Thursday, April 16, 2009

Half-Cocked and Loaded

You know something?

I can handle the simpleminded tools who don't even have the remedial education enough to understand that it's ideologically impossible to be a liberal and a fascist at the same time.

I can deal with misguided hicks who take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and who see nothing irrational in blaming an administration that's been in office for three months for the complete meltdown of the U.S. economy, rather than blaming the people who ruled with almost absolute authority for eight years.

I can take the bald-faced hypocrisy of those who cheered on the creation of a warrantless surveillance state, but who now complain that it might suddenly be used to monitor the dangerous extremists on the right, or those who accused anyone who spoke out against George Bush of treason but who now make veiled and even direct threats against the new opposition president while hiding behind the First Amendment.

I can even stomach the ignorant fuckers who don't get that the Boston Tea Party was a protest against a corporate tax cut at the expense of the middle class, and that they're essentially railing in opposition to their own interests.

I can handle all that nonsense -- but I swear, I'll take a baseball bat to anyone so devoid of common sense, so offensively out of touch with reality, so consumed by bumper sticker dogma, that he or she defends the fact that a gun show in Virginia sold 10 weapons in one hour to the brother of one of the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting -- no ID required, no questions asked. Or that New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is demanding that something be done about it.

ABC News: Bloomberg Pushes Virginia to Close Gun Show Loophole/4.13.09

Related: DXM: Blowback/6.21.07


Anonymous said...


I'm sorry, but you just don't get it.

Changing this law would change nothing about how easy it is to get a gun to commit a crime with.

Do you think a background (+ sanity) check would've really prevented the Virginia Tech massacre, instead of merely delaying it for a time? You have to remember that this guy literally thought he was equivalent to Jesus Christ. That's some pretty intense motivation from where I'm standing.

I'm 99.999% positive we would still have seen the same thing happen, perhaps just a few months later (at the latest). If you can't buy it yourself, it's easy enough in this country to get someone else to buy for you and sell at a profit (or even not!).

I'm all for regulation in a number of areas (the financial markets certainly being one of them), but with small products like guns and drugs, easy to smuggle on your person or in packages, legislation applied broadly and unreasonably is only going to create a lucrative black market criminals would love to exploit.

Additionally, right-wing Republicans aren't giving up their "right" to sell guns to each other.

You see, you'd think they were breaking the law, but they wouldn't. They'd only see it as exercising their rights under the Second Amendment.

I'm not saying we shouldn't ask for ID to ensure a person is of the legal age to buy a weapon, but asking for anything beyond that of the occasional gun seller is unlikely to get you anywhere.

Honestly, it'd be better for gun shows to have a policy where they randomly (every 5-10 people) background check as you enter the gun show. This way, you dissuade felons from trying to purchase at these venues. That's really about all you can realistically do or ask that will actually have any positive effect and not risk the unintentional consequence of further pushing gun selling underground, something that makes preventing this sort of thing even more improbable than it already is.

If every person selling a gun felt comfortable selling it back to a licensed gun dealer at a reasonable price, and it were to be resold at (again) a reasonable price to a citizen who meets all legal requirements, I think that would do more to prevent gun crime than simply imposing a foolish restriction on gun shows.

Persuading others to do what you want them to do and they feel is the right thing is easier than telling them they can't do what they want to when they feel it is their right to do so.

Tony said...

Chez, I assume you haven't yet read Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. It's a fierce, funny, disturbing, but ultimately uplifting book that reminds us that Ben Affleck was right — even about American liberalism.

As for the gun-selling business, I think you should just make it illegal for crazies to roam free and be done with it.

Erica Dee said...

At CVS today someone behind me said- "We made a mistake hiring Hussein Obama, he's callin' us ignorant over in England and Puerto Rico. I'm sorry we can't be like the people in Mexico and Puerto Rico and sit around laying in the sun at the beach all day."


I like Chris Rock's approach to gun control.

"Just make every bullet $5,000.

There would be no innocent bystanders."

And I don't think there would be another Virginia Tech.

It really scares me — this whole guns flying off the shelf in the south because I recently went to one of my local redneck WalMarts and out of curiosity went to look at the gun case in the back.

Sure enough. They were sold out of bullets.

Bill Orvis White said...

I agree with your first poster, Chez. You know the old saying, "Guns don't kill people...." Heck, I've said it enough, I want to go back to drinking. Seriously, I saw the whole VA Tech thing go down. I could say if I was there I coulda stopped that runt with my arsenal, but I don't believe in Monday Morning Quarterbacking. You can't go back in time. I wish I didn't drive into that Mississippi ditch one night, but you know something: It was probably going to happen later anyways. Where do you draw the line? Stopping those gun shows won't do a dang thing. I'm a responsible gun owner and I shouldn't be penalized because some mistake of nature came in and got some guns.
I know your heart's in the right place, Chez, but more laws and gov't control is not the answer -- personal responsibility is the one true answer to this issue.

Archvillain said...

A correction is in order:
"a gun show in Virginia sold 10 weapons in one hour to the brother of one of the victims of the Virginia Tech shooting -- no ID required, no questions asked."

Sorry, wrong answer. He bought those guns from private parties who also happened to be at a gun show. Many states have no restrictions on selling firearms between individuals. Virginia is one of them. At the Virginia gun shows, there are police officers present with computers and phone lines for the sole purpose of performing background checks. Everyone who purchases a firearm from any vendor at the show ("vendor" defined as a BATF-licensed firearms dealer) undergoes a background check before receiving their firearm. Period. Full stop.

The person you mention bought 10 firearms from private individuals at a gun show. It is a state and federal offense to knowingly sell a firearm to anyone not legally permitted to own one. There is no legal requirement for a background check for sales between private individuals. Furthermore, even had there been such a requirement, it would NOT have prevented the Virginia tech massacre. The shooter in that case legally purchased his firearm from a licensed gun store, and underwent a background check. The fact that he passed the background check before receiving his firearm has nothing whatsoever to do with gun shows.

This hysteria regarding a non-existent "gun show loophole" is both stupid and counter-productive. You could have legally purchased the same number of firearms with similar lack of restriction by reading the classified ads in Richmond that weekend. Why does the gun show get singled out for special criticism?

And why are you so violent about the subject?

Chez said...

I love that you're arguing semantics.

And I'm "violent" about the subject because a lack of common sense when it comes to sale of guns gets people killed.

By all means though, continue to make ridiculous excuses and justifications.

Alex said...

I've never owned a gun, but I must say that governmental regulation has worked so very well on every OTHER item/substance in history that I just can't get behind more governmental oversight. Drugs and guns are prevalent and easily obtainable in this country. Legality doesn't seem to make a difference to that, does it?

It seems like there should be something we can do about shit like this, but it comes down to education and personal responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Research where criminals get their weapons. It is not at gun shows.

Further, research gun-related crime rates in societies that are more restrictive towards guns than we are. Both the frequency of voilent crimes, and the amount of damage done (in the means of human lives) increases as you further restrict the ability to own weapons.

Restricting the tools these disturbed individuals use is not going to resolve anything. A better system of identification and reform for these individuals, however, will assist not only those so disturbed they violently lash out at society, but also help those that simply need some assistance to orient their lives.

Chez said...

Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold bought several of their guns at a gun show.

Make all the excuses you want.

Archvillain said...

Semantics is not at issue. There is nothing to excuse.

You claimed that a gun show sold ten firearms to someone with no background checks or ID requirements. This is patently false, as I explained. I further mentioned that the same purchase would have been just as likely via the classified ads in the local newspaper- and would have been just as legal.

This being so, why the hysteria regarding gun shows?

LaRoach said...

In Colorado we had the so called loophole and they "closed" it. Not much changed. The only requirement in CO is that you can't knowingly sell a firearm to anyone who has a felony record. Other than that I can do face to face private party sale anywhere but at a gunshow. There may be other restrictions but those are the main points.

So what do you do? Go to the gunshow with a sign on your bag/pack/etc. that says "I have the following for sale" or "Looking to buy the following" and walk around. When you get a buyer/seller you go off the property and make the transfer, all completely legal (at least least time I checked it was).

The question of how to avoid selling to a nut job has brought up an interesting trend. I'm seeing a lot of people get concealed weapons permits and only willing to sell to other permit holders. If you sell to a permit holder they've been pretty heavily background checked (far more than the regular call in check when you go to buy from a dealer),have to renew every five years and get training.. The net result is a lot of people are getting concealed permits.

Alex said...

Chez, this has me so baffled. You sound like a viewer of Fox News with his/her fingers in their ears as we point out legitimate reasons why your emotional disdain for gun shows and your need for more gun control don't logically hold water.

What is going on here?

Chez said...

Oh dear God.

Listen -- my "disdain" for gun shows isn't a disdain and it isn't emotional. It's logical. Very logical. If closing a loophole in the law (and say what you want, it is a loophole that allows anyone to sell a gun to just about anyone without the slightest concern for who the hell that person is) saves one life -- really, just one -- then it's worth it. Standing in the way of common sense gun policy -- which is the position the NRA and its acolytes are constantly taking -- is simply unconscionable. A gun is not like any other item you can buy, sell or trade, and it should be treated as such. Gun shows have the potential to be one stop shopping for people who don't have need to purchase a gun "under the table" and don't have the forethought or creativity to be able to track one down by another means.

Once again, I go back to the point that Harris and Klebold got several of their weapons at a gun show. Why? Because they knew they could, and could easily -- which is what ABC and Omar Samaha proved. That's my issue.

Seriously -- one life.

Anonymous said...

There is no more need for gun control. It is already at the point that it's difficult enough for a law-abiding citizen to obtain one, and the people you're worrying about aren't going to follow the law, Chez.

I don't care one whit what ABC or anyone else "proved". The fact is, criminals like it when a product has to go underground, especially for those who usually follow the law. It means there are fewer regular people who have that product, and just as many (if not more) criminals who have it.

I also contest the idea that your idea of gun show regulation would save one single life.

Granted, it MIGHT. MAYBE. It's a slim possibility, I'll grant you that.

It's also a possibility that your little restriction might cause some regular person to be unable to buy the gun they want at a gun show (depending on the law passed), and it may actually cause a loss of life in a myriad of hypothetical situations.

Guns are inanimate. People kill people. It's an old tired argument, but only when people understand it will we have real "gun control", and we won't need ridiculous laws for it.

Dave B. said...

I went to a gun show here in NC back in January with a few gun-toting friends of mine. Personally, I was there to buy blades, because I'm a blade man, but if I'd had, say, a spare $900, I could have bought a military issue (with military issue scope) Dragunov sniper rifle (made by the manufacturers of the AK-47).

I've fired guns, assault rifles, etc, but do not own any. I like blades, as I said. But the ease with which someone at that show could buy just about anything that wasn't a handgun was mildly disturbing.

That all being said, if any of you defending gun shows can explain what kind of practical use a regular joe would need a military grade sniper rifle for, then please, feel free to justify these things.

Don't get me wrong, Bill pointed out a verifiable truth: it IS a matter of personal responsibility. That Dragunov looked nice, ya know, but I couldn't justify the purchase. I can't really justify anyone having that thing, but there it was, for the buying.

Sadly, there seems to be a direct correlation between religious fanaticism and lack of personal responsibility, and we're learning more and more how deadly that can be.

Don't believe me? Check out this:

Chez said...

Congrats, Anon 2:39 -- you managed to successfully hit every single tired, dumb-ass cliché against sensible gun policy. Give yourself a prize.

jaszhix said...

I'd just like to point out that the Boston Tea Party was about taxing tea. Since there were no corporations in the 18th century, I don't think there was a corporate tax cut. But yeah the tea parties suck.

Chez said...

The East India Trading Company was, essentially, the first multi-national corporation.

Dave B. said...

Forgive my improper link from my above comment, for I am Polish and thus come by my aloofness through genetic disposition. The correct link follows.

Amy said...

At least you know some crazy people read your blog now.