Guns

Obama’s gun control agenda becomes more clear

The meeting yesterday between Vice President Joe Biden’s gun control task force and the National Rifle Association didn’t go that well. Biden is expected to hand his recommendations to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, who will, in turn, push for legislation from Congress to enact them.

In addition to reintroducing the assault weapons ban and trying to eliminate the so-called “gun show loophole,” Biden laid down some of the policies that will be pursued by the White House in Congress in the coming days:

Biden gave the most detailed description so far of what his panel will propose, telling sporting groups at the start of their session that there is broad consensus among those he has surveyed to require background checks on all gun purchases and to restrict the amount of ammunition that can be included in a gun magazine.

After the meeting the NRA issued a statement explaining, “While claiming that no policy proposals would be ‘prejudged,’ this Task Force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners — honest, taxpaying, hardworking Americans.”

Some may be questioning why the NRA even entertained the White House when the outcome was so obvious. From a standpoint of public perception, it’s not like they had much of a choice. If they didn’t go, it would look like they weren’t even interested in a discussion. But if they did go, they provided the White House with a talking point that they had “met with the NRA.” It was a lose-lose for them.

An Open Letter to Piers Morgan

Piers Morgan

Dear Piers Morgan,

We get it.  You, a British citizen and a subject of the Crown, are not a supporter of gun rights.  This is something we understand perfectly well.

However, I feel that as a fellow journalist, I need to reach out and let you know that I’m on to your little tricks.  Frankly, if this is the best you’ve got, maybe you should rethink your position on gun rights…or at least quit making it such a point on your show.

The first trick was to shout down reasonable debate when you had Larry Pratt on your show.  Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, went on your show to have a reasonable discussion, and you shout him down with tactics more akin to Bill O’Reilly’s.  Every time he opened his mouth to counter your points, you were rude and drowned him out.

Time and time again, you called Pratt names like “stupid,” while countering with no facts of your own.  You were as unprofessional as I have ever seen, and with Kieth Olbermann and O’Reilly still in my memory, that’s saying something.

Last night, you had Alex Jones on your show.  Ostensibly, it was about the petition to have you deported.  For the record, I did not sign it and did not support it.  Freedom of speech is freedom for all, or else it’s freedom for none.    Jones started it, and you had him on your show.  Unsurprisingly, the topic went over to gun control.

Feinstein’s bill: What it looks like

Both sides of the debate on so-called “assault weapons” have been in high gear lately.  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had already declared her intention to introduce a new assault weapon ban before the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School thrust guns into the national spotlight.  However, most debate was really centered around the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban because all we had was Feinstein’s statements.  There wasn’t an actual bill to speak of.

Well, now thanks to Sen. Feinstein’s website, we know what the bill will look like.

Go Home, Wayne LaPierre, You’re Drunk

Wayne LaPierre

National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre broke his organization’s silence since last week’s atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary by giving apress conferencethis morning. The press conference’s tone was rambling at times and it appeared to generally lack focus. The NRA gave some reasons they thought that there were mass shootings

There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like “Bullet Storm,” “Grand Theft Auto,” “Mortal Combat,” and “Splatterhouse.”

LaPierre also went on to blame violent movies and music videos as well. LaPierre also appeared to claim that there was a media conspiracy to cover up the role of violent media by blaming gun owners.

The problem with blaming violent video games for crime is that its simply not true as is pointed in this piece in the National Review. Also, is the message that we need to gut the First Amendment to save the Second Amendment the right message we need to send right now?

LaPierre unfortunately wasn’t finished with his Joe Biden impersonation. He had some suggestions for improving school security:

Opinion shifting after Sandy Hook

Gun rights had been enjoying a miniature golden age.  Following the Supreme Court decisions of Heller and McDonald, gun rights advocates have kind of been skating on cloud nine.  Even the halfhearted pushed by President Obama for more gun control, spurred on by violent crime south of the border, sputtered and died following “Operation Fast and Furious” came to light.  Unfortunately, that seems to be changing.

From Politico:

More Americans prioritize gun control above Second Amendment rights by the widest margin since President Barack Obama took office, according to a new poll released Thursday in wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.

Forty-nine percent of those polled said it’s more important to control gun ownership, compared to 42 percent who say it’s more important to protect Americans’ rights to own guns, according to a Pew Research Center Poll.

Megan McArdle makes some good points…then almost ruins it

Megan McArdle

I’ll be honest - I haven’t read much of the “analysis” of the Newtown shooting because, frankly, it’s almost entirely useless.  People on both sides of the political spectrum have used it to make their own points without any regard to whether said points fit the facts.  We have liberals making the case for gun control, ignoring the fact that the killer stole guns legally purchased and in fact was stopped from buying a gun by strict Connecticut gun laws.  And we have conservatives making the absurd argument that schools should be militarized with armed guards - even teachers packing heat.  Neither of these ideas is helpful in the least.  Meanwhile, I’ve spent the few words I’ve uttered on the subject trying to combat these two opposing extremes, lacking the knowledge or boldness (one could say arrogance) to say much of my own.

So far, the only piece I’ve seen that even attempts to make my own feelings clear was written by Megan McArdle at The Daily Beast.  The problem with the post is that Megan, after starting off with some good points, then veers off course and takes a leap into what I will charitably call “unconventional ideas”.  But before making that detour, I found myself agreeing with much of what she was saying - simply that all the obvious “solutions” are not solutions at all, and that we need to be realistic about what we can do to prevent events like the shooting.  Megan notes:

Gun control talk is heating up

Second Amendment

After last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, politicians have made loud calls for increased gun control measures, including a reinstatement of the Assault Weapons Ban — nevermind that the .223 Bushmaster rifle used by Adam Lanza wouldn’t have been covered under that law.

Politico notes this morning that President Barack Obama, who has previously called for more gun control measures, has announced that he will form a “guns task force” to presumably look at gun control policies that the White House could pursue. Of course, pro-Second Amendment advocates see this tragedy being politicized by policitians who have long clamored for increased gun control measures.

We’ve hear gun control advocates talk about how these mass shootings are on the rise. Despite the rhetoric, the facts just don’t bear that out. In an article published the day after the shooting at Shady Hook, the Associated Press explained:

“There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston’s Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, spurred by a rash of mass shootings in post offices.

The random mass shootings that get the most media attention are the rarest, Fox says. Most people who die of bullet wounds knew the identity of their killer.

What Evil Lurks in the Heart of Man

This weekend has, for my family, been a case study in the dichotomous nature of life. For my family personally, it was a joyous weekend. On Friday, I took two of my boys into town for the afternoon. We got haircuts and then I took them to do their Secret Santa shopping for Christmas (in our family, with eight children, it can quickly get very expensive for the kids to try to buy each of their siblings a gift, so we put their names in a hat and then they blindly pick out the name for whom they will be a “Secret Santa”). Later that evening, back at home, we were joined for dinner by four young missionaries who are far from home this Christmas. With my own oldest son, Elijah, on a mission in Mexico, they’ve become a sort of proxy for him until he returns.

Saturday was even more special, as we gathered with family and friends for the baptism of my daughter Mahalie. For Christians, few events in life are more meaningful or precious as baptism, as we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ and promise to live like Him, knowing we’ll often fall short, even as we try each day to do better. Seeing my sweet little daughter, dressed in all white, representing purity and innocence, brought tears to my eyes. These milestones are, of course, bittersweet, since they remind us of how quickly time flies, and one day we wake up and our little babies have grown up and are living their own lives, going to college or on missions, or getting married and starting families of their own.

A Moment of Silence

Charlie Harper is editor of Peach Pundit, Georgia’s most-read political blog, and a columist at The Courier Herald. This has been reposted with permission.

I attended Sunday’s Falcons game at the Georgia Dome.  In addition to the usual presentation of our nation’s flag and the singing of The National Anthem, there was a moment of silence.  In days gone by, it would have been a public prayer.  Instead, we were instructed to be quiet for a moment of reflection on the lives lost last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut.  It was brief, but lasted long enough to make me wonder if we didn’t need a longer one, not just at football games, but across the whole country.

I became consciously aware of the shooting just after 1:00 pm Friday, not from the breathless news reports, but while reading Twitter and Facebook.  I made the decision not to turn on the television right away.  Unfortunately, this has become too familiar that I knew what to expect by doing that.  There would be pictures and stories of unimaginable tragedy, told with incomplete and often incorrect information for the first few hours.  I decided I could actually postpone reality for a bit, though I pieced together enough thoughts to post a request for “prayers for Connecticut” on my blog at Peach Pundit.

Then I checked out for a couple of hours.  It was time for a moment of silence.

Facebook and Twitter are now the rapid response sites for citizen-based commentary during all events.  When observing initial reactions there is a one general rule of thumb: You will lose faith in humanity reading knee-jerk responses and political solutions from instant experts while first responders are still trying to treat the wounded and remove bodies.

Sen. Feinstein, Sandy Hook Elementary School, and the Second Amendment

Senator Dianne Feinstein is no friend of the Second Amendment.  After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, Sen. Feinstein called for a new assault weapon ban.  Now, however, she’s claiming that it’s even more important that these so-called “assault weapons” be taken off the streets in light of the tragic events last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

From Huffington Post:

“Who needs these military-style assault weapons? Who needs an ammunition feeding device capable of holding 100 rounds?” Feinstein wrote on her campaign website. “These weapons are not for hunting deer — they’re for hunting people.”

On Sunday Feinstein laid out details of the bill.

“It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively,” and ban the sale of clips of more than ten bullets, Feinstein said. “The purpose of this bill is to get… weapons of war off the streets.”

Ah, the old hunting argument. Before I address that though, I find it disgusting that the senator would choose to talk about her bill in light of what happened, especially since this most recent act had nothing to do with so-called “assault weapons”.  Adam Lanza is alleged to have used two semi-automatic pistols to commit his acts of voilence that horrible day, and unless this assault weapon ban proposes to just hit all semi-automatic weapons, it wouldn’t touch the murder weapons.*

I’d also like to take a minute to remind Sen. Feinstein on the exact wording of the Second Amendment:

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.


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