Reader Jake F. writes:
Today I received a phone call from Gifford’s new campaign “Americans for Responsible Solutions”, who were trying to squeeze $100 dollars out of me. What follows is an approximation of my phone call, which took place about five minutes previous to my writing this up. Not every word is perfect, but it’s about as close as I can recall it . . .
Caller: Are you familiar with Gabby Giffords’ and Mark Kelly’s new organization “American’s for Responsible Solutions”?
Me: Oh, yes. Very much.
Caller: Oh, that’s great. What we’re trying to do is get support for the new federal bill that’s trying to make its way into congress, the new background check law, in order to help us get some law and order into this country. We’re trying to prevent tragedies like what happened in Newtown, and the movie theaters where two men came in and shot people and what happened to Ms. Giffords, who was shot in the head, and stop people from buying all these guns without a background check and get more mental health checks so we can prevent people from going in and havng all these shootings and bombs and…and…
Me: Wait, what do bombs have to do with background checks for guns?
Caller: Well, these checks would help us prevent people from getting these heavy munitions that they can use to blow people up!
Me: The Tsarnaevs went to a fireworks store and used completely legal fireworks to create their bomb.
Caller: Well, you know, you know, the-uh, do you know about what are called these “high-level magazines”?
Me: Uh, I think-
Caller: The ones that can shoot more than 10 or 15 rounds and are used in “heavy ordnance” rifles? The AR-15 and the AK-47 and such?
Me: I know what they are, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what heavy ordnance is, and everyone involved in all those events you mentioned, Aurora, Tucson, had successfully passed a background check.
Caller: We’re talking about mental health checks here, mental health checks. We’re trying to get some responsibility into the system, because nobody is taking responsibility for their actions here.
Me: Wait, so murderers aren’t being held responsible for their actions?
Caller: What’s that?
Me: Did none of those people who committed murder get arrested and go to jail?
Caller: Criminals, sir, they buy the guns over the counter, with no background check and no paperwork, and they slip through the system because they don’t have a mental health check.
Me: A “mental health check”? What is a mental health check?
Caller: Well, we’d have your medical records on file so we can see if you have been reported as being mentally ill.
Me: YOU want my mental health records, or the government?
Caller: The government would have them, so we could check when you buy a gun if you have a history of mental illness.
Me: What would be disqualifying mental health criteria for buying a gun? I mean, it’s already illegal to buy it if I’ve been declared incompetent or-
Caller: Right now we have people, I know some people personally who are buying guns, North Carolina we have this, where people are buying guns over the counter without a check, and they have a criminal record.
Me: Wait, so these people are buying guns illegally, and you know about it? Have you called the police?
Caller: I mean, I’m not doing it personally-
Me: No, I understand YOU aren’t buying the guns, but I mean are you telling-
Caller: They’re just buying guns over the counter with no paperwork and no background check, because the laws aren’t being enforced!
Me: And you know these people personally?
Caller: Sir, it’s happening all over the country. People aren’t enforcing the laws and these criminals just go and buy guns.
Me: So you know of people who are breaking federal law and buying guns in gun stores without a background check?
Caller: We don’t have mental health check laws right now, which is what we’re trying to do, so we’re hoping that if you would give us a donation of $100 dollars in order to meet our quota-
Me: No, I’m sorry. I’m fundamentally opposed to your organization’s principles.
Caller: I see, well thank you for your time.
Me: Can I ask you something, though?
Caller: What’s that?
Me: Do you support police officers having these magazines that can hold 30 bullets and carry AR-15s?
Caller: *brief pause* Well, police officers aren’t what we would call civilians, and they-
Me: Police officers are most definitely civilians.
Me: If they aren’t military they’re civilians.
Caller: Well, I do think police should have them because they’re very well trained.
Me: I can be just as well trained as any police officer, why shouldn’t I be able to keep a rifle?
Caller: *annoyed* Sir, we are trying to make sure that these weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands, these people, crazy people, get guns and they shoot up the theater and they shoot up Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head, and they don’t stop them, and then they shoot little children in schools! None of these people had a background check, and they’re all crazy!
Me: ALL of those people passed a background check to buy their weapons, except for Adam Lanza, because his mother owned the guns, and SHE passed a background check and then was killed by him. Those laws wouldn’t have stopped Newtown from happening.
Caller: Newtown is just a single example, and you can’t judge-
Me: You’re the one who brought it up! All those other people passed a background check! If I can pass all those checks, why can’t I have a rifle?
Caller: You keep changing the criteria! You keep changing the criteria and we’re talking about things you obviously don’t get, so I hope you have a good-*CLICK*
She hung up before she could finish her own sentence. I had wanted to explain to her that the people she had brought up were reported as dangerous by their mental health physicians but the police didn’t do anything about it, but the conversation got away from me. It wasn’t my intent to piss her off as much as I did, only to make her question what she thought, which probably didn’t happen, and to take up enough time from her that maybe she’ll lie to one or two less people for money. I was having quite a bit of fun, myself. What an easy debate partner.