Department chair of history and political science at San Diego City College. Views the United States gun rights/reform from both sides. Neutral, more informative view. Not opposed to or for gun control/rights. Kristin Brown – Co President and Chief Strategy Officer of the Brady Campaign. The Brady campaign aims at preventing gun violence by promoting policies that will keep guns out of the hands of Americans. It was founded by Jim and Sarah Brady in 1974. Jim was Ronald Reagan’s press secretary and after he was shot, he and his wife devoted the rest of their lives to do something about gun violence. In 1993 the Brady bill was passed.
It required background checks on people purchasing firearms, along with a five-day waiting period on purchases. Kris Brown started her career on Capitol Hill working for congressman, Jim Moran. She then earned her law degree and worked as a regulatory and litigation lawyer. Now, she oversees strategy and management of the Brady Campaign. Working towards expanding background checks, limiting gun dealers, and educating the public on gun dangers.
Wayne LaPierre – Executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. The NRA is a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun rights and advocates for and against gun legislation. After obtaining a master’s degree in government from Boston College, LaPierre entered the lobbying industry and in 1977, joined the NRA as a 28-year-old. LaPierre has also served on the boards of directors of the American Association of Political Consultants, American Conservative Union, and Center for the Study of Popular Culture and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. He is also the author of Safe: How to Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Your Home, The Global War on Your Guns: Inside the UN Plan to Destroy the Bill of Rights and The Essential Second Amendment Guide (Garrett).
San Diego City College is hosting a panel event. They have invited Kris Brown from the Brady campaign, a gun control activist. Along with Wayne LaPierre, head of the NRA, and a gun rights activist. We have head of history and political science, professor Daveed as a guest as well as a student named, Gabriel as our mediator. The guests will be giving their thoughts and opinions on where the United States currently stands on gun control/gun rights and what we should be doing differently to prevent gun violence. Gabriel – [Walks onto stage and sits on the right of Wayne LaPierre, Professor Daveed, and Kristin Brown, who are sitting in that order] Hello, San Diego City College! How are you guys? [Response from crowd] Good, good.
The turnout is amazing, I can see people squeezed in all around the sides of the room and along the walls, while that might not be too comfortable, it’s great in terms of numbers and the amount of people that have come out to listen to this very Correa 3 important debate, which does make sense because we have our very own Professor Daveed on the panel today. He is our department chair of History and Political Science. We have Kris Brown with us, Co President of the Brady Campaign and Wayne LaPierre, head of the National Rifle Association. [Turns his attention toward guests] Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedules to be here today. It is very much appreciated and I think we’re all equally as excited for the conversation we are having today.
Thank you, Gabe for thinking of me and bringing me into this panel. I’m honored to be sitting here with the both of you (Kris and Wayne) who are the faces of two of the largest gun nonprofits. Also Gabe, I appreciate the shout-out. Thank you for not making me feel like a meager participation trophy next to these two. Gabe- ha-ha, you’re so much more than that Professor, I would never… Also, there’s still time for my grade to be brought down, so I couldn’t. Professor Daveed – Funny. Kris Brown – [Interjects] I’ve got to say Gabriel, I feel just as honored to be here. To be able to share my thoughts and opinions on gun control in a room full of young men and women is really something. So, thank you for reaching out and having me. Wayne LaPierre – Yes, I too appreciate the opportunity. We have serious discussions ahead and serious issues that impact each and every one of us.
Gabe – Yes, we definitely do. We have all heard of the mass shootings and the rallies, the protests, and calls for stricter gun laws, some even going as far as changing the Second Amendment or creating additional gun rights. There has been extensive media coverage on the issue, as well as in schools, making sure kids know the procedure if a shooting were to occur. It seems the debate hasn’t settled down, it has only been fueled by more gun violence, those who are hungry for change, and others who strongly disagree with the proposed additions and/or restrictions to gun laws. So, my question for you guys is: Would universal background checks and a ban on assault-style rifles reduce gun violence in the United States?
Professor Daveed – I’ll go first. I really like your question. I feel like it’s come the closest to actually being a part of the real conversation, and could eventually lead to passing legislation. I say this, because earlier like you mentioned, many people speak about rewriting the second amendment and I feel that that will never in a million years happen. Here’s why. Americans are very proud. As Americans, I think we pride ourselves in having the Constitution and having rights that set us apart from other countries, so much so that sometimes we let that get in the way of realizing when something just isn’t working.
I’m not saying that I am against gun rights, because I’m not, but I do think that the laws we have set in place are letting ill people slip through the cracks, leading to many casualties and hurt families. So, to answer your question I would say that stricter gun laws would be a fair compromise for people who do depend on hunting or even enjoy sport shooting. There won’t be a buyback program stripping individuals of their firearms or a change in the Bill of Rights, just a lengthier process to purchase a gun.
Correa 5 is how it should be if you know the severity that a bullet can cause, and if you are in fact only using a gun for the right reasons, you should be just fine.
Wayne LaPierre – It’s not that Americans are proud, Professor. We are simply standing up for our rights, the same rights that have stood for hundreds of years. The Second Amendment clearly states that A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Now, in the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller case, the Supreme Court translated the Second Amendment into its intended meaning, ruling that it protects an individual’s right to bear arms, and not just a National Guard’s (Berman). The dilemma here is that it’s a fact that blame is being shifted onto the NRA and guns instead of the people committing the acts. It is society that is fundamentally flawed. It is our values and morals, not guns. Guns are not committing crimes, people are.
Kris Brown – I think that that is precisely the problem Mr. LaPierre, the second amendment has been in place since 1791. Times have changed, we no longer use muskets or revolvers that hold less than six rounds. Technology has surged forward, I don’t have to tell you how many kinds of guns we have now or how many bullets can be held in a single magazine with bump stocks that allow bullets to fire at twice the speed, allowing for mass casualties. But, changing the second amendment isn’t apart of the conversation. So, I won’t go any farther than that. The real question is about more restrictions and making the process of purchasing a gun more accurate and safe. That’s apart of the Brady three tier goal. Our goal is to cut gun deaths in half.
How we plan on doing that is through expanding the Brady bill to cover all gun sales. Something that Correa 6 about 94% of American agree with, because currently 1 in 5 guns are sold without background checks. Also, for those who don’t know the Brady bill mandated background checks. The second goal is to ban the sale of all assault-style weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines. The third is to enact extreme risk laws. Meaning laws that allow family members and law enforcement to seek a protective order to remove firearms from someone at risk of hurting themselves or others.
Professor Daveed – I’m very curious, What is stopping us from being able to expand the Brady bill? As you mentioned before 94% of Americans agree with that, so what’s the hold up? Kris Brown – Unfortunately, we have our answer in the politics of America today. The NRA contributed or lobbied about $50 million to get President Trump elected under a pro NRA agenda and many members of Congress, so although the polls clearly show support, Congress just isn’t acting. What we have done over time, has been to get the states approval. We now have twenty states that have passed expansions of the Brady background through ballets, not their legislatures. Wayne LaPierre – Yes Mrs. Brown, we do lobby. It is our way of giving back and supporting congressmen and women who deserve a seat in Senate and the House of Representatives. The NRA spends money, but so do dozens of organizations and causes. NRA money is not why gun control efforts are failing. We have only spent about $203 million since 1998. That figure is even smaller than it looks when you consider 30 percent of Americans, or about 100 million people, own a gun. By contrast, Wall Street and the broader financial industrial shelled out more than Correa 7 $1.1 billion in the 2016 election cycle alone.
The bulk of that $203 million doesn’t actually go to candidates. It’s spent on those “issue ads” that you see mostly on cable news channels during election years. Fewer than 20 percent of American gun owners are even NRA members. We give the beliefs of gun owners a voice, rather than frame what they should believe. The real power is with those voting gun owners, not the lobby group. We support regulations on bump stocks. However, we do not support expanding firearm background checks or banning certain guns. We instead urge Congress to loosen gun restrictions, along with passing the Concealed Carry Reciprocity, which would require states to recognize concealed carry permits from other states. Banning guns from law-abiding Americans based on the criminal act of a madman will do nothing to prevent future attacks. If we have more good people armed, then we could stop the crazy people with guns.
Professor Daveed – You don’t think stricter gun laws would prevent future attacks? What about Australia? Or the U.K.? Just entertain the thought, because many countries have had mass shootings, and tightened their gun laws shortly after in order to prevent any further losses. The 1996 Port Arthur Massacre in Australia resulted in a man killing 35 people, and wounding over 24 with a semi-automatic rifle. Two weeks later firearms were regulated. The National Agreement on Firearms was put into effect, which prohibited automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles, mandated licensing and registration, and instituted a temporary buyback program that took about 650,000 assault weapons out of public circulation. It also required licenses to Correa 8 demonstrate a genuine need for a particular type of gun, as well as taking a firearm safety course. In the U.K. something similar happened, as well as in Canada and Norway. When tragedy struck it was followed by change. Right now in the U.S. at the age of 18 you can purchase rifles, shotguns, and ammunition but have to be over 21 to purchase all other firearms like handguns.
And, in most states you can even carry a concealed gun in public. Did you also know that (speaking to audience) background checks are only required in eleven states since the Brady Bill expired in (1968-) 1998 and was never picked up by most states. Same with the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons ban that expired in 2004. The ban was signed by President Bill Clinton and outlawed nineteen kinds of military style-assault weapons, never being signed by Congress again.
Furthermore, most states do bar selling guns to high risk individuals, including felons, people with a mental illness history, fugitives, drug users, individuals with restraining orders against them, people who have given up their citizenship, dishonorably discharged military personnel, unauthorized migrants, and tourists. The U.S. depends on the NICS/FBI database for these background checks, which many times exclude crucial information that could indicate a risk. Last bit of information, I promise. There have been over 93 mass shootings since 1982, 42 of those occurring after Sandy Hook. The other 51 never exceeded 32 deaths in one case, while a single shooting in 2017 caused 58 fatalities, exceeding Columbine, Sandy Hook, Texas Baptist Church, Parkland High School, A Thousand Oaks nightclub, and the Orlando nightclub massacre that killed 49 people.