Today, we speak of gun regulation and common sense — two fellows who rarely travel together but who should get to know each other.
Big Red Car here on a smoking hot Father’s Day. Salutations to all those who have fathered children and taken care of them. Salute!
So, with the advent of another mass shooting — condolences to all — we are once again worshiping at the altar of gun control. There is a difference between gun control and gun regulation.
Please include the Big Red Car amongst those who think it is time to do something, something substantive and based on common sense. Common sense, particularly coming out of Washington, is uncommon.
First, let’s review a few facts.
What is an assault rifle, Big Red Car?
The definition of what exactly constitutes an “assault” rifle is a little murky.
Harkening back to the now defunct 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban (expired in 2004) one can safely suggest an assault rifle is a weapon which:
- can fire in a semi-automatic manner (one trigger pull, one bullet),
- has a large capacity magazine (20+ rounds per magazine),
- a pistol grip, and,
- other such characteristics as being able to accept a flash suppressor or a barrel shroud or a bayonet (a bayonet mounting lug).
In the fine print is the necessity that it was designed for a military use, which, of course, almost no weapons ever were.
There about 6-8,000,000 assault rifles in existence in the United States. I am always surprised that the number has such a high range of uncertainty.
How often is an assault rifle used in a mass killing?
As noted above there are between six and eight million assault rifles in the US and in the last few years, the notable uses are primarily Sandy Hook (14 December 2012) and Orlando. There may be others but those are the big two in the last few years.
Out of eight million assault rifles out there, two have been used in mass killings. This implies that 7,999,998 assault weapons were NOT used in mass killings.
Meanwhile, there were 445 deadly shootings (out of a total of 2,551 shootings, the balance not being “deadly”) in Chicago alone in 2015. More people were killed and wounded in the months of May, June, July, August, and September (individually) 2015 than in Orlando. [Since Rahm Emanuel became Mayor in 2011, there have been 2,208 homicides in Chicago.]
Most of the Chicago murders were committed using pistols and can be traced to ten lawless neighborhoods.
For more detailed Chicago mayhem statistics, go here: Chicago Crime and Murder Statistics.
I use Chicago as the exemplar because ALL GUNS ARE BANNED IN CHICAGO. Banning guns does not seem to have the desired effect, or do I have that wrong?
What happens if you ban assault weapons, Big Red Car?
As it relates to Sandy Hook and Orlando, the jury is definitely out. Both murderers were carrying handguns in addition to the long rifles they used.
We had an AWB (Assault Weapons Ban) for ten years starting in 1994 and the rate of mass murders went up. Yes, it went up. Not by much but up it went.
I will spare you the obvious shibboleth that criminals are not constrained to acquire their weapons legally and being criminals, they can be counted on to acquire them illegally.
Further, the mass murderers at Sandy Hook and Orlando came with handguns in addition, indicating to a rational person a high unlikelyhood of forestalling their evil intent by banning assault weapons.
Bottom line: Should we enact feel good laws that do not work?
What CAN we do gun regulation-wise, Big Red Car?
Here are some modest proposals:
Let’s start by finalizing the Crazy List — a requirement of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons Ban which was not completed by all states. Let’s build a national database of folks who should never own guns: felons, mental patients, perpetrators of violence (wife abusers), terrorists (there’s your Terror Watch List), drug abusers, persons under treatment for a number of psychiatric maladies who might pose a danger to themselves or others. Not an exhaustive list but you get the idea, right?
With the Crazy List invigorated, let’s use it. [Pro tip: Likely all of the mass murderers for the last ten years should have been on the Crazy List. All of them. How can we not do this?]
Let’s start enforcing existing Federal and state laws which throw the book at criminals who use weapons in the commission of any crime. Let them know that it’s 10-20 years guaranteed if you use a weapon in the commission of any crime. And, then, let’s do it. Hey, there are such laws on the books right now, y’all. Let’s just enforce them.
Let’s make background checks uniform amongst the states — right now, Texas, as an example, has a very stringent sales regime. It has the highest rate of gun ownership in its history and the lowest rate of murders, also. Use the FBI database and the Crazy list. [And, no, President Obama, it is not administered by the ATF, it is the freakin’ FBI. As President, somebody should have told you that before you got all teary eyed and made a complete fool of yourself.]
Let’s make all gun show sales subject to the same requirements of FFL (Federal Firearms Licensees) to sell a gun. This one is a close call but let’s make a few close calls, shall we. No more gun show loophole. Though, the vast majority of gun show exhibitors are FFLs and have been for years.
Let’s harness up Big Data and identify people who buy inordinate amounts of ammunition and weapons. Send a local detective to chat them up. Do not ban them, just monitor them. Another close call but very easy to do. We do this in the banking system to fight money laundering wherein all transactions in excess of $5,000 are monitored.
Let’s start a gun awareness program — similar to what was done with cigarettes — not to deny gun ownership but, rather, to teach responsible gun ownership and to spread the word as to who should not own guns. This is a long term project and something the NRA should be interested in doing. We are not going to be judgmental, we are going to be instructive. Just like teaching people to drive a 2,000 lbs hunk of burning love, a car.
Let’s start a nationwide hunting safety course that must be taken before one can get a hunting license. Be proactive.
Let’s start a national gun buy back program — this is a fop to the liberals who cannot imagine a gun regulation initiative without some element of confiscation. This one’s for y’all. Buy back guns to your heart’s content. Melt them down — have meltdown parties — and make them into coins and let folks buy the coins at a discount. Make the program self-funding. Ask Mike Bloomberg for a couple of billion to jump start the program.
Let’s get right on the facts. Neither the Sandy Hook nor the Orlando shooter were on the FBI’s Terror Watch List. Both acquired weapons legally and both, interestingly enough, were turned down by legitimate gun shops when they sought to acquire weapons.
Let’s stop with the silliness of banning assault weapons and let’s stop grandstanding in Congress pretending this is going to make a difference. It will not and we learned that lesson in the 1994-2004 time frame. Stop playing for the cameras and act like adults.
Let’s know what we’re talking about. The President of the United States has NO earthly idea how Internet gun sales work. In his teary eyed exposition, he made himself look like an idiot suggesting one could buy a gun on the Internet without any background investigation. In fact, if you buy a gun on the Internet, it can only be delivered to a FFL (Federal Firearms Licensee) in your state and you then go through the complete purchase discipline of your state. That’s the way it works right now and it’s a freakin’ shame the President doesn’t know that.
So, there you have it. No silly, feel good Terror Watch List nonsense; no silly Assault Rifle ban (hey, we tried that) and a bit of actual knowledge. Then, let’s reason together and pass workable gun regulation (not control, regulation). Let’s crawl, walk, run and let’s stop demonizing those who peacefully enjoy their Second Amendment rights.
And, no, Congressman Grayson, an AR-15 cannot fire “700 rounds in a minute.” Read here: Congressman Claims AR-15 Fires 700 Rounds a Minute
Common sense gun regulation. We can do this, right?