Bill Scher's LiberalOasis

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Category: Gun Control

Submitted Without Comment: Mayor Bloomberg’s Gun Show Sting

Hizzoner at the Huffington Post:

Now, why is the Mayor of New York City investigating gun shows in places like Ohio, Tennessee, and
Nevada? Good question. And the answer is: because I have no other choice.
Even though New York is the safest big city in the country, and safer than most mid-sized cities, and even though we have the nation’s toughest law against illegal possession of a loaded handgun, drug dealers and criminals continue to obtain guns from inter-state traffickers.
According to ATF, 89% of guns used in crimes in New York City last year originated out of state. Many cities around the country find themselves in the same situation. It is clear that we can’t solve this problem by working only within our state. We need leadership from Washington to close loopholes that criminals exploit, and we need stronger enforcement of the laws already on the books.

There’s also this video:

Supreme Court says yes to guns

Update: I was up very late when I first typed this post. I was in the ICU and typing quickly and that’s a bad combination for posting. Sorry. I think that most of my grammar errors and word omissions have been corrected.
I find it interesting that the Supreme Court has given a big thumbs up to the 2nd amendment.

Amendment II
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.

Earlier this week, the Supreme Court trashed a 32 year old DC law which banned handguns. The NYT described the law this way – Not only did the 1976 law make it practically impossible for an individual to legally possess a handgun in the district, but it also spelled out rules for the storage of rifles and shotguns. But the court did not articulate a specific standard of review for what might be a reasonable restraint on the right to possess a firearm.
I can and will go through this decision. But, it seems to me that, we need to make the 2nd amendment clear. We can argue for weeks on end how to read the 2nd amendment. How should the militia clause be read? Are “the people” part of the militia or are the frames talking about all citizens? There is no “right” answer. We need to amend it.
I think the exercise of trying to figure out what the framers meant more than 200 years ago is crazy. Our society is completely different than theirs. As a matter of fact, walking through East St. Louis today is very different than back in 1789. They had no idea what a drive by shooting is but that is a reality of our life or at least life in the inner city of Houston, Baltimore and several other of our big cities. The constitution needs to reflect today’s reality.
As a trauma surgeon, I see almost everything bad that can happen with a gun. I’ve seen accidental shootings which is left 10 year old boys paralyzed. I’ve seen the anguish of the parents as they are wondering how the kids got the gun. Unfortunately, the anguish and the sorrow simply don’t matter. The bottom line, we need to be more responsible with our firearms but, since we aren’t, we must have the ability to make laws that keep us safe. An ER physician from Emory University shares this sentiment in an OP-Ed in WaPO.
So, in my opinion, new constitutional amendments are needed. (Better yet we may need a new constitution but I’ll save that idea for another post.) We must be able to ban assault weapons. We need to be able to ban fully automatic weapons (machine guns). We need to be able to control handguns. We need to be able to keep guns from felons or the 0mentality disturbed. Safety locks are not unreasonable. Frequent gun registration is not an unnecessary burden. Finally, we should be able to ban armor piercing bullets.
I have no desire to ban all weapons. I have no desire to ban all handguns. Please don’t e-mail me with statistics. These statistics have been massaged by both sides of this debate so much that you can prove almost anything if you look at the right statistic. I’m sure there’s some advocates for guns who can show me a statistic in which having a gun makes you smarter, more attractive and more successful in life. I’m sure someone on the other side of the argument can show me statistics that banning weapons allows you to own two hybrids and increases the whale population.
Reasonable people should be able to sit down and come up with a reasonable laws. Keep the zealots from both sides in the closet. (Zealots would be those who think everyone should be able to have any gun that anyone wants. On the other side, a zealot would be someone who believes that all guns should be outlawed.)
PS. I was asked how I could get through college and medical school and type something so badly. I’m sure that the question was rhetorical but I’ll answer it any way. When you major in Chemistry and take calculus, you don’t write many papers. This why, on my blog, I have a paid editor to fix my mistakes. I’m a terrible editor of my own writing. Oh, in medical school, the best that I can recall, we wrote one paper in 4 years. 🙂

The Gun Issue Won’t Go Away

I’m not particularly inclined to steer discussion about the Virginia Tech tragedy in a political direction.
Not that I consider it exploitive to do so. Politics at its best is about solving real-life problems.
It is sensible to try to understand a tragedy, learn from it, and develop policies that would prevent it from being repeated.
(Though ideally, we’d have a media that would be more patient and deliberate about gathering the facts, so we’d have a better understanding before talking about solutions.)
But quite frankly, we are already in the middle of dealing with hugely important yet difficult issues, Iraq, global warming, the Prosecutor Purge investigation and more.
As a practical matter, a shift towards discussing gun control could stall momentum on these other matters, with little expectation of making much headway on new gun legislation.
President Bush seems to be thinking the same.
He has generally avoided inserting himself in sudden news events that are not part of his planned agenda. But yesterday, after attending a ceremony at Virginia Tech, he told ABC News he expected the mass shooting to spark “a lot of policy debate.”
Yet, we don’t have the ability to prevent the gun control debate from re-starting.
The public is going to make up their own minds as to what issue they are most concerned about at a given moment.
If gun violence is on their minds, political leaders have to be prepared to address those concerns.
That’s why I’ve never been comfortable with the political strategy of many Dems to de-prioritize gun control, in hopes of picking up a few red states.
I discussed this Tom Schaller here last year. He makes a compelling case in Whistling Past Dixie that abandoning gun control is a small political price to win over the West.
But it’s hard to drop an issue, when the problem persists.
Gun violence hasn’t really gone anywhere. And when it resurfaces with a vengeance, you gotta deal with it.
(Though folks are smart to recognize that there are mental health policy issues to deal with too, in the wake of this tragedy.)
In the end, it’s not about what you or I or the party leaders want. It’s what the people want.
Which means picking and choosing issues is not always an option.