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24 July 2015


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dilbert dogbert

Not interested in the gun story but this did get my attention: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/25/world/middleeast/us-says-parole-of-jonathan-pollard-spy-for-israel-will-follow-law.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
Some comments by the Col. might be interesting.



What is becoming clear is that the existing background check laws are insufficient and poorly administered. pl



You are seriously off topic. pl

dilbert dogbert

Looked but could not see a link to message this to you. Sorry.

no one

I think the problem is that involuntary commitment for mental health issues doesn't go into the database. It could, technically speaking, because an involuntary commitment means a court order. The court would be the party responsible for passing the info into the database. However, I think even the court order falls under protected health information.

I could be wrong about that, but I don't think so.

The Twisted Genius

"The existing background check laws are insufficient and poorly administered" and I don't think there is a damned thing we can do about it. Any improvements to a national system will smack of the NSA/FBI "collect it all" monstrosity. I don't want to see those with mental illness or serious anger issues have guns, but I don't want the Feds to have that data, either. What about all those vets with PTSD? Should they be denied until they are given a clean bill of health? I personally think it would be a good idea, but I doubt that's a popular idea among vets. We may have to just accept these shootings along with gun related crime and accidents as a natural part of American life just like we accept thousands of drunk, drugged or texting drivers on the road every day. TANSTAAFL


Why? The same reason you can buy Marijuana in Seattle or Denver. The same reason San Francisco can declare itself a sanctuary city. So on and so forth.

We have too many laws, and selective enforcement of them.


What bureaucrats not doing there jobs and complain about being underfunded ? Maybe a private company should run the backgrounds checks.


Adam -

I guess no matter what the law says, people enter (or don't enter) into the database whatever they damn well please.

Seriously, though, with conflicts between state and federal law and the way our system of government works I don't think these kinds of problems are avoidable. Right now most voters are willing to accept frequent events like this over more restrictive laws.


TTG, TANSTAAFL indeed. I wonder what my hero Heinlein would say about all this? Do we finally arrive at an OK Corral society, which is what the NRA seems to urge? A crazy person will not shoot up a movie theater because all the intended victims are also carrying? Sure, that's where I want to be! Watching the latest Terminator movie in a venue filled with people with handguns, with not one ounce of training on tactical situations.

I see he purchased a Hi-Point handgun. Hi-Point guns are relatively inexpensive and seem to function well. I considered buying one of their carbines chambered in 9mm. They will repair any firearm they have sold, regardless of the ownership trail. They tend to be 'clunky' compared to more expensive weapons but, sadly, in this case there was no problem with the weapon's function.

I wish I could offer something profound but I'm locked in cognitive dissonance on this damned subject. I have the same concerns about Fed involvement and the collection of information. I helped patch up enough young men whose only service injury was trauma from a good bar fight to know a room full of alcohol and testosterone -- and guns, is an insane proposition. A movie theater? As it is, you see all the little twits cell phone lights go on, over and over again, as they text, twit twitter or whatever else they are doing. If memory serves, I think we have already had a shooting in a movie over that very thing. And the shooter was a former law officer.

I believe that complaining about something without trying to offer a solution is probably whining but I'll be damned if I have a answer for this one.


Pete Deer

"I suppose with all that free time I can harass Pat mercilessly." I look forward to it. pat

no one

Correcting myself - after more research I see that I am wrong about the healthcare privacy laws being the primary issue preventing entry of mental health conditions into the NICS database (that only plays a lesser role these days). The barrier is, as already noted by Mr. Silverman and others here, an absent will to participate on the part of states and a lack of bureaucratic organization.

Incredible, some of the states with the worst participation record are some of the most "liberal" in terms of seeking gun control, like Mass. All the calls (and hand wringing) for gun control to prevent these kinds of shootings and the very solution that would have worked lies fallow right under our collective noses. American politics and governance....got to love it.

Tom Parker

Or, Is it becoming clear is that the leaders of the right WANT the armed pyschos to terrorize southerners who disagree with them.

Kinda like lynch parties, but this way allows plausible deniability amongst the Republican confederate sympathizers.

We're all southerners, but some of us despise the traitor nation and pledge allegiance to United States of America.


Richard Armstrong

Prior to Heller v D.C. when 5 justices appointed by Republican presidents ruled 5-4 that the plain English of the 2nd amendment no longer meant what it said. Scalia famously said the first words of the amendment "a well regulated militia being necessary was merely a preparatory statement that had nothing to do with the rest of the amendment.

Well, I guess all 310 million guns owned in America make one hell of a well regulated militia.

I always thought a militia were citizen soldiers who could be activated to defend their state and nation. Kind of like the National guard.

I guess I just spent too much time in English and History classes. Certainly long enough to learn that the confusing comma was a printers error.

To keep from hijacking the thread, he was able to get the gun as a result of the Heller decision.



That sure explains all those shootings in Detroit, NY, Chicago, LA, etc.



Can't wait for these to get banned:

Adam L. Silverman

Tom Parker,

I don't think that's it. What we've got are the following dynamics:
1) a concerted and overt effort made in the 1970s to change the discussion, debate, and politics regarding the 2nd Amendment. There was/is a strong belief that the jurisprudence regarding the 2nd Amendment, specifically at the Federal Appellate and Supreme Court level was wrong. That the two halves of the amendment were not to be read in concert, nor that the first half was the more important or controlling portion, nor that the phrase "bearing arms", which has a distinct meaning and relation to collective military service going back into its roots in Latin and its relation to the concept of being under arms, simply applied to military and organized militia service. Finally, it sought to and did redefine what was meant by well regulated in "well regulated militia". These efforts included the successful takeover of the National Rifle Association board and executive committee, as well as a push to change the scholarly and popular debates over the 2nd Amendment. All of it was legal, all of it was done out in the open, and it was very successful; especially so as most people have no idea it even happened. Two of the best resources on this are Adam Winkler's recent history of the 2nd Amendment "Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America: (http://www.amazon.com/Gunfight-Battle-Over-Right-America/dp/0393345831) and Garry Willis's NY Review of Books review article "To Keep and Bear Arms" (http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1995/sep/21/to-keep-and-bear-arms/?page=1). I have been planning to do a book review of Winkler's book for SST, so perhaps now is the right time - look for it later next week.
2) As the NRA shifted and the jurisprudence shifted, the 2nd Amendment was remade into a cleavage issue for American politics. Like all the other cleavage issue, the actual folks using it as such may or may not care about the issue per se, but the definitely care about using it to a) raise a ton of money, b) seek or retain office or power, and c) beat their political opponents over the head with it.
3) This mainstreamed 1 and 2 directly into American politics at the same time that our two political parties were finished reshuffling and were in the process of consolidating into the current Democratic and Republican Parties.
4) The consolidation in 3 has led to the current institutional gridlock that prevents even the most routine business from being done, leads to endless political crises and gimmicks. All of this is good for keeping one's constituencies riled up, allowing one to run the con that is modern political fundraising, and which makes a ton of money for the both sides do it/shape of the earth differs/everything is a horse race 24/7 news media.

Adam L. Silverman


Well the simple fixes won't happen: 1) appropriate the necessary funds to a) get the Federal part up and running, b) provide specified aid in grant money to states and localities to hire enough people to enter the data at the local end, so its available for review at the Federal end, c) tie the specified aid in grant money to states and localities to specific outcomes. By doing this as aid in grant funding rather than block grants we avoid the problem that developed with Medicaid as a result of Reagan and Rehnquist Federalism: the states get the money and can use it for what every they want, whether its what it was federally appropriated for that use or not.

Adam L. Silverman

BabelFish and TTG,

I recommend that what CWO (ret) Jim Wright recommended after the Charleston shooting on his blog Stonkettle Station. Chief Wright recommending taking the NRA's own safety rules and making them the Federal, and preemptive of the state laws on this matter, law for guns. I highly recommend the post:
But the BLUF is:
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. And he adds one more non-NRA rule one for good measure:Never provide a gun to someone not authorized to have it.
If you purchase or otherwise obtain a firearm for another who you know is not legally able to own/operate a gun, you are responsible for that person’s resulting actions with that weapon.

Adam L. Silverman


Most of our data on public-private partnership indicates they don't work and are basically schemes to privatize profit while socializing costs and other risks. That aside this is a basically law of budgeting that applies whether in the public or private sector: if you do NOT fund the program properly and you do not create clear incentives to perform and disincentives for failure to perform, then the program or project will fail. In this case we have very good cost estimates of what it would take to make NICS function as its statutory basis calls for. And we have a very good idea of what incentives and disincentives need to be put in place with the funding. What we also have is an inability to enact either because of ideology and politics. This includes the ideology and politics that government can't or shouldn't work, including our own version of self government, and that everyone should either seek help in the market or on their own. Not to go all reductio ad absurdem on you, but that's not what the Founders or Framers intended, but if that's your think, please let me know and I'll start a go fund me account to raise the money to move you to Somalia and get you set up there. No functioning government, everyone that can get one has a gun or other weapon, everyone is left to fend for themselves, and everything is an unregulated, private transaction without government interference, because there is no functioning government. We can film your adventures, make it a reality show...



One add on to this suggestion is that we make this training mandatory in all high schools.

"..preemptive of the state laws on this matter," You definitely won't get this through the house and senate.


Pete, as the survivor of two sessions of stenting (not as serious as your situation, for sure), I will keep my fingers crossed for you to pull through. Best of luck.



BRB gotta go to the hardware store now.



I think the issue is equally that no one has the right to exist swaddled in bubble wrap. You are, in the end, responsible for your safety and the safety of those in your family.

If I had to choose between OK Corral and sheep to the slaughter, I'll take the former every time. A more martial bent to our society would be an improvement versus the current ideation of victim mentality and vapid culture that pulses through it like a cancer.

Richard Armstrong

Note: in the recent ACA case in his dissent Scalia claimed just opposite, saying that words mean exactly what is written. He's nothing if not inconsistent. Except for being consistently Republican.

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