From left to right: Photo of Joseph Kelley in Utah J.C. Penny taken by Cindy Yorgason;President Obama presenting his proposals in a photo posted on NewsWhip.com; “Pioneer” statue on UO campus carrying his rifle.
The following post contains views and opinions that are my own (Nicholas Ekblad) and do not necessarily represent those of the Oregon Commentator as a whole.
Now, I spent about half of my childhood in The-middle-of-nowhere, Arizona and the greater half in rural eastern Oregon. I was taught by my father how to use a gun and how to use it safely. My father did not make light– ever– of the power and responsibility of a holding a firearm in hand. I firmly believe in the Second Amendment, though it might surprise a lot of people to learn that I support “gun control” in its general sense (READ: the control of guns is as necessary and already as prevalent as the control of, say, the license to drive a motor vehicle)(fully automatic weapons have been outlawed since 1936). That being said, here is my take on Obama’s proposals to congress.
Vice President Joe Biden admitted Wednesday that he has no misconceptions of the gravity and complexity of the task at hand, saying “No one can know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented. But we all know we have a moral obligation– a moral obligation– to do everything in our power to diminish the prospect that something like this could happen again.”
President Obama confirmed this obligation.
Biden along with Cabinet members allegedly consulted with “229 groups, not just individuals, representing groups” including law enforcement agencies, public health officials, gun officials to gun advocacy groups, sportsmen, hunters and religious leaders. Additionally, he claims that he discussed extensively with many members of government including both sides of Congress.
So, Biden, claiming that they are “based on the emerging consensus we heard from all the groups with whom we spoke”, has put together this set of legislative recommendations that President Obama then signed.
Require criminal background checks for all firearm sales.
I believe this to be reasonable enough in that it poses no threat to the non-violent law-abiding citizen. More importantly, if properly enacted, it will most definitely have that diminishing effect on the potential of tragedy that Biden was talking about. Very recently, the NRA has announced that it supports this measure. However, I’m not really sure how they plan to enforce this with the private and personal sale of the 300,000,000 guns already in circulation in the United States. According to Jens Ludwig of the University of Chicago, nearly 80 percent of guns used in crimes are bought through a private sale.
Reinstate the ban on “military-style assault weapons”.
Ok, Libs. Get ready to have your hearts broken. *Loopholes. The previous ban on “military-style assault weapons”– whatever the fuck that is supposed to mean (anyone with basic knowledge of firearms understands that phrase as a purposefully vague concept)– was rife with *loopholes. The previous ban outlawed the manufacture about 18 different types of guns. Again, anyone with basic knowledge of firearms will tell you that 18 types of guns could be found in even a modestly armed American home. Firearms manufacturers will simply change one little thing and– bam– they’ve got a legally marketable gun. If a prohibition on “military-style assault weapons” were expanded to include a more concrete and inclusive ban on these dangerous “war weapons,” it would fail in public opinion as well as in Congress.
Furthermore, it is undeniable that the real problem in America is not mass shootings by “assault-weapons.” General gun violence is the real problem that presents a stark, stark contrast when compared to other nations. That being said, gun violence was about twice as prevalent per 1,000 people in the early 1990s than it was three years ago.
Seriously, we can pull numbers from statistics all day. But the simple truth is that most gun violence is committed with handguns and a ban on “military-style assault weapons” would have such a little effect on crime and violence that it is almost– I said almost– laughable.
Restore the 10-round limit on ammunition magazines.*
President Obama can be quoted saying that high-capacity magazines permitted Adam Lanza such daunting power so as to spray 150 rounds at Sandy Hook Elementary without pausing. This is nothing but fear-generating rhetoric because, in fact, Lanza used multiple clips and reloaded repeatedly without emptying the magazines. So, if the goal is to “diminish the potential” for this tragedy to ever occur again, a ban on high-capacity magazine would do nothing to deter such tragedy.
Now, I’m not arguing that non-violent, law-abiding citizens need these dangerous machines. Yes, they are dangerous. So are motor-vehicles. So are flamethrowers. So is alcohol. Yet those three things are perfectly legal. I argue that they do have the right to have them and should have them if they want them.
The horrible truth is that criminals don’t abide by the law and will obtain and use these things no matter what laws Congress passes. What’s more, any magazine manufactured before the ban (enacted in 1994) was exempt, leaving the owner well within the law. The ban prohibited the manufacture of these high-capacity magazines and the “assault weapons” mentioned above. They did not outlaw the possession. But let’s consider for a moment that a violent criminal does decide to comply with a hypothetical ban on the possession of high-capacity magazines. Here’s what I would do if I were him:
The difference in time between pulling the trigger 30 times (without manually reloading) and pulling the trigger ten times, popping the magazine out and shoving it in backward to pull off ten more rounds is miniscule (i.e. the probability of outrunning the bullets is equal: slim to none). I implore you to consider the lack of teeth in this type of measure and to not expect a miracle in relation to this proposal.
Getting rid of armor-piercing bullets.*
Call me crazy, but I don’t like this one little bit. Sure, armor-piercing bullets are unnecessary for defense against the average home intruder. Sure, the government has tanks and I could never dream of defending myself against a tank. However, to enter my home against my will– my initially nonviolent, law-abiding, freedom-loving, American will– the government had better bring a fucking tank. Perhaps I don’t need these powerful bullets today (I certainly wouldn’t shoot them during target practice because, boy, are they expensive!), but I would sure like to sit on them until tomorrow. And the next day. The government has been very successful in militarizing our police forces the past decade. In the simplest terms, the piggies have armor, and I want my family and the generations of the future to have the power to stop oppressive piggies if the need should ever arise. Prove that it will never happen and I will give up my armor piercing bullets. If it never happens, then it never happens.
Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime.
As long as this measure is reasonably instituted and does not unnecessarily impede law-abiding citizens or invade their privacy, I have nothing against what this proposal intends.
End the freeze on gun violence research.
This “freeze” has been attributed to Todd Tiahrt in this NPR piece.
Again, as long as this measure is reasonably instituted and does not unnecessarily impede law-abiding citizens or invade their privacy, I have nothing against what this proposal intends.
Make our schools safer with more school resource officers and school counselors, safer climates, and better emergency response plans.
I find this to be a splendid idea.
Help ensure that young people get the mental health treatment they need.
This also sounds like a splendid idea– if accompanied by concrete solutions centered around healthy discourse instead of harmful pharmaceutical drugs.**
Ensure health insurance plans cover mental health benefits.
This seems like it was listed simply to make the number of non-gun-related proposals larger. Really, the mental health of the United States cannot be stressed enough. We have prisons that act as mental institutions in which our seriously sick suffer and to which our barely sick, lacking the attention they deserve, are hopefully lucky enough to never have been sentenced. Why is our idea of mental health so black and white? So cut and dry? In the United States, for some awful reason, either you’re sane or you’re a criminal.
*And the biggest loophole of them all: Gun bans don’t disarm criminals!
**OF SUPER RELEVANCE AND IMPORTANCE: David Kupelian at World Net Daily points out that there is a severe and very disturbing gap in the reporting of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary.
When children are taught how to properly use firearms at a young age, such mystification, obsession– and wonder– has little room to exist. Think of cannabis in the Netherlands. They have succeeded in making pot boring: use of the drug by its citizens has dropped enormously since being legalized. Keeping all of this in mind, we must understand that we Americans are deeply rooted in a culture supportive of and, in too many cases, mystified by guns. As I said above, the real problem is general gun violence and the lack of a discernable solution. This mystification and obsession with guns is the most harmful to our society. Perhaps what we need is more education about guns. If we are going to give every person the right to own and carry a gun, then gun safety and marksmanship should be taught in primary school, before children even have a chance to become curious and, in turn, mystified. Above all, it must be understood that the people of America (the good and the bad) have a culture of guns that cannot be eradicated or stamped out with laws.