The President’s Gun Violence Plan
I didn’t really want to do this, but here goes. Obama’s plan is here.
Require background checks for all gun sales
First, it is a myth that gun show dealers do not require the ATF background check. Some do, if they have a regular business location outside of gun shows. However, the ATF FFL rules only apply to BUSINESSES. I assume that these rules will be changing and I’m fine with that.
If the is changed so that I can sell guns only to people with FFLs and buy guns from only people with FFLs, then that’s fine. I can live with it. But most people won’t. I know plenty of law-abiding citizens that won’t follow that law to trade guns among themselves.
I still say that they only real way to prevent back-alley sales is have 100% fire-arm registration with yearly renewal fees.
Strengthen the background check system for gun sales
All for it. However, given what I know of the ATF/FFL process, the ATF is woefully undermanned for its current duties. AnFFL inspection is supposed to take place for all FFL holders every year. My dad has had an FFL for almost 15 years now and has only had two inspections.
Pass a new, stronger ban on assault weapons
This one really bothers me. Because there is no definition of ‘assault weapon’. Remember:
Are the exact same gun. At the time of the previous ban on ‘assault weapons’, one was illegal to own, the other was not. The whitehouse.gov site that I got this from, says that
That ban was an important step, but manufacturers were able to circumvent the prohibition with cosmetic modifications to their weapons.
That’s not true. The law at the time specifically defined ‘assault weapon’ as having two or more of these cosmetic features: folding/telescoping stock, pistol grip, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, grenade launcher (but only muzzle launched, apparently an under-rifle mount grenade launcher was OK).
So, we still have a nebulously defined ‘weapon’. That’s not how good laws are made. That’s how bad laws are made and how lots of confusion gets into the picture.
Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
This is still utterly useless. Any decent shooter can change a magazine in a pistol in seconds. I mean that literally, I can empty a magazine in a pistol, drop the magazine, insert a new one, prep to fire, and fire the next round all without removing my finger from the trigger and do it in less time than it takes you to read this. And I’m not an expert at it by far.
Do we need more than 10 rounds? No. But a ban on this really is silly. And you know what, I’m willing to bet that starting about 5 minutes after the President’s speech today, you can’t buy any magazine larger than 10 rounds anywhere. Every gun store, on-line retailer, and back-woods black-market dealer will be sold out of extended magazines no matter what price he’s asking.
Finish the job of getting armor-piercing bullets off the streets
Here’s another nebulously defined system. Armor-piercing ammunition is simply bullets with a hardened steel core (or some other hard material like tungsten-carbide). That’s all. OK, fine, we don’t need AP ammo. But, in the laws it needs to be specifically designated as what this is. Arguably any coated bullet is armor-piercing. That’s not really true, but it’s a popular myth and it will be interesting to see if the US government can tell the difference between myth and reality.
Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime
All for it. Except for that part about removing restrictions that keep federal law enforcement from doing its job. What are the ‘restrictions’ that somehow prevent federal law enforcement from prosecuting crimes right now?
End the freeze on gun violence research
There is a note attached here that the US congress specifically bars the CDC from conducting research on the causes and prevention of gun violence. Really? Because the cause of death report that comes out every year has several categories of gun violence listed (suicide, accident, homicide, and other). Now, it’s not a lot of research, but I don’t think that prevents non-CDC researchers from looking at this and I think that they have been. I don’t know, I’m all for research, but this seems a little weird that it’s even a problem.
Make our schools safer with new resource officers and counselors, better emergency response plans, and more nurturing school climates
You can start by talking about the 33% of students who report being bullied at schools in this country. Oh and don’t forget the 8 percent of all teachers in the US that have been threatened with physical violence from students and the 4% of all teachers that have been assaulted by students. Almost 150,000 teachers have reported being physically assaulted by students.
You can start by halving class sizes and giving teachers decent pay and the respect of the communities. I’ve been a teacher, I know what they go through. I was threatened no fewer than twice a year while I was teaching. I even had students tell me that they knew my address and would come visit me with some friends.
We need schools that work, not prisons and not babysitters.
I’m all for this. I’d like to hear about these ‘proven strategies’ to ‘reduce bullying, drug abuse, violence, and other problem behaviors’. I’d like to hear from some actual teachers, not the professors to who teach education classes in universities. I’ve been in those and I’ve been in the classroom. I can tell you what you hear in the education classes has nothing to do with reality at all.
Ensure quality coverage of mental health treatment, particularly for young people
It takes a anti-gun violence law to get this going? Why isn’t this standard by now? It’s the 21st century people. Scientists know a lot about what’s going on in the brain and how it affects behavior. The problem is that drug therapies and counseling are bloody expensive. The people who need it the most are the least likely to be able to pay for it.
The time is not now… the time for most of these discussions was decades ago, but it takes some major event to shock people into action. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. The time for quality and universal mental health coverage was 30-35 years ago… but we’re not there yet.
Fine, I won’t buy anymore 30 round magazines and if the government pays me a fair price, I’ll even give up my assault rifle (because those things are bloody expensive, especially now). But in return, I want better pay for teachers and all school employees (with the exception of superintendents, they are paid like CEOs and not worth it). I want manageable sized classrooms that have equipment and well trained teachers. I want this in every school in America, not just the suburban rich schools. I want every person in America to have access to any health-care resources that they need in order to be as healthy as they can possibly be, both physically and mentally. I want a US congress that is responsible for its own actions and its internal law-breakers.
If I have to give up some weapons, it’s a small price to pay and I’ll gladly do it.
But the skeptic in me doesn’t see it working. Laws will be passed, but not funded. Programs will be enacted, but not funded. Whole new bureaucracies will be created, but the money won’t get to those that actually need it.