Geez, It Happened Again! Why The National Rifle Association Would Shoot The Moon & Certain Politicians It Could


(PORTIONS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN OCTOBER 2011)

America is a gun-sick country, a place where people can legally possess and in some cases carry weapons specifically designed to kill large numbers of people. Pennsylvania is Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in between, as James Carville famously remarked, and the Dixie-like legislature is so in love with guns that they are easier to obtain in the Keystone State than a driver’s license or — get this, fireworks. For good measure, the legislature refuses to allow Philadelphia to enact its own tough gun laws in an effort to end a slaughter that takes four times as many lives on a per capita basis than New York City, which has among the toughest gun laws in the nation.

This state of affairs is largely the result of the pernicious influence the National Rifle Association has on many congressfolk and state legislators. Except for the usual crybabies such as gun violence victims, emergency room doctors, the occasional mayor of a liberal city, President Obama and some sane Democrats, The New York Times editorial board, and as of today the good burghers of Newtown, Connecticut, the NRA would have pretty much run roughshod from sea to shining sea in its jihad to arm America to the teeth.

(And please spare me the false equivalency of the knife attack today at a school in China, where guns are outlawed.)

HR822 — The National Right-to-Reciprocity Act of 2011, would allow an individual with a concealed-weapons permit in Alabama to travel from New York City to San Diego packing their Glock, which kind of takes the concept of state’s rights to stratospheric levels. .

I had my fill of guns in a place called Vietnam and being shot at a few times while covering civil unrest stateside.

My own view, certainly in the minority, is that each adult American should be allowed no more than one rifle, one shotgun and one handgun each unless they have a collector’s permit and keep their multiple weapons under lock and key. Assault weapons would be outlawed, the process of buying a gun, getting a carry concealed permit or a collector’s permit would be arduous with all costs being borne by the individual and none by the state, and penalties for running afoul of gun laws would be harsh. Perhaps a few thousand people who are serving long prison terms for smoking a joint could be released to make room for the influx of gun law violators.

HR822 zoomed through the House but had no chance of getting through the Senate, let alone being signed by our cry-baby president. So the good burghers of New York City, New Jersey and Florida — jurisdictions that have tough gun laws because of the toll that gun violence has taken — can breath a little easier when a guy from Alabama walks into their neighborhood 7-Eleven with a bulge in his pants.

No, he’s not packing heat, he’s just happy to see you.

Cartoon By Mike Keefe/The Denver Post

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  • PATRICK EDABURN, Assistant Editor

    Well Shaun this may be yet another sign of the pending Mayan Apocalypse but I generally agree with your views. I do think recent court rulings on guns and the 2nd amendment were in error.

    However I’d point out that there are two extremes here, already I’ve seen posts from the hard left crowd calling for a total ban on all guns. I would hope we could find a rational balance but I am not hopeful.

  • The_Ohioan

    Expect more of this. Here in Michigan the Republican controlled legislature spent their time (until 4:30 AM – must have wanted to get home for a holy holiday) passing laws to suppress voting, limit abortions, make it harder to recall politicians and other general mayhem including this:

    Gun-free zones” won’t be so gun-free under legislation that would allow concealed weapons at schools, churches, arenas, hospitals and other specified locations. The bill would let licensed concealed pistol holders with additional training to carry guns in such zones, but those facilities also could post signs prohibiting weapons.

    http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/12/lame_duck_legislature_action_a.html

  • rudi

    @TO
    I guess the curse/haunting of John Engler lives on…

  • The_Ohioan

    rudi

    I guess it does.

    And I guess the NRA lives on undeterred. I think it’s time for the NRA to offer some solutions. They need to explain to the parents and siblings of these lost ones why they think it was absolutely necessary for this person, as an American citizen, to own this gun. I’m waiting.

  • http://cma-steadystate.blogspot.com steadystate

    I don’t love guns to a fetishized level, but I do think they’ve got a genuine mystery that makes me interested in them; for me it’s a “what would it be like to shoot one of those?” curiosity. Perhaps, I’m just a product of the 80′s. Or maybe it’s a lingering boyhood fascination started by shooting a .22 bolt-action rifle at Boy Scouts summer camp. I’m not sure.

    I believe that, whether for protection or for sport, we do have a right to own a gun or a few guns. Though, with that established, I think there’s a vast ocean of interpretation and rightful consideration to be had on what limitations we place on ownership. I like your suggestions, Shaun. I think that’s a strong middle ground. I don’t own a gun – I don’t hunt nor have I ever felt so compelled out of self-defense to need one yet. But I would like to know it’s a possibility. I don’t need a fully automatic AK-47, AR-15, M-16, etc. (and frankly, I can’t imagine why anyone would), but handguns, shotguns, semi-auto rifles are certainly a middle-ground. And we must come to terms with the idea that with freedom comes consequences… there’ll be a lot of lip-service paid to what a tragedy this is (and rightfully so), and soul-searching will be done. The right will offer Christian-values-for-everyone approaches and the left will offer no-guns-for-anyone approaches, and each side will intone the word “freedom” without a hint of irony.

    There’s moderate gun-control policy to be had in the squishy middle.

  • zephyr

    Thanks Shaun. I also agree with your views. If the mentally unbalanced didn’t have such incredibly easy access to devastating weaponry there would be a limit to how many lives they could ruin. When I was young there were plenty of guns in the hands of citizens (I grew up in a hunting tradition and around guns) but most were rifles and shotguns. There were far, far fewer handguns. Semi-autos were in the minority and were looked down on by hunters. Now anything goes thanks to the NRA, the gun lobby, and a popular culture that can’t seem to get enough mayhem. The inmates are running the asylum and an irresponsible USSC has aided and abetted.

  • EEllis

    Semi-autos were in the minority and were looked down on by hunters. Now anything goes thanks to the NRA, the gun lobby, and a popular culture that can’t seem to get enough mayhem.

    Semi-autos are only 15% of the guns owned in the US. In shootings involving revolvers and semi-auto handguns you are likely to be hit more often with more damage by a revolver. Too much popular culture and not enough reality.

  • zephyr

    Too much popular culture and not enough reality.

    Too many idiots, too much mental illness, too many guns, and especially too much apologism (excuse making) from the usual suspects. For these people the reactions seem to go from hearing the news of a shooting tragedy to imagining Obama wants to take all their guns within seconds. Contrary to what you are suggesting (for some bizarre reason) there IS a direct connection between the number of people who can be killed and the capacity and type of action of the firearm used. This isn’t rocket science.

  • dduck

    SM, I agree with most of what you say, but disagree with the practicality of some of it.
    “Perhaps a few thousand people who are serving long prison terms for smoking a joint could be released to make room for the influx of gun law violators.” I guess you are half joking, but it struck me as funny that we release people that had a conviction for possession of an illegal substance and replace them with people that possess a legal object.
    BTW: I am 100% for outlawing mega-magazines and semi-automatic rifles.

  • http://kikoshouse.blogspot.com SHAUN MULLEN, TMV Columnist

    James Fallows:

    “Guns don’t attack children; psychopaths and sadists do. But guns uniquely allow a psychopath to wreak death and devastation on such a large scale so quickly and easily. America is the only country in which this happens again — and again and again.”

  • EEllis

    America is the only country in which this happens again — and again and again.”

    To bad it isn’t true, there have been 21 spree killings in China schools since 1998.

  • dduck

    EE, but fewer deaths. Norway, probably had more in the last few years. Guess why.

  • zephyr

    So.. not bad enough for you yet EE? Just how bad would it need to get before you realized the problem required solutions rather than excuses??

  • SteveK

    So.. not bad enough for you yet EE? Just how bad would it need to get before you realized the problem required solutions rather than excuses??

    Well said zephyr.

  • SteveK

    All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.

    - James Thurber