Category Archives: gun control

Congratulations, Unidentified HI Man! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour!

In Maui, Hawaii, a man accidentally shot his brother while cleaning his handgun:

Police said the victim’s 25-year-old brother had finished cleaning his .40-caliber handgun and was racking a round in the chamber when he accidentally pressed the trigger to discharge the bullet. It went through a bedroom closet door and through an adjacent bathroom wall to strike the victim, who was standing in front of a shower stall, police said.

Police said that the man who discharged the firearm had a strong odor of liquor on his breath.

Cleaning your gun while drunk. What could be safer or more responsible?

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Summer In Tennessee: An Abbreviated Gun Report

I’m sorry I don’t have time to keep the gun report going but we did have two accidental shootings (at least) reported this week.

First, I want to call everyone’s attention to the excellent HBO documentary, Requiem For The Dead: American Spring 2014. I hadn’t heard anything about this documentary at all, and just stumbled across it while channel surfing last night. I found it riveting and tragic and enlightening — even for me, who considers herself rather well-informed on the issue of gun violence.

The first thing you notice is how young the victims are. Many of them young teens — people with their entire futures ahead of them. The second thing you notice is how random and how senseless it all is. Gun victims are of all colors and ethnicities, it’s not something that happens “in that neighborhood” or “to those people.”

Give it a look-see, maybe consider having a viewing party. These peoples’ stories deserve to be shared.

Without further ado:

• June 25, 2015:

1- A 13-year-old Roan Mountain boy accidentally shot himself in the leg:

Lacy said her son had been in his brother’s bedroom at 246 Ingram Branch Roan on Tuesday. She said her son noticed a .38-caliber revolver and thought it was a toy gun. The boy pulled the trigger on the gun, shooting himself in the right calf.

2- Guns and ammo stolen from a home in Greenville. I guess locking this shit in a safe is too hard for y’all to manage. FAIL.

• June 24, 2015:

This kind of incident normally wouldn’t make the Gun Report but it happened literally one block from my house, at a time when I’m ordinarily walking the dog while Mr. Beale does the dinner dishes:

At about 7 p.m., the woman was walking to her vehicle in the 1600 block of Woodmont Boulevard when a suspect approached her with a handgun, took her purse off her shoulder and ran away, said Metro police Capt. Michael Alexander.

So here’s a question: I know the pro-gun crowd thinks everyone should be carrying to prevent such a thing from happening, but if the victim had a gun in her purse, what good would it have done? In fact, it just would have given the thief a second gun! Unless we’re all supposed to be walking around with guns in our hands, like cops on TV or something. Stupid.

• June 23, 2015:

An East Knoxville woman was accidentally shot in the hand and leg at a barbecue when another guest was showing a friend his gun.

• June 19, 2015:

1- Clarksville police say they are seeing more guns and more fights turning deadly due to guns. Gee, I wonder why. Thinking ….

More people are now carrying loaded guns in their vehicles, and legally. Despite what many people believe, a law passed in Tennessee last year allows anyone who can legally own a gun to carry loaded weapons in their vehicles.

That can be in a seat, glove box or under a seat. So long as the person is not a felon or otherwise restricted from owning firearms, there’s nothing to stop someone from having a loaded handgun, shotgun or rifle within reach, said Capt. Craig Gipson, who oversees the Clarksville Police Department’s Special Operations Unit.

Before the state legislature changed the law last year, only people with state-issued handgun carry permits could legally keep loaded guns in their vehicles. Anyone without a permit could keep guns only if unloaded with the ammunition stored separately.

“We just see more on the street than ever before,” said Clarksville Police Chief Al Ansley.

And it’s not just in cars. Police are seeing more guns being drawn and fired during fights.

Ansley said the presence of more guns can quickly escalate an argument or scuffle into something far more dangerous.

“We have seen a lot of guns and weapons,” he said. “Especially compared to 10 or 15 years ago.”

Wow, I thought more guns was supposed to make us safer? Guess not!

2- In Memphis, a woman says her next-door neighbor pulled a gun on her and her 7-year-old daughter over a parking space. Armed/polite, yada yada.

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What We Don’t Know Is Hurting Us

So, this just happened today:

A GOP-led panel blocked a proposal Wednesday that would have reversed a nearly 20-year-old ban on funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to research on gun violence.

The House Appropriations Committee voted 32-19 against ranking member Rep. Nita Lowey’s (D-N.Y.) amendment to a bill that would fund health, education and labor programs in the next fiscal year.

Wonder what they’re afraid of. The truth, perhaps? That they’ve been spreading bullshit NRA propaganda? Probably. See my May 27 post, The Last Time Science Looked At Gun Violence. I think it’s pretty crystal clear what they’re afraid of.

Well, we all know who owns the Republican Party now.

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How Other Countries Do It

Australia responded to the brutal Port Arthur massacre where 35 people were mowed down by enacting strict gun control laws accompanied by a mandatory buyback program. That was in 1996.

Australians still have guns — they hunt, and yes they have hunting accidents and they have gun cleaning accidents. And they have gun smuggling — and let me note without irony that a lot of those illegal weapons come from right here in the USA and right here in Nashville, even.

What they don’t have are mass shootings. There hasn’t been one in 20 years. During that same time America has had dozens of mass shootings.

Here’s what’s interesting about Australia’s gun control legislation and buyback program: it not only led to a decrease in the gun homicide rate, it led to a huge drop in firearm suicides:

So what have the Australian laws actually done for homicide and suicide rates? Howard cited a study by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University finding that the firearm homicide rate fell by 59 percent, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65 percent, in the decade after the law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides. That provided strong circumstantial evidence for the law’s effectiveness.

The paper also estimated that buying back 3,500 guns per 100,000 people resulted in a 35 to 50 percent decline in the homicide rate, but because of the low number of homicides in Australia normally, this finding wasn’t statistically significant.

What is significant is the decline the laws caused in the firearm suicide rate, which Leigh and Neill estimate at a 74 percent reduction for a buyback of that size. This is even higher than the overall decline in the suicide rate, because the gun buybacks’ speed varied from state to state. In states with quick buybacks, the fall in the suicide rate far exceeded the fall in states with slower buybacks.

The experience of other countries proves that gun control, not more guns, makes us safer. We can look at the facts, or we can continue to froth and foam at the mouth and repeat NRA bumper sticker slogans. I’m not a robot, and all the trolls repeating “universal background checks wouldn’t have prevented this universal background checks wouldn’t have prevented this universal background checks wouldn’t have prevented this” ad nauseum are simply making the argument that we need much stronger gun control laws than the weak compromises our side keeps offering. And as Australia proves, no law will stop every gun tragedy but I’ll take zero gun massacres over three dozen any day. Finally, with the USA being a source of the world’s illegal guns, stricter gun control wouldn’t just make Americans safer, it would make the world safer.

Which makes gun manufacturers very, very scared. That is the absolute last thing they want. But when your profit margin depends on global murder and mayhem, you’ve lost the moral argument.

I’ll close with this video, which I’ve posted several times before, but I can never see it too often. Australian comedian Jim Jeffries’ take on gun control is a classic that should be mandatory viewing. Lots of F-bombs so if you’re at work, maybe pop in the earbuds:

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Bad For Business

I’m not giving Gov. Nikki Haley and South Carolina Republicans any Profiles In Courage awards for their about-face on the Confederate flag: clearly they heard from business leaders in the state, who gave them their marching orders. I can almost hear the conversation now: “Do not make us the next Indiana!”

Ditto Walmart, which announced it will no longer sell Confederate flag merchandise, and Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn: nobody wants to be the target of boycotts. The Confederate flag has had its last stand, so to speak.

It’s amazing to me that this is what it took, though. The brutal slaughter of nine innocent people in their church, targeted for no reason other than their skin color. That it took something this heinous to finally get Southern stalwarts to see the light just makes me hurt for humanity.

I also think the Confederate flag has been a comparatively easy response for us. When tragedy strikes, Americans want to do something, and removing a symbol of hate from the public square is both easy and a no-brainer. Dealing with more pernicious issues like gun violence or the racism that is deeply embedded in American culture? Not so easy.

President Obama told Marc Maron that Congress’ inaction after Sandy Hook “disgusted” him. It disgusted a lot of us.

He said of gun control efforts post-Charleston:

I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress, and I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal.'”

I agree with the President. He’s absolutely right. Removing a symbol of hate from the public square is the easy response. Dealing with gun laws? Much harder. And as a commenter recently pointed out, if gunning down some little kids in their school classrooms didn’t shock us into action, nothing will.

Guns are going to have to be bad for business, the way the Confederate flag is bad for business, before anyone in Congress decides the NRA needs to go the way of the Stars and Bars. And make no mistake: the event that sparks that profile in courage will be truly horrific. We’ve had mass shootings at a movie theater, shopping mall, grocery store, fast food restaurants, you name it. None of that has ginned up sufficient shock and outrage to stop the flood of guns into public life.

But that day will come, it always does. And it will be truly awful, in a way these things are always truly awful. America’s gun lunacy isn’t going to fade gently into that good night. No, it’s going to have to be stomped out, not just in anger and outrage — lord knows we’ve had plenty of that — but by corporate CEOs and Chamber of Commerce types, who finally realize that a populace too afraid to leave their homes is bad for business.

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Universal Background Checks Would Have Prevented Charleston Tragedy

[UPDATE]:

Roof said he bought the gun he used in a local gun store.

If it’s true …

FAIL.

——————————————————–

Yes, it was preventable:

Federal law prohibits people with pending felony charges from obtaining firearms. In February, Roof was arrested and later charged with felony possession of Suboxone, a narcotic prescription drug. He was released, and the case is pending.

Because of his criminal record, Roof would not have been able to buy a gun from a store. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on gun purchasers, and Roof’s pending charges should have turned up as a red flag.

But Roof didn’t need to go to a dealership. According to his uncle, Roof received a .45-caliber pistol from his father in April for his birthday, Reuters reports.

South Carolina is one of 40 states that do not require background checks for private gun transactions, like the one that allegedly took place between Roof and his father. Gun control activists call this the “private sale” loophole.

Memory hole: President Obama has been pushing for universal background checks since the Sandy Hook shootings.

President Barack Obama put pressure on Congress Monday to quickly pass legislation ensuring universal background checks for all gun purchases, while also demanding votes be held on bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

Obama’s emphasis on background checks seems to reflect the reality that the assault weapons ban doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, while support for universal background checks enjoys extremely high support in public opinion polls.

“The vast majority of Americans, including a majority of gun owners, support requiring criminal background checks for anyone trying to buy a gun,” Obama said in Minneapolis, standing in front of law enforcement officials.

He appeared to take a veiled shot at the National Rifle Association, which has reversed its support for ending background-check loopholes despite polls showing that gun owners broadly support such a law.

One group of people is standing in the way of public safety. One group of people and one group only. It’s time to stop listening to the people who have been consistently wrong about America’s peculiar national disease.

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NOW Is It Time To Have A Conversation About Gun Control?

Horrible news out of Charleston, S.C.:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in this city’s downtown, killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.

South Carolina has the most liberal gun laws in the country, thanks to “reform” recently passed by wingnut Gov. Nikki Haley. And this is the result. The Boston Globe’s Michael Cohen sums up the laws thusly:

globe gun

Gov. Haley and South Carolina politicians who endorse the NRA’s agenda have blood on their hands today. Yes, there is a causal relationship between easy access to firearms and gun violence.

The idea that simple gun control measures wouldn’t have prevented this and thousands of other tragedies across the country every year is ludicrous. The idea that there’s absolutely nothing we can do about this bloodbath is insane. The idea that we have to live with this violence in our communities because Freedom and the Constitution is pure bullshit.

Enough. We do not have to put up with this. This is not how a free people live. This is how free people die.

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