Tag Archives: gun control

‘Representative democracy,’ yes?

When the founders created this great nation, they established a “representative democracy” in which those we elect to public office are charged with representing the majority view of those who send them to office.

Why, then, does the Texas Legislature — to cite just one example — continue to resist the will of the people who appear to support increasing the minimum age for those wishing to purchase firearms?

That’s what is going on here, according to a new poll published by the University of Texas.

The Texas Tribune reports: Released Wednesday, the survey from the University of Texas at Austin found 76% of voters support “raising the legal age to purchase any firearm from 18 years of age to 21 years of age.” Twenty percent of voters oppose the idea. Republicans back the proposal 64% to 31%.

Poll finds Texans support raising age to buy guns from 18 to 21 | The Texas Tribune

What is just as staggering as the overall support for such a measure is the significant majority of Texans who call themselves Republicans who also support increasing the minimum age.

Indeed, the GOP that controls the Legislature along with every single statewide office in Texas ought to listen to the will of the people for whom they work instead of the gun lobby that keeps funneling money to their campaigns.

I am not suggesting that increasing the age limit is the end-all to the spate of gun violence that plagues our society. It merely adds one more reasonable requirement for those wishing to purchase a firearm. While we’re at it, why not also include universal background checks to ensure that the gun purchaser isn’t a threat to those around him.

I doubt seriously the nation’s founders would approve of the way this political climate has shaken out 200-plus years after they created this representative democracy.


Rep. Jackson: unhinged?

If you think for just a moment about this, you might realize the irony that I am about to present.

U.S. Rep. Ronny Jackson, the right-wing fruitcake who represents the Texas Panhandle, keeps yammering about President Biden’s mental fitness for the job he occupies. But yet … it is Jackson who sounds and acts like a man who needs an intervention.

He has posted a bizarre video on Twitter in which he dares the president to take away his AR-15. “Come and take it!” Jackson bellows while holding such a weapon, which he points at one of his feet … if you get my drift there.

Here’s my point. Joe Biden just signed a piece of legislation that doesn’t say a single thing about “taking away” our guns, let alone anyone’s AR-15. Jackson, though, seems to ascribe some sort of nefarious motive where none exists.

“I will NEVER give up my firearms. I will NEVER surrender my AR-15. If Democrats want to push an insane gun-grab, they can COME AND TAKE IT!,” Jackson wrote in the post accompanying the video.

Good grief! Settle down, dude!

Video of Ronny Jackson Daring Biden to Come Take His AR-15 Viewed 1M Times (newsweek.com)

I know the district Jackson represents pretty well. I lived there for 23 years. I moved there when another Republican, Mac Thornberry, took office. Thornberry retired in 2020, opening the seat up to all comers. Jackson moved to the Panhandle, having never lived there before, to run for Thornberry’s seat in Congress.

He once was a Navy admiral and White House physician to two presidents, Barack Obama and Donald J. Trump.

But he’s gone, well, bonkers since being elected. The guy’s butter has slipped off his noodle.

He keeps yammering about President Biden’s cognitive ability. He’s full of sh**! This latest Twitter tirade only tells me that Jackson is the one who needs a medical exam.


‘Yes!’ on background checks

Someone will have to explain to me — in a persuasive manner — why the concept of “universal background checks” on anyone purchasing a firearm is so anathema to those on the right-wing fringes of political thought.

The issue has burst back onto our political consciousness in the wake of the Uvalde school massacre that killed 19 precious children and two of the educators who sought to protect them from the madness that erupted in their classroom.

Border Patrol tactical officers killed the shooter.

He purchased the weapons he used to slaughter his victims legally. How did he do that? Because he did not have to undergo a routine “universal background check” to look for any clues as to why he shouldn’t own the weapons.

Those in Congress — the men and women whose campaigns are bankrolled by the gun lobby — keep harping on Second Amendment freedoms. They suggest that any effort to legislate tougher gun laws runs counter to the Second Amendment guarantee of citizens to “keep and bear arms.”

They are wrong!

How can I explain this any clearer? Those who can pass a background check if they purchase a firearm have nothing in the world to worry about? The law-abiding citizenry can arm itself to the teeth. The Second Amendment stands strongly in favor of their right to own weapons.

A legislative remedy, though, does exist if Congress is willing to enact it as a deterrent against those who might have something in their background that can sound alarm bells.

Perhaps the details of such a background check can be worked out. There could be some serious negotiating into what constitutes a deal-breaker if someone seeks to purchase a firearm. Fine. Then work it out!

This so-called constitutional argument, though, against universal background checks is a canard. Those who seek shelter in the Constitution against such safeguards are seeking to frighten the rest of us into believing that government then will seize every weapon in every home from every law-abiding citizen.

That is demagoguery at its worst.


Gun violence action on tap?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden wouldn’t seem to need any lectures on the limits of executive power. So it makes sense to me that a planned executive order that seeks to stem gun violence is being done with all due diligence on its legality.

Let’s all stay tuned for Biden’s announcement set for Thursday in which he will invoke an executive order that sets stricter regulations on something called “ghost guns” and implements more stringent background checks on those who want to purchase a firearm.

Congress, to no one’s surprise, is dawdling on legislative remedies in the wake of recent Atlanta and Boulder massacres that left 20 people dead. Republicans are resisting any effort to tighten the rules for purchase. Democrats need 10 GOP senators to help them end an expected Republican filibuster.

The Hill newspaper reports: Advocacy groups, including Brady, Giffords, Everytown and parents of victims of the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, have met with Domestic Policy Council Director Susan Rice and Biden adviser Cedric Richmond in recent weeks.

Anti-gun violence advocates, including some who attended meetings with Biden officials, told The Hill in February that, through executive order, Biden could eliminate ghost guns by defining what constitutes a gun.

The term ghost guns refers to guns available for purchase, typically without a background check or a serial number, that are not fully finished or may have a missing part.

Biden expected to announce executive action on guns | TheHill

Does any of this violate the Second Amendment constitutional provision that allows Americans to “keep and bear arms?” Hardly.

Motor vehicles are heavily regulated, too

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A fascinating item showed up this morning on my Facebook news feed that tells us that they’ve been regulating automobiles for decades, but that “no one has taken our cars away.”

Well …

What do you think of that? I happen to think it is a relevant statement in light of the building debate — yet again — over whether there can be sensible, constitutional gun regulations in this country.

The discussion has flared once more in light of two horrific massacres, in Atlanta and then in Boulder, Colo. Eighteen people died in the carnage.

President Biden has called for an outright ban on assault weapons and for universal background checks on every human being who wants to purchase a firearm. Make ’em wait for, oh, three days before being cleared to walk away with a gun.

Is that reasonable? I believe it is. I mean, if you’re a “law-abiding citizen” of the United States of America, you shouldn’t worry one little bit about waiting for three whole days or so to get your gun. Right?

Does that take away anyone’s Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms”? I don’t think so, but yet the gun lobby is reigniting the scare campaign that suggests these notions are attempts to take guns away from Americans.

No! They are nothing of the kind! They are initiatives intended to make it just a little more difficult for lunatics to purchase firearms.

As the social media message points, we have been regulating automobile ownership for decades. We have to have insurance. We have to be licensed by the state where we live. If we drive without a license and are caught by police, we can be thrown in jail. If we are involved in an auto wreck and we aren’t properly insured, we also can be jailed, and fined, and held liable for thousands of dollars in medical expenses.

Look along our streets and highways and tell me if you think there’s been a decline in motor vehicle traffic.

Nor would there be a decline in firearms among law-abiding citizens if we attach a few more sensible rules for their purchase.

Abbott vs. O’Rourke in ’22?

Photo by Richard W. Rodriguez/AP/REX/Shutterstock 

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Gosh, we just finished a contentious presidential election that produced a violent transition of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

Now it’s time to look just a bit ahead to 2022 and what is shaping up here in Texas. A potential donnybrook between Gov. Greg Abbott and former Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

Oh, boy. Pass the popcorn.

O’Rourke spilled some of the beans when he told an El Paso radio station that he might run for governor in 2022, seeking to generate the excitement he ginned up when he almost defeated U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in 2018. Unfortunately for O’Rourke, the Texas buzz didn’t play on the national stage as he sought the presidency in 2020; he dropped out early from the Democratic Party primary contest.

He did make some news, though, he declared “Hell yes,” he intends to take away people’s AR-15 assault weapons.

Abbott wasted no time capitalizing on that exclamation, declaring that O’Rourke would seek to do that very thing in gun-loving Texas if he is elected governor.

As the Texas Tribune reported: “You’re talking about a person who says they want to run for governor who said, ‘Heck yes,’ he’s gonna come and take your guns,” Abbott said, referring to O’Rourke’s 2019 embrace of a mandatory buyback program for assault weapons. “Heck yes, he’s for open borders. Heck yes, he’s for killing the energy sector and fossil fuels in the state of Texas. I don’t think that’s gonna sell real well.”

Greg Abbott, Beto O’Rourke trade barbs over talk of 2022 governor’s race | The Texas Tribune

Here we go. The demagoguery has begun in earnest. Open borders? Killing the fossil fuel energy sector? Does the governor of this state have that kind of exclusive power? Um … no.

As for the gun buyback, the governor cannot do that by himself, either. No governor is “gonna come and take your guns.”

I do hope to see an Abbott-O’Rourke contest in 2022, even if it includes the frightening rhetoric we’re already getting.

What? Lt. Gov. Patrick and NRA locked in a feud?

Hell must have frozen over during the night. Or … the sun rose in the west. Or …  something else totally out of the ordinary occurred.

I see that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the National Rifle Association are supposedly feuding because Patrick has planted himself in favor of background checks on firearms transactions conducted between strangers.

That isn’t exactly a revolutionary notion. However, it marks at least a slight crack in the Texas Republican Party’s snuggly relationship with the NRA.

The nation’s premier gun owner lobby calls Lt. Gov. Patrick’s idea a “political gambit.” It says he seeks to “resurrect the same broken” policies pushed by the Obama administration.

The Texas Tribune reports: “In Texas, person-to-person sales of firearms do not require background checks, but after two mass shootings in Texas in less than a month — in El Paso and Midland-Odessa — the lieutenant governor has openly supported closing the supposed loophole. President Donald Trump also has endorsed the idea.” 

I need someone to explain to me why this is a bad idea. It isn’t, as far as I am concerned. It’s a small step. However, it might help prevent some idiot/moron/madman in the future from delivering the kind of misery that the two shooters delivered in El Paso and the Permian Basin. Not to mention what has happened over many decades in countless other communities across this nation.

Will the lieutenant governor stand firm? Will he be able to persuade Gov. Greg Abbott to join him in his feud? Or how about the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature, which sadly contains too many pro-NRA fanatics who are digging in against any measures to toughen gun purchases in the state?

Hold your ground, Lt. Gov. Patrick.

Gun violence now crosses a second issue of the day

When gun violence erupts in this country, Americans naturally get drawn into the ongoing debate over how to stem the scourge of such insane acts.

More gun control? More guns? Longer waiting periods? No waiting periods? 

Now, though, the issue has crossed another issue line of demarcation.

How would building a wall along our nation’s southern border stop home-grown terrorists from erupting?

A corn-fed young American man killed three people at a food festival in Gilroy, Calif.; one of the victims was a 6-year-old boy, another was a teenage girl. Twelve more were injured in the melee. The shooter — whom the police shot to death — was not from south of the border. He wasn’t a Mexican gang member, nor did he hail from Central America. The shooter was far from the kind of individual that Donald Trump once said is being “sent” into our country “by Mexico.”

This lunatic was one of ours. He was one of us. He was just like any one of the other home-grown idiots who decide to open fire with an “assault weapon.”

These political calculations are becoming too complex for many of us. Count me as one who is getting mighty confused over how to handle this latest tragedy.

How will this latest spasm of violence play out?

They’re still scrambling in Gilroy, Calif. A mass shooting has occurred at a food festival in that picturesque town.

I’m still awaiting word on the number of victims or the nature of their injuries. I do pray there is no tragedy unfolding.

But already I am waiting to hear how the federal government is going to respond to this event. Yes, the feds need to take an interest in this. Gun violence is a national scourge. This latest event simply is a continuation of what has become a too-common event in this country.

I am going to pray for the victims. I also am going to pray for the cops to get the shooter or shooters involved in this latest spasm of violence.

And, Mr. President? What say you about this?

‘Litmus test’ must not be a four-letter word

I have long wondered why the term “litmus test” has become a sort of plague to politicians running for offices that hold the power of appointment.

The U.S. Supreme Court, for instance, is going to become a key issue in the 2020 presidential campaign. Namely, the issue will revolve a potential appointment of the next justice on the nine-member court.

The expected Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, will insist he would appoint justices with a record of favoring pro-life litigants who would come before his or her court. Indeed, he’s already got two judicial appointments on the SCOTUS and they certainly seem to fit the bill prescribed by what Trump has said.

The large field of Democratic Party candidates will argue to a person that they want judicial candidates who take a more expansive view of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

But no one says they will apply a “litmus test” to determine who they intend to nominate the highest court in the nation.

They dance all over and around the issue. Litmus tests exist on all sorts of issues. They involve capital punishment, sentencing guidelines, drug policy, firearm ownership and, yes, abortion.

We know the types of individuals that presidents would nominate. They telegraph that punch before they deliver it. However, we refuse to hold them accountable on whether they are applying litmus tests on the individuals they are considering for these appointments.

U.S. senators who have the right to confirm or deny these appointments often make their decisions on single issues. Yet they won’t ever acknowledge they have applied a litmus test to the nominee, indicating whether they pass or fail the exam.

This is a circuitous way of saying, I suppose, that we apply litmus tests at every turn.

Why not, then, just call them what we know them to be?