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‘US must change gun control debate’

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Press TV has conducted an interview with Dr. Wilmer Leon, professor at Howard University, about mass shooting incidents being increased in the United States and another deadly shooting at a Nevada middle school.

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: The statistics speak for themselves and after Newtown, America said it would never happen again and yet here we are. What do you make of it?

Leon: Well what I make of it is, it is just more politics instead of looking at practical, real solutions to solving the problem with guns and mass shootings in the United States.

And the real problem comes down to access. There needs to be greater access to mental health care and less access to guns.

Press TV: Well speaking of politics, the NRA (the National Rifle Association) has obviously been lobbying very hard over the past few months to ensure that stricter gun control measures are not brought into law.

What do you think of that, the power given to lobbying groups over Congress?

Leon: Well money is definitely a very big problem in the American political process and well-financed organizations such as the NRA have been able to corrupt the process by flooding the process with money through their lobbying efforts and understanding that when you talk about the NRA, you have to really look at they not only represent gun owners in the United States, they represent gun manufacturers.

They represent Smith and Wesson, they represent Remington, they represent Beretta, they represent Winchester, they represent a number of gun manufacturers in United States and so then you have to understand that the sale of firearms in the United States and the export of firearms in United States is incredibly huge business.

Press TV: And even though the Obama administration has spoken out against the lacks of gun control laws in the US, many critics are pointing that it is all words and no actions have been taken place, that there is actually a lack of a political will in the Obama administration as well. Do you see it that way as well?

Leon: I definitely see it that way and one of the first things that has to happen is the debate has to change. The Second Amendment in the United States Constitution does not guarantee an individual’s right to bear arms.

That right to bear arms is totally within the context of the need for a well regulated militia and with the advent of the National Guard in the United States, militias have become obsolete. Therefore I would posit that the Second Amendment has become obsolete but that is an argument of course that will not carry the day.

But the point being that the NRA bases most of their argument on the Second Amendment and the Second Amendment does not guarantee an individual’s right to bear arms without the need for a well regulated militia.

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