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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Sensible Gun Laws - Now

Category: Guns
Posted: 10/03/17 14:45

by Dave Mindeman

Whenver I talk about guns, the gun nut trolls are usually all over it. And they never argue about the policy - no, they concentrate on my lack of technical expertise about guns. It seems that only those who subscribe to Guns and Ammo are allowed a voice at the table. Because we have to know the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons...about trigger locks...silencers...range...caliber...that sort of thing.

Well, I don't have that expertise. Never owned a gun in my life and I don't intend to...and I am not going to waste my time delving into the gun nut world of gadgets and gizmos.

All I care about is that guns in the hands of any one person can make a decision to kill other human beings. Yes, the gun is only an object...and it is harmless unless used for harm. But the gun culture created in this country is toxic. I keep going back to the fact that no other industrialized country has the level of gun problems that we do. And it doesn't have to be that way.

The 2nd Amendment does not have to be repealed. It doesn't need to be changed. But it does need to have appropriate, common sense gun laws associated with it. There is no Constitutional obstacle to gun restrictions. Gun use has to be defined for the purposes of public safety. We do not have the right to shoot anybody. There are laws regarding self defense, but they vary from state to state. You have the right to own a gun. You have the right to use it for self defense - but you are also obligated to adhere to the rules of public safety as legislated.

But we also have to deal with the ugly truth that gun laws are always under attack and are always granted loopholes that gun manufacturers work for and exploit.

This latest incident in Las Vegas should incite national outrage. The shooter modified his weaponry....

The speed, pattern and inconsistent rate of gunfire heard in videos of the Las Vegas shooting indicate the suspect could have used cheap and legal modification devices to accelerate the firing of a semi-automatic weapon to almost 700 rounds a minute. And the kinds of devices that would make that possible are readily available -- relatively cheaply on the internet -- even to people who can't qualify to buy an automatic weapon.

This is ridiculous. The gun industry finds mechanical methods to make firepower more lethal and cause more deaths. Deaths that are a direct result of gun manufacturer obsessions with circumventing legal gun restrictions.

It is also disturbing that gun manufacturers and their lobbying arm, the NRA, use hunters and sportspersons as virtual human shields for their non-sports firearms and the resulting carnage from misuse.

They convince the recreational hunter that any gun restriction is a slippery slope into regulations that will take away their right to own a gun and hunt. That is a bald face lie and they know it. They count on recruiting hunters into their membership to pick up this false narrative and strengthen their lobbying position.

There are some basic gun regulations that make common sense - will not damage the second amendment - and can make us all safer. But we have to directly take on the gun lobby to make it happen. That is hard but it is also a moral imperative.

For example- Universal background checks gets high marks in public polling. Yet, we cannot get this passed without loopholes. It should be a no-brainer that any gun sale (and I do mean ANY) should require a background check on the purchaser. And by that I mean any on-line sale, any gun show sale, and any sale to Uncle Bob or Grandpappy Amos. Any sale anywhere is not legal without a certified background check.

Is that so hard to understand? Do I have to know about the caliber of a firearm to support background checks?

As for these gadgets that increase firepower for legal weapons.... why can they just be sold without some kind of review from a panel of gun experts? Why is this kind of loophole sanctioned? Everything to do with a gun should be subject to a consumer test - to make sure it is useful and not lethal.

Background check information needs to be upgraded with more sophisticated systems. To be made as error free as possible. And the data base must be current at all times.

The biggest fear of the gun nut is the idea of some kind of universal government registry. Although that would be useful, an argument can be made that the 2nd Amendment might restrict that kind of use. Other countries do not have to worry about this - just us. But we don't need a universal registry - what we do need is a means to keep guns out of the hands of people who will do themselves harm or harm to others.

This doesn't have to be hard, but it is. It is an American tradition to make gun arguments impossible to resolve. Gun toters, by nature, seem to be susceptible to any kind of conspiracy theory imaginable. The gun industry depends on it, because they make half of them up.

But if we are to find a way to reduce the level of violence in this country, then responsible gun laws will have to be fought for at every government level.

No matter how hard it will be - we must begin - now.
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