Okay. This is good. We have a gun massacre – more than fifty dead and nearly 500 wounded. A clean, white, gun “enthusiast” (authorities found more than 40 guns in his hotel room, car, etc.) goes bonkers and gears up multiple automatic weapons in his hotel room to shoot concert-goers from on-high like they’re fish in a barrel. Additionally, as far as mass shootings go, we have a twofer – three killed, two wounded in another shooting spree in Lawrence, Kansas on the same day. Of the two, only the first massacre elicits big news coverage – mass shootings have become so run-of-the-mill nowadays that there has to be a big body count before anyone notices.
Do these events possibly suggest that we’ve got a problem with guns in the U.S.? That maybe we shouldn’t be quite so permissive when it comes to what are, when all is said and done, potential instruments of death? And maybe our elected representatives should take some time to address this issue?
Well, if you said “yes” to these questions, you’d be all on your lonesome, at least if you were a member of the GOP Caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives. Not that these folks don’t care about life. Nosiree. They care so much about life that the use of guns to deprive so many of that state of being just shored up their resolve to enact even more restrictions on, wait for it, abortion:
As we mourn the lives lost in Las Vegas this week, and welcome Whip Scalise back to Capitol Hill, we are reminded just how precious life is. This message weighed heavily on the hearts of House Republicans as we spoke of the potential of life — especially lives cut short through abortion.
The House passed a so-called fetal-pain bill, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 36), that, adhering to the best junk science ideology can compel, declares that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks – even though all major U.S. and international medical societies, such as the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have gone on the record that, although a fetus can respond reflexively to stimulation much earlier, the essential components of the cerebral cortex have not developed sufficiently to permit the experience of pain until at least 26 weeks.
No surprise to Missourians, our local GOPers were among those so overcome by antics of a shooter in Las Vegas that they just had to put in jeopardy the lives of women who have potentially life-threatening, problematic, late term pregnancies – because the largest number of late term abortions, a procedure that is exceedingly rare to start with, is a due to just such complications. Among those Missourians who offered especially emotive support for the bill were Reps. Ann Wagner (R-2) and Vicky Hartzler (R-4).
Hartzler goes all the way with junk science declaring, in opposition to all reputable evidence, that “babies at this age are hypersensitive, feeling pain more acutely than you and me.” But, hey, this is the lady who thinks that our toasters are rigged by the Chinese to spy on us. Of course, this begs the question of why we allow someone incapable of evaluating evidence to make laws that depend on competent evaluation of evidence.
Wagner also embraced the dishonest crazy, but did so with real sophistic flair, detailing the developmental progress of her incipient grandchild, and slipping into the catalog the assumption that the stages of development she listed somehow entailed the capacity to feel pain at 20 weeks:
… Today, we know so much more. We know that, after 3 weeks, my granddaughter had a heartbeat. After 7 weeks, she began kicking her mother, like any good Wagner child would. By week 12, she could suck her thumb, and at week 20, my granddaughter knew the sound of her mother’s voice and could feel pain.
Somebody tell these ladies that guns cause pain and death too. And it’s real pain, the kind that hurts, as opposed to fantasy pain hypothesized by junk science quacks (or hacks who are in it for the money), who’ll pretend that reflexive stimulation equal pain and lie about the fact that the anesthesia used during fetal surgery prior to 26 weeks is strictly used to insure the comfort of the fully developed mother who can actually feel pain.
If these nice Republicans ladies are so concerned about pain and death, real pain, that is, there’s lots they can do about it. But somehow, I don’t think I’ll see either Wagner or Hartzler make a stand even for something as minor as an assault weapon ban. Indeed, I believe that both opposed renewing such a ban when the chance came up again in 2013. Both lawmakers also opposed legislation that would have blocked those on the terrorist watch-list or individuals certified mentally ill from buying guns.
They tell us that they are so concerned about, and so venerate life that murder by means of assault weapons – modified to perform like fully automatic guns – moved them to do nothing more than to restrict the right of women and their doctors to address their own, private reproductive health. And at the same time they can’t even manage to talk about the realities of gun violence. On top of that insult to both the dead and the survivors of the Las Vegas massacre, they insult the rest of us with lies, repeated over and over again in the face of contrary evidence, to justify banning so-called late-term abortions. And yet, both congresswomen have served multiple terms. What gives?
This morning, from Representative Vicky Hartzler (r), via Twitter:
Rep. Vicky Hartzler @RepHartzler
Horrified & heartbroken to learn of the lost lives & injuries in Las Vegas last night by shooter. My prayers are with all. #PrayForLasVegas
6:27 AM – 2 Oct 2017
Some of the responses:
What is your plan to prevent this from happening again? #thoughtsandprayersaintstoppingbullets
I’ll take a wild guess and say you are still going to vote for the silencer bill that will make it harder for police to find shooters. MAGA?
When you take the NRA’s money your words mean nothing. This is your fault.
Stop praying and fight for gun control.
Why do everyday citizens need to 2carry military grade weapons @RepHartzler? Was this persons rights more important than those who died?
.@RepHartzler took $8K from @NRA. She’ll issue statements, but won’t *do* anything to stop gun violence
Urge her to #SendBackTheBloodMoney
Vicky, legislation makes a bigger difference than prayers.
Don’t pray, work. Gun control regulations now.
Prayer isn’t enough. #gunsafetynow
Remember, thoughts & prayers only. Now is not the time to talk about actually doing something to prevent these events from happening again.
Uh, we think that’s sarcasm.
Stop the NRA, then shootings will stop also.
#GunControlNow Stop being sad & make legislation happen #SendBackTheBloodMoney
Please stop praying and start legislating reasonable gun control. We have to stop letting this happen over and over.
Prayers without action afterwards indicate a hollow faith.
I pray y’all stop praying and start acting. Zero reasons for civilians to have assault rifles. You are not heaven bound unless you act.
Make your actions mean more than your words. Send back the $8K you got from the NRA and vote NO on the silencer bill. #SendBackTheBloodMoney
How dare you pray for the victims of #LasVegasShooting when you have @NRA blood money in your pocket! What gall and greed. Shameful.
Stuff prayers. Put thoughts into action to stop this madness. Otherwise, you’re a coward who values money and power over people’s lives.
When are you sending back the NRA donations? When are you going to do something to prevent gun violence?
How about some action on gun control to minimize the chances of this happening again?
Cash that NRA money hunny!!!
You ought to be ashamed. Stop taking money from the NRA and use your JOB, as a servant of the American people, TO HELP THEM.
“horrified” again? Your prayers aren’t worth the bribe they are printed on.
Are those 58 lives worth the $8000 you took from the NRA?
What will you DO? Praying just doesn’t seem to work!!!!!!!!!!
And you took thousands from the NRA ensuring this sort of thing would continue. This is your fault Vicky.
You got NRA blood money in your pockets!
Yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
But you gladly have your hand out when the NRA comes calling:
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R)$7,500
You took $8,000 from NRA… That’s $137.93 per dead body. You got a waaaay better deal than @TomCottonAR You must be so proud… #DonateBloodNV #CommonSenseGunControl #ConstituentsOverDonors
Going to vote for silencers now?
You are one of the 435 people in America that can do something about it, but won’t. Keep your fucking prayers.
NOBODY WANTS YOUR PRAYERS.
DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
If we did nothing after twenty little children (and six others) were murdered in Connecticut what makes anyone think we’ll do anything now?
In the wake of one of the largest mass shooting body counts in U.S. history, I expect lots of the NRA’s pet GOPers will be lying low if Rep. Ann Wagner’s (R-2) response is any indication. She opened her email constituent newsletter today with a brief nod in the direction of the massive overnight slaughter of concert goers in Las Vegas. In the process, she scored a rightwing trifecta. She addressed gun violence without mentioning guns, shifted the attention to “first responders,” rather than victims, and managed to get the flag into the mix. She hit all the major pander points and avoided the real issue, all in just three casual sentences:
As the tragedy in Las Vegas continues to unfold, my prayers are with the victims and families impacted by this senseless act of violence. Were it not for the swift and heroic actions of first responders and everyday Americans, this horrific moment could have been even worse. Here at the Capitol, flags are at half-staff in memory of the victims of this tragedy.
It’s probably wise, though, that Wagner keep her profile low when assault weapons such as the automatic or semi-automtic weapon that officials tell us were used in the Las Vegas masacre are involved. A ban on the sale of such weapons expired in 2004, ten years after its adoption in 1994, after having survived numerous constitutional challenges. Since then, there have been several efforts to renew the ban, all of which have been deep-sixed by the NRA via its GOP congressional proxies – including Ann Wagner.
I don’t know about you, but expressions of condolence and dismay about “senseless acts of violence” from sanctimonious hypocrites like Wagner, one of the very people who helped put instruments of violence in the hands of terrorists and the mentally ill make me want to spit.
Speaking of wanting to spit, Wagner’s circumspection mirrors that of White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Saunders who brushed off questions about what we can do to stem gun violence by indicating that “it would be premature for us to discuss policy when we don’t fully know all of the facts or what took place last night.”
What’s that? We don’t know what took place last night? Somebody tell Huckabee Sanders that automatic or semi-automatic guns were used to kill over 50 people and wound over 500 more. If now is not the time to discuss policy, when will it be time? How big does the kill have to be?
While you’re at it, tell Ann Wagner that refusing to use the word “gun” or assault weapon” won’t alter the facts. If she really has concern for those first responders she praises, she’d be willing to do something about the proliferation of automatic weapons that put them in special jeopardy. I have already accepted the fact that it may be too much to ask that she show concern for the rest of us.
Nor does it help to resort, as Huckabee Sanders did, to tired and long-discredited NRA pivots that are commonly used to distract our attention from the pertinent topic. She actually had the effrontery to suggest that we know that regulating guns is ineffective because Chicago has strict gun laws and still has violent crime – while ignoring the gun-flush jurisdictions that surround and supply guns to the city, the so-called iron pipeline that enables the violence endemic to many impoverished U.S. cities.
Things we actually do know about the issue at hand right now: Guns enable violence like nothing else. Reasonable regulation of guns does not necessarily impinge on 2nd amendment rights. Gun regulations need to be national in scope if they are to be effective (no more iron-pipelines). Assault weapons have no place in civilian life; they are for killing, not hunting, or casual self-protection. Some people, suspected terrorists, the mental unstable, felons, should not be able to buy guns at all.
Lawmakers are accessories to crime if they refuse to acknowledge these facts and do what is necessary to keep us safe because they’re afraid to alienate extremist gun nuts or they love the handouts they get from the NRA . Everyone of them has blood on their hands.
Lowering the flag to half mast is a nice gesture of respect, but it doesn’t address the needs of Americans who have been put at risk by pandering politicians like Ann Wagner
Republican Governor-elect Eric Greitens and his wife are modeling good behavior. Sheena Greitens was robbed at gun-point recently. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, she and her husband are responding to the teenage perpetrators, who were quickly apprehended, in a level-headed and compassionate fashion – although Greitens did feel obligated to do a little macho posturing, proclaiming that he’s glad the police got to the boys “before I did.” It is nevertheless refreshing to hear the Greitens express concern for the parents of the youths involved in the robbery.
The Post-Dispatch article noted that Sheena Greitens will, in the future, be provided with “security from the Missouri Highway Patrol.” The Greitens have also received expressions of concern over their ordeal from the Vice-President -elect, Mike Pence.
All well and good. If I were the victim of a robbery attempt, I would be shaken up as well – anyone would. We all sympathize. Such incidents are, as characterized by Claire McCaskill, “disgusting.”
But from what I read in the paper, they happen with some frequency. And, apart from Sheena Greitens, I haven’t heard of any of the victims getting a Highway Patrol security detail – nor do various national and state dignitaries call to express their concern for the tender sensibilities of uninjured victims.
Here let me remind you that Eric Greitens is the guy who undermined Democratic governor contender Chris Koster’s NRA endorsement with pictures of himself blowing things up with big guns. You know what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words and somehow Greitens managed to outgun the NRA. And we know that it’s all about guns out in the Missouri hinterlands.
But we pay the price for those guns here in St. Louis as well as in Kansas City – as Sheena Greitens found out. Somewhere I read recently (and I can’t relocate the source) where some city official said that guns were as common as candy in in St. Louis and anyone who wanted one could get one. Sadly, we have too much evidence that this contention is true; every day the local crime reports are replete with stories about gun violence.
It even happens in full daylight. In the last few months I-55 seems to have become a midday hunting ground where armed individuals chase down and shoot into the vehicles of their targets – and possibly, as in the mysterious shooting death of pub-owner Patrick McVey, hitting random passers by. Who knows? What we do know is that, as St. Louis police Capt. Mary Warneke told the Post-Dispatch apropos the highway shootings, “we have guns in our community […] I’ll leave it at that.”
And, given the new bills filled for the next session of our state legislature by members of Greitens’ political persuasion, we’re likely to have more guns in our community with even less control. SB656, for instance, would extend the “castle doctrine,” lessen penalties for carrying guns into gun-free zones, and make it easier and cheaper to acquire guns. SB589 would permit guns in colleges and universities, currently gun-free zones. These are just a few examples of the direction our gun-loving legislators want to take us.
It’ll be interesting to see just where Greitens’ compassion takes him when it’s time to really put the pedal to the metal.
You really should read this short article by The Political Animal‘s Martin Longman which discusses the implications of the Missouri legislature’s override of Governor Nixon’s veto of SB656 (deregulated “constitutional” carry)> and the Voter ID (voter suppression) bill. As Longman sees it, this type of legislation is dangerous in more than the obvious ways :
I could go into more detail on the merits and pitfalls of both bills, but I’d rather focus on the message they send. In making it much harder to vote at the same time that they make it much easier to carry a firearm, the Missouri GOP is inviting the conclusion that political disputes are best settled (and perhaps can only be settled) with violence.
That might sound extreme, but using the legislature and referendums to enact unconstitutional restrictions of your political opponents’ power is delegitimizing to representative government and therefore eats away at the consent of the governed. What you’re saying is that we need less democracy, less dissent, and more guns. It’s almost a recognition that, in undermining the legitimate governmental function of the state, you’ll need to arm yourself for protection.
I agree with Longman, and would suggest that what we see in this spate of increasingly extreme and weakly justified gun proliferation and voter suppression laws is part of the same phenomena that includes both the destructive, fantastical rhetoric and the hitherto unimaginable levels of legislative obstructionism on the part of Republican politicians.
These strategies are employed as tools by elected officials, often to further the goals of wealthy interests , the Citizens United crowd, who now expect to freely purchase government, and who saw the election of Barack Obama as antithetical to that end – and who view Hillary Clinton as the same type of threat. Combine that impetus with the latent racism stimulated by the election of the first black president, and you’ve got the situation that Longman describes, “when people lose faith in the ballot box and turn to the gun” in order to “arrest the march of history.”
Given the pervasive emphasis on guns in recent elections, there seems to be a lot of such people in Missouri. As we have seen, it has been fertile ground for the NRA. And, given recent state-level polls, not a bad place for growing Trumpkins.
I implied in an earlier post earlier today that havoc (or some related type of unpleasantness if you find “havoc” too hyperbolical) might ensue if our elected officials decide to ignore the preferences of most of their constituents and override Governor Nixon’s veto of SB656, legislation that would largely deregulate gun ownership as well as decriminalize impulsive gun violence via a stand-your-ground provision. I quoted reports that the NRA views this legislation as a big stakes issue, a reasonable stance since the organization’s purpose is to lobby for the gun industry’s bottom line and widespread adoption of legislation like SB656 would surely promote that goal.
But who else stands to gain? How does the NRA and their favored politicians get so many every day, never-gonna-get-rich-off-guns citizens to take the bait?
The key to that question might lie in a consideration of some jaw-dropping remarks that Kentucky’s Republican Governor, Matt Bevin, made yesterday. Bevin implied that, in the words of TPM’s Allegra Kirkland, “there will be a bloody clash between ‘tyrants’ and ‘patriots’ if Hillary Clinton wins this year’s presidential election”:
I want us to be able to fight ideologically, mentally, spiritually, economically, so that we don’t have to do it physically,” the tea party politician said in a Saturday speech at the Values Voters Summit, an annual gathering of religious conservatives. “But that may, in fact, be the case.”
Bevin said he was asked in a recent if the nation could “survive” a Clinton presidency, and he responded that it would be “possible” but at a great “price.”
“The roots of the tree of liberty are watered by what?” Bevin continued. “The blood, of who? The tyrants to be sure, but who else? The patriots. Whose blood will be shed? It may be that of those in this room. It might be that of our children and grandchildren.”
Bevin tried to soften the impact of these words later, but we’ve heard them before. They’re the meat and potatoes of much of the 2nd amendment crowd, especially the well-armed patriot militias – which have proliferated in Missouri as in many red states after the election of the first black president.
And if we are to believe reports, the image of violent revolution that these words elicit reflect the paranoia, anger and racial anxiety that fuels many Trump supporters. Trump’s advisor, Roger Stone, echoed the theme as he reinforced a Trump campaign effort to delegitimize a potential Clinton presidency by suggesting a conspiracy to “rigg” the election:
“If there’s voter fraud, this election will be illegitimate, the election of the winner will be illegitimate, we will have a constitutional crisis, widespread civil disobedience, and the government will no longer be the government,” Stone said. He also promised a “bloodbath” if the Democrats attempt to “steal” the election.”
Another word for this projected bloodbath? “Civil war,” “treason,” “sedition,” “subversion,” “mutiny,” or just run of the mill “criminal,” as in the Bundys’ armed takeover of a nature preserve in Oregon – you choose.
Essential ingredient for such a bloodbath? Guns.
What kind of people poke at the sore spots of poorly informed rightwing hysterics for personal and political gain? Could they be deplorables?
A few hours ago The Missouri Times posted an article about how the NRA is working the upcoming “veto” session in the Missouri legislature:
The National Rifle Association will make the override of Senate Bill 656 their top priority in the country this week as the omnibus gun bill continues to gain momentum as the most high-profile legislation at stake on Wednesday.
The pro-gun group will launch a once-in-a-decade lobbying effort to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that has drawn fervent support and opposition from all corners of the country.
As part of their efforts, the NRA has flown in several staffers to help lobby lawmakers, launched television ads, and sent mailers to key targeted districts. Whit O’Daniel, who lobbies on behalf of the NRA, said he’s been texting the entire Republican caucus to inform them that the NRA ranks SB 656 as the biggest priority in the country. It’s also their biggest priority in Missouri since 2003.
Imagine that! The NRA thinks that giving any and all Missourians unregulated rights to buy, own, sell guns and shoot their neighbors at will (as in stand-your-ground) is one of the biggest priorities in the nation. It’ll be good for NRA sponsors I suppose, as in the get-rich-quick kind of good.
Just to provide a little counterpoint, I also want to share this tidbit from an article posted on the Turner Report:
A former Tarkio R-1 High School student who brought a loaded semi-automatic pistol to school, causing the school to be locked down, pleaded guilty in federal court today to illegally possessing a machine gun that was found at his residence.
According to court documents, Knoth – who came to school on Feb. 11, 2016, wearing military-style clothing, boots and ballistic body armor – displayed a fully loaded magazine to another student that day. That student alerted a teacher, and the school contacted the Tarkio, Mo., Police Department. School officials then discovered a loaded Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol in Knoth’s backpack, along with four loaded 9mm pistol magazines, three loaded .223- or .556-caliber magazines, a spring-assisted knife, a seatbelt cutter and a window punch.
Knoth was arrested and handcuffed. The school was placed on lockdown.
Investigators searched Knoth’s vehicle, which was parked in the school parking lot. They found two loaded 9mm magazines and 15 loaded .223/.556-caliber magazines.
Investigators also searched Knoth’s residence. During a search of the southwest bedroom, investigators found a loaded machine gun in the closet – an AR-style .223/.556 pistol, containing no visible serial numbers or manufacturer stamp. They found a second machine gun, an UZI-style 9mm firearm (unknown manufacture), in the dresser. Investigators also found numerous rounds of ammunition and numerous loaded .223/.556 and 9mm magazines throughout the residence.
So are unstable young men with a fetish for guns and violence among the persons whose priorities the NRA is spending so much money to supprt? You better bet they and their ilk will be among the beneficiaries.Of course, if the NRA gets its best-of-all-world druthers, teachers and administrators, along with each kid in Knoth’s school would all be sporting “good guy” guns in order to ward off attack. Possible outcomes? Draw your own conclusions.
A review of 130 research articles on the effectiveness of gun laws in multiple countries was just published in Epidemiologic Reviews, an important, peer-reviewed public health journal. Not surprisingly, the review concluded that the numbers of gun deaths, both homicides and suicides, declined significantly in countries that implemented comprehensive packages of gun control laws.
It may get your juices flowing to learn that research centered on Missouri is included:
One study, for example, looked at Missouri’s 2007 repeal of its law requiring a permit to purchase a firearm (essentially, it had reduced background check requirements). This study found that after 2007, Missouri’s homicide rate jumped by 25 percent. No other changes in law or circumstance appear to be able to explain the increase.
So, given the prevalence of this type of data what do you suppose Missouri lawmakers are proposing to do? According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, they’re going for broke in the other direction and two laws from the plethora initially filed that propose to loosen gun restrictions are likely to make it through the legislature:
As the legislative session enters its final two weeks, the House and Senate are considering making it legal for people to carry concealed weapons without a permit anywhere they now can carry guns openly.
And, the Republican-led majorities also are considering an expansion of Missouri’s self-defense laws by allowing a person to use deadly force in public places if they believe a reasonable threat exists.
You may be surprised to learn that the review concluded that specific types of gun regulation affect specific subtypes of gun violence. For instance, the survey article found that strong gun permit requirements, a control that would be loosened significantly under proposed Missouri legislation, are significantly associated with “lower rates of intimate partner homicides and firearm unintentional deaths in children, respectively.” Remember how the GOP got on the “No to domestic violence,” bandwagon before the last election? You might suspect that if any of our state-level pols were subscribing to this women-friendly rhetoric, they didn’t really care after all.
The research review also found that claims supporting concealed carry and stand-your-ground laws that are extended in pending Missouri legislation likely to be blessed by lawmakers don’t stand up to scrutiny:
By contrast, laws favored by the National Rifle Association (such as concealed carry or stand your ground), when implemented, either had no effect on gun deaths or increased gun violence. And Santaella-Tenorio found this by considering not just studies that reached this conclusion, but also studies that supported loosening gun laws.
Most of the studies that supported these laws were written by a handful of authors, like Florida State’s Gary Kleck and independent scholar/Fox News columnist John Lott. Scholars who reexamined their conclusions, sometimes even using their own data, generally came to the opposite results.
But hey! Don’t worry about what happens when any angry, ignorant Tom, Dick and Harry, who may or may not have the savvy to use a gun correctly, can, as they say on TV, pack heat – and can legally shoot you with no repercussions if you accidentally say “boo” to him and he gets scared. Missouri’s Rep. Eric Burlison (R-133) has it all figured out; “we do it in a responsible way,” he asserts, “we aren’t letting citizens carry in a place where they can’t carry today.”
I guess that makes it alright then – increase our already considerable risk as long as you do it in a “responsible” way.
N. B. Digby notes signs of a relationship between states where the gun culture is strongest and the current uptick in suicides. Whodda thought?
Numbers tell stories. Based on statistics from 2010, 24/7 Wall St. ranked Missouri eighth for overall gun violence. Missouri had 14 gun injury deaths per each 100,000 people – only 11 states had a higher rate: Louisiana (19.2); Alabama (16.2); Mississippi (16.1); Montana (15.4); Wyoming (15.1); New Mexico (14.9); Nevada (14.5);Arizona (14.6); Arkansas and Oklahoma (14.4); West Virginia (14.1). The story these numbers tell isn’t surprising. Almost all of these states are poor, Southern or Western and deep red or getting redder. Missouri isn’t quite as poor or – maybe – as red as some, but given the inclinations of the Republicans who run our legislature, we’ll soon be charter members of the hard-scrabble, hand-to-mouth, red-state contingent. (You want to see what red-state economic theory does in action, read about the Kansas experiment – which our own GOPers are eager to emulate).
This is true when it comes to rational gun policy as well. Like Missouri, none of the states listed above require permits to purchase handguns or, for that matter, most other types of guns. In Missouri, under the rubric of an almost universally misunderstood 2nd amendment, the good ol’ boys in the state legislature take turns trying to see who can introduce the most extreme laws to deregulate gun ownership. Governor Jay Nixon just vetoed this year’s iteration, Senate Bill 656, which would have “forced Missouri cities to allow teenagers to carry loaded firearms in public, would have allowed school districts to arm teachers, and would have made it impossible for parents to find out if someone is carrying a concealed firearm in their children’s classrooms.”
The bill would also have denied local jurisdictions their current right to forbid open carry which, in the absence of local restrictions, is legal for those who hold a concealed carry permit. Gun religionists claim with – some justification – that a patchwork of local laws can lead to confusion, but more often they just repeat the 2nd amendment mantra and scoff at the fearful reaction that most sane people have when they see guns casually displayed in a commercial setting, often taking major umbrage at what they characterize as “the indoctrinated response in America” to notify the police when folks are scared. I suppose the unindoctrinated response to fear would be to pull out your own gun and start shooting. Somehow, it doesn’t strike me as preferable.
Just for funsies take a look at this trio who were arrested in Cape Girardeau while wandering around a mall sporting holstered handguns. These folks look basically normal if a bit on the hard side and they may be pussycats once one gets to know them, but if I met any of them (including the baby gunsel) in the aisle of a local store with guns on their hips, I’d quickly go the other way and call the police asap. Better safe than sorry. I’ve seen Natural Born Killers – and those folks were downright pretty. There’s something about a carrying a gun in a non-threatening, non-sporting environment that brands the mildest seeming folks as paranoid fools.
You want to get an idea about who belongs to the Missouri gun culture, just note the reaction of some citizens of Lake Ozark when the city recently decided to prohibit open carry in the interest of not scaring away tourists, the main source of local prosperity:
The city should not be treading on the Second Amendment for any reason, said Alderwoman Betsey Browning, who voted against the ordinance. “There are bad people in the world, and by golly if I need a gun I’m going to have a firearm at my side or in my purse,” Browning said. “I’m absolutely against this.”
Audience member Gail Maeder was even more direct.
“Just because somebody felt scared is not a good enough reason to pass an ordinance that violates the Second Amendment,” she said.
Now I would be interested in just how Alderwoman Browning knows that she is surrounded by so many bad people that she has to go armed, what criteria she employs to recognize them so that she can shoot them, and when or if she ever actually encounters an aggressive bad person, I wonder whether said bad person’s badness will have been enhanced by the ready availability of guns just like that carried by the alderwoman. I seem to read of a constant stream of innocent people who are mistakenly shot when people like Alderwoman Browning get themselves worked up (see, for instance, here). And guess what else happens in states with lots of guns:
People of all age groups are significantly more likely to die from unintentional firearm injuries when they live in states with more guns, relative to states with fewer guns. On average, states with the highest gun levels had nine times the rate of unintentional firearms deaths compared to states with the lowest gun levels.
Makes you feel real secure knowing that Alderwoman Browning has that gun, doesn’t it?
I ask you, do you want these folks, with their rigid, comic-strip understanding of the 2nd amendment, coupled with their total lack of respect for others, running around playing at being tough guys and gals in public places, not to mention dictating decisions about perfectly legal, 2nd amendment-compatible restrictions of gun ownership? Thanks to Governor Nixon, and barring an override of his veto, we have staved off the flood of gun craziness for one more year – or to put it more accurately, it won’t get any crazier than it is now – but unless something changes in Jefferson City, that may not continue to be the case and Missourians could find themselves regularly taking shelter from myriad shoot-outs of the O.K. Corral variety.
Next to last paragraph restored after being inadvertently omitted.