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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Senate Dems readying gun control options

The increasing availability of guns: Violent and illegal use by "law abiding" citizens is increasing.
The increasing availability of guns: Violent and illegal use by “law abiding” citizens is increasing.

Senate Democrats are preparing a legislative push to curb guns, a week after a mass shooting at an Oregon community college refocused attention on the nation’s toll of firearms deaths.

Republicans controlling Congress have shown scant interest in restricting guns and the Democratic effort has little chance of success. But their drive could keep the issue alive during next year’s elections, driving up support from sympathetic voters and contributors while complicating GOP senators’ re-election campaigns in some closely divided states.

In a letter to fellow Democrats, Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., wrote that their effort “will be a rallying point for a public that is eager for congressional action and will be the basis for future legislation that we will demand” receives a Senate vote.

Democrats would use procedural delays to thwart legislation if Republicans refuse to allow votes on the gun proposals, a Democratic aide said Wednesday who wasn’t authorized to discuss the plans publicly and requested anonymity. Schumer and Stabenow are leaders of Senate Democrats’ messaging efforts.

Democrats said their effort would include broadening federal background checks, now required only for sales by federally licensed firearms dealers, to cover all purchases at gun shows and online. A bipartisan version of that plan, opposed by the National Rifle Association, was blocked in 2013 by Republicans and a few Democrats, months after the fatal shooting of 20 students and six staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

They said they would propose making it harder for people to buy guns if their background check is not completed.

Currently, if a background check is still not complete after three days — often because the FBI is awaiting information from local law enforcement agencies — the sale is allowed. Democrats said they would extend that period but hadn’t decided yet for how long.

They also said they would seek to add all domestic abusers to the list of those prohibited from purchasing firearms, and make it a federal offense to be a straw purchaser, or someone who buys a firearm for somebody else.

Today, people subject to court restraining orders or convicted of domestic violence may not purchase firearms. But there are loopholes, such as for abusive dating partners.

A gunman killed nine people last week at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. Authorities said Wednesday that the shooter, Christopher Harper-Mercer, killed himself in a room where many of his victims lay after he was wounded by plainclothes detectives.

President Barack Obama plans to travel to Roseburg on Friday to meet victims’ families. As he has after several mass shootings, he has called on Congress to strengthen gun restrictions but expressed frustration with lawmakers’ inaction.

Democrats fell five votes short of moving their background check expansion through the Senate two years ago. Thanks to retirements and losses in the 2014 elections, they now are probably 11 votes shy of the support they’d need to succeed.

Republicans running the House have shown no interest in even permitting votes on the issue.


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1 thought on “Senate Dems readying gun control options”

  1. Whazzat? Curb guns? Another load. What they want is registration then confiscation. Do not doubt Schumer’s agenda. I know the leftist span of attention isn’t long enough for my view, but here it is anyway. Placing responsibility with whatever’s immediately visible is convenient balm for this burn but we’re only inching toward a solution. Seems to me we first need to define the problem and both parties have hinted that they’re catching on, inch by inch. Here are some facts that may help. In the past 40 years, every mass shooting has been carried out by a mentally deranged individual. Sandy Hook and Umpqua were not unique. But 65 years ago, 500,000 individuals were institutionalized for psychiatric treatment. Doing the math, that’s about .003, three-tenths of one percent, of the 150 million who populated the U.S. at that time. Today, only about 50,000 from our population of 321 million are institutionalized. That’s about .00001, one one-thousandths of one percent. Saying it another way, if I didn’t lose a zero along the way, that’s a colossal reduction of 99.7 percent. Most often these nuts are now and were then known to the psychiatric community and only politely discussed. My point is simple. About fifty years ago, we suffered a “cuckoo’s nest” phenomenon, caused by an anti-establishment crowd who whined but did nothing about institutional horrors. And the movement occurred without so much as a whimper from the psychiatric community. Consequently, the government emptied out the mental institutions along with parts of the prisons and as expected, some of these nuts began doing what nuts do.

    Ironically, the crime rate since then has declined by about 80 percent while ownership of firearms has more than tripled. But inexplicably, leftists continue to rail about firearms, hoping to garner votes, with scant serious discussion about mental health treatment. Little wonder that firearms now are used a million times a year for personal protection — almost never in school, church, theater or military base shootings. Against whom you ask? It’s used against the nuts allowed to roam the streets by those who set them free in the first place. Leftists need to admit this is a violent world where self-protection is a civil right. And confiscating firearms from lawful citizens won’t make anyone safer. And when leftists indignantly retort that it isn’t a violent world, I always wonder what they’re beefing about.

    By comparison, Norway, Finland, Slovakia and Switzerland all have higher numbers of mass shootings per capita despite having fewer guns and stricter regulations. Additionally, the Congressional Research Service study entitled “Mass Murder with Firearms…1999-2013,” found that mass shootings continue to be rare and the annual incidence is flat. Criminologist James Alan Fox found no solid trend in the numbers. Fact is, mass shootings account for only .004 percent of all deaths, about .66 percent of all murders and less than two percent of non-firearm murder victims. James Alan Fox clarified the data by pointing out the chance against a person being killed in a mass shooting would be about one in three million. I’m thinking the political screech is about ordinary crime that’s common in big cities, e.g., armed robbery, burglary, muggings & whatnot. Regardless, it seems bizarre they’d believe disarming the victims is a rational solution.

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