Thursday, January 31, 2013

NRA Assaults Congress

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Yesterday the Senate Judiciary Committee-- one of the most divided and partisan committees in the Senate, which includes NRA shills and gun fanatics like Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Jeff Sessions (KKK-AL)-- held the first Congressional hearing on gun violence since the Sandy Hook school massacre-- or as the far right extremists like to call it, the Sandy Hook Hoax. Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords started the hearing with a simple and pointed statement:
"Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you."
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, told the senators that new weapons restrictions are not a "serious solution" to the problem. "We need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books," he said. "Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works. Unfortunately, we've seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years... That means violent felons, gang members and the mentally ill who possess firearms are not being prosecuted. And that's unacceptable... We need to look at the full range of mental health issues, from early detection and treatment, to civil commitment laws, to privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System."


Sounds familiar? Those are the NRA talking points being endlessly repeated by the Members of Congress they own and, of course, by Fox and Hate Talk Radio hosts. And Sunday we heard those same words coming out of the mouth of a "Democrat" running for Congress in Jesse Jackson's old Southland seat. Debbie Halvorson, a self described "conservative Democrat" who has twice been rejected by voters in the district in the past two years, is the NRA candidate in the race. She's running on a platform opposing President Obama's proposal to ban assault weapons. Sunday she told voters at a candidates forum that "I refuse to take a look at these wide ranging gun bans and pass one more law against a law abiding citizen until there is something done against those who get their guns illegally or criminal." She has an "A" rating from the NRA, which is backing her in the race.

State Senator Toi Hutchinson is one of the sponsors of a bill in the Illinois legislature banning assault weapons. She's Halvorson's top-rated opponent, the stalwart progressive in the race-- and an across the board contrast to Halvorson's pro-gun posturing. If Halvorson manages to divide the vote and slip back into Congress, she'll continue voting with corrupt conservatives, like she did last time she was in Congress. If Toi Hutchinson is elected she'll be working for common sense solutions to gun violence with President Obama and with Members of Congress like independent-minded New Hampshire Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, whose message on gun violence is very much like Toi Hutchinson's. Shea-Porter sent this column, "Time for Action," to her constituents.
As I write this column, the news is covering still another shooting, this time on a college campus. We will learn who was involved, who was standing where when it happened, who witnessed it, who was hurt, who the hurt people’s friends and families are. Students-- reportedly 10,000 students attend the college-- will say how terrified they were. And then… the story of this shooting will be dropped from the news cycle, only to be replaced by another shooting story. And Americans will wonder why we can’t seem to stop the violence. Or can we?

When the children and teachers were executed in a mass murder at an elementary school, right before Christmas, while we were talking about love and faith and family and peace, everyone thought that this time, politicians would take action. It did seem for awhile that we had reached our breaking point, and that we would finally be ready to pass responsible gun legislation that would give us both the freedom to hunt and protect our families and the freedom to go about our daily lives without fear of being gunned down in still another act of violence. There was encouraging talk about passing legislation as quickly as possible, and President Obama did sign some Executive Orders with the families of the murdered six and seven year olds and the slain staff in the room.

The fight was already ugly, but that’s where it got uglier. The head of the National Rifle Association said that President Obama was “attacking firearms and ignoring children.” There was a sea of outrage that President Obama had children at the event. Children were at the site of the massacre-- I think it is appropriate that children who knew it happened and wrote about it should be in the room when grownups say we are going to try to stop this from happening again to children, or anyone else. The NRA leadership also dragged the President’s own children into the fray, as they falsely warned that President Obama was going to take guns away from law-abiding citizens.

Some in Congress were upset at even the mildest suggestions, such as doctors asking if there are guns in the house so they can talk about safety issues involved when there are children in the residence. Doctors ask if somebody smokes around children. They talk about being safe and careful with candles and stoves, but apparently, they should not ask about a huge killer of children-- guns.

It’s time to stop the fighting and work on the solutions here. It is time to stop bowing to special interests and yes, the money they bring to campaigns, and talk about how we are going to protect both the right to have guns for sport and for protection, and the right to be safe from gun violence.

The easiest step should be to require background checks for gun sales. This means gun sales involving most private sales also. The majority of Americans support this plan. We also need to make sure that critical information is available when there is a background check. Records right now are too often incomplete, and do not identify a buyer’s criminal history or a dangerous mental illness.

It is time to end high-capacity magazine sales. It used to be that citizens had a chance to get away from a shooter when he had to stop to reload. But with high-capacity magazines, the killer can just keep firing away a lot longer, murdering many more innocent folks. Hunters do not need to fire 30 rounds. Neither do citizens exercising their right to defend themselves. I support banning magazines holding more than ten rounds. This will help law enforcement and the public to disarm a mass shooter, and it will give people a better chance to escape a madman.

I support President Obama’s call to close loopholes in gun trafficking laws, and to beef up law enforcement in communities. Let’s also step up mental health services, and work together to encourage a reduction of violence in video games and television and movies. All of these ideas should be the easiest to enact. There is another step, an assault weapon ban, that will require more political debate, but these ideas listed here are common-sense ideas that should have no political test of courage attached to them. Can’t we at least get this done now? Let’s get it done now. It already has been a long and deadly wait.
While the banksters and Wall Street interests on whose behalf Halvorson worked while she was in Congress, funnel cash into her campaign, Toi Hutchinson is running a people-powered grassroots effort. If you can help, please go to the ActBlue special election page here. This election is less than a month away.

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10 Comments:

At 8:26 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

You guys in congress heard what Gabby said yesterday "The Time Is Now" for gun control do it!

 
At 9:46 PM, Anonymous me said...

The fact that Congress allowed those scum to "testify" does not bode well for the country.


If I were the committee chairman (ha ha), I would LOVE to get in front of the CSPAN camera and state clearly:

"We will not be hearing from gun industry lobbyists, the National Gun Nut Association. We already know what they want - to sell more guns - and everyone has heard more than enough of their propaganda. They will not testify in front of this committee as long as I am the chair."

 
At 1:01 PM, Blogger Jim in St Louis said...

So as a 2nd Supporter what am I to glean from this post? That 6 year olds and brain damaged persons should set national policy?

I'm quite willing to listen to a reasonable proposal- but its very hard to take you seriously when no item on the shopping list you proposed would have prevented Sandy Hook, or Aurora, or the AZ shooting that nearly killed the congresswoman.

Don't you think that legislation should be linked to the problem? Or is the idea that the agenda is already written up- just wait for the right moment to try and slip it in?

 
At 11:46 PM, Anonymous me said...

What you are supposed to glean (as if it weren't entirely obvious already) is this:

Experience has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that, if military-grade weapons are freely available, it is impossible to keep them out of the hands of crazies. Not just difficult; impossible.


BTW, as a self-proclaimed "supporter of the second amendment", would you mind telling us all the name of the well-regulated militia to which you belong? Hmmm?

 
At 3:59 AM, Blogger Jim in St Louis said...

First off "me"- I think there are serious problems with vocabulary--what you mean by 'military grade'? Its a nonsense word that doesn't have definition- other than what you choose to make it mean. (like assault rifle or high capacity clip) Try to be precise if you want to go tinkering with the BOR.

Membership in a militia is not a constitutional requirement for bearing arms- (go back and actually read the text). The TN grandma who shoots a home invader is not a member of a militia, the FL girl who dropped a rapist was not a militia member. These and thousands of others are not invited to testify on TV like a sympathetic injured woman.

I'm puzzled about your point that it is an impossible task. So we should do nothing? Or we should pass ineffective laws? Or pass laws that turn law abiding people into criminals?

I think you are being played and manipulated by some very clever theater. Wise up.

 
At 6:15 AM, Anonymous me said...

Hiding behind "what EXACTLY do you mean?" is a coward's way out. One can always find weasel words. They don't change any facts.

Actually, I have read the Second. That's how I know what it says. As a "supporter", you might try doing that.

And here's more bullshit from you: "We can't do everything; therefore we should do nothing." Where have I heard that before? Oh yeah - "Scientists don't know everything, therefore the Bible is inerrant."

You are not trying to find any solutions to any problems. You are simply twisting facts around in any way possible to support your half-baked and absolutist position.

Half-baked and absolutist? You think I'm overstating it? Then what limits on weapons WILL you accept? Which weapons do you think the Constitution mandates that we allow anyone to not just "keep", but walk around with in our neighborhood? Muzzle-loading muskets such as were common when the Constitution was written? Rifles? AK-47's? How about bazookas? Atom bombs? Are you OK with your neighbor having a cache of nerve gas in his garage?

My opinion is that we have to have a limit somewhere. What's yours? Will you accept ANY limit?

And I just love your idea that we should arm all grandmas and little girls with assault rifles, just in case. Holy crap, what kind of world do you want to live in? You've been watching too many movies.

PS, somehow I just knew that you didn't (and won't, and never will) belong to a well-regulated militia. Wow, I'm so surprised. Does that phrase even ring any bells for you? Ever heard it before?

 
At 8:40 AM, Blogger Jim in St Louis said...

Wow. You have so much rage inside of you and you are angry at me for reasons that I could not possibly understand. You seem to want to have some kind of silly flame thing. Go right ahead without me.

You put quotes around words that I did not say, and then you make up things that I never even suggested and then you argue against those. Well I guess of course you have a ready made reply to your ready made enemy. BIZARRE. Sort of like when you pretended to be a congressman.

I do not think guns are the problem, its the wackos who get guns- YOU are the one who said that was impossible, not me. I'd like to explore better background checks, and better security at schools and better mental health screenings. But I can see how that last one would tick you off. Too close to home I guess.

From what you wrote I think your own anger issues would disqualify you from any type of responsible gun ownership. But why do you want to take away my rights?

It should not make any difference what my personal history is- if we are talking about principle- but I was active army for 4 years and then 4 years National Guard. But that is not the point. The 2nd is a individual right- just like the freedom of speech, and yes there are some limits on speech- and yes there are some limits on gun ownership. But your nutty extreme views on suppressing the 1st, only prove to me how important the 2nd really is- I would not want a short fuse crank like yourself to know where my family lives- but if you did find out and you did act out, then I'd feel better know I could protect myself.

 
At 2:47 PM, Anonymous me said...

I do not think guns are the problem, its the wackos who get guns- YOU are the one who said that was impossible

It's not I, but decades of EXPERIENCE says that it's impossible.


I'd like to explore better background checks

Tell that to the National Gun Nut Association. They'll probably respond by calling you a communist.


better security at schools

There was an armed guard at Columbine. Perhaps you'll say that there should have been two? Ten?


better mental health screenings

Again, we know for a fact that if these guns are widely available, nuts will get them.


But I can see how that last one would tick you off. Too close to home I guess.

So that's how you argue your case? Fuck you.

And where is your response to my question about limits? You have no response then? You are in favor of unlimited access to unlimited firepower? It appears so.

The plain fact is this: If we continue to have wide access to these powerful military-grade weapons, we will continue to have mass shootings. If you're willing to accept the latter in order to keep the former, you should just come out and say so.

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger Jim in St Louis said...

I wrote: "yes there are some limits on gun ownership"

you replied:"And where is your response to my question about limits? You have no response then? You are in favor of unlimited access to unlimited firepower? It appears so."

I wrote:"I'd like to explore better background checks"

you replied:"Tell that to the National Gun Nut Association. They'll probably respond by calling you a communist."

From the original posting: "{The} NRA's executive vice president, told the senators that... We need to look at the full range of mental health issues, from early detection and treatment, to civil commitment laws, to privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System."

You are an idiot.

 
At 8:10 PM, Anonymous me said...

You think that "exploring better background checks" constitutes a limit on firepower?

And you call ME an idiot! Ha ha, that's funny.

At least I'm not a GUN NUT.

 

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