Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Not on the table

Yes, Obama used executive orders to do something about the level of gun violence in America. And we should give him credit for that because doing anything means kicking the hornet's nest. But Melissa McEwen of Shakesville is not impressed. Her reasons:

* Obama's budget for next year will include funding for 200 more Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents. McEwen's objection: Obama's remarks had nothing about people killed by hair trigger officers.

* Keep guns out of the wrong hands?
The problem with restrictions designed to keep guns out of the "wrong" hands is that most of the people who decide to use a gun to harm someone else are, per these definitions, the "right" hands until they're not anymore.
And we're going to make domestic violence a disqualifying crime for gun ownership, which is a good idea in the abstract, except that it necessitates reporting, which victims of domestic abusers may not do if they know their abusers' guns will be taken away, thus enraging them and putting their victims at further risk for harm.

* As for making sure the mentally ill don't get guns McEwen has this sarcastic summary of what Obama said:
We have to reduce stigma around mental illness, but we definitely need to reflexively see every shooter as mentally ill and also track mentally ill people.

Her summary:
The only meaningful thing that is going to curb gun violence is fewer guns.

But that isn't on the table.

Obama, in his speech, talked about the Declaration of Independence and the unalienable rights that include life. Then there is the modern interpretation of the Second Amendment that is taking away the right to life.

And we're not surprised at all... Stocks in gun companies jumped up – Smith & Wesson by 12% – as investors flocked to them in anticipation of a spike in gun sales because people will want to buy before this modest tightening of background checks goes into effect.

These investors have reason. Whenever Obama does more than lament that Congress isn't doing anything gun sales spike. There were 1.6 million guns sold in December. The previous spike was January of 2012 at 2 million guns sold. That was just after Obama was reelected and the Sandy Hook shooting – and Obama talked about restrictions. A third big spike was November of 2008 when Obama was elected. That spike was 1.1 million guns sold. And that spike is now pretty much the monthly average. Annual gun sales have doubled since Obama took office, mostly because the GOP says Obama will take away their guns. That line was missing from Obama's speech.

It is interesting to scan through the comments of the last link to see the cartoons that were posted. Such as this one:
So let me get this straight, requiring an ID at the voting booth is protecting our freedoms, but requiring and ID at a gun show is violating our freedoms?

One commenter addresses the claim that if we restrict ownership of guns then only criminals will have guns. Yes, that is true – and also a big improvement over what we have now. For instance, we'll have a lot fewer guns accidents and a lot fewer incidents of guns in domestic disputes.

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