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Hosted by: Scott LaMar



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Hosted by: Matt Paul and Mary Wilson



witf introduces 'Smart Talk Friday' radio program

Smart Talk: Would California's tough gun laws work in PA?; The Generals author Thomas Ricks

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Nov 4, 2013 4:07 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk, Tuesday, November 5, 2013:

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Those looking to purchase a handgun would be limited to one per month.  All firearms sales must go through a licensed gun dealer.  These are just two examples of gun control laws proposed in Pennsylvania -- that have already been enacted in the state of California.

In fact, California has what are considered the toughest gun laws in the nation.  Have those laws reduced gun violence?

The statistics would seem to indicate the answer is yes.  In 1993, there were 5,500 gun deaths in California.  In 2010, there were 2,925.

However, critics point out the number of gun deaths have gone down in the past 20 years across the country and not just in California.

Former witf Capital Bureau Chief and StateImpact Pennsylvania reporter Scott Detrow now covers the state capitol in California.  He'll appear on Smart Talk to compare that state's gun laws to Pennsylvania's.

Last week, we asked you if you would like to see stricter gun laws in Pennsylvania through the Public Insight Network. We'll share some of your responses on the show.

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Also, Thomas Ricks is considered one of the nation's foremost journalists on military matters.  His book Fiasco,about the blunders of the Iraq War was #1 on the New York Times best seller list.  Ricks' book The Generals -- American Military Command from World War II to Today was released in paperback last week.

Ricks will be a guest on Tuesday's Smart Talk to discuss what he calls "an epic history of the decline of American military leadership."

The episode of Smart Talk was informed by members of witf’s Public Insight Network. Become a source.

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Comments: 6

  • Scott LaMar img 2013-11-05 08:42

    witf's Public Insight Network asked the question if you would like to see stricter gun laws in Pennsylvania. Carolyn answered...
    Absolutely yes! Just look at all the shootings in the news every day! There should be a registry and only hunting rifles and small handguns should be allowed. If someone thinks they need a more powerful weapon, they should go through a psychological evaluation and other evaluations before being qualified for a special license.

  • Scott LaMar img 2013-11-05 08:44

    witf's Public Insight Network asked if you would like to see stricter gun laws in Pennsylvania. Richard answered...
    Not laws banning certain classes of firearms.
    laws that require personal responsibility. I wrote to my state representative and senator several months ago with a proposal that anyone who provides a firearm to someone not legally permitted to posess one would be given a mandatory 5-year jail sentence. If a crime is committed with the firearm, a 10 year sentence and if a death results from the use of the firearm, 20 years to life (death penalty excluded).
    If the person who posesses the firearm does not provide the information leading to the supplier of the weapon, the above sentences would be imposed upon the posessor.
    My rationale is that if there are known, non-negotiable consequences gun suppliers would be more reluctant to provide firearms and recipients would not be willing to spend time in jail for someone else.
    I did not receive a reply from my elected officials.

    • Politics Watcher img 2013-11-05 09:22

      Good idea. But what's wrong with limiting classes of weapons? The very strict restrictions on full-auto weapons has completely eliminated murders with them.

  • Scott LaMar img 2013-11-05 08:45

    witf's Public Insight Network asked if you would like to see stricter gun laws in Pennsylvania. Justin answered...
    I fully support the right to own a fire arm for personal protection, however, I would like to see a better screening process, one that involves screening of mental health. The 2nd amendment isn't a blanket protection that guarantees anyone the right to own a firearm, just as the as the 1st amendment doesn't' guarantee you can do and say as you wish when ever you wish.

  • Politics Watcher img 2013-11-05 09:20

    I see no problem with these strong gun laws. Voting is a far more sacred right, and there are all kinds of restrictions on it.

    When was the last time a voter killed 20 first-graders with his ballot?

  • Robert Colgan img 2013-11-05 10:46

    Thomas Rich's comments struck me as someone whose personal attitudes and beliefs get in the way of his ability to see things in a larger context.

    His condemnation of Schwartzkoff's decision to end the first Iraq war without moving to seize the capitol & Saddam Hussein completely ignored Bush41's declaration that POTUS ordered a cessation: the CIC made the call.

    Rich's comment that JFK was one of the worst Presidents --based on the Bay of Pigs invasion, construction of the Berlin wall, the Cuban missile crisis, entry into Vietnam-- fails utterly to consider the context in which the information Kennedy was given---military/CIA vetted analysis---gave Kennedy no clear alternative.
    Yet most people who have written about Kennedy's relationship with his military advisors describe a President increasingly distrustful of their advice, a President who saw a war mentality as counterproductive to international gains.
    Had he lived, many believe Kennedy would have pulled out of Vietnam---realizing that it was not in America's best interest, a mistake. Many conjecture Kennedy was killed for this very reason. Quite possibly.


    Regarding the Bush43 Iraq War: Rich has it correct that the war was a fiasco and foisted on the American people as a lie------but why doesn't he see more clearly (and perhaps he does but doesn't emphatically speak it) that the war is NOT about taking land/seizing oil territoriality/regime change/introducing democracy------but done to not only enrich those who stand to make their fortune through war profiteering: arms manufacturers/military suppliers, etc,/the military men whose livelihoods are predicated on the military being "needed"
    ...but even more insidiously the war served as distraction while the profiteers in the USA looted & pillaged the Treasury and continued to enslave the populace (and solidified Gov't power) by undermining the Bill of Rights and setting the stage for the coup by Wall Street in 2008.
    Put simply, the war was not a fiasco at all-----it accomplished EXACTLY what the perpetrators intended.

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