Another Dope Shoots His Mouth Off About The Alexandria Shooting.

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Last month I gave an award to a State Senator in Florida, Greg Steube, for authoring the dumbest gun bill so far this year.  The bill would allow people injured by guns to sue the owner of the public premise where the attack took place if the location was a gun-free zone.  But today I want to give another award to a politician, in this case for writing the dumbest op-ed that I have ever read.  And the award goes to Congressman Chris Collins (R-NY) who put a piece in WaPo saying that as a result of the Alexandria shooting, from now on he’s going to go everywhere in public carrying a gun.

alexandria             New York’s 27th CD used to be represented by a Democrat, Brian Higgins, and he now sits in the 26th CD which was redrawn to cover the city of Buffalo, whereas the 27th now covers the Buffalo suburbs and some rural areas to the south and East.  The 27th also takes in the state prison at Attica, but Collins doesn’t have to worry about the prison’s location, because in New York State incarcerated felons can’t vote.  And in 2016, Collins got two-thirds of the votes, mostly from farmers and residents of suburbs and small towns.

Which is why, I guess, he’s decided to go around his district with a gun, because as he says in his op-ed, “But all of us [read: public officials] — including our families, our staffs and their families — expect and deserve to be safe from harm. After what we saw last week, it’s clear we need to do more to make sure that we’re protected.” And if you haven’t yet figured out where this idiot is going, the next sentence reads: As Americans in my district and across the country know well, responsible, legal gun owners have every right to protect themselves, and that applies to members of Congress as well. I’ve worked to make sure these core values, preserved in the Constitution, are upheld.”

There’s only one little problem with what this fervent upholder of the Constitution says, namely, the 2008 Heller decision only gives Americans the ‘right’ to protect themselves with a gun inside their homes. What a blowhard, what a buffoon and worse, he then goes on to say that he knows how to use and carry a gun because, and this is the best one of all, “My father taught me responsible gun ownership.”

Tell me this, Chris.  Did your father also teach you how to shoot a gun?  Do you go out from time to time and practice aiming and shooting a handgun at a human target, particularly one that might be moving around?  Did you even have to demonstrate any shooting proficiency at all in order to get your concealed-carry license which you claim has been in your wallet ‘for years?’ Don’t waste your valuable time answering those questions because I’ll give you the answers.  The answers are all ‘no.’  How do I know the answers?  Because if I had a nickel for every dope and loud mouth who says he’s going to protect himself, his family and everyone else with the gun he’s allegedly toting around even though he never (read: never) had to certify his shooting creds with any law enforcement official mandated to actually validate his claims, I wouldn’t have to sit here pounding out these words for a living.

I’m still waiting for the NRA, who probably helped Collins write his nonsensical op-ed, to live up to their own cock and bull about being America’s gun training organization and say what needs to be said, namely, that issuing concealed-carry licenses without mandated (i.e., required) proficiency validation is a guarantee that you’re not a ‘good guy’ if you walk around with a gun.  You may be a dedicated public servant, Representative Collins, but when it comes to the issue of guns and what you are planning to do to protect yourself, your family and your staff, you’re just a dumb jerk.

 

Comment On A Proposal To Regulate Guns.

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Although there are some fringe elements in Gun Nation who claim that their ‘right’ to own a gun is unlimited, usually based on some kind of eternal recognition that self-defense is ordained by God, even the most strident pro-gun voices will admit to some degree of regulation when it comes to owning guns.  And the regulation that is usually proffered as being acceptable to the gun crew is the basic regulation which is in force right now, namely, a NICS-FBI background check that only takes place at the initial point of sale.

2A             The argument that is usually advanced to restrict background checks to initial gun transfers is that imposing secondary background checks on law-abiding gun owners is a slippery-slope that will eventually lead to gun registration, and we all know that registration leads to confiscation, which leads to the Holocaust, which leads to God knows what else.  And it’s pretty difficult to find anyone on the pro-gun side of the argument who won’t tell you that all those people who claim to support the 2nd Amendment but want to expand gun regulations aren’t anything other than wolves in sheep’s clothing looking for some way or another to get rid of all the guns.

If Gun Nation is looking for some kind of ‘proof’ that gun-control advocates are a threat to their beloved 2nd-Amendment rights, they need not look any further than an op-ed which appeared today in The New York Times.  Authored by Professor Lawrence Rosenthal and Abner Mikva, the latter a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014, the commentary argues that while the 2nd Amendment precludes the government from preventing private ownership of guns, it does prevent government from enacting more expansive gun-control laws.  Citing the 2008 Heller decision, the writers believe that if citizens can keep guns in their homes, then the phrase ‘well-regulated’ refers to this form of ownership, hence, additional gun-control measures can and should be invoked.

It would be difficult to find fault with this argument if Rosenthal and Mikva made their case based only upon an extension of NICS checks to secondary sales. Their comment in this regard, that the “entire secondary gun market is a vast regulatory void,” is not only true but has become more true as the internet has stretched private gun transactions far beyond the local gun show.  But the argument doesn’t rest there, because Rosenthal-Mikva then swing effortlessly into a discussion linking expanded background checks to universal gun registration, as if coupling the latter to the former  represents no great difference at all. Here’s the way they put it: “A comprehensive system of background checks and registration would not prevent law-abiding people from obtaining guns for purposes of lawful self-defense.”

When all is said and done, one could posit a similar thought for just about any kind of gun regulation which didn’t keep law-abiding individuals from owning guns.  But in gun circles, the word ‘registration’ is so toxic that once you introduce it into any discussion about regulating guns, you are guaranteeing that the discussion will quickly come to an end. And in addition to the political implications of registration, studies on the effectiveness of gun registration as a means to reduce gun violence have basically found the results of registration strategies to be inconclusive because there aren’t enough case studies to prove either the pro or the con.

I’m not opposed to registration because I believe the ‘slippery-slope’ argument has no basis in history or fact, and I’m somewhat old-fashioned because I side with Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who said that public policy should be based not on opinions but on facts.  But in that context I wish that Rosenthal and Mikva could have been a little more sensitive to the manner in which the gun violence debate plays itself out. Advocating gun registration as just another, sensible regulation is a little bit like walking into the lion’s den and sticking your head into the lion’s mouth.

The NRA May Think It Owns The Gun Debate But The Other Side Is Waking Up.

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One of the things I’ve trained myself to do is a weekly check of the NRA-ILA website, because as don Corleone advised his son Michael, you always have to keep your enemies closer than your friends. And while I don’t consider myself and the NRA to be enemies necessarily, I do consider their continued attempts to push a very radical, pro-gun agenda to be shortsighted and ill-advised.  When I joined the NRA in 1955, it was an organization devoted to training, gun history and outdoor life.  It still devotes time, energy and resources to those activities, but the organization’s major thrust today is to promote the notion of armed citizens which I believe does nothing except increase risk.

open                The real reason I’m against the NRA’s push for concealed-carry is that, believe it or not, I think CCW laws for the most part actually threaten rather than strengthen the 2nd-Amendment right to own a gun.  I say that for the following reasons.  First, the 2008 Heller decision specifically and explicitly limited private ownership to guns kept in the home, and I don’t care if all these so-called 2nd Amendment ‘absolutists’ want to yap about their God-given right to walk around with a gun, the law says otherwise, period, end of debate.  Second, Heller also vested in government the right to regulate, and there has not been a single challenge to Heller that has denied the public authority from having the last word when it comes to how, why and when people can carry or use guns.

Finally and most important, a majority, in fact a large majority of Americans don’t own guns.  That’s not true in Western states like Montana, the Dakotas or Idaho, which together have a total population 4.4 million, which is less than the body count for Brooklyn and Queens.  The moment you move into populous states however, particularly on the two coasts where more than 100 million live, per capita gun ownership begins to drop down to one out of four or one out of five.  And despite the whining of Mother Loesch about all those millions of Moms who own guns, that’s about as near to reality as how effectively she teaches her kids by keeping them at home.

Most Americans are in favor of gun ownership, as long as guns are kept out of the wrong hands.  And the only way that will happen is to let the public authority create and enforce laws that restrict gun ownership to folks who play by the rules; and I’m not talking about the rules that govern everyday conduct, I’m talking about the rules that regulate the ownership of guns.  Which is why it’s absurd that the NRA would be campaigning against background checks while, at the same time saying that every law-abiding citizen should own and carry a gun.  It’s a contradictory message and, unless you’re a diehard gun owner, it makes no sense.

This is why I found it interesting that the NRA-ILA website carried a story this week criticizing a recent report which once again found that upwards of 40% of all gun transfers occur without a background check – a loophole that has been mentioned by just about everyone who wants to see an end to violence caused by guns.  The evidence for this claim is an old survey conducted in 1994 which, according to the NRA, cannot be used to measure “anything about the American people with only 251 respondents in a survey.”  This is the same NRA that has been telling us that armed citizens prevent “millions” of crimes from being committed every year.  Where does this evidence comes from?  Another 1994 survey whose respondents numbered 221!

The NRA will never have a problem convincing gun owners that what it says about guns is sacred and true.  But the recent shootings in Virginia and Oregon may have turned the tide and 200 million non-gun owners may be asking themselves what they can do.

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