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Gun Control vs. 2nd Amendment

Gun Control vs. 2nd Amendment

Bill and his guests discuss gun laws. Guests: Dr. Phillip Bressoud, Kentucky chapter governor for the American College of Physicians; David Burnett, former president of Students for Concealed Carry; Rev. Jason Crosby, co-pastor of Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville; and Ken Pagano, National Rifle Association certified instructor and a former Louisville pastor.
S23 E30 Length 56:33 Premiere: 6.27.16

Gun Safety vs. Second Amendment Rights

Following the recent mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 people dead, federal lawmakers again debated the merits of stricter firearm control policies. Yet even the added drama of a Senate filibuster and a sit-in in the House chamber yielded no tangible action on gun safety.

Gun laws were discussed on KET’s Kentucky Tonight with a panel of guests that included a physician, a pastor, and two certified firearm instructors. They explored a range of ideas about how to stop mass shootings and reduce the daily toll of gun violence.

In the wake of the June 12 slayings in Orlando, the U. S. Senate considered four gun control measures. Democratic proposals sought to block gun sales to individuals on the federal terror watch list and expand background checks for those buying firearms at gun shows. Republican-backed measures would have updated the current background check system and delayed gun sales to people on the terror watch list.

All four proposals failed.

Meanwhile Democrats staged a 25-hour sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives in hopes of forcing votes on background checks and gun purchase restrictions for those on no-fly lists.

That effort also failed. The House adjourned without taking up either proposal, and is in recess until after the July 4 holiday.

Rev. Jason Crosby, co-pastor of Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, says gun control and firearm rights aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. He laments the nation’s inability to address the gun violence that impacts hundreds of Americans every day, not just the occasional mass shootings that grab headlines.

“We have put in place legislation on cars, tobacco, [and] alcohol in an effort to protect public health and protect the public good,” Crosby says. “There are certain reasonable steps that I believe we could take when it comes guns as well.”

Opponents to proposals to prevent individuals on no-fly or terror watch lists from buying guns contend those measures could violate the due process rights of gun purchasers who aren’t terrorists or have no ill intent. Plus they say watch lists often include names of people who have been wrongly prevented from flying while omitting individuals who may be truly dangerous.

David Burnett, who is a registered nurse and concealed carry instructor, says gun laws shouldn’t deprive Americans of any of their constitutional rights. He adds that many gun control measures don’t make sense because criminals by definition don’t abide by laws so gun control regulations wouldn’t prevent them from acquiring the firearms they desire. As an example he says strict gun laws in Europe didn’t prevent the mass shootings by terrorists in Paris or Brussels.

“At the end of the day it’s going to be you protecting yourself and no one else is going to come to your aid,” Burnett says. “I think it would be the wrong decision to propose a strategy… that wants to weaken the victims. I think that we should empower the victims and weaken the assailants.”

The AR-15 Debate
A number of assailants in recent American mass shootings used assault rifles or assault-style weapons in their attacks. Those terms can be used to denote a number of different weapons, including guns with semi-automatic or fully automatic firing capability and detachable magazines that hold the bullets. Much of the debate around these weapons focuses on limiting civilian access to a widely sold gun known as the AR-15.

Burnett contends the AR-15 is no more deadly than any other firearm, and is a popular weapon for those like to shoot “varmints and small game.” National Rifle Association certified instructor Ken Pagano says AR-15s are fun to shoot and are good weapons for sport and self-defense. He adds that he believes the phrase “assault rifle” is a misnomer.

“It has that nasty connotation,” Pagano says. “It’s an assault rife because that’s what people do with it – they assault others with it.”

Yet with so many other weapons on the market, opponents question why hunters or recreational shooters need such a powerful firearm. Dr. Phillip Bressoud, who is governor of the Kentucky chapter of the American College of Physicians, says civilians have no real need for assault rifles, and such weapons should be reserved for military personal in war zones. Bressoud acknowledges that outlawing AR-15 won’t end gun violence, but he says restricting its sales may well save some lives.

The Public Health Costs of Gun Violence
Bressoud says gun violence is a public health crisis that results in death, disability, and injury to thousands of Americans each year, especially those who live in big cities. He says gun use also generates significant health care costs. His organization along with other groups of medical professionals have called for a range of firearms reforms, including universal background checks of gun purchasers, restricting the manufacture and sale of military-style assault weapons, and research to support strategies for reducing firearm-related injuries and deaths. Bressoud says the goal is to create a multifaceted approach to addressing gun violence.

“It’s not aimed at reducing anybody’s ability to necessarily get arms or be able to use them, but to reduce the end product for the medical community, which is the injuries and deaths that we want to prevent,” Bressoud says.

Ken Pagano agrees that gun issues deserve public discussion, but he says the debate shouldn’t just be about restricting access to weapons. He says the dialog also needs to cover issues like responsible gun ownership, firearm training, mental health policies, states rights, and educational programs to prevent gun accidents among youngsters.

“If our children can be taught ‘stop, drop, and roll,’ ‘don’t take candy from a stranger,’ things of this nature, let’s teach them what the NRA teaches: ‘If you find a gun, stop, don’t touch it, leave the area, tell an adult,’” Pagano says.

Both Pagano and fellow weapons instructor David Burnett dispute the notion that firearm use constitutes a public health crisis. Burnett cites statistics that indicate gun violence is at record lows in the U.S., while Pagano contends that with an estimated 300 million guns in the nation today, health care providers would be overwhelmed with gunshot victims if America truly had a gun problem. Both men argue that overall public safety will be improved if more well-trained, properly vetted, responsible gun owners are allowed to carry weapons wherever they go.

“The reality is I do have the need to protect myself and until the government can figure out a way to guarantee my safety, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, they should not take my ability to protect myself away,” Burnett says.

Bressoud counters that idea by saying most civilians won’t be nearly as competent to respond an attack or terror incident as well-trained law enforcement officers. He says if patrons of the Orlando nightclub had been allowed to carry concealed weapons, the results could have been even more disastrous.

“In a dark bar, somebody starts shooting and everybody is concealed [carry], who shoots who and how do you know who to shoot?” Bressoud asks. “All I can see is self-inflicted carnage.”

What Would Jesus Do?
Following the 2015 shooting at a Charleston, S.C., church, Rev. Crosby says his congregation developed active-shooter protocols that would get people to safety without having his members bring guns into what he calls “our sacred sanctuary.” But at the same time he hopes people can take a more spiritual approach to violence, including Jesus’ call to not only ‘love thy neighbor but also thy enemy.’

Crosby adds that Americans not only have a constitutional right to bear arms, but an equal right to peace and tranquility as well.

“As a Christian I understand that we live in a complex world,” Crosby says. “But as a faith leader I want to encourage folks to continue to seek their security by first and foremost putting their faith in a loving God and their faith in other people and humanity.”

Ken Pagano, who is a former pastor, says he believes there is good and evil in the world as well as depravity. He says pacifism is an option for Christians, but not a requirement.

“My definition of tranquility is, I’ve got my [assault rifle] and other things,” Pagano says. “Peace through strength.”

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Season 23 Episodes

U.S. Senate Candidates

S23 E43 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.31.16

6th U.S. Congressional District Candidates

S23 E42 Length 56:53 Premiere Date 10.24.16

Countdown to the Election

S23 E41 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.17.16

Setting Education Policy

S23 E40 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.10.16

Jobs and Wages: Latest Trends

S23 E39 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 10.2.16

The Race for President

S23 E38 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 9.25.16

Forecasting the U.S. Economy

S23 E37 Length 56:34 Premiere Date 9.19.16

Changes to Kentucky's Medicaid

S23 E36 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 9.12.16

U.S. Foreign Policy Issues

S23 E35 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.29.16

Impact of Campaign Finance Laws

S23 E34 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.22.16

The Electoral College and Politics

S23 E33 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.15.16

The Future of Medicaid in Kentucky

S23 E32 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 8.1.16

Previewing the 2016 Election

S23 E31 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 7.10.16

Gun Control vs. 2nd Amendment

S23 E30 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 6.27.16

Debating Immigration Policy

S23 E29 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 6.20.16

Debate Over Jobs and Wages

S23 E27 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 6.6.16

Decoding Kentucky's Primary

S23 E25 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 5.23.16

2016 Primary Election Preview

S23 E24 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 5.16.16

Democratic U.S. Senate Primary

S23 E23 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 5.9.16

Republican U.S. Senate Primary Candidate

S23 E22 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 5.2.16

Republican 1st District Congressional Candidates

S23 E21 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 4.25.16

Democratic 1st District Congressional Candidate

S23 E20 Length 26:31 Premiere Date 4.18.16

Democratic 6th District Congressional Candidates

S23 E19 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 4.11.16

Republican 6th District Congressional Candidates

S23 E17 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 3.28.16

Republican 3rd Congressional District Candidates

S23 E16 Length 28:01 Premiere Date 3.21.16

2016 General Assembly at Midpoint

S23 E15 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.29.16

Negotiations on State Budget

S23 E14 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.22.16

Crafting New Education Policy

S23 E13 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.15.16

Debating the Minimum Wage

S23 E12 Length 56:31 Premiere Date 2.8.16

Assessing the Governor's Budget

S23 E11 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 2.1.16

Felony Records Expungement

S23 E10 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 1.25.16

Right to Work and Prevailing Wage

S23 E9 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 1.18.16

Charter Schools in Kentucky

S23 E8 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 1.11.16

Major Issues Await Legislature

S23 E7 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 1.4.16

Solving the State Pension Crisis

S23 E6 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 12.14.15

Preparing for the 2016 General Assembly

S23 E4 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.23.15

Priorities for the State Budget

S23 E3 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.16.15

Election Analysis

S23 E2 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.9.15

What's at Stake in the 2015 Election?

S23 E1 Length 56:33 Premiere Date 11.2.15

About

Kentucky Tonight, hosted by Renee Shaw, is a public affairs discussion program broadcasted live on Monday nights at 8/7c on KET and KET.org/live.

Viewers with questions and comments may send e-mail to kytonight@ket.org or use the message form on this page. All messages should include first and last name and town or county. The phone number for viewer calls during the program is 1-800-494-7605.

After broadcast, Kentucky Tonight programs are available on KET.org and via podcast (iTunes or Android). Files are normally accessible within 24 hours after the television broadcast.

Kentucky Tonightwas awarded a 1997 regional Emmy by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. The series was also honored with a 1995 regional Emmy nomination.

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