Time Marches On, Compares Gun Regs by State, by Mark Erickson

After a gambler saw his losing streak continue, he then used multiple, modified assault weapons to kill 58 people and wound 546 in Las Vegas on October 1st. The Orange President of the United States of America (OPOTUS) president reacted by saying the issue should not be framed in political terms. I do not recall any discussion from him about Las Vegas since the massacre. The Kentucky governor said the problem was the assassin, not guns.

After the deadliest killing spree ever in Texas took place on November 5th (26 killed, 20 wounded), OPOTUS identified the problem as the shooter’s mental illness. As for where OPOTUS stands on weapons of war in civilian hands, I remind you that he signed a law in February that made it easier for people with a history of mental illness to buy a gun. We are a country awash in guns, especially assault weapons like AR-15s and AK-47s, that civilians should not be able to purchase, in my opinion.

In between these mass killings TIME magazine presented an impressive visual display of quantitative information regarding gun laws, by state. The visual showed eight laws: assault gun restrictions; ban on large-capacity magazines; ban on armor-piercing ammunition; ban on silencers; firearm registration restrictions; purchaser waiting periods; expanded waiting check; and, dealers who must be licensed. I was shocked to look at the chart.

SEVENTEEN states had no prohibition or curtailment in all eight categories! Only 11 states have assault-weapon restrictions. 11!!! Only 9 states ban large-capacity magazines. Only 21 states ban armor-piercing ammunition. Only 9 states ban silencers. Only 16 states require gun dealers to be licensed. Only THREE states (California, Hawaii, and New Jersey), as well as Washington D.C., regulate all eight categories.

The article noted that several states enacted laws following a mass shooting. For example, California, in the wake of the San Bernardino shooting, passed a law that that requires a background check to buy ammunition. Following the 2015 Charlestown church shooting, the state expanded the list of states that allow concealed-carry permits. Virginia, which saw the largest killing on a college campus ever (Virginia Tech), reacted by dropping its one-handgun-purchase-a-month limit. Connecticut, after Sandy Hook, banned high-capacity magazines. While I applaud the small measures taken in California and Connecticut, I continue to be appalled by our nation’s gun laws, or lack thereof.

Mark Erickson

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