Thursday, January 17, 2013

The gun 'debate;' Mr. President, Mt. View must not go hungry

Posted By on Thu, Jan 17, 2013 at 6:47 AM

DEAR BARACK: Arkansas senators son writes the president and she Twitters it to the world.
  • 'DEAR BARACK': Arkansas senator's son writes the president and she Twitters it to the world.

The reaction to President Obama's call for a range of reactions to gun violence has been about as thoughtful from the gun nut side as I figured. To Arkansas Republicans, any effort to protect the safety of citizens is an attack on the Second Amendment, though even the current Republican gun majority on the Supreme Court has clearly sanctioned a variety of regulatory tools. The Guns Over People Party, Chris Matthews called the GOP last night.

The gun nuts, before they are done, will round up dozens of sponsors in support of a kneejerk resolution introduced yesterday in the Arkansas legislature in support of the Second Amendment, a meaningless time-waster if there ever was one. If only the 1st Amendment would fare so well.

A special shoutout to radical Republican Sen. Missy Irvin, the Kochs' major mouthpiece in the Senate, who proudly posted her 12-year-old son's letter to President Obama on Twitter last night. He wrote:

I live in Mtn View, AR & here, unlike Washington DC, we all have guns.

I was surprised to learn Tyson chicken apparently hadn't made it to Mountain View grocery stores in any life-sustaining quantity. Or those tubes of pulped up pink beef parts. Wrote the senator's son:

We use guns to put food on the table here and we all rely on guns. Without guns our whole town will go hungry!

Have they banned fishing in the White River?

PS: Nice manners Sen. Irvin teaches at her place. A 12-year-old opens a letter to the president of the United States, "Dear Barack"? Could have been worse. Could have opened with racial epithet, as some Arkies would prefer.

Also: No self-respecting Arkansas legislator would ever take guidance from a foreign country, I know, but they still might be interested in a NY Times op-ed by the right-wing leader of Australia who pushed tough gun control measures there after a murderous semi-automatic rifle slaughter in Tasmania.


Because Australia is a federation of states, the national government has no control over gun ownership, sale or use, beyond controlling imports. Given our decentralized system of government, I could reduce the number of dangerous firearms only by persuading the states to enact uniform laws totally prohibiting the ownership, possession and sale of all automatic and semiautomatic weapons while the national government banned the importation of such weapons.

To make this plan work, there had to be a federally financed gun buyback scheme. Ultimately, the cost of the buyback was met by a special one-off tax imposed on all Australians. This required new legislation and was widely accepted across the political spectrum. Almost 700,000 guns were bought back and destroyed — the equivalent of 40 million guns in the United States.

Yes, there was massive resistance from rural states.

For a time, it seemed that certain states might refuse to enact the ban. But I made clear that my government was willing to hold a nationwide referendum to alter the Australian Constitution and give the federal government constitutional power over guns. Such a referendum would have been expensive and divisive, but it would have passed. And all state governments knew this.

In the end, we won the battle to change gun laws because there was majority support across Australia for banning certain weapons. And today, there is a wide consensus that our 1996 reforms not only reduced the gun-related homicide rate, but also the suicide rate. The Australian Institute of Criminology found that gun-related murders and suicides fell sharply after 1996. The American Journal of Law and Economics found that our gun buyback scheme cut firearm suicides by 74 percent. In the 18 years before the 1996 reforms, Australia suffered 13 gun massacres — each with more than four victims — causing a total of 102 deaths. There has not been a single massacre in that category since 1996.

Few Australians would deny that their country is safer today as a consequence of gun control.

Nate Bell would. And many of his Arkansas legislative cohorts.

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (60)

Showing 1-50 of 60

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-50 of 60

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas conservatives react to same-sex marriage decision

    Jason Rapert, Mike Huckabee, the Meeks bros, Jerry Cox — beyond these extremists, it's hard to find statements from other Arkansas conservatives. That tell you something?
    • Jun 26, 2015
  • AHTD asks Metroplan to lift six-lane freeway cap

    The board of directors of Metroplan has informed the state highway department that it cannot act on the highway department's June 17 request to lift its six-lane freeway cap at the board's June 29 meeting. Consideration of the request should take four months, Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher wrote June 22 to highway department Director Scott Bennett.
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • Farewell to a school teacher, Susan Turner Purvis

    A tribute to a great school teacher, Susan Turner Purvis, who died yesterday. Far too soon.
    • Jul 17, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation