Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Rolling Back Gun Laws

While doing my usual daily blog surfing, I saw a Kansas City Star newspaper article on Alphecca. My antenna started quivering when I saw Saul Cornell's name. Bill and I wrote about him and his "Second Amendment Research Center" here, then a follow up here, with mentions here and here. In other words, Cornell has become our favorite academic whipping boy. I couldn't help myself. I had to register and read the entire article.

As Alphecca said, it is interesting. The basic thesis is that gun control is a losing issue for Democrats, but Republicans are not going to fight to expand gun rights. From the anti-gun side is a quote and paraphrase from Cornell,
"There's a perception that Washington is not the place to take the debate at this moment,” .... politicians on both sides see little advantage in pressing the issue.
Then another academic, George Connor says,
Republicans basically have already gotten everything they wanted. They wanted to protect the rights of gun owners and average citizens, which they've done. … I don't think they're going to push any farther than they already have.
I googled Connor and he seems to be a "go to" guy for Missouri politics sound bites. I am not sure if he is another assclown intellectual or a thoughtful balanced researcher. His university home page was no help.

One more quote and I'll get on with it, this one from the article's text:
Republicans, on the other hand, have become wary of boasting about their long and profitable alliance with the National Rifle Association, the nation's leading gun rights group.
The article's gist is that we are at a balancing point in gun rights. No one wants to disturb an uneasy national status quo. Alphecca points out certain states that propose more gun control such as .50 caliber rifle bans, while others push for more gun rights.

A possible tendency to maintain a national status quo is disturbing to me. You see, I want to repeal gun laws. We have too many gun laws now because gun people compromised and accepted almost everything gun-banners jammed down our collective throats. No one is to really to blame for this situation. In the late 1960s, gun control was going to happen because of assassinations of our leaders. Concern about crime in the 1980s to mid-1990s helped fuel other infringements. Gunnies are now ready to fight to reverse certain infringements.

I want to see certain gun laws rolled back. I am all for keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, but our definition of a criminal keeps expanding. A woman who was convicted of
a domestic violence misdemeanor because she slapped her husband is barred from ever owning a gun. A man, convicted of passing a bad check, is barred from gun ownership even if he never committed a violent act. See this article for a discussion of how difficult it is to have gun restrictions lifted once they are imposed.

So, I want to repeal the Lautenberg amendment that bans guns for people convicted of domestic violence. Domestic violence is serious, but laws defining it are too expansive to allow a permanent ban. Figure something else out for truly violent offenders (i.e., tree, batterer, rope).

I want to see Congress fund BATFE's program that can restore gun rights. Funds were cut off in 1992. Those people convicted of even non-violent felonies have no way to restore their rights to own a firearm. Let them have their rights back after a certain number of years of honest living.

I want to see the Hughes Amendment repealed. This last minute addendum to an act that restored a few gun rights (Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986) barred civilian sales of machine guns made after 1986. Subsequently, prices of collectible weapons to skyrocket because of it.

I want to see Federal reciprocity for concealed carry permits. Rights to effective self-defense should not end at a state line.

There are other laws I would be happy to see die, but I am realistic enough to know we will never got back to life as it was before 1968's Gun Control Act. We will especially never see a return to life as it was before 1934's National Firearms Act which regulated machine guns and other weapons.

I can live with Brady NICS checks and filling out Forms 4473s. I can live with regulations on owning machine guns and certain other weapons. I can live with being forced to go through a Federally licensed gun dealer to buy modern guns through interstate commerce. It doesn't mean I am happy with these and other laws, but I can shrug my shoulders and, well, live with them.

We have work to do. We must make sure Congress passes lawsuit immunity for gun makers and sellers this year. We must let our Congress Critters know we expect a reasonably rapid rollback of certain Federal gun laws. We must let our state legislators know we are tired of their shenanigans and to stop their infringements. Finally, we must be vigilant. From the Kansas City Star article again is a quote from NRA's
Andrew Arulanandam:
Anyone who claims the Second Amendment is now officially immune from attack because more folks in D.C. are getting politically savvy is off the mark in their political assessment....We've seen the Democrats suffer as a result of their support for gun control. But we've also seen the gun control movement evolve.
Let's make sure we lose no more ground simply because gun-grabbers have figured out a new way to attack us.

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