There’s an comment on yesterday’s post about the efficacy of gun safety legislation in the Nevada Legislature, but since the comment is so wonderfully exemplary of Gun Nuttery let’s give it the full treatment — what the heck, it’s Friday, let’s have some fun:
“(1)Doesn’t matter lawsuits against the state are in progress right now against stupid liberals who think his sort of dumb legislation does anything to stop gun violence , (2) hello ” bozo who knows nothing about guns and is afraid of them” (3) you idiots who live in Murder ,rape ,gang,carjacking ,central ,who have the strictest laws THAT DON’T WORK think restricting law abiding citizens and penalizing them does one thing to stop gun violence are deluted. (4) Crooks don’t turn in their guns in your stupid buy backs,you only unarmed the public and crooks laugh at you better than thou’s. (5) They don’t BUY guns,they steal or buy stolen guns. (6) You stupid idios letthem out of jail on parole so the unarmed citizen gets killed in city’s like Chicago.,Wash DC,LA etc,and you want to pass that assinnty on to Nevada.”
Where to begin? (1) Actually, no it doesn’t matter if there is litigation in the offing testing the definitions and constitutionality of any legislation enacted by any legislative body. Since the ruling in Marbury v. Madison in 1803, the judicial branch has retained the authority to determine the constitutionality of legislation; and, the notion that a court might declare a statute unconstitutional doesn’t arbitrarily mean the statute should not have been enacted. The courts could just as easily decide the statute IS constitutional — witness the Affordable Care Act decision by the current Supreme Court.
Further, if the intent of legislation is to reduce the level of gun violence in this country, especially violence associated with felons, fugitives, juveniles, undocumented aliens, and the dangerously mentally ill, then it would stand to reason that making firearm purchases by individuals falling into these categories more restricted would alleviate the problem. The trap in this argument is the requirement that a single piece of legislation must solve the entire problem or be declared “ineffective” and less than useless. Statutes against bank robbery aren’t 100% effective, but we still frown on felonious behavior in these instances.
(2) No, as a gun owner, I am not afraid of firearms. However, I do respect them. I know that the gun is statistically 22 times more likely to be the agent of a homicide or suicide than it is to be used in self defense. That’s why it’s locked up. Additionally, there are these cold statistics:
“Firearms were used to kill more than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims between 1990 and 2005. Domestic violence assaults involving a firearm are 12 times more likely to result in death than those involving other weapons or bodily force. Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if the abuser owns a firearm.” [LCPGV]
Even in the absence of any domestic violence in this homestead, I’ve no desire to compound someone else’s drama by leaving a loaded firearm in an insecure place so a theft could end up being the opening act in a full blown tragedy. That’s why the ammunition is secured separately from the firearm.
(3) Actually, I don’t live in Car-Jack Heights, nor do I reside in Murder Alley. I conform to the general profile of gun owners — white, educated, rural, small town, American. [NJIS] However, if I were a resident of one of the urban areas in this state, I’d still not be arming myself to the rafters. While I do dearly love the scripted TV melodramas, I am also aware that the “murder rate” in Reno, Nevada is 0.06 per 1,000 residents; the “rape rate” in Reno, Nevada is 0.13 per 1,000 residents, [TNS] and those statistics aren’t sufficiently elevated to make me do much more than be aware of my surroundings, and lock my vehicle.
The statistics for Las Vegas, Nevada (CSI not considered) are the same in the murder department, i.e. 6 per 1,000 residents, and the rape stats are 0.44 per 1,000. [TNS] Again, these aren’t high enough to make me believe there is a rapist and murderer in all the shadows … much less that there’s someone out to make Las Vegas, Nevada a replication of Cabot Cove, Maine in the murder numbers. The numbers are high enough to make me lock doors, but certainly not enough to make me want to bother with carrying a firearm.
By the way, I don’t think this is a “deluted” state of mind. I trust you meant “deluded” but I’d also hasten to assure you that my sanity isn’t diluted by watching all those scripted TV shows. There’s one more point in part 3 of the rant that deserves scrutiny — the “strict laws don’t work,” assertion. Contra:
“We covered the fact that the likelihood of homicide increases with a gun in the home. It is true however that the majority of gun crime occurs with illegal guns, but that number, as established, speaks loudly to our weak national gun laws due to interstate gun trafficking. Guns become illegal when they are bought in an area with lax laws and sold in an area with tight laws on the black market. Even then, as the number of legal guns increases, so too does the likelihood of a gun falling into the wrong hands, as shown by the Sandy Hook shooting.” [HuffPo]
The New York Post, not exactly a bastion of liberal media and thinking, reports rather directly on the relationship between illegal gun trafficking and the law enforcement issues in states with restrictive measures in place on firearms:
“New York’s tough-as-nails gun laws aren’t doing much to stop illegal weapons purchased in other states from getting into criminal hands here, according to a federal analysis released yesterday. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives traced 8,793 guns seized in New York in 2011 and found that just 1,595 were bought in the state. The rest came from places with less restrictive gun laws — primarily Virginia, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida.” [NYP]
Thus, the assertion that strict gun laws in some areas are undermined by lax sales in others cuts both ways, as it could also be used to argue for more stringent restrictions nationwide to prevent the importation of illegal firearms into regions in which they are misused.
(4) True, most gun buy back programs end up with firearms people don’t want, not necessarily firearms criminals are willing to surrender. However, that narrow point misses a larger one. Buy back programs with their attendant publicity are an effective way to elevate public awareness, and some neighborhoods have used the programs to attract more attention and resources for efforts that do work, like more overtime for police departments, or protocols like “focused intervention” policing. [USAT] If the program makes a community more aware of gun violence problems, or a neighborhood more prone to support police operations — what’s the harm?
(5) “Criminals don’t buy guns…” I think we addressed that above, i.e. what they also do is buy guns from gun traffickers. We do have a “stolen gun” problem: “More than half a million firearms are stolen each year in the United States and more than half of stolen firearms are handguns, many of which are subsequently sold illegally.” [ATF] However, the notion that only stolen guns are involved in street crime misses another set of numbers:
“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (“ATF”) issued a comprehensive report in 2000 detailing firearms trafficking investigations involving more than 84,000 diverted firearms, finding that federally licensed firearms dealers were associated with the largest number of trafficked guns – over 40,000 – and concluded that the dealers’ “access to large numbers of firearms makes them a particular threat to public safety when they fail to comply with the law.”3
According to ATF, one percent of federally licensed firearms dealers are responsible for selling almost 60 percent of the guns that are found at crime scenes and traced to dealers.” [LCPGV] (emphasis added)
Take the stolen firearm problem and add 1% of the federally licensed firearms dealers who are raking in revenue from selling 60% of the guns found at crime scenes and traced back to dealers, and we have a better picture of the overall problem. This situation could substantiate a call for better statutes at the state and federal level than a concept supportive of less restriction.
(6) Recidivism is a problem for our corrections institutions. However, once more the statistics are insufficient incentive for me to demand full term incarceration, or to open my check book at the local gun dealer’s establishment.
“During 2007, a total of 1,180,469 persons on parole were at-risk of reincarceration. This includes persons under parole supervision on January 1 or those entering parole during the year. Of these parolees, about 16% were returned to incarceration in 2007.” [BJS]
So, are these felons out committing murders? Rapes? That would be a general “no.”
“Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).” [BJS]
What about the rapists and murderers? Within 3 years, 2.5% of released rapists were arrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for homicide. [BJS] That’s correct — 2.5% of the released rapists, and 1.2% of those who committed homicide. Yet again, these statistics aren’t going to induce me to spend any more money on arms and ammunition. It might be “assinnty” to believe given the relatively low crime rates in Nevada, and the tendency of gun traffickers to be recidivists, that we don’t need better controls over who purchases firearms in the Silver State.
When all is said and done, the assumption that “law-abiding citizens” should be so fearful of their environment that unlimited access to all manner of firearms by all manner of people is disturbing in itself. In recent years I’ve enjoyed the hospitality of cities like Washington, D.C. and ridden the Metro all over town — without feeling as though I should have added a firearm to my accessories. I’ve spent weeks in San Antonio, Atlanta, and New Orleans — all the heat I felt I needed was from the climate. I’ve spent time in Denver, St. Louis, and Cleveland, and no, there was no reason in any of those cities to feel insecure without a lethal weapon. In short, the author of the comment has my sympathy for his evident paranoia about residing in this country, but I can’t empathize with the debilitating fear which underpins the assumptions.
I’d like my fellow citizens to enjoy our hospitality in Reno, and in Las Vegas, feeling secure that we run background checks on everyone for every sale of a firearm, that we don’t countenance carrying assault style rifles with large capacity clips into our movie theaters or public spaces, and that we believe in keeping firearms out of the hands of those who are dangerously mentally ill, or who might be felons and fugitives.
I’d be pleased to see the day when it dawns on most sentient human beings that the proliferation of firearms only serves to make us less safe, and less able to “form a more perfect union, establish justice, … insure domestic tranquility.” We might be getting there:
“Both the Pew survey and a new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that support for the defeated Manchin-Toomey measure, which would have expanded background checks to all gun show and online purchases, is also widespread. In the Pew survey, 73 percent said the Manchin-Toomey proposal should be passed if reintroduced, while 67 percent of respondents to the Post/ABC poll said the Senate did the wrong thing in rejecting the legislation.” [HuffPo]
*Now that we’ve dispensed with the trolling, there is a troll notification test which should have been inserted before all the text in this post. Enjoy.