no guns for suicidal people
  • no guns for abusers, people who have threatened violence or stalked others
  • red flag laws so family members can get emergency restraining orders and have police remove weapons when they fear a loved one may become violent
  • ban and buy back assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
  • registration for all guns
  • guns kept locked up
  • license and insure guns like cars

We should eliminate the law shielding gun and ammunition makers and sellers from liability for gun crimes and deaths.

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