The Week: Most Recent Social Issues:The Gun Debate recent posts.en-usThu, 14 Feb 2013 11:10:00 -0500http://theweek.com Recent Social Issues:The Gun Debate from THE WEEKThu, 14 Feb 2013 11:10:00 -0500NRA head Wayne LaPierre's paranoid gun manifesto<img src="" /></P><p>"Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals." Is this the dystopian future America is heading toward? Or the fevered visions of a paranoid crank? Readers of "Stand and Fight," a new article penned by National Rifle Association head Wayne LaPierre, may be forgiven for concluding the latter. LaPierre's column, published by <em>The Daily Caller</em>, weaves horrors of every stripe to craft a tapestry of pure nightmare, which is then used, of course, to encourage Americans "to buy more guns than ever."</p><p>In LaPierre's world, "Latin American drug gangs have invaded every city of significant...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Thu, 14 Feb 2013 11:10:00 -0500Ted Nugent, Gabby Giffords, and other State of the Union guests with gun messages<img src="" /></P><p class="p1">Though President Obama will be the only one speaking during tonight's State of the Union address, others will be sending silent, yet powerful, messages from the gallery.</p><p class="p1">For decades, presidents and lawmakers have used their guests to the annual address as an attempt to frame looming debates and promote their politics. And this year, with President Obama expected to push early in his second term for tighter gun regulations, partisans on both sides of the aisle are making clear gun-related statements with their plus ones.</p><p class="p1">Perhaps most prominently, rock guitarist and gun advocate Ted Nugent will...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jon-terbush" ><span class="byline">Jon Terbush</span></a>Tue, 12 Feb 2013 12:05:00 -0500Gabrielle Giffords' new gun control ad: Effective?<img src="" /></P><p ><object id="flashObj" width="660" height="397" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" data="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=2156395028001&amp;playerID=1409164951001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAETmrZQ~,EVFEM4AKJdRjek0MS21pRzf_GTDAM-xj&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="base" value="" /><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="" /><param name="flashvars" value="videoId=2156395028001&amp;playerID=1409164951001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAETmrZQ~,EVFEM4AKJdRjek0MS21pRzf_GTDAM-xj&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="swliveconnect" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="pluginspage" value="" /></object></p><p>Former U.S. representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head in a 2011 mass shooting, left Congress to focus on her recovery, but she continues to make her presence felt on Capitol Hill. On Monday, Giffords' new super PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions, released its first TV ad calling for tighter gun-control laws. In the 30-second spot, Giffords urges her former colleagues to take bold and immediate action to curb gun violence. "We have a problem &mdash; where we shop, where we pray, where our children go to school," Giffords says in the ad. "But there are solutions we can agree...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Mon, 11 Feb 2013 11:25:00 -0500The assault weapon: An instant guide<img src="" /></P><p class="p1"><strong>What is an assault weapon?<br /></strong>The term is notoriously difficult to define. Colloquially, it is used to describe commercially sold semiautomatic rifles with military-style features, including pistol grips, flash suppressors, and large, detachable magazines. Like any semiautomatic gun, these rifles don't need to be reloaded after each shot; depending on the size of the clip or magazine attached, they can fire anywhere from 10 to 100 rounds, with each pull of the trigger firing a single round. Unlike military assault weapons, they are not automatic &mdash; that is, they do not fire continuously as long...</p> <a href="">More</a>By The Week StaffSun, 10 Feb 2013 08:45:00 -0500Why more guns won't make us safer<img src="" /></P><p><strong>IN HIS&nbsp;</strong><span class="s1"><strong>ARTICLE</strong>&nbsp;</span>on gun control in the last issue of&nbsp;<em>The Week</em>, author Sam Harris argued that firearms serve as a great equalizer, enabling good men and women to defend themselves against stronger and more aggressive attackers. I respect Sam, but he failed to address the two most important pieces of evidence related to this issue: how frequently guns are used in domestic violence against women; and the data confirming the success of gun control in other countries.&nbsp;</p><p class="p2"><span class="s1">It will come as no surprise to most people that men commit homicide 10 times as often as women. Their victims are...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By Sean FairclothSat, 02 Feb 2013 13:00:00 -0500Check out the NRA's enemies list -- featuring Boyz II Men<img src="" /></P><p>Since the school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the National Rifle Association has proved that it is no wallflower when it comes to protecting gun rights. Indeed, the powerful lobby appears to believe that offense is the best defense, going after President Obama and any other lawmaker that seeks to bolster the country's gun laws. Politicians have long felt the NRA's intense scrutiny, with the organization keeping track of every single vote and issuing report card-style grades to keep congressmen in check. And it turns out that the NRA may have its eye on you, too &mdash; that is, if you belong...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Fri, 01 Feb 2013 12:22:00 -0500Chicago's rising murder rate: Has gun control failed?<img src="" /></P><p>Last week, Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago, was performing with her high school band at President Obama's inauguration. On Tuesday, she was gunned down as she sought shelter from the rain under a canopy in a park near her well-regarded prep school &mdash; and less than a mile from Obama's Chicago home. Instantly, the teen &mdash; an honors student, volleyball player, and majorette at Kings College Prep School &mdash; became the face of Chicago's high, and possibly rising, murder rate. She also became part of the debate over gun violence that has erupted since the December massacre...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/harold-maass" ><span class="byline">Harold Maass</span></a>Thu, 31 Jan 2013 15:14:00 -0500Is it exploitative to have Sandy Hook students perform at the Super Bowl?<img src="" /></P><p>At Sunday's Super Bowl, 26 Sandy Hook Elementary students will sing "America The Beautiful" before Alicia Keys performs the national anthem. "Is there a touch of exploitation in the move?" asks Toni Monkovic at <em>The</em> <em>New York Times</em>, in a question she's surely not alone in posing.</p><p class="p1">The key to answering Monkovic's question is in asking two more: <strong>Who does this benefit? And is it doing any harm?</strong></p><p class="p1">At least arguably, this benefits the performing children by letting them express their grief through song. Then again, traveling the country, appearing on morning shows, and singing in front of millions of people...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jessica-hullinger" ><span class="byline">Jessica Hullinger</span></a>Thu, 31 Jan 2013 11:05:00 -0500The Senate's contentious hearing on gun violence: 4 key moments<img src="" /></P><p>On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a much-anticipated hearing on gun violence in America, kicking off Congress' first significant effort in recent memory to address the country's gun laws. As expected, the hearing was a contentious affair, and Democrats and Republicans appeared far from agreement&nbsp;on the way forward, even on issues like the implementation of universal background checks that enjoy overwhelming popular support. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee chairman, urged Congress to pass stricter gun laws, saying, "Lives are at risk when responsible people fail to...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Wed, 30 Jan 2013 17:33:00 -0500Is firing blanks during a school-shooting drill really a good idea?<img src="" /></P><p>In the wake of the Newtown shootings, school administrators around the country very understandably want to do everything in their power to keep students safe and prepare them for any possible danger. But Cary-Grove High School in Illinois is taking preparedness to a new level with its "code red drill,"&nbsp;during which school officials will fire blanks in the hallways while teachers lock students inside classrooms and draw the curtains. A spokesman for Cary-Grove High School says&nbsp;the goal of this week's drill is to "provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/samantha-rollins" ><span class="byline">Samantha Rollins</span></a>Wed, 30 Jan 2013 12:55:00 -0500The teenage girl shot and killed days after performing at Obama's inauguration<img src="" /></P><p>As Congress holds a much-anticipated hearing on gun control, there was a disturbing reminder that gun violence in America never takes a break. It's been reported&nbsp;that&nbsp;Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old girl from Chicago, was gunned down on Tuesday, just days after she performed with her school band at President Obama's inauguration. Pendleton &mdash; an honors student, volleyball player, and majorette at King College Prep &mdash; was shot at a park just blocks away from her school.</p><p>According to reports, Pendleton was among 12 teenagers who had taken shelter from the rain under a canopy...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Wed, 30 Jan 2013 12:02:00 -0500WATCH: Gabrielle Giffords calls for gun control<img src="" /></P><p><object id="flashObj" width="660" height="397" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" data="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=2129356155001&amp;playerID=1409164951001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAETmrZQ~,EVFEM4AKJdRjek0MS21pRzf_GTDAM-xj&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="base" value="" /><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true" /><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always" /><param name="src" value="" /><param name="flashvars" value="videoId=2129356155001&amp;playerID=1409164951001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAETmrZQ~,EVFEM4AKJdRjek0MS21pRzf_GTDAM-xj&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" /><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true" /><param name="swliveconnect" value="true" /><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always" /><param name="pluginspage" value="" /></object></p><p class="p1">On Wednesday, Gabrielle Giffords gave the opening statement at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun safety, urging lawmakers to act on gun control. The former Arizona congresswoman, who was nearly killed in a mass shooting two years ago that left six people dead and thirteen people injured, stood next to her husband Mark Kelly on Wednesday, and told the committee that while speaking is still difficult, she had something important to say:&nbsp;</p><p >Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jessica-hullinger" ><span class="byline">Jessica Hullinger</span></a>Wed, 30 Jan 2013 10:50:00 -0500The bogus news story about the Sandy Hook 'hecklers'<img src="" /></P><p>This week, state lawmakers in Hartford, Conn., held hearings about last month's school massacre in Newtown. It was a tense affair that included passionate advocates on both sides of the gun control debate. And one incident in particular caught the attention of national and international media outlets, in which Neil Heslin, the father of a 6-year-old boy killed in the shooting, was "heckled" by gun supporters as he pleaded for the government to ban assault weapons and high-capacity clips, according to a headline in the <em>Connecticut Post</em>.&nbsp;</p><p>The story went viral&nbsp;&mdash; with news outlets...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/ryu-spaeth" ><span class="byline">Ryu Spaeth</span></a>Tue, 29 Jan 2013 17:25:00 -0500Why gun owners should want to amend the Second Amendment<img src="" /></P><p>When backed into a corner, gun owners tend to cite the Second Amendment as the reason the government cannot pass certain types of gun regulation. In reality, however, the uncertain scope of Second Amendment rights is one of the primary reasons the gun-rights community absolutely opposes even the most benign improvements to the prevailing regime regulating firearms in the United States today.</p><p>To achieve a more rational and more robust system of gun regulation, we should consider amending the Second Amendment to clarify the scope of protections it affords United States citizens. Doing so would go...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jeb-golinkin" ><span class="byline">Jeb Golinkin</span></a>Tue, 29 Jan 2013 06:24:00 -0500Why I own guns<img src="" /></P><p><strong>FANTASISTS AND ZEALOTS&nbsp;</strong>can be found on both sides of the debate over guns in America. Many gun-rights advocates reject even the most sensible restrictions on the sale of weapons to the public. And proponents of stricter gun laws are often unable to understand why a good person would ever want ready access to a loaded firearm. Between these two extremes, we must find grounds for a rational discussion about the problem of gun violence.</p><p class="p2"><span class="s1">Unlike most Americans, I stand on both sides of this debate. I understand the apprehension that many people feel toward "gun culture," and I share their outrage...</span></p> <a href="">More</a>By Sam HarrisSat, 26 Jan 2013 12:35:00 -0500The Democrats' plan to ban assault weapons: Does it stand a chance?<img src="" /></P><p>On Thursday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) unveiled her new assault-weapons-ban legislation, flanked by several House and Senate colleagues, victims of gun violence, supportive clergy and uniformed police organizations, and models of semiautomatic weapons used in December's Sandy Hook Elementary School killings and several other mass shootings. Feinstein, one of the sponsors of the expired 1994 assault-weapons ban, says her new bill would be more effective because it would specifically ban more weapons (157 named models, plus slightly broadening the criteria for what constitutes an assault weapon...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/peter-weber" ><span class="byline">Peter Weber</span></a>Fri, 25 Jan 2013 07:00:00 -0500