The GOP’s Greatest Hits, 2008-2010

Representative Dingell (D-Mich.) reads:

Remember, these aren’t people on the street, bored campaign workers, or “lone wolves.” They’re elected representatives or candidates, in each case, acting with the imprimatur of the authority of the conservative movement.

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44 comments

  1. “As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.”

    – President Obama, Tuscon Memorial Service

    Or you could post crap like this. Shame on you Ames.

  2. Where do you see me assigning blame or pointing fingers for this offense? It must feel nice to get all high and mighty over this, but you have no cause.

  3. “Following Saturday’s shooting in Arizona, the debate has settled…on the political climate that makes this tragedy not an unexpected disaster…The blame for that climate unequivocally lies on one side of the political spectrum. “

    – Ames

  4. That’s some nice selectivity you’ve got going on

    Following Saturday’s shooting in Arizona, the debate has settled (as it should) not on assigning blame for the actual shooting, but on the political climate that makes this tragedy not an unexpected disaster, but something for which many of us have been, well, holding our breath.

  5. When you say, “.. the political climate that makes this tragedy not an unexpected disaster” there is no conclusion one could make other than that you feel the climate provoked the shooting. Then you blame that climate on the Right.

  6. Yeah, you’re missing something, uh, big. The argument is clearly that the climate didn’t provoke the shooting, but it wouldn’t be shocking if it had, and we need to work to prevent a recurrence by toning down rhetoric across the board.

  7. Let’s look REALLY hard at your words. I’m going to edit the double negative to a positive statement:

    “makes this tragedy an expected disaster..”

    So what you are saying is that due to the climate you expected an insane person to try and kill a US Congresswoman, even though you have already admitted the climate had no bearing on his actions. That’s remarkable forsight Ames.

    What if we tried to change your words just a bit more:
    Following Saturday’s asteroid impact in Nebraska, the debate has settled (as it should) not on assigning blame for the actual impact, but on the political climate that makes this tragedy not an unexpected disaster…

    Since you’ve already admitted that the political discourse had no linkage to the shooting, the linkage between an asteroid impact and political discourse is roughly equivelant. But would you be writing a series of postings on the need for civil discourse in the wake of that tragedy? Of course not. You’ve admitted you wouldn’t even be posting them if a Congresswoman had not been shot.

    1. STL Lawyer · ·

      One can presume that the water in the kettle is mighty hot when the steam is whistling out of the spout.

  8. Mike, I admitted no such thing. And asteroids don’t have volition, except in pretty good episodes of the original Star Trek. So I think this is an entirely different scenario.

    Let’s put it down to brass tacks. Against my assertion that you’re reading it wrong — and, well, I would know — you’re claiming that I want you guys blamed for this shooting. I don’t. I want your party, writ large, to whose policies you needn’t subscribe in toto and probably don’t, blamed for creating an extremist climate. This is true and you’ve never argued against it. Anything else is a distraction.

    1. Yes or no Ames, did the political climate in this country, which you believe is 100% to blame on the Right, cause the shooting in AZ?

  9. For God’s sake NO. Has it taken you this long to discern that point?

    1. So then why do you keep saying you were unsurprised the attack happend? You can’t have it both ways.

  10. I think what Ames is saying (and I agree) is that the political climate (for which conservatives are largely responsible) made it very likely that something like this would happen.

    However, it seems that this particular incident may not have been directly related to that climate, and it was coincidence that it happened when it did.

    It’s as if you were driving a car that was very low on gas, and your engine coincidentally failed for some other reason. You would not be surprised to find yourself having to pull over and call AAA, but in this particular case it was not for the expected cause (running out of gas).

    I’d go beyond what Ames says here and add that conservative gun activism is directly responsible for two things:

    1. the easy availability of firearms and extra-capacity gun clips, which the shooter should not have been able to get in his mental condition

    2. reducing funding for mental health care across the country

    — and therefore directly responsible, to a limited extent, for this particular tragedy and any others that follow this general pattern.

    1. Strike “gun activism” from “I’d go beyond” — that was before I added #2. It should read “conservative policies are directly responsible…”

    2. I don’t know that the shooter would have been flagged in a background check even with a 7-day waiting period. Typically waiting period are geared towards criminal history, not mental health. When you get into that area it is very gray. One psychiatrist might believe someone is dangerous and another may not. A felony conviction is a felony conviction.

    3. Woozle – the point is, as you admit, that the linkage is purely coincidental. Yes, it could serve as a starting point for a healthy discussion on political rhetoric and that’s all good. The problem is that the motivations of most liberals pressing so hard for this are politically motivated, not morally motivated. As a simple test my suggestion is to watch how hard someone is pressing for the conversation. It’s directly proportional to how politically motivated they are.

  11. I don’t know that the shooter would have been flagged in a background check even with a 7-day waiting period.

    Well, that’s the thing — he should have been. I’m sure just about anyone who isn’t rabidly pro-gun would agree that mental health concerns (such as those expressed by the community college he was kicked out of) should be a barrier to purchasing firearms.

    The problem is that the motivations of most liberals pressing so hard for this are politically motivated, not morally motivated.

    So, the fact that the engine gave out due to a belt failure instead of running out of gas means that using the engine failure as an opportunity to press for refueling (since many people were denying that anything needed to be done at all) is “politically motivated”?

    Also, as I pointed out, there is some direct “conservative” liability here due to the gun lobby and healthcare cutbacks, both “conservative” causes.

    I guess “conservatives” don’t like to take personal responsibility for the problems caused by their policies; “personal responsibility” is just something they like to accuse liberals of not having, rather than something they actually believe in.

    1. As I said, because psychology is a somewhat subjective field it’s extremely difficult to pin to a restriction of 2nd Amendment rights. I mean, who wants to be the psychiatrist who fails to diagnose a future Jarred Laughner and put him on the no-gun list? Think about the repurcussions of that. Or on the flip side, how many lawsuits would challenge diagnonsis?

      And before you pin gun policy on conservatives I should point out that there are a LOT of conservative Democrats who believe just as strongly in those gun rights.

      I think when you talk about ‘personal responsibility’ that’s just it. Conservatives believe that adults should be able to own guns and be personally responsible with them. When someone flips their lid and uses them in a multiple homicide that person vacated his personal responsibilities. It wasn’t a failure of the policy, it was a failure of the individual. Of course, with many liberals they believe in the government as an Allfather that should protect all of his little children from one another. The children surrender their personal responsibility to the father and so their failures become his fault.

    2. I’m always amused by how you generalize liberals. Overprotective government! (Even if I am much more concerned with conservative’s AllFather with the new rules, secrecy, restrictions on civil liberties, fudging habeas corpus laws, detainment laws, torture laws, things done by conservatives (and yes continued today), responding to hundreds of thousands fewer deaths).

      But, the argument couldn’t be a more rational reason though, right? I mean, last I heard in 2004, 30k died per year, 60k injured. Those are not small numbers.

      A rational government concerned for the welfare of it’s people, would look into this and how to curb these numbers. Just like automobile deaths, we will never eliminate them, but we go in and try to make sure there are standards to lower them.

      And as you said, Democrats have been on the side of gun rights, so it isn’t the hyperbolic, THEY’RE TRYING TO TAKE MY GUNS, that people like using. Conservatives won that fight long ago.

      So that leaves people out there saying, hey how can we curb deaths? Everyone can get angry, everyone gets pissed off, everyone can go a little nuts, and everyone has accidents. Having guns out there increases the odds that people will be needlessly killed under those situations. This wasn’t what our forefathers intended people being armed for, so it’s the government’s job to make sure that we respect their intent while protecting innocent lives.

      So liberals say, let’s have mandatory trainings and lessons, let’s have a wait time to prevent people who buy a gun out of impulsive anger, let’s have strict measures of who can have access to these things, to make sure they’re mentally sound, and capable of “personal responsibility”. So yes, if someone gets through all of these, you need to review your policies and see how to prevent it in the future. Especially after they’ve loosened a lot in the past decade.

      It’s not a nanny state, it’s not that restricting, they are small measures to protect human lives.

      1. All of that is fine and good Oneiori but none of it would have prevented this crime. There is really nothing the government can do to prevent random acts of violence by lunatics. Mental health screenings are never going to work. A 7-day waiting period wouldn’t have mattered (I believe the gun in question in November). Restrictions on those with a criminal record wouldn’t have worked (he didn’t have one). This case was just a terrible incident of someone flying under the radar and then doing something terrible.

        And even the most ‘mentally sound’ person can snap. If a gun owner comes home and finds his wife cheating, someone’s probably going to catch a round or two. There’s nothing you can do to prevent those kinds of shootings either.

        So what are we left with? The majority of gun crime which is related to inner cities and mostly gang crime. A point I make over and over and over with little acknowledgement from anyone is that the best way to reduce that kind gun crime is to simply enforce federal trafficking laws. Trafficking prosecutions have been abysmal dating back at least to Clinton and probably much farter. But I don’t think it’s the conservative gun lobbying that is preventing this from happening. Both sides of the aisle are dropping the ball (and before you blame the NRA I should tell you that I know a LOT of NRA members that are also registered Democrats).

      2. If like you said, a lunatic gets through, it behooves the government to look into how to prevent that sort of person to not do this the next time. It will never be 100%, but I don’t think we’re at the point of diminishing returns.

        Sure! Let’s look into trafficking. Great! I can agree!

        But there are other deaths, purposeful and accidental that happen every day as well. And I really don’t believe are being that inconvenienced. I just don’t think gun law restrictions shouldn’t really be an issue for those who legitimately want a gun and want to be responsible for that gun.

        I feel like I’m having balls groped for a .01% chance of dying in a terrorist attack, and we have some of the least restriction concerning guns anywhere, save your Somalia’s.

        So comparatively, it just seems silly to me to complain about gun laws.

        I just once again imagine my step dad saying something like, Ugh! This guy killed a bunch of people, and now I have to wait 2 weeks, for me to leave my gun in my safe for the next 10 years. Life is so unfair!

        1. We really don’t need a whole series of new laws. It’s pretty simple: Close the gunshow loophole,revise or repeal the Tihart Amendment and enforce existing trafficking laws. You do those things and I believe you will see a 50% drop in gun crime in the US. I would also advocate for stamping serial numbers on bullets to aid in investigations.

          If you want to reduce the random acts of violence, often linked to domestic issues, you’re better off dealing with domestic crime itself and not going after the tools that might be used in worst case scenarios.

        2. …we have some of the least restriction concerning guns anywhere, save your Somalia’s.

          And Switzerland. You wouldn’t believe how many guns they have there. Don’t let the cockoo clocks fool you, that place is like a huge, paranoid mountain fortress armed to the teeth.

          1. I was just reading something abnout that the other day. Doesn’t the government issue a gun to every resident that is former military?

          2. Yeah, most Swiss males stay in the reserves for at least ten years after their conscription period, during which they have to keep their issued firearms and attend regular training. I think there is about one military-grade firearm for every two or three citizens.

            Not least for that reason, the Swiss have a reputation for being a bit crazy, but in their defense, they have both a very small population and about 500 years’ experience of being surrounded by some of Europe’s most powerful empires. So I guess a heavily armed population has always been a survival strategy for them.

            1. I think it works for the U.S. to a degree as well which is actually part of my case for why we could dramatically reduce our defense spending.

          3. I’ve always admired that about them. They also make some damn fine metal for a non-Fennoscandic nation. Add in the awesome chocolate and the good cheese, and you’ve got one awesome little country.

  12. So many fallacies and distortions, so little time… here’s a solid nugget of fact, which I am clinging to like a floating log (as I go over the waterfall of PR-driven public opinion on gun rights):

    “Under the [defunct] assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high-capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.”

    Maybe we can agree that the assault weapons ban was a good idea, and should be reinstated?

    We apparently already agree that a dramatic reduction in defense spending would be a good idea, and closing the gunshow loophole, and brief research on the Tiahrt Amendment makes me agree that it is a Bad Idea long past its sell-by date, and “enforce existing trafficking laws” sounds good though I’m not actually familiar with the details. (You do realize, Mike, that increasing enforcement generally requires increasing the enforcement budget — which means “increasing the size of government”. Are you sure you want to support this?)

    I don’t think anyone’s seriously talking about a goal of eliminating gun violence — just bringing it down to a par with, say, most of Europe.

    1. here’s a solid nugget of fact, which I am clinging to like a floating log (as I go over the waterfall of PR-driven public opinion on gun rights):
      “Under the [defunct] assault weapons ban, it was illegal to manufacture or sell new high-capacity magazines, defined as those that hold more than 10 rounds. The magazines used by Loughner had 31 rounds each, according to police.”

      Maybe we can agree that the assault weapons ban was a good idea, and should be reinstated?

      The term “assault weapon” didn’t even exist until the California legislature created it out of whole cloth in 1989. You think that wasn’t driven by PR?

      As to the magazines themselves, ten rounds is high relative to what? Fact of the matter is that ten’s an arbitrary number, picked due to PR-driven opinion, that happens to be low for a lot of situations. As an example, the standard magazine size for a non-compact 9mm pistol is 13-15 and has been ever since the Browning Hi-Power came out in 1935.

      As to closing the “gunshow loophole”, how’s that supposed to be done other than a ban on private weapon sales? And what’s the point, anyway? I can sell any of my guns out of my house, but if I sell the same gun to the same person at a gun show it’s apparently a “loophole” that needs to be closed? PR-driven semi-hysterical nonsense, if you ask me.

      Has anyone who reads this blog besides me and Mike ever even touched a gun, for that matter?

      1. I pretty much concur with Steve on everything. The term ‘assault weapon’ is simply a PR term and most liberals can’t even tell you what an assault weapon actually is. As for capacity, it’s also a silly point. Why do we consider 10-15 bullets okay but 30 is ludicrous? And teh AWB never took high capacity guns off the street, it simply made future manufacture illegal. There were thousands of them floating around during the ban that were easy to get.

        Also – enforcement of existing laws wouldn’t really require more police, especially if there was a corresponding drop in the pursuit of a pointless War on Drugs. All those DEA agents would be great at stopping gun runners.

        Steve, I WILL say that there is some minor problems that arise from gun shows. One of the pieces i cited above has a link to another article that discusses the trafficked guns that originated in these shows. I buy stuff at the shows too so i don’t want the business hurt, but we can do better.

        Phillip is a shooter. Don’t know about the other folks. Ames has already sort of admitted he knows zero about guns.

  13. The term ‘assault weapon’ is simply a PR term and most liberals can’t even tell you what an assault weapon actually is.

    What it suggests to me is anything that fires a lot of bullets rapidly, with a large capacity. Anything over about 6 bullets seems to my poor liberal brain to be kind of “large capacity” — why would you need more than that to defend yourself against an intruder?

    Here’s a question you can answer: What other legitimate uses are there for guns, besides home defense and hunting? (Hunting certainly doesn’t require large capacity or rapid-fire.) More information might help the discussion to be less PR-driven.

    Why do we consider 10-15 bullets okay but 30 is ludicrous?

    Because of gun-lobby pressure, perhaps? Anything over 6 seems excessive to me — but I’m willing to hear your case.

    enforcement of existing laws wouldn’t really require more police, especially if there was a corresponding drop in the pursuit of a pointless War on Drugs.

    We agree on that.

    The term “assault weapon” didn’t even exist until the California legislature created it out of whole cloth in 1989. You think that wasn’t driven by PR?

    PR or not, it may also reflect reality. It seems to me that there is a line somewhere between {legitimate personal defense and hunting weapons} and {weapons only useful in a combat or assault situation}. Individuals have legitimate need for the former, but only police and soldiers (and gangsters) arguably need the latter. What term would you pick for it, and where would you draw the line?

    ten rounds is high relative to what? Fact of the matter is that ten’s an arbitrary number, picked due to PR-driven opinion, that happens to be low for a lot of situations.

    Okay, what number(s) would you prefer? Please describe the situation in which each number is a reasonable point at which to draw the line between “necessary” and “excessive”, so we have some guidelines. I’m fine with reality being a little more complicated than the PR (and laws) like it to be.

    I can sell any of my guns out of my house, but if I sell the same gun to the same person at a gun show it’s apparently a “loophole” that needs to be closed?

    This seems like a legitimate point. Off the top of my head, I’d guess it’s mainly because private sales are a small percentage of sales overall, while gun shows represent a much larger percentage.

    Whatever changes are being proposed for laws about gun show sales, couldn’t the same changes apply to personal sales?

    I’d also suggest that if an individual sells a gun to another individual, personal responsibility on the part of the seller is more likely to come into play than at a gun show.

    I don’t know from experience, but with something like a gun I’d think you would form an intuitive impression of whether the buyer had a legit use for the weapon, and the sense to use it properly, before going through with the sale.

    Here’s a factual question: at gun shows, are records kept of who (which salesman) actually sold the gun?

    Has anyone who reads this blog besides me and Mike ever even touched a gun, for that matter?

    Not me, nor do I want to. (Well, okay, I’ve done target practice with a pellet gun. Woot. I think I was about 6.)

    1. What other legitimate uses are there for guns, besides home defense and hunting? (Hunting certainly doesn’t require large capacity or rapid-fire.) More information might help the discussion to be less PR-driven.

      Off the top of my head there’s collecting, trap and skeet shooting, cowboy action shooting, plinking, practical shooting, and just going to a range, and shooting people who need to get shot. And yes, I consider that last one a legitimate purpose.

      Anything over 6 seems excessive to me — but I’m willing to hear your case.

      That would restrict pistols to nothing but revolvers (and even ban some revolvers). Rifle-wise, that’s even banning some bolt-action rifles with internal box magazines, like the Lee-Enfield. It would ban the M-1 Garand.

      You said above “why would you need more than [6 rounds] to defend yourself against an intruder?”. I have three answers:
      1) Multiple intruders.
      2) You might miss.
      3) Stopping power is inversely proportional to bullet size. Magzine capacity (for fixed external dimensions) is also inversely proportional to bullet size. That means the smaller the bullet, the more times you have to shoot them to stop them and the more bullets your gun can and has to hold.

      PR or not, it may also reflect reality. It seems to me that there is a line somewhere between {legitimate personal defense and hunting weapons} and {weapons only useful in a combat or assault situation}. Individuals have legitimate need for the former, but only police and soldiers (and gangsters) arguably need the latter. What term would you pick for it, and where would you draw the line?”

      I wouldn’t pick a term for it or draw that line at all. It seems to me that there is no distinction between “legitimate personal [and public] defense” and “only useful in a combat or assault situation”. Personal defense is effectively a combat situation. And do bear in mind, not only are the police not legally required to assist you in an emergency (and I can cite Supreme Court rulings on point for that, starting with Castle Rock v. Gonzales) but they’re incapable (unless you’re extremely lucky) of arriving until after the fact. As Law & Order opening narration says, the police investigate crime – they don’t intervene during a crime.

      This seems like a legitimate point. Off the top of my head, I’d guess it’s mainly because private sales are a small percentage of sales overall, while gun shows represent a much larger percentage.

      Whatever changes are being proposed for laws about gun show sales, couldn’t the same changes apply to personal sales?

      I’d also suggest that if an individual sells a gun to another individual, personal responsibility on the part of the seller is more likely to come into play than at a gun show.

      I don’t know from experience, but with something like a gun I’d think you would form an intuitive impression of whether the buyer had a legit use for the weapon, and the sense to use it properly, before going through with the sale.

      Here’s a factual question: at gun shows, are records kept of who (which salesman) actually sold the gun?

      I take it you’ve never been to a gun show. :) Most of the sales at a gun show aren’t private sales either, they’re sales by federally-licensed dealers: gun stores. Basically, what happens at a gun show (at least at all the gun shows I’ve been to) is that a bunch of gun stores have closed their storefront for a day and brought their inventory all to the same place. Same rules apply to their sales there as at their storefront, though: background checks (I’ve seen someone fail theirs. Mine I always passed.) happen, two forms of ID, limit on how many you can purchase how often, ATF paperwork, state police paperwork, etc. So yes, records are kept of who (which salesman) actually sold the gun, and who they sold it to, for the majority of sales at a gun show.

      Like you said, though, a minority of sales are private sales. And these can happen at a gun show. For the most part, those are sales to a used-gun dealer: a licensed store’s set up their table with a sign that says “We Buy Guns”. However, there are some person-to-person sales at gun shows. You’ll see a few people walking around with a rifle slung over their shoulder and a sign taped to a stick coming out the barrel that says something like “M-1 Carbine, Good Condition, $900 OBO”. That guy has the same rules applying to him as apply if he sells the gun out of his home. So no, he doesn’t have to keep records.

      And that’s the vaunted “gun show loophole”: whatever requirements state and federal law put on a particular sale anywhere else, they also put on it at a gun show, and there aren’t many restrictions on person-to-person sales to begin with. Probably because, like you said, they represent a minority of sales. There are also some difficulties in making some of those rules apply to non-commercial sales. I don’t plan to sell my Mosin-Nagant, but if I were to sell it, how am I supposed to do a background check on the buyer? (And if a way’s found… doesn’t that mean I can now do a background check of anybody? Kind of a privacy problem, if you ask me.)

      As always, though, the Republican/conservative response to “government intrusion” is to deny that the problem exists, or is soluble, or is worth worrying our pretty little liberal heads over.

      You’ve just highlighted several important questions to ask about any proposed law:
      1) Is the problem really a problem?
      2) Will the proposed solution actually work?
      3) Are the negative effects of the proposed solution outweighed by the benefit of solving the problem?
      Sometimes the accurate answer to any one of those questions is “no”, which means the law shouldn’t be passed. I don’t think it’s unfair to say a lot of people don’t ask those questions or don’t care when the answer is “no”.

      Mike, I didn’t know Philip’s a shooter too.

      1. Yes, my homedog Phillip is a shooter. Having never shot with him I can’t attest to whether or not he is a good shooter but I’ll reserve judgement until I see it in person : )

    2. I’m late to replying here (surprise, surprise I was hunting for 6 hours today) but Steve covered most of the major points for me. High capacity magazines are about a couple of things for me: 1) Convienance. this one is often brushed aside by gun opponents but when you like to shoot guns recreationally, a high capacity magazine makes your hobby a lot easier. To drive an analogy, imagine going to the driving range and they told you you could only have 6 golf balls at a time and then you had to walk back to the counter and request 6 more. Pretty soon you would get tired of it and quit going to the driving range. While it may seem silly to people who don’t like guns, recreational shooting is a huge pastime in this country. I have plenty of friends who shoot at ranges and never hunt.

      2) I DO consider the 2nd Amendment to be something that provides not just for an armed populace to prevent government tyranny but I’m just a little bit of a survivalist. I keep a go-bag for myself and the family, emergency kits in the car, I stockpile a moderate amount of ammo and I DO think it’s prudent to think about what we would need/do if the shit really hit the fan. Think about the violence after the Rodney king incident, the riots of the 1960s, Hurricane Katrina. I want to be able to get my family to safety and guns facilitate that (I guess this all sort of falls under self-defense).

      As for numbers, i’ve got a semi-auto rifle I hunt squirrels with that holds 16 rounds. but it’s also chambered in .22 so it doesn’t seem as scarry as a 7.62x39mm AK-47 round. It’s got a high capacity for target practice but it’s also a great hunting gun. My three pistols hold 6, 8 and 15 rounds depending on the gun you choose. With my .22 pistol which is also my concealed carry gun, 8 rounds may be what I need to stop an assailant. If I ever get to that point, I want more, not less.

      Where I (and I’m going to assume to speak for Steve here) bristle on the ‘assault weapon’ dinstinction is because it’s often based on the appearance of the gun more than it’s actual function. As an example, check out these two links:

      The first is a Remington Model 700

      http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/centerfire/model-700/model-700-cdl-sf-limited-edition-2010.aspx

      This is the gun I hunt deer. Looks like a standard hunting rifle. Now check out the second pic:

      http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.jallenenterprises.com/images/JAE-700%2520RSA%2520Olive%2520Drab%2520w%2520Titanium%2520Grey%2520Accessories.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.jallenenterprises.com/jae700rsa_overview.htm&usg=__XNIbCgWKaBYFZxq1WnY6d48Q9D0=&h=288&w=752&sz=112&hl=en&start=0&zoom=1&tbnid=q7d78UFYemHqfM:&tbnh=89&tbnw=232&ei=rkIyTeyPLIWClAen6LSmCg&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dremington%2B700%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN%26rlz%3D1R2GPEA_en%26biw%3D1415%26bih%3D691%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=297&oei=rkIyTeyPLIWClAen6LSmCg&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=22&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:0&tx=114&ty=46

      Looks pretty scary right? Same gun.

      This is a long comment and i apologize but one last point, most gun crime in this country is committed with small capacity pistols chambered for light rounds. Those are what gangbangers prefer. Most of the people who own the big scary ‘assault rifles’ are super-responsible recreational shooters who just like big scary guns.

  14. And before you pin gun policy on conservatives I should point out that there are a LOT of conservative Democrats who believe just as strongly in those gun rights.

    I support gun rights, despite not liking guns or thinking that they are necessary. (It’s the equivalent of “I disagree with what you say, but I will fight to the death for your right to say it.”)

    I also support the idea that they shouldn’t be unlimited.

    Not being experienced with them, my idea of “legitimate” vs. “illegitimate” uses probably needs a little informing.

    Conservatives believe that adults should be able to own guns and be personally responsible with them. When someone flips their lid and uses them in a multiple homicide that person vacated his personal responsibilities. It wasn’t a failure of the policy, it was a failure of the individual.

    This is a cop-out. “Personal responsibility” requires that there be a person to hold responsible when something goes wrong. If someone is insane, by definition they can’t be held responsible. Who takes “personal responsibility” for the Jared Loughners? (…especially when they kill themselves afterwards, as did not happen in this case but certainly has on other occasions.)

    many liberals … believe in the government as an Allfather that should protect all of his little children from one another. The children surrender their personal responsibility to the father and so their failures become his fault.

    That is an inaccurate representation of my views on the matter. I don’t know of any liberals who subscribe to authoritarianism, much less government-centered, though I’m sure they are out there.

    I (and I think most liberals, or at least those in my general area of the political spectrum) see government as a tool. Like any tool, it can be abused, but often it’s the only tool available for the job.

    If, for example, the NRA took it upon themselves to play an active role in monitoring and clearing gun sales, and evidence indicated they were doing a decent job of it, I would be the first to say “okay, the government should probably stay out of this”. (For that matter, there are many things I wish the government would get the hell out of. Airline security, abortion, and alcohol sales come readily to mind.)

    As always, though, the Republican/conservative response to “government intrusion” is to deny that the problem exists, or is soluble, or is worth worrying our pretty little liberal heads over.

  15. <i.“Personal responsibility” requires that there be a person to hold responsible when something goes wrong. If someone is insane, by definition they can’t be held responsible.

    Honestly i think lunatics shouldn’t even be part of the equation. They are (thankfully) a tiny blip on the radar of gun crimes. So then let’s talk about the actual criminals. They aren’t insane – so they must be responsible themselves. And here’s the thing: When you say ‘society must take responsibility’ what you are saying is that millions of responsible gun owners must give up some of their rights because a small minority use their guns for bad things. It’s really like saying “Some people drive their sports cars way to fast and get in wrecks so we should no longer make sports cars,” or “Some people drink too much and start bar fights so no more liquor for anyone.” That’s throwing the baby out with the bath water.

  16. So then let’s talk about the actual criminals. They aren’t insane – so they must be responsible themselves.

    Somehow, the idea of being able to hold criminals responsible for their crimes doesn’t exactly fill me with supreme confidence that harsher gun laws are entirely unnecessary for reducing gun violence.

    Yeah, don’t worry about gun abuse — we can always hold the criminals responsible. Right.

    Maybe you’re not familiar with this, but in the working world a “responsible party” is generally someone who has been trained for their work, vetted by others experienced in it, and has a track record of competence at it. In exchange for that responsibility, they’re given authority and credibility — which can be taken away if they seriously screw up, so that they can’t ever again get into a position where their screwups can hurt people.

    I’d be fine with applying the same standards for gun ownership.

    When you say ‘society must take responsibility’ what you are saying is that millions of responsible gun owners must give up some of their rights because a small minority use their guns for bad things.

    Millions of responsible car drivers have to give up some of their rights because a small minority can’t drive safely. How is this any different?

    It’s really like saying “Some people drive their sports cars way too fast and get in wrecks so we should no longer make sports cars.”

    No, it’s like saying “some people drive their sports cars way too fast and get in wrecks, so maybe they should pay higher insurance.

    There’s a thought. Maybe this idea has already been discussed, but I don’t remember seeing it: make gun owners buy insurance to pay for damages to those they wrongly injure. Let the insurance companies decide how much gun owners need to pay. Factors such as “being kicked out of a community college for disturbing behavior” could well have made Loughner’s gun insurance unaffordable, and he would have had to sell his gun or have it disabled.

    Let the free market decide who should have guns and who is too big of a risk.

    Can we agree that it should be at least as difficult to legally own a gun as to legally drive a car?

    1. Millions of responsible car drivers have to give up some of their rights because a small minority can’t drive safely. How is this any different?

      There is at least the difference that the right to drive a car is not mentioned in the Constitution.

    2. If you insist on that level of restriction you make it impossible for a lot of American youths to enjoying shooting sports. I got my first gun when I was 12.

      In KY you cannot hunt without taking a 3-day hunter education class. but there are licensing restrictions that facilitate this (w/out the class you can’t get your annual permit). It’s impossible to enforce that for simply target shooting. As another analogy, when i was 14 I was allowed to drive automobiles around my dad’s farm. it wasn’t illegal because I was on private land. Gun restrictions would run into the same legal hurdles.

      I don’t think insurance is necessary. We have laws that punish dangerous gun owners.

  17. There is at least the difference that the right to drive a car is not mentioned in the Constitution.

    That is a point.

    It seems to me that with the way our society is set up these days (and I wish it weren’t so), in some geographic areas (such as here in the southeast, outside of a few metro centers) car drivership is an essential tool for earning one’s wages — so it’s covered by “liberty” and “pursuit of happiness”. One should have the freedom to use whatever tools are necessary in order to do one’s job, so long as one doesn’t abuse them; that seems implicit in Constitutional principle.

    And no, I’m not seriously arguing that there should be a Right to Drive.

    I am arguing, however, that car drivership is more essential, in this day and age, than gun ownership. Nobody is going to overthrow a modern tyranny with an arsenal of personal weaponry, not even “assault weapons”.

    If you want to argue for the right for non-government entities to own armed tanks and aircraft, that would make more sense. There needs to be accountability, however, in case of abuse. I think we’d all agree that government-run registration and licensing are problematic, if you’re trying to protect the capability to rise up against government tyranny; I’d like to see some other ideas.

    And yes, I’m seriously arguing that “right-wing militias” can be a force for good — but only provisionally. We need some guidelines for what is reasonable and what isn’t. Should militias be allowed to have nuclear weapons? What level of arsenal would allow a militia to actually hold its own against the US military, and under what circumstances would it be legitimate for them to do so?

    Another key question: what do gun advocates see as the primary purposes of the 2nd Amendment? Why is it important for people to be able to own guns, specifically?

    I mean, here’s the quote: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Okay, “Militia” clearly refers to personal weapons, but it seems to me that the intent is something like this: “In order for citizens to be able to protect themselves individually and collectively, the right of the people to own dangerous weapons and materials shall not be infringed.”

    So where’s the 2nd Amendment outrage over things like this, for example?: http://memepunks.blogspot.com/2006/06/americas-war-on-science.html

    Try as I might, I just can’t see guns (above a certain stopping power, anyway) as a vital necessity outweighing the damage they cause — but I would totally get behind an amendment to prevent the government from banning private ownership of “dangerous” stuff, even if that included guns (which it would have to in order to be consistent).

    I would also argue against other legal restrictions on gun ownership if insurance was required.

    Mike says:

    I don’t think insurance is necessary. We have laws that punish dangerous gun owners.

    Then why do we have, compared to heavily-armed Switzerland:
    * more than 4 times as many accidental gun-related deaths?
    * more than 12 times as many gun homicides?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

    1. Insurance or a lack of insurance has nothing to do with the crime rate. The problem is the ease of access in inner cities and the widespread gang problems in those same areas.Switzerland has neither problem.

      1. Okay, that’s a theory. What’s your evidence?

        1. Well just look at the crime statistics by state and city and it confirms where most gun crime is occuring. As for ease of access, this is from Jim Kessler at Democracy Journal:

          “There are 280 million firearms in private hands in America, and last year there were about 300,000 gun crimes. That means that at least 279,700,000 guns did nothing wrong. We also know that in 89 percent of crimes, the person using the gun was not the person who originally bought it. In 34 percent of crimes, the firearm was bought in one state and used in a crime in another. And in 32 percent of crimes, the firearm was less than three years old.

          This indicates that the root of America’s gun crime problem is not the number of guns in the hands of Americans, but an extensive web of gun trafficking operations that funnel firearms to criminals. In some cases, the trafficking operations cover long distances. Nearly 40 percent of all crime guns recovered in New Jersey and New York came from Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and the Carolinas. Nine out of 10 crime guns changed hands between the first purchase (which was likely legal) to the last purchase (which was certainly illegal).”

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