Every once in a great while, the gun violence prevention advocates have a small victory. It hasn't happened often of late, in spite of the gun rights folks screaming about gun control and gun banning. The NRA has managed to get through a lot of their agenda by screaming the loudest and making threats to elected leaders about re-election. Fear and intimidation are the vehicles and they know they are forwarding their agenda when NRA Executive V.P. Wayne La Pierre can say, "The guys with the guns make the rules." To some extent, he's right. They have been able to bully everyone into thinking guns will be banned and confiscated so that absolutely no reasonable law passes their muster.
So, here are a few items that were decided in favor of gun violence prevention. First, the Obama administration has wisely decided that importing hundreds of thousands of M-1 military style rifles from South Korea is not a good idea. Let's see now- the NRA is claiming a gun ban by the Justice Department because the department decided that allowing 850,000 military style weapons into our country for sale may allow some of them to end up in the wrong hands. These are dangerous weapons. Why do people want them? Some will say to collect them because they are, after all, antique firearms. Here are the words of Dennis Henigan, V.P. of the Brady Center: " "Guns that can take high-capacity magazines are a threat to public safety," said Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "Even though they are old, these guns could deliver a great amount of firepower. So I think the Obama administration's concerns are well-taken." On the opposite side, here are the words of the NRA's Chris Cox: " "M1s are used for target practice. For history buffs, they're highly collectible. We're going to continue to make sure that this backdoor effort that infringes not only on lawful commerce but on the Second Amendment is rectified."" Is one side right and one side wrong?
In another decision , involving States vs. Federal rights, a magistrate has decided that their are some federal laws regarding guns that cannot be ignored by states. Some Western and Southern states tried to change the order of things regarding guns by wanting to go their own way and do their own thing as if the Federal government did not exist. Not so fast, according to the Magistrate in Helena, Montana, who noted that " Congress can set standards on such items as guns through its power to regulate interstate commerce. The recommendation now goes to the federal judge in Missoula hearing the case - and even gun rights advocates recognized it is likely he will side with the magistrate." Apparently, these states who challenged the federal gun laws thought it would be a good idea to decide for themselves who can and cannot buy guns. The Brady Law, enacted in 1994, has prevented over 1.6 million prohibited people from buying guns. That seems like a pretty good law to me. Other gun laws are in the cue to be challenged. Watch for them.
In my own state, Governor Pawlenty just issued an executive order so that state agencies cannot accept any federal money for health care. Some state Governors, Attorneys General and Legislatures have decided to defy the Federal Government. Why? In Governor Pawlenty's case, it's pretty obvious that he is running for President and needs to have enough conservative "creds" to pass muster. Those in Montana, and the other states involved in the challenge to federal gun laws, could, under this scenario, sell guns made within their states to anyone they wanted to legally. Those in Minnesota who have been thrown off the Medicaid rolls for lack of state funds will not now be able to get back on with the federal funds provided to help out. Even the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce is now criticizing Governor Pawlenty for his decision because they would actually like to see what those health care exchanges would do for business. Oh well. So much for caring about the health, safety, lives and happiness of our citizens.
Some questions have to be asked. Does anyone realize that we are going backwards and not providing for the welfare of those who need it the most? Does anyone care that criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people can get guns in the secondary markets without background checks? Does anyone care that the citizens of the state of Minnesota, who pay their taxes for health care reform like everyone else won't be able to receive the benefits? Does anyone care that gun injuries and deaths cost our health care system billions of dollars every year?
Does anyone care that a sensible law which would stop prohibited people from buying guns in one of the secondary markets has been stopped again and again by the NRA? Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign, wrote this recently: Who Would Oppose Closing the Gun show Loophole? Helmke rightly says, " The easy access to guns by dangerous people continues to exist because of our nation's weak gun laws and the weak guns laws of so many states. The anemic laws in neighboring jurisdictions make it hard for cities to see the kind of progress that they could be seeing. And these anemic laws make it hard for residents of those communities to experience the kind of safety that they deserve a right to." It would be no secret I agree with Helmke and the majority of Americans ( gun owners and non-gun owners alike) also agree in poll after poll. I have already written about these polls in previous posts.
With heels dug in, we proceed in our hyperbolic conversation about guns and rights in this country. I am quite sure there is common ground somewhere. Can we get there? Can we talk? Can we agree on just a few things? I think we can. Let's look at the other definitions of the word "muster" from the link above: "
Welcome to Common Gunsense
I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.