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We’ve hung with Lenny before. Uh, maybe that wasn’t the right word; our previous post on Mr. Pitts focused on his theory that gun owners are under-equipped in the penis department. So let’s just say the gun grabber’s been on our gaydar—I mean radar before. This time out, the Lenster has something to say about Arizona rep Gabrielle Giffords’ firearms-related resignation. “Somehow, people who should never have guns never have trouble getting them,” Pitts proclaims at tennessean.com. “Jared Lee Loughner, the man now in jail for the Tucson massacre, was able legally to obtain a gun despite the fact that he was a mentally deranged man who had been rejected by the U.S. Army and kicked out of a community college, which suggests that, while Loughner may be unbalanced, American gun laws are downright insane.” But wait! There is an answer!

We need meaningful background checks on all gun purchases — no loopholes. A mentally unstable man should not have legal access to a gun, period.

We need to ban fully automatic weapons from private use. We need to encourage gun safety classes so that poorly secured firearms stop ending up in the hands of little children.

At the very least, we need to have a serious national dialogue about possible solutions.

Speaking of holes, Lenny’s facile (if suitably indignant) suggestions have that Swiss cheese thing going on.

Define “mentally unstable.” While Loughner was crackers, where do you draw the line between the millions of Americans on anti-depressants and a genuine “nut job”? And what provision would you make for people who recover from mental illness?

How do gun safety classes prevent poorly secured firearms ending up in the hands of little children? Where’s the statistical evidence proving that training would decrease the number of childhood firearms accidents? Is that even worth doing, given the statistically insignificant number of children affected?

Why should we have a national dialogue about possible solutions when gun control advocates are unwilling to consider options other than gun control? We know why they [supposedly] hunger for a theoretical pow-wow: gun grabbers want to appear to be reasonable so they can put forward “common sense” solutions.

Too many on the political left still seem to harbor a fantasy of getting rid of all guns and refuse to distinguish between responsible gun owners and those criminals or deranged people who have no business with firearms. Too many on the political right still harbor the paranoid delusion that any talk of gun control is code for confiscation by jackbooted thugs riding black helicopters.

So nobody talks. Nobody listens. Meantime, our unwillingness to get serious about an epidemic of gun violence brings us the equivalent of 11 Columbine massacres every week — three 9/11s every year. Every once in a while, it even overturns an election. The carnage goes on, and on.

And sadly, that, too, reflects the people’s will.

And human nature. And the cost of freedom.

43 Responses to Leonard Pitts: “American gun laws are downright insane”

  1. It’s a fairly simple equation. People who fear things they don’t know about or others who aren’t mentally capable of responsible gun ownership and know they can’t trust themselfs to do the right thing at all times make up a large portion of the anti’s.

  2. American gun laws are insane. Most of them are predicated on the idea that somebody with a mind to commit murder will balk at violating some administrative rule.

    • That is for sure. Oh, I am a criminal and that is a gun free zone, so I will not create carnage there today! Oh, I want to take out 20 people, and I do not have a pistol permit? Well, that will automatically render me incapable of slaughter! Oh, I am a drug dealer and I just cannot buy a weapon in a gun store! What will I do now? Why there are never illegal guns available due to shrink from the police & military?

  3. Hmm. I wonder if this “epidemic” has any other interesting demographic facts that no one wants to talk about? There’s a reason beyond the congressional status of Mrs. Giffords (may her recovery be as complete as possible) that the Tuscon event was news whereas the vast majority of other gun-related criminal incidents in America are unremarked upon.

    I bet Mr. Pitts knows this, but strangely says nothing about this “dog bites man” phenomenon. I’m not “paranoid,” I’m observant.

    • exactly – Other than Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, no one wants to talk about Black on Black crime in low income areas. And they get in their limos with their armed security and promptly leave for their suburban homes when the cameras are turned off.

    • Screw the media. One lame duck politician gets all the attention, and she didnt even die. What about that nine year old girl that got killed at the same debacle? They obviously dont care about human lives. They just care about the political impact.

  4. He is liberal, no doubt, but he is a very good writer, and unlike most liberal commentators often espouses dialogue and compromise, and seeks to find a place in the middle where people in theory at least can start to talk. I know that’s probably not a politically correct assessment of him on this site, where most folks are right of center – I just think that there are a lot worse folks than him in the media. He at least admits that he is starting out with idealistic positions. And, “nobody talks, nobody listens” is about as accurate and short a description of our current political dialogue, or lack of dialogue, as you could find. How we got to this place, and how we get out of this place, are discussions for a different day (and perhaps a different site).

    And no, I’m not a troll, I’ve been posting on this site for a long time, I carry a firearm (with a permit) every day, and do my best to advocate for the support of the 2nd amendment among my many liberal friends and colleagues (and among quite a few conservative friends and colleagues who support the right in principle but become decidedly squirrely when faced with the reality of someone actually carrying).

    • Leonard Pitts is a liberal racist with the ability to string a few words together. He is nothing but a Jesse Jackson imitator who makes an effort to sound reasonable (but does not succeed in this). He has no credibility with me.

    • Phil you don’t sound like a troll to me, you sound like someone who, like me, lives in a very liberal area and as a gun owner is in the vast minority. Around here you don’t talk about guns in public or with people you don’t know.

  5. The safety course for kids wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing (though in practice it likely would be, see caveat below). I read about a study (can’t find it online now, so salt liberally) that looked at how kids who were familiar with guns reacted when they found a gun, versus how kids who had never been around guns reacted when they found one. The kids who were familiar with guns were much more likely to seek an adult and not touch a gun they found, while kids who grew up not knowing anything about guns were more likely to pick them up and play with them. My takeaway was that growing up in a household with guns meant kids were more likely to have been told about them, how dangerous they were, and specific rules about how (not) to handle them. Whereas shielding kids from all knowledge of guns left them unprepared in the event they actually found one.

    Implementation of such a safety course would, of course, be the problem (especially since it would likely be promoted, and therefore taught, by people who are fundamentally opposed to guns). If the course consisted of a teacher with little knowledge of guns simply telling kids, “Guns are bad! Don’t touch them!” then it would do little good. But an actual safety course given by a knowledgeable person who did not try to sway a kid’s opinion about guns might not only make kids slightly safer, it could also let them know that guns themselves are not evil. Basically, it might help normalize guns in the minds of future generations. I know, when I was in gradeschool, if we had had a visitor give a lecture on guns, I would have been all ears.

    • How about shooting sports in phys-ed? Perhaps BB guns in 4th grade, 22 bolt-action rifles in 7th, throw the field open in HS?

    • I completely agree with you about gun safety courses for children. The NRA’s Eddie Eagle program is really good for that, although it suffers from having the NRA’s name on it, because that causes some people whose children would benefit from it to have a knee-jerk “hell no” reaction.

      But that said, he’s not referring to gun safety classes for children. Read this sentence again: “We need to encourage gun safety classes so that poorly secured firearms stop ending up in the hands of little children.” He wants to encourage safety classes for you and me so we know how to safely store our firearms away from children. Teaching children about guns is still taboo with most liberals. Putting additional restrictions/requirements/roadblocks on gun ownership is their stock in trade.

      I don’t know if “encourage” is code for “mandate” or not, but I put it to you that people who don’t store their guns safely now, without a course, are the same people who wouldn’t bother to take a safety course unless it was mandated. And also the same people who would give lip service to the course if it was mandated, and ignore its teachings after the fact.

  6. Divide and Conquer. Face off those of the Left Tribe with those of the Right Tribe to bicker, blame, and demonize the other tribe for all the problems in society when the far bigger more dangerous threat and the real enemy of the people’s liberty, prosperity, and happiness are the axis tribes of government, select corporations, and the super rich elites.

    • Actually, large concentrations of money have only really become a threat to liberty as the federal government has grown to threaten these concentrations of money. Really, it’s a form of self-defense.

      I’m not saying its right, merely that it is.

  7. Yeah, we really need to ban full auto weapons for private use. Because they’re used so often in violent crime. Why, just the other day I saw some gang-banger hold up a 7-11 for $200, using a $40,000 machine gun. When will the insanity end?!

    I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again: What planet are these people on?

    • Since 1934, there has been precisely ONE actual mala in se crime committed with a lawfully registered machinegun that has been well documented; apart from that, there are one or two more events that *might* have involved a machinegun.

      Oh, and that well-documented case? An Ohio police officer used a .380 MAC to murder an informant.

      Then one should consider that the national registry includes at least 240,000 machineguns, with roughly half of those being transferrable guns in the hands of the people. Figure 10 instances of real crimes with MGs (to be generous) over a period of over 65 years. That means that, statistically, the rate at which lawfully registered machineguns are used in crimes is effectively zero.

  8. Ban full auto? Last time I looked, they were effectively banned inasmuch as the average law abiding citizen is not going to bother with whatever it takes to obtain a permit. Besides, other than in the movies, I don’t recall the last time a fully auto weapon was ever used in a crime.

    Wonder if Pitts has a permit? That would not surprise me. Or, at the least, I do not doubt that he has armed bodyguards or police protection when he travels.

    Gun crime is very rampant among a certain population. But to discuss it openly is to call attention to a very impolite fact-a fact that many prefer to gloss over.

    Finally, anytime we hear calls for a “serious national dialog” there is always a hidden agenda. It’s usually a “hundred flowers” set up.

    • “I don’t recall the last time a fully auto weapon was ever used in a crime.”

      I don’t recall the last time either, but I remember the North Hollywood bank robbers. Of course it is already banned, how is that going to stop a criminal? Criminals do what they want to do and sometimes they get caught and sometimes they don’t. That is never going to change. The only thing that changes are the number of freedoms and liberties the citizens of this country lose each year. That is why the two sides stopped talking a long time ago. That is why gun grabbers want to start a “dialogue” with gun rights activist. Because they are losing.

      • That is why gun grabbers want to start a “dialogue” with gun rights activist. Because they are losing.

        …and we are always the sacrificial lambs, what does the gun grabber give up? Nothing!

  9. Too many people in this country are blind to the big issue that this conversation avoids (though I see it mentioned here often enough) and that is the incremental loss of freedom that occurs as the national government grows and expands it’s power to regulate our economy. The whole loop hole argument about preventing the unworthy from obtaining firearms is predicated on the Federal Government being able to track and monitor private sales of firearms. To effectively do this, they need to know exactly who owns what, at all times. The control necessary for this requires registration of all firearms and a constant updating of this information, probably on something like an income tax form. The resultant erosion of liberty would be one more nail in the coffin of freedom. We already report our income, financial transactions, automobile purchases, participation in educational institutions, marriages and a myriad of other official tracking mechanisms. It all happens so regularly and officially that we hardly notice the chains as they are being fitted. The frog is being boiled.

  10. Here’s an “insane” gun law… In New York State, you can’t own a handgun without a permit to merely own one. Not only that, but since you’re committing a felony by handling a loaded handgun as a non-permittee, the training you’re required to do toward the permit, *by law* has to be classroom-only with no live fire.

    • Right you are. In New York, you cannot touch a firearm (except a .22 rifle in a licensed range after a safety lecture) unless you have a license. So first you take the class, then you get the permit, then you get the gun, and then you learn how to use it, if you’re lucky enough to get a spot at the Westside range.

      • Yup… I took that very class and burned through 50 rounds at that very place, so I know it firsthand.
        Luckily since I live outside of the five boroughs things are far less restrictive with longarms – no permits needed for those, although NYS has its own non-sunsetting clone of the AWB. That pesky rule about no handling of pistols by those without permits still applies, but at least we can shoot and share some pretty decent stuff if we do it outside of NYC.
        A cop at my local range told me that he was at Westside one day and let a cute gal try his service pistol out, I guess as a pickup “tactic.” He was told VERY promptly by the range officer to knock it off or he’d be thrown out.

        • “A cop at my local range told me that he was at Westside one day and let a cute gal try his service pistol out, I guess as a pickup “tactic.” He was told VERY promptly by the range officer to knock it off or he’d be thrown out.”

          Sounds like the range officer got lucky and had one of the decent cops. I can only imagine what would’ve happened if the cop had been a NY version of Officer Harless.

        • The Westside range has seven lanes and they’re always booked. Our hypothetical Officer Hairless wannabee would be thrown out on his a$$ and beg to get back in.

  11. The funny thing is that Mr. Pitts was right about one thingbut he didn’t realize it.

    ” We need to encourage gun safety classes so that poorly secured firearms stop ending up in the hands of little children.”

    He’s right we need gun safety classes for every public school student to help them be safe if they ever come across an unsecured firearm. Eddie the Eagle needs to be in each and every school. Although Mr. Pitts was probably thinking of safety classes only for adults.

  12. “How do gun safety classes prevent poorly secured firearms ending up in the hands of little children?”

    I haven’t seen numbers however I am willing to bet that people who seek training voluntarily (not required as part of permit process) will be more likely to store their gun properly and practice safer shooting habits than people with no training or state required training. This is because those getting training by choice are making a conscious effort to learn to do things right.

  13. One supposes that Pitts is most famous for championing the position that the hideous murder-by-torture of Channon Gail Christian and Hugh Christopher Newsom (see Wikipedia) was not a hate crime, and would not have received more attention if it was five whites torturing a kidnapped black couple so savagely. That opinion, obviously, was rubbish. The national media spend weeks of prime airtime following the story of an infant who may have (a) drowned or (b) been murdered. QED. I note guns played a minor role. Chemicals, sticks, and _icks were the main instruments of violence. That Pitts lives in DC while writing principally for a Miami paper seems unsurprising. Another shining moment for the endless politics of race (on both sides).

    • I think Pitts is right that the reverse situation would have gotten more press, because he sure as Hades would have been the one writing about it. That narrative fits the “Southern whites hate blacks” meme, a narrative that is right in Mr. Pitts’ limited literary wheelhouse.

      Someone living in a place where it’s virtually impossible to have any direct interaction with firearms is like me writing about sailing in the Indian Ocean from East Texas. Better to stick to what you know.

  14. Pitts is a hack writer thag lacks the intellectual integrity to become a black nationalist. His columns read like this: the black community has problem X, which can only be fixed by Y amount of your tax-dollars.

    If he went the Marcus Garvey/Malcolm X/Huey Newton route he could at least garner some credibility. It won’t happen though. The Pitts is in it for The Pitts.

  15. The left is really out doing itself on gun control lately. Here they are in the twilight of the best hope ever for confiscating guns in the form of Barry and he’s not doing near enough to make it happen. On paper he should be signing all kinds of things but no dice.
    Is Lenster aware there are already laws on the books for most of what he proposes? Has he ever read any of those laws?

  16. You wrote, “We need to ban fully automatic weapons from private use.”

    I hope you were just quoting Mr. Pitts (I haven’t listened to the video yet) and this is not your opinion. But if it is::

    Why would you feel that way? Are you aware that since 1934 there has been one and only one case of a legally owned fully automatic weapon being used in the United States to commit a murder? It was a department-issued automatic weapon used by an off duty police officer to shoot his own wife. Statistically, use of legal owned automatic weapons being used in crimes is a non-issue.

    In addition to needing to live in one of the States that doesn’t forbid Class 3 NFA (automatic) weapons, one needs to have an impeccable record and pay a special tax to get the paperwork required to own such a weapon. And at that point, there are severe restrictions on how one owns such a weapon (for instance, one cannot take the weapon across State lines without express written permission from the ATF).

    In light of the above information, if that quote is yours and not Pitts’s, I am confident you will change your opinion about the rather rare but legal private ownership of Class 3 automatic weapons. If it is a quote from what Mr. Pitts said, I am less confident that he might change his opinion regarding automatic weapons. 😉

    Best wishes,

    .45StayAlive

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