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Bill Johnson


Bill Johnson

Obama’s Gun Restrictions

February 01, 2013

As the owner of three legal, registered handguns I consider myself an average gun owner. But that doesn’t make me a gun fanatic. The weapons were purchased for my protection and the protection of my family, even though I live in a relatively safe suburban enclave.

However, it is my opinion that President Barack Obama’s proposed federal gun restrictions are a hyper-emotional response to the recent violence. They pander to our worst fear of some maniac igniting a catastrophic event on an unsuspecting public. More than that, they defy logic.

I don’t have a gun fetish. I’m not a collector of weapons. I have no mental or criminal history so I was able to obtain a concealed pistol license (CPL), which allows me to carry a firearm. Even though I feel that’s not necessary most of the time, I do carry on occasion.

On some of the broad gun issues, I have mixed feelings.

Although Michigan gun laws permit it, for example, I don’t think it’s smart to “open carry.” There would be no advantage if a potential robber was stalking you. Secondly, it would undoubtedly draw more than a cursory interest of law enforcement. But I respect that people who “open carry” do so within the law.

I am a peacetime military veteran who received an “expert” ranking on the gun range. I have fired pistols, rifles, high caliber machine guns and automatic rifles. Owning a military-looking semi-automatic rifle doesn’t appeal to me.

Most people who have fired a weapon understand its tremendous killing power and the consequences from pulling the trigger. So I am sensitive to the mass murders of Sandy Hook schoolchildren and the theater shooting in Aurora. The terror, the pain and suffering of the survivors and their families are easy to imagine. But while repulsive, nothing President Obama has proposed would have spared the victims of these shootings.

His attempt to reinstate a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines make for good theater and sharp debate. But what’s offered as a solution completely misses the mark. A few sociopaths may buy the firearms in question from unlicensed dealers, but the vast majority of all gun sales in the United States are purchased at licensed stores. And most owners of such weapons are not mass serial killers.

The unintended consequences of weapon-control requirements could actually trigger a reduction in registrations and increase guns purchased via the underground market. They would not affect the criminal use of guns, or the ability of the criminally insane to get their hands on a weapon of their choice.

Neither would they have an effect on urban terrorists who operate on the streets of inner-cities where homicide levels take a casualty toll that is comparable to a sizable war. In fact, the odds that a young person will be killed in an urban neighborhood on any given day are greater than in a war zone in some foreign country.

Although torn apart by a culture of random and out of control violence, I don’t see a broad inner-city constituency ready to lay down their weapons and rally to support the president’s initiative. That’s because not all guns are in the possession of the law abiding, and there aren’t enough cops to protect citizens. So disarmament for even high-crime areas like Detroit is out of the question.

Gun control laws provide a false promise of preventing mass murders typically engaged by people with deep-seated psychological problems. Because legislation can’t prevent catastrophes that result from such disorders, I must conclude that hidden in the president’s agenda is the intent to begin the process of completely disarming America. That’s not an outcome the average gun owner in a free society will ever accept.

Bill Johnson is founder of Bill Johnson Group, a public affairs, public relations and media consulting firm. The former Wayne County administrator is an award-winning journalist who formerly worked for The Detroit News and Detroit area broadcast news organizations.

January 31, 2013 · Filed under Johnson

34 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jason Gillman // Feb 1, 2013 at 7:29 am

    Succinct as usual Bill.

    I tend to agree about the open carry position you take. I believe that there is a bigger reason you will see folks open carry however. Acceptance, desensitization likely.

  • 2 Anagnorisis // Feb 1, 2013 at 8:48 am

    Well said; a moment of clarity. We don’t need grandstanding reactivism. Inner cities are warzones. Altruism is for fairytales, the illegal kind since shooters end in prison where gangs are proliferating, thereby completing the cycle of vocational training sponsored by gun manufacturers and the distribution industry. Try shooting a bad guy – it’s you on trial.

  • 3 Peter Eckstein // Feb 1, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I cannot help but wonder what place Mr. Johnson’s rants against President Obama have on the Dome pages. Is trying to eliminate sales of military-style assault weapons really a “hyper-emortional response.” Must he really conclude that stopping sales of these are part of an intention “to begin the process of completely disarming America” ? I would rather see Dome cover state issues in more detail and not have any more of Mr. Johnson’s amateur–and amateurish–efforts to psychoanalyze our President. In that spirit I will not offer any psychological interpretation of his repeated attacks on Mr. Obama.

  • 4 Greg Thrasher // Feb 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    As usual Bill Johnson is on the wrong side of the issue offering up tired scripted dogma about guns and how they are important for security and protection.

    Johnson has a CCW yet really has no basis for owning it his ignorance on this issue is revealing and really fuels the need for the confiscation of guns .

  • 5 Jean Kozek // Feb 1, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    You acknowledge there are war zone areas in our country but oppose any means to both research the causes and attempt to reduce the effects. Some of your statements are false: 40% of firearm acquisitions are from gun dealers who not licensed and do no background checks. Gun show sales require no background checks. There is no coordination between state and federal agencies about gun ownership and criminal records.

    In 2011 there were 851 accidental gun deaths in the U.S. And, as Capt. Mark Kelly wondered, “How did we get to the point where 85% of the children in the world that are killed with guns are killed in the United States?

    Gun violence is at crisis proportions and citizens need to insist on legislation restricting the sale of large munition magazines and assault rifles; unlicensened sellers of guns need to be hauled into court. And, especially, we need info from professionals abouthow to teach non-violence and promote the value of life.

  • 6 Karen // Feb 2, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Mr. Johnson, I disagree with you. I believe the consequences in both Connecticut and Colorado, to name only two incidents, would have been much different. In Connecticut, as you know, the shooter used his mother’s weapon. If it had been banned, it is unlikely she would have “put the word out on the streets” that she was looking to purchase an illegal weapon. That gun simply would not have been in the home. Moreover, it is quite possible that the teachers and even some of the students might have behaved differently if they were facing a slower firing, less formidable weapon. As far as the shooter is concerned, the horrific scene unfolding in front of him might have had a time to register if he was forced to fire much more slowly.

    In Colorado, it is unlikely as many people would have been killed or wounded if the shooter was not using a rapid fire assault weapon with a larger magazine because he would not have had the ability to rely on a more haphazard shooting weapon where aiming doesn’t have to be as accurate to reach the mark. The victims may very well have had, although not much, at least some time to escape the bullets with more success. Loading and reloading and aiming certainly would have saved some lives. With that, even you would agree.

    Restrict assault weapons? No one plays paint ball in their living room.

  • 7 Eric // Feb 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Mr. Johnson, everytime a high profile shooting like this happens, there is a push to restrict gun purchasing by “felons.” “Felons” being code word for “Blacks.” Well, These high profile shootings are mostly never committed by “felons.” There are shootings and killings in the black community everyday and we almost never hear about them. It is people like you who consistantly demonize people with a criminal record, even after they have paid their debt to society. The only way we stop the “illegal” transport and sale of these weapons is by a “universal background check policy.” You said your self that you do not live in an urban area where crime is rampant. I would go on to suggest that most of these gun fanatics do not either. Most of you guys live in either “suburban or rural enclaves” where crime is at a minimum or non-existant altoghether. Either you come up with a solution that makes some sort of sense, or stay out of the conversation.

  • 8 Robert Kleine // Feb 3, 2013 at 8:05 am

    When it comes to the gun control debate, reason seems to be out the window. The NRA and its supporters claim more guns are the answer to gun violence. This seems to be a circular argument. It seems clear that more guns means more gun deaths. Consider the statistics at the following web site;

    http://www.gunpolicy.org/. The U.S. has about 89 guns per 100 population, the highest in the world. The number of gun murders per 10,000 population is 3.59 far higher than in any other developed nation. For example, it is 7.2 times higher than Canada, 28 times higher than England, and 36 times higher than Australia. Do you really believe that we have more crazy people than those countries? The only difference is that we have a lot more guns. It seems to me that the more guns available the easier it is for a criminal to get a gun. The NRA argues for more guns, which means more gun deaths, which means that more people should carry guns, which means more gun deaths. We already have more guns than any other country and it is not stopping gun deaths.

    Do we want to become an armed camp with school teachers, movie goers, etc carrying guns?

    Do we really want to be that kind of society.?

    My feeling is that the second amendment is no longer useful. The original intent was to encourage every household to own a single shot musket so a militia could be quickly formed if the British decided to invade again. This is no longer relevant. Some gun advocates argue that we need guns to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. Hopefully only people wearing tin foil hats really believe this.

    I know we are not going to eliminate guns nor do I think we should, but we need more sensible gun laws. I believe the right to live trumps the right to bear arms.

    Finally, I should note that I grew up with guns and served in the U.S. Army. I am not a gun hater but

    our gun culture, as a former Australian Prime Minister noted, is an American disease. Enough is enough. We have to change.

  • 9 Donna Anuskiewicz // Apr 19, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Did you mention background checks? They won’t prevent all future mass killings, but they would provide a step in the direction of keeping guns out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill.

    Your reasons against stricter gun laws embody the nirvana fallacy. We have laws against killing even though people are killed every day. What is needed is a change in the culture, and there I think we’re in agreement. After all, we now have smoke-free restaurants, schools, and universities. We have changed the notion that smoking is cool.
    We have lowered traffic deaths by requiring seat belts and safer car seats for children. I’m proud of those accomplishments. What I’m not proud of is a Congress whipped into submission by the likes of Wayne Pierre. Thank you.

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