Saturday, February 02, 2013

Gun violence control and firearm negligence

Don't want to control guns? Fine. Let's toss around some other ideas.

Let's talk about properly penalizing firearm negligence and putting serious prosecution and sentencing behind gun charges. Let's start with the following CBS Evening News story, which offers an explanation for Chicago's high murder rate despite its stricter gun control laws:

In New York, gun charges carry a minimum three- to five-year sentence which is not the case in Chicago and most other U. S. cities. So while Chicago might be tougher on controlling gun sales, they're not so good at punishing illegal gun possession (Um, Rahm? GET OFF YOUR ASS). Essentially, the threat of consequence makes some portion of NYC thugs think twice before packing. (CODE ORANGE NEWS ALERT: rule of law works.)

Starting there, here's a few proposed rules to chew on:

-Impose a minimum three- to five-year sentence on every gun charge conviction everywhere--including selling a gun to a felon. On second thought, make that eight to ten.

-Create a CUI (carrying under the influence) that carries penalties as least as stringent as a DUI.

-Impose stiff penalties and sentences for firearm negligence. No more "accidental" deaths when a little kid picks up a loaded gun and kills himself. To hell with your tearful puppy-eyed apologies. I want to see a serious investigation and trial wherein that gun owner proves he practiced due diligence in protecting that kid from that gun. Same goes for owners of lost or stolen firearms if their weapons are used in a crime. (I'm still waiting to hear what charges Nancy Lanza might have faced had she not faced her own gun.)

-And for those folks who start thinking their arsenal might not be such a good idea after watching negligent gun owner's getting hauled off in handcuffs on the evening news, how about a national voluntary gun buy-back program?

Now then: numbers. HuffPo has done some nice legwork on counting U. S. gun deaths--murders, accidents and those resulting from negligence--since Sandy Hook. The tally tops 1200 and includes 30 on Christmas day alone.

While HuffPo tracked actual news items, Slate is crowdsourcing the info. Before you gunnies pooh-pooh those numbers, know that counting gun deaths ain't easy. The NRA has essentially blocked any tracking by the GOV. So kitties, we're going to have to do this shit ourselves.

And we will, Mr. LaPierre. After all, we have more internet connections than you have guns.

*  *  *


VideoDude said...

Universal Background Checks!

Anonymous said...

The laws will be amended then the Prison-Industrial complex will exploit them to imprison primarily low-income, male, minority persons so they can get their per diem and increase share holder value.

Sorry E'O, we're fucked.

Humanity is Dead.
Long Live Humanity.

Randy Johnson

Erin O'Brien said...

If selling a gun to a felon carried a minimum 5-year sentence, you wouldn't have to mandate background checks. Gunsellers would be clamoring to sign up to the latest and greatest tracking systems. They'd have kiosks set up at every gun show and people would be lining up to use them for $25 a pop.

Sorry, buddy, but I'll need to see your background validation before we close the deal. There's kiosks in back. I'll be here 'til six.

VideoDude said...

I worked at a convenience store, when they passed stricter laws on selling cigarettes to minors. Immediately, our home office made new rules on selling cigarettes. If the person didn't look 30 years of age or over, you asked for their ID. Simple!

Tony Rugare said...

Makes sense to me but does it make sense to our legislators who are beholden to the NRA.

Erin O'Brien said...

Dunno, Tony. Plenty of them were beholden to the tobacco lobbies but things have sure changed in the smoking community.

RJ: Gotta keep trying, amigo.

jonas said...

Anyone catch Stewart's clip on LaPierre advocating mandatory background checks in 1999?

Check the 2nd clip:

Anonymous said...

Erin, I agree to a point, the current laws are way to lax and not enforced. My view, you commit a crime with a gun, life without parole. A little honesty from my point of view, black on black crime in my state is where most of the gun crimes happen. Is that raciest? I don't know all I know is what I see on the local news. It might be different in other states.
James Old Guy

Bill the Wrenchbender said...

Great ideas. I own firearms, and I am a liberal, don't have any problems with some common sense solutions to the problem we as a society are having with firearms and violence. To quote a favorite comedian of mine, Christopher Titus
"You lefties that want us to do everything are insane and you righties that want to do nothing are psychotic."

Erin O'Brien said...

I did see that clip, Jonas. LaPierre is such a tool. As are his idiotic minions. Imagine one day every NRA member waking up to find their computer completely completely frozen with only Guy Fawkes smiling face glowing on the screen.

They'd either:

1) Shoot their computer.

2) Call on the GOV they hate to protect them.

James, poke around that Slate link above. I think you can filter by gender and location.

When you talk total gun deaths, something like half of them are suicides. I have no idea how "accidental" deaths stack up against murders. I know one things for damn sure. Guns turns petty arguments into murders all the goddamn time.

Bill: Exactly. We've got to start talking about something instead of screaming at each other.

Erin O'Brien said...

And now I'm waking up to news of two dead at a gun range and the nutcase in Alabama with his guns and a kid in the ground.

Jesus Christ awmighty.

Erin O'Brien said...

Suicides, which are estimated to make up as much as 60 percent of gun deaths, typically go unreported. Nevertheless, we at Slate want to assemble the data as best we can.

So Slate's 1500+ number is way way way low.

Joe said...

I agree strict punishment for gun crimes. Punish criminals not law-abiding citizens.

I do not know a single gun owner that disagrees with this position.

Erin O'Brien said...

Was Nancy Lanza a criminal? The details of the scene inside the Lanza home should be very telling unless the NRA has found some way to keep them under wraps.

And by now y'all know that the prosecutor down in gun-friendly Texas carried all the time, right?

Anonymous said...

I saw something on FB about it being "43x more likely to kill yourself or a family member with a 'home protection' gun than an intruder". Does anyone have the source for this?

I've listened to both sides of the gun control argument, and see some valid points on both. My final feeling?

Home protection: full-size shotguns, no more than six rounds at a time are OK. Not sawed-off or assault style, meaning you can't conceal it.

Hunting: single-shot, full-size rifles. No clips. It has to be something you can't reload all that quickly... it's supposed to be a sport, isn't it?

Maintaining a well-armed militia: It already exists. Go join the National Guard if you're that concerned... unless you're a p*ssy.

NO handguns. You have until 2 Jan 2015* to turn your existing ones in.

You commit a crime with a gun, loaded or not, you get life without parole automatically in federal bang-you-up-the-*ss prison. Do hard-time like in _Cool Hand Luke_ and save the taxpayers some money on fixing potholes, cleaning up roadkill, picking up trash, etc. No becoming a body-builder or studying for law school, sorry.

You illegally keep and use a handgun after 2 Jan 2015, even in defense of your home, it's pre-med murder. No excuses. If the cops simply find your handgun in your possession after 2 Jan 2015, automatic felony and five years hard time. Handgun destroyed before your very eyes.

You may not own more than 100 rounds of ammo for your shotgun/hunting rifle at a time, even in multiple locations.

Pretty simple, huh? This plan would meet your "gun rights" basics and cut down the violence. I hope. Pepper spray works miracles, if you're that afraid of being attacked.

* or some other reasonable date in the near future

Anonymous said...

Was Nancy Lanza a criminal? I have no idea, she might have had a gun safe, trigger locks, or might have had them laying around fully loaded. I doubt if we will ever know, just like the first reports had the so called assault rifle in the trunk of the car and the criminal armed with pistols. We are at the mercy of the press and thinking we will ever get a complete fact based report from any news agency is a fairy tale. Bottom line a man who had serious mental issues did not get adequate care and killed. He could have just as easy driven the car through the play ground with the kids out there. I have just dealt with an issue involving a lot of these questions. My step son came down with mental issues due to medication and coming home to people breaking into his house. He became paranoid, thought people were out to kill him, that the government was watching him. He pestered the police to no ends, and ended up being taken to a mental health facility. They refused to keep him, the police knew he owned guns, I knew he owned guns, he was a danger in my opinion to himself and to the public. The police knew it too, they could do nothing. His records are sealed and unless he turns himself in or does something with the guns and is observed doing it, can't touch him. We got his guns, locked them up but he could still drive and had nothing on his record to prevent him buying another gun. He is recovered now, off the medication which is well known and used my millions. So lots of questions no easy answers, should he be allowed to own a gun now? If not how long before he can? We took action because the current system can't or won't. We got lucky and could have just as easily ended up with a dead son, or a murder charge. So what is the solution?
James Old Guy

Erin O'Brien said...

Anon, that would be a very difficult agenda to implement.

James, I am very sorry about your stepson's troubles and thankful that you took charge of the situation with him and his guns. It is a very difficult situation, but one things for sure: if he does procure firearms in the future and something goes wrong, everyone will wonder why a person with a history of mental health issues was allowed to own that gun.

As for Lanza killing with a car, which would you rather try to outrun: a Chrysler or a Bushmaster?

Anonymous said...

Erin, to the point there is no history, the law protects the records. The problem was caused by a prescribed medication used by millions of people mostly for ADHD. According to the experts this won't happen again, since the medication has been changed and works in a different way. So is it an issue or not? Does he lose his freedom to own a gun because of this? He served four years in the Air force should he have been denied because of medication that has been approved for use? As for you other question, for me a Chryser but I am not 6 or 7 years old , the point is the gun was the too, the problem was the user. Like I said no easy answer, but I think mental health is a much bigger issue than how many rounds a magazine holds.

James Old Guy

Anonymous said...

As a crazy person who is crazy enough to need help, makes too much money to get free help, but not enough money to afford help, and not crazy enough for people to realize the help I need, I'd rather see the focus go to mental health care, education, support, etc.
I'm not a gun fan, I don't like them. Terrified of them, in fact. But I seem to only see on the news that's it's people who have all these red flags waving around them committing the heinous acts. Maybe we're looking at the wrong issues?

Anonymous said...

A few thoughts on the 'Gun-show exemption' to background checks. I've never been to a gun show per se, but I've been to like a thousand train shows and hobby shows, and I have experience with promotions and special events. There are a few things in common:

-Vendors at these shows aren't just local mom-and-pop folks who just happen to grab a table when the show promoter comes through town. A lot of these merchants have sizeable operations which follow the scheduled routes a promoter announces. Some don't have any bricks-and-mortar stores at all.
-There aren't many small-ticket cash purchases. They have the infrastructure at the shows to clear checks and run credit cards. Which means the infrastructure to process background checks can't be far behind.
-Vendors and hence promoters at these shows are counting on impulse purchases. When I was an avid buyer of railroad collectibles it wasn't unusual for me to head to a show without a single specific item in mind only to walk out two or three hundred bones light.
-Vendors at these shows are for the most part on the honor system when it comes to collecting sales tax. Which is one reason they can offer the pricing they do.

Anyway, I guess my point is that closing some of these loopholes is merely a question of having the will to do it.


PS: Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the German surrender at Stalingrad. Somewhat around 335,000 men of the German Sixth Army, Fourth Panzer Army and associated units were cut off by the Soviets in November 1942. Somewhat around 91,000 were left
to surrender. Of these, it is estimated that only 5,000 ever saw Germany again.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks for dropping in anon. The Newtown incidents get all the attention, but there are thousands dying every year due to the simple proliferation of guns: Domestic fights that end in a shooting instead of a tearful departure for a shelter, disagreements in bars that conclude in a body bag, little kids and "accidental" shootings. I agree there are plenty of issues, but I'm not sure any of them are the wrong.

Mentally ill people going off probably account for a small piece of the firearm death-pie.

MR, Thanks for the perspective. Railroad collectibles. Who knew?

Re: Stalingrad. Wow.