Knee-Jerk gun control reaches new low

What is as predictable as a threatened snowstorm bringing Atlanta to a standstill?  Answer – gun control advocates taking advantage of every shooting incident as an excuse to further restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights.  The recent shooting incident in Tucson, Arizona — involving a clearly deranged individual who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a federal judge and several other innocent people – is no exception. 

Doctors had barely announced that Rep. Giffords had survived the shooting, than gun-control legislators in the nation’s capitol began trotting out their latest anti-gun schemes. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, Democrat of New York, was in the forefront of this effort.  Close behind Ms. McCarthy was her Empire State colleague, Republican Peter King.  While most anti-firearms proposals emanating from the Congress are simply ineffective or unworkable; King’s most recent proposal is utterly idiotic. 

In response to the Tucson shooting — in which the gunman showed up at a public, outdoor town hall meeting hosted by Rep. Giffords in the parking lot of a local shopping center — King has proposed what has to be one of the silliest pieces of federal legislation in many a year.  He has suggested the federal criminal code be amended to incorporate a new provision making it illegal for a person to possess a firearm within 1,000 feet of a Member of Congress. 

One might suppose that – were King’s proposal to actually become law — Members of Congress would have to walk around at all times with some obvious form of identification readily discernible to everyone within 333-1/3 yards of their presence; something that identifies them as a “Member of Congress.”  Perhaps it would be required that every Member at all times wear a large hat with the congressional seal emblazoned thereon; or a distinctly colored sweatshirt with the words, “MEMBER OF THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES,” printed thereon in a bright, contrasting color.  

In the absence of such clearly identifying garb, it would be impossible for every individual to know for certain they were within 1,000 feet of a Member of Congress; in order to ensure they moved beyond the protective zone or so they could dispose of any firearm they might lawfully be carrying at the time.  Because such scenario would be unworkable in the real world, perhaps the alternative is what King and others really have in mind – forcing everyone to assume at all times that a Member of Congress might be lurking somewhere within 1,000 feet of them, and insofar as every such Member is not necessarily known to every other citizen, one would be forced to presume at all times that such person might be nearby and therefore it never would be safe to carry a firearm. 

The King legislation also would preclude a Good Samaritan lawfully carrying a firearm from using their gun to stop a deranged shooter; such as actually happened in Tucson. 

These possibilities illustrate the idiocy of even considering a federal law to prohibit the carrying of a firearm within a certain number of feet of a Representative or Senator; but it is unlikely King or other gun-control advocates in the Congress engaging in typical, knee-jerk reaction to a shooting incident, will be deterred. 

That it already is a violation of federal law to threaten a Member of Congress or other federal official with a firearm, or to use such a weapon, or even to attempt or conspire to do so, seems irrelevant to King and his anti-gun colleagues.  But in their world, the response to every problem is always to propose more laws rather than simply to recognize that not every deranged person can always be stopped before they commit random or premeditated acts of violence.  In their world also, better and more consistent enforcement of existing laws is secondary always to proposing more laws; no matter how idiotic.

 -by Bob Barr, The Barr Code

166 comments Add your comment

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
9:31 am

Bullseye,

Look at the Glock 26.

Dave from Rome

January 17th, 2011
9:33 am

Giffords- God Bless. Praying for you to have a strong recovery.

poison pen

January 17th, 2011
9:34 am

Carlosgvv, all of your rants on Tuckers, Bookmans and Bobs blogs are always aimed at big business, you really have a serious problem sport.

For your information, Giffords is a Democrat, she owns guns and she supported owning guns. Please get your fabricated facts straight.

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
9:35 am

carlosgvv,

The government has been strictly enforcing the War on Drugs. They are losing that one.

Tim

January 17th, 2011
9:40 am

Can we talk about Gays or healthcare next?

jconservative

January 17th, 2011
9:40 am

Interesting comments. I have just read the first 32 comments. Most of the discussion centers on legislative attempts to address the 2nd Amendment.

The 2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

This amendment has been raked over the coals pretty well already. The Supreme Court in its wisdom has declared the Constitution a “living constitution” by allowing legislative changes to the Constitution. And it seems to be getting worse with the Roberts court.

Where in the 2nd Am does it say criminals cannot possess arms?
Where in the 2nd Am does it say the mentally ill cannot bear arms?
And, a new one, where in the 2nd Am does it say Islamic Terrorists cannot bear arms?

Where does it say 18″ sawed off shotguns are not allowed?
Where does it say the Russian 9K34 Strela-3 anti-aircraft rocket is not allowed?

Just asking.

A society can wish all it wants. A society can attempt to lesson the danger to its citizens from other citizens all it wants. The lesson learned to date is that no attempt to reduce violence has worked. And probably will not work in the foreseeable future.

Numbers. 2007 USA deaths by firearms – 29,984.
Numbers. 2007 USA deaths from traffic – 42,031

Obviously human life is a pretty cheap thing in the USA. The passing a few laws by the legislature, state or Federal, will not change that fact.

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BULLSEYE

January 17th, 2011
9:47 am

Thanks Mountainpass. I like it.

J. B.

January 17th, 2011
9:48 am

Has anyone here ever seen someone that has practiced magazine changes change their magazine after being empty? Proper placement of magazines and practice makes the change insignificant. Banning high capacity magazines won’t solve the problem. Banning guns won’t solve the problem. Look at Georgia’s 1000 foot “safe zone” around college campuses, is that stopping armed robberies from taking place on Georgia Tech’s campus or other college campuses? No because criminals don’t care about the laws, that is why they are criminals.

For the person talking about public gatherings, have you read Arizona law? Does it have this restriction? Georgia law no longer has this restriction of a generic “public gathering”. There are very few nationally gun laws, most are state/local controlled.

luangtom

January 17th, 2011
9:50 am

To all of the advocates of more gun-control….please prove to the rest of us that the ban on assault-weapons and high-cap magazines from 1994 to 2004 did anything to quell crime in the USA.

Second, why do none of the control-advocates ever demand outlawing vehicles when over 50,000 people die needlessly each year in the USA?

Third, ask the good sheriff in Tucson why he did not have a security-detail assigned to the location where the Congressperson and the Federal judge were going to be? Even smalll-time police and sheriffs add security-details when Federal reps or judges are gathered with the public. Why was he so lax in providing security to cut-off actions like occurred?

The first bit of legislation to be made public was by Rep. McCarthy of New York. It came out so fast that it appeared they were waiting in the wings for just such a catastrophe to occur. Why was that? And, did the good Representative from New York ever tell the public what would have occurred had just one citizen on that fateful train-ride been able to legally possess and carry a side-arm? No, she has not and will not. The perp was allowed to reload and keep firing in the train-car where her husband was murdered due to no one firing back and no one over-powering him until so many had died.

This is oh so typical of the Left and those bent on dissolving the rights of good citizens. Afterall, we are more and more the “nanny-state” and they wish to protect us from birth to death. NOT………….

Patriot

January 17th, 2011
9:52 am

I vote for a giant 3 foot tall orange DUNCE cap for every congressman to wear (except of course Ron Paul – his can say genius).

Liberals are complete trash

January 17th, 2011
9:53 am

Bob, you’re absolutely correct about the knee jerk reaction from the left.

Left wingers are eating crow right now.

Looking Behind the Mug-Shot Grin

Among the books that he would later cite as his favorites: “Animal Farm,” “Fahrenheit 451,” “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/us/16loughner.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=3&adxnnlx=1295272816-mzPTbiXmgfYK5d56DmiDjg

Dave from Rome

January 17th, 2011
9:54 am

Mountainpass,
That war on drugs comment says it all. Well said indeed.

Johnny

January 17th, 2011
10:01 am

carlosgvv- What are you calling for with this “strict enforcement?”- police officers going from door to door in search of illegally-possessed guns by private citizens, which would turn otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals. Do you think the real criminals care about a silly gun ban? We have declared war against drugs and we have been “strictly enforcing” our drug laws wasting millions of dollars flying helicopters around looking for marijuana, yet it is still so easy to get and always will be. In the rural area I live in, I would be willing to bet that at least every other household owns at least one firearm. What is this- Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union? Thank God people like you, Carolyn McCarthy, and Peter King are in the minority.

george

January 17th, 2011
10:03 am

you’re right, rep. king’s proposal is ridiculous. what is worse is that we allow people to have such high powered weapons. i have no problem with someone owning a gun, especially a hunter, but is there no limit to the type of weapon we own. tell me why you need a 30 round clip, a uzzi, or maybe a bazooka?
i have lived 76 years without a gun and plan to live the rest of my days without one

carlosgvv

January 17th, 2011
10:04 am

poison pen

The ambitions of big business are a serious problem for all of us. So, why don’t you tell me just what facts I’m fabricating, sport model?

Darwin

January 17th, 2011
10:08 am

Bob’s preaching to the choir again.

Dr. Pangloss

January 17th, 2011
10:11 am

The King legislation also would preclude a Good Samaritan lawfully carrying a firearm from using their [sic] gun to stop a deranged shooter; such as actually happened in Tucson.

Gee, Bob, if you’re getting paid to be a journalist, could you make your pronouns agree with their antecedents? Good Samaritan is singular; their is plural.

One other thing: nobody used a gun to stop the deranged shooter. He was stopped by an unarmed old lady and an unarmed old military vet.

Dr. Pangloss

January 17th, 2011
10:14 am

luangtom
January 17th, 2011
9:50 am

To all of the advocates of more gun-control….please prove to the rest of us that the ban on assault-weapons and high-cap magazines from 1994 to 2004 did anything to quell crime in the USA.
———————-

Well, for one thing, shootings of police officer went down.

See http://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles1/173405.txt

BART

January 17th, 2011
10:16 am

How can any reasonable person disagree with McCarthy’s position?

Eureka

January 17th, 2011
10:17 am

Sometimes Barr gets it. Sometimes he just down right stupid!

Dr. Pangloss

January 17th, 2011
10:20 am

Dave from Rome
January 17th, 2011
9:28 am

George Washington: “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence.”

—————–

This is a well-known phony Washington quotation. From Wikiquotes:

Sometimes purported to have been made in an “Address to the Second Session of the First United States Congress, 7 January 1790, according to the Boston Independent Chronicle (14 January 1790)”, this quote is palpably bogus, as this essay at a pro-gun site makes plain.

J. B.

January 17th, 2011
10:22 am

Dr. Pangloss

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUmmOWL05r8

WARNING: This video is an interview of a RESPONSIBLE gun owner that didn’t just shoot the guy and maybe cause more victims and then he helped keep the guy down till police arrived. And while he didn’t draw down on him, he could have if needed. Kudos to him for his restraint.

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
10:29 am

Dr. Pangloss wrote=”One other thing: nobody used a gun to stop the deranged shooter. He was stopped by an unarmed old lady and an unarmed old military vet.”

The armed citizen helped hold the shooter down. He was in the Safeway, heard the shots and ran towards them.

THOMAS PAINE II

January 17th, 2011
10:36 am

1. Banning high-capacity clips accomplishes nothing. In a pistol, it takes mere seconds to change clips.

2. Laws only restrain the lawful.

3. Armed people are citizens, disarmed people are subjects.

4. Never lose sight of the reality that roughly 80,000,000 armed Americans didn’t kill anyone yesterday.

5. Life is full or risk and danger and no amount of laws or regulations will alter that.

6. If your true intent is to save lives, then you should get on your soap box and start demanding safer cars instead. Far more people are killed by automobiles than by guns; but, of course, restricting the use and speed of cars would inpact YOUR rights and, is therefore, not accepable, right?

7. The Founding Fathers knew that an armed citizenry was the bulwork of a free society. This is why the 2nd. Amendment was added to the Constitution.

I think that covers most of it. Have a nice day…….

redneckbluedog

January 17th, 2011
10:39 am

You can talk big and bad and bravado all you want…but the fact is, has been, and will always be…guns and families don’t mix…my wife hates guns, as do my two young daughters…Don’t get me wrong…I would defend them with my life…But keeping guns out of the hands of crazies and criminals makes my life much easier…It’s enough keeping up with them as it is and making a living….

Dave from Rome

January 17th, 2011
10:40 am

Dr. Pangloss,
I do see where there is some conjecture regarding the Washington quotation. Should it prove false, i’ll offer my apologies for the unintended misquotation. I did notice however that you did refrain from any comments regarding the Hitler quotation, i’d like you hear your thoughts on that one as well, if you’re up to it. I’ll replace the questionable Washington quotation with some quotes from other heroes of gun control advocacy, and maybe you’d like to comment on those as well:

Josef Stalin – “We don’t let them have ideas.
Why would we let them have guns?”

Mao Zedong – “Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.”

Vladimir Lenin – “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.”

I

Michael

January 17th, 2011
10:41 am

A strict constructionalist like Scalia would grab a dictionary from 1787, declare that “arms” back then meant black powder weapons, and conclude that you can only bear all of those that you can carry. Oh wait, those words have definitions the founders intended to expand over time since they knew .50 cal machine guns would be invented.

Bunch of result oriented jurists whose definition of “activist” judge changes depending on whether they must allow conservative stuff or shut down liberal stuff.

MarkV

January 17th, 2011
10:46 am

mountainpass @10:29 am
“The armed citizen helped hold the shooter down. He was in the Safeway, heard the shots and ran towards them.”

A more distorted argument is hard to imagine. The armed citizen “helped hold the shooter down” by running towards the shots? Actually, the story of that armed citizen is the best argument against those who claim that more armed citizens would help against such killing. This armed citizen, by his own account, was just ready to shoot the man with the gun – the citizen who took the gun from the killer. Moreover, that same “armed citizen” could have been easily a victim of some other “armed citizen,” who would have mistaken him for the shooter.

Pablo

January 17th, 2011
10:49 am

BULLSEYE:

Walther PPK/S .380 is the one I carry most of the time, it is very compact and still carries some punch. Its only limitation, though, is its clip capacity (so I carry 2). Good thing to have.

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
10:50 am

redneckbluedog,

Just what do you propose to keep criminals from getting guns?

BULLSEYE

January 17th, 2011
10:53 am

Nice weapon there Pablo. I appreciate the input.

John

January 17th, 2011
10:54 am

I notice how Bob writes “control advocates taking advantage of every shooting incident as an excuse to further restrict Americans’ Second Amendment rights” and doesn’t mention anything about the “fears” of those play into the gun rights side. Like Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) wanting to have a glass shield put around the House gallery. Or Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert drafting a measure to allow members of Congress to carry guns in the District of Columbia, including in the Capitol and on the House floor. Can anyone imagine how ugly politics have gotten in the last few years of having that many armed people on the House floor getting into heated debate? In order to get to the house floor, a person needs to go through 2 security checkpoints. If that’s the case, why would Congressmen and women need to carry guns on the floor for protection.

Dr. Pangloss

January 17th, 2011
10:55 am

jconservative says:

Numbers. 2007 USA deaths by firearms – 29,984.
Numbers. 2007 USA deaths from traffic – 42,031

Apparently, this proves … something.

He doesn’t mention that traffic deaths were down to 33,808 in 2009 according to the National Highway Traffic Association at http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx and may be below 30,000 for 2010 when all the numbers come in. It is possible to make things better.

The argument here seems to be:

Thing A kills too many people.
Thing B also kills too many people.
Therefore, Thing A’s killing is all right.

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
10:59 am

MarkV,

He did hold down the shooter. This is a great example of all the things you are pointing out NOT happening. The armed citizen ran to help, but he knew he HAD to be absolutely certain before he did anything. If more folks carrying had been there maybe the shooter could have been stopped sooner.

Pablo

January 17th, 2011
11:00 am

BULLSEYE:

No problem.

MarkV

January 17th, 2011
11:03 am

mountainpass,

This citizen held down the shooter eventually – what has that got to do with him having a gun?
He knew he had to be absolutely certain before he did anything. You expect all armed citizen to know that and react that way? Are you kidding about stopping the shooter sooner?

John

January 17th, 2011
11:04 am

@mountainpass

If these large clips would still be banned, perhaps not as many people would have been injured or killed.

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
11:08 am

John,

What if the shooter had had 2 guns?

Snidely Whiplash

January 17th, 2011
11:10 am

Dr Pangloss : Would like to see those stats re: firearm deaths broken down to gang related, drug related, innocents related, domestic violence related, licensed and unlicensed related and self-defense related. I carry and am legal. Was taught to respect the firearm. I’m 57. My first gun was a BB/Pellet .177. Then a Sheridan Pellet, then a shotgun then a pistol. I love to shoot. I have no qualms to defend myself, my family and my property. Hope I never have to…

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
11:14 am

MarkV,

He ran to the shots because he was armed and thought he could help.

Show me where a legally armed person mistakenly shot someone causing harm. I’m sure it may well of happened, I just don’t know of it.

I am not kidding, why do you think I am? What is so hard to believe about that?

JV

January 17th, 2011
11:17 am

It would be impossible to provide complete elimination of all risk to all members of Congress in all times and places. The cost would be prohibitive, and it would further isolate the members from the people they are elected to represent.

During their term of office Congressmen enjoy a certain level of notoriety or celebrity. Their political choices, speeches, and actions garner them some media attention and they are, as a result, more likely to encounter the “fringe” element of society as a result. It is an unfortunate byproduct of our system of governance.

Dave from Rome

January 17th, 2011
11:18 am

-Gun sales reached an all time high in 2009 according to the January 17th edition of the Huffington Post. Interestingly, here are the FBI’s numbers on violent crime rates for the year 2010:

Murder down 7.1%.
Forcible Rape down 6.2%
Robbery down 10.7%
Aggravated Assault down 3.9%
Burglary down 1.4%
Larceny/Theft down 2.3%
Motor Vehicle Theft down 9.7%.

Just something to chew on. Here are the links for verification.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/11/gun-industry-thrives_n_807360.html
http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2010/december/crime_122010/crime_122010

John

January 17th, 2011
11:20 am

@mountainpass,

Have you ever been in a position, like this armed citizen, where you had a split second decision on using your gun or not? Fortunately, this guy didn’t shoot; otherwise, one of the heroes could have been killed while trying to save others. I know police officers who have gone through such training programs…it’s very tough. They are placed in situations where they have to make the decision to shoot or not to shoot. On situation may be a hand holding a gun coming out of a closet. Some choose to shoot only to discover it’s a child holding a realistic looking toy gun.

How someone reacts when faced with such a situation is really unknown. Gun rights advocates points out this armed guy ran towards to shots due to the fact he was armed and protected. But at the same time, Daniel Hernandez, an unarmed intern ran towards the shots as well and has been credited for saving Congresswoman Giffords life. Two people, one armed and one unarmed, reacted in the same way of running towards the gunshots to try to help others.

MarkV

January 17th, 2011
11:21 am

Mountainpass,
Let’s stick to the facts:

A bystander clubbed the back of the assailant’s head with a folding chair. The gunman was then tackled to the ground by 74-year-old Bill Badger, and was further subdued by Maisch and bystanders Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zamudio. Before helping to hold the killer, Zamudio (the man with the gun) pushed the innocent holder of the gun into a wall.

Those who actually subdued the killerd id not have guns. The one guy with a gun, by his own admission, almost shot an innocent man. The fact that he went to help the others, unarmed citizens who held the killer had nothing to do with his having a gun.

Paul McKeon

January 17th, 2011
11:30 am

The only thing more “knee jerk” than the legislative reaction he describes is the predictable knee-jerk reaction of this shill and toady for the NRA. He takes every opportunity, no matter how crass, to make the case for widespread availability of guns. He’s a one trick pony, and I don’t understand why the AJC features this neanderthal regressive so prominently in its opinion pages.

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
11:32 am

John,

My statement about the armed citizen was in response to this proposed law that would have put a 1000 foot “gun free zone” around the congresswoman. If that law was in effect, as Mr. Barr pointed out, the legally armed citizen being a law-abiding citizen would not have stayed and thus it would be one less person that stepped up to help. I was not saying that unarmed folks don’t try to help.

I was nearly robbed 3 years ago. I was in my vehicle when I was approached by a young man. I felt uncomfortable and grabbed my firearm from under my seat. He asked me a question and wanted me to roll down my window. I couldn’t understand him and he looked down and saw my weapon and ran. As he ran away I saw the gun in his hand. That was my epiphany moment. I went home and searched the laws of Georgia. After looking at them I joined GeorgiaCarry to help make the laws less friendly to criminals and more friendly to legal citizens.

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
11:37 am

MarkV

Dr. Pangloss wrote=”One other thing: nobody used a gun to stop the deranged shooter. He was stopped by an unarmed old lady and an unarmed old military vet.”

I was sticking to the facts, Mr. Pangloss was the reason for my comment.

John

January 17th, 2011
11:42 am

@mountainpass

“I was not saying that unarmed folks don’t try to help.”

What were you implying when you posted “He ran to the shots because he was armed and thought he could help”?

mountainpass

January 17th, 2011
11:52 am

John,

Well I guess he thought “Wow those are gun shots.” Which would mean that probably he thought that was odd in the parking lot of the Safeway. So he ran there thinking an active shooter situation was happening, which he was right. And since he was armed he thought he might could stop the shooting, much like the licensed carrier Mrs. Jeanne Asam helped stop an active gunman at a church in Colorado Springs.

Jeanne Assam appeared before the news media for the first time Monday and said she “did not think for a minute to run away” when a gunman entered the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and started shooting.

“Assam worked as a police officer in downtown Minneapolis during the 1990s and is licensed to carry a weapon. She attends one of the morning services and then volunteers as a guard during another service.”
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/14817480/detail.html