Yesterday morning former Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Ed Rendell talked about gun control on WIP radio in Philadelphia. Though he's no longer in elected office, he's a long time politician and probably knows a thing or two about what's currently going on in politics. (He was also formerly the mayor of Philadelphia and head of the Democratic National Committee.)
Here are the gun control ideas Ed Rendell proposed:
- Clip Limit of 10 rounds (bullets)
- Assault weapon ban
- Background checks for every gun purchase
- Mental illness reporting for background checks
Some of these may pass into law, but even if all of these are enacted they won't prevent future massacres. The first two were law from 1994 to 2004 and had little effect, gun manufacturers found ways around how the law defined an 'assault weapon.'
The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 19941, in addition to banning 'assault weapons', also set a limit of 10 rounds for new clips sold, however it did nothing about all of the larger capacity clips already in the U.S.
The Governor mentioned that a high percentage of gun purchases do not go through a background check due to the so-called 'gun show loop hole.' Closing this sounds like a good idea but remember that the Sandy Hook shooter got the guns he used from his mother.
Finally having mental health professionals report patients to the gun background check system sounds reasonable too but again the Sandy Hook killer got his guns from his mother.
In summary, 1 and 2 have been tried before with limited success. Though sounding reasonable 3 and 4 if made law probably wouldn't have stopped the massacre in Newtown. I'm not saying we don't need better gun control laws but we need to be realistic about what can be done.