Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Without Baseline Gun Control In The Public Interest, More Aurora/Oak Creek Massacres Are Inevitable

I posted this over at my Purple Wisconsin blog:

After the slaughter at the Aurora, CO movie theater a few weeks ago, I had this to say on my personal blog:

...the Aurora shootings come but five years after a higher death toll in a mass shooting at Virginia Tech, and Colorado did not toughen its gun laws after the Columbine school killings not far from Aurora.

Few political figures in either party will take on the NRA. We've got bi-partisan political cowardice, and the result is gun access for lunatics.

We need a mass movement along the lines of Occupy Wall Street to get things started towards reasonable controls on gun ownership, or we're only closing in on the next Aurora, let alone the less-publicized daily gun mayhem happening across the country.

And we will face these same horrific consequences again and again, as well as the less-publicized intentional shootings, gun suicides and accidental killings in the home by curious children or careless adults unless and until we decide that enough is enough - - that if you can't cry "fire" in a crowded theater, your right to living through a movie or a religious service should trump on behalf the society at large someone else's right to own and carry a weapon meant for the battlefield.

We have allowed a well-financed NRA and their partners in the arms industry to lobby and propagandize and bully legislators and courts into believing that the 2nd Amendment written in the 18th century, when the country needed protection from foreign military attack, should mean that just about anyone can acquire military-grade firepower that can be turned against theater-goers, religious worshippers, or someone in a playground fight or road rage scenario.

I'm not against deer hunting, and I'm not saying that people who can prove a legitimate need for self-protection on the job should be barred from obtaining a handgun.

But the rest of it should be left to trained, sworn police officers - - individuals who should also not be placed in harm's way as were the Oak Creek police and fellow brave public servants by the proliferation of guns in our midst.

The Journal Sentinel today is arguing for restrictions on the capacity of ammunition clips.

That's a starting place for the discussion, but if we don't get to at least a reinstitution of the restrictions on assault weapons, and we don't confront the enabling of widespread semi-automatic handgun possession, we can look down the road and see more mass killings with these weapons.


Reagan's Disciple said...

Talk about feelgood initiatives that do nothing.

Only police officers or people who can prove a legitimate need should be allowed to have one? (and who decides what is legitimate)

Really? Pretty foolish if you ask me. How is the ban on illegal drugs working? Do you really think that banning guns is going to work or be any different? The result will be the same in that only the bad guys have guns and prey on the sheep.

No Hi cap clips?

Really? What should be the limit? 5 rounds, 7 rounds, 9 rounds? It takes less than 1 second for someone to change a clip in a handgun. A crazy shooter will just carry multiple clips.

How is a gun ban working in Chicago and DC where they ban handguns and have some of the highest gun violence rates in the US.

A better solution may be to require everyone to carry a weapon.

YES WE CAN said...

@ RD: so because a ban isn't working in Chicago we therefore can't work for solutions? Your reasoning insults our nation's ability to reduce these acts of violence.

I suspect that another OBAMACARE like attack on this issue may be the only solution.

JPK said...

Banning the sale of assault weapons and limiting clip sizes are reasonable policy counter-measures to mass shootings.

Also, less guns, less crime is empirically proven by highly-regarded criminologists, even in Chi and DC. Look at John Donohue's work if you are interested.

Again, smaller clips and an assault weapons ban seem reasonable... why so angry?

RD said...

@ JPK,

The recent shooting in Oak Creek were not done with "assault weapons."

It was a run of the mill 9mm pistol. Should we ban those as well?

It is also proven that less guns in the hands of law abiding citizens equals more crime.

RD said...


A ban doesn't work anywhere. Feel good solutions also don't accomplish anything meaningful.

Ask the families in Columbine if Clinton's assault weapons ban stopped mass shootings.

I'm not pretending to know the answers, but simply "banning" things has been proven time and time again to be ineffective.

There are just some people who are crazy and not much that anyone or any law can do to prevent.

Tim McVeigh used a truck with very common items to blow up a building. Are we going to ban those things as well?

I suggest applying for a CCW permit. At least you will be able to defend yourself if the time ever comes.

YES WE CAN said...

@RD- I suspect the OK bombing could have been thwarted by some sort of central data base that looks at unusual purchases of large quantities ammonium nitrate fertilizer ( 4800 pounds) and nitromethane ( solvent and rocket fuel). There was laws enacted in 1995 that required chemical taggants so that bombs could be traced to it's manufacture. Honeywell developed a nitrogen based fertilizer that would not detonate when mixed with fuel. The ATF has called on Congreve to develop legislation that would require customers to produce an ID when purchasing ammonium nitrate fertilizer. The federal government enacted several security measures to prevent this from happening again. A data base of all purchases of ammunition and weapons should be developed and cross referenced on data that we have on individuals like Page and Holmes. When the NRA asks for donations three days after the shooting in CO there is something terribly wrong. Doing nothing or applying for a CCW is not the answer. Wil it be a feel good measure? Perhaps for the families if the victims and everyone of us who wants to worship or watch a movie in a public theatre in safety. The other option is to lock down everything. Putting alarms on all movie exits may be a start. YES WE CAN

RD said...


The fact is that a database with all purchases of ammunition and weapons will NOT stop a mass shooting.

A database may help trace who did it, but that is not ever the problem in a mass shooting. The point is, will any of your draconian suggestions actually do something to STOP a shooting?

In the OC shooting last weekend, the guy bought the gun and ammunition legally. Nothing could have prevented that shooting, short of a complete ban and 100% confiscation of all weapons and ammunition.

That is simply not going to happen.

YES WE CAN said...

@RD you're missing the point."Unhindered by federal background checks or government oversight, the 24-year-old man accused of killing a dozen people inside a Colorado movie theater was able to build what the police called a 6,000-round arsenal legally and easily over the Internet, exploiting what critics call a virtual absence of any laws regulating ammunition sales.

With a few keystrokes, the suspect, James E. Holmes, ordered 3,000 rounds of handgun ammunition, 3,000 rounds for an assault rifle and 350 shells for a 12-gauge shotgun — an amount of firepower that costs roughly $3,000 at the online sites — in the four months before the shooting, according to the police. It was pretty much as easy as ordering a book from Amazon.

He also bought bulletproof vests and other tactical gear, and a high-capacity “drum magazine” large enough to hold 100 rounds and capable of firing 50 or 60 rounds per minute — a purchase that would have been restricted under proposed legislation that has been stalled in Washington for more than a year.

Mr. Holmes, a graduate student in neuroscience with a clean criminal record, was able to buy the ammunition without arousing the slightest notice from law enforcement, because the sellers are not required in most cases to report sales to law enforcement officials, even unusually large purchases. And neither Colorado nor federal law required him to submit to a background check or register his growing purchases, gun policy experts said."
So RD- are you calling sensible reasonalbe documentation, checks and balances , data bases on these purchases would be draconian ( meaning great severity) measures? Nothing could have prevented it RD? NOTHING?

Anonymous said...

I think trying something is better than being fatalistic. For many people, carrying a weapon is just not an option for moral or religious reasons. Banning certain types of weapons and instituting more rigorous background checks seems reasonable.

RD said...


We were discussing the Sikh shootings last week in OC, not the Aurora shooting. Again, nothing could have prevented the Sikh shootings, not even your database.

He legally bought a 9mm handgun. He waited 48 hours. He passed the federal background check. He wasn't purchasing excessive amounts of ammunition. He didn't use an "assault" style weapon.

While his background was sketchy to say the least, there is nothing that could have prevented this shooting outside a complete ban and 100% confiscation of all weapons.

That is not going to happen, so what is your suggestion to stop future shootings similar to the OC shooting?

Jake formerly of the LP said...

Allowing every nutcase to not only get a gun but also buy copious amounts of ammo without any red flags is a main source of why this country has far too many of these incidents. You know what else helps lead to this? Hate radio that is OK with feeding the resentments of guys like the Oak Creek shooterr as long as they get good ratings and ad revenue.

In both cases, you see the corruption of money and the lust for it as a centerpiece. The NRA hasn't been about promoting responsible gun use for years, and is now just a power-broker for gun manufacturers trying to push more product. Talk radio isn't a mode for exchange and discussion of ideas, it's a way for JournalComm to make more profits by stirring up the losers who listen to it.

It's nice to see politicians like Walker and Ryan show up to today's memorial service, but it's only a token gesture if it's not followed by standing up to the forces that helped to make it happen, and will lead to it happening again if they don't change their tune. Don't bet on that happening.

Anonymous said...

RD, you take your gun into movies? That's against the law; all theaters have posted the ban.

You take your gun into church? That's against the law, as stated in the law.

Look, both mass murders were committed by lawbreakers.

You must be a lawbreaker, too, since you claim that the murders could not be avoided.

So just post where you go to movies and where you go to church, lawbreaker, for the rest of us to avoid you there, since we cannot escape you here.

RD said...

@ Anon,

Your generalizations and assumptions show how uninformed you are on this issue.

First, please has some basic understanding of CCW laws. Read the law if you need to, but you are wrong and are spreading inaccurate information.

1. It is not illegal to bring a gun into a church per WI CCW law, unless the church has decided to post "No weapons" signs.

2. It is not illegal to bring a gun into a theater per WI CCW law, unless the theater has decided to post "No weapons" signs.

3. I do not go to movie theatres much, so I can not tell you whether "all theaters" have posted "no weapons" signs as you claim.

My instincts, basic logic and having some knowledge for the numbers of theaters in WI would lead me to believe that you are wrong on this as well.

Also, If there were a sign posted, I would either 1) not carry and leave the weapon secured in vehicle, or more likely 2) take my business elsewhere.

In the future, try to argue your position rather than feeling a need to lie about the laws to fit your own template.

Anonymous said...

if all theaters posted a weapons ban how did the killings in Colorado happen? That guy wasn't allowed to bring a gun inside. Why didn't the sign stop him! What the sign did was remove the rights of the law abiding citizens to protect themselves. It shouldn't be surprising if the guy chose a place with no weapons posted. He knew there wouldn't be anyone to fight back.

Boxer said...

To: YES WE CAN, Anonymous August 9, 2012 7:05 PM, and Jake formerly of the LP:
Thank you all for injecting some sanity into this discussion.

Rayguns and his buddies just seem to get all crazy when it's suggested that some limits -- not an outright ban, oh no! -- on certain types of weapons and ammunition would seem to be in order to protect the rights of ordinary citizens to enjoy a movie in a theater without the on-screen violence spilling over like a box of popcorn.

His solution? Require everyone to carry a weapon. Everywhere. Now that's complete insanity.

There is absolutely no reason why anyone needs to carry a gun into churches, schools, day care centers, shopping centers, libraries, offices, Starbucks, Little League games or movie theaters, to name but a few of the thousands of public gathering places where it is inappropriate to carry a gun.

The same logic that applies to car ownership and driving privileges: Having a driver's license doesn't permit a person to speed, run through red lights, drink while driving, drive over yards and flower beds, or park your vehicle in your neighbor's living room. Let's use some common sense here. There have to be some rules or the rights of other people are impeded. My right to worship peacefully in my church or shop safely in my grocery store should trump your right to carry a weapon into the same. I don't know you--how do I know you're not there to rob the store or shoot the cabbage heads? You wouldn't have to worship in those churches (where guns are prohibited) or shop in those stores. You could start your own church, perhaps call it the Church of the Holy Weaponry, or open a Guns-n-Groceries where you can shop for Cheerios and toilet paper with your gun.

Would some reasonable restrictions on weapons in public stop every incident of mass shooting, hostage-taking or other gun violence committed by mentally unhinged people? Of course not, but the answer is not an entire population that is bristling with weaponry, suspicious of everyone else and whipped into an angry frenzy by Fox and talk radio.

Rayguns, I don't believe you even believe your line of crap.