- I just can't understand, nor can most sane people, why gun rights advocates have a need to display their guns openly in the Minnesota State Capitol. Of whom or what are they afraid? Or is to intimidate? And, by the way, it looks terribly uncomfortable to be carrying that piece of lead around on one's waist. I wonder if anyone thought about how easy it would be for someone sitting close by to reach over and grab the gun? Just a thought.
- Some of the pro gun rights folks continued their stream of tweets at some of us on the gun violence prevention side. Why? Who knows? Intimidation? Stupidity? Threatening? Calling someone a Communist who has just lost his father in a horrific mass shooting at Accent Signage is not a good idea. Why do they do it? Why taunt us and demean us by Twitter? Rude. Offensive. Unnecessary. Immature.
- One of the pro gun rights activists apparently was standing close enough to me and another gun violence prevention activist to overhear a private conversation with a State Senator at a rally at the Capitol on Monday and then tweeted about it. What's that all about? Paranoia? Creepy. Why do they care so much about what we are saying? Why do they watch us so closely? Why do they seem nervous when a group of us gather at the Capitol to talk? Why do they want to make group attacks on our Facebook pages and blogs? Why do they want to attend our events? I'm just asking.
- A State Senator asked this question of the ATF agent who made a presentation in favor of requiring background checks and other common sense gun measures: " Another GOP member, Sen. Warren Limmer of Maple grove, said clubs, baseball bats and hammers are "far more dangerous, and used more often, than a gun.""There's an obvious answer to that ridiculous question. Murder by gun in 2008= 9,840. Murder by blunt object in 2008=614. Other sources provide similar data. Facts matter. Come on. We are talking about people's lives here. Let's please deal with the facts at the very least.
- Former NRA Board member and Hamlin Law School professor, Joe Olsen, long suffering advocate for not passing reasonable gun laws in Minnesota ( according to testimony, he was tired of coming before the legislature to deal with these issues) told legislators that those of us on the side of preventing gun deaths and injuries had questionable motives and that the universal background check bill would surely lead to registration. Never mind that there is nothing in the bill that would lead a reasonable person to believe that. But paranoia reigns. He was challenged by a Senator who pointed out to him that there was no such language in the bill and that she doubted that we had such motivations. By the way, my testimony included the fact that I, too, am tired of coming before the legislature asking for reasonable measures to stop the senseless shootings. I also mentioned that I had no motivation other than to save lives. But perhaps my views don't matter as much as those of the uber powerful NRA? I'm just wondering.
- Facts matter. Universal background checks will NOT lead to registration. The background checks now completed by federally licensed dealers do NOT lead to a gun registry. Extending those checks to private sales will NOT lead to a gun registry. They will be the very same NICS checks that presumably Olsen now is willing to undergo when buying guns from a FFL. Why worry about going through the same checks from a private seller? What is this really about?
- Some on the gun rights side claimed that there is no private sale loophole in Minnesota law. They are wrong, of course. There is. There is no requirement for private sellers to ask buyers to go through a background check at gun shows or other venues. There are copious hidden camera videos showing that to be true. One of our own members went to two gun shows and purchased an assault type weapon and .40 Glock ( the gun used by Cho at the Virginia Tech shooting) with no questions asked from a private seller. He said he didn't want to go through a background check. The seller said "no problem" and he walked out with the guns. He has brought the assault rifle to the legislature before to explain his experience. Here is a "hidden camera" video of Colin Goddard, Virginia Tech survivor, going to gun shows all over the U.S. and buying many guns with no background check, no questions asked. One of these gun shows was in Minnesota.
- There are many other of these videos with similar experiences. In addition, Armslist.com provides an Internet venue for purchases of guns with no background checks. Two testifiers said they had checked this website in the past few days and found more than a few Minnesota private sellers advertising their guns for sale on the site. Does everyone remember that the domestic shooter of last summer's Milwaukee mass shooting got his gun from Armslist? Gun laws matter.
- In polling data from the past many years, gun owners and NRA members have supported, at the least, universal background checks. I have written about this many many times in this blog. The gun rights folks insisted that they had their own poll showing that 90% of NRA members are opposed to universal background checks. I haven't seen that one. Facts matter. The majority of gun owners and even NRA members favor universal background checks at the least. I guess that minority who don't agree were the ones sitting in the room at the hearing.
- More NRA tired talking points came from the same GOP Senator quoted above- from this article: ""Sen. Warren Limmer, R-Maple Grove, said regulating access to guns will not necessarily cut down on violence.“The individual is the one that makes the decision to exact some evil intent on another and the inanimate object is nothing more than a tool,” he said."
- Really folks. People are dying. We have moved beyond this trite argument haven't we? After the Sandy Hook school shooting, it's time to move forward with some reasonable discussions that include how to stop senseless shootings and save lives. What good does it do to say that regulating guns will not cut down on violence? Regulating car safety features has cut down on deaths by car accident. Regulating the blood alcohol level of drives has cut down on some accidental auto deaths. Regulating where people can smoke will reduce illness caused by smoking. Regulating childrens' toys has and will stop accidental deaths. Regulating airport security requiring us to take off our shoes and go through screening has stopped terrorist attacks on airplanes after 9/11. Think about it- one man tried to set his shoe on fire on an airplane, didn't succeed, and now we have to take our shoes off at airport security lines. Of course regulating guns, who can buy them, who can carry them, what kinds of guns and ammunition can be accessed, sending all records to the NICS system of prohibited purchasers, etc. will save lives and cut down on violence. That's just common sense. How can these folks get away with continuing to say this stuff?
Oh, and yes, there was talk about the militia, about Nazis, about folks coming across our borders to attack, about a tyrannical government, about nullification, and more. One of the pro gun guys went after a friend of mine whose daughter was kidnapped, raped and murdered by two young men who got their gun from the father of one of them. He said that the gun didn't rape her daughter or kidnap her daughter. Really? Come on. What a stupid and offensive thing to say to someone who lost her young daughter in such a violent and senseless way. Do these guys have compassion at all for victims? They don't like us. For we tell stories that counter their faulty reasoning. We tell stories that just might change the minds of our elected leaders who have been under the thumb of people like them for far too long. They accuse us of "dancing in the blood of victims" when we tell real life stories of friends and family who have been shot to death. Shame on them. Why do they do this? It's uncouth, tasteless, rude, offensive and more. It's not necessary and does nothing to further the discussion. And then they wonder why we don't want to have any discussions with them? We can't possibly have discussions with people who are offensive and hate victims. They tell us they know where we live. Why? What do they intend? They send us anonymous things in the mail. They threaten the businesses of people who testify. They write blogs about us. They take photos of us at the hearings. Why? What are they going to do with those photos? They sometimes threaten us. Why? Why? Why? Why the paranoia and fear?
Where do they get this stuff? Straight from Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA:
I rest my case. We can save lives by passing reasonable measures to keep guns away from those who shouldn't have them. These measures are not unconstitutional. The second amendment co-exists with reasonable gun laws. Why do the gun rights folks not object to the current system of requirements to get a background check when buying a gun from a licensed dealer? They subject themselves to this terribly inconvenient practice daily. They go to local law enforcement for their permits to acquire and permits to carry their guns. They already comply with many common sense measures. They claim to be law abiding. If so, why object to keeping those who aren't from getting and using guns that kill innocent people? Why? Why? I have heard no good answers. The time is now to act. The time is past for far too many innocent victims. The country came to an agreement on 12/14 when 20 little children were massacred. The country is saying that these children and the many other victims including the almost 2000 who have been shot and killed since 12/14 deserve a vote. The country is telling their local, state and federal politicians to stop pandering to the NRA lobbyists, whose views have become increasingly irrelevant and strident, and do the right thing. Surely we are better than this as a country. Let's get to work.