I'd like to put up some recent comments, some postings I've read, and some some of my own opinions regarding gun control issues, and how these may or may not relate back to deadly shooting in Aurora over the weekend, and contrast these with another deadly shooting, one that hits a lot closer to home for me: the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech.
I'm going to start with the reason I'm even posting ANYTHING about this, the second paragraph of William's comments in the original Aurora thread. To be fair, he DID post the whole "thoughts and prayers" sentiment, but the second half of his comments were bound to lead to more contentious discussion. (Hey: It's WILLIAM.) And I didn't want that thread turning into a flame-war, so to speak. So, here they are:
However I'm sure this will be used by the anti-gun groups to call for removal of the 1st amendment. I just wish there was an easier way to take mentally ill people off the streets sooner rather than being forced to wait until after they commit horrendous crimes. The stories are he was planning this for months. If only there was a way of profiling the criminally mentally ill. But, alas, that would be criminal in its own. So we must wait until the nut-cases kill multitudes of innocent people before any actions are taken. Then the punishment will be limited for fear of 'cruelty' to the guilty. What a great system we have. We deny the authority's the ability to lock up guilty people until AFTER they commit horrendous crimes, then blame the authorities for not acting sooner, then deny the authorities a viable punishment worthy of the crime.There are some good (debatable) points buried in there but first, let's have some fun with our resident Right-Wing Punching Bag, shall we?
First of all, the anti-gun lobby has never 'called for the removal of the FIRST Amendment.' Not even in Rush Limbaugh's wettest fever dreams. I assume you meant the SECOND Amendment.
Second... "I just wish there was an easier way to take mentally ill people off the streets sooner rather than being forced to wait until after they commit horrendous crimes." Couple things here... So... You advocate LOCKING PEOPLE UP, who HAVE NOT, in fact, committed any crimes? Also, the obvious Nazism and Fascism of that statement notwithstanding, your bigotry and ignorance regarding mental illness is truly astounding. I have many friends and family members who have death with or are dealing with varying degrees of mental illness, running the gamut from mild depression up to attempted suicide to having had at least episode of a full, psychotic break from reality. Guess what? With therapy and medication, I am happy to say that they are ALL leading happy, productive and independent lives. Why you think they should be LOCKED UP, simply because their brains (an organ, just like any other than can go bad on you) is slightly more likely to go bad than yours or mine, is beyond me. You complain that I stereotype conservatives, and the you go and say something WORSE than anything I've ascribed to them. Was this, perhaps, carelessness on your part, or are you really that big a dick?
(And if you're suggesting that forced hospitalization is somehow better than jail, I will refer you to Gov. Ronald W. Reagan's signing of the the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act in 1967, which went into effect in 1969 and quickly became the national model for dealing with the mentally ill and their rights.)
"What a great system we have. We deny the authority's the ability to lock up guilty people until AFTER they commit horrendous crimes, then blame the authorities for not acting sooner, then deny the authorities a viable punishment worthy of the crime."REALLY?! Again, you suggest that we should "lock up guilty people" before they commit crimes. Um... If they haven't committed a crime (as Holmes had not) then what are the "guilty" of? And on what basis should we "lock them up?" Are you TRYING to make Conservatives look ad? I thoiught that was MY job! Also - WHO'S "blaming the authorities for not acting sooner" here? Um... That would be NO ONE. Holmes had no record, and purchased his guns legally. And how have we "den[ied] the authorities a viable punishment?" Colorado allows the Death Penalty, for better or worse. (And that's mighty Christian of you, to want this man killed, BTW. I'm sure Jesus would be very proud and feel the same way.) In any case, do you seriously believe that this man will ever be free again? Do you have any doubt that, if convicted (and how could he not be?), he will at least receive Life without possibility of parole? And he's already torpedoed his own "insanity" defense with the efforts at his apartment to cover his tracks and destroy evidence.
We'll see how it plays out. Any less that Life Without, and I'll buy you a Coke.
OK. That's enough of that from me. (But feel free to join the pile on, if you wish.) There IS the question of how the "anti-gun" lobby will use this to further their agenda. And, yes, there is no doubt they will. I saw as much after Virgina Tech. And while this is both wrong and misguided, I'll have to say that it shows infinitely more wisdom that the propaganda spread by the NRA and the rest of the Pro-Gun lobby, suggesting that IF ONLY there had been at least ONE PERSON in that theatre (or those classrooms) with a GUN, all this could have been avoided!
...Which, of course, is completely idiotic.
Consider for a moment the best case scenario: One other guy in the theatre with a gun, and the presence of mind to use it before the tear gas gets to him.This great patriot would still be shooting at Holmes in the dark, in a theatre PACKED full of panicking people.
Yeah, I’m sure that would work out exactly as he’d envisioned it.
Then consider the ultimate Right-Wing wet dream of MANY armed people being in that crowd! Between the noise and the chaos and the crowd and the darkness and the tear gas, and MULTIPLE SHOOTERS… how would you even know who to shoot?! How would you still know who the ‘bad guy’ was?! The answer, of course, is that you wouldn’t, and the only possible outcomes of adding MORE GUNS to an inherently chaotic situation would be that MORE PEOPLE will die. Controlled, well-executed combat under those circumstances is something that out military and police forces train intensely for. It is not something your average dirty-Harry wanna-be is prepared for. Like most Right-Wing opinions, it makes for an interesting fantasy, but completely ignore reality.
But there some political symmetry here, no? I mean… If the right is going to say “I told you so,” even idiotically, the Left will no doubt do the same, right? And no doubt, true to form, they have. But, as with most situations of (bogus) political symmetry, the Left’s “insanity,” the Left’s “assault on our freedom,” isn’t so easily debunked. MMFA recently ran a piece in the wake of Aurora showing what those “gun hating Liberals” are proposing, which have overwhelming public support:
(For the record, you may consider me a supported of ALL of these measures as well.)
• 86 percent support requiring all gun buyers to pass a criminal background check, no matter where they purchase the weapon or from whom they buy it. (January 2011 American ViewPoint/Momentum Analysis poll)
• 63 percent favor a ban on high capacity magazines or clips. (January 2011 CBS News poll)
• 69 percent support "limiting the number of guns a person could purchase in a given time frame." (April 2012 Ipsos/Reuters poll)
• 66 percent support requiring gun owners to register their firearms as part of a national gun registry. (January 2011 American ViewPoint/Momentum Analysis poll)
• 88 percent support banning those on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns. (January 2011 American ViewPoint/Momentum Analysis poll)
Now the background check / terror watch list stuff does not apply here. I’m a bigger criminal than Holmes was. (I have more than one speeding ticket to my name.) It would have prevented Seung Hui Cho from getting his guns… But then, that law was already on the books, and was ineffective because the multiple background databases don’t overlap or communicate with each other. The magazine capacity limit… Really would not have changed much – it doesn’t take that long to re-load an AR-15 with a new magazine. OTOH… Who really NEEDS that much ammunition at once? What the hell are going to DO with that kind of destructive capacity that WOULDN’T be illegal?! And while the National Gun Registry wouldn’t matter much in the case of most spree shooters (and would not have dissuaded Holmes) it would remain an invaluable too to law enforcement, to be forewarned and forearmed going into a situation where this knowledge might dictate their approach. It would also help the FBI profile the kinds of people who might be likely to commit crimes like this. You know: Kind of like William was suggesting we do, only without actually taking away people’s freedom.
The other item that I wanted to bring up was the recent expired Assault Weapons Ban. It’s been widely bandied about that the AWB may have prevented this. Um… No, not really. “Assauolt Weapons” were defined having either (1) a bayonet attachment lug, (2) a collapsible stock or (3) a flash suppressor. Now, I don’t know if Holmes’ particular AR-15 had ANY of these features, but if even if it DID, he could have simply acquired an AR-15 that DIDN’T and the lack of these would not have saved even a single life in Aurora. (Unless he bayoneted someone that I’m not aware of.)
But back to the Gun registry, and the fear that this will be the first step to disarming the populace…
Are the Democrats “coming for your guns?"
No. They aren’t.
That’s a NRA propaganda-fueled fantasy. Unfortunately, the NRA is such a powerful lobby that ALL politicians have been emasculated to the point that none will propose even one of the very moderate proposals listed above, despite that fact that enjoy such broad public support, even amongst registered Republicans!
Can anyone “take away” your guns? Not without amending the U.S. Constitution, or five new justices on the Supreme Court who are not only gun-phobic, but precedent-phobic as well. (And to date, it is really only the Right Wing judges who have shown such a breathtaking willingness to break precedent.
Anyway… Those are the facts, as I see them. As for my OPINION…?
Well, regarding the LAW, I support the second amendment, and I believe that people should have the right to own guns. I would support reinstating the AWB, as described above, and I support all of the measures mentioned in the MMFA article. These are all basic, common sense safety measures that do not curtail anyone’s freedom in the least. What I DO NOT support is any legal measure aimed at ACTUALLY taking peoples’ guns away or limiting their access in acquiring them. (Criminals and some of the Mentally Ill excepted, of course, as common sense dictates.) My reasoning is simple: If a gun registry and system of background checks have any inherent value, then it is too important to risk people skipping those steps if the State decides it going to play games by issuing only so many licenses, or tries to actually stop people from buying what they way. If a person wants a gun for protection, and the State says, “Sorry, we’re not issuing any more licenses this year,” (which various municipalities in Massachusetts have been know to do,) the SOME OF these people are just going to buy a gun of the street. An unregistered gun. An unlicensed gun. A gun that may have been involved in a crime. Who knows? NOBODY, because the State was stupid enough to pass a law that PUNISHES people for complying with it! (The same logic applies to the RIGHT’S idiotic stance on immigration, but let’s leave that for another time, OK?)
That’s how I view the issue LEGALLY. As for how I feel about GUNS THEMSELVES…?
I despise guns. They can be tremendous TOOLS. (In hunting, for example.) But as personal arms go, a gun is a coward’s weapon. A liar’s weapon. A weapon which makes it far too easy for us to kill, by taking away the WORK and the COMMITMENT to the act. Don't get me wrong - I recognize that this is a necessary tool for our Soldiers and Police Forces. (Because the people they face inevitably have them! Duh!) And despite my feelings about guns in general, and there essential uselessness in situations such as Aurora and Virgina Tech, not to mention the potential LEGAL issues surrounding their usage in more personal encounters (see Martin / Zimmerman) at the end of the day I will still zealously protect my right to own one. While I hate guns, I love freedom. And I love the fact that the CHOICE to own a gun remains my own to make.