The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut brings up the gun control debate once again. At a minimum, Brad Bannon, democratic political consultant with Bannon Communications Research in Washington, D.C. says the assault weapons ban needs to be renewed, as there are a lot of loop holes in that ban that expired in 2004. For instance, he says, there should be a stronger regulation on people who can get handguns.
Bannon says that historically, these types of massacres involve people having psychiatric problems. "I don't see why these people can get assault weapons; it seems incredible to me," says Bannon. Part of the problem, he adds, is that in several states, a person can simply walk into a store to purchase a gun and the only identification they need is a credit card. Citing the killings in Tucson, where the man convicted had a psychiatric history but was able to go into a store and buy weapons, Bannon says "that's just lunacy." Bannon believes that we have to have a rigorous screening process to determine who can or cannot get weapons.
The shooter in Connecticut didn't own the weapons he used to kill, as they were already in the house. New York Senator Charles Schumer believes the federal government needs to do a better job of helping people with mental illness and Bannon couldn't agree more.
Bannon says that effectively, there are 50 different gun control laws in this country, as laws vary from state to state. He suggests a national database as a solution to this problem but the NRA has resisted that every time it's come up. If the NRA "doesn't want to regulate ownership of guns, at the very least they can have tougher screening requirements and a tougher database," Bannon says.
Brad Bannon is President of Bannon Communications Research, a Washington, D.C.-based political polling and consulting firm. More information can be found at www.bannoncr.com. This video commentary was hosted by The Legal Broadcast Network, which provides on-demand legal content.