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Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?

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Posted on Apr 19, 2009

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

    Try to imagine that hundreds or thousands of guns including assault weapons were pouring across the Mexican border into Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California, arming criminal gangs who were killing American law enforcement officials and other U.S. citizens.

    Then imagine the Mexican president saying, “Well, we would really like to do something about this, but our political system makes helping you very difficult.” Wouldn’t Mexico’s usual critics attack that country’s political system for corruption and ineptitude and ask: “Why can’t they stop this lawlessness?”

    That, in reverse, is the position President Obama was in last week when he visited Mexico. The Mexican gangs are able to use guns purchased in the United States because of our insanely permissive gun regulations, and Obama had to issue this unbelievably clotted, apologetic statement at a news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon:

    “I continue to believe that we can respect and honor the Second Amendment rights in our Constitution, the rights of sportsmen and hunters and homeowners who want to keep their families safe, to lawfully bear arms, while dealing with assault weapons that, as we know, here in Mexico, are helping to fuel extraordinary violence. Violence in our own country as well. Now, having said that, I think none of us are under the illusion that reinstating that ban would be easy.”

    In other words: Our president can deal with all manner of big problems, but the American gun lobby is just too strong to let him push a rational and limited gun regulation through Congress.

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    It’s particularly infuriating that Obama offered this statement of powerlessness just a few days before the 10th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado—and during a month in which at least 57 people were killed in eight mass homicides across the U.S. 

    No other democratic country in the world has the foolish, ineffectual gun regulations that we do. And unfortunately, what Obama said is probably true.

    Earlier this year, when Attorney General Eric Holder called for a renewal of the ban on assault weapons—he was only repeating the commitment Obama made during his presidential campaign—the response from a group of 65 pro-gun House Democrats was: No way. 

    Their letter to Holder was absurd. “The gun-control community has intentionally misled many Americans into believing that these weapons are fully automatic machine guns. They are not. These firearms fire one shot for every pull of the trigger.” Doesn’t that make you feel better? 

    Those Democrats should sit down with Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania. “Time and time again, our police are finding themselves outgunned,” Rendell said in Harrisburg last week. “They are finding themselves with less firepower than the criminals they are trying to bring to justice.” 

    The Democratic governor told his own state’s legislators that if they didn’t support such a ban, “then don’t come to those memorial services” for the victims of gun violence. “It’s wrong,” he said. “It’s hypocritical.”

    And why can’t we at least close the gun show loophole? Licensed arms dealers have to do background checks on people who buy guns. The rules don’t apply at gun shows that, as the Violence Policy Center put it, have become “Tupperware Parties for Criminals.” 

    But too many members of Congress are “petrified” by the gun lobby, says Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., a crusader for sane gun legislation ever since her husband was killed and her son paralyzed by a gunman on the Long Island Rail Road in 1993. 

    Family members of the victims of gun violence, she says, are mystified at Congress’ inability to pass even the most limited regulations. “Why can’t you just get this done?” she is asked. “What is it you don’t understand?”

    Obama, at least, should understand this: He was not elected by the gun lobby. It worked hard to rally gun owners against him—and failed to stop him. 

    According to a 2008 exit poll, Obama received just 37 percent among voters in households where guns are present—barely different from John Kerry’s 36 percent in 2004. But in the substantial majority of households that don’t have guns, Obama got 65 percent, up eight points on Kerry. Will Obama stand up for the people who actually voted for him?

    Yes, I understand about swing voters, swing states and all that. But given Congress’ default to the apologists for loose gun laws, it will take a president to make something happen. 

  E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.

©    2009, Washington Post Writers Group


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By bell, April 23, 2009 at 9:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

KDelphi,  Possession of AK-47’s and M-16 have been Federal felonies since before Jesus. Your ignorance is matched only by others who fear gunowners. Typical ownership of a gun or two has nothing to do with fear. Most are enthusiasts who enjoy getting out to the woods or a public range to relax and improve their skills. Your panic reaction is the embodiment of why persons like you should never be permitted to purchase a gun. Panicked, scared people make bad decisions and are largely responsible for unnecessary shootings.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 23, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

“In reference to your phrase “gun pusher”, I have never pushed guns on anyone, and I don’t own any myself.  On the other hand, you appear to be a pusher of state power, and I wonder if you could explain that.  What is it about politicians, police, military personnel, bureaucrats, wardens, ward heelers, judges, spies and hangmen that not only encourages your faith and enthusiasm, but leads you to the belief that others should be subjected to your opinions by force?”—By Anarcissie, April 23 at 11:09 am #

NABNYC,your use of that term harkens back to the “drug pusher” phrase used by the Drug Warriors in their propaganda against only certain drugs, not others. Remember my paralation between the Drug War and weapons ownership? If not read it down below. You sound like the latter using the former as a template. Very bad for us all and and enemy of freedom. Why do you consider us all potential criminals and homicidal maniacs? You do know that barely 4% of the population are that way or are psychopaths don’t you?

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By Anarcissie, April 23, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

NABNYC:
‘The gun pushers rely on the ambiguous language of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which reads as follows:

“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.” ...’

The language is not ambiguous.  The first clause is what is called a “nominative absolute” in English grammars, modeled on something called the “ablative absolute” in Latin, and gives a condition, reason, observation, etc., subordinate to and distinct from the main clause.  In this case, the first clause gives a reason for the second clause: because it is desirable for the people to be able to form militias, therefore they shall have the right to keep and bear arms.  There is nothing ambiguous about the second clause whatever.

In reference to your phrase “gun pusher”, I have never pushed guns on anyone, and I don’t own any myself.  On the other hand, you appear to be a pusher of state power, and I wonder if you could explain that.  What is it about politicians, police, military personnel, bureaucrats, wardens, ward heelers, judges, spies and hangmen that not only encourages your faith and enthusiasm, but leads you to the belief that others should be subjected to your opinions by force?

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By Paul_GA, April 23, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment

Nabnyc, you forget that it takes a while to “call out the militia”, and in the meantime, people would be in danger of their lives if they had no weapons to protect themselves, their families and property with—and what better weapon for that purpose than a firearm? And if you think the present “National Guard” is the “militia”, recall that they’re part of the US Army and Air Force, and any state control over them is tenuous at best. They’re just an easily-disguised way to foist a large standing army upon these United States.

You also forget the definition of the militia: “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.” So said George Mason, the “Father of the Bill of Rights”. He also said, “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

Yes, there are limits even to the Second Amendment, such as where arms may be carried, but the intent of the Founders remains clear—they wanted every man to be armed for the defense of their homes, hearths and families. I remain an unrepentant advocate of RKBA.

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By Virginia777, April 23, 2009 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

could that be really you, Folktruther? is someone else using your sign-in?

or are you really defending “the right to bear arms”?

you who are always calling out the sold-out liberals, please don’t tell me, you’re one too!

I’m crushed.

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By Night-Gaunt, April 22, 2009 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

Decimate means reduction by 1/10 of the total number by-the-way.

I believe that we should have a real weapons culture, where everyone (who wants to) can carry whatever they are comfortable with from whips to knives, swords, razor edged yoyos to darts & auto-pistols and we should train them from a very young age to revere and respect the power of a weapon and the ethical context in which they could be used. It should be as important as our car keys or home keys. But then this would be a society where everyone respects everyone else and we are not considered enemies to each other as is promoted now. Especially when things get bad financially.

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By Folktruther, April 22, 2009 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment

It’s because of all the gun control liberals that one doens’t have a flamethrower when one needs one.  Gun control is an issue whose time has run out.  When one could halfway trust the government and the police, millitary, intelligence agencies and mercenary contractors to be half way reasonable, gun control could be argued reasonably.  That time has gone.

The monstrous class inequality that has been induced in America requires people to defend themselves from arbitrary power and the anomie it unleases.  People have to protect themselves and kids going to ghetto schools do as well.

I used to play tennis with the chief of police of Santa Monica, not a hotbed of violence.  But someone ripped off a woman’s handbag a few doors up the street where we lived.  I complained to the chief and he outlined the men he had and the shifts he had to cover.  IT was impossible.

I bought my wife a shotgun for when I was away at night, which made a onimous and distinctive ‘click’.  And got a dog.  It’s true that the dog was afraid of the cat, but burglers wouldn’t know that.  And liberals have to understand that life in America is not what it was, and we have to deal with it.

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By .270WSM, April 22, 2009 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Take heart and be encouraged my fellow Americans, you and hack, patriot posers alike stand to benefit from the Democratic party’s lack of mandate, fortitude, and penchant for greed when it comes to the ‘gun lobby’ or
what I like to call ‘America’.

And who among us is truly surprised that when all is said and done, elected officials In the face of hard numbers in their constituencies and error riddled fabrications on the part of anti-gun supporters, are left to slink into bed with what amounts to being ‘the will of the people’. This is tangible, as these rights would have doubtless been swept away already without the support of millions of citizens vastly outnumbering those in opposition.

guntotinsquaw, you are on fire! Your range or mine..Wow! I like it here.
What a fine barometer for the discontent among the left. Why, if such discontent were not so inherently American it could leave a bad taste in your mouth. Imagine, afforded those lovely cocoons from which to foment their utopian ideals and no one makes the connection. Stylish, secure cocoons purchased with American blood and arms, now there’s an unseemly concept!

What do they really hate for all their eloquent spoutings? Is it that none of it would be possible, even remotely without arms? Could be, or that none of them, however intelligent, could ever suggest any feasible alternative this side of reality. Watch how some arguments trail off into fantastic realms of unarmed peoples of the world talking or ultimately wrestling to settle differences.
The forward-looking eyes of man always tell a different story.

The NRA and related lobbyist know money talks and the Democratic wheels
are being well greased. Does it matter whether the antis fold to greed, cave to overwhelming popular opinion or open their minds to reality? You bet it does!
Especially as fraudulent news networks hook the Kool-aid vats up to nationwide, big-screen atomizers and we find an enduring challenge in keeping this airborne goop from taking hold in any part of the rest of freedom loving America.

..good thing I LOVE a challenge.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2009 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Reread the facts—but don’t ignore them this time—

By JNagarya, April 22 at 3:59 pm #
(Unregistered commenter)

By guntotinsquaw, April 22 at 3:09 pm #

“The Americans Who Risked Everything”
    by Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.
____

Those who “Risked Everything”—or even “Anything”—didn’t include chickenhawk Rush “Butt Boil Deferment” Limbaugh.  And doubtless don’t include “quntotinsquaw”.  Keyboard Kourage is the best such yappers can muster.

1.  The “declaration of Independence” has never been, is not now, and never shall be law.  But the Constitution IS the law, and its expressly stipulates—

Art. I., s. 8, c. 15.  [The Congress shall have Power] To provide for calling for the Militia, to execute [enforce] the Laws of the Union, [and] suppress Insurrections.

There’s no “right of revolution”—flapjaw lying coward Limbaugh and his ilk notwithstanding.

2.  The first draft of that which became the Second Amendment read in full, the last clause of it being the ONLY POSITED “individual right” debated concerning same—

“The right of the people [PLURAL, as in “We the people”; it is not, “I the people,” or, “We the individual”] to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed; a well armed, and regulated [UNDER LAW] militia [not “individual”] being the best security of a free country: but no person [INDIVIDUAL] religiously scrupulous of [AGAINST] bearing arms, shall be compelled [INVOLUNTARY—as in “conscription”] to render military service [in the militia] in person.”  _Creating the Bill of Rights_ (Johns Hopkins, 1991), Ed. Veit, et al.

The latter having been voted down, it is self-evidently obvious that the Second Amendment has nothing whatever to do with “individual” anything. 

In addition, the militia is a PUBLIC institution, whereas the private individual is not.  There is and ALWAYS has been a separate body of law regulating private ownership of guns—no sane society leaves dangerous substances and objects lying around unregulated: public safety supercedes individual fetish.

3.  The “revolution” was not fought solely with, and was not won solely by, guns wielded by illiterate hot-headed gun-nuts; much of it was won in legislatures and courts of law.  And the Founders/Framers weren’t slouches at gun control—which is why there was no COUNTER-“revolution”: at the “suggestion” of the Continental Congress, they DISARMED the Tories by that you call “gun-grabbing”.  They also PROHIBITED, by LAW, possession of weapons by those “disaffected” with the “revolution”.

And they CONFISCATED ALL weapons of those who REFUSED to sign an oath of loyalty to “the cause”.

Put down the gun and get an education in the ACTUAL history of your country; or, in the alternative, remain one of its America-hating enemies.

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By NABNYC, April 22, 2009 at 6:54 pm Link to this comment

The gun pushers rely on the ambiguous language of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, which reads as follows:

“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.”

First it refers to a “militia,” which is commonly understood to mean state-level military group of existing to protect the state.  Then it refers to the “security” of the State.  This first clause can fairly be read to mean that in order for each State to maintain its own security, each State is entitled to have its own militia.  Let’s consider what it does not say in the first clause. It does not say that in order for individuals to maintain their individual security, individuals have some right to own weapons. It is not discussing individual rights or security. The clause only is discussing the rights of a State.

The second clause refers to the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” But that’s not a separate sentence, it is not a statement by itself: it is qualified by the first part of the sentence referring to the right of a State to have a militia—in other words, individuals have a right to bear arms for purposes of serving in a State Militia.


“Keep and Bear Arms:” 

Let’s look closer: “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” What does that clause mean, if it is not limited to a State Militia? The NRA argues this means that the federal government can do nothing to infringe the right of any citizen from bearing arms at any time at all. And the words “keep and bear” are equal in that clause, tied together. Which, if we accept the NRA view, means that the federal government can never “infringe” the “right” of individuals to keep and bear arms whenever and wherever they like.

This means visitors to federal prisons must be constitutionally allowed to bring assault weapons in with them when they visit their criminal friends. Angry litigants can carry weapons into federal court. Visitors to the Supreme Court can enter fully-armed. We can all carry guns on airplanes, as many as we want. This would be the logical extension of the NRA’s absurd argument that the federal government is constitutionally prohibited from infringing on the right of individuals to keep and bear arms any time, any place they want.

Obviously the federal government can restrict and prohibit the bearing of arms by individuals when appropriate. Such as by saying no guns in the Senate, or in any federal office.

How can we reconcile that common-sense truth with the language of the second amendment? Only by acknowledging the second amendment is talking about state militias, and does not create any constitutional “right” to bear arms for individuals.

The broadest possible fair reading of the second amendment is that it is silent on the rights of individual citizens to own or bear arms, and it instead is addressed to the right of a State to have an armed State Militia. Which means the constitution is silent on the question of individual gun ownership other than as a participant in a State militia, and gun ownership should be regulated or banned for the health and safety of the public. 

Remember, the politicians are mostly corrupt and take money from groups like the NRA.  Many of the judges are patronage appointments with politician affiliations and biased in their rulings.  We the people need to understand this whole story about a “right to bear arms” is nonsense.  We the citizens have a right to demand safety in our communities, and to shut down the proliferation of guns which is creating so much violence in our nation.
http://NABNYC.blogspot.com

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By Anarcissie, April 22, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

Paul_GA:
‘Well, Anarcissie, leftists put their trust in big government to give them all they want (including safety and security)....’

I suppose I’m being unfair to leftists.  Trotsky said ‘Socialists must dispute the reformist idea that the sacredness of democracy is best guaranteed when the bourgeoisie is armed to the teeth and the workers are unarmed.’  And of course no anarchist is going to approve of the government sending cops with guns to take guns away from ordinary people.  But there are very few leftists, even around here.

JFoster2k:
‘The US Constitution and it’s Amendments were not divinely inspired. The authors were not infallible. This is evident in the drafting of the 2nd amendment… our founders biggest mistake.

The intention to allow the citizenry to possess firearms as a means to protect themselves from a potentially oppressive government was at best naive idealism. In practice it is devastating. ...’

I suppose they were influenced by the fact that it worked pretty well at least once.  I don’t know if there is any evidence that remaining passive in the face of seriously hostile state power has worked.  It certainly didn’t work for those Jews who tried it during the Nazi era.  But I’m open to hear about alternative strategies.  Just don’t say “It can’t happen here.”  The Germans of 1930 were made of just about the same stuff we are.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“guntotinsquaw”—

“responsible, law abiding gun owners”

In view of the fact that you don’t know the applicable laws, let alone the actual history of the Founding Fathers on these issues, you cannot legitimately claim to be “responsible” except in ignorance or dishonesty.  For you to make such claims makes you IRresponsible.

The “right of self-defense” is LIMITED BY LAW—and you don’t even have the basics of REASON to know restraint.  You are NOT a “responsible gun owner”.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2009 at 4:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“guntotinsqwuaw” and “Paul_GA”—

Stop invoking the Founding Fathers and the Constitution: neither of you know what you’re talking about, because you don’t know the actual history, and you haven’t read the Constitution.

And, yes, there is a right NOT to be shot: it is in the form of criminal laws which prohibit manslaughter and murder, and civil tort law which provide victims the right to sue jackasses such as you.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“calitatum”—

The so-called “right of self-defense” is not unlimited—precisely because those you would shoot also have rights.  Instead of buying a gun, trying thinking.

The fact remains that more are killed by LEGAL guns owned by NON-criminals—the so-called “responsible gun owner”—than by illegal guns in the hands of criminals.

Moreover, the gun-nuts who jabber about how they are “responsible gun owners” are OPPOSED to closing the “gun show loophole”—even though that is the primary source of weapons for criminals.

Is it “responsible” to claim a need for guns because criminals have them, and at the same time DEFEND the means by which criminals GET guns?  No: it is irrational; and that in itself is reason to deny the possession of guns by such “responsible gun owners”.

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By guntotinsquaw, April 22, 2009 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment

Kdelphi…. Had you actually read the article ,twit, you would have known it was an american history lesson on what our founding fathers gave up for your rights! And no I’m NOT a limbaugh fan, he’s a little to LEFT for me!  But I have a great idea…MOVE TO ANOTHER COUNTRY.  I have several guns and have never seen the need to shoot anyone. If you have idiots shooting in your neighborhood, guess what NOT law abiding. Your ignorance shows clearly as we cannot own fully auto’s. I know in the town close to me, it is the illegals that our officers arrest for shooting guns off in the air, not responsible, law abiding gun owners. Got another GREAT idea, secure our borders! If someone attempts to come into my home, I WILL make me a new dog door and I won’t wait to ask if they have a drug habit and want my jewelry, or here to rape my daughter. I don’t care, come through my door and your dead. 
ONE IF BY LAND

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By Paul_GA, April 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

A right “not” to be shot, JFoster2k? And where, praytell, is it enumerated in the Constitution? Frankly, I’d say the right to keep and bear arms trumps your right not to be shot, simply because it’s clearly enumerated in the Constitution. (And if you ever face a criminal scumbag with a gun and tell him you have a right not to be shot, don’t be surprised if he laughs at you before he blows you away.)

BTW, the Constitution does not grant us the right to keep and bear arms; it merely takes note of a pre-existing right, one that existed before the foundation of the USA. And where do rights come from? From God, as Jefferson plainly said in the Declaration of Independence. No government can give us or take away from us what we had before said government ever existed. Such are the rights of man (or humanity, to use a more inclusive, politically-correct phrase). Rights exist first, and governments come later. And if any government fails to ensure those rights, it is intolerable and needs to be altered or abolished.

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By JFoster2k, April 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

The US Constitution and it’s Amendments were not divinely inspired. The authors were not infallible. This is evident in the drafting of the 2nd amendment… our founders biggest mistake.

The intention to allow the citizenry to possess firearms as a means to protect themselves from a potentially oppressive government was at best naive idealism. In practice it is devastating.

Now, unfortunately, we are stuck in cold war against criminals. Both sides increasing their arsenal ad infinitum.

Leaving aside all of the innocent children who have died as a result of guns in the home, the abuses of this right are sickening. No one needs an assault weapon to hunt… unless you hunt humans!

If we can’t repeal the 2nd Amendment, we can at least get a grip on the statistical reality we live in and make gun laws as strict as possible. Maybe the NRA has no problem sleeping at night with the blood of thousands of innocents filling the void where their conscience should be, but I will not write off the lives of children as collateral damage in the war to preserve the right of some drunk red-neck asshole to blast holes in a stop sign.

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By KDelphi, April 22, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

Texacrat—I dont have statistics on who is shooting guns on Friday night, but it is right in my neighborhood. I dont care if you have a fricking PhD—if you want to shoot an auto weapon, join the military. Go secede or something. There is absolutely nothing in the Constittuion about auto weapons…we could argue about whether it even calls for a standing militia, or is talking about an individuals rights, but I am not giong to argue with a “texacrat”.

What we got a Limbaugh troll on here?? YOuve got to be kidding me…see what firearms draw?

Anarcissie—I wouldnt give a rat’s ass if they disarmed everyone and cancelled the military.

NIght Gaunt , you are correct. If not guns, it would be something else, as long as we have the social problems that we do, as well as “wars” on tactics like “terror” or “drugs” (not pharmaceuticals, of course—we subsidize them).

Texacrat—this is AFTER our “concealed carry law” was passed , at about 51%.
“Reports of violent crime up in city first half ‘08”
By Lucas Sullivan | Tuesday, January 13, 2009”
” - Reports of violent crime rose slightly in the first half of 2008 over the same period during 2007, according to FBI statistics released Monday, Jan. 12….

There were 787 reports of violent crime in ( delete)through the first half of last year, up from 736 through the first six months of 2007….

There were 20 homicides in the first half of 2008, compared to 13 in 2007, according to the FBI which compiles the stats submitted by local law enforcement agencies….

Reports of forcible rapes rose from 57 to 59, while robberies increased from 329 to 349. Aggravated assaults were the biggest reason for the city’s overall jump in violent crime, rising from 337 to 359.

Reports of violent crime fell 3.5 percent nationwide through the first half of 2008, according to the FBI.

Monday’s report was preliminary stats for those cities with populations of 100,000 or more. Complete 2008 stats will not be released until sometime this summer.”

I have a RIGHT to NOT BE SHOT. I have a right to be safe on the streets without having to take firearms training.

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By calitatum, April 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

I don’t have a gun. I wish I did have a gun to protect myself. I believe everyone has the right to have a gun and should take proper courses in gun use. With out guns, we are victims of anyone, anytime at our own homes. I have the right to protect my family. I don’t totally trust any group. Military, police or otherwise. There are roving killers and dishonest people. Although they may be few, it only takes one. When the power goes out, there is no food and no water and the guy with the gun is at your door wanting to take food from you or harm your family, are you going to sit down and have milk and cookies? Get real and visit a 3rd world country, this could be YOU.

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By Sylvia Barksdale, April 22, 2009 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is much to consider on the gun control issue.  Definitely, every person applying for a gun permit should have to undergo a psychological examination.

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By Texacrat, April 22, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

By KDelphi, April 20 at 7:46 pm #

“...If you live in a nieghborhod where there are alot of guns, and people get loaded on Friday and just go fire off their guns—“

Where in the world is this???  I’d like to see some facts on this scenario, or does it just reside in your head?

“To pretend that the Second Amendment was trying to assure Bubba’S right to an AK-47, , and, not a muzzle loader, is just ridiculous. “

  Well Delphi, I have a college degree, a professional certification, and I love my guns, but I’m no “Bubba” and it is offensive to lump us into a group like that.


******************

By BobZ, April 20 at 11:46 pm #

“A good start would be the reinstatement of the assault rifle ban. There is no earthly reason why these military type weapons should be in the hands of anyone outside of our military.”

Bobz, please educate yourself about the variations in military vs. civilian weapons.  Here is a “first grade” introduction…  In many cases, military weapons are fully-automatic firing, vs. semi-auto fire in civilian versions.  In the rare cases of a civilian owning a legal, full-auto firing rifle, said owner will have been subjected to a rigorous background check (please research the procedure to obtain a “Class 3” weapon).

“…no earthly reason…”

How about a hobby?  Personally, I can’t understand why someone would want to hit a golf ball, but many enjoy it.  I enjoy the skill it takes to hit a paper target at 100 yards or more.  A golfer’s club could kill me too, but I trust that neither of us have that intention to cause harm to others.

“We should also start a massive campaign to control the shipment of arms across the border to Mexico. Any gun dealer caught selling arms to the Mexican government should have their business seized and fined a minimum of $ 1 million dollars.”

I totally agree with you here, let’s enforce the laws we currently have.  If a dealer wants to break the law by knowingly selling a gun to buyer who will take the gun to Mexico, then prosecute the dealer to the fullest extent.  If a dealer cares so little about our freedoms as to jeopardize them for monetary gain, I don’t want that person enjoying the right we have.

“Their (sic) should be an absolute ban of gun shows in the United States. Sales of ammunition should be strictly regulated. “

Dealers at gun shows are required to perform the same NICS background check as a dealer located in a shop, so there is really no difference in where the gun is sold.  There is a concern that guns trade hands between individuals (although legal in over 20 states) outside of these shows.  That situation does concern me, and warrants further debate.  By the way, a DOJ survey found that only 2% of the almost 4000 inmates surveyed actually acquired their gun at a gun show.

***************

By Virginia777, April 21 at 11:00 am #
“Gun Advocates on Truthdig?? 
what have times come to?”

Yes Virginia, there are gun advocates here.  I read this site because I feel that the folks here can think pragmatically and look at both sides of an issue.  With a comment like that, you sound like a liberal version of Fox News.

“and to all you gun advocate Trolls:  Guns in the hands of children are decimating entire segments of American populations,”

“Decimating”?, …”entire segments”?.  Can you provide stats on your wild claims?  In college we couldn’t write a paper without a bibliography and other types of references.  So-called “weasel words” like “entire”, “huge”, etc. would get you an F.

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By JNagarya, April 22, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

By guntotinsquaw, April 22 at 3:09 pm #

“The Americans Who Risked Everything”
      by Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.
____

Those who “Risked Everything”—or even “Anything”—didn’t include chickenhawk Rush “Butt Boil Deferment” Limbaugh.  And doubtless don’t include “quntotinsquaw”.  Keyboard Kourage is the best such yappers can muster.

1.  The “declaration of Independence” has never been, is not now, and never shall be law.  But the Constitution IS the law, and its expressly stipulates—

Art. I., s. 8, c. 15.  [The Congress shall have Power] To provide for calling for the Militia, to execute [enforce] the Laws of the Union, [and] suppress Insurrections.

There’s no “right of revolution”—flapjaw lying coward Limbaugh and his ilk notwithstanding.

2.  The first draft of that which became the Second Amendment read in full, the last clause of it being the ONLY POSITED “individual right” debated concerning same—

“The right of the people [PLURAL, as in “We the people”; it is not, “I the people,” or, “We the individual”] to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed; a well armed, and regulated [UNDER LAW] militia [not “individual”] being the best security of a free country: but no person [INDIVIDUAL] religiously scrupulous of [AGAINST] bearing arms, shall be compelled [INVOLUNTARY—as in “conscription”] to render military service [in the militia] in person.”  _Creating the Bill of Rights_ (Johns Hopkins, 1991), Ed. Veit, et al.

The latter having been voted down, it is self-evidently obvious that the Second Amendment has nothing whatever to do with “individual” anything. 

In addition, the militia is a PUBLIC institution, whereas the private individual is not.  There is and ALWAYS has been a separate body of law regulating private ownership of guns—no sane society leaves dangerous substances and objects lying around unregulated: public safety supercedes individual fetish.

3.  The “revolution” was not fought solely with, and was not won solely by, guns wielded by illiterate hot-headed gun-nuts; much of it was won in legislatures and courts of law.  And the Founders/Framers weren’t slouches at gun control—which is why there was no COUNTER-“revolution”: at the “suggestion” of the Continental Congress, they DISARMED the Tories by that you call “gun-grabbing”.  They also PROHIBITED, by LAW, possession of weapons by those “disaffected” with the “revolution”.

And they CONFISCATED ALL weapons of those who REFUSED to sign an oath of loyalty to “the cause”.

Put down the gun and get an education in the ACTUAL history of your country; or, in the alternative, remain one of its America-hating enemies.

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By Paul_GA, April 22, 2009 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

Well, Anarcissie, leftists put their trust in big government to give them all they want (including safety and security), when they ought to recall Davy Crockett: “A government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take it all away.”

But at least, the Demos are honest in being pro-big-government (might as well give the Devil his due); the same Repubs who are screaming about increases in governmental size and power now, under Obama, were cheering when Bush increased government size and power during his time in office. That’s one reason I became disillusioned with them a decade ago; the Repubs lie, and the more I smell them, the more I hate the stench of lies.

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By guntotinsquaw, April 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

“The Americans Who Risked Everything”
        by Rush H. Limbaugh, Jr.

  Each had more to lose from revolution than he had to gain by it. John Hancock, one of the richest men in America, already had a price of 500 pounds on his head. He signed in enormous letters so “that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward.” Ben Franklin wryly noted: “Indeed we must all hang together, otherwise we shall most assuredly hang separately.” Fat Benjamin Harrison of Virginia told tiny Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts: “With me it will all be over in a minute, but you, you will be dancing on air an hour after I am gone.”

    These men knew what they risked. The penalty for treason was death by hanging. And remember: a great British fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor.

    They were sober men. There were no dreamy-eyed intellectuals or draft card burners here. They were far from hot-eyed fanatics, yammering for an explosion. They simply asked for the status quo. It was change they resisted. It was equality with the mother country they desired. It was taxation with representation they sought. They were all conservatives, yet they rebelled.

    It was principle, not property, that had brought these men to Philadelphia. Two of them became presidents of the United States. Seven of them became state governors. One died in office as vice president of the United States. Several would go on to be U.S. Senators. One, the richest man in America, in 1828 founded the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One, a delegate from Philadelphia, was the only real poet, musician and philosopher of the signers (it was he, Francis Hopkinson—not Betsy Ross—who designed the United States flag).

    Richard Henry Lee, a delegate from Virginia, had introduced the resolution to adopt the DeclaratioThough the resolution was formally adopted July 4, it was not until July 8 that two of the states authorized their delegates to sign, and it was not until August 2 that the signers met at Philadelphia to actually put their names to the Declaration.

    William Ellery, delegate from Rhode Island, was curious to see the signers’ faces as they committed this supreme act of personal courage. He saw some men sign quickly, “but in no face was he able to discern real fear.” Stephen Hopkins, Ellery’s colleague from Rhode Island, was a man past 60. As he signed with a shaking pen, he declared: “My hand trembles, but my heart does not.”

“Most glorious service”...

    Even before the list was published, the British marked down every member of Congress suspected of having put his name to treason. All of them became the objects of vicious manhunts. Some were taken. Some, like Jefferson, had narrow escapes. All who had property or families near British strongholds suffered.

    Francis Lewis, New York delegate, saw his home plundered and his estates, in what is now Harlem, completely destroyed by British soldiers. Mrs. Lewis was captured and treated with great brutality. Though she was later exchanged for two British prisoners through the efforts of Congress, she died from the effects of her abuse.

    William Floyd, another New York delegate, was able to escape with his wife and children across Long Island Sound to Connecticut, where they lived as refugees without income for seven years. When they came home, they found a devastated ruin.

    Phillips Livingstone had all his great holdings in New York confiscated and his family driven out of their home. Livingstone died in 1778 still working in Congress for the cause.

    Louis Morris, the fourth New York delegate, saw all his timber, crops, and livestock taken. For seven years he was barred from his home and family.

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By guntotinsquaw, April 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment

John Hart of Trenton, New Jersey, risked his life to return home to see his dying wife. Hessian soldiers rode after him, and he escaped in the woods. While his wife lay on her deathbed, the soldiers ruined his farm and wrecked his homestead. Hart, 65, slept in caves and woods as he was hunted across the countryside. When at long last, emaciated by hardship, he was able to sneak home, he found his wife had already been buried, and his 13 children taken away. He never saw them again. He died a broken man in 1779, without ever finding his family.

    Dr. John Witherspoon, signer, was president of the College of New Jersey, later called Princeton. The British occupied the town of Princeton, and billeted troops in the college. They trampled and burned the finest college library in the country.

    Judge Richard Stockton, another New Jersey delegate signer, had rushed back to his estate in an effort to evacuate his wife and children. The family found refuge with friends, but a sympathizer betrayed them. Judge Stockton was pulled from bed in the night and brutally beaten by the arresting soldiers. Thrown into a common jail, he was deliberately starved. Congress finally arranged for Stockton’s parole, but his health was ruined. The judge was released as an invalid, when he could no longer harm the British cause. He returned home to find his estate looted and did not live to see the triumph of the revolution. His family was forced to live off charity.

    Robert Morris, merchant prince of Philadelphia, delegate and signer, met Washington’s appeals and pleas for money year after year. He made and raised arms and provisions which made it possible for Washington to cross the Delaware at Trenton. In the process he lost 150 ships at sea, bleeding his own fortune and credit almost dry. George Clymer, Pennsylvania signer, escaped with his family from their home, but their property was completely destroyed by the British in the Germantown and Brandywine campaigns. 

    Dr. Benjamin Rush, also from Pennsylvania, was forced to flee to Maryland. As a heroic surgeon with the army, Rush had several narrow escapes.

    John Morton, a Tory in his views previous to the debate, lived in a strongly loyalist area of Pennsylvania. When he came out for independence, most of his neighbors and even some of his relatives ostracized him. He was a sensitive and troubled man, and many believed this action killed him. When he died in 1777, his last words to his tormentors were: “Tell them that they will live to see the hour when they shall acknowledge it [the signing] to have been the most glorious service that I rendered to my country.”

    William Ellery, Rhode Island delegate, saw his property and home burned to the ground. 

    Thomas Lynch, Jr., South Carolina delegate, had his health broken from privation and exposures while serving as a company commander in the military. His doctors ordered him to seek a cure in the West Indies and on the voyage he and his young bride were drowned at sea.

    Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward, Jr., the other three South Carolina signers, were taken by the British in the siege of Charleston. They were carried as prisoners of war to St. Augustine, Florida, where they were singled out for indignities. They were exchanged at the end of the war, the British in the meantime having completely devastated their large land holdings and estates.

CONT….

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By guntotinsquaw, April 22, 2009 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Thomas Nelson, signer of Virginia, was at the front in command of the Virginia military forces. With British General Charles Cornwallis in Yorktown, fire from 70 heavy American guns began to destroy Yorktown piece by piece. Lord Cornwallis and his staff moved their headquarters into Nelson’s palatial home. While American cannonballs were making a shambles of the town, the house of Governor Nelson remained untouched. Nelson turned in rage to the American gunners and asked, “Why do you spare my home?” They replied, “Sir, out of respect to you.” Nelson cried, “Give me the cannon!” and fired on his magnificent home himself, smashing it to bits. But Nelson’s sacrifice was not quite over. He had raised $2 million for the Revolutionary cause by pledging his own estates. When the loans came due, a newer peacetime Congress refused to honor them, and Nelson’s property was forfeited. He was never reimbursed. He died, impoverished, a few years later at the age of 50.

Lives, fortunes, honor…

    Of those 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, nine died of wounds or hardships during the war. Five were captured and imprisoned, in each case with brutal treatment. Several lost wives, sons or entire families. One lost his 13 children. Two wives were brutally treated. All were at one time or another the victims of manhunts and driven from their homes. Twelve signers had their homes completely burned. Seventeen lost everything they owned. Yet not one defected or went back on his pledged word. Their honor, and the nation they sacrificed so much to create, is still intact.

  And, finally, there is the New Jersey signer, Abraham Clark. He gave two sons to the officer corps in the Revolutionary Army. They were captured and sent to the infamous British prison hulk afloat in New York harbor known as the hell ship “Jersey,” where 11,000 American captives were to die. The younger Clarks were treated with a special brutality because of their father. One was put in solitary and given no food. With the end almost in sight, with the war almost won, no one could have blamed Abraham Clark for acceding to the British request when they offered him his sons’ lives if he would recant and come out for the King and parliament. The utter despair in this man’s heart, the anguish in his very soul, must reach out to each one of us down through 200 years with his answer: “No.”

    The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence proved by their every deed that they made no idle boast when they composed the most magnificent curtain line in history. “And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”


ONE IF BY LAND

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By guntotinsquaw, April 22, 2009 at 11:22 am Link to this comment

AUSSIE….... I truly must respond 1st. We NEVER set aside the constitution….as for “who in their right mind could claim that guns increase democracy”  that is soooo simmple• George Read • Caesar Rodney
• Thomas McKean • George Clymer • Benjamin Franklin • Robert Morris • John Morton • Benjamin Rush • George Ross • James Smith • James Wilson • George Taylor • John Adams • Samuel Adams • John Hancock • Robert Treat Paine • Elbridge Gerry Abraham Clark • John Hart • Francis Hopkinson • Richard Stockton • John Witherspoon •Samuel Huntington • Roger Sherman • William Williams • Oliver Wolcott • Charles Carroll • Samuel Chase • Thomas Stone • William Paca• Josiah Bartlett • William Whipple • Matthew Thornton • Stephen Hopkins • William Ellery • Lewis Morris • Philip Livingston • Francis Lewis • William Floyd • Button Gwinnett • Lyman Hall • George Walton • Richard Henry Lee • Francis Lightfoot Lee • Carter Braxton • Benjamin Harrison • Thomas Jefferson • George Wythe • Thomas Nelson,Jr.•William Hooper • John Penn • Joseph Hewes • Edward Rutledge• Arthur Middleton • Thomas Lynch, Jr. • Thomas Heyward, Jr.

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By Jack DeLuca, April 22, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As long as the congress and the senate can be bought and intimidated, there will never be any hope of gun control.

We will always get the best government that money can buy!

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By Night-Gaunt, April 22, 2009 at 9:00 am Link to this comment

Guns and violence is just a symptom of the real problem that wasn’t addressed by Dionne, stop the (some) Drug War. Without it there wouldn’t be wide spread corruption in all the countries involved in it and there wouldn’t be muli-million and billion dollar criminal cartels existing now and getting larger & worse. The first federal Gun Law in 1934 was directly attributed to the War against alcohol and beer. When does the NRA rail against that? Or those ardent 2nd Amendment advocates that ignore the 9th or the fact that the present Drug War has been going on since 1914 and is far worse than Prohibition ever was and is based on the Commerce Clause and not an amendment! Let them answer that direct contradiction to their logic. They can’t and won’t.

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By Anarcissie, April 22, 2009 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

It always astonishes me that people who call themselves leftists or liberals want to take guns away from the workers and hand them over to the police and the military.

How about disarming the government and the ruling class first?  That’s where you’ll find the biggest weapons—and the biggest psychopaths.

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By Aussie, April 22, 2009 at 6:59 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Paul_GA—the majority of Australian supported gun control **because** of the Port Arthur massacre on 28 April 1996.  Thirty-five people were murdered in cold blood, and twenty-one injured.  Look it up on wikipedia for more information.

The magnitude of this crime was shocking on a national scale.  This shock was increased because Port Arthur is one of Australia’s most popular and historic sites.  The move to tighter gun control laws didn’t just happen because John Howard thought he’d meddle with farmers’ access to guns for use in the paddock; it happened because of a horrific and high profile crime.

In America you have at least one or two comparable massacres each year.  Yet the NRA remains one of the most potent lobbying groups in your country, dead opposed to laws that would prevent a kid going and shooting up his class mates.  What is right about that?

In Australia there are firm laws that govern the selling and keeping of guns, and licenses to use them.  This does not mean that nobody can own a gun; just that you can’t walk into an arms dealer and walk straight back out with a shiny new toy.  Same goes for events like gun shows.  We are not notable for a busy black trade in firearms across borders to other countries in the region.  The same cannot be said for the border between America and Mexico.

You can talk all you like about familiarisation with safe gun handling for the under-16s all you like, but the more critical question is: why should a kid know how to handle a gun before he can legally drive a car?  It’s perverse.  Other than on a livestock farm, surely there’s no good reason for an ordinary citizen to keep firearms in or around the house.

The biggest canard is that guns confer safety.  The basic tenet of American society is liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  The gun mentality breeds fear.  It is an affront to the central values of American democracy.  Organisations that try to duck and weave around the consequences of gun crimes are pursuing a strange line on law and order.  You could not look a Columbine parent in the eye and tell them their child would still be better off with the current regime.  Yet this is exactly what the NRA would have you do.  The gun lobby is opposed to the essential values of American democracy.

And I ask again: where is the pro-gun control lobby in America?  If the NRA can drum up 4m members, then how many could a similar organisation advocating for better gun control laws draw out?  If there is no such organisation, then WHY?

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By Paul_GA, April 22, 2009 at 3:57 am Link to this comment

If most Australians supported extreme gun control with nary a peep of protest, Aussie, then Heaven help them.

Beltwaylaid, “hoplophobe” and “hoplophobia” were coined by the late Jeff Cooper in the 1960s; as defined by him, they mean “someone who is irrationally afraid of guns despite their being inanimate objects lacking a conscious will for evil” and “the irrational fear of guns despite their being inanimate objects, without a conscious will for evil”, respectively. “Hoplon”, in Greek, can mean any inanimate object, but in this case, firearms are meant. As Cooper once wrote, “If our enemies are crazy, let us make sure that we know that they are!”

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By Aussie, April 21, 2009 at 9:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“In the late 90’s the despised and loony government headed by John Howard, sent teams of confiscators around Australia, gathering and grabbing every gun they could lay their hands on, including rifles not kept by professional hunters or guides.”

What a load of bunkum!  The 1996 gun laws had the support of the entire population, with the gun lobby consisting mostly of farmers and a few sports shooters making any show of resistance.  The Port Arthur massacre was a catalyst for change, and those who resisted it realised that they had lost their social license to advocate more arms.

I really love that weird argument about the American government doing baaad baaad things.  If you really think you’re being persecuted by your government, try seeking asylum in Australia—coming by boat.  Then you’ll really understand how evil John Howard’s government really was.  His party still hasn’t learned the lessons of November 2007.

But really?  Constitution, Bill of Rights and amendments thereto aside, who in their right mind could claim that guns increase democracy?  Arguably, they encourage lawless behaviour and increase the range of violent crime.  Any government seeking to address the problems raised by widespread proliferation of weapons among the citizenry is surely acting in the highest interests of society.  Your constitution enshrines the basis of your society as liberty—sure—but also gives your government the right to make laws for the good of society, so that all may the peace in which to pursue happiness.  Your ability to live in liberty is dependent on your abiding by the laws of the land, and that goes as much for the farmer in his field as much as the president in his office.

Those who invoke their Second Amendment rights forget that there is now a police force to enforce the law in the community, and an army to prosecute military objectives.  Neither of these existed in America at the end of the 18th century.  You don’t have conscription anymore; under current circumstances, civilian militias are more of a pest than a social service.

Finally, what most people see and hear from outside America is the NRA and similar groups.  We see and hear the weirdos, creeps and cranks, all holding out a gun as somehow enhancing their quality of life.  It all looks rather pathetic.  Is there a comparably organised group that advocates for better laws to regulate the availability and use of guns?  Would such a group be able to top the 4m membership figure of the NRA?  I suspect there are more right-thinking Americans who would support the aims of such an organisation—so where is it?

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By Beltwaylaid, April 21, 2009 at 8:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Paul_Ga

What the hell is a hoplophobe?

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By Folktruther, April 21, 2009 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

I agree with my ideologically deranged brother Trith.  I’m not only in favor of legalizing guns, but of anti-air and anti-tank missiles as well.  Centralization of weapons has been a major means of despotism throughout history, and military power should be in the hands of the people.  Including women and children. rather, ESPECIALLY women and children.

There would be no handing over the population’s money to banksters if we were organized into well regulated militias.  Such militias, given the US power structures adoration for violence is essential for the population’s safety.  Especially after the Bushite political counter revolution continued by Obama.

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By Paul_GA, April 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm Link to this comment

Virginia, I believe it’s better to teach children firearm safety and familiarization than make them scared of inanimate objects that can’t harm them unless acted upon by human hands. A couple of weekends ago, I was teaching my grand-niece and grand-nephew about one of my own weapons; they’ve grown up around guns, as I did (their dad is both a bow-hunter and a firearms hunter) and they’re good kids. I certainly don’t think I did anything wrong. I believe you distort ME by thinking I’m a “typical” gun fanatic (I’m not; I don’t belong to the NRA—it’s just a fund-raising scam for the GOP, whom I don’t vote for).

Do you realize the real reason why something like Columbine becomes news is because it’s so out of the ordinary? As Tuchman’s Law (formulated by historian Barbara Tuchman) says, “The fact of being reported multiplies the apparent extent of any deplorable development by five to ten-fold.”

I remain an unrepentant believer in RKBA and the Second Amendment. And I insist I can be like that and still be a regular poster/reader here at Truthdig.

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By Dionne's skullrattle, April 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment
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HULK2008—- You are not up on recent or not so recent history re: governments disarming citizens. In the late 90’s the despised and loony government headed by John Howard, sent teams of confiscators around Australia, gathering and grabbing every gun they could lay their hands on, including rifles not kept by professional hunters or guides. Considering your background, I am stunned you are so easily led astray to asking the wrong question. The issue is not why should we worry. The issue is why is the government even considering such things? The US Constitution was crafted, contrary to usual thinking, as a statement of just what WE are permitting the government to do, not the other way around. You certainly know about other ruling bodies through history which have disarmed their people, following this with heavy tax burdens, usury, controlled wages, involuntary conscription to launch wars of domination or revenge and single-Party rule. Recall the various fascist regimes in East Germany and Italy, some under the guise of national well-being, racial purity, or political ideology. Think of two hundred years of Crusades which tortured and terrorized defenseless people in whole regions of Europe and North Africa. Human nature is the same everywhere. To say it won’t happen here is a mistake.

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By Virginia777, April 21, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Paul-GA:

Us “hoplophobes” care about children and especially, children of the poor and children of color.

Gun-fanatics like you do not, and this is unintentionally illustrated by your distortion:

“Yes, it’s sad that so many youngsters are so murderous”

You are blaming the children (always trying to let yourselves off the guilt hook),

and not the Gun Lobby.

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By Paul_GA, April 21, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

Virginia, I must insist: guns (not to mention bombers, missiles, land mines, DU, etc. ad infinitum) in the blood-dripping hands of governments are far worse. Yes, it’s sad that so many youngsters are so murderous, but taking away the rights of gun owners will not help. Besides, my challenge still stands—if hoplophobes hate guns and the Second Amendment so much, why not try to repeal the 2nd?

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By Virginia777, April 21, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

Gun Advocates on Truthdig??

what have times come to?

Nothing Frederick Douglass wouldn’t understand, however, who would answer this to the question posed by the title:

“At a time like this, a scorching iron, not convincing argument, is needed.”

and to all you gun advocate Trolls:  Guns in the hands of children are decimating entire segments of American populations,

not that you care one ounce about them.

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By Pseudonerd5569, April 20, 2009 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment

David Sirota at AlterNet provides a better criticism on the discussion of firearms in our country:

http://www.alternet.org/story/137386/is_there_any_wonder_some_people_snap_like_in_binghamton_and_at_columbine_/

And a better article on the violence in Mexico:

http://www.alternet.org/immigration/137387/hey,_anderson_cooper_—_stop_stoking_racist_fears_about_mexican_drug_cartels_invading_u.s._cities/

I do believe that the NRA and other like-minded groups and lobbyists needs to stop meddling w/ the sovereignty of countries that try to implement gun control laws too, but we also need to evolve and go beyond discussing “gun control” and move on to the unscrupulous people who benefit from all this hawkish rhetoric on Mexico and from firearms sales.

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By Outraged, April 20, 2009 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment

Re: Aussie

Your comment: “A basic tenet of American democracy is that all citizens have the right to go about their business without fear of harm.  How the NRA’s weird fetishisation of high-powered fire arms supports this basic tenet is beyond this distant observer.”

Yes.  And a BASIC RIGHT given to Americans is the right to bear arms.  A less propagandized notion of this CAN and DOES include the BALANCE of these tenets.  This RIGHT, is a safeguard against the tyranny of the powerful.  In America, at least in my experience….. the people will fight against their oppressors, it’s our history…. some would say, in our blood.

Maybe Australia is different, probably is… could be, and maybe your correct, but Americans do not live in Australia, they live in America.

Additionally, personally…. I do not support the NRA, and neither do MANY Americans.  However, this is not meant to say that Americans will not fight FOR EACH AND EVERY RIGHT AFFORDED TO US BY THE CONSTITUTION, THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND IT’S AMENDMENTS.

The NRA is a very minor aspect of how Americans view the right to bear arms.  To consider the NRA’s view as the view of the populous is in error.

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By BobZ, April 20, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

It’s truly amazing how such a small group of gun zealots can hold the rest of the country hostage in the name of second amendment rights. Someday, probably not in my lifetime, this country will come to its senses and rigorously control the sale of arms in the U.S. A good start would be the reinstatement of the assault rifle ban. There is no earthly reason why these military type weapons should be in the hands of anyone outside of our military. We should also start a massive campaign to control the shipment of arms across the border to Mexico. Any gun dealer caught selling arms to the Mexican government should have their business seized and fined a minimum of $ 1 million dollars. It should be illegal to ship guns across state lines. States like California should not be put at risk by states like Nevada that cater to gun fanatics. Instead of checking for forbidden fruits and vegetables we should be checking for weapons just like the Canadians do. Their should be an absolute ban of gun shows in the United States. Sales of ammunition should be strictly regulated.

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By Aussie, April 20, 2009 at 8:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Lots of people here seem intent on shooting the messenger.  How pathetic that one of the most powerful leaders in the world cannot bring a basic reform that would improve the safety of citizens—particularly school children—without being clobbered by that most insidious interest group of all, the NRA.

Here in Australia we have gun control and the country most definitely isn’t going to the dogs.  American finance has done more damage to our terms of trade than gun control laws ever will.

What sort of insanity is it that asserts that guns are weapons of democracy?  Having the right to bear arms does not confer the right to threaten another’s life (the defense of property argument), and arguably, having high-powered weapons freely available for sports purposes is simply begging for a criminal trade in the same items in neighbouring countries (ie, Mexico), for rather less-than-sporting uses.  There are other factors that motivate criminal activity; however, the unchecked availability of high-powered fire arms arguably increases the occurrence of highly violent crime.  Having vast amounts of security apparatus attached to your home is, if anything, a challenge for anyone wishing you harm; it implies that you have something of value, more than an ordinary householder would be likely to have.

I wonder what the NRA’s view of health reform might be.  Or the role of government fostering the emergence of new industries.  Or federal and state policy designed to intervene in the market to create opportunities for greater employment.  People don’t commit crimes simply because they are “baddies”; criminal behaviour is motivated by much more complex factors than mere moral torpidity.  Any organisation that claims to represent democratic values cannot be anti-government while calling for better law enforcement (more police) without proper laws to control factors in violent criminal behaviour (gun control).

It is lunacy to suggest that there is no connection between current gun laws (and THAT constitutional amendment) and the rates of gun-related homicide.  The Columbine High School massacre was only possible because the weapons were available with little effort to control their use.  The Port Arthur massacre in Australia was a catalyst for better regulation of fire arms held by citizens, and included a moratorium period for such fire arms to be returned without criminal charges being laid.  There has been no comparable massacre anywhere in Australia since then.  In America, you have at least a couple of events like this each year, yet the gun lobby reigns supreme and unchallenged.  Utter madness.

The reality is that the NRA and similar organisations are fundamentally anti American values because their position on gun control is an infringement of their (unarmed) fellow citizens’ rights.  From the safety of another nationality, I would even suggest that the American gun lobby is basically anti-democratic, as bad as—even marginally worse than—any corporation you care to name.  You pride yourselves on being a free society, yet everywhere your citizens are locking themselves behind security barricades, armed to the teeth with excessive privately-owned firepower.  This solution has failed; why not try gun control for a few generations and then see how bad it is?

A basic tenet of American democracy is that all citizens have the right to go about their business without fear of harm.  How the NRA’s weird fetishisation of high-powered fire arms supports this basic tenet is beyond this distant observer.

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By bEHOLD_tHE_mATRIX, April 20, 2009 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

America’s gun problem will continue until after the inevitable revolution/breakup.  We just as well learn to live with the carnage or move elsewhere.  It’s a high price to continually pay for a “right” but the saturation level of firearms and their culture is such that we are no longer master of the device but the device is master over us.  We need an equally tall monument next to the Statue of Liberty in NY harbor in the form of a Colt Revolver.

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By Paul_GA, April 20, 2009 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, I don’t want an M-16; I’d rather have an AK. Besides, governments are bigger murderers than private citizens with guns.

A favorite quotation of mine: “The tank, the B-52, the fighter-bomber, the state-controlled police and military are the weapons of dictatorship. The rifle is the weapon of democracy. Not for nothing was the revolver called an `equalizer’. Egalite implies liberte. And always will. Let us hope our weapons are never needed—but do not forget what the common people of this nation knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny.” ~ Edward Abbey

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By KDelphi, April 20, 2009 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

Yes—people showed up at gun shops and gun shows in HOARDS around here, just a few day before the election. (even more the day after!)I am not even certain it was all about gun laws—some is “fear of socialism” and “fear of govt”,(which may be justified—-but they will always outarm you…you pay them to!) some, fear of a different race.

The uS is so far behind the rest of the civilized world on guns laws… If you live in a nieghborhod where there are alot of guns, and people get loaded on Friday and just go fire off their guns—it is scary…I used to live with people that owned guns—-why should I be forced to own one now, just to protect myself? That is the job of the govt…

All you have to do is look at murder and , even accidental , death rates from guns in comparable (are there anymore?) countries…its very plain to the rest of the ‘free” world.

If someone breaks into your house, tell them to take what they want (I’ve ben robbed before—you dont die). Pulling a gun is just stupid. What if it is some kid who is a drug addict or something? What if it is YOUR kid and you dont know it? Happens all the time…..do you really want to kill someone over your jewelry?

To pretend that the Second Amendment was trying to assure Bubba’S right to an AK-47, , and, not a muzzle loader, is just ridiculous.

If you want to carry an M-16—there is a place for you—Uncle Sam needs YOU!!

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By Paul_GA, April 20, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

Hulk2008, I was talking about the US GOVERNMENT murdering Afghans, Iraqis, and Pakistanis, not their own governments. I mean that THIS country’s government is both inept and murderous; it’s murderous in order to conceal its ineptitude—thus Ruby Ridge and Waco.

Are you assuming that I’m a Repub or something? Or an NRA member? Man, I quit the NRA back in the mid-1990s, and I quit the Repubs in 1997. I voted for Ron Paul in last year’s primaries, and I tend to vote Libertarian in the national ballots (though if she’d have been on the Georgia ballot last year, I’d have voted for Cynthia McKinney). I’m a disillusioned former conservative Repub.

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By Dionne's skullrattle, April 20, 2009 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dionne cites generalities without the support of facts. He endorses Gov. Rendell’s contention that the police are outgunned but does not give any specifics. Like Rendell and Dianne Feinstein, Dionne does not understand that there is not one assault weapon on the list of guns to be banned. There is not one semi-competent army in the world that does not issue fully-automatic rifles and carbines, something these guns ain’t. Dionne, like others who know nothing about guns or ammunition, judges the rifle on its appearance. The fact is that most of the guns Dionne/Rendell/Feinstein want to ban are 9mm non-automatic rifles. These are less potent rounds than the 40 cal S&W auto-loading handguns issued to most police officers. In fact, my old 357 Ruger revolver, when loaded with 125grain defense rounds, is far more lethal than the pretend-threat about which Rendell and the author get weepy. This round fires at a chamber pressure of over 40,000 pounds per sq.inch with a velocity of 1460 feet per second ten feet from the muzzle. The hollow-point expands more rapidly than most of Rendell’s 9mm nightmares OR the police handguns, a horribly devastating end to any criminal’s career. My revolver looks tame and old-fashioned, but the Dionnes, and other sloppy writers, never take the trouble to do even basic research before beginning their sermons. It’s worth mentioning that assault rifles, which are auto-fire weapons, have ALWAYS been illegal to own in the US, unless a machine gun license has been issued (very rare). Rendell and Dionne and Sen. Dianne Feinstein..if you want to weep over something, weep over the fact that God is forced to sit there and watch you.

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By Gary Maxwell, April 20, 2009 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

First off, most of the weapons in Mexico are not coming from the US anyway.  They have machine guns and hand grenades down there that are not available here.

The US has over 60,000 gun laws, most of which don’t make us any safer.  A few more laws are not going to solve the problem.  What the US government needs to do is start over from scratch and work with the gun lobby to write a new set of laws that honor the 2nd Amendment while putting a damper on illegal use of guns.

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By Virginia777, April 20, 2009 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

“Who Will Face Down the Gun Lobby?”

Ed Harges

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By Hulk2008, April 20, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Paul_GA,
    Since when have Karzai and Friends been able to crack down on ANYthing or ANYbody?  The warlords run the show there.  His “government” is holed up in a few towns while the rest of the country looks like the Gunfight At The OK Corral.  And surely you don’t believe that the Wacko From Waco was in the right?  (A guy proclaiming himself Jesus, shacking up with sub-teenies ???)  I have a neighbor who calls himself Rambo because he wears camo suits -  I am not sending him any religious donations either.  The only person in government recently interested in secret crackdowns was Cheney - and he was more interested in nailing his political enemies than gun owners. 
  And if you believe your presumptions are right about the government,  I once again ask “Why give them a bigger military budget?????” 
  Ya cain’t have it both ways, pardner.

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By AT, April 20, 2009 at 9:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t you dare mess with my second amendment right(to sell arms).

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By Paul_GA, April 20, 2009 at 8:39 am Link to this comment

Hulk2008, inept governments can often be murderous governments; ask the Afghans. Ask the Iraqis and the Pakistanis. Go to a seance and ask the ghosts of those murdered by the US government at Ruby Ridge and Waco.

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By Trithoverlies, April 20, 2009 at 7:45 am Link to this comment

This article starts out wrong most of the illegal assualt weapons being used by the drug gangs in Mexico did not come through American ports as repoted but through the Mexican ports where individuals have been paid for decades to look the other way by China and other Asian and Middle Eastern Gunrunners. It is time that we face down the Anti-Gun lobbey for continually lieing about crime and the causes of crime. The best defense against crime is a trained and armed Citizen not the police. England with it’s bobbies (thats Local Police) use to be armed only with a night stick but since they made firearms illegal (other than shot guns) they have had to be armed. Why? because when firearms are outlawed only the crimenals can get them and they are more willing to use them, so stop lieing to us Anti-Gun Lobbiest you are doing your fellow citizens a grave diservice.
          Trithoverlies/Truthoverlies.
            John R. Bloxson Jr.

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By Jon, April 20, 2009 at 7:14 am Link to this comment
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I believe that the drug cartels, which have huge amounts of cash, will get their guns and ammo one way or the other.  We can try to put detection mechanisms on the US->Mexico pathway, but if this pathway is locked down, won’t there be other ways for guns to get into Mexico?  I don’t see the logic in further locking down the US gun owner when we all know that the cartels, with billions of dollars at their disposal, will get what they need, no matter what.  I’m for ending the cartels’ influence, as they operate in 250+ US cities now, but putting the US citizen gun owner under lockdown is not going to change the equation very much, if at all. 

Recently, when a guy broke into my house while I was home in the middle of the night, I had respect for the law, I had deadbolt locks, and ‘security by xxx corp.’ stickers on the window.  But he broke the door down and there he was anyway.  And in his court appearance, he was let off because it was a first offense. I had no weapon, would not have thought about it.  But still, as locked down as I was, I was broken into anyway and nothing was done.  I see the cartel-US-Mexico issue in this light.  We’re locked down as citizens, but the cartel roams freely it seems, and the US answer is: lockdown US citizens even more?

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By Hulk2008, April 20, 2009 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

If the US government is so inept, why are people so scared of having their guns taken away?  An inept can’t-do-anything-right government could scarcely take away unwanted yard signs, much less hidden weapons.  You can’t have BOTH sides of the discussion at the same time. 
    The same people who are buying guns are also in favor of drastic INcreases in the military budget.  If they are so scared of the government, why give that government even more weapons? 
  Obviously the entire “argument” is NOT an exercise in logic or stats. 
  I am a veteran - Expert Marksman Medal 4 years in a row - have used guns and have a muzzle-loader (it’s just for display - not for killing people).  But I have no driving desire to collect bandoliers of armor-piercing bullets or weapons that can fire 50 rounds a second.  And it’s nothing but semantics to say that a weapon is or isn’t an “assault rifle” if it is capable of holding and firing more than a few rounds at a time.  I have never seen herds of anything that would warrant having more than a few rounds in the hunting rifle - unless, of course, I were a horrid marksman and I needed 50 rounds to hit soemthing.  I for one don’t need to hunt flocks of hummingbirds.
  To those who need “fast shooters” and giant clips, go back to the range ...... you just need more target practice before you can be allowed to hunt.  For those who fear our government, get a life and chill out.

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By Clonakilty32, April 20, 2009 at 6:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Gun control is a poison pill for any political party to take on.  Guns have always been part of our culture and always will be.  For gun advocates its a sacred right that will never be surrendered. For individuals or gun control advocacy groups its something that is a bitter pill to swallow.  Similar to the abortion issue.  Legalized abortion is and will continue to be legal.  That will always be hard for the Conservative Right to accept and I expect it will never be accepted.  The only way I see any change in gun laws to happen will have to come from a grass roots effort.  Politicians and this country are intimidated by the NRA and gun lobby.

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By Paul_GA, April 20, 2009 at 5:34 am Link to this comment

Has Mr. Dionne ever owned a firearm in his life? I have several—including one of those “assault weapons” (a misnomer; it shoots semi-auto only, so technically, it’s a paramilitary carbine, not an “assault weapon” or an “assault rifle, which by definition is a selective-fire weapon).

Also, I’m sure Mr. Obama and others among the Demo leadership remember 1994 and the way the Repubs used gun control to get into majority control of both houses—Bill Clinton himself admitted his support for the Brady Bill and the “Assault-Weapon” Ban cost him control of Congress, and though he was re-elected in 1996, he was weakened by losing his party’s control of the legislature.

Mr. Dionne, we gun-owners have rights, too!

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By KISS, April 20, 2009 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

Another shrieking article full of lies and innuendos.. Fact, of all those guns 17% come from Amerika. NRA is made up of citizens and friends in the millions, not like a corporation with only a few board members ranging in the amount of 10-15 citizens. The lobbying is done by voters. How writers of this kind can dismiss the constitution is alarming.Trading liberty for security gets none, as ol” Ben said.

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By Druthers, April 20, 2009 at 3:30 am Link to this comment

When I read the title, the first thought that popped into my mind was quite simple - Nobody.

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By Outraged, April 20, 2009 at 1:10 am Link to this comment

E.J. Dionne

Quote: “In other words: Our president can deal with all manner of big problems, but the American gun lobby is just too strong to let him push a rational and limited gun regulation through Congress.”

Is that “In other words” or In YOUR words…? Hyperbole extraordinaire is what I would call it.

Gov. Rendell is a questionable source of ANYTHING, what is Rendell….?  A dem or repub?  or something outside of both…?  His complete disregard for the integrity of the vote during the election is overridingly suspect.  Rendell… whatever.

Your quote: “Obama, at least, should understand this: He was not elected by the gun lobby. It worked hard to rally gun owners against him—and failed to stop him.”

He may not have been elected by the gun lobby, however he ALSO was not ELECTED by the “ANTI-GUN” lobby. Your supposition is without substance.

Additionally, your article is the epitome of simplistic “fixes” designed to incite the fearful and skew the facts.  Give us the facts.  How many people are KILLED or MURDERED by registered gun owners?  Ah… the LIES of omission.

Sure E.J., all our problems of violence will simply melt into thin air if there are no guns.  Since according to your analogy “guns” are the culprit, “guns” kill people, “guns” endorse violence, “guns” are the PROBLEM…. wow, I didn’t know a hunk of metal and wood could have such a PROFOUND effect on the psyche.

Obama’s quote, ““I continue to believe that we can respect and honor the Second Amendment rights in our Constitution, the rights of sportsmen and hunters and homeowners who want to keep their families safe, to lawfully bear arms, while dealing with assault weapons that, as we know, here in Mexico, are helping to fuel extraordinary violence. Violence in our own country as well. Now, having said that, I think none of us are under the illusion that reinstating that ban would be easy.”

I agree.  AND…. to run a country of DIVERSITY inherently means TO INCLUDE everyone.  Obama is correct to consider ALL. If you want to change this you would need to amend The Constitution, this can be done, but it is NOT Obama’s job and according to LAW, shouldn’t be.

Your quote: “It’s particularly infuriating that Obama offered this statement of powerlessness”

This is only in YOUR opinion E.J., powerlessness is in the eye of the beholder, apparently like so many other things.  I feel that somehow you would find a “no gun society” as some sort of shangri-la…. there are no shangri-la’s, E.J., it is that simple.

Your comment: “Family members of the victims of gun violence, she says, are mystified at Congress’ inability to pass even the most limited regulations.”

Here….this is where the issue/problem lies.  If what you are claiming is correct, this WOULD BE/IS an issue.  This, I would think the “heart of the matter”, if valid.

ASSUMING it is VALID, the questions become, why is that…. who benefits…. why is this fight,fought, .... and does the opposition’s claim have merit?  Will it produce the intended outcome or is it a benign “fix” of a lame and half-hearted attempt to supposedly subdue our culture of violence?  Sure… “look at us”, “we tried”, “see what we did”, “you’re all safe now”, and “we did what we could”.  While this “may” solve some re-election problems, what does or will it concretely do…, TO KEEP US SAFE?

My guessimation….. nothing.

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By Misfiteye, April 19, 2009 at 11:55 pm Link to this comment

It’s not about guns or drugs.  It’s about corruption.

From gun control to health care, from energy policy to foreign affairs, our laws reflect the influence of corporate money more than the will of the people.

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By clank, April 19, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Try to think you’re not completely wrong E.

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