Cop Killings to Renew Gun Control Efforts

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The killing of three Pittsburgh police officers will renew gun control efforts in the Pennsylvania Legislature, but the outlook for enacting laws remains doubtful because the National Rifle Association has “a stranglehold” over lawmakers, a key House member said Tuesday.
“You know how this place is,” said House Judiciary Chairman Thomas Caltagirone, D-Reading. “The Western Pennsylvania Democrats, let alone the Western Pennsylvania Republicans — you can’t budge them” on gun issues, he said.
Despite a Democratic-controlled Congress and an administration that favors reinstating an assault weapons ban, there is little movement to enact tougher gun laws in Washington, said Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Helmke blamed the NRA for “fear mongering” that leads people to believe the government is coming for their guns, as friends said Richard Poplawski feared. Police said Poplawski killed two of the officers with a shotgun and used an AK-47 to exchange gunfire with SWAT team members and other officers.

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4 Responses to Cop Killings to Renew Gun Control Efforts

  1. Piltdown Man says:

    The bottom line is that individual citizens simply don't have the power to challenge a well-funded organization like the NRA, where people spend ever waking hour proselytizing for gun ownership.
    The blood of all of these officers is on the hands of the NRA and their supporters, including all the politicians who are in their pocket. Poplawski is the face of that organization.
    And yes, the NRA has helped to foment an atmosphere that led directly to the inevitable outcome. But worse yet, this won't be the first, nor the last time.

  2. The Gentleman From P says:

    Pilt –
    This is an emotionally-charged issue, one where the powerful tide of feelings usually washes out any clear-eyed analysis. As it relates to this particular incident, my emotions my indeed get the better of me, as one of the officers killed (Paul Sciullo), was my second cousin.
    Who is responsible for the death of this bright, well-liked, and passionate officer, who had just become engaged the day before he was taken from this Earth? I can't say, with a clear mind, that Paul's "blood is on the hands of the NRA", Pilt. Richard Poplawski can be described in many ways, most of which aren't able to be typed here. However, I believe we all can agree that Poplawski escapes the boundaries of your average "gun enthusiast". This is a man (and I use that term extremely loosely) who, by all accounts, prepared by the arrival of the responding officers, with every intent of opening fire. After the first two officers fell to the ground, Poplawski fired several more rounds into these brave men, "just to make sure they were dead" (quote from the PG on Wednesday).
    Pilt, I know we've clashed on gun control before, and I always enjoy the chance to exchange ideas with you. I suppose my question to you is: do you honestly believe Richard Poplawski, who I believe we can safely call a remorseless, cold-blooded murderer, is truly "the face" of the NRA? I have family and friends who are life-long NRA members, all of which would never even begin to think of pointing their weapon toward another individual, let alone a law-enforcement officer. They appreciate fully what a gift life is and take their weapon care and safety extremely seriously.
    Are there "nuts" out there? Of course. However, I don't believe we can even label Poplawski a "nut". He even transcends the wackos who run around the woods every now and then, playing out their personal Doomsday scenarios. I don't believe most of those individuals would have the stomach to perpetrate the horror that Richard Poplawski did last Saturday. He WANTED those officers to walk through his door (preferably without their weapons drawn – thanks to the local 911 operator, who failed to inform the officers that Poplawski was possibly armed. This is another vital, yet under reported, aspect to this story). From the moment his mother called for police, Poplawski had every intention of producing as much human carnage as possible. No second thoughts, no remorse.
    I don't believe you can correlate the concept of gun ownership with the idea of a human being (again, term used loosely) such as Richard Poplawski, Pilt. Even if the assault weapons ban were renewed (an issue on which I'm torn, honestly), would that have honestly stopped what occurred on Saturday? The first two officers were killed with a shotgun. I'm not sure that shotguns (at least standard-issue) can be considered as assault weapons. Regardless, without getting into a technical debate on classification, my point is that a violence-centric individual such as Poplawski would have found a route to obtain what ever he needed in order to play out the evil scenarios in his extremely twisted head. I truly believe that no piece of legislation would have stopped the events of last Saturday from occurring.
    This guy would have gotten around background checks (which I wholeheartedly support) or other restrictions in order to acquire the weapons of his choice. Nothing but hatred resides in Poplawski's chest cavity (where hearts can usually be found), and hatred is an extremely potent driving force responsible for most of the tragic events the world has seen over it's history.
    I agree that, unfortunately, this probably won't be the last time we have this conversation, Pilt. Until we find a cure for what ails the human heart, violence will exist. I truly believe this is a fact of life. Methods of delivery will come and go, but until the driving force behind the acts is eliminated, society will be confronted by people such as Richard Poplawski, for whom life is something to be eradicated, not celebrated.

  3. Piltdown Man says:

    Gent –
    I agree with a lot of what you say…and I must add my condolences.
    And yes, this is an emotionally charged incident, and I won't go on at length.
    What I think the NRA does, however, is to promote the acceptance of all guns to the overall detriment of our society. Are people less happy or free in the UK, where much stricter laws apply? I don't think so.
    And those thousands (or is it hundreds of thousands?) of new guns that have been sold in the past few months certainly aren't all for "sport," are they? I mean, really, how many deer rifles do you need? One? Two?
    Would other laws have stopped this from happening? Maybe not. But they might stop another one or ten or twenty of these events from happening in the future. Or perhaps we should question the current laws, that allowed a guy with a PFAO filed against him to obtain these guns..
    All in all, a tragic time. I know that additional laws a no panacea….and I know that the underlying causes (mostly mental health issues; "Hey, could be have that covered by insurance???) can't be easily dealt with….I just don't think that more guns…and more support for guns…is the answer either.

  4. The Gentleman From P says:

    Pilt –
    I appreciate your thoughts on Paul. What a truly horrific and maddening nightmare this is…
    I also appreciate your thoughts on the gun issue as well. I do believe, when senseless events such as the Popawski murders occur, that the NRA is too easily transformed into a political pinata. That said, however, the organization could advocate much more strongly for common-sense regulations (background checks, trigger-locks, etc.). As I said before, I'm torn on the renewal of the assault-weapons ban, as I honestly don't believe it will keep those weapons out of the hands of individuals whose activities the law intends to impede. In other words, my head tells me the ban will do no good; on the other hand, my heart screams, "Who the hell NEEDS an AK-47!?"
    There is a paranoia sweeping the country concerning gun control. Now, I have to say that while I don't participate in it, I can understand it, to a degree. Obama's record on Second Amendment issues isn't the greatest (from a gun-owners point of view), but I find it rather difficult to envision government stormtroopers coming for Uncle Joe's deer rifle. It is troublesome to ponder where these weapons are going. Most will be stored away in Y2k-like "bunkers" (good Lord…), but some may find their way into the hands of unstable characters.
    A quick note on Poplawski's PFA: I think the PFA his girlfriend had against him had expired when he purchased the shotgun he used to kill the officers (although I can't say for certain). Regardless, your point on background checks is well taken, Pilt. Apparently Poplawski picked up his AK-47 online, where a huge cottage industry that is ripe for abuse exists. If the NRA wants to improve it's public image, supporting efforts to crack down on sketchy online gun dealers would be a fantastic place to begin. This is something that all rational people to be able to agree on.
    On a side note, I wish everyone here on KP, and your families, a great holiday.