Archive for Thursday, February 22, 2018

Editorial: Guns and the art of compromise

February 22, 2018


It is heartening to see thousands of young people across America make their voices heard following the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. However, it is still too easy to believe not much will change with gun violence in America.

Many reports of the student protests across the country have described the participants as filled with fury and impatient for change. That’s justified, and the criticism student protesters have received from some far right media personalities is disgusting. None of us should act like we understand how a survivor of a mass shooting should feel.

But, hopefully, we all recognize emotions of fury and impatience aren’t enough to produce meaningful change. That will require an action that used to be very adult-like but now is virtually nonexistent in American politics: compromise.

It is realistic to think some compromises can be reached on gun issues following the Florida killings. As was the case after other mass shootings, the attention of the public is trained on this issue. A majority of Americans believe something ought to change. But supporters of gun restrictions can’t overplay their hand. If they swing for the fences, they will strike out. At some point it must become clear to Democrats that they can’t be home run hitters on this issue until they start winning more elections.

But they can help fashion incremental change. For months now there has been support in both parties to limit the use of bump stocks, a type of device that makes a legal weapon function much like an illegal machine gun-like firearm. There’s disagreement over whether the change should come in the form of a law or an administrative regulation. A law would be preferable, but letting the issue get tied up over such a difference would be unwise.

Unwise also is a good description for much of the rhetoric this issue produces. Both sides need to quit treating guns, as conservative columnist David Brooks said, as a “sacred cross in the culture war.” Maybe such rhetoric is wise if your only goal is to energize your voting bloc, but it does little to produce solutions. Further, the right needs to recognize that the type of gun violence that is happening in America doesn’t happen everywhere else in the world. You don’t have to admit defeat to acknowledge that fact.

Likewise, the left needs to be realistic. Not one word of the Second Amendment is going to be changed. As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, AR-15 rifles are still going to be legal in America at this time next year.

But maybe it is possible to start adding some provisions to U.S. law regarding background checks. Or maybe it is feasible to add some funding to the FBI or the ATF to better enforce existing laws. To accept such compromises doesn’t mean supporters can’t continue to push for greater change. Maybe there will be a day sometime in the future when that AR-15 rifle is illegal in America. But if it is to be a lasting change it seems likely it will have to be part of incremental change that produces a recalibration of attitudes in America.

There is, however, legitimate reason to worry whether our political system can produce that type of change anymore. There seems to be a mindset that if either side accepts a change that is not 100 percent to its liking that it is a sign of defeat. We must get past that sentiment because the true defeats in places like Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland are getting too painful to watch time and time again.


Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

An Op-Ed that is fair and balanced.

I think most will agree properly funding our background check program will keep keep some people who should not be allowed to purchase guns from doing so. Will they get them on the street? Maybe - maybe not but funding the program is the right step.

We need to take it a couple of steps further to make sure people who have a mental illness that may make them a higher risk for violent acts are entered into the database. Also, we must prosecute people who falsify the affidavit they sign when purchasing a gun.

Administrative regulations have the same effect as law so who cares how a bumpstock is banned. I can support the ban because the accessory has only one purpose - to circumvent ownership of full auto weapons.

Finally, I could support the red flag law if it has safeguards to protect the accused - due process, face accuser, and severe penalties for knowingly making false statements when accusing someone.

Of course what do I know, I’m just a deplorable gun nut.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

But one who is willing to talk ;>) Actually I really appreciate your open attitude about discussing topics where there exists the potential for common ground, which is not as hard to find as some folks are afraid to admit. But then again, I was raised with guns and am a gun owner too--just not one who supports the NRA.

I'm hoping that sometime and somewhere, we Kansans can acknowledge that things like banning bumpstocks, havine a well funded and functioning system of background checks that help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill (to themselves or others), and a well constructed red flag law that could prevent clear and present danger situations from going down the wrong path. If we can agree on these things, I think that legislators could too--we just have to tell them when the opportunity arises.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The aminocentesis procedure is a simple test to determine which people qualify for firearms.

Save lives. Eliminate those humans not fit to carry handguns or long rifles.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Please pick up your neo-eugenics attitudes and go home.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

What about the children?

This sounds like an excellent mission for Planned Parenthood since they are acclimated to helping women see the light.

Thanks for the "eugenics" tip.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Feb. 22nd, 2018.

The date Bob tipped his hand that he agrees with eugenics in addition to his other fascist views.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Skippy's neo-eugenics determinism goes further back than today. I suspect such when-you-have-a-hammer-everything-is-a-nail, neo-eugenics world view goes back to some of the first posts he typed years ago and no doubt well before that.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Witness how the congenital creates the fantasy.

One make a spurious observation and adopts it as fact to further congeal the fantasy.

Notice others gather in agreement.

Just like the student march.

Profoundly enlightening their behavior.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Are you denying that you have a neo-eugenics philosophy? Are you denying that those beliefs go back in the past? Please, do explain how these perceptions are "fantasies." Explain how your DRD4 polymorphism isn't barely disguised neo-genetics claptrap, and don't forget to show me your as-yet-undisclosed proof of a deterministic link between said polymorphism and your "genetic liberal" philosophy.

Profoundly enlightening, indeed.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

  • "genetic liberal" philosophy*.

Not "philosophy" but, Science.

See Scientists at Harvard trying to figure out how their ideology is so much better than other ideologies.

Narcissism is another symptom of the human with the genetic condition.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Once again: show me the "science" behind deterministic links between political beliefs and behavior and your genetic makeup. I would place large money on a bet that some of the most reactionary libertarian conservative have DRD4 polymorphism. How can that be? I've looked at the "Harvard Scientists" research and that's also what they are saying, not what you are claiming that they are saying. Distorting science to match your ideologies is not even good philosophy: it's propaganda.

Bob Summers 1 month, 3 weeks ago

You're misinterpreting propaganda with reality.

Using genetic DRD4 polymorphism science as a springboard along with simple Jane Goodall behavior observations of subjects in their environment, it is complete apropos consequentiality that you and fellow travelers, need emotional hypersensitivity to attain "safe space" reality.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Thank you for locking in my conclusion that you are either beyond the pale or just messing around.

Armen Kurdian 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Bob, really, that's just not very helpful. I'm a conservative myself, and I can honestly say you don't help any conversation you join.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

For what it's worth, Armen, I don't consider him to be a viable conservative either.

Pete Rowland 1 month, 3 weeks ago

As a gun owner and user, I applaud the call for an incremental approach. And we have examples of reasonable regulation of guns whose benefits to society were far outweighed by their contribution to criminal behavior. Last i heard, sawed-off shotguns were illegal. In Heller the SC established gun ownership (including ownership of hand guns) under the 2nd Amendment as a fundamental right, establishing a high bar for imposing limits on that right. but in the same majority opinion Justice Scalia made it clear that exercise of this right was subject to reasonable limitations in light of the obvious risks to society of unfettered exercise of this right. this is, of course, not unique in constitutional interpretation -- as in free speech does not give one the right to shout fire in a crowded theater. Why? Because the only purpose of this exercise would be to maim and kill innocent people. Regulation of AR15s and similar guns designed for military use should be subjected to a vigorous public debate, not lumped in with a blanket response to the NRA's absolutist opposition to any regulation (with possible exception of bumps).

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Pete I agree with you up to the point where you start talking about free speech.

The 2nd amendment currently has similar restrictions to hat of the 1st amendment and many more than the 1st amendment has. The laws pertaining to the 1st amendment make it illegal to harm someone with “speech” but they do not prohibit the type of speech or medium for the speech.

It is illegal to harm someone with gun except in self-defense so there are the same type of laws in effect for guns as there is for speech.

We know free speech harms and kills people but how receptive would you and others be to limiting the medium and platforms used to deliver the harmful and illegal speech like they do with guns?

Young children and teenagers use social media to bully, threaten, conspire to kill and actually kill others so why not put an age restriction on internet use? It will prevent illegal acts.

The AR 15 was not designed for military use it is and always has been a civilian weapon. CA and CT banned AR 15 style weapons but it didn’t stop mass shootings.

The focus needs to be on better background checks, more access to affordable mental health care, identifying and requiring people with mental health issues to be reported to the background check database.

Fund security measures for our schools.

Figuring out why our society has devolved to the point that kids will go to schools and murder?

As people stop attending movies, concerts and other events that commercialize and glorify violence. Say no to the promotion of violence, say that is not who we are as a society.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"We know free speech harms and kills people but how receptive would you and others be to limiting the medium and platforms used to deliver the harmful and illegal speech like they do with guns?"

We already do that.

Television & radio channels are subject to FCC regulations and can have their license removed if deemed 'obscene, indecent, etc.'

Your right to use things like the internet can be revoked if convicted of certain crimes.

There is content that if you publish in any form can land you in jail.

These are reasonable measures that protect the public, and you don't see multi-billion dollar lobbying organizations claiming child pornography should be legal because the first amendment is too sacred.

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

If you're a gun owner I agree with BS below, your an Elmer Fudd. An AR15 is not a gun designed for military use. Just because it looks like an army gun doesn't make it so. Why all the urgency for the AR15 since it's 4% of the shootings? Maybe because it looks scary which allows the sheep to be more frightened? If you're wanting to decide Constitutional law here you're wasting your time.

I do, however, find it interesting you didn't address mental health. Why is that? Is it not shiny enough for the sheep? 100% of the shooters were mentally ill. Would that be important? Almost all the shooters were able to acquire their weapons legally. Now honestly, doesn't that upset you just a little bit? Wouldn't you like to get ahold of that group of irresponsibles? I ask this because years ago Chuck Schumer, Democrat from New York actually made an agreement he'd go to Washington DC and make sure the MENTALLY ILL NO GUN list would get current since 80% of the mentally ill names had not been inputted in their database at that point. When Schumer arrived in DC, what did he do? NOTHING! Years later many of those names still haven't been inputted in their NO GUN list database. Who did Chuck Schumer break his agreement with? Hold the thought... Let the question digest..... THE NRA. What gun grabbing group originated the NO GUN list idea in the first place? IT WAS THE NRA!

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"The AR-15 was designed above all else to be a lightweight assault rifle, and to fire a new lightweight, high-velocity small caliber cartridge to allow the infantrymen to carry more ammunition."

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Wrong, you're confused with the M16 which have different capabilities than an AR15.

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

It literally says AR-15. I don't know where your confusion lies.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Weapons of war should only be in the hands of the "well-regulated militia as the second amendment states. The argument that we need to defend ourselves against the government is stupid, silly and not valid.

Hunters and target shooting is certainly reasonable. Sporting weapons are certainly allowable. I use to hunt with my father, a military officer who owned a number of weapons for sport...Weapons of war and destruction are not needed. Who needs them?

No one.

Brock Masters 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Cool - I’m in a well-regulated militia so I’m good to go.

Even so, I do not own any weapons of war

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Spoken and delivered like a committed socialist.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"The argument that we need to defend ourselves against the government is stupid, silly and not valid." ...

And yet you charge our President with mental illness, narcissism and ego-mania every other day.

While I disagree with you daily rants about President Trump, I do absolutely subscribe to the axiom that "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely"?

Remember Obama suggesting a 3rd term? ... sure hated to give that power away!

Is it hard to Imagine a slick power-hungry, ego-maniac like a President Clinton, Comey or Holder declaring martial law and suspending elections in response to a natural disaster?

Why won't that happen?

The U.S. Armed Forces numbers 1,281,900 active service members, with an additional 801,200 people in the seven reserve components (2017). ... 300 million Americans, 75 million gun owners, 175 million guns ... good checks & balances if you ask me.

Aaron McGrogor 1 month, 3 weeks ago

He didn't suggest it, he said that he thought he probably could have won if he had chosen to run.

Brandon Devlin 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"Should only be" is not what the Second Amendment states. . .

Steve Jacob 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Politicians listen to the voters, believe it or not. Republicans will change if they fear losing elections. Why do you think we still have the Affordable Care Act?

My opinion is the damage has already been done. Too many weapons already in existence to stop. Maybe an assault rifle ban will do some good, long range. The reasons why people do such bad things is still in place. And how do you stop a guy like Stephen Paddock from doing what he did, he had no real motive.

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Want to fix the problem? Focus less on the gun and more on mental health. Kick your politicians in the rear and enforce the laws on the books get the mental no gun list up to date.

Daniel Kennamore 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Want to stop your boat from sinking?

Focus less on the hole that's leaking and would take a simple plug to fix and more on desperately trying to paddle back to shore before you sink.

That makes about as much sense as what you just said. Guns are the problem with gun violence. Full stop.

Dale Miller 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Sorry, you're not going to get far fixing the problem with that solution. Walk carefully into the padded room. We have crayons and kool-aid for ya.

Gary Stussie 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Daniel ... when you discuss illegal immigration the lefties in the crow inevitable say "what you going to do deport 11 million people" ... so I will use the same argument ... 'what ya going to do? Conficate175 million guns?"

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Take SBRs and suppressors out of the NFA and we may be willing to consider a compromise with what you want to do.

Richard Aronoff 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The problem with the art of compromise when it comes to gun control is that the Left Hand doesn't know what the Far-Left Hand is doing.

Ken Lassman 1 month, 3 weeks ago

When you are ready to move from either demanding gun bans or defending the right to bear arms, and are actually trying to sort out facts from fiction, what is working and what is not, and possible directions to consider to make a real difference, I have found the following locations to be useful in getting beyond the rhetoric, sloganeering and knee-jerk defenses and attacks:

Armen Kurdian 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Editorial was well-written, pragmatic, and realistic. I can get behind a lot of what was proposed. Add 30-day wait periods for assault weapons, increase the age for buying guns, require background databases to be linked or networked, or in other words, have those search engines be able to talk to each other. Some northeastern states are collaborating on background checks, that's a great idea.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

How do you define "assault weapons" , Armen? Automatic firearms have been registered and heavily regulated since 1934. If you are calling semiautomatic rifles assault weapons, you're using the jargon of the people who want to end the Second Amendment.

Richard Aronoff 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Fred says, "The argument that we need to defend ourselves against the government is stupid, silly and not valid." This from the man who thinks Donald Trump is the reincarnation of Adolph Hitler.

But protection against an all-powerful central government was exactly the point of Federalist 46.

Now, you may not believe that's possible today. There were a lot of people in Germany in the 1930s who thought Hitler would never amount to much. An article in the New York Times said that making "Herr Hitler" the chancellor was a good idea because the position would force him to moderate. That worked out well, didn't it?

That being said, I think the AR-15 is a stupid choice for target shooting or hunting. I think it was originally designed to appeal to the kind of guy who wants to make a statement about how big his...................

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

"...I think it was originally designed to appeal to the kind of guy who wants to make a statement about how big his..................." Eugene Stoner would beg to differ with your pig-ignorant statement about his motivation for designing the AR.

Bob Smith 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Nothing in that article supports your penis-envy.

Richard Aronoff 1 month, 3 weeks ago

You're right Bob. I shouldn't have said it was designed for "that guy." I should have said that's the way it's marketed today. And the designer had nothing to do with the marketing.

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