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Posts Tagged ‘NRA’

A Senator’s Response re Toomey-Manchin

Posted by Scott Holstad on July 7, 2013

After the Toomey-Manchin amendment was voted down by our elected government officials even though polls showed that it had the support of over 90% of the US population, I emailed Tennessee’s US senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (both Republicans), to express my disdain for their vote. I tried to send messages shaming them into admitting they were in the pockets of the NRA. I finally heard back from one: Bob Corker. Here is his message in its entirety. The staffer who wrote this was quite good. Notice the excuses framed as looking out for rights of rural people, etc., et al. It’s truly disgusting.

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Dear Mr. Holstad,

Thank you for taking the time to contact my office to share your views about gun control legislation. Your input is important to me, and I appreciate the time you took to share your thoughts.

The right to own firearms for self-defense, and for other familiar purposes with my family and friends, is important to me as a Tennessean and as an American.  It has been a tremendous honor to be given the opportunity by Tennesseans to weigh in on their behalf during such a critical time in our history as the Supreme Court has since provided great advances in securing the Second Amendment as a fundamental tenet of American liberty.

That said, what happened last month in the Senate cannot be satisfying to anyone. We spent the balance of a week debating the Toomey-Manchin amendment that, if enacted, would have had no effect on preventing the tragedies in Connecticut, in Colorado, in Arizona, or in many of the other recent mass killings, and would not have addressed the more critical issues involved in preventing that type of violence in the future.

When it comes to the many challenges facing parents, law enforcement, and our judicial system dealing with violent mentally ill people in our society, the inability to respond before violence occurs is a frustration widely known by communities across our country.  The vast majority of Americans are rightly concerned that, without action, their community will suffer the consequences of this volatile status quo and be home to the next mass killing.

On mental health, there are three legs to the stool that need to be propped up.  The first is ensuring that we are identifying those in our community that are dealing with mental illness and getting them to appropriate resources.  Next, we need to confront the legal impediments and ambiguities that exist at the state and federal level to ensure that those that pose a danger to themselves or others can be dealt with in a way that ensures due process, but that also ensures necessary treatment is provided while clearly establishing when an individual becomes a prohibited gun owner.  Finally, we need to work with states to ensure that the records of prohibited purchasers are reliably and efficiently added to the background check database.

A related problem is that only a very small fraction of all prohibited individuals attempting to illegally purchase firearms in Tennessee are actually prosecuted. I supported the Grassley amendment to help correct this gap in enforcement by providing additional resources for law enforcement and beefing up penalties for prohibited purchasers and those who facilitate illegal firearms transfers.

I think most Tennesseans believe, like I do, that we also should be improving background checks in a way that allows fast and accurate checks to be easily performed by law-abiding citizens, and that prevents criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining firearms, while at the same time ensuring that Second Amendment rights are not infringed upon.

However, the Toomey-Manchin amendment went too far in infringing Second Amendment rights and I opposed it for two main reasons. First, the amendment did not provide certainty about which firearms transfers required a background check and which didn’t. By failing to clearly state which transfers would become illegal, Americans would not have the notice they need to be able to avoid running afoul of federal criminal law and would likely face selective prosecutions. None of us should want to put law enforcement in a position where they can pick and choose what actions are criminal.

Second, the amendment required that firearm transfers between two private individuals be conducted through a licensed firearms dealer.  I believe asking Americans to find and travel to a willing gun dealer and to pay an unknown, but potentially not insignificant, fee would lead to negative outcomes. It would substantially burden the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right, which would in turn discourage transfers from occurring within the background check system, resulting largely in over-criminalizing law abiding people. Particularly in rural areas, it was impossible to predict how far individuals may have to travel to find a dealer willing to perform this type of transfer, let alone how much they might be charged for the service.

These issues are complex and implicate our most fundamental constitutional rights of personal liberty and self-defense.  Unfortunately, a single amendment became the litmus test for determining who wanted to prevent the type of violence that has shocked our conscience, and last month’s debate was cut short before real solutions that respected the Second Amendment could be considered.  We owe it to all those who value our responsibilities toward the mentally ill, the safety of our communities, and the Second Amendment to get this right.

Thank you again for your letter. I hope you will continue to share your thoughts with me.

Sincerely,

Bob Corker
United States Senator

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So that’s it. What do you think? Imagine, infringing on the rights of rural people to sell their guns in an effort to save lives. Wouldn’t want to do that, would we? Cause those rural people REALLY need to sell each other their guns. What a crock! And I’m so sick of blaming the mentally ill. I’d love to know how many gun homicides are committed by the so-called mentally ill each year versus “normal” people. Anyone got any stats? Considering there are over 30,000 violent gun deaths each year in the US, far and away more than any other country, I’d love to know how many are committed by the mentally ill. I doubt it’s many. Sure, they get the high profile mass slaughters, and it’s accurate to assign blame, but are the gang members in Chicago and L.A. mentally ill or just messed up individuals who need to be locked up? I’m sick of seeing the mentally ill blamed. That’s an NRA cop out, an easy excuse for them. They’re the truly bad people to blame, or at least their leadership is. And they claim to be patriots. It’s disgusting. WHAT’S SO DAMN HARMFUL ABOUT UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS???

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Senate rejects expanded gun background checks – CNN.com

Posted by Scott Holstad on April 17, 2013

Senate rejects expanded gun background checks – CNN.com.

It’s ever so nice to know we have the NRA looking out for our rights to get slaughtered in cold blood by assault weapons. The next time there’s a massacre, and there will be one, I’m writing every NRA official and congressman I can think of to personally assign blame for the blood of the victims. The NRA is vile and so are the politicians that support them.

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Gun loophole makes no sense

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 23, 2013

Mark Kelly: Gun loophole makes no sense – CNN.com.

Read this article written by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ husband. It’s pretty good and it’s good common sense.

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Annabel Park: Replying to My Pro-Gun Friends and the NRA

Posted by Scott Holstad on February 5, 2013

Annabel Park: Replying to My Pro-Gun Friends and the NRA.

This is an excellent, excellent, excellent article in response to gun control and the idiocy of the NRA.

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10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down | Mother Jones

Posted by Scott Holstad on January 31, 2013

10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down | Mother Jones.

I think this is an excellent (short) article that everyone should read.

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Household Funk

Posted by Scott Holstad on January 10, 2013

There’s a funk in my household and it’s not from George Clinton. It doesn’t help that it’s dark, bleary, and rainy out either. For me, it started this past weekend when I got a $1,500 bill from my physical therapy place. I was stunned. I shouldn’t be paying a dime; my insurance should. But since it was the weekend, I was left to stew about it until Monday. It really ruined my Sunday and my enjoyment of the NFL playoffs.

When Monday morning came, I called and was told that my insurance company had denied my claims. That made no sense, so I called my insurance company. They looked back in the records three months and told me they hadn’t received one claim from this place for me. So I called the physical therapy place back and, sure enough, they had submitted the wrong subscriber ID. It was an old one from two years ago! I was pissed. I told them that they had a photocopy of my current insurance card, why couldn’t they get it right, and they had no answer. They said they would resubmit the claims. I then drove down to my local physical therapy office and had it out with the receptionist, who I’m sure mis-keyed my ID in the computer. She apologized, but I cancelled the rest of my appointments. I also didn’t like it that I was having to pay a co-pay three times a week, when no other office in town charges me a co-pay and my insurance doesn’t require it. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to them, even if they are supposed to be the best.

Monday night was the NCAA national championship between Alabama and Notre Dame, which Bama, of course, won by killing Notre Dame 42-14. As I’m a Tennessee fan, I’m also an SEC fan, so it was good to see an SEC team win the national championship for the seventh straight year. Talk about domination! But I was still stewing over this bill, and other unpaid bills. I’m unemployed right now, and have lots of bills — and lots of medical bills — piled up waiting to be paid. It’s been pretty rough. And I can’t get that out of my mind. It’s weighing heavily on me.

I’m trying to get my mind off of things by reading. I’m reading one book called The President’s Club, which isn’t a page turner, but is interesting. It’s about the relationships presidents have with former presidents. The other book I’m reading is Scar Tissue, by Anthony Kiedis, the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I’ve loved the band since the mid-80s, but the book is kind of  depressing because so much of Anthony’s life was caught up in coke and heroin, along with other things. It’s a crazy book, but one I should probably be reading on sunny days.

Of course I’m paying attention to politics. I’m very interested to see what will happen with gun control. I know I’ll probably upset some readers, but I’m in favor of it, and I’m a proud gun lover. I don’t see why we need assault weapons for sale to the general public! Their only use is for killing people! You don’t hunt deer with an AR 15. I also don’t think we need high capacity magazines. Who needs 30 rounds for self protection? Again, those are made for murdering people. I also think there should be background checks for every gun sale, and mental health should be made a greater priority. And I sure as hell DON’T think arming our teachers is the answer! So I’m worried Biden will come back with some of these recommendations, and just when the public is behind the administration, the NRA will swoop in and get its paid off Congressmen to defeat new legislation. I don’t understand how the NRA, with only 4 million members, can hold so much sway over the country. I’ve had arguments with friends and non-friends about this situation, and of course I’ve heard the tired refrain that guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Well, people use guns to kill people. Look, the other civilized nations have gun control laws and they have something like 20 or 40 gun murders a year. We have over 10,000!!! It’s not a coincidence. Fewer guns means fewer deaths. It’s that simple. Of course, it won’t mean an immediate stop to crime, and yes, criminals will still find ways to get guns, but these people committing mass murders weren’t criminals. They were nuts. If there had been a decent database to track these types of people, perhaps they never could have bought their guns. It’s a thought, anyway.

Today I have to go to the vet to get some flea medication for the cats. I have to go get a damn flu shot. I promised my fiance I finally would. Didn’t realize it would be killing people. See, the last two times I got flu shots — years ago — I got the flu, so I never get them. I guess I will today though. I have to go to Staple to buy labels. We’re doing our own wedding invitations and they look pretty good. That’s the one bright spot for the week. I’ve really enjoyed working on them, and working on our wedding registry too. These labels are the last thing we need, and then we can mail them out! Exciting.

Since my last surgery last October, I haven’t had TN-type head and facial pain, but I’ve been having a lot of standard headaches. Yesterday I had an all day headache, and it just wouldn’t respond to any type of medication. I’ve also been very tired, and have been having trouble sleeping. I’ve been up since 3:30 AM today. I’m tired and grumpy. I do hope to finish these two books reasonably soon so I can write new book reviews. I have four others that I’m in the middle of, but they’re definitely not page turners, so it’s slow going. I’m really disappointed with the Autobiography of Malcolm X. I’m about a third of the way through it and hoping it improves. So far, he was just a punk.

I’ve also been reading poetry submissions for the magazine I serve as poetry editor for — Ray’s Road Review. I accepted poems from two writers yesterday. One was quite good. I rejected poems from two others. I have about seven more to work through today. They don’t appear to be very promising. I’m trying to finalize the Spring 2013 issue while beginning work on the Summer issue.

My fiance has been down too. She misses her family back North, and is having work issues. She’s frustrated, and it’s frustrating that I can’t help her more.

I guess that’s the end of my diatribe for the day. Sorry if I brought you down. Sorry if I upset too many NRA members. The weather is supposed to be bad through the weekend, but hopefully I’ll be able to recover my good mood somehow. Hopefully my fiance and I will have a good weekend. Until the next time — cheers!

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