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Lori Saldaña Defends Gun Control After Aurora Shooting

Evening Edition

Above: Former California State Assembly Member Lori Saldana authored legislation to ban the carrying of openly displayed handguns in public. She and Alex Kreit, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, speak to KPBS about gun control.

Aired 7/23/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Guests

Lori Saldana, former California State Assembly Member, in 2010 she authored legislation to ban the carrying of openly displayed handguns in public.

Alex Kreit Professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law

Transcript

Former California State Assembly Member Lori Saldaña authored legislation to ban the "open carry" of handguns in public in 2010, meaning handguns cannot be openly displayed.

She told KPBS it was "a matter of public safety."

"Making sure people who were openly carrying unloaded handguns in California were not creating an unsafe situation for people around them," she said.

One of the guns suspect James Holmes used in his alleged mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater is not legal in California: an AR-15 military-style assault rifle. But a Remington 12-gauge shotgun and two Glock pistols authorities say Holmes also used are available for legal purchase in this state.

Although the Constitution's Second Amendment protects the "right of the people to keep and bear arms," Saldaña said that is tempered by the phrase "a well-regulated militia."

"So regulations are appropriate," she said. "We have 50 to 60 gun deaths every day in the United States. So I think when we have these extreme situations as we have in Aurora, people start paying attention."

Alex Kreit, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, said there is no empirical evidence to support the argument that if everyone in the Aurora movie theater had been armed, these deaths would not have occurred.

"If you have somebody that's well trained, maybe it's a different situation," he said.

Saldaña said it's often the case that untrained people with guns are more likely to become victims of their own weapons.

Comments

Avatar for user 'krayfun1'

krayfun1 | July 23, 2012 at 1:35 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

I believe this mass shooting reinforces the urgent need for a serious national conversation on gun control, particularly regarding the lapse of the assault weapons ban. Since Columbine 13 years ago, there have been 27 mass shootings. When the ban was in place, weapons like the AR-15 were illegal and difficult to obtain, and research shows it effectively reduced assault crimes by 60%. I believe the only use of assault weapons in our society should be by police and military for society's protection.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | July 23, 2012 at 2:40 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

Assaults are down 60% from 1999? as a result of a weapon ban? That seems a little tough to swallow. Please cite.

The key failure here was the operator, not the equipment.

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Avatar for user 'krayfun1'

krayfun1 | July 23, 2012 at 3:49 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

benz72,
The 60% figure came from a quote by a guest on the MSNBC "The Ed Show" dated 7/20/2012. The guest was one of a panel discussing the merits of additional gun control in Colorado.

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Avatar for user 'marjorieo'

marjorieo | July 23, 2012 at 7:22 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

I like the idea of gun control, but now that people have guns in the U.S. it's going to be very hard to do very much in terms of gun control that will have an immediate effect. Putting gun control in effect now is like shutting the barn door after the cow is already out. All the guns that have been sold legally aren't going to go away. The moment a law would go into effect (probably the moment it passed!) everyone who owns a gun is going to hide it away so it won't be confiscated...and then if times get tough (like they are now!) they would sell them on the black market.

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Avatar for user 'RLA'

RLA | July 23, 2012 at 8:01 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

KPBS Local News - Your bias is showing again. Your choice of 2 gun control advocates with no balancing counterpoint and Ms. Pico's obvious bias made for a very slanted presentation. Ms. Pico's use of "notorious" to describe the NRA only goes to further the image of KPBS as a "notoriously" biased media outlet that adheres to a strictly liberal agenda. It would be better to be "well known" as presenting a balanced view of local and world events.

The PBS Evening News from today might serve as an example for a balanced approach the next time you tackle this subject.

I wonder if you were more neutral in your presentations you might gain more supporters.

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Avatar for user 'CNReporter'

CNReporter | July 23, 2012 at 10:34 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

It seems that liberals haven't a clue as to how idiotic they look and sound. What must we look like to them?

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | July 24, 2012 at 7:07 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

Do you have any reference to an actual study? 'someone said it on TV' isn't very persuasive.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 24, 2012 at 12:55 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

To be fair, there is no evidence that stricter gun control laws would have prevented this particular crime.

Likewise, there is no evidence that if citizens were all armed in the theater the terrorist would have been stopped sooner, it could just as easily be the case that more guns could have created friendly fire casualties and even more confusion and chaos.

Both sides need to quit making assumptions and discuss this issue rationally.

Gun control has been largely ignored in our government because the NRA is one of the most powerful and political influential entities in our country.

We need to be reasonable.

Nobody is suggesting rounding up everyone's guns, but look at the weapons that were used.

There is no reason citizens should be able to buy assault style machine guns.

You don't need them for hunting, and you can protect your home with a far less destructive device.

The NRA takes even the slightest attempt at gun control as a "slippery slope" that they think will be used to take away people's rights to guns completely.

That's not the case.

Like anything else, rights need to be balanced with reasonable safeguards in place that protect everyone's freedom and liberty.

One's right to own a semi-automatic machine gun should not trump one's right to walk down the street of their own city without fear of being shot by some crazy nit-wit with machinery designed for mass killing.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | July 24, 2012 at 1 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

CN Reporter, if you have a coherent point to make I'd love to hear it, but throwing only insults with no meaningful discussion simply reflects poorly on yourself.

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | July 24, 2012 at 1:58 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

PDSD, I agree with most of what you say, but want to clarify your last paragraph.
a 'semi-automatic' and a 'machine gun' are two very different things.


Machine guns are military hardware and definately need to be restricted. many normal hunting rifles have semi-auto actions.
There are manufacturers who wrap those semi-auto actions in a military looking frame, but that doesn't make the weapon fire any faster.

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Avatar for user 'Willard'

Willard | July 24, 2012 at 2:01 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

I hate to disagree with Duck but many that were there, have said, if the automatic rifle had not jammed there would have been many,more deaths,this weapon is illegal in CA

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Avatar for user 'Peggy Pico'

Peggy Pico, KPBS Staff | July 24, 2012 at 3:06 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

RLA, thanks for your comment. We did reach out to a gun rights advocate, but he did not respond to our request for an interview. Our second guest Alex Kreit is a constitutional attorney and is not a gun control advocate. I agree with you that I should not have used the word notorious to describe the lobbying efforts of the NRA. I appreciate your diligence and look forward to more comments.

Peggy Pico

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Avatar for user 'Peggy Pico'

Peggy Pico, KPBS Staff | July 24, 2012 at 3:20 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

benz72, Here is a link to the secret service study (National Threat Assessment Center Study) we referenced by name in our discussion about personality profiles of mass murderers.

http://www.secretservice.gov/ntac_ssi.shtml

Peggy

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Avatar for user 'Willard'

Willard | July 24, 2012 at 3:28 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

To say that KPBS has an image of a "notorious liberal bias"Is not a factual statement KPBS has set the gold standard in non-biased reporting.Facts have a known liberal bias

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | July 24, 2012 at 4:09 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

Thank You Peggy, some very interesting reading in there.
The study I was looking for was in reference to questionable citation by krayfun1 regarding a 60% reduction in assaults. Sorry about the confusion, but I'm happy you posted the link.

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Avatar for user 'RLA'

RLA | July 24, 2012 at 6:02 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

Willard, I'll drop the "notoriously" from my comment, but I maintain the "liberal bias" portion. If the only facts reported on support the liberal point of view then viewers are missing the full level of information required to make sound judgements.

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Avatar for user 'Willard'

Willard | July 24, 2012 at 6:39 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

RLA, Mrs.Pico already shot down your first assertions.You also seem to be saying that we should hear the other side even if factually false. It is now incumbent on you to provide/cite other examples or risk losing credibility.Thanks

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Avatar for user 'astrofan'

astrofan | July 25, 2012 at 10:41 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm just listening now and I'm trying to figure out why the first thing the moderator did was take that pointless phone call from Alan. The quote from Martin Luther King had nothing to do with the topic--gun control for individuals.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 25, 2012 at 11:47 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

Is that it, Ms.Burke? I've seen posts longer than this article.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 25, 2012 at 11:58 a.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

According to the AP, 2887 were done in Colorado over a three-day period and 2386 in Floriduh.

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Avatar for user 'Willard'

Willard | July 25, 2012 at 12:42 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

Crickets from RLA

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | July 25, 2012 at 3:36 p.m. ― 2 years, 1 month ago

it's a bit sparse.

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