Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Virginia Tech and the Next Round of Gun Control Legislation

News today will go from the actual event to the propaganda war on gun control. This, as most gun owners understand, is the normal progression of things in the MSM. The first day rarely has much discussion of it by the big talking heads, but it only takes a day to turn this into a further attempt to restrict the rights of the law abiding citizen.

The LATimes is fairly typical:
Monday's deadly rampage at Virginia Tech sparked a largely one-sided response in the long-running debate over guns.

Gun control advocates said the shootings pointed to the need for tougher laws, while supporters of gun rights generally kept their heads down.
I always like that they seem to want everyone to believe that the gun owners are hiding from the event, instead of the reality that gun advocates are waiting for all of the information, rather than going ballistic over what happened. Most gun rights advocates want to know whether the guns were legally owned or stolen and more about the situation before making statements that will later be held to account.
And leaders of both major political parties expressed sympathy for victims and their families, while avoiding comment on gun control.

In brief remarks from the White House, President Bush expressed the nation's grief over the carnage in Blacksburg, Va. "Schools should be places of sanctuary and learning," he said. "When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom and every American community."

Bush, a longtime champion of the right to bear arms, said nothing about the gun control debate.
Why would Bush say anything about gun control? Why would he dilute the message of sympathy to discuss something that is a peripheral issue at the immediate time of the event? Of course, that is a wonderful way of vilifying the President. But they are fair and balanced in their coverage of his presidency so there is little doubt that they must be fair here. (/sarcasm).
However, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y), whose husband was among six people killed by a gunman who opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993, added a political note to her statement of sympathy. "The unfortunate situation in Virginia could have been avoided if congressional leaders stood up to the gun lobby."
McCarthy, on the other hand, dove right in to stand in the blood and preach. She doesn't know any more than anyone else does about the facts, but it must all be because there aren't enough gun laws.
Virginia's gun laws make it easy to buy and own firearms, including handguns, and the state often has been criticized as the source of guns used in crimes in the Washington area and other East Coast cities. But it is not known what role, if any, state laws may have played in the Blacksburg killings.
Virginia's laws make it easy? What do they do, hand out chits that give you a free gun? As for the "source of guns" concept, that just doesn't fly. We here that in NH about Boston gun crime all the time. The problem with the argument is still the issue of Washington's criminals committing a crime by stealing or acquiring by other illegal means, firearms from another location. Does anyone believe that they will obey another law when they flagrantly disregarded the existing gun laws?

Interestingly they do report on similar reactions by the NRA and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.
The National Rifle Assn., the nation's leading gun lobby, expressed its condolences but said, "We will not have further comment until all the facts are known."

Joshua Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, sounded an equally cautious note. "I can't say how this will play into the debate until we know how old the shooter was and how he got his guns."
Now, from the start of the article, the NRA must be "keeping their heads down" while the the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is doing what? Sometimes reporters surprise you.

Another report from CQToday gives us the babbling of the politicians that was essentially ignored by the rest of the MSM.
Gun control advocates in Congress quickly cited the Virginia Tech shootings as evidence of the need for tighter firearm restrictions.

“I believe this will reignite the dormant effort to pass common-sense gun regulations in this nation,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein said Monday. The California Democrat has led efforts to renew the expired ban on so-called assault weapons (PL 103-322).

Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said gun control legislation “could be” a possibility. “Let’s find out what the facts are,” Specter said.
No surprise from Feinstein. Being in that league of having had a federal concealed carry permit, and no doubt having private security, she can call for more restrictions on those of us that can't afford body guards.

And when is PA going to dump that imbecile Specter?

The article ends with a timeline on the Gun Manufacturer Liability Act. Not sure why, but there it is.

The Blogsphere will be warming up to the topic shortly as well. The Puffington Host had this to say:
The political response to the unspeakable tragedy at Virginia Tech can go two ways.
#1: Put the responsibility on the citizenry. Encourage people to be more suspicious of each other, and to report anyone they think might rampage.
#2: Put responsibility on the soft gun laws that allow anyone who wants guns to obtain as many of virtually whatever they want, especially at gun shows, where in Virginia there are no regulations or background checks.
The first is quite interesting, since that is exactly what the libertarians, and most gun rights advocates, want of the citizenry on all topics. Though I wouldn't phrase it that way. Why is it that if someone is acting insanely or dangerously we are being suspicious of them and not just seeing the obvious. Am I being suspicious of someone hiding in a dark alley or being prudent in my assessment of risk? Maybe he just didn't mean it the way it came out. (Not that I believe that.)

The second one is quite funny as well. Background checks are required of all firearms purchases from dealers. Private sales in nearly all states do not require them, even in many of the most draconian gun-control states. The contention that you can just buy a gun anywhere, especially gun shows without a background check is completely factually challenged.

Oddly I found this entry at the scienceblogs.
I'm down in Chile observing at the moment. I woke up to get lunch. The TV is always running here, even if nobody is watching. (It kind of drives me nuts.) Well, today, the news is awful: at least 21 people killed in a shooting rampage in a college in Virginia.

Another astronomer, not an American, watching, says, "They need gun control."

Isn't that always the response? There's a horrible tragedy with guns, and our first instinct is to further restrict the legality of guns. Now, I know that most of the science bloggers here are firmly in favor of gun control, and indeed that most of the world thinks America is nutty in terms of how legal guns are already. But I think that this "we need more gun control!" that is cried whenever there is a highly publicized gun tragedy is part of a larger, and dangerous, pattern.

Something bad happens. It horrifies us. It scares us. We want to feel protected, we want to feel that others are safe and protected. We go to what is practically a feudal response: put the government, put our feudal masters, in more control over us, so that people can't go and do terrible things like that.
Interesting statement.

I won't bother looking at any gun rights advocate sites. The response there will be obvious.

Well, no doubt this will escalate into a shouting match shortly. Hopefully, cooler heads will prevail.

1 comment:

geekwife said...

Well, the news today is that the shooter lived in a dorm - where it was illegal to have a gun. So I'm having a hard time seeing how more laws are going to solve this one. Maybe if they make it double-dog-illegal to have a gun on a campus, THAT will do the trick.

I know! Let's pass a law that makes it illegal to kill someone! That'll make murders stop. Oh, wait...