Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A Gunfest in Richmond
The Virginia State Crime Commission, after hearing its chairman, Dave Albo (R-Fairfax County) say, "This is not an effort for me to wimp out on a vote" wimped out on a vote on buying guns at gun shows yesterday. Alba said--and you can hear the sincerity dripping from him--"I like record checks at gun shows."
Albo, according to published reports, blamed the lack of a vote on a question of public notification about the hearing. Any excuse as relates to gun inaction is a good excuse for people like Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, who wore a gun to testify. It's a protection thing, don't you know. He said, "Evil is a tough thing to legislate out of this world. I wish you could do it, but you can't." Regulation of evil wasn't actually on the agenda of this hearing. It was about making a legislative recommendation on buying guns at gun shows, where regulation of sales to killers and nutcases is minimal--as it is in general.
Our own resident Cro-Magnon at the hearing, Morgan Griffith (R-Salem), said, in effect, that any legislation of this type has no chance in his General Assembly. He said the mass killings at Virginia Tech, an emotional hook on which to hang this argument, didn't have anything to do with buying guns at gun shows. And, though that observation is essentially sound as an argument, if argument is the goal, it doesn't address the concerns of those connected to the Tech shootings. "Your pain has no standing here," isn't much of a statement from a guy elected to serve.
The argument goes something like this: Gun shows don't kill people, regulation of guns kills people.
And so another round of General Assembly inaction begins in the Grand Old Commonwealth. Hold on to your barf bags and suspend good sense for a couple of months until these morons have had a chance not to act.
(Jack Landers of Keswick's reasoned reply [after receiving this, I made some slight alterations to the Griffith comments because Jack's right; hope that's fair; I'm still learning the blog game]:
With respect, there is a good case to be made for background checks on private person-to-person transactions at gun shows, but you have not made it.
What Morgan Griffith said was true. The Virginia Tech killings had nothing whatsoever to do with gun shows. It is interesting that you did not even make an effort to demonstrate how his words were incorrect. Rather, you just insulted him. I am no great fan of Mr. Griffith but you certainly make him appear very sympathetic to me here.
The Va. Tech invocations are disingenuous and irrelevant to the issue at hand. That is a demonstrable fact. Attempting to defend this nonsensical connection creates a straw man that is counterproductive to your aims. The argument then becomes one over the relevancy of the Virginia Tech shootings to checks at gun shows rather than simply the question of having checks the checks at all.
In other words, you are changing the subject from one you could be right about to one that you are easily proven wrong about. This is no way to change hearts and minds.)
(Here's another excellent counter argument from a guy named Thomas Sowel:
For the uninformed who may stumble across this...um...opinion: There is no gun show loophole. The laws are exactly the same inside a gun show as they are outside a gun show and those laws already stipulate that it is a federal felony for a "prohibited person" to as much as TOUCH a firearm, let alone buy one, regardless of the venue.
There can be no rational dialog about this issue as long as one side insists upon mis-characterizing what the issue actually is.
How can we expect the anti-rights factions to honestly and in good faith attempt to reach acceptable compromises that address the concerns of all the stakeholders when they can't even be trusted to honestly portray what the issues are?
These proposals aren't about crime...if they were the proponents of them would be more interested in the reams of data that proves gun shows are statistically insignificant as a source of crime guns. These proposals aren't even about guns...many of the most virulent anti-gunners own guns themselves. This is about control, plain and simple.
"If people are free to do as they wish, they are almost certain not to do as we wish. That is why Utopian planners end up as despots, whether at the national level or at the level of the local 'redevelopment' agency.")