Monday, April 27, 2009

I Knew I Never Liked You, Jimmy Carter...

Jimmy Carter should have stuck to building houses and writing awful poetry. His recent editorial on the 'Assault Weapons Ban' is about as effective as the rescue he masterminded for American hostages in Iran.

Shall I fisk it? Yes. Yes I shall.

--Begin Jimmy--

THE evolution in public policy concerning the manufacture, sale and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons like AK-47s, AR-15s and Uzis has been very disturbing. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and I all supported a ban on these formidable firearms, and one was finally passed in 1994.

What's a semi-automatic assault weapon? The answer is that its a made-up name for a scary looking rifle. Banned 'assault weapons' are no different from un-banned semi-automatic rifles in terms of lethality. But they have scary looking features like barrel shrouds, bayonet lugs, and pistol grips.

Real assault rifles like the ones that the Army uses are already illegal unless you have a Class 3 Federal Firearms license. Since 1934, only 2 Class 3 weapons have been used to commit crimes. (In case you were wondering.)

When the 10-year ban was set to expire, many police organizations — including 1,100 police chiefs and sheriffs from around the nation — called on Congress and President George W. Bush to renew and strengthen it. But with a wink from the White House, the gun lobby prevailed and the ban expired.

The 'Gun Lobby' is powerful because it represents a lot of people who would rather not be disarmed by the federal government. Its not some mysterious force, separate and different from the millions of gun owners who write, call, give money and send letters. In college, I believe they referred to that as 'democracy.'

I have used weapons since I was big enough to carry one, and now own two handguns, four shotguns and three rifles, two with scopes. I use them carefully, for hunting game from our family woods and fields, and occasionally for hunting with my family and friends in other places. We cherish the right to own a gun and some of my hunting companions like to collect rare weapons. One of them is a superb craftsman who makes muzzle-loading rifles, one of which I displayed for four years in my private White House office.

This is standard. Before some bureaucrat decides to disarm millions of Americans, we always hear what a big-time gun lover he is. Blah blah blah. Go Pound sand, Jimmy.

But none of us wants to own an assault weapon, because we have no desire to kill policemen or go to a school or workplace to see how many victims we can accumulate before we are finally shot or take our own lives. That’s why the White House and Congress must not give up on trying to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, even if it may be politically difficult.

This is complete hogwash. The AR-15s is the single most popular sporting rifle in this country. Its used in countless competitions, and for hunting small game. You and your buddies can spend thousands on beautiful antiques and hand carved maple stocks, and sneer at black rifles. But for the average guy, the AR platform is versatile, affordable and reliable.

An overwhelming majority of Americans, including me and my hunting companions, believe in the right to own weapons, but surveys show that they also support modest restraints like background checks, mandatory registration and brief waiting periods before purchase.

A majority of Americans also support banning assault weapons. Many of us who hunt are dismayed by some of the more extreme policies of the National Rifle Association, the most prominent voice in opposition to a ban, and by the timidity of public officials who yield to the group’s unreasonable demands.

The 2nd Amendment doesn't mention hunting, which is probably why the NRA doesn't only represent hunters but people who want firearms for self-defense, for competition, and for collecting. It's also not extreme or unreasonable oppose the disarmament of millions of Americans for no reason.

As to the other stuff: Background checks? We have the NCIS background check. Mandatory registration has been tried in Canada, beginning in 1998. By 2004, it had cost 1 billion dollars, about 500 times expected, and the authorities there say its helped them sove exactly zero violent crimes.

Heavily influenced and supported by the firearms industry, N.R.A. leaders have misled many gullible people into believing that our weapons are going to be taken away from us, and that homeowners will be deprived of the right to protect ourselves and our families. The N.R.A. would be justified in its efforts if there was a real threat to our constitutional right to bear arms. But that is not the case.

This is patronizing and offensive. In 5 minutes anyone can find a proof that a great many politicians and government bureaucrats would be tickled pink by a firearms ban. Behold:

"We can't be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans."
-- William Jefferson Clinton, USA Today, March 11, 1993.

"Banning guns is an idea whose time has come."
--U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden
Associated Press 11/18/93

"We're here to tell the NRA their nightmare is true!." "We're going to hammer guns on the
anvil of relentless legislative strategy! We're going to beat guns into submission!"
--U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer
NBC Nightly News 11/30/93

"The American people must be willing to give up a degree of personal privacy in exchange for safety and security."
-- Louis Freeh Director of the FBI, 1993

"With a 10,000% tax we could tax them out of existence."
--U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Washington Post 11/4/93

"If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an out right ban,
picking up every one of them... "Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in,
"I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here."
--U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA),
CBS-TV's "60 Minutes," 2/5/95

Instead, the N.R.A. is defending criminals’ access to assault weapons and use of ammunition that can penetrate protective clothing worn by police officers on duty.

It's pretty clear no fact checking was done, and that Carter is eager to spread these sordid lies. Existing gun laws already forbid criminals from buying firearms. Actual armor-piercing ammo is already illegal, and no police officer in the USA has ever been killed when a handgun bullet went through their body armor.

In addition, while the N.R.A. seems to have reluctantly accepted current law restricting sales by licensed gun dealers to convicted felons, it claims that only “law-abiding people” obey such restrictions — and it opposes applying them to private gun dealers or those who sell all kinds of weapons from the back of a van or pickup truck at gun shows.

Any actual gun dealers have to file the appropriate paperwork and perform background checks every time they sell a firearm, which means there's nothing different about gun sales at gun shows, as far as these guys are concerned. Anyone else selling a gun is a private citizen. This 'loophole' being described is the fact that a private citizen can sell a firearm (their own property) without paperwork and background checks. About 2% of violent felons buy guns at gun shows, so I'm not sure that forbidding private citizens from selling guns at gun shows, when they could sell them in their living rooms or on would really make a difference

What are the results of this profligate ownership and use of guns designed to kill people? In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 30,000 people died from firearms, accounting for nearly 20 percent of all injury deaths. In 2005, every nine hours a child or teenager in the United States was killed in a firearm-related accident or suicide.

Jimmy, don't play the slippery eel with me. You've spent the last 10 paragraphs getting into a jowl-wobbling snit about assault weapons, and now you sneak in the death toll for every rifle, pistol, rubber band-gun and spit-ball in the country. I suppose you could mention that 1% of gun crimes are comitted with these 'assault weapons,' but if you did, that wouldn't be nearly as impressive, would it?

I would also like to mention that if a cop shoots a drug dealer, or two drug dealers shoot eachother, or a homeowner shoots a burglar he finds in his daughter's room, these shootings all count as "gun related shootings." Personally I put the bodies of innocents killed by the criminal or the crazy in an entirely different, far more tragic category than the criminals who shoot eachother or get killed by cops or citizens.

Additionally, the CDC has the sneaky habit of defining a child as anyone under the age of 19, which means that that some of those gang bangers are being counted as 'children.' Its a sad situation, clearly, but its not what comes to mind when you hear that 1 every 9 hours statistic.

Across our border, Mexican drug cartels are being armed with advanced weaponry imported from the United States — a reality only the N.R.A. seems to dispute.

Drivel. Nonsense. Dreck. Some of the guns turning up in Mexico come from the USA. However, the 90% number we hear so often is a bunch of crap. That figure represents the percentage of guns submitted to US authorities for tracing that turn up to have been bought in the USA. Here's how the numbers actually break down:

In 2007-2008, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced -- and of those, 90 percent -- 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover -- were found to have come from the U.S. But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes. Which puts the percentage of US-sold firearms at about 17%. Troubling certainly, but hardly a flood of arms.

You hardly need the breakdown to realize what utter idiocy this claim is. If you were a drug lord fighting a drug war, you'd want a metric buttload of full-auto weapons, grenades, RPGs, and explosives. Being a criminal, you'd have no compunctions about buying container loads of them on the black market. And incidentally this would be way faster, cheaper and easier than finding a pliable gun dealer, spoofing the NCIS checks and buying them retail , one at a time in the USA and then smuggling them south across the border. Please, Jimmy. Think.

The gun lobby and the firearms industry should reassess their policies concerning safety and accountability — at least on assault weapons — and ease their pressure on acquiescent politicians who fear N.R.A. disapproval at election time. We can’t let the N.R.A.’s political blackmail prevent the banning of assault weapons — designed only to kill police officers and the people they defend.

Blah blah blah. Go fuck yourself.


Atom Smasher said...


Tam said...

If my gun-handling was as bad as Jimmy's, I'd be more worried about guns, too...

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