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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Gun Culture Wins Another One

Category: Guns
Posted: 04/25/15 10:25

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

College Students Right To Carry? That's More Of The Crazy

Category: Guns
Posted: 06/09/14 19:27

by Dave Mindeman

What do you think of a column that starts out like this:

Pepper spray, police and cardboard signs failed to prevent the June 5 Seattle Pacific University shooting. Let's stop mass violence on college campuses by defending college students' right to carry firearms on campus.

I'm not sure why we allow the NRA and their advocates to produce this "guns everywhere" idea as any kind of solution for mass violence.

I have a 17 year old son who is a senior in high school, but within a year he will be attending college. I cannot for the life of me imagine him carrying a weapon on his person or being around a campus full of 18 and 19 year olds with loaded guns. I trust his judgment - but why tempt fate?

Wayne LaPierre told us, after Sandy Hook, that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun". And he was allowed to say that nonsense without impunity. It has become an argument to debate....instead of the just plain crazy idea that it is.

Allow a person to carry a gun anywhere they want, as the NRA advocates, is to empower them with acting on their own. It is a virtual license to take matters into your own hands.

We give police officers hours and hours of training and testing to be able to discern when and how to properly use a firearm - and yet gun advocates believe themselves capable of making that judgment with a few hours on the firing range.

It is foolish and improper - and to actually conceive of it as a "solution" to violence is a non-starter.

We have serious problems in this country when it comes to guns. Almost every other civilized nation in the world has more restrictions on firearms than we do.....and they all have fewer deaths from guns as well. Yet, we cannot get the simplest gun regulation passed in this country because the NRA has the political debate locked up and under their control.

Extended background checks. Safety locks. Gun studies by the CDC. Restrictions on mental capacity and criminal records. DNA use technology. All of these things are set aside and not acted upon, pending approval from the NRA, which is an extension of the gun manufacturing lobby.

This is backwards politics and it has to stop. I don't know what will convince the American public that gun violence has to be stopped with common sense gun safety legislation. Guns themselves are not rights. Guns are not toys. Guns are not symbols of freedom. They are weapons. Weapons used to kill. And they need limits - as do the people who use them.

That's not crazy - that's common sense.
comments (8) permalink

Second Amendment Is There In Case We Become Mexico?

Category: Guns
Posted: 05/14/14 00:38

by Dave Mindeman

The Minnesota legislature finally broke through and passed a common sense gun law. The new regulation is summed up this way:

Minnesota already prevents convicted domestic abusers from owning handguns. The bill would broaden those restrictions to include rifles and any other firearms. It also would prohibit anyone subject to a temporary protective order from having a firearm. The measure would allow those weapons to be turned over to a friend or relative while the order is in effect.

Although this law makes perfect sense, it had to go through an enormous amount of vetting and scrutiny. However, it looks like it will become law.

Although this issue is finally moving forward, there are a lot of ideas on guns out there that continue to make other gun issues so hard to deal with.

The constant mistrust of government involvement. The fear of any regulation as a conspiracy or plot. The paranoid idea that taking matters into your own hands is better than leaving it up to the proper authorities.

Case in point. Mitch Berg at Shot in the Dark has a post which is a perfect example. Using the Second Amendment as his cover, he writes about Mexico and its vigilante "heroes".

Citizen militias have been winning parts of Mexico back from the narcotraficantes. To do this, they've broken what pass for "the rules"; they've fought violence with violence; they've used weapons that are utterly illegal in Mexico (assault rifles, obtained by the same illegal means that people always use to obtain guns where guns are banned). And it's worked.

I guess that means, essentially, that there is no law. "The rules" are the laws of Mexico and we are talking about citizens ignoring those laws and ignoring the elected government. Fighting violence with violence is encouraged and applauded.

These vigilante groups want the government to stay out of it. They want a way of life that even the "Old West' mentality would cringe at.

Yes, Mexico has an out of control situation. And yes, the government has been incompetent - made worse by a culture of insane bribery and corruption that cannot protect the average citizen.

But given all that, if there is no attempt to use proper legal means to fix this, then how in the world can innocent people (people uncomfortable with brandishing weapons as a means necessary for normal daily life) be protected at all? Is Mexico going to go back to a feudal system. Small protectorates that are essentially gangs fighting other gangs - where might makes right.

What is disturbing about all of it is the "admiration" of this situation - as if this is some prime example of why we need a Second Amendment in America. Berg seems to believe that there is some kind of correlation between this Mexican chaos and what is happening in the US.

Berg sums it up this way:

This is precisely why the Second Amendment is, and must always be, a right of the people; because government at best is modestly capable of doing the right thing, and at worst is as bad as or worse than the problem, when it isn't itself the problem.

So when we try to enact common sense gun laws in a country, our country, that still believes in the rule of law - we are, somehow infringing on a made up right to ignore our government's regulations if some of us do not believe they are adequate for our own interpretation of our own protection. Is that the idea here?

The right to bear arms does not give us a right to ignore laws we may not agree with. The right to bear arms is not some right to a shadow government. The right to bear arms does not supersede courts and law enforcement.

Nobody is taking guns away from anyone. But if owning guns for some, is more important than the legal protections of everyone else, then we might as well become Mexico - and hope we don't get caught in the crossfire.
comments (0) permalink
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