Skip to comments.Congress 101: If You Want Success, Don't Mess With the Gun Lobby
Posted on 10/02/2004 11:06:50 PM PDT by neverdem
For devoted foes of gun control, September was a banner month. It opened with Congress ignoring pleas from every major national police group to let the hard-won 1994 ban on assault weapons expire, and ended last week with the House approving a loony measure repealing Washington's strict gun laws.
And that's not all. In between reinstating every hunter's sacred Second Amendment right to nail Bambi with an AK-47, and mischievously meddling in local affairs to pass a one-chamber bill to weaken public safety in the nation's capital, the National Rifle Association and its busy-beaver allies quietly scored another legislative coup - this one without even trying. This little-noted achievement - if you can call it that - relates to a glaring omission in the new initiative to prevent youth suicide just approved by the House and Senate, and awaiting President Bush's signature.
Named for Garrett Lee Smith, the 21-year-old son of Senator Gordon Smith, Republican of Oregon, who killed himself in his college dorm room a year ago, the measure addresses a serious problem. Some 4,000 young Americans take their own lives each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is impossible not to admire Senator Smith's determination to wring something positive from his terrible personal tragedy by going public with his family's pain, and rallying colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get behind legislation to expand counseling services and other state efforts to identify and help youngsters at risk of killing themselves. There's no question that the $82 million the legislation authorizes over the next three years to improve early-intervention suicide prevention efforts, including on college campuses, will save some lives (albeit fewer than it might have, owing to a parental consent requirement right-wing House Republicans insisted upon that will inevitably deter some troubled kids from getting timely help).
But the bill's positive aspects notwithstanding, it fails to address perhaps the most salient risk factor for troubled young people - the presence of a gun in the home. This avoidance is particularly frustrating given the scant chance that Congress will revisit the teenage suicide issue anytime soon, and the fact that it doesn't take a brain surgeon - just a lowly editorial writer - to see a couple of common sense steps that Congress could have taken to protect kids, and didn't take.
Firearms figure in about half of all youth suicides, and by now it is neither secret nor speculative that having a firearm at home significantly increases the chance of a depressed adolescent ending his or her own life. Nor should it come as a surprise that states with the highest rates of gun ownership also have the highest overall suicide rates.
Perhaps the most obvious way to reduce the deadly toll would be to insist that parents do a better job of locking up guns. Even as Congress was deliberating over fine print of the antisuicide bill, a telling new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Annenberg Public Policy Center appeared in the Aug. 4 Journal of the American Medical Association. This study found an 8.3 percent decrease in suicide rates among 14- to 17-year-olds in 18 states that have enacted some form of child access prevention, or C.A.P., law, making it a crime to store guns carelessly in a way that permits easy access by kids.
Why are there no provisions in the antisuicide bill creating federal incentives to encourage states without C.A.P. laws to adopt them, following the approach successfully used to nudge states to tighten their drunken driving rules? Why does the new legislation omit the simple life-saving step of requiring gun dealers to provide an effective safety lock with every weapon sold?
When I directed these questions to a couple of the measure's supporters, they politely suggested I must be living on another planet. As it was, they had to accept the damaging parental consent language to get the bill through the House. Including the sort of child-protective gun provisions I was talking about would have invited rabid reflexive opposition from the gun lobby, very likely dooming any progress at all on the teenage suicide issue. "The power of the lobby is tremendous, and anything hinting of gun control, however sensible, is radioactive, especially in the House," explained Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, a lead Democratic sponsor of the teenage suicide bill along with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, and a strong gun control supporter.
It is hard to quarrel with Senator Dodd's political assessment. But what a grim reflection on the present climate in Washington that small, reasonable steps like mandatory trigger locks cannot be openly raised and debated even in the context of trying to prevent children from committing suicide. Fear of the gun lobby is such, the subject never came up.
Here are two studies you may want to note:
For the moron who wrote this:
1. If they can't use a gun to kill themselves, they'll find another way. Look at japan - they have a higher suicide rate than the US and they outlaw guns completely.
2. The $82 million program inspired by this senator won't make one damn bit of difference either way in the suicide rate of teens. All it will do is spend $82 million of tax dollars that people could otherwise have to spend on their families.
Sorry about the congressman's loss, but spending taxpayer money as a way to deal with your personal grief accomplishes nothing.
The first study's result is interesting in that it showed suicide rates didn't change, just the method of suicide for those over 55 years old.
Archie Bunker says it best. When Gloria tells him how many people are dying from gunshots, he says "Would it make you feel any better, little girl, if they was pushed out of a window?" Go Archie!
Gun "lobby." This label is how HCI, inc. frames anyone who stands for the second amendment in our Capitol.
A person intent on suicide will accomplish their goal with or without a firearm. Guard rails and sudden stops don't stop jumpers nor do gun laws make rabbits safer from coyotes. Arm the bunnies.
I'm still waiting for them to describe NARAL as the "abortion lobby" and point out how unpopular certain forms of abortion are. Why "so-called partial birth abortion" but not "so-called assault weapons?"
"Some 4,000 young Americans take their own lives each year,"
Nothing more than culling the heard.
Speculation. More likely the presence of Ritalin, Luvox, and other psychotropic drugs in the bloodstream significantly increases the chance of any adolescent committing suicide more than any availabillity of firearms in the home.
Just think, the $200 billion that Bush has spent on the wrong war at the wrong time, could have saved all 4,000 of these kids. Right?
Do Guns Save Lives?
Most everything I could find on the AWB is here:
Speaking of which, I'd like to see a little more focus on Kerry's record on gun control. We've been so fixated on Iraq and Vietnam that this has slid under the radar.
No, it hasn't. :) Check out the NRA's website. They have a very nice ad about Senator Kerry's voting record on gun control.
For the same reason HCI isn't the "harridan lobby." For the same reason NOW isn't the "hairy lobby."
Because half the press corps has a membership card, and the other half is far too liberal to join 'mainstream' groups like those.
We've had guns in homes in the US since the earliest colonies. We've had troubled teens since the dawn of time. Yet it seems like it's only been around the last 20 years that we've had problems with mass school killings. Coincidently, it's been in the last 20 years that we've been heavily drugging kids
I personally do not own a gun, but many in my family are hunters. Sadly to say my aunt's only son was killed during a hunting ACCIDENT. It is not the guns, it is the people using them. Until all the messed up minds are dealt with there will be messed up people with guns, poisons, wmds, etc. trying to hurt other people. FIX THE PEOPLE TO FIX THE PROBLEM!!
And a car in the garage.
Who knows what factors lead one to commit suicide. Once the decision is made, will it be a jump from a bridge? A tall building? A knife? The tail-pipe of a car? A head in the oven with the gas turned on? A pistol? A shotgun? A plunge into deep waters? An over-dose of drugs? Suicide by cop? Hanging with a rope?
Who really knows how many fatal accidents occur on the highway which are deliberately caused by someone committing suicide? How many innocent lives are taken in the process?
Isn't it time to reduce the speed limit to five miles an hour? Makes as much sense as any gun control law.
Aside from suicide, I'm interested in homicide rates in other countries. IIRC, Larry Pratt said on Hardball in the late 1990s that the Mexican homicide rate, where firearms are prohibited, and most homicides were committed with knives, was greater that the U.S. rate of homicides by firearms. I tried to google the subject to no avail.
Like the bumper sticker at Los Alamos Lab's........striving for a work free safe zone.
IMO an Eddie Eagle sort of education program needs to be developed for schools that shows the good and bad of tools such as....but not limited to
Hand drill.......Building projects or drilling out a lock on a door.
Chain saw......Texas chain saw massacre or warmth from a wood stove and better looking landscape.
Syringe...........Drug Addiction or immunization and healing of people.
Automobile.....Driving it like a idiot or a means to get to the ball park or store safely.
Firearms.........Show a armed robbery and a policeman or armed homeowner defending or scaring off the bad.
Matches.........Lighting a candle or arson.
Bottom line in the lesson is everything can be used for good or evil. It's the individuals responsibility to use the tool as intended in a proper and legal manner. Remove the diversion of guilt or implied permission taught today that if you can get hold of it it's OK to do anything you want with it.....
Thanks for the links. Bookmarked.
There is an exception to every rule.
Good Lord that's just nasty ! Send that to our bagpipe playing placitis FRiend.......:o)
What! And possibly be invited for dinner?
Yo Chook ! T. Slim's bringing the "whine" for the Hagas Helper......
I always wonder when this phrase or a variant is used if these ignoramuses know that the typical load for an AK-47 is considered a bit light for deer hunting.
Of course, after gun locks are mandated, the NYT will push for off-site firearm storage since parents cannot be trusted to use the locks properly.
Off-site storage means you must store your firearm at a target range or other 'approved' facility. You may only retrieve your firearm with a valid permit and reason.
Locks are only an interim step and not 'logical'.
I don't think you need to wonder. Most of these anti-gun duckheads are absolutely clueless and would feel put upon to learn the facts about the issue, IMHO.
For that matter, planet Earth.
These morons just don't get it...the 2nd Amendment has NOTHING, ZERO, NADA, NIL, ZILCH to do with hunting.
The FDA has approved for use in kiddies both Ritalin(methylphenidate) for attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder(ADD/ADHD), and Prozac(fluoxetine), a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor(SSRI) for depression.
All the school shootings were by children on these drugs - the shooting a few years ago by and adult at the day-trading place - was by a person on these drugs.
I don't doubt you, but could you provide references? I believe Klebold may have been prescribed one of the newer SSRI antidepressants, but I'm not sure he was taking them at the time. There was a recent advisory to watch anyone who had been recently started on these SSRI antidepressants for about the first month of therapy, which was when they were most likely to be at risk for suicidal ideation. I approve the use of these drugs only as a last resort.
Hundreds of thousands die each year in hospital/doctor 'accidents" - Who is trying to address this?
Remind me tomorrow, and I'll get you the references to show that you that the original study is probably a gross exaggeration. I'm gone for the day. Adios
"How many people are killed per year with knives? Are we going to outlaw knives? (Maybe we can just take our meat in our hands and gnaw away.)"
Oh, please! They don't want us to eat meat, either.
Excellent idea, Squantos. That education we know begins at home and should continue through school until the child 'gets it.'
Doesn't it seem strange that liberals don't mind being held up at gunpoint and possibly shot, knowing that no amount of gun control will prevent it? I firmly believe that they would rather be shot during a robbery than they would by an irate patriot whose philosophy of freedom is different than theirs.
Hence gun control and/or gun confiscation against law-abiding Citizens and patriots as a measure to protect and promote their 'liberalism' -- not as a means to reduce crime, for it is common knowlege that even liberals will admit that gun control does not reduce crime.
In other words, they would rather have a high rate of crime than to be rightly challenged for their political philosophy -- a philosophy that is anti-thetical to the right to self-determination.
I finally figured out the ONLY good thing about the AWB. It was crucial in ridding the Congress of many of the gun grabbing RATS and liberals!!!
Meant to ping y'all here.
Albeit I agree with yer concept that the grabbers are idiots. The 7.62x39 & 30-30 WCF is almost identical and lots of bambis have been taken with the 30-30WCF.
I have a old mexican mauser with a shortened action and ultra light buggy whip barrel. It's in 7.62x39 and I have taken mulies, javalina and white tail with it. Very accurate 150yd tool for harvesting game. I reload for it with modern bullet designs and such so the standard warsaw pact issue ammo may be lacking but not too light for deer at all in brush country. Granted I'm not going to make a 300 yard shot with it but then I don't shoot at game beyond a hundred most of the time anyway unless it's sod poodles or coyotes with a proper caliber in a varmint rig.
Agreed it is an okay round but the northern deer tend a bit larger and the more common choice is the .308. The 7.62X39 can be loaded so as to be fine but in treed lots, where most deer hunting takes place up here, a bit peppier load than the mil std east bloc load is generally looked for.
Why don't we just keep "our" guns safely locked up at the local police dept?
We can get them out for approved target practice, so what's the problem?
I wasn't aware "every national police group" did this. But, if so, they deserve kudos. And I thought Congress actually heeded the plea to let the AWB expire.
It is impossible not to admire Senator Smith's determination to wring something positive from his terrible personal tragedy by going public with his family's pain,
I find it possible, but maybe that's just me.
Screw the NRA. Half my family used to be members (mostly the male half). I wont ever be. Their paranoid, and unconscious admission that their position on gun rights is indefensible and the slippery slope is impossible to correct caused them to support, even encourage, the passage of the 1986 FOPA. Despite its being fronted as a clarification of the second amendment (something anyone with a copy of the federalist papers and/or a relevant college history book can do) is actually the largest infringement of citizens second amendment rights, as they were understood by the men who wrote our constitution since
ever. It effectively helps to keep citizens from owning modern, military-quality small arms (excluding semi-auto and bolt action rifles and pistols, but I would not doubt a national .50BMG ban is in the works with these new crazy powers that congress suddenly has according to the FOPA) and basically contributes to the anti-gun/VPC agenda of eroding the second amendment rights of American citizens to nothing.
Neverdem: Suicide is not a disease, but rather a somewhat particular form of Darwinian natural selection.
I disagree. Suicide, in some cases, might be caused, in part, by genetic factors, but is for the most part due to environmental (both internal and external) factors. Plus social darwinism is about the furthest thing from the truth on god's green earth. unless the crazy christian-conservatives, lead by the upstanding pat robertson, decide that genetic engineering is not against the will of god (which BTW includes all sorts of insanity if biblical laws are to be believed) evolutionarily the human race is doomed to quasi-stagnation.
How about an even more salient factor:
The presence - or absence - of a PARENT in the home?
good point... i would add one more
legislation to protect one's constitutional rights or to oppress the people
This is code for "Those dirtybadnasty gunlovers won't let me hitch my gun-controlling agenda to warm fuzzy tear-jerking issues any more."
This guy cares about teen suicide about as much as I care about gay rights, which is zip. He just wants to chew away at gun rights at every opportunity.
CDC cooks their stats on some issues. That is probably one of them. Do 4,000 youngsters use guns to kill themselves? Not clear here, therefore the statement is propaganda and irrelevant to the topic.
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