1.16.2011

A brief, terrifying thought

So, for this past week I've been trying to think past what could have stopped the Tuscon shooting, because we don't get another shot at that one.  There's something that bothers me quite a bit.

In 2009, Senator John Thune sponsored an amendment to the defense appropriations bill that would have made it legal for any person permitted to carry a concealed weapon in any state to carry one in every state.  In states with less permissive gun laws, residents would have had fewer rights than out-of-state visitors from states with more permissive gun laws.  And from everything I can tell, under that legislation, Jared Loughner would have been permitted to carry concealed in New York City.  It failed by two votes.

Yeah, it's really kind of remarkable where the states rights conservatives stand where the chips are down.

We may be able to ban thirty-round extended magazines (not likely), but this shit isn't going away.  Republicans control the House, and they picked up more than two votes in the Senate.  And while you and I may be shocked by the sheer gall of the gun lobby here, what they're looking to replace is only more sensible by a hair.  Massachusetts, for instance, more or less reserves CCW for people who need handguns to do their jobs and people who are receiving death threats.  If CCW reciprocity between the states were based on compatibility of standards, a permit holder from Massachusetts would be able to carry a concealed weapon in most states. But because recognition is based on reciprocity agreements, in many cases, the less restrictive state's left with a choice between, for instance, Massachusetts citizens having fewer rights in Massachusetts than those visiting  from other states, and Massachusetts citizens having fewer rights in other states.  It's usually a no-brainer.  But if someone's life is being threatened in Massachusetts, and there's an actual threat of danger, It's naive to think that the threat would disappear when they go to another state.

Here's an interactive infographic-map that explains how CCW reciprocity works.  It may not be not be a particular priority of yours or mine, but whatever you think about gun control, it's against the spirit of the Fourteenth Amendment, which means that even the most moderate gun rights advocates aren't going to stop wanting to do something about it.

This isn't to be taken as an endorsement of expanding concealed carry... There's a fully fleshed-out policy piece that I'm working on, because I ain't got shit else to do, which will no doubt wind up here or on Blogcritics after every place I submit it ignores me.  What I'm suggesting is that unless we change the law in a way we can deal with-- it may one day wind up the other way.

4 comments:

  1. Yeah, Happiness isn't a warm gun. We have the most liberal gun laws in the world and it's obvious, statistically, when you look at death caused by firearms. Though I've given this some thought and the fact that an absolute loon is just kicked out and ignored instead of being committed to a psychiatric facility of some kind, is also part of the problem.

    I thin that the guns are a larger part of the problem though because realistically you can not stop a crazy man you can only deter him by taking away his gun.

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  2. I've been drowning in statistics lately, and the one that keeps fucking with me is the extent to which gun deaths aren't explained by the astronomical figures for legal gun ownership in this country. About 13% can be tied to legal guns. It seems that it's more about access than ownership, and if we can find a way to screen out unstable people as well as the sort of people likely to file off the serial numbers and sell on the black market, we can make a huge dent

    I don't see the Second Amendment as being quite as important as others do, but I think there's a lot we can do without damaging it.

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  3. We can't screen out unstable people likely to own guns as we can't read minds. We can only use profiles of possibilities and that's just a possiblity

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  4. Well yeah. We're never going to be perfect at screeining people out, but one of the things that has become clear is that we can be a whole hell of a lot better at it. And we need to be, because the Second Amendment isn't going away.

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