Thursday, February 28, 2013

Assault Weapons

Yesterday was an emotional day at the Senate hearing on assault weapons.

Via TPM:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) sparred with Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn over prosecuting people who fail firearms background checks, a common line of attack from the gun rights side of things. The back-and-forth grew heated, requiring Feinstein to gavel in asking for order.

But it was from the gun control side where the strongest emotions came. Among the Democratic witnesses was Neil Heslin, a father of a boy killed in the Newtown shooting. He spoke about his recent testimony at a Connecticut hearing where gun rights advocates in the audience shouted out to him after he posed a question during his testimony, leading the chair to accuse them of heckling. Once again, Heslin asked why guns like the AR-15 that was used to kill his son should be in civilian hands.

“What purpose those serve in civilians’ hands or on the street?” he asked.

Chances that the assault weapons ban will actually pass the Senate are slim, and when you get the to the House, virtually nil.  The NRA have bought and paid for enough members of Congress to ensure that nothing will get through without their blessing.  And they’ll have no problem attacking Mr. Heslin or any other survivor of gun violence as an enemy of freedom, America, and Smith & Wesson’s bottom line.

3 barks and woofs on “Assault Weapons

    • The trouble with those statistics, lark, is that the NRA nutjobs will use them to prove that people need more guns to protect themselves from the other people with guns.

      There’s no situation where the gun lobby doesn’t think more guns are appropriate. Crime goes down: proof that expansive gun ownership works. Crime goes up: proof that more guns for self- (and spouse-, and property-, and neighborhood-) defense are needed. Police presence diminishes: proof that armed citizenry are required to maintain the peace. Police presence increases: proof that Big Gubmint is out to take your guns away, so owners need protection. There is no circumstance where the gun lobby will support a reduction in weapons available to the average citizen.

      Remember that in the wake of every mass shooting of the last 10 or so years, the NRA’s immediate response was that more armed citizenry in the space where the shooting was taking place would have mitigated the carnage, since responsible armed citizens could have dropped the shooters before they could kill more people. This logic, taken far enough, would promote personal thermonuclear weapons as deterrent/solution to violence in society.

      Personally, if the 2nd Amendment is to be taken as liberally as the NRA insists, I would like to see full military-grade munitions available to the average citizen, all the way up to aircraft carriers, F-35s, ballistic missiles, Kevlar body and vehicle armor, armor-piercing ammo rounds, etc. If a “well-regulated militia” is indeed the goal, then citizens will need access to those things. Also, if the right of citizens to bear arms is indeed to be expanded as fully as the NRA insists, then any and all weapons – civilian and military – should be made available.

      Personally, I think just about everyone would balk at that scenario, and with good reason. Law enforcement would be nearly impossible under those circumstances, and police salaries and health insurance would be astronomical just so we could staff the PDs. Never mind how many domestic disputes would end with mini-mushroom clouds where somebody’s house or office used to be. But if we’re going to keep heading down this rabbit hole, it’s high time somebody proposed going the whole distance, just to highlight how b@tsh!t-crazy the loudest gun proponents are, and what a farce fully enabling the 2nd Amendment would be.

      There’s another side of this argument that nobody’s touched so far. Espousing full extension of the 2nd Amendment is a colossal new imposition on the taxpayers. Instead of (as now) distributing the financial burden of outfitting each serviceperson, equipping each ship or supplying each aircraft, this approach would require each citizen-soldier to provide his/her own munitions, at his/her own expense. Granted, the likelihood of tax deductions to offset some part of that expenditure would almost certainly be in the mix someplace, but the end result would be that only the wealthiest and most committed to this idea would end up acceptably armed – and anyone else would “make do”. It’s a colossal stab at the MilInd complex – but it’s also one hell of an obligation to require of citizens, and so far nobody’s talking about what happens when one’s arsenal expenditures inch higher than one’s housing costs.

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