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Republicans Keep Missing the Point About Gun Violence—Even When They’re the Targets


#1

Republicans Keep Missing the Point About Gun Violence—Even When They’re the Targets

Sonali Kolhatkar

Gun rights activists for years have fought for the free proliferation of firearms throughout the U.S., perhaps subconsciously imagining they were only arming themselves. But a shooting incident in Virginia on Wednesday, in which a 66-year-old white man named James T. Hodgkinson fired a rifle multiple times on a baseball field and seriously injured House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others, illustrated this point: Liberals, who traditionally support gun control, also may use gun violence when they feel helpless.


#2

The NRA is a gun SELLING organization.


#3

Someone must ask Steve Scalise if he gets the point, now.


#4

The other point Scalise needs to be asked about is LGBTQ rights.

Scalise's life was saved Wednesday by a lesbian (married to a woman) capitol police officer who was also wounded by the gunman. Scalise has a long record of legislating against LGBTQ rights including same sex marriage.


#5

What is the density of an Average large city versus a small American City?
Aside from the ease of firing multiple rounds, this alone would have meant many hundreds dead in London.

The mix of mental incapacity and a firearm can mean many more instances like Planned Parenthood. The sick congressman who ignores the multitude of such instances show the sickness of the American mind and its representation. Isolation and a fascist media has created this country in thirty years.

Great article.


#6

Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., one of Trump’s most ardent backers in Congress, wasted no time blaming Democrats for the shooting, saying, “I can only hope that the Democrats do tone down the rhetoric. ... The rhetoric has been outrageous: The finger-pointing, the tone, the angst and the anger directed at Donald Trump, his supporters, really then, some people react to things like that, people get angry as well, and you fuel the fires.”

What utter bullshit. The republicans, planning to do violence on millions of Americans, need no rhetorical help from anybody. They have made their own bed, both with their support of unrestricted gun ownership (did they really think that only people who support them would own guns?), and with policies that not only harm, but kill citizens by the tens of thousands. It is easy enough to see how some deluded fool would think that killing republicans is a form of self-defense. I do not advocate violence as a solution to problems, which is why I despise republicans, whose very "philosophy" is to do violence to those less wealthy than themselves. They should consider themselves lucky that so far that they have not been forced to face the guillotine.


#7

For Republicans, the issue is not "gun violence"! Rather, it's PROFITS!


#8

" even though there was no evidence of actual collusion between the shooter, Omar Mateen, and outside political organizations. Apparently the only requirements for labeling an incident “terrorist” are the skin color and/or religious background of the shooter"

Seriously, Sonali? It's not like anyone can't google Omar Mateen Pulse 911 transcripts and find these two gems:

SUSPECT: My name is Islamic soldier, okay?
...
SUSPECT: It's none of your business . Just let it be known it's going to be done in the name of the Islamic State , even though it's not f***g air strikes , it's f*****g strikes here , okay ?
....


#9

What a shooter says is of far less interest to law enforcement than who he knows and who else was involved with the planning. Get over it, but terror is terror.


#10

Hard to tell if the author is just uninformed or just plain lying about the Orlando shooting. The shooter pledged allegiance to ISSIS for christsakes. Told the negotiators the shooting was in retaliation for what was going on in the middle east. Hardly a case of "brown skin" attribution . Weakens her argument , which has some strong points. :confused:


#11

What will happen in response to the baseball shooting is this: the media will continue to say that "this is not the time to politicize such events by talking about gun control" (an absurd statement on the face of it), Congress will make sure they are more heavily protected at taxpayer expense, and the rest of us will continue to be on our own to face an ever-increasing number of pissed-off people armed with assault rifles and guns looking for someone to take things out on.

We are supposed to feel sorrier for these legislators and lobbyists who "come to Washington to work for the people" (snort!) than we are for the average Joe whose life these same legislators are busy ruining in every way they can think of.


#12

Re: " Everyday gun violence is far more devastating than all the “terrorist” incidents in the U.S. put together"

According to the CDC, in 2014 there were 33599 deaths from firearms and most were suicides while 10945 were homicides. If someone wants to kill themselves it’s a matter of individual choice where the person can pick the time, place and method and an argument can also be made that an individual’s life belongs to them exclusively and not you, the State or anyone else. Note also that the number of suicides committed with firearms (21334) is less than the number committed by other means (21439) so as long as there are other options, it’s not clear that restricting firearms would have any effect on the number of suicides.

Homicides are a different story. 10945 people murdered by firearms in the US works out to about 29 people per day. These are the “word doctored” figures the news media and anti-gun folks like to publicize because people relate to the magnitude of those numbers and it sounds like a lot of people until you realize this is out of a population of 320 million Americans. In that context, it works out to about 1 person out of every 29,000 people being murdered by a firearm. Dwell on the magnitude of your individual significance next time you are in a stadium with 29,000 people. To me, 1 in 29,000 is an acceptable cost to help ensure the security of a free state and the right to own a firearm that has harmed no one. It is also estimated there are 109 million gun owners in the US which means on any given day 108,999,971 gun owners didn’t kill anyone yet because the news media magnifies these relatively isolated and infrequent events to the level of an epidemic, the anti-gun folks answer is to take the guns away from people who harmed no one. The number of firearm homicides will never be zero. So given the fact that deranged individuals and murderers are an intrinsic part of the human race and we currently live in a free society, what number of illegal firearm homicides would ever be acceptable to you to the point you would say “we don’t need any more restrictions on the private ownership of firearms”?


#13

Re: " protect the sanctity of the much-misinterpreted Second Amendment"

The purpose of the Second Amendment is clearly stated in the preamble to the Bill of Rights - specifically “The convention of a number of states having at the time of their adopting of the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse, of its powers that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added”. Note that when the Second Amendment was written, every weapon was a weapon of war, there were no restrictions on the private ownership of weapons and the militia was equally matched with the regulars. After all, if they weren’t equally matched, it would be pretty hard to deter or prevent a “misconstruction or abuse, of the government’s powers” - so in reality, the citizen militia of today should have the same firearms as the current US military. Unfortunately we are no longer equally matched because we have let our gun rights be eroded by buying into this notion if we just compromise to accommodate the people who - for whatever reason - don’t like guns they will quit trying to take away our gun rights. History has shown that no matter how much we compromise, it’s never enough so we need to stop compromising.


#14

Re: " The only path to safety for us all is to control guns"

The problem you have is that in 2010 (for example) there were 725000 violent criminals in state prisons and 15000 in federal prisons. This works out to a total of 740000 or about 0.238% of the US population which means that about 1 out of every 420 people in the US that have been caught have no qualms about ignoring whatever laws you pass and killing or injuring someone and the gun is often their tool of choice. So the bottom line is (1) The human race produces a few bad individuals prone to violence who just refuse to play by whatever rules you promulgate and until you find some way to identify these individuals and the courage to permanently eliminate them from society, innocent people are going to be killed (2) Because of these bad individuals, bad things happen every day to people who through no fault of their own were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Criminals will always have guns if they want them. If worst comes to worst they will be smuggled into the US from Mexico inside a bale of marijuana and sold on the black market.


#15

Re: " easier to obtain a gun than it is to adopt a puppy"

Currently, there are only 2 ways to legally sell a gun in the US to a private citizen. One is a private sale between individuals (typically like between family and friends) or by a gun dealer licensed with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) from the federal BATF. Only individuals with an FFL can run a background check through the government NICS database of prohibited persons. Private citizens cannot. Note that a person can purchase a firearm online, but the physical transfer of the firearm still must go through an FFL at the seller or an FFL local to the buyer. So anyone wanting to improve the process should encourage the federal government to do 2 things:

1) Allow any small gun dealer to get an FFL without having a storefront. Currently, thanks to the Clinton administration’s effort to reduce the supply of guns, you can’t get an FFL if you want to sell guns only at gun shows (Google BATFE form 5310 FFL application and look at question 18a). As a result someone that wants to sell guns but can’t afford the inventory costs, zoning challenges and overhead of a storefront has to sell illegally or discretely at the edge of the law as a “private individual” and hence can’t run a background check. Rather than throwing these “kitchen table” sellers out of the system like Clinton did hoping they would go away, they should allow them to get an FFL and subject them to BATF rules, audits and oversight like they were before the Clinton administration let political anti-gun ideology get in the way.

2) Give anyone free, public, anonymous online access to the NICS database. The NICS database is really a go/no go process and no useful information has to be displayed to facilitate phishing expeditions for identity theft other than what was already known by the user making the query. It’s certainly no more revealing than the national $ex offender registry or the FAA’s pilot and mechanic license query system where the latter provides more detailed information on presumably law-abiding citizens. Once this system is implemented, you then tell private sellers if you sell or give a firearm to someone and don’t retain documented proof that says you did a favorable NICS check on the buyer, you could be held liable if they commit a gun-related crime. This would effectively close the so-called private sale loophole and still preserve the anonymity of the parties involved the same way the current background check system does now. If a private sale firearm shows up at a crime scene, the BATF follows their current procedure of using the serial number of the firearm to contact the manufacturer and ultimately the last FFL that sold the firearm to a private citizen to obtain that citizen’s name and address from the ATF form 4473 the FFL is required to keep on file. That citizen is then contacted and produces the piece of paper from the NICS background check that identifies the second private citizen who is then contacted, and so forth.

The real benefit of this proposal is how it can help identify the illusive killer with questionable behavior patterns or mental health issues that is causing so many problems. As it stands now there is no easy, fast, non-bureaucratic method for someone to determine if a suspicious person (client, neighbor, employee, student, etc) is a potential threat to society. If someone thinks an individual could be a threat, a query to a public NICS database would at least tell him or her in a few seconds if the individual could obtain a firearm. Then, armed with that information the appropriate authorities could be notified and they could decide if it was erroneous information or whether to investigate further. As it stands now, if you tell authorities you know a suspicious person they will probably ignore you, but if you tell them you know such a person and by the way according to the NICS database he can buy a firearm, they will probably be more inclined to investigate rather than risk embarrassment later if the worst happens. The same would be true if you see a suspicious acquaintance with a firearm when the NICS query says he’s prohibited from having one. It would also help provide piece of mind and a method for victims of violent crimes to ensure their assailants either on parole or still at large have not been excluded from the database because of some bureaucratic foul-up.
Other specific public safety issues where it would be useful are:

 >Allow potential victims to vet known stalkers or acquaintances under a restraining order
 >Allow gun clubs to vet potential members
 >Allow shooting ranges to vet suspicious customers
 >Help prevent straw purchases by allowing FFL’s to vet all individuals involved with the purchase of a firearm as a gift
 >Allow mental health workers to vet troubled individuals like the Aurora Colorado theater killer
 >Allow resource officers and school officials to vet suspicious students like the Arapahoe High School killer in Colorado
 >Allow the family of the mentally troubled Lafayette, LA killer to verify he couldn’t purchase a firearm
 >Allow police officers to vet anyone they contact - (note the routine background checks performed by police often do not include information about firearms because they don’t directly access the NICS database


#16

Re: " we are expected to tone down our rhetoric and walk on eggshells lest we piss off our gun-toting fellow Americans"

With an estimated 109 million gun owners with 400 million guns and billions or trillions of rounds of ammunition - if legal gun owners were a problem, you would know it.


#17

Re: "obtain an AR-15 assault rifle"

You can't blame it on the gun. The first semi-automatic handgun was invented in the late 1800’s and the most popular version went into production in 1911. It is also noted the so-called evil “assault rifles” with standard capacity 30 round magazines are not new technology. A harbinger was invented in 1890 and the current versions evolved and were mass produced in the late 1940’s and have always been available to the public (note the “47” in AK-47 stands for 1947, the year the firearm went into production). As a matter of fact fully automatic versions (i.e. machine guns), which are true military grade rifles, were readily available to the general public until 1986 and background checks on firearm transfers weren’t required until 1994 - yet nobody talks about mass shootings with any version (semi-automatic or automatic) of these guns during the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s so it’s a relatively new phenomenon and logic would indicate it’s being caused by something else.

Note also that the worst mass killing in a US school occurred on May 18, 1927 in the Bath schoolhouse in Michigan where the killer used dynamite. And rather than immediately rush in an emotional tizzy to pass new laws to restrict the sale of dynamite, cooler heads prevailed and it took 43 years until October 15, 1970 when the law was changed. Up until that date anyone over 21 could walk into a hardware store or farm coop and buy dynamite and blasting caps


#18

Re: "Collins, who has now vowed to carry his gun in public, acts as if gun fatalities spurred by right-wing rhetoric did not exist"

Guns have 4 uses - deterrence, intimidation, control and lethal force and only the latter causes injury or death which is likely to be acknowledged and documented. In the other 3 uses, many occurrences probably are never reported. This is substantiated by a government sponsored study commissioned by the Obama administration after the Sandy Cook killings in an unsuccessful attempt to justify more gun restrictions. On page 16 of the study “Priorities for Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-related Violence” it estimates the defensive gun uses at somewhere between 108,000 to 3 million per year” in contrast to about 11000 gun homicides per year which includes those that are accidental or justified.


#19

Re: " progressive response to gun violence has usually been to push for stricter gun control"

In 1934, 1938, 1968, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1994 I suspect similar arguments were made for “stricter gun control” when more restrictive federal gun laws were passed. Since all of the regulations derived from these laws are apparently not enough, maybe you can understand the reluctance of gun owners to entertain the idea of quietly accepting the any more. The problem is the real agenda of the people leading the charge for more gun control is to ban all guns except for the government and governments (unlike individuals) have the track record for killing people that don’t agree with them. This is really just about using relatively infrequent, isolated incidents of gun crimes to whip lawmakers into an emotional frenzy to goad them into quickly advancing the agenda of gun control irrespective of any facts in more incremental “progressive” steps in order to set a new baseline and move the goal posts to the point where an unscrupulous government would have the option to do what ever they please.


#20

Re: " lay the blame anywhere but on the easy availability of guns"

As far as "blame" goes when a person commits a crime with a firearm, the person is sent to jail, not the firearm