Tag Archives: NRA

Take guns first, due process later? Sure thing, Mr. POTUS

Donald J. Trump is hardly a champion of civil liberties.

Due process? Who needs it? Why, he is ready to “take guns first” and worry later about “due process.”

The president’s latest popping off occurred today in a meeting at the White House with Democratic and Republican senators. The issue dealt with guns, naturally.

Trump’s statements today continues to add confusion to this debate in the wake of the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre that killed 17 students and staff members.

He has endorsed the notion of raising the minimum age to 21 to purchase firearms; the president wants to arm teachers, giving them firepower to take out shooters when violence erupts; now is wants to grab guns first and worry later about “due process.”

Well, we know what the president thinks of “due process.” He has griped about a White House staff secretary being forced out of office over allegations of spousal abuse, that he was denied “due process.” Oh, but then he egged on rally crowds during the 2016 campaign to “lock her up” when they started chanting about allegations involving Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Due process? Anyone?

There’s a glimmer of good news, though. The National Rifle Association is likely to get angry over the president’s latest rhetorical riff.

I am unwilling to wager, however, whether the president will — pardon the pun — stick to his guns when the NRA starts putting on the pressure.

NRA produces a new bogeywoman

Dana Loesch has emerged, apparently, as the newest attack beast for the National Rifle Association.

That title used to belong to Wayne LaPierre. Now it’s Loesch, who this week told the Conservative Political Action Conference that “the legacy media loves mass shootings.”

I don’t know what “legacy media” means, but to suggest that the media love these events is to, well, go way beyond the pale of decency.

Loesch got into an on-air snit with CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota, who challenged Loesch’s comment.

See the exchange here.

Loesch, the NRA spokeswoman, sought in the moment to walk back much of what she said. She said she didn’t mean to suggest the media actually “love” seeing people slaughtered as they were at Parkland, Fla., where a gunman slaughtered 17 high school students and staff members.

She sought to suggest that “crying white mothers” drive up ratings, meaning that the media love covering that angle to these tragic events.

I don’t buy Loesch’s attempt at equivocation. To put the words “love” and “mass shooting” in the same sentence sends a clear message, no matter what she intended to convey.

The debate that has ensued across the nation in the wake of this latest school massacre needs some semblance of civility, even though that kind of discussion quite often is difficult to find when the topic centers on guns, the Second Amendment — and the National Rifle Association.

Fewer guns make us safer, not more of them

I keep circling back to this point about allowing teachers to pack heat in the classroom: What if, in the case of a shooter opening fire, the teacher misses and hits another student with a stray bullet?

I heard a teacher today talk about that possibility. He packs a pistol in his boot and said he would shoot someone who entered his classroom “without hesitation.”

Then he said his worst fear is missing the shooter. “What if I hit a student?” he asked. Yes, what if?

Then he sought to justify it by suggesting it’s better for one student to die than many others, prompting my wife to say, “Sure thing, then tell that to the parents of the student.”

The Parkland, Fla., slaughter of 17 people has opened wide the national discussion about gun violence. I’m glad about that. It has produced some interesting proposals by the president of the United States, who is suggesting a law creating a 21-year-old minimum age for the purchase of a firearm. Donald Trump also has spoken favorably about arming teachers, saying that if the Parkland shooter had encountered a teacher with a gun, he wouldn’t have been stopped.

I cannot buy the notion that putting more guns into schools makes them a safer place. National Rifle Association boss Wayne LaPierre said arming teachers would “harden” schools as a target. I don’t buy that, either.

My biggest fear is what happens if a teacher doesn’t hit a shooter with a kill shot, or at least a round that disables him to where he can no longer fire a weapon? Does an enraged gunman keep shooting?

We won’t solve this matter on this blog. It’s just that the notion of arming teachers just doesn’t feel like a sensible solution to curbing the hideous recurrence of gun violence in our schools.

This is not a hallmark of a civilized society and it damn sure is no way to “make America great … again.”

Are teens spooking the pols?

I can think of few things that would be juicier than the idea of teenagers throwing a serious scare into politicians over the issue of gun violence.

The shooter who massacred those 17 people in Parkland, Fla., including 14 high school students, well might have launched a political juggernaut.

It’s true that the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado didn’t do it. Nor did the Sandy Hook Elementary School slaughter in Connecticut. This tragic event, though, seems different.

Teens are mounting rallies. Today, a busload of teenagers rode to Tallahassee, Fla., to pressure lawmakers to do something about gun violence. The Florida Senate today, to its shame, voted down a bill that would have banned the sale of assault rifles in that state.

That won’t deter the young activists from expressing their anger and outrage over politicians’ historic inaction — indeed, their cowardice — in facing head-on the ongoing gun violence crisis.

We’re beginning to hear rumblings of gun reform from Republican politicians. At least two GOP governors — Rick Scott of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas — have spoken out loud about the need for gun law reform.

And, oh yes, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, has spoken the words, too.

They understand, I’m quite sure, that many of the teenagers already have the power to vote. Others will join them soon. In the wake of this grievous action in Parkland, they now are speaking with a single, angry voice.

Status quo ‘unacceptable,’ says Abbott; do ya think?

I guess we can now count Texas Gov. Greg Abbott as one who is beginning to see a glimmer of daylight in the search for some way to curb gun violence in this country.

Abbott has called for repairing the background check procedure and for ways to improve mental health screening on those who seek to purchase firearms.

The governor’s remarks today were his first public comments since the Valentine’s Day massacre in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people.

According to the Texas Tribune: “It’s clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and everybody in every state must take action,” Abbott told reporters in Austin after voting early in the GOP primary.

The governor said Texas gun safety standards should be reviewed to see whether they need updating. He added that government leaders need to empower local law enforcement to recognize “red flags.”

It appears to me that we are witnessing some fissures appearing in Republican politicians’ reluctance to speak publicly about gun safety reform and other potential legislative remedies to curb the spasm of gun violence that has taken far too many lives already. For far too long we have witnessed GOP politicians back away from offering governmental solutions, seemingly out of fear at how the gun lobby might retaliate against them.

Not this time. Maybe. Perhaps.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said “everything is on the table” regarding gun violence legislation immediately after the massacre; then came Donald Trump’s directive to the Justice Department to draft regulations that would end bump stocks; then, today, Gov. Abbott weighed in with a call for stricter background check and mental health screening.

Are these massive, landmark steps that signal a sea change? Probably not. They are baby steps. They are welcome nevertheless.

At minimum we are witnessing an important discussion that is commencing one state at a time. I’m glad to know that Texas’s political leadership has joined in.

Remember when Obama was going to disarm us?

All this hubbub over gun control, gun violence and whether Donald Trump would inject the power of the presidency into this debate sparked a memory.

It involves former President Barack H. Obama. You see, Obama faced crises similar to what we’re facing now. Shooters opened fire in public schools, in movie theaters and shopping malls. The president would speak to the nation about the need to curb gun violence.

After the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 children and six educators, Obama was moved to tears. He spoke of the innocent children who died along the teacher heroes who fought to spare them from the carnage. He demanded legislation that would curb gun violence.

Then the gun lobby kicked into high gear. It asserted that the president intended to disarm Americans. Obama didn’t respect the Second Amendment, they said.

Despite all the rhetoric we heard from Obama and those of his allies, the Second Amendment remains untouched from the day it was written by the Founding Fathers.

Then just today we hear that the president of the United States, Donald Trump, wants the Justice Department to propose regulations banning bump stocks, the devices used to turn semi-automatic weapons into machine guns. A bump stock isn’t the issue with regard to the Parkland, Fla., school massacre, but it does speak to the issue of gun regulation.

I am waiting now for the gun lobby to rise up against Donald Trump. Will the gun lobby, led by the National Rifle Association, accuse the president of seeking to disarm the “law-abiding” public that cherishes firearm ownership?

I doubt we’ll hear it this time. I mean, this president says he favors gun ownership and he favors the Second Amendment.

However, I also believe President Obama sought to assure Americans he also supported the Second Amendment. Yes, I know he said something about following the Australia model, which called for confiscation of firearms after a massacre there in 1996.

The result, though, is that nothing happened. We are as armed today as we ever have been.

I’ll continue to assert that there are ways to tighten regulations without subverting the Second Amendment. I have no solutions. I do have hope — although it is diminishing rapidly — that we can find one.

Is this massacre spawning a political movement?

Are my ears deceiving me or am I hearing the rumblings of an extraordinary political movement born of yet another national tragedy?

A gunman opened fire this past week in Parkland, Fla., killing 17 people. It was yet another in a lengthy — and likely growing — list of public school massacres.

In previous such tragedies — such as Columbine and Sandy Hook, to cite just two — politicians called for action to curb gun violence. Then, to the never-ending shame of those in power, nothing got done. The gun lobby — led by the National Rifle Association — bullied Congress, threatening to beat politicians at the next election if they tinkered with any notion of legislating possible remedies to the epidemic of gun violence.

This time, in the wake of the Parkland massacre, we’re hearing something quite different. High school students, some of whom already are of voting age, are speaking with remarkable eloquence about their belief in the need for legislative remedies.

They speak of their own tragic loss, the deaths of their dearest friends, of the “heroes” who died while trying to save the lives of others. They are warning politicians — Democrats and Republicans — that if they don’t act now, that these young people will take political matters in their own hands.

They are speaking about their electoral power, how they, too, can threaten politicians who don’t stand up to the gun lobby. The picture attached to this post is of high schooler Emma Gonzalez, who called out Donald Trump on the issue of gun control.

It’s still quite early in the aftermath of this latest monstrous act. Still, I cannot get past the gnawing in my gut that we might be witnessing the birth of a political movement conceived by the next — and perhaps greatest — generation of Americans.

Repeal the Second Amendment? Hey, let’s talk

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.

— Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

I’ve got some idle time and I am wondering about a congressional proposal that would move Mother Earth, about an idea that would trigger a political earthquake like we’ve never seen in this country.

Have you wondered — as I have — whether anyone in Congress has the nerve to propose repealing the Second Amendment?

Mass shootings in schools, churches, movie theaters, at music festivals or shopping malls so far has failed to move anyone to propose such a thing on Capitol Hill. Seventeen more people died this week in Parkland, Fla., when a lunatic opened fire with an AR-15 assault rifle that he had purchased legally.

I’ve heard a bit of chatter from young Americans that maybe they would be the generation to get our politicians to do something truly dramatic to curb gun violence.

Repealing the Second Amendment would be, um, a seriously dramatic notion.

We all know this reality: It won’t happen. The Second Amendment is one of our Bill of Rights. It isn’t going to be repealed. Sure, we’ve repealed amendments before. The 18th Amendment calling for Prohibition was pulled back years later when it became clear that it wasn’t prohibiting Americans from swilling alcoholic beverages; Congress enacted the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th. So, the precedent for repealing a constitutional amendment has been set.

Do I believe we should repeal the Second Amendment? Full repeal isn’t possible, as near as I can tell. I do believe that there must be a legislative solution that allows Congress to enact laws that control the purchase and ownership of firearms without violating the principle behind the Second Amendment.

I don’t want the government to storm into my house and force me to surrender the two weapons I own: an heirloom 30.06 rifle and a .22-caliber single-shot rifle my father gave me when I was 11 years of age.

You see, I am not a nut job. I don’t have pent-up anger. I will never do harm with either of these weapons. That’s just me. I cannot speak for the actual nut jobs out there who possess far deadlier weapons and do intend to inflict maximum horror and misery.

It is long past time our elected representatives do something constructive about the individuals who purchase assault rifles and then unleash them against children or other innocent victims.

So, why not kick the discussion squarely in the a** by suggesting out loud that it’s time to repeal the Second Amendment?

Surely there must be a member of Congress — among the 535 individuals serving there — who has the stones to do such a thing.

Where is that solution to this violence?

I hate repeating myself. It frustrates me terribly when I find myself saying the same things over and over … much as I did to my sons when they were growing up.

Not to mention how frustrated they must have been. You know?

Thus, I am aghast at having to say once again: How in the world do Congress and the president find a solution to curb gun violence that doesn’t weaken one of our cherished constitutional amendments. I am referring to the Second Amendment, the one that guarantees gun ownership in this country.

The debate is being joined once again in the wake — once again! — of horrific tragedy. Seventeen people died Wednesday in a horrifying massacre at a Parkland, Fla., high school. A former student is in custody.

He entered the school with an AR-15 assault rifle, a weapon he purchased legally.

I am not smart enough to come up with a legislative solution to this problem. I merely sit out here in Flyover Country, writing a blog and offering commentary on this and/or that issue of the day.

The issue of this day happens to deal with guns and the violence that comes from those who possess weapons with the sole aim of killing as many beings as humanely possible.

A shooter walked into the high school and killed a lot of people quickly. Does the Second Amendment guarantee a lunatic the right to purchase a weapon that the authors of that amendment never envisioned in the late 18th century?

Gun-rights groups say, “Yes, it does!” They add, “Not only that, don’t even think about watering it down.” Then they bully our elected representatives into supporting their view. Members of Congress back off. They flinch. They quiver. They don’t act.

They’re smart enough to know how to craft legislation that perhaps can make it just a bit tougher to purchase an assault weapon.

Yes, I know what you might ask: Would any law have prevented the slaughter in Parkland? My answer? I have no earthly idea.

I do believe that we cannot let our lack of assurance about the effectiveness of these laws prevent our elected lawmakers from seeking solutions.

Moreover, I also believe that the Second Amendment is written broadly enough to allow for some controls on the weapons we allow and on those who can purchase them. I know we have restrictions already on who can purchase these weapons. I also know those restrictions aren’t limiting the tragedy that keeps recurring.

Can’t we do better? I believe we can.

I also believe we must.

POTUS speaks to two of three critical issues

Donald J. Trump went on the air this morning to offer the stricken nation his deep condolences over the latest school massacre that killed 17 people in Parkland, Fla.

The president offered on behalf of the nation his love and support for the victims and their families. Their grief is borne by the entire nation, he said. “We are one American family,” said the president.

He spoke also correctly about the need to address mental health issues. The gunman who opened fire at the high school had been expelled from the school for disciplinary reasons. He reportedly had exhibited some warning signs that went unheeded by those who know him.

Indeed, we do need to heed these signs. We mustn’t let them go.

Trump also spoke to the compelling need to boost school safety. That, too, is important. As the president noted, parents must not worry about the safety of their children “when they kiss them goodbye” each morning.

School safety. Mental health. Those are valid and important issues.

The president, though, left one critical issue unaddressed this morning. He didn’t mention gun violence. He didn’t speak at all to the need to find ways to keep guns out of the hands of those who exhibit the warning signs that the alleged gunman reportedly did.

Trump vowed to take on the “difficult issue of mental health.” Fine. What about gun violence, Mr. President? When in the name of political sanity are our elected leaders going to take on that “difficult issue”?

I continue to believe there are ways to toughen requirements for legal firearms purchases without impeding Second Amendment guarantees that citizens have the right to “keep and bear arms.”

That, too, needs a nation’s attention. If only the president had started that discussion today.