Senator Lautenberg Proposes modest Gun Legislation says Gail Collins of the NYT

Smart Cat wants to stay in the box until Senator Lautenberg's gun safety bills are passed. Photo Credit: Cat in a big box by CelloPics on Flickr creative commons

Gail Collins wrote a compelling column in the NYT called Utah’s Gun Appreciation Day

Ms. Collins has a terrific sense of humor and can make you laugh even if the news is horrible.

It is truly mind-boggling that 4-year Utah State Representative Carl Wimmer sponsored a bill to make the Browning M1911 pistol the official state firearm. Then, Utah State Senator Mark Madsen thought it would be appropriate to schedule the Browning Day celebration giving recognition to the creator of the pistol on the same day as the Martin Luther King Day celebration since according to Madsen:

“both made tremendous contributions to individual freedom and individual liberty.”

Considering that Martin Luther King, Jr. promoted non-violence which includes avoiding the use of any firearm, the fact that Mr. Madsen recommended a joint celebration of a gun creator with a man who fought non-violently for human rights is pretty over the top.

Talking Point Alert

Ms. Collins did bring to everyone’s attention that a key Republican talking point that is sprinkled throughout almost every sentence used by GOP politicians ad nauseam is the word: “The Constitution.” Ms. Collins said in the NYT article:

“On Monday, the Utah State Capitol celebrated Browning Day, honoring John Moses Browning, native son and maker of the nominee for Official State Firearm. There were speeches, a proclamation, a flyover by a National Guard helicopter, and, of course, a rotunda full of guns. “We recognize his efforts to preserve the Constitution,” Gov. Gary Herbert said, in keeping with what appears to be a new Republican regulation requiring all party members to mention the Constitution at least once in every three sentences.”

The Constitution is important. We all know this. However, overuse of the word to somehow lend credibility to whatever comes before or after the word gets tiring. It’s like Rudolph Giuliani’s constant use of the word 9/11. These are code words that illicit a particular feeling from those who listen to the use of the word based on Frank Luntz style focus groups.

Perhaps Luntz-type focus groups have somehow revealed that some Americans have a pavlovian response to the mere mention of the word “Constitution.”

One of Pavlov's Dogs on Wikipedia salivating

Actually, Ivan Pavlov used conditioning on dogs to make them salivate at just the sound of a bell. Are Luntz et al. turning Americans into sick puppies that react at the mere mention of certain words?

Do Some Folks in the U.S. Have “gun” envy?

What is all this fixation with guns and having flyovers and proclamations honoring guns? How much did all that cost the State of Utah? Do the citizens care how their money is spent? And, please, a “rotunda full of guns” in the Utah State Capitol, especially on the heels of the recent shootings in Arizona?

Modest Remedies for Saner Gun Practices

Senator Frank Lautenberg is proposing that:

1.  End easy access to 30-bullet magazines for semiautomatic guns similar to the one used by the recent Arizona shooter that killed 6 people and seriously injured many others.

2.  Make it more difficult to sell guns to folks on the terror watch list.

3.  Prevent mentally ill people from gaining access to guns at a gun show.

All three of these suggestions are common sense sane preventions to gun violence and yet still allow people to have guns.

Lautenberg interview with MSNBC on high-capacity gun magazines

Scientific Research Needed to Accurately Track the Cause and Effect Usage of Guns and Violence in U.S.

Gail Collins highlighted the fact that there currently is a lack of scientific studies tracking the relationship between gun ownership in this country and violence. Why? Because the National Rifle Association gun lobby apparently has a lot of money and influence to scare people into not doing research about it.

Meanwhile, folks like Utah’s new United States senator, Mike Lee, make statements claiming things that are totally based in la-la land instead of based on any real scientific study. Collins quoted Senator Mike Lee’s made up statistics on CNN where he said, “There is abundant research suggesting in cities where more people own guns, the crime rate, especially the murder rate, goes down.”

Really, and where exactly did Mr. Lee get that research?

Will the President and Congress Have the Guts to Stand up to the NRA and Pass Lautenberg’s Gun Safety Legislation?

Shocking International/U.S. Comparative Statistics on Gun Violence

The Legal Community Against Violence stated:

The U.S. has the highest rate of firearm deaths among 25 high-income nations.66 Another study concluded that among 36 high-income and upper-middle-income countries, the U.S. has the highest overall gun mortality rate.67

The overall firearm-related death rate among U.S. children under the age of 15 is nearly 12 times higher than that among children in 25 other industrialized nations combined.68

The firearm-related suicide rate for children between the ages of 5 and 14 years old in the United States is nearly 11 times higher than that in 25 other developed countries.69

Americans own far more civilian firearms – particularly handguns – than people in other industrialized nations and U.S. gun laws are among the most lax in the world.70


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