Thursday, August 14, 2008

tell me again why we don’t want to ban handguns. . .

Bill Gwatney, the chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party, was fatally shot in his office in Little Rock on Wednesday morning, police officials said.

The officials said a gunman fired several shots at Mr. Gwatney, a former state legislator, in the party’s headquarters near the Capitol. After a long car chase, the suspect was fatally wounded in a shootout with the police, the authorities said.

Bill Sadler, a spokesman for the Arkansas State Police, identified the suspect as Timothy D. Johnson, 50, of Searcy, Ark. Mr. Gwatney, 48, was rushed to the medical center of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, but a family friend who asked not to be identified said doctors determined that he was too unstable to undergo surgery. He died several hours later, police officials confirmed.

This tragedy follows close on the heels of a fatal shooting at a Tennessee Unitarian church, and while the motives in the Arkansas event are not yet understood, it is just completely unacceptable in my eyes that those with violent urges—be they deranged, disgruntled, or distraught—can have such easy access to guns.

In the days after the April 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, I posted my thoughts on America’s gun problem and the broader problem of gun violence in the context of Bush’s America. (I think that piece—and this one—are still relevant, so I ask you to click on over and take a look.) I closed with this quote from former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich:

In [the] United States, many people who are seriously depressed can’t afford to see a doctor, let alone get a prescription. Unlike every other advanced nation, we do not provide universal health care, or ready access to mental health services. But unlike every other advanced nation, we do allow almost anyone [to] buy a handgun.

Much to my surprise, those thoughts (when cross-posted to Daily Kos) were met with a fusillade of negative comments from a broad swath of left-leaning gun lovers. I did not find it a productive discussion, and said so. That post was met with less derision, but no real exchange of ideas, so I then posted these questions:

To those that love their guns. . .

Please don’t resort to screaming about how I want to take away your guns. . . I don’t. Just tell me why you oppose:
gun registration,
better background checks,
additional licensing procedures for concealed weapons,
mandatory waiting periods,
restrictions on assault-style weapons, Saturday night specials, and extended clips,
mandatory safety training and periodic recertification,
closing so-called gun-show loopholes,
legal liability for gun manufacturers commensurate with other consumer product liability,
and limits on the number of guns and rounds of ammo you can purchase at any given time and over the course of a year.

At the time, I did not get anything close to a sufficient answer from any of the ammo-enamored. I still haven’t. Considering the fresh crop of fatherless children and grieving spouses, friends, and relatives, care to try it again?

(cross-posted on The Seminal)

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Blogger Nykemartyn said...

In anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of DC handgun ban on Thursday, CNN’s "Newsroom" program ran a report on both the sides of the gun case, in which the pro-gun control advocate was given twice the amount of air time as the gun rights advocate. The report, by CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena, ran twice within 20 minutes; first, at the top of the 10 am hour of "Newsroom," minutes before the decision was released, and then immediately after the news of the decision broke.

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