I'm not really all that mysterious

Terrorism or Not, We Still Need Sensible Gun Laws

Tashfeen Malik, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino tragedy two days ago and wife of the other shooter, Syed Farook, apparently expressed admiration of an ISIS leader before carrying out the attack.

Official: Female shooter in San Bernardino attack pledged allegiance to Islamic State • 2015 Dec 4 • Chicago Tribune

Another U.S. official said Malik expressed “admiration” for the extremist group’s leader on Facebook under the alias account and said there was no sign that anyone affiliated with the Islamic State group communicated back to her and no signs of any operational instructions being conveyed to her.

At the same time, law enforcement officials from local police to Attorney General Loretta Lynch cautioned it could have been work-related rage. Or a twisted hybrid of religion and personal vendetta.

The U.S. official briefed on the investigation said whatever communication Farook had with suspected extremists was with “people who weren’t significant players on our radar” and dated back some time. The official said the communication was a “potential factor” being looked at, but cautioned that “contact with individuals who are subjects of investigations in and of itself doesn’t mean that you are a terrorist.”

This blog post was written after Dylann Roof murdered churchgoers at a black church in Charleston, but the ideas still apply because Congress has done absolutely nothing about rampant gun violence.

Bang Bang Sanity • 2015 Jun 26 • Jim Wright • Stonekettle Station

In America, guns are so important to us that we demand even those with diagnosed psychological problems have access to guns. And when those same people go on a murderous killing spree, we say it was God’s will and we say it was the victims who were at fault for not having guns of their own – which is exactly what was said at Sandy Hook and last week in Charleston.

(And guns are apparently so important to us that we would still rather allow people on terrorist watch lists to purchase guns with no questions asked.)

While it’s often true laws don’t stop criminals, that is not the law’s purpose.

Laws don’t stop crime. It would be nice if they did, but laws don’t stop crime. Instead laws give society legal recourse when its members engage in antisocial behavior….

Laws don’t stop crime, however what well written laws do is to put responsibility where it belongs – on the criminal.

More gun-free zones won’t do a damned thing. The Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church was a gun-free zone.

More background checks won’t do a damned thing – not unless we’re willing to get serious about it, unless we standardize background checks across the nation to include a complete and thorough investigation like the kind used for federal security clearances. We’re talking full national agency checks with interviews by certified investigators (what security clearance adjudicators call a NAC-I). Those cost about $100K and take four to six months. Such a system would require a complete disclosure of all financial, criminal (including juvenile records), and medical records (including mental health records), periodic updates, and a comprehensive database of all gun owners. It’s possible, but I suspect neither affordable nor politically feasible. Anything less than that is a waste of time. Q.E.D.

Banning the future sales of assault weapons, certain types of ammo, and large capacity magazines won’t do a damned thing. That horse is out of the barn.

So what would?

Well, we make the NRA’s own rules federal law.

  1. Always assume the gun is loaded, unless you personally have verified that it is unloaded.

    We start right there: anyone who picks up a gun is responsible for its condition. No excuses. Misdemeanor for failure to know the condition of your weapon if only property damage is involved, felony negligence if somebody is injured including yourself, manslaughter if somebody dies.

  2. Always point the gun in a safe direction.

    Misdemeanor for failure to point your weapon in a safe direction, for unintentional discharge, for failure to properly maintain and use safety systems if only property damage is involved. Felony negligence if somebody is injured including yourself. Felony manslaughter if somebody dies.

  3. Know your target and what is beyond.

    Misdemeanor for failure to discharge your weapon in a safe direction if only property damage is involved, felony negligence if somebody is injured including yourself, manslaughter if somebody dies.

  4. Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting.

    Just like drinking and driving, you’re caught drinking with a gun, you take a breathalyzer or a blood test. We don’t need any new standards, the ones for DUI will work just fine. You’re intoxicated with a gun? You go to jail. And we impound your weapons. Somebody is injured? Aggravated assault. Somebody is killed? Negligent homicide. You’re operating a killing machine, I don’t think sobriety is too much to ask.

  5. Store guns so they are not accessible to unauthorized persons.

    Misdemeanor for failure to properly store your weapon. Felony negligence if somebody is injured including yourself. Negligent homicide if somebody dies. Children are able to access your weapon because you failed to properly secure it? Felony child endangerment. No excuses. No exceptions.

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