A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Gun sense? Like in Britain, Australia?

Written October 2nd, 2015 by Hasso Hering
President Obama on TV Thursday: "Modest regulations"?

President Obama on TV Thursday: “Modest regulations”?

Here we go again with the debate about what President Obama calls “common-sense” gun laws. On Thursday, after the massacre in Roseburg, Obama complained about citizens who oppose “any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon,” as though he’d never heard of all the laws on that very subject.

The president cited Britain and Australia as countries that enacted sensible gun laws. Both countries sharply restrict and control private ownership of firearms, both in reaction to mass shootings.

In Britain, the law bans semiautomatic weapons and anything with a barrel longer than 30 centimeters. People can have shotguns, black powder rifles, and manually loaded cartridge-firing pistols and manually loaded center-fire rifles. But Britons must have a firearms certificate to own any gun, and to get a certificate they must convince the authorities they have a “good reason.”

Australia bans all automatic and semiautomatic weapons and confiscated several hundred thousand such guns in a mandatory buy-back program. In order to have other kinds of guns, you have to show a “justifiable need” and undergo strict licensing procedures including waiting periods and background checks.

In neither country do citizens have a constitutional right to bear arms. Here we do. So there is no question here of “justifiable need.” In Oregon, all we have to do is point to the Second Amendment and Section 27 of Oregon’s Bill of Rights as guaranteeing the right to bear arms, even though the right is restricted with background checks and various requirements.

So the president and the rest of us can save our breath. Portland and Eugene combined might be able to have the votes to scratch Section 27 from the Oregon constitution, but neither two-thirds of Congress nor three-fourths of the 50 states are going to repeal the Second Amendment.

On Thursday Obama referred to life-saving seat belts and said: “The notion that gun violence is somehow different, that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country that could hunt and protect their families and do everything they do under those regulations doesn’t make sense.”

The president should know that if we had laws like Britain and Australia, law-abiding gun owners could NOT  “do everything they do” now. So this “notion” he dismisses does make sense after all. (hh)

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24 responses to “Gun sense? Like in Britain, Australia?”

  1. David Abarr says:

    He never asked or suggested to change the constitution . As a journalist I would think the transcript would be used as evidence of what he said . I realize this is a opinion based blog but facts would still prevail ? Those talking points are very very old .

  2. Roger says:

    The timing of the Presidents press conference shows a lack of consideration and class. Let the families, friends and community have some time to deal with this tragic event. Attempting to use the deaths that occurred in Roseburg for a personal political agenda, on the very day of the event is just plain wrong.

  3. Rod MacWilliams says:

    The point of the discussion was “how do we stop mass shootings?”. Firearms regulation seems to jump to the front as the panacea, followed quickly by “only criminals will have guns.”
    No criminals perpetrated these mass shootings.
    Until we identify and address the social error that allowed. and likely exacerbated, these incidents, we will not be eliminating the true root cause.

    • David Abarr says:

      Correct. How can you legislate mental illness? When you can’t identify who is ill in the first place. In this instance it would appear the individual showed all the signs of illness. When 1/2 the country is opposed to the Affordable Health Care Act we want to focus on illness. Kinda talking out both ends if you ask me. REAL change is needed and I know it’ll never happen.

  4. tom cordier says:

    I watched POTUS comments about Roseburg. Another example of his fundamental lack of understanding reality. I’ve come to believe he might actually be mentally challenged. On so many issues–total lack of upholding current laws, refusal to hold gov’t employees accountable for anything, releasing convicted black drug dealers, Iran, Israel, lying to us frequently even in this case. Chicago, his home town, had/has some of the tightest restrictions on gun ownership has ~6000 shooting per year. I’ve come to discount everything the man says as b.s.

  5. Rich Kellum says:

    Once again the President has shown that he does not have the knowledge of the differential between his gluteus Maximus and a depression in the earth.

  6. Shawn Dawson says:

    While I like Obama, I disagree with him here. I had the same thoughts when he said ‘like Britain, like Australia’. It is nearly impossible for the average citizen to own a gun, for self defense or any other reason, in those countries. They have gone beyond modest regulations to the disarming of the population.

  7. Ray Kopczynski says:



    Just a matter of “Liars figure & Figures Lie”?

    • Andrew Gettman says:

      “While it is true that the murder rate in Missouri rose 17 percent relative to the rest of the U.S. in the five years after 2007, it had actually increased by 32 percent during the previous five years. The question is why the Missouri murder rate was increasing relative to the rest of the United States at a slower rate after the change in the law than it did prior to it.” http://crimeresearch.org/2014/02/cprc-at-fox-news-media-cherry-picks-missouri-gun-data-to-make-misleading-case-for-more-control/

      I believe that the approach that President Obama chose to take will only lead to both sides retrenching while lobbing verbal grenades at each other. He could’ve waited a week until the slain were laid to rest to talk about a specific, comprehensive plan. I think we can do better but now is the time to mourn the lives lost.

  8. James Carrick says:

    What happened yesterday at Umpqua Community College is not the result of inadequate gun laws. It is a result of what our society has become. Gun laws in addition to what we already have on the books are not the answer.

    The only mass shooting that comes to my mind in the 60’s is the Charles Whitman massacre on the University of Texas campus in 1966. Mass shootings were extremely rare, yet guns of all types were far easier to obtain then and were as pervasive in society as now. What WAS different then was our society. We have a society today that expects instant gratification, has glorified violence, and provides instant celebrity for reasons both good and bad. All of this is magnified by the internet and social media.

    In order to understand, and then try to solve the escalating problem of mass shootings, we must understand what motivates angry young males to want to kill innocent people. When I was a kid, the television was the electronic babysitter. Today we buy our kids computers and video games….and often fail to monitor their activities. Kids today are exposed to things that were once unthinkable to parents a generation or two prior. The pressure society puts on our youth to achieve a certain measure as displayed in the media is enormous and not all can handle it. Add to that, polls prove that in America, there is far less attention paid to “spiritual matters” in whatever form one may choose. The lines between right and wrong aren’t nearly as sharp as they once were due to relativism. Nothing seems absolute any more. And we are learning in this latest case, that people that identified as Christians were executed simply because of they stated their faith.

    Only when we understand the causes of such impulses in young men will we begin to understand why these shootings take place. There is no gun law imaginable that would or could have prevented what happened yesterday. As I write this, it is being reported that all the weapons this shooter had were obtained legally. Sound familiar?

    Obama can stand up at the podium until hell freezes over, pounding on it for more “sensible” gun laws. What we need is a society that respects the law, and much more importantly, respects human life. For all of our technology, that essential respect is slipping away.

    My prayers are for the victims of this deranged narcissist and their families. May God bless them all.

    • Shawn Dawson says:

      I am in agreement with you that what has changed from my generation (I graduated high school in ’81, so I grew up in the 70’s) is society, not access to guns. The large changes I see are:

      1) Hard core violence used as entertainment, starting at an early age (pre-teens), and permeating the media stream in which youth grow up now. Sure, in the 60’s there were some horror movies, but not nearly as depraved or as visceral as they are now. And back then it was limited to just horror movies. Now it permeates a much more media focused society and is given awards as great, almost must-watch programming, such as Game of Thrones.

      The many avenues for the media have increased from the movie theater to all of daily life for youth: movies, video games, television shows, and the internet. The youth of the 60’s and 70’s weren’t able to bathe in the violence on a daily basis.

      2) The rise of the internet, smart phones, and ego-centered social networks. We have a generation who are taught that self-promotion, and being famous in some way is a good thing. The glorification of selfies as harmless snapshots documenting one’s daily life would have been viewed as narcissism and a morally bad thing. Today it is normal to the point that not partaking leaves one a social outcast.

      3) The belief in privacy in personal life has disappeared. This is a byproduct of 2) above. The dangerous thing is that one needs to ‘cultivate’ an online view of one’s life that is perfect, or sexy, or odd, or fascinating in some way. The idea of living an anonymous, healthy, life with real-world family and friends is quaint and rapidly dying, and has all but died in our young adults.

      4) Lastly, we do not deal with mental health issues. Sure we give them lots of lip service, but if one has a family member with mental health issues, there is no money in the system (taxes) to help them. From first hand account, unless the person is viewed as posing an immediate thread to themselves or others, there is not only no money to help them, but no way to force the person to get help. For the most part, we just throw these folks away, stating that ‘they made their own life choices, I should not have to pay taxes to help them’, and they live and die on our streets. We choose to live with this rather than raise the taxes that would be required to truly deal with those with mental health issues.


  9. Bill Kapaun says:

    If only somebody was allowed to legally carry on campus, they might have been able to end the massacre before it became a massacre.

    • David Abarr says:

      I know how the vast majority in this community feel about this topic. But I can drive 13 miles west and it’s a whole different conversation.My analytical mind works in problem solving.


      • James Carrick says:

        The conversation may be different in Corvallis (city limits) but rural Benton County is much the same as Linn County. Still, the reality is the same. Your point?

        Just months ago, Corvallis was debating whether Oregon’s “open carry law” could be challenged within the city’s borders…..They concluded they had no grounds to challenge the status quo.

        Gun phobes need to realize that most of us will never subject our right to self defense to law enforcement alone. Too many people live too far away from timely response and additionally, those of us that believe our right to self defense is God given will NOT give it up to mere mortals. And our Constitution, via the 2nd Amendment, guarantees that right….every way it can be read or interpreted by the SCOTUS to date. Deal with it and address the ROOT CAUSE. It’s NOT about guns. It’s about PEOPLE!

        We’re not giving in.

  10. David Abarr says:

    “A conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt.”

    Woodrow Wilson

    • Jim Clausen says:

      Ah yes, a quote from the progressive president who segregated the Navy and Federal institutions. He probably consulted with granma to do that huh?

  11. Bob Woods says:

    When I was 19 I had a friend who got his first job after high school. When he got his first month’s pay, he spent it all on buying .357 magnum hand gun. I never associated with him after that. It was clear what was most important to him.

    If you love your guns more than you’re willing to love your neighbor you are clearly mentally ill.

    If you ran out to stock up on guns and ammunition right after Obama was elected, you’re mentally ill.

    I strongly support prohibiting gun ownership by the mentally ill.

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Obviously your friend had more sense than you.

    • James Carrick says:

      Woods: “I strongly support prohibiting gun ownership by the mentally ill.”

      That’s the only part of your post I agree on. Now, you tell me how we do that without infringing on the right of the remaining 99.8% of “we the people?”

      Better yet, propose a law that would have prevented any of these shootings.

      I don’t know a single gun advocate (and I know many) that favors possession of firearms by the mentally ill, and if you think the NRA supports it, you’re flat out wrong.

  12. Bob Woods says:

    A friend, Randall Tosh, was able to pull this from his legal access to Supreme Court decisions, which he is familiar with as a lawyer. For those of you that somehow think that you have unfettered rights to own guns as you see fit, you ought to be aware of what your CONSERVATIVE SUPREME COURT justices said:

    Below is the legal verbiage on regulating firearms where SCOTUS held that the right to own a firearm was protected under the Second Amendment via District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 558 (2008):

    “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. See, e.g., Sheldon, in 5 Blume 346; Rawle 123; Pomeroy 152–153; Abbott333. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. See, e.g., State v. Chandler, 5 La. Ann., at 489–490; Nunn v. State, 1 Ga., at 251; see generally 2 Kent *340, n. 2; The American Students’ Blackstone 84, n. 11 (G. Chase ed. 1884). Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.26

    “We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.” See 4 Blackstone 148–149 (1769); 3 B. Wilson, Works of the Honourable James Wilson 79 (1804); J. Dunlap, The New-York Justice 8 (1815); C. Humphreys, A Compendium of the Common Law in Force in Kentucky 482 (1822); 1 W. Russell, A Treatise on Crimes and Indictable Misdemeanors 271–272 (1831); H. Stephen, Summary of the Criminal Law 48 (1840); E. Lewis, An Abridgment of the Criminal Law of the United States 64 (1847); F. Wharton, A Treatise on the Criminal Law of the United States 726 (1852). See also State v. Langford, 10 N. C. 381, 383–384 (1824); O’Neill v. State, 16Ala. 65, 67 (1849); English v. State, 35Tex. 473, 476 (1871); State v. Lanier, 71 N. C. 288, 289 (1874).
    “It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment ’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.”

    • James Carrick says:

      So, Joel…..you must have a point you’re trying to make with your post/link. Care to elaborate?

      “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of
      independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” George Washington

      Have you read the Federalist Papers? Try #46 to start with re: 2nd Amendment.


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