May 21, 2018

Some things that get missed in the gun debate

According to a poll conducted by USA Today/Suffolk University:
  • 63 percent of voters believe AR-15s and other semi-automatic weapons should be banned.
  • 61 percent believe tightening gun laws and background checks would prevent Some more mass shootings.
  • 76 percent believe people who have received treatment for a mental illness should be banned from owning guns.
Sam Smith –As noted here before, one of the main reasons  we don’t have better gun laws is that liberals have gone it alone on issue instead of building alliances with rational  gun owners. Gun owners are not the NRA as a recent CBS poll shows. For example:
  • 56% of gun owners do not believe gun control supporters are trying to take away traditions and a way of life.
  • 55% of gun owners do not believe gun control supporters are trying to take away all guns.
  • 60% think gun control supporters are promoting public safety and lower gun deaths for everyone.
  • 43% of gun owners think the NRA is too extreme in its positions.
  • 55% of gun owners disapprove of the way the NRA handles the debate.
  • 54% of gun owners are concerned about the possibility of gun violence at their children’s school
  • On a scale of one to five, with the latter representing pro-control 42%  of gun owners place themselves at 4 or 5.
In short, the image projected by liberals and the media of gun owners is markedly wrong. They should recognize that the view of these owners is quite varied and start to work with hunters and other owners who favor a rational approach.

e have periodically argued that liberals should stop going alone on gun control, that they should seek alliances with hunters and other groups that are in favor of gun ownership but are willing to deal with the problems involved. The liberals go-it-alone approach to this issue has not only made them ineffective, it is the basis for a lot of anti-liberal antagonism. Here, for example, are reforms the conservative NY Post has proposed:

From the conservative NY Post:

  •     Reinstate the federal assault-weapons ban, or at least revive its key features. Passed in 1994 but allowed to lapse 10 years later, that law prohibited the manufacture of semiautomatic firearms that bore certain features, like detachable magazines, that made them more dangerous. Perhaps most important, it also outlawed “large capacity” magazines. Critics argue that the ban did little good — but the fact is that the average toll from mass shootings has been growing. It’s surely worth trying to trim a casualty from the next killer’s total. Note, too, that the ban did no real harm. And it certainly didn’t lead the nation down the “slippery slope” toward eliminating other weapons, let alone a repeal of the Second Amendment, as the NRA and other Washington lobbyists warned.
  •     Raise the age to buy firearms. While Nikolas Cruz’s background and motives are still being investigated, it’s already clear he had issues — and people knew it. But at 19, his record wasn’t enough to prevent a gun sale. Background checks are no good if you hardly have a background. Most states ban drinking under 21; there’s no reason not to similarly curb gun purchases. Ban gun sales to “fugitives from justice.” Such sales have long been illegal, but last year, Team Trump opted to exclude fugitives from the background-check database unless they crossed state lines; that removed 500,000 names from the list. Shouldn’t everyone who flees justice be kept from buying guns?
  •     Target bump stocks. These let shooters turn semiautomatic weapons into ones that fire almost as rapidly as fully automatic ones, which are illegal. The idea of a ban got attention last year after the devices helped the Las Vegas shooter carry out his massacre — but soon died. Congress should act. If it won’t, Trump can order a bureaucratic ban: No one claims the Second Amendment protects these things.
  •     Kill the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. This bill would effectively impose some states’ loose gun-control laws on states with tighter ones; it’s arrogant and anti-federalist. It’s probably going nowhere — but the president can send a clear message by denouncing it. Why mess with places like New York City, which is already the safest large city in America? No doubt other steps can help address the mass-shooting horror. We’re all for better reporting of threats and better security — but no one wants America’s schools turned into fortresses. Nothing can be sure to prevent another Parkland or Las Vegas or Sandy Hook. But that’s a poor excuse not to act. America needs to stand up to these attacks — to make it harder for those who shouldn’t have firearms to get them, to send a message that the nation is cracking down. If it’s possible to prevent or limit even a few tragedies, why not?
Activist Post  -   Already, in 2018, American police have killed 153 people. When we add that to 1,189 people killed by police in 2017, that number is 1,342. This number is set to increase by one, on average, every 8 hours. When comparing the total number of mass shootings over the last 35 years to just the last 14 months of police killings the ratio is 1.6 to 1, citizens killed by cops vs. citizens killed in mass shootings. That is a massive difference.

Hunters Against Gun Violence -  We are all hunters, former hunters and/or gun owners. We cherish our right to use firearms in a safe and responsible manner to pursue recreation and provide food for our families. We believe in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Court affirmed that the right to keep and bear arms is not absolute or unlimited, but is subject to regulation. Such regulations already include concealed weapons prohibitions, limits on the rights of felons and the mentally ill, laws forbidding the carrying of weapons in certain locations, laws imposing conditions on commercial sales, and prohibitions on the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

We are deeply troubled by the increase in mass shootings and generally widespread use of guns in domestic violence, suicides and the incidental, unintended deaths due to careless use or storage of guns. Thus, we believe more gun safety regulation is needed. We also believe that such regulation is encouraged under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. We acknowledge that new regulation may involve some inconvenience to law-abiding gun owners and that it must be part of a comprehensive approach to reduce violence in our society.

Politico, 2017 -   A new poll commissioned by an anti-gun violence PAC found that less than 50 percent of gun owners polled believe the NRA represents their interests.

In that same poll, sixty-seven percent of gun owners polled said they either strongly or somewhat agree that the NRA has shifted from an organization dedicated to gun safety to one “overtaken by lobbyists and the interests of gun manufacturers and lost its original purpose and mission.”

Twenty-six percent of respondents said they were members of the NRA and 74 percent said they were not. Fifty percent said they voted for Trump, who was endorsed early in his candidacy by the NRA, in last year’s presidential election, while 43 percent said they voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

On specific policy issues, 88 percent of gun owners polled said they support requiring a permit for individuals to carry a concealed gun in public and 80 percent said they support mandating a background check for all gun purchases, including those online and at gun shows. Eighty-six percent of respondents supported a ban on gun purchases for anyone convicted of domestic violence or stalking and 85 percent supported a similar ban for those on the federal terror watch list or no-fly list.

Sixty percent of gun owners polled said they support laws that ban individuals from carrying guns inside schools, while 33 percent said they supported the elimination of those laws. 

LA Times - Peer-reviewed research has shown that individuals with major mental disorders (those that substantially interfere with life activities) are more likely to commit violent acts, especially if they abuse drugs. When we focus more narrowly on mass public shootings — an extreme and, fortunately, rare form of violence — we see a relatively high rate of mental illness.

According to our research, at least 59% of the 185 public mass shootings that took place in the United States from 1900 through 2017 were carried out by people who had either been diagnosed with a mental disorder or demonstrated signs of serious mental illness prior to the attack. (We define a mass public shooting as any incident in which four or more victims are killed with a gun within a 24-hour period at a public location in the absence of military conflict, collective violence or other criminal activity, such as robberies, drug deals or gang turf wars.)

Mother Jones found a similarly high rate of potential mental health problems among perpetrators of mass shootings — 61% — when the magazine examined 62 cases in 2012.

Both rates are considerably higher than those found in the general population — more than three times higher than the rate of mental illness found among American adults, and about 15 times higher than the rate of serious mental illness found among American adults.

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