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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

If Recruiters Get Armed-Then Include Tougher Background Checks

Category: Guns
Posted: 07/27/15 22:52

by Dave Mindeman

Minnesota Republicans in the legislature want to propose another gun law....

Some Republicans in the Legislature say they want to allow active military personnel in the state to carry firearms. The move would allow people in uniform to protect themselves if there is an attack on a military base or recruiting station, said Sen. Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa.

I will probably get myself into trouble with my liberal friends on this, but I tend to think of this proposal as a "reasonable" type gun law. After all, it has been made pretty clear that when these ISIS sympathizers strike out on their own, it is men and women in uniform that will be their primary targets.

But I would want more.

If the objective is to make everyone safer, then in addition to this proposal it is time to make every gun purchase or carrier subject to a full and complete background check. All military bases...all recruiting stations...would have personnel go through a rigorous check. All purchases - retail, private, or gun show - would all be subject to the same type of background check.

If Republicans want to pursue this step, then Democrats will want to lock those background checks into the legislation. If gun safety is the ultimate goal, then how could such a combination of legislation be a bad thing?

Heather Martens of Protect Minnesota, a gun regulation group, will probably fight this legislation...

The director of a gun control group says the proposal would allow military personnel to escape background checks aimed at screening for past domestic abuse cases. Improving the background check system, not arming more people, is a better answer, said Heather Martens of the group Protect Minnesota.

She makes a legitimate point, but if we alleviate her objection with full and complete background checks in combination with the proposal, couldn't everyone come around to a support of the tighter legislation?

These gun debates get long and very arduous. Often, what one side proposes becomes what the other side disposes. In the meantime, no one is being made safer and the deaths mount.

It's time for sensible solutions and forget the political talking points.

Let's all step back and find that third way.
comments (10) permalink

America Still Has That Gun Problem

Category: Guns
Posted: 06/19/15 08:06

by Dave Mindeman

I don't think there is anything I can add to any of the discussion about the shootings at that Charleston, SC church that is remotely new or illuminating. It is just such a sad and tragic event. Senseless. Full of hate.

And only in America does it happen like this.

President Obama echoed he sentiment that he has stated before:

Now is the time for mourning and for healing. But let's be clear. At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn't happen in other places with this kind of frequency. (Emphasis mine).

Yes, this is true. We do not have a monopoly on mental illness. We are not unique in having people with psychoses. We are not even alone in having a large number of people who hate and act on that hate.

But of all the advanced countries, only the United States stands out as to the number of these senseless mass shootings, year after year after year.

Back in January of 2013, I examined our trusted ally and fellow English speaking democracy, Australia, and how they reversed their legal stance on guns in that country - ending their own string of violent rampages.

I talked about it in a 4 part segment - The Shooter. The Event. The Reaction. The Comparisons.

It is an interesting study in what sensible gun legislation can do to change the nature of a society. Something we, in the US, refuse to do.

There is an enormous amount of lobbyist money coming from enormously profitable gun manufacturers to keep us from taking the kind of action that Australia did. Money that destroys the political will of the elected officials who could do something about it.

Gun lobbyists and the NRA are often desperate to keep us from focusing on our "gun problem" - and the spin they utilize in times like these is truly dizzying.

In this particular instance, the focus has been (and probably should be) on the individual's hateful motives. But the availability of guns make it so much easier for these lone individuals to magnify their destructive capabilities.

America needs a 12 step program on guns....but like any program, we first have to admit we have a problem.

We know what our democratic allies have done to change that culture; when we get around to admitting we have our own problem, there are good examples to follow.

We live in a time when terrorist acts are what we fear. And our country spends billions on making us safe from the remotest of chances of an actual occurence. And that is fine.

But one man with a gun can undermine all feelings of safety in one catastrophic moment, with one simple legal purchase, and a self motivated hate for someone different from himself.
comments (0) permalink

Gun Culture Wins Another One

Category: Guns
Posted: 04/25/15 16:25

by Dave Mindeman

Despite Democratic control in the MN Senate, there are elements of the Senate that should worry progressives.

In another indication that there is a NRA type majority in the MN Senate, that body tacked an amendment onto a bill that would remove the ban on gun silencers.

The amendment puts this policy change along side a change that would give felons who have served their sentences, the right to vote once more. It was that part of the total bill that caused most of the GOP minority to vote against the bill.

But the silencer amendment passed 40-23. To me, that is disturbing.

Gov. Dayton issued a veto threat on the silencer issue, but if this language stays in the final general bill, will that threat still hold?

The NRA influence in the legislator is much too strong. Even with Democratic majorities (in the current Senate and in the previous House), their policy demands always get undue attention. The NRA looks to promote a number of obscure gun laws that seem to be looking for a complete elimination of any gun restriction - no matter how minor. What possible value can there be for silencers? What general public purpose need is that addressing?

Gun culture dominates this society...it even permeates Minnesota.

This has to change.
comments (5) permalink
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