Baby Steps Are Not Enough

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How and if to legislate the use of automatic assault rifles is a controversial topic in the U.S.

October 1, 2017, isn’t that long ago when you think about it. That date is memorable because it was a day when 59 innocent people were gunned down by a deranged shooter at a music festival. The shooting captured the attention of people around the world because it was the largest mass murder in American history.

The average citizen can’t do much to avoid another such tragedy because we lack the power to stop such an event from happening. However, there is one group that could be effective in stopping a future mass killing if only they cared enough to do something. I refer to the members of the U.S. Congress. After so many national tragedies, this group of officials must rightfully be prepared to take the blame when the next one occurs, as it will.
I often wonder what it would take to get any Congress, Republican or Democrat, to make some modest changes in our gun laws. Back in 2011, Congress member Gabrielle Giffords was gunned down at a public function when she was performing the simple task of meeting with her constituents in a shopping center parking lot. Her colleagues in Washington expressed sorrow on this incident, welcomed her on her return and then went back
to doing nothing about the large number of guns that Americans own.

Most of us thought that the tragic death of 26 people in Sandy Hook, CT, would trigger a sincere effort to take guns out of the hands of people with emotional problems. Regrettably, that 2012 incident has faded away, except in the hearts and minds of the families who lost their loved ones. Did Congress rise to the occasion and deal with the issue of background checks and guns in the hands of sick people? You know the answer.

A little over a year ago, another deranged individual aimed a gun at a group of members of Congress who were at a softball practice. The major victim was a Congressman Steve Scalise, who is a member of the Republican leadership. Scalise won bipartisan support for this speedy recovery and his trauma was even highlighted on 60 Minutes. Did anything happen to change the gun laws after one of their own was shot? You know the answer.

After the Las Vega mass murder, everyone became aware of an item known as a bump stock. Attached to a semiautomatic weapon, it becomes an automatic weapon
capable of firing hundreds of bullets in a few seconds. The leaders of the House and Senate immediately pledged to find ways to block the sale of this $200 mass murder instrument. Did the Congress ever follow through to prevent future tragedies? You know the answer.

I am not an advocate of repealing the Second Amendment that gives citizens the “right to bear arms.” I am too much of a realist to think that could happen. But the greatest stain on American society is the continued failure of the people we elect and send to Washington to take some baby steps to make their country a little bit safer.

The views expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.

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Former State Assemblyman Jerry Kremer is a columnist for Long Island Weekly and partner at Ruskin Moscou Faltischek in Uniondale. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the publisher or Anton Media Group.

18 COMMENTS

  1. I completely agree with Jerry.

    Guns owners are disrespectful of authority. A failure to rely on authorities is an invariable sign of improper and overly independent attitudes. The mere fact that they gather together to talk about guns at gun shops, gun shows, shooting ranges, and on the internet means that they have some plot going against us normal people. A gun owner has no right to associate with another gun owner.

    Therefore, to help ensure our right to happiness and safety we must ban and seize all guns from private hands, and forbid NRA-based criticism towards people who are only trying to help. Searching the homes of all NRA members for any guns and pro-gun literature will go a long way towards reducing crime.

    Common sense requires only uniformed soldiers, police, and other agents of the state have access to firearms, and think of all the money we can save by just taking away the guns from private owners and giving them to the military and police. No person should be able to challenge this by writing to Congress or the President. If they do they should be forced in court to admit to it and then fined a hundred million dollars for each time. Subjecting them to torture will probably change their minds.

    Making it mandatory that church ministers preach against guns or else they can’t get licensed will certainly encourage the church folk to have the correct belief about guns.

    We should hold a nation-wide vote against guns but gun-owners cannot be allowed to participate. They are too biased.

    People who don’t like all this prove they are on the side of the killers with the guns and should be put in jail along side all the gangbangers and other gun nuts. Letting them sit in jail for a few years before they are charged will give the government plenty of time to find something wrong in their lives. Anything they say, write, or express should be held against them to prove their guilt.

    We should bring all of them here to Chicago to be tried by Mayor Rahmfather as judge, and we should allow only mothers who have lost children to gunfire to be on the juries. Any attorney who tries to defend them should be arrested also. If we don’t get the right verdict the first time we can just keep trying them until we do.

    No woman needs to protect herself from rape, assault or murder and should just leave crime prevention to the Police who are properly equipped to investigate following the crime’s completion. Women using a gun in self-defense interferes with and makes the attempted crime a “non-event,” which unnecessarily complicates the Police investigation. Any woman who does this should be put in jail for interfering with an investigation.

    If someone still really, really thinks they have a need for a gun in their home for protection then the Army should just force them to host and feed some armed soldiers.

    Those who claim that the 2nd amendment was given to us because we might someday need guns to use against an oppressive government forget that our Constitution has strong internal safeguards to protect our freedoms. So there!

    Long live our Constitution!

  2. Why stop there? Look how many people are killed in automobiles. In order to protect all from those killing machines, all private automobiles should be banned and everyone should rely on public transportation!
    Let’s here some more ludicrous arguments, anybody have some?
    (Nice retort, Jack)

  3. Re: ” take some baby steps to make their country a little bit safer”

    In 1934, 1938, 1968, 1986, 1988, 1990, 1993 and 1994 I suspect similar arguments were made for “baby steps” when more restrictive gun laws were passed. Since all of the regulations derived from these laws are apparently not enough, maybe you can understand the reluctance of gun owners to entertain the idea of quietly accepting a new barrage. The problem is the real agenda of the people who are leading the charge for more gun control is to ban all guns except for the government and governments (unlike individuals) have the track record for killing people that don’t agree with them. The reality is implementing expanded background checks or banning semi-automatic rifles (like the AR) or standard capacity magazines has nothing to do with keeping the people safe – it’s about using a horrific crimes like Sandy Hook to whip lawmakers into an emotional frenzy to goad them into quickly advancing the agenda of gun control irrespective of any facts in more incremental “progressive” steps in order to set a new baseline and move the goal posts to the point where an unscrupulous government would have the option to do what ever they please.

  4. Re: ” Sandy Hook, CT…Did Congress rise to the occasion and deal with the issue of background checks and guns in the hands of sick people?”

    The owner of the firearm (the killer’s mother) passed a background check. The killer stepped over her dead body to get the firearms used to kill the children.

  5. Re: ” would trigger a sincere effort to take guns out of the hands of people with emotional problems”

    And how do you propose we do that? There are 2 problems with this. First, mental health issues aren’t necessarily present at the time of an evaluation and lots of mentally ill people “present well” – i.e. they are good at hiding their true personality unless it is inadvertently revealed in a psychotic break or crisis situation. The second problem is there are no objective criteria for a mental health evaluation. As is evidenced in court trials, you often have “experts” who disagree and reach completely different conclusions. When this ambiguity is married to regulations written by unaccountable bureaucrats and used by people who are trying to ban all guns from private citizens it would make it extremely difficult if not impossible for a law abiding citizen to own a firearm.

  6. Re: ” bump stocks… Did the Congress ever follow through to prevent future tragedies?”

    Banning bumpstocks won’t prevent “future tragedies”. You can more easily and accurately bump fire a semi-automatic firearm using a belt loop on a pair of pants, a rubber band stretched around the trigger and mag well or a stiff trigger finger braced with a thumb.

  7. Re: ” After so many national tragedies”

    According to the CDC, in 2014 there were 33599 deaths from firearms and most were suicides while 10945 were homicides. If someone wants to kill themselves it’s a matter of individual choice where the person can pick the time, place and method and an argument can also be made that an individual’s life belongs to them exclusively and not you, the State or anyone else. Note also that the number of suicides committed with firearms (21334) is less than the number committed by other means (21439) so as long as there are other options, it’s not clear that restricting firearms would have any effect on the number of suicides.

    Homicides are a different story. 10945 people murdered by firearms in the US works out to about 29 people per day. These are the “word doctored” figures the news media and anti-gun folks like to publicize because people relate to the magnitude of those numbers and it sounds like a lot of people until you realize this is out of a population of 320 million Americans. In that context, it works out to about 1 person out of every 29,000 people being murdered by a firearm. Dwell on the magnitude of your individual significance next time you are in a stadium with 29,000 people. To me, 1 in 29,000 is an acceptable cost to help ensure the security of a free state and the right to own a firearm that has harmed no one. It is also estimated there are 109 million gun owners in the US which means on any given day 108,999,971 gun owners didn’t kill anyone yet because the news media magnifies these relatively isolated and infrequent events to the level of an epidemic, the anti-gun folks answer is to take the guns away from people who harmed no one. The number of firearm homicides will never be zero. So given the fact that deranged individuals and murderers are an intrinsic part of the human race and we currently live in a free society, what number of illegal firearm homicides would ever be acceptable to you to the point you would say “we don’t need any more restrictions on the private ownership of firearms”?

  8. Mental health is the avenue to gun control..
    American Psychiatric Asso says Half of Americans are mentally ill..
    After crafting by politicians and Media all will be crazy except for the media/politicians..
    300 million prescriptions for psychiatric drugs were written in 2009 alone..
    Your children on medication for ADHD?
    Single woman with children diagnosed with depression?
    be careful what you ask for

  9. Re: “the greatest stain on American society is the continued failure…to take some baby steps to make their country a little bit safer”

    No – the “greatest stain” “is the continued failure” to not enforce the laws already on the books. You should start insisting empathetic judges and DAs quit allowing people who use or possess a gun illegally to plea bargain away the illegal firearms offense. The feds are one of the worst offenders when it comes to enforcing laws. Straw purchases and lying on the 4473 form you have to fill out for a background check to purchase a firearm is a felony punishable by 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine – yet in 2010 76142 people failed the background check, 4732 were deemed worthy of prosecution and only 62 were prosecuted. Another thing you could do since most of the gun homicides are caused by gangs or repeat offenders is to advocate for a law that would impose a mandatory death sentence on any recidivist with a violent criminal history that uses a firearm to commit a crime regardless of childhood upbringing, economic impoverishment, mental health, age, IQ, ethnicity, $ex or gender identity.

  10. New Yorks 1,000,000 new illegal gun owners..

    REFUSED TO REGISTER THEIR GUNS….

    One million plus new felons, all armed with scary, high capacity, media labeled assault weapons!
    The deadline for New York residents to register their so called “Assault Weapons” and “High” (read standard) Capacity Magazines came and went.
    An estimated million plus, formerly law abiding, gun owners have refused to comply with Cuomo and down state Democrat’s naive belief that the NY Safe Act, passed in a so called emergency session of the New York legislature, could force free people to register their hard earned property.

    And who can blame these once lawful gun owners, with a president that picks and chooses which laws he will follow or enforce, as well as an Federal Attorney General that operates daily with a Contempt of Congress charge and gun running scandal, “Fast & Furious”, hanging over his head. Why should the average New York joe, bother to follow the law, especially when it is in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States, the one true law of the land.

  11. Lose the sneer quotes around the right to bear arms. The Second Amendment doesn’t “give” this right to the people, it is the people’s natural birthright endowed by nature and nature’s God. It is not a “supposed” right and needs no quotation marks.

    This point was underscored by the Supreme Court in 1875 in the U.S. v. Cruikshank decision:

    “The right there specified is that of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose’. This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.”

    As to “baby steps”, anything the Congress does must comport with constitutional protections of rights, be they “baby steps” or “giant strides”. Bump stocks may not come within the ambit of Second Amendment protection, but AR-15s do, and the bump stock issue is a diversion. The left’s real goal is to eliminate the people’s ability to exercise their right to keep and bear arms “in common use” that have “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia” and/or are “any part of the ordinary military equipment” (U.S. v. Miller, 1939).

    Until and unless gun control advocates renounce this goal, there is nothing to discuss.

  12. More mindless blather by a socialist control freak. Sorry you cannot legislate human behaviour. Please relocate to North Korea as you and their leader are in accord. Now go back to your safe hole and keep your ignorant mouth shut. Armed men are citizens, unarmed men are subjects.

  13. What makes the author think that just one more gun law is going to accomplish that the previous 20,000+ have not? Are you going to make murder “more illegal”? Make gun possession by a criminal “more illegal”? Are you going to pass a law that somehow makes criminals obey that law, and the others?

    Common sense, when you stop and think about it, is not what this author is proposing.

  14. Since the vast majority of these killings and inner city murders are done by Democrats the obvious law should be to make it illegal for Democrats to own and possess firearms and to ban the Democrat Party as a terrorist organization.

  15. The only way for “baby steps” or any steps to work, criminals will have to obey the law. And if they’ll do that, why not post “No Crime Allowed” signs and be done with it?

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