Actually that's a simple question to answer. The NRA has managed very nicely to intimidate elected leaders. They have worked hard at it for the last 30 years or so. And they have persuaded politicians that there will be dire consequences if they don't vote their way. And so, we have conceal and carry laws in all but one state ( Illinois) and Stand Your Ground Laws in 18 states. We have guns in National Parks. We have guns on Amtrak trains. We let the Assault Weapons Ban sunset in 2004. We have attempts to allow ( er ah) force college campuses to allow permit holders to carry on campus. These laws have not worked out so well and legislatures, even those who are subsidiaries of the NRA, have not managed to pass the bills. Colorado has some interesting gun laws. When the issue went to the voters in 2000, they voted in favor of a background check law for all gun sales at gun shows. But when it is up to conservative legislators and scared Democratic legislators, stupid and dangerous gun laws pass. So now that Colorado passed the law to force state colleges to let permit holders carry guns, against the will of the campus presidents and campus officials ( and most likely parents) on campus, the college officials are making their safety rules. Here is an article that describes the new rules:
Does anyone remember that the Aurora theater shooter had attended a University of Colorado campus? Surely we don't mean people like him. Except, he was not a prohibited purchaser so yes, that means people like him. Great idea, I say.The University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs are amending their student housing contracts, segregating students who possess a valid concealed-weapons carry permit.The university said Thursday that both campuses will establish a residential area for students over the age of 21 with permits. In all other dormitories, guns will be banned, the new policy states."The main dorms on the main campus will not allow any concealed-carry weapons," CU-Boulder spokesman Bronson Hilliard said.In addition, attendees at ticketed athletic and cultural events, such as football games and theater, on both campuses will not be permitted to bring their guns, officials said."We are treating that ticket purchase as a contractual agreement that you won't bring your weapon to the venue," Hilliard said.Less than 1 percent of the student-body population of each campus is believed to have a concealed-carry permit, school officials said.
Of course, the gun guys hate it when anyone tells them they don't like having their guns around in their place of business or place of learning or healing, or wherever those who are paranoid feel paranoid. Take libraries, for instance. I know I'm always spooked out about who could be hiding behind the fiction Aa-Br shelf. In Virginia, the gun guys are all in a lather because the good folks in the Richmond library don't really care for their loaded guns inside of the quiet place of reading and learning.
It wasn't good enough for these guys when the library director said she would change the signs to reflect current law. They had to show up anyway to make a point and be right in people's faces:More than 30 gun owners sporting side arms and orange stickers that said "Guns save lives" filled tables Wednesday at the Richmond Public Library's main branch on East Franklin Street as part of a "read-in" organized by the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League.The demonstration was held to protest the wording of a library regulation concerning carrying concealed weapons that drew the attention of the 5,000-member gun-rights group. The regulation says carrying concealed weapons is prohibited, "except as permitted by law." A version of the regulation on the library website, since amended, formerly said carrying concealed weapons in the library was prohibited.Virginia Citizens Defense League President Philip Van Cleave and other gun-rights advocates who showed up for the demonstration called on city officials to get rid of the policy, because holders of concealed-firearms permits are legally allowed to carry inside the library.
Elizabeth Triplett, acting library director, said the library had changed its regulations to reflect the right of concealed-carry permit holders to lawfully carry their firearms but had not updated the website. An updated list of regulations was reviewed by the city attorney in February. The inconsistency was noticed last week when the group pointed it out, she said.
"It was our oversight that we didn't have the current one on the website," she said.
Triplett, who has worked for the library for 33 years, said she had never heard of an instance in which a gun owner's right to carry inside the library — either openly or concealed — was restricted.
She added that the library's policies, which were developed by the staff with help from the city attorney's office, exist "to help us make our spaces inviting places to visit … inviting and safe."
"We welcome everybody into the library," she said. "We know that is the law, and we'll comply with the law."
Quietly perusing titles that ranged from "Armed America" to "My Life With Charlie Brown," by comic strip artist Charles M. Schulz, the gun owners included older couples and at least one family with young children, with a man wearing a shoulder-holstered semi-automatic tending to a toddler.Many library patrons did not like the idea, as you can imagine. Seeing someone with a semi-automatic on his shoulder makes you wonder what in the world he is thinking. And he was tending to a toddler! This is the NRA's version of America. Most people do not agree:
The presence of so many armed people stunned some library regulars.
"I was just kind of astounded," said Lamont Burrell, 39, of Richmond. "I didn't know what was going on."
Several said the demonstration made them uncomfortable.
Katrina Riley, a 33-year-old mother from Richmond, said the library is among her 9-year-old son's favorite places.
"I don't really agree with it," she said, adding that a library wasn't a place for guns. "I was definitely caught off guard by it. I won't even have a weapon in my home."
Riley said she was in favor of "more stipulations" in gun laws.
"Just because you have a paper that says you can tote a gun … a whole bunch of those people shouldn't be allowed to have weapons," she said.
Timothy Wilson, 44, wasn't sure whether armed citizens made a place like the library safer or more dangerous, given the recent mass shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin.
"With things going on today, it's hard to say," he said. "I've never seen a need for anyone to bring a gun in here."
Van Cleave said many of his group's members, including him, carry their guns openly all the time, citing the unpredictability of events such as the Aurora, Colo., theater massacre.
"You never know when a criminal's going to strike," he said, rejecting the notion that some public places should be firearm-free. "Who needs a gun in a movie theater? Well, they found out."The last quote from the article: " "Everyone has their rights," she said. "It's just odd."" Odd indeed. Someone with common sense understands what this is all about. Van Cleave tries to make us all believe that someone in the Aurora movie theater with a gun could have changed the outcome. He has absolutely no standing to say that. It hasn't worked so far in a mass shooting. In point of fact, many of the mass shooters are law abiding people with guns until suddenly, they are not. That was true in Aurora. That was true in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. That was true in College Station, Texas. How do these guys continue to get away with saying stuff like this? If you want to see a great back and forth about whether some of the mass shooters and the shooters in examples I gave in my last blog are, indeed, law abiding, check it out for yourself. We do not need guns in libraries and on college campuses. There is no reason for people to have them there. Gun free zones do not invite criminals with guns to shoot people. Those folks intent on doing harm shoot people anywhere. The idea that a criminal or law abiding citizen thinks ahead of time about whether someone inside of a place will have a gun is just a specious argument. The best example of this is people who attack and/or shoot police officers knowing that they are armed. It happens almost every day in America. I counted 4 officer shootings in the past few days but you can read more here. Even officers with guns can't defend themselves against an armed individual.
The pro gun side just hates it when law abiding gun owners shoot innocent people. Their arguments that only criminals shoot people are ridiculous and unfounded, of course. But never mind. They still try to claim otherwise. If they have to admit that law abiding gun owners are only criminals after they have shot someone, then their whole thesis about the reason for carrying guns in public places just doesn't work. If someone has passed a background check and/or gets a legal permit to carry, they are law abiding. Or at least we can hope so. There are many people who shouldn't have gotten permits and should be on the prohibited purchasers FBI list. They are not because of our loose gun laws. You can check out this map to see how many records of dangerously mentally ill people are NOT sent to the NICS date base. This is bad news, everyone. Way too many people who shouldn't be are allowed to carry guns around in public. In addition, law abiding people make mistakes or get angry or drunk and shoot people in public places or at home. It happens. To deny it is stupid and dangerous. That is what has led to way too many victims of shootings in America.
Aren't we better than this?
It turns out, just as I wrote above, that most Americans do NOT want loaded guns around in public places. This new polling shows that the people who do favor guns in churches and other public places are people are labeled as tea partiers. Why should we be surprised? From the article:
"Although the issue of gun control tends to divide Americans by party, gender, region and race, there is broad agreement among the public that there are some places where concealed weapons should be off limits," said PRRI Research Director Daniel Cox in a statement.The poll was conducted between Aug. 8 and 12, with a sample space of 1,006 adults. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.According to the PRRI poll, overall roughly three-quarters of Americans oppose concealed carry of guns into various facilities, with 76 percent opposing them in worship facilities, 73 percent opposing them in government facilities, and 77 percent opposing them on college campuses.Other findings from the poll included 52 percent of Americans favoring tougher gun laws and 68 percent of Americans believing that the constitutional right to own a gun is as important as other rights.
And, of course, we have the expected reaction from the NRA regarding guns on the University of Colorado campuses. From this article in Media Matters, we learn that, as usual, the NRA is trying to find excuses for why they are the poor picked on folks and even discriminated against for their views on guns. The following excerpt is from an exchange between Cam Edwards, NRA radio show host and an attorney who helped overturn the ruling against guns on Colorado campuses:
Nice try. But it just doesn't compare. The University President has stated the reasons quite clearly for keeping those very few students ( less than 1%) from the other students, most of whom are too young to apply for a carry permit) in separate housing:"CAM EDWARDS, HOST: The ban was struck down and today the University of Colorado announced what they are going to do with concealed carry holders who want to live on campus. Basically they are not going to be able to live in the regular dorms; instead the campus is going to push them off to a number of family housing units. Right?JIM MANLEY, MOUNTAIN STATES LEGAL FOUNDATION: Right. It's sort of a policy of "separate but equal." If you want to exercise your Second Amendment rights you have to live in a segregated dorm essentially."
"School officials believe this new policy will prevent potentially dangerous living situations on-campus because many students who live in the dorms are under the age of 21 and can't legally carry a gun.
"With the potential of having a roommate that may appropriately have a concealed carry permit and then the gun being mishandled by another student or friend or something like that," said [Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Deb] Coffin."Do you think? And further, from the article:
"The approach would only affect, potentially, a very small number of individuals. An analysis by the University of Colorado shows that 0.6 percent of the faculty, staff and students on campus possess a CCP [Concealed Carry Permit]. A full 96 percent of CU-Boulder undergraduate students living in the residence halls are under the age of 21, and are thus ineligible to have a CCP. Of the 4 percent of eligible students, about half living on campus are CU Resident Advisers, or "RAs," who as CU employees would not be permitted to live in undergraduate halls and possess a CCP. "
They just keep coming. That's because it is inevitable that "law abiding" gun owners are getting bolder or maybe it's just because there are more of them so naturally the pool is going to include idiots. The difference with having idiots who claim that women who are raped can't get pregnant, as did Republican Representative and Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, is that idiots with guns are potentially dangerous to innocent people. Such was this Connecticut man who threatened some innocent people, including children, by pointing his AR-15 out of his car window. Just great. From the article:
As with the 2 guys at the Rite Aid store who got into it over taking cuts in line, this guy was mad because someone questioned his dangerous driving behavior. When people with guns get angry, they might just use that gun. I wonder if this guy was a "law abiding" gun owner. I am guessing at "yes."Kevin Kovalik said Monday he was among the group that Richmond threatened around 5:20 p.m. Sunday. Kovalik said he was pulling out of his mother's driveway and was almost sideswiped by Richmond's white Cadillac at the intersection of Shewville Road and Whitford Road after Richmond drove through a stop sign. An argument ensued, Kovalik said, before Richmond drove away. Kovalik said at the time, a large group, including his three children, were in the front yard of his mother's house, next to the intersection. Kovalik said he called police because of Richmond's erratic driving.According to a prosecutor's report, Richmond returned to the scene a short time later and pointed the gun out the window as he drove by the house."Several children were present and saw the barrel of the rifle pointed at them," Officer Rick McSwain wrote in his report.
Since I referenced the shooting at a Rite Aid store over taking cuts, I am going to add a story here of yet another "law abiding" gun permit holder going off in a store. This man got into an argument at an Oregon store and shot a man during the argument:
How many more????A Clackamas-area man has been arrested in the shooting of another customer Tuesday in the Clackamas Fred Meyer store.After reviewing surveillance video and interviewing witnesses, Clackamas County sheriff's deputies arrested Jerry Thomas Harryman, 66, accusing him of first-degree assault. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in Clackamas County Circuit Court. Meanwhile, he is being held in the Clackamas County Jail, with bail set at $250,000.Harryman had a concealed handgun license, which was revoked upon his arrest.