For the moment, there’s nothing else of substance to be said about the gun control battle. The lines have been drawn in the sand; the first blows have been exchanged. Our side lost this round, but there will be others. The overwhelmingly sad fact is that as long as things remain as they are, we’re never going to run out of tragedies that will add fuel to the fire of this debate. That’s not the same thing as hoping for more violence. Rather, it is the sad realization that until something changes, this is how things are going to be until we finally have enough people saying, “we tried it your way. Now let’s try it ours.”
For now, though, all the good zings have been zung. In my opinion, Gabby Gifford’s scathing editorial was the most poignant. I tried to find an editorial from the gun rights side of things; the best I could do was John Cornyn’s criticism of President Obama’s speech yesterday. Hardly a fair comparison, I admit, but then, this wasn’t exactly a fair fight.
I did look at a few conservative news sites to see what else might be out there, but the first article on the Drudge Report was NRA: “Obama ‘bit off more than he could chew, an article so vile and callous that I wouldn’t dare choose this to be the representation of the other side. It’s too fucking cruel. My first thought was that it was actually just very cold satire and part of me still hopes that’s the case.
So the other side gets Cornyn to sum up the day, because while he may not be the most eloquent representation, at least he doesn’t come across having been spawned in the darkest depths of some writhing abyss. Banality or pure evil; those seem to be the choices here.
8 thoughts on “Thoughts On Yesterday”
Well, there’s always The Onion. (http://www.theonion.com/articles/i-won,32106/)
It’s weird that the actual satire doesn’t feel any different from the real thing.
So how exactly does punishing the law-abiding make us safer?
Show me where any of the proposed legislature punishes the law-abiding. I’ll save you some time: nothing about expanding background checks punishes the law-abiding, because *gasp* a law-abiding prospective gun owner will be able to pass each and every background check.
I need a license, registration, and insurance to drive my car. I have to prove to the rest of society that I know what I’m doing. I was able to buy my gun without going through any of those same steps.
Both are powerful tools and dangerous if misused. The fact that I’m only required to be trained, registered, and insured with one of those tools is indicative of how messed up this whole thing is.
The problem with firearm training, registration, ownership ID, and insurance requirements is that they are often made deliberately onerous and non-uniform to deny citizens of their rights unless they are wealthy and connected (like under Chicago and New York City’s gun laws). It is very Animal Farm.
As for a social approach to educating people about guns, there is a HUGE amount of good information that is readily available but people are not being pointed to it.
I would love to see a gun safety course at the elementary and high school level that went beyond just “DURRR GUNS BAD DURRRR” and taught students “this is how it works”, “it is not a toy”, “memorize the three rules of gun safety”, “decide if you want to own one or not when you are old enough”.
Gun safety taught by a qualified instructor at the elementary and high school levels is a measure that I would absolutely support. You’re right, there is a lot of good information out there for the discerning citizen looking to self-educate. I should know, I partook of it extensively.
The problem is that there a lot of people who don’t or won’t take that step unless it’s a requirement imposed on them.
” I should know, I partook of it extensively.”
“The problem is that there a lot of people who don’t or won’t take that step unless it’s a requirement imposed on them.”
That’s the whole point of teaching it at the elementary and high school levels. We need to directly attack the ignorance and carelessness/improper attitude that are the root of firearm mishaps/accidents/negligent discharges/tragedies.
Here’s the full text of the bill. The interesting part starts at SEC. 122. FIREARMS TRANSFERS. http://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=968
You will also need this US Code for comparison: http://trac.syr.edu/laws/18/18USC00922.html
I tried reading it (legal documents are tough to read, especially since this one is essentially errata). Basically, the teeth of the bill is that it effectively eliminates the secondary firearm market and puts a 3-day cooldown period on selling a firearm to an unlicensed buyer regardless of how their background check comes out.
Personally, the objectionable part of this bill is that it changes the role of federally licensed firearms dealers by making them a middle-man for all secondary market exchanges. If I (as a private citizen) owned a gun that you wanted to buy, under the new law we would have to find a licensed gun dealer, have him put my gun into his stock, perform a background check on you, and sell the gun to you for me. There are pretty much two ways that could go, being a licensed gun dealer becomes a proxy for a gun registry since everyone who buys a gun will do that so they can resell their weapons (unlikely), or gun shows and other secondary markets are effectively eliminated (likely). I can’t say I’m familiar with how important gun shows and secondary sales are to the firearm market, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they make a large portion of the sales. Guns are often the purview of the poor, and you regularly see them at pawn shops. I imagine that selling your guns is just something you do when you get tight on cash. With this law, you have to sell the gun to (or through) a gun dealer.
The other thing the bill does is establish a council to investigate the causes of mass school shootings. Not sure how much that impacted it not passing.
Personally, I’m fine with killing the secondary gun market. I think background checks are a good thing. My problem with the bill, though, is that this stretches into the realm of intrastate commerce. If Arizona wants to pass a bill requiring all sales to go through a federally licensed dealer, more power to them. If the federal law required that for interstate sales, the laws of both states must be followed, that would be cool too (interstate commerce clause). But it didn’t seem like that’s what the law did. Moreover, I see it as a knee-jerk response to mass shootings. I’m not convinced that restricting gun sales keeps guns out of the hands of psychos, because previous shootings have involved guns owned by family members or obtained legitimately. I’d be curious what the investigative council would have found, but I fear that it would have been so heavily partisan one way or the other as to be completely useless.
In my mind, the real reason why the bill failed actually has nothing to do with the content of the bill. The bill represents “gun control” and is touted as a “gun control bill.” Most people don’t know the content of the bill, just that it’s about gun control. So it turns into a case where a vote for the bill is a “vote against guns,” which wouldn’t go over well with the constituents of many senators. That’s the real reason why it failed.