The NRA is Ready for the Gun Control Fight. Are You?

My Thursdee column begins like so:

Yesterday, President Obama and Vice President Biden announced a bold series of new gun control regulations designed to restrict access to the deadliest weapons available, which targeting other firearm-related areas through a series of 23 executive orders, which the president immediately authorized. Needless to say, the roster of actions went far beyond the expectations of gun control advocates (like me), while blunting some of the paranoid delusions of the gun lobby and the Republican Party.

ThinkProgress posted a comprehensive summary of the actions, but here’s a thumbnail. The president plans to resurrect the expired assault weapons ban and close all of the loopholes created by the NRA’s puppets in 1994. Bullet control: no more magazines larger than 10 rounds, and no more armor-piercing bullets. Background checks will be expanded to private sales, and the gun-show loophole will be permanently closed. Additional funding has been authorized for states to report criminals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The administration will request congressional appropriations for hiring more police officers, as well as more effective tracing of firearms. The president will restart CDC research into gun violence which was blocked by the NRA — ironically, the CDC’s research examined the effects of violence in media, which is of course one of the NRA’s primary talking points since Sandy Hook. The Consumer Product Safety Commission will evaluate gun-safes and other gun-safety measures. One thousand new counselors will be added to public schools; eight thousand schools will receive anti-bullying funding; and the president will expand Medicaid to include mental health services — a long overdue measure.

Bottom line: nobody from the administration is planning to confiscate James Yeager’s penis-lengthening death toys… [continue reading]

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  • GrafZeppelin127

    I had another meme-debunking thought….

    “Why have more gun laws? Criminals don’t obey the law. You’re only hurting responsible, law-abiding gun owners.”

    (1) Everyone is responsible and law-abiding, until they’re not.

    (2) Obviously this is bad logic, as it must follow that there’s really no point in having any laws at all, because “criminals” will just ignore them and commit the prohibited acts anyway. We have laws against arson, but people still set fires. We have laws against smoking pot, but … you get the point.

    So let’s set aside the bad logic and try to actually understand this, instead of trying not to understand it.

    Laws aren’t meant to foreclose the possibility of anything bad ever happening. No one believes that if [X] is against the law, then no one will ever do it, ever. Laws in and of themselves don’t stop “criminals” from doing bad things. What they do, is increase their risk. Even criminals have a risk threshold. And increasing the risk through, e.g., tighter restrictions and harsher penalties, carries with it no concomitant increase in the potential benefit/reward of committing the crime. The greater the risk, and the greater the risk/benefit ratio, the less likely any person, even a “criminal,” is to commit the act.

    We can’t stop bad things from happening by simply making them illegal. What we can do is make it more difficult, and more perilous, to do bad things.

    • http://drangedinaz.wordpress.com/ IrishGrrrl

      Well said. I would like to add that the NRA will then say that tighter restrictions aren’t a deterrent to the irrational actor that typically commits mass murders (except they’d say it in a dumber way). And they’d be right about that point. What they won’t admit is that the tighter laws catch the people on the fringes of becoming that irrational person. It catches the rational people who help the irrational person. AND it helps with rational actors who commit other criminal acts that enable guns to kill people. Illegal trafficking is the perfect example of this. Right now there’s not enough consequence to trafficking and a whole lot of profit. That needs to stop. Imagine how many people might be alive in Mexico if not for the guns that Arizona dealers gleefully and illegally sold to drug cartels down there.

    • ElayneB

      Laws also make it possible for us as a society to PUNISH those whose actions are illegal. We have traffic laws. People run red lights and stop signs, cause accidents, but we can 1) take away their license to drive and 2) hold them legally responsible for the resulting actions their behavior causes. I wish we had gun laws that made an owner criminally responsible for ANYTHING that happens with their gun.

    • Scopedog

      And remember, the President himself stated that these may not be able to prevent another mass shooting. They will lower the possibility of one, but there is no quick fix for this.
      Funny enough, we seem to have forgotten what he said (or rather, the NRA has…).

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Well stated, Bob. Like I’ve said before, this is the fight of their lives. Progressives for gun control need to – for lack of a better term, given the Trayvon Martin tragedy last year – stand their ground against the Wayne LaPierres and Alex Jones in America.

    • Scopedog

      Exactly. But I have this awful feeling that there will be more interest in drones, Bradley Manning, and more writing about how the President is worse than his predecessor. Oh, and how these proposals are not enough, yada yada yada….

  • muselet

    The NRA released an “almost cartoonishly stupid video”? What was almost about it?

    And while I’m on the subject—it’s a little off-topic, but that’s never stopped me before—when did children become legitimate targets of political attacks? Beyond the NRA’s disgraceful video, Rush Limbaugh wasn’t satisfied yesterday with just attacking Barack Obama over his executive orders, or even for having schoolkids who’d written to him about gun violence at the signing, so he mocked the kids.

    As Ed Kilgore reminds us:

    … I’d be shocked if there is a single President of the United States since the advent of modern photography who has not at some point posed with children at policy and/or political events (Google Image Search “George W. Bush posing with children” and you’ll see what I mean). After all, the convention of politicians kissing babies didn’t come out of nowhere.

    Yes, yes, it’s the despicable Rush Limbaugh and I shouldn’t be expecting much (I’m not, not even basic human decency), but this is the latest in a long string of examples of such behavior on the Right (just ask the family of Graeme Frost about Michelle Malkin).

    Yet it’s the Right that presumes to lecture the rest of us about decency and civilized behavior.

    –alopecia