Dec 15, 2012 7:25 PM GMT
gayroy saidI was hoping that you guys could give me some clarification on U.S. gun laws in light of the terrible shootings yesterday.
This may come across as a bit of a rant (and in part it is). Being from the U.K. I find myself genuinely baffled by your societies need for guns, I understand that it's a completely different culture and that you've been brought up in a society where guns are acceptable, my boyfriend is originally from California and this is something that we've spoken about a lot, however I just don't understand it and I find myself having to ask; how many times does an incident like this have to happen before your government/society will change? The U.K has never had the right for the general public to own firearms without strict controls in place and we seem to have done ok so far. I know we're far from a perfect society and we have our fair share of societal problems, but we don't have atrocities on the scale of your school shootings.
20 innocent children lost their lives yesterday. Thats 20 young people that will never grow up, will never experience falling in love, will never get to go to their first prom, play football for their school or be a cheerleader, or go to collage, and they'll never have the opportunity to have a family of their own. They have been ripped away from their families just before Christmas, their presents already bought, wrapped and under the tree, their families now denied a happy holiday season with their loved ones.
They have been denied all of this because people want the freedom to own guns? but to what end, just so that they can shoot at a target at a shooting range or go hunting in the woods, and all under the guise of being able to defend ones home and family? If the freedom to defend my home and family also means that people capable of such an abhorrent and contemptible act are also allowed to own guns, then that is a freedom I would gladly lay down!
Maybe if guns were not so readily available then you wouldn't need a gun to defend yourself against someone coming into your home with a gun?
I understand that is your constitutional right to bear arm, and I understand the need for such a law at the time it was written. Of course all rights and freedoms should be defended and upheld. However if a right also allows a group of people, no matter how small, to carry out such mallicouse crimes as the three shootings that you have had this year and to allow them to deny people an even more fundamental right and freedom the right to live and excist, then surely something needs to change?
To the best of my knowledge, I only know of 3 such incidents since 1996 in the U.K. and gun laws were tightened immediately. The U.S.A. has had three similar shooting this year alone, with no attempt to change the law to protect those who need it.
I know it may sound like I'm attacking the fabric of your society and everything that your nation is built on, that is not my intent. I'm just an outsider looking on your great nation trying to understand you and wondering why you allow this to happen. The whole concept of owning a gun is alien to me, I can genuinely say that in the (nearly) 30 years I've been alive I have never held a gun or even been close enough to one to have the opportunity to hold it. By posting this forum topic I am hoping to gain some level of understanding about gun ownership.
I know people will be very devided over this and I'm hoping that through debate I'll be able to understand it better.
Again I have to ask all of you; when are measures going to be put in place to at least help prevent such atrocities?
Sorry it's so long, I just wanted to be clear on what I looking to understand
US gun laws are a pretty large patchwork of federal, state, and local law.
Federal law is uniform, requiring background checks for purchases from dealers and restricting age of the buyer. There are a number of disqualifying factors that are specifically listed on the BATF form 4473 that each buyer fills out prior to background check. Fully automatic weapons are generally prohibited as are "silencers".
State laws vary from very restrictive to very loose. New Jersey is extremely restrictive, for example. Wyoming and Arizona have fewer restrictions.
Connecticut falls in the more restrictive category. Permit is required to buy a handgun, there's a 14 day waiting period before one can take possession, there's an assault weapon ban (that presumably would have made purchase of the ar-15 style rifle illegal). The state also has laws prohibiting criminally neglegent storage of guns. If you're interested in more details, the state has a summary of law at http://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/firearms.htm.
Cities, such as Chicago have further restrictions. Until recently with a Supreme Court decision, it was virtually impossible for non-law enforcement to own a handgun in the city.
Some cities have limitiations on type of gun, magazine capacity, storage of weapons, etc.
As the investigation into the shootings go on, we'll have more information on the guns -- who owned them, how they were acquired, etc.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence rates Connecticut at a score of 58, fifth from the top in terms of implementing Brady's preferred gun control measures. Arizona and Arkansas score a zero.
It seems that almost all of the gun restrictions that are being called for in the aftermath of this hideous act were already in place in Connecticut -- short of a total ban.