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22 April 2013


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The leadership of both parties agreed before debate began on the proposed gun bill to have an open amendment process and that 60 votes would be required to invoke cloture on any of the amendments and the whole bill itself. The US Constitution was written in the belief that majorities should not be allowed to impose their will on minorities, That is why the system is structured to deny absolute power and why the Great Compromise resulted in each state having two senators. In earlier correspondence you indicated that you would not have objected to the outcome if it had been a vote on the legislation. It was that. I do not wish to live in what Mr. Jefferson referred to in horror as a "centralized" state. It is ironic that you decorated this piece with a picture of a statue of a Massachusetts Minuteman. They all owned their own guns and were part of a minority (the Patriot side) that succeeded in imposing its will on the 25% of Americans who were Loyalists and the 50% who thought the Patriots were a pain in the ass. You are a native of Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. Outside the Washington metro suburbs and the college towns like yours there is very little support for more gun control in the Commonwealth. I guess you are a minority yourself. In any event I think the senators who voted no voted their constituencies. The 90% thing is bogus propagandist trickery. pl


"We should not allow the minority to thwart that public debate."

Thwart WHAT debate? The 'debate' was one side standing on a pile of dead children waving a bloody shirt and labeling anyone not in favor of "7 round clips" personally responsible for more dead children in between bleating 'common sense reform', 'Gabby Giffords', '90% percent' and other outright lies and information with help from their MSM mouthpieces.

The question, Hank, is how do you propose universal background checks without a database knowing what you have on record to do those background checks?

I'll agree that this isn't good government, but its the Fantasy Islanders who need to constantly be reminded that the US is more than the LA-Chicago-NYC cultural axis. You make a lot of broad sweeping statements (real threats to liberty are actually from local government!) with no facts to back them up. How is the local government of Podunk, Ohio more worrisome to me than a DC Mandarin introducing dictats from above and interfering in local issues with no real understanding?

Hank Foresman

Pat, I made it clear that I have serious reservations about many of the proposed gun control legislation. For example I think both New York and Maryland will have a hard time passing constitutional muster as they are over-broad and place unnecessary burdens on law abiding citizens. You are correct that the Great Compromise gave each state two senators; but no where in the Constitution a super majority required except for overriding vetoes; ratification of treaties; and approval of amendments to the constitution for consideration by the respective states. Whilst each house is permitted to establish its own rules; as has the Senate regarding closure and ending debates (60 votes, although an improvement over the requirement during the Civil Rights Era of 67 votes). When it comes to the functions of government, what passes as governing today does not, I believe meet the expectations of either Mr. Madison, Mr. Jefferson, and the others of the founding generation.

Hank Foresman

Tyler, if you were a good student of history you would know that the greatest abridgments of civil rights were imposed by either State or Local governments. Do you really think it was not the consorted acquiesces of local government that allowing lynching in this nation (not confined to the South my good man, occurred in such bastions of liberty as Pennsylvania and Indiana), the abridgment of civil rights by men like Bull Conner, are you aware of the burning of newspapers who were sympathetic to abolition in North. I recommend you read Dr. Freehling "The Road to Disunion" where many of the abuses are documented. Read The Strange Career of Jim Crow, by C. Vann Woodward or check out this on lynching http://www.tracingcenter.org/blog/2013/01/the-history-of-lynching-across-the-united-states/


Firstly, the U.S. Senate has perfected the art of diffusion of responsibility to a tee. That much has been obvious for years. Almost all Senators would like to claim the votes of both the gun shy city dwellers and the NRA. Hence the solution chosen by the Senate - procedural obfuscation.

The issue of background checks is lethal in my opinion because it sets another precedent for Federal intrusion, and a new qualification for firearm ownership.

Once the PRINCIPLE that the Federal Government has the right to exclude certain folk from the provisons of the second amendment based on REGULATION by the Federal Government then in my opinion you are on the slippery slope because It is a simple matter after each shooting crime, to tighten the regulations just a little As I'm sure all of you well know.

For example take Mr. Forseman who admits to owning Twenty weapons. He immediately falls foul of my State Gun laws because he is an inviting targe for theft and therefore:

"(2) If more than 15 firearms are stored on the
premises where the firearm is stored, the premises
must be fitted with an intruder alarm system—

(a) the installation, maintenance and operation
of which complies with Australian Standard
2201.1:2007 (as amended from time to time);

(b) which, in the event of an intrusion, activates
an audible alarm warning device and an
external visible alarm warning light.

Look at this link if you want to know what is ultimately in store for you if you do not resist.



Hank, your non sequitor point and sputter about 'evil racist whites' does not answer the question on how Podunk's local law is somehow a greater imposition than DC insisting the President has the right to kill US citizens anywhere via drone execution.

If you want to lecture about history, perhaps you should remove the beam from thy own eye. Lynchings were equal opportunity justice among blacks and whites, for starters. The ultimate imposition of top down jurisdiction, the Civil War, left us with 600K dead (at least) and the South in ruins so that the abolitionists could feel morally superior about themselves.

As far as Bull Connor goes, you'll have to excuse me if I don't shed a tear while you tug on heartstrings. Selma, Birmingham, Atlanta, and the rest are all in shambles now. Seems he had the right of it afterall.


Also: how do you get universal background checks without a universal database.

Hank Foresman

Actually I base my security on AR 190-11, which requires two resistant point of entry, plus a secure arms room or safe, as well as an alarm system. A gun owner who does not adequately secure their weapons is a fool.

Hank Foresman

Actually you can if you design the system to prohibit the retention of information of whom checks were made.

Hank Foresman

They are in a shambles because whites abandon them, so they would not have to associate with Blacks. By the way the Blacks running those cities are no more corrupt than the whites they replaced. If you look at the history of Clayton County Georgia you will note it was corrupt forty years ago and it was run by whites; today the Blacks are merely copying the example of those who went before.


Speaking as a software designer, once I've got the data,I've got it.
You can write anything you want in a spec.
And don't put any stock in audits.
Auditors are not developers.
Does the phrase "back door" mean anything?


The statue of the Minute Man is quite apropos. Ignored by all but pigeons and tourists; an antique, quite like the concept of liberty in Boston today. You say "none of the BIll of Rights are absolute" - like the right to peaceably assemble. I would say the Governor of Massachusetts agrees with that sentiment. He managed to do what General Gage couldn't do in 1775 though he actually had legal authority and Deval Patrick doesn't; namely order everyone to stay inside under threat of arrest. All because of two criminals.

The violation of constitutional protections by State and Federal governments is more troubling to me than the Senate Rules (which the party now in power complained about when they were out of power) and parliamentarian procedural manipulation based on them to kill one bill. With a body of elected representatives who have continued to abandon their obligations and passed legislation like the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 I would not use the phrase " it never would pass the House of Representatives.".


Yes yes, because the government is our friend, and would never ever do anything bad with data like that.


Okay wait now we're back to evil whitey's fault no matter what. Glad to see Fantasy Island Hank showed up.

Clayton County may have been 'corrupt' but you could walk downtown at night without worrying about getting stabbed in the chest for your wallet unlike now.

So where did they learn that? Or is that whitey's fault as well?

Hank Foresman

While it was not germane to the point of this piece; I posted a link to an article at Salon.com on my facebook account which pointed out much of what you alluded to regarding what occurred in Boston last week. Here is the link if you are interested http://www.salon.com/2013/04/20/how_boston_exposes_americas_dark_post_911_bargain/

Hank Foresman

Fred, while not germane to this article, I linked this article from Salon.com to my facebook account yesterday; here is the article in question http://www.salon.com/2013/04/20/how_boston_exposes_americas_dark_post_911_bargain/

Hank Foresman

Fred while not germane to this piece; I did publish a link to this article at Salon.com on my facebook account http://www.salon.com/2013/04/20/how_boston_exposes_americas_dark_post_911_bargain/.

William R. Cumming

Whatever the merits or lack of merit of the collective wisdom of the US Senate or its absence it seems the following might prove interesting should the largely anti-majoritan Senate adopt the following rule:

Before any vote each Senator would have to disclose his personal involvment with the subject of each bill--such as in this case --I own or do not own firearms including how many! Second before each vote each Senator would have to disclose all funds received from any source relating to the subject of the legislation and what he/she did with those funds or intends to do!


Yes, we gave up rights to authoritarians in charge and received no additional 'security'. We did get a strongly worded article from Salon. One hell of a trade.


Yeah that would work. I want to see the disclosures when the gay marriage bills come up, and the spending bills.

William R. Cumming

I probably should have mentioned that Members of Cngress are fully protected by the Judiciary if their vote benefits themselves personally or even their families. The test is the generic nature of the legislative meaning broad scale impacts not necessarily universality.

And overnight learned that Max Baucus , US Senator from Montana announced his retirement at end of the 113th Congress after 36 years in the Senate. Now a total of six Senators have made such an announcement.

What is becoming increasingly clear is that the SENATE will be where the rubber meets the road so to speak in the 2014 elections and IMO fully within the grasp of the Republicans. Time will tell!

The real question for the President is will he justify his low historical ranking on Congressional opposition by members of both parties?



Yes, because each STATE has two seats in the senate, the senate is often the final political battlefield. It was thus before 1860 as well. The South knew then that it would never outnumber the North and thus would not control the House, but the Senate is a different matter. pl

Edward Amame

Hamilton hated the savaged the idea of a super-majority congress and characterized equal representation as a small state power grab.

Filibusters were extremely rare in the 19th century and slightly less so until the 1960s when the started becoming more common. By 2009-2010, there were 130+. Now everything, not just gun legislation, gets filibustered. The Great Compromise was all about creating a big state/small state balance. That balance has been compromised.

Laura Wilson

The issue raised was good governance not gun control. It is a much more important topic than any one issue that the 60 vote majority might affect. This "parliamentary" tactic is helping to erode our confidence in our legislative branch. Americans aren't totally stupid...we know that an up or down vote is what is needed on many issues---because it moves us forward and lets us know exactly how our legislators vote.

It's about accountability and, as engaged citizens, that is what we should be lobbying for--and getting.

Edward Amame

Sorry, I sure mangled that in the edit. If I can get another shot:

Hamilton hated the idea of a super-majority congress and characterized equal representation as a small state power grab.

Filibusters were extremely rare in the 19th century and slightly less so in the 20th until the 1960s when the started becoming more common...

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