Gun control lessons from Lyndon Johnson

  • Article by: Joseph A. Califano Jr. , Special to the Washington Post
  • Updated: December 17, 2012 - 1:34 PM

Obama should demand action on comprehensive gun control immediately.

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midwestgolfDec. 17, 1212:12 PM

here comes the propoganda on gun control... its a sad situation that the people out there with gun control on the top of their agenda list will now use the latest school shooting to push this issue. this is not a gun control issue.... this is a MENTAL ILLNESS issue. the sooner this country begins a dialog on this epidemic, the sooner we will stop losing innocent people to those who are mentally ill. HIV was once whispered about in the shadows because of the stigma it carried with it. now, we understand it and the people who are infected with it are no longer treated like outcasts. mental illness needs to be talked about, and dealt with, in much the same way so the people affected by it can see there is help for them. odds are that if this sick individual in Conn couldn't have found guns to help in do this, he would have found something else. maybe explosives, etc. he was mentally ill, and he was on a mission to kill innocent kids... the national dialog should not be about gun control, it should be about mental illness and how we can bring those who need help out of the shadows so they can get help.

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pumiceDec. 17, 1212:12 PM

From the commentary: "If [Pres. Obama] learns from the lesson of LBJ ... and takes advantage of the fact that many members can vote their conscience without fear of retribution by the gun lobby because they are not seeking reelection, this nation may 'complete the task' of passing comprehensive gun controls." The Supreme Court verified that regulating weapons is Constitutional (Amendment II says the Militia should be well regulated). New York City has strict laws for protecting its population; the laws have resulted in lower gun deaths every year for 20 years. Regulating assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips is common sense.

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ranger78Dec. 17, 1212:23 PM

And passing the LBJ gun control laws and all the subsequent gun control laws have not stopped the illegal importation of guns. It hasn't stopped the illegal trade of guns. It hasn't stopped the bad guys from getting guns. One more law or a series of laws will not stop it either. Chicago is on a pace for over 500 murders this year. The vast majority with illegal guns. Control laws didn't stop those murders. Simpletons and fools believe more legislation will solve these problems, which by the way are based in personal issues of deranged, twisted, warped and battered souls, hearts and minds. The vast majority of these events are carried out by people with issues. Issues everybody saw and did nothing about.

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pumiceDec. 17, 1212:28 PM

Common sense regulation of weapons and ammunition is one piece of the solution to our violence problem. Another piece is effective and accessible mental health care. Former-Senator Paul Wellstone and former-Representative Jim Ramstad worked tirelessly on mental health parity.

Our goal is for the Adams and Dylans and Erics and Jasons and Jareds and Seung-Hui Chos to live productive lives. Our goal is for all their parents to have support and respite. To meet that goal, we provide mental health services: We've got better drugs. We shut down the asylums. We built many community-based mental health treatment centers. We provided income support via SSI and SSDI. Private corporations run for-profit residential homes for adults with treatable mental health problems. Initially our elected representatives provided adequate funding for such programs, but funding has eroded over the years. In a cut-cut-cut era, funding for many of the programs has become more and more contentious.

We turned over the task of teaching children with mental health problem to the schools. This mandate was never fully funded; it has consumed a greater and greater portion of the general education funds. But--at minimum--our goal must be to keep all the Charlottes, Daniels, Olivias, Josephines, Anas, Dylans, Madeleines, Catherines, Chases, Jesses, Jameses, Graces, Emilies, Jacks, Noahs, Carolines, Jessicas, Benjamins, Avielles, and Allisons safe.

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pumiceDec. 17, 1212:33 PM

The third big piece of the violence problem is that we have a culture which celebrates violence. We can regulate pornography. We should be able to regulate gratuitous violence.

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jbhall56Dec. 17, 1212:37 PM

As someone who bailed on the NRA a long time ago due to their ignorant stance on gun control, we need to revisit this issue now. Do people really need assault weapons? If you think yes, does that also mean that you believe assault should be legalized? While I doubt that, the whole purpose of assault weapons is just that, to assault. Anyone who thinks otherwise is just kidding themselves. Do people need semi-automatic weapons? I really doubt it. The whole purpose of this sort of weapon is to spray as much 'lead' all over to avoid having to train people to aim. This just seems to be peoples' way of compensating for their perceived lack of control of their lives. Have we really become that emasculated that the only way we can feel in control is to have a semi-automatic weapon? I would hope not. Do people need access to high volume ammunition clips? If you cannot hit the broad side of a barn with one shot, having 20, 30 or more bullets is not going to help that situation. The whole purpose of these high volume clips is to save the soldier in the field from having to reload so often. It's very rare that a sportsman needs more than six to eight bullets because, if they miss with the first one, there really is not second shot. Should gun shows really be exempt from gun laws? No, but at the time the argument made sense due to the limitations of technology at the time. However, in today's always connected world, there is no more excuse. If you want to won guns, you need to be checked out, no exceptions, period. To paraphrase Apple, "there should be an App for that." The NRA needs to step up and become part of the solution, not continue to be part of the problem. People will have guns, we just need to enact laws to ensure that we control access to the more dangerous weapons. One can only hope that the NRA leadership finally gets this and is silent because they are formulating a new position. Do these changes stop incidents such as Aurora, Tucson, Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook. No. As I like to say to people, if someone desires to commit such a crime, they will find a way no matter the barriers you put in their way. However, not having access to semi-automatic weapons with high volume clips slows them down and the number of innocent victims killed or injured drops significantly as people can intervene when they are reloading.

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meeetooofoolDec. 17, 1212:39 PM

Security at every school, protect the children with armed professionals qualified and confident. Reasonable improvment of background checks. Cyber space investigations may be another avenue to explore. Limited access to schools by public.

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snaab69Dec. 17, 1212:47 PM

HOw is this propaganda? The NRA, and apparently you can defend the murder of little children over Congress's authority to control firearms, but I think that is an untenable position. The Second A is not absolute, and limits can be enacted without infringing on the rights of owners. They should release autopsy photos of those children, you know the ones blown up by an AR15, then tell me this type of weapon has use and should be legal to purchase. The NRA are cowards, and too are the supporters of this vile organization.

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chuckdancerDec. 17, 1212:48 PM

No matter how nuts somebody is, the access to guns makes them mass murders and our kids target practice. If you're not nuts, you still don't need thirty round clips and thousands of rounds of ammunition. If you need to play with guns you can go to a shooting range and play there.

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kriegerDec. 17, 1212:50 PM

How come people don't blame Chevy or Ford when a drunk driver kills someone while driving one of these vehicles? It's not the gun it's the person that pulls the trigger! does it make it easier to blame the gun rather then the person? I think so. I have an idea lets start holding people accountable for their actions!

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