The gun hearing—perhaps better described as “gun-control” hearing—held by the Senate Judiciary Committee on 29 January was interesting if only because it was held in light of the fact that most gun laws, hundreds if not thousands of them, are not currently enforced and/or violators prosecuted, a fact thoroughly brought out in the hearing. Also brought out thoroughly was the fact that gun-control laws passed in the 1990s made no difference in the gun-violence numbers. A current example of the futility of these laws is Chicago—500 murders in 2012 and already 40 during January, practically all by guns.
The usual partisan split was obvious. Democrats, of course, believe in regulating everything, even to the point of light-bulbs and salt-intake by humans. Republicans tend to oppose any further regulation of most things and would gladly dispose of thousands now in existence. The usual silliness was also in evidence, as Chairman Leahy established his bona fides by claiming both father- and grandfather-status only to be outdone by ranking member Grassley, who claimed father- and grandfather- and great-grandfather-status. Apparently, all others need not apply.
The panel of witnesses included a police-chief, law-professor, NRA president and two civilians, one of them being the only woman, not that this means anything, just a fact. It might not have hurt to have had an ex-con or two, who had used guns in crimes, to declaim on the subject, maybe furnishing the best possible information concerning the acquisition and use of weapons. That would have likely been too practical for consideration.
The thinking of the regulators goes something like this: “guns kill people so guns should be banned, just like booze back in the 1920s for a decade or so.” The bubbly flowed freely despite the Constitutional Amendment against it, though if given at least a generation or two it might have actually done some good. Enforcement, of course, was a problem—not enough “revenoors” to go around.
According to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, there were 10.8 million motor-vehicle accidents in the U.S. in 2009 involving 33,800 deaths (791 in Kentucky) within 30 days of a given wreck. Should, therefore, there be a ban on the manufacture, sale and use of automobiles?
In those wrecks, 10,086 drivers had a blood-alcohol-content of .08% or above (about 176 in Kentucky), making them legally drunk in most if not all states. Should there be, therefore and in addition to the banning of cars, also a ban on the manufacture, sale and use of beverage alcohol?
This is from Autoweek 13 December 2011: “‘According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,000 people lost their lives last year in distraction-related accidents,’ said chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman.” Does this mean that Ipads, Iphones, cell-phones, Blackberries, or even car-radios should be banned, in addition to booze and cars?
When the president pontificated in Newtown after the deaths at Sandy Hook school in December, he seemed to leave the impression that the deaths were somehow the responsibility of all citizens, the entire U.S. society. That also seemed to be the notion of many of the senators, a horrible and ludicrous position to take, that somehow people in Peoria were at least part of the cause of mayhem in Connecticut.
The mayor of New York indicated that his city would or might or should take action against people perpetrating too much salt-intake in food-products. Should salt be banned? Diabetes is caused or aggravated by too much sugar-intake. Should it be banned? Smokers and obese people are claimed by the experts to place too much strain and expense on healthcare entities? Should these people be neutralized (euphemism for “offed”).
Guns do not and never have killed people. Neither have cars, though drunk drivers use them in the same way that a thug uses a Saturday-night-special to pop off his prey. Drunk drivers, like the thug, are murderers or potential murderers since they understand exactly what they might do—and drive drunk anyway.
There was much said in the hearing about mental-health problems that dispose or predispose toward violence and that some entity has been remiss in not spotting this, as if that could easily be done. Having someone committed or designated as unfit to own a gun is virtually impossible, even if someone knew how to spot potential killers.
Despite the president’s executive orders—all 23 of them—and the breast-beating in the hearing, nothing much will be done. People, not guns, kill people.