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Archive for Sunday, January 29, 2012

U.S. must talk, listen about guns

January 29, 2012

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In a democracy, nothing is supposed to matter more than the will of the people.

So it was painful to watch last week as the will of the people was overturned and one of Arizona’s duly elected representatives was forced from office. It wasn’t a recall vote or scandal that did it. No, the people’s will was overturned by a gun.

After a year of upbeat bulletins and proclamations of her miracle recovery, the decision by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to leave Congress comes as a bit of a blow. In a video she explains that she needs to concentrate full time on her rehab. Giffords speaks clearly, but with a sometimes odd cadence, as if picking her way through an unfamiliar language — evidence of the brain injury she sustained when she was shot in the head last year at a constituents event in Tucson. Twelve other people were wounded, six killed.

This episode joins a long list of elections overturned and social movements derailed by men with guns, as in the shootings of Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Huey Long, Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, the Kennedy brothers, George Wallace, George Moscone, Harvey Milk, Martin Luther King, Jr. Somehow, people who should never have guns never have trouble getting them. John Kennedy’s assassin, a disaffected former Marine who had once defected to the Soviet Union, bought his by mail order. King’s assassin, a wanted fugitive, bought his over the counter.

Jared Loughner, the man now in jail for the Tucson massacre, was able legally to obtain a gun despite the fact that he was a mentally deranged man who had been rejected by the U.S. Army and kicked out of a community college. Which suggests that, while Loughner may be unbalanced, American gun laws are downright insane.

And they will likely stay insane, so long as our politics remain a hatefully polarized affair where the two “sides” glower at one another like boxers in their respective corners and “compromise” is a dirty word.

After all, the solution here is not rocket science.

We need meaningful background checks on all gun purchases — no loopholes. A mentally unstable man should not have legal access to a gun, period.

We need to ban fully automatic weapons from private use. The hunter who needs a gun that fires hundreds of rounds a minute isn’t much of a hunter.

We need to encourage gun safety classes so that poorly secured firearms stop ending up in the hands of little children.

At the very least, we need to have a serious national dialogue about these and other possible solutions.

But we won’t. Too many on the political left still seem to harbor a fantasy of getting rid of all guns and refuse to distinguish between responsible gun owners and those criminals or deranged people who have no business with firearms. Too many on the political right still harbor the paranoid delusion that any talk of gun control is code for confiscation by jackbooted thugs riding black helicopters.

So nobody talks. Nobody listens. Meantime, our unwillingness to get serious about an epidemic of gun violence brings us the equivalent of 11 Columbine massacres every week — three 9/11s every year. Every once in awhile, as now, it even overturns an election. The carnage goes on, and on.

And sadly, that, too, reflects the people’s will.

Leonard Pitts Jr., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. He chats with readers from noon to 1 p.m. each Wednesday.

Comments

its_just_math 2 years, 10 months ago

"Too many on the political right still harbor the paranoid delusion that any talk of gun control is code for confiscation by jackbooted thugs riding black helicopters."

Paranoid delusion, huh? There's only about 30,000 gun laws on the books and they may be the most regulated thing in the US.

repaste 2 years, 10 months ago

I bet there are way more "legal gun dealers" than laws. 50,000? Most anyone can apply, become a dealer. Pretty hard to regulate them all.

gudpoynt 2 years, 10 months ago

obviously the regulations we have aren't working as well as they could.

parrothead8 2 years, 10 months ago

30,000? Not even close. If you're talking different state laws in the USA, it's more like 300.

esteshawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Wrong. Actually, this President overturned a Reagan-era gun control law.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Trust me, nobody is linking Santa to the GOP. Instead of hording the toys like a good Republican, he gives them to others. Santa distributes the wealth.

Jarod Loughner never would have been able to kill as many people as he did if he were armed with a steak knife, which is why the police to not carry cutlery. They carry guns because guns are capable of stopping others with far greater results than a kitchen knife or baseball bat or any other utilitarian object you care to mention. Your's is a ridiculous argument.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

And you are not willing to do anything to take them from the hands of bad citizens.

rtwngr 2 years, 10 months ago

You miss the point but the rest of us staring at your head don't. If an insane person is intent on killing, they will find a way to kill regardless of gun laws.

esteshawk 2 years, 10 months ago

The Second Amendment has gun control written right into it. "Well regulated.".

DillonBarnes 2 years, 10 months ago

Though I can't agree with everything in this article, at least it is written in calm and rational thoughts.

Unfortunately, most gun laws affect responsible gun owners much more than criminals. A big part of the issue is the lacking mental health services and education in the country causing so many people to fall through the cracks and succumb to mental diseases that cause so many of these problems.

Though it's hard for many to imagine a tyrannical government in the United States, disarming the populace would be one of the first things they would do. So even those with the best intentions can support legislation that slowly steps towards disarming.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

We'll see what "Let 'em go" Holder has to say this week when he testifies about F&F. What are the odds that he'll take the 5th?

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

This column is spot on. Comprehensive background checks and the elimination of automatic weapons for the public isn't just prudent, it's the simplest of common sense.

" the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms."

No, at least not now; it's the crazy people and gangs with arms nobody trusts, and rightfully so.

" The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government."

200 years ago that may have been topical, but then the playing field was level since all they had were muskets that took 60 seconds to re-load. You could arm everyone with an automatic today and en masse they wouldn't be able to fend off 'tyranny in government' because we couldn't get past the military.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Nice list of countries that couldn't hold a candle to our military or even our police forces. It's also nice that you chose to include oppressive dictatorships and ethnic disputes, which bear no similarity to the U.S., but then that wouldn't help your 'position.'

"Their success will greatly rely upon the arms they can use."

Swell. You and any other kamikaze that would like to take on the most advanced army in the history of the world with machine guns, have at it. I'm sure you'll be highly successful........at occupying body bags, that is.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Just stop. I'm sure there are some groups of people that share your feelings, certainly in Idaho and mountains of West Virginia. But allowing for the chance of an armed rebellion from citizens today is an exceptionally silly reason to allow automatic weapons to be owned.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Chose not to go there, vertigo, but you're more than correct.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Friendly suggestion, KC: Use quotations when citing someone's post so we can more easily tell your comments apart.

littlexav 2 years, 10 months ago

You might want to check your facts. That DBA clause has been around since Bush, and Obama signed an executive signing statement--which is binding on the Executive Branch--that the clause would not be used.

America isn't the Wild West anymore. We don't need guns. Egyptians threw rocks and tweeted for their liberty. If it comes to it, we could do the same.

voevoda 2 years, 10 months ago

Phoenixman, You are quite confused about history, if you think that a populace with firearms had anything to do with the collapse of most of the governments you named. The collapse of the Communist government of Yugoslavia occurred without violence; you're confusing the violence over the independence of Bosnia and Kosovo with the independence of Croatia. The problems in Bosnia and Kosovo resulted as much from the presence of armed militias determined to impose their will as from any striving for liberty. Armed people are as likely to repress the rights of their fellow-citizens as defend civil liberties.
And look at the collapse of Communist governments throughout Eastern Europe, in the Soviet Union, in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, East Germany, Czechoslovakia--all accomplished by mobilized but unarmed citizens.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Mmmkay, the plot thins......

'Case you hadn't noticed, we aint' the former Czech Republic and our army is in no danger of splintering into civil war or ethnic cleansing; not now, not ever.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh, my, a wiki citation. You must have done hours and hours of research to find that!

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Ooo! A link to Guerilla warfare. That certainly proves me 'wrong.'. Our military has been fighting that strategy for a decade now, in two countries. But I'm sure you're right that a reincarnation of the Minutemen could more than hold their own against drones, tanks, chopper gunships, stealth technology, and an NSA that holds the keys to all electronic surveillance and monitoring.

And tonight there'll be a pink sky with unicorns dropping gumdrops on the masses. Don't miss out!

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Don't now about whippin' 'em, but they're surely dominating them. And your digression is pointless.

booyalab 2 years, 10 months ago

"the elimination of automatic weapons for the public isn't just prudent, it's the simplest of common sense." Yeah! Just like the law against murder eliminated murder..........huh?

kansanbygrace 2 years, 10 months ago

Actually, the gun control frenzy did not start with Clinton. The entire history of the US is spotted with controls and court-determined limits on those controls. Clinton's was one about assault rifles, etc. and the questions of background checks. I think also they issued some restrictions on armor-piercing "cop killer" ammunition.

FlintlockRifle 2 years, 10 months ago

Does Mr. Pitts know anyone who hunts with a full auto weapon, like he stated in this above story??? They are illegal to own or buy for the common "hunter" think you have to have a class three license to own one,which is big bucks and more back ground checks than running for president, in fact the only full auto" rifle" I have ever seen was in the military , todays military "rifles" are just three shot bursts. Mr. Pitts must have gotten his information out of some comic book. Shoot straight Leonard.,

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Sigh. That was the silliest defense for allowing automatic weapons. A revolver or shotgun or rifle is plenty of defense. When marauding bands of ten or more thugs start attacking people and property, perhaps then automatics will be prudent. Allowing them now is just plain stupid.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

Transferable Class 3 firearms are both rare and expensive. Buying one and holding it while its value goes up is an investment. A good condition Thompson 1927A1 will fetch more than $20,000 these days.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

That should have read 1921, coffee ain't really kicked in yet.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Bigger sigh. At least I've got a head and aren't speaking from whence you think mine is, chubb. Automatic weapons are heavily regulated, but dependent on the state they are not banned.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

"We need to ban fully automatic weapons from private use. The hunter who needs a gun that fires hundreds of rounds a minute isn’t much of a hunter."

"Sigh. This is the silliest justification but I hear it regularly."

The argument, genius, is about automatic weapons, and that's how you initially responded. And there is no 'liberty' to own such. The Constitution wasn't written in a vacuum, as I know you understand. Since our Founding Fathers only had muzzle loaders and muskets to worry about, not to mention gun possession was crucial for survival in order to provide for your family at the time, I think it's safe to say times have changed. The liberty is "to keep and bear arms." Of course the government has the power to "deprive" everyone of something if it serves to protect the populace. Greater good and all that.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Keeping automatic weapons off the streets is plainly for the greater good. Your analogy is pathetic and moronic. Try again without the lunacy.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh, so I'll bet you would be against my right to carry a bazooka too. Commie.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Good law-abiding people pose no threat to society? Wow! Who woulda thunk it?! Thanks for the that incredibly deep piece of intel. I had no idea.

Yes, of course most are law abiding. But since automatic weapons have no practical application in a civilized society, and because of the massacres they can perpetuate in the hands of the criminal or insane, of course it's for the 'greater good' they be illegal. How would owning one contribute to the benefit of all?

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

"Liberty is the assumed position."

No, it's not. The 'liberty' is for 'arms.' That doesn't mean that because ancestors whom had no inkling that their version of weaponry would eventually be turned into an instrument of mass destruction then we should just shrug our shoulders and say "oh well." Gee, I wonder why auto's manufactured after '86 are illegal?

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Owning an automatic weapon is not a constitutional 'liberty' by default. It didn't exist when the document was written, therefore it can't be automatically afforded the same protection. And the men I quoted below aren't just my opinion, brain trust. But since you're arrogant enough to dismiss such learned and respected men who actually dealt with the Constitution for a living, conversing with you on this further would be a ridiculous waste of time.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

Oh. Ok. Rights aren't granted by the Constitution, but "liberties" are. As long as your particular "position" is covered, ...... And I'm not sure what world you supposedly live in or what color the sky is there, but the PEOPLE haven't been "the source of government power" for some time now.
Also, citing the Chief Justice of the SCOTUS or his peers isn't 'name-dropping.' Stating such only shows you're 'capable' of humiliating yourself to any end in attempts to one-up an argument; To wit: " it's not arrogance to be able to argue against learned men. It's experience, knowledge and intelligence". SERIOUSLY?! Could you possibly act more the fool if we took up a collection?

Liberty, with all honesty and sincerity, you used to be a poster I looked forward to reading and someone that seemed to utilize acquired knowledge in a productive way. Somewhere along the line you became waaaaay too in love with yourself. More's the pity.

ThePilgrim 2 years, 10 months ago

The people, like Pitts, on the East Coast don't understand that guns are a way of life, especially in the Midwest. And for Lawrence folks, drive south of 1000 Rd and you will see, or hear, what I mean. The Easterners need to get over it already, cause it ain't going to change.

littlexav 2 years, 10 months ago

Amen - rural Shawnee County is the same way. Kind of comforting to hear gunshots and not immediately have to worry about whether someone is getting mugged :-)

RoeDapple 2 years, 10 months ago

There are approximately 80 million gun owners who own more than 260 million guns in the US who do not shoot politicians, do not rob their neighbor, do not commit mass murders. Maybe Leonard approves of laws that restrict a large population based on the actions of a very few. No, wait. He has argued against laws that restrict people whose religion, race or sexual orientation were the reason behind the law. Very commendable of him. Could it be that Leonard's prejudiced against an entire populatin of gun owners because of the actions of a tiny percentage of their ranks? And many of those crimes are committed with stolen weapons. Poor misguided Leonard. No Pulitzer this time Lenny!

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

Except he isn't.

If you read the column, you'll find he makes a very clear distinction between responsible gun owners and others.

He criticizes both the left and the right on this one, and stakes out what seems to be a reasonable middle ground to me.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

RoeD, where does Pitts call for restricting ownership by citizens who aren't criminals or insane?

He say he thinks we need a real background check system, should not allow fully automatic guns, and feels we should have more gun safety classes. That does not call for taking away your right to own.

RoeDapple 2 years, 10 months ago

A very, very few people are owners of fully automatic weapons and go through extensive background checks to get them. Although a few states allow them for hunting it is not a common practice for gun owners who spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars on their hobby. I would ask you this. What "reasonable" gun laws would you pass that would absolutely, positively, beyond any doubt keep guns from the insane and/or criminal element? Correct. Can't be done.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

We also can't guarantee an airplane won't crash to the ground. That doesn't mean we do everything possible to prevent it from happening. Just because something can't be made absolutely fool proof doesn't mean we shouldn't make every possible attempt to make it so.

So few people would ever have to concern themselves with fully automatic guns. Okay. Then I guess it really isn't an issue.

What about background checks? Why can't we do things to make those better? Jared Loughner, someone who had been refused entry into the military because of mental issues, shouldn't have been allowed to walk out of a store with a handgun. Certainly you see that, don't you?

oldvet 2 years, 10 months ago

As long as you are willing to require all medical personnel to report to an FBI/ATF database the names and details for any person who seeks counseling or treatment for a mental issue... then you can keep people like Loughner from obtaining a firearm when the background check is done. Is that what you want done? Are you willing to waive Dr./client privacy, because that is what will be required.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

In the cases of the certifiably insane, yes. It should be done.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 10 months ago

People don't need guns, they need to change their friends.

Jstanobservation 2 years, 10 months ago

People usually don't get attacked or held up by their friends.

geekin_topekan 2 years, 10 months ago

I am all for gun ownership, just as I am all for religion--

Keep it in the home. If you must take it out to practice,do so in the proper venue, not on the street corner. Keep for personal use only, it provides food and protection and should not be wielded like a sword.

Guns don't kill people, ideologies do.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't keep a spare tire in my trunk because I'm terrified of getting a flat tire. I view keeping a spare as a reasonable precaution. Same same with legally using my concealed carry permit.

GUMnNUTS 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't keep a spare tire either. Car is equipped with run flats.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

A reasoned argument about reasonable steps to take when it comes to guns in this country. Why am I not surprised people aren't actually discussing the article?

Real background checks without loopholes is reasonable. More gun safety classes is reasonable. Heck, even the NRA is in favor of gun safety classes. No automatic weapons. Isn't that already the case?

Simple steps that do nothing to take away a citizen's right to own. Why is this bad?

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

The manner in which you make things up shouldn't concern anyone.

esteshawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Again, Obama is more friendly to gun rights than Reagan. Truth hurts dont it?

geekin_topekan 2 years, 10 months ago

Can you hold up a liquor store with a spare tire (the one in your trunk, not the one under your belt)? I think that's where responsible gun owners get the shaft. Those who wield theirs like a sword make it all look bad (guns and religion alike).

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

You just made the case for the household bazooka and anti-aircraft gun, too. Even my own Star Wars defense system. I mean, why should I have to rely on the government to defend me against space invaders? Only the sheeple will be vacuumed up into a space ship.

One never need a fully automatic machine gun to protect themself, unless they are Tony Montoya, and he was a fictional character. The argument is nonsense.

gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 10 months ago

Yes, you are right. Your argument is nonsense.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Please provide the scenario in which someone would need a fully automatic machine gun to protect themself then.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Hypothetically, the sky could fall on Chicken Little's head, too.

Your fear of Obama has clearly taken over your ability to think rationally. That is a shame for you, because Obama will likely be reelected, which means you will have to live with your fears through the end of this term and for another four years.

Reality check, nobody is declaring martial law.

If you are building bombs on your property, even if you don't use them it is the business of others.

gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't have to. You are arguing a slippery slope fallacy. Since you used this logic, I assume you agree with similar uses such as Santorum's argument against gay marriage because legalizing gay marriage would lead to human/dog marriages?

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 10 months ago

Hurricane Katrina to defend yourself against the rouge cops.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I hate those rouged cops.

Cops shouldn't wear makeup - it's not appropriate.

How do they expect anyone to respect them?

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

You think you can protect yourself from the government with an automatic weapon and you call me naive? Funny. They have nuclear weapons. Guess you are next going to say individuals should have nuclear weapons to protect themselves from the government?

You fail to recognize that if you are needing to fight the government with automatic weapons, you have already lost all your rights and it really doesn't matter at that point. You are no longer in the real United States and are in some alternative, made-up place.

Now, time to bring the conversation out of fantasy land.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Um, sure. You and your merry militia will take down the government. Sure you will.

I am sure if you resist the government (why they would be trying to take you down, I don't know nor care) they won't resort to using nuclear weapons. The point is, you do not have the right to protect yourself from your imagined assault from the government with nuclear weapons. Geez. Pipe dream much?

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Umm, good luck on getting support for your revolution. Too bad you already lost obvious allies in Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols.

But go for it. Who knows, you might be successful -- at making the evening news. Other than that, no, you and your merry militia aren't taking down THIS government.

Sorry, but Ron Paul has a better chance of becoming President, and he has no chance.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

L_O:

This may be the dumbest argument you've ever made. I'm so sorry I missed it 'til now.

"Apparently only when the actual need arises should anyone be allowed to own such a weapon--when it is already too late."

For anyone that doesn't know what he's referring to, I said that perhaps when roving gangs of ten or more marauders was the norm, automatic weapons might be called for. By Liberty's position, we should all have the right to bear any weapon due to the future paranoid possibility that we might need it. I gotta know, why aren't we all walking around in kevlar with fancy two gun rigs and a flamethrower, bazooka, and an RPG launcher over our shoulders? Those are all arms and there's always the POSSIBILITY every single one of us might need one some day, right?

As to the "mindset of" this folk, I own a .357, a Winchester 20 gauge, and a .257 Roberts. Quit being part of the problem.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

"you keep making the same mental mistakes over and over. It has nothing to do with whether someone needs it or not."

"Apparently only when the actual need arises should anyone be allowed to own such a weapon--when it is already too late."

The only mental mistake being repeated is you contradicting yourself.

The liberty doesn't exist in a vacuum. It wasn't illegal for felons to own guns until '68; the amendment was modified to serve the greater good. Automatic weapons are not what the framers were thinking of when the Amendment was written. There is no redeeming value for citizens to own them, no practical use for brandishing them, no justification for allowing them on the streets. They are military weapons and should be limited to such. That's just common sense. And it serves the safety of the populace. Allowing them does not.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

" I hate to point this out, but maybe you are not smart enough to follow this conversation"

Aah, arrogance. Not a virtue.

"Sigh. Doesn't matter. They were specifically limiting the power of government,"

Of course it matters. Oliver Wendell Holmes:

"With regard to that we may add that when we are dealing with words that also are a constituent act, like the Constitution of the United States, we must realize that they have called into life a being the development of which could not have been foreseen completely by the most gifted of its begetters. It was enough for them to realize or to hope that they had created an organism; it has taken a century and has cost their successors much sweat and blood to prove that they created a nation. The case before us must be considered in the light of our whole experience and not merely in that of what was said a hundred years ago. The treaty in question does not contravene any prohibitory words to be found in the Constitution. The only question is whether it is forbidden by some invisible radiation from the general terms of the Tenth Amendment. We must consider what this country has become in deciding what that amendment has reserved."

Edmund Randolph:

"In the draught of a fundamental constitution, two things deserve attention: 1. To insert essential principles only; lest the operations of government should be clogged by rendering those provisions permanent and unalterable, which ought to be accommodated to times and events: and 2. To use simple and precise language, and general propositions, according to the example of the constitutions of the several states."

John Marshall:

"the Constitution is intended to endure for ages to come, and, consequently, to be adapted to the various crises of human affairs."

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm sorry, but did you just negate Holmes' ruling because of an unrelated comment about creating a nation? I wasn't fishin' for red herring, L_O, but thanks. And last I checked Marshall and Holmes were highly respected jurists and rose to Chief and Associate respectively. Marshall is credited with laying the basis for modern constitutional law and brought the Judicial branch of government up to the same level as the other two.

Think I'll side with them and their educated rulings.

jaywalker 2 years, 10 months ago

"You mean you'll side with their power-hungry rulings that negated the Constitutional convention. How convenient."

Umm, no. I mean I'll side with people whose life work was deciphering and applying the Constitution, as opposed to an arrogant poster with a highly inflated sense of himself on a small town news web site. Someone who, for example, would state such tripe as "you'll side with their (Holmes, Marshall, Randolph) that negated" blah blah blah", when no such thing ever occurred.

Everything else you posted was simply your own personal hummer. Could you be a little more pathetic and sad? You're seriously going to abandon argument for a lecture on how much more you know than me? When there's no way in hell you could possibly know if such is true? Is Hubris actually your middle name?!
Utilizing the arguments of men who actually mattered outweighs your conceited view of yourself every day of the week. Cop a clue, Liberty. I cited those men because they spoke to the subject, they spoke from educated experience and practice, and because they're part of our history and exceptionally well-respected. Do you actually believe that ANYONE truly believes YOU know better than they?! (Except for yourself, that is (don't forget to genuflect when you brush your toofus, pal))

If you answer with a 'yes', in any fashion, seek professional help.

gudpoynt 2 years, 10 months ago

The first law ever declared unconstitutional was one that sought to extend the SCOTUS's jurisdiction. How does that qualify as "power hungry"?

esteshawk 2 years, 10 months ago

How is regulating something the constitution says is supposed to be regulated an infringement on your liberty? I thought cons always talk about upholding the constitution. Only when convenient huh?

Mixolydian 2 years, 10 months ago

Hey, how about that, a Pitts article that I actually agree with 100%, although as I was reading it I did expect an incoherent statement that gun laws are somehow racist or that Loughner was somehow a Christian republican.

For once, nice article Mr. Pitts.

RoeDapple 2 years, 10 months ago

"I'm not scared to go about my life unarmed. Its too bad so many of us are."

Niether am I thuja. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last 64 years when I felt a need to arm myself and still have three fingers and a thumb left over. It may happen again within the hour, or may never happen. Fact. No man, woman or beast who would confront me in a life or death situation is more important to me than me.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

Once the NRA and Kris Kobach/ALEC get done "reforming" this country, it'll be easier to buy a fully automatic assault weapon than to cast a vote in a school board election.

Orwell 2 years, 10 months ago

What school boards?

Oh, you mean the Board of Directors of Private Educorp, Inc. – dedicated to the education of those whose parents can afford it.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 10 months ago

Probably-- and anyone wanting to get an item on the agenda for consideration by the BOD will need to have a small but well-armed militia at their disposal just to show that they are serious "playas."

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

I agree that many gun laws put hindrances on lawful citizens rather than the criminals they are intended to stop. It is like requiring voters to show IDs. The vast majority are legal citizens practicing their rights, but to stop a couple of people everyone must oblige the new law. (Of course, the big difference is, we know people are breaking the gun laws.)

We need to simplify the laws, repair the background check problems, and make sentencing stiffer for those who use guns in criminal acts.

Also, we should put a $5,000 tax on every bullet purchased. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OuX-nF...

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

To those making the Fast and Furious argument against Obama, please remember, if the pro-gun lobby had its way the selling of an unlimited number of guns to a buyer to do with as he chose without any tracking of what he does with them would be the norm. The selling that happened wouldn't be against the law if you had your way, so arguing against gun control laws while simultaneously being "upset" over Fast and Furious is pure hypocisy.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

One last thing, the anti-gun folks (I count myself in that group) also need to recognize that we shouldn't fear those with Conceal and Carry permits. Where are the shootouts in the street since laws in Kansas allowed them? They didn't happen, because those are not the people who should be feared. It is a two-way dialogue, and right now we have those who over-react up against a lobbyist firm that doesn't want to see the debate ended no matter what. If we came to a national compromise that most could be comfortable with, the NRA would be out of business. They won't allow that to happen, so they paint all who even consider putting any type of restriction on guns as a crazed liberal who wants to strip the country of its guns in order to melt them down and make a statue to Karl Marx (or something like that).

Better background checks, encourage training classes (even in schools!), and stronger penalties if using a gun illegally.

littlexav 2 years, 10 months ago

People who would apply for and get approved for C&C aren't the people that shoot each other in the streets. At least be reasonable here. Stronger penalties for illegal gun use (e.g. stolen guns, black market) is the way to go.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Um ... that is what I wrote.

Please re-read and you will find where I said the shootouts in the streets "didn't happen, because those [C&C] holders are not the people who should be feared."

geekin_topekan 2 years, 10 months ago

"made a gesture as if he had a [tireiron] in his pocket..."

Argument wont fly, sorry.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

Hysteria reigns on the sinister side of the aisle. Nothing new to see here.

Mike Ford 2 years, 10 months ago

man, I've been waiting for this one. I've heard from the nutjobs since day one of this administration that this president was going to take guns. Surprise, I'm a gun owner and have helped collect guns for 25 years. I'm a Democrat and I believe that the NRA is unnecessary except for politicizing an issue to draw in fervent and less than rational people to an arguement. Today is the hypothesis proved to be fact. Gun law history....public machine gun ownership was banned in 1934 as the Pretty Boy Floyds, Dillingers, and Bonnie and BAR rifles and using them against the police not to forget the Thompson "tommy guns". The 1968 law went after saturday night specials, barrel lengths and established antiquities laws. Gotta love Lyrnyrd Skynyrd writing a song in favor of gun control "Mr. Saturday Night Special". Do southerners realize this???? a parent hunts with flintlocks and percussion. Who needs automatic weapons???? unstable people I guess. Nothing like remembering my job in Topeka in 1993-94 delivering food and seeing tech 9's everywhere and having an attempted robbery at 1243 western avenue involving a raven 25.

frank regnier 2 years, 10 months ago

Hey,,,when did they legalize "fully automatic" weapons? And what about Zombies?

Mike Ford 2 years, 10 months ago

dumb question by people who can't reply to intelligence....typical.....

voevoda 2 years, 10 months ago

Leonard Pitts doesn't have a problem with responsible gun owners. Neither do I. The Constitution guarantees a right to bear arms, but it also specifies a "well-regulated militia" as the circumstances under which gun ownership is guaranteed. I don't think that we ought to limit ownership to individuals who are enrolled in an officially-authorized "militia" such as the National Guard, but I do think that good regulations are the proper basis for allowing people to own firearms. Let people prove that they can operate firearms safely, as they operate motor vehicles safely, and then they are entitled to have and use them. Let them carry insurance against the misuse of their firearms, or against accidents. People who have good training and keep firearms safely will have low insurance rates. Those who want semiautomatic weapons or who want to carry them around every day will pay higher rates. Advocates of the free market ought to love this idea.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

And you think that talking about shipping "liberals" off to the third world is civil??

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

blabs?

Trust me, you are in extremely rare company when it comes to how people think about this or any former President. Others might not be satisfied with Obama's performance -- I'm not totally happy with him -- but you are so obsessed that he occupies your thoughts most of your waking hours. That is clear and it is true from before he took office (um...unfounded). My comments of W's time in office are still here. Feel free to support your claim that I hated him. I said then and say now, I didn't, but I did hate many of his policies. You, on the other hand, hate the man Obama, not just his being President. I would show you your comments from back then, but for some reason they don't seem to be available.

Yes, the thought that people supported Palin scared me. The idea that someone not brighter than your average sixth grader could possibly be one breath away from being President was scary. Fortunately, enough people saw through the haze to make the right decision by elected Obama.

You are the one unhappy with Obama. Why don't you move?

esteshawk 2 years, 10 months ago

Wrong. The second amendment was intneded so that individuals could come together in well regulated militias to enforce the power of the state.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

We've learned from the example of England how a series of "reasonable restrictions" can lead to the disarming of the people. Ain't gonna happen here.

kernal 2 years, 10 months ago

You're right, Snap. It aint gonna happen here. The die was cast when we hit the shores in the 1600's and we can't take it back now, even if the Feds banned them tomorrow.

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

I agree. it isn't going to happen here. So why keep stoking the fires of the NRA lobbying firm with cash? I know they appreciate the money, but if it isn't going to happen, are they really needed?

kernal 2 years, 10 months ago

bea, that cash is the NRA staff's job security.

booyalab 2 years, 10 months ago

I probably will never own a gun, but happily I don't have to in order to reap the benefits of deterrence. All of you pacifists get the same benefits as well, ironically. Isn't that nice for you?

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

Somehow, I don't think those killed and wounded when Gabby Giffords was shot would agree.

Mike Ford 2 years, 10 months ago

I always love the attacks by the genuises who don't ever refute the intellectual things I say and instead create attacks of stupidity. Typical right wing straw man attacks.... you all are sooooo smart.....

gl0ck0wn3r 2 years, 10 months ago

I assume, of course, that we will be "rethinking" the 1A as well. The founders surely didn't intend every citizen to have high-speed publishing capabilities. Back then, it took hours to typeset and hours more to print and distribute a publication. Surely the 1A wasn't designed for the internet or high-speed digital presses!

beatrice 2 years, 10 months ago

We absolutely need to ban time machines then.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

Looks like a good day to spend some time at the range.

RomelioBobalinski 2 years, 10 months ago

The will of the people of Arizona was overturned by a coward, not a gun. This coward could have chosen any kind of hardware but he chose a firearm. He used it in an illegal manner and making it more illegal could not have stopped him from his intent. Maybe if one of the twelve wounded, six killed or any number of other stiffs standing around had a firearm the destruction could have been more limited.

As for this long list of elections overturned and social movements derailed by the gun, maybe you could also sight the fact that we HAVE elections and social movements because of the gun.

Who does everyone come crying to when a coward or a group of cowards cause an event - Men With Guns. You might not like guns, no one is saying you have to have guns, but don't put legal limits on those of use who want to be more proactive with our own personal defense.

Men With Guns will be the first people you'll want to see at the schools, shopping malls, government buildings, parks and other places posted with the NO GUNS signs when the cowards show up to do harm.

Flap Doodle 2 years, 10 months ago

Yesterday, like tens of millions of other American gun owners, I had a very unexciting day. Like tens of thousands of other holders of conceal carry permits all across the country, I had a very unexciting day.

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

"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."

It seems to me that the intention of this amendment is to provide for a militia that can defend our country if necessary against outside attack.

RoeDapple 2 years, 10 months ago

The Supreme Court has issued two Second Amendment decisions in 2008 and 2010. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled that; (1.)The Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia, and (2.) (2010) to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense

jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I know.

It still seems to me that was the intention of the amendment.

RoeDapple 2 years, 10 months ago

Hi jafs. Taken at face value, yes it would appear that way. If you look a little deeper though it is actually two statements in one. To those of us who have read documentated writings of the founding fathers it is clearly calling for a well regulated militia AND to not restrict ownership of weapons by the people. Not to imply you haven't read these same documents. My own theory is the second amendment evolved to it's somewhat confusing wording after spending too much time in committee meetings.

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 10 months ago

I have a CCL and I almost never carry a gun. There is only a very limited time when I feel the need but I am very thankful that I have that option available.

The idea of hundreds of gun carrying students walking around campus is rediculous.

The idea of a crazy guy with a gun walking around campus shooting people is not.

Gun control advocates are "Gun Haters". That is why we don't care to talk to them anymore.

rtwngr 2 years, 10 months ago

Background check, Lenny? What about photo I.D.'s to vote?

Crazy_Larry 2 years, 10 months ago

Stench of Truth: In 2009 there were approximately 10.8 million car accidents resulting in about 36,000 killed. In 2008, almost 40,000 people were killed in car accidents...That's equals 14 9/11s. Guns aren't the problem.

http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s1104.pdf

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