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March 22nd, 2013
12:02 PM ET

'The truth is, people with guns kill people' Aurora shooting survivor Stephen Barton on NRA suit against NY gun bill

The New York affiliate of the National Rifle Association (NRA) filed suit this week to contest the new strict gun control laws passed in the state. The law limits magazine size, bans assault weapons, and expands background checks. The NRA affiliate sites in its suit that the new “safe act” law violates the second amendment.

Aurora theater shooting survivor Stephen Barton joins the "Starting Point" to weigh in on the lawsuit, and the struggles passing gun control legislation in Congress. He is currently working with families affected by the Newtown shooting as part of his work with Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

“Gun laws have always been a patchwork of state laws that don't cover everything," Barton says. "But this is a national problem that applies to a national solution."

Barton says these new state laws can serve as a way for the country to see “what works” so that ultimately federal legislation can be passed. He feels we need to cut through our ideological differences on gun control, and find middle ground because new gun legislation “will save lives.”

He was present in New York City yesterday during Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vice President Joe Biden’s speeches urging a vote on an assault weapons ban that is currently failing in Congress.

Barton says it is “not a surprise” that the assault weapons ban lacks support. He is still hopeful that the “people who have been affected most personally by gun violence at least deserve a vote on the floor of the Senate." He hopes this vote can be achieved by Senator Feinstein’s amendment being added to existing legislation.

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. James

    Fact is people with Keyboards and internet connections use them go commit pedophilia crimes. So this shows the need for much much more control or people with keyboards and internet connections, correct?
    Fact is it is completely against the entire legal history of the US to limit the rights of all based on the actions of some,
    Fact is all courts have rejected any state's use of the known fact that people on bail are generally over 30x more likely to commit a crime than the general population to deny Bill of rights guaranteed bail. The actual individual's risk to society is the only allowed factor.
    These generalizations of all of society based on a tiny minorities abuse, to promote limits on any of the bill of rights, bode poorly for all of the bill of rights.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Virginia Gent

    Is this young man's opinion held to be more important than anyone else's because he has been shot at by a criminal? Does that make him an expert on firearms or the effectiveness of legislation?

    If surviving an encounter with an armed criminal makes on an expert, why not talk to the 80,000 Law Enforcement Officers who belong to the NRA? I'm sure there are more than a few who can offer insights. Or talk to the NRA's many military members.

    There are hundreds of thousand of cases (minimum) every year of people using firearms lawfully for self defense in the United States. How many of them has CNN sought out to interview? Does the story of how a personally owned gun saved them from from murder/assault/rape not interest CNN?

    March 25, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Dan

    It amazes me, our representatives don't seem to understand the meaning of "shall not be infringed" This legislation is clearly an infringement of the 2nd amendment.

    March 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. maveric43

    It is true that people who operate the weapon effect the killing. The weapon is simply a tool. So it is simplistic public policy to assume that limiting access to weapons automatically translates into a reduction in the type of killing witnessed at Sandy Hook.

    In a country like the US with over 300 million people with diverse cultural backgrounds there will always be a fraction of the populace with sufficient emotional/social dysfunction or mental illness who will be capable of carrying out crimes like this. For example 0.1 % of the population is 300,000. Even 0.01% or one hundredth of 1 % of the population is 30,000 people.

    Rest assured even with the most stringent of restrictive laws in place these individuals will find away to obtain these weapons.

    A better approach would be to institute public policy which will help identify citizens at risk and assist friends and family in getting appropriate mental health support to these at risk citizens. Having more fully trained and supported armed professionals in places of public gathering would certainly limit the carnage a person with any weapon might inflict.

    Acknowledgement that dysfunctional drug/narcotic policy ( not dissimilar to the policy in effect during the days of alcohol prohibition ) contributes significantly to community gun violence and a host of physical, mental and social healthcare costs which are born by society at large.

    Finally creating public policy which the citizenry will perceive as leading toward a more transparent meritocracy that is a society in which people return to the belief that those who learn, work hard, and play by the rules can raise the social standing for themselves and their families will be beneficial on many levels.

    Like so many social ills there is no one magic pill or policy which will solve this problem. But learning to recognize the underlying problems and thoughtfully addressing the causes will certainly serve to reduce the number of instances and absolute numbers or personal and family tragedy that gun violence can produce

    March 23, 2013 at 11:16 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Brian

    Hodophobia = fear of traveling. Dystychiphobia = fear of accidents. Hoplophobia = fear of firearms.

    Restrict or otherwise severely constrict U.S. based firearms and our criminal population will easily source foreign guns through our porous borders, just like they do with drugs. Like drugs, these foreign guns will be for sale to anyone, anywhere with cash – just like drugs. This is rational. This would happen.

    Irrational = believing, even for an instant, that our criminal population would cease to get guns, because we 'outlaw' them from purchase. The only, and I mean only, reason criminals don't source foreign guns today, is because we haven't forced their hand. Restrict U.S. based guns, they will import them freely, through our porous borders.

    March 23, 2013 at 8:02 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mark G.

    The truth is, people with guns do not kill people too.

    March 23, 2013 at 2:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tesla

      Also, people without guns kill people.

      March 25, 2013 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse | Reply

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