Cuomo demands NY gun safety, where is Patrick?

In a passionate State of the State speech yesterday New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo called New York the “progressive capital” and said it would have the nation’s safest gun laws. He challenged legislators: “you show them how we lead!” NYT: “Mr. Cuomo acknowledged that legislators were likely to face pressure from gun-rights groups not to pass his proposals, but he said that had an obligation to their constituents to support legislation that would improve public safety.”

But Massachusetts is the progressive capital, and the greatest state in the country: we should have the nation’s safest gun laws as a matter of personal security and protection of our children.

It is time for our leaders, especially Governor Patrick but also the lords of the legislature, to lead. Recent events demonstrate that security from military-grade weaponry can only be obtained by forbidding its private ownership. Newtown was perpetrated with a legal gun that was stolen. No background check, worthy though such measures are as a general principle, would have prevented it. Recent mass murders by lunatics at Fort Hood in Texas, a giant military base, and Columbine High School and Virginia Tech, both of which had armed guards, demonstrates the fatuousness of arguments that weaponry offers effective protection for surprise attacks by heavily armed maniacs. No guns, no massacres.

As to the politics, support for private ownership of military-grade arms — which in the wake of Newtown is effectively an endorsement of mass child murder — has  collapsed into the ever-more-extremist Fox/Republican Party: the GOP continues to move right as the country moves left. Our fragmented system of national government may allow them to block national security legislation in the interest of gun company profits and the paranoid ravings of some of their base. After all, under the absurd filibuster rules tolerated by the Democrats 10.2 percent of the population can block legislation (we’re almost as weak at the moment as the famed Polish Parliament that required unanimity and led to the collapse of the state). If so, it will be a Pyrrhic victory along the lines of Mitt Romney’s embrace of the radical right to win the GOP nomination: short term success, long term irrelevance. But a lot of children will be murdered along the way.

Democracy Now!

New York Gov. Unveils New Gun Control Measures

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has unveiled what he has billed as the toughest gun control legislation in the country in the aftermath of last month’s Newtown massacre in neighboring Connecticut. In an impassioned State of the State address on Wednesday, Cuomo called for tightening the state ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, as well as new measures to restrict gun sales to those with mental health issues and criminal records.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

“And I say to you, forget the extremists! It’s simple: No one hunts with an assault rifle! No one needs 10 bullets to kill a deer! And too many innocent people have died already! End the madness now! Pass safe, reasonable gun control in the state of New York! Make this state safer! Save lives! Set an example for the rest of the nation! Let them look at New York and say, ‘This is what you can do! And this is what you should do!’ This is New York, the progressive capital; you show them how we lead!”

The gun control measure is expected to be approved in the next week, with state Republicans saying they will not stand in its way.

Separately, Gawker yesterday published the name of every holder of a gun permit in New York city: Here Is a List of All the Assholes Handsome Law-Abiding Citizens Who Own Guns Some People in New York City.

Recommended by judy-meredith, dave-from-hvad.


10 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Our Governor Deval Patrick addressed the need to respond to flu's spread

    Our Governor Deval Patrick addressed the need to respond to flu’s spread, on network television.

  2. New York already has a igh-cap ban

    limiting magazines to 10 or fewer bullets, plus it has very restrictive transport regs. It’s probably the toughest state in the country.

    I didn’t hear anything new and effective in Cuomo’s speech unless he is suggesting confiscating all high-capacity magazines and all semi-automatic weapons.

    This may run afoul of Heller.

    Oh, and by the way, plenty of people do hunt with AR-15′s.

  3. Ft. Hood, VA Tech, and Columbine

    At Ft. Hood, all service personnel were prohibited from carrying weapons (loaded or not) while on base. The base has armed guards at entry points, but it was a civilian cop who first responded.

    At Columbine, the one armed safety officer was in his car, in the parking lot, having his lunch. He was not inside the school building. When he confronted Harris from behind his car, he was 60 yards away, much too far for effective use of a handgun. The elapsed time between when the guard called police and the SWAT team’s arrival was 18 minutes; this is important as local law enforcement was on scene but waited for SWAT (unlike Sandy Hook.) Read the complete Jefferson County sheriff’s account here.

    VTech has an armed security detail, but they were, like the Boston PD, unable to respond quickly enough (“call 911!”) The campus is 2,600 acres so your claim that it was protected by armed guards is inoperative. The shooter was flagged by VT as mentally troubled, but didn’t (wouldn’t? couldn’t?) report it to Virginia or federal authorities to include in any data base.

    • Have you ever been to the VT campus?

      I have. More than once. Hell, my parents live about an hour away. Sure, the campus is 2600 acres but “main campus” is dense. Not Boston University dense, but kids to walk from building to building to go to class.

      Your statements seem to underscore the point that armed guards is just not a solution. Reducing the firepower of civilians is the only way to go…

      • Easy to suggest, hard to do

        Reducing the firepower of civilians is the only way to go…

        How do you suggest doing this? A new AWB? Confiscation of certain weapons and accessories? “Better” licensing?

        • Sure.

          * a new AWB [assault weapons ban]
          Sure, and I don’t know enough about guns to craft an assault weapons ban well, but my belief is that a mediocre ban is better than no ban at all, and that the AWB from 1994 was mediocre. And yes, guns and magazines can be modified but I’m not interested in letting the edge case get in the way of a large but imperfect success.
          * confiscation of certain weapons?
          Sure, I’d confiscate whatever is banned, be it weapons, accessories, magazines, or bullets. But I don’t think that the weapons I’d feel comfortable confiscating [and owners being reimbursed] would result in a substantial percentage of weapons being taken out of the hands of the public. They’d be the most violent weapons to some extent, but not a large number. We’re not talking the “average” handgun, rifle, or shotgun here.
          * Better licensing?
          Yes. A few ways, including some or all of (i) required licenses for all owners. Both written and practical, no different in concept from a drivers license. And yes, the license itself will have security features like a drivers license, so when fish&game, law enforcement, etc comes upon folks with guns acting questionably, they can inquire about the license; (ii) all gun transactions [sales and gifts] must go through a licensed dealer, who facilitates by confirming IDs of all parties and processes the background check. You can’t buy a gun without a license in the stomv scheme, and the dealer helps ensure that holds up. This also makes straw purchases much more difficult. Oh, this also includes gun accessories and bullets — you don’t get to buy any of that without the same background check and licensing requirement; (iii) required insurance for all owners — if your gun is used to cause harm, you’re on the hook financially (unlimited liability) unless you’ve already reported it stolen, so insurance or a huge self-insure is required; (iv) required appropriate storage is difficult because SCOTUS went after DC in part over locking up guns, but something could be done here. If your gun was adequately stored and stolen, bummer — call the cops, process the insurance, I’m sorry for you being the victim of crime; if your gun was improperly stored and stolen, that’s a big deal. I won’t hold you as an accessory to any crimes committed with that gun if you report it stolen, but I will make you pay a substantial fine and suspend your firearms license for a time. P.S. It was stolen more than X days ago (7? 30?) and you didn’t report it stolen? Congratulations, you’re now an accessory to every crime committed in conjunction with that gun; (v) limit on the number of guns purchased each month; (vi) limit on total number of firearms owned [I'm not sure if this is wise or not]; (vii) mandatory jail time for the owner and/or other responsible adult when a bullet hits a kid. I don’t care if it was an accident, if it was a 16 year old committing suicide, if it was a freak thing where a bullet ricocheted 90 degrees when out hunting. Don’t want to go to jail? Don’t be associated with the gun if there’s any chance a kid gets hurt. It’s that simple. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a large minimum. 30 day minimum gets the point across; (viii) drinking and hunting is long term revocation of hunting license, minimum fine; second offense is that times two plus jail time. There’s no excuse to mix firearms and alcohol, and yet it’s done routinely out in the woods, and it’s a real and completely avoidable danger to the gun holder and anybody else within range. Oh, and then there’s (ix) national database. Come on, this isn’t tricky. It’s extremely difficult, slow, and expensive for law enforcement to track gun ownership/possession now when a crime is committed, and it need not be. In conjunction, (x) to the extent technology allows, I want guns to “mark” bullets and/or casings so that tracing evidence on the scene to a specific gun is easier, and (xi) when that license I mentioned above comes up every (5? 10?) years, you’ve got to bring in every firearm you own and have them inspected by a licensed gun dealer. We do this for autos every year or two, no reason we can’t do it for guns once or twice a decade. What are they inspecting? Both (i) that the gun is safe to operate, and (ii) that it still complies with federal laws related to what weapons can be owned and that the weapon hasn’t been tampered with to “skirt” the AWB or other restrictions on the militarization of firearms. It should still mark the bullet/casing if it’s a newer weapon, etc.

          I’m not (just) interested in reducing mass shootings. I’m interested in reducing the chances of any instance of gun violence, including accidental injury/death and suicides. I believe that approaches like the ones I listed above would all help individually; in tandem they’d be even more effective.

          Will “the politics” allow it? Dunno. Maybe you start with some of these things in the blue states (NY seems interested in taking the lead) and you work hard to make them effective, which includes all of: measurable success, low cost to implement, low pain-in-the-ass factor for upstanding citizens interested in owning a gun. Sure, getting a license is going to cost money and time, but I don’t want the delay to be “processing time” and I don’t want the applicant to get the run-around. I do want owning a gun to require significant training and consideration beforehand, and I want it to entail a constant (daily!) reassessment — where are my guns? Are they stored safely? Is everyone in my home, licensed or not, appropriately educated about the weapons?

          In short, I want folks to treat guns like my father-in-law and my brother-in-law do.

          • Goods points all

            Except for confiscation, many of these ideas are already in place, though not all in single a jurisdiction.

            Take Massachusetts. Most (not all) of your points under “Licensing” are in force. Training, recording PRIVATE face-to-face transfers, storage, drinking and shooting, liability, etc. We have an AWB. Connecticut has most of these too.

            Many of the points you mention are common sense, and lawful and responsible gun owners agree and do them. The problem is terrible things happen in spite of it. Look at Chicago. Or Washington, DC.

            In response to these bad things that keep happening, the progressive inclination is to promulgate more ineffective new laws and more burdensome regulations, none of which “solves” the problem. The AWB falls into this category. It does little to prevent these bad things because, well, it’s a placebo law, it makes gun-control advocates feel better. But that’s about it.

            The holy grail,of course, is confiscation, an idea already floated by Gov. Cuomo. This is fraught not only with constitutional challenges, but also political ones: the America people are against it.

            Unlike Canada, Australia, and the UK, which did this, we have a Second Amendment which makes confiscation, even a partial confiscation, impossible.

            Even still, would confiscating all high capacity magazines and all semi-automatic weapons be effective? Would everyone turn them in? Could you be successful rounding up all those hi-cap semi-autos: handguns, shotguns and rifles? 260 million privately owned firearms. Good luck.

            My suggestion to all progressives who feel confiscation is the best way to prevent more Newtowns?

            Amend or repeal the 2nd Amendment.

            • I agree and disagree

              The “confiscation” comes with payment, I emphasize.

              As for Chicago or Washington DC, my understanding is that most of those gun crimes come with guns not purchased in those jurisdictions — which suggests that, in fact, the law *is* working and would work better were it applied more broadly (to the rest of Illinois, for example).

              I think the AWB without confiscation is better than no AWB, and an AWB with confiscation is better still. I don’t think its placebo or feel good — it may not “complete” the job but I do think it helps on the margins.

              Unlike Canada, Australia, and the UK, which did this, we have a Second Amendment which makes confiscation, even a partial confiscation, impossible.

              Nonsense. You don’t have the right to any weapon you like, at least that’s the current understanding. Show me some SCOTUS which demonstrates your claim — I don’t think it exists. Maybe the SCOTUS would come down that way, maybe not. Crafting the law well would be important of course.

              Even still, would confiscating all high capacity magazines and all semi-automatic weapons be effective? Would everyone turn them in? Could you be successful rounding up all those hi-cap semi-autos: handguns, shotguns and rifles? 260 million privately owned firearms. Good luck.

              Most of the 260 million privately armed firearms are unrelated to the high capacity magazines and weapons which would fall under an AWB, so those are wholly unrelated to the point. Would everybody turn them in? Nope. But, after the grace period, when its a felony to own them, the owners are in quite a dilemma — they can’t shoot them in public without fear of being turned in, and if they turn up for any other reason, jail time is a hell of a deterrent for most.

              Amend or repeal the 2nd Amendment.

              Gladly. That’s a higher bar than passing legislation at the Federal level methinks, so I have a hard time imagining it… but I’m all ears.

  4. To BostonShepherd's comment...

    …titled “Easy to suggest…” My answer to your suggestions is yes, all of the above.

  5. Shame THEM!

    It should not be hard to keep track of who has brought back a banned assault weapon (and been compensated). Those weapons are supposed to be registered today — that means it should be possible to enumerate licensed assault weapon owners who have not returned their now-illegal weapons.

    Those names and addresses should be published, much like what took place in NY recently.

    We need to make it completely unacceptable to possess, own, use, sell, or produce these weapons and their ammunition.

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Fri 28 Apr 2:34 AM