Saturday, December 12, 2015

Why We Need A National Assault Weapons Ban - Such As In Highland Park, IL

The array of semi-automatic weapons used by the two California Terrorists - from WSJ, Dec. 9

Most people not living under a rock have already heard of the Supreme Court's refusal to hear a challenge to Highland Park, Illinois' assault weapons ban. The suit was brought by a local pediatrician (?!) and a state gun hobby shooting group.  Neither liked the fact that the town disallowed these high powered weapons, as several states - including Maryland and Pennsylvania- are also considering.

Of the nine justices, seven sided together to refuse the case, and two ( the usual jokes), Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia - wanted it. Scalia,  recall,  is the guy that was hyping the presence of demons loose in the land not long ago, i.e.

How this mental misfit is still on the high court is beyond me. But enough of this digression.

The position of the challenge-refusing justices was sound, given the recent San Bernardino slaughter by two Islamic misfits operating with AR-15s and 9mm weapons (see graphic). So also is Highland Park's position justified - since as I noted in a post several days ago - these weapons have been responsible for 200,000 Americans killed since 9/11, far more than the 45 killed by terrorist homicide. This 4,400 factor difference means it is absurd to ramp up security to a state of hysteria while leaving gun laws as they are.

Who the hell needs a semi-automatic anyway? The Founders, for sure - including Madison, Jefferson and even Hamilton (himself killed in a duel) would have been aghast to behold what's on display as in the photo and allowed under a perversion of the 2nd amendment. In fact, they'd likely all re-croak if they came back to life and saw how that amendment has been disgraced by nuts and the NRA gun lobby.

The fact is NO one is taking away a person's precious right to own a proper, functioning gun by banning these high -powered weapons, which really were originally designed for MILITARY use in Vietnam, NOT for target shooting or protection. Jeezus Peace, you use a shotgun or 30.06 for target shooting or hunting a deer - you don't need a god damned AR-15!  As for home protection, get a shotgun or .38 special, you do not need a damned assault rifle. WTF are people expecting an alien invasion?

The Aussies surrendered nearly all their assault weapons back in 1996 after a massacre in which 35 were slaughtered in Port Arthur, Tasmania. Since then, the violent murders by assault weapon have been cut in half. Of course, there will still be those who get such guns and use them in malicious ways, that's not the damned point  - which the gunnies always distort. NO, it's to keep such weapons out of mass hands where even in a home dispute the disputants will not be tempted to just reach for their guns.

Highland Park's ban is also spot on given how easily an AR-15, originally semi-automatic - can be altered to an automatic.  As the WSJ piece observes:

"The AR-15 re-cocks itself immediately after firing. The only thing keeping the gun from firing again on its own is a sear, a piece inserted in the gun that stops the cycle from continuing. By replacing the sear and a few other key components, an AR-15 can be made fully automatic."

Yikes! Then the damned thing really becomes a mass slaughter machine.  (We know from the WSJ piece one of the rifles used by the CA duo had been "changed to more easily accommodate a large capacity magazine". This was according to Meredith Davis, a special agent with ATF quoted in the article.

Although dedicated gunnies insist the pair accomplished their foul deed even with "strict" California gun laws, the truth is they aren't that strict. As the WSJ piece notes:

"There are ways to get around the state's background check gun laws. A person can lend another person a gun for as long as 30 days without having to run a background check."


"Many transfers between family members are also exempt from background checks>

So the laws are not as tough as believed with those loopholes, another of which is that "once a gun is sold it becomes difficult to keep track of it".

Why? In Australia the new gun laws included having to get a license to own a gun just as you would a car. Each time a person makes a weapon transaction, even using a 30.06, the license number is taken down and entered in electronic records. The electronic data base for all of Australia then keeps track of a given gun's history and chain of ownership Why isn't that done here? I mean, it's no more an "invasion of privacy" than already occurs with internet use.

The modern U.S. citizen running to gun stores to purchase assault weapons and semi-automatic  handguns after Paris and San Bernardino is an anomaly on the historical fear spectrum. Nearly 53 years ago, we who lived at the time were faced with instant annihilation from massive H-bomb strikes toward the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis. But we kept our composure and didn't go ape shit like people are today. What the hell happened?

The WSJ's Daniel Henninger identified it neatly in a column several days ago as he referred to the effects of modern, 24/7 cable (or satellite) media on fragile, media -susceptible brains:

"Today, modern media trains its lens relentlessly on every disturbing event and pursues the aftermaths in detail. The effect is to compress these incidents into an emotional mass of discomfort."

Exactly! So the effect is to magnify events all out of proportion, including terror attacks - while subsequent generated  hysteria plays right into the terrorists' hands. But 53 years ago, in October, 1962, there were only three main networks (CBS, NBC, ABC)  and at the end of day when the usual static test pattern came on you only had two choices: 1) stop thinking about what might happen and get on with your life, or 2) piss in your pants and cry yourself to sleep because you believed an H-bomb might blow you to cinders.

The point missed by today's security hysterics is they have a vastly bigger threat to their safety right in their midst and it's the assault weapons all around which can be purchased by just about everyone and used in any nefarious way. 

As for the professed love (by gun aficionados)  for these weapons, I attribute most of it to the "regressed kid" syndrome. You know, when kids could set off firecrackers om the 4th or New Year's Eve and get a bang out of the noise and distraction?  Today, these  powerful weapons are de facto substitutes and include "uses" such as reducing small trees to splinters,  blowing up melons in the woods and blasting tin cans. They provide  that 'bang'  (and demolition) attraction for baseline "entertainment' of modern day adults. Until they are used against a family member or on oneself in a suicide.

I say, enough is enough and it's time to put away the things of a child.  Back in the 1960s we didn't have such weapons and we got along just fine. Sure there were murders and homicides but not like the regular mass slaughters one sees today - over 355 now and counting.

Can sanity prevail in this country or will the people continue to allow a powerful gun lobby to hold them in thrall - and in fear?  The question will be raised often by serious people in the coming months and years and it may well come down to imposing local or state assault weapons bans since at the federal level there is no will to act. At that level, the NRA has most lawmakers - or at least their balls-  in its maw.

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