Archive for March 25th, 2013

Gun Reform

by lizard

Awful, terrible, constant death happens because of guns. Suicide death, murder death, accident death.

And for every action, like the North Hollywood Shootout of 1997, there is an equal and opposite reaction, like militarizing the police to keep pace with the streets.

In the 16 years since the North Hollywood shootout, a lot of bad things with guns have happened. The last one, the most incomprehensible one, is not producing the legislative action gun control advocates were hoping for.

While support for universal background checks polls close to 90%, states like Louisiana want to make it easier for felons to get guns:

A New Orleans judge ruled last Thursday that a law forbidding felons from owning firearms infringes their rights to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the state’s newly amended constitution.

Although Louisiana already had extremely permissive gun laws (and the second highest gun-murder rate in the country), last November voters overwhelmingly passed an initiative backed by the National Rifle Association that made gun ownership a fundamental right with the same levels of protection as the freedoms of religion and speech.

The amendment requires judges to review gun-control legislation using “strict scrutiny,” the most stringent standard of judicial review. In his decision, Judge Darryl Derbigny wrote that statute RS 14:95.1, which bars firearm ownership for people convicted of violent crimes, such as murder, assault, rape and battery, and certain misdemeanors, is “unconstitutional in its entirety.”

While that doesn’t seem like very sensible legislation (especially after the murder of Tom Clements in Colorado) reactionary legislation like this keeps moving forward. Why?

I recently read an interesting Mother Jones interview with Dan Baum, a self-described “weirdo” liberal who loves guns. This question and subsequent answer is worth thinking about:

MJ: The NRA and the gun lobby are opposed to almost all proposals regulating firearms. Do most average law-abiding gun owners share this hard-line mentality?

DB: I personally have met very few gun owners who oppose background checks. But very few of them, even the ones that don’t want an AR-15 with a 30-round magazine, believe that limiting the amount of rounds in a magazine is going to contribute materially to public safety. What worries them is being told you are not to be trusted with these things, and that is really offensive because gun owners derive a tremendous amount of pride from being able to live alongside very dangerous things, use them effectively, and not hurt anyone. When a politician or a pundit who obviously has very little experience or no experience with guns, like Charles Schumer or Dianne Feinstein, says to your ordinary gun owner, “You cant be trusted with more than 10-round magazine,” it really strikes the wrong chord. The bulge of the gun guys demographic is middle-aged, rural white men with some college, and that is a demographic that has been losing ground economically and culturally for the past 30 years. So along comes the NRA with an analysis: You want know why you’re so pissed off? Because the liberals want to take away your guns.

Universal background checks seems like a common sense, middle ground compromise, something heavily backed by the polling. Why not at least support that?

Besides, biometric palm scanners are not that far off, technologically speaking.

Something to look forward to?

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