Gun Rights or Gun Control?


Last week ... the week that ended so tragically in Newtown Connecticut saw a series of political gun victories: Michigan passed a bill allowing concealed guns into schools. Ohio passed a bill allowing guns in cars in the Statehouse garage. The Illinois ban on concealed weapons was struck down in court. And Florida moved closer to issuing its one-millionth concealed weapon and firearm license. From the ads ... to the laws ... a lot of Americans want their guns. An estimated 300-million guns in a country of 330 million people. Today, a former lobbyist with the NRA suggests some middle ground.

Gun Rights or Gun Control? - Professor of Government, U of Texas

Many Americans seem to have an almost religious devotion to gun ownership; the tools that are believed to ensure their safety and freedom. But the gun culture did nothing to protect the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School. The medical examiner couldn't guess how many bullets he'd found. Connecticut police said the details were too difficult to discuss. Nevertheless, a discussion has begun.

We aired an excerpt from MSNBC's Morning Joe host and former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough, speaking yesterday.

U.S. President Barack Obama calls for "meaningful action" on the question of gun control. But constitutional scholar Sanford Levinson says speeches and sound bites are little match for the obstacles standing in the way of reform. He is a Professor of Government at the University of Texas Law School and the author of Framed: America's 51 Constitutions and the Crisis of Governance. We reached him at his home in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Gun Rights or Gun Control? - Former NRA Lobbyist

The National Rifle Association, with its millions of members, is one of the most powerful and vocal lobbies in the U.S. But it's been silent following the catastrophe in Newtown.

Others are finding their voice. California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein says she will revive the assault weapons ban first signed under Bill Clinton. Democratic West Virginian Senator Joe Manchin says it was time to discuss new gun regulations. And he once had the NRA's "A-rating " on gun rights.

Richard Feldman has an insider view of the NRA and its lobbying efforts . It used to be part of his job description. He wrote a book in 2007 called Ricochet -- Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist. He left the NRA to work as a lobbyist for the firearms industry and has now started the Independent Firearm Owners Association. Richard Feldman joined us from Palm Beach, Florida.

Gun Rights or Gun Control? - History of Gun Control in Canada

We Canadians listen closely as our neighbours argue over the use and abuse of firearms. Some believe the tight restrictions on gun ownership that have traditionally differentiated Canadians from Americans are eroding They point to Ottawa's decision to scrap the long-gun registry as an example.

Our next guest says Canadians have been divided on the question of gun control longer than we realize. R. Blake Brown is an associate professor in the Department of History at Saint Mary's University and the author of Arming and Disarming: A History of Gun Control in Canada. He joined us from our Halifax studio.

This segment was produced by The Current's Idella Sturino and Naheed Mustafa.

Other segments from today's show:

Regulating access to Medical Marijuana

Missing Women Commission of Inquiry: Wally Oppal

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