On The Sandy Hook TragedyPolicy

I posted this Facebook status on Friday:

This unfortunate tragedy will bring out the political cranks. Please let’s let this thing play out, give the families time to grieve, and the rest of us time to learn all the facts.

It didn’t take very long before hoplophobic people started offering “solutions.”

The first I saw came from Dan. The former editorial page editor up on Campbell Ave. Now he has a blog of sorts, and is known on Facebook as Blogging Dan.

Dan immediately chose to use this tragedy to beat the political drum for more gun control laws. In true Roanoke Times style, he’s formed a firm decision without knowing the facts.

Before the weekend is over we’ll see a Roanoke Times editorial or cartoon that beats the same drum.

UPDATE: True to form. Check out the cartoon. That didn’t take long.

After the weekend we will know some facts, but still not all the facts. Until we do, let’s hold off a bit.

To keep you occupied until then I offer the following.

Use the comment section to describe a new, tougher gun law that would have prevented any of the school shootings in our country’s history. Or. for that matter, any shooting involving victims in a “gun free zone”, whether it be a school, airport, government building, courthouse, theater, store or restaurant.

Use your liberal imagination. Unleash your progressive thoughts. We are all anxious to hear your ideas.

Just remember that we do have a Constitution, unless your suggestion is to amend portions of it. If that is your suggestion a valid, in-depth argument for doing so would be nice. One that would persuade a sufficient number of citizens to go along with such an amendment.

Oh, and it should be at least as clear and short as the second amendment.

Facts matter, feelings and emotion won’t solve this problem.

@altonfoley | Facebook | Alton’s posts | E-mail me

  • http://twitter.com/tgoldsmith Tom Goldsmith

    Start with a ban on high capacity magazines and other accessories/modifications that are not necessary for hunting or self defense but which enable mass killing. Register amunition sales and establish reasonable limits. Establish a universal regulatory scheme for guns/gun owners that models motor vehicle regulations. These could include licensing and registration of deakers as well as each and every sale, requirements for liability insurance, periodic renewals, written and performance testing (as for drivers license), and annual safety inspections. Pay for all this through fees, taxes, insurance premiums that ensure that the decision to own a firearm isn’t trivial. Then, maybe, a substitute teacher wouldn’t have five guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition laying around. And maybe it would be more difficult for someone to accumulate an arsenal. Reducing the number of guns won’t stopp violence, but simply make it less deadly,

    I think we need to take the “well regulated” part of the second amendment more seriously.

    • MD Russ

      Tom,

      “The power to tax is the power to destroy.” Also, the Supreme Court has ruled twice recently on the militia clause, Heller v. DC and MacDonald v. Chicago. What you are suggesting would require repealing the Second Amendment. If you want to go there, I can make an equally compelling case for repealing the First, Third, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Tenth Amendments. Want to play?

      • http://twitter.com/tgoldsmith Tom Goldsmith

        Nothing I suggested actually contravenes the second amendment. We already regulate firearms in various states and localities along the lines I suggest. A uniform, federal law wouldn’t change that. The problem isn’t guns, per se, but the availability of inexpensive guns, sale to civilians of military equipment, and a lack of education and training. A car is such a significant and important investment that most of us wouldn’t dream of leaving it unlocked on the street in front of our home with the keys in it. Yet far too many people do exactly that with a gun they’ve spent only a few hundred dollars, or less, to buy. As for taxes, we often use the tax code to encourage or discourage behavior and/or as a kind of user fee. Think tobacco, alcohol and gasoline/cars. Taxing these things doesn’t destroy them, but it does affect our behavior and attitude toward them.

        • MD Russ

          Tom,

          The right to own a car, to drive a car, to consume tobacco, alcohol, and gasoline are not protected by the Bill of Rights. The right to keep and bear arms is.

          But, suppose we accept your argument. How would any of your suggestions have prevented a sociopath like Adam Lanza from doing what he did, assuming that his mother paid all the taxes, had all the annual inspections, etc?

          You just don’t get it: regulating and taxing guns to solve the scourge of sociopathic behavior is like regulating cars to solve the problem of DUI. We already have all of these measures and more for cars, which you like to cite, and yet almost 10,000 people were killed in the US last year by drunk drivers, many of them repeat offenders driving under suspected or revoked licenses.

          BTW, if you think that owning a Bushmaster .223, a Glock, and a SigSauer is a trivial decision, then you obviously know nothing about firearms. These are not “inexpensive guns.”

          • http://twitter.com/tgoldsmith Tom Goldsmith

            My car, which is on the low end, cost $30K. I can buy a Glock 17 for about $500. That’s relatively cheap. As for how my ideas might have prevented what happened at NewTown? Perhaps if a handgun cost $2K or more, there wouldn’t have been five of them in the house of a substitute teacher. If she had to have training and demonstrate competence in using them, had to buy insurance rated by the kind of gun, had to make a trip to have them inspected and renew a license periodically, she’d have made the choice to have just one, or none, and keep it locked up and unloaded. There are hundreds of millions guns out there and a substantial portion of them are treated with the same respect we give a flat screen TV, which costs about the same. Just as the first amendment grants me the right to speak freely, that right carries some responsibility and can be regulated in the name of public safety. (Try yelling “Bomb!” in an airport). Having the right to bear arms doesn’t mean they have to be cheap, or that their ownership and use cannot be rasonably regulated in the name of public safety.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alton.foley Alton Foley

            Tom, Connecticut does not lack gun control. http://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap529.htm#Sec29-28.htm

            This is a behavior issue.

          • http://twitter.com/tgoldsmith Tom Goldsmith

            What passes for “gun control” in the U.S. is a joke. Background check? Waiting period? Yeah, unless you go to a gunshow or non-licensed dealer. And because there will always be behavioral issues, we should, I think, do what we can to minimize the chances that those with such problems can have easy access to deadly weapons. I’m not anti-gun. My granddaughter is a crack shot and competes at a pretty high level. She has a right to enjoy her sport in a responsible way. These things are not incompatible.

          • MD Russ

            Tom,

            Please name one mass murderer who obtained his weapons legally at a gun show or in a private sale from a non-licensed dealer.

          • http://twitter.com/tgoldsmith Tom Goldsmith

            The guns used at Columbine were bought at a gun show, I seem to recall, though not by those who did the shooting. My point simply was that “gun control” as it exists, is not very effective because there are so many ways to evade it.

          • MD Russ

            “The guns used at Columbine were bought at a gun show… though not by those who did the shooting.”

            Is that all you have got?

            What a ridiculous bullshit excuse for an argument.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alton.foley Alton Foley

            Legally.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alton.foley Alton Foley

            So there are no gun related crimes in NYC, DC, or Chicago?

          • MD Russ

            Don’t forget Connecticut. They are ranked 5th in the United States for gun control by the Brady Bunch. No word yet from the American Psychiatric Association on where they rank on mental health treatment.

            http://www.eveningsun.com/politics-national/2012/12/connecticut-gun-laws-among-the-toughest-in-the-u-s/

          • http://twitter.com/tgoldsmith Tom Goldsmith

            Of course there are. There are gun violence crimes in England, where the laws are very stiff and the weapons very expensive. But in England, there were 11 deaths last year from guns. In the U.S., nearly 11,000. That, at least, suggests some changes in public policy toward firearms could have some effect.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alton.foley Alton Foley

            See above. And read it this time.

          • Tom Dykers

            People that are less affluent have the same rights as you do to bear arms and to protect themselves. You may have a $30K car and consider it “low end”, but there are plenty of people that have to scrape to get a $2k clunker. Not everyone can afford to live in a gated community.

            And not everyone can afford a $500 Glock. A friend of mine is a 27 year old guy that just moved with his girlfriend to a neighborhood that has a history of home invasions. When a prowler was outside just last week, all he had was a hammer and a kitchen knife. He wants a gun and has a right to have one. I plan to take him to a gun show in January and find a functional weapon at the best value we can. We are not going this month because he does not have enough money yet, even for an inexpensive gun.

            His rights are not subordinate to those that can afford to protect themselves in the scenario you have advocated for.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1427002848 James Cohen

            The guns all have reportedly been the property of the mother or were bought by the father prior to divorce and left with the mother. If the mother knowingly had a mentally ill son, why were the guns not secured? I own dozens of guns, rifles and shotguns and keep multiple stashes of ammo all secured to prevent unauthorized access but most importantly because we have children who should not have unsupervised access.

          • http://www.facebook.com/alton.foley Alton Foley

            It does no good to blame the deceased mother.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1427002848 James Cohen

            Not blaming, understanding the problem.

        • EricMcGrane

          “sales to civilians of military equipment”….

          Care to expand on that? This sounds like the hintings of someone that doesn’t know current gun laws.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1427002848 James Cohen

    Study lessons from the past. The founding of orgnized religion had at its core a set of beleifs hewn over time after tragic events unfolded and people searched for answers as to why they happened and what could have prevented them from reoccurring. I am sick of the “more people killed in the name of religion” blabber I am hearing when in fact people from communities who value faith in god with each also embrace the teaching that connects people.

    Our nations goodness, faith and our constitution are being repressed by those who will use this tragedy to restrict freedom and liberty.. its like death by a thousand paper cuts.

    Yeah, lets have this discussion

  • http://twitter.com/icanhasbailout Santa Claws

    This whole thing smells like a false flag to me.