Good old State
Representative Ed Delany thinks it's time to "finally talk about gun violence," I guess as opposed to talking about gun violence
like everyone else has been doing. (And I'm still not sure why it is somehow worse to be subjected to violence by means of firearms instead of knives or clubs or even bare hands. Can't we address the common factor, violence?
Ol' Ed has sent around a nifty mailing based on
talking points from a Bloomberg anti-gun group
a New York Times article
. The article itself is flawed, including the false "40 percent of all sales are done without a background check" claim. Ed's got his opinions and I have mine, and that's just how it goes -- but Ed gets the facts
wrong, and that is not
how it goes; that would be what we call lying.
So let's start with his intro: "...we can't sit idly by* without at least talking about solutions to the gun violence and mass killings that seem to dominate today's news."
What, like the National Firearms Act, a late response to the uptick in criminal violence during Prohibition? Like the Gun Control Act of 1968, a response to the assassinations of prominent political leaders? Like the Brady Bill in 1993? Mass shootings per capita are down;
violent crime and murders are down.
Yes, they still make headlines and they should: these are outrages against human decency and civil peace. But it appears Ed doesn't actually want a conversation. He wants to dictate "solutions" handed him by anti-gunners. He wants to show party loyalty. And he may be deeply and willfully ignorant.
In the mailing, he proceeds on to wanting to "balance gun safety with gun rights while keeping weapons of the hands of those who want to inflict harm...." Notice he presents "safety" and "rights" as opposed -- try that with the First Amendment, and see how far you get. (The Fourth Amendment? Presently a slightly different story, if you accept the notion that travel by air or rail is not a right. But they're busy chipping away.)
So what does Mr. Delany want to do, other than furrow his massive brow in concern? He's got a little list:
His first point says we ought to recognize that "potential penalties will not deter mass murderers..." Yes, and they won't deter regular criminals, either. He says "We must do everything we can do to keep guns out of their hands." This apparently includes keeping guns out your hands and mine as well, since his second point starts out with this gem:
"Ban the sale and use of automatic weapons."
That would be every handgun that's not a revolver or single-shot-per-barrel, every long gun that is not a lever-action, bolt-action, pump or single-shot-per-barrel. Glocks, 1911s, Berettas -- all gone. "Turn 'em all in, Mr. and Mrs. America," as one of his fellow-Democrats once hoped. He goes on to want bans of "armor-piercing bullets" (already banned, except for two rifle bullets the Federal Government
makes available through the Civilian Marksmanship Program), and any magazine that can "hold more than ten rounds" (more ignorant nonsense: magazines can be swapped out in a second, while more than one mass shooter has been stopped or slowed by a crummy large-capacity magazine jamming).
Point three: "Establish a more thorough licensing system to verify whether an individual should be able to purchase and own a gun," which is to say, license an inherent, Constitutionally-protected human right. We know how well that's worked at reducing violence in Chicago and Boston, right? Plus, he wants "...a mandatory waiting period until all background checks are complete..." and elsewhere cites Walmart's buckling under pressure from a Bloomberg group and banning all sales when the Brady background check is not completed in three days by asking, "What does Walmart know that the rest of us don't?" Gee, I dunno, that bad publicity from a well-funded advocacy group sucks
? The kicker in this is that an uncompleted background check would mean restriction of a Constitutional right by bureaucratic whim or fumble. And Ed wants this to include "private sales and gun show transactions," which is unenforceable and cannot be done with the present NICS system. His choice of phrase also reinforces the crazy notion that gun show sales are somehow not covered by the same laws as any other sales: FFLs at a gun show (90% or more of the sellers) must
do NICS checks.
Point four: "Ensure states add the names of those people deemed unfit to own a gun to the federal registry." ...Even a stopped clock finds the occasional ear of corn: NICS is there and the states are supposed to be turning their lists of felons, dopers (don't like this one? Then change your state's drug laws!), convicted spouse-beaters and the adjudicated mentally ill. There are ways you can lose the right to keep and bear arms; they are written down in law books and it's pretty hard to argue against most of 'em.
But Ed goes through all this looking a guns and only guns, like Mr. Magoo peering at the shoelaces of an angry giant under the impression they are snakes, unaware of the greater threat. Hey, Ed, what about young men joining gangs so they can belong to something bigger than themselves? What about a deeply damaged culture and drug laws that create financial rewards for lawbreakers? What about a broken mental health system? What about young people who are profoundly alienated from ideas of basic decency and fair play, and who expect neither from the government and society in general? What solutions have you got for those things, Ed?
--I'm asking 'cos if you can make even fair progress towards fixing those, "gun violence" will decline, right along with violence in general.
The United States has always had poverty. We've always had social stratification, disaffected youth, insanity, drunks and dopers† and for nearly 150 years, we had cheap guns, mail-order guns and no background checks or restrictions on ownership or sales in nearly every state and city. What we didn't have was "if it bleeds, it leads" 24/7 news; we didn't have so many people who ignored their neighbors. It was far from halcyon but it had its good points and we'll likely do better polishing them up and putting them to work than building taller, tighter fences that mostly hem in the law-abiding.
* [sic]. Y'all done split the infinitive. Might want to watch a little less Star Trek and spend more time doing your homework. These Bloomberg cribsheets aren't helping you.
† Since ether was invented, anyway. Or were Colonials smoking the "herb of the fields" before then? Does even tobacco count?