Editor’ Notebook: Is it Time to Talk About Gun Control?

Three gun related incidents in the past 30 days in Benicia and the horrible shooting in Colorado last week might mark the time for a discussion about reasonable gun control.


  • June 27, fired a weapon at a car that was fleeing a crime scene and had hit .
  • Thursday, July 12, a 17-year-old Benicia boy was arrested on drug and weapon charges after a traffic stop.  According to police, the boy had a small amount of marijuana and a loaded .45-caliber semi-automatic pistol wrapped in a shirt on the back seat of his car.  The gun was determined to have been stolen though police don’t believe the Benicia boy was the thief.
  • Saturday, July 14 a suspect in a stolen car, fleeing from police after a traffic stop, .  The officer in the police cruiser wasn’t hit but there were three bullet holes in the windshield.  It was determined that the weapon allegedly used was also stolen.
  • Last week, early in the morning of Friday, July 20, James Holmes walked into a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado and opened fire with a legally purchased assault weapon.

Groups For and Against Gun Control 

The National Rifle Association website doesn’t mention the Aurora shootings.  However, an article in the San Francisco Chronicle alludes to the political power of the NRA by pointing out that there have been few if any calls by members of Congress for new gun control legislation, not even a new law to ban assault weapons.

A quick check at Gun Owners of America website shows an article titled Tragedy in another “Gun Free Kill Zone”.  That article argues that had there been an armed citizen in the theater then the body count might have been much lower.

At the other end of the spectrum is the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.  That website offers a petition that can be signed and will be sent to both Governor Romney and President Obama as well as an article titled 60 Mass Shooting Since Tucson.  The website also offers articles on Common Sense Gun Laws.

What do you think?  Can we have a discussion of gun control in this country? Is it time to ban assault weapons?  Should citizens who have a history of severe mental illness be banned from owning guns?  Tell us what you think in the comments section.

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If there’s something in this article you think should be corrected, or if something else is amiss, call editor JB Davis at 707-628-0051 or email him at benicia@patch.com.

JB Davis (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Let's talk about gun control and not race please.
Robert Livesay July 27, 2012 at 03:16 AM
JB I do believe we all agree with that. All you have to do is shut Bobbie Richardson up. Problem solved.
JB Davis (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Here's a question for everyone. What do you think about an assault weapons ban? Get rid of large capacity magazines and semi automatic weapons. Wouldn't that go a long way toward cutting down on some of the gun violence?
T. Gunter July 27, 2012 at 04:12 AM
Dennis, Let me just preface my comment by saying that I also support the 2nd Amendment and gun ownership, within reason (really no reason for citizens to own mini-guns or armor-piercing rounds). However, you state that it is near impossible for a citizen to purchase a weapon. I'd argue that aside from a 10 day waiting period, and some reasonable paperwork and fees, it is very easy to purchase fire arms (even in California). Additionally, you state that most firearms are 4 to 5 times the cost they were 20 years ago. I'd say more like two to three times, if that. I don't think gun dealers are complaining to much about the prices they charge. In fact, gun dealers usually charge MSRP or higher.
Jan S July 27, 2012 at 05:06 AM
The ban of assault weapons wouldn't stop the production of assault weapons, nor the ability of people, & especially criminals, to obtain them. The ban would only work on people who follow the laws, bans, etc. Once again law abiding citizens end up being restricted which doesn't stop bad people from doing bad things with legally or illegally obtained weapons, banned, outlawed, illegal, or whatever. PS stpp engaging Mr Richardson
Jan S July 27, 2012 at 05:09 AM
Responding only feeds the rhetoric & stereotypical commentaries all around.
Dennis Lowry July 27, 2012 at 05:19 AM
JB., If you would go to the Wikipedia site I mentioned you will find a significant list of restrictions on assault weapons, large capacity magazines,m semi-automatic weapons, flash suppressors, thumb hole hand grips, etc., etc, etc. My point is that we have enough gun laws in California and in the Nation but we lack the moral compass to understand, accept and assimilate the golden rule and the 10 commandments.
JB Davis (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 01:21 PM
Dennis and Jan, If you don't want to ban assault weapons, then what is the mechanism for keeping them out of the hands of people who are mentally unstable. And Dennis, I am talking about a national ban on assault weapons.
Robert Livesay July 27, 2012 at 02:05 PM
A ban of any dangerous weapon will not keep it out of the hands people who are mentaly ill. Just what test do we give to determine the mental stability of someone. JB have you ever taken a test like that. It will go from assault weapons to knives you name. JB just who determines the mental stabibility of someone? What age do we start or do we just go on rumor. Well If that is the case I guess everyone who comments is qualified to be tested.
Duayne Weiler July 27, 2012 at 03:14 PM
A ban on assault weapons would again, keep them out of the hands of law abiding people and assure criminals and those who have no regard for law would have them. Look to Switzerland as a good example. It is law that each household have an assault rifle (machine gun) and one in the household has to have periodic training on how to use it. (check out their statistics on crime!) I believe people are afraid of guns and that is why they are against them. I encourage folks to join a gun club and get some experience with guns.
"The Black Panther of Poetry" July 27, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Let's police this site so that racist don't spew their hatred please!!!! J.B., you do your job and the rest will follow!!!
Robert Livesay July 27, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Bobbie do your job and the rest will follow. When policed you are out. That is OK you can go to Spaceship Louies Blog and fire away. They will love you. Bobbie you have quite the nerve making that comment.
David Johnston July 27, 2012 at 07:17 PM
I personally do not have a problem with a nationwide ban on assault type weapons. Assault weapons are meant to kill people. I don't know anyone who hunts with an AK-47. I have no current fear of an invasion of US soil by the barbarians to the north or south. I know it's unrealistic, but in the assault gun ban, make it a non-commutable death sentence if you use an assault weapon during commission of a crime. And I don’t mean sit on Death Row for 15 years – two automatic appeals – State and Federal. If the evidence supports that an assault weapon was used in the crime, you’re gone. I understand the reasoning that if you start with assault weapons, “they” will come after your other firearms. I don’t think the Founding Fathers had the kind of firepower available to Joe Shemo in mind when they crafted the 2nd amendment. It was meant for the people to form a militia to combat the Federal Government if the government needed to be forcefully overthrown. Hence the Confederate Army. Think about it – if the Feds wanted to squash an armed rebellion like they are in Syria, they could come at you with a lot more than Marines.
JB Davis (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 10:07 PM
That solution is right up there with my solution for the health care problem. We all get the same health insurance that congress gets and we pay the same percentage of our income or the same amount a Congressman pays if our income is higher than a congressman's. As far as a national ban on assault weapons, I don't think I would have a problem with that.
JB Davis (Editor) July 27, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Bob, You sort of made my argument for me. Since you can't test for "crazy person who wants to commit mass murder", why not ban a mass murder tool?
Robert Livesay July 27, 2012 at 10:31 PM
JB you know I do not want gun control. Rules and regulations, yes. Waiting period on some so call assault weapons, yes. At present as Dennis has said California has very strict regulations. Doing it nationally will be a big issue.
Robert Livesay July 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM
I was walking down to the Farmers Market on Thursday, guess what was right in the middle of the sidewalk. Yes you are right a big dog poop drop. Now what do we do with that dog owner. That alone could cause some folks to go a little violent and punch the dog owner out. Everyone would have cheered. We can not control drunk drivers, non licensed drivers, under age drinking. These all cause fatality's.. They all have regulations. Do we ban drunk driving, I think we already do. Do we ban driving without a license. we already do. Do we ban under age drinking, we already do. Do we ticket dog owners for not picking up, supposed to but we do not. So as you see banning things it not the answer. Even strong regulations has not stopped all of the above. So we ban guns all together. Remember banning of alcohol and drugs. Did that work. No. On gun control the only answer could be less restrictive rules on the ability to carry. You will have to prove to me that banning assault or other weapons is the answer. I do not believe it is
Steve Bahr July 27, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Let’s see. 6 years in military, hunted, always owned rifles. Never had an issue with 2nd amendment. Assault weapons, by my mine, are specifically designed to kill many people fast. Do not understand why they are not restricted. Do not think a well armed militia means I get to buy the gun that the Fort Hood nut job used. The Romney argument goes to McVie and how do you defend against that. We spend trillions on a government that focuses much on just that. As to concealed weapons taking out the sick boy, he was majorly armored up, I would greatly restrict access to that stuff. And Bobbie, if you move back to Alabama, with one action, you will raise the average intelligence in two places.
Jason July 28, 2012 at 12:47 AM
"I have no current fear of an invasion of US soil by the barbarians to the north or south." That's the attitude that keeps about 1 million savage breeders flowing in from the south every year and has resulted in a large portion of the nation's current social and economic problems.
Robert Livesay July 28, 2012 at 03:42 AM
Steve I do believe your comments make a lot of sense. I do not think an assault weapon is necessary I do not own any weapons. That is my choice. But if I wanted to buy an 03, M1 garrand, M1 carbine that is my choice.. They are available for purchase at any time. I have a friend that has all three. Do I like to get invited and shoot and think about old times. Remeber when I say old times I mean that is the basic training weapon that we used. Yes I do enjoy that every now and then. But that is it. I have no desire to own any of the, weapons. . But at the same time I do not want to restrict anyone from owning those weapons. Now do I need an anti tank gun,. I do not think so. Do I need an AK47? No. I do believe there is some sense here that most will agrre with. Do not punish the person that is only a gun collector, target shooting person or a 2nd amendent defender. I do not believe these are the folks that the public fears. Is it OK to say that most folks in Benicia do have a problem with an assault on there home, business or a personal attack. Yes I do think that is true. I just wonder why that is true. Bobbie try to answer that,.. They will love you back home. Hey maybe even Calipso Louie will take you up in his space ship. Never mind Bobbie I kinow you have been there already. Comment folks think about that for a minute. Bobbie in Spaceship Louie. We will not get that lucky.
T. Gunter July 28, 2012 at 03:56 AM
"Savage Breeders"? Weren't they a punk band from the late 80's? Yes, I believe they were involved in the the whole trailer park-scene around Olympia Washington. As I remember it, Cobain hung around with them for a time. Then he shot himself.
Jan S July 28, 2012 at 05:31 AM
With or without assault rifles, some unbalanced people (as well as people who aren't) commit heinous crimes. Ted Bundy and the Green River Killer were mass murderers and they didn't use assault rifles. I do not remember if the Columbine or Virginia Tech shooters used assault weapons. If a ban could keep the assault weaponry out of everyone's hands, that would be one thing but a ban will only keep them from those who are law/ban abiding citizens. That's the real conundrum.
john galt July 28, 2012 at 09:54 PM
the second amendment only guarantees your right to own muskets
Robert Livesay July 28, 2012 at 10:22 PM
good enough
upptick July 29, 2012 at 05:42 AM
All Swiss men between 18-42 are in the Swiss military and they are issued assault rifles with ammunition that they keep at home. In other words, every house in Switzerland has a gun yet there is virtually no gun violence there. If guns kill people, matches cause arson, ball point pens cause forgery, and mini-skirts cause rape.
John l. Sheveland July 31, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Hey mr. uniformed would you like to see the scars on my back from surgery and the electrical wires running up my spine fom doing my job??? I* got hurt on the job and I am one of the old fart retired guys that still believe in protecting citizens like you. I got shot at, cut with a knife, spit on thrown to the ground by a judo expert hit in the face and all parts of my body and kicked I can,t count how many times but according to you I don't deserved my disability pension your tax dollars pay for. I paid taxes all my life. While you were running away ,cops and firemen were running towards the threat. Thank the LORD for all of them.. I'm too much of a gentleman to really tell you what I think of you
John l. Sheveland July 31, 2012 at 05:08 AM
Bobby, Why don't you get over your black thing. It's really getting old. I don't care what color that piece of trash was that entered the theater in Colorado and neither should you. He shot anyone he could including little children and in a darkened theater I don't think he could see their skin color. We're all Americans, not African, Chinese, Norwegian, Green, Blue or any other color. Just Americans and I thank the LORD every day that I live here in the land of the free and so should you.
John l. Sheveland July 31, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Once again a total nut job goes out and creates mayhem and all the goody two shoes want to ban guns from people that had absolutely nothing to do with it
Steve Bahr July 31, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Switzerland does not have a standing army, instead opting for a peoples Militia to defend their country. The vast majority of men between the ages of 20 and 30 are conscripted into the militia and undergo military training, including weapons training. The personal weapons of the militia are kept at home as part of the military obligations. The Swiss army has long been a militia trained and structured to rapidly respond against foreign aggression. Swiss males undergo basic military training, usually at age 20, after which Swiss men remain part of the "militia" in reserve capacity until age 30 (age 34 for officers). Each is required to keep his weapon (Sig 550 rifle for enlisted and/or the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 semi-automatic pistol for officers, medical and postal personnel) at home. Up until October 2007, a specified personal retention quantity of government-issued personal ammunition (50 rounds 5.56 mm / 48 rounds 9mm) was issued as well, which was sealed and inspected regularly to ensure that no unauthorized use had taken place. The ammunition was intended for use while traveling to the army barracks in case of invasion.
Steve Bahr July 31, 2012 at 02:50 PM
In October 2007, the Swiss Federal Council decided that the distribution of ammunition to soldiers shall stop and that all previously issued ammo shall be returned. By March 2011, more than 99% of the ammo has been received. Only special rapid deployment units and the military police still have ammunition stored at home today. When their period of service has ended, militiamen have the choice of keeping their personal weapon and other selected items of their equipment. In this case of retention, the rifle is sent to the weapons factory where the fully automatic function is removed; the rifle is then returned to the discharged owner. The rifle is then a semi-automatic or self-loading rifle.


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