Tag Archives: gun violence

SCOTUS credibility at issue

The U.S. Supreme Court has a credibility problem. It’s serious, I’m telling you.

It ruled in just the span of a few days that New York does not have the authority as a state to govern concealed handgun carry and then decided that states must decide whether women can obtain a legal abortion.

Two justices — Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — reportedly told Sen. Susan Collins that Roe v. Wade, the landmark abortion ruling that the court has just tossed aside, was “settled law” and that they wouldn’t trifle with it. Well, they damn sure did.

“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents,” Collins wrote.

This calls into question whether the court is as independent and impartial as the founders envisioned when they created the federal judiciary.

Having said all this, I stand by my refusal to endorse the notion of expanding the court’s number from nine to whatever progressives want to install.

What has to happen is that American voters need to decide whether the Supreme Court’s current makeup is reason to vote for members of Congress and for presidents who will honor the rule of the majority.

Donald Trump vowed to nominate justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. He made the pledge while running for president in 2016. Yes, he established the proverbial “litmus test” for judicial candidates to pass. He said so reportedly knowing that most Americans favored keeping Roe on the books. They, too, understood the meaning of “settled law” and wanted to give women the right to choose whether to take a pregnancy to full term.

The high court has thrown all of that aside with its Roe ruling. Moreover, it has spoken out of both sides of its collective mouth by declaring that states could decide whether to allow abortion but that they had no authority to decide how to govern firearm ownership.

Credibility? It’s missing from the Supreme Court.


How does this law infringe on rights?

Ronny Jackson, the idiot who represents in Congress a region of the country I know well, put out a Twitter teaser that just makes me cringe.

The congressman who represents the Texas Panhandle wrote: Next on the Supreme Court docket, overturn the Democrat’s HORRIBLE gun control legislation! We ARE NOT done!!!

This moron’s idiotic message compels me to ask: How on God’s good Earth does the legislation signed into law by President Biden infringe on a law-abiding American’s access to owning a firearm?

I’ve already asked Jackson directly; I doubt he’ll respond.

The bill cobbled together by a bipartisan group of senators seeks to do a few things to stem gun violence of the type that killed those 19 precious children and two teachers in Uvalde a month ago. I have read the damn thing many times and I cannot for the life of me find a thing in it that prohibits a citizen in good standing from owning a firearm.

So, what the hell is Ronny Jackson suggesting? It ain’t “gun control legislation.” The new law nibbles around the edges. It isn’t perfect, but it’s a start — at least I hope it is — down the road toward curbing gun violence.


SCOTUS misfires on this ruling

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is understandably perplexed at today’s ruling handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court ruled — 6 to 3 — that New York’s limitation on concealed handgun carry laws was too restrictive. It said in a ruling written by Justice Clarence Thomas — that the state could not impose certain restrictions on concealed firearm regulations outside the home.

Hochul, who appeared visibly distressed by the court’s decision, wondered why the First Amendment has restrictions on “free speech,” by declaring “one cannot yell ‘fire!’ in a crowded theater,” but that the Second Amendment seems to have no restrictions … none at all, in the eyes of those who believe it is sacrosanct.

Yep, it’s just another demonstration that the gun lobby continues to win the arguments over matters related to the right of those to “keep and bear arms.”

Hochul said as well that when the founders approved the Second Amendment, the nation was armed “with muskets.” She said she would prefer to return to a musket-carrying society.

Me … too!


Compromise = good legislation

For as long as I have been studying politics and government — which predates my college years in the 1970s — I have accepted a fundamental truth about effective governance.

No one should expect to get everything they want or require, that compromise is an essential part of what I call “good government.”

Thus, the legislation on gun reform that has won U.S. Senate endorsements from both sides of the great divide, while not perfect, is as good as we can expect to get from the current, sharply divided legislative body.

I am particularly intrigued by Republican opposition to the bill from the likes of Ted Cruz of Texas, from those who contend that it does too much, that it is too restrictive of Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. On the other side we hear yammering from progressives that the legislation doesn’t go far enough, that it should contain provisions banning assault weapons and should increase the minimum age of those who want to purchase a firearm.

There once was a time when I was a young ideologue who wanted legislators to see everything my way. Then I got older and, presumably, a bit wiser about how the real world functions.

I have a wish list of items I want to see enacted in legislation that seeks to reduce gun violence. The “red flag law” contained in the current bill is a good start; so are background checks for younger purchasers of firearms. I can live with it and I want it all to become law.

It has been many decades since Congress has gotten off its a** and done something, anything, to deal with this gun violence crisis.

Thus, I will endorse what Senate negotiators have pieced together. I pray it’s just a start. That they hammered this deal out gives me hope.


Compromise can work

Ted Cruz keeps demonstrating why he is such a loathsome politician, suggesting repeatedly why it’s better in his sick mind to go down on principle rather than seeking common ground.

The Texas Republican junior U.S. senator was one of 34 GOP senators to vote “no” on a bill crafted in part by his Texas Republican colleague, John Cornyn.

Cornyn was the lead GOP negotiator on a bipartisan effort to seek legislative remedy to the gun violence that continues to break our hearts, such as what happened not long ago in Uvalde.

OK, the bill ain’t perfect. It’s a start, though, toward curbing violent outbursts.

The National Rifle Association, naturally, has condemned the effort. The NRA doesn’t want anyone to mess around with what it says are constitutional guarantees of firearm ownership. Except that the bill doesn’t stop law-abiding Americans from owning a firearm. Ted Cruz is in the NRA’s hip pocket.

The Texas Tribune reports: The legislation does not restrict any rights of existing gun owners — a nonstarter for Senate Republicans. Instead, it would enhance background checks for gun purchasers younger than 21; make it easier to remove guns from people threatening to kill themselves or others, as well as people who have committed domestic violence; clarify who needs to register as a federal firearms dealer; and crack down on illegal gun trafficking, including so-called straw purchases, which occur when the actual buyer of a firearm uses another person to execute the paperwork to buy on their behalf.

U.S. Senate advances bipartisan gun legislation backed by Cornyn | The Texas Tribune

Is this the stuff of radicalism? Hardly. It’s a reasonable start.


Gun deal appears done

U.S. Senate Democrats and Republicans have come together to approve a deal that takes some important baby steps toward curbing the gun violence that has claimed so many innocent lives.

It isn’t the perfect deal. Then again, as the saying goes, senators sought to avoid letting “perfection become the enemy of the good.”

The package does a number of good things. As the Detroit News reports: The legislation would toughen background checks for the youngest firearms buyers, require more sellers to conduct background checks and beef up penalties on gun traffickers. It also would disburse money to states and communities aimed at improving school safety and mental health initiatives.

It isn’t perfect. I would have liked to see increasing minimum age requirements for buying firearms and strengthened universal background checks.

However, what has come out of the Senate deal negotiated by a bipartisan group of lawmakers is better than what we had already.

Which was nothing.

President Biden is going to sign the bill when it arrives in the Oval Office. The proposed legislation isn’t all that he wanted, either. However, he served long enough in the Senate to understand that compromise at times is the only way to achieve important goals.

Progressives want more legislative remedies. Archconservatives want nothing done. Neither extreme is correct.

The best answer lies in the vast middle ground. Senate negotiators have cobbled together a decent start on the quest to restore sanity in a nation plagued by senseless gun violence.


Uvalde cops are stonewalling

The term “stonewalling” became known to Americans during the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.

We are seeing it play out once again in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman walked into an elementary school and opened fire with an AR-15 rifle. Nineteen precious children and two educators died in the carnage.

Police didn’t respond as they should have to stop the madman. Meanwhile, the families of the victims are horrified because they don’t yet know what happened. Nor will they learn the truth if police and politicians have their way.

Stonewalling remains the tool of those who seek to cover up the truth, to withhold it from the public that has every right on Earth to demand it from those who know it.

However, we are not getting the truth.

Were there cops in the building? Did the Uvalde school district police chief — Pete Arredondo — know he was in charge of the response, and why did he wait so damn long before taking action?

We need the truth! We need it now!


How does town recover?

I continue to grapple emotionally with the tragedy that has cloaked Uvalde, Texas, the site of the hideous slaughter of 19 fourth-grade children and two teachers.

Twenty-one innocent victims lost their lives to a madman.

What seems to give this story an extra dose of pain is the reporting about the tightly knit nature of the city of 15,000 residents.

We heard in the immediate aftermath of the massacre at Robb Elementary School that the entire town seems to know someone involved in the school, and how the entire community is feeling a sort of visceral pain as a result of the madness.

Yes, there remain questions about the police response, the horrifying length of time it took for officers to storm the structure and engage the shooter. The Uvalde school district police chief, Pete Arredondo, is still perched on the hot seat and for the life of me I am puzzled as to why the school board hasn’t gotten rid of the chief.

But the pain still throbs as it emanates from Uvalde.

The Uvalde Independent School District is going to tear down the school that is the site of the massacre. That won’t eliminate the intense pain being felt in a community that, I fear, is going to remind everyone who hears its name will think first of senseless gun violence.


A deal on guns … finally

Let me be clear: The deal in principle by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators doesn’t go nearly far enough to curb gun violence.

But … it is a baby-step start.

The Texas Tribune reports on the deal announced today: The tentative deal includes a mix of modest gun control proposals and funding for mental health. It would incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws, which are designed to keep guns out of the hands of individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others; boost funding for mental health services, telehealth resources and more school security; permit juvenile records to be incorporated into background checks for purchasers under the age of 21 and crack down on the straw purchase and trafficking of guns.

Deal on post-Uvalde shooting gun legislation reached in Senate | The Texas Tribune

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the senior Texas Republican, is part of the senatorial team that hammered out the deal.

My own preference would have been to ban assault rifles, raise the minimum age requirements for purchasing firearms from 18 to 21 years of age and launch comprehensive universal background checks for every purchase.

That won’t come forward. House of Representatives Democrats want more. They’re likely to resist what the Senate is pitching.

I am not going to dig in just yet against this plan, which is good remember is just a deal in principle.

However, it is more than we got after Sandy Hook, after Columbine, after Las Vegas, after Sutherland Hills, Aurora, El Paso or Parkland.

Uvalde and Buffalo proved to be the catalyst to provide something.

It is far from ideal. However, I am going to accept it as possibly the beginning of a march toward more meaningful reform to end the gun violence that is killing too many innocent Americans.


Is this the tipping point?

U.S. senators from both parties are actually saying something few of us thought possible, which is that there might be some legislation coming forward that could impose some limits on gun purchases.

A gunman killed 10 shoppers at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. Then just a few days later another gunman slaughtered 19 fourth-graders and two teachers.

Americans have taken to the streets in protest. They are demanding something be done. President Biden has joined the chorus for gun reform.

Republicans in the Senate aren’t budging on a couple of key points: raising the age limit to purchase a firearm and extended universal background checks.

But … there appears to be some movement. Something might come forth. There could be a “red flag law” enacted allowing states to withhold possession of a firearm if a buyer comes up suspicious.

I guess I am heartened only a little by the apparent change of heart among some lawmakers. Get a load of this: Some Republican senators, such as Mitt Romney of Utah, said he now supports raising the age limit from 18 to 21 years of age to buy a firearm.

I won’t call this a tipping point. Indeed, many of us thought that the Sandy Hook Elementary School (Conn.) tragedy a decade ago — when 20 second-graders and six teachers were massacred — would have spurred some action. It didn’t.

Some in the Senate, naturally, are blaming reformers of “politicizing” events such as Buffalo and Uvalde. What an utter crock! Their refusal to act in the wake of this senseless violence in itself is a highly political demonstration. Therefore, they can cease the “politicization” argument … OK?

A little bit of movement, though, toward a legislative remedy — no matter how timid — is far better than what we’ve had so far. It gives me a glimmer of hope.