Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bang Bang Crazy, Part Five (Update)


Portions of the following essay were first posted to Stonekettle Station on January 1, 2013.

Almost exactly three years ago.

Little has changed in that time. The slaughter continues unabated. Congress has so far not just failed to act but utterly refused to act. Far too many members of that corrupt and selfish body are in the pocket of the gun lobby and are far more concerned with their paychecks and campaign contributions and outright bribes than they are with the oath they swore to protect and defend America. These men and women, conservative and liberal, are cowards. Sniveling, corrupt, morally bankrupt cowards.

This is not about rights.

This is not about the Constitution.

This is about greed.

This is about blood for money.

This is about cowardice.  

This about a deliberate failure of government.

More than anything this is about the fears of small and hysterical cowards who have perverted the ideals of freedom and liberty into bloody terror.

The only member of government with the courage to act is President Obama.

His actions are limited to Executive Order – that is, despite the mewling protestations of hysterical fools, the president cannot make laws.  He cannot repeal them. He can only adjust how existing federal laws are implemented by the Executive Branch. And he has never pretended anything else. Ever.

For the last seven years, the president has called, repeatedly, on Congress to do their job, to sit down like rational lawmakers and seek legislative solutions to gun violence while preserving the fundamental rights outlined in the Constitution.

The president has given Congress every opportunity to do their job, to take the lead.

Congress has refused.

And if Congress refuses to act, the president must.

The following essay outlines the president’s executive action regarding gun violence. None of it is in even the slightest way unreasonable or unconstitutional or would infringe in even the smallest way with the rights of responsible gun owners. None of it. Not one goddamned word.

It is long, long past time to act.




“The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them…’’

That was State Representative, Steve Toth, speaking to a crowd of torch and pitchfork waving Texans two years ago.

Toth was, of course, referring to President Obama’s push for action in the wake of high profile gun violence.

Toth accused the president of using children as human shields.

Human shields. We’ll come back to that.

Toth was speaking at a rally promoted as part of “Guns Across America” and “National Gun Appreciation Day.”

Guns across America.

National gun appreciation day.


I’ll pause for a moment so you can think about how goddamned insane that is.


National Gun Appreciation Day?

Only lunatics would dream up such ridiculous nonsense as National Gun Appreciation Day and Guns Across America.

That’s not patriotism.

That’s not liberty.

That’s not freedom.

Look here, as I’ve noted repeatedly, I myself am a gun owner.  It’s very, very likely I know more about guns than you do, I’ve had extensive professional training and decades of experience in gun design, maintenance, and use. Now, I might appreciate the fine engineering or the craftsmanship that goes into making a precision machine, certainly. But that’s not what we’re talking about here, is it? Is it? Gun appreciation day? That’s obsession. That is mass insanity. That is in fact the very definition of insanity, worship of guns, or rather the obsessive and exaggerated lust for power over others that guns represent.

National Gun Appreciation Day is nothing but public masturbation.

Banners at the Austin rally proclaimed “An Armed Society is a Polite Society,’’ ‘'The Second Amendment Comes from God’’ and ‘‘Hey King O, I'm keeping my guns and my religion.’’

And let’s start right there.

An armed society is a polite society?

This is nothing but bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. Provable bullshit. That line, an armed society is a polite society is taken out of context from a Robert Heinlein novel.  Heinlein was many things, veteran, patriot, libertarian, but he was not insane and that line was never intended as a rallying cry for those who would pervert the Second Amendment for their own selfish gratification.

I can show you armed societies, truly armed societies, we’ll start in Iraq and work our way around to Somalia via the Mexican drug corridors through gangbanger territory in Los Angeles.  Universally armed societies are emphatically not polite. Not once. Not ever. And don’t we Americans make fun of comparatively unarmed societies (compared to us) such as France and Great Britain for their politeness?  Canadians are so polite that it’s damned near a cliché, and yet somehow their easy going nature doesn’t seem to be at the muzzle of a gun. 

If armed societies are polite societies, how do you explain Texas?

What’s the logic here? Be polite, say please and thank you, better kiss my ass, or I’ll blow your brains out? 

Politeness at gunpoint is neither politeness nor a society.

The Second Amendment comes from God?

Again, bullshit. Bullshit. Bullshit. And bullshit.  This, this religious mumbo-jumbo, this God at the muzzle of a gun, is the very thing the Founders fought a revolution to get away from.

How many damned times do we have to go over this?

The Constitution is an agreement between human beings; it is a template for government, a basis for law.

God doesn’t get a vote.

God does not get a vote. Not my God, not your God, not anybody’s God.

God has not one damned thing to do with either the Second Amendment or any other part of the Constitution. Not in any way shape or form, not now, not ever.

I don’t care if you don’t like it. Too bad for you, you want to live where God makes the laws? Then move to Iran. In the US, God stays on his side of the room and the Constitution stays on the other.  Anybody who doesn’t understand the difference between supposed natural rights (the so-called “God given” rights of the Declaration of Independence) and the manmade legal rights of the Constitution needs to stop waving their guns and bibles and go back to school – preferably one outside of Texas.  The Second Amendment does not come from God. There’s no basis for this statement, not in the Constitution, not in law, not in the Federalist Papers, not in made up quotes from Thomas Jefferson, not even in the bible. It’s bullshit, utter and total bullshit, and serves only to demonstrate a profound and deliberate ignorance by those who cannot help but attempt to impose their goddamned religion on this country at every turn.

And nothing proves me right more than this: I’m keeping my guns and my religion.

Guns and religion.

It’s just me, right? Guns and religion.

It’s getting so that I can’t tell extremist Christians in America from the extremist Muslims who make up ISIS and Iran’s government.

Honestly, from where I sit, all you crazy religious people look pretty much the same.

I’m keeping my guns and religion. Guns and religion.

I wonder what Jesus would have to say about that? How in the hell do you get to guns and religion in the same sentence? Guns and religion, throw in a pickup truck, a keg of shitty beer, and an underage pregnant governor’s daughter and you’ve pretty much described modern conservatives haven’t you?

I’m not a Christian but I was raised in the church and I strongly suspect that Jesus would have bitch slapped the murderous bloody stupidity right out of these people. They understand their own religion even less than they understand the Constitution.

Meanwhile, a bit further north, Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign went predictably ape-shit, and fired off a mass mailing like a runaway AR-15 with a filed down sear.

The hysteria was almost palpable with dire warnings to Kentuckians that Obama was “coming for your guns!”

"You and I are literally surrounded. The gun-grabbers in the Senate are about to launch an all-out-assault on the Second Amendment. On your rights. On your freedom!"

That was McConnell campaign manager Jesse Benton.

Oh no! We’re surrounded!

Surrounded by sissy pacifist liberals! Oh My God! What if they hand us flowers and start singing? Praise God and pass the ammunition! To arms! To arms!

Benton went on to say:

"Our Founders fought a revolution to secure our rights. They would have been appalled by what they heard from an American president the other day. President Obama has the left wing media in a frenzy. The gun-grabbers are in full battle mode. And they are serious."

You know, it’s funny. Whenever the President talks about jobs or the economy or the debt, Mitch McConnell immediately accuses him of not “being serious.” How many times have we heard that exact phrase in the last four years from Mitch McConnell? The president is not serious! Guns though, Mitch is willing to take Obama at his word on that, by God.

The president specifically said that he is not trying to infringe on the Second Amendment and that any significant changes to gun laws in the US would require congressional legislation. 

According to Mitch, liberals are in full battle mode.

Conservatives, on the other hand, are in a full-on panic.

For a bunch of people armed to the teeth, they sure are scared of a bunch of sissy unarmed gay liberals. It must be a hell of a way to go through life, pissing your pants all of the time.

Funny thing, I thought guns and religion were supposed to give you courage? No? 

I digress.

Conservatives are losing their minds over the idea of executive action on Obama’s part, once again demonstrating a profound lack of understanding of the actual Constitution and how our government actually works. 

Executive orders only apply to the Executive Branch of Government.

Obama can’t just make laws and issue orders, it doesn’t work that way. All executive action can do is enforce, or not, existing law – i.e. bills already created and passed by Congress, and signed into law by the President.

And you’d think people obsessed with the Constitution would know that.

The president unveiled a legislative package which he urged Congress to pass in the wake of the Aurora and Newtown massacres.

Now, that package included a ban on assault weapons and armor piercing bullets and a 10-round limit on magazines.  Note that the president can’t out and out ban assault weapons, armor piercing ammunition, or restrict hi-cap magazines, those things require legislation.  Which is what he asked congress to think about. Obama isn’t acting like a dictator despite conservative hysteria, he’s acting like a president – and polls show that a majority of Americans want some kind of control over these weapons.

That’s the president’s job, to ask congress to look into it.

However, McConnell's message calls the president’s proposals a "thinly-veiled scheme,” and McConnell pledged that he will oppose not only legislation but executive actions as well. And he has – all while taking hundreds of thousands of dollars from the National Rifle Association.

Obama’s suggestion that limits be placed on certain weapons and ammunition has no chance of becoming any kind of law.

Obama’s suggestion that Congress do its job and explore other options has been utterly rebuffed. Congress has made it clear that they will not under any circumstance risk the approval and largess of the gun lobby. They would rather see the blood of Americans run freely in the streets than risk their office or bankroll.

Congress, they are cowards, one and all.

And so, the only option open to the president is Executive Action.

Obama’s Executive Actions are a result of the the Vice President's commission on gun violence, which recommended twenty-three executive actions:

1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

Obama will order federal agencies, i.e. agencies responsible to the Executive, to provide personal data to the background check system.

Now, that’s the background check system which is supposed to help keep guns out of the hands of crazy people and criminals. This is the system that the NRA claims they support – and really, why shouldn’t they?

And keeping guns out of the hands of the dangerously mentally ill and criminals is also something the NRA and Gun Lobby say they support.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever to oppose this action. None. Unless you do believe that those with dangerous mental illness and/or criminals should be allowed buy and own guns.  And if you do, please explain why in the comments below. I’d love to hear it.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

Again, this is exactly what conservatives have been calling for. Less government, less regulation, less red-tape. Keep guns out of the hands of crazy people and criminals.

And again, why would anybody oppose making the very system they say they support work better?

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

The background check system is only as good as the information available to it. Much of that information, at the state level is provided voluntarily. The president cannot order the states to provide information, nor has he attempted to do so in any way. What he has done, is to suggest incentives for states to provide that information voluntarily. This is no different than the incentives encouraging states to set speed limits or standardize state issued drivers licenses.

And again, if you want to keep guns out of the hands of the murderous nuts and the criminals, wouldn’t you want the system to have access to that information? If not, why not? Please explain in the comments. I can’t wait to hear it.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

Even the most ardent of gun rights advocate thinks there are people who shouldn’t have guns. Kids, criminals, terrorists, the dangerously mentally ill.

This Executive Action simply orders the AG to review those categories and suggest updates to existing regulations.

Again, review the criteria currently used to prohibit individuals from having a gun. Is there a regulation that prevents a known member of ISIS from buying a gun? Is there? How do you know without a review? If there isn’t, shouldn’t there be?

Note: This review cannot change the regulation or change the criteria used to implement the regulation. It can however provide accurate information to Congress, should they decide to update the law.

Note: Would such an update keep a known terrorist from obtaining a gun? No, probably not. But if he can’t buy it legally from a gun dealer, then merely attempting to do so would alert authorities, and should he then go elsewhere to the criminal underground he becomes that much more vulnerable to law enforcement operations. Isn’t that what you want?

Note: This was the concern of a number of conservative lawmakers and used as justification to oppose immigration of Syrian refugees – i.e. possible Islamic terrorists hiding among them would be able to buy guns from any gun store legally.

Again, if you oppose this idea, and you think children, criminals, and members of ISIS should be able to purchase guns legally in the United States, I’d love to hear why.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

I honestly can’t imagine why anybody other than criminals would oppose this.

If somebody is arrested and their guns impounded, why wouldn’t you want their record checked before those guns are returned? Why would anybody, especially those currently caveating their social media posts with #bluelivesmatter and #alllivesmatter, want the police to return guns to those who are legally prevented from having them?

If guns don’t kill people, if people kill people, then why would you hand a gun to people who have demonstrated the inclination to murder others?

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

All we’re talking about here is guidance to gun dealers on how to use the background check system. Hardly totalitarianism.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

Why would anybody be opposed to this? Hell, the gun lobby, gun dealers, and responsible gun owners should be leading the charge on this. This, right here, safe and responsible gun ownership was the founding ideal of the National Rifle Association.

If you are opposed to a campaign promoting safe and responsible gun ownership, by all means tell me why in the comments. By all means.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

We have the Consumer Product Safety Commission review TV sets and waffle irons to make sure they don’t burn our houses down, why wouldn’t you want the same review and testing applied to gun locks and safes?

You tell me you’re a responsible gun owner. You say you keep your guns locked up. If you’re going to spend money on an expensive safe, on trigger locks, don’t you want to know if they’re any good? Don’t you want them engineered to the minimum standards necessary to do the job you bought them for?

Please, explain to me how having the Consumer Product Safety Commission review standards for guns safes and trigger locks infringes on your Constitutional Rights in any way whatsoever. You’re not even required by federal law to use those devices.

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations. 10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.

Why would anybody oppose either of these actions?

11. Confirm an ATF director.

For the last eight years, that’s eight years, Congress has refused to confirm an ATF director under either George Bush or Barack Obama.

Eight years. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tabacco, and Firearms has fewer agents now than it did in 1970 and takes up to eight years between inspections of gun stores because of a lack of personnel. The agency is prohibited from creating a searchable computer database for gun ownership records and has been leaderless for eight years.

This is entirely because congressmen beholden to the gun industry won’t allow confirmation of an ATF director. Understand, the Senate hasn’t rejected Obama’s nominations, they won’t even allow them to come up for debate. In other words, the Senate refuses, absolutely refuses, to do their Constitutionally mandated job for no other reason than they are being bribed by the National Rifle Association.

Eight years, folks, now you tell me what these people are afraid of. Go on, I can’t wait to hear it.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.


This was the NRA’s idea. So what’s the problem? Who opposes proper training for first responders and law enforcement? Go ahead, you tell me why. You explain to me how training law enforcement, first responders, and school teachers what to do in an active shooter situation infringes on your right to keep and bear arms. Go right ahead. Spell it out, line by line, detail by detail, and show your work. Let’s hear it.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.


Enforce existing laws. Prosecute crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

Guns don’t kill people, people kill people, isn’t that what the NRA has been telling us?

It’s the people, not the guns.

So don’t you want to know why people kill people?

Let’s see, conservatives won’t let us do anything about guns, but they don’t want us to do anything about the people who use guns to commit mass murder. Logically (if that word can be used in this context) it would appear that conservatives are ok with mass slaughter.

Be honest, what exactly are conservatives afraid of here?

There is only one reason why anybody would be afraid of this research. Only one reason.

Think about that. Take all the time you need. It’ll come to you.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.

Boy, sure wouldn’t want the AG to issue a report! Oh no, not a report! Anything but a report. 

We wouldn’t want to know about new gun safety technologies, or the challenges to implementing some of these things, or methods for helping the gun industry develop safer guns. We’re all about research that leads to the development of more deadly weapons and ammunition, but not safer guns. 

Note that this isn’t even a concrete action. It’s a report regarding the availability and most effective safety technologies. You know, the very thing you can find in damned near any gun magazine.

Also note that the AG can’t mandate gun manufacturers implement any of those technologies – that would require an act of Congress. The president is only instructing the AG to make the information available. That’s it.

And really, how horrifying would it be if the government actually helped gun makers produce safer weapons?  The government did that with cars and look what we ended up with, seat belts and air bags and anti-lock brakes, we hardly ended up with fascism as a result. What we got was better cars.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes. 17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

Sure wouldn’t want to know if somebody with murderous tendencies or clinical depression or adverse mental issues has easy access to a gun, right? 

Because, guns don’t kill people, people kill people, but people who might kill themselves or kill other people shouldn’t be asked if they have access to guns which don’t kill people.  Conservative logic, conservative tautology.

Again, ask yourself what’s the real concern here? What are conservatives really afraid of?

Think about it. If crazy people aren’t allowed to have guns…

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers. 19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.


So why are gun rights advocates against it when the president agrees with them?

Maybe Obama should propose arming Latinos and black people, see how long it takes for conservatives to start screaming for gun control.

Tell me, why would responsible gun owners oppose schools and churches and colleges developing a plan to deal with emergencies?

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover. 21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges. 22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations. 23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

Now according to the gun nuts, it’s not the guns, it’s the crazy people.

But they’re opposed to anything that might help keep crazy people from picking up a gun and killing other people. 

The only option conservatives will support is the one where they get to carry guns so they can shoot crazy people with guns.


There you have it. Obama’s executive actions.

I’ve listed them all. Go read them again.

Show me one, just one, Executive Order that infringes on your Second Amendment rights in any way whatsoever.

Go ahead.  I’ll wait.



The thing that so angers me, and I think so angers you, is that this president is using children as a human shield to advance a very liberal agenda that will do nothing to protect them…

No, Representative Toth, it doesn’t anger me.

What angers me are fear mongers like you.

Hateful, paranoid, fearful little rabble rousers like you, that’s what angers me. 

Frightened insecure gun nuts who can’t seem to differentiate between their dick and their pistol, that’s what angers me.

The fact that when children are slaughtered in a riot of blood, when adults are killed in a hail of bullets, when Americans are gunned down on the streets of the United States every single goddamned day, the first thing people like you think of is to run out and buy more fucking guns.

That’s what angers me, Congressman Toth.

I’ll tell you what really angers me, that fact that as a gun owner myself, as somebody who has owned and used and taught firearms for most of my adult life, I get lumped in with lunatics like you and the NRA, that’s what pisses me off more than anything else, Representative Toth.

And really human shields?

Human shields?


At least President Obama thinks of children as human.

Unlike Representative Toth and his friends down at the NRA who seem to regard kids as little more than pop-up targets.

The only thing Gun Appreciation Day did for me, was make me appreciate the fact that today America has a president and a vice president with the courage to face these idiots head on.

Go get them, Mr. President.


Obama is not coming for your guns.

It is time to decide where you stand. The gun nuts have drawn their line of death in the sand, which side are you on? Choose. It is time for sane and rational Americans to stand their ground in the face of this murderous bloody lunacy and push back with with determination and grit. There are more of us than them. Many of us are armed too. I’m not afraid of these fuckers and you shouldn’t be either. Get off your ass, pick up your phone, log into your computer, or march your ass down to your local representative’s office AND PUT THESE COWARDLY BASTARDS ON NOTICE.

Listen to me, if you are taking orders from the likes of Wayne Lapierre, Tom Selleck, and Ted Nugent, you are a fucking idiot. The NRA  doesn’t represent me and it for goddamned sure doesn’t defend my rights. Not now. Not ever.

Now, right now, it is time to stand with your president.

Get on it.

- Jim Wright/Stonekettle Station


Addendum 1:  Every time I write one of these, I hope it's the last. But it never is, there's always another massacre. Always.
The Seven Stages of Gun Violence
The Bang Bang Crazy Series:
Part 1, What we need, see, are more guns, big fucking guns
Part 2, Gun violence isn't the exception in America, it's who we are
Part 3, Sandy Hook, the NRA, and a gun in every school
Part 4, More dead kids and why we have laws
Part 5, (Update) Gun control and a polite society
Part 6, The Christopher Donner rampage, they needed killin'
Part 7, Still more dead kids and let's print our own guns!
Part 8, Let's try blaming the victim, shall we?
Part 9, Armed soldiers on post, sure, nothing to go wrong there.
Part 10, Big Damned Heroes!
Part 11, Two in the Bush
What do we do about it? How do we change our culture of gun violence? Bang Bang Sanity

Addendum 2: As noted elsewhere, I’ve  been around guns my entire life. My dad taught me to shoot when I was a kid – in fact the very first gun I ever fired was my dad’s prized black powder .75 caliber smooth bore Civil War trench piece when I was about four years old. I still own my very first gun, bought from Meijers Thrifty Acres in Jenison, Michigan, for me by my dad when I was fourteen years old – a lever action Winchester 30-30. I got my first deer with that gun.  I grew up shooting, at home, in the Boy Scouts, hunting, target shooting, plinking, with friends and with family.  Thirty years ago I joined the military and spent my entire life there. I know more than a little about guns. I’m a graduate of the Smith & Wesson Rangemaster Academy, the nation’s premier firearms instructor school. I’m a certified armorer and gunsmith. I’ve attended pretty much every boarding officer and gun school the military has. I hold both the Expert Pistol and Expert Rifle Medals. I’ve taught small arms and combat arms to both military and civilians for nearly thirty years now. I’ve fired damned near everything the US military owns, from the old .38 revolver to a US Navy Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser’s 5” main battery – and everything in between. I can still field strip a Colt .45 M-1911 pistol and put it back together in under a minute, blindfolded – I happen to own several of them, along with numerous other semi-auto pistols and a number of revolvers. I used to shoot professionally and in competition. I helped to design, test, field, and fire in combat US Military weapons systems. I’ve spent my entire life in places where gun usage is extremely, extremely, common. I have a Concealed Carry Permit. I’m an Alaskan and I typically carry a gun in the wilds of Alaska on a regular basis. I am neither pro-gun nor anti-gun, a gun is a tool, nothing more. If you feel that I’m ignorant of guns, or that I’m anti-gun, or unAmerican, well, you’re welcome to speak your piece – just so long as you can live with what comes after.


  1. I am a responsible gun owner that went thru background checks for all my weapons/ammunition and I am a firm believer of the second amendment and I have to tell you, I don't see anything wrong with what the President is trying to do. Anyone believing a background check is illegal, unconstitutional or a violation of the second amendment is just simply irresponsible.

  2. Yeah, I don't get the screams and the gnashing of teeth, given that the gun rights advocates have been arguing that we just need to enforce current laws. None of this is going to take their guns away (nor can it)

  3. I have a concealed carry permit in Florida -- not for self defense but because I could. I would happily register my firearm and really wish that someone in authority was keeping track of ammunition bought online (as I have, actually). I shoot paper targets at a range. I do not consider myself qualified to carry a loaded weapon around even though I legally can. Being female, and now well into my 60's, I have long known that prevention is far better than cure - so I just do not go to places where I think it would be necessary or sensible to be armed...It is not sensible for me to be in those places. The idea of places like Texas, where people can carry openly are places I have no desire to be - ever. And, Florida, with all the guns here, is not all that much better. I applaud the President and only wish there was more he could do.

    1. I agree with you except the open carry law. I lived 18 years in Florida 5 years in Arizona ( an open carry state as well ) and am from Texas and have lived 25 years there. Just my opinion but why single out Texas as a place you have no desire to be just because of open carry is kind of being narrow minded without being educated on the subject at hand. Now I am not saying that you are not educated, far from it. it is just quick reactions to issues at hand without being fully informed which seem to cause knee jerk reactions such as what have been listed above. I believe what the gentleman stated above is accurate and informative. Just don't condem other states because of certain laws as I don't doubt that Florida will be to far behind Texas in open carry though I might be wrong. Thank you for reading this and hopefully you take this in a positive was as this is how I ment this

  4. I suspect a typo: Congresses refuses

    1. Just checking to see if you're paying attention.

      Fixed. Thanks for the assist. // Jim

    2. And as any good Jenisonite knows, it's Meijer Thrifty Acres. ;-)

    3. Graf before #16, I think you meant to start with And instead of Any. (And while I don't consider seat belts tyranny, I know a few who do. Much like the ones who feel motorcycle helmet laws are tyrannical. But that's not the hill I'm prepared to die on, today.)

      Take care,

      Gretchen in KS

    4. To keep these things together in one place, I suspect the subtitle for the first section should be "Foreword" rather than "Forward".

    5. Fixed. Thanks all for the assist. // Jim

    6. January 1, 2013 was three years ago, Jim, not two. Time flies when surrounded by #TFP

    7. Yep, you're right. It's fixed. Thanks!

    8. Typo fix sugegstion :

      "Unless you do believe that those with dangerous mental illness and/or criminals should be allowed buy and own guns."

      I think there's a 'to' needed there between the allowed and buy at the end of that sentence. Hope that helps. Great essay & spot on as always.

    9. @ ^ Typo is in section 1 Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.' In case that's handy.

    10. Marie la FauconniereJanuary 8, 2016 at 4:17 PM

      Very minor, nit-picky spelling typo in point 11: (Bureau of Alcohol, etc.) Tobacco, not Tabacco. Which does not detract at all from an excellent essay.
      Thank you for saying it.
      I only wish you didn't need to.

  5. I love your work! Thank you for every word!

  6. Background checks just ensure that anyone entitled to buy a gun can buy as many as they like, and that those who are not entitled may buy none. Something as simple as that shouldn't be this tough to sell to rational people. (Kicked a door open there, didn't I?)

  7. I grew up surrounded by guns. Our family business was a gun/machine shop. My father had both firearm's dealer's and manufacturer's license from the ATF. He not only did maintenance and repair of firearms, he also built custom big game rifles that went on hunting trips all over the world. He was also a collector and I grew up with tens of thousands of dollars worth of guns in our home. A part of our business was attending gun shows. During the 1960s and 1970s firearm's dealers were required to have buyers fill out an ATF form. A copy was to be sent to the ATF, one went to the purchaser and another stayed with the firearm's dealer. This however was not required on any purchase at a gun show. For this reason my father refused to sell any firearms at a gun show. Anyone wishing to purchase a weapon from him had to either come to our shop or contact another licensed dealer to assist them in purchasing the firearm. Firearms sent via the USPS had to originate with a licensed dealer and be received by a licensed dealer. I'm explaining all this for a reason, because there have always been individuals who travel the gun show circuit exclusively to buy and sell firearms without having to conform to the existing laws. In the 1960s and 1970s they simply wished to avoid having to get a dealer's license and provide data to the ATF and today they do the same to avoid having to get a dealer's license and perform background checks. Today this also applies to those who sell firearms via the Internet. Closing the gun show and Internet loop holes will not prevent anyone in the United States who is legally eligible to own firearms from obtaining them and frankly the NRA's alarmist propaganda is absolute bull shit.

  8. It's always interesting to read your account on these matters, particularly as someone from the UK. We're not all that polite really but certainly it never crosses my mind that I might get shot in a mugging or some crazy can just go to a store and buy a gun. I have been to the states twice and it honestly shocked me how easy it is. Yes we have shootings over here but they're rare. You hear about that guy who went nuts in the tube over Christmas? He had a kitchen knife and was wrestled to the ground by security. Whenever I read about things like that I can't help but think "thank goodness we don't let them buy guns". I just don't understand the opposition to these adjustments. They seem pretty common sense. But then our minister for the exchequer has just allowed fracking. This would have nothing whatsoever to do with the fact his father in law is on the committee with Esso etc. And nothing to do with party sponsors.... It seems politicians are corrupt and prone to nepotism everywhere.

  9. I wanted to address your comments regarding our rights. My studies of the Constitution left me with the understanding that that document (Amendments included) do not *grant* any rights at all. They -guarantee- them against infringement, either by the government, or by groups of my fellow citizens. From what I've read in some of the period writings by Madison, Jefferson, and others among the Founders, it was believed that there were rights that were inherent to a free people, and one of those was right to be armed. I do not, under any circumstances, believe that this right (or any other) is immune to regulation, and like you I believe we are long overdue for serious adult discussion and debate over where the lines should be drawn. But as for the right itself, the Founders were rather clear about the source of those rights: "...endowed by their Creator..." I am also not a Christian, and I am disgusted by how often some of my Christian fellow citizens invoke their particular faith as the foundation for our country. But I am mindful that the Founders did believe in Deity, and frequently turned to their understanding of various virtues when crafting law.

    Mind you, none of this detracts from your points. We are to have a government of laws, and these laws were crafted by men, so that our nation could operate as a group of consenting free people, regardless of our specific faiths. The right to keep and bear arms is inherently ours, but not without limits. And it is proper to determine those limits for our common good.

    1. The Founders were silent as to the source of our rights. Neither God nor Jesus are mentioned in Constitution or in the Bill of Rights, except once in the ratification section.

      "...endowed be their creator" is in a different document, the Declaration of Independence. Different document. Completely different purpose.

    2. @David W., the question of the source or our rights or the providence by which the country was founded was not questioned by the founders and as you point our rights are Devine rights. Lincoln made this point when he wrote. "The expression of that principle, in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate. Without this, as well as with it, we could have declared our independence of Great Britain; but without it, we could not, I think, have secured our free government, and consequent prosperity. No oppressed, people will fight, and endure, as our fathers did, without the promise of something better, than a mere change of masters.

      The assertion of that principle, at that time, was the word, “fitly spoken” which has proved an “apple of gold” to us. The Union, and the Constitution, are the picture of silver, subsequently framed around it. The picture was made, not to conceal, or destroy the apple; but to adorn, and preserve it. The picture was made for the apple – not the apple for the picture.

      So let us act, that neither picture, or apple, shall ever be blurred, or bruised or broken."

  10. Brilliantly written as usual, sir.

    I think in the first part you might want to use "Foreword" instead of "Forward," though.

    1. After reading carefully through to the Afterword, Forword is exactly what Jim meant and where we need to go.

    2. Now he's changed it to "Foreward." I think Jim's just toying with us now.
      Thank you for this essay, Jim. I'm sharing it with my less rational associates on Facebook and wildly hoping for at least one of them to think this through and get a grip.

  11. It's obvious that the lunatic-fringe gun fetishists aren't interested in promoting a civilized society - or even the semblance of one, for that matter. They hide behind their fear-mongering, and bogus vigilance, and bogeyman rhetoric, but what they seem to be most interested and invested in is maintaining a state of hair-trigger (pun intended) sensitivity - whereby any provocation, real or imagined, is license to unleash their righteous fury, and their load.

  12. 'like a runaway AR15 with a filed down sear' if you could give me more information about what this means I would be better educated.

    1. The AR-15 is a semiautomatic rifle (fires once per trigger pull). However, one may modify it to fire full-auto (fires as long as you hold down the trigger) by filing down the trigger sear. (This, by the way, is VERY illegal.) The "runaway" part is the possibility that if you do this, it won't stop firing even when you let up on the trigger, at least until you run out of ammo.

  13. Twice, I traveled by bike from coast to coast across the US - it takes about 6 weeks.

    The only time I saw firearms were in Sherrif's holsters.

    I'm from Europe - I do not need to be armed.

    1. Well, you wouldn’t see the guns if their owners’ have concealed-carry permits, would you?

  14. My only question here is: what is the definition of clinically depressed. There are millions of people on anti-depressants--how many of them are clinically depressed? How many of the clinically depressed are violent, toward themselves or others? I can see this both being misused/abused and being a reason for those with mental illness to refrain from seeking treatment.

    1. We need a new set of legal standards drawn up. Maybe the NRA-types would feel better if local state courts were involved with stripping a person of the right to keep and bear arms - either for a temporary and stated period of time or permanently. This is a public conversation that we need to have, but is being blocked IMHO by the NRA lobbyists.

      A convicted felon can lose the right to arms even after a prison term has been served unless and until civil rights have been restored in a separate legal action. Restraining orders in domestic violence cases can be placed either temporarily or permanently based on certain criteria, kinds of evidence and when signed off on by a judge. I suggest those as basic templates to be tinkered with to come up with a reasonable solution as to regulation of gun rights. Basically, lets come up with some due process. And with regard to mental health, we need to keep science in the conversation as well.

    2. MQ, your question and many others would be part of the sane, adult conversation that we should be having but that is being disallowed by the mewlings of the conservatives/GOP/NRA.

  15. Thank you Jim for another thorough, comprehensive, and reasoned commentary! (and funny to boot - any Will Rogers back somewhere on your family tree?)

  16. Heinlen paragraph, last line should read "....those who would pervert..." Thanks Jim for your writing. This is a gem. Mark Weir

  17. "...the obsessive and exaggerated lust for power over others that guns represent." This. I think this is whole damned problem.

  18. So, this is the conversation I had with a guy from the state I currently reside in (soon to be your neighbor in Mobile) setting aside the fact that his argument has little to do with anything, this is the caliber of human you can expect in these parts:

    Me (Incredulous at the invective on a local news report) Wow...just wow. Have a single one of you bothered to read his actions? And please explain how any of it will prevent a single solitary one of you from keeping or buying guns.

    Gun Goober: His action means that when I die my wife won't be able to sell all my guns, more than one a year because she will have no way to do background check of any buyers!

    Me:So she sells them to a dealer. Problem solved. Next?

    GG: She would never get the money from a dealer she could from individual. She's not going to give them away!

    Me: Just to be clear. You're pissed off because you're wife won't be allowed to sell guns to criminals? That's your argument? Really?

    I see, so making a profit from the sale of your guns after you're pushing up daisies is naturally more important than trying to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and crazies. Got it, nice to know where you stand.

    Here's a thought, if your wife is going to be so desperate for funds after you're dead that she needs to make a profit from your armory, might I suggest you stop buying guns you don't need (I'm pretty sure you can only fire two at a time) and open a retirement account instead?

    He failed to respond. To quote Monty Python "There, I've run mental circles 'round your logic."

    Can anyone tell me what this Goober is referring to and where it's codified in the Constitution that we have a 2nd Amendment right to sell guns at a profit to anyone we like?

    1. There's a meme I've seen to the effect of "One of the things that keeps me awake at night is worrying that when I die, my wife will sell my guns for what I told her I paid for them."

    2. I think I recall recently that a wise man made the same argument about his wife ever having to sell his shop equipment ... ;-)

  19. Clear, concise, and spot on. Well done.

  20. Item 15, final paragraph should begin with "And" and not "Any".

    Otherwise great piece.

  21. Thank you for this very well thought out piece. I appreciate the point by point detail, and share the same question: Why the opposition? This is common sense stuff, and pretty minor stuff at that. It's a much-needed first step toward safer and more responsible gun ownership.

  22. Jesus Jumped up Christ Jim, you're good. I actually read a comment earlier from someone who was claiming that the 2nd amendment actually allows full access to weaponry, unrestricted, including rocket launchers, tanks, and the like... FFS when will it end? The ignorance, hatred and vitriol, all rolled up into one (ya'll qaeda package) astounds me.

    1. Don't forget the H-bomb. North Korea says it now has the H-bomb. Suppose North Korea comes here to attack us. What good's a puny AR-15? Or even a howitzer in my back yard. I want to be able to have my own H-bomb for self- defense. Hey, full access! And yeah, why shouldn't I have a tank I'm my garage while I'm at it?

      Yours crankily,
      The New York Crank

  23. "National Gun Appreciate Day is nothing but public masturbation."

    Should be "appreciation."

    In #11, "The Bureau of Alcohol, Tabaco, and Firearms" Tobacco.

    Bravo, Jim, and bravo Mr. President.

  24. .

    "Listen to me, if you are taking orders from the likes of Wayne Lapierre, Tom Selleck, and Ted Nugent, you are a fucking idiot."

    Tom Selleck!??
    Feel The Bern ... Thanks Obama ...

    Ema Nymton

    1. Much as I like Quigley Down Under and the Westerns made for tv, Tom Selleck, NRA poster boy, pretty much pissed his credibility away when he was caught and convicted of stealing water quite deliberately.

    2. The only actor I'm convinced is in real life like the characters he plays is Gary Busey.

      Jon Voight, Adam Baldwin, Janine Turner, Angie Harmon -- they all have played fairly reasonable people for the most part. Their politics leave a bit to be desired, though.

      Clint Eastwood is in a category all by himself.

  25. Provocative essay. Like you, I also took the time to read the executive actions when they were published, and found nothing to really worry about. The only inconsistencies I read/heard were in President Obama's speech, and I attribute his inaccurate comments about the process of purchasing firearms online more to a lack of knowledge than any malevolent desire.

    I also found it ironic that the executive actions regarding healthcare reporting are simply boosts to a law passed by the Bush congress, and signed into law by G.W. Bush (I wonder how many uneducated pro-gunners that would annoy). Yes, we have the risk of "slippery slope," but that could be abused by the present Commander in Chief, or the next one if they so chose.

    I think the paranoia has more to do with the polarized political climate rather than the 2nd amendment. With the current condition of our political system, I fear an outrage would well up from somewhere if the President signed an executive action mandating free puppies for those families who requested them and passed a background check!

    Your introduction caught me off-guard, but I was glad I read all the way through, Bravo Sir!

  26. Thank you for writing this and for listing each order. I really enjoy your essays. This is nit-picky, but I think there's an error in the paragraphs for #15. Shouldn't "Any really" be "And really" ?

    1. If it’s nit-picky, why bother? Most blogs I read delete all pedant comments. Bloggers don’t have editors, do their best, and most “errors” are simply typos. No one sees all their own typos no matter how much they proofread, so again, what is the point of writing comments correcting an obvious typo?

    2. You're obviously not a regular here, Janet.

      I encourage readers to point out errors, by they factual or typos. You're right I don't have an editor, my readers perform that function and I appreciate it. // Jim

    3. "...BE they factual..." ;)
      Janet, we just want his essays to look their best when we share them!

  27. I really like your insight that firearms are just a tool.

    But one of the common problems throughout history is that humans assign ethical qualities to their tools. Guns are 'good'. Government is 'evil'.

    The result is, as the revolutionaries claiming to be conservatives demonstrate, is that it becomes impossible to talk rationally about the tools. Discussion becomes 'good' or 'evil'. To discuss or to deal with the problems of tool use means, when the tool is 'good', the person is 'evil'.

    You know, the Puritans have a lot to answer for.

    Which brings me another thing I realized recently. To the Jacobin style revolutionaries masquerading as conservatives, America is not merely a nation. It is a faith. America is a holy land, the last bastion of goodness in a world of darkness.

    For them firearms are a holy icon. Possession of firearms is a demonstration of faith, as is using them.

    They also believe 'that the tree of liberty must be watered with blood.' As is often the case the faithful cherry pick and edit 'scripture' to back their beliefs and actions. They do not see the victims of gun violence as a problem. They see it as a necessity. If the blood stops flowing evil will win and America will perish.

    The American faith, like that of the Aztecs, demands a lot of human sacrifice.

    My thought on the matter at least.

    1. I suppose you are right. I just never thought of the tree of liberty needing to be watered by the blood of school children because some crazy decided to use them for target practice rather than paper targets.

    2. One of the MANY problems in dealing with these Ammosexuals is that none of their thoughts are based anywhere near reality. For Jim, myself, and many other professional gun handlers, guns are and will always be just what they are. Tools. Lethal tools, but tools nonetheless. But for the Bang Bang Crazies, they've become mythical, magical fetishes and talismans, the mere possession of which grants their holders magical powers and abilities, all in their own minds of course. And breaking that mindset is going to be very, very difficult. And honestly, anyone thinking like that is the last kind of person we want having access to guns.

    3. There are some very interesting papers posted at the website of the Yale Cultural Cognition Project summarizing the results of research into just exactly how specific beliefs about guns and attitudes dismissing risk from guns are crucial to certain "cultural identities" meaning belonging to certain cultural tribes. In brief, people of a certain cultural group identify possession of a gun as absolutely crucial to their conception of manhood. It's as important to them to believe "a good man protects his own with a gun" as "a good woman is a wife and mother". The research into cultural conceptions of risk and how those vary according to the degree of hierarchy and authoritarianism in the worldview is actually quite fascinating.

  28. excuse my West, Texas redneck.but fuck Congress and all those NRKA assholes that bought and paid for them.

  29. This makes so much sense and is so powerfully and succinctly stated, it brings tears to my eyes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  30. Chief, under point #11 you have two "r"s in the President's first name. Just an FYI. Otherwise, spot on as usual. Thank you for putting the crazies in their place. Good luck on the move.

    1. OMG, people, these are TYPOS! Who cares? These pedantic notes to the author are far more odious than the “errors” they deem to correct!

    2. As I noted on your previous comment, Janet, you're obviously not a regular here.

      I encourage readers to point out errors, by they factual or typos. You're right I don't have an editor, my readers perform that function and I appreciate it.

      Please stop attacking the other commenters// Jim

  31. Speaking as one of those polite Englishmen that you mention, this article makes perfect sense to me. I enjoyed target shooting. I admire the craftsmanship of a well designed gun and I enjoyed developing the skill to get a decent grouping. However, I have no idea why most people would need one.

    America no longer has a militia as such nor does it appear to need one. I promise that we are not coming back for another attempt. I also see no reason why the second amendment is so sacred. It was an alteration. Clearly people recognised that alterations to the constitution are sometimes necessary.

    I also struggle to see the difference between a white guy holding a rifle and shouting "Praise the lord" and a brown guy hold one and shouting "Allahu Akbar".

    It seems like insanity from this side of the Atlantic.

    However, this was a fine, fine article and a touch of sanity in a mad world.

    1. Personally, I see the National Guard as our "well regulated militia". We do need them for all kinds of emergencies. I don't think they should be sent out of the country, but that's another issue. As for your:
      "I also struggle to see the difference between a white guy holding a rifle and shouting "Praise the lord" and a brown guy hold one and shouting "Allahu Akbar", I totally fail to see a difference.

  32. These idiots also ignore the fact that in the Heinlein story, they would be considered "control naturals" and NOT ALLOWED to have guns.

  33. I am so glad I found your blog!! You give me sanity in light of all my "Obama is taking my guns" crowd. I personally do not own a gun because I have never been trained to shoot. If you have and can pass the background check, go get them. I will settle for my peacemaker until I am trained and ready to shoot.

  34. I have to stop reading your blog in public; I find people give me funny looks when I cheer and verbally agree with all that you write! Great essay sir. Your position is loaded with logic, which of course means #TFP will object to it all. :-)

    1. You echo my sentiments, exactly! I found myself reading portions out loud to my husband, and decided I should just hand over my phone. Thanks for another great essay, Jim. My husband and I are more informed citizens for having read it.

  35. THANK YOU Jim! I can only hope my hubby and MY freeked out miguided friends will actually take the time to READ this..♡♡♡♡

  36. Damn well stated and I can't think of anything more that need be said on the topic. Thank you for articulating many of my own thoughts and feelings. And good luck to us all because with this Congress of dolts, dupes and drama queens, we're going to need it.

  37. Took the words right out of my mouth (and arranged them in a much more eloquent fashion) again, Mr. Wright. I have ammosexuals in my family and life and I'm certain if I bothered talking to any of them anymore, they'd be worked into a toxic lather about Mr. Obama's actions. As you said, they are much of the things the conservative right and gun nuts have been saying, yet, somehow when a black man in the Oval office says them, they are heresy. There is absolutely NO reading w/ Those Fucking People and there isn't anything the president could ever do, INCLUDINg giving every man woman and child a million dollars, that would ever get them to like anything eh does or admit anything he does is good or makes sense. Oh sure, they'd take that million dollars from his hand and then flick him off as they walked away. So thanks again for being the voice of reason in an unreasonable world.

  38. Thanks for saying what needs saying and dong so very well.

  39. They've said no to everything else this president has put forth. Why is anybody even remotely surprised that they're staying true to form?

    I appreciate the president's efforts in spite of these NO nut bags.

    This is another great piece as usual, Jim.

  40. Excellently said, Sir. Thank you. And this particular statement has been something I've thought but couldn't quite put the words to.

    "For a bunch of people armed to the teeth, they sure are scared of a bunch of sissy unarmed gay liberals. It must be a hell of a way to go through life, pissing your pants all of the time.

    Funny thing, I thought guns and religion were supposed to give you courage? No?"
    Thank you for saying that in particular.

  41. "Think about it. If crazy people aren’t allowed to have guns… " From Point 16. I think this nails the issue for a lot of the people screaming the loudest. From the reactions of others, when they start ranting in public, I think they DO understand that most people think they are at best delusional, and at worst, psychopaths. Neither group should have access to weapons. And I say weapons, because I don't think they should have guns, or swords, or spring loaded knives... Not until they have been treated by a competent professional and returned to a non-delusional state. (No, I don't mean non-delusional state as in anywhere but Texas, but I get the point...) I am not anti-gun. Nor am I anti-sword, and as I have said many places, the right to keep and bear arms does NOT say they need to be firearms. Personally, I own several swords and would feel very comfortable wearing one everywhere. I don't, just as I don't carry a pistol or a rifle. I live in an area where hunting is prominent. I support the right to hunt, and enjoy the fruits of the hunt on the rare occasion someone shares with me. I don't know any deer hunter who needs a 30 round magazine to use in the woods. Frankly, if a hunter does feel they need that, they probably shouldn't be allowed to hunt, they're more dangerous than a bear with a sore tooth. High capacity magazines are for hunting one game only, humans. The children in Congress have kicked their heels and held their breath and turned blue just as promised, now it's time for the adults to step in. Bravo, Mr. President. Bravo.

  42. Jim Wright..you are my voice of reason on the Internet. Thanks again for taking the time to write this.

  43. As I understand it, the NRA won't let anyone sell smart guns because then some states would require them. Better to have 100 toddlers shoot their parents and siblings than be required to have thumbprint locks. What if they couldn't shoot quickly enough to stop their mother or daughter from coming home late, as happened in FL and NV on New Year's Eve?

  44. I just posted this essay on Mitch McConnell's Facebook page. Any guesses as to how long it'll last? Or if he reads it?

  45. That last paragraph made me stand up and shout! My dogs are scared, the cat has fled and my back-seater thinks I had a stroke! Right ON! Letters to Senators and Representatives written, phone calls tomorrow! Damn straight!

    I did find a typo, however: "National Gun Appreciation Day" is actually spelled "National 'I Sure Do Like My Tiny, Tiny Penis' Day".

  46. Would love to see you on Fox News, debating the talking heads, or on Chris Hayes, or any of the other shows that are likely to cover these new executive orders in depth. Do you do that kind of thing?

  47. Jim Wright you are truly my 'touchstone'to sanity in this insane country. Many times I return to re-read your educated, experienced and beautifully stated views. Thank you for always being the calm in the storm!

  48. Jim Wright you are truly my 'touchstone'to sanity in this insane country. Many times I return to re-read your educated, experienced and beautifully stated views. Thank you for always being the calm in the storm!

  49. Excellent work. I'm very happy to have found your blog.

  50. I would rather cite a well thought ought voice of wisdom than to try to duplicate it. Thanks, Jim, for being that voice I can read, cite, and trust.

  51. Mr. Wright, I have only one thing to say to you in response to this lengthy narrative. So pay attention because I'm going to say this only once.
    YOU'RE THE FUCKING MAN! What an awesome article!

  52. Replies
    1. I don't know... Jim is a fine fellow but he is unfairly biased against veggie bacon substitute. Otherwise, that works for me.

  53. As always, I appreciate your calling out those who should have their feet held to the fire for not only being ignorant, but also negligent. Can the Federal Govt be sued for not keeping the country safe from crazy peoples with guns, or more accurately, drunk peoples? And the NRA, as you've pointed out in the past, has a perfectly good set of gun training and handling guidelines. Why then is it harder to get a drivers' license than one for a gun? And, along those lines, what if all registered gun owners had to prove they held valid negligence insurance against any mishaps caused by their weapons? Seems like the NRA could support all of this and easily spin it as the right thing to do...

  54. That was the most sane thing I've read from an American is ages. As an Australian I watch with horror at the massacres that occur seemingly regularly in the U.S. and wonder what is wrong with their government. We had one large mass murder/rampage in the 90's and our Government said enough. Just once was enough. The gun buy back was instigated and people en mass handed them in for destruction, and paid handsomely to do so. Yes there are still guns in our society and yes they are sometimes used for violence, but, we haven't had another massacre and people feel safer because of it. Farmers and sports shooters can still have their guns after a rigorous background checks, everybody is happy. Guns don't make you powerful, they make you sad. Thanks Jim I'll be reading regularly from now on.

  55. As a middle-aged portuguese, I got my firearms training during compulsory military service. Am not an expert - not by near or by far - but I can handle guns with basic caution and a lot of respect for their potency to cause injury. But I cannot, and do not, own own. There were a few occasion during my life that I wished I had a gun with me, but a lot of occasions were I was later pretty glad I didn't. I do not feel diminished nor emasculated for not having a gun, nor oppressed because I am not allowed to have one. And I certainly don't live in fear.

  56. Thank you so much Jim for this outstanding article. Particularly disgusting was the remarks by the "asshats" that President Obama crying was an act and a comment on S. Miller this morning put that into focus. None of them are Christians or they would cry for the death of innocents and with the example of the former Speaker of the House - they only cry about themselves NEVER for anyone else. Any member of the NRA who does not write to the fear masters of their board to protest is part of the problem. Not that it will change their focus because their money comes from the gun manufacturers but a letter to them with a copy sent to all of your Congressional Representatives should show the chicken GOP that these Executive Orders are supported by non-gun owning, flower carrying liberals AND by sane members of the NRA who are represented by someone who does not represent them. Marlene

  57. Jim, you've done it again, hitting it right out of the damn ballpark all the way past the moon. Powerful stuff.

  58. We live in a country where there are state-sponsored organizations to teach the blind to hunt deer with rifles.

  59. I don't think the GOP leaders are acting cowardly. I think they are seizing an opportunity to milk their constituents' cowardice. The GOPer on the street is the embodiment of fear and rage. The elected GOP is the embodiment of cynicism.

  60. One comments, one request:

    1. Obama was right 8 years ago - all these people have left is their guns and their religion. They are not in danger of being left behind by progress, they're already in the rear view mirror.

    2. Jim, can you open the comments to all the nut jobs who are desperate to rant? I know it's your blog, but the more people who see their insane blathering the better.


    Chris in S. Jersey

    1. No. I will not open up commenting to the nut jobs. The internet is full of their ignorant hysterical booger-eating nonsense. I won't put up it. No.

      It's not my job, expressed nor implied to coddle conspiracy theories, road rage, racists, sexists, homophobes, haters, bigots, and the deliberately ignorant or give it a platform. And I won't.

      If they've got something they want to say here, they can say it like rational adults. They can be polite and respectful and adhere to the basic rules of civility. And they can be reasonably literate. Or it's no dice. The rules are clearly posted.

    2. "ignorant hysterical booger-eating nonsense"



    3. Jim, I meant "I won't put up (with) it" as a typo/correction in your above post. (Smile.) But it also stands alone.

  61. Excellent, Jim. Thank you for continuing to speak up on this. I shared on Facebook.

  62. I am becoming more and more convinced that the real subconscious reason so many conservatives oppose any kind of action that will help keep guns out of the hands of mentally unstable or violent people who shouldn't have them is that they are afraid that they are one of those people.
    I have read every one of the Bang Bang Crazy posts and really wish there wouldn't be a reason for another one so you could have time for more insightful posts on other subjects.

  63. Are alcoholics mental defects?
    Form 4473 requires swearing the purchaser is not addicted to drugs or booze. While the Govt is searching our credit card purchases looking for terrorists & their enablers, it should be easy to see which gun owners have become out of control drinkers. Then go grab their guns. This would do more to prevent domestic gun murders & suicides than anything currently proposed, but its my understanding, this type of screening only applies to pot heads

  64. This is yet another way that recycling is of great use to society. Right on target again, Jim.

  65. I'm so in agreement with you, Jim, but I'm going to ask this question again.

    Suppose that the Democrats are elected and that they're able to place three new Supreme Court Justices on the bench, balancing liberal vs conservative 6:3. And let's suppose that all this murder and mayhem presses the Supreme Court to overturn elements of the 2nd Amendment. And let's suppose that after more murders the Democrats get a 2/3 majority and make up their minds to force through a rewrite or removal of the second amendment.

    And the Army, the American Army, is ordered to end this.

    Now, let's just leave right and wrong on a shelf. All I want to know is this. Asking someone with infinitely more experience that me about said Army, what do you think, Jim, is the practicality of expecting that force to follow through? Would they? Without resistance? Would it cause a rift? Is "getting their guns" feasibly possible with the present state of the American Military?

    I would like to know.

    1. Respectfully, you pose far too many hypotheticals. 3 Supreme Court appointments AND Democrats regaining a ⅔ majority (pigs will fly before that happens within the next 8 years) is a virtual impossibility. Plus, your underlying assumption is that Democrats actually want to eviscerate the second amendment. I really see no evidence of that, apart from the NRA scare tactics that have little or no basis in reality.

    2. I do not pose too many hypotheticals. A hypothetical is not bound by the rules of what is likely, but rather by the supposition that If 'A' then what is 'B'? Nevermind if it would happen - the question has nothing whatsoever to do with its probability.

      The question is, Would the Military Support such a change in the constitution. That is the only part of this hypothetical that applies within the frame in which the question was asked.

    3. Ok. I'll play. Assuming the constitutional change was made legally. I think the military would support it. But even if ¾ of the states ratify the change, there will be a huge number of pissed off people.

    4. Alexis, your question does not make any sense to me.

      I'm fairly certain that, even with all your suppositions, amending the Constitution doesn't work that way. The Supreme Court does not "overturn" parts of the Constitution - they interpret the Constitution when they are presented with a case that makes some kind of claim that something happened to a person or persons which denied them rights enumerated or guaranteed in the Constitution. If they were presented with (and accepted) a case where someone had their guns taken from them and the issue is whether their Second Amendment rights were violated, then they might subsequently reinterpret the Second Amendment to determine that those rights were NOT violated. IF that happened, that still would not mean that they had overturned anything at all - they would simply have interpreted that Amendment in a different way than courts before them have done.

      Overturning the Second Amendment would require a new Amendment be proposed that essentially canceled out part or all of it. This new Amendment would have to be passed by a 2/3 majority in both Houses of Congress. Then, the Amendment would be passed to the states, where it would have to be ratified by 3/4 of all states before it would become an actual Amendment to the Constitution.

      At that point, given that all of the proper steps had taken place, I still see no reason for the military to be involved in the process. There are a number of law enforcement agencies at the federal, state and local levels that would be tasked with enforcing any new laws made as a result of the new Amendment.

      I'm not seeing how the military would enter into it at all.

    5. What you describe, Terri, is what I meant by overturning. The second amendment, as we know, is a mess - the wording of the amendment is unclear and defining its exact meaning is where the Supreme Court would enter into the question.

      But let's forget all that. Let's suppose the new amendment striking down the old amendment is passed and said new amendment declares that Americans are NOT allowed to keep guns.

      I presume the army (or some quasi-military force) would be given the task of implementing the new amendment.

      People are always screaming that someone is coming to take their guns. I'm asking is that even possible. I'm asking, how would it happen, could it happen, would the people tasked actually do it, etc.

    6. Alexis - What you anticipate as potential confiscatory actions mandated by future Democratic actors is governmentally and legally unlikely, and certainly logistically impossible. Remember what happened to the country as a result of the Volstead Act and resultant Prohibition on intoxicating beverages. And THAT was just booze; you are talking about firearms and the 2d Amendment.

      On the flip side, I would expect that the strongest effort to rein in personal firearms possession would come from the potential rise of a hard right conservative government and judiciary. The GOP are currently beholden to the NRA, guns rights and "militia" orgs and directly link a perceived Democratic political threat to American's 2d Amendment "rights." Where there is no threat; but, enormous emotional leverage to achieve non-gun related legislative results.

      If the GOP (or some subsequent right wing entity) ever takes complete control of the US government, then we might witness a vast reversal of the "guns rights" attitude that helped put that gov't in place. In order to successfully implement and sustain the national policies desired by these "conservative" actors and their backers (strip away voting and civil rights; end support for poverty and employment opportunities; reverse, privatize or terminate health care, retirement, work place support, etc, etc), then it would be unwise and dangerous to continue to permit citizens to possess firearms and the means to resist new gov't mandates that naturally weaken their other legacy rights as they fall away one by one.

      No. I'm not concerned about Liberals taking our guns away. But, I am certain that a potential far right, effective Neo-Fascist Christo-Oligarchy government would try.

    7. I am only concerned with the practicality and feasibility of carrying out the order to "get their guns." I have no interest at this time who would give that order. How would a member of the rank and file of the military respond were the order be given? Is there an answer to this question?

    8. IMHO: The use of the US military to to confiscate civilian-owned weapons within the US is neither practical nor feasible. Full stop.

      Without a change in federal law, the military could not be used to police the civilian population. We don't use the military as an internal police force. You would have to implement martial law before the military can be involved. The politics of doing this would make the confiscation untenable for political reasons. Maybe you want to make this change in law part of your hypothetical as well?

      As for some quasi-military entity: What organization would have the manpower available? The FBI? The ATF?

      Sans the change in law, what you are asking is for a large-scale breakdown in the government and society in general. Let's say there is a president in office willing to confiscate guns from all civilians and orders the military to take on the task. I would guess that the Joint Chiefs start with 'No sir, that isn't what we do.' Resignations start flying into the Oval Office. How many layers of the military are gone before someone decides to comply with the order rather than resign? Chaos reigns. Maybe in the end some guns do get confiscated. My guess is we have more people dead in a civil war and very few guns are actually taken off the streets.

      There are any number of alternative-history books out there that deal with this sort of hypothetical. Take your pick of those for further exploration.

  66. As always I am posting this on my Facebook, even when I know that some of my family and friends will see it is your blog, and not read it. But other family and friends will read it and hopefully pass it on. Thank you for all of your articles.

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  68. Alexis - NOBODY is talking about "grabbing" anyone's guns. Well, nobody except the aforementioned ignorant hysterical booger eaters. Unfortunately, that's nearly every conservative that currently makes their views known to me.


    1. Someday, someone might. It is not beyond the realm of possibility.

    2. Someday, somehow, monkey's might fly out of your butt, but it's about as likely.
      There's too many guns in this country to even consider confiscating them. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

      Instead, if we ever evolved enough to wish to remove them from our society, we'd do what the Aussies did, and buy them back from people.

  69. "Note that the president can’t out and out ban assault weapons, armor piercing ammunition, or restrict hi-cap magazines, those things require legislation."
    What f****** country are you talking about here? The United States of America? Seriously? Nutters can actually go out and buy this stuff in the USA? WTF? RPG's? LAW's? How about a couple of SAM's to top off one's collection? I left this country for a sane place, I now live in Turkey. Go figure...

  70. Article 2, Section 4 says that we can remove them for Bribery. ...Or would we not have enough remaining members for impeachment hearings?

  71. This is the most articulate and clear as day explanation of Obama's Executive Action that I have read. I have a couple friends that are anti-Obama gun owners and I've shared this with them and even they have nothing left to say. Thank you for helping me make a point!

  72. Jim, I realize this isn't exactly on topic but I wanted to pose this to you for your consideration. I was reading a geek book about how the German Army developed into the force that kicked the crap out of everybody. (Cross of Iron by John Mosier, Henry Holt and Company, 2006). It’s a fascinating book and it highlights a lot of misconceptions. It even sheds even more light on the context of the Munich “appeasement” than I realized. But something he wrote at least ten years ago would probably be printed in italicized, bold, all caps if they were to reprint the thing today:
    “Hitler did not seize power. He was elected, he was popular, and initially he governed by relying on the same extensive powers his predecessors had wielded…But Hitler rose to power legally, through votes. He was propelled into office by a population that was both polarized and exhausted, one that had lost faith in the idea of democratic capitalism and was still traumatized by the Bolshevik terror.” (There was a lot of violence in Germany after WW1 from communists and other factions)
    Polarized and exhausted sounds familiar? "Lost faith in the idea of Democratic capitalism" translates to me as lost faith in establishment candidates. And we can be damn sure that millions are traumatized by something, even if the only terror see is on tv.

  73. Thank you. As another gun owner, veteran, and thinking human, I find this to be truthfully stated and frankly, simple to understand. Now if we could just get it to a level the mouth breathers can understand, maybe we could get somewhere on this issue.

  74. Alexis, the SCOTUS and the constitution do not have that kind of relationship. Legislative law can amend the constitution but the SCOTUS cannot. Judicial law is "found" law. It is their job to interpret the law. Once upon a time we understood the 2nd amendment to really only cover well regulated militias. The idea that the key phrase is only right to bear arms will not be infringed is actually a new iteration. If the SCOTUS were to interpret the 2nd amendment differently and say that the amendment reads that you must be part of a well regulated militia (and no those yahoos in Oregon do not deserve to be referred to as a militia) i order to bear arms I personally would not have a real hard time accepting that. And yes, I am also a liberal who owns and uses guns. But, sane people who use the tool that is a gun know that it requires even more regulation than a car does. And, once you have seen the impact of a gun on a human, you lose any interest in treating it like a good time joy stick. Like marriage, getting a gun and the right to carry it should be extremely hard. Getting out of it or losing the right should be pretty easy. I don't know where most of the military would fall if people actually started losing their right to carry. But, I do know that allowing FOX news to be shown on all military bases pretty much around the clock is a national security issue that should be addressed as such. But, so is our gun problem a national security issue, and I know many military members both active and retired who are thoroughly sick and tired of the violence here. (LibThinking)

  75. So Colorado state Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg tweeted a picture of an AK-47 being lubed with a can of "Obama Tears" stating "From my son-in-law. Where can I get some?"

    How do these people even walk on two legs?

    Hey "Senator" Sonnenberg - FUCK YOU, your extended family, Paul Ryan and all RWNJ, inbred, gun humping assholes! If you think it is so fucking funny and un-manly to feel horror for the 2d Amendment facilitated slaughter of 1st Graders, then why not go join Boko Haram and live your life to your fullest, and get the FUCK out of my country.

  76. OMFG... your context and perspective is a thing of beauty, thanks for that. As a hack blogger meself, I wrote a little ditty about this subject that was actually pinged during last night's Town Hall, which should be replayed every night for a month so that people can actually see and hear what Barry says, instead of pretending they know. I'd like to know what you think, Oh Great One!!!http://gortnation.blogspot.com/2015/12/rules-of-road.html

  77. Thanks Jim, wish we could require your essays be read on the floor of Congress. A moment in Barry's long legacy is going to be his single handed destruction of the Republican Party. The NRA and their cowering minions, (both Republican and Democrat) have wasted so many opportunities to be the guiding force in some meaningful legislation. How cold does one have to be to not cry when we read every day about babies gunned down by careless or deranged gun owners? Or to make fun of a man who does? Kinda want to break a nose at times.

  78. Why is it thatno one want to examine roots and causes. The deterioration of society since 1960,s. Demanding more rights and less responsibilities. Accepted violence depicted on TV and movies, influences young minds. Parents not raising children and instilling values. We grew up with guns in the house, we didn't go out and threaten anyone and surely didn't shoot anyone. Suddenly this is a problem! It isn't sudden, it is so much easier to blame an organization than to face yourself as part of the problem. You want all these rights and privileges and with them have prostituted your honor, integrity, religion and soul. Anything that goes wrong is the fault of some organization or some political party. Why was it that none of these shooting incidents happened until 1980s? Perhaps the entitled gen3tation came home to roost

    1. If you think that shooting incidents did not happen until the 1980s, then you have not been paying attention.

  79. I have to ask who would decide and what would constitute the mental reasons a person would be prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm? I believe there are persons that have mental problems and should not own firearms. However, the criteria for deciding this is subjective. Until things like this are decided and no mistakes can be made, it is easy to suggest, but difficult to implement.

    1. You're coming dangerously close to arguing "Until and unless we can do it perfectly, we shouldn't do it at all" which is... Not even a remotely constructive argument.

    2. There is not a one size fits all, but since you are making assumptions about the intent of my statement. Ask the small percentage of innocent people on death row what they think of your statement "Until and unless we can do it perfectly, we shouldn't do it at all". See what their beliefs are about making the systems and the mistakes that can be made. Politicians are notorious for making mistakes when drafting policy. Until they can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt who is guilty and who is innocent they can't rush to a decision. The question still is who is qualified to make these decisions and make them right?

    3. Are you seriously equating mental evaluation as to someone's ability to own a gun to the death penalty?

      Yeah, no. We're done talking.

    4. The federal criteria are quite strict and limited, despite the NRA pushing fear and doubt. It's not just one doctor's visit. A person has to be ruled not capable by a judge and or involuntarily committed to a mental institution. That's a tiny fraction of the population. Even though these laws are on the books, states have resisted submitting those names to the feds, stating fear of privacy law violations. That issue is being addressed by the President's executive order. That's it.

  80. Thanks for this, Jim. Wish there were more like you around. As it is, I despair for my country.

  81. Open Letter to the Gun Fondlers.

    OK, some background. I'm a veteran. Ex military, Army and Navy. Ex Law Enforcement. I've worked armed security, chased bail jumpers, done fancy dressed up Executive protection work. I've had a concealed carry permit, and I own guns. I've spent pretty much my entire adult life under arms. They've been the tools of my adult professions.
    So I've had a motivated interest in this "Open Carry" and "Guns Everywhere" mentality I've been seeing. I've been watching these "Patriot" (They're not) and "Militia" (They're not) groups become more and more brazen. I've seen these people screaming and gnashing their teeth at our president, claiming he's out to take their guns away. (He isn't, and even if he was he's sure taking a long time to do it, given he's only got a year left in office. And I finally discovered something. I've finally figured out what the crux of this gun fondling, magical talisman thinking problem with these people is. This is for them.

    You're afraid. And I mean Ted Nugent level, shit in your pants for days afraid. You're afraid of people of color. You're afraid of feeling, and moreover admitting, you're powerless. You're afraid of people finding out you're cowards. You're afraid of the loss of a White majority and the power it used to hold. You're afraid of your of insignificance. But MOST of all, you're afraid that if we start looking REALLY hard at who should and who shouldn't be allowed to have guns, we'll discover that people like you are the WORST kind of person to be allowed a firearm. That you're the kind fo person who should NEVER be allowed access to a gun. That's what you're truly afraid of. Having society notice, and have to face, and admit, to yourself and the rest of us, that you're not the right kind of person to be allowed a gun. And to your fear I say, Tough Shit. This country is safer than it has EVER been in our history. Even police work. It's safer to be a police officer than it has EVER been. You're not in the danger FOX news wants you to think you're in.
    Your irrational fears don't mean you get to pose a threat to my children or family. It doesn't mean you get to inflict your fears on the rest of society because you're too much of a coward to go get a gallon of milk without an assault rifle. This ISN'T Somalia. This ISN'T Fallujah. Walking around with guns on isn't how ANY civilized, first world nation exists. NO other first world nation allows cowardly, fearful, pants pissing scared citizens to walk around fondling guns because they're afraid of the boogeyman. Instead, they have nice things, like nationalized medical care so you can get professional help for your underlying psychological problems.

    1. Good rant. Still Jim did it better:

      "Oh, I get it. I understand that frightened people become more and more irrational, especially when they are allowed, encouraged, to feed incestuously on each other’s fear. And I get that they are afraid. I can see it in their faces, I can hear it in their voices. I get that they’re afraid of change. I get that they’re afraid of the future. I get that they’re afraid of the past. And I get that they’re afraid of the present. I get that they’re afraid of losing power and privilege and prestige. I get that they’re afraid of their capricious and childishly vengeful god. I get that they’re afraid of different races and different cultures and different accents and different religions and different sexual orientations and different viewpoints and different politics. I get it, they’ve screamed their small fears over and over and only a dead man could possibly miss it.

      I get that they are so consumed with rage and so filled with naked hate and so programmed with their diseased ideology that it poisons their minds like a computer chip submerged in acid.

      I get that they are so utterly terrified of the world that they piss themselves in abject fear at the mere thought of going to the grocery store without a goddamned gun stuck in their pants like an extra oversized prick.

      More than anything, I get that they are afraid of Barack Obama, everything about him, every single thing about the president terrifies them. Obama stalks their feverish nightmares and he is the very symbol of their shameful impotence – so much so that they’ve written him into their precious bible, in a starring role as the devil, the destroyer of worlds."

  82. Love your writing. So MUCH common sense. If that could be bottled and sold...

  83. I originally read this great post on January 5. I was checking back today to see if you had any new posts and I noticed the odd spelling of "Foreward" at the beginning of the article. Searching the Internet for the word brought up a number of sites saying that it is an obsolete word for "vanguard". Is there something I'm missing about choosing this word over "Foreword"? (Checking some other posts, I see that "The Seven Stages of Gun Violence" uses "Forward".)

  84. "Obama should propose arming Latinos and black people, see how long it takes for conservatives to start screaming for gun control." You prefaced this line with maybe I dont think the maybe is required - this is the only way America gets Gun Control. I bet Faux News will lead the charge for Gun Laws if this happened. Another excellent piece you have scribed here sir.

  85. "Obama should propose arming Latinos and black people, see how long it takes for conservatives to start screaming for gun control." You prefaced this with maybe - I dont think the maybe is required. This is the only way America gets gun control laws - I will even give odds Faux News would lead the charge to gun control laws if this happened. Another great article Jim.

    1. There would be a lot of bloodshed from the open carry and stand your ground enthusiasts.

  86. I've only recently discovered you blog and FB page. You are single-handedly restoring my faith in humanity. Your writing is excellent. Thank you so much!

  87. Love your writing, twitter and FB. You put it so eloquently I don't know how people can disagree. It boggles my mind that every day this is happening, sometimes more than once a day. Today it's reports from San Diego. This week it was this: http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/boy-7-killed-after-being-accidentally-shot-another-child-n504361
    And this:Gun Shop Owner And Son Die In Shootout Over $25 Service Charge
    "Senseless tragedy" "tragic accident" platitudes used over and over. Keep up the work Jim. We desperately need people like you to keep speaking and writing the truth.

  88. My experience with firearms is limited to shooting an AR-15 at a range once (not a bad shot, either!). One thing I rarely read about on the gun topic is the psychological mindset of owning and firing a firearm--certainly a gun provides a sense of empowerment; the ultimate kind of empowerment--one over life and death.

    My guess is the for the psychologically marginalized and people who feel like they are at the hopeless mercy of everyone and everything, taking a gun and shooting into a crowd must be a form of personal empowerment and the ultimate way to take back control--if only for a short time.

    My question then becomes, why do so many US citizens feel so helpless and dis-empowered, whether they used their firearms legally and responsibly or otherwise? My question isn't meant to accuse or attack anyone. I am just wondering if this is a valid point of view and what others may think of this question and if it provides any insight on the topic of gun-regulation (most people say gun-control and the very extreme response to this phrase I think mirrors my "guns empower the dis-empowered" thesis). IT is to say US citizens live in a world where by default we are helpless, unless we have our trusty shootin' irons by our side. Just a thought!

    And no. I am not a gun owner, by the way...

  89. The other day the cashier at the supermarket gave me an alternative to "Have a Nice day." Instead she told me to "Stay safe." I didn't mix it up with her because there was a line behind me. But what the heck do we need to protect ourselves from? I've come to the conclusion that behind all the tough talk, nobody personifies "cowardly" like a right winger.


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