In this July 20, 2014 photo, guns are displayed for sale at Dragonman's, an arms seller east of Colorado Springs, Colo. When Colorado lawmakers expanded background checks on firearms last year, they were expecting a ... In this July 20, 2014 photo, guns are displayed for sale at Dragonman's, an arms seller east of Colorado Springs, Colo. When Colorado lawmakers expanded background checks on firearms last year, they were expecting a huge increase. But the actual number the first 12 months of the law is far lower than projected, according to an analysis of state data by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley) MORE LESS
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TPM Live Chat Guest Says “We Will Prevail” On Gun Control: Read The Convo

On Tuesday, gun violence expert Josh Horwitz joined TPM Prime members in the Hive for a spirited discussion about gun culture and the state of gun control policy in the U.S. Horwitz, who is the Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has spent more than two decades working on gun violence prevention issues and testified before the U.S. Congress and a number of state and local legislative bodies. Prime members asked him questions about everything from the NRA to California’s firearm policy. Read snippets from the conversation below:


“I’ve never understood the push back on banning assault rifles that fire multiple rounds. No one needs one of those for protection…why is there such push back? I would think the vast majority support it.”


“Assault weapons allow even the most inexperience shooter to immediately fire dozens of rounds of ammunition while keeping their muzzle on the target. They are expressly designed to shoot humans. The NRA has tried to create confusion about what is an assault weapon (and had some success here) but there a number of effective state models. Also, we need to focus on the high-capacity magazines that also contribute to lethality. The push back from the industry and the NRA is that the industry has no regulation now, absolutely none. They can’t be sued, they are not regulated like a consumer product and they just don’t want to be told what to do even if would save lives.”


“How probable is the idea that the 2nd amendment could be reinterpreted to mean: since we no longer have militias we no longer need individuals owning muskets OR the militias are now the National Guard and therefore have all the muskets they need and no longer need individuals owning muskets? This would eliminate the need for another amendment, no?, maybe?


“In my view the Second Amendment does not need to be amended. We just need to be cognizant that the intent has been so misinterpreted by proponents (and not the Supreme Court). See my prior response on the original meaning. That being said, the Court in Heller, and subsequent lower court decisions, have made it quite clear that all the types of regulations that I support (background checks, licensing, prohibiting certain classes of individuals at risk for violence) are completely constitutional.”


“We point to the horrifying statistics on gun violence and we see empirical evidence of the validity of our position: guns are out of control and destroying American society. The NRA and its ilk look at the EXACT same figures and see out of control crime, gangs and drug cartels. Incontrovertible proof that the police can’t cope and a heavily armed citizenry is essential to protecting our way of life. It seems like we’re not even speaking the same language. How do we change that? Do we need to?”


“…you bring up a interesting point. Its more than not speaking the same language, it seems that sometimes we have completely different world views. And the thing is, it is almost impossible to change world views, however, I do think that there are ways to communicate that appeal to different world views. For instance, gun owners and non-gun owners both believe that dangerous people should not have firearms. I have heard the NRA say for years that ‘Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.’ Ok, here is an opportunity to bridge our different world views: Who are those people and how do we identify them when they are at risk, and make sure that they don’t have access to firearms.”

Interested in joining the next live chat? Sign up for Prime here.

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