updated 8:47 AM EDT, Fri September 13, 2013
(CNN) -- Just
when one might have thought that lunacy over gun policy in the U.S. cannot be
exceeded, think again.
In the wake of the Newtown massacre,
Colorado adopted a universal background check system and a modest restriction
on the size of high-capacity magazines. This was good news for everyone except
gun sellers who don't want the sales to felons and the insane to dry up (and
those who think what for most purchasers would be a five-minute background
check is too much of an imposition).
NOTE: This is inaccurate. Virtually everyone who has been stopped with background
checks was a law-abiding citizen. What is evidence there that
either background checks or limits on magazine size have reduced any type of
crime rates? There is none.
Since gun sellers call the shots at the
NRA, the lobbying group launched an effort to punish Colorado legislators who
stood up for public safety over gun seller profits. Now, two thoughtful
Colorado legislators have been recalled and the NRA is crowing at having
exercised its muscle once again.
Other states are trying to up the ante.
Only last week, Iowa highlighted the nonsense by offering
concealed carry permits to blind individuals.
This week in Missouri,
by the thinnest of margins -- only 1 vote in the state Senate -- the
legislature failed in its effort to make that state a haven for gun toting
felons and lunatics by overriding the governor's veto of a bill designed to
thwart any form of federal gun regulation, including background checks, and
even trying to make it a crime for federal agents to enforce these laws.
NOTE: There were no federal laws banning
felons from getting guns until the 1960s. No states had these laws until
The claim that the state can
unilaterally decide to nullify federal law is so preposterous that even the
strongest of gun advocates with some understanding of Supreme Court precedent
acknowledge its invalidity.
NOTE: Up until the New Deal and Supreme
Court decisions such as Wicker in 1942, the notion that the Federal government
could even have the types of gun laws that are being discussed wouldn't even
have occurred to most lawyers.
Indeed, Robert Levy, who personally
funded the litigation designed to convince the Supreme Court that the Second
Amendment, which begins "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the
security of a free state," had nothing to do with a well-regulated militia
has recently conceded that the Missouri stunt flouts the very Constitution that
its supporters claim to uphold.
Even Levy's concessions fall on deaf
ears in the legislatures of Kansas and Montana, where the idea of state
nullification of federal gun laws seems eminently reasonable -- despite the
clear language of the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, which
states, the "Constitution and the Laws of the United States ... shall be
the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound
thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary
While Iowa is merely highlighting the
absurd laxity of gun laws in this country, the damage will be slight since most
blind Iowans will have the good sense not to possess or discharge
NOTE: 42 states have made similar
alterations to their laws. Can you point to any problems that have arisen?
But the overheated rhetoric flowing from
the NRA crowd during the Colorado recall and from Missouri (and similarly
inclined states) is dangerous for at least two reasons.
NOTE: What exactly was the overheated
rhetoric from the NRA? If you want examples of overheated rhetoric by
Democrats with claims of racism and voter suppression, try here and here.
First, it undermines our democracy when
voters act based on false and misleading views about the actual content of
state and federal laws. Second, similar hyperbolic rhetoric after the passage
of the federal background check system and the (now elapsed) federal assault
weapons ban galvanized the unstable gun zealot Timothy McVeigh forward with his
scheme to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City.
NOTE: McVeigh was motivated by Federal
background check system and assault weapons ban? Try Waco and Ruby Ridge.
For example, here is a discussion from CBS's "60 Minutes."
The NRA can succeed in its efforts to
punish legislators who stand up for positions its own president once
specifically advocated and push for clearly unconstitutional laws by recklessly
fooling voters into believing that federal gun laws are tyrannical. In fact, federal
gun restrictions are so lax that the U.S. overwhelmingly dominates the world in
the number of guns held by private citizens -- and also among rich countries in
its rate of gun deaths from murder, suicide, and accidents.
NOTE: This probably relies on bogus data from the Small Arms Survey.
Just the other day, a child killed
herself with her father's gun while camping in Yellowstone National Park.
Law-abiding citizens with guns have to recognize their obligations to prevent
the types of tragedies that occur on a daily basis in the U.S. when lawfully
owned guns are used, intentionally or inadvertently, to kill and maim others.
NOTE: Obviously tragedies such as
this child's death occur, but the question is the net effect from gun
ownership. If the father had used the gun to protect the child from a
mountain lion, would Donohue be writing about that?
One needs to accommodate the interests
of legitimate gun owners if sensible gun laws are to be passed, but gun owners
must also take responsibility -- first, by not being duped by NRA deceptions to
advance the economic interests of gun merchants, and second, by taking every
effort to ensure that their guns do not contribute to the mayhem.
NOTE: In my past debates with with this
author, he has defended gun bans in DC and Chicago. But where are the
deceptions by the NRA? Where is the evidence that the NRA takes the
positions that they do because of the "economic interests of gun
merchants" and not because they believe in their positions. Why does
Donohue consistently continue to engage in this type of rhetoric?