Legislative gun bills: sound and fury signifying little?

This week has been “gun week” at the Capitol, as the House Public Safety Committee has held hearings on a number of proposed bills that expected to be whittled down and consolidated into an omnibus gun violence reduction bill.  Much of the coverage of hearings thus far has focused on the occasionally heated words going back and forth over the issue and the various proposals.  Thus far, there have been 17 bills introduced in the House, and eight in the Senate (as of February 6):

gunbills

But which of these bills is likely to make the cut, and be approved by the Legislature?  Despite the DFL holding majorities in both houses, passage of any significant gun control legislation is far from a certainty.  Many rural DFL legislators hold positions that more closely align with the National Rifle Association than their metro colleagues.  Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk earned high marks from the NRA until last session, when he voted against the so-called “Castle Doctrine” expansion bill.  In the House, Iron Range DFL Rep. David Dill believes he has enough votes to block many of the above initiatives.  And, Governor Mark Dayton has been lukewarm at best about new gun regulations.

The final package of bills is likely, in fact, to be rather incremental — not the sort of “gun grab” that many gun proponents have been warning against.   What’s likely to be in there?  Here’s what I expect:

  • A form of the Goodwin/Rosenthal bills making it more difficult for violent felons to get their firearm rights restored.
  • Improved mental health screening as part of the background check process, although it may look quite different than the Schoen bill
  • The Latz/Lesch bill (also supported by Sen. Julianne Ortman) expanding the crime of violence definition and modifying criminal penalties for illegal firearm possession

Some other possibilities include the Johnson bill to criminalize false gun theft/loss reports and a modified version of the Simonson body armor bill that would instead increase penalties for those who commit crimes while wearing it.

However, the more controversial proposals — like the Hausman bills on assault weapons and large capacity magazine bans — likely don’t have the votes to make it out of the Legislature.  Even Paymar’s universal background check bill appears to be on thin ice from a votes perspective, despite the fact polling shows broad support for it.

That said, all of the more likely proposals are — despite a lower profile — bills that can make a real impact on gun violence.  Sometimes moderation and incrementalism pays off.

[Featured image is State Rep. Tony Cornish’s “Gun Week” fashion statement, including AK-47 lapel pin, from Pat Kessler’s Twitter stream.]

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46 Responses to “Legislative gun bills: sound and fury signifying little?”

  1. Good thing he didn’t try to go to any school with that lapel pin. Yikes! He’d be branded a dangerous lunatic!

    • I guess my biggest concern is what is driving all of this sudden gun control legislation. My main concern is that this is a knee jerk reaction to Sandy Hook, which not one of these bills would have had any effect in that situation.

      Take for example, even the magazine capacity limitations. In the Colorado theater shooting, this might have caused a few second delay to change mags, which when no one is shooting back. makes little or difference. In Sandy Hook, this theory that magazine size will make a difference was shattered, when the perp simply brough more guns, 4 different pistols fully loaded, which makes for more than 30 rounds.

      Back in the LA riots, Koreans store owners were able to keep rioters at bay with AK’s with big mags to protect themselves and their stores, which really is the whole point about having these weapons is for self defense, not offense, and why the Constitution guarantees our right to such protection.

      Nut jobs and criminals are always going to bad things. When something like Sandy Hook happens, we all worry about what can be done to prevent something like that. It’s probably the most horrific gun crime that ever occured. Just as 9/11 was the most horrific airplane crime, I didn’t see anyone jump to the knee jerk reaction that we should ban large aircraft. Some times crazy happens. And no law will prevent it from happening in a different way. Criminals just adjust, as we see that baseball bats kill more people than guns do, and yet we don’t see a rash of baseball bat permit laws. When you objectively look at the data, this rash of gun law is misplaced, and perhaps we should work on more important things like unsustainable government spending.

      • I tend to look at gun control in terms of practicality and overall safety for society. I do agree that part of this is a reaction, but I’m not sure if it is completely knee-jerk, or just a reminder to those who felt this way all along that they need to actually say and do something, rather than just hoping someone else would.

        I’ve heard the idea of the reload time not being significant, and I’m not sure I buy it. Anyone who has shot a firearm knows there is a difference between 10 continuous rounds, and 30 or more. That time to reload or shift weapons is time for people to escape or tackle a suspect. Additionally, responsible gun owners won’t need 30 rounds of suppression fire, knowing how much accuracy decays in that situation (Mythbusters confirmed this, as an aside).

        As for the claim that “we see that baseball bats kill more people than guns do”, this is a common claim on social media, but that one has been proven false. See http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/baseballbats.asp

        A key quote: “But even if one were to assume that every single homicide in the “blunt objects” category was committed with a baseball bat (almost certainly a very large overestimate), firearms-related homicides would still outnumber bat-related homicides by a ratio of more than sixteen to one.”

        The hard part is in getting data at all. Normally with any major discussion on public health, independent sources would study the matter and issue findings. However, the release of data and information to the scientific community is barred under the Tiahrt amendment, named after its sponsor Todd Tiahrt (R-KS). Therefore, it is hard to get an actual study that is accurate, which leads to the inaccuracies in this area.

        After 9/11, we didn’t see a ban on large aircraft, true. But we did see a tightening of security measures meant to restrict access to those who would pose a danger, and to minimize the amount of harm that could be caused. Thus the identification requirements, the limits on the amounts of liquids in carry-on luggage, having to remove your shoes (annoying as it may be), etc. So extending Mr. Brunette’s analogy, similar measures with a targeted effort should be considered when it comes to firearms. So increased screening for mental health, better background checks that are carried out uniformly, and limiting firepower that goes into a category of devastation that cannot be easily prevented.

        This should not be a blanket ban; fortunately, no credible source is proposing this. There are plenty of hunters who support their families with extra food through their activities, and those who teach their kids how to responsibly carry on that tradition should be commended. However, using a grenade launcher to hunt wouldn’t leave much left to bring home; using it for home defense wouldn’t leave a home to defend.

        I would agree with a measured approach. Start with the things where there is some agreement (mental health screening, tightening of background checks, enforcement of current laws), and see what effect they have. But there has to be independent data analysis of this, which is why the gag rules on research and analysis must be lifted.

        • I knew someone would take the bait on the 9/11 analogy. The main reason I bring it up is that it was the most horrific airplane crime, and comapred it to the most horrific gun crime. The knee jerk reaction to 9/11 was to ground airplanes, and then put in rules changes that would have stopped it from happening. Taking your shoes off and limiting bottle were not induced by 9/11, but further means of nut balls trying to bring an aircarft to the ground.

          Where we are with Sandy Hook, is trying to use a tragedy to put in place restirctions that would not prevent that crime in any way shape or form.

          An assault riffle was not used there. Neither were large magazines. The goof ball brought 4 loaded pistols, which were all stolen, and used these to dispatch as many people as possible.

          And so with baseball bats, we hear the same cry with guns. One death is too many from these weapons, but we don’t hear the same outcry against baseball bats, or knives, or fill in the murder waepon of choice. The fact remains is crazy happens. When you really think about it, it is illegal to kill a person, is it not? So if you are willing to commit this ultimate crime, as we saw in Sandy Hook, no law on book will prevent what happened. The only people affected by these new laws are law-abiding citizens. Because once you’ve decided that your going to kill, the means remains the only question. The act can and will still occur.

          One should note that on the very day Sandy Hook occurred, a man in China slashed 20+ children at a school in China with a knife. Nut jobs happen. Best to be prepared, because prevention fails only leads to variable means.

          • As a point of information, the Sandy Hook gunman’s primary weapon was a Bushmaster .223 with a 30-round magazine.

            http://www.ct.gov/despp/cwp/view.asp?Q=517284

            And the China knife attack on the same day ended with no deaths.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chenpeng_Village_Primary_School_stabbing

            • Actually, that gun was found in his car. Will he had did drive to the school, he did not bring it inside, according to the final report, the hand guns were used.

              • Those news outlets are wrong. The link I posted above is the official statement of the CT State Police, from their website.

                • Seriously? ABC, NBC and CBS were all wrong? I thought that only happened on Fox? Very strange indeed!

                  I then read something that said the coroner said it wasn’t an assault rifle that was used.

                  Turns out the Browning isn’t an assault rfile according to Hoyle. I guess because it’s only semi-automatic. Still the basic point remains, that a criminal will find the means to thwart the law. That’s kinda what makes them criminals?

                  Like this feller didn’t have time to reload a 30, and he only had one, so he brought hand guns to finish up with? If it had ten, do you think he might have had another clip? I mean he had 30 rounds. 1 clip of 30 or 30 of 10, yeild is the same, right?

                  That still cracks me up about the major news outlets ALL having it wrong though. Kinda like every day news they get wrong. Like the rich not paying their fair share. They like to parrot that BS just like they begrudgung told the tale about the assault rifle. Oooh you know that had to sting to even utter such blasphemy, these left wing news crews, right? Funny.

            • OK, further points of information: The Columbine shooters used nothing but 10 round magazines. The thing is, it really makes no difference if one is shooting at defenseless targets if your magazine holds 30, 10, or two rounds; with no meaningful resistance, once can reload at ones’ leisure.

              Another: The worst school massacre in US history was in Bath Michigan in 1927. 45 dead when a jilted politician blew up the school with industrial dynamite. No guns involved.

              Want a less-awful ending to a massacre? Three days before Sandy Hook, a madman with an AR went into a mall in Portland, OR. He fired 60 shots, killing two – before being confronted by an armed citizen with a carry permit. He retreated into a store and killed himself, as mass-shooters often do when someone interrupts the fantasy. It could have been much, much worse. Thanks, citizen!

              • The Gabby Giffords shooter was tackled while trying to reload, not taken out by one of Arizona’s ample community of carry permit holders (some of whom were on scene). Forcing such shooters to reload more frequently, while not a be-all solution, is an incremental step that can make a difference in some situations without unduly infringing on Second Amendment rights.

                • “not taken out by one of Arizona’s ample community of carry permit holders (some of whom were on scene)”

                  Er…Arizona requires no permit.

                  And more on point, it was a matter of seconds one way or another; a law-abiding citizen with a gun drew and came onto the scene (and checked fire) just as the citizens tackled him. Had the crowd not reacted as they did, the citizen would have ended the shooting.

                  “Forcing such shooters to reload more frequently, while not a be-all solution, is an incremental step that can make a difference in some situations”

                  …including a negative difference in others. There have been cases of law-abiding citizens defending themselves with larger-capacity magazines – and needing most of the magazine to do it. The point of a large-capacity mag isn’t “to kill as many as possible”; it’s so that you don’t run out one bullet shy of surviving your engagement.

                  There’s a reason the cops all carry 15-18 rounds these days.

                  Alice Hausman’s bill would ban the magazine in the firearm I used to scare off two burglars in my house in 1988.

                  ” without unduly infringing on Second Amendment rights…”

                  …in the opinion of people who – and I say this with sincere respect – don’t have a very complete perspective on the issue.

                  • Yes, you’re correct about AZ and the permits (or lack thereof). My mistake.

                    How do you know what my perspective is, and whether or not it’s “complete”? Is it possible to have a “complete” perspective and disagree with you?

                    • “How do you know what my perspective is, and whether or not it’s “complete”? ”

                      The fact that you ignored the utility of larger magazines to the law-abiding citizen. While it doesn’t tell me your entire perspective, it’s a clue that you’re probably not a serious defensive shooter.

                      I’m not saying that as a put-down, by the way.

                      “Is it possible to have a “complete” perspective and disagree with you?”

                      Possible? Sure! Likely…? 🙂

                      Kidding. Totally kidding.

                      But you gotta bring an A game to the debate.

                    • Military-style weapons (such as fully automatic weapons) could be considered to have “utility”, too, yet it’s generally considered acceptable to have restrictions on those. So we draw lines like this already. Restrictions on magazine size is a difficult question. I don’t think it’s as obvious as many folks portray it (on both sides). I guess that on the whole I’m slightly more convinced that restricting magazines in such a way — over the long run — is going to be a net positive for society and I don’t think it’s such an unconstitutional imposition on Second Amendment rights.

                    • Here we go. Looks like Mitch is a Bolshevik…. LOL

          • The air travel requirements for ID and the initial changes to security proceedings did stem from 9/11; they saw additional expansion from specific events, as you noted. However, the blanket ban on flying wasn’t preventative in that way, but more to guarantee the end of the immediate attacks, much as the police would do on blocking off access to the scene of a crime, especially when it is unclear if all of those involved are in custody (or dead, in this case). As for the point of trying to prevent “nut balls” from doing harm, again, the ideas line up. Preventing someone from flying doesn’t prevent them from trying to do harm to others; it just limits the scale.

            I’m not saying there should be a blanket ban; however, the scale of the response (or the ability to respond at all) is far easier in dealing with someone with a baseball bat or knife, than in dealing with someone carrying an automatic weapon, or more advanced weaponry.

            Additionally, it’s a lot more than one death. Given the extreme number of gun deaths, especially compared at a per capita rate to other nations, the question should at least be asked.

            Now, do all of the restrictions being offered do that well… no, not even by a long shot. Too many get bogged down in semantics, or how the gun looks, or other nonsense. But I’ve known people who believe that citizens should be able to carry grenade launchers with them, and to that I respond that there is no way for society to reasonably protect against such firepower without unreasonable harm. Either you are reacting to a catastrophic loss of life after the fact. Or you’re promoting a level of vigilance that will lead to absolute paranoia (and lots of mistaken shootings). Or you’re increasing the size of the police/militia to address the problem, which only further reduces freedom (and increases taxes dramatically to pay for their presence). A reasonable alternative should exist.

            • Now you’re just being ridiculous. No one’s seriously advocating grenade launchers.

              Making certain places gun free zones and putting up signage declaring so is flat out stupid. Look where that’s gotten us. No where. Again, law abiding citizens follow the rules, and leave their guns at home, and criminals come and know they can do as they please.

              You are undoubtedly aware that murder is against the law, correct? So how in the heck does anyone even imagine that one of these laws will prevent a single murder? Restricting responsible people isn’t going to solve anything, just as those ridiculous signs didn’t prevent any criminal from bringing a gun to a school, or a theater, or the workpalce. All that is accomplished is that criminal gunment know where they can go when they want to blast their way to some sick infamy. Want to solve the mass shooting? Get rid of the damn signs!

              You want to know which houses get left alone? A house that has a sign that says it’s protected by Smith & Wesson.

              • Actually, I just had a rather intense debate with someone who is advocating the availability of grenade launchers, and all military grade weapons, to all citizens (I’ve been surprised as to how many people think that is a good idea, as a way of being ready “when the violent revolution comes”, as he put it). In this case, the individual took it even further, and insisted that there was no legal limit on rapists, murderers, child molesters, and terrorists owning firearms (he wasn’t that appreciative when I pointed out the line in the Constitution about treason and providing aid and comfort to an enemy). Fortunately, that extreme is rare.

                For many, there is no valid limit to the boundaries of firearm ownership. The problem is that there is no rational way to protect against such military-grade weapons without either mass hysteria, or a massive police state (with the crippling taxes and intrusions that come with it). So yes, there is a need to designate certain weapons as banned; even Scalia noted this in his opinions from the bench in the recent cases.

                As for gun-free zones, you seem to focus only on the premeditated murder; in all actuality, that is the minority, the exception. For a school, they don’t want a student bringing a gun to show to a friend, only to have it accidentally discharge, or have it come into play in a playground argument. Or a workplace having an employee brandish a firearm when dealing with an unpleasant customer. That is their choice, and should be done with consideration to the overall safety and environment they wish to have.

                Arming everybody isn’t a deterrent for the crazies, nor for the hardened and dedicated criminal. All they do is change tactics to deal with those who are armed first; in the worst-case scenario, they then take those weapons, and expand their firepower. Hence the argument for limiting extreme firepower, mental health and background checks, and additional research on the nature of gun violence as a minimally invasive first step to addressing the high gun death rate in America. And that is the problem: we have plenty of guns in this country. So if arming everyone is the answer, then why isn’t it working?

                • May I ask how this “intense debate” is any different then the one I had regarding the 42 billion dollar budget and then posted on here?

                  It seems rumors are fine when they support your “world view”. Your aren’t a Bolshevik, are you?

                  I’m going to guess that this “debate” is not on record anywhere? If not, it would seem that such comments are inappropriate here, per your own gudelines.

                  I’ll be filing a complaint with the DFL over your conduct. (Kidding of course. What kind of Nancy does that?)

                  • There is a considerable difference between my reference, Mr. Brunette, and your tactics on the other areas of this forum. After all, I’ve never let a political discussion compromise my judgement to the point where I’m boasting about feeling the need to hit someone, whether in jest or not. (By the way: where’s that apocalypse you promised? I’m so disappointed, it never showed up like you said it would…. just kidding, of course.)

                    The relevant passages were through social media, which creates the paradox of public yet private; however, I can post my general comments if you wish. Again, I have no fear of showing my sources, Mr. Brunette.

                    However, the core of the issue at hand is that there are a class of weapons that should not be available for general civilian use. For the most part, that is a given, although not entirely; there are those who feel that the phrase “shall not be abridged” means no regulation of firearms in any form. You mocked the idea of allowing the possession of grenade launchers, so that implies a willingness to consider limits on some weapons. So what is acceptable in your opinion, versus unacceptable? Maybe from there we can narrow the conversation.

                    • Boasting about needing to hit someone…

                      I’ve asked this before, but….

                      What color is the sky in your world?

                      So, when it comes to revealing a source, you sometimes feel the need to protect that individual, is that what you are saying? How interesting.

                      And when caught to deflect to this notion about hitting someone? WTF does that have to do with you not lending a source for your claims of advanced weaponry ownership being any different from my source at the Capitol? Why does that make you so uncomfortable? I mean, if you really wan to get high mighty about my “mysterious” source, shouldn’t you be living up to your own standards?

                      I’m sure if I dig around I can find a guy who thinks I should be able own a nuclear warhead, but since that person isn’t a politician or a stafffer it wouldn’t be relevant. I mean, unless they are influencing policy, I’m kinda busy to search, (at least within our borders).

                    • Your words, Mr. Brunette: “I want to punch him right in his stoned, dopey face.” So yes, you did boast, as if possessing such irrational anger over politics is anything but sheer lunacy. If your memory is that short, you may wish to seek medical assistance. Either that, or lay off on the fanatical rants (case in point: even on a post about gun legislation, you try to randomly toss in claims about budget issues). As I said before: fanatic.

                      As for your bizarre claim, I never said I wanted to protect my source at all; I said it was in the realm of social media, which makes it hard to post a link to it that everyone can access. Your contrivance is a fabrication, a deliberate rant made up so you can try to sideline the conversation, yet again. Personally, I really couldn’t care less about protecting Ken (the user I was debating). Furthermore, recounting the gist of a conversation is far different than predicting the destruction of America based on “facts” only you seem to ever know about.

                      Ken’s comment was in response to my statement that “in any society, the rights of individuals will conflict. Just as with the limits to free speech, there are reasonable limits to gun ownership.” His response was to quote that passage, and say “That is where you are wrong. There is no reasonable limit to gun rights.” (His case rested on the portion of the Second Amendment stating “shall not be abridged”, where I referenced the whole amendment, and the court cases through U.S. history.) From there I pressed him on the idea of rapists, murderers, and child molesters having access to firearms, to which he responded “There is no limit to the right to bear arms. Period. So yes, I’m for them having guns. Better to let them buy them anyway. If they served their time, then it’s fine, where you want to keep punishing them.” (To be fair, I believe he wants everybody armed, not just the criminals, and let them be checked through force; he did not clarify that point, but it’s a reasonable assumption.) From there the right was extended to those on terrorist lists, in his opinion. In particular, yes, he probably wouldn’t object to civilian possession of a nuclear warhead; he stated that “military grade weapons are needed if the people are to ready when the violent revolution comes.” Naturally, I disagreed.

                      The irony, Mr. Brunette, is that I agree with you that this is an irrational and extreme position. However, to him you and I both are infringing on his rights by suggesting any limit at all. That extreme and variants of that position has held too much sway over this debate; it has led to laws barring information about gun dealers who break the law being released to local law enforcement. In one study before this gag rule was implemented, 57% of guns used in crimes in an area could be traced to less than 10% of gun dealers. I’d rather have the information available, so that we can try enforcing the laws we have on those causing the problem rather than starting with adding more laws on top of this mess (as a champion of small government, I’d think you would agree with me, Mr. Brunette). And yet that information is sealed, because of extreme positions.

                      Hence my genuine question to you on what you would consider to be beyond the need for a civilian to access when it comes to firearms; it was a genuine invitation to share your opinion as the basis for future discussion of what you see as a reasonable restriction.

                      Once again, even when someone agrees with you, or gives a chance for you to take the lead on the discussion, you attacked. It makes no sense.

                      Finally, your comment that “but since that person isn’t a politician or a stafffer [sic] it wouldn’t be relevant” is fairly telling. Strange that you would suggest that only politicians or their agents have any influence in America, or need to be heard. That’s an awfully narrow and elitist vision for the nation.

                    • Not that I condone it, but in the past people have been shot over insulting one’s honor as the governor does to us, nearly every time he talks about the budget. I don’t see my comment as boasting, but if that’s your take, I can’t help that.

                      But thanks for letting me know that Ken is the source of the grenade launcher story. I feel so informed. the source of my Capitol news? Let’s just call her Barbie. Feel better now that you have a source? Maybe Barbie and Ken can get together sometime and have an anonymous relationship.

                      And yes I did state finding someone who can actually make policy, which kind of is the topic at hand. We are talking gun control “legislation” are we not? I’m pretty certain that I cannot get a billed passed without some politican involved. Or does that work different in your world?

                      Lastly, I’d like to remind you that if you plan on being the civil decency policeman for blogging, that perhaps you can live up to your own standards. I can see that is not the case, (shocking), which is often the case with blogger cops.

                      Just like when you whine about me claiming “victim” status when the governor insults me, you fail to note that when I say can’t comprehend a post, and go far away from it’s meaning, you claim to be offended as well, that I’ve said this makes you illiterate. Again, in another pot meets kettle moment, you fail to live up to your own self-appointed high standards.

                      So when ever you are ready, you can take off the policeman hat, and discuss gun control legislation. And perhaps even do so without fantasies of individuals who’s wishes are not part of the current discussion.

                      BTW, (can I please use abbreviations, Mr. Web Cop), I’ve yet to be chastised from the GOP for my silly rants on this blog site. Perhaps your complaints have fallen on deaf ears?

                    • Also note the difference in my quote and yours. You stated I boasted about the NEED to hit someone, where I clearly stated, WANT to hit someone. Pretty big difference. Again, you have a nasty habit of reading something into my posts that doesn’t exist, and then have the gall to get offending by your misinterpretations.

                    • Mr. Brunette, I try to keep up to a civil standard. However, when you take the road you do… it’s hard to ignore, because the intent is to poison the conversation. If you get mad enough to want to hit someone when they make a point, or suggest that others would want to shoot them as you just did, then that shouldn’t be sugar-coated; that’s just wrong, and twisted. It elevates violence and thuggery above grace and decency; there is nothing to respect in that. Ever.

                      Again, all I said was that I had a conversation where someone offered that perspective that there are no limits to gun ownership. I gave quotes and specifics; you give fantasies, and dress them up in smoke and mirrors. Maybe trying to point that out nicely escapes your capacity to comprehend, I’m not sure. No representative has ever heard of your $45 billion claim. So comparing the two is an easy out from responsibility on your part, nothing more. If you disagree, then quote something tangible, or give up the charade, because no one is buying it.

                      I don’t want the role or policeman; however, I’m tired of the debate tactic of screaming louder to win the point, which you rely on too much. Case in point: in a forum on gun issues, you post about tax issues wholly separate from the topic, braying again and again to drown out any other view. Such tactics should be challenged for what they are; as for the consequences, I actually trust the voters to know the difference, especially when you leave such a trail of evidence.

                      Yes, we are talking about legislation, but the idea that the average American or outside organizations don’t influence and shape those efforts in incredibly uninformed. The NRA drafts model legislation and mobilizes efforts on a large scale, as do other organizations. So I’m not sure how much money or how important of a title it takes to merit your consideration, Mr. Brunette, but that’s not the way the real world works.

                      As for the point: what regulation and limitations do you favor on firearms? You seem to agree that there are limits, which for some is apostasy. What are they, then, from your perspective?

                    • “I don’t want the role or [sic] policeman; however…”

                      And yet you seem to put on the cap over and over again. Not to mention the [sic] baloney, which is another way to be annoying.

                      It reamins to be seen what you fear as to revealing sources. You’d have to do it first.

                      And I’ve never stated I felt the need to hit someone. (see what I did there. Used bold so I wouldn’t be considered shouting, since all caps is offensive to nitpickers such as yourself. Again, you wear the cap. Wear it proudly or not at all). But if I had a nickel for ever time you misunderstood what was written by me, I’d be a wealthy man. (Oh wait, according to Obama and Dayton, I AM!… Ooops shouted again. Sue me!)

                      As to further firearm legislation, I think there’s little here that’s been offered here that matters. See the basic premise is flawed. If someone plans on committing murder, which is after all, against the law, what does breaking another law to get means to perform act matter to the criminal.

                      It’s like the stupid sign law. Law abding citizens don’t bring guns to the movies, because it’s not allowed. So a nut-bar does, and kills as many as he wants. It was illegal for him to bring the gun into the place to begin with. Did that stop him? If it were illegal for him to have a 30 round magazine, would that stop him? Nope. He had on illegal body armor too? Not sure about that one, but if it was, he didn’t care. I’m even certain that it was illegal for the Sandy Hook shooter to steal guns from his mom. He did that anyway. He also killed her. Illegal. Brought guns onto school property. Illegal. Broke into the locked school doors. Illegal. Shot numerous school officials and children. Illegal. Blew his brains out. Illegal.

                      See what I’m saying here?

                    • An interesting logic; however, by that line of reasoning, since criminals by definition don’t plan to follow the law, then laws themselves are an unnecessary restriction only on good people. Take voter ID (not as a revisiting of past arguments, but as an example here): by that logic, since those who are determined to break the law will anyway, why try to reform or limit the process at all? Why have any restriction or law?

                      As I said before, the ability of a business, school, or other location to determine whether or not to allow firearms on the premises is also about liability and the overall safety and environment they desire. While arming teachers is an interesting knee-jerk response, it omits the liability issues, plus the vulnerability to having the weapon stolen, friendly fire, etc.

                      A common counterargument that is presented is that this only makes it easier for those who are armed to kill everyone else. There is some merit to the idea, up to a point; however, the reality is that you can’t out-evil evil. Arm bank tellers, and the first thing a dedicated robber will do is shoot someone or take a hostage, thereby only making the net result worse. If you’re lucky, that’s all that happens; if not, they ask for the guns too, and not just the money. Allow for military-grade weapons, and the police will need to increase their firepower and training, thereby increasing taxes and escalating the risk to the general public in any exchange. To a certain degree, we can’t be responsible in trying to predict every wrong occurrence or stupidity that can come along; however, we can address the ones we know, and limit the overall severity to prevent extreme devastation. That’s where we should start with guns.

                      Ortman’s piece in the Herald about her participation in the legislation she joined is a great example of that. Let us target the known gaps and loopholes, examine those who are simply a danger to others, tighten those areas, and move forward. Additionally, lift the gag rules and let the various law enforcement agencies share data and information, so crooked gun dealers are punished, and see if any other action is necessary. Good options, many of which are still being blocked by pro-gun entities who see any change as a negative.

                      As for the assault weapons bans proposed at the state level right now (and you should like this, Mr. Brunette), I’ve yet to see one that actually makes sense and is practical. Too often they read like someone who watched too many action movies and tried to write a law barring guns that look a certain way. A barrel with this feature, this type of grip, this type of sight or scope, etc. All that does is encourage gun designers to come up with something that doesn’t meet those restrictions; it doesn’t address the underlying issue.

                      Universal background checks make sense. Restrictions on military-grade weapons make sense, in that even a prepared and armed citizen has very little chance of protecting themselves against a nut with a grenade launcher or a 50 caliber rifle (and you may laugh, until you do a web search for purchasing those weapons, and see how easy it actually is in some cases; a quad mounted [4 M2’s] unit with trailer for mobility is available with the slogan “Take it with you anywhere!”, while a single heavy cal on mobile tripod with chain feed ammunition books for between $4,000 and $10,000, depending on features and condition). Cleaning up issues with mental health screen makes sense. So start there, and see what can be done working with the common ground available.

                    • So let’s ask the question referring to that which spawned this outcry for more gun law. Which of the above laws would have prevented Sandy Hook? (assuming that this happened in our jusrisdiction and these laws would applicable in CT).

                    • I think the only problem I have with the Ortman participation is more political. Which is unfortunate, I know, but hear me out.

                      She’s the only GOP Senator on board with it. Anf that lends the DFL to be able to claim bi-partisan support for the bill. That in and of itself would be a huge deal either, but it’s due to a deep mistrust of the DFL, and how they will use that to their advantage, taking it further into committee’s and adding things to it that will make it distasteful.

                      The other side of this, is that she does represent a district that had an issue very relative to this bill, and I imagine she feels it’s her duty to act to correct that problem.

                      Bith sides are bit in knee jerk mode, which makes both sides skeptical on motives. On know many NRA members who are worried that if we give an inch, the DFL will take mile. (wonder why). And this open door for incremental change will lead to a bull rush.

                      As I said before, I’m rather ambivalent on that bill. Politcally, it seems like it’d best to stay off of it, unless there is wide support for it. (there doesn’t appear to be at this point, but it’s early). I guess if it gets too broad with modifications, she can always vote against it, and remove the bi-partisanship from it, if that does indeed get taken advantage of negatively but the DFL.

                    • Good policy is good politics. If you think it’s a good bill, you should stand up for it. If that means you’re the oddball in your caucus, so be it. We need more politicians who are willing to follow their instincts instead of subcontracting their judgment out to a political party.

                    • I guess we’ll have to see if it remains good policy. It seems to have a lot of opposition from both sides of the aisle.

                    • When you look at the propsed legislation by Missouri Democrats, you can quickly see why folks get worried about these laws. I’m not saying that will happen here, or that it won’t for that matter, but it’s the over the top power grab or gun grab that makes people extremely suspicious of new gun law. AN inch can become a mile real fast.

                    • There’s extremists on both sides of the issue. Let’s not forget that Kansas Republicans pushed a bill to legalize fully automatic weapons in 2008, before pulling back to match federal law. (Besides, it’s not as if the Missouri bill has any hope of actually passing.)

                    • I have to agree that a good idea is a good idea, no matter what the source. Additionally, from a purely tactical political standpoint, working on this measure gives Ortman and the GOP a stronger argument. They can say they support targeted efforts to address gaps in the system, to deal with known problems, and that this does so with minimal interference. If it becomes a party-line opposition, then the obstructionist label gets added (and if it’s solely about party, then it’s hard to argue against), which becomes great campaigning fodder. Additionally, it also contradicts the message the NRA put out in recent months about wanting to address mental health and legal gaps (Ortman hit on that in her piece), which leaves the image of solely being the voice of “No”, which in the long run isn’t a position of strength.

                    • I don’t see the Kansas proposal as extreme at all. Fully automatic are less dangerous then semi-auto, in most cases. Usually it’s just a waste of ammo. If you wanted to kill more people for example, semi would be the way to go in most circumstances. Unless you had unlimited ammo. Few people are trained to be effective with fully automatic weapons. Almost anyone can be effective with a semi automatic. Bullet for bullet, semi-auto is far more effective. And these rounds are not cheap, so you’re average nut bar isn’t going to spend a fortune to simply waste ammo. You just burn through clips faster, and likely hit less targets. Not to mention the chance of jamming goes up.

                    • I guess we’ll have to see how it plays out. If the President and the other states weren’t all gung ho to strip away rights of non-criminals, this probably wouldn’t even be a big deal. Every is pretty twisted up on this topic right now. Common sense seems to be out the window, on both sides.

                      What I’d like to hear, if this is truely based on NRA proposals, that the NRA endores this bill. I have the sense that they don’t, and that maybe it goes farther than they recommended. If so, they’d be wise to get their base riled up against it.

                      I think the law has some good elements, but as a whole has a few question marks. Maybe these will either get cleared up in committee or the icky parts removed.

        • “Additionally, responsible gun owners won’t need 30 rounds of suppression fire, knowing how much accuracy decays in that situation”

          That’s a hopelessly broad statement.

          A responsible person shooting in self defense *needs* one round more than it takes to resolve an attack. Last month in Atlanta, a woman shot an attacker four times in the head and neck with a five-shot revolver – and he lived. Had he pressed his attack rather than staggering away (it happens), the woman would still have been attacked, raped, killed. Her children too. Had he had an accomplice, and had they both been high or dissociative, it’s entirely possible 10 rounds might not have been enough. In “Black Hawk Down” (the book), soldiers told of hitting Somali attackers several times with armor-piercing rounds from M16’s (like AR15s only fully automatic), but who were so high on qat they didn’t notice.

          Against a small group of armed attackers who are altered or insane – it’s rare, but it happens – it’s entirely possible 30 rounds isn’t even enough.

        • The baseball bat/ blunt instrument reference refers to the fact that blunt objects killed more people than all homicides with rifles, all types of rifles. According to theFBI 2011 released homicide facts approximately 700 all rifles, 3000 blunt objects. AR bands are a waste of time. Under strict scrutiny in the court, a ban of a weapon used in onlyfew hundred murders, that strips rights from millions will not be allowed. Good luck with that.

          • It goes beyond that, even.

            The “rifles” counts all long arms; hunting rifles, duck guns, illegally-sawed-off shotguns used in robberies, .22 plinkers…

            In a typical year, military-spec “assault rifles” – the legal, semi-automatic variety – are used in less than 50 murders in an average year (figures from GOCRA) and most of *those* are stolen.

  2. “That said, all of the more likely proposals are — despite a lower profile — bills that can make a real impact on gun violence. Sometimes moderation and incrementalism pays off.”

    Moderation and incrementalism in pursuit of what?

    Lowering crime? Virtually none of the bills would impact crime in any way. Most of them address non-issues; quick, when was the last murder in Minnesota with a *legally-purchased* military-grade rifle? Good luck finding that.

    Dumber still are the bills aimed at harassing legal carry permittees: Davnie’s bills (238 and 239) serve, respectively, to criminalize innocent accidents (the occasional absent-minded carry permittee who walks across a playground) and aggressively stomp on a non-problem (there has been not one recorded incident of a problem with a carry permittee in a posted property).

    All of the DFL’s bills were grandstanding wastes of taxpayer time.

    • The DFL and waste of taxpayer’s time and money always go hand in hand. This really shouldn’t shock anyone.

      Seriously, you have to wonder about some of these elected officials. There’s not a lot of thinking or analysis that goes into these decisions, apparently, other than to foster some agenda. Because the basic premise still remains. Criminals and nut-jobs do NOT care about the law. A few more laws don’t mean a damn thing to someone intent on murder, which a DFL’er should know by now, is also against the law. If you actually beleive a law will make these gun violence crimes go down, they’d make a law against such acts. Oh, wait…. You mean there already is? How does it happen then? I know. Let’s make it illegal to gun down multiple people and then take your own life. That will put a stop to it. I’m certain of it.

  3. In a bit of a slip up, I heard a former DFL Senator say the February numbers may be good enough that we don’t need to raise all of these taxes. Somebody better get control of these people. You can’t say these kinds of things out loud!

    On a side note, what do you think the state will do with even more surplus? Pay the rest of the shift off? Will it affect the “projected” deficit? If there is a projected surplus, can we skip raising anyone’s taxes?

  4. While listening to another DFLer talk about Dayton’s tax plan, it became clear that if this income tax change goes through, my wife and I will best suited to un-married in the eyes of the state. Married couple making over 250K get hit with more taxes. Head of households get hit at 200K, and individuals at 150K. So I’ll be the head of the household, and she’ll file as an individual, which brings us to 350K combined income before tax hikes take effect. From a tax perspective, I guess we’ll be married but separated. She’ll have the lake address, and I’ll have the home address.

    Is that the intent? Is Dayton’s intent to destroy marriage, even if only for tax liability? Perhaps we should file a petition that allows for rich people to get married without penalty from the state? Because that what his plan bascially does. It makes wealthier couples who want to marry, pay even more in taxes. Oh, but again, we don’t pay our fair share so who gives a rip. What nonsense!

  5. Despite it being illegal in Brussels for citizens to own automatic weapons, or laser sights, there was a huge 50 million dollar diamond heist in the news today. Seems criminals don’t give a rip about the gun laws. Strange when criminals break the law, isn’t it? We should just make it illegal to break laws here. Maybe that will stop them.

    • Posting before coffee = bad. I meant to mention that the weapons used for this crime were reported as automatics with laser sights. Makes you wonder how they managed to get these when they were banned for public use.

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