Gun legislation is knee-jerk reaction


This is a response to your poll question, “What is your view on HB 1588, which is now before the state legislature and would require universal background checks for firearm sales between individuals.” It was impossible for me to answer with any of the three options given. It is more complex than that.

I believe relatives generally know if family members are responsible and trustworthy prior to any exchange of firearms. Because of that, it is my belief that sales between family members should not be subjected to the proposed background checks mentioned in HB 1588. Such an exchange is far different than if buyer and seller are strangers.

Our daughters were taught to shoot, care for and respect firearms. Guns were demystified for our daughters. They were taught guns were dangerous if not handled correctly and never trust another’s word on whether a gun was unloaded, but always check for yourself when receiving one. We did not then have a gun safe, yet never had any problems. In spite of our daughters’ training, HB 1588, as it stands, would not allow me to sell a firearm to them without a background check.

Now our daughters have their own children. Our oldest grandson is proficient with several guns. Under HB 1588 I would not be allowed to sell a firearm to my adult grandson without a background check.

No exclusion was found in HB 1588 from the background check for persons, such as me, who have already undergone a background check as part of the process to obtain a Concealed Pistol License (not to mention the one when teaching, driving school bus, when a reserve police officer, or custodian with access to a sheriff’s office).

The effort to close “loopholes” is admirable but HB 1588 seems more an emotional knee-jerk reaction than a well thought out piece of legislation.

Regarding another gun bill, Senate, SB 5737.

After contacting legislators regarding the included sentence, “Assault weapons legally owned when the bill is enacted must be safely stored and may be inspected by the sheriff once a year.”

I was informed that sentence had been inserted by mistake. Was it a “mistake” when included or just because it was caught? No wonder some folks are skeptical about the true goal of gun-control legislation.

The question remains, if SB 5737 will not prevent events similar to the shootings that gained so much national media attention, why is legislative time and money being spent on it? Such legislation provides a false sense of security (similar to “Gun Free Zones”).

Jim Davison




campbell_rd says...

I heard the best analogy yet on the gun legislation issue. Outlawing guns because we have Police is like outlawing fire extinguishers because we have Fireman.

We already have laws to keep legal citizens honest. What sense is there in making new (knee jerk) laws when the criminals will break the laws no matter what new law is enacted. New laws only hurt honest citizens in this case. If we keep outlawing guns like England and many other countries, the crime will go up. History proves this fact over and over again!

Posted 20 February 2013, 3:47 p.m. Suggest removal

chicoli says...

Thanks for the civility of this letter. I believe that eventually we will be able find common ground to minimize gun related deaths in this country. Please consider these comments for discussion.

1. There is indeed a personal right to bear arms, and that it actually predates the Second Amendment.

2. Heller clarifies and removes the threat of gun confiscation, therefore the argument of "slipery slope" aften used by Wyne La Pierre and the NRA leadership as the basis for resisting even the mildest regulation is not factually valid. Heller also provides a limitation, and not all weapons are allowed in a free-for-all fashion as the gun manufacturers wish.

3. The personal right to bear arms is securely established. To think and proceed otherwise goes against the Constitution. No one can take any guns away from anyone. To think that the Government is determined to take your guns away is indeed a knee jerk reaction, a legally unfounded one.

4. Any responsible gun owner, in a well regulated civil society should not object to a simple, incredibly fast computerized back ground check.

5. One effective way to track guns in the hands of criminals is to be able to follow them with data on gun transactions by law enforcement. A lot of them used to be tracked down to a gun dealer or to a family member who helped locate the criminal. President Bush's Congress greatly restricted the use of this data. Hollow?

6. Not every family has such wonderfull children as we have. Many young lads are impulsive by nature and do reckless deeds, including selling or loosing guns in an inopportune location. Suicide is fairly common in these age group, a common mean is by fire arms.

Your thoughts?

Posted 20 February 2013, 8:59 p.m. Suggest removal

campbell_rd says...

If criminals ignore registration, which they will. Then what does registration gain other than penalizing (taxing) legal citizens? I should be allowed to transfer a gun owned by myslef to a child without Uncle Sam putting their "stamp" on the transfer. Goverment needs to be smaller and less intrusive, not bigger!

Many countries have started the process by registering all guns, then they remove them. It's history, it's accurate, it's fact.

Posted 21 February 2013, 1:22 p.m. Suggest removal

PearlY says...

paco1234, the recent Supreme Court Heller decision was decided on a 5-4 basis, with the two appointments by the man who will be president for the next four years voting in the minority. The chances therefore are excellent that the next appointment to the bench will shift that minority to a majority.

For that reason, I can't agree with you that the personal right to bear arms is "securely established." Moreover, the constant refrain of "no one can take any guns away from anyone" reminds me of the "if you like your health insurance plan you can keep it" promise. Two years later and the plan I liked and had for over 30 years is no longer available anywhere in the country. For obvious reasons, when the same people promise me no one will take my guns from me, I'm less than trustful.

My suspicion may seem a knee-jerk reaction to you, but to me, it is rationally based.

Besides, as the owner of a gun that takes a magazine of over 10 rounds, the reality is that once my current supply of magazines has worn out (which they do - and my current order for more is back-ordered for at least six months), nobody will have to take my gun away from me because I will be unable to shoot it.

If this "universal background check" passes, we will have the first instance I can think of in which two private individuals must pay a fee, report to the goverment and be governmentally approved before they can transfer a legally owned item of personal property between themselves .

And yet, I haven't read of one single instance offered in support of this legislation that a gun used in a criminal shooting was acquired by the shooter by legal purchase from a private individual. All the high-profile shootings of recent years have been with guns either stolen or purchased from a dealer. So what is the real value of this legislation? Is it possible that the long-term goal is to compile a database that can be used in a later confiscation? That may seem paranoid to you, but it is exactly what happened in the UK. And you have to admit, it would suit the goals of many of the anti-gun rights groups perfectly to do that.

Finally, if you've read this far, can you tell me why one should have to have a background check to exercise one's 2nd Amendment right, while someone who votes on the man whose finger controls a nuclear arsenal and a huge army, doesn't even have to prove he/she is entitled to vote?

People who can't be trusted to own pistols shouldn't be trusted to vote on the person who controls such vastly greater power.

Posted 21 February 2013, 1:31 p.m. Suggest removal

campbell_rd says...

Well stated and truthful!

Posted 21 February 2013, 3:20 p.m. Suggest removal

chicoli says...

Pearl, I undeerstand your fears, mostly when your persuation is antigovernment. This country adopted a representative Democracy as a mode of organized government.

In our history, and before this Supreme Court, the majority of its members has been either Conservative or Liberals. This is the nature of our government, not perfect but the best one in the world

If more guns in a free-for-all sociaty is the safest one, then Yemen should be the safest paradise on earth. Accepting 30,000 gun related deaths in the most advance industrialized nation on earth is just not acceptable. It's too high of a price to pay so that you guys have it easy to buy as many guns as you want. As to the UK, which I've visited many times, I can say that last year there were 130 gun related deaths in comparison to 30,000 in our country. It is a very safe country where the mayority of policemen carry no fire arms at all. I can say something similar about Ireland, Germany, Canada, Australia and many other industrialized countries.

I invite you guys to read Justice Scalia's (hardly a liberal) favorable decision in Heller, clearly stating that there is a responsibility to accept reasonable regulation of ownership, transfer and use of fire arms.

Moreover, the word "infringed" in the Second Ammendment implies that the right to bear arms already existed prior to the pronunciation of the Second Ammnedment. Therefore the right to bear arms is a historical 100% American cultural trait liked by both liberal and conservatives. As you well know 75% of responsible NRA members support a strict gun control with back ground checks.

Criminals should not be allowed to vote. I believe this is a universal sentiment embraced by both Democrats and Republicans. Politicians from both parties are a different class who sway with the voting wind to their convinience. Plese give them call, ask them to stop criminals from voting.

About government removing guns, I must say that all of us agree that Pistorius ( a nice "good" guy until recently) "legal" arsenal, the government of South Africa should removed it ASAP! Many industrialized countries will leve their citizen's guns alone if they behave. In Israel you see people walking around with assault weapons, but they have the most rigid back ground checks on earth and mandates yearly safety training. You do not want to get cought wihout a permit! It is almost considered a treason violation with secured prison time.

There you have it!

Posted 21 February 2013, 4:29 p.m. Suggest removal

PearlY says...

I'm not anti-government, just anti-unlimited government. I'm all in favor of laws against murdering people, cops to arrest murderers, courts to try them in and jails to hold them.

But as long as I'm not murdering anyone, I don't like government micromanaging how I provide for my own self-defense, or what kind of health insurance plan I have to buy. Do you seriously argue that there should be no limits on government? You and I might set those limits in different places, but you have no more basis to assume I'm "anti-government" than I do to assume you're a totalitarian. Let's not assume such things, OK?

Definitely the U.S. (about 100 guns per 100 people) and possibly Switzerland, Finland, and various other countries have more guns per capita than Yemen. But as it happens, the Yemen homicide rate is slightly lower than the U.S.'s rate, so not sure what your point is. Mexico has very strict gun laws and registered private ownership rate of about 2, but a murder rate four times higher than ours. The Congo has strict laws on guns and a private ownership rate of under 2 per 100 people, but a murder rate four times higher than ours.

Even within the U.S., the states and cities with the highest rate of gun violence are often the same ones that have the strictest gun laws. Utah and Wyoming probably have the least restrictive gun laws in the nation, and their rates of gun murders are .8 and .9 per 100,000 people, while Illinois and Washington DC have had the strictest until very recently, and their rates of gun murders are 2.8 and 16.5 respectively.

Clearly, there is something else at work than simply gun laws. Wouldn't it make sense to try to figure that out? And even in high crime states, the violent crime rate has been declining for several decades, in spite of (or maybe because of?) the NRA's legislative victories. Maybe what works is catching and putting violent criminal behind bars and keeping them there.

You say that 30,000 gun deaths is "too high a price to pay" so that I can have the guns I want. If there were some correlation between my owning the guns I want and those deaths, you'd have a point, but there isn't. My owning guns in Walla Walla has no impact at all on people shot by gang bangers in Chicago. I could just as easily say that the 40,000 (about, I'm speaking from memory) vehicular deaths a year we sustain is too high a price to pay for you to drive a car. It wouldn't make sense. And there's frankly a lot higher chance of you or me accidentally killing someone in our cars than of me killing anyone, accidentally or on purpose, with my guns.

Your statement that 75% of NRA members support background checks doesn't ring true, unless you're referring to licensed dealer checks. I'm pretty sure they don't support private seller checks as required by this bill. One thing the NRA definitely is is responsive to its members, and it's taken a strong position against such legislation.

Posted 21 February 2013, 7:19 p.m. Suggest removal

chicoli says...

Pearl, nobody in this country should worry about the government micromanaging their self long as they play by the rules. Just look at Ted Nugent's arrogant indiscretion. He had the FBI all over him, he is lucky he is not in jail or prison. He had to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees and is still under closed survailance. For many he is one of those "good guys"... but one who could turn into a "bad guy" criminal at a drop of a hat.

My point is that 30,000 gun related deaths a year correlates to the incredible ammount of guns out there to the tune of 300 millions and growing, many of them ilegal. You and your guns, in Walla Walla should not count as you are obviously a decent, law abiding citizen, a little scared and concerned about your safety, but a nice guy after all.

You, as a person, are not silly, but the argument that 40,000 vehicular deaths a year compares to the gun related ones is a silly, childish one. It is a "no brainer" that we are surrounded by dangers everywhere we go, including death and injuries from cars, baseball bats, kitchen knifes, baby cribs, peanut butter, common cold, cigarrettes smoke, dog ticks, etc. Of course we need to do something about them. They are environmental, public health issues that are constantly addressed by government agencies. The differnce from deaths or injuries from guns is that the main purpose of guns is to kill, mostly if the weapon is a military style one . The argument of the use for sports and self deffense is a good one, though. But still guns are by nature, inherently dangerous gatgets. Gun related fatal accidents happens all the time.

Posted 21 February 2013, 9:21 p.m. Suggest removal

PearlY says...

paco, maybe we have identified the cultural intolerance at the root of your fears about guns. To you, a gun is something inherently different from a car, a knife or a baseball bat. And to you, the main purpose of a gun is to kill. To me, a gun is inherently a mechanical device, no different from a car, and the main purpose is in the mind of the user of the device.

The primary purpose for which I use guns is target practice; secondarily, they're a back-up to my German Shepherd. Which some localities would also like to ban.

Timothy McVeigh used a van to blow up 160+ people. This did not make the van either good or bad; both before and after, was merely a tool.

Of course guns are inherently dangerous, just like cars, hammers, bats, knives, bleach, and hundreds of other items. But you have bought into the story line that somehow guns, although inherently no more dangerous than those other items, must be treated differently. There's no rational reason for that; it's basically cultural prejudice. Have you ever considered who most benefits from taking guns away from law abiding people? The answer is obvious to me, but maybe not to you: Those who would oppress law abiding people are the primary beneficiaries of rendering them defenseless.

By the way, I'm not by nature a "scared" person. It's better to prepare for risks than to fear them. And I'm definitely not a guy.

Posted 21 February 2013, 11:10 p.m. Suggest removal

chicoli says...

Oops! Sorry Pearl, I did not mean to offend your gender! Although we fundamentally disagree I do enjoy reading your kind responses.

Keep writing, my friend

Posted 23 February 2013, 11:44 a.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

OK paco - sink your teeth into this - your illustrous Ms Pelosi along with Mr Reid (thank you Mr Reid) with the signing of Obamacare by Mr Obama remember when the words were "you have to pass this bill before you can read it"! Well apparently they didn't read it to closely either. You can check this out on a link on and it is Senate amendment 3276, Sec. 2716, part c which states "the government cannot collect any information relating to the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition". In reading this the government CANNOT mandate firearm registration and NO confiscation! Check it out. Also an executive order (which this president likes to produce) can not override the amendment.

Posted 22 February 2013, 6:06 a.m. Suggest removal

chicoli says... is the whole universe of the magazine. You need to be more specific, please!


Posted 22 February 2013, 8:10 a.m. Suggest removal

carcrazy says...

Posted 22 February 2013, 8:44 a.m. Suggest removal

chicoli says...

Well, this particular ACA law, under the jurisdiction of the HHS Department, bars and prevents physicians, hospitals and their staff to collect information about gun related injuries, and to put it on a data base. As a physician and as a researcher in Medicine I believe this is a travesty interfeering with the learning about gunshot wounds from the environmental, public health point of view. The law is the law and we are going to have to learn to live with it.

On the other hand, the same reference you guys gave me points to the fact that the Justice Department, and not the HHS, could collect similar data should the President decide to use his executive power.

Thank you guys for giving me the opportunity to learn something today. You see, now we can learn from each other...if we maintain respect and courtesy , without having to reach to the snarky, crotchety style often used by some.

Keep writing, my friends!

Posted 23 February 2013, 11:13 a.m. Suggest removal

Iopine says...

Thank you carcrazy - when somebody only picks the NYTimes website its a little tough to check out others. Thanks again

Posted 22 February 2013, 6:26 p.m. Suggest removal

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