French Hill No. 1 with NRA; Tom Cotton popular too. So what about gun control? UPDATE | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, October 5, 2017

French Hill No. 1 with NRA; Tom Cotton popular too. So what about gun control? UPDATE

Posted By on Thu, Oct 5, 2017 at 7:20 AM

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An article in the New York Times notes
that 2nd District Republican Congressman French Hill of Little Rock was the No. 1 career recipient of NRA campaign contributions in the House.

The article pairs NRA beneficiaries with their quotes — many thoughts and prayers — on the Las Vegas massacre.

Sen. Tom Cotton finished just out of the Senate top 10. The NRA spent $2 million alone in 2014 to elect him. To date, Cotton has parroted the NRA-provided talking points: This is a time for mourning, not to talk about gun law. It is NEVER a time to talk about gun law for Cotton and the NRA. The Washington Times quoted Cotton:
As a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mr. Cotton said it is hard to imagine how Paddock may have obtained the type of weapon that could kill that many people. He said those types of weapons, some of which are used by the military, are kept under “multiple locks” on military bases.

“It’s not something that you just find at Wal-Mart or a local pawn shop or anything else. Machine guns have been very strictly regulated in this country for 80 years. They’ve been nearly prohibited for 30 years,” he said.

This is so wrong you have to conclude a weapons expert like Cotton was being intentionally disingenuous (lying, in other words). It is cheap, legal and easy to convert a semi-automatic rifle to automatic-style fire.

Of course mourning is appropriate. It also would be appropriate for Hill and Cotton to respond to a question about new legislation proposed to ban the "bump stock" accessory that can turn a semi-automatic weapon (lethal enough as is) into a fully automatic weapon. Such devices were in the possession of Stephen Paddock, when he rained hell down on a concert crowd in Las Vegas.

The NRA will not allow this legislation, of course. Because any weapon restriction is a step down the slippery slope of gun control. But, for now, because of public outcry, the NRA-approved talking point for legislators is that it is permissible to "talk" about gun restrictions. You just can't do anything.

In a country where 3 percent of adults own half the guns — which means that 3 percent owns 1 in 5 of privately owned weapons in the entire world— a small number of gun-crazed can make a powerfully large noise. Every poll shows a vast majority of people in the U.S., for example, believe we should make background checks universal and close the gun show and other loopholes. (Yes, I know background checks didn't stop Paddock, but they have stopped thousands of others and every little bit helps.)

Controls do discourage misuse of weapons, even if they don't eliminate it. Even the late Justice Antonin Scalia acknowledged that the 2nd Amendment doesn't prohibit regulation of firearms. Some places to start:

Universal background checks.

Ban automatic weapons and accessories that create them.

Ban, or place limits on ownership of, military-style weapons.

Ban high-capacity magazines.

Ban armor piercing ammunition.

I'd settle for this compromise. A slate of voter referenda on these ideas. If the people of Arkansas or any other state prefer the gun status quo, fine. The NRA and its enablers in the Arkansas legislature don't dare put these kinds of common sense ideas to a vote. They prefer to elect gun lobby puppets like French Hill and Tom Cotton.

UPDATE: The Arkansas Democratic Party today urged Republicans in the Arkansas delegation to vote to ban bump stocks. Said Party Chair Michael John Gray:

Party Chairman Michael John Gray:

I will be the first one to sound the alarm if people try to take away your 2nd amendment right to protect yourself or your right to hunt. But there are measures we can take to keep our communities safer without giving up those rights. For instance, we must ban bump stock purchases. A bump stocks' only purpose is to maximize carnage. There is no reason someone should be able to go to the store, and for $99 create a weapon of mass destruction like the one used in Vegas.

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