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Gun Control

Who’s in charge of our gun laws? Right now we are seeing fights in both houses of Congress over common-sense changes to gun laws. We already require background checks when someone buys a gun from a gun dealer, but that is easy to get around by buying a gun online or from an individual seller (who is probably hanging out in the parking lot of a gun show or other gun-related event). And public support for closing these loopholes is phenomenally high. In a recent poll, 92% supported supported expanded background checks.

A related change is preventing people who are suspected of being terrorists from getting guns. In the same poll, 85% supported that. Ironically, Republicans are even more in favor — 90% of them want to prevent people on the terrorism watch list from buying a gun.

This is nothing new. The same results have been shown in poll after poll.

And yet, the Republicans continue to block any gun safety measures, no matter how sensible or popular they are. In fact, they will do almost anything to keep these bills from even coming up for a vote. They just adjourned the House two days early to keep from voting on any gun safety measures.

The GOP is also in denial about public support for sensible gun safety. They even claim that the widely reported 90% number has been “debunked”.

It almost seems like politicians are being paid off in order to vote against any gun safety measures. Samantha Bee has a theory about this:

Even Saint Ronnie supported gun control. Especially after he got shot.

Note that (as I have often said) I support the second amendment. People do have a right to own guns, but no right is absolute. The right to own guns is not more important than our nation’s fundamental rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, just like free speech doesn’t mean I can yell fire in a crowded theater or slander someone.

I think we should treat gun ownership like driving. If you want to own a gun, you should be able to demonstrate that you know how to use one (by passing a test, taking a class or other means), and that you know basic gun safety. I would think that gun owners would like that too. Rights imply responsibilities.

I do have one suggestion, however. We should stop calling it “gun control” and start calling it “gun safety”. Gun control sounds like taking people’s guns away, and I’m against that. But if people want to own guns, they should be responsible for using them safely.

Jim Morin
© Jim Morin



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Is it terrorist list or no-fly list? If someone is on terrorist list, I expect more than just not ability to get guns.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 1:05 am | Permalink
  2. ebdoug wrote:

    This can easily be handled by the states. While the Republicans are kowtowing to the NRA, New York State keeps strengthening it “gun safety”. We have Red Neck signs that say “Repeal the Safe Act”. As I drove yesterday, I thought that Drumpf signs were going to be popping up on those same lawns. Sure enough, there they were.

    My plans are never to leave New York State again. All the safety and care for each other is right here.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 4:51 am | Permalink
  3. Wildwood wrote:

    Ebdoug, unfortunately adjoining states are often not as diligent as NY. And “easily” is certainly not true in many states. As long as it is done piecemeal, no one is safe. I just hope that this will still be on the mind of the public by November when it’s time to vote. It would be good if the Dems timed another sit-in to coincide with the election to remind everyone of who they should be voting for.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  4. Ralph wrote:

    EBDOUG – kudos to NY state, but what’s to prevent someone from buying an assault rifle in some other state, say Virginia for example (and 40 others), where practically anyone can walk out of a gun store with an AR-15 in about a half hour after some paperwork and a brief e-check, no further waiting required, and then driving up to NY for whatever “fun” they may have in mind? CBS News had an undercover producer do this recently.

    We live in the United States. States we cross through regularly without restraint, as it should be. So we need united, nationwide firearms regulations and they need to be vigorously enforced. A patchwork approach to regulations is bound to be ineffective, as the video clip above states. After all, a chain is only as strong as the weakest link.

    Is this likely in the foreseeable? Sadly, no.

    When 85-90% of the public want something more done by their representatives in Congress and it doesn’t happen year in and year out, we are not being adequately represented.

    We’ve tried prayers and vigils. Let’s try voting.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 8:32 am | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Gun safety, I like it. Banning private sales, hold on. Requiring buyers of private weapons to present a current cleared background, to a un-trained citizen, to complete a sale of private property….ok, but good luck verifying that. Requiring weapons bought from private sellers to be registered with the State Police, getting better.. but still impossible to enforce.
    No fly listee’s onto a no buy list? Ok, good move, but tje Aclu has identified so many issues and wrongly placed persons, that I fear it would be a debacle getting your name off the list.
    All of the above, would not have prevented any of the mass shootings, including Orlando (flew to Saudi, legally purchased gun), San Bernadino (got straw buyer), Aurora, CO ( legally purchased guns), Sandy Hook, (killed the owner and stole the gun).

    Thats only problem I have with the lets do something about mass shootings. Nonr of tje proposals will actually di anything to solve any of the above tragedies. They’re just doing something to score political points, so I’m glad Republicans said nope. Because in this case they are correct.
    What I would like to see is the same politicians who said no, and the ones sitting on the floor at the Capital, sit in a room, write the problems that exist, and then list possible solutions and check each one to see if it actually solves the problem. In the Army we called it the 5 step problem solving process.
    1. Identify the problem
    2. identify possible solutions
    3. test or role play those solutions to see which one actually solves the problem.
    4. Implement the solution
    5. Evaluate/monitor the solution ti see if it is working as planned.

    just doing something for the sake of doing something is how we get volumes of bloated regulations that stifle commerce and productivity

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 11:04 am | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    PSgt, I hate to admit this, but I actually agree with you. I wish we could have a completely pragmatic discussion about what to do about our really bad gun addiction, but apparently we can’t.

    But I have to disagree with something you said. You point out (correctly) that none of the current proposed bills would have prevented the last few mass shootings, and therefore they are bad ideas. While mass shootings get all the attention, I’m more interested in knowing if a law will help lower gun deaths in general. So just because a law won’t prevent a mass shooting does not mean it isn’t a good idea.

    Besides, we know how to prevent mass shootings. Stop giving them so much publicity. Not sure how to do that, though.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 11:11 am | Permalink
  7. westomoon wrote:

    The sad thing, especially if you’re as old as me and can remember it personally, is that the NRA used to be the main proponent of responsibility in gun ownership. Their efforts went mostly to training gun owners in how to respect their weaponry and mitigate the dangers of gun ownership.

    Now they’ve just become the lobbying arm of the gun industry, and have thrown the “well-regulated” part of the Second Amendment right out the window.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 12:26 pm | Permalink
  8. ThatGuy wrote:

    IK, would a lack of publicity really stop mass shootings? I’m not sure I see how that substantially connects. Maybe you’d stop some copycat acts, but where terrorism or mental instability are at issue I doubt we can say a lack of press would stop the shooters.

    In any case, we lost something like 35 people per day last year from gun homicides. Even if legislation won’t have stopped this or that mass event, clearly we need to do something to lower the numbers of firearms in circulation. How is it better that the GOP blocked the gun safety laws? We have to start somewhere and better background checks and increased scrutiny on those suspected of ties to terror sound like real good starts to me.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
  9. PatriotST wrote:

    I really have to stop using my phone to post, ugghh. What terrible spelling! Apologies to all readers, really, I did make it out of the 3rd grade 🙂

    IK, it’s ok, 2-3 times in 8 years isn’t too bad 😉

    I agree, they need to take a comprehensive look at existing laws first, and find out what’s not working and what is. But that’s like getting congress to look at the IRS tax code, not likely from either side. But, I do know from first hand knowledge that we have many laws that don’t get enforced, or the sentences handed out are just baffling. My state does a good job at regulating the sale of firearms. However, being caught with an unregistered gun, or a stolen gun, or one with the serial number filed off, are all misdemeanors and the offender will usually spend no time in jail. In my state using a firearm in the commission of a crime, say carjacking, robbery or selling drugs isn’t much better. You’ll get sentenced to 10 years, with 9 years 11 months and 15 days suspended. Seriously, it’ true. Even if it’ your 2nd gun offense, you won’t do more then 2 years. This in a city with one of the highest per capita murder by gun rates in the country. But, we want to make it tougher for law abiding citizens to buy guns. It makes no sense.
    We have to attack the problem from both sides. I understand we don’t want to mass incarcerate young minority males, but letting them go isn’t working either. Virtually every murderer caught in our big bad city, is a repeat gun offender. It’s just as much a systemic issue as it is a regulatory one. In that same city, it would make no difference in the murder rate, if all gun purchasers needed presidential approval. They don’t get their guns from stores. They buy them on the street. But when we catch them, we let them go.

    It just seems like they want to score political points without addressing the whole problem.

    I got it, you run for President of the senate and i’l run for minority leader. Then we can tell both sides to sit down, shut up, and work something out.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  10. Wildwood wrote:

    Hold gun owners accountable for their guns. If they sell the gun and don’t register the sale then legally they are still the owner and subject to penalties if it is used to harm. I am more concerned about the day to day shootings than mass shootings. Require training to own each gun with a test for proficiency and understanding the workings and use of that particular model and the requirements for keeping it out of the hands children. Put a large tax on gun sales to pay for the training sessions. Any gun leaving a police station that has been confiscated because of criminal use is to be destroyed. Require rigorous record keeping to make sure these guns to not get back on the street.

    Outlaw weapons that were never intended to be in the hands of civilians. Increase penalties for those who use that type of weapon criminally.

    I realize that this will not address most of the guns already out there, but it will slow down sales and those already out there can be confiscated when and it they end up involved with a crime. Those that never are involved with a crime get to remain hidden under someone’s mattress until one of the kids gets hold of it and does damage.

    And most important, bring schools into this century with decent funding, decent teachers and decent jobs for those who make it through school. Those who can see a future worth having, will probably never feel the need for a cache of guns.

    Hawaii has some very good regulations and their crime rate is much less than most of the mainland. I think this shows that it can be done, but it needs to be across the board for the entire country to have it work. I don’t think the NRA holds much sway there.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
  11. Effisland wrote:

    As a token Canadian I don’t get the second amendment. The worry is that the government is bad and an armed militia will take down the government for the good of the people. What people? Who determines what the will of the people is and that the government is bad? An armed mob?

    As for guns, I’ve shot guns since I was a kid here. Now we have stronger gun laws, you have to take a course, its no big deal any redneck could pass it. Arming yourself for self-protection is something cool but completely foreign here north of your borders. Of course it happens in our gangs etc but they generally just kill each other.

    Personally I would be confused the proper etiquette if I armed myself on my next vacation to the USA, which by the way its been a long time. When do you have to be really mad before you take out your gun? If someone is mad at you does that mean he’s going to shoot me so I should get out my gun first? I’d probably do it wrong and would be dead first in a hail of bullets.

    Friday, June 24, 2016 at 10:23 pm | Permalink
  12. ebdoug wrote:

    PATRIOTST=I can tell immediately when you are sending off your phone. Early morning humor for me.

    You are the expert on gun control because of your job, so I respect your opinion.

    Also the Canadian who wrote in. It seems in Canada not as much hate is preached as in the US by Fox news, Drumpf, and that horrible preacher in California who wants to disregard the ten commandments in his church.

    Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 4:32 am | Permalink
  13. Jonah wrote:

    Best way to implement gun safety, elect pro gun safety people and once there is a majority they will do what needs to be done.Obamacare was implemented because there was a majority of like minded individuals in the senate and the house. Thats the only way something gets done. And given that no semblance of gun safety has been implemented the last few years the elections way probably may be easier rather than trying to negotiate with people who don’t want to.

    Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink
  14. Effisland wrote:

    They say that Fox and their ilk simply shines light on hate that already exists, and stirs up resentment with their dog-whistle politics because people are receptive to those messages and don’t pause to question them because the message fits so well into already ingrained beliefs (and sadly, hate).

    I see similar responses here, but with nuanced news reporting (or fewer triggers) and perhaps a more fair society and less inequality I don’t see the extreme reactions and rage boiling up.

    Still, emotional responses like anger and hate exist here too. They are rare. They are also less likely to result in a mass murder situation, however those too occur occasionally.

    For USA gun regulation is necessary simply because unregulated use of anything results in unintended and usually harmful consequences. USA is not a libertarian country. If it was, widespread gun ownership besides for hunting wouldn’t be allowed because gun use definitely harms others. You also can’t argue regulation for everything but guns, the 2nd amendment clearly uses the term ‘well regulated’ and they are everything but.

    For a Christian country the majority of people abide by ‘love thy neighbour’ and ‘though shall not kill’. Popular culture seems to glorify the opposite. Fortunately we know that most Americans are peaceful, honourable and love apple pie just as much as we do. But any free and open society is going to have fringes of extremes and we can’t eradicate those components unless we consider their root causes – which is not guns, but something else.

    Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  15. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Effisland, “which is not guns, but something else.” That our Canadien brethern is exactly right.

    Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 5:28 pm | Permalink
  16. ebdoug wrote:

    The Christians in this country violate the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” which builds resentment in the Hebrew and Muslim. The commandment is “Thou Shalt not kill” Others have added “human beings” to that. Both the Jewish and the Muslim take this as written. If a lower animal needs to be killed for food, there is a ritual killing, with blessings, asking God’s forgiveness for taking the life. I sold two lambs once who had a ritual killing. Settling the lamb down, reading prayers, etc.

    Made me sick to think about it so I stopped having lambs.

    Christians have no compunction about going out in the woods or to duck blinds and killing.

    Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

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