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Criminal Justice Close-Up: Debate on Gun Control

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This video of a television program in the "Criminal Justice Close-Up" series presents a two-person debate on the pros and cons of the gun-related policies of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Handgun Control, Inc.
The representative from Handgun Control, Inc., is Richard Aborn, former assistant district attorney; the representative from the NRA is Roy Inness, a member of the NRA Board of Directors and National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality. The moderator guides the discussion with various questions. One issue raised in the debate is the nature of the Second Amendment mandate regarding the right of citizens to bear arms. Aborn argues that the Second Amendment does not bar gun control measures, a position also held by the courts. He notes that the Second Amendment was included in the Constitution to ensure that State militias had the right to bear arms in the defense of State interests and threats. Inness, on the other hand, argues that the Second Amendment guarantees all citizens the right to own and carry arms, such that the government must not impede citizen access to guns. Aborn advocates Federal legislation that mandates handgun licensing, registration, mandatory firearms training for gun owners, and a limit on the purchase of guns to one a month. The latter requirement is designed to prevent unlicensed persons from purchasing large amounts of guns to be resold in the illegal market. Inness and the NRA oppose all government efforts to make it difficult for citizens to own guns. Inness' argument is that criminals will break laws to own guns; whereas, law-abiding citizens, by obeying gun-control laws, will find it difficult to purchase guns. Inness argues that public safety is enhanced as more and more citizens own and carry handguns to deter and prevent their victimization by gun-wielding criminals. Aborn, on the other hand, argues that the proliferation of guns easily accessed by any and all citizens places more citizens at risk of gun accidents and deadly aggression in interpersonal conflicts. Further, it increases the volume of guns in circulation from which criminals can draw. Inness maintains, on the other hand, that laws should focus only on punishing those who abuse the use of guns in the commission of crimes, not on law-abiding citizens who wish to use guns for protection against criminals.