Tag Archives: Gun Show Loophole

Let’s Discuss the Ladies?

Boom: The National Rifle Association is pleased to tell us that only Donald Trump will defend our 2nd Amendment rights…which isn’t true. Now it’s running a $6.5 million ad buy telling ladies to strap on the holsters to ‘fight back.’ [Salon]  This may not only be a function of current politics – the NRA has a problem, “not enough people are buying guns.”

Gun ownership graph What we do have is an increase in the number of people who own multiple guns:

“Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every American adult, according to the most definitive portrait of US gun ownership in two decades. But the new survey estimates that 133m of these guns are concentrated in the hands of just 3% of American adults – a group of super-owners who have amassed an average of 17 guns each.” [Guardian]

Little wonder the manufacturers want to sell more to the ladies?  Unless, of course the ladies have  seen the actual numbers:

“If we examine data from within the United States, the odds aren’t any better for gun owners. The most recent study examining the relationship between firearms and homicide rates on a state level, published last April, found a significant positive relationship between gun ownership and overall homicide levels. Using data from 1981–2010 and the best firearm ownership proxy to date, the study found that for every 1 percent increase in gun ownership, there was a 1.1 percent increase in the firearm homicide rate and a 0.7 percent increase in the total homicide rate.” [Slate]

The Good Woman with a Gun is simply a variation on the old Good Guy with a  Gun, and neither is true.

Bust: What we could do is to have a national discussion of domestic violence and begin by taking rape, domestic violence, and assaults on women more seriously.   Jeff Van Gundy had some words for the NBA which are well worth highlighting.

Huh? There’s an anti-Question 1 ad in Nevada, showing the various law enforcement people against the proposition which would close the gun show loophole in the Silver State.  We ought to assume that these law enforcement professionals are tasked with the enforcement of NRS 203: 360 which forbids the sale of firearms to felons, fugitives, addicts, those adjudicated mentally ill, and those guilty of domestic violence.  Now the question becomes WHY would any law enforcement officer NOT want to find out if some felon, fugitive, addict, mentally ill, or domestic abuser was trying to purchase firearms at the local gun show?

Duh?  That little exchange in the Vice Presidential Debate last night about “punishing women who have abortions merits a comment or two.

Governor Pence has some antediluvian thoughts on mothers, womanhood, and the value thereof, see this piece in Alternet.   See also: Cosmopolitan;

“Though there is little doubt how extreme Pence’s anti-abortion stance is, he made it explicitly clear on the campaign trail. “I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it,” he said during a town hall in July. Of a Trump/Pence administration, he said, “We’ll see Roe v. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.”

Then there was the not-so-small matter of Pence cutting funding for Planned Parenthood in Indiana, thus cutting HIV testing for Scott County, Indiana.

“In 2011, Planned Parenthood ran five rural clinics in Indiana. They tested for HIV and offered prevention, intervention and counseling for better health. The one in Scott County performed no abortions.

Mothers-to-be in Scott County must drive 50 miles to visit a gynecologist or an obstetrician. That’s not an isolated insight. Of Indiana’s 92 counties, Scott County has ranked 92nd in unhealthiness for five straight years.” [ChiTrib]

Health professional saw what was coming when the funding was cut. They begged for help from the state. None was forthcoming. Better an AIDS epidemic in a rural area than funding which might tangentially touch abortion services?

Mr. Trump is a classic misogynist, Governor Pence is downright dangerous.

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Filed under abortion, domestic abuse, Gun Issues, Women's Issues, Womens' Rights

Fire Away: H.R. 1565

TitusNevada Representative Dina Titus (D-NV1) has co-sponsored a bill introduced by Representative Peter King (R-NY) which ought to get a hearing in the 113th Congress, but given the subject matter,  and the disarray in House leadership, may not.  H.R. 1565 offers a compromise solution to the firearms gun show/internet sale loophole.

The Congressional Research Service summary notes the purpose of the measure: “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 – Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to reauthorize for FY2014-FY2017 the grant program for improvements to the criminal history record system.”  For those wishing for the return of the assault weapons ban — it’s not here.  Nor will we find any references to limiting the ammunition capacity of semi-automatic firearms.  However, the bill does address the laxity with which we are allowing the sale of firearms to dubious buyers.

Here’s what the bill does:

“Amends the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 to: (1) establish a four-year implementation plan to ensure maximum coordination and automation of reporting of records or making records available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; (2) direct the Attorney General to make grants to states, Indian tribal governments, and state court systems to improve the automation and transmittal of mental health records and criminal history dispositions; (3) provide for reductions in grant funding to states that have not implemented a relief from disabilities program; (4) make federal court information available for inclusion in the System; and (5) allow the submission to the System of mental health records that would otherwise be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).” [CRS]

The bill is NOT about creating a national gun registry — it’s about improving the record keeping concerning individuals who under the provisions of most state laws (including Nevada’s) cannot legally possess firearms.

Repeat! This is NOT about creating a gun registry, in fact the bill expressly prohibits it.

“Provides that nothing in this Act shall be construed to: (1) expand the enforcement authority or jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); (2) allow the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a federal firearms registry; or (3) extend background check requirements to transfers of firearms other than those made at gun shows or over the Internet, or to temporary transfers for purposes including lawful hunting or sporting, or to temporary possession of a firearm for purposes of examination or evaluation by a prospective transferee.”  [CRS] (emphasis added)

The bill, introduced last April 30th, would not have saved the Reno Police Department the embarrassment of the L’Affaire Conklin.  However, it would have made funding available for the improvement of Nevada’s background check system.

Finally, the bill proposes some information gathering:

“Establishes the National Commission on Mass Violence to study the availability and nature of firearms, including the means of acquiring firearms, issues relating to mental health, and the impacts of the availability and nature of firearms on incidents of mass violence or in preventing mass violence. Requires the Commission to conduct a comprehensive factual study of incidents of mass violence, including incidents not involving firearms, to determine the root causes of such mass violence.” [CRS]

In terms of the “root causes” of mass violence, if the Commission completes its study, we’d find out what may already be reasonably obvious:  There are some mentally disturbed individuals who should not possess firearms, especially semi-automatic weapons with high capacity clips, etc.  It may also be reasonable to conclude that the findings might incorporate the problems associated with our mental health care delivery system, not the least of which is that support systems and monitoring available while a young person is enrolled in school are not as available for those who are on their own.

As well intentioned as this bill may be, it doesn’t address cumulative effects of gun violence.   We know that in 2010 there were 16,259 homicides in the U.S. of which 11,078 were by firearms, that’s a hefty 68%.  [CDC] If we add in all firearm deaths the numbers are even more depressing.   Counting all firearms deaths, but excluding those caused by “legal intervention,” there were a total of 31,328 in 2010.  [CDC pdf]  Since 1999 there have been 360,558 individuals killed by firearms.

Gun death chart

Nor does the bill address issues related to gun trafficking.  Information from Virginia tells us that most of the guns used in criminal activities come from a minority of licensed gun dealers:

“There have been thousands of firearms dealers licensed in the state since 1998, but 60 percent of the 6,800 guns sold in Virginia in that time and later seized by police can be traced to just 40 dealers. The merchants include mom-and-pop gun shops, inner-city pawn dealers and suburban sporting-goods outlets.” [WaPo]

And, Virginia exports its problems, to New York for example:

“In 2011, the leading sources for firearms recovered and traced in New York City were Virginia (322), North Carolina (255) and South Carolina (251).

The latest data shows that 2,186 of 2,433 traceable guns used in crimes in the five boroughs in 2011 were brought in from out-of-state.” [StatenIsland]

Those two major issues notwithstanding, H.R. 1565 is a step in the correct direction.

The dementia of extremist gun enthusiasts, and their leaders and cohorts in the gun manufacturing business, should not obscure the very real problems associated with gun violence in this state and in this country.   We accept reasonable limits on all other provisions of the Bill of Rights, yet the extremists among us decry any limits on gun possession.  There is nothing unreasonable about efforts to diminish the possibility that guns will end up in the hands of career criminals, fugitives from justice, unsupervised children, and those who are afflicted with severe mental illnesses that render them likely to harm themselves and others.

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Filed under Gun Issues, Titus

Nevada Governor’s Veto Message on Expanded Background Checks for Gun Purchases

SandovalNevada’s Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval, has vetoed SB 221 with the following rationale. (pdf)

(Oh, by the way — please be assured that the Governor really really does support expanded background checks — just not this form of expanded background checks…but notice that for all his generalized agreement in principle, his rationale for the veto is also quite generalized.)  Here goes:

(1) The bill is an “erosion” of 2nd Amendment rights, and “may subject otherwise law-abiding citizens to criminal prosecution.”  Sound familiar?  Of course, the problem with the “law-abiding citizen” argument is that everyone without an existing criminal background becomes a criminal when he or she first violates the law.  The first time a person robs a bank, the first time a person assaults another person, the first time a person embezzles, and so forth.  Or, the first time a person sells a firearm to a felon, a fugitive, a dangerously mentally unstable person, a child without parental supervision, or an undocumented person, or a person against whom there are outstanding restrictive orders pertaining to domestic abuse.

(2) The example cited by the Governor asserts that a “law-abiding” family member must request a background check for a gun sale to another family member, and a sale to a person who has a concealed carry permit must also be supervised by a licensed gun dealer.  The response to this so-called erosion is  a resounding So What?  There is NO prohibition of the sale, and there is NO prohibition of ownership — there is only the insertion of a federally licensed gun dealer who can provide a background check into the process.

(3)  The Governor finds it burdensome that the test for the prosecution for an unlawful transfer of a gun moves from “actual knowledge” that the buyer falls into a prohibited category to a “reasonable cause to believe” a person is included in the restrictions.  In short, what the Governor is saying is that it is perfectly OK by him if the seller only “suspects” the purchaser of being a felon, a fugitive, an undocumented person, a serious unstable individual, or a person on whom there are restrictions because of domestic abuse.  Go ahead, make the transaction even if the individual buyer is in the gun show parking lot wanting to purchase a crate of inexpensive hand guns — unless the seller has “actual knowledge” these are intended to arm local or regional drug gangs what the heck?

(4) The Governor calls the penalties for violations of the background check law “severe.”  A first offense would be a gross misdemeanor, and brings with it a restriction on firearms ownership for 2 years.  That’s it. No felony record, and 24 months later the miscreant seller can happily re-arm.  A second offense would be a Class E Felony and the “gun rights” will be lost.  Note that the bill in question, SB 221, does not prohibit firearms restrictions until after conviction for the second offense.  Another thing we might note before calling this penalty severe is that Class E is as low as you can go in this state and still be in the felony category. NRS 193.130 defines a Class E felony as follows:

A category E felony is a felony for which a court shall sentence a convicted person to imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 4 years. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 176A.100, upon sentencing a person who is found guilty of a category E felony, the court shall suspend the execution of the sentence and grant probation to the person upon such conditions as the court deems appropriate. Such conditions of probation may include, but are not limited to, requiring the person to serve a term of confinement of not more than 1 year in the county jail. In addition to any other penalty, the court may impose a fine of not more than $5,000, unless a greater penalty is authorized or required by statute.

A Class E felony maximum is four years, which can be suspended and the person granted probation “as the court deems appropriate,” and the maximum fine is $5,000.   This is hardly anywhere near the “severe” punishment level in terms of Nevada’s classifications of felonies.

(5) The Governor is hinting in his last verbiage at what might be called the Efficacy Argument. The bill is unenforceable and won’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals, at the expense of potentially making those law-abiding citizens criminals themselves.  Again, every law has the potential to make a citizen a criminal if the individual engages in proscribed acts.  Secondly, no one said the intent of the law was to prevent all criminals from getting firearms — the law already prohibits criminals from obtaining weapons — all the bill said was that we should CHECK TO MAKE SURE we aren’t selling guns to those to whom firearm ownership is already restricted.

The Governor’s veto is, indeed, a craven sop to the NRA and the gun enthusiasts who blindly believe that Everyone Everywhere should be armed, and that even requiring a quick background check to insure that guns aren’t sold to those who are already felons, fugitives, undocumented persons, juveniles, spousal abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill is unendurable.

What is unendurable is the list of shootings which since the beginning of 2012 includes Norcross GA, Jackson TN, Chardon HS OH, Pittsburgh PA, North Miami FL, Okios U Oakland CA, Tulsa OK, Seattle WA, Minneapolis MN, Oak Creek WI, Aurora CO,  Newtown CT, and most recently Santa Monica CA.

If we remember back to September 6, 2011 there were four people, law abiding citizens, killed in the Carson City IHOP by a person with a history of serious mental health issues who had modified an assault style rifle to make it fully automatic.  [MAIG]

What is unendurable is a veto message which regurgitates NRA talking points without taking even a small step toward ameliorating this situation.


Filed under Gun Issues, Nevada legislature, Nevada politics