Thursday, June 23, 2016

Super Soaked

I got my nephew the Nerf Super Soaker Zombie Strike Splatterblast Blaster for his birthday. The description: “One-handed Splatter blast water blaster;  Lets you soak your target from up to 30 feet away with 4 streams of water; Water tank lights up; Holds up to 35 fluid ounces.” It’s perfect for an energetic kid. To break in the blaster, my nephew invited his father to play and gave him a squirt gun to defend himself. Smart young man – he gets the Super Soaker and only has to fend off a squirt gun. (There must be something to genetics!) Being outgunned is an apt metaphor for what’s happening in Washington these days.

Ten days after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history the U.S. Senate defeated four bills aimed at limiting assault rifles. They were largely on major party line basis. CNN reported: “Tough election year politics, paired with disputes over the effectiveness of each party's ideas, proved too powerful to break the longstanding partisan gridlock that's surrounded gun issues for years.”

Democrats in the House staged a sit in demanding a vote on two of the four bills that were already defeated in the Senate. It was a masterful public relations move – if pointless legislatively since even if the House miraculously passed them the senate already had defeated them.

The Boston Globe wrapped its paper on June 16, 2016 with a 4-page Opinion piece entitled “Make It Stop.” Included is a rich variety of statistics supporting their thesis: “Greed, legislative cowardice, advanced technology — that is how we got here. The United States has been pummeled by gun violence since the assault weapons ban expired in 2004. One class of gun, semiautomatic rifles, is largely responsible. But this nation cannot be a hostage of fear. We can make it stop.”

There once was an assault weapons ban. From Wikipedia: “The ten-year ban was passed by the U.S. Congress on September 13, 1994, and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton the same day. The ban only applied to weapons manufactured after the date of the ban's enactment, and it expired on September 13, 2004.”

Several reports showed that there was no measurable impact on the restriction of firearms and gun violence. The Brady Center found differently: “in the five-year period before enactment of the Federal Assault Weapons Act (1990-1994), assault weapons named in the Act constituted 4.82% of the crime gun traces ATF conducted nationwide. Since the law’s enactment, however, these assault weapons have made up only 1.61% of the guns ATF has traced to crime.”

The Independent Review actually shows that whenever there is an effort to restrict guns there is a huge upshot in gun sales:

The Washington Post agreed and  2015 did a state by state comparison and came to a similar conclusion that gun laws don't necessarily curb gun violence. “This doesn’t prove that gun laws have no effect on total homicide rates. Correlation doesn’t show causation.”

So what’s to be done? I am a pacifist. I abhor gun violence. I am a constitutionalist and I believe that America should be guided by that document. While I personally don’t want weapons, I also don’t want law abiding people who feel they need them to not have them. The Second Amendment provides for that – and it also provides context by using the description “…well regulated…”

The Assault Weapon in question is one that has been designed for killing human beings, especially in war. I’m hard pressed to see how the restriction of this one style of gun becomes a slippery slope to ending gun ownership in the U.S. Erring on the side of eliminating this particular weapon won’t destroy the Constitution just as it didn’t during the ten years it was previously in place. It might just make mass shootings a less likely and less bloody. That would be a good thing. I guess the lesson is that I should have gotten my nephew a squirt gun instead.

1 comment:

  1. Craig....the assault weapons you are talking about are not weapons of war. The media would like you to think so, but weapons of war ASSAULT weapons have been outlawed since 1984 or 86. Those weapons are automatic, they shoot a burst or a spray. They are illegal to manufacture and sell to civilians in the US. What they perport to be a weapon of war and call an assault weapon fires only one shot per trigger pull. It looks militaristic in style, and may have cool scopes or a larger magazine but still only fires one shot per trigger pull. They wouldnt use this weapon for war. They use automatic, not semi automatic weapons in the military.