Law Review: Gun owners — all of us — need to support sensible gun restrictions
I am a gun owner and have been since I was 12. I have a .22 pistol and a .22 rifle for “plinking” and shooting at targets, although it’s been a few years. I have a rifle I’ve had all my life for shooting big game – mostly wild pigs – and two shotguns for upland game, ducks, and practicing on clay pigeons. The last two years I haven’t hunted at all. I eat everything I shoot as do all of my hunter friends. I have trigger locks on all of my guns. And with that:
There have been over 200 mass shootings this year in the U.S. Americans bought 19.9 million firearms last year. Follow the money. The National Rifle Association spent $4.9 million lobbying Congress in 2021. The NRA has been classified as a “corrupt organization” by the New York Attorney General’s office with strong evidence of fraud, cronyism and misuse of funds. The executive director of the NRA unabashedly spends millions on fancy suits, private jets and exclusive and expensive vacations – all on NRA donors.
Gun restrictions are not going to prevent most deaths by guns but something must be done. Business as usual is not an option. Given the mass shootings in the past few years – past few days – opposing any and all gun restrictions is absurd.
The gun lobby enjoys special liability protection with immunity laws passed in 2005, which makes gun controls and restrictions all the more necessary.
Fox News and the NRA have fabricated the story that if they give an inch the government will confiscate our guns – every last one of them. It’s a massive and effective scare campaign: “they’re coming to get your guns.” E.g. “we need more citizens with guns … teachers should have guns.” Really? Arm teachers who have never fired a weapon? Keep teachers’ guns in their top drawers in the classroom? Talk about an attractive nuisance and safety hazard.
Senator Ted Cruz, the most disliked politician in Washington, solution to mass shootings after Uvalde is to mandate that all doors in schools be locked except the front door. Tell that to the fire marshal. What a putz.
Fully automatic guns like machine guns are illegal for citizens. Assault weapons, which have no discernable legitimate use, could easily be outlawed – and once were – resulting in a significant reduction in gun deaths. Does every citizen have a Constitutional right to have an AK-47 strapped on their shoulder at the mall or in the closet? Some say yes, I say no.
What elected official could in good conscious oppose prohibiting bump stocks that convert semiautomatic rifles into machineguns (think Las Vegas) where one pull of the trigger spews out multiple bullets?
Mitch McConnell and most Republicans blocked proposed bump stock legislation. How galling that a politician would go out of his/her way to protect the right of nut jobs to convert their rifles into machine guns. Pawns of the NRA and gun lobby. There is no Constitutional right to make a bump stock. Period.
Who could in good conscious be against universal background checks? Mitch McConnell and his cohorts, that’s who. Same with red-flag background checks which would screen gun buyers who should not have guns. Screening, as inconvenient as it is at airports, can work in the realm of guns.
What about a minimum age of 21 to buy a gun? That too is a sacred cow to McConnell and most Republicans in Congress and of course Fox News. There is an age limit for driving a car but not for buying an AK-47.
Large capacity magazines that store multiple cartridges, popular among mass shooters, should be restricted. You don’t need a 30-45 cartridge clip unless you intend to do serious damage.
What is the purpose of a military-style weapon like an AK-47 or AK-15? Certainly not hunting. Such guns are impractical for home protection or to “plink cans.” These weapons are aggressively marketed to young men as manly – along with body armor. What the hell, why is body armor available to the general public?
What was the gun store owner in Uvalde, Texas thinking when he sold the 18-year-old shooter an AK-15 with body armor? It’s not like the kid was going to the shooting range. Is there no duty on a store owner to question suspect sales to suspect buyers? How about a mandatory waiting period? McConnell, et al. say no way. By the way, Daniel Defense, maker of the AR-15, issued a statement expressing “our hearts and our prayers are for the victims.”
The ultra-conservative U.S. Supreme Court is expected this summer to make it easier for citizens to carry pistols in public places. That makes me feel safer.
Common sense and public pressure on politicians is what is needed. Hunters’ rights should be protected, but hunters and other gun owners need to stand up to the powerful gun lobby.
Granted, gun control measures can be a burden on law abiding gun owners, but simply repeating “guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” isn’t working.
It is a complicated topic, there are no easy solutions, but with the worst record on gun deaths in the World, surely we can do better. Twenty-five states have modest gun restrictions. It’s time for the federal government, who hasn’t passed any gun restrictions since the Parkland school shooting, to walk the talk or vote them out of office.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, and Reno. These are Jim’s personal opinions. Jim’s practice areas include real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.portersimon.com
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