Archive for Friday, March 16, 2018

Editorial: Gun control an uphill battle

March 16, 2018


High school students around the country, including students in Lawrence and Topeka, walked out of class on Wednesday to commemorate one month since the deadly shooting at a school in Parkland, Fla., and to protest gun violence. Their next major event is the March for Our Lives on March 24.

The youth are articulate and passionate. They seem committed and motivated. They have a national stage.

But let’s be clear: Their youthful optimism is up against a foe that eats optimism for breakfast. The National Rifle Association is to gun control legislation what Kansas men’s basketball is to the Big 12. Since the federal assault weapons ban was lifted in 2005, the NRA has fought any and all attempts at federal gun control legislation and won every battle, against every party, every organization and every mass shooting.

The students want action on common-sense gun control legislation — an assault weapons ban, thorough background checks without loopholes and a minimum age of 21 to purchase a gun. The NRA wants inaction.

So far, the NRA is winning, successfully quashing what the organization calls “the resistance” at nearly every turn.

In the first two weeks after the shooting in Parkland killed 17 people, it appeared the country could be on the verge of change. The Florida Legislature passed a gun control bill that, among other things, moved the age limit to 21 to buy an assault rifle. In a public meeting with members of Congress, President Donald Trump signaled support for increasing the age limit, better background checks and even nodded in agreement as Sen. Dianne Feinstein shared data with him that showed the occurrence of mass shootings had nearly quadrupled since the assault weapons ban was lifted. Trump even mocked Sen. Pat Toomey for being afraid of the NRA.

But after meetings with the NRA, Trump offered a proposal that seeks only modest improvements to background checks, but no age limits and certainly no assault weapons ban. The proposal focused mostly on policy the NRA supports: improving school security by arming school personnel and providing them with rigorous firearms training.

There have been at least three incidents since the Parkland shooting in which school personnel have fired guns in schools. Fortunately, only one student suffered minor injuries. Despite these incidents, the NRA, Trump and others — including many in the Kansas Legislature — still think increasing the number of guns in schools is the best way to make schools safer.

The students who have organized and participated in marches are to be commended for getting engaged and standing up for what they believe to be right. But they must understand that their success ultimately will depend on voting in November.

The NRA and the elected officials they back are betting that by summer, students will have turned their attention elsewhere. The question that will be answered in the coming months is whether the students are just marching in March or are part of a real movement.


Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

LJW, how are you defining "assault weapons"? Do you have a definition is mind or are you merely parroting somebody's sound bite because it agrees with your prejudices?

Joe Blackford II 2 months, 1 week ago

Bob - I immediately recognized the RUGER® MINI-14® RANCH RIFLE, although I was not aware of the RUGER® Mini-14® Tactical; both of which use Caliber: 5.56 NATO / 223 Remington. NATO, as in the soldiers the Russians fear? I'm guessing Trump's friends in the Kremlin consider the MINI-14® an "assault weapon?"

AFAIK, It wasn't until 2013 that the 223 Remington was legal to use on deer in KS. It still is NOT legal for use on deer in some states. Many true hunters believe that such a small caliber is not "ethical" for hunting deer. But then NRA "ethics" are divergent from those of most hunters &/or gun owners. The NRA is only interested in increasing the sales of firearms, IF I understand correctly. And could care less how firearms are used.

Mike Riner 2 months ago

Joe, FWIW there is a lot of "ignorance" out there about many firearms. For example, many consider the AK-47 to be the most evil, destructive weapon there is. However, it's no more powerful than a 30-30 round used in grandpa's lever action deer rifle.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 1 week ago

Yep, the usual suspects are rolling out the "assault weapon" issue, as predictable and as cute as a killdeer feigning a broken wing and distress in order to distract a person from their nearby nest of eggs.

The reality of the issue is that the NRA, law abiding citizens and criminals all benefit from having a background check free environment at gun shows. Furthermore, criminals utilize a small percentage of gun shops who funnel disproportionate numbers of guns their way and yet the Tiarht Amendment prevents the AFT and other feds to share that information, allowing the practices to continue without any public scrutiny. The CDC is allowed to and does excellent research on violence in the US as a whole as well as violence as it relates to youth, to elder abuse, suicide prevention, domestic violence and other areas and yet it cannot do quality research on violence that includes guns because of the Dickey Amendment, something that even Sen. Dickey regretted creating and called for a repeal of before he died. As a result, even the legislative bodies cannot get reliable information about the effectiveness of various measures to reduce gun violence and yet we are asking them to craft bills to accomplish that. It's kind of like asking NASA to build rockets but prevent them from using math to design those rockets.

Bottom line: there are many measures that could reduce the ease of criminals getting guns and to make them think twice about using them; there are many measures that would reduce access to guns by violent partners, suicidal individuals, and those with mental illness and make significant inroads in reducing these sad statistics. There are things we can do to learn how to do these things effectively and many others if we allowed efficacy studies on the effectiveness of various measures in local settings. All of these things could be done without infringing on the Second Amendment if there was a group of legislators who had the courage to demand these outcomes.

There is no such thing as the perfect bill, and whatever is passed will need to be looked at periodically and revised in order to improve the outcomes and reduce the problems. Such is the nature of the democratic process. It's past time to get moving on this and folks need to tell their legislators that they understand all of this and expect them to begin to move ahead and continue to move on this important issue or to step aside to make room for someone who IS willing to move ahead.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

TLDR, Ken. Could you sum up in 20 words or so?

Ken Lassman 2 months, 1 week ago

Sure Bob:

This is a complex topic that cannot be summed up in 20 words. It also entails thinking and listening and acting.

Nate Upchurch 2 months, 1 week ago

That walk was to remember the students not protest gun control, but love how that changed. How will gun control improve things? Please tell me what law will change one thing about school/mass shootings? Look up the media loved (Las Vegas, Batman movie) mass shooters in recent and only one was under the age of 21. Outside of making people "feel good" what does raising the buying age to 21 actually do? Obama who screams gun control more than anyone did what exactly during his 8 years to make things better? We protect everyone, but our children with guns. The President, senators, congressman/women, celebrities and they are the ones who scream gun control the loudest. I'm amazed that the "gun free" zone signs don't stop school/mass shooters. Didn't the "Beware of Dog" sign stop you from jumping a fence to get a ball when you were a child? What's the difference? The NRA is only the enemy to the naive who honestly think gun control, making laws to improve background checks, raising the buying age will actually make a difference. I think it's pathetic and sad that people always blame the guns in a school/mass shooting yet we blamed the terrorists for 9/11, the driver for a DUI and an arsonist for a fire. We don't blame the plane, the car or the match. Gun control will do nothing.

Ken Lassman 2 months, 1 week ago

Actually, from the organizers of the march website:

"Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is calling for students, teachers, school administrators, parents and allies to take part in a #NationalSchoolWalkout for 17 minutes at 10am across every time zone on March 14, 2018 to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods. We need action. Students and allies are organizing the national school walkout to demand Congress pass legislation to keep us safe from gun violence at our schools, on our streets and in our homes and places of worship."

But that aside, I think that it's time to talk specifics, not generalities. Do you not favor measures that do not infringe on the Second Amendment Rights to protect one's home while at the same time allows authorities to temporarily remove guns from those who have lawful possession of them but are at serious enough risk for harming themselves or others that local law enforcement authorities feel that they should not be in possession of a gun for a specified period? Such "Red Flag Laws" could have been utilized in Florida if it had been on the books.

I agree that there's differences of opinions on what would work and where. That's why I support the Center for Disease Control to be funded to study the effectiveness of protective measures to provide the public and government with objective information from which they can tweak/reject/adopt policies based on their efficacy and ability to also maintain Second Amendment Rights. Such research could play a much needed role in a conversation that is full of emotional anecdotes on all sides of the issue, and would promise to help reduce the numbers of victims of gun violence the same as their research have helped in other areas of violence that they study.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

The leftists never waste a tragedy when they think it helps their narrative.

Greg Cooper 2 months ago

The righties never waste a diversion when the truth would burst their bubble.

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Liberal ideology is why there is a need for the 2nd amendment.

Greg Cooper 2 months ago

No, Bob, the original need for the 2nd was lack of a federal governmental ability to raise an army to defend the colonies. That's it. That's all. The amendment has been enlarged over and over but the original intent was nothing but what I said.

Now, don't even accuse me of being anti-gun or any of your silliness about your fake liberal nonsense.

Gary Stussie 2 months, 1 week ago

A complex issue to be sure.

I would think that the "Walking Dead" generation would be more sensitive of the need to defend themselves and their families!

I am not talking a Zombie Apocalypse. I am pointing out that the popular horror show demonstrates how quickly "civilization" fades, and how brutal people become, when they are fighting for their very survival!

There is a very significant difference between local/regional disasters and country/world-wide disaster. In the former, those adversely affected hang on fully expecting those unaffected to rush to their aid. Not so when everyone is potentially affected! Chaos develops very quickly.

Want to ruin your whole day? Do a little web search on "Pandemic". I attended a seminar on world-wide Pandemic sponsored by the CDC several years ago. They frankly state that "it is not IF a world-wide pandemic will happen, it is WHEN".

Obama's Administration seemed to take this pretty seriously, as they mandated that clauses be included in all government contracts dealing with expected performance during Pandemics.

The biggest pandemic on record was the 1918 Spanish influenza, which killed 50 million people at a time when the fastest way to travel the globe was by ship. In 2009 swine flu was the most recent pandemic that got public health officials concerned; first detected in April of that year in Mexico, it turned up in London within a week.

As I watch these young people march against guns, I wonder if they they realize that cities like Lawrence typically have only three days’ worth of food on hand! The old saying about "civilizations being just three or four meals away from anarchy" has been validated many times in recent history as a result of local or regional natural disasters?

Heck! The police will protect us ... right?

In the greater Los Angeles county, there are, between Federal, State, County and City agencies, about 25,000 law-enforcement sworn officers. In the same region, there are about 250,000+ known gang members, all operating within their own established chains of command with communication equipment, access to weapons, and organizational strength. In the event of a pandemic, it is estimated that by Day15 most law enforcement personnel would have abandon their posts and hole up in their homes to protect their own families. Gangs would run free robbing all the undefended civilians for food and supplies. Amazing how quickly "civilization" can dissipate.

Point being ... there can/may/will be times when the local/state and federal government cannot assure our protection. I am of the opinion that they should not stand in the way of us protecting ourselves.

Ken Lassman 2 months ago

Frankly if as many people knew how to grow their own garden from seed they saved and/or knew how to raise chickens as owned a gun, we would be in a lot better condition for whatever came our way. It's one thing to face a disaster that makes the collapse of our infrastructures happen if you know how to take care of your family, and if folks know how to raise their own food and share it with their neighbors, the guns become a necessary but seldom if ever used backup. Compare that to having a home with a bunch of hungry people who are armed to the teeth. Community becomes more, not less important in such conditions, and it's time we turn off the zombie movies and start growing gardens.

With that in mind, the Gardening Spring Fair is taking place at the Douglas County Fairgrounds April 28 9-5pm

Gary Stussie 2 months ago

Ken, Not sure tending ones garden and singing Kumbaya will keep a family safe.

US Department of the Interior suggests "social distancing" is the best bet until the Pandemic burns itself out (> 75 days) ... then "community becomes more important".

Did you notice that both Costco and Walmart are not selling Emergency Food Kits?

Ken Lassman 2 months ago

Stop putting words in my mouth, Gary. I'm saying that if you are sharing tomatoes with your neighbors, and you're buying eggs from them, chances are much better that you'll get along and also help each other out if things get dicey. Geez....

And if social distancing is needed because of some pandemic, you can build your own food stockpile without having to buy one from Costco. Are you implying that Costco and Walmart are part of some grand conspiracy because they're NOT selling such kits??

Bob Summers 2 months, 1 week ago

Gun nuts find the taking of other peoples property "complex"?

That's rich. I guess for the enlightened critical thinkers taking other peoples property or bullying them to not purchase firearms in the light of day is "complex".

Why don't you all start in South Chicago and Baltimore banning those Liberals from having firearms?

Think of the lives you could save.

Why don't you ban firearms from those MS-13 gang war loads you give sanctuary to?

That would be a good start.

Bob Smith 2 months, 1 week ago

There was a mass killing in South Carolina that went unreported by the national media. Why? It didn't fit the narrative they're pushing .

Joe Blackford II 2 months, 1 week ago

Be honest Bob, you got this comment from some conservative clickbait for morons site like this:

Media Ignores Mass Killing In South Carolina, No Gun Involved.

Googling the name of the suspect => 1,210 results, some of which identify themselves as "abc," "cbs," "fox," "nbc," etc. "National Media" is a pretty nebulous term these days; I can pretty well find national news via Google, or checking

Not that you would notice, but family members murdering each other is much more common than mass murders in schools. That might be a reason for why you didn't see it on the networks' evening news. Or it could be that the "National Media" reported instead that Trump had someone else fire a lap dog lacking a security clearance; made another "rocket man" Twitter taunt; lied to Canada's president on trade; reversed on raising the age to purchase guns to 21; denied knowing Stormy Daniels or any of the 6 other women who aren't ashamed to admit to having sex with our President . . .

Bob Smith 2 months ago

Too bad it doesn't fit your narrative, Joe.

Brock Masters 2 months ago

The headline illustrates why we do not have solutions to gun violence - the focus is on gun control and not finding ways to reduce violence.

Certainly some solutions like enhancing background check fall under he heading of gun control but gun control can’t be the singular focus.

There are people like me that are resistant to gun bans because we don’t believe it will significantly reduce murders and it is a slippery slope with a total ban at the bottom.

I and others will support other solutions and while not all 2nd Amendment advocates are reasonable many of us re. I have listened and learned from posters on here - kudos to Ken and Greg, and have a better perspective on the issue.

The OP Ed is right. Gun control is an uphill battle so let’s look for solutions we can all agree on.

Bob Summers 2 months ago

Then there is the gun-nut Obama giving guns to bandits.

Another day, another Obama administration scandal – even though the divider-in-chief has been out of office for over one full year. This report involves the acting FBI deputy director David Bowdich testifying that 44’s Dept. of Justice (headed by former AG Loretta Lynch) forced the FBI to delete over half a million fugitives from the gun background check system.

A little odd, no?

David Reynolds 2 months ago

Nothing will change in this situation except increased frustration, because gun rights are protected by the 2nd amendment.

The 2 major arguments in the USA today, are gun control & abortions. Guns are protected by the 2nd amendment, & abortion by SCOTUS.

I have commented regarding this subject in a current LTE, titled: "Health, Safety Threat".

In that LTE, In comments section, I commented that 21.8 abortions per all gun deaths, including all wars have occurred since Roe. I also noted that 40 abortions per non-war gun deaths have occurred.

That amounts to about 60 million abortions vs 2.75 million gun deaths. 60 million is greater than the combined populations of the states of New York & California. This says the abortion industry has essentially ended the equivalent number of lives of the 2 most populace states in the USA.

Now grated, any unnecessary death is a tragic loss. But, perspective asks 60 million vs 1.5 non-war deaths?

So the question is: "What is the most severe threat to life...guns or abortion?" And why aren't there equal calls for controls of the instruments of abortion?

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