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View Diary: Poll: It turns out supporting gun safety legislation is also smart politics (63 comments)

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  •  On background checks and the terror watch list (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    noway2, Not A Bot

    I still have a huge issue with Newton being used to call for more background checks, as both Nancy and Adam Lanza would have passed.  As far as I know, being diagnosed with Aspergers does not strip a citizen of his Constitutional rights, and I still have not seen anyone explain which background check the Lanzas would have failed and why.

    My next big issue is with the "NRA is arming terrorists" comments I have seen.  I even heard Norman Goldman on the radio saying that being on the Homeland Security terrorist watchlist doesn't fail the gun background check, and go thank the NRA for that.

    But should being put on the terrorist watch list or the no fly list bar an American citizen from his 2nd Amendment rights?  Is that constitutional?

    Being put on either list is not a matter of due process in a court of law.  It is not a finding of criminal guilt.  The FBI could just as easily decide that all Muslims, or heck even all brown skinned people, are now on the terrorist watch list.  Does that suddenly render the Constitution meaningless for all of those citizens?

    I have no issue with people failing background checks because they have been, in court, found to be felons, or violent, or severely mentally ill.  But I have a huge problem with background checks being listed as a way to keep guns out of the hands of everyone who we arbitrarily say should not have them.  That's not how rights work.  Rights are removed from the individual through due process in court.

    Most of the calls for more background checks seem to miss that point.

    •  Why is (9+ / 0-)

      Nidal Hasan a "terrorist" for shooting up a room full of people at Fort Hood and James Holmes "mentally ill" for shooting up a room full of people in Aurora, CO?  

      The Newtown murders were just the tipping point.  Really, millions of sane, sad, disgusted, fed-up people just decided that if we as a nation did not do something about our absurdly ineffective gun laws in the wake of twenty small and 100% innocent children being slaughtered in their classrooms, that really said something pathetic about American society.  

      And we didn't get anything done, which says something pathetic about American society (and dysfunctional, lobbyist controlled Congress).  The fact that the gun lobby and the noisy, scared, angry, paranoid, uniformed minority got their way is pathetic.  It's a national embarrassment.

      I still wonder about Nancy Lanza, presumably a reasonably intelligent woman, keeping seven guns and numerous large-capacity magazines in a gun cabinet in her house, with a clearly disturbed 20-year-old son living under the same roof.    

      •  Clearly disturbed by which measure? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        noway2, Not A Bot, Very Long Range

        Our rights are based on the rule of law, which means definitions are important.  Was Adam Lanza ever diagnosed as "clearly disturbed" by a doctor?  Was he found mentally ill by a court?  Why do you believe he was "clearly disturbed"?  Is it because he had Aspergers?  Does that mean all persons with Aspergers are legally denied their rights?

        You mention "absurdly ineffective gun laws", and I'd like to get to the root of that.  Does that mean all individuals with Aspergers should be banned from owning a gun?  Should all parents of mentally ill children be banned from owning guns?  If you think that Aspergers sufferer Adam Lanza should have failed a background check, you have to state exactly why, and then be consistent over all citizens.

        I'm asking these questions because you seem to be very close to saying our Constitutional rights can be entirely dismissed as soon as some armchair psychologist says "Eh, he's clearly disturbed".  Our rights don't work that way.  

        For better or worse, Adam Lanza had no due process with regard to his mental state, and thus would not have failed any background check that doesn't devlove into gross profiling.  So discriminatory profiling of the mentally ill is acceptable now?

        Note:  Group housing for developmentally challenged individuals was turned down by zoning comittee in a suburb near me.  One of the actual reasons given was "those individuals can be dangerous, and no one wants to live next to them.  It'll hurt property values"

        •  Faito is saying (3+ / 0-)

          Adam Lanza's mother acted in a fatally incomprehensible and ultimately stupid way by not keeping her weapons locked up. Is there even a question about this?

          •  The question is about rights (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Not A Bot, Very Long Range

            No, there is no question that Mrs. Lanza should have kept her guns locked up.

            My question is whether Mrs. Lanza would have failed a background check and been legally prevented from owning guns, based on her son's mental state.

            •  Because Lanza would (4+ / 0-)

              have passed a background check is not a reason to oppose a background check that could have stopped the Aurora and Tucson shooters. This doesn't mean that Newtown is somehow off limits when the subject of background checks comes up. The idea isn't to prevent another Newtown if that means every condition that existed in Newtown would be duplicated in another setting. The idea is to prevent more horror if that can be done. That's what preventing another Newtown means.

              And Faito offered Lanza mental status as an aside about his mother's behavior, not a statement about Aspbergers as a disqualification for gun ownership.

        •  The state gun laws DO NOT WORK. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          a2nite, TheFern, Glen The Plumber

          The 10 states with the weakest gun laws in America collectively suffer from a level of gun violence that is more than twice as high as the 10 states with the strongest gun laws.

          In 2005,  Seung-Hui Cho (V-Tech shooter) had been declared mentally ill by a Virginia special justice and ordered to seek outpatient treatment.  This did not stop him from legally purchasing 2 semi-auto pistols and lots of ammo.  Norm sees no problem with that; I do see problem with that.

          2A:  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.

          It's astonishingly clear that the Second Amendment is a relic of the founding era more than two centuries ago, and its purpose is long past.

          The amendment should not block the ability of society to keep itself safe through gun control legislation. That was never its intent. This amendment was about militias in the 1790s, and the fear of the anti-federalists of a federal army. Since that issue is long moot, we need not be governed in our national life by doctrines on now-extinct militias from the 18th century.

          There is no "right of insurrection" in the USC.  If there were, the USC would be a self-destructing artifact.

          I get it.  You love your AR-15 and your AK-47 and you think all gun laws are "infringing" on your rights (although you surely do not belong to a "well regulated militia").  It's pointless to argue with you.  

          •  A couple points (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Not A Bot

            First, I don't own a single gun.  No I don't love guns, but I do love Constitutional rights.  And that's what this discussion is about.

            For the V-Tech shooting, I agree with you.  If an individual is declared mentally ill by a judge, that should void 2nd Amendment rights.  That's due process and I said so.

            But do you agree that an individual who has not lost his rights through due process in court still has them?  Or not?  Is suspision or racial profiling the same as due process?

            Finally, sounds like you want to change the Constitution.  Put it to a vote then, that's how it works.

          •  I'm calling BULLSHIT on that study (0+ / 0-)

            The interactive map at:


            shows Illinois ranking 41st in overall gun deaths based on a per capita figure. Alaska, because of it's tiny population, ranks 1st.

             But the number of firearm deaths in Chicago alone (in one month) far exceeds the number in Alaska for the whole year.

            The study skews the rankings to benefit high population states and depicts rural states as being "more dangerous."

            More BULLSHIT that does nothing but destroy the credibility of the Democratic party in rural America

            •  JAMA found the same thing. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Glen The Plumber

              Their report (based on CDC, ATF & FBI reports) looked at indicators of gun violence like aggravated assaults with firearms, the percentage of guns traced to crimes within two years of their purchase, and the rate at which guns bought in one state are recovered in another after a crime is committed, a measure of illegal gun trafficking.

              When all 10 indicators of gun violence were taken into consideration, Louisiana — the state with the highest rate of gun homicides, and one of the states with the highest numbers of firearm deaths among children from 2001 to 2010 — ranked as the most violent state. Hawaii had the lowest overall rate of gun violence, followed by Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, all among the 10 states that an analysis last year by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence found had the toughest laws.


              Obviously, we know that correlation is not causation necessarily...but it suggests that there could be a causal relationship.


              •  All per capita calculations (0+ / 0-)

                Studies that use the same (flawed) methodologies to get the same results prove nothing.

                I suspect that we have 15 to 20 counties that are in high-population density/metropolitan/drug ridden/ difficult socio-economic areas that are skewing firearm violence statistics nationwide.

                •  Meh. (0+ / 0-)

                  Gun-fans always whine about methodology when they don't like the study's results.

                  The scary black urban gangbanger with a Glock is especially scary to middle-aged suburban white guys who suffer from irrational fears that said gangbangers will for no known reason travel out to the 'burbs to murder them in their sleep.

    •  see, THIS . . . . (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Faito, CrissieP, Glen The Plumber, Miggles
      But should being put on the terrorist watch list or the no fly list bar an American citizen from his 2nd Amendment rights?  Is that constitutional?
      is why people think the gun nuts are . .  well . . . nuts.  (shrug)
      •  You vote against due process then? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Not A Bot

        Where in the Constitution does it say we lose our rights as soon as we are suspected of something?  Doesn't the government first have to prove guilt?  How is that nuts?

        •  You can approach this from (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Norm in Chicago

          two directions.

          1) Gun ownership is a right. Rights must be upheld otherwise they become meaningless.

          2) People have been identified who may pose a danger to public safety. What can be done to make it harder for them to become armed?

          The first position makes safety and survival less important than a concept which must be adhered to no matter what. It makes the concept absolute and all-important.

          The second position says, we have a problem. How can we sensibly address it.

          It's true that the no-fly list should require a higher legal standard. Perhaps a discussion about using it to identify individuals who would fail a background check could lead to the goal of making the list more legally rigorous.

          •  Yes, how they are identified is the issue (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            noway2, Not A Bot

            What I've said is that if they are identified as a danger to public safetly through due process in court, then rights can be denied to them.  Being put on the no fly list should require a court hearing and a chance to defend one's self in court, in my opinion.

            But the FBI saying "Oh, he's a scarry dark skinned Muslim", or an armchair psychologist saying "he has Aspergers and is clearly disturbed" doesn't quite cut it.

    •  asdf (6+ / 0-)
      I still have a huge issue with Newton being used to call for more background checks, as both Nancy and Adam Lanza would have passed.  As far as I know, being diagnosed with Aspergers does not strip a citizen of his Constitutional rights, and I still have not seen anyone explain which background check the Lanzas would have failed and why.
      People can cite Newtown as another unspeakable act of gun violence without being required to make a literal connection between the way Adam Lanza became armed and the goals of legislation. Newtown motivated people who already felt revulsion over Aurora, the Sikh Temple shooting, Tucson, Virginia Tech.

      Advocates use Newtown to call for background checks because we can't just surrender to mass murder as a feature of modern life. The notion that consistency requires that Newtown should be removed from the discussion represents the meaning of Newtown in a profoundly distorted way.

      •  I want people to be upfront about things (0+ / 0-)

        A lot of rhetoric flies around here that people can't back up when chalenged on it.  People say that background checks would have prevented Newton.  When I ask if that means all Aspergers individuals must be disarmed, they get all squeemish.

        People say that "The NRA is arming terrorists".  I then ask if all Muslims should be disarmed, and they go silent.

        I understand that Newton was a last straw event.  But that isn't the same thing as saying we must have background checks BECAUSE of Newton, when the facts don't fit the case.  As an engineer I avoid emotional arguments, they lead to poor design choices.

    •  That's a ludicrous position. (0+ / 0-)

      "Adam Lanza wouldn't pass a background check" therefore "background checks must not be discussed in the same sentence with Newtown".

      Yeah. Ludicrous.

      "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

      by nosleep4u on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:50:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, it's logical (0+ / 0-)

        If a building collapsed due to an earthquake, would you use that event as a rallying call for more hurricane monitoring?

        From Faito's post, it makes much more sense to use the V-Tech shooting to call for background checks, because at least that guy would have failed.

        •  The system was corrected in response to VT (0+ / 0-)

          The exact symptom was addressed, not sweeping broad based legislation.

          •  Good, that's the best result (0+ / 0-)

            Specific issues should be addressed through specific, targeted resolutions.  I'm not a fan of sweeping broad based actions, like the Patriot Act.  Too many unintended consequences, too much concentrated power.

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