CCTV America’s Sean Callebs reports on gun ownership in the United States, a series of Insight in-depth segments.
U.S. Federal authorities will file hate crime charges against a 73-year-old man who is accused of opening fire at two Jewish centers in the U.S. state of Kansas on Sunday. Three people died, a teenager, his grandfather and a woman who was visiting her grandmother at a retirement community. The suspect is a former Ku Klux Klan leader, who shouted a Nazi slogan after police arrested him.
The suspect was tracked for decades by civil rights groups for his anti-Semitic and racist rants. But he was legally allowed to own firearms.
The case is just one of many now pitting those who advocate for gun rights in the United States, against those who call for more severe restrictions.
In U.S., Proponents of Gun Control Pitted against Gun Rights AdvocatesCCTV America’s Sean Callebs reports on gun ownership in the United States, a series of Insight in-depth segments. Federal authorities will file hate crime charges against a 73-year-old man who is accused of opening fire at two Jewish centers in the U.S. state of Kansas on Sunday. Three people died, a teenager, his grandfather and a woman who was visiting her grandmother at a retirement community. The case is just one of many now pitting those who advocate for gun rights in the United States, against those who call for more severe restrictions.
In the right hands, a gun can elicit a sense of accomplishment, success, excitement.
In the hands of those bent of killing, a few seconds of gun violence can trigger a lifetime of heart-break, and misery.
The challenge in the United States, is finding some common ground between gun rights advocates and those who want to make it more difficult to purchase a firearm. And, if anyone expects gun owners to give an inch, think again.
Gun owner, Sean Healy says, “If you are a gun owner you know it is not about what you need – it is what you want –and what you can afford.”
There is no such thing as an average gun owner in the United States. There are a lot of people who own rifles for hunting or sport, but there are many professionals, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, who like and for lack of a better term, collect guns. When asked ‘why do you need 10 or 15 guns?” –The answer isn’t “I need …” The answer is, “it’s my right.”
The second amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects the “right to bear arms…”
Dr. Scott Lieberman is a cardiologist and the owner of a gun store in Tyler, Texas. “From the very beginning firearms were a very important aspect of the United States obtaining its freedom –so much the founding fathers put it into the founding documents.”
It’s easy to see how the “right to bear arms” helped American Revolutionary War soldiers defeat the British 230 years ago, but did the founding fathers in the U.S. intend on that morphing into allowing the sale to civilians of semi-automatic assault rifles, extended magazines or a 50-caliber machine gun?? All of which can be purchased on-line these days? Gun supporters say ‘absolutely.’
Healy says, “They don’t need to be sitting there in Washington and tell us how to live life here in Texas. In fact the second provision in our bill of rights says that that is supposed to be out of bounds. That they are not supposed to be able to decide whether i need something or not.”
In the aftermath of the killings in Newtown, Connecticut –where 20 first graders and seven adults died and the slaughter at a movie theater near Denver, Colorado, that claimed a dozen lives and wounded 70 others, there HAVE been attempts to strengthen federal gun laws, but those attempts have been unsuccessful.
A large part of the credit, or blame, for that, depending on your viewpoint, can be traced to the uber-powerful lobbying organization, The National Rifle Association.
Gun control advocate, Diane Randall says, “They are an effective organization. I give them credit.”
The NRA claims membership of three to five million and says 50-million or so Americans support its work. The NRA is well funded, committed, and when they speak U.S. lawmakers in Washington listen.
Richard Feldman used to be a lobbyist for the NRA, “Any gun in the hand of a person who intends to misuse it –is a bad thing. Any gun in the hands of a person who is using it to lawfully protect themselves and others –is a good thing.”
The vast majority of gun owners in the United States are law-abiding, and using that as a starting point, the NRA has fought to make changing gun laws very, very difficult.
We sent producer Matt Simon to a gun show in Maryland. And, in about two minutes he was able to legally buy a shotgun. All it took was one quick phone call to the FBI for a background check.
Critics, like Diane Randall want that law strengthened. “There has to be some common sense legislation to try to stop the slaughter of innocent children or people who are randomly assaulted. I mean, 30-thousand people –30-thousand, over 30-thousand people die every year by guns in this country.”
Thirty-thousand includes murders and suicides.
There are legions of well spoken, thoughtful, thought-provoking people working in the gun industry, such as Berretta’s Barry Cory.
Hearing a gun referred to as a weapon, Cory had this response. “Well, the industry itself doesn’t like the term weapon. A weapon is something used to inflict harm on a person – that the perception that the word weapon uses.”
If the two sides can’t even agree on what to call a gun, it gives you an idea of the hurdles they must overcome.
There have been multiple high-profile mass-killings involving guns recently in the U.S.If you think that could have a chilling effect on gun sales consider this. More guns were purchased in the United States in 2013 than ever before.
There are nearly 800 million guns are in the world and 300 million held privately in the U.S. CCTV’s Sean Callebs with more on gun culture in the U.S.