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Tag: Wayne LaPierre

A Question for all the Donald Trump Supporters

A Question for all the Donald Trump Supporters

A Question for all the Donald Trump supporters who continue to baffle me with their unwavering support for a politician who is clearly at odds with their own personal values and moral codes.

So what if one day between now and November 8th Donald Trump actually acted out all of his narcissistic, bullying, racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, war-crimes rhetoric and did this:

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Write your US Senators about keeping Mandatory Background Checks in the Gun Control Bill

Write your US Senators about keeping Mandatory Background Checks in the Gun Control Bill

I read an article in The Washington Post today that explains the differences in the gun bill yet to be resolved by the Chuck Schumer, representing the Democrats, and Tom Coburn, representing the Republicans. It all gets down to the issue of keeping records of background checks. Without a requirement to keep the background checks on file, how would we know that anyone actually complied with the law? How would law enforcement be able to track guns used in crimes?

Fear mongerers like Wayne LaPierre say that if people keep records, then the government will collect all the records and eventually send armed government agents to the homes of gun owners and confiscate all their guns. No rational person actually believes that – not in this gun-culture country.

To me the recordkeeping requirement is no different than the law that says when I go to a pharmacy to buy cold pills like Sudafed that contain ingredients criminals can extract to make meth, I have to show my ID, provide my address, and sign a purchase log at the pharmacy. The government doesn’t collect information about every transaction. If there is a crime and the police need to investigate the distribution of pills used to make meth, then they go to pharmacies and look at records. Same thing is true if I purchase a keg of beer. I have to provide the same information, but the police don’t bother with collecting the data from stores unless they bust a party where the beer in the keg I bought was served to minors. Then they want to know who bought the keg.

The Democrats believe that background checks must be done for all gun sales, and records of the checks and sales must be kept on file. Otherwise the law is absurd and useless.

So let your senators know that no matter what the NRA or Ted Nugent says, you think background checks must be required for all gun sales.

If you aren’t sure what to write on their contact pages, well here’s what I wrote, and you are free to use it and edit it to fit your own personal style.

Senator [insert name here],

I read today how Senator Schumer and Senator Coburn are at an impasse in moving a gun-control bill forward because many Republicans have the completely irrational idea that a law requiring the keeping of records of background checks for gun purchases would enable the government to collect all the data and send armed government agents to the homes of law-abiding citizens to confiscate their lawfully procured firearms. Really that’s what they think because that’s what Wayne LaPierre tells them to think. Well they are so wrong it’s not even worth discussing but, being a US Senator, I guess you have to. So please speak clearly, often, and loudly about how background checks would be used to keep firearms out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, and that law-abiding citizens are in no danger of having their guns confiscated by government agents no matter what Wayne LaPierre or Ted Nugent says.

It is of utmost importance that our country adopts reasonable, rational laws to try and prevent as many people who should not have firearms because of criminal records or known mental problems from obtaining them.

And yes I know that banning assault weapons again is just crazy, because everybody should be allowed to own whatever kind of gun they want. That’s the American way! Right? No it’s not. You know it and I know it, and we both know that a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammo clips that are designed to kill the most people in the most efficient way won’t get through the current congress.

So let’s start with background checks and let’s stand OUR ground.

Cheers,

[Your Name here]

NRA wants to make America the stupid country

NRA wants to make America the stupid country

Listening to the leaders of the NRA and their congressional lapdogs spouting nonsense in their opposition to changing the legislative status quo regarding curbs on guns in America is a truly surreal experience.

Here we are living in a country awash in guns and with the highest murder rate in the industrialized world; where Americans are twenty times more likely to be shot to death than their contemporaries in other advanced countries; where mass shootings are a common occurrence and where you can’t turn on the TV or pick up a newspaper without learning of a new tragedy involving firearms: a child abducted from a school bus after a deranged gunman shoots the bus driver; a teen in New Mexico shoots his parents and two sisters to death for who knows what reason; another teen who marched in a band at President Obama’s inauguration gunned down as she’s standing under a shelter in Chicago. And of course just a short time ago, we had the massacre of twenty Kindergarten and 1st grade children at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT.

And yet the country’s legislators listen with respectful solemnity to the insane ravings of the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre as if he actually has something serious to say on the subject of gun violence in America; a man who would be the subject of ridicule and derision if he tried to peddle his drivel anywhere else but Somalia.

The gun lobby’s position can be boiled down to this: gun laws already on the books don’t work or are not enforced and, anyway, only inconvenience law-abiding citizens and are useless against criminals. It’s an incredibly weak argument for inaction that flies in the face of the experience of other countries, as any international comparison of murder rates and gun violence shows conclusively.

Yet unbelievably the prospect of a meaningful strengthening of national gun control laws grows dimmer by the day. Republicans embrace the power of the gun lobby while Democrats continue to fear it.

Thanks to a conservative majority on the Supreme Court that have made a mockery of the Constitution by making it perform pirouettes, hand stands, triple axels and all manner of gymnastic contortions to make it fit their ideological predilections, we have a deeply misguided 5-4 ruling that upholds the right to private ownership of firearms. One day perhaps they’ll explain how the right of the Newtown killer’s mother to amass an arsenal of weapons relates to the need for a well-regulated militia but I won’t hold my breath.

The gun fanatics and their GOP allies have tried to deflect attention from guns by focusing on violent video games and people with mental health issues, as though America has a monopoly on either (which is not to say we shouldn’t work hard to improve services to the mentally ill). The sole factor that sets America apart from all other industrialized nations in explaining our elevated levels of serious violence and murder, however, is our obsession with firearms and anyone who argues to the contrary is either ignorant or delusional.

Guns and people are like the parts of a binary weapon system. It is only when they combine that they have the capacity to become quickly lethal to multiple targets and with little or no risk to the shooter. That is what sets the gunman apart from, for example, the knife wielder.

With its ties to gun manufacturers, the fanatics who lead the NRA have a valuable stake in making America the stupid country. In the wake of the tragedy at Newtown and as witnesses to the ongoing gun violence that afflicts our country daily, it’s up to us to make sure they don’t succeed.

Bitter irony in Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre

Bitter irony in Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre

The indescribable agony of the people Newtown, Connecticut, in the wake of the horrible events of Friday are compounded by the knowledge that theirs is a community characterized by most as at once bucolic and safe. A place where violent crime is non-existent and criminal wrongdoing of any sort is rare.

Why then did the mother of Adam Lanza, the alleged perpetrator, have an arsenal of firearms? According to the latest reports, in addition to two semi-automatic handguns and a semi-automatic rifle recovered at the scene of the slaughter of young innocents, the police found other weapons in the Lanza home.

Which begs the question: if Newtown is as safe and secure as seems to be the case, a wonderful place to raise children in fact, why then did Lanza’s mother purchase an arsenal of firearms? Was she an avid fan of recreational shooting who visited gun ranges? Or did she simply feel safer with a bunch of handguns and rifles about the place? And how well were these weapons secured in the home – if at all?

This blog has advocated stronger gun controls in the past and believes we could benefit greatly from adopting more stringent Canadian-style regulations governing the ownership and storage of firearms.

The NRA is lying low at the moment as they always do in the immediate aftermath of mass shootings such as the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. They will bide their time until emotions have cooled and then will launch their counterattack to the calls for stronger gun controls. The organization’s trained political lapdogs, mostly but not necessarily all Republicans, will be sent forth to mournfully express their sorrow at the events in Newtown but will opine that what we don’t need is more gun laws. They’ll be joined at the right moment by the NRA’s leading mouthpiece, Wayne LaPierre, who will yap on endlessly about how more gun laws would not have prevented this tragedy and what we really need is more armed citizens (maybe we should now lower the minimum age to five for owning a handgun?) to stop these events in their tracks. After all, if only the janitor had been packing a .357 magnum…

In this particular case, a Canadian-style requirement for firearms to be stored securely might have prevented this awful massacre. If Lanza’s mother had owned a secure safe for the storage of her weapons and if she knew that her son was struggling with anger or similar issues, she could have saved all those lives by simply locking her weapons away and hiding the key or combination from him. Best of all, of course, was if she had never purchased the guns in the first place.

And herein lays the great irony of this tragic event. The shooter’s mother had an arsenal of weapons that she clearly did not need for her safety, because Newtown is a safe community where people know one another, look out for each other. And now thanks to her son’s access to deadly weaponry, the name will be forever linked with one of the greatest, most heinous crimes in American history.

On the issue of guns, America has lost its perspective, its senses and its sanity – and now, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, a precious group of its children and their courageous principal and teachers. May God give us the wisdom, the strength and the courage so that something good can still come from so much pain and anguish.