Friday, September 20, 2013

A Bit on Gauzy Gun Grab Gambits

After the Navy Yard shooting , many are troubled at another massacre in America.  This has inspired progressive politicos to renew efforts to “do something”. 

[L] Gabrielle Giffords [R] Mark Kelly testifying before Congress Feb. 2013
One such source for grabbing guns is the “Americans for Responsible Solutions”, the gun control pressure group created by former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ 8th) and her husband Mark Kelly.  Giffords  who was critically shot in the head in an assassination attempt in Tuscon, Arizona in January 2011.  Since then the couple has sought to “support the Second Amendment” while “keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people like criminals, terrorists, and the mentally ill.”.

We have disturbing problems - gun crime, mental illness, and the easy access that dangerous people have to guns. But our public officials seem more interested in political theater and special interest threats than in leadership. Congress, you must lead. Come together, take a sober look at the problem, and pass laws that protect our families and communities. Please act. 

How could anyone oppose that?

But as Oscar Wilde observed: “It is always with the best of intentions that the worst work is done.”  Digging deeper into to discern the policy prescriptions,  one discovers that the Americans for Responsible Solutions advocate:

universal background checks
limiting the sale on “assault” weapons
limiting high capacity magazines
stopping gun trafficking

Thus the bromides from Gabby and Mark’s open letter were translated into policies which are political non-starters that are also gauzy gun grabbing forays. 

But in my estimation, clamoring to do just “Do SOMETHING” is imprudent.  While dialoguing with an Americans for Responsible Solutions proponent,I noted that Remington 870 pump shotgun  which the Navy Yard shooter used was one that was exempted from Senator Feinstein’s "modest proposal" as it is a popular hunting rifle.  My interlocutor interjected “That proves my point–we need to do better”.  It seems that the Swiftian allusion was not well appreciated. But it seemed like no contrary opinions were acceptable for one so convicted.

If the government wanted to do something, then for starters this Administration (and future ones) could enforce the gun laws already on the books with due process not by showy tactical teams in low risk situations.  Alas, after that,  there are not easy answers.  So it is worth having real debate on causes and solutions.  However, Representative Steve Cohen (D-TN 9th) goes on MSNBC and slandered Second Amendment supporters as being "Murderers Row", this does not seem like respectful or introspective civic discourse.  And refusing to respond to point by point challenges on the root causes of mass shootings or the consequences of the “Do SOMETHING” impulse makes it seem like the issue is being cynically stoked to fire up bases for partisan wedge issue politics at the expense of innocents. 


  1. By "doing better", your opposite meant that such shotguns should be banned too. Ask him to clarify.


    1. It is unclear whether shotguns were supposed to be included or if it was so that mass shooting massacres did not become commonplace.

      The source was also upset at Obama's lack of leadership on gun control legislation. Yet Americans for Responsible Solutions claims to support the Second Amendment, particularly for sporting.

      Unfortunately, I doubt that I will be able to discern what was meant, as I have the distinct impression that this disagreement ruptured the relationship.

      Pity that honest exchange of ideas can seemingly cause alienation--but it is the District of Calamity (sic).