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A divided Senate answers Orlando with gridlock on gun curbs

40 Comments
By ALAN FRAM and MARY CLARE JALONICK

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40 Comments
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Big win for the NRA.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

No background checks are required for anyone buying guns privately online or at gun shows.

Oh, I see. I guess that makes background checks essentially voluntary.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Oh, I see. I guess that makes background checks essentially voluntary.

Why would they be otherwise? We all know that the terrorists will voluntarily submit to background checks.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

eight days after the horror of Orlando’s mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists.

What kind of power can force thinking adults to abandon all reason, caution and sense? The NRA.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Great news

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Just imagine if the Jihadist did not use a gun. Boston knows alternatives. NYC knows. DC knows. A field in PA know. Egypt knows. They may have another tally to add in coming days with the black boxes being decoded. Paris knows the law abiding citizens didn't do anything wrong. Belgium airport knows guns are an option not the limiter!

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Just imagine if the Jihadist did not use a gun. Boston knows alternatives. NYC knows. DC knows. A field in PA know. Egypt knows. They may have another tally to add in coming days with the black boxes being decoded. Paris knows the law abiding citizens didn't do anything wrong. Belgium airport knows guns are an option not the limiter!

Got anything to add that isn't all rhetoric?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Make a good point that guns will end or greatly reduce deaths and the rhetoric can stop. Otherwise the anti gun croud who little about guns can keep huffing and puffing till the guns go away. All the while the deaths won't.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Orlando has really sparked up the debates. Far more than say San Bernardino and VA Tech. VA Tech was a mental health issue. San Bernardino and Orlando were out of an ideological radical religion motive.

But still, guns will be blamed and not radical islam. There are a handful of islamic countries which put gays to death due to their savage Sharia beliefs. No Christian countries do this.

And some posters say religion has absolutely nuthing to do with it. . . . I see a high level of the so-called "tolerance" there.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Orlando shootings... show the best way to prevent attacks by extremists is to defeat such groups overseas.

Yeah, martyrdom legends really put paid to political violence

I'm not for a minute denying that people are self-radicalising, but why are they doing it?

Besides, which extremists inspired James Holmes (whose 100 round magazine jammed, limiting the death toll in that massacre)? Or Sandy Hook's Adam Lanza? Or the thousands of other, now daily mass shootings?

the anti gun croud who little about guns can keep huffing and puffing till the guns go away

Freud had a theory about a certain envy. What's at play here, where emotions are so elevated?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Make a good point that guns will end or greatly reduce deaths

Ok. See: the civilized world.

Point made, mic dropped, debate over.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Some sad but true facts;

1/ Civilians are not allowed to buy assault rifles in the US. At best, they can buy standard rifles that look cool. It's a bit like equating a civilian sporty looking car (with a 4 cylinder engine) to a NASCAR racer.

2/ Rifles of all types account for a very small fraction of gun crime and violence. Knives are more common weapons for murders. So are blunt objects. So are shotguns. So are fists.

3/ The most common weapon of choice in mass shootings is the handgun, not the rifle.

4/ The toothpaste is out of the tube for the US. THe only option that could possibly work is overall enforced confiscation of weapons, starting with handguns. Do you think that would ever happen?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It's time to take America back from the NRA.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It is sheer insanity that a discussion about about a islamic terrorist attack now has been turned into a gun debate. Political activists are hell-bent on ignoring reality and sticking to their political talking points.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Civilians are not allowed to buy assault rifles in the US. At best, they can buy standard rifles that look cool

as seen in Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino and Orlando

But let's keep looking the other way

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Let's be honest. Even if there were 100 times the shooting fatalities there are now, still nothing would change. Decision making America is hellbent on self-destruction. So be it - sad though for rational Americans. Good times for people who love to kill and people who are addicted to their "second amendment".

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It is sheer insanity that a discussion about about a islamic terrorist attack now has been turned into a gun debate. Political activists are hell-bent on ignoring reality and sticking to their political talking points.

It's sheer insanity to think that an incident with a guy who shot up a nightclub full of people with an assault weapon has nothing to do with guns. Gun nuts are hell-bent on ignoring reality and sticking to their political talking points.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

VA Tech was a mental health issue. San Bernardino and Orlando were out of an ideological radical religion motive.

Islam is the greatest gift to the NRA: it allows them to yell "Squirrel!" and the dupes always fall for it.

This is how it works: a mass shooting by a non-Islamic person is a result of mental health issues, while that by an Islamic person is, by definition, radical terrorism. The weapon of choice doesn't matter; the number of deaths doesn't matter; all that matters is the religion of the perpetrator, and the dupes get completely distracted, forgetting that the vast majority of mass shootings in America have been committed by white native-born Americans.

Funny thing is, one of the GOP bills would have actually made it more difficult for authorities to prevent those suspected of mental illness from acquiring a weapon, requiring a ruling by a judge within 72 hours rather than simple adjudication. Imagine how that would go.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sense, I am not sure what you are saying. Could you be a bit more specific about your points? You are just randomly throwing out names of tragedies as if they are evidence of something, or solutions. Would you care to address any of the facts I wrote earlier?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Both Republicans and Democrats are running scared.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

1/ Civilians are not allowed to buy assault rifles in the US. At best, they can buy standard rifles that look cool. It's a bit like equating a civilian sporty looking car (with a 4 cylinder engine) to a NASCAR racer.

The AR-15 and its equivalents are semi-automatic, not automatic, but otherwise are identical to assault rifles. A practiced user can release multiple rounds each second.

2/ Rifles of all types account for a very small fraction of gun crime and violence. Knives are more common weapons for murders. So are blunt objects. So are shotguns. So are fists.

True. However, with the exception of handguns, the other types of weapons you mentioned are seldom if never used in mass violence. Furthermore, handguns have the cache of self-defense, while shotguns have that of hunting; one reason these rifles have attracted attention is that they have no other purpose than "sport" (target shooting), mass violence, and a serious in-your-face attitude that really annoys people who value their own lives and those of their family and friends.

3/ The most common weapon of choice in mass shootings is the handgun, not the rifle.

As above, this is true. They are easier to conceal and carry. That does not make either any less dangerous - like comparing crocodiles with alligators.

4/ The toothpaste is out of the tube for the US. THe only option that could possibly work is overall enforced confiscation of weapons, starting with handguns. Do you think that would ever happen?

Forced confiscation will never happen. Even when weapons are banned, those existing will likely be "grandfathered" (just as AR-15s are in California now: legal for those who owned them before the ban, but cannot be sold or transferred). Over time, numbers will drop.

A final point is that poor behavior is often changed simply by peer pressure. The number of young people smoking has plummeted mostly because it is no longer "cool." The whole "pay it forward" trend is exploding precisely because it is "cool." People who choose to own weapons for needs other than legitimate self-defense or hunting reasons should be made to look exactly as they are: Selfish cowards, people with little concern for others and an exaggerated need to display their own masculinity.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Laguna; Interesting assessment, food for thought.

I would say that there is an over emphasis on mass violence though. The vast majority of murders and crime are individual. They just add up over time remorselessly. IMHO, it is illogical to spend so much time obsessing about mass shootings when they are statistically insignificant. Ditto focusing on weapons whose use in crime is also statistically insignificant.

Hence my disdain for those who carry on about assault rifles. A trained shooter can fire a handgun just as fast, if not faster. A trained shooter can fire a conventional rifle just as fast as well. My point is that the "assault weapon" category is a shibboleth, a purely cosmetic thing that really means nothing.

I am no gun fan. I'm grateful Japan has basically banned them. But for my cousins in the USA, I think it is too late to go that route. The mood of the country is insecure and a bit paranoid, that is why people buy weapons. If the mood can be changed, the habits perhaps can be changed too.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

the National Rifle Association, which urged its huge and fiercely loyal membership to lobby senators to oppose the Democratic bills.

At best the NRA has about 4 million members, or roughly 1.8% of the adult population. That's not really a huge number when put into context.

In terms of direct spending, on lobbying, the NRA doesn't even rank in the top 100. In 2014 they came in at 149th. The pharmaceutical industry alone out spends the NRA six to one, Google out spends them five to one.

Where does the NRA's seemingly supernatural power over the US legislative body come from?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Gun ownership should be limited to the firearms that existed when the Second Amendment was written.

Imagine if Omar Mateen had needed to reload a homemade blunderbuss after firing every shot!

7 ( +7 / -1 )

You are just randomly throwing out names of tragedies as if they are evidence of something

They're evidence of... tragedies. Mass murder. Those facts, and the hurt done to thousands, from relatives and friends to traumatised first responders and frightened citizens isn't going to go away no matter how often it's cynically diminished by statements like:

they are statistically insignificant

Say that to the great people of Orlando. Or the parents in Sandy Hook...

my disdain

Indeed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I would say that there is an over emphasis on mass violence though.

Thanks, Atilla. While I understand your point - the vast majority of gun violence in America is related to gangs and individual disputes - I'd suggest that mass violence cannot be "underestimated" for two reasons. First is its random choice of victims: even those who choose not to associate with gun owners are not safe. Second is its random choice of venue - and this in particular has had a very perverse effect on America. How long will it be until airport-style security checks are required before entering a theater?

I agree that the AR-15 is not the be-all, end-all of violence, but as per my points in my above point, it is a place to start which does have wide popular support (90% of Americans support banning or severely restricting the weapon type). In a perfect world, I'd go after magazine styles, restricting all gun types to a maximum of, say, four to six rounds and preventing easy replacement of magazines. Even an AR-15, if it takes some ten seconds to replace a six-round magazine, would then become relatively benign. (The NRA and GOP are very much against this idea for some reason.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Make a good point that guns will end or greatly reduce deaths and the rhetoric can stop. Otherwise the anti gun croud who little about guns can keep huffing and puffing till the guns go away. All the while the deaths won't.

Im not huffing and puffing. Im living in Japan where all the guns have gone away (or more accurately were never in private hands in the first place). And look! Virtually no deaths (well, violent deaths that would otherwise be attributable to guns. Obviously people still die here)!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Laguna;

Personally, I think it is a lot easier to control gang/individual crime than what you correctly call "random choice of victims". Measures can be more easily put in place for that. I would suggest increased street patrols in at risk areas, increased contact between law enforcement and citizens, and an end to the over-militarization of the police. By and large, police should be mediators and community support at least as much as law enforcers and revenue generators for various levels of government.

As for banning the AR-15 style weapons, what worries me is that a symbolic act like that, which would actually have no real impact on gun violence, would be seen as an end rather than a means. Everyone would pat themselves on the back, congratulate themselves, and then move on to the next social issue. Just because it is popular doesn't mean it is good policy.

I don't see how limiting magazine size would really matter. With little training, it's literally 2 or 3 seconds to change one. Alternately, a killer would merely carry extra weapons. And as with so many laws banning things, enforcement is impossible. There are no easy solutions.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Attilathepun, of course there is no "silver bullet" for this. The suggestions you made are entirely reasonable. It is not impossible to require guns to have difficult-to-change magazines; of course criminals could get around these laws by modifying their weapons, but if you're a cop who has stopped some guy with an illegally modified gun, you now have a reason both to confiscate the gun and question the guy over why he needs so many easily accessible rounds. It does work - California does it all the time.

Another suggestion would be permanent weapon registration, as exists in Japan. Here, authorities have access to info regarding the number and type of guns any individual possesses; in America, it is currently illegal to maintain such records. If you're a law-abiding owner, even a collector with multiple guns, why would you object? If someone over a short interval amasses an arsenal, though, the authorities should know. Currently, such mechanisms in the US are illegal.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As for banning the AR-15 style weapons, what worries me is that a symbolic act like that, which would actually have no real impact on gun violence, would be seen as an end rather than a means.

If they had banned AR-15s, it wouldn't have been the end for the 50 people in Pulse.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Why is it these mass shootings are in gun free zones? Is it because the murderers want to disobey the law? Na, they are safe to proceed.

What ends the carnage? When a gun in the good guys hands stops him either with fear or a bullet.

Remove guns from USA.....on lay law enforcement and bad guys will have guns and common citizens are sitting ducks.

@stranger....pick that mic up again! You fair to recognize USA has increadible violence even w/o guns. School teacher are occasionally beat up. Do you recall the knockout game? What about the gang violence not always with a gun? USA in uncivilized in the fringe of the law type.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Strangerland. You may be right. It may have been the end for more than 50. The killer may have chosen to arm himself with several handguns instead, which may have resulted in even more loss of life. After all, in an enclosed space like a club a handgun is much easier to use than a large bulky rifle. Perhaps that is why handguns are used about 50 times MORE than rifles to commit murder.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@stranger....pick that mic up again! You fair to recognize USA has increadible violence even w/o guns.

So you think it's a good idea to allow an incredibly violent populace arm themselves with guns.

Seems legit.

Perhaps that is why handguns are used about 50 times MORE than rifles to commit murder.

Seems like a pretty good reason to get rid of handguns too.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Gun ownership should be limited to the firearms that existed when the Second Amendment was written. Imagine if Omar Mateen had needed to reload a homemade blunderbuss after firing every shot!

Imagine this great nation of the United States of America adhering to laws of hundreds of years ago written for that time. Now misinterpreted to suit the convenience of misguided interest groups. Not for the benefit of the nation. Interest groups that are not fazed a tiny bit about the loss of life, the atrocities re-occurring on a regular basis. Blame all the evil just on those who also still follow laws drawn up ages ago. Do not accept any blame yourselves Americans, you have your guns like coffee pots, although the possession of coffee pots was not justified by the constitution. There are always those on both sides who think they are right. But are they? Do the USA wish to be classified as a developed nation, a nation that needs a lethal weapon in every home? Ask yourself that. But I am afraid an honest answer of those so convinced of their own greatness and righteousness will not be an easily justifiable one, proven by the failure of repeated attempts in congress, the senate, the bodies supposed to represent the (fractured) nation.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"...even over restricting firearms for terrorists."

You see? They can't blame Obama anymore for themselves putting the guns in the hands of terrorists. They will, of course, since logic is paradoxical when it comes to the GOP and gun-nutters, but it is them giving them the weapons, for sure.

The US NEVER learns.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Stranger, that isn't going to happen. The government can't deport 11 milliion illegal aliens, so what chance is there to round up 300 million guns?

It's better to focus on policies that may actually have long term impact (such as those I suggested earlier) instead of unrealistic or ineffective "feel good" measures that don't get to the root of the problem.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SHAME on all Senate and House Republicans -- still the DO-NOTHNGS.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

“Look, no one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns or explosives,” McConnell said. He suggested that Democrats were using the day’s votes “as an opportunity to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad,” while Republicans wanted “real solutions.” - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY

Boy! Really?

'the Democrats were using' public outrage, civil discourse and long documented scientific results that showed the NRA is creating a clear and present danger to the Safety, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness every American is afforded in one of those old Documents no one can remember.

Isn't the gun lobby just the same as the cigarette lobby? What's the difference. It's just death on on justification. Sick.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"as seen in Sandy Hook, Aurora, San Bernardino and Orlando

But let's keep looking the other way"

FALSE. NONE of them were actual assault weapons despite the media misleading labeling. The firearms ignorance is strong among the anti-gun agitators.

"It is sometimes conflated with the term "assault rifle", which refers to selective-fire military rifles that can fire in automatic and / or burst mode."

A dressed up squirrel gun is not an assault rifle any more than a Nissan March with F-1 stickers is a Formula 1 racer.

None of the proposals would have had any impact nor prevented any of the shootings. Furthermore, they would have all been unconstitutional, violating the right to Due Process.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A dressed up squirrel gun is not an assault rifle any more than a Nissan March with F-1 stickers is a Formula 1 racer.

Yeah, get it right people! They can't kill indiscriminately nearly as fast as a real assault rifle can kill indiscriminately. A real assault rifle can kill people REALLY REALLY REALLY fast, while the weapons used in these assaults can only kill people REALLY fast. These weapons are actually saving lives by not being real assault weapons.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

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