Friday, December 21, 2012

Guns, Guns and More Guns - Insanity Prevails

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...
The NRA's Wayne LaPierre is out of his fucking mind. When I was shot (with a .45 caliber handgun) there was a considerable probability that armed law enforcement would be in close proximity. The gunman was stealthy and realized that the immediate confusion     screaming people running in all directions     would allow him to literally walk away. The high caliber and immense noise actually served the shooter's escape by causing more panic.

Mr. LaPierre is not interested in the obvious solution, which is stricter gun control. Thus, he is obliged to construct a substitute for gun control which may, or may not, even pass the laugh test.

As Lawrence O'Donnell has said, LaPierre lies for a living. He lied today. The notion that we want our schools to be armed camps is spectacularly stupid. Armed guard? A determined shooter will simply take out the guard and go to the classroom of his choice. More armed guards? Trained police officers miss more than 65% of the time. Chances are pretty good that an armed guard is only going to kill more kids. Furthermore, most shooters are suicidal. The threat of being killed might only serve as an incentive for mayhem.

Incidents like Newtown obscure a much larger problem.

Our problem is not the lone whack job committing a mass atrocity. In 2013, it is likely that 12,000 people are going to be murdered by guns. Very few of those homicides will attract national media attention. Additionally, close to 100,000 people are going to be injured by firearms. The total butcher's bill is over 300 people per day; more than 25 per hour. And LaPierre's solution is more guns?

Banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines would certainly reduce the carnage. Yet, approximately 40% of weapons are sold without a background check. We need to do something about that. Most states are well behind on submissions to the national prohibited purchasers database. For example, according to the FBI, about 130,000 additional submissions are required by the state of Florida just to put it at reasonable reporting compliance. The bottom line is that crazy people and criminals are purchasing weapons.

Furthermore, criminals in Chicago (for example) are killing themselves and innocent people with guns legally purchased by straw buyers in Southern states     the Bible Belt. These people are insanely obsessed with fetus protection but once people are born, they are on their own. They are passionate about preventingy pro gay people from marrying. Preventing people from getting murdered? Not so much.

The only solution is for federal registration of all firearms making people accountable for every weapon that they own, sell, transfer, destroy, etc. I'd settle for federal registration of handguns combined with assault weapon and high-capacity magazine bans and an updated prohibited purchaser database.

If Wayne LaPierre, by some chance, is not a pathological liar then he is crazier than any prohibited purchaser. My guess is that nothing will happen. About a third of the GOP caucus in the House are whacked out cracked tea pots. The remainder are scared shitless of the NRA. Watch for the same talking points (generated by the NRA) to be repeated ad nauseum.
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