Dan Reid, Western Regional Director for the National Rifle Association (NRA), Joins TVT, and Chris Winn to discuss gun-related violence and gun control.
Shapiro asks, “what is the biggest misconception” from gun control advocates, that argue for an increase of legislative measures to control guns.
Reid answers gun control advocates look to California as a temple for control laws. As of now, “California has more than eight hundred firearm laws on the books. It ranges all across the board on different topics; it transcends the penal code, the vehicle code, you name it.” Reid continues, “It’s completely overwhelming and confusing.”
Reid goes on, “a couple years ago, there was an initiative that passed there along with some legislation, requiring background checks on ammunition.” Reid explains that since the initiative took effect in July, “law-abiding gun owners have been denied the ability to purchase ammunition” due to the unwieldy bureaucracy in place. Reid says, “there has been around 370,000-360,000 checks over about a four-month period, and of those, there were over 60,000 denials and of those 60,000 denials” about 100 are actual prohibited users.
Reid continues, “this is what we see with a lot of these laws, we are not going after the criminal misuse of firearms.” However, “we are putting more restrictions on law-abiding citizens” to exercise their constitutional rights.
Shapiro comments, I agree with you. The “issues I have are the type of weapons being sold, doing a better job at detecting mental illness, and red flag laws. Let’s start with red flag laws.” Shapiro then asks, if someone made valid threats against your wife or family member, “are you okay with them getting out of jail within 24 hours and legally purchasing a gun?”
Reid answers, “There are criminal type statutes, such as terroristic threats that could be utilized.” However, “the problem with red flag laws is we are not taking away a party’s rights based upon a criminal conviction.” Reid explains the crux of the issue revolving around red flag laws is a lack of due process. Reid goes on to say, red flag laws “can be done in an ex parte order,” with the individuals receiving no notification until the police arrive on their doorstep to remove their firearms.
Reid goes on, “another issue” with red flag laws, is there is no follow-up, “we do not address any other element of danger this person addresses . . . We do not do a mental health evaluation. We don’t do anything.”
Shapiro comments, “we agree on most of this stuff . . . you would have to agree with me this is a case by case basis.” Shapiro continues, we need laws in place that stop people, like in my hypothetical. Reid answers, “there are laws on the books dealing with terroristic threats, that you could go after them and suspend their rights.”
Shapiro responds, “it’s not going to happen immediately. When that guy gets out of jail, he can purchase a gun.” Shapiro explains that due process should be the norm. However, there are extenuating circumstances when action is needed immediately.
Shapiro comments, let’s move on to responsibility. “let’s go back to the horrific Connecticut shooting.” The mother of the shooter was a legal gun owner. However, her son – suffering from mental illness, was taught how to operate a firearm and had access to firearms within the home.
Shapiro continues, “if you are a parent and you are giving your kid, who you know is mentally ill, access to guns. Those parents should go to jail.” Shapiro goes on, “just because you are a responsible gun owner, doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing the right things in the home.”
Reid replies, “I think people need to take responsibility.” Reid explains, as discussed earlier, there are measures people can take to avoid the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook. However, “you can’t legislate morality.”
Shapiro questions, “why is it that republicans and democrats cannot work together” to reach a bipartisan solution for gun violence.
Reid explains, the Country “has become incredibly polarized.” The issues involving gun control measures are in the details. Reid continues, “going back to the red flag laws passed here in Nevada. There was no transparency. There was no good opportunity for people to come together to have a conversation to see what” the laws would look like.
Reid continues, additionally, “for a lot of people,” expanded background checks sound great. However, “in reality, there are significant problems with the public safety benefits of expanding background checks.” Reid explains, “there was a study out of California,” conducted by Dr. Wintemute. There, the findings suggested that increasing background checks did not reduce the rates of homicides or suicides.
Reid goes on, “if you look at the way expanded background checks work, the criminal penalties are not on the person receiving the firearm. It’s on the person transferring the gun,” Which does little to nothing from keeping prohibited persons from acquiring firearms.
Reid continues, new gun control measures are not designed to keep guns away from prohibited persons, but “create a culture of compliance.”
Lastly, Shapiro comments, “I think the biggest misconception of some NRA members and people on the right . . . I hear a lot of people on the right, saying that Democrats are gun grabbers.” Shapiro continues, I don’t see Democrats trying to take all your guns away, but limit particular types of firearms.
Reid replies, “I think it is unfair to put anyone in a big category.” However, “there are elected officials that are okay with taking firearms” away from citizens. Reid explains, for example, “there is a bill in Virginia last week . . . that would take away lawfully possessed firearms.”
Reid goes on, “some of the legislation may not directly” remove firearms from citizens, but it does stranglehold the market, making it extremely difficult for citizens to buy firearms.