Monday, December 17, 2012

The Second Amendment ~ Part 3: Enough is Enough

When we last left the WP’s discourse on the Second Amendment, part 1 and part 2,  20 little kids and 6 educators in Newtown, Connecticut were alive and well and starting a new school year. 

It was, however, with the firm belief that nothing was gonna change the sides of the battle even after the Sikh Temple massacre on August 5th – 6 dead...that the NRA was going to continue to hold We, the People hostage, and that we were doomed to a never ending battle between sane gun laws and the right wing gun-nut fringe. We, the People, already knew the Sikh Temple would not be the last word on shooting sprees for 2012. That one was followed by:

                  Texas A&M on August 14th – 3 dead,
                  Accent Signage here in Minnesota on September 27th – 5 dead
                  Brookfield, Wisconsin salon murders on October 2st – 3 dead,
                  Portland, Oregon mall shooting – 2 dead

and finally, the horror of Sandy Hook School – 6 educators and 20 little kids dead from multiple gunshot wounds fired by a guy with a history of mental illness with a mother (who he also killed with multiple gunshot wounds to the head) who kept semi-automatic weapons in the house…all legally purchased and registered.

Now, even the President, a guy who just signed legislation permitting people to carry handguns into National Parks, says something must be done. 

People, the Second Amendment is about militias and protecting a fledgling nation. It is not about collecting AK-47 and Bushmasters or Glocks for fun. It’s about the right of the people to form an army, not about selling sawed off shotguns from the backs of pick-up trucks behind a gun show. Saturday recorded the highest number of gun sales in a single day. What does that say about us as a nation? Frankly, the answer, whatever it is, has got to be really scary.
Bushmaster .223 assault rifle

There is no reason for anyone in this country a weapon that discharges dozens of bullets in a matter of seconds. A Bushmaster is a weapon designed to kill people, not Bambi. And it did a fine job in Newtown, Connecticut.

A lotta people still point to the assault weapons ban of 1994 that expired in 2004 as a law with no teeth and less impact. That might be because it did nothing to make illegal owning assault weapons manufactured or purchased before that date. That was locking the barn after the horse has been stolen; that law was intentionally impotent, and that is not what we need.

Now it seems some politicians are quickly backing away from their “no gun law” stance. It took the deaths of 20 kids and 6 adults trying to protect them to make some of the nutball faction decide this is worth a second look.

Remember, folks, the Lanzas' guns were LEGAL, purchased LEGALLY and registered LEGALLY. It’s not enough to license, register, do background checks or any of that bullshit time wasting nonsense. The rapid fire magazine toting guns have to be banned. Those weapons must be removed from the hall closets, the bedroom nightstands, the basement rafters and any place else some person thinks they are safely stored when, in fact, they are not. 

Oh, maybe this is the point I should mention that on December 5th, right here in Minnesota, a 2-yer old was shot and killed by his 4-year old brother while they were playing with their dad’s loaded handgun. No loaded gun kept where little kids can find them ever goes off accidentally. I know you can’t legislate stupid, but you can sure make it harder to be stupid.

There was an interesting piece in the New York TIMES the other day that explored the recent unease with rapid fire guns in Newtown. Apparently, owning them and shooting them near town was not exactly an unknown event. The article, In Town at Ease With Its Firearms, Tightening Gun Rules Was Resisted is worth the read. This is a town that knew there were automatic weapons in its midst, didn't like it, ….and chose not to pursue the issue.

Would things have been different if they had? No one knows, but maybe it’s finally time to find out if finally passing gun laws with teeth would. 

But even if the world's strictest gun law is passed, you will never, ever be able to say these kids and educators did not die in vain. They did. They were sacrificed on an altar of right wing hubris that should’ve been dismantled after Columbine (1999)  but was not. If We, the People do not rise up against the NRA and the rest of the pols who think owning automatic weapons is okay, we will see this parade of corpses again and again and again.

Wifely Person's Tip O'the Week
Now is the time to contact your congresspersons 
to let them know your stand on gun control.
Silence is not an option. 


    The California public school teachers should be ashamed of funding the assault weapon manufacturers.
    I didn't hear Randi Weingarten mention this on the Sunday talk shows

  2. You are so right about the hallowed Second Amendment being about the defense of the U.S. in its infancy and NOT about its citizenry owning more firearms than any other "civilized" country on the planet. As for automatic and semi-automatic assault weapons - I hesitate to even call these WMD "rifles" - I rully agree with Senator Feinstein that assault weapons designed for use by the military have NO place on the streets of America...or, for that matter, anywhere else outside a war zone.

    I'm heartened that we are FINALLY having a real conversation about gun laws and access to mental health treatment. But this is only two-thirds of the equation. SO FAR I've heard nothing about the culture of violence our children are exposed to via television, movies and video games. Such exposure not only "glamorizes" violence, it reduces the shock and horror value of it to zero. No wonder, then, that other countries are horrified at our acceptance of death-by-gun as "the norm" for "freedom", when in fact the prevalence of guns in this country actually makes us LESS free.

    I'm old enough to remember when settling an argument meant punching someone in the face when one didn't agree with that person's opinion. "Unacceptable behavior" back then, but infinitely preferable to settling the argument with a gun, as happens much too often these days.

    Dick's Sporting Goods, btw, has already pulled all of its assault weapons and the magazines and ammo for same. We can only hope other chains and smaller gun shops will follow Dick's' example.

  3. Apparently pressure is already spurring action. . .
    Cerberus plans to sell investment in gunmaker after Connecticut school shootings

    The investors still have blood on their hands, but maybe it will impact future events.

  4. Why is the conversation not including talk of the mental challenges of the person/persons committing the crime? Where is the help for the care givers?

    Time and again people face the day in and day out struggles of dealing with mental challenges. We have the medical knowledge. We have the money for funding.

    I would never suggest that all with mental challenges should be locked away, But there has to be a better way. There must be at least half of the conversation of the need for a look at the mental health system in the U.S.A.. Please include that in the conversation. They are a ignored portion of society. These crimes will continue to happen until we pay heed to those who need the help.

    1. You are absolutely correct. The availability of mental health services is not there for many who desperately need them. There are significant holes in the healthcare safety net and those need to be addressed as quickly and as completely as possible. Until there is official recognition of the dire need, we will continue to relive these tragedies again and again and again.

  5. When will all the conservatives argue that that 2nd Amendment applies to the FEDERAL government restrictions on gun-control, and that the individual and autonomous states each has the right to make their own independent rules and regulations regarding the regulations of guns?

    Allow rifles and shotguns that have only one bullet or shell loaded at a time for hunting. Allow manual firing handheld revolvers only for use inside an individuals house, since these handguns have no use in hunting.

    Ban everything else, take them away and destroy them.

  6. Hi Wifely Person-

    I wish that you would get your facts straight. I believe that you are purposefully spreading misinformation in an effort to further your emotionally charged tirade.

    Set aside your mommy feeling for a second and think about this rationally. How am I (as a lawful gun owner) in any way responsible for the actions of a mad man? Do you wish to hold people responsible for the actions of others? For what purpose?

    Firearm owners in CT already live under an assault weapon ban. The things that differentiate a so called 'assault weapon' from a standard sporting rifle are cosmetic features and nothing more. A bayonet attachment point and a flash suppressor on the tip of the muzzle. That is all. Remove the bayo and the flash suppressor and the rifle is functionally exactly the same.

    Soldiers in the First American Revolution used rifles, not muskets. A rifle in the 1750s could hit a pumpkin sized target at 400+ yards. They weren't BB guns as people of your ilk imply and they were very deadly at a very long range.

    And lets clear up one more thing. The Second Amendment is not to protect hunters or sportsmen. It enumerates the natural right of the citizenry to have comparable weaponry to the military. This serves as a bulwark against tyranny. This also comes with some risk, as does any free society. If you do not care for such a society, you are free to move to China and experience what a gun free utopia is really like.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to write, so I will take the time to correct you.

      1. You asked: how am I (as a lawful gun owner) in any way responsible for the actions of a mad man?

      You are responsible for keeping your arms out of the hands of those who will use them to harm others or themselves. This means you don’t leave them lying about where children can find them, or, in the event you know someone living under your roof is prone to erratic and/or violent behavior might take possession of them. This is basic gun safety taught in every gun course in America. I believe background checks should be taking the background into consideration. Who lives under your roof should be taken into account.

      2. You asked: do you wish to hold people responsible for the actions of others? For what purpose?

      The courts hold people responsible for the actions of others when there is negligence or where there is attractive nuisance that poses a threat to others. A owner of a location where an underage drinking party has been held can be jailed for providing alcohol to minor even if they themselves did not pour the drink. If you leave gun where 4 year old can get it and fatally shoot his 2 year old brother, the owner of the gun is liable for the action of the 4 year old.

      3. You asked: the things that differentiate a so called 'assault weapon' from a standard sporting rifle are cosmetic features and nothing more. A bayonet attachment point and a flash suppressor on the tip of the muzzle. That is all.

      Actually, that’s not quite right. The definition of an assault weapon varies from state to state, but the federal description comes down to a military-style firearm with properties suitable for combat. Usually, it refers to an automatic or semi-automatic weapon that can employ an intermediate cartridge. In addition to 19 guns specifically mentioned in the Federal Act of 1994, “any semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine and at least two of the following five items: a folding or telescopic stock; a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon; a bayonet mount; a flash suppressor or threaded barrel (a barrel that can accommodate a flash suppressor); or a grenade launcher. The act also defined as a prohibited assault weapon semi-automatic pistols that weighed more than 50 ounces when unloaded or included a barrel shroud, and barred the manufacture of magazines capable of carrying more than 10 rounds." [Robert J. Spitzer in the Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture and the Law, Vol. 2] Unfortunately, the ban only included weapons manufactured after the ban was enacted in 1994 and did virtually nothing to remove existing ones from circulation. Once the ban expired, that category of weapon was once gain commonly for sale in the open markets.

      4. You stated: soldiers in the First American Revolution used rifles, not muskets.

      Wrong, again, Kemosabe. Charleville muskets model # 1763 and 1764 were imported from France for use by the colonials, and the Marquis de Lafayette is usually credited for making them the popular choice. If you are familiar with muskets of the period, you will notice some strong similarities between the Charleville and the Springfield musket that appeared in 1795. The illustration I used is, I believe a Charleville 1763 model. I do not recall discussing the merits of Revolutionary War period rifles in my blog, so I’m not entirely certain how you came to the conclusion I thought they were BB guns. They were not. Nor were they the only weapon used by the militias or the Continental Army.

      This mommy always told her kids to do their homework. I consider doing my homework for the blog extremely important. The two on the Second Amendment were no different.

      I have fired guns in my day, hand guns as well as rifles. I am not against hunters owning guns, and I understand there are times when it is appropriate for concealed weapons permits. I don't particularly like guns still, I am entitled to an opinion.

    2. "The Second Amendment is not to protect hunters or sportsmen. It enumerates the natural right of the citizenry to have comparable weaponry to the military. This serves as a bulwark against tyranny." Really? You want the citizenry to have comparable weaponry to the military? Like missiles, tanks, bombers, and nuclear weapons? Pretty sure the founders never intended the citizenry to be able to fight their own military at a moments notice, the point was for the citizenry to be able to defend itself in the absence of a standing army in the case of an invasion. "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Second Amendment, buddy. It was about being able to form a militia for national defense at a moment's notice (in the absence of standing army--which we now have, and don't need militias for national defense since if necessary we can draft folks into the military where they will be trained and provided with weapons specifically designed to kill enormous numbers of people), not summon godly powers of destruction to take on the government's own standing army. Imagine that here in the US, we had groups committed to the downfall of the government on strictly ideological grounds, and then we provided them with automatic weaponry and other "comparable weaponry to the military". I think that would be called "supporting terrorist insurgencies."

      The purpose of the Second Amendment is not to protect against tyranny. That's what our democracy, system of checks and balances, and the rest of the entire Constitution is for. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to allow settlers near/on the frontier the ability to defend themselves from animals and hostile natives (no longer relevant), to allow the citizenry to hunt to procure food, and to allow the citizenry to form a militia when the state has no standing army and comes under attack.

    3. It seems odd that the WP must put aside her "mommy feeling" in order to think about this rationally. It appears she has been quite rational in her cogent and concise post and response. If anything the NRA and its agenda-whores need to put aside their radical agenda and think rationally - if you don't have a 30-round clip, you can't shoot 30 times without reloading; if you don't have an assault rifle, you can't shoot as many people.

      Yes, gun control legislation is just one of many things that need to be done. But just because such legislation itself won't solve the problem, doesn't mean it can't be PART of the solution.

      If, as you say, the only thing differentiating an assault rifle from a regular rifle are cosmetic, then let's ban them. I've never seen a hunter who chooses his Remington 7mm magnum because it looks good - so the true sportsman won't care about the "cosmetic" enhancements that make up an assault rifle. But let's be real, there is no need for the citizenry to have automatic or semi-automatic weapons with which they can shoot upwards of 20 rounds per minute. Bambi won't survive more than a couple of shots.

      As for your argument that you need to be prepared to take on the US military. Are you for real? I remember Patrick Swayze fighting the Russians in Red Dawn, but I'm pretty sure that was fiction. When you include reserve and National Guard personnel, our military has well over two MILLION of the most highly trained people in world using the most complex technology and overwhelming firepower that could be imagined. An F-16 will outduel your AR-15 every time.

      For the sake of argument, even if the founding fathers included the 2nd Amendment for the purpose of keeping the military in check, times have changed. It is no longer possible, feasible, or necessary to be able to fight our nation's military. The US didn't founder in those first years. The government survived and prospered. The Founding Fathers did a great job putting together a blue print for our country. However, besides Justice Scalia, it's hard for anyone to argue with a straight face that the circumstances we face are the same as those in 1789. The SCOTUS has put some limits on what "well-regulated" means but maybe they need to open up a dictionary.

      You state "This also comes with some risk, as does any free society." I'm sorry, but the risk is no longer worth it. My son will enter kindergarten in a year. I can't imagine the heartbreak the parents in Newtown are feeling. The opportunity for you and your buddies to put up a futile battle in some hypothetical governmental apocalypse is not worth my child's life or anyone else's. No other first world nation has this problem and I don't see the people of England, France, Germany, or other such countries being killed in the street by their militaries. Get real.

      Rather than ranting about ideology using the wholly negative-voice of the Right, let's think about what's best for our country and our children.

  7. Note to self...

    Don't F_CK with the WP.

    1. yeah. that goes double for me!