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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Quick question

I normally stay clear of debates over guns, in part because I think that the whole issue is a loser for Democrats, in part because my own views are mixed. Personally, I've never owned a gun. (I do carry a spring-assist pocket knife, and would very much prefer for all 50 states to have the same laws regarding their usage.)

In general, the idea of the government intruding on the rights of hunters seems very wrong. The idea of people taking guns into rural areas for target practice doesn't bother me at all. All told, gun ownership in rural areas seems less of a problem than gun ownership in big cities.

On the other hand, I have warmed to the idea of instituting a few modest regulations -- similar to (but less intrusive than) those governing the right to drive. We lived with an assault rifle ban for a while, and the country did not sink in the predicted morass of Godless Bolshevism. At the very least, it seems like a good idea to raise the age of AR-15 ownership to 21, and for the government to keep a record of legal owners.

Like most others, I can't understand why we don't institute background checks to keep guns -- or at least assault rifles -- away from those with demonstrably troubled minds and/or criminal records. Obviously, any system of background checks will be porous and problematic. But something is better than nothing. We'd have fewer stalkers if every jilted lover understood that the issuance of a restraining order could result in the surrender of his or her weapon for a certain period of time.

My question concerns the Trumpian notion of armed teachers.

Let us suppose that, when the next high school shooting incident breaks out, a teacher somehow manages to retrieve a handgun from the desk drawer in which he or she keeps it. Suppose further that he stalks the halls holding the weapon high, as cops do in the movies, as he searches for the miscreant.

Now let us suppose that a real cop enters the school property. How does the cop know that the armed teacher is not, in fact, the mad gunman?

It's easy to see the potential for disaster.

Another point: In the Parkland case as in Sandy Hook, the shooter was a young man who lived in a household headed by parents who were enthusiastic gun owners. No matter what your feelings about the Second Amendment, it seems to me that, if you are the parent or guardian of a young male showing clear signs of emotional turmoil, you would do well to disallow guns in your house. When the kid moves out, the guns can come back in. That's just common sense, isn't it? 
"That's just common sense, isn't t?"

Ya think? My husband and I are gun owners, primarily because my husband had been pushing to own a gun for years. Not sure why although it really started after our house was burglarized in Jersey. That being said, I refused any and all guns in the house when we had kids under our roof. I don't care how careful you are about storage, kids have a knack in ferreting out what they want. And small children? The number of tots who have been injured, maimed and/or killed because of carelessness is obscene. Instead of a gun in Jersey, we had a security system installed in the house.

Then we moved south where gun ownership is a generational mindset. Our children are grown, out of the house. We own guns, a huge personal responsibility. Even though we have been trained, go regularly to a shooting range and the fact that my husband is an excellent shot, the idea that we/he would have any chance against an AR-15 is ludicrous.

Military-grade weapons should be outlawed in our streets and communities. The NRA represents less than 10% of gun owners, most of whom support sensible gun regulation. Dana Loesch might try to sell the idea of a "fellowship of gun owners" but the organization is really about gun manufactures and . . . money. Anyone who listened to Wayne LaPierre at CPAC should realize that the organization has clearly gone off the rails. That was a lunatic rant.

I think the answer might be in enacting rigorous liability laws for gun owners (28 states have weak to less weak laws on the books now), sellers (as in Dram Shop liability) and manufacturers (think safety measures for cars).

What we cannot continue to do is what Paul Ryan did this morning, talking about everything but the elephant in the room . . . guns. The CDC and FBI estimate that there are 300+ million guns in the US, nearly 1 gun for every man, woman and child in the country.

Do we feel safe yet???

Good point regarding the teacher being mistaken as the shooter. Just another of a bizillion reasons this idea is cretinous. Presumably the gun would be locked up, right? So how is that teacher going to pull it out and shoot back at a guy with an AR-15 whose already shooting?
As a tax payer of modest means why are you not outraged by the costs we bear hardening public venues, schools and government buildings against gun carnage. Why should gun lickers enjoy the benefits of the Second Amendment but little of the responsibility?
Gun control legislation aside tax firearm, ammunition, and accessory sales to cover the damages and prevention steps needed to keep Sane Americans safe from deranged Trump supporters. End gun owner welfare!
Joseph, as with your last post, much food for thought and discussion, but one point and an observation.

If teachers are armedm then they become target number one, and the teacher's back is frequently facing toward the classroom population.

So much of the "gun debate" has been framed and owned by the NRA, which long ago stopped being a membership organization and become a fascistic manufacturers lobby: all they want is to sell more of their product. To attain this goal they use somewhat more thuggish than usual advertising campaign tactics to build the necessary felt need for the product, guns and ammo. Insecurity and fear can besolved easily: buy our product; get ready to shoot people.

been reading the 2nd and if you go with the "original intent" interpretation that the republican'ts like to use, then you should only be allowed to own a gun if you take part in a state sponsored militia that has rules and regulations regarding firearms. not everyone wants to "take away your guns" but rather put in place common sense rules that would somewhat prevent the types of tragedies we are seeing more of lately. no one needs a military style weapon with high capacity magazines unless you plan to kill many things at once. pretty stupid to think you are using it for hunting and if used for "home defense", stand a much greater chance of "collateral damage" from all the rounds that would be sprayed willy-nilly through the neighborhood.

as for teachers being armed, that just puts guns into the classroom where anyone can grab it and start blasting away. no one thinks about that fact it appears.

No-one seems to be worried about hand guns. American gun-related suicides outnumber gun-related murders more than two to one, and are almost all done with handguns. Criminals also prefer them because they are easy to conceal. AR-15s are really only useful for playing soldier or commiting suicide in the way that takes a lot of other people with you.
You raise the issue of the armed teacher being mistaken for the gunman. An unarmed student was mistaken as the gunman. He was forced to the floor and handcuffed. If he was armed he would had been shot and killed just like an armed teacher.

Thanks for raising a tough subject.

Most gun regulations exist primarily at the state level. Check out the gun laws by state/interactive:

In the last 10 years, Red states like Arizona and Florida have eliminated almost every gun regulation: e.g. not registering who is buying a handgun, not requiring any kind of background check or ID/registration for handgun sales, not requiring background checks or gun owner registration if purchase is through non-dealers (e.g. "private" sales of firearms/ammo). Red states have a very lively private sales "secondary" gun market.

Until states like Arizona and Florida -- that make it so easy to buy guns -- get on board with stricter regulations, the U.S. will continue to have an excessive gun problem. Guns from Red states migrate invisibly across state lines through the secondary, private gun sales market, U.S. resident mobility (people moving from one state to another to live or work or vacation). Recently proposed Federal law re: concealed carry reciprocity exponentially increases risks -- particularly for domestic violence victims and for private re-sale of Red state guns where the chain of ownership is completely untraceable. Further, without registration required in private sales, it's likely that states are missing out on the lions share of sales tax, unlike taxes due on registering a recently purchased car.

Even if no more gun are sold in the U.S., with armloads more guns per capita (approx 88 guns/100 U.S. residents) already in our communities (compared to every other country in the world) -- U.S. safety and public health will still at risk from guns that are already saturating our communities.

There must be a program that provides incentives to turn in and destroy guns, rather than re-sell them.

All of these gun safety/mitigation programs -- to destroy existing guns, to register people's guns, to background check gun buyers -- cost money and require access to data across systems that vary by state.

The Trump Administration only wants to spend money on a wall and locking up and deporting undocumented immigrants and pot-smokers.

Public health crises that don't have a market -- e.g. for drug therapies, substance abuse rehab programs -- except for hospitalization and/or funeral services are not going to be a priority for legislators who believe that their elected position is not at risk.

NRA and the gun lobby spent unprecedented sums in 2016: most was not direct campaign contributions, but indirect influence on voters through public service ads and mailings to 5 million NRA members to "grade" NRA friendly legislators, attack politicians the NRA sees as a threat, etc. . Who's going to get lobby money out of politics after Citizen's United in the current Congress?

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