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The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Federal laws across states should govern guns

By Josh Haywood

Writer

Mainly due to the fact that our nation is a cult of violence, gun possession is seemingly the most universal political issue that has stood the test of time. Watch the nightly news for an hour and it is almost guaranteed that there will be news of a shooting or murder somewhere in your area. From the shooting of Representative Giffords (D- Ariz.) to just the other week in Bremerton, Wash. where a third-grader was shot after a gun accidentally discharged while in a student’s backpack. Guns are everywhere and often fall into the hands of youth who are more than willing to pull the trigger.

I have seen how easy it is for someone to get a gun when over winter break, a friend of my younger brother showed me a nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol and .32 revolver he bought in a street transaction. He showed me how the seller had scratched out the serial numbers and drilled a screw down the barrel to eliminate the distinguishing bullet groves of the barrel. The weapons were very easy to obtain and, better yet, there was no background check required. There is no reason for someone under the age 21 to own a handgun and thus gun laws need federal uniformity.

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My stance on the second amendment is a modified version of Isaiah Berlin’s negative liberty, which states other persons should leave a person to do what they please without interference. The only modification I accept is the Gun Control Act of 1968 that requires serial numbers on weapons and bans convicted felons from purchasing or possessing weapons. State gun laws are not productive in this country because they vary too much from state to state. Take for instance Pennsylvania and its neighboring states New Jersey and New York; in Pennsylvania there is no permit required to purchase a handgun while in both New Jersey and New York there is. According to www.tracetheguns.org, a website that catalogs illegal gun imports and exports based on arrests, in 2009 364 guns purchased in Pennsylvania were found to have been exported to New York and 397 to New Jersey, each through straw-purchasers: people with clean records who legally buy weapons and hand them off to criminals across the state line. Think about it. That is 761 guns falling into the hands of criminals. Legal discrepancies like this are responsible for numerous deaths every year and are a major reason to implement a universal set of federal laws. The federal government should establish a set of universal rules in which states are forced to follow what is stated in Article VI of the Constitution: federal law supersedes state law. This would level the playing field, making it even harder for criminals to purchase weapons no matter the state they live in.

Opposition groups believe federalism takes away state sovereignty and the individual demographic of a state calls for individual laws in return. It is true that a universal set of laws would make it more tedious to get a gun, but to that I have a separate question: is time equivalent to life? The loss of a human life is never worth the convenience of being able to purchase a gun easily. State sovereignty is still maintained because the state government could customize the parameters of each universal law that is set forth. States could set the prices for permits and define waiting periods as they see necessary, which would allow states with relatively low crime rates to be more loose and those with higher rates more stringent. I normally am not a big fan of government bureaucracy bullshit, but in this case, I extend an exception. It is completely unjustifiable to sacrifice life for convenience.

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  • S

    Steve FMar 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Mr Haywood,

    Why do we always seek to regulate the previously regulated? I am certainly no fan of concentrating yet more power in the hands of the Federal government; they have more than enough already.

    While eliminating a legal patchwork vis-a-vis firearms laws may seem laudable on the surface, such a system allows local firearms laws to more closely align with local citizens’ values. It gives those who feel some locals either too restrictive, or not restrictive enough, an alternative.

    In addition, after the DOJ purpetrated farce known as “Project Gunrunner” and other revealing federal government actions, many American citizens may feel, justly in the eyes of many, that the Federal government may not truly have their best interests at heart, but rather seek to “regulate and confiscate” at some point in the future, no matter their claims to the contrary.

    Reply
  • J

    JeremyMar 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Mr. Haywood:

    Did you really just print information about an ILLEGAL gun transaction? My question to you is what did you do about it? Did you alert the authorities? Were the cops notified, did you contact the ATF? If you did nothing knowing this information, you are a moron.

    If your brother’s friend is under 21, he can’t own a handgun. If he bought it off the street, he ILLEGALLY purchased the weapon. If the gun has the serial numbers filed off and the barrel tapped, he ILLEGALLY bought an ILLEGAL gun!

    What research have you done for legal firearm ownership?

    And, for the love of God, call the local authorities and report your son’s friend before he does something even more stupid then just ILLEGALLY purchasing an ILLEGAL gun.

    Reply
  • J

    JohnMar 3, 2012 at 10:23 am

    Ah, the sweet smell of failure is wafting off of this one.

    Please, observe an actual intellect’s view on this article: http://forum.pafoa.org/general-2/165445-bucknellian-newspaper-article-federal-gun-laws-fail.html#post1919483

    Reply
  • C

    CarlMar 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    After reading your article on requiring more gun laws I have a question. Why would we implement NEW gun laws based on your self stated eye witness event of an ILLEGAL gun transaction? What you claim as too easy to get would not change just because a new law is past. What you described is already illegal in all states. Possession of a firearm with the serial number defaced is a felony. So by your own admission you have participated in a felony crime.

    Reply
  • M

    MSgt John DeLalloMar 2, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Mr. Haywood:
    So, you would like to see Federal oversight of firearms? I hope you’re ready for a little fact finding, without the typical whining and obfuscations that rattle my cage. Let’s start by looking at the real numbers on firearms deaths. I like to put my finger on deaths due to accidents, a grand total of under 600 per year, fairly steady for the past 4 years. You’ll find that inconvenient fact in a report issued by the CDC, i.e. the FEDERAL Government.

    Your posit is that firearms can find their way into the wrong hands. Are you aware that every handgun sale must be done through a FEDERALLY licensed dealer, using a Form 4473? Your anecdotal account of a “friend” with 2 firearms obtained without benefit of the background check attendant to the Form 4473 is interesting, but you don’t say whether or not you immediately called the authorities to report this unlawful sale. Did you? If not, you are a co-conspirator, and subject to the same penalties for altered serial numbers as your younger brother’s friend.

    I don’t think you are going to get much of an argument on serialization of firearms. Your car has one, and so does your Bose music system, your flat screen TV, and your lawnmower. It really helps if any of those are stolen, and I’m sure you have every serial number of every high value item in your house written down.

    You complain about straw purchases, but don’t bother to mention that a program called “Don’t lie for the other guy” has been in effect for several years, nor do you mention that it is a FEDERAL offense to straw purchase and ship across state lines. You’re following Mayor Bloomberg’s play book perfectly. There is one problem with Bloomberg’s playbook–its been thoroughly trashed by the CDC and the National Academy of Science, both FEDERAL agencies.

    You complete your thesis with the idea that it should be more difficult to buy a gun. We, the law abiding, must run a gauntlet of State and Federal laws already. We must pass a National Instant Check System (NICS) background check; we must, under penalty of perjury, certify that we are not felons, dishonorably discharged from the Armed Services, not drug addicts nor habitual drunkards, not under indictment, not an alien illegally in the United States, and we must certify we are the actual buyer of the firearm.

    While your position is arguably anti-gun, it is also shot full of holes (pun intended), as you conveniently fail to point out that new laws will only affect the law abiding. Criminals don’t obey laws to begin with. Do you really think so much as one more gun law is going to stop straw purchases, or convince career criminals to lay down their arms and walk the straight and narrow path?

    May I suggest that the next time you decide to write on a topic, you do a bit of research? You have done a poor job of asking for laws and regulations that already exist. And for one last coup de grace, read 22CFR120-130, and find for me the “lawful” exportation of guns to Mexican gangs under Project Gunrunner, a.k.a. Fast and Furious. Here’s a hint, 22CFR120-130 applies to every American equally. And of course you knew that CFR means Code of FEDERAL Regulations.

    I’m going to close this discourse for now, so I can call the local office of the BATFE and make sure you’ve filed that report with them regarding the two guns with defaced or removed serial numbers. You have a nice day, and if you see a couple of black Ford sedans pulling into your driveway, don’t bother to run. You’ll get caught anyway, and there’s no use in being completely winded and out of gas. Hey, you said you like Federal intervention when it comes to guns. Boy, are you in for an education.

    Reply
  • J

    JohnMar 2, 2012 at 9:07 am

    “I have seen how easy it is for someone to get a gun when over winter break, a friend of my younger brother showed me a nine-millimeter semi-automatic pistol and .32 revolver he bought in a street transaction. He showed me how the seller had scratched out the serial numbers and drilled a screw down the barrel to eliminate the distinguishing bullet groves of the barrel. The weapons were very easy to obtain and, better yet, there was no background check required.”

    This was a completely illegal transaction where the buyer and the seller were not following laws that already exist. Had the buyer and the seller been following the laws a background check IS REQUIRED. If more laws are created will people who are already breaking current laws decide to follow the new laws?

    Reply