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Obama’s gun controls

I am pleased that President Obama is taking steps to scale back the availability of automatic weapons in the US and to limit the access to guns to those who are mentally disabled.  Even if the measure fails through Republican-cum-interest group pressures it needs to be initiated so that the next inevitable mass slaughter triggers a more sensible response.  Scaling back the gun culture will take time and the paranoid character of modern America suggests it might take a lot of time. The fact that interest groups such as the NRA might successfully overthrow this reform will highlight their destructive role in US politics and hopefully undermine them longer-term.

I am puzzled by the stridency of the right-wing response. Why the need for automatic weapons and for high capacity magazines at all if they are to be used as a legitimate means of defence?  Furthermore, if the NRA and other groups blame the people behind the guns for the killings that have occurred then why the opposition to more stringent screenings of those seeking to get guns?

Obama’s policy response is, in fact, mild.  That it has already been so vigorously opposed is an indication of the craziness of modern America and of the excessive power of interest groups to foster such craziness.

5 comments to Obama’s gun controls

  • pantine

    “Why the need for automatic weapons and for high capacity magazines at all if they are to be used as a legitimate means of defence? ”

    Semi-auto weapons are banned, Professor. You seem confused.

    (hc) The ban on assault rifles which includes mainly semi-automatics ended in 2004. It is to be reinstated.

  • steve from brisbane

    Or to make it clearer: fully automatic guns (hold the trigger back and it keeps firing) have long been banned.

    Semi automatic, where the gun reloads itself but you have to pull the trigger for each shot, covers virtually all pistols and (I presume) the majority of rifles sold. As it would be impossible to ban pistols per se given the Second Amendment, the proposed ban (similar to the previous ban brought in by Clinton but which expired) is on “assault rifles”, being semi automatic rifles that have some of the features of military style weapons.

    Of course Howard was simply able to ban all semi automatics, not being bothered by the way constitutional provisions can become anachronistic.

  • Jim Rose

    republicans control the house. the majority of congress have an A rating from the national rifle assocation. the democratic party strives to recruit gun owners to run in marginal districts.

  • Will Kane

    Automatic weapons are already very tightly controlled in the US.

    Assault weapons as defined are simply normal semi automatic rifles that have certain cosmetic features deemed to be politically incorrect.

    Banning high capacity magazines is a pointless gesture in terms of reducing mass shootings, it takes about 1.5 seconds to change a magazine.

    Twelve people were killed in England in 2010 by a maniac with a single shot shotgun. People had no defence other than to hide in their homes.

    High capacity magazines have an application in some shooting disciplines, and more seriously if the firearm is to be used for self defence, whether against criminal attackers or a tyrannical government.

    Given the commonly held opinion that the Bush and Howard governments were fascist and tyrannical, it is surprising that more people do not seem to take seriously the need for the citizens to retain the capacity to restrain their government by force, should the occasion arise.

  • Jim Rose


    People that had arrived to trade in their weapons to the police for $100 for handguns, shotguns and rifles, and $200 for assault weapons soon realized that the gun collectors working the large crowd were paying far more for collectible firearms.

    there is a market for anything

    HT: Econlog

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