Tag Archives: gun issues

Hardening Targets Is The Wrong Target: Harden Access to Firearms

I’m going to hear “we have to harden the targets” one more time coming from my TV speakers and my neighbors may be able to hear me yelling in the direction of the set.  Another day in America. Another school shooting. More deaths. And yet another press conference in which I’m told “the guns belonged to the _____” (in this instance, the father).  Here’s an idea: Harden the access.

This latest atrocity was perpetrated by a 17 year old, armed with his father’s firearms, but we also need to remember that in 2017 there were 17 toddler shootings that resulted in a fatality and another 26 which inflicted non-fatal injuries. [WaPo]

So, we’re going to have another spate of “Roundtable Run Arounds?”  May we assume the tables will include representatives of the gun manufacturers’ lobby? During which “all” viewpoints will be allowed access?  There’s nothing quite like a “roundtable discussion” replete with the same old hoary contentions, ideological arguments, and self-serving lobby interests to forestall any meaningful action — unless, of course, it’s the drafting of “reports,” by committees of “interested stakeholders,” edited by those with the most at stake.  Translation: We can stall any action by taking a “thorough” (read – long) look at the problem and drafting a blue ribbon panel report on the subject. (read – the production of dust catchers and door stops).

For starters, let’s assume a world governed by adults who really do want to protect children.  They want to protect them at home, at school, in churches, at concerts, and in clubs.  Do we really have to make it easy for miscreants to get access to firearms?  There’s good news and bad news on the subject:

Eleven states have laws concerning firearm locking devices. Massachusetts is the only state that generally requires that all firearms be stored with a lock in place; California, Connecticut, and New York impose this requirement in certain situations. Other state laws regarding locking devices are similar to the federal law, in that they require locking devices to accompany certain guns manufactured, sold, or transferred. Five of the eleven states also set standards for the design of locking devices or require them to be approved by a state agency for effectiveness. [Giffords] (emphasis in original)

The good news? Eleven states have done something, however there’s a range of effective to almost ineffective statutes within that range.  The bad news is that only eleven states have enacted safe storage legislation, which means that thirty-nine have nothing between the adult, the teen, or the toddler, and the victims.  There are some common sense measures which can, and should, be legislated in all states to harden the access to firearms.  The Giffords organization recommends the following:

  • All firearms are required to be kept disabled with a locking device except when an authorized user is carrying it on his or her person or has the firearm under his or her immediate control (Massachusetts, New York City).
  • Locking devices are required on all firearms manufactured, sold or transferred in the jurisdiction (California).
  • Standards are set for locking devices (California, Connecticut, New York).
  • Locking devices are tested and approved by a certified independent lab before they may be sold in the jurisdiction (California).
  • A roster is maintained of approved locking devices (California, Massachusetts; Maryland maintains a roster of approved locking devices, but only for handguns).

Nevada has child access prevention statutes on the books, but no assault weapons ban, and no safe storage or gun lock requirement. [KFF]  Every gun owner is “responsible” until he or she isn’t.  Until he or she leaves a handgun within reach of anyone unauthorized to use it, anyone too young to understand what can really happen if it is used.  Until he or she leaves a handgun or long gun unsupervised and it gets stolen. Until he or she leaves the gun safe keys or combination in plain sight. Until he or she decides to leave a loaded gun within reach of a child, or keep the guns and the ammunition conveniently located in the same insecure location making access easy for the unauthorized individual or the garden variety burglar.

Before we place our children in lock down, behind steel doors and bullet resistant windows; before we enter the church nave through metal detectors; before we attend country western music festivals in full armor; before we go out for an evening of music and dancing at a club wearing enough protection to make only “doing the Robot” a practical way to move to the music — we should think about hardening access to the firearms which plague our streets and venues.

We should “harden access” by forbidding the sale or transfer of military weapons of war to civilians.  Should a person want to fire a real military weapon we have several perfectly fine armed services always looking for top quality volunteers.  We should “harden access” by requiring safe storage of all firearms.  We should prevent straw purchases.  We should require reporting of stolen guns.  We should preclude those with a history of domestic violence and abuse from accessing firearms — nothing predicts a shooting quite so well as a history of domestic violence.

It isn’t the “target’s” fault if a toddler finds a handgun.  It isn’t the “victim’s” fault if a domestic abuser commits a family annihilation.  It isn’t the “crowd” at fault if  person in a sniper’s nest decides to rain down terror upon the concert goers.  It isn’t the congregation’s fault if a domestic dispute turns deadly.  If an office party becomes fatal. If a college campus becomes a battle zone.  If…   We speak as though it’s the “target’s” fault if fatalities happen.  It isn’t.  We need to speak of hardening access to firearms, of hardening our attitudes toward those deluded souls who believe gun shots are a form of conflict resolution; and, harden access to the siren call of gun manufacturers who sell fear and guns in equal measure.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

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

 

1 Comment

Filed under Gun Issues, Politics

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