Joel McNally, writing for the Shepherd Express out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is once again waving the Newtown bloody shirt in an apparent attempt to smear the GOP in general and Gov. Scott Walker in particular. The only thing missing from the opening paragraph of his essay titled The Republican Failure on Gun Violence is a big-eyed kitten with an injured paw . . .
When another crazed gunman murdered 20 beautiful 6- and 7-year-old children in their Newtown, Conn., elementary school in 2012 …
I guess Joel thinks the gunman’s adult victims aren’t worth mentioning since their loss won’t tug at America’s heartstrings the way the murder of 20 beautiful 6- and 7-year-old children will. By the way, that same year there were 678 “beautiful” children and babies (ages 0 – 12) murdered with something other than a gun across the country. But back to the perfidy of the GOP:
Before that horrific act, both political parties could be blamed for failing to act to try to reduce the enormous body count from guns in this country that has made the U.S. the world’s most blood-soaked killing ground.
Whoa! Back the truck up…”the world’s most blood-soaked killing ground”? Not according to this chart at GunPolicy.org (which is a pretty good resource for members of the armed intelligentsia). According to their information (which took me all of 10 minutes to dig out) Argentina, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Jamaica, Lesotho, the Principality of Liechtenstein (all 61.78 square miles of it), Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay and Venezuela all have higher gun-related homicide rates than does the US.
In addition, although our hands are not totally clean in this area, if you want to talk about “blood-soaked killing grounds” let’s not forget the great Democides of the 20th Century which accounted for between one-hundred fifty and two-hundred fifty million deaths — many of which were accomplished without guns — via starvation of disarmed populations.
So, where were we with Joel? Oh, yes, he was about to explain why the GOP is single-handedly to blame for any and all gun violence which occurred after Newtown:
But that heartbreaking tragedy finally resulted in a U.S. president putting the full weight of his administration and most of his party behind common sense reforms to prevent the violent, the dangerous and the deranged from easily acquiring and using weapons of mass destruction.
So they finally decided to restrict sales of castor beans (used to make ricin) and sulfuric acid (available by mail-order)? Or did they outlaw bleach and drain cleaner (everything you need to make chlorine gas) and implement background checks for gasoline purchases (gotta prevent those social club arsons)?
Of course not; Joel is just trying to conflate firearms with actual WMDs. In addition, those “common sense reforms” that the President proposed and Joel blames the GOP for shooting down? Not one of them would have stopped or even seriously slowed down the Newtown, Aurora, Tucson, VirginiaTech or even the Columbine shooters.
The “common sense reform” that Joel advocates is, of course, a new ugly gun ban:
Even though an overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners, supported sensible reforms to keep guns capable of firing hundreds of bullets in minutes …
and expanded background checks:
… out of the hands of dangerous people, absolutely nothing was done.
You know, I was about to break down just how unlikely it would be for a shooter to merely pull the trigger “hundreds” of times in 60 seconds when I caught the plural. Guns capable of firing hundreds of rounds in minutes, not a minute. So let’s go ahead and break that down.
Most folks I know can blast off two shots a second (notice he never said anything about aimed fire) and change mags in no more than three seconds. This means that with a reduced capacity mag (i.e. 10 rounds) I could still manage 10 rounds every eight seconds, or 75 rounds a minute. So in Joel’s terms, even when limited to 10-round magazines, a semi-auto in moderately trained hands it is capable of firing hundreds of bullets in minutes.
In fact Boone County, Indiana Sheriff Ben Campbell put together the video above in which he had two volunteers use pistols to fire 30 aimed shots using 15-, 10- and 6-round magazines and then switched them to an AR platform, shooting 20 aimed shots; once with a 20 round mag, the second time with two 10-round mags. I have summarized the pistol shooting results in the table below. Jim is an experienced shooter, and Christy is an average shooter:
This test clearly demonstrates that, even if the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice were somehow not a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right, limiting mag sizes to 10 rounds would have no effect on wannabe mass killers.
But wheel-gunners won’t be much more constrained. Because even if we aren’t a Jerry Miculek able to fire 87 shots in .05 seconds, the following video from Massad Ayoob demonstrates a stress-fire reload that takes him only four seconds (2:36 to 2:40). Assuming that he can fire off six rounds in three seconds with a good supply of speed-loaders, he could do a hair more than 51 rounds a minute (six rounds every seven seconds, 204 rounds in four minutes).
Furthermore, as Sheriff Campbell demonstrates in his video, someone prepared to do a “New York reload” (i.e. empty a revolver, drop it and grab another loaded one; repeat as desired) can fire 30 rounds of .38 in 18.80 seconds. This works out to 200 rounds in 2 minutes and 5 ⅓ seconds. So by Joel’s definition, even a revolver is a WMD since it’s “capable of firing hundreds of bullets in minutes”.
I think we’ve beaten the ugly-gun horse sufficiently, but what about expanded (so-called universal) background checks? According to the University of Virginia School of Law, Study Shows Brady Bill Had No Impact on Gun Homicides:
The Brady Bill … has had no statistically discernable effect on reducing gun deaths, according to a study by Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor of public policy, economics and sociology. “The Brady Bill seems to have been a failure,” Cook told a sparsely attended lecture … “But that doesn’t mean gun control is doomed to failure.”
Unwilling to let facts stand in his way, Joel cites opinion polls, as if my inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right to own and carry the weapon(s) of my choice are somehow subject to the democratic process or to arguments grounded in social utility. Silly boy.
The funny thing is NRA members themselves aren’t nearly as reckless as irresponsible politicians like Walker in supporting the worst of the extremely lethal, pro-gun positions of the NRA’s national leadership.
One leetle problem with that poll; the NRA does not sell, rent or loan out its membership lists, so those “NRA members” cited in the poll were all self-identified. There’s no way for the authors or GK Knowledge Networks (the polling organization they used) to verify claims of NRA membership.
At this point, having set the stage, Joel dives into what appears to be the meat of his article; to wit…bashing Gov. Walker and the Badger State GOP.
Walker and Republicans refuse to extend background checks to those gun sales in Wisconsin because government doesn’t have any right to know whether people who buy guns in private sales or at gun shows have a history of mental illness, convictions for armed felonies or maybe just enjoy shooting other people.
Setting aside the facts that, 1) anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian, and 2) the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil and Constitutional right, I would only ask, “If these people are so dangerous, why are they out on the streets with access to gasoline and Styrofoam?”
Second, if the sole purpose of universal background checks is to keep guns out of the “wrong” hands, why do Democrats routinely shoot down all attempts to switch from NICS to a Blind Identification Database System?
Third, since Philip J. Cook, the nation’s foremost authority on gun control, doesn’t believe that the Brady Bill works, why not get rid of it completely? Sorry Joel, but as long as the specter of registration hovers over the debate, gunnies are never going to be comfortable with any expansion of NICS.
Politicians who oppose restrictions on guns pretend to believe it’s unconstitutional to prevent any violent yahoo who wants a gun from having one.
Many of them surely know better. The Second Amendment worshipped by the NRA guarantees “a well-regulated militia,” not a completely unregulated mob of bloodthirsty killers.
Nope. Sorry Joel, but you are wrong again. In Heller v. DC all nine Justices agreed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. As the majority noted:
The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Even the dissenters agreed:
The question presented by this case is not whether the Second Amendment protects a “collective right” or an “individual right.” Surely it protects a right that can be enforced by individuals. But a conclusion that the Second Amendment protects an individual right does not tell us anything about the scope of that right.
Still, Joel tries to argue that:
The proof that Republicans are lying when they claim it’s unconstitutional to protect human lives from unregulated guns flooding our cities is that we’ve already done it successfully.
President Bill Clinton signed an assault weapons ban into law in 1994. …
It’s true, he did. So what? In 1994 neither Heller nor McDonald had yet been heard, so the misinterpretation of Miller was still binding precedent and any attempts by people to raise Second Amendment objections to gun control laws were immediately and firmly shot down.
Joel concludes with this:
The lame Republican excuse for their failure to act is that no gun regulation can stop every killing. They’re right about that, but so what? Let’s just start with stopping a lot of them.
Okay, I don’t know of any politician of any political stripe who has said anything like that. I believe this is what is referred to in polite company as a ‘straw man.’ The “lame” excuses I have hear run more along the lines of, “How would this law you are proposing have stopped the massacre you are so desperately trying to exploit?” Why don’t we look at Joel’s/Barack Obama’s proposals and see if they would have stopped any of the recent tragedies they are trying to take advantage of.
The second of President Obama’s Now is the Time [NitT] proposals is a new AWB, which I think I have thoroughly shot down, but the first item on the NitT wish list is:
Closing Background Check Loopholes to Keep Guns Out Of Dangerous Hands
Require criminal background checks for all gun sales:
How many mass killings would a UBC have stopped? Mother Jones has put together a nifty little spreadsheet with all the information you could want on mass shootings over the last few decades, including whether the weapon(s) was obtained lawfully. For brevity and simplicity sake let’s look at 2005 and later.
Of the 32 mass shootings in that period, six of the shooters obtained their weapons illegally, meaning that 26 of them passed a background check. Since I don’t use names of pathetic scum like this, I will instead ID the killer by the shooting’s location. The six who acquired their guns illegally were Red Lake school, Trolley Square, Westroads Mall, Kirkwood City Council, coffee shop cop killings, and Newtown. Those six shooters accounted for 63 dead and 18 wounded. I’m sure Joel would be delighted to claim that all of those lives could have been saved if only we’d had UBCs in place.
Unfortunately for Joel that just ain’t so.
As I am sure the armed intelligentsia are aware, the Newtown shooter murdered his mother in order to access her (lawfully acquired) weapons while the Red Lake shooter murdered his grandfather (who was a cop) to get his guns. The coffee shop shooter stole his weapon, as did the Kirkwood City Council shooter and the Westroads shooter. The Trolley Square shooter obtained his pistol in a criminal transaction and his shotgun from a pawn shop, complete with NICS check.
In short, not one of the mass shootings in the last 10 years would have been stopped by a background check.
Oddly enough, nowhere in the President’s NitT or Joel’s article or the Mother Jones piece is mentioned the common factor in 98.6% of mass shootings since the 1950s. Out of 141 mass shootings, 139 of them occurred in nominally gun-free zones.
Joel, if you really want to “start with stopping a lot of them,” I would suggest we start getting rid of “gun-free” zones.