Biden in NYT: Ban assault weapons

Uncle Joe has a leading op-ed in today’s New York Times:

A quote:

In Dayton, where the police responded immediately and neutralized the shooter within about 30 seconds, he was still able to massacre nine people and injure more than two dozen others because he carried an AR-style weapon with a magazine capable of holding 100 rounds.

We have to get these weapons of war off our streets.

Nearly 70 percent of the American public support a ban on assault weapons — including 54 percent of Republicans.

When you have that kind of broad public support for legislation that will make everyone safer, and it still can’t get through the Senate — the problem is with weak-willed leaders who care more about their campaign coffers than children in coffins.

The 1994 assault weapons and high-capacity magazines bans worked.

And if I am elected president, we’re going to pass them again — and this time, we’ll make them even stronger. We’re going to stop gun manufacturers from circumventing the law by making minor modifications to their products — modifications that leave them just as deadly. And this time, we’re going to pair it with a buyback program to get as many assault weapons off our streets as possible as quickly as possible.

I won’t stop there. I’ll get universal background checks passed, building on the Brady Bill, which establishing the background check system and which I helped push through Congress in 1993. I’ll accelerate the development and deployment of smart-gun technology — something gun manufacturers have opposed — so that guns are keyed to the individual biometrics of authorized owners.

Of course I agree with him, but I’d go even further and follow the UK’s example: banning handguns nearly completely and putting the strictest control on all guns. Here’s the UK laws taken from Wikipedia (my emphasis):

The UK increased firearm regulation through several Firearms Acts, leading to an outright ban on automatic firearms and many semi-automatic firearms. Breech-loading handguns are also tightly controlled. Firearm ownership usually requires a police-issued Shotgun Certificate (SGC) or Firearm Certificate (FAC). The applicant must have: no criminal convictions; no history of medical condition including alcohol and drug-related conditions; no history of depression, mental or nervous disorder, or epilepsy; and a secure gun safe to store firearms. The FAC additionally requires demonstrating a good reason for each firearm the applicant wishes to own (such as hunting, pest control, collecting, or target shooting). Self-defense is only accepted as a good reason in Northern Ireland.

An SGC allows the holder to purchase and own any number of shotguns, so long as they can be securely stored. Shotgun magazine capacity is limited to two rounds. For weapons covered under an FAC, police may restrict the type and amount of ammunition held, and where and how the firearms are used. Aside from Northern Ireland, private ownership of most handguns was banned in 1997, with exception for section 5 firearms licenses, which are only generally issued to maritime security personnel, and those under police protection.

What’s with Northern Ireland?

Of course all the Democrats will rush to play catch-up, trying to outdo themselves in proposing gun restrictions, but to my mind that’s great. The important thing is to get a Democratic President elected, get both houses of Congress majority Democratic, and then perhaps we can start enacting sensible gun control.

In the meantime, kudos to Joe. (He’s still my favorite Democratic candidate, but I do worry about his gaffes, which are more frequent than ever. I’m not worried about his age, except insofar as it’s correlated with any decline in cognitive facilities. I put Elizabeth Warren right up there with him as a favored candidate, though I worry whether she could beat Trump, something I don’t worry as much about with Biden. But I’d gladly vote for either of them as President.

Anyway, something is very wrong with this country when people can march into a McDonald’s with a handgun or a rifle slung from their bodies.

Here: this is “open carry” of semiautomatic weapons at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland:

 

87 Comments

  1. merilee
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Sub

  2. Serendipitydawg
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Northern Ireland ploughs its own furrow and is also the only part of the UK where abortion is illegal. Go figure.

  3. Lurker111
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Quickest way to ban assault weapons? Have a bunch of black guys (& gals) open-carry these into their local McD’s, Penney’s, Nordstrom’s, etc.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Got then-governor Ronald Reagan to push gun-control through the California legislature (with the NRA’s support) when the Panthers strapped-up and strolled into the statehouse in Sacramento.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        I posted a comment about this below without seeing yours. I should’ve known you’d have got there first Ken.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

          Frequently first, but rarely right, is my motto, Saul. 🙂

    • EdwardM
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard this before and don’t believe it as groups of armed black men are not unheard of here in the U.S.
      https://sputniknews.com/us/201607121042858041-black-panthers-armed-rally-dnc/

      That was 2016.

      I also have to say that claim has bias in its assumptions.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        You realize “Sputnik News” is a Russian propaganda organ, right? (An undisguised one, given the name.)

        NO civilians, least of all armed Black Panthers, were permitted within hundreds of yards of the Republican National Convention venue in Cleveland in 2016.

        • EdwardM
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          I don’t give a fig who published the photo – they were armed black men openly carrying weapons and this is not the first or only time. It is prima facie evidence against the claim above.

          It may be true that openly armed groups of black men may trigger a response to gun proliferation now but it hasn’t yet.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            Well, you ought at least to give a fig about the source and legitimacy of the photograph you’re relying on. Can you tell us what it is?

            The Sputnik page attributes it to “Facebook/New Black Panther Party.” but the link it provides comes back 404.

            In any event, as the link I provided above demonstrates, the sight of armed Black Panthers has previously triggered immediate gun-control measures — by no less a right-wing icon than the Gipper himself, Ronald Wilson Reagan (with the backing of the NRA).

            • EdwardM
              Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

              Great jumping jesus…just do a google image search on armed black men. You can even restrict it to your favorite time period. The fact is a great many black men are armed, some openly carry and it hasn’t gotten all the white people into tithers. THAT is the point of the claim – that white people are so racist that if they see scary black men with guns we’ll finally do something about gun control.

              It doesn’t pass the giggle test.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

                What do pictures of black men with guns on the internet prove — the issue posed by Lurker111 at the start of this sub=thread concerned black men engaged in open carry in public places like restaurants and retail stores.

                Have you any proof that such a practice is widespread? And if photographs demonstrating the prevalence of this practice are plentiful on the internet, why did you resort to an unverified photograph of dubious provenance on a cheesy Russian propaganda site?

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

                Ken’s point is absolutely relevant. You’ve posted a single picture to justify the idea that openly-armed black men are a common sight, and that was sourced from a famously amoral Russian propaganda outfit. If anything “doesn’t pass the giggle test” it’s that.

                The rest of your argument is simply handwaving. On the contrary, I find it entirely credible that the sight of black men walking around the local Starbucks with gigantic semi-automatics* would have a salutary effect on anti-gun-control white conservatives, very much so.

                *or whatever they’re technically called – I really don’t care.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

                ….Also, a historical precedent that speaks quite strongly against your assertion:

                “in 1967 the NRA supported a statewide ban on open carry in California after armed members of the Black Panther Party started patrolling city streets to counter police brutality”

                https://www.history.com/news/black-panthers-gun-control-nra-support-mulford-act

              • EdwardM
                Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

                I have no doubt that racist (what else could be the motive) whites might become frightened by armed black people openly carrying their weapons.

                You bring up an example from more than 40 years ago; I do believe that whites then used that as a reason for gun regulations. IIANM, the Panthers were, in fact, protesting imposition of a law prohibiting open carry. Open carry was almost unheard of then which is why their protest was so noteworthy (plus the fact that they were, you know, dark). They did it again some years later at the RNC, though no new gun regulations came out over that. They did it in 2016 too, though the commies are the only ones, apparently, who noticed.

                Today many people open carry, including dark skinned people even though you personally have seen no photos. For one such example of a group of black men and women who routinely carry their weapons in public is the Huey Newton Gun Club in Dallas (though I have no idea if they’ve entered a Starbucks). Someone from the area can tell you about them. Maybe they’re frightened enough to seek gun regulations because of this group, but if they are they awfully quiet about it.

                I stand by my critique of the OP. Not only is there an implicit bias in the assumptions (it is only scary blacks who would prompt us to be sane) but that today there is no indication that open carry blacks are any more frightening to the public than open carry whites, even if the latter do it more often and get more publicity. The line is a throw away intended to sound perceptive.

    • Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      This is hilarious:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJqfNroFp8U

      • Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        That is fantastic.

        I grew up in Texas and Arizona and have witnessed hundreds of open carries and I’ve only seen white men and women carrying in public. Not one black person. Not one Mexican-American. Doesn’t mean they don’t have guns hidden, but I am certain an open carry from a minority causes personal distress to xenophobic Texans and Arizonans.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Posted August 13, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

        😁🤪😋

  4. Historian
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    We may see some tepid gun control laws pass in the near future, such as background checks for commercial gun sales. Such a bill, however, would leave a giant loophole in that private gun sales would not require it. If Biden, or any Democratic president, could get passed what he proposes (a ban on the sale of assault weapons) that would be a monumental achievement, even if the Democrats control the Senate after the 2020 election. This is because the Democratic majority would be small at best and would face the legislative filibuster that requires 60 votes for a bill to pass. It is conceivable that the Democrats would do away with the legislative filibuster (it only requires a simple majority to change the Senate rules), but this is unlikely to happen since many Democrats like it because it gives the minority a check on the majority. For many senators the power to block legislation they don’t like is more important than passing legislation they do like. Biden has made a lot of promises, the most important of which are unlikely to be fulfilled.

    • EdwardM
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Tepid at best. Twenty murdered six year old children elicited a loosening of gun regulations in the U.S. If that couldn’t get us to do something about this insanity, nothing will. Biden and the other dems who’ll be stumbling all over themselves trying to join in are tilting at windmills.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I dunno. For a long time I’ve felt that if Sandy Hook didn’t do it, nothing will. But, due to its own internal corruption problems, the NRA is at its weakest in decades, and there seems to be momentum building (even among Republicans, including Moscow Mitch, who want at least to look like they’re willing to do something, so as not to hand the Democrats a big, fat 2020 election issue).

    Still, I’ll believe it when I see it. I recall The Donald meeting with a bipartisan group of US senators after the Parkland shooting and bragging about how he alone would stand up to the NRA (until somebody apparently straightened him out behind the scenes):

  6. Posted August 12, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    I would love to see us have laws similar to the UK, where there are much tighter controls on ownership of all guns. But there is the damn 2nd Amendment, or rather its poor interpretation of it.

    • Posted August 12, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      I profoundly believe that, given the wording of the Bill of Rights, the Second Amendment was meant to ensure the right to form a militia. Private ownership of handguns is a very wonky misinterpretation of that. I’m not alone in my feeling: Garry Wills, who wrote a great article about this, agrees with me:

      https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1995/09/21/to-keep-and-bear-arms/

      • Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        I totally agree with you, but, unfortunately, that is not the interpretation the courts have put on it.

        2A is obsolete. The US has a standing army so there is no need for militias. Even putting the gun fondlers’ interpretation on it, i.e. it is the last line of defence against the state having gone bad, the US Army makes it obsolete because they have got much better guns than any of the civilian gun fondlers.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        That is -to an outsider- mindblowingly obvious, so I agree 100%. Those SCOTUS rulings sweeping the ‘well regulated militia’ part under the carpet are a travesty.
        Maybe it would be an idea to ditch the ‘gun regulations’ trope, but start a ‘Restore the 2nd Amendment’ movement?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        I think Mr. Wills gets that question right, too.

        Most Americans are incapable of separating their views on individual gun ownership as public policy from the historico-legal question whether it is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment.

        The Second Amendment wasn’t interpreted by SCOTUS to guarantee individual gun ownership until 220 years after it was ratified, not until 2008 in the case Heller v. District of Columbia. That case relied on some historical revisionism — historical revisionism conducted by lawyers and law professors, not by actual historians, and historical revisionism that got the issue <i.wrong, as Prof. Wills demonstrates, I think.

    • Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      I notice these aren’t available on youtube anymore, but they make a great points:
      vimeo.com/97417009
      vimeo.com/97566849

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    [Biden]’s still my favorite Democratic candidate, but I do worry about his gaffes, which are more frequent than ever. I’m not worried about his age, except insofar as it’s correlated with any decline in cognitive facilities. I put Elizabeth Warren right up there with him as a favored candidate, though I worry whether she could beat Trump …

    Old Uncle Joe would be 78 on inauguration day 2021, and 86 were he to serve two full terms in office. (If he were to announce he’d serve just one, he’d be a lame duck from Day One and would, thus, forfeit much of his power to accomplish anything.) Biden’s always been gaffe prone, and he seems to have lost a bit off his fastball.

    Since her initial stumble with the dumb DNA test, Elizabeth Warren has run a strong campaign. The woman is nothing if not steeped in public policy. And she’s smart and fast. Plus, she can talk an Okie economic populism — an old Okie populism that harkens back generations to Woody Guthrie and John Steinbeck — that has appeal to certain swing voters the Democrats have been losing. I think she could whip Trump.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      Ms Warren would beat Mr Trump hands down, I think. My favourite candidate is Mr Inslee. With a little more name recognition -which he would certainly have if becoming the Democratic candidate- he would beat Mr Trump too, possibly with the greatest margin of all candidates.

  8. Graham Head
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The special rules in Northern Ireland are a holdover from ‘The Troubles’. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where all police zre routinely armed. Politicians and other potential targets for assassination like prison guards were allowed to have personal firearms in their home for their personal protection. I’ve no idea if they still have them.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      No change. The gangsters who oppose the ‘peace process’ are still a real threat to police officers, soldiers, prison officers, journalists, politicians & their families. Still wise to check for car bombs & be aware of unusual behaviour or strangers where not expected.

      The names of targets [the above groups] on the list are still painted on walls as a form of intimidation & families of security service personnel are still secretly rehoused & all the rest of it.

      Bumbling Boris will likely make the situation worse of course as the year progresses.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Personal possession of handguns due to personal threats in Ulster has been somewhat tightened up since the Good Friday Agreement, but the impending breach of that peace treaty as part of the Brexit process (reintroduction of a closed border between Ulster and the rest of Ireland would violate terms of that treaty) will probably herald the return of mainstream group’s terrorist action on the island. There are still “dissident” groups of “Republicans” and “Loyalists” active on the island, as well as the criminal offshoots of both groups, but the recent (last week-ish?) car bombing of IIRC a prison officer’s vehicle does to some degree justify the personal possession of firearms for at-risk people.
      I wonder how people in such circumstances obtain new ammunition? I’d guess they’re allowed to keep a clip or two (up to a couple of dozen bullets) with the weapon, but need to account for ammunition usage if getting more. I doubt there is anywhere they could buy it, even on production of one’s gun license.

  9. Posted August 12, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why people pillory Biden for harmless “gaffes” while Trump is getting away with murderous tweets.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Trump has been getting away with bloody murder since he entered the presidential race in 2015 and said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he was “captured.” Since then, none of his “gaffes” gets sustained attention because there’s been a constant deluge of them.

      It’s like the Little Dutch Boy trying to put his finger in the leak if the whole damn Afsluitdijk Dam burst.

  10. davidintoronto
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Just spit balling here…

    What if the federal government set up a formal entity called “Well-regulated militia”? Thus, your right to bear arms won’t be infringed, provided that you’re a member of this organization – which, as I conjure it, has some fairly strict entrance requirements.

    😉

    • merilee
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      Probably worth a try.

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      davidintoronto: not sure about how that “conjur[ing]” works, but you might want to have a look at 10 U.S. Code §246, and specifically subsection(b)(2).

    • Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Wouldn’t that be the National Guard?

      • Brujo Feo
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Rik G: no; try again. And again, see 10 U.S. Code §246(b)(2).

        If we’re going to be proposing new laws, we’re unlikely to be successful unless we have some clue about the laws that are already out there.

        • davidintoronto
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          Gee, I hope you didn’t look up that code on my account. I was *facetiously* suggesting a tortuous workaround to the 2nd Amendment’s tortuously ambiguous wording.

          Used a winky smilie and everything.

          😉

          • Brujo Feo
            Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

            Nah…I didn’t have to look it up. BTW, kudos for getting “tortuous” right…although “torturous” would have worked as well.

  11. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    The FAC additionally requires demonstrating a good reason for each firearm the applicant wishes to own (such as hunting, pest control, collecting, or target shooting).

    A friend who lives rurally has a shotgun certificate for rats on the farm he lives at. He doesn’t actually own a shot gun – when it’s time to give the cats a hand, he has a friend come round with his gun.
    Separately, he used to have a certificate for his rifle which he kept at the target range, but since his daughters declined to take up the sport and moved abroad he let that lapse.
    The implication of the way the question is posed is that America issues licenses for people to own guns, not for a particular gun to be owned other than as shop stock. Which is how “bang” licenses (permission to use, but not store, explosives) work. But it’s obvious that the police don’t think that is the appropriate model for weapons.

    Self-defense is only accepted as a good reason in Northern Ireland.[…] What’s with Northern Ireland?

    See responses to Graham at #8.

  12. Brujo Feo
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    “The 1994 assault weapons and high-capacity magazines bans worked.”

    Really, Joe? Cite your sources…and it certainly wouldn’t be the DOJ: http://assaultweapn.info.

    Oh…and Joe might want to discuss that with Eric Harris.

    • Brujo Feo
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      But then, neither Mr. Biden nor anyone else can even define what an assault weapon *is*… https://www.theregreview.org/2018/11/14/kopel-defining-assault-weapons/?

      • Adam M.
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        I’m not a gun owner myself, but I agree that it’s hard to take people seriously when they don’t know what they’re talking about – often assuming “semi-automatic” is the same as “automatic” or that “AR” means “assault rifle” or that a rifle with a black synthetic stock is somehow more dangerous than the same rifle with a traditional wooden stock (presumably because it just looks ‘scarier’).

        I could get behind an assault weapons ban if it was written by people who actually know what makes a gun more dangerous, but given the types of “assault weapon” restrictions that have already been passed, many of which are absurd, there’s little hope for that as far as I can see.

        • Adam M.
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          “stock” -> “furniture” for the nitpickers. 😛

        • EdwardM
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          You both make excellent and salient points. However, this difficulty in defining just what exactly we mean when targeting a type of gun for regulation is often used as a tactic to do nothing. The idea is that because it is confusing and difficult, we simply can’t do it. So kindergartners get their brains splatted all over a school’s hallways and we can’t be arsed to do anything about it.

          But we can define things any damn way we want – WE are writing the laws; they don’t come down to us by divine fiat. I don’t give a damn whether or not a legal definition is accurate to everyone’s taste, it doesn’t mean we can’t craft one. The problem is because we get so wrapped up in arguing about who is stupider than the other about the nature of weapons, the gun-fetishists know we won’t be able to. So nothing changes and nothing will now either, Mr Biden’s promises not-withstanding.

          • Adam M.
            Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            I certainly agree that it doesn’t have to be perfect. One of the better ones I’ve seen is S.66 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2019, introduced earlier this year, which identifies particular features of firearms that could conceivably increase their lethality.

            Another interesting idea might be to require that weapons with detachable magazines have a feature that slows down magazine swaps. It could give bystanders time to rush a shooter who has to reload. (It may be annoying to somebody out shooting on the range, though…)

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        There is some disagreement about what an ‘assault weapon’ (not to be confounded with the fully automatic ‘assault rifle’) is.
        I gather that the most widely accepted definition is a semi-automatic with a detachable magazine.

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

          Nicolaas: “I gather that the most widely accepted definition is a semi-automatic with a detachable magazine.”

          In a word, no. That would not only include all modern handguns except revolvers and a few oddities like the Thompson/Center Contender, but even if limited to rifles, the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22…arguably the most popular “plinker” ever made: https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/gun-review-ruger-1022-carbine/

          Which rather underscores my point. And that such laws tend to be written by people whose understanding of their subject matter is so limited that (EdwardM’s objections notwithstanding) it’s no wonder that they either have no effect on crime (like the AWB)or get struck down for vagueness or un-Constitutionality.

          • Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            In a word, no. That would not only include all modern handguns except revolvers and a few oddities like the Thompson/Center Contender, but even if limited to rifles, the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22…arguably the most popular “plinker” ever made

            Who cares? Seriously. If you try to tightly target a particular class of gun, the gun nuts will find a way to game the rules. They always do. Well fuck ’em. Use a broad definition that gets more than you or they wanted.

            You’ll eventually have to ban the handguns and the Ruger 10/22 in the end anyway because, deprived of a proper assault weapon, the nutters will use handguns and Ruger 10/22’s instead. This is exactly what happened in the UK. We banned semi-automatic rifles following the Hungerford Massacre leaving the handgun laws more or less as-is. Then, a few years later, we had Dumblane so we banned most handguns too. It took two massacres to get to our current state. Still, I suppose that is a better record than two massacres in a weekend.

            • Brujo Feo
              Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

              Way to completely miss the point, Mr. Pereira. I merely corrected Mr. Stempel’s misapprehension of what “the most widely accepted definition” of an assault weapon was, and you launch into your wet dream of what gun control should look like, without any regard to whether any proposed statute would be one concerning “assault weapons.” Which, BTW, was what Mr. Biden was talking about. Not gun control in general, or in some wider abstract sense, but about *assault weapons*.

              And you might be careful what you wish for. If you want to absolutely *guarantee* another four years of His Orange Shitheadedness’s reign, pick a Democratic nominee who makes gun control a central issue. Remember Eric Swalwell? Yeah–neither does anyone else.

              • Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

                My “wet dream”? Pardon me for dreaming of a world where people don’t get shot to death.

                I’m sick to death of people making excuses like “oh we can’t use that definition because it would include these other guns”.

            • Saul Sorrell-Till
              Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

              I’d say almost every time I’ve ever commented about this online the issue of terminology has been leapt upon by pro-gun commenters. Immediately a horde of pedants turns up to distract from the issue at hand with quibbles about definitions.

              I don’t mind honest, constructive corrections; eg. if the discussion relates to specific legislation, where the issue of terminology is highly relevant – but I resent this bad faith derailing of the conversation by people who imply that not knowing how many rounds a semi-automatic pumps out per minute disqualifies you from having an opinion.

              • Brujo Feo
                Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

                Point taken, Mr. Sorrell-Till. But the entire discussion hinges on the notion that a new AWB would “do something” to make us safer. The DOJ concluded that it had not done so the last time around. And FBI stats put rifle homicides of *any* kind, not just “assault weapons,” *however* you define that completely meaningless *political* term, behind those done with 1) “blunt objects,” 2) “hands, fist, and feet” (including “pushing”), and *way* behind 3) “knives or cutting instruments.”

                So, like you, I’m less concerned with the meaningless definition, and more concerned with your “bad faith” attempts to force me into unilateral victim disarmament.

                Let’s see…I have three motorcycles,six bicycles, four guitars, two violas and a violin…does that make me a “fetishist” or a “fondler” as to any of those? And unlike *all* of my gun collection, *none* of those are locked up in a safe.

                But carry on…let’s put gun control front and center, and nominate a candidate who can *guarantee* the Mango Mussolini’s re-election.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

                @ Bruno “So, like you, I’m less concerned with the meaningless definition, and more concerned with your “bad faith” attempts to force me into unilateral victim disarmament.”

                Unilateral victim disarmament? Oh for fuck’s sake.

              • max blancke
                Posted August 12, 2019 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

                I was talking to someone who advocated for “full socialism now”, but who, when asked, did not know a basic definition of socialism. And I don’t mean that they could not recite the OED definition word for word. They had no idea of the basic concepts.
                Pointing this out politely got me called “pedantic”.

                The problem with a lot of discussions these days is that people with the least comprehensive knowledge of the subject seem to have the strongest opinions about what should be done.

                In a country where violent crime has been dropping steadily for years, and where rifles of any sort are linked to fewer deaths than knives or clubs and hammers, this all seems more political than reality-based.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted August 13, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

                @Max Blanke – obviously that’s a ridiculous state of affairs, and entirely believable given some of the interactions I’ve had, but it’s also a completely different issue to not knowing whether a particular gun is technically classed as an assault rifle or not.

                Also, while I occasionally despair at how lavishly ignorant some people on the far-left are, by far the most inane, empty, or just plain mad, definitions of the word ‘socialism’ come from the ‘anti-‘ side.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted August 13, 2019 at 8:01 am | Permalink

                * ‘Blancke’ not ‘Blanke’. Apologies – I know it’s annoying when people spell your name wrong 😉

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted August 12, 2019 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

            I think Wikipedia begs to differ: “Assault weapon is a term used in the United States to define some types of firearms.[1] The definition varies among regulating jurisdictions, but usually includes semi-automatic rifles with a detachable magazine and a pistol grip, and sometimes other features such as a vertical forward grip, flash suppressor or barrel shroud.”
            And if it would include: “all modern handguns except revolvers and a few oddities like the Thompson/Center Contender, but even if limited to rifles, the ubiquitous Ruger 10/22…arguably the most popular “plinker” ever made” , wouldn’t that be so much the better? Heck, why not include revolvers too?
            Only in a well regulated militia, I’d say.

            • Brujo Feo
              Posted August 12, 2019 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

              Nicolaas: now you’re just quote mining. And no, Wiki does NOT beg to differ. You ignore that it specifies AT LEAST the addition of a pistol grip to your two criteria.

              Which, at least insofar as the AWB is concerned, is just wrong. TO your two criteria, the AWB says that any two of several other features will suffice; there is no requirement that a pistol grip be one of them.

              Which means that max blancke is right; the most passionate anti-BoR folks are those who know the least about firearms. To which I would only add: “or the law.” Or the history of such laws, for that matter.

              Further, you join Mr. Pereira’s detour by just dumping the question of what an “assault weapon” is or is not (and please remember that you were the one who first offered the definition…), and instead just laying out your vision about what gun laws should look like.

              What you’re describing is pretty close to total confiscation. (No, the fact that you–and from here on I of course mean the editorial you, not you personally–would in your magnanimity allow single-shot, or even bolt-action, rifles doesn’t change that.) Which is fine–I get your position. Just please understand why people who understand words roll their eyes when you pretend that we’re paranoid, saying: “no one’s trying to take your guns away.” But of course you are. Just read what you wrote

              So all you have to decide is how bad you want that, and then pick a Presidential candidate accordingly. I have some really good bourbon; I could come to your house and we can raise a glass to your ideological purity. Right after you guarantee us four more years of Drumpfkopf.

              Finally, about your “well-regulated militia.” Another commentator suggested that this would be the National Guard. OK–are you good with that? Because the police are NOT part of the National Guard. So just to be clear, are you advocating disarming the police too? Or just the citizens that the police work for?

        • Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

          That seems like a good place to start. It could be argued that it some hunting rifles might be caught by that definition, but to that, I would say “who cares”? Hunters having the inconvenience of having to use bolt action rifles is a small price to pay for fewer gun deaths.

          Also, most pistols are semi automatic with a detachable magazine and they would get swept up by your definition. But to that I say “good”. In fact, handguns are statistically more dangerous to Americans than rifles.

        • max blancke
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

          The problem is, when we are talking about crafting laws that could turn tens millions of law abiding Americans into felons, then definitions and subtleties matter a great deal.

          The Browning 30-06 that I learned to hunt with is a very traditional hunting rifle with a detachable magazine. My Dad bought it in 1969, and gave it to me when I moved out after university. I don’t think that most people would see it as an assault rifle.

      • Posted August 12, 2019 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

        Frankly, that’s like pointing to the uncertainties in radioactive dating and saying that it’s possible that Earth is 6000 years old because of it. The details don’t matter in this case because even if you did include them, it wouldn’t change the conclusion.

        -Ryan

  13. Ray Leonard
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    The Northern Ireland exception is a legacy of the Troubles. Dissident paramilitaries are still active and there are a large number of people, retired judges, politicians, security forces, whose lives are still threatened by the dissidents. Hence the self-defence measure for the ownership of firearms.

    • Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      And it should be pointed out that “self defence” probably isn’t a reason that just anybody in NI can use. You probably haver to show that you are a likely target of the paramilitaries. e.g. a police officer or a politician.

      • Brujo Feo
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        “You probably haver to show that you are a likely target of the paramilitaries. e.g. a police officer or a politician.”

        And if you can show that you are a likely target of the police, or the politicians? Would that suffice?

        • Posted August 13, 2019 at 3:41 am | Permalink

          The police and politicians in the UK don’t go round murdering people as a rule.

  14. rickflick
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I can’t help speculating about whats going on behind those sun glasses in the last photo. Probably something simple like, “Gee, look at me. I have a gun that could kill everyone around me. I’m like superman. Nobody can stop me”. I’d like to slide a coloring book and box of crayons in front of them.

    Quotable: “leaders who care more about their campaign coffers than children in coffins”

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I’d like to push a bead up his nose.

      (h/t Lucky Jim)

  15. Posted August 12, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    “He [Biden] is still my favorite Democratic candidate, but I do worry about his gaffes.”

    Still my favorite as well, and I find the gaffes more quaint than worrisome. Biden and Bernie are, so far, two candidates I’d happily vote for over Trump, but then I haven’t watched any of the debates, so the rest are mostly names at this point (except Warren, whom I find grating). I will tune in and start paying attention when the field is smaller. I’d love not to have to vote for Trump again, but I don’t underestimate the Dems’ penchant for screwing things up.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      Tired of all the winning already, Gary? 🙂

  16. Charles Sawicki
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    “I’m not worried about his age, except insofar as it’s correlated with any decline in cognitive facilities.”
    I would support Biden, but I’m worried about his cognitive decline. I’m not so sure he would stand up to debating Trump. Trump is an ignorant idiot, but the part of his brain useful for arousing and manipulating many other people seems to be working efficiently. Unfortunately, slow reasonable responses to Trump may make Biden look old and incompetent.

    • Historian
      Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      You raise a legitimate concern about Biden. He may be in cognitive decline, but so may Trump. What a national embarrassment it would be for the two of them to make fools of themselves in front of millions during a debate. This is why I hope a younger Democrat gets the nomination. If Biden has cognitive difficulties now, how will he be three or four years from now?

      • merilee
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Trump MAY be in cognitive decline?? But then again his cognitive skills started so low it might be hard to tell…

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

          Good point. And worth remembering that the Trumputos don’t give a rat’s ass whether his faculties are in decline, started out nearly non-existent, or both. They *celebrate* his ignorance, his stupidity, AND his generally unhinged nature. Good article about that here; pay-walled, but it will let you read a couple before you have to clear their portal from your cookies cache: https://medium.com/@martiesirois/donald-trump-is-the-dunning-kruger-effect-personified-60f8b0160005

          • merilee
            Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

            Yeah I’ve seen that article Brujo, or at least something like it. Dunning Kruger personified. 😖

        • Posted August 12, 2019 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

          Can’t decline if you’re at a minimum! 😀

          -Ryan

          • merilee
            Posted August 12, 2019 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

            Maybe negative or imaginary numbers? Square root of i for idiot?

      • Posted August 12, 2019 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think there’s any real doubt about Trump’s decline. Watch one of his recent speeches and then compare it to the ones he made during the campaign.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 12, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        Maybe the two of ’em could start a new reality teevee show, Alter Kocker Apprentice?

        I see yooooge ratings, better even than the Donald’s last gig, with Gary Busey, Dennis Rodman, Gene Simmons et al. on Celebrity Apprentice.

  17. Steve Gerrard
    Posted August 12, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    For mass shootings, the Onion gets it right:

    “‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens”

    https://www.theonion.com/no-way-to-prevent-this-says-only-nation-where-this-r-1836949715

  18. Posted August 13, 2019 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    Can you — or Joe Biden — accurately *define* “assault weapon”? Do you know what a legal “militia” is? Do you know how many crimes, every year, are *prevented* by armed civilians in the US? How much of “firearm-phobia” is based on facts and logic, and how much on ignorant hysteria?

    • rickflick
      Posted August 13, 2019 at 3:44 am | Permalink

      The definition of an assault weapon is a red herring. It really doesn’t matter how it is precisely defined. It is primarily a psychological challenge to would be domestic terrorists. The main idea is to get some legal restrictions on the books as a basis from which to enact a system of laws to dampen gun nut’s enthusiasm. Buy-back programs, registration, background checks, etc., are needed as well. Technical weaknesses can be found in any measure. That shouldn’t dissuade us from pursuing the goal.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 13, 2019 at 6:06 am | Permalink

        Hear hear!

  19. Posted August 13, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    It looks even conservatives would favor more gun controls, as surveys have demonstrated. At least this what I read in Private Guns, Public Health, by David Hemenway.


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