Category Archives: gun violence

Why Is Gun Control So Hard

Umm, not exactly.

Umm, not exactly.


Another day, another horrific shooting in America.

Actually, not just one. This also happened today in Kentucky. And this in West Virginia. Not to mention this and this.

But no, these and all the other gun stories today will get overshadowed by the events in Virginia, which unfolded on live TV while viewers were taking their first sips of coffee.

Why is gun control so hard? Why, after every shooting, does nothing ever change? Despite the fact that large majorities of gun owners — not just people but the gun owners themselvessupport basic gun control measures like waiting periods and universal background checks, it doesn’t happen.

Why? Why is it always “too soon” to call for gun control after a tragedy, but nobody waited a beat to call for arming military recruiters after the Chattanooga shooting? Or arming teachers after Sandy Hook? In fact, action has been swiftly taken in several states to arm National Guard recruiters, even though everyone fails to mention that at least one of the “good guys” at the Chattanooga military base actually was armed. Apparently it didn’t do a damn bit of good, but let’s not let facts get in the way of a good talking point, shall we? We even have a Knoxville Republican wanting to give Guardsmen immunity if they use their guns and injure someone.

After every shooting we’ve loosened gun laws, instead of tightening them. And yet we have more shootings. So, that’s not working, obviously. Why can’t we try something new? Why doesn’t anything change? Here are some of my ideas:

• White people largely associate gun violence with “those” neighborhoods in “that” part of town, ergo it doesn’t affect them, it’s a problem for the Blahs. Even though this is factually untrue, that’s the general consensus, as portrayed in the media. So, “not my problem.”

• Coverage of mass shootings is sanitized. I understand there’s a delicate balance here, but throughout our history, pictures have done what words cannot. For example, it took this to change peoples’ attitudes about the Vietnam War and student-led protests:

capture-newseum-photo-894857-o

The video of today’s shooting went out across the internet, and was auto-played on every network and cable news homepage. While not bloody, it was shocking. It may shock people out of their complacency.

• We don’t know how to talk about a policy response to shooting tragedies. It’s always too soon to talk about gun control, but with an average of one mass shooting a day, the time will never be right. Conservatives like to claim the moral high ground with shaming headlines like this one:

TooSoon

No one wants to politicize a tragedy but no one also ever points out that calling for arming teachers, National Guard recruiters, airplane pilots, etc. is doing just that. If the other side can do it, so can we. It’s not exploitation, it’s called taking action to prevent the next tragedy, idiots.

• Rural areas dominate our representation in Congress and state houses. Guns are a different thing in rural areas than in urban areas. Yet gun legislation pretends this is not the case. For example, Tennessee’s rural-dominated state legislature has opened a huge can of worms for metropolitan areas (and state economic drivers) Nashville and Memphis. Ditto our Congress, which sees guns as some kind of RuralMurrica cultural touchstone, not the black market highway to urban gun crime that it is.

• History. If shooting 8-year-olds in their school, and a member of Congress meeting her constituents, wasn’t awful enough to get action, nothing will be. That’s an oft-repeated talking point but it’s also bullshit. Nobody thought the Confederate Flag would ever come down from the South Carolina state capitol, either. Change happens if you want it.

• Laziness. We’re a country of 300 million people. That theater shooting in such-and-such city was awful but hey, I didn’t know any of those people. I’ll write my Congress Critter later. But first, hey let’s watch The Bachelor!

Your ideas?

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Congratulations, Shawn Fuller! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

[UPDATE]:

It’s so adorable that all of the gun nuts trolling my blog offer “prayers” …. and absolutely nothing of substance. Prayers? Really? Ain’t working, assholes. God apparently doesn’t give a shit about thousands of children injured or killed by guns in America every year. And apparently neither do you.

—————————————————————-

 

Just your average North Carolina gun enthusiast, enjoying his Second Amendment right to shoot at everything — including his kids:

Officials in Iredell County, North Carolina state that a man shot his two young sons before turning the gun on himself.

Shawn Fuller, 31, shot and killed his sons, ages 3 and 4, then turned the gun on himself in an attempted suicide on Saturday. Fuller was life flighted to Carolinas Medical Center with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, reports WCNC.

[…]

Sheriff Darren Campbell says that Fuller had been drinking and that he had gotten into a verbal altercation with his son’s mother. Reportedly, the mother fled the home and shortly after Fuller shot both of his sons.

By the way, this is not to be confused with the tragic domestic violence attack out of Texas, where another unstable misogynist slaughtered his entire family after his ex changed the locks on their house.

But back to Mr. Fuller. It turns out he is just your typical redneck gun enthusiast/paranoiac:

Fuller’s next door neighbor, Ronnie Patterson, told local media that Fuller and his family moved into the home around Christmas of last year. He says that Fuller often fired guns in his backyard.

Patterson said that Fuller shot at milk jugs, cans, and trees. He said it was not uncommon for Fuller and his friends to be drinking while they were shooting guns.

Patterson says that the shooting happened so often that it caused his girlfriend to move out of his home a few months ago. Patterson described Fuller as paranoid. He says Fuller constantly talked about being worried someone would break into his home.

At the link you can find a picture of the family, all decked out in American flag T-shirts:

In better times, when he open-carried.

In better times, when he open-carried.

They’re always responsible gun owners, protecting themselves and their families. Until they’re not.

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Congratulations, Tami Dee Bachart! You Are Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Hey, y’all! Sorry for the long absence. My computer got FUBAR’d and then I was too busy to get back to blogging. I see you all managed without me, however!

There was so much GunFAIL while I was gone — including our own little bizarre “theater shooting” incident here in Nashville (which was really just a mentally ill homeless person with a fake gun and fake hatchet doing a fake attack, and can we find out if the fact that he had a fake gun meant our system worked or was just dumb luck? No?). But by far this item has to be my utmost favorite GunFAIL incident of the past week, and I’m sorry, it’s even better than the Karmadillo:

Bachart admitted that on Dec. 2, 2014, she sent a package with a loaded Ruger Blackhawk .357 revolver and ammunition into the mail at a post office in McCall. The package was sent to an address in Windsor, Connecticut.

While in route to Connecticut, the package arrived at a processing and distribution center in Springfield, Massachusetts. When a U.S. Postal Service employee picked up the package, the gun discharged. The employee was not seriously injured, but sought medical attention for ringing ears and stinging hands.

When the police officers opened the package, they found the loaded revolver with additional ammunition and other items.

Yes, sending a loaded gun through the U.S. mail is so responsible, you guys! Also, really illegal!

For this colossal act of sheer stupidity Ms. Bachart was ordered to serve one year of probation, perform 200 hours of community service, and pay $4,400. Way to lay the hammer down, I must say. She’s no doubt learned her lesson! Gunz is dangeruz!

Dumbass.

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Congratulations, Roy Clyde! You’re Our 2nd Amendment Hero Du Jour

Wyoming parks employee who said he was “tired of cleaning up after the homeless” decided to do the responsible thing: he took his gun and opened fire on an alcohol detox facility. Hey, whateves, made sense to him:

RIVERTON, Wyo. (AP) – A Wyoming man accused of opening fire at an alcohol detoxification center, killing one man and wounding another, is a parks employee who said he targeted the facility because he was tired of cleaning up after the homeless population, police said Monday.

[…]

Murphy said Clyde told investigators that homeless people were using city parks as a sewer. “And basically he was angry at that, and that’s what precipitated him to go and do this violent act,” Murphy said.

“It was strictly homeless people,” he said. “He was angry about the homeless population.”

Murphy said there has been public concern about the homeless situation in Riverton.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that we have an intoxication problem, and a homeless problem,” he said. “It’s been brought up in several open meetings, public meetings.”

So you open fire on the facility that is getting people sober so they won’t be homeless? Just another responsible gun owner doing his duty, I guess.

Slow clap, Murrica.

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Isn’t It Ironic?

[UPDATE]:

That didn’t take long:

Man accidentally shoots self at military recruiting office

GAINESVILLE, GA (CBS46) – A Navy recruiter is recovering in the hospital after accidentally shooting himself with his personal weapon that he brought to work Friday morning.

Gainsville Police said he accidentally shot himself in the upper thigh. No one else was injured.

The incident happened at a military recruiting office on Dawsonville Highway.

In guns=everywhere Georgia, one of our safest, most responsible citizens evah decides to ignore the ban, and the predictable happens. Not even 24 hours after the shootings in Chattanooga, too.

So very predictable.

Hey, assholes: more guns is not the answer!
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Isn’t it ironic that on the very same day a jury found James Holmes guilty of murder in the Aurora, CO mass shooting, Dylann Roof had his preliminary hearing in the Charleston mass shooting? And on that very same day we had yet another mass shooting?

Ironic? Umm, actually, no. Just simple arithmetic. That’s how many mass shootings we have in America these days.

We’ve got a problem. What are we going to do about it?

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Close The Loophole

Now that we’ve removed the Confederate flag from everything from the South Carolina state capitol to Disney World to the Warner Bros. gift shop — and trust me, I’m all in favor of that, don’t get me wrong — but now that we’ve done the comparatively easy thing, can we close the damn loopholes that allow these kinds of tragedies to happen in the first place?

Background Check Flaw Let Dylann Roof Buy Gun, F.B.I. Says

[…]

According to Mr. Comey, Mr. Roof first tried to buy the gun on April 11 from a dealer in West Columbia, S.C. The F.B.I., which operates the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, received a call from the dealer, seeking approval to sell Mr. Roof the weapon. The F.B.I. did not give the dealer the authority to proceed with the purchase because the bureau said it needed to do more investigating of Mr. Roof’s criminal history, which showed he had recently been arrested.

Under federal law, the F.B.I. has three business days to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to deny a purchase. If the bureau cannot come up with an answer, the purchaser can return to the dealer on the fourth day and buy the gun.

Many major gun retailers, like Walmart, will not sell a weapon if they do not have an answer from the F.B.I., because of the fear of public criticism if the gun is used in a crime. The marginal sale of one gun means little to the bottom line of a large dealer, which is not the case for smaller stores like the one that sold Mr. Roof his gun.

Two days after Mr. Roof tried to buy the weapon, an examiner at the F.B.I.’s national background check center in Clarksburg, W.Va., began investigating his criminal history. The examiner found that Mr. Roof had been arrested this year on a felony drug charge, but not convicted. The charge alone would not have prevented him from buying the gun under federal law. But evidence that Mr. Roof had been convicted of a felony or was a drug addict would have resulted in a denial, so she continued to investigate his background.

Because Mr. Roof had been arrested in a small part of Columbia that is in Lexington County and not in Richland County, where most of the city is, the examiner was confused about which police department to call. She ultimately did not find the right department and failed to obtain the police report. Had the examiner gained access to the police report, she would have seen that Mr. Roof had admitted to having been in possession of a controlled substance and she would have issued a denial.

The examiner, however, did send a request to the Lexington County prosecutor’s office, which had charged him, inquiring about the case. The prosecutor’s office, however, did not respond.

Around that time the three-day waiting period expired, and Mr. Roof returned to the store and purchased the gun.

And nine people are dead as a result. Some history on the three-day waiting period:

Due to a National Rifle Association-backed amendment to the 1994 Brady Bill, federal law allows sales to proceed once three business days have elapsed.

Since 1994, federal law has required that licensed gun dealers run background checks on all gun buyers. Since 1998, this check has been run through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a series of electronic databases operated by the FBI.

When a dealer runs a check on a potential buyer, he contacts either the FBI or, in some states, a state “point-of-contact”, either by phone or electronically. Operators enter the person’s name into the NICS system and review the person’s criminal records to determine if the person is prohibited from possessing or purchasing guns.

In the vast majority of cases, operators instruct the dealer within minutes that the sale may proceed (a “green light”) or that the sale is denied (a “red light”).

Since its inception, the background check system has blocked more than 2.4 million gun sales to criminals and other dangerous people.

In a small minority of cases (approximately 9 percent in 2014), operators cannot determine from the available records whether the purchaser is prohibited, and will inform the dealer that the background check is in “delay” status (a “yellow light”). Operators will then pursue further records in order to make a determination, including by contacting courts, prosecutors, and law enforcement.

Operators will continue to research the case until a definitive conclusion is made—but federal law allows the dealer to proceed with the sale after three business days, regardless of whether the investigation is complete.

This is what’s called “default proceed” and I can think of nothing that makes less sense. When dealing with deadly weapons and instruments of mass murder, your default position should not be to “proceed.” Your default position should be to deny.

The gun laws in this country are fucking stupid.

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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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