Why Gun Control Just Died

On Wednesday, January 30, 2013, the approximately four-hour Senate hearing on gun control measures was conducted. It was a combination of clowns and competence, strange mixture of sometimes bewildered officials clumsily and inaccurate citing mysterious “statistics” and a few horrible mis-characterizations of the Heller decision. I was personally taken aback at the level of pompousness and cluelessness displayed by some, including two truly ridiculous standouts: Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and the equally strange Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

We practice a peculiar brand of selective morality in this country, where we value some lives (children) far more than our soldiers, far more than our seniors, and of course far more than what we must think are the valueless lives of non-Americans throughout the world. What else do you call 65,000 dead Syrians with an allegedly "moral" United States that does nothing. It defines selective morality: we cannot claim to truly value life when we simply watch its destruction.

We also have some odd re-characterizations of the United States Constitution, performed for dramatic and political effects at the expense of truth. Just how often have you heard that the 1st Amendment does not permit you to yell “fire” in a crowded theater? That has been vomited about as some sort of justification for ignorance of the 2nd Amendment for decades.

Yet, this does not even bear casual scrutiny. Anyone that can yell can indeed yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Just because most Americans have that ability does not mean their mouths are wrapped with duct tape before they can enter a theater. The courts have long held a very dim view of prior restraint, of punishing Americans for a law they did not break just because they have the potential. Most anyone with a computer or a cell phone could distribute child pornography, yet there is no punishment for owning a computer. The ability of computer owners or owners of legal property are not punished for the mere act of ownership just because material possessions can be misused. It is irrational, unfair, and un-American to punish the innocent. Even a few media pundits have complained that there is an FCC with regulations that control them. But of course anyone who has heard of a “wardrobe malfunction” knows there isn't control or prior restraint, just fines and penalties for breaking statutes if and when they are broken.

It is intellectually dishonest to inject hunting into the 2nd Amendment; that is something that simply has never been a component. Often, things like rate of fire are quoted, as just done by Dianne Feinstein, glorious rates of fire like 800 rounds per minute. No one can get off 800 shots from a semi-automatic firearm in a minute. Why is the impossible mentioned as if it is a common happenstance, if not to intentionally mislead? This dishonest dialog comes from folks like the glassy-eyed Senator Dick Durbin, as if 100 round magazines are typically used by civilians. They aren't; they aren't even used by law enforcement for they are primarily unreliable curios.
There is a difference between an “unalienable right” and an inalienable right. Unalienable rights are natural rights, rights we are endowed with from our Creator, rights that cannot be sold or surrendered. The right of self-defense is such a right, and it is unalienable rights that are articulated in the Declaration of Independence.

Senator Feinstein is flagrantly dishonest with her peculiar vision of "military style" weapons. Surely Senator Feinstein has been a part of Congress for enough of her 79 years to know where all the military-style tax dollars have gone. Military style weapons of the United States are armed Predator drones, Tomahawk Missiles, Agent Orange, and the 5000 or so nuclear warheads we spend tax dollars on. Our "military style weapons" include nuclear missiles with a range of over 8100 miles fired from land, 7500 miles or so if launched from one of our nuclear submarines patrolling around the world. Our "defense spending" for military style things is currently over $700 Billion dollars a year, 40% of the world's military spending. News flash for Senator Feinstein: your $700 Billion in tax dollars spent on military style things is not going for small arms or plastic detachable box magazines. Americans can hardly afford our current government or its lavish military style spending: most Americans decide to squander their remaining dollars on food, shelter, and health care instead. While you have been buying Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptors at $150 million a pop with tax dollars, and SSGN cruise missile nuclear subs filled with up to 154 Tomahawk missiles (current replacement cost estimated at $4 Billion per sub), the upcoming Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carriers are now at $14 Billion each and climbing. Congressional "military style" is $700 Billion a year.

It seems that government cares very little about the mother that wants a 9mm pistol to be secure with her children in her own home. Instead, we have decided that public funds are better spent on nuclear missiles, subs, aircraft carriers, and F-22 Raptor stealth fighters along with squadrons of bonus drones. By contrast, middle-class Americans scrimp to buy hand-held Glocks and little .223 Armalite rifles to protect their children if forced do so. Feinstein "military style" can destroy the world's major population centers before breakfast. I suggest to Senator Feinstein that she rethink some of that $700 Billion of tax dollars a year to find out why we lose more American servicemen and women to suicide than we do on the battlefield. Uncle Sam fails at properly attending to the medical and mental health needs of our bravest and most patriotic, the Americans that give the most to their country but receive the least in return. The American Citizen only wants the ability to defend themselves as guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment and the Unalienable Right to Life and Liberty that defines America. We now have a shrill cry for meaningless "background checks," yet clearly Uncle Sam is incapable of performing background checks of its own soldiers sufficient enough to prevent their suicides in record numbers.

We know that government cannot and does not protect American lives all the time. We know that law enforcement shows up after the crime, no one legitimately dials “911” when there is no problem. We also know that government fails with regularity. Government failed in the 1967 Detroit riots that resulted in 43 dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed. Government failed in the 1992 Los Angeles riots of April 29, 1992 – May 4, 1992, leaving 53 dead and over 2000 injured with $1 Billion dollars of property damage as a bonus. Widespread assault, looting, arson, and murder was not just Detroit and Los Angeles, it was also part of the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina. Just recently, Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, of Hurricane Katrina notoriety was indicted on 21 federal corruption charges, including bribery, money laundering, fraud and filing false tax returns. Hurricane Sandy brought a nasty mix of looting, scamming, violence, and assault in its aftermath.

For the delusional folks like Senator Dick Durbin, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse that put great faith in Federal Government and seem to treat American Citizens as subjects to be lorded over rather than constituents whose rights it is their job to protect, I have some reminders for them from recent history. Government has no problem attacking and killing American Citizens. The Ohio National Guard killing unarmed students at Kent State didn't work out well. The FBI and Federal Marshalls attacking the Randy Weaver family at Ruby Ridge was hardly a show of governmental brilliance.

Security and police can hardly always protect, even high profile political and religious leaders. Law enforcement did not prevent the killings of President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, or Bobby Kennedy. The Secret Service was unable to prevent to shooting of President Reagan. While the forgetful media might have people believe that only a madman with a gun causes problems, they have all to conveniently forgotten that one of the most spectacular and regrettable losses of life on American soil was instigated by the ATF and FBI. Nine Bradley Fighting Vehicles carrying M651 CS tear gas grenades and Ferret rounds were used, as well as five M728 Combat Engineer Vehicles (CEVs) obtained from the U.S. Army. The FBI's arms, along with three Army helicopters, included .50 caliber (12.7 mm) rifles, the armored CEVs, and 40-millimetre (1.6 in) CS grenade fire from M79 grenade launchers. The result was 82 civilians dead, including not just two and three year old children, but babies and young pregnant women. It all ended April 19, 1993, with the final FBI assault against civilians in Waco, Texas. The stated reason for this horrible massacre and all of these deaths? The ATF attempted to serve a search warrant. The ATF made a claim that David Koresh was operating a methamphetamine lab, in order to establish a drug nexus and obtain military assets under the War on Drugs. However, the evidence was stale, partly based on an unreliable "hot spot" detected by infrared radar, partly based on disgruntled ex-members who had left six years earlier, and it ignored all the evidence that the lab had been dismantled by Koresh when he took charge and had been given to the Sheriff for destruction. Yet, 82 civilians dead including women, children, and babies . . . from an attempted search for a meth lab that wasn't there. A blind faith in Federal Government is not always wise, to say the least.

Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson was at a loss to explain why the tough gun laws in Baltimore, Chicago, and Washington, DC have done so very little to stop crime as compared to Houston, Texas and other cities and states without invasive and stringent gun laws. Background checks have proven to be just another set of “feel-good” piles of paper that hamper law-abiding citizens and do nothing to keep guns away from violent criminals.

Over 2,000,000 times a year, law-abiding citizens thwart or prevent crime with guns. They do this as a great benefit to society at their own expense and effort. As a result of concealed carry, neighbor hood watch programs, and community involvement, gun crime in the United States has plummeted, in an unprecedented steep decline for over twenty years. In 1992, the violent crime rate in the U.S. was 757.7 per 100,000. Now, it is 386.6. In 1992, the Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate was 9.3 / 100k. In 1997, it was 9.5 / 100K. In 2011, the Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter rate was 4.7 / 100,000 inhabitants. Since 1992, violent crime and murder rates in the United States have been more than cut in half. How could anyone miss this?

Certainly, we can improve. We do need to look at complex issues such as mental health, being mindful of privacy laws and the understanding that those with mental health issues are no more prone to violence than the general population and are far more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators. We do need to better enforce the thousands of gun laws already on the books. We need to rethink “gun-free zones” and other artificially created soft targets that attract the murder-suicide prone. The media in this country, always in search of ratings and dollars, glorify tragedy and copy-cat crimes are the inevitable result. Certainly we know that the successful murder-suicide is never a repeat offender, the truly lamentable part is that it happens in the wrong order. Since 1992, violent crime and murder rates in the United States have been cut in half. This is a trend that needs to continue. Insuring that the American citizen can effectively resist and thwart crime is a key component of this.

Following is a portion of the transcript from the January 30, 2013 Senate hearing that includes the comments and questions from Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina:

GRAHAM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I think I’m speaking for a lot of people when they say we’re heartbroken when a family member is taken through an act of gun violence, whether it be a child or anyone else, but particularly children. That’s just a heartbreaking episode in society. And I think most people would -- would appreciate the fact that there are thousands, it not millions of Americans who saved their families from home invasions or violent assault because they had a gun to protect themselves. And most of us are glad it ended well for you.

So, those are the two bookends. And you mentioned, Captain Kelly, and I very much appreciate your being here and your service to the country, about you and your wife are reasonable Americans. I don’t doubt that one bit. I’m sure you are. The question is, am I a reasonable American if I oppose this bill? Am I a reasonable American believing that the Constitution says guns commonly used by the population (inaudible) for legitimate purposes?

(inaudible) the Second Amendment, I don’t want to own a gun to attack my government. That’s just not what I think a legitimate purpose is.

Let’s talk about a real-world incident that happened in Loganville, Georgia on January 4th, 2013. My basic premise is that one bullet in the hand of a mentally unstable person or a convicted felon is one too many. Six bullets in the hands of a mother protecting her twin 9-year-olds may not be enough. So, I’ve got a chart here. At the very top is a .38 revolver and on the right is a 9-millimeter pistol that holds 15 rounds.

Does everybody on the panel agree that a convicted felon should not have either one of those guns? Does everybody agree that a mentally unstable person shouldn’t have either one of those pistols? OK, common ground there.

Put yourself in the shoes of the mother. The guy broke into the home. She ran upstairs. She hid in a closet. She got on the phone to the police. And she was talking to her husband in real time. The intruder broke into the home, had a crowbar, and he found them in the closet. And they were confronted -- confronted face to face. According to media report, her husband said, “shoot, shoot.” She emptied the gun, a six-shot revolver. The guy was hit five of the six times. He was able still to get up and drive away. My question is: Put your family member in that situation. Would I be a reasonable American to want my family to have the 15-round magazine in a semiautomatic weapon to make sure that if there’s two intruders, she doesn’t run out of bullets? Am I an unreasonable person for saying that in that situation, the 15-round magazine makes sense?

Well, I’ll say I don’t believe I am. So I can give you an example of where a 15-round magazine could make the difference between protecting a family if there’s more than one attacker.

Now, back to your point, Captain Kelly. In the situation you described, I don’t want that person to have one bullet or one gun. And the point of regulating magazines is to interrupt the shooter. That’s the point of all this.

And I guess what I’m saying is that we live in a world where there are 4 million high-capacity magazines out there or more. I think the best way to interrupt the shooter if they come to a schoolhouse is not to try to deny the woman in Atlanta the ability to have more than 10 rounds, but to have somebody like you, Chief Johnson, meet them when they come into the door. I think that’s the best way to do it.

Now, my good friend Joe Biden, who we have very spirited conversations about a lot of things, was online recently talking to someone in California who mentioned the fact, what is there’s an earthquake out here -- out here and there’s a lawless situation? In 1992, you had the riots in Los Angeles. I think it was the King event. But you could find yourself in this country in a lawless environment through a natural disaster or a riot, and the story was about a place called Koreatown. There were marauding gangs going throughout the area burning stores, looting and robbing and raping. And the vice president said in response to “that’s why I want my AR- 15,” he said, “No, you would be better off with a 12-gauge shotgun.”

GRAHAM: Well, that’s his opinion and I respect it. I have an AR-15 at home and I haven’t hurt anybody and I don’t intend to do it. But I think I would be better off protecting my business or my family if there was law-and-order breakdown in my community, people roaming around my neighborhood to have the AR-15, and I don’t think that makes me and on reasonable person.

Now, Ms. Trotter when you mention that you’re speaking on behalf of millions of women out there who believe an AR-15 makes them safer, there were a lot of giggles and the room, and I think that explains the dilemma we have.

The people who were giggling were saying to you, that is crazy. Nobody I know thinks that way. Which reminds me of the Harvard professor who said, “I cannot believe McGovern lost. Everyone I know voted for him.” And I bet there are people on our side that can’t believe Obama won, because everyone they know voted against him.

The point is that we have different perspectives on this. And the reason I’m going to oppose the legislation, Chief Johnston, is because I respect what your do as a law enforcement officer.

Has your budget been cut?


GRAHAM: Will it be cut in the future?

J. JOHNSON: I am optimistic that it is not.

GRAHAM: Well I hope you’re right, but I can tell people, throughout this land, because of the fiscal state of affairs we have, there will be less police officers, not more, over the next decade. Response time are gonna be less, not more.

So, Captain Kelly I really do want to get guns out of the hands of the wrong people. I honest to God believe that if we arbitrarily say nobody in this country can own a 10-round magazine in the future, the people who own them are the people we’re trying to combat to begin with, and they (sic) could be a situation where a mother runs out of bullets because of something we do here.

I can’t prevent every bad outcome, but I do know and I do believe in the bottom of my heart I am not an unreasonable person for saying that in some circumstances the 15-round magazine makes perfect sense and in some circumstances the AR-15 makes perfect sense. And I think our efforts to solve a problem that exists in the real world out there from Washington by having more gun laws that really do not hit the mark so to speak, politically, or situationally, that we’re all face, but this is why we have these hearings. And I really do appreciate the fact that we have these hearings.

Professor Kopel -- Kopel, Kopel?

KOPEL: Either one.


Some people on our side say -- and I’ll wrap this up, Mr. Chairman -- that it is unconstitutional to put a limit on magazine size.

Do you agree with that?

KOPEL: I think if we follow Senator Schumer’s approach and say we’re gonna follow what the District of Columbia v. Heller Supreme Court decision says, what that tells you is the core of the Second Amendment is the firearms and accessories that are commonly owned by law abiding people for legitimate purposes.

GRAHAM: Is it constitutional to say 10 rounds versus 15?

KOPEL: Ten is plainly unconstitutional, because, as I was trying to explain to Senator Durbin, magazines of up to 19 are common on semiautomatic handguns.

GRAHAM: (inaudible) I do not know if 10 versus 19 is common or uncommon. I do know that 10 versus 19 in the hands of the wrong person is a complete disaster. I do know that six bullets in that hands of a woman trying to defend her children may not be enough. So I don’t look at it from some academic debate.

Let’s agree on one thing. One bullet in the hands of the wrong person we should all try to prevent. But when you start telling me that I am unreasonable for wanting that woman to have more than six bullets, or to have an AR-15 if people roaming around my neighborhood, I reject the concept.

LEAHY: Thank you, Senator.

Federal gun control efforts have just died. They have died for several obvious reasons:

They are unconstitutional and an over-reach of our expensive, expansive, and unduly burdensome Federal Government.

They are a tax on a right.

They are tantamount to prior restraint.

They have been shown to be ineffective again and again: they can only affect law-abiding citizens. Criminals cannot be compelled to self-incriminate.

They interfere with free trade, private property rights, and the Unalienable Rights of Mankind.

They recklessly endanger the lives of women, seniors, the physically frail and law-abiding citizens as a group.

They ignore the many complex causes of violent behavior: lack of medical care, lack of strong two-parent homes, the damage inflicted on our armed forces by the government in the first place, unaware and apathetic communities.

They ignore the thousands of gun laws already on the books that are not being enforced effectively.

They ignore the fact that guns save many more lives than they cost, guns prevent and thwart far more crimes then they are used to commit.

They ignore the inability of the police to protect citizens; for police are called to the scene after the fact.

They ignore the many instances such as Detroit, Los Angeles, and Katrina where society has spun out of control, leaving citizens completely abandoned by government and forced to fend for themselves.

They ignore the unenforcable nature of gun laws; the 18th Amendment was hardly enforceable, nor are drug laws, nor are traffic laws. We have demonstrated we cannot control meth labs, human trafficking, or immigration. It is delusional to think that Big Brother can ever be big enough to exert total control over 300 million individual people in 50 states. Big Brother cannot so much as balance its own checkbook.

They ignore the fundamental truth of an ordered society based on Freedom and Liberty: the right of self-determination, the pursuit of happiness, and the Liberty and Responsibility to live your own life without the spectre of Big Brother trying to micro-legislate the history and culture of the fifty United States from the artificial kingdom of Washington, D.C.

They ignore the Bill of Rights in its entirety, Rights that all limit government but not the People.

No law that violates the Constitution is reasonable or acceptable. Moreover, gun laws never have worked.

Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.




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