Gun Violence Is Preventable-- But Trump's Election Means There'll Be Four More Years Of It
If you watch the ad above very closely the first time, it won't shock the hell out of you the way it shocked the hell out of me as it approaches the end. It's an amazing ad and it's the reason for this post. Please watch it. You'll thank me.
I'm not sure how many NRA shills the Democrats brought into Congress. I do know that two very sane gun safety advocates-- Carol Shea-Porter (NH) and Ruben Kihuen (NV)-- replaced two total gun loons, respectively, Frank Guinta and Cresent Hardy. Other Republican gun nuts who won't be coming back to the House in 2017 include Joe Heck (NV), John Mica (FL), David Jolly (FL), Jeff Miller (FL), Ander Crenshaw (FL), Rich Nugent (FL), Curt Clawson (FL), Renee Ellmers (NC), Marlin Stutzman (IN), Ed Whitfield (KY), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Matt Salmon (AZ), Randy Forbes (VA), Robert Hurt (VA), Lynn Westmoreland (GA), Stephen Fincher (TN), Cynthia Lummis (WY), Randy Neugebauer (TX), John Kline (MN), Dan Benichek (MN), Charles Boustany (LA), John Fleming (LA), Joe Pitts (PA) and Scott Garrett (NJ). Good; they all have blood on their hands and the American people are better off without them in Congress. Unfortunately, almost all of them were replaced by more NRA shills; that's today's Republican Party.
Back to the Democrats, I know they elected at least two exceptionally bad NRA creeps-- Lou Correa (CA) and Darren Soto (FL). I know about them and their sordid relationships with the gun lobbyists from their records in their state legislatures. We'll have to wait and see how some of the other new members vote in the House. I would suspect a conservative like Vicente González (TX) but we'll have to keep an open mind and wait and see, right?
That said, the NRA spent $30 million helping to elect Trump this year-- and many millions more electing gun nuts to the House and Senate. Aside from $19,065,039 in independent expenditures for gun loons, the NRA spent $764,450 for House Republicans, $15,500 for House Democrats and $151,350 for Senate Republicans as campaign contributions. The Democrats they paid off were Sanford Bishop (Blue Dog-GA), Henry Cuellar (Blue Dog-TX), Collin Peterson (Blue Dog-MN) and Tim Walz (MN). The biggest recipient of gun bribes this year was Paul Ryan ($139,982) and other House Dems who got money from gun groups besides the NRA included Ron Kind (New Dem-WI), Gene Green (TX), Kurt Schrader (Blue Dog-OR) and Ben Ray Lujan (head of the DCCC-NM). Here's the NRA's ugly perspective on the results:
As the L.A. Times pointed out over the weekend "At the top of LaPierre’s wish list is an absurd and dangerous federal law to require any state that issues permits for carrying concealed weapons to recognize similar permits issued by other states, even if they have different eligibility and training requirements and even if they have less stringent restrictions on gun ownership. Proponents of so-called concealed-carried reciprocity equate it with state driver’s licenses, which are recognized nationwide. But that’s a false comparison. All states follow similar standards for issuing driver’s licenses, and basic vehicle and traffic laws are largely standardized. That’s not so for gun laws, which vary widely by state, not to mention that county and city governments are allowed to enact their own restrictions based on local needs and preferences.
The reciprocity movement is nothing more than an effort to drive states’ concealed-carry laws to the lowest common denominator. Consider Utah, for instance. To qualify for a Utah permit, which is available to nonresidents and is already accepted by 36 other states, one need only be 21 years old, not be deemed ineligible under federal laws (no felony conviction or history of drug and alcohol abuse, for instance) and complete a Utah-certified Weapons Familiarity course, which can be taken outside the state. In fact, Utah has certified 169 instructors in California alone. Utah’s limited restrictions have made the issuance of concealed-carry permits something of a cottage industry for the state. Two-thirds of Utah’s 632,276 permits as of the end of last year were in the hands of nonresidents.
By comparison, California-- with 33 times Utah’s population-- has only 79,834 active concealed-carry permits, according to the state attorney general’s office. Among other things, California has a more stringent training regimen and requires a person seeking a permit to show good-cause for needing to carry a concealed weapon.
A federal reciprocity law, depending on its final wording, could require California to recognize concealed-carry permits issued in Utah and other states, which it chooses not to do. A California resident could simply apply for a permit from Utah and start walking around Los Angeles with a hidden handgun, no matter what California voters and lawmakers say.
Four bills-- one in the Senate and the rest in the House-- would create such a law and are likely to be reintroduced in January. Trump backs the concept. They could become law. That would be a disaster for public safety and a cynical usurpation of the long-standing right of states to determine their own gun laws.
Whether a federal reciprocity law could withstand a constitutional challenge will depend on its final wording. Congress has the authority to preempt state laws to regulate interstate commerce, but it’s unclear whether that would apply to a law ordering states to recognize gun permits issued elsewhere, since that isn’t a matter of interstate commerce. In its 2008 Heller decision (which we think was wrongly decided), the Supreme Court ruled that the 2nd Amendment confers on individuals the right to own a gun for protection in the home. But it also recognized the rights of lower-level governments to regulate guns, and since then has declined to hear appeals of lower court rulings upholding local and state gun regulations, including those barring carrying weapons, concealed or otherwise, outside the home.
But we can’t be confident the Supreme Court will continue to defer to the states. Reasonable minds in Congress need to head this off before the NRA and its legislative acolytes make American even more dangerous by undercutting reasonable gun controls.