- As it turned out, MSNBC didn’t even want to trash their daytime ratings by airing five-plus hours of gun control talk from ten hoplophobic Democrats. So instead, they put the anti-gun extravaganza up on their web site. And we sat through the whole…damn…thing.
You’ll be glad to know that because the subject matter was sure to be stressful for some in the very supportive audience, organizers had arranged for a safe space, a “decompression zone” as they called it, for those who might be overwhelmed.
After intros from Giffords’ executive director and the head of the March for Our Lives Las Vegas operation, the “gun safety” forum was kicked off by Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui.
Jauregui was at the the music festival where the Mandalay Bay shooter opened fire two years ago and recounted the horror of that experience.
A sometimes tearful Sisolak described walking through the aftermath the next day, hearing a cell phone ringing that was dropped by someone at the festival.
Next up on the stage were Gabby Giffords, Senator Chris Murphy, and March for Our Lives members Ariel Hobbs and…David Hogg.
Murphy rallied the crowd by proclaiming that the gun control movement is now stronger than the gun lobby. Hogg proclaimed that he wants to live in a world where a therapist is easier to access than a gun. Really. He also wants to “challenge the culture,” ending the culture of guns and white supremacy in this country.
MSNBC host Craig Melvin then noted that the octogenarian socialist, Bernie Sanders, couldn’t be there as he’d experienced heart problems and had been hospitalized after having a couple stents inserted in a blocked artery.
Melvin then cycled through the candidates, giving each about 30 minutes of time. Here are some, uh, highlights:
Mayor Pete Butigieg tee’d things up, letting the crowd know that there’s barely a hair’s breadth of difference between any of the ten of them. They’re all for . . .
…universal background checks, closing the hate loophole, the Charleston loophole, the boyfriend loophole, disarming domestic abusers, enacting red flag laws, extreme risk protection orders [ED: yes, those are the same thing], banning the sale of assault weapons like what I carried in Afghanistan.
He then proclaimed that the entire exercise is meaningless if Democrats don’t win.
We know what we have to do. The question is, how do we make sure this time really is different? Because every time, we say this time is different. And all of the plans…of course, I think my plan is the best. So does everybody else. All of them are multiplied by zero if we don’t actually get something done.
And so this is not just a question about policy. This is a question about power.
Julian Castro, besides being almost completely unremarkable, wants to ban armor-piercing ammunition and raise the excise tax on guns to 20% to pay for “gun violence prevention programs.”
He said that he doesn’t want to let pro-gun people use mental health as an excuse not to do something about guns.
Oh, he also suggested having better ways to “track ammunition.” Translation, he’s in favor of microstamping.
An extremely earnest Cory Booker was up next. He announced that because of the gun violence epidemic that’s crippling the nation, this is no time for an “impotency of empathy.”
The audience was just as confused by that as you probably are.
Senator Spartacus then talked once again about his bold plan for mandatory buybacks and a national gun licensing scheme. Host Melvin asked booker — twice — what would be required under his licensing requirement to purchase a gun. Apparently having failed to talk the matter over sufficiently with T-Bone, Booker dodged both attempts to get him to answer.
He also fabricated a number of statistics supporting the alleged public support for national licensing.
Senator Elizabeth Warren ran home to what she knows best. Repeatedly. She intoned that the gun lobby and gun industry have too much power and make too much money. For Princess Lieawatha, it’s always a problem of private industry actually profiting at the expense of the little guy.
Fauxcahontas was then asked — twice — what her proposed 1-gun-a-month sales restriction would accomplish. When pressed, she finally said that it “keeps people from bulking up in the middle of a crisis.” Someone buying more than one guns “serves as a red flag” and that if someone buys multiple firearms, “I’d like to know about that.”
In the end, she said the problem isn’t about guns. It’s all about politics. It’s about money. Clearly, gun companies are making too much money for her tastes.
After the lunch break, it was Uncle Joe’s turn. Biden told the cheering crowd that he wants to repeal the legal protection given to the firearms industry (the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act). He he succeeds, of course, gun makers would be sued out of existence.
Biden then re-tread some old ground. First he said — again — that he’s the only guy in history who had beaten the NRA. As Melvin clarified for Biden, the one-time Senator apparently was referring to the Brady Bill and the 94 assault weapons ban.
He announced that we now have the technology to make every gun a smart gun and prevent guns from firing without biometric confirmation. He said that when he’s in the Oval Office, he’d bring in the heads of all the gun companies and ask them why they aren’t making smart guns. But he knows that it’s all about selling more weapons.
Slow Joe also wants a national voluntary assault weapons buyback and require those who don’t turn in their guns to register them a la the machine gun registry.
As for magazine capacity limits, Joe noted that if you’re hunting ducks, you can only have three rounds in your shotgun. Joe thinks we should protect people as much as we protect ducks and geese.
Robert Francis O’Rourke was clearly in his element. He wasted no time in calling out some of his fellow candidates — Butigieg, in particular — for failing to have the courage to call for mandatory “assault weapon” confiscation (Butigieg, like Biden, wants a voluntary buyback). He said the majority of Americans want confiscation so there’s no need to be scared.
He then recounted stories of AR owners who allegedly have approached him in restaurants and bathrooms to tell him that they don’t need their rifles…that they’d be happy to turn them in.
Craig Melvin then asked “Beto” who should have the right to own a firearm. O’Rourke said everyone should have that right, if it’s for hunting, self-defense, or legitimate purposes. But people who pose a danger to themselves or others shouldn’t own guns. He said Second Amendment rights don’t trump our right to live or to live without fear.
After a question from Parkland kid Emma Gonzalez, O’Rourke that as president, he’d appoint a director of gun violence prevention, someone who is responsible and accountable for delivering care, resources and help to communities that need it.
Someone named Amy Klobuchar then took the stage. She had little of consequence to say, other than reminding the crowd that, just as in her home state of Minnesota, there are a lot of law-abiding gun owners out there and that most Americans support background checks.
She said that she works in a place that’s supposed to be of extraordinary power, but the guy in the White House doesn’t have the courage to do anything about gun violence. She said she sat across a table and reminded Trump about the times he said he’d do something about background checks and the boyfriend loophole…and then he folded to the NRA. She promised not to cave to the NRA.
Oh, she’s also for appointing a Director of Gun Violence to go after hate groups and white nationalists. And changing the tone of our politics.
In the end, when it comes to any proposed restriction on gun rights, she asks herself, “Would it hurt my Uncle Dick in his deer stand.” Background checks, red flag laws, magazine capacity limits…none of those, she said, would impact Uncle Dick. So she’s for them.
Even an allegedly bright guy like venture fund whiz Andrew Yang falls into the same trap as so many of his fellow candidates. In his desire for a tiered licensing scheme for firearms, he likens gun ownership to driving a car or truck. Yang apparently fails to register the distinction between a privilege (driving) and an enumerated constitutional right (gun ownership). Craig Melvin didn’t point that out.
Yang then went into his plan to give every American $1000 per month (something he calls a Freedom Dividend). That, he said, would reduce financial stresses and provide resources that would make children stronger so they won’t become school shooters. Or something.
He acknowledged that we’ll be struggling with gun violence for generations (apparently because of the hundreds of millions of guns in America). But he wants to give every voter 100 “Democracy Dollars” to donate to politicians of their choice. In that way, Americans will be able to overwhelm the power of the gun lobby by swamping politicians with cash that would outweigh the contributions of the NRA and other pro-gun donors.
He wants an inventory system that would alert authorities to anyone who buys a “large number” of firearms or thousands of rounds of ammunition. He claimed that 3% of Americans own 50% of the guns and that “we” need to know why those people have those arsenals.
Craig Melvin then asked, hypothetically, what would the government do with that information if it had it. Yang replied that America needs an evergreen buyback program to reduce the number of guns in civilian hands. He then veered off onto the need for smart guns to ensure unauthorized people can’t use weapons.
The day came to a merciful end with Senator Kamala Harris. When asked whether impeachment would hurt the chances for passing a gun control bill, she said that President Trump hasn’t accomplished much of anything anyway and lacks the courage, conviction, and leadership to “stand up to the NRA” and reject the “false choice between the Second Amendment and confiscating guns.” Whatever that means.
She said you can respect the Second Amendment and the tradition of hunting. But an assault weapon was “designed to kill a lot of human beings quickly. It’s the design of the thing. It has to place on our streets, it’s a weapon of war, and isn’t part of the Second Amendment.”
She then proceeded spouted a stream of standard Democrat platitudes. She said the goal should be healthy communities, because healthy communities mean safe communities. And that means injecting resources into those communities to make them healthy. Poverty, she said, is trauma-inducing. Children then act out and are ID’d as the “bad kid,” and it becomes self-fulfilling.
But we have to help those communities that isn’t paternalistic. She wants to put a nurse and a social worker in every school in America to help make these healthy (and less violent) communities.
Like Castro, she said calls by the pro-gun side to address mental health are a dodge to do something like developing smart guns. Like others, she lamented the number of students that are being put through active shooter drills and teachers being taught how to tackle attackers.
She supports a mandatory buyback of the “5 to 10 million assault weapons” in the country, “but we gotta do it the right way.” She didn’t explain what the “right way” is.
And with that…this long strange trip ended. We endured it so you didn’t have to, because we have the best readers on the internet. Period.