Thursday, January 20, 2011

R response to the furor over legislators illegally carrying guns at the legislature: Make it legal

One of the interesting tidbits arising from the opening of the legislature last week was the story of a number of legislators carrying firearms with them on the floors of each chamber.  One of them, Sen. Lori Klein, later confirmed to me (and others) that she had a gun with her both in the Senate and in the House when she attended the Governor's speech that day.

While some might attribute this turn of events to the recent shooting in Tucson, where six people were killed and more than another dozen were wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, but a gunman who attacked a "Congress On Your Corner" gathering, this is hardly the first time in recent memory that a legislator has bragged about "packin' heat" at the Capitol, usually followed a by a statement in a belief that legislators are exempt from the law.

Anyway, after the shootings and the p.r. mess that was the opening of the legislature, the Republicans resisted any efforts to pass sensible firearms safety laws, preferring instead to maintain their embrace of the gun fetishists.

And now, they've doubled down on the insanity.

Sen. Ron Gould has introduced, with "luminaries" such as Sen. Russell Pearce, Sen. Rick Murphy, Rep. Carl Seel, Rep. Jack Harper, and others signed on as sponsors/cosponsors, SB1201.

It's rather innocuously labelled "firearms omnibus," but it is anything but innocuous.

If enacted, it would -

- Remove the section of the law (ARS 13-3102) that makes entering a goverment building while possessing a firearm a crime

- Changes the section of the law (ARS 13-3107) regarding the unlawful discharge of firearms by replacing "with criminal negligence" to "knowing" in the definition

- Removes the provision in the same section as above that allows local police chiefs to evaluate and set policy in "hunting areas" within their jurisdiction

- Changes the law (ARS 13-3108) to disallow the state or any of its agencies from enacting a "rule or ordinance" relating to firearms, with certain exceptions, and GREATLY restricts those exceptions


People in other parts of the country hear talk about the "nuts" in Arizona, and they think we are talking only about people like Jared Loughner.

They have no clue about the cultural insanity here that enables people like Loughner.


Given the timing of this, as in how long it takes to get a bill idea through the Legislative Council and turned into an actual bill, did Gould et. al. even wait for the end of the funerals in Tucson before spawning this abomination?

12 comments:

no_slappz said...

I live in Brooklyn, NY, where most guns are in the hands of people who obtained them illegally and who are highly likely to use those guns to commit a crime.

Last year in NY City, there were 532 murders, most committed with handguns. The victims were shot once or twice.

Because the restrictions on legal handgun ownership are so onerous, very few New Yorkers are legal owners.

In this city of 8.5 million, there are reportedly only 40,000 people (other than police) who are licensed to carry concealed weapons in public.

Meanwhile, according to the NY Police Department, about 95% of all shootings -- fatal and non-fatal -- are committed by blacks and hispanics firing illegal weapons.

What are the statistics for Tucson and Arizona?

How many gun-related murders are committed each year in the city and state?

Who does the shooting?

Is it NRA members?

I'm all in favor or sensible gun laws. But laws that make people feel good while protecting no one are a waste of legislative effort.

Ann said...

According to the Centers for Disease Control Fatal and Non-Fatal Injury Database for 2004, the most recent year available, New York was the fourth safest state for gun deaths, with a rate of 4.93 per 100,000 people. Arizona was the fifth most dangerous state, with a rate of 15.63 gun deaths per 100,000 people.

cpmaz said...

Thanks, Ann. That's pretty much where I was going to go my answer to no_slappz questions.

Sensible gun laws do NOT eliminate gun-related deaths, but they do serve to reduce them.

Ted McLaughlin said...

I'm a little surprised at Arizona legislators. They're falling behind the crazy of Texas. Here in Texas, not only is it legal for legislators to have guns on the House and Senate floors, but it's also legal for the spectators to be packing heat. It's a tragedy waiting to happen!

cpmaz said...

Ted - I'll readily concede that Texas has Arizona beat when it comes to the total volume of crazy.

However, TX is bigger than AZ.

We've got you beat in the measure of "crazy per capita". :)

And our legislators are leading the quest to catch you folks in the area of total volume of crazy. :(

no_slappz said...

cpmaz,

Those Arizona statistics fail to tell the story.

New York was the fourth safest state for gun deaths, with a rate of 4.93 per 100,000 people. Arizona was the fifth most dangerous state, with a rate of 15.63 gun deaths per 100,000 people.

Who does the killing? I'm asking for racial and ethnic demographics. Age groups?

What are the circumstances?

Armed robberies gone bad? Drug wars? Drunks in bars? Husbands and wives shooting each other? Jealous boyfriends killling girlfriends or rivals? Rapes that escalate into murder?

In 2010 in NY City, the number of whites and asians who were murder victims or murderers was astonishingly close to ZERO. Murderous violence is a huge problem in the black and hispanic populations, but not among the rest of us. This matters.

I suspect Azizona experiences a similar, but possibly less lopsided pattern.

Unfortunately, even here, liberals refuse to look closely at the nature of crime, preferring, instead to stick to their story that when it comes to bad behavior, we're all equal.

just jen said...

Funding for mentally ill cut and gun sales are up. So why not open up the gates of hell even more. Let's make it possible for every man, woman, child and fetus to carry a gun into every state building, university, library, hospital, DMV (o, lord...pray for the DMV folks), outhouse, hen house, and whore house.

Has all reason and sanity gone the way of the dinosaurs? When will it be enough? When will we reach the ceiling of rabid reactionary legislation?

no_slappz said...

just jen, you wrote:

Funding for mentally ill cut and gun sales are up.

Interesting dichotomy.

You're claiming -- with no verification -- that GOVERNMENT spending for mental health programs is down, while INDIVIDUALS are spending more on guns.

Meanwhile, for the last 20 years, the rate of homicide in the US has declined.

Meanwhile, like most commenters, you have no idea how many homicides are committed by people who are mentally ill, and you do not know if any form of treatment would have stopped the murderous mentally ill from committing lethal crimes.

It's not gun laws that are the problem. We could, of course, do better in that department. But it is very difficult to stop people BEFORE they do something terrible. If it were any other way, then freedom would be diminished.

just jen said...

no_splappz:

I wasn't drawing the direct connection you read in my comment. I was simply pointing out the sad state of MY state.

Funding for mentally ill in Arizona is facing another cut. Fact.

Gun sales have gone up. Fact.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-01-11/glock-pistol-sales-surge-in-aftermath-of-shooting-of-arizona-s-giffords.html

Mind you, after his inauguration, the sales of guns ticked upward despite the fact that President Obama hasn't made any major gun legislation any part of his agenda.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=6209255&page=1

Back in Arizona. In light of all that has happened, you'd think state legislators would be a bit more sensitive, thoughtful, and deliberate. But all of them seem to be running in the opposite direction.

Mental illness is a serious issue for families in this country and we haven't done enough to help them.

http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2011-01-11/serious-psychiatric-disorders-among-young-adults

So Arizona isn't exceptional in that regard. But forsaking reasonable approaches to our state budget crisis in order to score partisan points is costing our community a great deal in many respects. However with respect to cuts to mental health funding, it is an exceptional pill to swallow considering the governor's son is in a state hospital due to mental illness.

In order to properly protect our 2nd Amendment rights, we have to start treating it less flippantly and with much more reverance as we do those things that are privileges. Our society ought to embrace measures that ensure we are safeguarding against our neighbors being senselessly murdered because we've abandoned reason over a hyperactive fear of crime or of losing our 2nd Amendment rights as a result of electoral politics.

No one is coming for the guns. No one. Some of us are simply asking that we make access to extended magazine clips and 90 rounds of ammo in approx. 24 hours a little more strenuous and a little less like buying a gallon of milk--for the mentally sane and the mentally ill alike.

Sorry for soaping up your comment pool, CPMAZ. ;) My rebuttals need some practice.

cpmaz said...

No problem Just Jen, so long as they aren't trying to drum up business for Costa Rican real estate or Asian escorts, comments and debate are welcome. :)

no_slappz said...

just jen, you wrote:

Funding for mentally ill in Arizona is facing another cut. Fact.

Gun sales have gone up. Fact.


Murders have declined over the last two decades. Fact.

Your argument has no legs. You're attempting to claim that cuts in mental health spending contribute to an increase in gun violence.

Meanwhile, even if mental health spending is down and facing more cuts, it's tough to say what that means. For a long time the US healthcare system has been moving toward drug treatments in place of more expensive alternatives.

Drugs in place of surgery. Drugs in place of weekly visits to psychiatrists. Thus, it's not clear that cuts in mental health spending result in fewer people getting some attention.

As for gun sales, yes, I read there was a spike in sales after the Tucson massacre. But an uptick in sales lasting a week or two or three means nothing in the long term. The spike will get lost in the sauce.

With respect to your claim of an increase in gun sales after Obama's election, well, before you reach any conclusions, you would have to compare gun sales after every presidential election. Inasmuch as Gun Control is an obsession with Democrats, I'd will hypothesize that gun sales tick up after Democrats win the White House.

Meanwhile, you are introducing the usual red herring. Law-abiding people who legally own weapons are rarely the problem people. Rarely.

Until he committed his horrible crime, Loughner was a fringe person, but not an outright criminal. Not quite law-abiding, but not an armed robber. What do do?

You wrote:

Mental illness is a serious issue for families in this country and we haven't done enough to help them.

Actually, the Loughner family failed in its obligation to help Jared.

On the other hand, you seem to think the government should have its nose and eyes inside your life "just in case."

Are you ready for what that means? Some people like to box and compete in Ultimate Fighting contests. Here's a point -- they like the violence. Is not that behavior a danger sign? Oh, but those outlets are "socially acceptable." As are target shooting and hunting.

Liberals immediately concluded Loughner was "brainwashed" by Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc. Okay, so how does that square with the extraordinary and lethal violence among blacks and the impact of gangsta rap?

Or muslims, Islamic terrorism and the guidance toward violence coming from imams?

YOu wrote:

No one is coming for the guns. No one.

Says you. It is the liberal obsession to take legally owned guns from Americans.

Some of us are simply asking that we make access to extended magazine clips and 90 rounds of ammo in approx. 24 hours a little more strenuous and a little less like buying a gallon of milk--for the mentally sane and the mentally ill alike.

Your hope is misguided. It takes a lot of time and effort to pass laws. Thus, it is a terrible waste to pass laws that will change nothing that matters.

As I've said, of the 16,000 annual US homicides involving guns, almost all involve a shooter firing one or two shots at his victim. Thus, it's obvious banning large-capacity magazines will have NO impact on gun-related killings.

But, for people with limited understanding of guns and crime prevention, getting the law passed will give them the illusion of greater safety they want. An illusion. Nothing more.

Anyway, no one responded to my question about the demographics of gun-realted crime in Arizona.

no_slappz said...

When it comes to nuts like Loughner, who is supposed to connect the dots and say, Aha, we must throw a net over this character and take him in "for observation"?

Really? Those people are the Thought Police.

Should your neighbor have the power to call the Thought Police and get you hauled off for a psych exam because you were seen performing some wiccan ritual?

Meanwhile, given the extraordinarily direct connection between the Catholic priesthood and the sexual abuse of Catholic boys by priests, should we not treat the Catholic Church as an organization that promotes, condones and protects sexual predators?

The number of cases is staggering -- and the problem is a long-standing one.

Islam? Let's face it, Islam is a religion/political doctrine/military that has declared war on the west, the US and Israel.

Based on the fact that Islam produces boatloads of people who have committed mass murder and suicide, should we not declare those who are muslims to be mentally ill and lock them up before they kill themselves and others?