Essay Draft Main Claim, Outline, and Introduction. Very Easy

Use all 6 articles. One main claim must be based of of all 6 articles. The main claim should be about your stance in the gun debate in America.Based on the Articles I provided please write:A potential main claim that is focused and arguable.You want to find something that’s really a claim (not a fact)Underneath that, list 4-5 bulleted subclaims to support the main claim. These are like puzzle pieces that tightly connect to the main claim and, together, give us a whole picture.To support each subclaim find at least one source that supports each subclaim. For each, name the author and explain how their work relates to your subclaim.Last practice writing a draft introductory paragraph that includes an effective opener
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Copyright @ 2016. Praeger.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law.
CHAPTER EIGHT
Seeking Common Ground:
Perspective of a Gun
Control Supporter
Paul Helmke
Introduction—How I Got Involved with the Gun Issue
One of the first letters I wrote when I became the head of the Brady
Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence was to Wayne
LaPierre, the executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. I
asked LaPierre if he’d be willing to meet with me—with or without staff;
whenever and wherever he preferred; publicly or privately—to see if there
were any areas where we might be able to find agreement, or areas where
our positions and interests weren’t that far apart, regarding gun policy. He
never responded to my letter.
As a lawyer and then as a politician and mayor in Fort Wayne, Indiana,
I had never shied away from conflict and controversy, but had always
felt that it was better to seek common ground and find areas where adversaries could agree to move forward whenever possible rather than squander time, money, and progress on unnecessary battles. Since I did not
consider myself virulently “anti-gun” or believe that we needed to “take
everybody’s guns away,” it seemed to me that there might be some significant areas where potential agreement could be possible. Guns were not a
part of my family life growing up, but I earned my NRA “Marksmanship”
and “Pro-Marksmanship” badges at camp when I was in grade school, had
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and Firearm Policy [3 Volumes] : The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms and Firearm Policy
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234
Guns and Contemporary Society
friends who went hunting with their fathers, and engaged in my share
of make-believe Davy Crockett, Cowboys and Indians, and Civil War
shoot-outs. My mother’s father, who was a machine-gunner in World War
I, and her older brother, would occasionally bring us game they had shot.
My father and his father had both been elected as county prosecutor and
I often heard their stories about guns used by criminals and by law
enforcement.
When I was about to start high school, I was stunned to see a story on
the local television news that one of my best friends from grade school
had been shot and seriously wounded at a home of an acquaintance. One
teenage boy found his older brother’s gun and decided to “scare” Scott by
pointing it at him and threatening to shoot. Scott turned to leave and was
shot in the back; he survived, but an eighth of an inch either way would
have led to death or paralysis. It was clear to me that the lessons I had
learned about gun safety at camp were not something that others necessarily followed.
As an undergraduate majoring in Political Science at Indiana University
in the late 1960s, I wrote a paper on how votes for or against the Gun
Control Act of 1968 impacted the U.S. Senate races that year and followed
closely the high-profile shootings and outbreaks of urban and rural violence throughout the country. While raising issues and leading rallies and
protests as student body president at IU, I worried about rumors of groups
bringing guns to campus and later the fall-out from the National Guard
shootings and four student deaths at Kent State University.
It was not until I was elected mayor, however, that I started focusing
directly on the issue of gun violence. A month after my election, but before
I took office, one of our police recruits was shot and killed during a training scenario outside of the state. The city’s training officer had loaded his
weapon during the lunch break and forgot to unload it when the training
started up again. Having an African American recruit killed by a white officer led to racial tensions in our city and showed me that even well-trained
individuals could make fatal mistakes when carrying firearms.
An influx of crack cocaine and gang wars were leading to increases
in violence in my city when I took office, and we responded with raids
on drug houses, increased taxes to hire more police officers, instituted
partnerships with neighborhood groups and faith-based institutions, responded with our versions of “broken-window” and “community-oriented
policing” and “community-oriented government” strategies, and generally
tried anything we thought could help make the city safer. When one of the
drug dealers was killed by law enforcement in one of our first drug house
raids, I started to get death threats. Still, it wasn’t long before I started to
EBSCO : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) – printed on 4/1/2018 3:42 AM via GROSSMONT COMM COLLEGE
AN: 1105376 ; Utter, Glenn H..; Guns and Contemporary Society: The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms
and Firearm Policy [3 Volumes] : The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms and Firearm Policy
Account: s3157966.main.ehost
Copyright @ 2016. Praeger.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law.
Seeking Common Ground: Perspective of a Gun Control Supporter
walk neighborhoods in all parts of the city and go to community meetings
without protection to demonstrate the basic safety of the city.
But there were still too many shootings. I got the call from my police
chief in the middle of the night when one of our police officers was shot
and killed by her husband, also a police officer, when the loaded gun they
kept next to their bed for their protection discharged during a domestic
quarrel. I went to the hospital when a minister’s son was shot in the head
from a drive-by shooting when he was waiting to be picked up from a
YMCA branch. I met with relatives of shooting victims and went to prayer
vigils at the scenes of the violence.
As we implemented a number of law enforcement and community
strategies, I learned from my police command and others how weak the
gun laws were in our state and country. I decided to support the efforts
of Jim and Sarah Brady to require gun sellers to perform background
checks on their gun buyers to see if they were “prohibited purchasers” as
defined by the Gun Control Act of 1968 and not just rely on the buyer’s
word concerning his or her status. When my police officers told me how
they were out-gunned in responding to a bank robbery at a strip mall,
I supported efforts to try and restrict access to weapons that were particularly dangerous because of the number of rounds that could be fired
quickly and powerfully.
Because of my “law and order” and public safety concerns, I participated in news conferences in Washington, D.C., Indianapolis, and Fort
Wayne with the Bradys, other mayors, law enforcement representatives,
and top elected and appointed officials to try to do something about the
weak and nearly non-existent laws to help reduce gun violence. I pushed
these issues with elected officials at all levels of government and was happy
to see the Brady Bill become law, and later to sit on the platform on the
South Lawn of the White House along with other mayors like Rudy
Giuliani for New York City and with the heads of groups like the National
Sheriffs Association when President William Clinton signed the Crime Bill.
Having legislation that provided for more police, the establishment of the
Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) office, increased efforts on
domestic violence, and restrictions on “assault weapons” and high capacity
ammunition magazines seemed like a good thing for my community as
well as the country.
Crime rates and violence began to drop in my city and across the country in the mid-1990s, but efforts to strengthen gun laws further remained
controversial and police tactics became more of a concern in Fort Wayne
and elsewhere. I was often questioned about my stance on gun issues during my U.S. Senate primary campaign in Indiana in 1998. My success in
EBSCO : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) – printed on 4/1/2018 3:42 AM via GROSSMONT COMM COLLEGE
AN: 1105376 ; Utter, Glenn H..; Guns and Contemporary Society: The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms
and Firearm Policy [3 Volumes] : The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms and Firearm Policy
Account: s3157966.main.ehost
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Guns and Contemporary Society
Copyright @ 2016. Praeger.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law.
236
winning the Republican nomination that year showed that my positions
were not as politically toxic as some argued, particularly when I explained
those positions in connection with an overall crime-fighting strategy. After
the Columbine shootings in 1999, I continued to speak out for stronger
gun laws but national legislation failed to pass.
When I left office after twelve years as mayor at the beginning of 2000
and returned to the practice of law, I continued to follow gun violence
and crime prevention issues—noticing particularly candidate George W.
Bush’s support for the “assault weapon ban” and trigger locks during the
presidential debates that year. After 9/11, I was more involved in matters
surrounding communications interoperability for public safety providers
and threat assessments for state and local governments but still followed
discussions and debates concerning guns.
In 2006, with a Republican president and Congress, the Bradys and the
Board of Directors for the Brady Campaign and Brady Center to Prevent
Gun Violence asked me to sign on to a five-year term to head their organization beginning that July. I knew it would be tough to get legislation
passed at the national level—efforts to renew the “Assault Weapon Ban”
had been unsuccessful less than two years earlier—but this was still an
issue that was very important to me and I hoped that my background
might help lead to some progress.
Finding Common Ground
And so I wrote Wayne LaPierre to see if there might be some common
ground. When he didn’t respond, I’d mention the letter to his staff when
I saw them at television interviews or meetings when we had been asked to
present our positions on current gun issues—and still I got no response.
When I finally had joint television appearances with LaPierre after the U.S.
Supreme Court decisions voiding near-total gun bans in Washington, D.C.,
and then Chicago, I asked him directly on-air about sitting down to find
common ground, particularly in view of language in those decisions indicating that many restrictions on guns were “presumptively lawful.” Once
again, LaPierre ignored my request and refused to consider any attempt to
identify areas of agreement.
The tragedy here is not just the continuing level of gun violence in this
country—approximately 32 gun murders, 51 gun suicides, 1 or 2 fatal gun
accidents, and 183 non-fatal gun injuries every day in this country, along
with the related medical and hospital costs, lost wages and productivity,
and continuing burden and grief for families and caregivers—but the fact
that it shouldn’t be that hard to reach some level of agreement on measures
EBSCO : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) – printed on 4/1/2018 3:42 AM via GROSSMONT COMM COLLEGE
AN: 1105376 ; Utter, Glenn H..; Guns and Contemporary Society: The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms
and Firearm Policy [3 Volumes] : The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms and Firearm Policy
Account: s3157966.main.ehost
Copyright @ 2016. Praeger.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law.
Seeking Common Ground: Perspective of a Gun Control Supporter
to reduce gun violence without “trampling” on anyone’s constitutional
rights or unduly restricting anyone’s legitimate need or desire to hunt with
guns, collect guns, or have guns for the personal protection.
Why LaPierre didn’t want to discuss trying to find common ground
and why we aren’t able to reach a governing consensus on measures to
reduce gun violence involves issues of organizational self-preservation and
perpetuation, fundraising, politics, fear-mongering, and paranoia. Richard
Feldman, in the next chapter of this volume, correctly focuses on longheld suspicions of opposing agendas and “identity politics” as additional
reasons LaPierre might have had for not wanting to meet with me. This
approach to the issue means that the fight will go on indefinitely and that
common ground will never be found. Unlike other “hot-button” or “wedge”
issues, however, as long as we make it clear that we’re not talking about
“banning all guns” (which is not a position that I or any of the organizations I’ve worked with takes), or saying that there should be no restrictions
of any sort on guns and gun ownership (which I don’t believe is the case
with anyone, as far as I know, on the “other” side with whom I’ve ever
debated gun issues), there should be a lot of room here for compromise.
If anything, the decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court in Heller and
McDonald should make it easier to find common ground. Those decisions
make it clear that “[like] most rights, the right secured by the Second
Amendment, is not unlimited” and that some restrictions on who gets
guns, how guns are sold, how guns are stored, where guns can be taken,
when guns can be carried, and what kinds of guns are available are “presumptively lawful.” Where we draw the specific lines on these categories
described by Justice Scalia in Section III of the Heller case and reinforced
by Justice Alito in the McDonald case might still be subject to court scrutiny, but they are also good topics for discussion, debate, and potential
compromise.
Background Checks
Perhaps the area where it should be easiest to reach agreement is with
regard to background checks—Brady’s signature issue. If we all (or nearly
all) agree that not everyone should be able to possess or buy a gun, then we
should want to design and develop a system to try and keep these particular
people from easily getting guns. For a good background check system to
have any chance of being effective, we need to look at: (1) who should be
on the list of “prohibited purchasers”; (2) how we get that list of individuals
into an accessible database; and (3) how we make sure that data base is
checked before nearly all guns are sold or transferred.
EBSCO : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) – printed on 4/1/2018 3:42 AM via GROSSMONT COMM COLLEGE
AN: 1105376 ; Utter, Glenn H..; Guns and Contemporary Society: The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms
and Firearm Policy [3 Volumes] : The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms and Firearm Policy
Account: s3157966.main.ehost
237
Copyright @ 2016. Praeger.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law.
238
Guns and Contemporary Society
Prohibited Purchasers:
The current list of “prohibited purchasers” is focused mainly on felons,
mentally dangerous individuals, and those subject to domestic violence
restraining orders. In addition, there are restrictions on individuals dishonorably discharged from the military, non-citizens, and drug abusers.
The main issue here is how these different categories are defined, and
whether new categories should be added or current categories deleted or
redefined.
For example, it might make sense to add some violent misdemeanants
to the list of prohibited purchasers since an individual who has been convicted of being violent is not someone most of us would want to have a
gun. Conversely, while a convicted felon has arguably shown a blatant
disregard for following the law, an argument might be made that tax evaders or some other felons might not be the sorts of individuals who we need
to bar from gun ownership. It is encouraging that Richard agrees that we
need a “more intelligent standard” here.
The mentally dangerous category (described in the statute as “mental
defective”) has received a lot of attention in recent years. Many people
don’t realize that the category currently is basically concerned with only
those who have been found officially by a court or a court-like body to be
a danger to themselves or others or have been similarly declared or found
to be incompetent. The category does not include those who have only
sought treatment for different types or levels of mental illness. As Richard
points out, more money is needed to deal with mental health issues. At the
same time, instead of blaming mental illness for most of our gun violence
problems, we need to be aware of studies showing that only 4 percent of
the violence is tied to mental health issues. While a number of high-profile
mass shooters have been described as mentally dangerous, very few of
them technically fit this legal category at the time they did their shooting.
How to write a definition that includes these types of potential killers is
one of the challenges we should be facing.
Another major issue with the mentally dangerous category is how someone gets off the prohibited purchaser list once the individual is no longer
considered dangerous. Unless one considers being mentally dangerous always incurable, there should be some process for individuals to get off the
prohibited list. How that change in status should be determined (by a doctor or a court or some other way), and how the removal process should
work, is another area where parties to the gun violence debate should be
able to find some common ground. Restraining orders in domestic violence
cases are sometimes challenged because of questions about notice and opportunities to be heard, as well as by steps some law enforcement personnel
EBSCO : eBook Collection (EBSCOhost) – printed on 4/1/2018 3:42 AM via GROSSMONT COMM COLLEGE
AN: 1105376 ; Utter, Glenn H..; Guns and Contemporary Society: The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms
and Firearm Policy [3 Volumes] : The Past, Present, and Future of Firearms and Firearm Policy
Account: s3157966.main.ehost
Copyright @ 2016. Praeger.
All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher, except fair uses permitted under U.S. or applicable copyright law.
Seeking Common Ground: Perspective of a Gun Control Supporter
use to enforce the orders by seizing guns. Absent gun registration provisions, it is often difficult to know who really “owns” a gun that may have
been moved or transferred to a different person or place in response to a
restraining order. Whether or not a restraining order has been issued or is
still in place and its correct status reflected in the data base can cause problems in making this category of prohibited purchaser effective.
The “drug abuser” category is one that could be the most effective in
keeping questionable people from being able to buy a gun legally depending on how the category is defined. Indeed, the studies on the connection
between mental health problems and shootings show that alcohol abuse
and drug use (and past violent behavior) are much more important as
predictors of future gun violence. There have been some proposals to expand the regulatory definition from anyone who has been arrested for a
drug offense in the last year to anyone arrested in the last five years. While
I have concerns with equating arrest with guilt, particularly when th …
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