There are a slew of newly visible, Serious & Constructive ideas about improving gun safety in America, shaken loose by the latest tragedy. Mr. Charles P. Pierce at Esquire starts near the top of the food chain:
If you read nothing else in the wake of the tragic events in Connecticut, you should check out the story that the socialist-liberal-fascists at Fortune have put together on who precisely it is that makes an unholy buck on murder in this country…
This could be the start of something real — a disinvestment campaign, modeled on the one aimed at companies doing business in South Africa and, later, at the tobacco industry, on the part of police, and fire, and school teachers’ unions to remove their money from the marketing end of mass killing. A campaign that would redefine gun violence as a public-health crisis, as David Satcher tried to do years ago, and to redefine it on the balance sheet, where that would really count. This could be the start of holding the people who really make the money accountable for how they make it… The paranoia stoked by NRA fundraising — which, alas, seems to have worked its dark magic on Adam Lanza’s mother — is not directed merely against sensible gun legislation. It’s to sell more guns to the people who marinate themselves in that paranoia, so the people who make the guns can make even more money. That’s the place you want to paint the bullseye.
As befits its audience, Gawker‘s Drew Magary uses ruder words:
… One of the amazing things about the gun control debate in America is the remarkable success with which gun manufacturers—Sig Sauer, Glock, Smith & Wesson, Ruger, The Freedom Group (yes, it’s called the fucking Freedom Group)—have been able to avoid the conversation altogether. When you think of Glock, you think of a gun, and not of the company behind it. That needs to change…
Gun manufacturers profit off of mass violence in America. See for yourself. Every time a massacre happens, gun sales go through the roof because liberals cry out for gun control, and then conservatives flee to buy as many guns as possible just in case those shady folks in the GUBMINT come calling for their precious arms. They’ve succeeded in getting gun owners to disguise their love of shooting shit under a bullshit pretense of one day having to form a militia just in case Hitler II gets elected President. And they’ve succeeded in letting those people fight their flame wars for them. You have to hand it the gun industry, really. It’s an ingenious little sales cycle they’ve created. Every massacre draws attention to the product, yet somehow NEVER to the people ultimately responsible for their production. It’s always the hunter that takes the brunt of liberal ire. Or the redneck, or the guy at the gun show selling them secondhand, or Mike Huckabee saying something fucking stupid. Meanwhile, Ron Cohen eats his dinner uninterrupted…
The greatest PSA campaign in the history of advertising is the Truth campaign, which did away with the traditional “smoking is bad for you” ads that proved ineffective. Instead, what the “Truth” campaign did was demonize tobacco companies—NOT demonize tobacco or tobacco users—and say THESE PEOPLE ARE FUCKING YOU OVER. They are lying to you and trying to kill you and they are getting rich while doing it. When you change the language, you change people’s perception of what’s really at stake. Make this a crime issue, not an endless discussion about what guns MEAN to everyone…
Joe Nocera suggests a more politely worded tangent in his latest NYTImes column: Let’s Get M.A.D.D. About Guns.:
…Within a few years, M.A.D.D. had persuaded President Ronald Reagan to support a national drinking age of 21, and it had pushed through state laws toughening the penalties for driving while intoxicated. Perhaps most important, M.A.D.D. turned a dangerous behavior that had long been socially acceptable into a taboo.
The old “conversation” wasn’t working, except for the highly-profitable paranoids and their greedy enablers. Perhaps a different conversation will help us climb out of the rut.
Tax bullets. $20 a bullet ought to do the trick.
Devest. Make sure none of your 401(k) money is invested in gun companies.
Unless a gunowner has there guns locked up, hit them with tax penalties that will pay for the all police and EMS response to tragedies like Sandy Hook; yes, some will say they HAVE to have their guns at a hairtrigger response, but, really, if you really need a hairtrigger response, you’re mostly fucked anyway.
Glad to see this happening. I hope the conversation changes.
Background checks every time anyone buys a gun, even if they just bought one yesterday. Guns registered. Licenses to have gun renewed every year. Much higher insurance premiums if you have a gun, increasing for each additional gun and more for certain types. Discounts if you keep guns locked in a gun safe.
I’d love for there to be a protest outside the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the #2 gun lobby organization, focused on retailers, which is located in Newtown, CT.
I wonder if we can ban imports of Glock products (Glock is an Austrian company) without getting into a thing with the EU and the WTO. Although that might be a fight worth having.
Today I read that the Vatican bank is the largest shareholder in Pietro Beretta, the world’s largest arms manufacturer. And I remember from the campaign that the Mormon church owns an unregulated gun sale website.
So until the church gets out of the arms profiteering business, people can STFU about how we need more God in our schools.
Bullet control was Chris Rock’s suggestion. Charge $5,000. Then you wouldn’t have any innocent bystanders. “I’d blow your head off… If I could afford it.”
1) Tax specific types of bullets the same way we do for prepared food.
.22 rounds, shotgun bird/buck shot and actual hunting rounds get a bulk per box tax (some senator looked askance at “6,000 rounds from the internet!” – if it was .22 ammo that’s otherwise known as “The small box”) and call ’em ‘training’ or ‘sporting’ rounds.
Automatic pistol ammo, assault rife ammo and ‘specialty’ bs put a tax per bullet.
There. You’ve taxed the high danger stuff but left the sportsman and hunters mostly un-touched.
I’ve been thinking about this off and on all day, and while it would likely never happen, I would love to see some tax on ammunition/gun manufacturers/retailers that goes directly into a fund that pays for the funerals of people who die as the result of a firearm.
If we’re not going to be well regulated, the least we do is show some sense of responsibility.
When I first had a little money I didn’t immediately need and considered saving for retirement, I bought a “socially responsible” mutual fund, Pax, founded by clergy, that didn’t invest in companies dealing in firearms (or liquor, gambling, etc.) When later I bought individual stocks, I bought companies that seemed to be doing something good in the world.
So now I don’t have to divest.
What has really surprised me and shouldn’t is that the NRA is nothing more than a PAC for the gun makers. It is like Dick Armey and the Teabaggers. Inflame the ignorant with fears of “they’re going to take your guns away” and they gin-up a willing mob. There needs to be a clear effort to separate the hunters from the gun-nuts, and there is a big, big, difference. When someone on TV comes at the responsible gun owners the wrong way, they turn off immediately and become defensive. Approached the right way, e.g. “we have to protect children from assault rifles,” and they will likely join you. There needs to be a coalition of responsible hunters, gun owners and progressives and we can beat the NRA.
Also, outlaw concealed carry universally (the “Fuck You, Rick Perry” law); you want to pack in a school or a mall, let Parents or Mall Security know you are packing.
ETA: Not sure if it should be “Fuck You, Rick Perry” or “Fuck You Rick Perry”. Cole?
I want gun manufacturers to be pariahs. I’d also like owning a gun to be socially unacceptable and the sign of weakness, but that’s probably further down the road.
This is no different than states making a mockery of Roe vs Wade by creating intrusive laws around it. Why can’t the same be done regarding the 2nd amendment. Yes, guns are legal, but the amendment doesn’t say anything about bullets. Tax each bullet at 5% for a $1000 minimum.
I’m still convinced that high-capacity magazines are probably the easiest way to distinguish gun users from gun nuts. If someone says he needs a 20-round magazine and a semi-automatic rifle for deer hunting, either he’s a nut job or he’s the world’s shittiest hunter.
Cerberus Capital, the owner of the Freedom Group which makes the Bushmaster rifle, released a statement today that they are selling off the Freedom Group.
Pension funds are taking a look at owning stock in gun companies, it does really feel as if the standards are shifting radically.
The Sandy Hook Effect: Gun Sales Rise As Stocks Fall.
We’re a sick country.
@JoyfulA: Thanks for this mutual fund company. I am looking to make some changes and had not heard of it before.
@Mnemosyne: I submit that this is not an either/or proposition.
Agreed. The Truth Campaign had more impact than years of saying “it’ll kill ya.”
We’re still figuring out why that’s so; but it’s so.
@Mnemosyne: We have a friend here who was in the NRA. In his younger days, he and his family in Indiana, hunted a good deal. He said he quit the NRA when they started supporting the AR-15 kind of weapons, which he said had no place in hunting. People like him and many others are likely allies in the gun owner group. The gun-nuts, always feeling and touching and worshiping the preciouos can never be changed. But as John Cole said, most of them are likely pussies and their precious is a substitute for a set of balls.
@Angela: “Socially responsible mutual funds” brings up 407,000 hits on Google. They’re now diversified into green funds, nonviolent funds, boycott funds, etc. There wasn’t much when I started!
Jimmi the Grey
Maybe we should find a way to make gun manufacturers look attractive to predatory investment firms like Bain…
The model (and much of the infrastructure) is already in place with state driver’s licences, vehicle registration, tax-tag-title, annual inspections, etc.
And this concept needs to be mainstreamed. People who own a lot of guns or certain types of guns are cowards. Men who do clearly have small p3nises. Turn it into a commonly accepted concept and it won’t be quite so cool to own those guns.
These gun profiteers actually named their company after a three-headed hellbeast. The balls on these people!
@SiubhanDuinne: Yep. It’s already there. I also support using the money to fund gun violence victims’ funerals. Incentivize gun owners too. If gun violence falls below X in their state, the gun license fees can be used for something else. Maybe they even get to vote on what that something is.
Is there a legislative way to overturn the bill Bush the assholier signed to protect gun makers(pbut) from liability suits?
Or is it part of the constitution, or something?
If all they care about is their wallets, then by all means, the wallet it is.
IMNSHO gun owners should be married to that bitch. If ANYTHING bad is done with a gun you bought–including/especially by somebody else–you should be civilly and criminally liable. Here, if you’re the wheelman in a crime that leads to murder, you’ll be charged alongside the actual murderer.
@Violet: Now that would be an interesting study: The guns as penis substitute for the insecure. Yeah I know that’s old and there are exceptions, but other than poor Nancy Lanza, who has ever gone to some new acquaintance’s place and had the mistress (“The little Woahman” as it is around here)of the house say “Hey let me show you my swell gun collection?”
These are all great ideas but the disinvestment campaign is the way to go for sure. You go to the heart of these monster corporations and destroy their financial structure or at least seriously undermine it.
Love it! The proposed bills should, as obviously as possible, mirror the anti-choice laws. We could call it the “If Its Good Enough for a Fetus, Its Good Enough for Cletus” campaign.
@Violet:Oops I was off to moderation, so I sneaked out and posted again with the right word for you know the precious
Now that would be an interesting study: The guns as p3nis substitute for the insecure. Yeah I know that’s old and there are exceptions, but other than poor Nancy Lanza, who has ever gone to some new acquaintance’s place and had the mistress (“The little Woahman” as it is around here)of the house say “Hey let me show you my swell gun collection?”
This warmed my cold heart.
Can’t they just repeal it?
I suppose a court challenge would do that too, but you need the right case. That would be hard.
And in addition, every gun need to be licensed yearly, and if one of your guns goes missing, there are severe penalties.
I’ve seen a few interesting suggestions on several threads, but this one might work; make semi-auto centerfire magazines limited to 10 shots without a permit – permits issues like concealed-carry permits from local police. High capacity clips allowed at shooting ranges but must be kept there. Having a high capacity clip without a permit is a federal felony.
And tax the hell out of all semi-autos.
I agree that the big magazines are an issue, but I think that removable magazines are at least as big of one. If you can swap magazines in a couple of seconds, it doesn’t make a huge difference if the magazine holds 10 rounds, 20 rounds, or 100 rounds; you’re still going to be able to shoot a lot. If you have to reload the magazine one round at a time, you’re going to shoot a lot slower once you’ve used it up. Also, too, it’s going to be a lot harder to make a really big non-removable magazine than a big removable one, and it’s a lot harder to modify the built in magazine than to buy a bigger removable magazine.
My problem with “socially responsible” investment funds is it’s damned hard to find out exactly what’s in the fund. I spent days and days doing research to find one, because my idea of socially responsible isn’t everyone else’s idea. I don’t care about alcohol companies, for example, but I do care about defense contractors and the like. Ultimately you just kinda have to trust what the fund says. I finally found one for my little IRA account, it’s called Parnassus Equity Income Fund. They don’t invest in companies involved in alcohol, tobacco, gambling, defense contractors, or “those that are bad polluters.” But I’ve read that they still have 14% of their assets in assets in oil, natural gas companies and electric utilities that burn fossil fuels.
There really needs to be more transparency in any fund that claims to be ethical or socially responsible.
I believe without action by Congress, since the Republican Party of paranoid white men with penis anxiety will never pass anything, under the Patriot Act the President could simply order all persons owning assault rifles placed on the terrorist watch list. Then they could choose between owning their sick toys or never getting to fly on airplanes. Permanent IRS audit. That sort of thing.
@Roger Moore: I would say removable magazines of any capacity on a semi-automatic weapon make it an assault weapon. And that’s what should be banned, whether it’s a pistol or a rifle.
Jimmi the Grey
@efgoldman: then the little bitch failed by wussing out and having to use a gun. Now a real man woild have (fill in the blank).
@efgoldman: I’ll bet you that a lot more of them than you might think are in it primarily for the money than the ideology. Those people can be shamed.
They put Chrysler into bankrupcy as well.
@Jimmi the Grey: …played chess?
Also, the relentless imagery of gun-toting macho men courtesy of “liberal” Hollywood is some messaging that will be impossible to counter. Hollywood needs to stop making guns the symbol of real manhood, a la .007 and the like. That ain’t happening.
@Soonergrunt: OI! I said that Grunt Boy! :) It was just a wee bit fancier.
@efgoldman: ahh, yes. It’s like anything else. There will be a rash of worse incidents before it gets better.
@Soonergrunt: semiautomatic guns, at least in the hunting context are often the sign of a very bad hunter.
(With the possible exception of wing shooting. And I guess varmint or pig control… But I don’t think opening up on a herd of pigs with a 450 thumper is really “hunting” at all.)
To be fair to 007, apparently he has a super-fancy smart gun that only works if he’s the one holding it in the latest Bond movie.
Not surprisingly, it’s the only kind of gun that the gun nuts hate.
My thought was annual registration of all firearms with registration fees based on level of lethality; liability insurance rated by firearm and number with discounts for secured storage and trigger locks; a new public advocacy group a la MADD called MOMS (Mothers Opposed to Mass Shootings).
Perhaps Truth Campaign could branch out into Gun Safety ads?
I had the terrible thought that a grieving Newtown parent might take the approach of Emmet Till’s mother and show the world what multiple shots (or even a single shot) from a Bushmaster rifle does to the once adorable body of a six or seven year old. I’m not a ghoul so I am not suggesting this. I just was reminded of the open casket for Till and also the idea that Matthew Brady’s photographs of Antietam took the horrors of war from the merely conceptual to the brutally real. If I allow myself to even begin to imagine what the first responders found at Sandy Hook, I cannot in any way imagine how anyone could oppose measures to get these guns and large capacity clips out of our society.
@Jager: A the Chrysler point, wasn’t Dan Quayle a senior officer of the group?
I wouldn’t be friends or actually have much to do with someone who owns an assault rifle. That’s pretty much prima facie evidence of crazy.
I guess I’d better add letters to my California state rep and state senator asking them to support this bill to my list. Thanks!
...now I try to be amused
In No Logo, Naomi Klein wrote about a community organizer’s campaign to stop inner city kids killing each other over expensive sneakers. One thing he did was inform kids how little it cost Nike to make those shoes. The kids were pissed when they learned this — not on behalf of the sweatshop workers, but because Nike was playing them for suckers. Everybody hates to be played for a sucker.
Perhaps the Truth campaign worked for the same reason.
@…now I try to be amused:
“Don’t Be A Sucker” (1947)
Technically, it’s an anti-racism/anti-fascist short, but the tactics used will look awfully familiar. Plus it features one of my favorite classic Hollywood character actors, Felix Bressard, in a cameo.
Not hardly. Steve Rattner, Obama’s car czar, put Chrysler into bankruptcy, and Cerberus got royally fucked in the process. It lost its entire equity investment AND waived repayment of $2 billion in debt.
@Mnemosyne: Of course that might not have prevented this particular incident since Lanza shared the gun with his
mother, er, victim, er co-conspirator.
I’ve been seeing gruesome stories about crowds of reporters following Newtown locals around. Surely the mob would be better employed besieging the National Shooting Sports Foundation and its management?
Did anyone watch Larry Pratt on Pierce Morgan CNN tonight? Pratt’s answer to the Sandy Hook massacre is that EVERYONE should carry an AR-15 or concealed weapon . . . even at school, church, wherever. Pratt is an idiot and Morgan diced him up pretty nicely, but I still found myself screaming “douchebag!!!” at Pratt on the TV. I guess the answer to 9,000 gun deaths per year in the USA is even MORE guns. Whatevs.
Rich (In Name Only) in Reno
I caught a bit of the local news tonight while visiting my folks to watch a Warriors game (GSW 104 – NOH 93,) and there was a segment on how over the last several days since the Sandy Hook School Massacre, sales at the local gun shops have skyrocketed; mostly hand guns. One dealer stated that they’d seen as much business in that short period of time as they typically do in three months. Surprise; there has also been a run on 30 round magazines.
Funny, but I don’t feel real safe knowing this.
@some guy: How about $500 for the intermediate rounds that assault rifles use. Maybe something similar for semi-auto pistol ammunition. Carve out an exemption for rounds fired at an approved gun range, for bullets fired on premises. Exempt high powered rifle ammunition such as the .30-06 and hunting loads for shotguns. Make squeezing off a 30 round magazine cost as much as an entry level car. Legitimate hunting ammo is too powerful to be fired at a high rate. The rifle can not be controlled due to the kick. Make black market ammo have serious criminal penalties, say like crack cocaine.
@Violet: How about the buyer must present documentation that they are allowed to buy a gun, and the seller is liable for any sales to an unregistered buyer.
Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937
@JoyfulA: I researched social responsible investing a couple of years ago. We moved my wife’s 401k into a Domini fund. There is also a fund company called Calvert (I think).
I think I got the background and general philosophy of ‘socially responsible investing’ from William Greider’s book The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy. When it began the basic screens were:
no nuclear power
no defense companies
Recent conversations with financial managers down play the benfits but my wife’s fund is doing fine, almost doubling (we think) in about 7 or 8 years.
I don’t like obsessing over investments so some people can argue you can do better doing something else. I’d rather put it somewhere and forget it. These funds are fine enough for me.
Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937
@Southern Beale: One thing I like about the Bourne series was that he succeeds without using fancy gimickry or access to ‘secret’ information. Everything he uses is ‘open source’. I don’t recall whether there’s a lot of gun play. There probably is by the ‘bad’ guys but I don’t recall whether Jason Bourne is usually armed or not.
Let me get this straight:
Every time an X-related really bad thing happens, X sales go through the roof because group A cries out for X control, and then group anti-A flees to buy as many X as possible just in case those shady folks in the GUBMINT come calling for their precious X.
Tell me, regardless of whether or not you are liberal, conservative or whatever, if the government talked about reinstating Prohibition, wouldn’t you go out and buy a few spares of your favorite alcoholic beverage?
Drew Magary is saying “gun companies are profiting from the anti-gun hysteria” like it is something unique to guns. If it turned out the government was going to ban something as useless as 9-inch monochrome green CRT’s, monthly US sales of them would skyrocket from zero to possibly dozens of them. Potential bans of anything encourage buying and hoarding.
Surely there are better people to quote and better arguments on the issue than that one.
That Gawker quote is extremely shrill.
The calling out of gun collectors as all small pe…will backfire. Plenty of them are sane and just like to collect, read history, talk manufacturing history etc. They closely resemble antique collectors, doll collectors etc in fact they are often related. that is one relative collects guns, another collects dolls another shows purebred dogs. If you don’t like the hobby you think its nuts and a waste of money but people really get into their hobbies. they make fun of other peoples hobbies “people read magazines about fish?!” overheard at book store when I was a serious aquariest beside racks of all the different kinds of hobbyist magazines….
The collectors I know (2 men one woman) are not nuts. They have serious gun safes (700 pound monsters) that they need friends and family to get home. ammo is locked up. They don’t boast about their collections because burglery rings target gun collections ($). I have never shot a gun so I’m not at all expert but they do all know well call them gun fools. People who own guns carelessly. Not mass killers, just the equivalent of drunk drivers or aggressive drivers…people the gun collectors avoid because they consider them accidents waiting to happen even though the careless are quite likable. the careless don’t do sensational media circus killings but I think they end up killing far more total people. domestic violence being the other big killer. Anyway careful regulation plans could divide the gun hobbyists into for regs and the die hard dead ends to the betterment of society getting something that works done. My acquaintances used to pretty reflexively vote vote gun rights but I know the oldest and I would have said least changing voted Obama. He is a Vietnam vet who actually personally got spit on by an anti war view person as a “baby killer” back when (once and someone else witnessed it) but the Republicans lost him over Iraq. Stupid war in a familiar way. The other 2 I think are actually too young to have really seen enough life and thought beyond the moment but I don’t know them well enough to say. Older guy has stated over a year ago that the gun show loophole and private sales loophole should be closed. Didn’t have to do persuasion, it came up in passing in conversation he already thought so.
Another ancedote, years ago we went to an estate sale of someone my dad had known as a kid, friend of his dad. Estate advertised guns and woodworking equipment collection. Dad was drooling over the woodworking stuff. $6000 programable wood shaper…I don’t know what the actual name was but lots of high end hobbiest stuff or even professional. Teh guy did not make a living from either hobby collection. He owned several garages and was no joke named cooter. Unfortunately for dad plenty of other people knew what those things were worth and there were no bargains. While we waited for auction (huge crowd at the house) Dad explained quite a few of the guns history that even he who hadn’t been around guns since childhood, knew. African big game hunting gun, this that and other things that made little impression on me but they were a collection. All unique, that is not 20 of a kind like the paranoid militia types might want but definately plenty that weren’t actually practical hunting for food locally. History really matters to the collectors & it’s not all or even mostly civil war…any war. Also often Dad or grad dads guns start the collections. Oh and family inheiretance fights are pretty much a part of it. One child wants to keep the collection, other child sees the resale value and wants to cash in….
Pretty much like any other collection/hobby so thinking all are nuts and saying that, alienates those who could be voting allies. Lic., insurance gun safe requirements could all be lived with IF you don’t call the plain collectors nuts, the process isn’t so F*** up that people hate it and I think they would like it if you could get the drinking hunters out of the woods. the rabid gun collectors I know are actually afraid of the drinking bragging hunter types.