published Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

The fight over gun rights

  • photo
    President Barack Obama pauses as he delivers a speech Sunday at an interfaith vigil for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Addressing a crowd of bereaved parents, students and residents of Newtown, Conn., in the wake of Friday's horrific massacre of school children and teachers, President Obama spoke eloquently Sunday of the nation's need to do more to protect children. "We can't tolerate this anymore," he said. "These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."

The sentiment is there, and so are the facts: America has far higher rates of gun violence and murder than any other rich western nation. But to foster change, we need to see political leadership, and a specific agenda.

At the top of the list should be a renewed ban on the sale and purchase of semi-automatic assault rifles -- a ban stronger than the one that existed from 1994 to 2004, until President George W. Bush allowed it to expire. Also needed are collateral bans on certain types of highly destructive ammunition, and on the large clips and magazines used in assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols for rapid-fire, high-volume delivery of death.

The nation also must establish a comprehensive, uniform legal framework for thorough background and mental health checks at all levels of gun sales and trades, from gun stores to online sites to private sellers. These checks must be applied equally in all states, with particular focus on states, including Tennessee, that have refused sensible gun control, and that still allow wide-open gun shows and private sales without any background checks on private seller-and-buyer transactions.

These are the least of necessary reforms to begin to reverse the social ethos that glorifies guns and holds them above all other civil rights, including public safety. Other measures on a sensible reform agenda would include computer-chip trigger locks, a reversal of widened gun-carry rights in bars, schools, parks and theaters, and a tighter rein on the so-called "stand your ground" laws that now effectively amount to "kill-at-will" laws in too many cases.

Gaining the sort of meaningful change that would help the nation climb out of an unencumbered gun culture, of course, promises to be a daunting political battle. Indeed, it requires a leap of faith nowadays even to hope that President Obama, Democrats -- and perhaps some Republicans fed-up with kowtowing to the NRA gun lobby -- would have the gumption to try hard to tighten the nation's loose gun laws.

Though most Americans do not own a gun, the gun lobby has as much clout as any major lobbying machine has had in recent decades at both the state and national levels. Republicans defend the NRA's agenda for increasingly expansive gun rights because the gun lobby has become a solid faction in its wedge-issue-oriented campaign umbrella. It's in lock-step with the GOP's anti-gay, anti-abortion, and evangelical forces. The NRA is also more punitive than most against politicians who fail to do its bidding -- as the frequent NRA-funded defeats of recalcitrant politicians proves.

It is deeply entrenched at the state level with the American Legislative Exchange Council (known as ALEC), a national organization largely funded by corporations and rich industrialists. ALEC operates by trading favors with various rightist wedge-issue groups for support of state legislation that helps business interests defeat fair taxes and labor laws. ALEC "model" bills, like those regularly adopted by Tennessee and other states, have included all the NRA gun-right expansions in recent years.

With this kind of widespread lobbying support from lawmakers, the NRA and its indebted GOP lackeys will raise an unending ruckus against tighter gun laws. Obama and Democrats recognize that Republicans are already girded for war over unfettered gun rights. So if the public doesn't loudly and persistently demand and support reform of gun laws, it won't happen.

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ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

History/Experience has shown that when evil, deranged individuals decide to

commit mass murder...they will find a way. I recently heard a

comment (paraphrase): "Take away their guns, and, they will create

a many-times more grotesque/bizzare scene with their butcher knives."

December 18, 2012 at 12:28 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Ken Orr,

"History/Experience has shown that when evil, deranged individuals decide to commit mass murder...they will find a way."

This is irrelevant. Mass murder isn't the problem. Murder is.

"Take away their guns, and, they will create a many-times more grotesque/bizzare scene with their butcher knives."

So much for your "mass murder" theory. How many conscious, able-bodied people do you think one individual could kill with a butcher knife? You just made a great point for gun control.

Would you like to start over? Or maybe quit while you're behind?

December 18, 2012 at 3:58 a.m.
Pass_it_on said...

What about the other part of Obama's speech ... the part where he conceded the is a problem with mental health resources in this country?

Have you ever seen what happens to a family that has a high functioning special needs child reaching the age of 18?

Pulitzer Prizes go towards leaders in journalism, it is obvious this paper is more interested in sensationalism and muckraking rather than exploring and defining issues that cut across all social stratus.

December 18, 2012 at 6:52 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Easy,

How many conscious, able-bodied people?

I'm not sure~~~~Maybe 20 (or, so) Toddlers! Would You like to quit now?

December 18, 2012 at 10:20 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Those 'able-bodied' Toddlers are ferocious opponents. Yeah, boy, one could never overwhelm those Warrior Toddlers! kwo

Easy, You amaze me!

Ken ORR

December 18, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.
NirvanaFallacy said...

Wow, talk about knee jerk reaction to a tragedy. Clearly stricter gun laws are the solution and will obviously solve our problems. Seriously? You honestly think that would have prevented this tragedy?

Guns are not the problem; People are the problem.

December 18, 2012 at 1:05 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Ken Orr,

"I'm not sure~~~~Maybe 20 (or, so) Toddlers! Would You like to quit now?"

So you think one person could kill the same number of people with a butcher knife that Adam Lanza did with four guns? Do I need to explain how illogical and asinine that is?

"Those 'able-bodied' Toddlers are ferocious opponents."

You don't have to be very "ferocious" to run away. It's hard to run away from bullets, not so hard to run away from butcher knives.

"Yeah, boy, one could never overwhelm those Warrior Toddlers!"

Who said they were warriors? Again, you misrepresent the situation because you are ignorant and dishonest. No serious person would believe that one person could kill as many people with a butcher knife that they could with a gun. No fighting or resisting involved, it's just not physically possible unless your victims were unconscious. Also, I bet those teachers would have had a lot easier time stopping the "shooter" if he was wielding a butcher knife.

"Easy, You amaze me!"

No, seriously, you are one of the most ignorant, illogical, mentally handicapped people I have ever come across. You just doubled- and tripled-down on an idea that was ridiculous from the get go. Can you really not grasp the idea that a person is more deadly with a gun than a knife? Are you really trying to argue against that fact?

Then you build the strawman by insisting that I said mentioned toddlers and their fighting skills. By the way, I didn't mention any of that. But you're a fool for thinking one individual could kill "20 or so" conscious humans (regardless of age) with a butcher knife. Are you insane? Seriously, is there something wrong with you that would make you believe these highly illogical, nonsensical things and then argue them?

Try one more time for us, dumbass. Or would you rather quit now that you've put both feet in your mouth?

December 18, 2012 at 2:43 p.m.
conservative said...

"NEW YORK, Dec 17 (Reuters) - The California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) said on Monday it was reviewing its investments with Cerberus Capital Management LP, the private equity firm that controls Bushmaster Firearms International, in light of last week's the school shooting in Connecticut."

"With $155 billion in assets under management, CalSTRS is the largest teachers' fund and the second largest pension fund in the United States, making it an influential voice in the investment community that may influence other investor funds in reaction to the shooting."

The hypocrisy of Liberals is often stunning. Here radical leftist Socialists who abhor the Second Amendment invest in gun stocks! Yes, gun stocks!

Now, since these same loony people believe guns kill people then logic would dictate that the teacher's unions made the guns that killed kinder garden children and profited as well.

If I were a betting person, I would bet a coke that these radical leftist Socialists who abhor the Second Amendment are also invested in "record profits" BIG OIL and "record profits" insurance companies and Walmart and tobacco and liquor!

Scratch investment in loser green energy and organic and QueenJamesbible.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/17/calstrs-cerberus-idUSL1E8NHCO520121217

December 18, 2012 at 7:44 p.m.
reasonspeaks said...

The diatribe about gun rights in the article is political grand standing. The author misstates facts about gun ownership in America and those who keep and bear arms legally. Conntecticut has one of the most restrictive gun controls in the United States. How would a reformed Gun control policy prevent the innocent killing of teachers and students from a mentally unstable person who shot there Mother and stole her guns? Sounds to me the author has some issues with Tennnessee and the right for individuals to persue there second amendment rights.

December 18, 2012 at 9:57 p.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

Dear Easy,

After You read my comment, will You please go to this link? I have posted a YouTube video regarding newspaper commenting. I do hope it will be entertaining/informative/enjoyable.

http://youtu.be/oqt2G9ywa2s

In a way, it is about the numbers, one, and, past one, in another way it is not. One murder is too many, period! So, the shock value, sick fame, sick legacy is what these monsters seek. Members of the United States Military have committed more of these atrocities than any other part of society. Maybe, even law enforcement authorities have committed many. So, if we take the guns away from the U.S. Military and Police Forces...then, when any of them go berserk they can only use a pocket knife. capiche? kwo

December 19, 2012 at 12:03 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Ken Orr,

"So, if we take the guns away from the U.S. Military and Police Forces...then, when any of them go berserk they can only use a pocket knife. capiche?"

YOU ARE A MORON! NO ONE IS SUGGESTING TAKING GUNS AWAY FROM THE MILITARY OR THE POLICE! NO ONE IS SUGGESTING A GUN BAN FOR CITIZENS EITHER!

Seriously, is there something wrong with you? No one can be as ignorant, illogical, stupid, dense, moronic, etc. ad infinitum as you are. How do you get around in your daily life without getting injured or hurting others? You are the most ignorant person I have ever come across in my entire life. I'm not exaggerating either. Every one of your posts contain the most fallacious, ignorant, dishonest, illogical, unreasonable, monomaniacal, stupid statements I've ever see in print.

December 19, 2012 at 1:05 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

'He could have murdered all of them, but, he decided to just "cut them up a little."

A man stabbed 22 primary school students in a knife attack in China on Friday, officials said, the latest in a series of assaults. The attacker “has been detained”, said a spokesman for the Guangshan county government in the central province of Henan, where the stabbing happened.

If China had just taken this deranged person's guns away, then, heaven knows, he could never have stabbed the children! Mental Giants on the loose.......

December 19, 2012 at 1:18 a.m.
Easy123 said...

Ken Dumbass,

Big difference between 0 dead with a knife and 27 dead with a gun.

"If China had just taken this deranged person's guns away, then, heaven knows, he could never have stabbed the children!"

If he had shot them, they would all likely be dead.

Can you really not grasp the idea that a person is more deadly with a gun than a knife? Are you really trying to argue against that fact? Are you insane? Seriously, is there something wrong with you that would make you believe these highly illogical, nonsensical things and then argue them?

"Mental Giants on the loose......."

No, seriosuly, you are a mental midget. The tiniest of mental midgets.

December 19, 2012 at 1:25 a.m.
ORRMEANSLIGHT said...

If we take away the alcohol from people we won't have the enormous numbers of drunk driving deaths/injuries/carnage. Even assault weapons death numbers are dwarfed into the micro when compared to the annual drunk driving deaths. Those who drink and drive are the true monsters! kwo

December 20, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.
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