So, the commission by the Obama administration has come up with a list of proposals about what to do when it comes to gun control or gun safety, whichever term you prefer. Think Progress has a point-by-point look at what the proposals are, and other outlets give details as well. Of course, the NRA has decided to go nuts over the proposals since it doesn’t include hella-more guns, and they try to say that the President is a hypocrite since he has armed guards for his daughters at school but doesn’t push it for all schools. I already tried to head off bad arguments just after the shooting, but I guess I couldn’t think of all the ways to make unhelpful statements.
When it comes to the NRA making personal attacks, Thomas Verenna makes the excellent point that, really, the President’s children are more important than other kids. They could be kidnapped or worse by nefarious persons and used as leverage against the most powerful person in the world. Do you really want to have that? But why not have guards at every school in America? Perhaps because just by upping the number of guns at schools it increases the chances of accidents. Also, at Columbine there was a guard; he was shot early on and did nothing to hinder the massacre. I also don’t like the idea of making schools a prison camp because of potential wielders of assault weapons. If the rights of gun owners are so great, it forces children to be treated like prisoners in their schools. Doesn’t seem balanced to me.
In fact, the crazy has gotten so out of hand that there are people who think the incident was made up by the government so that the country would be OK with gun restrictions. The conspiracy mindset had been thinking Obama was going to take guns away for a long time (even when in Obama’s first term he did nothing to limit gun access but in fact the opposite), so no wonder it has become more tangible and cruel in recent weeks. The obsession with guns being taken away is so amazing to me, I’m almost considering looking at it in a Freudian way, that people (really, men) are acting like their masculinity (i.e. their penises) are being taken away by The Man. I’m not a Freudian, but I’m betting the Austrian would be speculating about guns and penises a lot right now. But sometimes a gun is just a gun.
So, let’s consider the proposals. Some are very reasonable and I suspect will get support. Others are unlikely to get broad support. And a few I don’t think are great.
Making background checks universal? That should get passed. If a felon can go to a gun show and get most any weapon they want, but I go to Walmart and have to wait a few days, it makes no sense. However, I think in such background checks the residences at the gun owner’s home should be considered; if the mother of the killer at Sandy Hook could not buy lethal weapons because she had an unstable son, that may have prevented things from getting out of order. But I suspect a broader form of background check would be unpopular, maybe even unconstitutional.
There’s a lot of focus on the mentally ill in the proposals. While that is something that could lead to gun violence, most murders are not done by those with clinical psychoses. I also don’t know if the shooters at Sandy Hook and Aurora had such insanity issues. We may be focusing on the wrong think and stigmatizing mental health issues even more, making it so people won’t seek help. However, the way the administration is talking about mental health includes greater medical coverage, so it may really be a back-door way of helping people. Perhaps not a bad idea overall then.
Capping clip sizes and no armor-piercing bullets? Well indeed, you don’t need more bullets in a clip for deer hunting. However, this will make gun owners mad because they have guns in part, they believe, to stop a future tyrannical government. Without lots of bullets and ones that can pierce armor, then how can you stop the fascist thugs of tomorrow? Then again, do we really want to fear a dystopia by making it legal for terrible people to get the sorts of weapons that will rip through law enforcement? Either we have to deal with criminals now that do exist or government thugs in the future that only may exist. Besides, since so many are saying gun laws don’t work, that criminals break the law anyways, then those future people can get all the armor-piercing bullets they want then. Why do you need them now?
Ban assault weapons? We did it before, and it was assault weapons that allowed Aurora and Sandy Hook to be so terrible. However, there is also a lot of hand gun violence, and I don’t see anything about that in these proposals. While assault weapons are potent, military guns, they haven’t caused as many deaths on the streets as six-shooters and hand cannons. I bet there are significant political hurdles to have restrictions on these items, so perhaps that is why Biden didn’t put that forward. Still, it seems worthy of consideration about what may be a good idea for curbing attacks and deaths from these smaller and hidden guns.
Now, there is also focus on the media, especially video games. I think this is BS. Violent video game purchases are up, and violent crime is down. If anything, you would think playing such games reduces crime. This is just scapegoating, and a popular one at that. The subject has been researched, and throwing several million more dollars at it isn’t going to overthrow not only the current conclusions, but it isn’t going to fit reality. Again, violent games up, violence down. There cannot be a significant effect. Perhaps some individuals could be influenced, but Charles Manson thought the Beatles told him to kill. So, ban Helter Skelter, or realize the deranged find what they want to support their delusions?
Overall, I think Vice President Biden’s commission made some really good recommendations. Politically, there is going to be a lot of fighting, and the most useful measures may not make it through. But only time will tell.