by Max Brantley
God, guns and gays. Worship the first two as ostentatiously as possible and persecute the third. It's the winning formula perfected by Rep. Mike Ross and an element is on display here in his leadership of a Democratic effort to tell Attorney General Eric Holder to forget about reviving any legal limitation on assault weapons. There are bigger fish to fry, a letter from 65 Dems says. Rep. Marion Berry is on the letter, too.
Of course. As a gun nut noted here the other day, you can kill people with knives and clubs, too. Perhaps not so many people so swiftly and efficiently as with a semi-automatic rifle, but still. This phobia about tools rather than people just has to stop
This is as good a place as any to repost a link Norma Bates dug up yesterday to a fine newspaper editorial raising an alarm about the
... expanding social acceptance of a popularized gun culture that is being increasingly strengthened in the United States through a 15-year long, NRA-led agenda to promote ever-expanding gun rights at the state level..
I'm going to give you some more of this excellent editorial on the jump. It appeared in the Sunday edition of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, a newspaper that happens to be controlled by Walter Hussman, publisher of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The paper retains two editorial pages, one of them liberal, as a result of terms of the merger of two papers some years ago. Sunday's editorial came from the liberal remnant. But even the conservative page's editorial today expressed opposition to loosening Tennessee gun rules in places where alcohol is served.
..... The state does not allow local governments to enact stronger gun laws than those of the state. It does not allow local police to limit carrying of concealed guns. It does not require guns to be registered with law enforcement agencies. It does not forbid gun sales to people under 21. It does not impose consumer safety standards on guns.
Tennessee does allow deadly force to be a first resort in public. But it does not impose a waiting period on gun sales. It does not limit bulk purchases of guns. It does not require new semi-automatic handguns to be micro-stamped. It does not allow police to maintain gun sales records. And it does not require owners to report all lost or stolen guns — an omission that creates a ready excuse for weapons used in crimes. And it does not impose limits on the sale of Saturday night specials and junk handguns.
NRA agenda vs. crime control
None of these regulatory omissions are sensible, of course. If lawmakers were more concerned about hindering or solving crimes, they would require gun stores to report sales and allow police to keep such records. Used in conjunction with ballistic fingerprints and micro-stamping of weapons, such information could help trace crimes to gun owners. But lawmakers are all too willing to kowtow to the NRA, never mind the benefit of rational gun rules to improve public safety and crime solving.
Copy-cat mass shootings in America, and other countries, probably would decline if reasonable restrictions on gun sales and gun-carry laws were put in force. Certainly reasonable gun rules could help reduce America’s pace-setting violent crime without undermining the 2nd Amendment.
But as long as the NRA and advocate gun owners are allowed to impose their radical gun agenda, and as long as Legislatures in Tennessee and elsewhere cater to this vocal minority, the chances of establishing sane gun controls will remain remote.