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Vice president Joe Biden's task force is set to unveil its measures soon to reduce gun violence. The New York Times editorial board calls the next few weeks a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to harden the nation’s gun laws and reduce the threat of rapid-fire violence in America":
Federal laws on guns have been kept so lax, for so long, that the Biden panel could suggest scores of ways to improve public safety. But there are a few policies that clearly have to be in any serious legislative package, the first two of which were endorsed on Monday by President Obama: requiring criminal and mental-health background checks on every gun buyer, including sales from individuals; a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines; a strong statute prohibiting gun trafficking; and an end to the hobbling of the federal agency that enforces gun laws.

The need for background checks on every gun buyer has never been greater, now that the Internet has made it easy for private individuals to buy and sell guns without screening. The reason that both the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Mayors Against Illegal Guns have made universal background checks their top priority is that 40 percent of gun sales now take place privately, including most guns that are later used in crimes.

Requiring background checks at gun shows, parking-lot sales and Web sites would reduce the cash-and-carry anonymity of millions of gun transactions, putting buyers on notice that their sale is being recorded and can be traced. It is largely supported by legitimate gun dealers, who already have to conduct the checks and have long grumbled about competition from those who do not. And it would have no effect on law-abiding buyers who want a hunting rifle or a handgun to keep at home.

The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board urges broad action "right now":
Signs of the urgent need to act are everywhere. According to a report released Wednesday, the widespread possession of firearms and the practice of storing them at home in unsecured areas is a major reason the United States suffers far more violent deaths than any other wealthy nation. Guns are a major reason American men ranked last in life expectancy in the 17 nations studied and women ranked second to last.

And there’s no let-up in the violence. On Thursday, a 16-year-old boy shot and wounded a classmate and fired two more rounds at students in a Taft, Calif., school. In Chicago, three people were killed and six others were wounded by gun violence from Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon, a grim start to a the new year after 506 homicides in 2012.

The nation's leading gun lobby thinks it needs more air time:
The National Rifle Association will produce a nightly one-hour cable talk show called "Cam & Company" for the Sportsman Channel that is due to premiere on Tuesday, the same day Vice President Joe Biden is expected to present national gun control proposals to the White House.

NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre said on Friday in a statement from the Sportsman Channel that the program "comes at a critical time in the history of preserving our Second Amendment."

Roger Simon at POLITICO:
Year after year, the body count goes up. Year after year, outrage is expressed. And year after year, the gun lobby spreads around the hard cash it needs to get the votes it wants.

Will this year be any different? Barack Obama and Joe Biden say yes. They will help stop the killing, they say. But they need votes in Congress to do it.

You can help them get those votes.

Silence can not only be deafening, but deadly. Speak up. Speak out.

Whoever saves just one life, it is said, saves the world.

Save a life. Save the world. End the madness.

Joe Nocera at The New York Times looks at "the foreclosure fiasco" and argues that the big bank lawyers brokered a pretty sweet settlement with the government, a settlement he says does little to right wrongs or remedy the underlying problems:
The country’s primary bank regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency — which, along with the Federal Reserve, engineered the settlement — is trying to make it look like a victory. Of the $8.5 billion, $3.3 billion will go directly to foreclosed-upon borrowers, making it “the largest cash payout to date,” according to Bryan Hubbard, the O.C.C.’s chief spinmeister. (The rest of the money will consist of reduced interest payments and loan modifications.)

In truth, the O.C.C. needed to save face after a foreclosure review process it had mandated had become an expensive fiasco. As amply demonstrated by Silver-Greenberg and American Banker, the government insisted that the banks hire expensive consultants to do a review of every foreclosure that took place in 2009 and 2010. The consultants racked up more than $1 billion in fees, while proceeding at such a molasseslike pace that the feds and the banks finally threw up their hands. The settlement made the whole thing go away.

Ezra Klein on the debt ceiling debate says the White House position can't be a bluff:
When it comes to the debt ceiling, the White House has a credibility problem. Their plan is to simply refuse Republican demands to negotiate over the debt ceiling. But for that plan to work, Republicans need to believe the White House won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling. Otherwise, they’ll refuse to raise the debt limit, assuming that as we get closer to actually breaching the ceiling, the White House will be forced to the table.
At The Atlantic, Matthew O'Brien looks at four ways to avert the debt crisis:
Welcome to everybody's favorite game, debt ceiling chicken! Here's how it works. Obama says there's nothing he can do to lift the debt ceiling on his own; that's it up to Republicans to pay the country's bills; and that if they don't, they will get blamed for Social Security checks not going out. It's the strategy former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin used back in the mid-90s when then-Speaker Newt Gingrich threatened to hold the debt ceiling hostage, and it's the strategy Obama seems to be using now. As Ezra Klein points out, Obama has deliberately ruled out all of these different debt ceiling end-arounds, because he doesn't want Republicans to think they have any alternative to increasing it themselves. Now, maybe half of them really do welcome default, as Politico reports, but maybe not. That's a terrifying bunch of "maybes", but it's where we are today.

In other words, Obama is happy not to mint the coin, because he thinks minting it reduces his leverage. Now it's a psychological game of chicken, with Obama and Republicans accelerating toward the other, each convinced they cannot swerve, and when they meet in the middle, they'll set off the mother of all global market crashes.

And you thought a trillion-dollar coin was crazy.

No, public debt is not like credit card debt, explains Robert Kuttner at Reuters:
One big part of the well-financed campaign for economic austerity is the contention that the public debt is like a national credit card. If we keep charging on it, the argument goes, we’ll get overwhelmed with interest costs, suffer a reduced standard of living and, pretty soon, go bankrupt. [...] The Peterson Foundation is the leading sponsor of this brand of bogus economics. It is a spurious metaphor on so many levels that it’s hard to know where to begin.

Most important, this credit-card metaphor is a totally false analogy because, unlike a consumer on a spending spree who later has to pay the piper, government’s borrowing strategy directly affects economic growth. When deficit spending helps increase growth, that, in turn, makes the debt less burdensome. The Federal Reserve also has the power to buy public debt ‑ a prerogative not available to consumers.

"When presidential inaugurations go very, very wrong," from the National Constitution Center:
...the Lincoln team had to deal with another public relations problem: His new vice president, Andrew Johnson, apparently showed up drunk for his own speech. There were theories why Johnson appeared to inebriated, including claims he was ill and had used alcohol as part of a recommended treatment.

These incidents, however, paled in comparison to three really, really bad situations that developed at inaugurations in 1829, 1841, and 1857, which left the White House ransacked by a mob, one president dead, and another 36 people as victims of a fatal disease (including three congressmen).

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Comment Preferences

  •  good morning! (14+ / 0-)

    Politico has a good round-up of gun polling:

    Fresh polling on guns—

    Pew: 55% favor a ban on assault-style weapons (69% of Democrats and 44% of Republicans)… By a two-to-one margin (64%-32%), most favor putting armed security guards and police in more schools. But when it comes to more teachers and school officials having guns, most are opposed (40% favor vs. 57% oppose). http://goo.gl/...

    ABC/Washington Post: 52% say the Newtown shootings made them more supportive of gun control…58% support renewing the assault-weapons ban. Cohen: http://goo.gl/.... Gary Langer: http://goo.gl/....

    Gallup: 38% of Americans are dissatisfied with the nation's gun laws and want them strengthened. This is up from 25% who held this set of views a year ago, and is the highest since 2001. Still, more Americans are either satisfied with current gun laws, 43%, or think they should be loosened, 5%. http://goo.gl/...

    Portland Press Herald of Maine: 55% have a gun on their property…79% of Mainers support some restrictions on owning guns, and 61% support banning high-capacity ammunition clips that can hold more than 10 bullets. 51% support banning semi-automatic guns. Poll: http://goo.gl/.... Notably, independent Sen. Angus King expressed coolness yesterday to an assault weapons ban: “The biggest issue to me is the size of the magazines,” he said on CBS. “That’s sort of the common thread that connects a lot of these massacres.”

    Fairleigh Dickinson University of New Jersey: 61% support reducing violence in movies and video games. 45% are in favor of placing armed guards in public places. Chris Christie yesterday: "The problem of violence is not just about guns…It's not gun control, it's violence control…We need to have a more effective way to deal with the mentally ill." Story: http://goo.gl/.... Poll: http://goo.gl/....

    NEW YORK'S STATE SENATE passed a comprehensive gun package last night. The legislation, which will be the first state-level gun law to pass since the Newtown shooting, includes measures that ban the online sale of assault weapons, limit magazines and clips and require stolen guns to be reported within 24 hours. The state's legislation now must be passed by the full legislature, which is expected to happen today. http://bit.ly/...

    and also , as usual for Politico, teh stoopid:

    REALITY CHECK: Just 4% of Americans identify guns as the nation’s top problem, per Gallup: http://goo.gl/....

    Yeah, and so what?

    http://www.politico.com/...

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:35:01 AM PST

    •  On this ... (8+ / 0-)

      the issue of armed guards at schools is not being asked, that I can see in any polls, with any context of what the opportunity cost might be.  

      Would the numbers change if questions like this were asked:

      Do you think your child would be better off with an armed law enforcement officer at their school or with two fewer students in their classes?

      Since resources are limited, should tax dollars be spent to have more teachers in the classroom or armed guards in the school hallways?

      Which will improve education more: more teachers or armed guards?

      E.g., quite roughly, a police officer and a teacher might be considered a 1-1 trade off (in the grossest simplification).  To maintain an officer at school -- including after-school activities -- will require 2 officers (at least).  

      Consider an elementary school of 400 kids, what would the impact be of two more teachers or having an art & music teacher or being able to buy textbooks or ...????

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:41:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  without getting too complicated (6+ / 0-)

        ABC/WaPo:

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:47:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is disaster capitalism at work. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DRo, Laconic Lib

        The polling places will all have armed guards.  I have always voted at elementary schools.

        The teachers will be replaced by police, the test scores will go down and the police will get their pay cut.  

        The fire fighters will be asked to fill in for the police duties, because fire fighters mostly just sit around the station house anyway.

        That will leave the fire departments short.  Now we can fill in with private franchise fire departments who can hire the teachers for part-time, low-wage, no benefit jobs.

        Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

        by 88kathy on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:49:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Depending where you live, odds are you dont even (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          88kathy, skohayes, DRo, Amber6541

          have paid firefighters they could do that with. Here in Maryland, there are only 2 jurisdictions in the whole state left with paid firefighters, everybody else is volunteer.

          •  Huh??? (0+ / 0-)

            While there a good number of volunteers and communities w/mix paid/volunteer, there are more than two jurisdictions w/paid.  No?  For example, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Howard County, Montgomery County, ...

            Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

            by A Siegel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:19:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  To my knowledge (0+ / 0-)

              The only jurisdictions with full time paid firefighters (i.e. not part timers or combo fire/EMT) are Baltimore City and Cumberland, not counting positions like fire marshal or fire chief.

              •  Please check data (0+ / 0-)

                Wiki on Mont County

                Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service (MCFRS) is the public safety agency that provides fire protection and emergency medical services for Montgomery County, Maryland. The services are provided by a combination of paid county personnel and volunteer members of the various independent, non-profit volunteer fire and rescue corporations located throughout the county.
                Salary info
                In addition to individuals who worked as volunteer, unpaid firefighters, Maryland served as home to approximately 4,705 paid firefighters as of 2008, according to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Professional Regulation. At that time, the demand for firefighters in the state was predicted to increase by more than 16 percent through 2018, creating more than 900 new jobs.

                Firefighters by County

                    Anne Arundel County served as the highest-paying area for firefighters as of November 2010, reports the MDLLPR. Firefighters in the county, which includes the cities of Annapolis and Severn, earned an average of $51,200 per year at the time. In Hartford and Cecil Counties, firefighters made an average of $50,350 annually, while those employed in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's Counties averaged $49,900. The lowest-paying area for firefighters in Maryland was Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties, where professionals received a yearly average of $43,450.

                etc ...

                Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

                by A Siegel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:43:16 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Armed enforcement officer? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        A Siegel, Laconic Lib, Amber6541

        How many are enough? Look what happened in California recently.  THE officer was not there that day.

        Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

        by DRo on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:57:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Several things ... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DRo, wintergreen8694, Amber6541

          1.  Did make point of at least 2 to have 1 there.

          2.  Agree that numbers would likely be higher. (If an Elementary School w/250 kids merits 1 officer, how many for a High School with 2500? 2, 3, 5, 10?)

          In any event, a horrid policy choice. Yet again, treat symptoms rather than cause/problem. Problem is too many (and too dangerous types) guns in society w/too few tracking/controls on those weapons -- symptom is mass killings at schools / elsewhere.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:14:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's worse than that. Even if the money were to (6+ / 0-)

        come from some place other than the school budget, the right question is whether that's the best use.

        Newtown and Columbine were horrible events, but they were rare events.  If we really want to save innocent lives, armed guards in schools is probably one of the least effective ways to do it.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:27:42 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  see also: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thomask

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:52:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  summary (9+ / 0-)

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:44:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Armed security guards in schools. (6+ / 0-)

      That's really comforting.
      Especially if those armed "security guards" are low-wage private security firm personnel.

      Not that a number of schools don't already have metal detectors and a police presence.  I know that my girls' schools get regular drug sweeps by police officers with drug-sniffing dogs.

      What could inspire more confidence?

      We get so stupid when something unimaginable happens.
      Truth is, big showy school shootings are rare events.  Even if armed security guards were to prevent every such event, the number of lives saved would be minimal.

      On the other hand, if you were to take the same money, maybe even the same people, and beef up police presence in some places, add supervised after-school hangouts in others, etc, you might save more than a few lives.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:25:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you sound like a Democrat (0+ / 0-)

        good for you.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:49:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No I don't. Take that back! (0+ / 0-)

          Seriously --

          I think Democrats -- at least elected ones -- have been pretty unwavering in their refusal to look beyond guns themselves for ways to keep kids alive.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:01:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  incorrect observation (0+ / 0-)

            which is refuted today:

            Obama/Biden
            and state plans:
            NY
            CT
            CO
            MD

            And btw "Democrats want kids dead' is a pretty stupid and insensitive thing to say, and yes you did say that.

            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

            by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:09:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't say that. (0+ / 0-)

              Any more than I've said that Democrats want people to be out of work, to lose their homes, and for their children to live lives of misery.

              Shortsightedness is a failing, but it is not evil and mean-spirited. It is merely short-sighted.

              How 'bout them Republicans, though? They sure want kids dead.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:30:52 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  in any case (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dinotrac

                NY and all the other states are wresting with mental health and other issues which are "more than just guns". None of which is EVER an excuse not to deal with guns (while honoring gun rights as enshrined in the Constitution).

                This is not really a partisan issue. The public doesn't see it as such.

                "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:38:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, it isn't. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Greg Dworkin

                  Even a goodly number of politicians are figuring that out.

                  And yes, "more than just guns" should never be shorthand for "instead of our precious high-capacity high-velocity kill-at-a-ferocious rate" guns.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:49:08 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

  •  On inaugural eve, Obama’s most virulent foes... (8+ / 0-)

    want the celebration stopped

    Davidson, a retired software developer in South Carolina, has been predicting for four years that hardcore anti-Obama agitation would dissipate, but it keeps going, driven, he believes, by anti-black sentiment. “I’ve seen more openly racist remarks since the election,” he says. “Before November, they were careful to control the racist language because they were trying to persuade people to vote against him. Now they sort of don’t care.”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

    by Greg Dworkin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:42:30 AM PST

    •  Jeez, I hope we're not going to be mourning (0+ / 0-)

      another assassination soon.  I don't like the sound of this at all.

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:53:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mostly, they want us to cower in submission... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SueDe

        ...to their deeply held, though dangerously flawed beliefs.

        If they can get enough of the small but true middle to start falling back on:

        "Just give them what they want and make this go away so we can all get back to normal."
        then their work is done. They will have set another brick in the structure of creating their own reality.

        There is no naturally occurring normal. That's a concept that even now is difficult for many of our otherwise well-meaning fellow citizens to grasp. The Disaster Capital Gang wants everyone to believe that there is a "natural order of things" even as they rig rules, create regulations and impede enforcement so that they can harvest the desired outcomes.

        When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

        by Egalitare on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:18:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  These people are delusional (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thomask, Laconic Lib, Stude Dude
      We can survive Obama,” he says, “but is there another Reagan-like conservative who can lead the charge?
      Reagan-like? The president who raised taxes 8 times in his second term? The one who passed gun control laws as governor of California, and supported the Brady Act (after the attempted assassination of Reagan himself)?
      Reagan, the member of a union himself and a supporter of the Solidarity movement in Poland?
      The same Reagan who signed a bill in California that legalized abortion? Or the one that passed an immigration bill that gave amnesty to over 3 million undocumented aliens?
      Reagan wouldn't get enough support to make it to a primary in today's GOP.

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:27:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  BUT HE STARED DOWN GORBACHEV! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes, Egalitare, Laconic Lib

        When we really get to the heart of the Reagan mythos, we find the root of it is delusions that he single handedly destroyed the Soviet Union. The mythology of Ronald the Great can be fairly well explained by the theme song to All in the Family, the 70s sitcom about America's favorite bigot, Archie Bunker.

        Boy the way Glen Miller played
        Songs that made the hit parade.
        Guys like us we had it made,
        Those were the days.

        And you knew who you were then,
        Girls were girls and men were men,
        Mister we could use a man
        Like Herbert Hoover again.

        Didn't need no welfare state,
        Everybody pulled his weight.
        Gee our old LaSalle ran great.
        Those were the days.

    •  Just goes to show that there is a consistent 10-30 (4+ / 0-)

      percent in this country ranging from bat shit insane to moderately delusional or rock brained ignorant on a wide front. All of us have our bits of delusion or bits of insanity, irrational fears, but this core accumulates them like fleas on a stray dog. Another paragraph notes:

      “There’s a certain world of people who move from one conspiracy theory to the next,” says Bill Bryan, proprietor of The Fogbow, a Web site devoted to debunking anti-Obama movements. “Obama is perfect for them. They just hate him so much, and the election won’t end that. They really believe that one day soon, he’ll be declared an illegal president and Obamacare will vanish with a poof and Sotomayor and Kagan will have to leave the Supreme Court.”
      I think what discourages me more than the presence of these people, always with us, is the level of basic ignorance of the world, science, geography and civics I see in supposedly well educated and functional people. Just the other day I overheard a conversation at another table in which managers in a company were very surprised when another mentioned the long term and violent troubles in a country long in the news. They all knew the latest statistics for the local sports team though, you betcha!

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:33:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wingnuts are twitter (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wintergreen8694

        are the best for this. I found one the other day that earnestly believed the Supreme Court somehow had the ability to remove Obama from office. I even said, what would you accomplish if Obama was removed from office anyway, Joe Biden would just become president and he's probably left of Obama on most issues. They somehow have deluded themselves into thinking that Obama, as a person, is the source of all of the problems in the country. If he's gone, we can go back to sunshine and rainbows and national circle jerks over photos of Ronald Reagan.

  •  In addition to other needed laws in the gun (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ratcityreprobate, Laconic Lib

    control, I submit that gun ownership needs to have increased liability.

    They keep their guns out of the wrong hands 99.99% of the time, why should I be responsible for the 0.01% of the time they don't.

    I can't control their guns.  I resent being asked to assume responsibility when they don't.

    Please sign my petition to bring my novel interpretation of the keep wording in the 2nd Amendment into the discussion.

    Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

    by 88kathy on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:43:25 AM PST

    •  Mandated liability insurance (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      88kathy, DRo, Laconic Lib

      Yes, it would be a boon to the insurance industry, but the only way to reduce the number of guns is to make them cost prohibitive. I have to carry liability insurance on my car in case I hurt or kill somebody with it, why shouldn't the same be true for a firearm? We could never get it through Congress, but individual states could try and some would succeed.

      •  I think insurance companies might do a better job (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laconic Lib

        telling how people they must store their guns than gun owners do now.  Some gun owners are better than others.  But better gun storage, would reduce the window of guns getting into the wrong hands.

        Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

        by 88kathy on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:44:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But how would insurance companies (0+ / 0-)

          enforce gun storage rules?  Ms. Lanza, the mother of the Sandy Hook shooter, had plenty of money to pay insurance premiums, but would gun storage rules have made her lock up her guns to keep them from her adult son?  Probably not.  And even if she had, and her son had broken into the gun safe and taken out the ones he wanted, she would still be dead and the school massacre would still have happened.

          The insurance companies would then have to make payments to the families of the dead, or the parents would have sued.  And what happens when insurance companies have to pay out enormous  claims?  Either they raise rates on everyone else or they stop offering insurance coverage at all.  

          Liability insurance is of no use until after a tragedy has already occurred, and if it's too expensive people won't buy it at all even if the law says they must.  

          "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

          by SueDe on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:28:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Same way they enforce everything else. Your (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Laconic Lib, SueDe

            coverage is nullified.  

            You don't think she would have been sane enough to protect her property if she was liable.  The point is she knew she was not liable if some one made off with her guns.  She had no reason to take measures to store them safely.

            You can't get a license to carry an uninsured gun, you can't shoot at a target range with an uninsured gun.  If you have guns listed on your home owners insurance, your home will not be covered unless they are insured.  

            If your home has uninsured guns, all other insurance on your home is nullified.  A flood, uninsured guns present in the home, no flood insurance.  A fire, uninsured guns present in the home, no fire insurance.

            Oh it would be a risk to keep guns without insurance if the gun owners were truly responsible for the guns.

            Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

            by 88kathy on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:08:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good ideas all. (0+ / 0-)

              Have your written the White House and suggested them?  I hope so.  The insurance companies would love them, and the insurance companies have quite a bit of sway with politicians of all stripes.

              "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

              by SueDe on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:03:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Actually claims would not be enormous (0+ / 0-)

            If gun insurance were required and it was anything like motor vehicle insurance the claims would not add up to that much money.  There are 2.5 Million car injury claims per year and only 75,000 persons injured by guns.  Death benefits are significantly smaller.  

      •  Why not have a government run (0+ / 0-)

        gun insurance program with mandated coverage for every gun you own? Then the Feds could control the program nationwide and the revenue goes toward paying for the new program. Once established the extra money coming in can be distributed to the states through the Dept of Education. Safer gun control plus a better funded education system.

  •  It IS "law-abiding citizens" who commit these mass (9+ / 0-)

    murders.  Had Loughner ever been in trouble before the day he killed six people and nearly killed Gabby Giffords?  Had wazzhisname ever been in trouble before he let loose in that Colorado theater?  Had Lanza ever been in trouble with the law before murdering twenty innocent little angels?

    If it turns out, as I suspect, that none of these crazed murderers had a criminal record, then "law-abiding citizens" are the very ones we need to fear.

    According to a report released Wednesday, the widespread possession of firearms and the practice of storing them at home in unsecured areas is a major reason the United States suffers far more violent deaths than any other wealthy nation. Guns are a major reason American men ranked last in life expectancy in the 17 nations studied and women ranked second to last.
    When will we ever learn?

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:52:05 AM PST

    •  All three of the shooters (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694

      had identified mental illness problems prior to the incidents.  In Loughner's case, he also had a verified drug issue which caused his rejection from the military.

      I concur on the issue of weapons storage.  Something in the range of 600,000 firearms are stolen each year in the US - which by definition puts them in the hands of criminals.  Requiring gun safes would be a major step forward.

      I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

      by Wayward Wind on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:17:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That would be almost impossible to enforce (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DRo

        Unless you are going to have the ATF doing random house searches to make sure every gun is locked up properly.

        •  Not at all, and no random searches needed (0+ / 0-)

          The lack of a safe would show up in investigations tracing weapons used in crimes, or in burglaries at the owner's house, or in any response to a domestic violence call - first thing that is asked by the cops is whether there are weapons in the house.

          I think most owners would comply; those that refuse would sooner or later be found.

          I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

          by Wayward Wind on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:26:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unreasonable searches (0+ / 0-)

            Calling the police to your house doesn't entitle the cops to free rein of your property to look for things that could be illegal without a warrant or probable cause.

            •  In the examples I gave (0+ / 0-)

              there are no indication of any searches by police.  

              If a gun is used in a crime, and traced back to an owner who indicates that it was stolen, that part of the investigation would focus on whether the owner had complied with security requirements.

              If the police are called to a house to investigate a burglary and one of the items which were stolen was a firearm, the investigation would determine whether the firearm was adequately stored.

              In the case of a domestic disturbance, if the answer to the initial query about firearms is affirmative, then the police could either ensure that the weapons are secured (or in the event of a real danger, impound them until the domestic situation had cooled down).

              No warrants necessary in any of these types of investigations.

              I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

              by Wayward Wind on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:00:17 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  All law presumes compliance with penalties post (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wayward Wind

            discovery of non compliance.

            That is the failure of the argument that the law will be ineffective because lawbreakers by definition don't respect the law. That system is the absolute basis for our law that does not allow penalty now because one might break the law in the future.

            So, you were burgled and lost your firearm because it was not properly stored? Conviction fro breaking that law and loss of rights. That is how it is with hit and run, embezzlement, murder and all the other crimes.

            The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

            by pelagicray on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:41:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, all three had mental issues, but having a (0+ / 0-)

        mental illness does not preclude a person from being "law-abiding."  I just don't think it's "criminals, who can always get guns from somewhere" who commit these mass murders.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:39:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  For the spectacular cases, the ones that shock (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, wintergreen8694, Egalitare

      rather than the mundane daily reports that accumulate into even larger body counts we barely notice, the most common reaction among those that knew the perp is usually surprise such a quiet person could do that along with an expression of unease about the person. The latter is like a vague itch that is suddenly realized to be a problem after the massacre.

      Then there is the kind Debbie Dingell describes with my emphasis:

      When I was about to start eighth grade, my father almost shot my mother. It was another of their many ugly fights. I got between them — literally — and tried to grab the gun.

      I will never forget that night. The shouting. The fear. The raw terror that we would all die, my brother and sisters along with my parents. My calling for help but the police not coming; my parents were important people in town. My mother running out of the house. I locked my brother and sisters in a bedroom and pushed a bed against the door. My father broke in, took the door off the hinges and pulled the phone from the wall. He took the knobs off all the doors, so we could not get out and no one could get in.

      Background checks, though very important generally, probably will have little effect in these cases. What may be more important is a system in which any violent incident immediately becomes a trigger for judicial lock down of that individual's firearms. Require a court review before they get access again. We do that for driving cars. Yeah, some drive on suspended licenses, but then penalties can accumulate (as far as I'm concerned driving on suspension should require real jail time too).

      Probably the most effective way to limit, not eliminate, the body counts in the spectacular cases is capping magazine size. No sportsman needs a 30 round magazine. I believe almost all states limit the number of rounds in hunting weapons. Nope, cannot go out and blast those deer with rapid fire high capacity magazines. Can't blast those birds with the full capacity of your semi auto shotgun in most states.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:18:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  By Wayne LaPierre's logic, we'll (0+ / 0-)

      just have to institute a National Registry of law-abiding citizens.  

  •  Did Roger Simon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ratcityreprobate, skohayes

    always have a streak of sanity or is it a recent development?

    Justice For Will Will spent his brief, courageous life fighting for the rights we all take for granted. Please share his story to support the fight!

    by KibbutzAmiad on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 04:56:04 AM PST

  •  Mental Health background checks (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, 88kathy, maryabein, skohayes, Remediator

    Regarding the NYT editorial which recommended mental health background checks, one has to wonder exactly how that would work.  Are we talking about, say, registering bipolar or schizophrenic people in some kind of national data base?  Would there be random checks to see that they had not stopped taking their meds?  

    •  Well we certainly talking about people who make (4+ / 0-)

      youtube videos threatening murder.  James Yeager.

      This fellow is the poster child for a complete ban on civilian ownership.  And yet his license was suspended.  

      Just what do they mean by mental illness.  And why can't they see it when it slaps them in the face.

      Oh yeah.  Turd Nugget, poopy battle pants, also a gun owner and NRA board memeber, not mentally ill.  Just watch some of his murder videos.  James Yeager is a Turd Nugget tribute band.  But they are fine to own a gun.

      Sign my White House Petition Enforce the KEEP in the Second Amendment We don't have a problem with gun control, we have a problem with gun owners controlling their guns.

      by 88kathy on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:09:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did you see the video (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Remediator, 88kathy

        of Alex Jones with Piers Morgan? Should someone that close to the edge of sanity own guns?

        “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

        by skohayes on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:10:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I guess Mr. Jones believes that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          88kathy, skohayes

          viewers will flood Piers Morgan's office demanding to hear his answer to how many chimpanzees can dance on the head of a pin.

          I feel more fear rather than less after listening to Mr. Jones' angry rage fest.  At one point he begins to ask Piers, "How many sharks..." but then abruptly changes course, perhaps because he doesn't really want to go on record using shark attacks to compare death totals versus gun violence.

          Which makes dangerous sense.  Piers could have asked Mr. Jones how many sharks have killed 6 and 7 year old kids in U.S. schools.  My guess is not very many.  If there are any elementary schools which are literally under water, I'm unaware of them.  Admittedly, recess would be problematic.

          Mr. Jones is going to be dead of cardiac rest if he doesn't find a way to chill out a bit.  He makes Wayne LaPierre look like Gandhi.  

          Totally agree, skohayes -- "Should someone that close to the edge of sanity own guns?"  Bingo.

  •  Scarborough laments each day about how screwed up (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator

    his party is....and why it's all Obama's fault.

  •  NRA is no majority (3+ / 0-)

    There has never been a more appropriate time for serious and substantive action on our nationwide gun problem. The NRA and its pro-gun violence ilk do not speak for the majority. These cowards, all shills fro gun manufacturers, blame everyone and everything but guns for mass murders. How can any organization stand up and protect the "right" to own and use 100-round ammunition drums, only designed for mass killing and nothing else? America is awash in an epidemic of gun violence because we have the most lax and reckless gun control laws in the civilized world. Cities are dealing with waves of shootings and terrorism at the hands of criminals with easy access to legal guns.   -  progressive

  •  Just read (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, Remediator, ratcityreprobate

    One of the greatest things ever over at the NY Times Opinion page:

    David Brooks is off today.

    Do Pavlov's dogs chase Schroedinger's cat?

    by corwin on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:16:38 AM PST

  •  So -- what's worse: a default that leads to a (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet

    serious correction or continued hacks that never resolve anything?

    I don't ask that question flippantly.  At some point, the global economy is bound to show signs of life.  At some point, investors are bound to eye alternatives to American debt.  At what point does a steady stream of threats become sufficient reason to invest elsewhere? At what point does the impact of that steady stream, and it's effect on serious economics start to hurt the economy that stands behind the investments?

    Maybe we should shed the coward's mentality that rewarded banksters while throwing their victims out of work and out of their homes.

    Maybe we should risk the momentary pain for a long-term benefit -- do the very thing we keep saying that corporate leaders should learn to do.

    Maybe it's better to let the "unthinkable" happen and then  to fix it. For real. For all to see.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:20:18 AM PST

  •  about inaugurations (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes

    1829 - Andrew Jackson opened the White House to everyone the day he was inaugurated, and invited the mob. "Ransacked it" is a little over the top for what happened.

    1841 - William Henry Harrison didn't dress warmly enough and contracted pneumonia. He died a month after he was inaugurated.  Nobody DID that to him.

    1857 - National Hotel Disease, as described by the House of Representatives website and by, well, Politico, for This Day in Politics, June 24 (1859). Something gastrointestinal, and no one has determined the cause.

    And now I don't trust the National Constitution Center for much of anything, if they're going to exaggerate and misrepresent history.

    -7.75, -8.10; Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

    by Dave in Northridge on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:40:26 AM PST

  •  Huntsman and Manchin's "No Labels" won't work. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skohayes, Laconic Lib

    Most Republicans think the right hand ditch is the middle of the road.

    When someone tells you they are lying, you should believe them.

    by shoeless on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:53:23 AM PST

    •  The last group of "No Labels" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laconic Lib, shoeless

      (before this "relaunch")disbanded after spending a LOT of money and getting nothing done.
      For a REAL laugh, you must read Jennifer Rubin's suggestions for the "No Labels" agenda:

      1. Repeal campaign finance reform, allowing individuals to give all they want to the political parties and to candidates. That will help kill off the third-party money that elevates extremists and fringe candidates...
      2. Improve the mainstream media. The Politico-ization of the media gets worse every year — gossip instead of news, invented conflict, hyperbolic headlines with no substance. There are few capable TV interviewers (after Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper, I run out of names) who will examine and debunk both left and right figures...
      3. Get some constitutional perspective. The system of checks and balances was designed precisely to protect the political minority’s rights and to slow imprudent action. Maybe, had the Obama administration not jammed its bill through on a party-line vote with questionable tactics, we could have reached a more bipartisan solution on health care...
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

      “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

      by skohayes on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 06:05:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It thought that was an article from The Onion, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        skohayes

        until I got to the end and saw that it was the Washington Post.

        That is a perfect example of why 'No Labesl' won't work.

        When someone tells you they are lying, you should believe them.

        by shoeless on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 09:05:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think that all gun sales should have to pass (0+ / 0-)

    through a registered agent, a licensed gun dealer. The dealer would collect a small fee as part of the deal, the sale would be recorded, the background check run, the gun would be fired once and a shell-casing stored for 1 year. I would imagine that gun dealers would endorse the idea.

    For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life. - Albert Camus

    by Anne Elk on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 08:16:14 AM PST

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