Monday, December 14, 2009

NRA's Push to Weaken Gun Laws

A recent Associated Press story highlighted the push by the NRA to loosen gun laws across the country.

Kowtowing to the pressure of the NRA, legislators in a number of states have passed laws that work against the interests of public safety and well-being.

For example:

Arizona, Florida, Louisiana and Utah have made it illegal for businesses to bar their employees from storing guns in cars parked on company lots.

Perhaps if these legislators had read a study published in the American Journal of Public Health they would have voted differently. The article, “Employer Policies Toward Guns and the Risk of Homicide in the Workplace”(2005) concludes:

In this study, the risk of a worker being killed at work was substantially higher in workplaces where employer policy allowed workers to keep guns: workplaces where guns were specifically permitted were 5 to 7 times more likely to be the site of a worker homicide relative to those where all weapons were prohibited.

And more guns in cars will mean more guns stolen from cars. A murder trail is currently underway in Florida where the defendant is accused of stealing a .25-caliber handgun from a car at his workplace and using it to kill a 23-year-old acquaintance.

The article goes on to report that
Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia have made some or all handgun permit information confidential.

Maybe legislators did this because they are embarrassed by whom they are giving concealed weapons permits to and want to hide this information. Consider some of the crimes concealed weapons permit holders have committed in these states in just the past few months:

The article further reports that Tennessee and Montana have passed laws that exempt weapons made and owned in-state from federal restrictions.

These laws say that guns manufactured in-state and sold to people who intend to keep them in-state are exempt from federal gun laws and regulations. Both Tennessee and Montana only have state laws prohibiting felons from possessing guns. This means, under this new law, the other federal categories of persons prohibited from owning guns would not apply. This includes those who have been committed to a mental institution, dishonorably discharged from the military, are a fugitive from justice, an illegal alien, have been convicted of a domestic violence offense, or are currently subject to a restraining order.

In addition to opening up firearm possession to people who should clearly not have a gun, it should be noted that Tennessee is home to Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, the maker of the .50-caliber sniper rifle. .50-caliber guns are designed for battlefield use to attack armored vehicles and are used to destroy targets from long distances. California considers these guns so dangerous they have banned them. Yet Tennessee has just made a move to make these weapons easier to obtain.

Gun violence has real world results that, sadly, are measured in injury and death. Shame on these legislators who have moved to put more guns into our communities and onto our streets. The results will predictably be more gun injuries and more gun deaths.