10 December 2009

Gun Policy News

I subscribe to gunpolicy news from http://www.gunpolicy.org/ which is like an international version of the gun guys.

One article that caught my interest was an op-ed piece from the LA Times called America's pointless gun fight. It's by Richard Feldman, so he tries to be unbiased about the issue saying that it's both sides who are being unreasonable. I tend to disagree with that, since most of the lack of reason comes from the more radical segment of the pro-gun side who see any attempt to regulate fireams as an infringement on their "gun rights". Feldman does make a very good point:
What is missing from The Times' editorial and from the ongoing national debate is the following:

First, we need to recognize that guns are present in more than 40% of all homes in this country -- like it or not. Any credible discussion of this issue must acknowledge that reality.

Second, gun owners and non-gun owners alike are in universal agreement in this country that violent, predatory criminals should not possess, have access to nor easily obtain firearms.

Third, we all wish that mentally troubled individuals would not own, possess or acquire guns.

Both sides of the debate need to acknowledge they actually agree on several key issues. I am a gun owner, and I do not intend to surrender my rights because of the acts of criminals, mental midgets or a sentimental wish of how things might be somewhere else (The Times muses about Canada's low homicide rate). I am hungry for action that moves our common agenda forward.

Mr. Feldman, I think we have sentimental wishes coming from both sides. Looking at how gun control has worked in other jurisdictions is merely an academic exercise. It has some value, but the US gun situation is very unique.

Also, I have a question about the figure that "guns are present in more than 40% of all homes in this country" which isn't disputing the figure, but a question of how many of those homes would keep the firearms if registration were imposed?

A realistic scenario for gun registration in the US would be that there would be a period of amnesty in which people were given the option of registering their firearms (which would probably be grandfathered in) or legally disposing of them. How many would turn their guns in as part of a gun amnesty or buyback?

My opinion on the reason the gun lobby fears registration has nothing to do with its efficacy as a tool for controlling firearms, but the fact that it WILL reduce the amount of firearms sold. How many people would buy a firearm if it requires a registration process?

It's not about public safety, but how much money the gun companies can make selling firearms and not caring where they end up.

Feldman does end on a very good point:
The bottom line is this: We must stop debating the polemics of guns and instead show wisdom and maturity to begin to resolve the problems of the negligent misuse of guns. Though a cliche, the following is nevertheless true: Guns aren't ever the problem; guns in the wrong hands are always the problem. How we address this problem will determine the future of gun safety in America.

Does saying that make him anti-gun? Although I already imagine he is seen as a turncoat for having written "Ricochet: Confessions of a Gun Lobbyist". Nevermind that he was an executive director of the firearm industry's trade association and a regional political director for the National Rifle Association.

Not from Gunpolicy.org, but from my past reading and collection we have a couple of interesting articles from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting we have a couple of interesting articles that seem to be lost in the dreck: Jeff Cohen's Gun Control, the NRA and the Second Amendment and Howard Friel's How the NRA Rewrote the Constitution: On Second Amendment, Reporters Side With Gun Lobby Against Supreme Court.

These articles deal with how the National Rifle Association has advanced the view that the amendment provides a fundamental right to private gun ownership that cannot be abridged by the passage of gun control laws. In fact, the actual finding that the Second Amendment provided an "individual right" in DC v. Heller did not come through legal precedent, but from a well planned attack by a special interest group, the Cato Institute.

The problem is that the gun debate like other US policy debates seems to be dominated by continuing misinformation, lies and deception used by ideologically shaped skeptics who deny (in this case, climate change, but it can be gun control or whatever). If deniers can convince the public that gun control (climate science, etcetera) is bogus, then there is no need for legal reforms. There is an industry of those who are paid to say that there are gun rights (manmade global warming isn’t happening, etcetera). The great majority of people who believe this have not been paid; however, they have been duped.

Gun control is a wedge issue par excellence in that all sorts of emotive situations and language can be used. Brainwashing doesn't take any sci-fi gadgetry or Manchurian Candidate hypnotism bullshit. There are all sorts of tried-and-true techniques that anyone can use to bypass the thinking part of your brain and flip a switch deep inside that says "OBEY."

How long will it take before people get fed up with the concept of "gun rights" and wake up?

How many incidents like this one where a NH Man was Charged With Firing AK-47 in a Massachusetts Restaurant:
Authorities said Anthony Gobbi, 30, of East Wakefield, N.H., fired an AK-47 into the restaurant's ceiling as patrons ducked for cover. Police said Gobbi became enraged when bartenders at the China Lion restaurant refused to serve him alcohol, believing he was drunk.

Police said that after he was refused service, Gobbi went to his truck, retrieved a handgun and the AK-47, returned to the restaurant and opened fire.

While most patrons ducked for cover, others managed to tackle Gobbi, wrestling him outside as he squeezed off a few more bursts of gunfire, police said. Gobbi was pinned to the ground while others called 911.

People didn't need guns to stop this shooter, they just needed to stand up to him and be fearless.

People need to stand up to the US gun lobby and not take it anymore.
(I was trying to figure out how to get the AK-47 story in there)