Tag Archives: gun issues

Kids These Days: Focus on Voting

The Reno Gazette Journal ran a piece this morning on the Student Walk Out in remembrance of the Columbine massacre.

“Students from at least eight Washoe County schools are planning to walk out of their classrooms, march through the streets or call their representatives on Friday to demand action over gun violence in schools.

The walkout is expected to start at 10 a.m., the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado, and in conjunction with hundreds of other planned walkouts across the country.” [RGJ]

It seems appropriate to note that while the students are good at keeping their focus on the issues at hand, the media and all too many adults are having some difficulties doing the same.   The Las Vegas Sun ran what read like a canned article, the online edition of the Review Journal didn’t mention the walk out.

What should we, as adults, do to help the kids get their message out — and keep it in the public spotlight?  Get informedThe Trace is a good place to start.  However, I’m probably typing for the choir here.  There are other sites which collect and disseminate statistics such as the Johns Hopkins University Center for Gun Policy and Research; Everytown Research; and the Gun Violence Archive.

Get Registered.  Okay, we’re already registered, but what about friends and neighbors?  The Secretary of State’s Office posts basic information.  Not in Las Vegas or Reno/Sparks areas?  County Clerk information is here DMV.org also provides basic information:

  • Be a:
    • Citizen of the United States.
    • Nevada resident for at least 30 days before the date of an election.
    • Resident of your precinct for at least 10 days before the election.
  • Be at least 18 years old on or before the date of the election.
  • Not have been declared mentally incompetent by a court of law.
  • Not claim any other place as your legal residence.

If you have been convicted of a non-violent felony your voting rights are restored after you are discharged from incarceration and/or parole. If you have been convicted of a violent felony, or a second felony, you will need to apply to have your civil rights restored.

Vote.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada, Nevada politics, Politics

What’s Next? The kids are already ahead of the pundits

For all the pundit palaver on television opining about “what’s next?” please be advised the kids are already ahead of the game.  We can reasonably assume that while the stage was being dismantled there were youngsters working on their ParentsPromiseToKids web site.  The site is simple and direct.

“Students Adam Buchwald and Zach Hibshman, both juniors at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, have taken the initiative to create the organization “Parents Promise To Kids” to ensure that children’s voices are HEARD! In our movement, we urge parents to make a promise to their children that they will vote for politicians who choose your children’s safety over guns! Children under the age of 18 are not permitted to vote for our leaders; however, their parents are. We want parents to sign a contract to promise their children that they will vote for politicians who will keep our schools safe. Parents, make a promise to your kids!”

The instructions are simple and direct:

In order to be apart of our movement, we would like parents to sign a contract, print it, and take a picture with their children to show their support against guns. Please refer to our contract page.

There are contract forms for parents, for grandparents, and a general contract for “interested others.” Download. Print. Share.  As of today 8,521 individuals have downloaded the contracts.  It’s the next step to assist those youngsters who are as yet too young to vote in our elections, but unfortunately not too young to be the targets of gun violence.

Your support would be appreciated.  (In the time it took to type this post the number of downloads moved from 8,513 to 8,527.  Join the movement.)

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

Guess What The Senate Thinks Is More Important Than Children Killed By Semiautomatic Weapons?

And the answer is …. <drumroll please> … S. 2155, for March 5, 2018 on the Senate Calendar. (pdf)  By the way, the title of the bill sponsored by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) is the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.  Put the emphasis on the “regulatory relief” part of that title, because it certainly isn’t on the consumer protection phrase in that title.  So, what is the Senate doing instead of taking on issues related to gun violence and weapons of war on our streets?

The bill amends the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 to exempt banks with assets valued at less than $10 billion from the “Volcker Rule,” which prohibits banking agencies from engaging in proprietary trading or entering into certain relationships with hedge funds and private-equity funds. Certain banks are also exempted by the bill from specified capital and leverage ratios, with federal banking agencies directed to promulgate new requirements.

The bill amends the United States Housing Act of 1937 to reduce inspection requirements and environmental-review requirements for certain smaller, rural public-housing agencies.

Provisions relating to enhanced prudential regulation for financial institutions are modified, including those related to stress testing, leverage requirements, and the use of municipal bonds for purposes of meeting liquidity requirements.

The bill requires credit reporting agencies to provide credit-freeze alerts and includes consumer-credit provisions related to senior citizens, minors, and veterans. [Congress]

It’s hard enough to understand a Senate in which the answer to assault weapon violence is to require states and localities to enter information into the national database — information they are already required to submit — but it’s more important to them to let some banks get out of complying with the Volcker Rule (the bank can’t play investment games with depositors’ money.)

Instead of taking up bills to require universal background checks for the purchase of firearms in this bullet riddled country, it’s more important to the US Senate to discuss allow banks to get out from under capital and leverage ratios.

Instead of taking up bills to raise the age for firearm purchases the US Senate deems it of more importance to let some banks reduce inspection requirements and environmental-review requirements in rural areas — raising the question: Why should rural areas be less protected than urban ones?

Instead of debating bills to ban the sale of bump stocks to enhance the lethality of AR-15 and similar weapons of war, the US Senate thinks it is more important to allow some banks to skirt the demands of stress testing.

Instead of discussing how to stop the sale of weapons of war to civilians the US Senate believes it to be of more urgency to take a vote on easing the restrictions on proprietary trading….

Instead of taking action on bills to reduce the likelihood of additional carnage in our public spaces, or in the privacy of our homes, the United States Senate would far rather roll back consumer protections enacted in the wake of the Housing Bubble Debacle.

This is nothing less than the absence of national leadership and the abdication of morality.

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Filed under Economy, financial regulation, Gun Issues, Politics

Rule: It is never productive to argue with idiots.

When teenagers — a subset of American humanity often associated with pleas for automobiles, electronic toys, and strange clothing — are making 100% more sense than adults in the wake of the tragedy in Parkland, FL, then it’s time to remind myself that it is never productive to argue with morons — especially adult morons.

There is no reasoning with adults who say things like: “Gun controllers have the wrong end of the stick…you can murder people with a pencil.”  Granted. Now, when it becomes technically possible to murder 58 people at a music concert, or 17 students and teachers in a school, in the space of a few minutes, with a pencil you can bet your next paycheck I’ll post an impassioned plea for pencil control.  There’s no reasoning with whack jobs who express this kind of idiocy.

I apologize to morons and idiots everywhere because there has to be a lower level of intelligence to explain someone saying, “I have a Constitutional Right to my firearms.” Yes, but there are no unlimited rights.  That is what grownups would call “license.”  Question: Would you, oh absolutist advocate for the 2nd Amendment, like for me to post flyers around your neighborhood falsely accusing you of child molestation? Because it’s my 1st Amendment right to “express myself?”  Would you have a problem if I captured your spouse, hauled the victim to the top of a pyramid and performed a human sacrifice in the name of Freedom of Religion?  For heaven’s sake why do we even listen to these people?

Forgive me if I smirk when someone argues that the 2nd Amendment underpins all the others.  Smirking is what I might do instead of outright breaking into uncontrollable giggles at your fundamental misinterpretation of some relatively simple language.  What prevents governments by grown ups from engaging in nefarious practices isn’t the 2nd Amendment, it’s the 1st.  It’s the freedom of speech which gives voice to opposition views; it’s the freedom of the press which amplifies those ideas.  No one needed a gun to find out that 13 Russians and 3 Russian corporations interfered in the US election season in 2016.  We have a perfectly good squad of investigators and an equally competent group of journalists to tell us what’s going on. No rifles required. ;

If you feel you need an AR-15 to guard your property you must have a heck of a lot more property than Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, and the Sultan of Brunei combined.  Many families make do with a dog. ($32 to bail one out of the county pound) Other families purchase home security systems.  More expensive than a dog, but also perfectly serviceable.  If you must have a gun — why not a good old fashioned 10 or 12 gauge shotgun? They are just as effective and don’t usually require you replace a wall in your home after use.  Only a resolute fool would replace a dog, a home security system, or a shot gun with a semi-automatic weapon of war.

So, I’m just going to leave this here.  I’ll talk with people who ask questions like: How can we best mitigate the lethality of shooting in public spaces?  I’ll listen to people who ask how we can preserve responsible hunting practices and activities while regulating the proliferation of weapons of war.  I’m happy to discuss common sense gun regulation with those who enjoy target and trap shooting, and who also want their children to be safe at school, at a music concert, or in a church.  However, I will not waste my time — and I certainly will NOT waste my vote — on fools who make idiots and morons sound like Einstein.

Finis.

 

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

Enough Again and Again

I’ve heard all the excuses, repeated endlessly, by people doing the bidding of the Merchants of Death.

We can’t have universal background checks because that would be a violation of our liberty.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t enact a ban on bump stocks and other modifying elements to make rifles more lethal because we can’t exactly specify what modification meet the technical definitions (written by industry lobbyists and captured agencies.)

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t prevent individuals on the terrorist watch list from obtaining firearms because the list isn’t perfect and some person might not be able to purchase a gun immediately.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t ban assault style rifles because they are a very popular gun, and banning them will only make them more desirable.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t enact more stringent laws about preventing those convicted of domestic violence from procuring firearms because that would endanger our liberties.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t enact gun regulations to meet the current epidemic of gun violence because no law will prevent all the kinds of violent incidents.

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

We can’t prevent gun violence because the main cause is mental illness, and we should address that issue. (Albeit without funding, without CDC research, and without noticing that other countries have disaffected people with emotional and psychological issues and they don’t have the miserable statistics we do.)

17 more people are dead in Parkland, Florida because someone used an assault style rifle.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

A Simple Message

I put this on Twitter yesterday, but just for reference I’ll repeat it here in a slightly longer form:

Dear Candidate,

I intend to vote in the 2018 elections.  Please know that if you accept money from the NRA, the Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club, Gun Owners of America, etc. I will vote for your opponent, even if you are running against a Muppet.

Me

 

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

Catching On To Some Obvious Conclusions: Guns and the Silver State

If you’ve not yet read the Reno Gazette Journal op-ed by Cory Farley on common sense and guns … click over now … you can always come back.  Spoiler:

“Increasingly — not fast enough, but increasingly — society doesn’t care what you think, either. If you’re looking at 50-odd bodies and nearly 500 wounded, maimed, permanently changed people who were just out to hear a little music and drink a little beer, and you’re shrugging that off as the price they had to pay for your stop-the-tyrants or protect-your-family fantasies, you are the problem, and the nation is catching on to you.”

Those fantasies are groomed, massaged, and perpetrated by the NRA and the even more outlandish Gun Owners of America.

The NRA source of income? “The bulk of the group’s money now comes in the form of contributions, grants, royalty income, and advertising, much of it originating from gun industry sources.” [BI]

“Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun industry include Cabela’s, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.” [BI]

The political money, of course, comes from other streams.  During the upcoming campaign season notice if that pro-gun rights flyer is coming from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a front group for the NRA.  That’s the primary industry trade association.  However, we won’t see the NSSF, or the CEO of Freedom Group, or the CEO of Beretta, in front of the microphones after another mass shooting, the NRA will take front and center.  The organization acts as a shield (or barrier) between the industry and activists who want more regulation of firearms in this country.

The political money comes from the NRA’s “NRA Political Victory Fund,”  which is where the small ($35.00 arithmetical mean donation) and the not-so-small ($50,000) donors come into the picture.  The lobbying funds come from the “NRA Institute for Legislative Action.” [CNNmoney]  There are two actions they’d like to see on the immediate legislative agenda: the unregulated sale of silencers; and, reciprocity of concealed carry permits across state lines.

There’s nothing like hearing paeans to Liberty, Freedom, and Small Government from the NRA, and then listening to the calls to override state and local restrictions on firearms and accessories.   And, getting an earful of “Freedom” folk who don’t mind the proliferation of weapons as long as they feel their own personal arsenal is secure from government clutches.

One of the less convincing arguments set forth by proliferators states that more regulation won’t solve the last tragedy, and besides most gun deaths are suicides…

The Suicide Trap 

After each mass shooting or other tragic event we get the same rhetoric from the NRA public relations department:  Guns make us safer, and most gun deaths are the result of suicide.  No, and yes.

“The nine states that rank lowest in terms of gun prevalence are the very same nine that rank lowest for suicide rates. Similarly, the three states top-ranked for gun prevalence can be found among the four states ranking highest for suicide rates.” [HarvardMed]

This would make sense, given that there are 44,193 suicides annually, 49.8% of these are firearm related. [AFSPGuidance published in the American Family Physician suggests that treatment for suicidal ideation should include an evaluation of the person’s “plan,” and if the person has access to a firearm.  Poor social support, poor judgment, and access to a gun usually leads to a decision to immediately hospitalize a client.  Sadly, untreated patients with poor social support, poor judgment, and a fun end up in the statistics.  What makes this information relevant for Nevada policy makers is that those with suicidal ideation generally come in three classifications: immediate risk, short term risk, and long term risk.  And, here comes the bad news for those at immediate or short term risk — there is no waiting period in the state of Nevada for the purchase of a firearm.

It is left to the judgment of the gun seller — ranging from a reliable, experienced, and empathetic salesperson to a quick sale artiste in the parking lot at a gun show — to determine if the person making the purchase is looking to make that purchase for all the wrong reasons.  Wrong reasons coupled with the lethality element is a formula for tragedy:

“Firearms suicide accounted for six percent of attempts, and 54 percent of fatalities in one study that examined hospital data from eight states. For comparison, drug or poison overdosing accounted for 71 percent of attempts but only 12 percent of fatalities.” [Trace]

Thus in Nevada we leave it to the gun seller to determine if the person wanting the firearm is someone contemplating suicide, and if the buyer is likely to be one of those 6% of attempts who will be among the 54% of fatalities; a heavy burden since suicide is the 9th (or 10th) most common cause of death in the U.S.

A reasonable waiting period would at the very least absolve the gun dealer from responsibility for those in the immediate risk category and perhaps a few more in the short term risk classification; not to mention preventing the lethal act which never fails to harm families and friends.  Waiting 72 hours for a hand gun shouldn’t be so much of an inconvenience in light of the prospect of preventing an immediate or short term suicide decision.  There is something else we could do as well.

Background Checks

The last public polling done on the subject of universal background checks shows that 94% of all Americans, including 93% of Republicans and 95% of Independents, and 98% of Democrats.   One doesn’t see that kind of agreement in many other topics.  Meanwhile in Nevada:

“Nevada voters in November on a vote of 50.45 percent to 49.55 percent passed a measure requiring federal background checks for sales of guns between private individuals. The new requirement to close what some call the gun-show loophole was in addition to the longstanding requirement for background checks for purchases from licensed gun dealers.”

The ballot measure required both the buyer and seller to appear before a federally licensed firearms dealer to request a background check. The aim was to keep guns from felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill, according to the measure’s backers.” [BNS]

Now add an uncooperative Attorney General:

“Adam Laxalt, the state’s Republican attorney general, concluded in December that the measure was unenforceable, citing the FBI letter. Laxalt had opposed the requirement, and his campaign manager, Robert Uithoven, led NRA Nevadans for Freedom, the political action committee that opposed the measure.”   [BNS]

And while the Attorney General digs his heels into the NRA’s topsoil:

“The FBI has said Nevada is already a full “point of contact” state that uses the federal NICS system and a state central repository that also has mental health records, domestic violence incidents, misdemeanor criminal records, arrest reports and restraining orders.

In his letter, Ferrario writes the issue “can and should be easily resolved” with a dual system that would use the federal NICS system for private sales.

The governor’s spokeswoman said Nevada background checks for retail gun sales are “more comprehensive and thorough” than FBI checks.” [LVRJ]

It doesn’t take much more than this sorry impasse to conclude that Nevada’s leadership is intent on finding ways NOT to enforce the election results — when those results don’t comport with the desires of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the NRA, and the gun manufacturers.

In short, Nevada could reduce the lethality of suicides by firearms, but without a waiting period the odds of a fatal event increase for those disturbed individuals in the immediate and short term classifications.  We probably won’t.

Nevada could do what the voters directed in terms of background checks, but the muddlers will probably cry out that this wouldn’t have prevented the carnage at the Las Vegas music festival, so what’s the use?   So, this procrastination will likely continue.

However, as noted in the op-ed above, what’s different now is that people are, indeed, catching on.  After mentally ill individuals shot up an elementary school and a movie theater, after a maladjusted pair shot up an office Christmas party, after other poorly adjusted misfits shot up two college campuses, after a mentally unfit individual shot up a Planned Parenthood Clinic, after a white supremacist shot up a Bible Study session, after another mentally maladjusted person shot up an IHOP restaurant, and after a gambler with major issues shot up a music concert….  Yes, maybe we’re catching on.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada politics, Politics