Oregon State Legislature has introduced 2013 House Bill 3200 which makes it a crime to possess or transfer an assault weapon or large capacity magazine. The maximum fine is $250,000 and 10 years in prison.
The proposed House Bill will allow all government agents to perform an inspection for weapons potentially without a warrant. Many proponents for gun ownership and possession voiced their concern over the bill stating that it removes their right to own an assault rifle and reduces their personal safety. Their view is that guns are to protect people from danger and gun ownership shouldn't be limited to criminals and law enforcement.
The law enforcement and the legislature are trying to get violent crimes under control. According to the National Gang Crime Research Center 2007 Task Force Report many major crimes and shootings are performed with high performance weapons, however 77.3% of inmates prefer a pistol because it can be concealed.
In some states legislation proposed a natural life sentence in crimes where a gun was used. Sixty-seven percent of inmates stated that a natural life sentence would cause them to reconsider using a gun in crime while 37% said that it would not deter them. Only half of surveyed inmates in urban central jails stated that long sentences would deter them from armed crime.
Central Midwest jail inmates that were included in the survey admitted 58% have shot a gun at another person, 29.5% shot at a relative, 54.8% were involved in gang activities at the time, 38.6% involved a drug deal, and 20.8% involved a police shoot out.
Although the percentages are high in Central Midwest jails, the percentages for farmland inmates are significantly lower at10-20% of the reported Central numbers.
When inmates were asked how difficult it would be to get a machine gun after they are released from jail 45% stated that it would not be hard.
When asked if they would rob a store if they knew that the store attendant had a gun, 36% stated that they would still rob the store.
Of all of the extracted information it was clear that guns in the hands of people with a propensity towards vengeance and aggression will use them. However, people that are seeking to protect themselves against neighborhood crime or wild animal attacks feel safer owning a gun than to wait for 911 to show up in time to save them.
Many of the inmates surveyed represent the population that break into homes, rob stores, mug innocent people or commit violent crimes. These inmates are considered a threat to others and a justification for the general population to want to own and possess a fire arm.
As crazy as it is to imagine; if shooters at movie theaters and schools were confronted by teachers with access to guns or audiences that carried a gun, the criminals most likely would have fled the scene earlier in their crime.
In Wichita, Kansas several people fell victim to brothers Jonathan and Reginald Carr in 2000. In a single December incident the two brothers busted into the home of three men who had two female guests. Among all of the crimes committed in that incident the two men drove five naked individuals to an ATM machine and had them remove cash. The Carr brothers loaded the victims up in their vehicle and took them to a snow filled soccer field where they shot them in the head then ran them over with a truck. There was one survivor.
In Oregon, Frederick Hayes was killed with a machete in Sept. 2012 at 6:30am at his home in prominent Lake Oswego in front of his wife.
In each of these incidents and hundreds more the victims didn't have access to a gun to protect themselves. All criminals know that most people don't possess a gun and many don't know how to defend themselves. The bottom line is that the criminal will get what he is after because he has a weapon and has planned his attack.
In Colorado during July 2012 at a Dark Knight movie showing gunman James Holmes shot 70 people watching the movie. Holmes had a clean background history and purchased the guns at Bass Pro. In the Newton, Connecticut, Sandy Hook Elementary shooting 20 year old Adam Lanza entered the school and shot six adults and 20 children. Both incidents involved forms of mental illness, degrees of anger and rejection.
Wayne LaPierre, Vice President of the National Rifle Association suggests that the mentally ill should be on a national registry and available in the InstaChecks. He stated that the legislators have blocked this idea.
Most serious crimes and homicides are remote or isolated incidents. Victims need the ability to defend their life and property during the incident and are reluctant to call 911 because it isn't always safe to dial or convenient. Maybe the general public shouldn't have assault rifles, which is the aim of 2013 Oregon House Bill 3200, but the reality is that police are a response team to reports from witnesses or surviving victims. Taking guns away from potential victims isn't going to stop criminal acts; it only disarms a greater population.
A portion of the National Gang Crime Research survey addressed factors that contributed to the trajectory for adult inmate populations which brought forward well recognized contributors.
Family indicators: Intact families: Forty-seven percent of non-gang members and 29% of gang members came from intact families with a mother, father and siblings. Mother-headed households: 47% of gang members and 29% of non-gang members came from Mother-headed households.
Education: 45% of gang members and 30% of non-gang members had not completed high school education. Half of that inmate population had been expelled from school on one or more occasions.
Work: 6.7% of non-gang members and 24% of gang members have never held a full time job.
Childhood incarceration: 39% of adult gang member and 20% of non-gang member inmates were incarcerated before age 18.
Morals: Thirty-six percent of surveyed inmates stated that they didn't have a chance to develop moral beliefs growing up.
Location: Of all of the inmates surveyed the closer they were to Central Midwest forty percent did not trust white people.
Regardless of the reasons why an individual turns to crime or uses a gun, there should be psychological tests administered to ensure that the possessor is mentally sound and non-violent. Oregon proposes criminal background checks, but those only indicate if a person has been involved in police related incidents. It doesn't ensure whether a person has the mindset of committing a crime. Furthermore a ban on assault rifles will not eliminate the guns from the hands of criminals who already know that they are committing crimes.
Let us know how you feel regarding gun control issues.