Gun Control Is No More Likely After Charleston Than It Was Before

Political reality shows us that the shootings in Charleston are not going to have any appreciable impact on the likelihood of any type of gun control law passing anywhere outside of the bluest of the blue states.

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While the discussion in the wake of last week’s murders in Charleston has focused largely on issues of racism and the ideology that motivated Dylan Roof to kill nine people in an historic African-American Church, we have also seen the return of the same discussions about gun control that have followed other mass shootings in recent years. James Joyner made note of one example of that yesterday in the form of a column by David Frum. Another such example is evident in the suggestion by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey said that they could be interested in reviving the background check bill that they had attempted to pass in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in December 2012. As Chris Cillizza notes at The Washington Post, though, the political reality is that it is rather unlikely that the shootings in Charleston will lead to the political momentum that gun control advocates seem to be hoping for:

The Manchin-Toomey amendment was offered on April 17, 2013. This was its statement of purpose: “To protect Second Amendment rights, ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process.”

It needed 60 votes for cloture — to ensure a time-certain end of debate and a final vote on passage. It got 54. Four Republicans crossed party lines to vote for it: Toomey, John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine) and Mark Kirk (Ill.)  Four Democrats went the other way, voting against cloture: Max Baucus (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.).

Since then, the Senate math has become considerably less friendly to any sort of gun control measure.

All four Republicans who voted “yes” back in 2013 are still around and three (Toomey, Collins and Kirk) would likely vote in favor of a gun control measure brought up before the Senate today. McCain, who announced at the last minute in 2013 that he would be for the background check measure, is facing the possibility of a serious primary fight in 2016 and might not want to hand his potential opponents a ready-made issue to attack him as insufficiently conservative.

Of the four Democrats who voted “no”, three have been replaced by Republicans, who would almost certainly be “no” votes on any gun control measure, and Heitkamp, who is likely still a “no” given that she faces either a tough run for re-election or a gubernatorial bid in 2016.

(…)

Add it all up and you have, at most, 48 votes for a gun control measure. Could Toomey, as Manchin suggested to Colby, convince a few Republicans to be for a very limited piece of gun control legislation? Sure. Could he (or anyone) convince 12 Republicans (or 11 if you can somehow get Heitkamp on board) to be for it? Absolutely not possible.

Lauren Fox at National Journal makes similar points in her post pointing out why the prospect for political movement on gun control is probably worse now than it was just a few years ago:

In the two years since the Senate failed to pass a similar measure they sponsored, the obstacles standing in their way to gun reforms have only grown. Two years ago, the Senate was controlled by sympathetic Democratic leaders. Now it is run by Mitch McConnell, who once hoisted a firearm into the air at a conservative convention in order to prove his allegiance to the National Rifle Association. And a few of the sympathetic Democrats—such as North Carolina’s former Sen. Kay Hagan, Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, and Colorado’s Mark Udall—have been replaced with Republicans.

While Manchin says he still stands by the background-check bill he fought for in 2013 after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, he’s still not sure that he or Toomey have the ability to overcome a 60-vote threshold and make it law.

“I’ve talked to my friend Pat Toomey,” Manchin told National Journal on Wednesday. “We are still working on the votes. Right now, we are in a different position, being in the minority. We have fewer Democrats.”

Even those sympathetic to rehashing the debate are dubious that a new vote could yield different results. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine who voted in support of the legislation in 2013, said she still supports it, but is not that optimistic about a revival, nor does she believe the Senate really has the time to prioritize background checks at the moment.

“My vote would be the same,” Collins said. “I thought the compromise that Senator Toomey and Senator Manchin came up with was fair and did not in any way infringe on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. But there is an awful lot of work and legislation that has already been reported that I think it would be difficult to push aside in order to make room for this.”

There is one scheduling loophole, however, that some gun-reform-minded senators are hoping could be used to force the issue in a Republican-controlled Congress.

In the Senate, McConnell has made a major push to have a more transparent and open floor debate. That—at times—has imperiled the Senate from getting its work done by a deadline. But it also allows the possibility for an amendment process in which interested parties could introduce a background-check bill as an amendment on another upcoming bill.

“I don’t think [McConnell] will do it willingly, so what you do is you put it up as an amendment,” said Minority Whip Dick Durbin of a future background-check bill. “You kind of dig in. You say ‘I am not moving until you give me a vote.’ It takes patience and fortitude, but it can work.”

But staffers say that Manchin and Toomey are not likely to formally reintroduce their bill or anything like it unless they have the support to ensure it gets beyond a symbolic vote in the Senate. During his podcast interview with Marc Maron on Friday, even President Obama acknowledged that changes in background checks and gun laws likely are an impossible lift in the final two years of his presidency.

None of this should be a surprise, of course. The Senate that considered Manchin-Toomey is far different from the Senate that we have today. If that Senate was unable to muster the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture and pass the bill, then there’s simply no way that the current Senate would be able to do so. Additionally, and just as would have been in the case two years ago, even if an enchanced background check bill somehow made it through the Senate there’s no way at all it would make it through the Republican controlled House of Representatives. If something like background check cannot make it through Congress notwithstanding the fact the idea of expanding background checks to cover private sales and sales at gun shows is supported by something between 85% to 90% of the American public depending upon which poll you look at, then it’s a certainty that many of the more stringent forms of gun control that some have advocated, such as bans on so-called “assault” weapons and restrictions on the size magazines and clips, would have no chance whatsoever of getting through either the House or the Senate. This is a political reality that will no doubt frustrate advocates of increased gun control, but it is reality nonetheless.

It’s worth noting that one of the bigger public relations problems that advocates of something such as Manchin-Toomey have is the fact that what they are proposing doesn’t appear as if it would have done anything to stop most of the massacres that we have seen in recent years. In the case of Charleston in particular, it’s obvious they would have done nothing. Contrary to initial reporting that claimed that Roof was barred by law from purchasing a weapon and that he had been given the gun by his parents on a recent birthday, it is now apparent that he obtained the handgun he used to commit the crime legally. Roof was not barred from purchasing a weapon at the time he bought the gun, for example, and the background check that would have been conducted when he bought it would have revealed nothing that would bar him from buying the gun under Federal or State law. At some point prior to the purchase, he apparently had been charged with a crime amounting to a felony under South Carolina law, but the case had not gone to trial yet and in any case it was a non-violent drug-related crime. Additionally, there have been some reports from friends and others that Roof had made “odd” comments in the recent past but there’s no evidence he suffered from psychological problems and, even if these people had spoken to authorities there was little to nothing that these authorities could have done. While there were mental health issues at play in the case of people like Adam Lanza, James Holmes, and Jared Lee Loughner that arguably could have averted tragedy had they been averted, there’s no evidence of that in this case whatsoever. Finally, the weapon that Roof used to commit his crime was a relatively standard handgun with standard issue sized magazines. There were so many shots fired that he had to stop to reload five times and was still able to kill almost everyone in the room that night. Nobody is seriously suggesting banning the sale of handguns, and it would be next to impossible to pull that off in any case, and the proposed laws restricting “high capacity” magazines would not have impeded Roof of all. Given all of this, the advocates of a bill like Manchin-Toomey are at a distinct disadvantage when asked to explain how what the are proposing would have stopped the tragedy that is compelling them to put the idea forward.

In addition to all of this, though, advocates of further gun control must admit to themselves that they are stymied by the fact that, while most Americans would support at least some proposals that fall under the general rubric of “gun control,” it is not an important enough issue to them to have a real impact on the odds of such policies being enacted.

In the wake of the massacre of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary School by Adam Lanza, we saw a spike in public support for at least some forms of gun control, a phenomenon which caused many supporters of these measures to believe we’d reached a tipping point in a battle that has been going on for decades now. What both polling and actual election results tell us, though, is that gun control is a low priority issue for the vast majority of Americans, which means that the fact that a particular candidate may be more in tune with public opinion on that issue is no guarantee that they can actually win elections. We can see this in the fact that the failure of Manchin-Toomey led to no backlash at all against the Senators who blocked the bill from proceeding when elections rolled around. Additionally, while support for gun control had risen in the wake of Sandy Hook, that support quickly began to fade to the point where, by the one year anniversary of the shootings, public opinion on those issues had returned to the levels it was at prior to the attack. Conversely, it is also very apparent that the one group for whom gun control is something of a high priority issue are people who oppose it, as we say evidenced in the successful efforts in Colorado to recall legislators who had voted for the laws enacted in that state after Sandy Hook. That phenomenon continued into the 2014 elections, where even the millions of dollars thrown behind gun control efforts by the likes of Michael Bloomberg had little to no impact on the outcome of actual elections. By November of last year, gun control was at the bottom of the list of issues that most Americans said they were considering in deciding which candidates to vote for. As long as this remains the case, the political efforts to enact stricter gun control will fail. Indeed, Karl Rove was correct earlier this week when he said that the only way we’d see real political success for the gun control movement would be if the Second Amendment were repealed, although even that suggestion led some of the more paranoid elements on the right to falsely claim that he was advocating repeal of the Second Amendment. Rove is right, of course, mostly because if we actually lived in a world where there was enough support and intensity to achieve something like repealing one of the elements of the Bill of Rights, then there would also obviously be support for the kind of laws that gun control advocates continue to fail to get enacted except in the deepest of deep blue states.

So no, Charleston is not going to change the political reality of the gun control debate anymore than any of the other mass shootings we’ve seen over the past several years have done so.

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FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, Congress, Guns and Gun Control, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    Oh, good God, another gun thread. Count me out.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    I’m with Scott. Let those who need to compensate, compensate.

  3. stonetools says:

    Yeah, we really have one 200 post thread.Ain’t that enough?
    I would say I would like James to respond to his initial thread. Maybe he is scared by the response?

  4. gVOR08 says:

    the only way we’d see real political success for the gun control movement would be if the Second Amendment were repealed

    True. Sadly true.

    Dems will have to settle for proposing modest legislation that will fail to pass, thereby defining the Republicans as a bunch of gun-loving neo-confederate yahoos.

  5. Mu says:

    Gun control is the mirror image of the abortion debate. A SCOTUS decision one political group doesn’t like, so they have a safe long term target where they don’t have to come up with a reasonable solution. And it’s a good rallying cry for raising funds too, going by the daily calls from the NRA on my caller ID. Of course, there will always be wing people who hope they get Helller or Roe overturned, or get a constitutional convention going to throw out the bill of rights wholesale. But what most people don’t realize that this has been going on for a 100 years, the Sullivan act was enacted in 1911. So I don’t expect any major changes anytime soon either.

  6. Jack says:

    Doug,

    Based upon this:

    It was illegal for Roof to possess a firearm – he was out on bond in connection with a “felony drug case.” This alone rendered him ineligible to own a firearm. Per the DOJ, 18 USC § 922(g) & (n) existing federal law holds that “persons awaiting trial on felony charges are prohibited from receiving firearms.”

    http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/usao-ut/legacy/2013/06/03/guncard.pdf

    How was Roof NOT a prohibited person?

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Barring a cultural shift, I’m afraid that we’re stuck with the the status quo.

  8. Lit3Bolt says:

    Gun control will happen once enough ISIS members start exercising their 2nd Amendment rights at white people.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    Since the first time we discussed the issue here at OTB, I’ve said the same thing: that these little legislative battles are not the point, and that what should happen, and I believe will happen, is a social change.

    Ten years before same sex marriage, no one thought it would happen. Ditto marijuana legalization in some states. Legislation follows social change, not the other way around.

    This is a hearts and minds issue. That’s how we are winning – gun owning is dropping slowly. I’d like to speed it up, but we’re already winning.

  10. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Off topic – by a 6-3 ruling, PPACA subsidies are available in both state run and federally run health care exchanges. The program (“Obamacare”) survives intact.

  11. al-Ameda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Off topic – by a 6-3 ruling, PPACA subsidies are available in both state run and federally run health care exchanges. The program (“Obamacare”) survives intact.

    Or as Republicans might say, “this is exactly why we need the Second Amendment and liberalization of conceal or open carry laws.”

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Is it immature to say SUCK IT GOP?

  13. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    It seems pretty clear that they are going to drag the drama out. 2 decision days and 5 major cases left to adjudicate.

    I’m predicting that we’ll see rulings in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, Johnson v. United States and Michigan v. EPA tomorrow, with Obergefell v. Hodges and Glossip v. Gross being tendered on Monday.

  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    LOL, not at all. My favorite part of the entire thing is that CJ Roberts wrote the opinion. Predictably, The Cranky Old Guy and his two minions dissented.

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That does add a sweet note, doesn’t it?

    Mmmm. Savor it.

  16. stonetools says:

    I will say here that there is one thing the gun lobby did that was an act of fiendish political brilliance. They barred the federal government from funding the scientific study of gun violence.
    Why was that a masterstroke? Because in earlier battles-the antismoking campaign, the car safety campaign, the antipollution campaign, climate change-liberals won largely because they were able to beart conservatives over the head with scientific studies. Sure, conservatives had their well worn ” individual liberty” arguments and their mythology-but liberals could keep hammering away at the science and they wore the conservatives down.
    The conservatives took science away as a weapon by making sure to starve scientific study of gun violence, and the liberal campaign for gun safety has been suffering greatly. Why in other thread,gun cultists actually berated me for indequate scientific gun violence studies-which took some gall, really, since it is the cultists who have made sure that there haven’t been good, recent studies of gun violence
    Fortunately, the Obama Administration has lifted the ban on federally funded gun violence studies, because it will take a while before the studies are done and liberals will get their Mjolnir back.Meanwhile, the gun lobby is churning out their equivalent of “tobacco smoking is good for you” studies.

  17. Rick DeMent says:

    Good thing we have changed the subject to the Confederate Battle flag. The NRA must be wetting themselves laughing.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Minions

    Did you have to say that? Now I’ll never look at a picture of Thomas without seeing him as yellow with one eye.

  19. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Or as Republicans might say, “this is exactly why we need the Second Amendment and liberalization of conceal or open carry laws.”

    Which tends to be the answer of most teapublicans, to most issues, in the wackadoodle states.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Predictably, Rubio & Friends are losing their collective minds and promising repeal.

    “When you have a losing hand, double down” pretty much sums up the modern GOP.

  21. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Is it immature to say SUCK IT GOP?

    Yes. SUCK IT GOP.

    Although actually, Roberts just saved their ignorant arses for them.

  22. Mu says:

    @stonetools: Leaving open the question why no interested party has funded a study. It’s not like they’re expensive in the age of superpac spending. Probably less than a million if you’d get it funded through the feds.

  23. Avid sportman says:

    We’ll see how quickly this devolves like the previous topic did, but here goes. I know a lot of people that own guns and none of them would be what I consider gun crazy or gun nuts they are by in large, highly educated, responsible, and live in suburban/rural areas. In general they own several/many guns which run the gamut from single shot 12ga trap guns to ARs to pistols, but each one was bought for a specific purpose (hunting or target shooting) and is kept locked up and away from children/thieves. Their kids (if old enough for a hunting license) usually “have” a gun as well. They don’t have access to (it, it is locked up) but they would consider it to be theirs. They are taught at an early age how to properly use it and the importance of gun safety. Hunter safety is also a requirement. Most if not all of them would fall into the category of wanting less gun control than more (i.e. most would be in favor of national background checks but not a gun registry or a background check system that would create a defacto gun registry).

    The reason is simple, the rhetoric always starts around common sense gun control and not confiscating guns, but inevitability that’s where the discussion ends up, and is usually accompanied with painting any and all gun owners as crazy racist gun nuts that all belong to an extremest group. Combine that with urban areas where the most strict gun laws, essentially make being a sportsman/woman more trouble than it’s worth, and it’s not hard to see how a group of people who are very passionate about the outdoors and spending time with our children passing down the values of respecting nature and conservation would be swayed in the direction of less gun control.

    I don’t know how to get around the fact that gun control needs are quite different depending on factors on where you live, and what your intentions are with guns, but in my opinion the extreme rhetoric on both sides makes it impossible to have a real discussion on how to move forward on the issue (see previous topic for a lengthy depressing example).

  24. wr says:

    @Lit3Bolt: “Gun control will happen once enough ISIS members start exercising their 2nd Amendment rights at white people.”

    It won’t take ISIS. Just a lot of blacks and hispanics. Unfortunately the trailblazers here will undoubtedly be gunned down by white cops because it’s generally assumed that the 2nd amendment only applies to white folks.

  25. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @wr:

    I’ve always said that if you want to see what pro-gun folks are really about, let a black kid who looks like he’s from the ghetto show up at Wal-Mart carrying around an AR-15.

    Much hilarity (and hypocrisy) will quickly ensue …

  26. Mr. Prosser says:

    @gVOR08: Yes, Roberts did save them, if you listen at various closets you would hear huge sighs of relief.

  27. Tillman says:

    @Avid sportman:

    The reason is simple, the rhetoric always starts around common sense gun control and not confiscating guns, but inevitability that’s where the discussion ends up, and is usually accompanied with painting any and all gun owners as crazy racist gun nuts that all belong to an extremest group.

    I was definitely harassing one dude in the last thread about his love of guns, but that was also, as I said later, a hypothetical taken to absurdity to demonstrate his preferring owning a gun to having friendly neighbors. It wasn’t even a mediocre hypothetical.

    Common sense gun control is impossible because common sense around this topic is impossible. It’s either a) that the laws wouldn’t have stopped the recent massacre and are ineffective, b) we should enforce the laws we already have, or c) an infringement of rights. I agree perfectly with (b). If only ATFE had funding, manpower, and someone to head it (again)! This all depends on Congress which ties it back into the normal partisan squabble. Hell, I’d like there to be at least some federal funding about gun violence, but the NRA objected when those studies back in the mid-’90s noticed a correlation between gun prevalence and violence. I suppose that might link with (a) in some way, but impossible to know.

    (c) is high hilarity. As long as there is any legislation — effective or ineffective — to restrict access to guns, it can always be claimed as infringing on legal rights. Nothing short of a constitutional amendment will change that.

  28. EddieInCA says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Doesn’t even have to be a real AR-15. John Crawford was killed for carrying around a toy gun inside a Walmart in an open carry state.

  29. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: We’ve done this experiment. It didn’t take long for Reagan as Governor to sign tighter gun laws after the Black Panthers started open carrying. On the other hand, in Beavercreek OH the guy in the Walmart didn’t look like a gang banger and the gun was an unloaded Airsoft. They shot him dead and absolved the cops. I can’t really recommend black kids open carrying.

    Oops, sorry Eddie.

  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Not to discount that tragedy in the slightest way, but I have this mental image of Jack pulling out his gun on the guy and shouting “citizens arrest! citizens arrest!”

    I’m convinced at this point that a sizable chunk of pro-gun folks either a) just love fetishize guns and/or b) are paranoid whackjobs. You can’t have a rational discussion with such people, which is unfortunate, given that they are largely driving the debate in our current political climate.

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    It’s worth noting that one of the bigger public relations problems that advocates of something such as Manchin-Toomey have is the fact that what they are proposing doesn’t appear as if it would have done anything to stop most of the massacres that we have seen in recent years.

    Doug, if that screaming failure of basic logic is what you consider a “public relations problem,” then… Christ, I dunno what the hell I could say.

    “Because of X, we need to pass Law Y!”

    “What does Law Y have to do with X?”

    “Er… nothing…”

    “Would Law Y have prevented X?”

    “Um… no…”

    Would Law Y prevent future X incidents?”

    “…not really…”

    “Just what would Law Y achieve, anyway?”

    “It’ll crack down on the gun nuts!”

    “By ‘gun nuts,’ you mean currently law-abiding gun owners, who have done absolutely nothing wrong and given no indications that they will ever do anything wrong?”

    “Yeah, them.”

    “So, you want to either deny them their existing rights, which they have not abused in the least, or force them to become criminals?”

    “That’s right!”

    “Sigh… I see why you’re against the War On Drugs. ‘Cuz being that effed in the head can’t be the result of natural talent; you must be on some serious drugs.”

    “But… but … THE CHILDREN!!!!!!!! You heartless, small-penised, racist, paranoid, fetishist murderer!”

    “Look, why don’t you just go sleep it off somewhere. We’ll pretend none of this ever happened, OK?”

  32. Gustopher says:

    @gVOR08: I think the only safe way for blacks to open carry would be in a group, well-organized, and very clearly a political demonstration.

    And it would scare the crap out of everyone.

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Honest to God, I wrote my piece without seeing your comment. I just got distracted for a couple of minutes.

  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Your post illustrates what I described – a segment (and a pretty large one) of the pro-gun group sees ANY regulation of firearms acquisition and ownership as the complete denial of a constitutional right. It’s an unavoidably absolutist position.

    It’s also an extremist and irrational position, which pretty much sums up the debate on guns in general in this country – it’s both extremist and irrational …

    When a policy debate effectively consists of two groups who despise each other flinging poo, one shouldn’t expect rational policy to come out of it.

    I’m not opposed to firearms. I own them. That having been said, I’m also not opposed to waiting periods, quantity limits, in-depth background checks which apply to ANY transfer of a firearm from one to another (including between family members), periodic recertification of fitness to possess, serial number level licensing, prohibitions on public carry of firearms, et al.

    According to the gun lobby, that makes me a raving lunatic who despises the Constitution – and I own guns. Go figure …

  35. JKB says:

    Why does no one ever call for better murder control laws? Obviously, the anti-murder laws are not adequate. Maybe if legislators passed laws further restricting murder, created murder-free zones?

  36. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: He hadn’t been convicted yet.

    Or are you willing to remove guns from all people who have been accused of a felony?

  37. LWA says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no moral right to own a gun, much less carry one in a civilized society.

    Further, I think there are plenty of political benefits accrued with simply forcing this debate, similar to same sex marriage.

    Nibbling around the edges of the gun debate, like we do most often with magazine limits and waiting periods, only accepts a false framing. The current narrative is that there is a innate natural right to own and carry a gun, and that carrying a deadly weapon into places like stores and banks is a normal and reasonable action. We are witnessing the defining deviancy down tactic by the gun nuts.

    Forcing people to confront and justify such a thing as a “right” to a gun and emphasizing the freakishness of carrying guns allows us to create an alternate vision, of a world where guns are a highly regulated privilege.

    Of course it isn’t feasible soon, but then again, we are at the tail end of 40 years of “War On Crime” scaremongering. It starts with a change in culture, where one set of norms are replaced with another.

  38. grumpy realist says:

    I think the other reason we haven’t reached the point of no return on gun killing (even in spite of mass shootings) is the feeling that most of the people killed via guns are punks and idiots in the first place. (Hey, let your kids play with guns and kill each other. Serves you right. Sorry about the kid.)

  39. Mu says:

    I find it highly ironic if people make a murder by cop an argument for more gun control instead of an argument for more cop control.

  40. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    Shouldn’t your argument be “Criminals don’t obey the anti-murder laws anyway , so let’s drop the anti-murder laws. All they do is makes things worse for the law-abiding?”

    Because for sure that’s how you and others argue against gun safety laws.

  41. Gustopher says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Your post illustrates what I described – a segment (and a pretty large one) of the pro-gun group sees ANY regulation of firearms acquisition and ownership as the complete denial of a constitutional right. It’s an unavoidably absolutist position.

    It’s also a position that would logically support privately held nuclear weapons.

    The second amendment doesn’t put any limit on what arms a person may keep and bear, nor any limits on the circumstances. Clearly, muskets are allowed, as the founding fathers had direct experience with those. Did they intend to include small cannons?

    We either accept that congress can place limits on what arms you may keep and bear, or we allow ISIS sympathizers inside the country to have access to weapons of mass destruction, with it only being a problem when they plan to use them.

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @LWA: I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no moral right to own a gun, much less carry one in a civilized society.

    Based on a quick survey, 5 out of 5 violent criminals agree with you. I know plenty of rapists and would-be rapists would rejoice at the disarmament of women. And nothing says “civilized society” than “might makes right.”

  43. Tim says:

    @michael reynolds:

    In your dreams dude!

  44. Jack says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Or are you willing to remove guns from all people who have been accused of a felony?

    Grumpy, the law specifically says, and I provided a link, that “persons awaiting trial on felony charges are prohibited from receiving firearms.”

    It doesn’t say that those who own them must give them up, but they may not buy or receive new (or new to them) guns.

  45. Jack says:

    @Gustopher:

    Did they intend to include small cannons?

    I can own a cannon. And a tank. And a flamethrower.

    All legal.

  46. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    The law in question doesn’t actually say that. The guidance sheet you posted from DoJ says that.

  47. Jack says:

    “Norway had the highest annual death rate, with two mass public shooting fatalities per million people. Macedonia had a rate of 0.38, Serbia 0.28, Slovakia 0.20, Finland 0.14, Belgium 0.14, and the Czech Republic 0.13. The U.S. comes in eighth with 0.095 mass public shooting fatalities per million people, with Austria close behind.”

    “On Friday, Obama claimed once again that, “You don’t see murder on this kind of scale, with this kind of frequency, in any other advanced nation on Earth.”

    “Among developed countries, however, the U.S. isn’t anywhere close to having the highest homicide rate. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the arbiter of which countries are considered industrialized, ranks Russia and Brazil far ahead of the U.S., with homicide rates that are respectively 21/2 to five times higher than ours. Our rate was tied with Chile’s, and just slightly above the average for developed countries.

    In fact, across all developed countries, more gun ownership is generally associated with lower homicide rates. Switzerland, with widespread gun ownership, enjoys one of the lowest homicide rates in Europe. At the other end of the spectrum, Russia and Brazil make legal gun ownership virtually impossible, yet experience very high homicide rates.”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/john-lott-myth-american-gun-violence-article-1.2268490

  48. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The law in question doesn’t actually say that. The guidance sheet you posted from DoJ says that.

    Let’s read the law in question.

    DOJ, 18 USC § 922

    (g),(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)); CHECK

    AND

    (n) It shall be unlawful for any person who is under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce any firearm or ammunition or receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce. CHECK

    So, the law does actually say that, counselor.

  49. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Correct, but the problem there is the definition of receive, which entails receipt through an FFL regulated dealer. A gift between family members, say from father to son, does not fall under the authority of § 922, therefore your citation is inapplicable.

  50. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Correct, but the problem there is the definition of receive, which entails receipt through an FFL regulated dealer.

    You must be off your game today, counselor.

    Roof himself acquired the gun he used in the shooting from a local dealer.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/charleston-church-shooting/charleston-church-gunman-dylann-roof-bought-pistol-locally-officials-n380341

    Will you change tactics yet again?

  51. Jack says:

    @Jack: I think it’s time to close the druggie under drug indictment loophole.

  52. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    The last I had seen was that he received it from his father as a gift.

    That having been said, Roof was pending trial for a misdemeanor drug charge in SC; therefore § 922 is still inapplicable.

    Feel free to try again though.

  53. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I asked in my OP, why?

    The article explains clearly:

    Federal law prohibits the sale of a gun to anyone who is “under indictment for” a felony, but the drug charge Roof faces is a misdemeanor under South Carolina law. For that reason, according to several current and former law enforcement officials, the pending charge did not disqualify Roof from buying a gun.

    A separate provision of federal law prohibits the sale of a gun to anyone who is “an unlawful user” of any controlled substance. A provision of the Code of Federal Regulations, which defines that term in the gun law, says habitual use can be inferred from evidence of recent use, examples of which, it says, include “a conviction for use or possession of a controlled substance within the past year,” or “multiple arrests for such offenses within the past 5 years.”

    Leave it to a journalist to explain it better than a Harvard trained lawyer.

  54. stonetools says:

    At this point we won’t get proper gun safety laws in this country till a generation of people infected with right wing ideology die off. It’s too bad, because we’ll suffer thousands od needless deaths in the meantime. But what can we do? Thousands of people died of preventable lung cancer because right wing ideologues backed the tobacco industry with arguments that are almost word for the word the same as the argument the gun cultists use today.
    “Smoking doesn’t cause cancer”= Guns don’t kill people”
    “You just don’t like smoking=You just don’t like guns
    “The responsible smoker=the responsible gun owner
    “The Individual smoker’s right to smoke=the individual right to self defence.
    There is also the reliance on anecdote ( “some woman fights off a rapist with a gun”) against the cold statistics that show that a woman is far more likely to get killed with a gun ( by a domestic partner or male assailant) than she is likely to be a star in a self defence drama.

    And of course, most potently of all, the reliance on mythology, with Dirty Harry replacing the Marlboro Man and James Bond replacing, well, James Bond.
    So far liberals have failed to win because, quite frankly, their messaging sucks. They’ve been outmanuevered and outframed at every turn.And there is no liberal equivalent of the charismatic gun hero. Sadly, I don’t see that changing any time soon.

  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    I can’t help but wonder why you stopped your quote just short of this gem:

    Current and former ATF officials say a single misdemeanor arrest for possession of a controlled substance would not be disqualifying.

    You’ve once again managed to cite a source that rebuts what you are actually trying to argue. Own goals just your personal brand of self-flagellation?

    You have a nice day, Forrest. 😀

  56. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Awww, cupcake. Are you butthurt that a SC journalist that probably got their degree from a state university can explain law better than you?

    My original post asked Doug why. Had you linked to the article and restated why, I would have simply stated that that was the information that I was looking for.

    Instead your Harvard asshatery comes out and you tell me that what I wrote wasn’t in the law. When I quoted the actual law, you then stated the definition of “receive” only applies to FFLs. When I showed you that he bought his gun through an FFL then you finally get around to saying he was arrested on a misdemeanor.

    Remind me to never call you if I need a lawyer, I don’t have time to go through three appeals before you get the argument correct.

  57. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    Let me clarify:

    I play games with you because I do not take you seriously. One comment challenging anything you say, ESPECIALLY on this topic, is enough to keep you engaged in flinging spittle for hours. You make the mistake of thinking that you’re viewed as being a credible person, when, at least for me, you serve as a foil for amusement – because you’ll take the bait every time.

    That having been said, your original assertion was this:

    It was illegal for Roof to possess a firearm – he was out on bond in connection with a “felony drug case.”

    about which you were clearly wrong. You were even kind enough to cite a source which proves that your original assertion was wrong. The entire intent was to put you in a position of focusing so much on the immediate argument – and on disproving someone that you dislike – that you would lose sight of the bigger picture and torpedo your own hull – which you very graciously did. Thank you.

    You don’t play chess very well.

  58. Jack says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Lawyers can always come up with an excuse for their own failure.

    I wrote:

    How was Roof NOT a prohibited person?

    I was looking for guidance. But keep up your asshatery.

  59. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jack:

    So you are coming back with “I refuted my own original statement within the body of that statement”?

    Seriously?

  60. Avid sportman says:

    @Tillman:

    I was definitely harassing one dude in the last thread about his love of guns, but that was also, as I said later, a hypothetical taken to absurdity to demonstrate his preferring owning a gun to having friendly neighbors. It wasn’t even a mediocre hypothetical.

    Understood, and I realize that there are crazy gun nuts out there and those that give gun owners a bad name (like the guy that brought his AR into the airport, give me a break). But it seems to me that whether it be facebook, TV, or blog comments when gun rights come up the extremists show up in force and it devolves from there. I admit I come down more closely on the side of gun rights than gun control, but I do realize that there is a gun violence problem in America that needs to be addressed. I also realize that things like race, and location, as well as other factors are going to dictate how gun violence impacts lives and one’s thoughts on gun control. That should not be dismissed as easily as it often is.

    Common sense gun control is impossible because common sense around this topic is impossible.

    This kind of supports my previous point, and unfortunately I’d have to agree. When it comes to certain topics in America common sense goes out the window. Of course what is defined as common sense largely depends on what your opinion is and how passionate you are about it.

    It’s either a) that the laws wouldn’t have stopped the recent massacre and are ineffective, b) we should enforce the laws we already have, or c) an infringement of rights. I agree perfectly with (b). If only ATFE had funding, manpower, and someone to head it (again)! This all depends on Congress which ties it back into the normal partisan squabble. Hell, I’d like there to be at least some federal funding about gun violence, but the NRA objected when those studies back in the mid-’90s noticed a correlation between gun prevalence and violence. I suppose that might link with (a) in some way, but impossible to know. (c) is high hilarity. As long as there is any legislation — effective or ineffective — to restrict access to guns, it can always be claimed as infringing on legal rights. Nothing short of a constitutional amendment will change that.

    Point A) I always thought it was a poor idea to use massacre A, B, or C to try to implement measures to curb the broader violence issue in America. To me they have different root causes and require different policy changes, other may disagree, but to me it seemed like it was more of a case of “don’t let a crisis go to waste” Point B) I agree, with a caveat that I don’t hold much hope in politicians correctly implementing anything worthwhile from the research gathered. Point C) pretty much agree, even the Heller decision admits that there can be limits put in place on gun ownership, but it would also seem that this sort of reasoning also impacts other things; like how the 1st and 4th amendments can be interpreted.

  61. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    I can own a cannon. And a tank. And a flamethrower.
    All legal.

    I own a shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missile unit. It’s for my regular trips to Peet’s or Starbucks – for those moments when a barista screws up my order.

  62. Matt says:

    @al-Ameda: Want a t80 and you live in the UK? No problem

    http://www.russianmilitary.co.uk/details.php?headers=land&sub_headers=TRACKED&id=212

    Want a su27 here in the states? sorry they are sold out currently but keep an eye out for more.

    http://www.prideaircraft.com/flanker.htm

    All have been deactivated of course from a weaponry perspective. True fully functional modern military weaponry isn’t readily available for private ownership.

  63. ParatrooperJJ says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Perhaps you should look to the 2007 CO church shooting where Jeanne Assam stopped a deranged shooter with her lawfully carried weapon…