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San Diego Police Chief Supports Greater Gun Regulation

Evening Edition

Above: San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne talks to KPBS about his support of gun laws. "I could not be more supportive of the president for taking the position he has," Lansdowne says.

Aired 1/15/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Guests

William Lansdowne, San Diego Police Chief

Mike Benoit, San Diego Libertarian Party, Member of Gun Owners of America

Transcript

Today, the city of Chula Vista discussed a resolution aimed at reducing gun violence. Yesterday, Del Mar city officials voted to ask the Del Mar Fairgrounds Board of Directors to end its contract with the gun show and to take the Del Mar name off the event.

These are some of the local responses to what is now a national debate over gun control. President Barack Obama is expected to release his proposed legislation on gun regulations sometime this week.

"I could not be more supportive of the president for taking the position he has," San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne told KPBS. "I think it's courageous with the politics involved in this process. But I think it's going to eventually make the country safer and certainly safer for my officers that have to respond to these calls. "

Lansdowne said he would like to see a national policy on importation of assault-type weapons and high-capacity magazines, along with a national database on gun sales. He said gun control laws do decrease crime.

"Those states that have the fewest number of guns certainly have the lowest number of homicides," he said. "But I don't think it's just the homicides you need to look at. You need to look at the suicides, the unintentional accidental shootings that take place. And for every homicide, there are three shootings that took place. And the difference between a homicide and a shooting, gang-involved or whatever it happens to be, is just the aim."

But the debate over stricter gun laws remains divisive.

(Story continues below.)

Evening Edition

Above: Mike Benoit, a Second Amendment advocate and member of San Diego's Libertarian Party, talks to KPBS about gun rights. "As long as America is armed, it won't be a Nazi Germany," he says.

Mike Benoit, a Second Amendment advocate and member of San Diego's Libertarian Party, doesn't believe gun regulation is the answer to stop mass shootings.

He says gun laws are ineffective and people who want to cause harm will find a way to get their hands on guns.

Gun control advocates have "this magical idea that they can stop all violence by removing certain types of guns and having restrictions on crazy people," Benoit said.

"Basically everybody is crazy at one moment or another in their life," he said. "And it doesn't stop the bad guys from getting guns."

"I would ask those people, 'would you be against arming the Jewish people in Nazi Germany with an assault rifle?' And the answer would probably be no," Benoit added. "That kind of devastation to human life would never have occurred if people had a way to fight back."

Benoit said gun rights prevent America from turning into a dictatorship.

"Because as long as America is armed, it won't be a Nazi Germany," he said.

But Benoit said people should not be able to have any weapon they choose.

"Well, not any weapon that in itself is, say, volatile and can cause damage," he said. "People say, well, libertarians would say people could have an atomic bomb. Atomic bombs can leak radiation and hurt people, so no. It's just dangerous in its basic existence."

He said theoretically, people could have surface to air missiles, but that's not a realistic scenario.

"Theoretically, yes, practically, no," he said.

Meanwhile, a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that support is growing for several gun proposals.

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

Comments

Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | January 15, 2013 at 3:54 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

One would think the police chief would see the flaws in the gun control argument, mainly that criminals don't follow gun laws.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | January 16, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

What do you expect, Jean Mark? Many of you can't see the flawed argument in our holy war against drugs.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | January 16, 2013 at 11:51 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

"Many of you"? What group are you putting me in? I am absolutely against the war on drugs, for a few reasons. 1) The war on drugs is only benefiting people who run private prisons. 2) The war on drugs is very, very expensive and utterly ineffective. 3) We are responsible for our own lives, including our bodies, and we should be allowed to harm ourselves if we want. Why are cigarettes and alcohol legal?

You seem to think prohibition of drugs is failing. Why do you think prohibition of drugs would succeed? Prohibition does not work.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | January 16, 2013 at 11:52 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Sorry, last sentence should read:

Why do you think prohibition of guns would succeed?

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Avatar for user 'llk'

llk | January 16, 2013 at 2:03 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

This isn't about prohibition of guns, it's about gun control. There's a difference. It's about strengthening regulations on guns in order to prevent gun violence. Specifically, it's about restricting the accessibility of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines -- weapons for war that are designed to kill the greatest number of people as fast as possible. I don't want to live in anything like a war zone, and I doubt you do too. So we should do what we can to keep these weapons out of our society. They belong overseas, where the guns can be used as they're intended to be used, so our nation's brave young men can slaughter other nation's brave young men in the name of freedom/resources/political power, etc.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 16, 2013 at 8:26 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Jean, your argument that gun control equates to the government "taking away your guns" is like saying having a minimum drinking age is the government "taking away your booze".

Prohibition and regulation are two different things

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | January 17, 2013 at 10:08 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

At least you are conisistent if you taking a libertarian view toward the "war on drugs" or the gun issue. That's all I'm asking. But most on the Right favor the "war on drugs" and oppose gun strictions. They are being inconsistent and intellecutally dishonest--if not outright hypocrical.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | January 17, 2013 at 12:47 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Mission I agree with you, most gun lovers are on the far right. To be honest, I used to support the war on drugs, this was out of ignorance. I think most people, when they realize that war on drugs was fabricated to line countless pockets, will no longer support it.

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Avatar for user 'Joe6Pack'

Joe6Pack | March 11, 2013 at 8:51 a.m. ― 1 year, 6 months ago

Police chiefs are more concerned with their retirement checks and politics. Safety of the nation comes secondary. And no, safety of the nation does not come after disarmament.

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Avatar for user 'Anon11'

Anon11 | March 11, 2013 at 9:39 a.m. ― 1 year, 6 months ago

It seems like the people that want the most gun regulations have the most severe lack of gun knowledge.

How can the great freedoms of America be so quickly ignored when someone gets scared of their own shadow? Forefathers are rolling in their graves..

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | March 11, 2013 at 11:11 a.m. ― 1 year, 6 months ago

I would like to do a survey and ask all the anti-gun people if they have ever fired a gun. So far in my life, I have never met one anti-gun person who has fired a gun.

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Avatar for user 'Alex_Grebenshchikov'

Alex_Grebenshchikov | March 11, 2013 at 11:59 a.m. ― 1 year, 6 months ago

Gun regulation is nothing more than a false sense of security. It does absolutely nothing to regulate criminals and psychopaths who will get whatever weapon they want any time or place they want it. Look at Mexico with their tight gun control laws. How do US street gangs get fully automatic machine guns and hand grenades and whatever else they want? Those weapons are illegal.

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