When is the right time?

We should mourn the loss of innocent American lives at the hands of one shooter. We should offer our prayers, thoughts and support to the victims, injured, caregivers and their families and friends. And, we should demand from our lawmakers to act like parents and grandparents and to stiffen our gun governance.

NRA funded politicians, who unfortunately include the leaders of the two chambers of Congress and the White House, say now is not the time to discuss gun control. When is the time? The NRA is likely horse whispering in their ears to stiff arm the gun control proponents until the crisis abates. Then, lip service will be given to the subject as it is defeated once again, given the NRA’s ability to highly mobilize its confederation of zealous followers, even though they are small in number.

Speaker Paul Ryan has noted that it is more than a gun issue, it is a mental health issue. Two comments – it is a mental health issue, but make no mistake about it, access to guns is an issue. As an aside, there is an obvious disconnect between saying it is a mental health issue and supporting legislation that would kick twenty million Americans off their health plans, which include mental health benefits.

Now is the time to address better gun governance. It is actually passed time. Gun homicide deaths per capita in the US dwarf that of other western and non-western countries. When suicides are factored in, we look even worse.

I have written multiple posts over the years about better gun governance. Before summarizing them yet again, let me add what I have mentioned before – it is a mental health issue, it is a civil discourse issue, it is a safe gun storage issue, it is a violent entertainment issue and it is a drug crime issue which has infiltrated places of poverty. On the gun control side:

– background checks on all weapon purchases are essential,

– elongated waiting periods are also key, as this will help with suicide prevention and give time for authorities to track purchases – the Las Vegas shooter bought 33 highly lethal weapons in one year,

– finger printed trigger mechanisms (or the like) would prevent accidental deaths by kids and teens,

– ammunition needs to be coded so that bullets used in crimes can be traced, and

– like the expired Brady Law (another NRA victory), automatic assault weapons (and devices to convert semi-automatic weapons) have no place in non-miiitary settings.

The sad truth is the significant majority of Americans want the first two items to occur. Yet, nothing happens. Not only that, actions have been taken to make it easier to buy guns (if mental health is a concern, why did this Congress take people on Social Security disability for mental health reasons off the watch list for gun purchases?).

Now is the time. And, when you hear people say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” the response is no “people with access to guns kill people. No gun, no gun death. No automatic weapon, fewer multiple gun deaths.

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23 thoughts on “When is the right time?

  1. The right time was after Sandy Hook — if not before. Obama could have gone before the citizens of this country and urged them to write their Congressmen. The weight of thousands of letters might have helped balance the power of the lobbies. Perhaps. But Obama never took advantage of his exceptional oratorical skills — as did Ronald Reagan. This man now in office doesn’t really give a damn.

    • Hugh, agreed that he could have done more, although he did push hard. The dilemma with the NRA, is they mobilize their small zealous group of followers. A Congressional Rep once said, I see the survey data showing what Americans want, but the NRA followers fill their phone lines much more than the gun control proponents. Plus, with gerrymandering, they get their followers to vote better than other groups, so they can take out a more moderate GOP incumbent. Keith

  2. I have never really understood the need ‘to bear arms,’ but I do respect that it is part of the American constitution and difficult to repeal. However, in addition to your worthy control ideas Keith, I could add a couple here.

    An individual should not have the right to own more than one firearm unless it can be demonstrated that it is needed for a specific and controlled purpose.

    All new firearms sold to the general public should have more safety features (a safety catch automatically on until removed manually each time it is fired) and send out a warning signal when it is subjected to the heat of a hand…(a bit like a vehicle that reverses sending out a warning to people close by).

    This will cut down on gun violence, but not eliminate it.
    And let’s face it, the lack of a gun doesn’t stop violence…it merely sends it in a different direction with anything that could constitute a weapon.

    • Colette, good ideas. We have too many avoidable gun deaths. Kids picking up a weapon should not be able to fire it – safety features, training and storage would help.

      Too many arguments end in a shooting death. If a gun is present, the likelihood for a homicide and suicide is much higher. Canadians like their guns too, but their rate of gun deaths is far lower than ours. Keith

    • Hello colettebytes, The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      This Amendment is to protect the ppl from a tyrannical gov’t, so citizens have the means to fight back. Our founding fathers have the wisdom and foresight to include this in our Constitution as part of checks and balances on the Federal gov’t. After winning our independence from GB during the Revolutionary War, it made perfect sense!

      Of course there were no automatic weapons back then so this Amendment should be updated. Keith brought up very good suggestions, the problem are loopholes. Anyone can buy weapons from private owners (at gun shows or Craigslist) without any checks and there’s no way to enforce that.

      Firearms are mechanical devices, not electronic, so incorporating these safety features may be difficult, ie affects the reliability of operation.

      For the record, I don’t own any weapons, am against weapons in general, but I support the rights of ppl who choose to own and use weapons responsibly b/c I trust Gov’ts less than gun owners. If you research “False Flags”, you’ll understand why.

      Very good debate, thank you Keith for this enlightening post!

      • 1EarthUnited, thanks for the thoughtful additions. We have gone a step beyond the Second amendment intent in my view. I support the right to bear arms, but many of those rights have been interpreted later than off the actual words in the amendment. If the words were taken in context, one could argue the protection could be limited to weapons for people who are in the reserves or national guard, as that would be similar to a militia.

        Yet, my thrust is to not take the right to own away, but to govern it better. With the exception of fully automatic weapons, people should have the right to own a gun, but like owning cars. the governing authority needs to know how many you have. The Las Vegas shooter should have raised a red flag with the number and frequency of purchases.

        Great comment. Thanks, Keith

      • “If the words were taken in context, one could argue the protection could be limited to weapons for people who are in the reserves or national guard, as that would be similar to a militia.”

        Hello Keith, thanks so much for your thoughtful response. However i respectfully disagree with your interpretation of the 2nd Amendment. Our founding fathers implied everyday citizens forming a militia to combat/ overthrow an unjust gov’t.

        US reserves and National Guard are branches of the US military, under orders from our Commander in Chief of the Federal Government. If our gov’t becomes tyrannical and start taking away our rights, i can assure you the US military will not come to your defense, just the opposite in fact.

        I do agree with you that better laws regulating the sale of weapons should be in place. There should have been red flags all over the place if Mr. Paddock purchased all those semi-automatics during that short span of time. And how did he manage to smuggle 27 weapons with 1000 rounds of ammo undetected into his hotel room? I guess hotel security, the cleaning staff, and hotel service kinda missed that. This case doesn’t add up, i’m suspicious of the motive behind this shooting, the official narrative makes no sense whatsoever!

        As always, stay vigilant and keep sharing. Thank you Keith.

  3. There seem to be some pertinent facts I would be interested in a NRA response to:
    1. This dreadful event took place in a state where the guns laws are very lax.
    2. The shooter was a white, retired male with no apparent political agenda.
    3. The slaughter was of ordinary people attending a simple Country & Western festival, so not a political event which could have raised emotions.
    4. So a random individual (with an alleged criminal father) bought all these guns and started shooting at random into a packed crowd; thus every bullet had a strong chance of finding a target. How is this constitutional?
    5. Finally, will the NRA be writing to the surviving victims and all the families involved and what will they say?

  4. Exactly, Keith. But we knew before they verbalized it that nothing would change. As a matter of fact, if there are any changes to gun laws during this administration, they will probably result in even looser regulation, as with EPA and Environmental issues. But by dog, if the shooter had been a Muslim or Muslim sympathizer or even had brown skin, we’d be ready to nuke someone for this crime of humanity.

    • Excellent point! If the shooter had been a Muslim, the administration would have no compunction about using the event to further their goal of banning and deporting all Muslims.

    • Linda, good point. By the way, this President has already signed a bill in February that ceased the requirement for the Social Security Administration to supply people who are on SS disability due to mental health reasons to the watch list for gun sales.

      To me, when I hear Paul Ryan say this is a mental health issue, why did he help pass this change to Social Security? The answer is the NRA is all about gun sales and less about safety. Keith

      • Sadly true. Its pretty unbelievable how cold the NRA is. You’d think the organization might take a good hard look at itself and for the sake of some good publicity endorse some common sense gun safety regulations. I’m sure that would help rather than hurt their bottom line.

      • Linda, the NRA started out as a gun safety based organization. Now, it is all about gun sales. Look at the proposals passed or being considered championed by the NRA. Eliminating people on mental health SSDI from watch lists for gun purchases, trying to eliminate restrictions on armor piercing bullets, not allowing funding of the CDC to study gun deaths, etc.

  5. Excellent point, Keith. And I agree … there is no better time to talk about gun regulation. I would only add one thing to your list, and that is training/licensing. I think in order to obtain a gun, one should have to take a training course that combines gun safety and competency, then pass a test.

    I saw a great response a few days ago to the NRA comment that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people”. It was by author David Gerrold who said, “Fine, then let people kill people with tomatoes instead of guns.”

    • Jill, thanks for your two comments. You and Linda are right that if the shooter was Muslim or convert, the MITWH would be all over this issue. The shooter’s identity and level of carnage is starting new conversations. Keith

  6. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    The NRA and its ‘bought-and-paid-for’ politicians, including leaders of both chambers of Congress, as well as the ‘man’ in the White House, have been busily telling us that it is a sacrilege, that it is profane, for us to discuss the need for stronger gun legislation at this time. They are dead wrong. Two blogger-friends have expounded on the need to have this discussion NOW, and I am re-blogging both, for they are both excellent pieces. Please, whether you agree or disagree that we have a gun-addiction problem in this country, take the time to read and ponder Keith and Gronda’s words, both of whom I agree with wholeheartedly. Thank you, Keith and Gronda, for your work, and permission to share.

  7. Dear Keith,

    Right on message!! There is no better time than right now to discuss, debate and pass the sensible gun rules that you’ve suggested.That we should wait is foolish. Those who truly value the gift of life should be supportive of your proposals.

    Thanks for getting the word out on this subject and hugs, Gronda

    • Likewise, my friend. I was just reading Trevor Noah who saw a Fox News person say we should not politicize the shooting and then segued that the NFL players kneeling are showing police who protect us from shooters disrespect. Isn’t that politicizing the shooting? Keith

  8. Note to Readers: I have written this before, but a sad exercise is to Google Six year old kills four year old and read all the stories. A few months ago, I highlighted five kid shooting kid (or adult) stories.

  9. Note to Readers: Another sad indictment of some Americans, is the bump stocks that enable the conversion of a semi-automatic weapon to fully automatic weapon are being sold out in gun stores the last few days. I don’t know if some zealous gun owners are saying “That’s neat, I need one,” or they saying “I better get one before they are outlawed.”

    What is additionally frustrating is the shooter showed people how much damage one person can do. We will need to hold our breath until the next mass shooting, as it is very difficult for our law enforcement to stop motivated individual shooters. We must take action to stop more of them, plus what happens everyday. Keith

  10. Note to Readers: The NRA is now saying the bump stocks should reevaluated. There is a bill sponsored by Senator Diane Feinstein to disallow them and some Republicans are willing to consider it. I fear that the NRA is supporting this quick fix in order that nothing else will be done. The debate needs to be so more robust. I also just learned my two NC Senators are in the top five of NRA funded politicians. That is unfortunate, as they really won’t listen to gun control advocates.

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