If you want to understand why little to no progress will likely be made on gun control here in Illinois or nationally, just look at the abortion issue.
Abortion is a hugely emotional and divisive issue in this country. At the heart of the matter is the belief by the extreme opposition that no legal right to an abortion ought to ever exist, while those on the other extreme view any tiny, baby step infringement as a giant leap toward prohibition.
Both sides are well-funded, well-organized and have reams of studies, talking points, experts and lawyers to back them up. Both sides demand purity from anyone they support. Vote against a bill that uses government regulations to run abortion clinics out of business and you’re deemed a heretic by the hard right. Vote for a bill to allow parents to be notified when their underage daughter is about to have an abortion and you’re branded a traitor by the hard left.
The ball simply cannot move unless one side manages to take over a state government and then lets the courts sort it out.
Like the pro-life activists, most gun-control advocates either want to change the Constitution or vehemently disagree with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions. That was made obvious in Illinois when the state Senate took up a bill recently that would’ve banned the sale of most popular handguns and required that all gun magazines be registered with the state, even though magazines have no serial numbers. The arrogance and ignorance of the people who drafted that bill cannot be overstated.
On the other hand, the extreme pro-gun folks have a dangerously warped view of reality in which their firearms are somehow the only thing standing between “the people” and “tyranny.” Never mind that we live in a democratic, constitutional republic with a solid history of more than two centuries of ever-expanding rights. Because of this “sacred gun” fantasy, any government restriction on their rights, as they see them, amounts to a tyrannical abuse of power. Some of those folks ought to try visiting a real dictatorship to see how ridiculously they are overstating their case.
As with the abortion issue, the extremes pay for the political megaphones, so we usually only see radical proposals from both sides. Far-reaching gun bans on the one hand, opposition to any regulations on the other.
A requirement that gun owners securely lock their weapons in safes may have done more to prevent the recent Connecticut slaughter than almost anything else.
Adam Lanza stole the guns he used from his mother, whom he also killed before his murderous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Yet, requiring that gun owners lock up their weapons is not even being discussed, even though all the responsible gun owners I know keep their pistols, rifles and shotguns locked in gun safes.
With rights come responsibilities. So, to my mind, the right to own a gun ought to come with a responsibility to make as sure as you possibly can that your property doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
But the NRA has staunchly opposed such measures in the past as an outlandish burden on gun owners. And antigun politicians would rather focus on “sexy” poll-tested issues like assault weapons bans, even though the last federal ban was a joke. Connecticut’s assault weapons ban was modeled on that now-expired 1990s era federal ban, so the assault weapon used by Lanza was legal.
There just is no viable center, so there can be no negotiated solution.
* And even though the column took pretty hard shots at both sides, the first e-mail it generated last night was this one…
Why do you hate guns? Do you hate people that get abortions as much as someone that likes to shoot guns? Yes not every legal gun owner is a super evil person, I know hard to believe.
Do you skip movies with guns in them? Cartoons ? Meat from a game animal?
What happened to factual reporting in this country? Yellow journalism is running rampant now. Worse than ever people like you seem fit in using your jobs to call millions of Americans bad people.
You should be ashamed.
* Meanwhile, GOP state Sen. Sam McCann believes gun ownership for self protection is an inherent right granted by God. He spoke of the issue at last weekend’s pro-gun Statehouse rally and again to Bernie Schoenburg…
“And our generation is now charged with fighting to ensure that this great nation will remain a government, not of the politician, not of the entitlement seekers, but a government of the people, by the people and for the people. To live up to the great expectations placed on our generation, we must pass the mantle of liberty to the next generation, and the only way we can accomplish this is to preserve our Second Amendment rights,” McCann said at the speech, recordings of which were posted on YouTube by 970 AM WMAY.
“They’re not privileges and they cannot be revoked by a bunch of politicians,” McCann added. “They were given to us by God almighty himself, himself, and we will stand strong on that. Our message to the legislators and executive officers of the state of Illinois and this nation is this: Do not attempt to diminish our liberty as co-equal citizens of this great land, but instead be champions of liberty. I pledge to you today, I will be a champion of liberty, so help me God.”
So, when I saw McCann at the Frontiers International Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast Monday, I asked about the speech. McCann made it clear he thinks gun rights and other rights — and not the Constitution written by people — are what he thinks come from God.
“All of our rights, the right to speech, the right to assembly, the right to join together and talk about ideas … the right to protect yourself — all of those rights I believe are given us by God,” McCann said. “It’s not just the Second Amendment. It’s all of the rights that are outlined and all of those that aren’t outlined, as a free citizen.”
I noted the Constitution had to be amended to include gun rights, to end slavery and let women vote.
“Nothing created by man is perfect,” McCann said. “You’re talking about the document. I’m talking about the rights, the inherent rights. … All of our rights are given by God. We wouldn’t be free if they were given by a document created by man.”
Without the NRA we would already be drawing our guns for hunting out of a local police station and checking them back in at the end of the day. I know it would be good to have some common sense rules on how guns should be stored at home or maybe reduce the size of mags. The British had liberal gun laws at one time. After chipping away at those for the sake of safety they now have lost almost all of their gun freedoms. So when you see the NRA take a position that seems extreme just look at what happened in New York last week. As I write this I am sending a check to the NRA and IRA to support the good work that they do in supporting my second amendment rights.
=== “And our generation is now charged with fighting to ensure that this great nation will remain a government, not of the politician, not of the entitlement seekers, but a government of the people, by the people and for the people. To live up to the great expectations placed on our generation, we must pass the mantle of liberty to the next generation, and the only way we can accomplish this is to preserve our Second Amendment rights,” McCann said at the speech, recordings of which were posted on YouTube by 970 AM WMAY.
“They’re not privileges and they cannot be revoked by a bunch of politicians,” McCann added. “They were given to us by God almighty himself, himself, and we will stand strong on that. Our message to the legislators and executive officers of the state of Illinois and this nation is this: Do not attempt to diminish our liberty as co-equal citizens of this great land, but instead be champions of liberty. I pledge to you today, I will be a champion of liberty, so help me God.” ===
And I suppose on the 8th day, God made guns? Who died and made this guy pope?
And by the way, I did’nt know God wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. What a joke. Stop grandstanding and start legislating. According to the ILGA website, Senator McCann hasn’t filed any bills yet for this term.
Today “nuanced” equals weakness. If you are not 1,000% behind something/someone, you are not a true believer. It’s making it easier every day to just think “screw it” - let it fall out as it will. It is interesting (at least in my simple mind) that such a large percentage of those who want gun restrictions are pro- abortion, and vice-versa. Make a man wanna holler Hydee Ho
It’s the breakdown of the family. Why didn’t we have all these gun related deaths in the 1950’s and 60’s? Why are so many of Chicago’s gun related deaths localized to an area that also has the fewest number of in-home fathers?
We can keep trying to take guns out of the hands of criminals, just like we’ve got a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal drugs. But we’ll probably get the same results.
We need to stop trying to write laws to the lowest common denominator in our society and start focusing on creating responsibility for ourselves, our families and our communities.
Thank you for your support of the IRA. It is a bit late though. We’ve pretty much kicked the Brits out completely, and let’s be honest, your check is not going to help take Belfast back from the Orange.
Life is given to us as an inalienable gift.
We have a “god-given” right to protect that gift. Some could label it a “human” right.
So, protecting lives is a responsibility. That includes human life not yet born. That includes undesired lives that have been found by courts to be a danger to others.
We discuss under what circumstances that right may be overridden. We have strict rules on capital punishment. That sober result should be considered a precedent for rules on abortion. Those conversations should be had on self defense as well.
Some folks feel justified to take a human life when their lives are in jeopardy. Some define it as justifiable when they are buglared, attacked, or even inconveniently pregnant. In each case, we can find a compromise.
The purists who believe in their rights to defend themselves under any circumstances, need to let everyone speak, not just the NRA or Planned Parenthood.
Sometimes inalienable rights counter one another, so we must have a compromise between them.
“Because of this “sacred gun” fantasy, any government restriction on their rights, as they see them, amounts to a tyrannical abuse of power. Some of those folks ought to try visiting a real dictatorship to see how ridiculously they are overstating their case.”
It is because we are aware of real dicatorships that we are so passionate about the Second Amendment. Do not try to label it as ridiculous.
- Small Town Liberal - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 9:21 am:
Rich, why won’t you answer the important question, do you skip cartoons?
I just wish those on the gun control side would understand that putting bills with every wish and making huge groups of weapons now illegal is what drives us to go to the other extreme.
You look at these bills and they are pages and pages of “here is what is no illegal” and in most cases have huge holes in logic.
If they said “here, we want a safe storage bill, THAT WILL pass muster with SCOTUS and Heller” and it was a 2 or 3 page bill, that just focused on that…
Well I could get behind that.
But instead you pass a bill that is about ammo purchases and the Governor uses a veto power to completely re-write it into a AW Ban with pages and pages and pages of what is now banned…
So yes, both sides are extreme. But there are new bills introduced to increase gun control every year, and always they are far reaching. Their hope is that they can ask for everything, then slim it down a little and say “look, we compromised”
What they really meant was we didnt get everything we wanted, but the gun guys got nothing. Name the last time laws got less strict or stupid laws that did nothing for safety were repealed?
the feds aren’t going to use nukes. Does that straw itch?
You ask a question like that yet look at Libya, or any of the other uprising. Do I think this will happen in the us? probably not. Very small chance. But they fought with man portable weapons and eventually captured crew served weapons.
We fought the Iraqis for years. It wasnt like the resistance there had Tanks and Planes and nukes…
Please better prepare your argument if you want to go there.
Good column Rich. Locking up the guns you own in your own home makes perfectly good sense. Police officers are already required to do this I believe. Why not the rest of us ?
You want to own 250 guns and keep 10,000 rounds in your house? Great, but you should have to keep them locked up so that a burglar, drunk angry relative or a mentally ill person can’t take them from you. This might also prevent a “gun-grabbing tyrant” from taking them also.
Rich’s commentary is a nice contrast to the senator’s bizarre approach to what are serious public policy issues.
Ah, the Red Dawn people are out. The black copters aren’t coming. And, as the ADL just pointed out, a group of folks with rifles and handguns and even assault weapons wouldn’t stop a dictator’s tanks, airplanes, etc., even if the black copters were on their way.
Folks, the strength of our freedom is based on shared values of democracy, tolerance, education, and the rule of law. The safety of our nation is secured by our standing army and other military might. That’s how we stop dictatorships here.
Sen. McCann is trying to ruin a good anti-Obama zinger…y’know, the one about people clinging to God and Guns?
But seriously, I think it’s worth noting that McCann almost certainly didn’t mean God explicitly wants us to have guns. You really do see some very weird claims on this issue, like the state group (in AZ, I think?) apparently arguing that guns themselves had a right not to be destroyed in a buy back program. But McCann seems to be arguing a position I see a lot of Christian conservatives make: That all rights are a blanket, trickle-down provision from God. Not that guns are a specific provision or stated intent, but rather an indirect chain of logic starting from something like “God wants us to be free”.
It doesn’t surprise me that God has been brought into the mix. People like to invoke the name of God for a lot of things. I’d like to get whatever phone number these people are using to talk to God, since all of them seem to know what he’s thinking.
Also, Mr. McCann, our rights are indeed secular. Why it’s so difficult for people to get that through their thick heads is beyond me. From the Constitution:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Notice the first sentence. WE THE PEOPLE. Yes, Mr. McCann, we the people have come together to establish our government. Not God. You may look to God in your personal life and even as guidance as to how you make decisions but God is CERTAINLY NOT the master over our rights as citizens of this country. You and others need to actually read the Constitution and maybe you would understand that.
You are either a washed-in-the-blood true believer or you are an infidel. There is no middle ground.
And those who do try to find middle ground are heretics. That’s how a life-long gun-owner like myself can be “anti-gun” for merely considering the possible utility of firearms regulation. Heresy!
(Maybe there are pro-regulation types somewhere who consider me a heretic for owning a gun. Maybe. But they’ve never banged heads with me.)
I hope that this conflict can be peacefully resolved, but today I have less hope for resolution than ever.
- Cook County Commoner - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 9:47 am:
In order to achieve the true intent of the 2nd Amendment to protect against tyranny, some seemingly well reasoned commentators have suggested that the 2nd Amendment requires indivduals or at least the states to have access to the same weaponry possessed by the federal government.
Like Skeeter observed, above, your AR-15 is useless against federal drones and nukes.
The 2nd Amendment crowd, at the minimum, should require unfettered indivdual access to fully automatic, large caliber weapons, hand grenades and surface-to-air missiles. Those so-call “patriots” who limit their discussion to “assault-style” pea shooters are probably left wingers who realize that a nation armed with make-believe military weaponry will be easy to subjugate.
So all you NRA and Illinois RA people, contact your leaders and demand real 2nd Amendment rights.
No one ever stripped a society of the right to an abortion as a precursor to mass murder and genocide. I don’t think we are in danger of that now, but to advocate we don’t need guns is to advocate humans are no longer capable of such attrocities. I trust the founding fathers judgement to place the right to bare arms as the last line of defense, more than I trust human nature.
Ábortion is the taking of a life. You are destroying a living organizm. There is no comparison.
The problem for gun control advocates is they have no statistical evidence it has ever worked. There is a parallel in abortion in that it is the exceptions to the law that destroy a purist view. People advocate for exceptions to abortion restrictions in cases or rape, but a life is a life. Gun control advocates asert exemption for public officials which is exactly why the 2nd amendment exists.
When a politician tells his guards they are no longer allowed to carry a weaopon, I will accept that he/she truely believes in gun control. When he tells the police (as in England) to turn in their guns, I will believe them. Otherwise it is not gun control, it is just an expansion of unfettered control. Thus the reason the 2nd amendment exists.
How many polici officers will Chicago have tomorrow if the mayor tells them to turn in their guns like they did in London today?
” Adam Lanza stole the guns he used from his mother, whom he also killed before his murderous rampage at Sandy Hook Elementery school. ”
Not so sure that statement there doesn’t tell us that locking them up wouldn’t have prevented the shooting at Sandy Hook. This kid didn’t do this on the spur of the moment he planned this for a long time. So isn’t it reasonable to think he could have found out the combination to a gun safe if his mom would have had one and stole the guns out of that.
The gun itself did not do the killing the crazy person who stole it did. Since he was he’ll bent on doing this it appears it would have not mattered what she had them locked in.
I am all about finding an answer to the problem but this isn’t one any more than a national gun registry or any of the other stuff that has been mentioned . The fact is its just like gambiling unless you find a way to get rid of all of and I mean all forms your still going to have people with gambiling problems. Just like guns you can get rid of all gambiling and make it illegal to gamble but people who want to do it will still find a way . Same thing with bad people who want to harm to good people. They will find a way and making any gun illegal for me to own doesn’t make it any harder for a criminal to own .
Doesn’t mean I or any other responsible law abiding gun owner doesn’t want to find a solution to these problems,we really do. But do you think banning my guns honestly will prevent the next shooting because the ban they had in CT didnt prevent this one.
A man’s/woman’s home is their castle. How could government regulate what a person does withing their own home with a legally purchased item, no matter what that item is. Not to mention a locked up gun serves little purpose if someone is breaking into the home in the middle of the night.
===Not to mention a locked up gun serves little purpose if someone is breaking into the home in the middle of the night. ===
Several years ago, I saw a neat little pistol safe. It was electronic. You put your fingers on top of it and pushed them down in a certain order and the lid opened up and the gun pushed out into your hand. Took a second to open. You could keep that safe next to your bed.
–I just wish those on the gun control side would understand that putting bills with every wish and making huge groups of weapons now illegal is what drives us to go to the other extreme.–
C’mon, man. Those proposals were made this month. The ISRA and NRA positions have been consistent for decades. Their worldview is not some recent victims’ reaction. Give them credit for knowing their own minds.
–“All of our rights, the right to speech, the right to assembly, the right to join together and talk about ideas … the right to protect yourself — all of those rights I believe are given us by God,” McCann said. “It’s not just the Second Amendment. It’s all of the rights that are outlined and all of those that aren’t outlined, as a free citizen.”–
Then, clearly, they cannot be limited by legislatures, interpreted by courts or changed by amendments.
Any questions on those God-given rights should be resolved by the the church like in Iran or Afghanistan under the Taliban.
Here in the United States, that begs the question: which church?
===Several years ago, I saw a neat little pistol safe. It was electronic. You put your fingers on top of it and pushed them down in a certain order and the lid opened up and the gun pushed out into your hand. Took a second to open. You could keep that safe next to your bed.====
These are made by several manufacturers and are what I use in my home. One in the bed room one in my office.
They are also between 100 and 300 dollars so if you dont go too high-end it wont kill the bank.
==we must pass the mantle of liberty to the next generation, and the only way we can accomplish this is to preserve our Second Amendment rights==
Wow. I missed this little gem in Sen. McCann’s statement. The central, most important part of the Constitution is the 2nd Amendment? I guess we can get rid of the rest of the Constitution and we’ll be ok because the 2nd Amendment is all we need to guarantee our liberties.
===C’mon, man. Those proposals were made this month. The ISRA and NRA positions have been consistent for decades. Their worldview is not some recent victims’ reaction. Give them credit for knowing their own minds.===
Not true. They are out this month, and look at bills by like Rep Acevedo or others that submit new bills each session. Have you not seen those? maybe gun control hasnt gotten much attention every year, but we (on the gun rights side) follow these EVERY YEAR>
your assertions that these are just coming now is dishonest or a mistake of ignorance.
“There are laws that forbid giving prescription medication, which are stored in your castle, to anyone else. ”
But yet we still have people out there hooked and using these prescription drugs even though there are laws to prevent it from happening. Perhaps a ban on those drugs should be considered along with the assault weapons.
- Joe Bidenopoulous - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 10:13 am:
Isn’t the United States engaged in a multi-national, neverending, probably impossible-to-win war against folks who want to impose religious law on the masses?
Most would agree such imposition is a bad thing. McCann apparently thinks it’s ok, as long as that religious law is Christian. To me, that makes him no better than the Taliban.
The marketplace can impose a more reliable form of responsibility than most laws. To carry, one would simply have to demonstrate proof of insurance, or, better yet, insurance and the ability to be bonded. Exterminators, HVAC repairman, and even barbers are bonded, so, how could it possibly be an infringement to require a little independent verification of your status as a law-abiding, responsible citizen before you can walk the streets with your weapon. It’s not the only measure of control the state can lawfully, and constitutionally impose, but it would be a good one.
So much of the gun issue, hits on a larger cultural phenomenon. This being fear of the “other”- fear of the “gubmint” fear, fear, fear. USMC i don’t begrudge you your right to keep and bear arms, but what are you afraid of man? guns all over your house? By your handle I would guess you are ex-marine core. Don’t you guys know how to kill people like 300 different ways with just your bare hands? not picking on you. just making a larger point about fear in this country
So USMC, bills like universal backround checks and reporting stolen guns make gun owners go extreme? Not for this gun owner.
Also, pretty sure Iraq and Libya insurgents were getting weaponssmuggled to them, Stinger’s the US gave them.
=== I saw a neat little pistol safe. It was electronic. You put your fingers on top of it and pushed them down in a certain order and the lid opened up ===
We have one of those biometric safes for valuables. Darn thing doesn’t work for my wife and I. The kids can get into it with no problem. They jokingly tell us that the prints have worn off of our old fingers.
Rich, another good column. As long as extremes on both sides dominate arguements nothing ever gets accomplished. With all rights come responsiblities. As far as gun safes go, the secure storage of weapons is not only something that I see as one of those responsibilities, but good sense anyway.
As far as Sen McCann is concerned, whether you agree or disagree with him, his views are close to those of the Founders of our Country. In the Declaration of Independance these beliefs were referred to as the Laws of Nature and Natures God. While debating the Bill of Rights Richard Henry Lee referred to them as Those essential Rights of mankind. The same type of arguement was used by others but no point in a whole list of quotes. Even the wording of the 2nd Ammendment itself recognises this. It says the right of the People shall not be infringed. It does not grant that right to people it assures that right will not be taken away by government.
Maybe the idea of being able to fight back, regardless of the odds, comforts some people. I don’t see the US government becoming a tyrannical police state, but who knows what may happen in 50 or 100 years?
no, bills on background checks do not make use go extreme. but generally a single bill will have background checks AND a new ban of some type. Read my posts.
Yes I am a Marine. (and an fyi, its Marine Corps, not core).
Have I been taught basic hand to hand? yes. Am I 20 years old anymore? no. I was 31 my first trip to Iraq in 2004, 34 my 2nd trip and 36 in Afghanistan. Now I’m out, pushing 40 and probably weigh 165 down from my 185-190 in the Corps.
Guns all over my house? I have a big house and I have 2 guns in finger print safes. 1 in my bedroom nightstand and one in my office, opposite side of the house, 2 floors away from each other.
Can I fight with my hands? sure, a little. Can I do like some movie guy and fight without getting hurt? or take on 2 guys at once? probably not. What if the 1 guy breaking in has a weapon and I am unarmed? even if the weapon is a pipe or pry bar he used to get in the house? or if its my 17 year old daughter in while the wife an I are out that same guy tries or gets into the house?
I have had my garage broken into twice in the last 2 years. The second time I woke up as the guy was prying on the door between the house and garage. I yelled through the door and he just cussed and kicked the door and told me to stay inside… Wife was on with 911 and the cops took 17 minutes to get here. What if he got in? He left cussing loud when I told him I would shoot him if that door opened.
What am I scared of? someone hurting my wife or daughter mostly. Or me dying and them being left alone. I dont look for trouble. I just want to defend myself and family.
“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, moving to take a lead role in the gun control debate, is turning up the pressure on banks that do business with firearms manufacturers.
Emanuel is sending letters to two major financial institutions, TD Bank and Bank of America, which offer lines of credit to gun makers suggesting that they stop lending money to the manufacturers if they don’t come out for new gun restrictions.”
Great column and I wholeheartedly agree. While off topic a bit I do have one question? While I think that responsible gun ownership is needed, I have no problems with FOID cards or a requirement for safe storage and even classes are fine, other rights also require responsibility. How can we say the right to own a gun needs all the safeguards, but the right to vote doesn’t require the need for a photo ID at the poll? You need one to register but nevermind bringing it with you on the day you vote, whether it be election day or early voting? Please avoid the power of a firearm argument, I do think requirements for fun ownership should be more stringent than voting.
Sorry that it’s slightly off topic but your column made me think of this.
Cubfan—requirements for fun ownership? You dont have the right to own fun! I want to have fun!! You owning fun will not allow anyone else to have fun!!
Why does Cubfan want to own fun? Cubfan does not want kids to have fun! Why does Cubfan not want Kids to have any fun?
USMC, I have read your posts. If NRA cared about gun safety they would propose stand alone bills. I also have deployed multiple times. What does my post about backround checks and reporting lost guns have to do with your house getting robbed? And finally, you should know the US military has learned a lot about how to fight insurgents, and I guarantee you unless you own a surface to air missile, a UAV (ie drone) would take out any non well regulated militia members.
Maybe Rich. Isn’t that what alot of politics is, dancing on the fence trying not to upset too many people while trying to please just enough to get elected again? If pols weren’t concerned with the feelings of gun owners wouldn’t this have been settled a long time ago?
None of the new or perrenially proposed Federal and State gun regulations would have prevented the most recent tragedies. It makes little sense to impose more rules on people if they will not do anything. It is simply a way to cater to an extreme base.
Thos who wish to use the power of the purse to control who is allowed to have weapons are clearly showing their colors as whether their intent is to be a gun grabber or not.
I think the safe Rich is referring to isn’t biometric. There are some designs that are basically a button-pattern combination lock operated with multiple fingers simultaneously. You can enter the pattern in under a second.
I think that’s more than slightly off topic.
- Arthur Andersen - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 11:19 am:
Sounds like I meet a lot of your “responsible” proposals, so new laws won’t make any difference.
I asked this question yesterday in relation to your proposed gun registration and you never answered it, so I’ll repeat it.
I assume you are familiar with the recent incident in NY’s Westchester and Rockland counties where the addresses of gun owners were posted on a newspaper’s web site?
The newspaper obtained the list from the government. Yes, the newspaper did finally remove the database after it sparked a large pushback, including the gun owners posting the home addresses of the newspaper employees on the web.
Word: Add New York City to your list. As handguns in particular became harder and harder to posses in the city, both the overall crime rate AND the number of guns confiscated by the NYPD went down, and, is still going down today. And that’s not just Manhattan, but the boroughs as well. The more-guns-equal-less-crime crowd never seem to have an answer for NYC.
Rich, you put forth this article for discussion and I note that the responses are mostly about gun control. I agree that rights come with responsibilities. I wonder what responsibilities would be expected of those who wish to have an abortion? I bring it up only because you have connected the two issues. Can we really compare the 2 issues? Do these responsibilities come only from the gov’t thru laws or can some come from individuals?
I get that your thrust is towards the gun control issue and must respect your decision if it includes limiting the discussion in this thread just to gun control. Just wondering.
There are plenty of requirements for voting. Just because the one you want isn’t on the list doesn’t mean there are no requirements.
There’s plenty for gun ownership as well. Just because the ones the gun control folks want isn’t there doesn’t mean the ones we have are not sufficient as well. Shootings like voter fraud will happen no matter how many laws are written.
Further to Rich’s gun ownership responsibilities, I offer my own:
- annual testing and qualification with any firearms you own
- annual background check and mental health certification
- prior military, law enforcement, or civil service
Rich - Yesterday, in response to Skeeter’s comment about naming one person who wants to take all guns, I posted several quotes, including their sources, from several politicians specifically saying they wanted to ban all guns. Although the quotes were several years old, it was intended to show that those politicians, many of whom are still in office, have been working to ban guns for years. You deleted my post. May I know why my post was unacceptable?
Very true, Word. But NYC remains an anomaly to those that say more guns equal less crime. Given NYC’s population density, and, when the boroughs are included, the breadth of its socio-economic classes, it clearly contradicts the more-guns=less-crime belief. There are a lot of reasons why NYC’s crime rate has gone down, especially its murder rate. It’s just that the presence or absence of guns isn’t one of them. It is also noteworthy that NYC’s suicide rate is lower than Chicago’s. That could factor into less guns, but it is more likely to have something to do with the fact that they have the Mets and we have the Cubs.
“So much of the gun issue, hits on a larger cultural phenomenon. This being fear of the “other”- fear of the “gubmint” fear, fear, fear. USMC i don’t begrudge you your right to keep and bear arms, but what are you afraid of man? guns all over your house? By your handle I would guess you are ex-marine core. Don’t you guys know how to kill people like 300 different ways with just your bare hands? not picking on you. just making a larger point about fear in this country”
I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen, as do many others. Do we suffer from unreasonable fear, or are we simply prepared?
The level of discourse on gun topics from commenters lately has really turned me off. There is a core group of antigunners here that seem to revel in posting belittling posts, straw man arguments and hyperbole.
What do you think the odds are that a fire extinguisher will effectively put out a small kitchen fire?
What do you think the odds are that you with your AR-15 is going to prevent the federal government from doing what it wants?
Ponder that one and then you will realize why we look at you and smirk.
I hope people actually read Rich’s balanced piece. I also wish all the people who are so sure they are right” about guns could just take a moment to think through the reality that there is a difference between:
- a rural family where neighbors are scarce and there are miles between houses, along with confusing addresses/route numbers. (maybe a part time deputy is “the law” in those parts),
- a village/town where there is no effective 911 or little 24 hour close-by police presence,
-the people who have to live in the gang and drug infested city ghettos where no rules or laws of any kind are seemingly honored or respected,
- large city/close-in suburban citizens who live where there are well funded 24/7 police departments which can provide uber fast response to 911 emergencies.
Gun control can so NOT ever be a media driven one size fits all solution because it is SO much not a single simple “problem”. I dispair at the level of extreme rhetoric and ignorance regularly displayed and vigorously spewed on both sides of this “issue”.
“What do you think the odds are that a fire extinguisher will effectively put out a small kitchen fire?
What do you think the odds are that you with your AR-15 is going to prevent the federal government from doing what it wants?”
Your odds of putting out a small fire with an extinguisher are quite good, and I would say that the collective population with our AR-15’s would and has deterred the government from doing whatever it wants.
A Russian Army, with tanks, did not keep the Germans from invading.
The U.S. Navy, with aircraft carriers, did not prevent the Japanese from taking American owned islands.
But you and your little AR-15 are going to stand up the military might of the United States?
You need to remember to take your meds EVERY DAY. Once in a while will not do it.
Hey Realist- I know a couple “government employees” with F/A-18 Hornets that would be glad to give you and your AR-15 a run for your money. They even promise not to shoot back.
Of course, the shock wave from the low-level flyover will knock you, the AR-15, and the double wide into the next town before you can get a shot off but a deal is a deal.
So let me get this right. You are cool with guns getting into the hands of gang members, because the same people who keep your tax returns secret and your social security number secret may let out that you own guns?
And I’m still waiting to hear why you don’t personally publish your gun ownership.
After all, your side claims that houses with guns are at much lower risk.
Why should I publish my address so someone could try to steal my guns, even if they are in a safe?
I’m fully in favor of using the existing laws that have been found legal.
Since you’re (apparently deliberately) twisting my words, answer me this: Are the gang members legally purchasing their guns? Are they showing FOID cards and recording the transfers? If they are, and the firearm is used in a crime and recovered by the police, they can trace the weapons back the previous 10 years. And if the gun is less than 10 years old, they can also trace it forward from the initial sale. Just takes some legwork instead of pushing a button.
Somehow I suspect those gang members won’t have that transfer record … and probably don’t have a FOID card either.
From the FOID statute:
(b) Any person within this State who transfers or causes to be transferred any firearm, stun gun, or taser shall keep a record of such transfer for a period of 10 years from the date of transfer. Such record shall contain the date of the transfer; the description, serial number or other information identifying the firearm, stun gun, or taser if no serial number is available; and, if the transfer was completed within this State, the transferee’s Firearm Owner’s Identification Card number. On or after January 1, 2006, the record shall contain the date of application for transfer of the firearm. On demand of a peace officer such transferor shall produce for inspection such record of transfer. If the transfer or sale took place at a gun show, the record shall include the unique identification number. Failure to record the unique identification number is a petty offense.
Skeeter, this “your side claims” business is exactly the rhetoric that needs to stop if we are ever to get anywhere. Just because somebody somewhere–either here or elsewhere said something once about a certain circumstance does not mean that it holds true in all circumstances, or that everybody who leans broadly in one direction or the other of the gun control debate espouses exactly the same thing, close to the same thing, or even has the same issues.
“Your side claims” is a gotcha comment, no matter where one stands on guns–or anything. It’s not a conversation enhancer.
No, the gang members are not legally purchasing guns.
Instead, qualified guns owners have them “stolen” and then they end up in the hands of gangs.
Oddly, many of those “thefts” are not reported.
Which is why we need mandatory reporting of thefts. We also need registration of guns and records of sales. You buy a gun. Next year your registration comes up, and you no longer have it. Where did it go? Hmmn, I wonder.
Assuming the fee is reasonable, that is one step that would have a real impact on gun crimes. It would make it far more difficult to have that sort of illegal transactions. Proving the illegal transfer would be far easier. You had one. You don’t now. You can’t explain it. Enjoy being the guest of the state for a while.
Current FOID rules are not enough. If the number is removed, you never get it back to the seller. Instead, you prevent the transfer by registering the weapon and then demanding the records year to year. You bought it. Now you explain where it went.
siriusly -Good column Rich. Locking up the guns you own in your own home makes perfectly good sense. Police officers are already required to do this I believe. Why not the rest of us ?
Because the Supreme court in Heller said they can’t. One part of the suit dealt with the District’s ban on having an operable handgun readily available for use. They said:
“We turn finally to the law at issue here. As we have said, the law totally bans handgun possession in the home. It also requires that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock at all times, rendering it inoperable. . .
applied to respondent’s handgun) that firearms in the home be rendered and kept inoperable at all times. This makes it impossible for citizens to use them for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional. The District argues that we should interpret this element of the statute to contain an exception for selfdefense. See Brief for Petitioners 56–57. But we think that is precluded by the unequivocal text, and by the presence of certain other enumerated exceptions: “Except for law enforcement personnel . . . , each registrant shall keep any firearm in his possession unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device unless such firearm is kept at his place of business, or while being used for lawful recreational purposes within the District of Columbia.” D. C. Code §7–2507.02. The nonexistence of a self-defense exception is also suggested by the D. C. Court of Appeals’ statement that the statute forbids residents to use firearms to stop intruders. . .
In sum, we hold that the District’s ban on handgun possession in the home violates the Second Amendment, as does its prohibition against rendering any lawful firearm in the home operable for the purpose of immediate self-defense.”
As far as bringing God into the discussion, here is my take: God didn’t make men equal, Sam Colt and John browning did.
Further to Rich’s gun ownership responsibilities, I offer my own:
- prior military, law enforcement, or civil service
I get it, no rights if you haven’t served — right Citizen. Seems like it came right out of Starship Troopers, so I and a few others here get to vote, own guns, and have free speech and all sorts of rights, while those of you who didn’t do What I and USMC and a few others here did Don’t – maybe I am starting to warm up to this liberal mindset that some animals are more equal than others. . .
I hope you guys are enjoying your pile-up on Realist (I especially liked Arther Anderson immediately assuming he lives near a double-wide trailer and was interested in shooting down airplanes).
He didn’t say anything that extreme. And he is right, at least in my opinion, that the collective gun owners and their firearms function as a great deterrent against the possibility of a tyrannical government, and has quite possibly been functioning as one since the our Country’s inception.
The US government could not wage a sustained conflict within its own country…It would be too demoralizing, too hard to figure out what side people are on. If the people didn’t have a way to fight back, even if it is rifles and shotguns, then they would be a lot easier to coerce and convince. That’s how, as Rich stated, “real dictatorships” rise and function. Our troops struggle coping in Afghanistan…having to do what they do I Americans would be a lot to ask.
I apology. I wrongly assumed that your post was somehow related to Rich’s blog post, in which he states:
“On the other hand, the extreme pro-gun folks have a dangerously warped view of reality in which their firearms are somehow the only thing standing between “the people” and “tyranny.” Never mind that we live in a democratic, constitutional republic with a solid history of more than two centuries of ever-expanding rights. Because of this “sacred gun” fantasy, any government restriction on their rights, as they see them, amounts to a tyrannical abuse of power. Some of those folks ought to try visiting a real dictatorship to see how ridiculously they are overstating their case.”
Most of the comments here were directed at what he said originally. Apparently, you were not responding to the original post but something completely different. I just assumed that you were trying to be relevant. My bad.
– And he is right, at least in my opinion, that the collective gun owners and their firearms function as a great deterrent against the possibility of a tyrannical government, and has quite possibly been functioning as one since the our Country’s inception.–
Didn’t do the Sioux, Comanche, Shawnee or Apache much good.
I’d suggest that in the post WWII world, the most successful forces against tyrannical governments were the non-violent movements in India, South Africa, Poland, the former Czechoslovakia and the American South.
Skeeter – registration will do nothing to stop crime guns. And quite frankly it’s none of your business what I own. The state has required me to obtain a FOID card. That is all you get. Nothing more.
You don’t get to interrogate me annually or on whatever timeline you like about my guns. You don’t get to make me fill out more paperwork or pay more fees/taxes for the ability to exercise my right.
First off Chicago has had a registration component for over 30 years. Hasn’t worked. It was also used to institute a ban – so if you want to know why a lot of gun owners don’t trust the government, look no further.
Second it can’t even begin to work without it being a national program, and that will never pass.
Third, have you been inside a gun store lately? Seen the pics of the people at gun shows buying stuff? I don’t think all these people are buying guns and ammo just to register them with the government.
Lastly, I think the Illinois Constitution and case law poses a problem for your little scheme. I don’t think it allows for it.
Word ==I’d suggest that in the post WWII world, the most successful forces against tyrannical governments were the non-violent movements in India, South Africa, Poland, the former Czechoslovakia and the American South. ==
I dunno, the Mujahideen did pretty well against the soviets and their helicopters, and tanks and such
Skeeter–to better understand my point, please look for the strawman “gotcha” at the part where you tried to connect/conflate newspapers researching and publishing the names and addresses of lawful owners of legally registered firearms–almost as if they were convicted sex offenders or something. It appeared from your comment like you thought that list should just be accepted as a logical conclusion for all “gun lovers” (for lack of a better description). You realize that in addition to feisty grandmothers living alone, and battered women currently hiding under orders of protection, those recent newspaper lists of legal gunowners in New York also alarmingly included names and addresses of current and former law enforcement including undercover and tactical officers?
Look, I don’t own a gun. The gun owners I know are not wild eyed crazies. I gather that most gun owners do believe it ads a layer of protection for themselves and their families, and in some cases a very necessary one. Why publishing their names as if they are criminals themselves should then be seen as a natural outgrowth of ownership escapes me. It seems like a pretty basic issue of personal privacy. It also seems like publishing names might even deter some people from registering their handguns.
“Third, have you been inside a gun store lately? Seen the pics of the people at gun shows buying stuff? I don’t think all these people are buying guns and ammo just to register them with the government.”
Let me get this right Todd, if I understand where you are going.
“Paranoid freaks who expect think they need guns to protect themselves from Big Government are buying a lot of guns. As such, we should not register guns.”
It seems like the opposite is true.
You claim that registration would not work. Then how do get guns out of the hands of gang members? What’s your solution? Do you care? Or are you simply concerned with keeping the paranoids happy?
“I dunno, the Mujahideen did pretty well against the soviets and their helicopters, and tanks and such ”
It sure helped that Ronald Reagan sent them, including some guy named Bin Laden, Stinger missiles. An AR-15 is nice. Those Stingers were even better. Do you think we should all have access to Stingers?
- Endangered Moderate Species - Friday, Jan 25, 13 @ 3:31 pm:
I was searching for middle ground on this issue and some of the posters were making good comments and I was pondering my own views on gun rights. Then along came Arthur with a stereotypical comment regarding people dwelling in double-wide’s and then you made a comment about meds, while typing with Capital letters, which is the universal code for “I am yelling”.
We are back at square one. There is no middle ground on this issue.
Kudo’s though for your apology to Ken, that did show some class, but like Governor Quinn, you should have chose wiser words before you originally hit the “Say it!” button.