Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Friday Links

Like many of you, I was saddened but not surprised to hear about yet another school shooting, this time at a high school in Florida. It was the 18th school shooting this calendar year. We are only seven weeks into the calendar year. Politicians offer their thoughts and prayers; gun-lovers suggest that the real problem isn’t our pathetic lack of gun control but mental illness. “We need to really address mental illness!” a comment on Facebook I saw yesterday read. Um, ok, sure, yes. Mental illness definitely deserves attention, research, resources. In the meantime, why don’t we make it harder for people with mental illness to walk into a store and buy a gun?! Why don’t we make it harder for everyone to walk into a store and buy a gun? Why don’t we treat buying a gun like we do other life-altering purchases and procedures, where you have to get licensed, undergo extensive background checks, go through a waiting period? Why don’t we legislate guns like we legislate uteruses? Oh, right – because the NRA doesn’t want us to and they own our country. Here are the top 10 career recipients of N.R.A. funding – through donations or spending to benefit the candidate – among both current House and Senate members. The next chance you have please vote these motherfuckers out of office, and if you value human life — if you think kids deserve to go to school and not get shot and killed — don’t support candidates who accept money from the NRA! Nothing will ever change until we have a majority of legislators who aren’t afraid to defy the NRA by passing commonsense gun laws.

Now…here are a few other things from around the web that may interest you:

A Reckoning With Women Awaits Trump

Don’t expect the women who enable Trump to be better than the men

The Best Age For Sex For Men And Women

No, Opposites Do Not Attract

Thank you to those who submitted links for me to include. If you see something around the web you think DW readers would appreciate, please send me a link to [email protected] and, if it’s a fit, I’ll include it in Friday’s round-up. Thanks!

Follow along on Facebook, and Instagram.

43 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Wendy Green February 16, 2018, 9:35 am

    Wendy writes, “Why don’t we treat buying a gun like we do other life-altering purchases and procedures, where you have to get licensed, undergo extensive background checks, go through a waiting period. ”

    I carry a handgun. I’m often alone in sketchy places and I’m not willing to be raped/murdered without using every chance to defend myself.

    I have a concealed carry license , which required me to send my fingerprints and background info to the FBI and which must be renewed regularly. This license lets me skip the five-day wait required to buy a firearm, but not the background check required to purchase one. I took the NRA training course for concealed carry because it is more stringent than the state-required course. My state (Florida) forbids the transport of guns (any firearm) in the open and forbids cased carry without a license unless the firearm is being transported to a gun shop or gun range or for hunting.

    New York is much more strict in its laws about guns. I’m not certain why Wendy believes a gun purchase is so easy to accomplish.

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    • avatar

      Kate February 16, 2018, 9:48 am

      I don’t know, maybe because Nikolas Cruz, a kid who had the police come to his home 35 times for domestic disturbance and mentally ill behavior, and was reported to the FBI by a YouTuber for posting a video saying he was gonna be a professional school shooter, and whose social media was full of threats and violence and guns… and was being treated for mental illness, and was expelled from school for fighting, and reportedly abused his girlfriend… was able to buy an assault rifle?

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy February 16, 2018, 9:53 am

        He was able to do so legally! No problem at all! But, sure, wendy, tell us more about how strict our gun laws are.

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      • avatar

        Wendy Green February 16, 2018, 10:24 am

        I’m aghast that the FBI couldn’t find Cruz despite his using his real name on that “professional school shooter” comment. I’m aghast that none of those police calls and school expulsions resulted in any entries in the database used by the ATF/FBI to verify firearm purchases.

        My shock doesn’t make the FBI competent nor does it force any governmental authorities to do their jobs. Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about stigmatizing a mentally disturbed violent youth and start getting that person the help needed. A few juvenile crime reports sent to the Federal government might have stopped Cruz from buying his firearms.

        Why can’t I reply to a Wendy comment? This belongs there more than here.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy February 16, 2018, 10:37 am

        I’d like to stigmatize manic gun ownership over stigmatizing mental illness that someone can’t help and our country’s pathetic health care does so little to treat. Seriously, it’s really fucked up the fetish we have with guns. Why does a civilian need an assault rifle?!?Let’s stigmatize *that*. Let’s make it something to be embarrassed by and alienated for.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 16, 2018, 10:29 am

        The police usually can’t do anything until a crime occurs. If there is an obvious plan I think they can act on that.

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      • avatar

        TheOtherOtherMe February 16, 2018, 5:02 pm

        But do we know for sure that he was actually being treated for mental illness?

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    • Cleopatra Jones

      Cleopatra Jones February 16, 2018, 10:00 am

      As someone who is a veteran (I’m no a stranger to guns), and into self defense (I practice martial arts, and knife skills), I feel that carrying a gun gives people a false sense of security. Especially women. And the lies surrounding right to carry is what keeps this country from stronger gun control laws.
      .
      First, you can’t carry a gun into every place. Even if you have a license, some places prohibit guns. And if you were in an actual incident where someone is firing a gun, you shouldn’t counteract by pulling your own gun. You need to go for cover (so in this case, a gun would be useless). If you’re shooting and they’re shooting, how will the first responder on the scene know who is the actual gunman? Also, if you do manage to kill the gunman, you aren’t going to be a hero. You’re going to jail.
      .
      And for women, if you pull a gun on anyone. You had better be committed to firing it! So many carry guns, and have it taken and used against them. Flashing a gun isn’t going to do shit because someone intent on hurting you is going to push you to retreat or fire. Most women aren’t going to want to fire first, so again false sense of security.
      Not only that but in order for a gun to be effective, you have to have it within easy reach. Not in the bottom of your purse, not in your car but holstered on your hip. Most women don’t want to roll around like John Wayne on a daily basis.
      .
      I carry a handgun. I’m often alone in sketchy places and I’m not willing to be raped/murdered without using every chance to defend myself.

      Honestly, you could be raped/murdered in your own home. You are assuming that you are going to have ample time to get to your gun. That’s not always the case. What if you are surprised while in bed? or coming out of the bathroom at 2 AM? While a gun is fine in some situations, it’s not an all encompassing safety tool that’s going get you out of danger.

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      • avatar

        Kate February 16, 2018, 10:06 am

        Nope, and if you have kids, sadly I think the chance is greater that your kid is going to get his or her hands on that gun and hurt or kill someone, then that you’d ever successfully use that gun to protect them.

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      • avatar

        Wendy Green February 16, 2018, 10:35 am

        Thank you for assuming I think a firearm is a lucky rabbit foot.

        I don’t think of myself as John Wayne. I think of myself as an empowered women who knows I may be forced to decide whether to kill or be killed. I’ve done the research (e.g., Jon H. Gutmacher’s “Florida Firearms: Law, Use & Ownership and Massad Ayoob’s blog) and I know the consequences of deadly force (i.e., arrest and possibly jail for killing my attacker.)

        Given a choice, I’d rather disable with a palm strike than kill with a bullet, but I’d also rather not get that close to anyone who wants me raped or dead.

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    • avatar

      LisforLeslie February 16, 2018, 10:04 am

      Gun laws in New York are completely different from gun laws in Florida. It is easier to purchase an AR-15 than a handgun in Florida. Two days after the Orlando shooting -a journalist was able to buy an AR-15 in Orlando in 38 minutes.

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    • Cleopatra Jones

      Cleopatra Jones February 16, 2018, 10:54 am

      Given a choice, I’d rather disable with a palm strike than kill with a bullet, but I’d also rather not get that close to anyone who wants me raped or dead.

      If you aren’t close enough to disable with a palm strike* why are you firing a gun? That seems like you’d be arrested from murder.
      And all that theory about deadly force and it’s consequences is great until you hear those jail doors slamming shut, and are facing a jail sentence. But you do you, let us know how that works out for you. 🙂
      .
      And honestly, you can think that you have what it takes to kill someone in a deadly situation but most people don’t unless they’ve done it before. And many situations happen so quickly that you may not have time to react with your gun.

      *I’d argue that if the palm strike is your only move, you haven’t sufficiently trained to defend yourself. What if you miss or they counter? A palm strike is a fancy TV move that isn’t really ineffective. You should be gouging their eyes. Or effectively using knees to the groin and stomach area.

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      • avatar

        Wendy Green February 16, 2018, 11:51 am

        I don’t want to get close enough to a rapist with a weapon to disable him (something I keep saying.) I would rather warn him off then back up that warning with a firearm than engage him physically. I have thought this through; I do practice. I understand the ramifications of “Stand Your Ground” and retreat if possible. You seem to want me to grapple with a rapist and not to defend myself from a safe distance; do I misunderstand you?

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      • avatar

        Kate February 16, 2018, 12:02 pm

        Yes I think you misunderstand. She’s saying that if you’re not close enough to use physical self-defense, and you shoot someone who you think was going to rape you, assuming they’re not an intruder in your house, YOU could be charged with murder.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom February 16, 2018, 12:17 pm

        It becomes a situation where you shot someone and then say you felt threatened. That’s what happened when Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. He wasn’t doing anything but walking home after going to the convenience store. How do you prove intent? Until someone attacks how do you prove that they intended to attack?

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      • Cleopatra Jones

        Cleopatra Jones February 16, 2018, 12:17 pm

        You do misunderstand me. I’m not saying that you should grapple with anyone. I’m saying (and have said) that a firearm provides a false sense of security, especially for women. And if you pull that weapon AS A WOMAN, you had better fire it.
        .
        If someone is intent on murdering/raping you, they aren’t going to run off because you brandished a gun. A warning shot is just going to let them know that you aren’t prepared to fire the gun at them. Way too many women end up in hospitals raped and beaten because their assailant took their weapon and used it against them.
        .
        What happens if you are attacked when your gun isn’t near? or you’re too close to fire your weapon? If someone attacks you from the back? You literally have nothing else to defend yourself which is why I say that it’s a false sense of security.

        I don’t want to get close enough to a rapist with a weapon to disable him
        How do you even know he’s a rapist until he’s made an attempt to, ya know, rape you? Then it may too late to pull out a gun. And you can’t randomly shoot dudes because ‘he looked like a rapist’. It would be much more effective to learn how to use self defense techniques (eye gouges, knees to the groin & stomach, small knife skills) as a means to deflect an attacker.

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      • avatar

        Vathena February 16, 2018, 12:22 pm

        Also, most rapists aren’t strange guys who grab you on the street and drag you into a dark alley. They’re people you already know. Your “friend” at the party who puts something in your drink. The guy you’ve been on a few dates with. Your boyfriend or husband. RAINN’s statistic: 3 out of 4 rapes is committed by someone you already know. https://www.rainn.org/statistics/perpetrators-sexual-violence And those with a gun in the home are far more likely to have that gun used on them or their loved ones (accident, murder, or suicide) than to be used to thwart crime. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/more-guns-do-not-stop-more-crimes-evidence-shows/
        (since it’s Friday Links and all)

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      • avatar

        Kate February 16, 2018, 12:23 pm

        Right, and not only self-defense techniques but ways to present yourself and be aware of your surroundings that make you a hard target in the first place. Rapists are looking for soft targets, and will pass over women who look confident, aware, and like they wouldn’t fall for bullshit or fight back. The books “The Gift of Fear” and “The New Superpower for Women” have the kind of life-saving information that will be so much more effective than carrying a handgun.

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      • Cleopatra Jones

        Cleopatra Jones February 16, 2018, 1:25 pm

        AND a couple of things that shooting at static targets at the gun range doesn’t teach you… 1) how to control your adrenaline during a confrontation. In the movies, they are always so cool but in real life when someone is attacking you, you have to be able to control your adrenaline in order to get off an effective shot. The wrong breath movement when shooting could mean your bullet doesn’t even land near your intended target.
        2) How to shoot at a moving target. In real life, your assailant isn’t going to stand there and let you shoot at them. They are going to moving, attacking, and trying to intimidate you.

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    • honeybeenicki

      honeybeenicki February 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

      It is pretty simple to get one here in WI. Even more so if you don’t want your CCW permit.

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    • avatar

      Sarah February 16, 2018, 9:56 pm

      “. I’m often alone in sketchy places and I’m not willing to be raped/murdered without using every chance to defend myself.”

      But don’t you see why those places are sketchy?? GUNS! (Plus maybe drugs, etc.) But GUNS. How do people in other countries handle similar situations? Canadian cities are so much safer…and people don’t carry around guns! You can’t walk outside at night in many big US cities, but you can in Canadian ones (within reason, of course). I know because I’ve lived in a couple big Canadian and big US cities, so I speak from personal experience.

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    • avatar

      Howdywiley February 17, 2018, 6:41 pm

      I understand this side of the gun debate but I always just feel like if I had to chose between strict gun control laws that and someone feeling safer with a gun in their purse, I’m going to pick the gun control laws. Your life isn’t more valuable. If you not having a gun in your bag is the price we pay to not have these horrific violent tragedies happen three so be it.

      I have actually been in a situation where there were bad guys with guns shooting and I hid with my child. The last thing going thru my mind was that I wish I had a gun on me to shoot back.

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  • avatar

    Allornone February 16, 2018, 9:52 am

    Amen, Wendy

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  • avatar

    LisforLeslie February 16, 2018, 10:02 am

    I am currently in Florida about 7 miles from where this happened. It is an upper middle class white neighborhood. My mom plays canasta with a woman whose grandchildren go to that school.

    Everyone keeps saying “But it’s a nice neighborhood!” and I keep repeating – “That’s where this always happens – in nice neighborhoods. This doesn’t happen in the inner city.”

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    • avatar

      Lurker Kate February 23, 2018, 12:06 pm

      I mean, there’s plenty of gun violence in inner cities. It’s really not an either/or situation.

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      • Dear Wendy

        Dear Wendy February 23, 2018, 2:40 pm

        I mean this in all sincerity, but what even is an “inner city”? It seems such an outdated term. I live in the inner part of one of the biggest cities in the world -almost as central as you can get in nyc. Do I live in the inner city then? We don’t have mass shootings here. We barely have any shootings at all.

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      • avatar

        Kate February 23, 2018, 3:10 pm

        I guess like parts of cities that aren’t totally gentrified yet? Like in Boston there are still parts of Dorchester, Roxbury, Mattapan that wealthy people haven’t totally taken over, and they have lots of shootings on the news, but it’s like normal crime, maybe gang stuff, not school shootings?

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      • avatar

        Lurker Kate February 23, 2018, 4:18 pm

        Yeah, I agree that’s an outdated term. I always take it to mean urban areas. But yeah I just mean in terms of GENERAL gun violence, there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between urban and rural areas. Gun violence is a universal problem in the US. (NYC is a bit different because we have really strict gun laws here, thank god. )

        As an example – some data about rural vs urban gun-related deaths:
        “The risk of firearm-related death showed no difference across the rural-urban spectrum for the population as a whole, but varied when divided up by age — firearm deaths were significantly higher for children and people ages 45 and older, while for people ages 20 to 44, the risk of firearm deaths were much higher in urban areas. I’d wager some of that comes down to differences in gun ownership: more households have firearms in rural areas than in urban ones, and sadly, too many gun owners keep their firearms where their children can reach them. The result can be tragic. At the same time, the bulk of victims killed by homicide are young men, according to FBI statistics. And they are more likely to be shot and killed in the cities.”

        From here: http://science.time.com/2013/07/23/in-town-versus-country-it-turns-out-that-cities-are-the-safest-places-to-live/

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom February 16, 2018, 10:27 am

    I think we should have stricter gun laws by far and much better mental health treatment with quick and easy access.

    We license drivers and make sure people have to pass drivers tests, both written and an in car exam. I don’t see anything wrong with requiring the same of a gun owner and like a driver’s license the gun owning license would need to be renewed and you should have to carry it on you and it should have a photo ID on it.

    Our mental health care is often pathetic if you can’t afford to pay out of pocket. Health insurance in my state, I don’t know if this is everywhere in the country, will cover six mental health visits per year. The rest is out of pocket. If you don’t have health insurance you have to try to get an appointment with the county and get on a waiting list. Our county coverage is probably better than most because we have a lot of veterans and people keep voting for mental health levies as a way to support veterans.

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  • avatar

    Tippytoo February 16, 2018, 11:00 am

    I saw a tweet that really resonated with me on this issue. “Why not just ban guns and when people are upset about it, just send them thoughts and prayers?” “If ‘thoughts and prayers’ are good enough for people who’ve lost their families then it’s good enough for people who’ve lost their guns.”

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy February 16, 2018, 11:15 am

      I’m traveling today and just had a bottle of juice I forgot I had in my bag confiscated by TSA. We have to remove our shoes, separate our belongings, get patted down, and go through an X-ray machine because our country has been attacked by terrorists. It’s time to extend the same inconvenience and limits on some personal freedoms in reaction to the endless gun violence in our country. my bottle of juice is banned at security, but pretty much anyone can buy an assault rifle? Fuck that shit.

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  • bittergaymark

    Bittergaymark February 16, 2018, 11:45 am

    Our politicians are all so bought and paid for that until we have repeated deadly mass shootings of senators and congressmen that routinely result in massive, massive deaths (say 17?) of said politicos — nothing will change.
    .
    Honestly? Lets be real. Even then they won’t do jack shit. Why? Republicans are fucking scum. (Anybody even know that just yesterday they quietly gutted the Americans With Disabilities Act?)
    .
    That said the democrats have failed on this issue as well. We don’t have leaders — we have shills. Lousy ones at that. Its time to rise up and cast them all the fuck out.

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    • Cleopatra Jones

      Cleopatra Jones February 16, 2018, 12:22 pm

      Well, we’ve had a couple of shootings of politicians and that hasn’t seem to make a difference.

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      • avatar

        Wendy Green February 16, 2018, 1:48 pm

        For some reason, this is the only comment with a reply link.

        I’ve stated repeatedly that I know all about the points you are making. I’ve shot USPSA; I’m well-aware of the laws and the consequences of my decisions and actions.

        You’re welcome to continue to give reasons why I am wrong and will die/be arrested/whatever if I have to defend myself. I’m off to walk my dog (armed, of course.)

        Have a great weekend.

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      • avatar

        Kate February 16, 2018, 1:55 pm

        Sounds awesome. Maybe I just live in a bubble and don’t get it, but wouldn’t you be safer – if you have to walk through unsafe neighborhoods – holding some mace tucked in your hand as you walk, than having a gun in your bag? Like really, you’re going to open your bag, get out your gun, and fire it on a street in broad daylight as you hold the dog’s leash in your other hand? What the hell?

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      • avatar

        Kate February 16, 2018, 1:58 pm

        And if you miss and hit a kid with that bullet, who’s riding by in a car, no big deal? Because right to bear arms?

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      • Cleopatra Jones

        Cleopatra Jones February 16, 2018, 4:02 pm

        you’re welcome to continue to give reasons why I am wrong and will die/be arrested/whatever if I have to defend myself.

        Lol. I literally don’t care what happens to you. I was just pointing out that when people oppose stricter gun control laws, and cite self defense as the reason; it makes absolutely no sense.

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    • avatar

      Howdywiley February 17, 2018, 8:56 pm

      Wendy Green are you saying that you
      having your gun is more important then the lives of these kids? You feeling like your life is protected from the mysterious lurking rapists is more important then these kids lives?

      I would feel like if giving up my rights to my gun would save just one persons life I wouldn’t even hesitate.

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  • Lucidity

    Lucidity February 16, 2018, 2:39 pm

    I’m a Canadian. Nearly every gun used in an American school shooting is legally available for purchase in Canada, and yet school shootings here are rare. I think this has a lot to do with the difference in our countries’ attitudes towards guns. Here, guns are marketed for hunting or for sport (shooting those paper targets), but not for defense.

    Many Americans seem obsessed with the idea that gun ownership a necessary part of self-defense. I don’t understand this at all. As others have mentioned above, the average person (regardless of how badass they think they are) is much more likely to be disarmed and have their weapon used against them than commit murder themselves. Statistically, the chances are far higher that your gun will be involved in a tragedy, wielded by a child or another member of your family, than they are that you will ever use it to defend yourself against an attacker. I have fired a gun and feel comfortable using one, but carrying one or having one in my house would make me feel less, not more, safe.

    I think that if American gun laws (and attitudes) were more like Canada’s, where self-defense is not a legally acceptable reason to own a gun, you’d see a lot less gun violence.

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    • avatar

      MissD February 16, 2018, 3:08 pm

      I’m Canadian as well. I’ve never in my life met anyone who owned a gun. I’ve never even seen a gun and wouldn’t know the first thing about how to get one!

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  • avatar

    Sarah February 17, 2018, 8:21 am

    I feel like there is so much anti-gun sentiment now that we could all potentially mobilize and start large-scale protests in the US, like maybe on the scale of the #metoo movement or the Women’s March…

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  • avatar

    Ron February 17, 2018, 5:05 pm

    It would be a positive thing to at least close the gun show exemption and limit the ability to turn semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic. I’m a pessimist and I just don’t see either happening any time soon. Americans love guns. Even when the Ds controlled the House and had 60 senators at the start of Obama’s first term, this stuff couldn’t get done. The truth is that the Ds can’t get 60 senators and possibly not even 50, without electing senators from states where a candidate simply cannot support gun control and be elected.

    The comparison to licensing cars and needing a driver’s license to drive only goes so far. Americans also love cars and enforcement of both DUI and licensing laws is laughingly loose compared to Europe. When I read about fatal DUI traffic accidents, the driver, more often than not, is driving without a valid license, which was suspended for DUI, not uncommonly more than one DUI and didn’t get jailed or had car confiscated for being caught drunk driving with a DUI-suspended license. So, although laws and systems are in place, we don’t take enforcement of driving regulations much more seriously than we do gun regulation.

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    • avatar

      LisforLeslie February 19, 2018, 7:58 am

      Ron -you make a good point. What I would like is that there is a link between police or hospital records and gun records. When someone is charged with domestic violence or someone’s family gets the police or other services involved in mental health issues -the guns are removed from the home until the family can pass a review. It won’t end the issue – I’m not foolish. But it would reduce it significantly. In this most recent case in Florida – it would have prevented a sale, or it would have hopefully removed the gun prior to the incident. But those are wishes and executing that would be difficult and potentially dangerous (“you’ll take my guns over my cold body”) .

      Somehow we need to reframe gun ownership from a “right” to a more well defined “contract” with society. But I have no idea how to do that.

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