WASHINGTON, March 1, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In an article in today's Roanoke Times, "VIRGINIA GUN BILL SHOOTDOWN SHOWS LEARNED LITTLE FROM VIRIGNIA TECH", Robert Weiner, the former spokesman for the White House National Drug Control Policy Office and the U.S. House Judiciary and Government Operations Committees, and Policy Analyst Hannah Coombs, claim that the rejected gun control legislation last month in Virginia is sending the country "in exactly the wrong direction." The authors say the nation has learned little from the massacres at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Newtown, and others, and the gun massacre rate is statistically rising rapidly.
Last month, Virginia legislation proposing stronger firearm restrictions fell short in the State Senate committee "despite polls showing Virginians in favor of stronger firearm restrictions" according to Weiner and Coombs. Bills that are moving forward include allowing concealed weapons on school property and establishing gun owners' right to purchase lifetime permits, instead of the previous 5-year renewal requirement, legislation they say "may actually weaken defenses against massacres."
Weiner and Coombs point first to a misguided interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and its "rarely referred to modifier", specifically: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…" Instead, gun supporters focus on the following phrase, "the right to bear arms." Weiner and Coombs contend there is no "individual entitlement of weapon possession."
In contrast to the new bills going "the opposite way" of progress, Weiner and Coombs point to the Brady Bill's success with background checks and its affect on purchase attempts of convicted persons and straw purchases (third party buyers), preventing over 2.1 million gun purchases since President Clinton's signing of the bill, 1 million of those attempts including felons. Yet, they point out, Congress allowed the Brady Bill to expire. They also point out the flaw in allowing the Federal Assault Weapons Ban to expire in 2004, noting that assault-weapon massacres per year have since doubled, contending that "we are going in exactly the wrong direction."
Asserting that NRA leadership does "not represent most NRA members" according to polls they cite, Weiner and Coombs challenge gun owners, asking, "At what point will responsible gun owners prevent the irresponsible ones from abusing the privilege of ownership?" They state that even though gun advocates argue crime is down and claim that restrictions are unnecessary, and even though the nation's murder rate has fallen to what may be an all time low, "the death count over 30,000 is by no means low."
The authors say that "the Charlton Heston-Wayne LaPierre NRA leadership extreme positions do not even represent most NRA members." They ask readers, "Remember Heston brandishing his rifle saying, 'from my cold, dead hands?'"
Gun advocates at the NRA argue gun restrictions are unnecessary since crime is down. The authors counter, "In reality, the decline correlates with a 70 percent drop in crack cocaine over three decades, which can be attributed to strong drug enforcement."
As a result of the nation considering "gun murders simply the price of doing business", Weiner and Coombs state that "the media and public now care more about acting on hostages killed abroad than the sons, daughters and neighbors murdered at home." They argue that "shootings in the U.S. are routine in the news and coverage ends after a single day." Weiner and Coombs conclude by asking, "How many massacres can our country withstand? When will we prevent the next massacre… and the next?"
Contact: Bob Weiner/ Hannah Coombs 301-283-0821 Cell: 202-306-1200
SOURCE Robert Weiner Associates and Solutions for Change