American Elephants

The Do Something Urge v. The Complications of Reality. by The Elephant's Child

In the saga of the prevention of the next mass shooting, there are many stories. One comes from the failed state of California. California authorities are empowered to seize weapons — owned by convicted felons and people with mental illness.  Unfortunately staff shortages and funding cuts have left a backlog of more than 19,700 people to disarm, according to a law enforcement official.

Those 19,700 convicted felons and people with mental illness (assuming that there is real reason to identify them as dangerous) typically acquired the firearms legally, before they were convicted of a felony or diagnosed with mental illness. There are many felonies that do not involve threatening anyone with firearms, nor indicate any difference between those who have no problem pointing guns at innocent people and those who do not. Sounds pretty inexact. Nevertheless, those 19,700 people have roughly 39,000 weapons.

Each year, the state investigates and seizes the guns of about 2.000 people on the Armed Prohibited Persons list, but each year about 3,000 names are added to the list. The bureau does not have the funding to keep up.

Testimony and theater. Anti-gun activists summoned dead children.  Law enforcement officials displayed weapons, retired legislators complained that they were intimidated by gun-rights advocates. Victims of gun crimes somberly recounted their stories. Proposals for a 5¢ tax on every bullet purchased. Legislation drafted to require ammunition buyers to provide a thumbprint and ID for background checks. A suggestion that cities and counties be able to enact their own, tougher gun laws. A proposal that gun owners be licensed and insured like motorists drew some opposition.”There is a big question of whether you can license a constitutional right.” Well, so there is.

In the saga of the prevention of the next mass shooting, there are many stories. Unfortunately the record of past mass shooters is one of unknown people with unrecognized problems borrowing or stealing weapons and carefully planning in secret to commit a dreadful act. There really isn’t anything much that government can do to prevent these dreadful one-off, Black Swan events which have actually been growing less frequent. Britain and Australia engaged in complete gun-banning, confiscation of all firearms, strong laws to prevent violence, and crime has increased drastically, violence increased. home invasions increased. The record is quite clear. But a dreadful event happened and everyone wants to do something.

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If the murdering bastard in Sandy Hook didn’t have access to his mother’s assault rifles, 26 innocent lives wouldn’t have been lost. Connecticut law worked when he tried to buy a gun at Dick’s sporting goods a couple of weeks before the shooting and was denied. So the issue in this particular case was a clueless mother with a gun fetish who allowed her mentally ill son access to her weapons since he couldn’t obtain his own. How did that work out for her?


Comment by Carolina W. Rollins

The AR-15 rifle in question is not an “assault rifle.” There is no such thing as an assault rifle except that anything used in an assault can be called an “assault weapon,” which can be a butcher knife or a baseball bat.The AR-15 is a modern sporting rifle, popular for its light weight and ease of use. The AR does not stand for “assault rifle,”or”automatic rifle,” it stands for ArmaLite rifle, the company that developed it in the 1950s. AR-15 rifles look something like a military weapon, but function like other semi-automatic civilian sporting firearms, firing only one round with each pull of the trigger.

What can be legitimately called am assault rifle is a fully automatic — a machine gun. Such weapons have been restricted from civilian ownership since 1934.

The boy’s mother owned guns. There is nothing to indicate that she was either “clueless” or had a “gun fetish.” Since she owned guns, she taught her children how to use them, which is the correct thing to do. Did she have a gun safe? Did she keep them under lock and key? We don’t know. Did the boy have the key or the combination, we don’t know.She was apparently trying to get help for her son— which is what set him off.

The right to own and use weapons is guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Many people own guns because they enjoy shooting at a range, want guns for protection, or because they hunt. Shooting is an Olympic sport. I had been taught how to shoot by the time I was 6 or 7.

An attack on little helpless schoolchildren is especially heartrending, and everyone who has children can imagine sending their kid off to school and having something like this happen, and God knows we want to do something to prevent such things. Newtown has voted to put armed guards in each school. Most large schools seem to have something called school resource officers, certainly one could be trained to act as a guard. That seems to be the best chance we have.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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