Dianne Feinstein Targets Assault Weapons

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) vows to ban assault weapons — again! The first ban she helped pass expired in 2004 and was not extended. (NBC “Meet the Press,” 12/16)


I’m going to introduce in the Senate — and the same bill will be introduced in the House — a bill to ban assault weapons. It will ban the sale, the transfer, the importation, and the possession, not retroactively but prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums, or strips of more than ten bullets. So there will be a bill. We’ve been working on it now for a year. We’ve tried to take my bill from ‘94 to 2004 and perfect it. We believe we have. We exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not be — fall under the bill. But the purpose of this bill is to get just what Mayor Bloomberg said — weapons of war off the streets of our cities.

I’ll tell you what happened back in ‘93 when I told Joe Biden who was chairman of the Judiciary Committee that I was going to move this as an amendment on the Crime Bill. He laughed at me. He said, you’re new here. Wait till you learn. And we got it through the Senate, we got it through the House, the White House came alive and the House of Representatives and the Clinton administration helped. The bill was passed. And the president signed it. It can be done.

Well, is this the way we want America to go? In other words, the rights of the few overcome the safety of the majority. I don’t think so. I think America is ready. They’re going to have an opportunity with this bill. I’m going to ask and spend my time and create a committee across this nation to support it.

Look, we crafted the last bill. It was right out of my office. And we’re crafting this one. And it’s being done with care. It’ll be ready on the first day. I’ll be announcing House authors. And we’ll be prepared to go. And I hope the nation will really help.

The National Rifle Association never brought the ‘94 assault weapons legislation to court. They knew it would be sustained from the beginning. And I believe this will be sustained as well. You know, all of the things that society regulates, but we can’t touch guns? That’s wrong. We can.

89 thoughts on “Dianne Feinstein Targets Assault Weapons”

  1. I hope Feinstein introduces her bill.

    It will help smoke out those who are still beholden to the gun lobby and refuse to consider any type of gun legislation.
    Finally perhaps we have reached a tipping point, and those people who have been at the beck and call of the NRA will find themselves ‘too busy’ to return their phone calls.

  2. MoJo has finally changed his tune about gun regulations, but he’s not currently holding office. And with short attention spans, how long will the penny hold its shine?


    “So far, too many newly vocal reformers are operating under the conceit that if only America “finally” had a conversation about gun violence, everyone would immediately see the wisdom of the position reformers have advocated all along. One need only to reflect on the state of public opinion after decades of debating the issue to conclude that the conversational outcome many reformers presume isn’t at all certain.”

    When I saw the pic of the shooter (we don’t need to use his name), I immediately thought of someone specific, someone with Asberger’s Syndrome.
    How much funding has been cut from mental health care? (I believe Ronny Regan got the ball rolling on that, didn’t he?)
    How little do we understand about what causes Autism spectrum disorders?
    Are the causes environmental & do we have those lobbying to pollute our air, water & food supply to thank?

  3. Jace,
    Excellent post. If people who put the rights of gun ownership before the life of a human can’t be swayed into action by morals, perhaps public shaming and loss of voter support/$ might spur action. At this point, whatever works. Now is the time. Don’t lose this opportunity.

  4. My goodness, so many new threats on schools. Let’s hope the whack-jobs all have big mouths, so they can be caught before they have a chance to follow through. What is wrong with people? This has to be a brain chemistry issue, right?

  5. I repeat, it is not about what the weapon looks like. It is all about it’s capabilities.
    “assault weapon” Just rehashes old arguments and gets us lost in the weeds.

    The problem is access to semi automatic firearms with detachable clips.

    Keep it simple stupid.

    We have an opportunity for real change and instead the Dianne Feinsteins among us are going to piss it away on old wore out ideas. Her idea is 20 years old and it was mostly window dressing then.


  6. The mental health issue is a red herring to lead us down into useless side allys where we end up debating how many angels can set on the head of a pin. This young man came from an upper middle class background. His father is an executive at GE so he had access to healthcare.


  7. Jack your point is well taken. Rate and capacity of fire is all that matters when it comes to arms and the ability to kill lots of people quickly. I’m listening to all this “culture of violence” “mental health crisis” crap and wonder WTF the people who try to pin this on movies and video games are thinking. IMHO it is as much a result of the fact that nasty warmongers and chicken hawks advocate and the government buys into a state of continuous war. Where do they think the fascination with war and weapons comes from? Joe fricking Manchin sounded so reasonable this morning ~~~ of course there was no mention of the paintball and airsoft culture in WV – shit, I can go to “Airsoft Extreme” and it’s full of guys fascinated with the capabilities and capacities of weapons that with the exception of the orange barrel tip, can’t be distinguished at 10 feet from what the military carries into battle. Sorry, I don’t buy the alternative, cultural dodges that are being floated – it is a problem of access to high capacity, high rate of fire weapons. Yes, Sandy Hook was brought to you by the NRA and a gutless congress that is too afraid of them to place reasonable limits on gun ownership and availability. Man up, idiots.

  8. One of the victims of the movie theater assault is now a gun control advocate and he said the first step is to require every US gun sale have a background check. Right now he said 40% of all gun sales do not require a background check.

    If you read the intent of the Feinstein piece I am sure capacity is the issue.
    Right now even though we would like to use more accurate terminology — people are stuck with the words that are in popular use. Flatus would prefer gun safety but to most people it’s gun control

  9. RR
    That was an amazing game last night. I didn’t think Mr. Cracker was going to make it through the last few minutes.
    I’m glad the niners won but I have no idea how they managed it.

  10. Semantics – I live my day being vexed by it (lawyers tend to do that). Yes, a part of Feinstein’s bill addresses clips, coils, etc. that have > 10 shot capacity. Not sure about the other provisions. Gun safety has a different connotation than gun control which has a different connotation than gun registration, which has a different connotation than background checks …. IMHO, every gun purchaser should have a background check, every gun sale should be registered in a database that the FBI can cross link with background info, criminal history, etc. Will that prevent all issues? Nope. But it might prevent some, and anything is better than nothing. Oh, and NRA, ever hear of life, liberty & pursuit of happiness – gun violence gets in the way of that. (Yes I know it’s in the DofI, not a “right” in the USConst.) But there might be something to equal protection under the law (that is in the 14th) that would justify measures to protect the citizenry as a whole against the 2nd amendment rights of individuals. (And yes I know this is a stretch). Finally, for god’s sake politicize this issue in the wake of Sandy Hook. It is exactly when it should be politicized.

  11. Here in CT we do have laws regarding the purchase of guns, in this case, the guns used were all legally acquired by a parent of an individual that from all accounts to date had serious mental disorders…so not sure what actions would have prevented the horrific mayhem committed against innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School…

    Unfortunately, the discussions since this tragedy tend to reflect the speaker’s personal views of guns (the politics of guns) and in the end I have not heard/seen anything that could have prevented the mayhem that was unleashed by one demented individual…

    Honestly, I do not believe there will be any meaningful resolution to prevent such vile crimes in the future…since there is no consensus as to how to address the issues…or for that matter what are the remedies…banning weapons or some type of weapons, how to manage/treat those with mental disorders, influence of the gun lobby, culture of violence, the media, tv, movies, video games, you name it…we can’t even agree on what might cause an individual to commit such an unthinkable crime…let alone how to prevent it from happening again…

  12. And as I make this comment, the schools in Ridgefield, Redding & Easton (my town, 15 miles from Newtown) are in lockdown because of reports of a person with a rifle near Ridgefield RR station….

  13. Coreen

    If the only weapon the young man had access to was a bolt action rifle there is high likelihood that the incident wouldn’t have even made the national news as nobody would have been killed. We certainly wouldn’t be talking these high death counts nor dead children.
    So I don’t buy the “there is nothing we could have done” meme.


  14. We don’t need to know why the young man did what he did. We just need to prevent him from getting his hands on a AR15 with a backpack full of 30 round clips.

    The first is unknowable but the latter is doable.


  15. If the democrats were smart they would introduce a bill guaranteeing the right to own firearms and designate the class of firearms that fulfill that right.
    That way you get the NRA in the position defending the indefensible.


  16. “..the guns used were all legally acquired by a parent of an individual that from all accounts to date had serious mental disorders”

    That was the most toxic combination in this situation. We can’t prevent mental illness or can’t pinpoint when it will meet critical mass but having the easy availability of the tool needed for mass destruction might be something we can change.

    I would like someone to help me understand why ANYONE would want an assault rifle in their home. IMHO, that’s a sign of some mental instability.

    Even though most of her friends and neighbors describe the mom as a normal person, for her to have this weapon in her home and also have the knowledge that her son had issues, was definitely NOT normal.

  17. Jack,

    As far as your “meme”, the facts in this instance were that the guns were legally acquired by the parent, therefore, all the talk about gun registration, background checks, etc, would not have prevented this tragedy…

    As far as I’m concerned you can ban every rapid fire mechanism, weapon, & even your Louisville Slugger, but the reality is there is no agreement to implement measures to prevent
    future mass murders…There will be lots of talk, but how much action…

  18. Coreen, all of those are issues worthy of discussion – but they stand alone as their own issues. On e of the great mistakes we make is assuming that to address any issue associated with a problem we must address all issues associated with the problem.

    I haven’t followed the details that have emerged, but what I’ve heard is that the killer had 4 handguns with him and the AR style weapon was in his car. I also heard that one victim was shot 11 times. I agree with Jack on this issue – the restrictions on gun capacity and firing rate is the low hanging fruit and we should pick it. And to be clear, My family has owned guns from before I was born. I inherited my dad’s collection (small arsenal) and they are locked in a safe in by Bro-in-law’s home. I imagine that a few of the handguns are registered from when they were purchased, but I don’t know that for sure. They and the rifles and the shotguns should all be in some database somewhere, but I’d bet they aren’t. And I don’t know whether their being in such a database would prevent a single killing, but I don’t think it could hurt. Were there such a registry, I’d report them to it in a heartbeat. Every car I’ve ever owned was registered. Why aren’t my guns?

  19. And to say that since we can’t fix everything, we can’t fix anything, is irresponsible. The frequency of the recurrence of these kind of events demands our attention.

  20. KISS

    We just need to prevent him from getting his hands on a AR15 with a backpack full of 30 round clips.

    If we don’t try it certainly won’t happen


  21. http://craigcrawford.com/2012/12/16/carolyn-mccarthy-gun-control-now/#comment-306541


    Another thing unusual about Fremont was that my dad had graduated from there back in 1934, so we really covered the transitioning neighborhood since California’s segregation was always the result of De Facto rather than De Jure plus some private real estate covenants that weren’t broken until the 1960s. Since I went to more than 20 schools in 12 years, I got to see about every possible variation on the scenery.

  22. If we do nothing but get rid of the high volume clips, dispense with the gun show loophole, and insist on waiting periods, it will go a long way to limiting these horrid events. I would add in X-Ratings for excessive violence in films and games and finding some way not to use our jails as insane asylums. It’s pretty bad when people have to commit crimes to get treated for physical or mental disease.

  23. I’ve heard two interesting conversations this morning – one with a psychologist who said violent video games are what the army uses to train people to kill and an author who wrote a book called Glock who points out we have to work from the premise we live in a gun culture – singular among other nations.

  24. Pogo

    He did all of his damage with the AR15, he left a shotgun in the car. The only time he used the pistols was to shoot himself in the head.
    He carried a number of 30 round clips for the rifle and didn’t use them all. So my backpack remark is close to the truth.


  25. the guns used were all legally acquired

    Coreen, What if it isn’t legal to buy those type of weapons (which is what Feinstein is proposing)? Would his mother have gotten them illegally? I kinda doubt it. She might have owned guns but not semi-automatic weapons of war like those. And no matter what, as Pogo says, it’s worth a try.

  26. Jamie

    Our worship of violence certainly is part of the problem and is the reason an uppermiddleclass woman had an arsenal in her house. But until we change culturally we are stuck with it. Changing our culture is a long slow process. removing a class of firearms from private ownership is just passing legislation(and yes I heard that eye roll;-))


  27. There is no co-relation [between social networking and school shootings]. Never was, never will be. All the screaming nannies have been making this case for the last thousand years. -Bill

    Despite your well-composed post, heavy on platitudes, your assertion is meaningless without the support of statistics. I will just assert that when I was a kid, there were neither “school shootings”, nor “social networking”. Now there are both, in spades.

  28. Jack, Pogo — here is the list I posted yesterday of the definitions and categories in the last ban, which is Feinstein’s starting place for this bill.

    And yes, there is more we can do, and those bills are coming. But I’m guessing this will be the first tangible idea actually voted on. If the NRA can be whipped here, then spines might stiffen on the Hill for the next round

  29. Ok Champ, you’re a big help -Craig

    Now you’re the one being obtuse! I’m assuming you’re implying that I’m actually no help at all, which I wasn’t pretending to be, but you might as well just say that, if that’s what you mean. You’re the same guy that said a few days back that “the culture war is over, and our side won”: 20 dead kids seems like a hollow victory to me. The American culture war is depressing in and of itself, anyhow, and perpetuating it with strident self-righteousness by either “side” doesn’t beget a desirable social climate, from my perspective.

    If you want to pretend easily subverted gun legislation will solve the problem of a general lack of empathy and respect for others that seems to be epidemic in contemporary American society, nothing I say will change that, not that that is my intent.

    “Semi-automatic” just means one bullet per trigger pull, by the way. That’s pretty much every fucking gun available. Like I said, you either ban them all, or you don’t.

  30. One last though, before I get sucked into more arguments, but a gun is just a metal tube… you might as well ban plumbing while you’re at it. Ammunition is what really kills and maims, and that is not very mechanically complicated, either. There are 310+ million civilian guns outstanding in the U.S., good luck getting them off the psychopaths that have been stockpiling them for 20 years. That should work out well.

  31. we live in a gun culture — singular among other nations.

    Eastern Europe and the the Middle East have both gun cultures and similar episodes, not for nothing.

  32. Craig

    It still allows the sale of semi automatic rifles with detachable clips. everthing that might restrict its sale is decoration. The decorations don’t kill. This is a useless bill that is easily circumvented.
    Except for the actions, rifles are simple tools that can be taken apart with a few hand tools and mechanical ability.


  33. You got two weeks with the Christmas and New Years break to start hiring cops to guard schools. That should cut unemployment very slightly, as well.

  34. Which makes me have to ask this question.

    Is Dianne Feinstein that stupid or does she believe we are that stupid?


  35. Jack, before you dismiss Feinstein’s proposal worth looking at its effectiveness when it was law (1994-2004). Here is a study which concluded:

    “In the five year period before enactment of the Federal Assault Weapons Act (1990-1994), assault weapons named in the Act constituted 4.82% of the crime gun traces ATF conducted nationwide. Since the law’s enactment,
    however, these assault weapons have made up only 1.61% of the guns ATF has traced to crime—a drop of 66% from the pre-ban rate. Moreover, ATF trace data show a steady year-by-year decline in the percentage of assault weapons traced, suggesting that the longer the statute has been in effect, the less available these guns have become for criminal misuse. Indeed, the absolute number of assault weapons traced has also declined.”

  36. I wonder if Feinstein sent out a fund raising letter with her announcement?

    Cause that is about all it is good for. Stir up partisans so we can go about with business as usual.


  37. If one passes a law against the sale of rifles with pick pokadots then one should expect to se e a decrease in there use in crime. But was there a change in rifles with green pokadots?


  38. Jack, Why dismiss her bill before it’s even been written or introduced? Here’s where I’m told Feinstein is headed (from the Brady site):

    Congress should enact a comprehensive federal assault weapons ban modeled after the California assault weapons ban. The California law banned assault weapons based on a “one-feature test” that requires a firearm to have only one military-style feature in order to be banned. The Brady Campaign was instrumental in helping to enact and implement the California law in 2000.

    Adopting a one-feature test would address weaknesses in the original federal law that limited its effectiveness. Specifically, the expired federal law contained a list of assault weapons banned by make and model, but this list was not comprehensive. Also, the statute banned guns with two military-style features (in addition to the ability to accept a detachable, high-capacity ammunition magazine).

    The result was a piece of legislation that was valuable at keeping many of the most dangerous assault weapons out of criminals’ hands, but one that could also be evaded by gun makers coming out with “copycat” assault weapons stripped of enough combat features to evade the ban.

    Gun makers designed guns specifically to evade the federal ban by making minor changes in features to banned weapons. The guns’ names reflected gun makers’ knowing violation of the spirit of the assault weapons ban: Intratec’s AB (“After Ban”)-10 and Olympic Arms PCR (“Politically Correct Rifle”).

  39. Not to sound like an old fogie, but I know that there has been a major breakdown in public civility. You only have to look on line to see that the safety of anonymity seems to give some the license for the meanest and foulest of language, not to mention what is heard on public streets.

    I’m a big believe in GIGO. If you inundate people with negatives, you will produce negatives.

  40. Because it is useless and does not address the problem. We have a limited window here and I hate to see it being wasted on such crap.
    semi automatic rifles with detachable clips

    See how simple? all it has to do is meet two tests.
    Defining, “military-style feature” will take reams of paper and provide loopholes out the ass.

    Why are we so stuck on the decorations of the killing machine and not on what makes it lethal.


  41. Jack, thanks, I could easily have misheard those accounts of what weapons he used. I think Feinstein’s bill tries to functionality and features. Have only seen summaries of it – I know she’s had it in the works for a while.

  42. I know she’s had it in the works for a while.

    And that is the problem. Everything changed Friday.


  43. How’s this fit? Banning the production, sale or possession except by or for military or law enforcement personnel or use: (a) Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines; (b) Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines; (c) magazines, clips, etc. that hold > 10 rounds of ammunition that can be used with (a) or (b), above. That KISSy enough?

  44. Senator Feinstein has a long-standing commitment to gun safety — I doubt she is viewing this as an opportunity for herself.

    She became mayor of SF because of hand-gun violence and as mayor did all she could to limit the number of hand-guns in circulation.

    She introduced the ban in part in response to a mass shooting in an office in a downtown SF law firm

    She has worked closely with the Brady people and others committed to gun safety

    I think this is the beginning of the dialogue about all of the things that must be done to reduce the level of violence in this country.

    One thing we can all do is make sure it is not the end of the discussion

  45. Pogo, perfect, You will not get it but you have a strong enough bargaining position to get something you want.


  46. Pogo, how would your language affect semi-automatic hunting rifles? Here by the way is Brady Campaign’s effort to make the distinction between “semi-automatic hunting rifles and semi-automatic, military-style assault weapons.” Of course, trying to appease hunters in these bans makes the whole thing so much more complicated.

  47. Where is Ted Nugent when he might be helpful. Hunters should all go back to the bow and arrow —

    It’s hardly sport with semi-automtic weapons

  48. Hey Pogo, your senator … Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) continued his call for new gun control legislation Monday in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. shootings. Manchin has an “A” rating from the NRA, but said the shooting “changed” him.

    and …

    Calling the massacre in Newtown a “game changer”, U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) a moderate and reliable pro-2nd amendment vote is ready to open the door to discussions on an assault weapons ban. In addition to a discussion on assault weapons Warner also plans to address the “nexis” between mental health and gun purchases.

  49. Just got back from the “big city”… had an appointment and did the end of my Xmas shopping. Phew… so many comments to catch up here on this blog. It’s an interesting debate. I don’t really have anything to add to it… so many of you have made good points. I know jack crap about guns…. have never owned, shot, or even held one. So I’ll leave it to those who do know guns to discuss the finer points.

    KGC… yeah… it was a really good game.
    Congrats to your and Mr. Cracker’s 49ers.

  50. Pogo’s is an opening position that would eliminate many of the popular sporting weapons held by average enthusiasts.

    I see much of the problem being in the ammunition. Law enforcement likes using hollow point because of its stopping power, and its characteristic of stopping after striking something in its path thereby minimizing collateral damage and lawsuits.

    Military ammunition (full metal jacketed) is designed to penetrate human bodies without causing catastrophic damage unless it strikes something especially vulnerable. It takes the soldier out of action, but allows survival with prompt medical care. But, as the bullets from this type of ammunition keep on going until all their energy is expended, the potential for additional injuries and other collateral damage is somewhat higher. That means more lawsuits if law enforcement uses it.

    It’s my understanding that the shooter used hollow point ammunition. Even with a single hit, the children wouldn’t have a chance.

  51. Craig
    It is far easier to make a list of allowable weapons. This firearm with these features on the list. Any variation is not.


  52. Yep RR it is an interesting debate. And this is the first time since 1994 when we’re seeing a political shift that could make it more than the usual moot court, actually get some things passed.

  53. Yeah, but when you are shot 11 times with a highpowered rifle you are not going to be in very good shape, no matter what kind of ammunition.

  54. On civility, yeah I guess things have been a bit testy around here, altho i’d say more barbs than brawl. I know I’ve been more argumentative than usual, heck I even griped at CBob about his use of color. And champ gets under my skin, but that’s his job. This is just one of those issues that heats my stove.

  55. While I don’t always agree with Dianne Feinstein, I do admire her very much…

  56. Jack, Pogo, Flatus et all, educate me on the difference between semi-automatic hunting and semi-automatic assault — or maybe there isn’t one. That Brady site link I posted above doesn’t clear it up for me. I can see why attempting this distinction bedevils ban advocates, but politically I guess they don’t have a choice.

    all I ever had hunting as a kid was a .22 rifle. lucky for the animal world it wasn’t too lethal in my hands

  57. Craig, My definition doesn’t say what type rifle – not limited to assault weapons. Same with pistols and shotguns (although shotguns don’t have rifled barrels).

    Yeah, i saw Joe on MoJo. Joe knows well how to sail political winds. I do believe he’s sincere about wanting to change the dialog – he must be because that sentiment ain’t going to fly here in WV.

    I can’t really help you on the types of rifles – but here’s my simplistic notion – assault rifles look like M16 or shorter guns with accessory rails, folding stocks, pistol grips, flash suppressors (if you’ve seen it in a movie being carried by a soldier, terrorist, drug dealer, cop, swat team or a spy, it’s an assault rifle) …. and hunting rifles are longer, simpler looking guns with or without scopes. I’m sure there’s a lot of overlap.

    Semi automatic refers to the action- every time the trigger is pulled it fires, ejects the shell casing and loads another round. Doesn’t matter whether it’s a rifle, a pistol or a shotgun. (Although a revolver is also semi-automatic in that it fires every time the trigger is pulled and advances to the next round.

    I realize this is an extremely simplistic and probably highly inaccurate way to differentiate, but there you have it from my perspective.

  58. Jack is right IMHO – better to deal with function and capacity rather than appearance. I’d say our thinking on the subject has evolved a bit since 1994.

  59. thanks pogo, helpful. Like many others, I don’t see what’s sporting about these weapons. The animals deserve a fighting chance. Aren’t they basically machine guns, which we outlawed in the 30’s? But then, no big surprise, the industry came up with this “semi” creature to legally make the same thing

  60. Craig, I don’t hunt animals. But, having a three shot semi-automatic hunting rifle allows a hunter to rapidly apply a second and, heaven forbid, third shot, to an animal that was only wounded with the first round.

    Military weapons are adaptable for different missions through use of various magazines and other appliances beyond the bayonet that has been in common practice for centuries.

    One of the problems with rapid fire weapons is that they use too much ammunition.

  61. If you want to derail a debate, start demanding definitions.

    Excuse: the devil is in the detail.

    Because there is a lack of trust in the spirit of the law, it is not a simple process of defining a class of weapons, now it is necessary to detail the manufacturing process and architecture of the weapons for listing. It is this dickering that frustrates the ordinary citizen.

    The best way of dealing with arms control is to create an exhaustive list of weapons that can be legally purchased under particular specified conditions (age, training, security etc). Those weapons not detailed on the list by regulation are by default, illegal. This puts the onus of proof of legality on the individual, the right place where an individual right belongs viz, the responsibility attached to the right.

  62. Craig

    “assault rifle” is a madeup term to describe semi automatic versions of military rifles designed since around the 60’s. They have less recoil and a smaller underpowered bullet. (AR15, not familiar with the AK47) Because the need to be cleaned it is easy to take them apart and change barrel, stocks ect.
    Because of the bullit size and design they are worthless as a hunting rifle imo but you can burn up a lot of ammo shooting at targets.


  63. From a personal preference I’ve never care for any semi automatic. I prefer putting the shell in the chamber when I want to, For me it just feels safer.
    not that I’ve shot anything in several years.

  64. If you want to derail a debate, start demanding definitions.

    BillW… thanks for that statement. Your post made me realize that because I know very little about types of guns, I’ve abdicated my right to this discussion.

    One doesn’t have to know the intricacies of car engines in order to be in favor of traffic lights and speed limits. One doesn’t have to have gone to medical school to want regulations on doctors and hospitals.

    I may not know the ins and outs of guns… but I damn well know I want better gun regulations for the safety of everyone. IMO, we need this discussion… and all of us have something of value to add to it.

    Let the experts sort out the definitions within the bills and laws.

  65. RR, that was perfectly put. I’ve always thought that one of the problems with this debate is how gun enthusiasts (and I don’t mean anyone here, really) tend to bully, lecture and ridicule gun control advocates as know-nothings. Any citizen deserves and ought to be part of this discussion regardless of what they know about guns. But in order to figure out the correct balance between 2d Amendment rights and public safety even those of us who don’t give a crap about owning a gun need to learn a few things.

  66. Weapons have come a long way since Tommy guns. The M1 carbine was one of the first lightweight semiautomatic weapons in the US arsenal that led to the M16 (auto & semi-auto), then all these assault weapons that are out there today.

  67. RR and Craig, one thing I found as an elected representative is that I did not have to be the expert in the debate. My role was to achieve a consensus through coalitions of interest so that we could achieve a result most of us could live with through voluntary compliance. Whenever there was a technical discussion, I let the technicians discuss it with the rider that it was the public who had the final decision.

    In practice, this meant I avoided the tedium of dealing with the correct metal mix in road aggregate for sealing a road with a black top finish. Nor did I sit in on the technical discussions on correct bedlifting techniques for nurses in our nursing homes. Nor did I listen to the endless discussions on hazardous waste movement through arterial routes that traversed suburban precincts. I knew what I wanted as an outcome and it was up to the technicians to make it happen. I couldn’t second guess them but neither could they blind side me with bullshit as many tried. Once they came with a recommendation, I would put their arses on the blowtorch so we got the best result.

    This debate is no different.

    Be clear on the outcome and then the technical matters will sort themselves out.

    Another thing I also learnt – never get dragged into a pissing match with those who have an axe to grind on an issue. Set up a committee and let those folks argue endlessly amongst themselves on the trivia while the real job gets done. Worked a treat then and still works today.

  68. I have fond memories of Daniel Inouye from my days as a Senate page in the early 70’s. He was known to Senate staff as a tough gentleman who treated everyone, from elevator operators on down with respect. I had only one personal encounter. In my first few days on the job I was unwittingly using a phone in the Cloakroom that was designated for Senators only, making plans for dinner with relatives. I looked up and realized in horror Sen. Inouye was waiting to use my phone. Naturally I abruptly ended my called and apologized. “That’s quite alright son,” he said in that memorable deep voice.

  69. I whole-heartedly support a gun-less society, as long as law enforcement can’t have them, either, Unfortunately, as it seems most would prefer to submit their responsibility for personal security to others, that seems highly unlikely. There’s a story in the headlines right now about police indiscriminately slinging lead and compromising the safety of innocents, and they have professional training.

    I remember, with exposure to gun culture as a teenager, when the assault weapons ban took effect, a specific circumstance: a friend of a friend had a gun with a folding stock that became illegal to possess, so he simply removed two screws, took the stock off, and the gun became legal. It really wouldn’t be much of an effort to put it back on if he had wanted.

    The above anecdote helps to illustrate, I believe, the inherent futility of gun control, as a “law-abiding” citizen becomes a criminal when a gun is used to commit a crime, even if everything had been kosher up until that point. In the absence of a prior criminal record, there’s not much that can be done if guns aren’t totally restricted, and that just doesn’t seem practical, as I’ve said too many times, considering the number of guns outstanding. There people in this country with closets full of guns and plenty of ammo for each. Make guns totally illegal, and all you’ve done is create a black market that multiplies the value of their collections by a factor of 10 or so.

    Also, one more time, I will reiterate my belief in the negative consequences of social networking in contemporary society. Of course, the tool of communication in and of itself isn’t the problem, but human nature might be and the ways such communication tools facilitate the over-stimulation of idle and fragile minds. It seems these episodes are very common, but they don’t happen often enough (yet, and fortunately) to glean meaningful data for purposes of profiling, but it appears to me the culprits are often relatively young, white, of higher than average economic means, with idle time, personality disorders, all of which is exacerbated by an enabling and permissive (if not dismissive) familial environment. There’s got to be something to that.

    I’ve seen how teenagers today use facebook, and tumblr, and pinterest, and all this &$%# for which I don’t have the patience, and some of them are sharing and obsessing over awful, awful stuff, at a feverish pace. There’s no way the human mind has evolved to effectively process all the stimulation it receives in a contemporary technology-laden culture, and I think it’s driving people nuts. Dismiss that assertion if you will, but I believe it’s a factor, however minimally.

    Blah, blah, blah. I’ll post a Christmas song now, and then put a sock in it.

  70. Senator Inouye wrote a wonderful short story, “Why Don’t you Wear Shoes?” about his youth in Hawaii where he and his friends seldomly wore shoes…

  71. There are gizmos that whenadded to semi-automatic firearms make them fire like submachine guns.

    Therefore, the distinction between automatic and semi automatic is a false one.

    As Jack wrote, the crucial element is the capacity to carry massive numbers of bullet &/or the ease of replacing spent magazines.

  72. Compliance would be a huge problem. I think invocation of the well ordered militia clause of the Constitution would not only eviscerate the nra’s arguments, it would boost compliance. The owners could still own,they just wouldn’t have immediate access to their private arsenals unless there was a state or national emergency.

    In the Columbine, Paducah, Sandy Hook and several other cases (unlike Aurora) the massacres were not committed by gun owners, but by young relatives of the gun owners.

  73. I remember Inouye from the Watergate days.

    He struck me as a fair minded man and a dedicated public servant. A rare combination.

    RIP sir. Job well done.

  74. Inouye Medal of Honor

    Second Lieutenant Daniel K. Inouye distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action on 21 April 1945, in the vicinity of San Terenzo, Italy. While attacking a defended ridge guarding an important road junction, Second Lieutenant Inouye skillfully directed his platoon through a hail of automatic weapon and small arms fire, in a swift enveloping movement that resulted in the capture of an artillery and mortar post and brought his men to within 40 yards of the hostile force. Emplaced in bunkers and rock formations, the enemy halted the advance with crossfire from three machine guns. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Second Lieutenant Inouye crawled up the treacherous slope to within five yards of the nearest machine gun and hurled two grenades, destroying the emplacement. Before the enemy could retaliate, he stood up and neutralized a second machine gun nest. Although wounded by a sniper’s bullet, he continued to engage other hostile positions at close range until an exploding grenade shattered his right arm. Despite the intense pain, he refused evacuation and continued to direct his platoon until enemy resistance was broken and his men were again deployed in defensive positions. In the attack, 25 enemy soldiers were killed and eight others captured. By his gallant, aggressive tactics and by his indomitable leadership, Second Lieutenant Inouye enabled his platoon to advance through formidable resistance, and was instrumental in the capture of the ridge. Second Lieutenant Inouye’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit on him, his unit, and the United States Army.

  75. Flatus,

    Kind of makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up when you read the citation. Extraordinary!

    Valor personified.


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