Gun control cliff update for Jan. 15
The terminology of the “fiscal cliff” was hijacked and turned into a synonym for tax increases; “will we avoid the fiscal cliff?’ came to mean “whose taxes will go up?” It seemed to work, because the American public entered the desired level of blind panic, and forgot all about out-of-control spending and the deficit. I am therefore hijacking the terminology again, and declaring America on the edge of a gun control cliff. Here’s some news from the precipice:
** On Monday night, the New York Senate passed what is being touted as “the most restrictive gun law in the nation” with a vote of 43-18. One of the 18 who voted against it was Republican state senator Greg Ball, who was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “We haven’t saved any lives tonight, except one: the political life of a governor who wants to be president. We have taken an entire category of firearms that are currently legal that are in the homes of law-abiding, tax paying citizens. … We are now turning those law-abiding citizens into criminals.”
“At what point do you say, ‘No more innocent loss of life?’” asked the governor in question, Democrat Andrew Cuomo. The success of this bill in banning the innocent loss of life should be easy to evaluate. Actually, he probably meant to say “loss of innocent life,” since “innocent loss of life” would be the opposite of murder. This is what you get when you don’t insist on being treated like grown-ups by your political leaders, America.
The AP sums up the bill as follows:
The governor confirmed the proposal, previously worked out in closed session, called for a tougher assault weapons ban and restrictions on ammunition and the sale of guns, as well as a mandatory police registry of assault weapons, grandfathering in assault weapons already in private hands.
It would create a more powerful tool to require the reporting of mentally ill people who say they intend to use a gun illegally and would address the unsafe storage of guns, the governor confirmed.
Under current state law, assault weapons are defined by having two “military rifle” features spelled out in the law. The proposal would reduce that to one feature and include the popular pistol grip.
Ah, so New York will be cracking down on somewhat scary-looking rifles, in addition to really scary-looking rifles. The mental health provisions sound like a good idea, including a requirement for therapists to report “credible threats to use a gun illegally” to their superiors, who can decide whether or not to alert the police. But what if the patient makes a credible threat to use a bomb or a machete illegally? Will there be some guidelines for therapists and administrators over what constitutes a “credible” threat?
And there’s more:
Private sales of assault weapons to someone other than an immediate family would be subject to a background check through a dealer. Also Internet sales of assault weapons would be banned, and failing to safely store a weapon could be subject to a misdemeanor charge.
Ammunition magazines would be restricted to seven bullets, from the current 10, and current owners of higher-capacity magazines would have a year to sell them out of state. An owner caught at home with eight or more bullets in a magazine could face a misdemeanor charge.
Hopefully no law-abiding gun owners will ever be attacked by multiple assailants, leading to the need for more than seven bullets. I’m sure that probably never happens anyway. On the other hand, seven bullets is plenty for controlling and executing innocent unarmed people, so the criminals shouldn’t be too upset by this provision.
There’s also something called the “Webster provision,” which increases the penalties for using a gun against a first responder. It’s named after an incident in the town of Webster, New York, in which the perpetrator set a fire, murdered two of the firefighters who responded… and then killed himself. It doesn’t sound like tougher legal penalties would have dissuaded him. But all of this is being done in the name of the Newtown massacre, while very little of it has any logical connection to that crime, so it’s par for the course.
** Writing at Breitbart.com, AWR Hawkins makes the point that Vice President Joe Biden’s push for “universal background checks” would block the inheritance of guns by family members, unless “background checks and fees for the government” are satisfied. That would be another middle-class tax increase, for anyone still bothering to keep track of President Obama’s broken promises. And you’d better hope a liberal media organization doesn’t decide to use your gun registry information to reveal your home address to criminals!
** Speaking of which, the UK Daily Mail reports that one of the homes identified by the anti-Second Amendment crusaders at the New York Journal News has been burglarized, and the burglars headed straight for the homeowner’s guns. Happily, they were unable to crack the safe, and one of them is reportedly in custody. “The Journal News has placed the lives of these folks at risk by creating a virtual shopping list for criminals and nutjobs,” said state senator Greg Ball – the very same representative who criticized New York’s new gun bill. Note to enterprising thieves: I wouldn’t recommend trying to rob the headquarters of the Journal News, because they have armed guards.
** President Obama addressed gun control in his press conference on Monday. “We’ve got to do everything we can to protect [the American people] from the horrors of gun violence,” he declared, saluting Vice President Joe Biden’s “work on the issue of gun violence, and for his proposals,” which the President promised to review and address over the next few days.
Obama specifically called for “stronger background checks,” doing “a much better job in terms of keeping these magazine clips with high capacity out of the hands of folks who shouldn’t have then,” and “an assault weapons ban that is meaningful.” A breathless nation awaits Obama’s meaningful clarification of what a “magazine clip” means.
Obama also repeated the silly talking point floated by Vice President Biden the other day: “If there is a step we can take that will save even one child from what happened in Newtown, we should take that step.” See what I mean about the consequences of failing to insist that political leaders address their constituents as intelligent adults?
Ominously, Obama also mentioned the idea of imposing gun control through executive order, saying he was “confident that there are some steps that we can take that don’t require legislation and that are within my authority as President.” The only example he went on to provide was a vague reference to “gathering data on guns that fall into the hands of criminals, and how we track that more effectively.”
However, Politico reported on Monday that according to Joe Biden, “the White House has identified 19 executive actions for President Obama to move unilaterally on gun control.” These measures could include “giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to conduct national research on guns, more aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws and pushing for wider sharing of existing gun databases among federal and state agencies.”
** The Buckeye Firearms Association of Ohio reports that over a thousand applicants have enrolled in its Armed Teacher Training Program, which was originally envisioned as having only two dozen participants. Some of the applicants are from out of state; about 40 percent of them are women. The non-profit Buckeye Firearms Foundation is covering the costs of the program.