February 16, 2008
POLITICS: Real Gun Politics
Obama on gun control, after Thursday's shootings in his home state:
Before speaking to a rally here, Obama said the nation must do a "more effective job of enforcing our gun laws, strengthening our background check system, being able to trace guns that are used in violent crimes to unscrupulous gun dealers -- so that we can crack down on them -- closing gun show loopholes."
Obama said he believes in the Second Amendment, but that there is plenty of room for added gun regulations. "There is an individual right to bear arms, but it's subject to commonsense regulation," he said.
Mentioning his home city, Obama said local entities should also have the ability to have their own more strict regulations.
"I think that local jurisdictions have the capacity to institute their own gun laws . . . The City of Chicago has gun laws, as does Washington, D.C.," he said. "I think the notion that somehow local jurisdictions can't initiate gun safety laws to deal with gang-bangers and random shootings on the street isn't born out by our constitution."
Hmmm, that should go over real well in the Texas primary on March 4. Just as the national Dems seemed to have learned their lesson on this issue, expect to hear a lot about guns if Obama is the nominee, for two reasons.
1. Guns are one of the few areas where McCain has a pretty solid conservative record. The NRA's leadership hates McCain due mainly to McCain-Feingold, but on the actual gun-rights issues he's voted pretty consistently for gun rights (e.g., he voted against the Brady Bill), although McCain has also clashed with the NRA over a gun show bill he co-sponsored with Joe Lieberman.
2. There is, nonetheless, a huge contrast to be drawn on this issue. Obama is about as anti-gun as you would expect from a Chicago politician - voted for assault weapons bans, voted to limit the number of handguns a person could buy, voted against lawsuit protections for gun manufacturers, supported a national ban on concealed carry, and worst of all voted against a bill protecting homeowners from being sued by burglars they shoot in their own homes.
Obama's not going to get a pass on that record from gun owners.
When guns are outlawed, only the authorities (who have proven time and again they can't be trusted) will have them.
Here are some of BO's comments,
"Before speaking to a rally here, Obama said the nation must do a "more effective job of enforcing our gun laws, strengthening our background check system, being able to trace guns that are used in violent crimes to unscrupulous gun dealers -- so that we can crack down on them -- closing gun show loopholes."
He specifically pointed to a California law as a possible model.
"There was a discussion today about a law that has just passed in California that allows micro-tracing of bullets that have been discharged in a crime so that they can immediately be traced," he said. "This is something that California has passed over the strong objections of the NRA…That's the kind of common sense gun law that gun owners as well as victims of gun violence can get behind."
The law to which he refers has already failed in Maryland and been repealed. Here are the reasons why that happened,
"In the end, the Maryland State Police report provides three primary recommendations: 1) discontinue the program and moth-ball the equipment; 2) enact legislation repealing the current law to require collection of casings; and 3) transfer personnel and funds to the state DNA database program. The report concludes that MD-IBIS "has not proven to be a time saving tool for the Firearms Examiner or an investigative enhancement to the criminal investigator. It has simply failed in the Mission and Vision concepts originally established for the Program."
BO is a hopeless idealist in more ways than can be measured. I fully expect the usual trolls to answer by telling me the President Bush is a stupid warmongering Christianist tool of Big Oil who wants the polar bears to die. Have a great President's Day, all.
I'll never understand this country's obsession and fascination with guns.
Thanks for consolidating all this info in this post. The problem with gun control and nationwide bans is that no matter what the government does criminals will be able to get their hands on guns if they want to. A concealed carry ban isn't the answer, nor is eradicating the Second Amendment.
Strict background checks and gun show reform could be a step in the right direction, but the fact remains that even if this country outlaws guns altogether criminals will be able to get their hands on them. There's a reason why the arms and drug trades are the biggest money makers in the world. No piece of legislation is going to change that.
In any event, it should be interesting to see what happens in the Heller case this term.
I understand why the NRA is against any type of bullet tracing technology (so it didn't work in Maryland, maybe California is a bit smarter), but why would a gun owner be against it?
I'll be glad to answer that question Zufall. Gun owner or not, I oppose it first of all because it can be easily foiled in two ways.
First, if you disassemble a handgun and mar the firing pin slightly, the ballistic fingerprint is no longer accurate, but the weapon will still fire.
A criminal can collect brass from other weapons at a firing range and leave that at the scene of a crime while collecting his own brass.
Moreover, the technology adds considerable cost to the handgun which will be passed on to the buyer. Since the manufacturers are not in favor of it, they have made it plain that they will no longer offer updated handguns for sale in California. The law covers law enforcement as well, thus police and sheriff will be unable to update their arsenals. As a long time resident I can assure you that California is not pursuing this issue in any way different than Maryland did, and in fact, when the arguments were made in the legislature, the Maryland example was ignored by the bill's proponent, and our Governor.
This is feel good legislation that does not address the core problem of habitual criminals not being imprisoned for their entire sentence, and not being imprisoned for life until a third felony.
I expect little sympathy for this position, but I suggest that in the case of these school shootings, a significant reason why they occur is that gun free zones have been created. Nut cases and homicidal sociopaths do not respect gun free zones, and to the extent that they can reason and plan, they have assurance that nobody will be around to offer resistance.
It would be helpful for persons interested in actually doing something about violence to revisit the 2002 shooting event at Appalachian Law School where armed students ended the attack. This was not a gun free zone.
It is interesting that when a psychopath guns down a bunch of people the mental health system is never held accountable for the disaster; the gun owning community is.
In Ct some years ago there was a massacre at the state lottery as they felt legally compelled to take back an insane employee whom they let go. He "went off his meds" (heard that before?) and gunned down his superiors. His parents somehow failed to secure they firearms from their paranoid son.
We need "psycho control", not gun control. But the ACLU will fight for the right for the insane-American population to brandish firearms while disarming the sane.
I'd note that this site didn't feel the need to raise issues with Rudy Giuliani's positions on gun control, but I do think this is a valid area of vulnerability for Obama. In very specific particular, I think it could endanger his ability to hold onto Pennsylvania, without which I don't think he can become President.
I don't have a problem with something like the bullet-tracing program in theory, although I recognize that there are real arguments against it in practice. That's actually true of a number of reasonable-sounding gun controls.
As for Rudy, he would not have been able to capitalize as much on this issue. But even Rudy could have made some serious hay of Obama voting to preserve burglar lawsuits.
NRA Life Member:
Regarding the argument that "A criminal can collect brass from other weapons at a firing range and leave that at the scene of a crime while collecting his own brass." But can they lodge the other person's bullet three inches into someone's skull?; probably not without firing it from their own weapon. Aren't those the bullets we'd want to trace?
And the added cost to a gun manufacturer to implement this technology? boo hoo!! That's like saying car manufacturers shouldn't have to comply with seatbelt laws becuase they're too expensive.
Your arguments against a common sense approach to defending our society against gun violence are weak.
I think Obama's best bet is to take strong stance in favor of these common sense approaches and never waiver. The soccor moms will vote for him in droves.
Patrick you do not understand ballistic fingerprinting. It does not trace bullets, it traces the brass. Here is another link which may help you to better understand what you are advocating
As for your noting what I said about collecting the brass, another way to beat this technology is to use a revolver instead of a pistol. In that case, the brass is not ejected after each shot, so a criminal would literally have to dump it on the ground in order for it to be collected by investigators.
The forensics you are thinking of have existed for years and require no additional add-ons to the weapon. Moreover, they work only in situations where the bullet is not completely mangled on impact. This is not hard when it is shot into a large pail of water, but is less likely to yield useful results when it hits other things.
We can round and round on what is and is not common sense, but I see that you did not attempt to refute a thing that I wrote other than make a spurious comparison to the auto industry. I find it ludicrous for anyone to argue against an individual being able to fire back when fired upon. I find it ludicrous to believe that any law however intentioned is going to deter a maniac. If you think ballisitic fingerprinting works, there is plenty of case experience for you to examine in NY and Maryland. You will find that not one case was solved. It is not common sense to employ a failed system of weak technology and expensive bureaucracy.
Here's some common sense for you. First violent felony, 25 years, no parole. Second violent felony, life no parole. To deal with violence from mentally ill people, allow law abiding citizens to exercise Concealed Carry. If you check the link I originally provided, you'll see that common citizens with firearms training are capable of restraining and disarming these people. If you'd prefer to be a sheep waiting for slaughter, I suppose that's your choice.
NRA, I've said it before and I will say it again, "Twin Sons of Different Monthers." As for Robert, way back at the top, when guns are outlawed only the thugs will have them. You may not have noticed, but when countries outlaw guns (i.e. Great Britian) their cops rare carry firearms. Makes them walking targets.
"Guns are one of the few areas where McCain has a pretty solid conservative record. "
Crank, don't go all Limbaugh on us.
McCain has been consistently conservative on spending, abortion, trade, school choice, and fighting terrorism... and his overall record on taxes isn't bad. That's a solid conservative record. That covers all three legs of the stool.
The problem conservatives have with Mac is, though, mostly taxes-which means many righties don't really want less governemnt, which McCain has alwyas supported (again, this is seen in his efforts to cut spending and crush earmarks), they just want their own taxes cut. Milton Friedman pointed out that how big government is, is far more important than how it's funded.
Yes, we should cut taxes, but that doesn't deal with the federal government's drag on economic activity.
John, I agree that McCain's overall record leans towards the conservative side of the ledger and that he is an instinctual conservative. But there's at least something for conservatives to dislike about his record on nearly every issue. I think a major reason for that is that he's not an ideological conservative and thus doesn't have the thought-through framework of ideas to restrain him from following conventional wisdom.