Editorial: Mayors should go further on gun control

Apr. 03, 2013 @ 07:45 PM

Last week, three Triangle mayors – Durham’s Bill Bell chief among them – gathered in City Hall to rally support for better gun control.

As The Herald-Sun’s Ray Gronberg reported, it was part of an “action day” put on by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Specifically, Bell, Chapel Hill’s Mark Kleinschmidt and Morrisville’s Jackie Holcombe want to see expansion of mandated pre-purchase background checks of potential firearms owners to include currently exempt purchases at gun shows or from individual owners.

But it’s possible to go even further than that, if we want.

On Monday, in Connecticut – where in December a lunatic gunned down 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School – lawmakers unveiled bipartisan legislation that would:

  • Ban new high-capacity ammunition magazines
  • Institute registration requirements for existing magazines that carry 10 or more bullets
  • Create the nation’s first statewide dangerous weapon offender registry
  • Establish an “ammunition eligibility certificate”
  • Impose immediate universal background checks for all firearms sales
  • Extend an assault weapons ban to include 10 new types of firearms
  • Add gun restrictions for people who’ve been committed to mental health facilities

“Democrats and Republicans were able to come to an agreement on a strong, comprehensive bill,” said Connecticut’s Senate president, Donald E. Williams, in an Associated Press article. “That is a message that should resound in 49 other states and in Washington, D.C. And the message is: We can get it done here and they should get it done in their respective states and nationally in Congress.”

Maybe. Certainly, the Connecticut legislation offers many “feels good/sounds good” measures. But others argue, fairly enough, that nothing in this proposal would’ve stopped Sandy Hook from happening.

“They can register magazines and do all the rest of this stuff,” said Robert Crook, executive director of the Connecticut Coalition of Sportsmen. “It isn’t going to do anything.”

Maybe. After all, Adam Lanza stole his mother’s legally acquired weapons from her home. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to legislate against crazy.

But we think it would be worthwhile to follow Connecticut’s example, especially when it comes to background checks on all purchases, the statewide weapon offender registry and the ban on new high-capacity magazines.