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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Want to curb crime? Let’s outlaw Congress


020413gunsAs a gun owner who grew up in a family of hunters, I cannot — and will not — join the parade of whiners who think the answer to increasing gun violence is more laws outlawing ownership of weapons by law-abiding citizens.

The American government cannot — and will not — stop senseless murders by simply outlawing the sale of assault-style weapons or large capacity magazines.

Those who commit such crimes do so most often with weapons they illegally obtained.  The current rush towards new gun laws came as a result of of the young man who killed elementary students and teachers at a small-town school in Connecticut.  He used an assault-style weapon he stole from his mother.

Of course, in some cases, the murderers used weapons they obtained legally through the system, but in too many cases because they were mental cases who escaped detection.

Which bring us to the one idea of increased government action that may have merit — a tightening of investigations of those who obtain such weapons.  But while that might stop an incident or two, it will not bring an end to gun-related violence by criminals and criminals are still the ones who used weapons to take the most lives of others.

Increasing the restrictions of gun purchases by law-abiding citizens will not, by itself, put an end to gun violence by those who routinely break the law.  As long as the American justice system allows criminals to escape serious punishment for breaking the law the problem will continue.

The irony of the gun control debate is that — in the end — the final decision on whether or not the government will exercise more questionable restrictions on whether or not law-abiding citizens can exercise their right to own weapons of their choice will be made by a government body composed of routine law breakers: the Congress of the United States.

Various members of the House and Senate have long records of skirting the law.  The current Congress includes members with records of spousal abuse, writers of bad checks, opportunists who have revealed classified information for personal or political gain, serials liars, adulterers and practitioners of illegal political and/or business practices.

Want examples?  Democratic Congressman Jim Moran of Alexandria has a record of spousal abuse and involvement in bar fights.   The personal fortune of former Presidential candidate and longtime Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona comes from an liquor business tied to organized crime.

The list goes on and on.  A few years ago, Capitol Hill Blue found that in the then-current Congress, 29 members had been arrested for spousal abuse, seven had been charged with fraud, 19 had written bad checks and many others had bankrupted business or defrauded partners or associates.

So how can we trust a collection of crooks, con-artists and thieves to come up with a solution for ending violence by criminals?

Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

16 thoughts on “Want to curb crime? Let’s outlaw Congress”

  1. Saw a sign in fronn of a gun store located in the far northwest. It read, “If you voted for Obama in the last presidential election, turn around you are to stupid to own a firearm!”

  2. By the way, can anyone tell us why our government is buying so many hollow point bullets? Truth is they could be for us? Just wondering.

    Your. elected leaders don’t give a darn what you want or think. They have their own agenda. Folks the Second Amendment is the last of our Constitutional freedoms. Did I say it is time to wake-up?

  3. I find a lot of the pro-pistol folks to be either unconsciously or consciously facetious with some arguments, as I did with LaPiere’s happy talk about just locking up the mentally ill solving all the problems.
    My avid gun owning friends invariably justify no additional legislation with the emphatic statement that “We have 10,000 (sometimes set at 20,000 if extra emphasis is needed) gun laws now that aren’t enforced, so there is no need for additional gun laws.” I have researched that claim and found no credible data to support it. It does make for a good bar-stool rejoinder, though. It is also a straw-argument.
    The problem is not the laws that we allegedly have on the books that are not enforced, but that we have monster-truck sized loopholes in those laws. No private-sale or gun-show background checks are the major mechanism for otherwise law-abiding, god-fearing citizens to transfer their legal weapons to the black market for fun and profit. Go to a gun show someday and check it out. Sure, there is a .410 shotgun or a .22 bolt-action or two there, but the majority of what you see is lots of heavy caliber automatic handguns and tactical-style “Modern Sporting Rifles”, along with an endless supply of sniper accessories, bulletproof garments euphemistically labeled as “Shooting Vests” and stuff every hunter really needs, like night-vision sights and goggles. Gun shows used to be places where deer-hunters went to get a fancy new tree-stand. Now they are mostly flea-markets for wannabe urban-guerrilla fighters and those who could not legally buy a gun over-the-counter.
    Something else that would help is repealing the product-liability law exemption for gun manufacturers. It is entirely within the state-of-the-art to manufacture a gun that is personalized to the owner so that he/she and only he/she can pull the trigger. Guns have been traditionally all-mechanical devices, but that certainly does not have to be the case. Modern electronics could make it a whole lot harder for some kid to steal his mama’s AR-15 and then kill her and a schoolroom full of kids with it. If gun manufacturers shared some of the responsibility to make their product safe, it would certainly help.
    I think a lot of the gun-glut is driven by simple economics. Guns are durable goods. I reviewed my arsenal the other day: I have an automatic 12-ga shotgun that was made in 1926 and a few .22 plinking rifles made in the 1930’s. The shotgun still works just fine, 87 years after it was made. So do the .22’s. Hunting guns seldom wear out. With 300 million guns in circulation in the US, the legal market is pretty saturated. So, absent a fat Gov contract for military arms, what do gun manufacturers do? Fight to the finish any law that shrinks their market, for one thing. One way of doing that has been to convert the NRA from a hunters organization to a manufacturer’s lobbying organization (and serendipitously, a lobbying organization for criminals that want to buy weapons). It has been pretty effective so far.
    Once again, there is no magic bullet that will automatically remove all guns from the black-hat folks, but throwing up our hands and giving up on doing anything is to condemn a lot of folks in the future to death by gunshot. I find the argument that we can’t do anything because it won’t fix everything painfully disingenuous.

  4. I’m a gun owner and I think some common sense needs to be put into the mix. As it’s always said, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. True enough, except that’s not the end of it. I’d add they kill a lot more efficiently and quickly when armed with a gun. Oh and I’ve had to use a gun twice to defend myself from being robbed and or murdered by individuals high on drugs, so I don’t minimize there use when needed. Still, everyone should have to be back ground checked before buying a gun , gun shows included. America is awash with guns fewer on the streets wouldn’t hurt.

  5. All I can say is “Amen” to your editorial Doug Thompson. Spot on!


    “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.” … Benjamin Franklin, 1759


    Carl Nemo **==

  6. I agree with most of the above responders and also believe it is an issue that needs much thought. That being said, I agree that mental health professionals will tell you that they cannot predict any future actions of the mentally imbalanced and they can only study their past. If society could lock up the mentally dangerous types, who is going to set the guidelines? Who is qualified? A truly slippery slope there. I personally think that the latest gun headlines are just a reason for government to further restrict gun owners and ownership. There are more than enough laws on the books and more would do nothing to solve the problem at hand.

  7. Sue, nice post. I, too am a gun owner who lives in the country.

    Too often this issue is expressed in 15 second soundbites on the nightly news – the more outrageous the better for ratings.

    It is complicated and that is why we must continue *rational* dialogue. Last week, there was a pretty good hour-long discussion on AC360 where individuals from nearly all points of view had the opportunity to talk in detail about what they would like to see. I learned some things I did not know – and that is always a good thing.

    Bottom line, the radicals at both ends of this issue are wrong, IMO. The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

  8. The point isn’t that “The American government cannot — and will not — stop senseless murders”. There will always be some. The government cannot stop them all.

    But just because we can’t stop them all doesn’t mean we should not try to stop some of them.

    The point is to reduce the number thereof, and reduce the severity thereof when they do occur.

    For that, I think the best medicine is the restriction on high-capacity magazines. If you look at the very few cases where an armed bystander actually was effective, it was when the shooter was taking time to reload.

    This is also, I believe, elementary practice for military personnel – Get ’em while they’re reloading. I also entirely fail to see the point of 10+ round magazines in hunting and target shooting. Yep, it’s fun to blow off thirty or more rounds quickly, but your fun does not equate to a civil right. Driving crazily is fun, too.

    Not, actually, that they’re really severe anyhow. The risk of death to a typical American schoolchild is still far greater while driving to and from school than to a gunman at school.

    So yes, there should be rules about driving. There should be rules about guns. That’s the point of government – making and enforcing rules that help us all to live together and in peace.


  9. Very, very complicated issues…

    First, I own a gun. I was raised in the country, and my dad regularly had to shoot dogs going after our livestock. City people just didn’t get that bringing their city-dogs out here and turning them loose was a recipe for creating a marauding pack. So, everybody learned to shoot safely as soon as we were big enough to hold up the weight of the shotgun.

    Next, my mother is bi-polar and/or schizophrenic. She was originally diagnosed with schizophrenia in Nov. 1964, and her diagnosis was updated sometime during the 80’s to bi-polar disorder type-II. She has cycled in and out of various mental instituations every 2-3 years for the last 48 years.

    Mom has been 100% deaf in her right ear since Feb. 1983 when she shot herself in the head. Dad thought he’d gotten all the guns and ammunition out of the house, but she found his 22 pistol, and a very old stale bullet. So, that bullet bounced off her skull instead of killing her, but the concussion destroyed her eardrum, and she gets frequent inner ear infections.

    Certainly, any rational and humane person would agree that there’s more than enough evidence here to deny my bat-sh!t crazy mother access to guns.

    But, what about my father? My parents don’t raise livestock anymore, since all their children are long gone, and the cost of feeding us hasn’t been their responsibility for decades. So, Dad no longer needs a weapon to protect his food source from dog packs.


    But wait – there’s more! (as they say in the commercials – grin)

    I have a gun. Long story, but I’ve had it for over 30 years since I started living on my own in towns and cities, and someone tried to break into my first apartment in the middle of the night while I was alone.

    Yep, nowadays I’m a city-girl. My husband doesn’t like guns, and he’s always been a city-boy with little experience with them, and no interest in learning. Our sons are 20 and 15, and don’t want anything to do with guns either. Older-son has autism, but he’s pretty high-functioning, and is a successful college student with a GPA above 3.1.

    When older-son was 9 or 10, Grandpa (my father) gave him a BB gun for Christmas. Our boy asked not to have it at home. It stayed at Grandpa’s house. Grandpa has offered many times to teach both older-son and younger-son to shoot the BB gun. They were never interested, much to Grandpa’s disappointment. To be very clear, here, hubby and I were in favor of Grandpa teaching the boys – because we knew how seriously he would take their safety, and we knew that he’d train them right.

    So, here’s the “more” complicated part – is my son’s autism a reason that I shouldn’t have my gun in my house? Is my husband and my sons’ lack of training and experience a good reason for me to get my gun out of their home?

    It’s complicated.

    But lets keep talking about it, and listening to each other. I agree with the majority that we’re never going to make ourselves and our children perfectly safe from gun (or other forms of) violence. But there has to be things that would make us and them safer… Doesn’t there?

  10. Joe: Of course I don’t think my local police are qualified to judge somebody’s mental state to predict their future behavior. Not one of the instances I listed suggested that. Instead I gave four perfectly objective events that could trigger temporary gun impoundment.

    I also said nothing about locking anyone up based on a prediction of their future behavior.

    Look at it this way: If police talk a suicidal person out of jumping off a roof, they don’t just leave him there on the roof! In each of the examples I gave, it makes perfect sense (and requires no subjective judgement) to impound the person’s guns until the problem is resolved.

    And if your local PD isn’t the agency that executes the order to impound weapons, exactly who should that be? Or is this yet another attempt at obfuscation?

  11. You and I are told increasingly we have to choose between a left or right. Well I’d like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There’s only an up or down—[up] man’s old—old-aged dream, the ultimate in individual freedom consistent with law and order, or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. And regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would trade our freedom for security have embarked on this downward course.
    — Ronald Reagan

  12. P_I_A, are you willing to delegate the authority to confiscate your guns to the local PD? How do you define what the confiscation criteria are? Do you trust your local PD to be staffed with enough mental health professionals to make that evaluation accurately?
    Of course not, as there is no way to accurately predict future behavior. Mental health professionals have no more idea than Joe the Engineer who ought to be confined for possibly going nuts. Therein lies the problem. We are pretty good at figuring out who is nuts after they shoot up a school, but beforehand is a lot trickier.
    I find my self gobsmacked by the libertarians arguing that we should just lock up all the loonies and our problem is over. Do they ever look in the mirror in the morning while shaving and consider that they could well be regarded as “one of the loonies”, appropriately or not? We have a tradition in this country of not locking you up until you earn it, not because you “might” be dangerous enough to earn a trip to the slammer.
    We already imprison 25% of the world’s prisoners with only 5% of the world’s population. How many more should we add because they “might” be dangerous. All of those folks off the street doesn’t seem to have put much of a nick in our world-leading gun-death toll…

  13. There are actually plenty of warning signs to tell local police that it’s time to go impound somebody’s guns: When a domestic violence charge is filed. When somebody threatens to shoot their neighbor during an argument. When somebody has a mental breakdown and is held for a psych evaluation. When somebody threatens to shoot police or other government agents.

    These get ignored all the time but if you look at the details of any mass shooting and even most un-justified shootings, you will find one or more of these events that should have been reported and should have been swiftly acted upon.

    Just look at the stories in the news right now: The hyper-vigilant geezer “patrolling” his yard all night threatened to shoot his neighbor over damage to the speedbump he built on the road in front of his house. Then he went on to murder a school bus driver and kidnap a 5 year old. They are still in his survivalist bunker. Why did he still have guns? Because his local police ignored his disturbed mental state.

    Another story is about the former Navy SEAL who took a vet suffering from PTSD to a firing range, and ended up dead. (What kind of idiot hands a PTSD victim a loaded weapon in a place where guns are being fired?)

    There are plenty of normal, law-abiding citizens in this country who have (and should have) their gun-ownership rights unimpaired, but there are also many, many people who should not be allowed to own, borrow, shoot, or even hold a loaded weapon. We need to start using a little common sense.

  14. I don’t completely understand the connection between Jim Moran beating his wife and mass murdering in schoolrooms. Seems like these are pretty orthogonal issues.
    Similarly, the argument that if we just enforce the tens of thousands of gun laws on the books now, the problem is solved. Most of the mass shooters of late have shot themselves as well at the end of their spree. Would threatening to throw them in jail meant anything at all to them? How do you deter someone that is going to kill himself anyway? Threaten him with the death penalty?
    LaPierre offers up as a solution (while literally foaming at the mouth on TV) that we just need to get crazy people off the street. That would fix it too, but Wayne glosses over some administrative problems in making that happen: Who gets to decide who might go nuts and shoot up a school? What will be the criteria? Is being a “little different” enough to get you locked up for the rest of your life because you will always be a “little different”. How do you predict future human behavior with enough accuracy to ensure you are not just locking up someone harmless? Land of the free and the home of the brave??
    Wayne should hope his dystopian dream of locking up the crazy’s does not come to pass. He has to know the first group of crazy folk to get taken out of circulation will be extreme right-wingers with lots of guns. They are a way more obvious danger than some flower-waving hippie.
    It is a difficult problem that lends itself to hardware-based solutions being much more practical than meat-based solutions. The background-check loophole is immense and even the NRA used to be all over closing it, before a dark-skinned Kenyan usurper socialist took over the white house.
    All guns start out legal when manufactured. It is the informal distribution system of private sales, straw purchases and gun show purchases that transfer them to the dark side. It seems like dealing with those issues is a start toward a reasonable solution.
    Arguing that any particular policy or law won’t completely fix the problem is a straw-man argument. Fixing *any* of the problem is good. 30000 people die in this country every year of gunshots. That is rather close to the number that die in auto accidents and 5 times the number of soldiers killed in a shooting war in Iraq in 10 long years. Even an incremental fix is better than no fix at all.

    Good to see you back in the saddle, Doug!

  15. Good points about our “leaders.” As for the rest of us, how about a little responsibility to go with the rights. If you want to own guns, fine, go to it…as many and as potent as you like. But society will hold you responsible for what is done with your guns. If someone commits commits murder or otherwise commits a crime with your gun, you will be held responsible, whether you participated or not. Any problems with that?

  16. Hear! Hear! Even Our elocquent, illustrious vice precident admitted so much the other day – more laws would not have stopped this latest incident.

    In my opinion, even the mental illness solution is fraught with peril, considering the state of our “healthcare” system, the millions of people on psychotropic drugs and the varied and often wrong diagnoses and definitions of various “mental” illnesses.

    Really, would any one here really want a doctor to determine one’s right to own a firearm? How long before more illnesses or conditions are classified as a mental “illness” and thereby a disqualification for firearm ownership?

    I would guess not long at all.

    Moreover, consider that the people most in need of mental health care may soon forego treatment for even the most arbitrary condition (marriage counseling, family counseling, etc…) for fear of the loss of this right.

    This government cares not one whit about the citizens of this country. They are so far removed from reality (with their armed guards and gated communities) that their only solution is more laws that that they themselves immune themselves from having to abide by.

    All the while making it possible for the continued pillaging by their corporate sponsors.

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