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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Let's waste time

When it comes to watering down ideas for legislation until they're meaningless, you can't beat State Sen. Ginny Burdick from the West Hills of Portlandia. Remember her original version of the ban on driving while texting? As we recall, it applied only to teenagers.

Now she's pushing for background checks before gun sales. As if that's going to make any difference in reducing gun violence. It's so easy to buy a gun on the street nowadays that background checks for above-board sales are kind of a joke:

Last year, the Oregon State Police – working through a federal database – conducted nearly 260,000 background checks. About 3,500 – or 1.3 percent of the total – of the proposed purchases were denied, according to Lt. Gregg Hastings, a state police spokesman.

And how many of those 3,500 bad dudes and dudettes went and scored themselves a piece anyway?

We support serious gun control -- banning certain types of weapons, and beginning the 50-year-long process of gradually getting most of them out of circulation. There needs to be a national referendum on amending the Second Amendment as well. None of that is going to happen, of course. But to us, creating another bureaucratic gig to push paper around isn't worth it.

Comments (26)

Oftentimes these knee jerk proposals come from well intentioned not so bright people seeking changes at our great expense with layers of unintended consequences. Not to mention the mess you can get into going at things piece-meal, absent a more thought-out plan. Her idea may not be so terrible when included in an overall well thought-out strategy, but shooting into the dark simply because there are dangers out there is no answer.

Dear Jack:

Kudos for using the word "gradual." That makes sense for several reasons. We need to see how society trends re: gun ownership. Forcibly dis-arming our law-abiding gun-owing neighbors will be beyond ugly. We also need to be careful of unintended consequences. I am a citizen of Oregon- not just Portland. We need
to respect the needs of rural citizens.

Ineffective fixes turn law-abiding gun owners

Gibby- enjoyed yr post.

Just read a post on a Seattle P.D. gun buyback. Other folks came and outbid the cops for a goodly number of them.

One-size-fits-all laws fit everyone badly.

Comprehensive solutions have too much room for chicanery. Do one thing at a time, only after thinking it through.

Yes, let's have a disarmed populace. Government will protect us. We can be just like England. Surveillance cameras everywhere. An unarmed public, completely defenseless.

Yes, their gang bangers don't shoot each other, which is why they don't have 19,000 "gun" deaths a year like we do. This glaring statistic can then be used for all sorts of reason to support gun control, as it is quite a stark contrast between the two nations.

Of course, when the criminals know for sure you are unarmed, you are far more likely to be a victim. Violent crime increases. So, fewer gang banger deaths, more innocent people getting robbed and raped. What a great trade off!

In America, it is far more likely your house gets robbed during the day when you are at work, than at night. Criminals don't want to get dead. They have a 50/50 chance the owner of the house is armed.

In England, you aren't even allowed to use deadly force to defend yourself or your family. They have break-ins all the time.

Sounds great. Let's repeal the 2nd amendment. Let's join the crown. God knows why we even left to begin with.

This video takes an interesting look at crime statistics in the USA


Let's join the crown.

Didn't we also fight for our independence because of taxation without representation?

In my view,too many people in our country have been in the "entitled camp" taking for granted what so many fought for and that our freedoms are a given. . .

Democratic State Senator Ginny Burdick is a progressive liberal who expansively supports just about any part of a freeloading bicycle agenda that raids motorist paid highway dollars. At a town hall meeting in a discussion about the replacement Sellwood Bridge, she exclaimed her adult daughter crosses the existing bridge every day on bike and doesn’t own a car. She wants to ban so called assault weapons (the look-a-like guns that are similar to military issue) and ban gun magazines with more than ten rounds while continuing to make her own assaults on people who drive. She is obviously both a car hater and gun hater

There is an interesting thread between her progressive liberalism on gun control and the various shootings across the country. All the shooters were Democrats:

Ft Hood – Registered Democrat – Muslim.
Columbine - Too young to vote; both families were registered Democrats and progressive liberals.
Virginia Tech – Wrote hate mail to President Bush and to his staff – Registered Democrat.
Colorado Theater – Registered Democrat; staff worker on the Obama campaign; Occupy Wall Street participant; progressive liberal.
Connecticut School Shooter – Registered Democrat; hated Christians.

It is doubtful that any of these shooters have ever been a member of the conservative NRA. History demonstrates NRA members are the responsible gun owners. Maybe Burdick should sponsor legislation that NRA membership is required with gun ownership.

Bad cases make bad law. I do not feel safer now that more guns than ever have been sold. There are so terribly many anyway. I don't mind the idea of a gun in my house to protect from intruders. No militia in my neighborhood or town is going to protect us from the government. Need or desire be, they would use drones. We are not going to get Americans away from their guns or vice versa. It is the price we are going to pay.

I hope we never pay again what was paid at Newtown. There is nothing sweeter in the world than a first- or second-grader. A room full of dead ones is one of the saddest things I ever remember and I wouldn't even want to forget it.

I heard that there are more deaths from being beaten by a hammer or club than guns. Weapons are not the issue. The issue is the break down of society because of globalization and the de-industrialization of the West. Throw in flooding our streets with drugs (see Gary Webb) and you have a real mess.

No legislator has any idea how to solve those problems. And if they did, certainly no guts. So an appeal to your fears is always the easy move.

Mamacita, enlighten me: Rural Oregonians need assault rifles because ...

I wonder if this Burdick dummy realizes that down here in Nevada we have gun shows that routinely attract 20-30,000 people. And that at those shows you can pretty much buy any type of weapon short of military grade armaments with no background checks at all.
Or that US Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid has had past campaign support from the NRA; and is well known to have a concealed weapon carry permit for several years.

Good idea. Take away the guns of millions of law abiding safety conscious Americans so we can get at the relative handful of those who shouldn't have them.

Be like disbarring all lawyers so we can get rid of the bad ones. Maybe not a bad idea!

Roger, this topic has been discussed to death over the past year and if you ask google the need for "assault rifles" there a many safe and legitimate needs.

Here's a good essay if you would like to edify yourself on this topic:


"I heard that there are more deaths from being beaten by a hammer or club than guns."

Gun love is a hellava drug.


I favor bans on military type weapons, and agree that ranchers in Harney County don't need rocket launchers.

As a city slicker, I do feel that rural folks need to be drawn into the discussion.

I ask you: should we get some consensus on gun control or forcibly dis-arm otherwise law-abiding gun owners? Think about the practical implications of banning certain guns. How are you going to get them away from my law-abiding neighbors?

Jack, I must disagree -- respectfully.  These new gun control proposals are models for how legislation should be drafted to regulate serious health and safety threats across the spectrum. 

Some good points above..

"We support serious gun control -- banning certain types of weapons, and beginning the 50-year-long process of gradually getting most of them out of circulation."

Interesting, honest and thoughtful.

If effective at removing AR15s, would it have stopped Newtown? Maybe.

Would it have stopped Virginia Tech? Didn't he lock the three doors to the bldg, and over 10-12 minutes shoot them up via handguns with many 10 or 15 rd magazines? (wiki: "two handguns with nineteen 10 and 15 round magazines, and nearly 400 rounds of ammo")

Would reducing the mag size to 7 rds ala Cuomo prevent Virginia Tech? Or would the shooter just bring 38 mags of 7 rds each, and kill them in 15 minutes instead of 12 (allow for more reloads, easy in a gun-free zone)?

Unless you can somehow get 100% removal of all semi-auto handguns and 7 rd magazines, it will be impossible to stop the next massacre.

The Dept of Homeland Security, in their infinite wisdom, just put in an order for 7,000 AR-15's (most likely the full-auto version) and millions of bullets to go with them. If they really don't think anyone needs an "assault weapon," why did they order a bunch of them? Why did all of the other alphabet agencies (including the Dept of Education) place similar orders?

"I am a citizen of Oregon- not just Portland. We need
to respect the needs of rural citizens."

Unfortunately, a great many of those who flock to Portland to "join the movement" don't see it that way and believe Portland is Oregon.

Remember, if you demand a "need"...do you need a 10-speed bike, when one-speed will do? A 200-hp engine, when a 110-hp will do? A 46" TV when 19" or 20" will do? A Max Line when a bus will do?

Jack,we certainly can have a "referendum" on changing the Second Amendment. The method for doing that is spelled out explicitly right there in the Constitution.

Yes, it is. That is exactly what I am advocating.

Tobacco use deaths in the US out number firearm homicides by over 47 to one. Alcohol related deaths out number firearm homicides by nearly nine to one. According to the FBI, the number one weapon used in violent crimes is a baseball bat even though many law-abiding people use baseball bats for sport. Should tobacco use, alcohol consumption and baseball bats all be banned?

The only thing we need is a proper licensing system where you have to prove you are sane and law-abiding, every 5 years, to keep owning guns- minus assault rifles and high capacity magazines. Hell, if there were a rigorous licensing system we probably wouldn't even need to worry about messing with banning any kinds of guns.

Sanity and criminalitsy checks. How expensive could this be? Make the gunslingers pay for their assessments, just like private pilots pay for their lessons and examinations. I would gladly pay for such a service when I finally bite the bullet, (pun definitely intended), and file for a concealed weapons permit. If my family, God forbid, fell victim to some howling loon home invader, and we didn't have any protection against them, I would never forgive myself for not having taken the step. Maybe 2014. 2013, I plan to learn how to lead tango.

Baseball bats, alcohol, tobacco aren't even protected in the constitution. We could ban those easily!

All kidding aside. Jack, respectfully, I ask what you would suggest modifying in the constitution regarding the second amendment? While I may disagree with you, I am not asking to be snarky or standoffish. I really respect what you do on this blog, and find your analysis to be very insightful and intelligent. I agree with most of your posts. So what should we do? Get rid of it all together?

I get queezy at the thought of the government gaining more power over its citizens. I truly believe removing the second amendment would further tip the balance towards government. Keep in mind, I am not one of those crazy prepper guys thinking the world is going to end. I don't have an arsenal with thousands of rounds of ammo. I am a normal white collar, otherwise liberal, Portland city person. But I do have a lot of faith in the writings of the bill of rights, as there were many smart men who wrote it, who had just come out of, and successfully I might add, a tyranny. They knew what it took and created a great constitutional republic.

I also oppose the indefinite detainment of American citizens without trial. Our leaders from both sides of the aisle supported that, Obama even signed the bill with a powerless signing statement.

I am sure you are against an Orwellian government. I believe disarming the public is a step towards that. How am I wrong? I am sure you would oppose invasions of privacy by the government via surveillance, phone tapping and other monitoring methods. Even if it's for the safety of the citizens. And those things would probably stop some crimes, but would be abused by those in power.

I think the problem isn't with allowing law abiding citizens to have firearms. I think the problem is that we ignore the real issues that are provocative to think about, and go for easier and non effective alternatives. Yes, if you made all the guns in the nation disappear, murder would go way down. But this is not going to happen.

Yesterday Obama said that we need to preserve the traditions of American sportsmen, but we also need reasonable approaches to gun control. I am paraphrasing, but he said something to the fact that the kids in Chicago are counting on us, as they are dying every day to "gun deaths."

The trouble is that Chicago has really stringent gun bans. You cannot even have a handgun there. Yet there is still all of this waste of youthful life. What would have been too provocative, but more useful is if Obama said "We have a problem in the black community. The family unit has been destroyed. There is no leadership. There is no hope. It is very hard to break this cycle, and everyone needs to help. We need more gang diversion. We need to focus all our resources into getting into these inner cities with more education. More incentive to achieve. We need to discourage failure. We need to make cultural changes."

Drugs are illegal in Chicago too.

If we modify the second amendment, why not start at other amendments as well? I am sure many in power would love to start limiting the first amendment. Scandals with affairs from leaders, protests against government? Government would flow much smoother if we had tools to limit these activities. After all, one could argue that when the founding fathers penned the first amendment, they had town criers in mind, and the limited distribution of movable type printing presses. They had no concept of twitter, google and the blogs.

The same argument is made about the second amendment and muskets VS semi-auto hand guns.

Mr. Winton, First Amendment protections are not unlimited. Neither are Second Amendment protections. The most recent Supreme Court decision enshrining an individual right to arms (vs. a collective right to a militia) was a 5-4 ruling, note. And it allows many "modifications" and regulations to the right.

The most commonly cited statistics on non-tracked gun sales are overblown -- the 40% number came from one study, done 20 years ago, using a tiny sample size. Even so, this still doesn't matter -- most criminals steal their guns. Why pay more?

It worked for the Clackamas TC shooter. It worked for the Sandy Hook shooter later that week. It works for the guys who used the map at lohud.com to find likely theft targets. Now the weapon is even harder to trace. They are already criminals.

So if there's one thing (besides properly treating people with mental health issues) that America could do to reduce gun crime, it would be to distribute gun safes and hold training courses for the licensed, legal gun owners.

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