Apr 19, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

gun control

What Christopher Dorner's Murder Spree Teaches Us About Gun Control

As Scott Shackford noted earlier today, the manifesto from Christopher Dorner, a disgraced former LAPD officer who has killed at least three people and is still at large, is the work of a deranged person. Dorner was bounced from LAPD for making false statements about a fellow cop and, judging from his writing, is no longer in contact with reality.

While various media outlets have posted excerpts from the document, the full text is online at Pastebin. It's a rambling catalogue of real and imagined sleights to Dorner, pro-gun-control statements, and shout-outs to and condemnations of a dizzying array of celebrities and public figures (Hat tip: Sooper Mexican blog).

Some snippets:

Mia Farrow said it best. “Gun control is no longer debatable, it’s not a conversation, its a moral mandate.”...

Willie Geist, you’re a talented and charismatic journalist. Stop with all the talk show shenanigans and get back to your core of reporting....

Revoke the citizenship of Fareed Zakaria and deport him. I’ve never heard a positive word about America or its interest from his mouth, ever...

…give Piers Morgan an indefinite resident alien and Visa card. Mr. Morgan, the problem that many American gun owners have with you and your continuous discussion of gun control is that you are not an American citizen and have an accent that is distinct and clarifies that you are a foreigner. I want you to know that I agree with you 100% on enacting stricter firearm laws...

Jennifer Beals, Serena Williams, Grae Drake, Lisa Nicole-Carson, Diana Taurasi, N’bushe Wright, Brenda Villa, Kate Winslet, Ashley Graham, Erika Christensen, Gabrielle Union, Isabella Soprano, Zain Verjee, Tamron Hall, Gina Carano, America Ferrara, Giana Michaels, Nene, Natalie Portman, Queen Latifah, Michelle Rodriguez, Anjelah Johnson, Kelly Clarkson, Nora Jones, Laura Prepon, Margaret Cho, and Rutina Wesley, you are THE MOST beautiful women on this planet, period. Never settle, professionally or personally.... 

Jeffrey Toobin and David Gergen, you are political geniuses and modern scholars. ...

The whole text is here.

If there is a message buried deep within Dorner's incoherent litany of recriminations, anger, and random name-checks, it's this: People who go on shooting sprees typically tell us very little about society at large. They are by definition far, far beyond the range of normal (or even abnormal) behavior and, as such, shouldn't be used to generalize about larger social forces at work.

For all the psychologizing about the causes of Adam Lanza's deadly rage and what it supposedly says about video games, popular culture, divorce, absent fathers, Asperger's, and a million other things raised by commentators, it's highly unlikely that anyone will be motivated to connect the dots between Dorner's pathology and the world around him. If guns did not exist, or had not been in wide circulation for hundreds of years in America, he might be a poster child for tighter gun restrictions. But given that he was a former cop - and pro-gun control - he would not even be the sort of person that would fall under the net of even the most draconian proposals to make weapons tougher to get.

We can learn precisely nothing from Dorner's wild thoughts and horrifying, evil behavior (the LAPD may draw a lesson or two about personnel and keeping tabs on employees it fires). Recognizing that won't provide any solace to the families of the dead, but it may help the body politic react less hysterically the next time a terrible tragedy like this unfolds.

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Bruce Willis Speaks Out Against Gun Control

Action star Bruce Willis has spoken out about his opposition to the proposed gun ban following the tragic Connecticut school shootings.

The “Die Hard” star spoke about his fear that changing the second amendment could affect our other rights too.

Bruce, unlike many celebrity hypocrites that don’t practice what they preach, stars in violent movies but knows that banning certain firearms isn’t going to curb murders nutjobs commit.

Willis told The Associated Press, “I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone. If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?”

Bruce Willis also thinks violent movies and video games are not causing anyone to freak out and murder people.

The actor said, “No one commits a crime because they saw a film. There’s nothing to support that’, Willis said. ‘We’re not making movies about people that have gone berserk, or gone nuts. Those kind of movies wouldn’t last very long at all.”

Willis also said he doesn’t feel any laws can prevent any future killing sprees.

He said, “It’s a difficult thing and I really feel bad for those families. I’m a father and it’s just a tragedy. But I don’t know how you legislate insanity. I don’t know what you do about it. I don’t even know how you begin to stop that.”

Bruce Willis is well-known for his violent action movies including “Pulp Fiction”, “RED”, and his “Die Hard” movies.

His latest action flick “A Good Day To Die Hard” will hit theaters on February 14th 2013.

Bruce Willis Speaks Out On Proposed Gun Ban Stupid Celebrities Gossip

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Bruce Willis Thinks Gun Control Legislation Is Insanity

“I think that you can’t start to pick apart anything out of the Bill of Rights without thinking that it’s all going to become undone,” the Die Hard star explained to the Associated Press.

He continued, “If you take one out or change one law, then why wouldn’t they take all your rights away from you?”

Willis’ opinion runs counter to that of fellow action star Sylvester Stallone, who signaled his support for gun control last week.

Willis also dismisses the notion that there’s a link between Hollywood shoot-em-ups and real-life gun violence.

“No one commits a crime because they saw a film,” says the star. “There’s nothing to support that. We’re not making movies about people that have gone berserk, or gone nuts. Those kind of movies wouldn’t last very long at all.”

While he has sympathy for the families dealing with the horror of recent mass shootings, Willis does not think new laws will change anything.

Willis says, “I’m a father and it’s just a tragedy. But I don’t know how you legislate insanity. I don’t know what you do about it. I don’t even know how you begin to stop that.”

What do you think about Willis’ observations?

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11Convicted Felon Chris Oberender, Who Killed Mother When He Was 14 and Spent Time in Mental Hospital, Was Able to Get Gun License, Purchase 15 Guns

A man who killed his mother when he was only 14 years old and then admitted to a mental hospital was able to buy 15 guns after his release due to sloppy background checks.

Thirty-two-year-old Chris Oberender, an inarguably very dangerous individual, was arrested after posting photos of his gun collection on Facebook. A Minnesota sheriff recognized Oberender’s name and cross-checked the Facebook profile to confirm it was the same individual. Oberender was arrested for buying illegal firearms as a convicted felon.

The sheriff, Jim Olson, recognized the name because Oberender’s murder case was one of his firsts as a young detective.

“He can’t have guns,” Olson told CBS, explaining his concern when he found out Oberender had been able to acquire firearms. “Chris Oberender should not have guns.”

Oberender followed Minnesota laws in order to get a gun permit in 2011, which was approved due to incomplete court files about Oberender’s criminal past.

What authorities have found most chilling about the situation, however, is the note they found in Oberender’s home, written by him to his dead mother.

“I am so homicide. What is wrong with me. I think about killing all the time,” the note read.

Gun permits can be issued in the cases of incomplete court records, and cannot be withheld if the court is unorganized, as was the case in Oberender’s purchases. Currently, 168,000 Minnesotans have been issued permits without complete background checks because of incomplete court records.

The Obama administration is currently attempting to instate universal background checks for all who wish to purchase guns, which has faced extreme partisan opposition, especially from the NRA. But, when 15 guns can get into the hands of individuals like Oberender who thinks ‘about killing all the time’, it’s difficult to argue against the safety measures the background checks would impose. 

House Bill 77: Just Another Attempt at Universal Regulation of Gun Transfers

The proposed method in House Bill 77 has been changed, but the gun control advocates’ end-game remains the same: universal regulation of private firearms transfers.  The newly-released committee substitute for HB 77 would make it a crime for a private individual to transfer his or her legally-owned firearm without going through a federal firearm licensed dealer (FFL) to conduct a background check on the transferee. 

Exceptions are made for only certain categories of individuals – family members, domestic partners, stepchildren, foster or adopted children, or persons who live in the same residence and maintain a single economic unit.  However, the provisions in HB 77 would still apply to gun sales, gifts, loans, rentals or trades between friends, neighbors, co-workers or more-distant relatives.  These restrictions would not apply to temporary transfers during hunting or target practice, but the possible breadth and scope of the legislation is endless.

Even though the vast majority of vendors at most gun shows are FFLs and already conducting background checks on gun sales, under this proposal, individuals looking to sell or trade a firearm from their personal collection at these events would also be forced to go through an FFL before transferring their lawfully-owned personal property.  Gun show promoters would be required to arrange for one or more FFLs to be present at such events to conduct required background checks or be subject to criminal penalties.

While HB 77 establishes that FFLs may charge a fee for conducting these checks for third parties, there is no limit to what that charge could possibly be.  Additionally, there is no immunity from liability provided to FFLs who conduct background checks for third parties, either at their retail establishment or at gun shows, or for private sellers who enlist the services of an FFL to comply with the provisions of HB 77. 

Even though they have already undergone the same background check required by HB 77 before being issued a license, New Mexico Concealed Handgun Licensees are not exempt from the restrictions imposed by HB 77.  The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has repeatedly denied requests from individual lawmakers and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety to grant New Mexico CHLs a waiver from the background check conducted when purchasing a firearm from an FFL.

Enactment of HB 77 would actually reduce the penalty for unlawful transfer of a firearm to a prohibited individual. Under federal law, it is a felony for any private individual to sell, trade, give, lend, rent or transfer a gun to a person he or she knows or should have known is not legally allowed to purchase or possess a firearm.  We already know that federal law is rarely – if ever – enforced, so this bill would create the same crime in New Mexico statute, but make it a misdemeanor.

Once again, this latest version of HB 77 fails to recognize that criminals acquire firearms predominantly through theft, black market sales, and straw purchases – all illegal transfers currently.  Rarely do they purchase firearms through legal channels.  On the rare occasion that they do, they are almost never prosecuted.  The only individuals who will be impacted by the bureaucratic and onerous requirements in this proposed legislation are law-abiding citizens.  HB 77 contains no enforcement mechanisms and actually reduces the penalties for violators.

The public policy focus of state lawmakers should be on improving the accuracy and quality of information compiled in the NICS system – specifically, disqualifying state mental health records – and aggressively prosecuting violators of federal firearms laws.

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Chris Murphy, Lamar Alexander Blame Video Games for Gun Violence

It's only been slightly over a week since the administration announced its plan to have the Center for Disease Control conduct a study on the link between video games and so-called "gun violence" and it's already looking as though the study won't be necessary. This isn't because anyone has taken a look at the evidence compiled already and decided that another look will likely be more of the same. Rather, it's looking like a thorough study would be ruled extraneous because many politicians have already decided the link between violence and video games is an unarguable fact.

Just last week, Connecticut senator Chris Murphy gave a speech in support of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's new gun control bill in which he dropped this somewhat mystifying statement:

"I think there’s a question as to whether he would have driven in his mother’s car in the first place if he didn’t have access to a weapon that he saw in video games that gave him a false sense of courage about what he could do that day."

Beyond the confusing wording is a statement that Murphy inelegantly tries to frame as a "question:" Video games gave Lanza "the courage" to kill small children. The clumsy wording is Murphy's attempt to tie in the legislation he's supporting with his preconceived notion of the power violent video games supposedly have. Note the painful stretch that occurs in this phrase: "if he didn't have access to a weapon that he saw in a video game that gave him a false sense of courage." These stated-as-fact thats are heavily reliant on a leading if, turning the whole sentence into a triumph of suggestive conjecture.

Taking it apart further, you get this phrase: "if he didn't have access to a weapon he saw in a video game." That's the truly amazing section of the sentence. Murphy wants to ban "assault rifles" because they appear in video games? I seriously doubt that. He wants to ban them because he thinks the ban will prevent further violence. He very badly needs a second scapegoat because he knows his first scapegoat (assault rifles) might prove immune to his efforts. So, we get this tortured bit of logic that most certainly makes sense to Murphy, but falls apart under the slightest bit of examination.

Should the next step be to ban any weapons that appear in video games? Or should we put the cart before the horse (or perhaps behind the horse again?) and ban violent video games to prevent future would-be killers from somehow drawing the courage to pick up a matching, real-life weapon? Which should go first: the "access" or the video game? I think Murphy wants both, but since this is Feinstein's party, he has to settle for grafting on his gaming views with all the grace of an inept surgeon reattaching someone's severed limb... to someone else's chest.

Then there's Sen. Lamar Alexander. Rather than answer a direct question about gun control, he sidesteps it with an attack on video games:

Chuck Todd: "Can you envision a way of supporting the universal background checks bill?"

Lamar Alexander: "Chuck, I'm going to wait and see on all these bills. You know, I think video games is a bigger problems than guns because video game affect people, but the First Amendment limits what we can do about video games. The Second Amendment of the Constitution limits what we can do about guns."

Alexander is correct about the what's protected by what amendment, but it's clear that he'd rather go after the First. It's nothing more than Alexander swapping out the topic he'd rather bury with one he'd rather push. Not a surprising move, but it's another politician who's already made up his mind on the link between crime and video games and who is going to advance this viewpoint whenever given the opportunity.

Politicians have long distrusted electronic entertainment, dating back to the 1940's, when New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia ordered the destruction of several hundred pinball games, claiming they were "tainted with criminality" and "robbing" schoolkids of lunch money. As video games have grown in popularity and ubiquity, the moral panics and political scapegoating have kept pace, blaming this form of entertainment for everything from delinquency to lower grades to childhood obesity to murder.

While Obama's call for a study of the link between "violent media" and "gun violence" was very definitely a product of the current political climate, it was far more reasoned than the arguments being advanced by these politicians. Their minds are already made up and any information uncovered by the CDC study that fails to agree with their preconceptions will be disputed, distorted and ultimately ignored in order to tackle an opponent they think they can handle. These two don't appear to be confident they can push stricter gun control laws without suffering political damage, so they've brought along their own personal punching bag. Murphy's is a Plan B, should Feinstein's bill fail to make it through. Alexander's is a dodge, a soft underbelly to attack, far away from the more politically dangerous territory of gun control, but close enough to seem relevant.

For more news, visit techdirt.com

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11Chicago Mother Shirley Chambers Loses Fourth and Final Child to Gun Violence

Shirley Chambers raised four kids in Chicago, in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood on the Near North Side, understanding that gun violence in her neighborhood was among the highest in the country.

Prior to this weekend, shootings cost her the lives of three out of her four children.

On Sunday, seven people were killed in Chicago due to gun violence and another six were injured — a rate uncommonly high for one day. One of the seven victims was Ronnie Chambers, Shirley’s last surviving child, who was shot in the head while riding in a van on South Mozart Street early Sunday morning.

A family friend named Laverne Smith, 30, spoke to the Chicago Tribune about the accident. Smith, who lives near the scene, heard the shots and came outside to find Ronnie shot in the head.

Ronnie, 33, has been arrested 29 times according to police, but has lately been “trying to change his life,” Smith said.

Ronnie appeared on “The Ricky Lake Show” in December and identified himself as a former gang member, and was trying to keep others from travelling down that same path.

Sunday night, he had been helping out at an event for an aspiring rapper named YK, and was returning home when he was shot, Smith told police.

In 1995, Carlos Chambers, who was 18 at the time, was shot and killed at the corner of Jackson Boulevard and State Street after having a disagreement with another boy. LaToya Chambers was killed in 2000 at the age of 15 in the lobby of a Cabrini-Green high-rise when her boyfriend and a 13-year-old boy got into an argument. Jerome Chambers died just two months after his sister at the age of 23 after a maroon van pulled up to the pay phone booth he was standing in and opened fire.

In an interview with the Tribune after Jerome’s death, Ronnie said, “I ask myself, 'Why am I still here?' Out of all of them, I was the one who got in trouble," he said. "They didn't do anything wrong."

"They say you can't outrun death, but I can try to dodge it," Ronnie said in 2000. "I don't even try to live day by day anymore; it's more like second by second."

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11Sen. Mitch McConnell Email Says Democrats are "Coming for Your Guns"

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recently sent out an email to his supporters warning them that Democrats "want to take your guns."

According to Salon, the email says, "you and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom."

It also goes into detail about the possible measures the Senate could take in gun control:

-The Feinstein Gun Ban, which will criminalize firearms by how they look.

-A thinly-veiled national gun registration scheme hidden under the guise of “background checks” to ensure federal government minders gain every bureaucratic tool they need for full-scale confiscation.

-An outright BAN on magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

-And that’s not even close to the end of it.

The email was signed by McConnell's campaign manager Jesse Benton, and said "Mitch McConnell is not going to stand aside."

It ends by asking supporters to sign a "Defense of the Second Amendment pledge," and also states that the Senate is attempting to "gut our Constitution."

Religious Leaders Take on the NRA

Several dozen clergy and other religionists claiming to represent 80 million Americans recently urged gun control legislation and denounced the National Rifle Association at a press conference held at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill.

The coalition urged assault weapons bans, universal background checks on gun buyers, and federalizing gun trafficking crimes at the January 15 event. The group includes the Catholic Health Association, the Islamic Society of North America, the Episcopal Church, the National Council of Churches, United Methodist Women and the Presbyterian Church (USA), whose D.C. lobbyist warned against a "false choice between guns and freedom."

Citing the coalition's "reasonable measures" such as banning assault weapons, the United Methodist Church's chief lobbyist omitted that his denomination favors a complete ban on handgun ownership.

IRD President Mark Tooley commented:

"It was appropriate that the anti-gun press conference convened in the United Methodist Building. It was built in the 1920s to sustain another religious utopian dream, which was to create a righteous America through abolishing all alcohol. The religious Prohibitionists then were genuine populists with direct support from millions of churchgoers. Today's religious crusaders for gun control are mostly activist elites whose influence beyond a D.C. press conference is dubious.

"The predictable hardcore Religious Left groups at the press conference did little to assuage the suspicion that their 'reasonable measures' are but first steps towards their utopian dream of a gun-free America.

"Typically religious voices of the left are more intensely focused on detailed politics because of their greater faith in perfecting society through politics. Gun control debates since the horrific Newtown murders exemplify this confidence, with the Religious Left certain that gun control is the main answer.

"A Washington Post account of the anti-gun religious coalitions shrewdly suggested that amid the de-institutionalization of American religion, such groups may no longer speak for large numbers. And the Post accurately noted that most evangelicals especially remain firmly opposed to gun control, with one August poll showing 68 percent of white evangelicals against stricter laws."

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What is the Proper Response to Newtown?

Americans of all political and philosophical convictions have grieved over the killing of innocent schoolchildren and adults in Newtown, Connecticut. In responding to this attack, we must consider with great care how to proceed to protect precious lives in a way that is consistent with our laws and traditions.

“The serious work to make society safer and stronger after events like the December 2012 Newtown massacre requires that constitutional and complex cultural factors be taken into consideration and that policy be based on a serious study of all of the evidence,” write two Heritage experts in a new Backgrounder.

John Malcolm, a senior legal fellow in the Center for Legal & Judicial Studies, and Jennifer Marshall, director of domestic policy studies and director of the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, raise issues to guide that serious study, with key principles regarding the following:

  • The constitutional importance of the Second Amendment and evidence on the effectiveness of gun laws
  • School safety
  • Risks of violence related to serious mental illness
  • The significance of cultural factors and the roles of families and communities
  • Media production, consumption, and the First Amendment

Malcolm and Marshall remind us that “The constitutional right to keep and bear arms is an individual right that is fundamental to a free society, which depends, ultimately, on personal responsibility.” They write:

Americans must implement appropriate solutions in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution, including the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms, the traditional role of the states in our federal system, and the central significance of family.

Read the report in its entirety.

The post Response to Newtown: Addressing a Complex Issue appeared first on The Foundry: Conservative Policy News Blog from The Heritage Foundation.

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