Tuesday, 03 April 2018 05:06

March for our Lives- The gun debate takes center stage

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March for our Lives March for our Lives Photo Courtesy of Chuck Thames

WASHINGTON- Last weekend, advocates for increased gun control converged in a march on our nation’s capital and at other locations across the country to send a message to lawmakers.  The group, March for our Lives, organized the event. 

According to the website for March for our Lives, the group’s mission and focus is “Assure that no special interest group or political agenda is more critical than timely passage of legislation to effectively address the gun violence issues that are rampant in our country.  We demand morally just leaders to rise up from both parties in order to ensure public safety.”  The website specifically names five key focal points they are working toward, including:

    1      Universal, comprehensive background checks;

    2      Bringing the ATF into the 21st century with a digitized, searchable database;

    3      Funds for the Center for Disease Control to research the gun violence epidemic in America;

    4      High-capacity magazine ban; and

    5      Assault weapons ban. 

North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin was asked his thoughts on the movement.  Goodwin had this to say: 

“On Saturday, as thousands of students across the country and our state marched to protest gun violence in our schools, North Carolina Democrats are proud to re-affirm our commitment to meaningful, common sense gun reform in North Carolina. Our children deserve to feel safe at school. Common-sense proposals like banning bump stocks, raising the assault weapon purchasing age, strengthening background checks, and implementing red-flag policies deserve bipartisan support. Those proposals preserve and are consistent with the 2nd Amendment and also protect the public. The young people marching over the weekend are demanding change. It’s time hyper-partisan Republican lawmakers listen. We need to put Country over Party, and put protecting families and kids over the dangerous proposals some persons have that would allow assault weapons and even weapons of mass destruction like rocket launchers in the hands of the general public. ... Meantime, no matter where one stands on these issues, we should welcome to the public discussion our young people - our youth of today and leaders of tomorrow - and respect their right to speak up, and hear their voices on matters of life and death.”   

In an effort to provide a balanced viewpoint from both sides of the debate, we asked Richmond County Republican Party Chairman Jerry Austin, Jr., for a conservative perspective of the march and the gun control debate.  Austin commented:  

“As we are all aware, the March for Our Lives movement has garnered a great deal of attention nationally regarding gun violence.   The protest that was advertised by the liberal media and the democratic party as a ‘youth movement’ turned into being anything but that.  Estimates claim that only 10% of the attendees were under the age of 18. In addition, millions of dollars provided by democratic progressive groups were utilized to fund the protest which questions the integrity of the protest in itself.  If someone has to be paid to protest are they really protesting something they feel strongly about or are they doing it just to get paid?  I would hazard to say the latter.  The argument that adding more gun control legislation will deter criminals is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.  Those that seek to inflict harm are not fazed by gun control laws.  It is a fact that almost every mass shooting occurs in a “gun free zone” where people are unarmed and unable to defend themselves.  Cities throughout our country that have adopted the most stringent gun control laws are the ones with the highest gun control violence.  Legislation will not cure the disease of gun violence.  It must be addressed on a societal level where youth are taught to respect others and appreciate the gift of life.   Where fathers are present to offer guidance and provide discipline when needed (as was not the case regarding recent mass shooters).  Where violent video games, movies, and music that advocate the killing of police are not glorified.  We have plenty of gun control laws on the books that are not being enforced as they should be.  If they were, then the Parkland, Florida shooting could have possibly been avoided.  Law enforcement with their liberal policies failed our children by not engaging the shooter and also failed them in the days leading up to that disaster by not following through with the numerous warning signs.  Again, the problem we face in society today is not a gun problem - it is a people problem.  We should insist that everyone be held responsible for his/her own actions.  Society as a whole should not have their rights limited or taken away due to the actions of a few.   We can all agree that the safety of our citizens and children should never be compromised and there is no one size that fits all solutions.  The idea of expanded background checks that involve mental health issues and a national data base for gun owners should be the start of dialogue between the two parties.  However, demanding the banning of certain magazines and/or weapons and attacking the 2nd amendment, as Democrats often do, is definitely not the answer.   There are no “assault weapons” available to the public as the Democrats would like you to believe, and “AR” does not stand for assault rifle.  This catch phrase is utilized ad nauseum to generate an emotional response.    Every weapon sold today is pump-action, revolver or semi-automatic (which means one pull of the trigger equals one bullet fired).  There are no machine guns or ‘weapons of war’ being sold and it is ignorant to even use this as an argument.  In closing, it is important to understand that any infringement of our 2nd amendment rights will open Pandora’s Box for future government intervention in our personal lives.  Our Constitution does not say that government shall decree the right to keep and bear arms; it says that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” 

As mid-term election time rolls around, gun control and school safety are sure to continue to play strongly into the dialog that will help shape voters’ opinions and decisions at the ballot box. 

The Richmond Observer will continue to bring you coverage of local and national events as election time approaches.




Last modified on Wednesday, 04 April 2018 10:23