Senate Gun Control: CBS Contrasts Gabby Giffords’ & NRA Head LaPierre’s Testimonies

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CBS News contrasted the Senate gun control hearing testimony of former Congresswoman and gun shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords with that of NRA head Wayne LaPierre. The testimonies highlight how the gun control debate has been carried out: emotional testimony versus cool, reasoned arguments.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a sympathetic figure, and people should be inspired by her brave ongoing recovery from a life-threatening head injury, after mentally disturbed assassin Jared Lee Loughner shot her at a public event in Tucson, Arizona. We should take her words into consideration as the federal government mulls what should be done about national gun policy.

Democrats are arguing to take immediate, aggressive action on gun control, as the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting still lingers in many people’s memory. CBS News interviewed Ginger Gibson of Politico in a piece that wanted to highlight the “human element,” while trying to get past the “policy” arguments. Listen closely for facts and evidence in the news story, but don’t be surprised when you don’t hear much beyond the emotion-based opinions.

Stricter gun control opponents argue decreasing violent crime and gun homicide rates suggest it would be misguided to blame guns themselves for the highly visible, but rare cases of mass public shootings carried out by psychologically unstable individuals in the past year. The United States, after all, has an uneven record of mass public killings over the previous century.

As concealed carry laws have flourished, and since the assault weapons ban expired in 2006,  the trend is running directly contrary to the Democrat’s arguments. Gun ownership has been booming, especially since the recent gun control initiative was launched. And when one carefully dissects international and state-level data, there is literally no significant correlation between firearms ownership and the gun homicide rate.

But gun control opponents are not on particularly favorable political terrain, and NRA head Wayne LaPierre should think about compromising his position on reasonable background checks (without the possibility of a national gun registry). Mental health prevention and increased police protection at the state and local level should also be seriously considered in those communities whose residents feel their particular schoolchildren are at risk. One-sized fits all solutions are not always productive in a nation as wide and diverse as the United States.

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