Reload Founder Stephen Gutowski joined C-Span to talk about the major divide between parties on how to address gun violence.
Gutowski joined Bill Scanlan with the Washington Journal on Tuesday. They discussed the recent efforts by Congress to address mass shootings and took calls on the issue of gun control. With Capitol Hill working on crafting legislation aimed at curbing gun violence, Gutowski discusses what progress can be made and what solutions are likely to make it through congress.
“The solutions on each side are very different from each other,” Gutowski said. “And it’s hard to find common ground beyond something small.”
Requiring microstamping is one measure that has received a lot of attention in recent weeks. Microstamping is a process where an internal component imprints a unique identifier on every casing fired from a gun. The technology is intended to help investigators track down the gun used in a crime based on the casings left on the scene. New York passed a measure to make microstamping required on all firearms in order to be sold in the state once the technology is deemed viable. Gutowski explained how this measure could effectively ban the sale of all handguns in the state.
“You’ll no longer be able to sell any gun that does not have microstamping technology,” he said. “And the fact is that no manufacturer in the world right now makes a gun with that technology despite this decade-long requirement in California and so it’s effectively a total ban on the sale of handguns once that law goes into action.”
While Congress moves toward a possible deal on “red flag” orders, a caller voiced concern about those policies. These measures give the ability for state officials to temporarily confiscate firearms from people if they are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. But critics often note the potential for these laws to be misused to take away firearms without allowing the accused to have due process.
“The common critique is that they do violate due process.” Gutowski said, “They do not give the opportunity for the person accused of being a threat to themselves or others to defend themselves in court. There can be ‘Ex Parte’ orders where the defendant is not even actually present for the first phase of this process. And then of course the follow-up times. How long it is before they can get into court and offer their side of the case? If that is too long, that’s obviously a problem. And then you have issues with who can actually raise a red flag order? That is another thing that varies from state to state right now.”
The interview went on to cover a whole host of topics with callers asking important questions and expressing their own views on how to deal with gun violence. One caller conveyed his misgivings about the government gradually tightening regulations and where that could lead if unchecked. Gutowski said distrust of government and the value of individualism is one thing that makes American gun culture unique on the planet.
“In America, we are different from most of the rest of the world,” Gutowski responded. “I think a lot of that stems not just from our armed revolution being the birth for our country, but also a general distrust of the government and politicians is higher here than in a lot of other countries. So, you know, there is a tendency to favor individualism and self-sufficiency and I think that plays a lot into our gun politics.”