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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Obama's gun actions

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jan 11, 2016 9:00 AM
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What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, January 11, 2016:

President Obama has the nation's attention focused on guns and gun violence after a series of executive actions he took last week and the town hall meeting he held on guns Thursday night.

Any time there is a discussion of guns, it becomes a debate and this is no different.

The president wants to expand background checks to most people who sell guns, overhaul the background check system, hire 200 new Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents, spend $500 million on mental health, and use technology like "smart" guns that could only be used by the gun's owner.

Obama's proposals come just a few weeks after the mass shooting in California that turned out to be a terrorist attack, but he has referenced the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut while making his proposals.

Guns and gun violence is the subject of Monday's Smart Talk.

Appearing on the program are York County Congressman Scott Perry, who opposes the president's actions, Shira Goodman of CeaseFirePA, Dr. D. Scott McCracken, who sees gun violence as a public health threat and John Olson, a sales associate from Musser's Outdoors store in Ephrata.

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  • Jim Foster img 2016-01-11 08:49

    Here is a link to an article by a well known legal correspondent which makes the case that the 2nd Amendment was really intended by the framers to allow well regulated state militias, not an individual right to keep and bear arms: http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/so-you-think-you-know-the-second-amendment

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 09:38

    Thomas emails:

    The presidents executive actions are lip service actions, and will not prevent any gun violence. His discrimination against the mentally ill and legal gun enthusiasts is NO different than Donald Trump wanting to ban Muslims.

  • jjones img 2016-01-11 09:48

    Why can't we agree to ban the sale/ownership of assault weapons and certain types of bullets? These are NOT for hunting - unless you're hunting people, and then they should only be in the hands of "a well regulated militia."

    • JD img 2016-01-11 11:19

      First, you have to legally define what an "Assault" weapon is. The Clinton Assault Weapons Ban defined those guns in such a way that they could be permanently modified so that they were no longer "Assault" weapons per the legal definition - I bought both an "AK" and an AR" under the ban. The biggest affect the ban had was drive up the prices on the "pre-ban" guns. As for the ammo, the .223 is a popular varmint caliber and "assault" weapons are chambered for all sorts of calibers - not just "military" calibers. Banning sounds easy but when it comes to defining what an "assault weapon" actually is, it's incredibly complicated.

  • gregory neumann img 2016-01-11 10:06

    Tried to get through on the phone...no luck...

    The Supreme Court decided that we cannot profile CRIMINALS,

    YET, we shall now create another data base on law abiding citizens,

    besides the currently criminal credit, financial and medical data bases

    that are messing up our lives, big time !!!

    When government cannot decide for us, they should be mandated to

    bring the matter to a BINDING REFERENDUM so the it shall be

    decided by WE, THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE AND OF THE PEOPLE

    Hope to speak with you one day...thanx.............Greg

  • gregory neumann img 2016-01-11 10:21

    Tried to get through on the phone...no luck...

    The Supreme Court decided that we cannot profile CRIMINALS,

    YET, we shall now create another data base on law abiding citizens,

    besides the currently criminal credit, financial and medical data bases

    that are messing up our lives, big time !!!

    When government cannot decide for us, they should be mandated to

    bring the matter to a BINDING REFERENDUM so the it shall be

    decided by WE, THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE AND OF THE PEOPLE

    Hope to speak with you one day...thanx.............Greg

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 11:04

    Rachel emails:
    In response to the widow wanting to sell her late husband’s guns: consignment shop. If her nephew, for instance, wants to buy the gun go to the gun store that she’s consigned to sell her guns. Background check is done. Enable gun dealers/gun shops to act as consignment shops as a legal venue to resell guns on a consignment basis. Don’t know how a gun shop feels about consignment.
    I STILL don’t understand why automatic & semiautomatic guns are a 2nd amendment right. They have no purpose but to kill. I’m also sick of “guns don’t kill, people do”. Using knives, spoons, etc. as a comparison to guns is inane. If I point my finger at someone and say “bang” they should drop dead since people kill. But it takes a gun in hand to kill. I just want to be able to sit in my living room & not worry about gun shots on the street. This occurred in Carlisle, not York, Philly or Harrisburg!! Of course, if killing 5 and 6 year old children hasn’t moved the discussion, I don’t see what will.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 11:09

    Damien emails:

    I enjoyed Pam's comment about gun owner insurance, very interesting. I like the idea of treating guns more like cars, without equating them. Driving is a privilege, Armaments are a right. With one driver's license, I can drive in any state in the nation. Gun licenses should be treated exactly the same. This is what the full faith and reciprocity clause of the constitution aims for.As was noted, any executive action the President takes regarding gun control is blatantly unconstitutional. He has said so himself, lamenting, many times, that he is not a king.

    Something I'd like to add is about the terminology, economics, statistics, and the spirit of American Liberty.
    Terminology - GUN VIOLENCE is a bad term because it elevates gun violence above all other violent crimes. As if the victim of gun violence is more victimized than a rape victim. Why not focus on CRIMINAL violence, or just VIOLENCE in general? Why does the tool matter? If we look at the rate of violent crime in gun controlled paradises, we see that there is much more instance of violence than in a place with high gun ownership. Pick a democratically controlled big city (redundant) and look at the crime stats. Economics - if you create artificial barriers, people (usually the criminals who have no respect for rule of law) will find a way around. Right now it is legal in these United States to make your own firearms (gunsmithing) for your own personal use. All the components are in your local hardware store, and if you have a basic knowledge of metal/machine shop... www.thehomegunsmith.org. Statistics - Figures don't lie, but liars figure. See Bill Whittle - #1 With A Bullet. http://www.truthrevolt.org/videos/bill-whittle-number-one-bullet. I will not recite the stats and figures here, but trust that the recipients of this message have a burning desire for the truth, and do follow through. Suffice to say, we do NOT have a gun violence problem. Spirit of American Liberty - You get such push back on gun control because so many of us have literally fought and died, for generations, to preserve the liberties and rights which are granted by GOD, not the parchment in which it is merely codified. Americans have strong distrust of government, and thanks to Obama many people are waking up to the follies of socialism. Not enough yet, but keep on crushing the middle class, even a flatworm will turn away from pain!!! Many of us will openly and smiling, defy, resist, smuggle, and evade any dictates coming from the federal government. Likewise will we disobey state laws violating not only our supreme law of the land, but their very own state constitutions as well.

    We wish only to be left alone, that the regulators would read John Lott 'More Guns Less Crime', a fantastic economics book. Not only that, but I highly recommend Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics in order to better understand the way the world works.

    I hope you keep this conversation alive and well, it is refreshing that you had such a civil morning. If the worst you get called is a 'nut', you've had it nice!

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2016-01-11 11:12

    Matt emails:
    I caught the tail end of your show today, but had some thoughts to share in the event you do a follow-up show. Since this is a ‘hot issue’.

    www.hbgpd.org - Harrisburg Police just starting using CRIMEWATCH again. Take a look at their activity since the beginning of the year. Gun violence is a problem and it is no wonder that the mayor has taken a hard stance on the matter.

    This case in particular: https://dauphin.crimewatchpa.com/hbgpd/3271/arrests/acosta-brian-g-aggravated-assault-and-6-additional-charges

    The criminal was using a stolen hand gun from Manor Township, Lancaster County, PA. Being that HBG and Manor are our customers, I did some research and this weapon was stolen as part of a burglary. Investigators assured me that the gun owner was not being irresponsible in that the theft was out of his control. I argued that a responsible gun owner would have been using a safe and/or gun locks that would have rendered this weapon useless. The point is, I highly doubt that Acosta was the actor that broke into the house and stole the weapon. So through a series of criminal transfers the weapon ended up in the hands of a known criminal and if it hasn’t been already, it would have likely been used in another Harrisburg homicide.

    This is a good case in point that even though there are controls and screening at the sale/purchase of the gun, there are still cases where weapons end up on the streets regardless. These weapons are statistically more likely to be used in violent crimes; creating the argument for why more sensible legislation about owner responsibility is in order.

    On another note, you had the Sales Associate from Musser’s on the program. He claimed that he has not witnessed arrest come as a result of their background checks. However, a neighboring store in New Holland – that we know works very closely with the State Police and New Holland Police, frequently has arrests at their store. We work with Ephrata PD, but don’t see that same activity coming from Musser’s. Does this mean that not all stores, procedures and police response are equal? We know that Ephrata PD is one of the more exceptional municipal departments in PA and find it hard to believe that the responsibility is on their shoulders. Check this search out:

    https://lancaster.crimewatchpa.com/newhollandpd/charges/sale-or-transfer-firearms-f-3-and-unsworn-falsification-authorities-m-2

    I would like to know more about when and why this happens. I suspect that we have an issue greater than just the legislation for control, but apathy or indifference on the part of many stores, etc. These facts and realities are the basis for new legislation and are undeniable. It’s not climate change, it's murder.

  • Robert D Colgan img 2016-01-11 13:02

    The issue of gun control in the USA is not unlike that of abortion: lines have been drawn, opinions constructed and clung to, and consensus as to what constitutes reasonableness becomes a hung jury with shouting and emotional exchanges winning out over prudent thought.

    Whenever the topic of effective action arises------as it does every time another group of children, or students, or workers, or innocents is gunned down seemingly without reason------ those who think their entirety of rights under the Constitution are being abrogated should anyone mention reining in the excess number of guns in the US even though the number who hunt is relatively small, the number who need personal protection relatively few in relation to the larger populace.

    This is not an issue lending itself to intellectual conversation, but only to histrionic emotions.

    Meanwhile the body count rises, and gun manufacturers continue to enjoy larger profits yearly.

  • Scott LaMar img 2016-01-18 12:04

    Andrew asks...
    Could one of your guests address the potential effect of the President's recent executive action on increasing stigma for receiving mental health treatment? Myself and other liberal-leaning citizens are concerned that the executive action includes vague language that could disenfranchise citizens who receive treatment for issues such as depression or anxiety by legally precluding them from purchasing firearms. The fear is that this could increase stigma and prevent people from seeking mental health care and simultaneously take away citizens' rights unfairly.