Gun control laws made in haste will be regretted at leisure

The strategy of President Obama and the Democrats is to hurry, hurry, hurry to make a decision, whether on gun control or the economy.


By Nancy Thorner and Edward Ingold of Mundelein

President Obama promised to make tackling gun violence a top priority of his second-term agenda, despite strong opposition to gun control.  A group led by Vice President Joe Biden was asked to come up with specific proposals in January.  

The strategy of President Obama and the Democrats is to hurry, hurry, hurry to make a decision, whether on gun control or the economy. We don't have time for debate. Let's take action while emotions are running high. Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!

It's like trying to have a conversation while someone is beating drums in the same room. Sometime those drums are real, as we see in the news clips of the debates in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan over right-to-work legislation, or in the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations.

Part of this strategy is to gather apparently diverse groups to make it appear as though you have a consensus. We see Joe Biden meeting with police organizations for photo ops in which he told several law enforcement leaders, "The President is absolutely committed to keeping his promise that we will act.  And we will act in a way that...if we can only save one life, we have to take action."  That statement implies than the ends justify the means,

Don't be fooled by the collection of badges and blue surrounding the Vice President. The Fraternal Order of Police is a union with a liberal agenda not shared by the majority of officers. Police chiefs work at the pleasure of the mayor of their city, and are unlikely to publicly disagree with their boss in any fashion. The underlying strategy is to push something through Congress before cooler heads can prevail. 

Politicians on the fence about gun control are interviewed under conditions which any comment against a rush to judgment will make them seem insensitive. Senator Joe Manchin is a particular example, a Democrat from West Virginia who has otherwise consistently voted in favor of responsible gun owners.  Pro-gun-rights Joe Manchin drew attention in 2010 after running a commercial that showed him firing a rifle at an environmental bill harmful to his state.  Now he is saying that "everything should be on the table" when gun control comes up for debate in the coming weeks and months.  

The other strategy is to pass on misinformation, often unwittingly, by talking heads and pundits on cable news (yes, even Fox News). "We have to clamp down on internet sales," is one theme, even though internet sales are subject to the same rules and procedures as sales in a gun shop.

Another is:  "These guns are used to kill and maim humans, not for hunting."  In fact, any firearm or ammunition will kill and maim humans, as will a knife or pointed stick.  When you hunt with a firearm, animals are killed by trauma, not from fear at the sight of an hunter or rifle.  Most important, self-defense is a Constitutionally protected right, but hunting is a privilege granted by the state.

Scare words are likewise used.  Semi-automatic rifles and pistols are called "Assault Weapons," although only a vanishingly small number are ever used to assault someone.  Revolvers become "Saturday Night Specials" in the lexicon of gun-haters.  "Semi-automatic" (one trigger pull, one shot) becomes synonymous with "automatic" (one trigger pull, many shots).

The strategy also seeks to dismiss any views to the contrary as being politically motivated, partisan or biased. The favorite bugaboo is the National Rifle Association (NRA) , a "powerful lobbying organization." The NRA is powerful only to the extent that it has 4.3 million members (growing by leaps and bounds), and a much wider association of sympathizers, who care deeply and write their legislators.

As a lobbying organization, it is not in the top ten, nor even in the top 100 of those groups attempting to influence Congress. It is powerful due to the commitment of its members, not the depth of its pockets, for the ideas which it represents, not for financial gain or special treatment. Since the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the NRA has registered an average of 8,000 new members a day.  

At the top of President Obama's wish list is the revival of the 1994 "Assault Weapon Ban," only more inclusive this time. Among the proposals under consideration is to include all semi-automatic rifles and handguns in the ban, not just those with resemble military weapons. This would affect the types of weapons preferred for self-defense by police and civilians alike, which brings them under the Heller decision of the Supreme Court, yet do nothing to actually reduce crime nor the availability of these weapons to criminals.

According to most estimate, there are over 200 million such firearms in private hands, including over 30 million semi-automatic "black" rifles, only a tiny fraction of which are ever used in the commission of a crime. The ban didn't work in the past, and it won't work in the future either. It's just low-hanging fruit for those who wish to disarm all civilians.

On the other hand, there are issues to be addressed that would help without punishing legitimate gun owners.  Among them is the inclusion of adjudicated (not merely opinions) issues regarding the mental health of applicants.  Privacy laws laws tend to keep this information out of the NICS data base, if not official ineptitude. Another would be to require background checks at gun shows or face-to-face (FTF), along with a mechanism which would aid in this process.

The so-called "Terror Watch List," is not a suitable criteria in a background check, since it is a secret process akin to star chamber proceedings of the 16th century, without any mechanism of appeal. Safeguards should always include a means to challenge and correct any errors in the data base, sadly lacking at present.

Another concern is  "Straw buyers," where a qualified individual buys a weapon on behalf of an unqualified person. 

Detractors would seek to limit sales to an individual to one firearm per month (year, or ever). In practice, only legitimate enthusiasts are affected. Drug cartels have an endless supply of willing buyers who have never before purchased a firearm. Street gangs use new recruits without a criminal record to do the same, often as a rite of initiation. If a permit is needed prior to the purchase, these recruits can easily obtain one.

Let's have a little quiet here!  People are thinking.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Tony December 31, 2012 at 07:51 PM
For the record, I will not drink and drive tonight, nor will I open my gun safe arm up and leave my house with the intentions of harming anyone. I am a responsible person who has access to alcohol, cars and guns. But, should someone illegally enter my home intending to practice old fashioned wealth redistribution along with or with the intent of harming my loved ones, I will reach into my night stand, pull out the exact same semi-auto Sig pictured with the article and the story will end with a statistical uptick.
Brian L. January 01, 2013 at 01:12 PM
Yes, we have people that ignore laws. We all know that fact or no one would get killed due to a rampaging man with a gun either, if he obeyed all laws also. But as more drunk driving laws and checkpoints are passed and used, the number nationally go down. I'm sure there are other factors people getting smarter, cars getting safer...whatever. But we're doing something right to lower the deaths caused by drunk drivers. The only answer you guys generally give for guns is to have more guns, less restrictions, and we just hope that they regular citizen has trained in intense situations. It's not a black and white to me, there is a middle ground. I make points on the extreme in the hopes that people will wish to meet in the middle.
Brian L. January 01, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Yes, I know the age restriction was not really relevant and debated putting it in. I only put that in response to Tony's statement, "At what point do we stop blaming widgets and start blaming people?" There will always have to be some blame/restrictions on the widget if we are to create a safe environment. I used those ages to say that sometimes it is useful to take a little of the choice away from over 300 million people.
Brian L. January 01, 2013 at 01:25 PM
...and, if you read other posts I have made, I get the interpretation of the second amendment, but it was made as an amendment, when we didn't really have a standing army and were still trying to defend our country from those who also thought t was their country. The reason there are amendments, including those repealing an amendment, is that times change and our constitution was made to be mildly fluid with those times.
Brian L. January 01, 2013 at 01:27 PM
It keeps them from killing someone during that drive, does it not? If we we intercept a shooter before he fires his gun, I think that amounts to the same style of defense.
McCloud January 01, 2013 at 04:13 PM
No need for new redundant gun laws. Passing legislation makes some feel better, but the reality of a solution stems from keeping people who use guns while committing a crime behind bars. Until people start to think first, we will continue to see marches against guns, legislation, etc with no progress towards less gun crime. Next time you read about a crime, look to see if the suspect is a repeat offender. Most times you will find that this is the case.
John January 02, 2013 at 07:05 PM
When you stop using the internet to exercise your first amendment rights and purchase an 18th century printer, then you might have an arguement.
Joyce S January 02, 2013 at 10:08 PM
There is NO REASON for civilians to have assault weapons and, has already been mentioned, most people with other firearms aren't really equipped to even use them in a dangerous situation. It is past time to address gun control. Look at the web site below. It documents 393 deaths due to guns SINCE the Newtown tragedy! These are not all mentally ill people or undiagnosed mentally ill people. There are a lot of angry people out there as well who should not have guns. We need to get our politicians to no longer be owned by the NRA. It is not acceptable for them to come up with ridiculous responses to a tragedy at Newtown such as arming teachers and principals! http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html
McCloud January 02, 2013 at 10:41 PM
There is no reason why people get Leukemia either, but some do. Maybe your law can ban Leukemia while you are at it.
Joyce S January 02, 2013 at 10:44 PM
I don't know what your comment about Leukemia has to do with gun control as there's no comparison obviously between this disease and bad choices people make. Fewer guns will mean fewer deaths.
McCloud January 02, 2013 at 10:51 PM
Your point includes an assumption, an assumption that has empirical evidence of not being correct. The target should not be guns, the target should be to punish those who use guns for bad reasons, something that is not being done.
Joyce S January 02, 2013 at 11:39 PM
That's nonsense. Our private 'for profit' prisons are already too full. I'd much rather avoid hundreds or thousands of deaths rather than just imprisoning people. I've lived in a country with very heavy gun control, and yes it does make a difference.
Just Sayin January 03, 2013 at 12:24 AM
McClown...Finally you speak with the substantial authority of experience...being that you yourself are a repeat offender with every dim witted comment you make.
Just Sayin January 03, 2013 at 12:30 AM
Joyce... Check the Patch with certain frequency...you too will find that McClown and nonsense go hand in hand.
G.G. January 03, 2013 at 12:31 AM
Joyce, The need for the NRA is sad. Politicians take an oath to support and defend the constitution (all of it). The NRA does more to train both civilians and law enforcement in proficiency and safety than any other organization in the country. Take a look at all the things they do to help the community,train civilians and law enforcement and defend the constitution before Slamming them. http://programs.nra.org/ I believe that every university in the country has armed security now. do you suggest disarming them? Who is responsible for YOUR safety? Do you know how many of the shootings you cited in your previous post were comitted by law abiding citizens versus gang/drug related activities? My bet is that the number is near ZERO. You should fear the cultural rot and lack of respect for human life that is going on WAY more than fearing law abiding citizens exercising their constitutional right.
Just Sayin January 03, 2013 at 12:39 AM
McClown... Of course there is a reason why some people get Leukemia. If there was no reason...there would be no Leukemia. Duh.
Joyce S January 03, 2013 at 12:56 AM
Thanks Just Sayin. Makes sense.
Joyce S January 03, 2013 at 12:59 AM
I think it's extremely likely that a lot of these people are not gang or drug related. When you look through the stories, it includes estranged relatives or angry people at a party, or accidental shootings. University police are not at all the same thing as recommended arming elementary school principles and teachers!
Brian L. January 03, 2013 at 01:00 AM
On an inquisitory note, how have we amended the constitution if the only thing politicians do is defend it? We change things as a country when people (generally a majority) think that it needs changing. And always bringing up law abiding citizens is a silly statement. Once you kill or shoot someone, you are no longer law abiding. Our guy in CT didn't appear to have broken laws before his rampage along with countless others.
G.G. January 03, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Actually, if you kill or shoot someone in defense of yourself, your family or your property you are still a law abiding citizen. To continue your thought though, would you then agree that any law that might be passed would only be followed by the people you don't need to worry about? There is no law you could pass to prevent a nutcase fom doing something evil. There are already over 600 gun laws in this country, how come they arent working already? Will adding a few more do anything to stop someone intent on something evil? The answer is simple, NO. Whether it's politically correct or not, what stops these people isn't a law but some good guy (police or civilian) showing up with a gun that can put an end to the madness. It's that simple. Really. Remember, police are regular people too.
Brian L. January 03, 2013 at 02:22 AM
But police do go through more extensive background checks and training...at least when first hired on. You 600 gun laws is also a flawed number. Throwing that number without any description of said laws is just trying to pump your numbers. What are they all? Did those laws prevent criminals from getting guns? Did they prevent all of the recent mass murderers from procuring, some of them legally, their guns? You're right, they didn't. But your answer is to just have more people armed so someone is still dying. Just saying we have enough laws and telling me they don't do anything isn't an answer. Then we need to enforce the laws better and try to keep guns out of the hands of the wrong people. You're answer of being that simple is just that more people should die. Some innocents might die first, and then the perpetrator will die. What about incidents where the criminal doesn't deserve to have his life ended? If a guy is mugging you, or trying to steal your wallet and gets caught, does he get the death penalty? If a guy robs your house, or again, tries to and is caught, does he deserve death? The answer shouldn't always be more death.
Brian L. January 03, 2013 at 02:27 AM
People on here will call me names and tell me if I want to be a victim then go ahead. And that's fine. It' the internet, so people will hide behind keyboards and sling insults. But my opinion stands that no one should get the "right" to play God and end someone's life. Criminals or defenders. Just because some criminals will try and do it doesn't give me the right to kill others. I'm not religious at all, that's just my thoughts on the matter. In my eyes, having such easy access to a tool that allows others to kill with a pull of a trigger makes no sense outside of military action. You can call it a tool, cite all of the other uses, but anyone can pick one up, they are easy to find and cheap to buy, and use it for horrible purposes. Yes, we need to find ways to find the problem people (and I don't mean just gangs but the previously upstanding people who have been shooting up malls, schools, theaters, and rallys) and stop them. But I don't see the problem with making it harder to come by these weapons. If you are just using them for protection or sport, a little more red tape isn't going to stop your love of shooting, collecting, and keeping them.
jeff January 03, 2013 at 03:56 AM
More restriction never makes a difference when one of these nut bars flips out they do mass destruction whether they can get to a gun or not.
Brian L. January 03, 2013 at 04:32 AM
Welcome back jeff, hope you had a good holiday. Can we keep it civil? I haven't done the research on this one, but maybe you have. When was the last time one of these "nut jobs" used something other than a gun in a mass killing here in America? I honestly don't know the answer. I'm sure there are some that occurred over the last few years but are they on the same scale of the CO, CT, or AZ shootings and in such a publicly crowded place? And why not limit access to one more item these crazies use to commit their acts of atrocity? As I mentioned before, if there is a little more red tape to cross, nationwide, to get firearms....how will that hurt your ability to own and use your guns?
G.G. January 03, 2013 at 05:55 AM
Brian, There are way more laws actually if you couint fed, state, county and local firearms ordinances, here's a link to the summary of illinois law; http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/illinois.pdf Multiply that by 49 other states, and add the BATF and federal transportation ordinances and it's easily 600 laws. One thing you'll notice, is that simply being a citizen of the U.S. allows you to carry concealed in Az, Ak, and Vt. No FOID cards (Illinois is in the minority here), no carry permits, simply a background check when you purchase. I'm frustrated as well, but you need to focus your frustration on the people doing bad things instead of inanimate objects on which laws have no effect. What I said was that culture rot is the problem. If someone is getting mugged, you believe that the perp will die if the victim has a weapon. In THOUSANDS of instances, simply drawing a weapon will diffuse the situation immediately without a shot being fired. Criminals want to prey on the weak and defenseless, not someone who can defend themselves. Do some research on this, it happens all the time, but isn't politically correct to talk about or often reported. Again, it is a lack of respect for our fellow human beings that allows someone to mug another person or commit robbery, not the weapon. The morals in society are slowly being eroded, and yes, very simply, more gun control laws will do nothing to stop either street violence or nutcases from flipping out.
SeanS65 January 03, 2013 at 11:11 AM
Brad...a faux rational....I too am one of those vets who was trained and carried a weapon. But that was years ago. Today, without the constant training, I might have a hard time hitting the board-side of a barn in a panic situation. It is no different than a pilot who has not been in the cockpit for a period of time. They need to be retrained and certified.
Brad Faxton January 03, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Right - retraining and re-certification is needed. I'm sure you still have muscle memory. My next door neighbor would probably shoot himself in the foot.
Brian L. January 03, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Multiplying the number of laws in the toughest gun law state by 49 will not give you the exact number of state gun laws in the country. That will give you a much higher number. Also just citing the amount of laws doesn't give me a good overview of what they are. You can make 1000s of laws, but if they don't target an exact issue, then they don't really mean much. Especially when they vary state to state, county to county, and town to town. I completely agree about society being a problem. But I think in that we also need to look at our gun culture in general. We have movies and TV shows glorifying guns, we have athletes and musicians (role models) talking about and carrying weapons, we have 12 year olds playing C.O.D. and parents not realizing that they should talk to their children about guns. I've discussed this topic enough on Patch to know the numbers on life saving from guns, but when we have large numbers of people dying by gunfire as well, I feel at some point it offsets any amount of good. I didn't mean to imply that every criminal will get shot by a defender, just stating that it can and does happen. If you brandish a gun at anyone, most people need to have it in their mind that they can/will shoot the person if needs be, or your gun becomes an empty threat. As near as I can tell (from quick research) there is a miniscule amount of fully automatic gun deaths in the US....so tell me again how a ban/heavy restrictions will never work
Jeff January 03, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Hey useful idiots, if you don't want a gun in your house, don't buy one! You are perfectly welcome to voice your opinion, just as I am allowed to voice mine. Leave me alone and if I want to buy a gun I will buy one (or two, or three....)
Brian L. January 03, 2013 at 06:32 PM
If we're all allowed opinions and the ability to voice them, why do you always resort to petty name calling and slander? If you read any of the comments above, GG and I have managed to have a working dialog in complete disagreement with each other....and what's that? No name calling or insinuations about my life. That's how rational adults carry on an online debate.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something