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Old 02-08-2013, 07:25 PM   #1
Eliza azilE
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Why this rep says no to gun control

I got this lengthy response from my rep, Bob Gibbs OH-7, regarding gun control. While he doesn't claim to speak for his entire party, he is a hack, and I assume not alone in his opinions. (By the way, nice guy--total moron.)

Is he persuasive? Completely wrong? Please analyze.

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Thank you for contacting my office regarding gun control legislation. As your representative in Congress, I appreciate your input on this important issue.



On December 14, 2012 our nation experienced an unspeakable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. A gunman stormed Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered 20 young children and six adult staff members. My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the victims and families of those affected. As a father myself, I cannot begin to imagine the pain these families are experiencing.



In response, the President and some members of Congress have called for stricter gun control legislation. On January 16, 2013 the President announced a series of executive actions and legislative proposals stemmed from a task force headed by the Vice President to curb gun violence. These executive actions, 23 in total, ranged from increased police data sharing, further studies on the causes of gun violence, and the nomination of a director to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.



While there is no constitutional or statutory language defining an executive order, if based on the appropriate authority, they have the force and effect of law, unless overturned by the courts or Congress. While I remain concerned about the executive overreach of this Administration, some of these actions like increasing police data sharing make sense and should have been done long ago.



However, the President's legislative proposals are what concern me the most. These include reinstating and expanding the assault weapons ban, limiting ammunition magazines to ten rounds, and requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. These legislative proposals were vague (definition of a semi-automatic assault weapon) and included no plans on how to implement or enforce them (background checks for private sales between family members and friends).

While I agree with the President that we must identify ways to ensure that our children are safe and protected from those who wish to do them harm, I do not believe that infringing the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners is the way to achieve that goal. People choose to own firearms for a variety of reasons and many new gun laws end up adding burdens to law abiding citizens with no impact on criminal activity. We need to better enforce our current laws and work to ensure individuals with mental illnesses and criminals cannot get their hands on firearms.



It is important to note two major federal laws already regulate the commerce and possession of firearms: the National Firearms Act (NFA) of 1934 and the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968. The NFA most notably bans fully-automatic machine guns and the GCA regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners by requiring background checks and licensing for gun dealers.



As a member of Congress, I took an oath to support the Constitution. The Second Amendment clearly states "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." This is why I have serious concerns these proposed bills would impede the right of lawful gun owners and do nothing to keep guns off the black market or out of criminals' hands. That being said, I will closely examine any new gun legislation and be sure to keep your thoughts in mind.



Again, thank you for contacting my office. Please continue to keep me informed on the issues that are important to you. For more information on my work in Congress, or to sign up to receive my e-newsletter, please visit the 7th District's website at: http://gibbs.house.gov.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:35 PM   #2
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Rep. Gibbs doesn't understand the concept of a whole sentence, apparently.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:46 PM   #3
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I used to buy this kind of argument.

However, I've had enough of it. I don't have a slavish devotion to some words written on a page by deeply flawed men living hundreds of years ago. We must make laws for our time and our situation, not mindlessly accept the customs and norms of pre-industrial aristocrats.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:05 PM   #4
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I wonder if he sees the collection of contradictions in the positions those paragraphs represent?
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:14 PM   #5
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If it's an all or nothing acceptance, he's got some valid points. I won't be impressed unless he grabs the smart proposals and runs to construct a bill that will meet his standards of constitutional compliance. Otherwise it's just more complaining about somebody else's solution without participating in finding a solution for a serious problem.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarpedon View Post
I used to buy this kind of argument.

However, I've had enough of it. I don't have a slavish devotion to some words written on a page by deeply flawed men living hundreds of years ago. We must make laws for our time and our situation, not mindlessly accept the customs and norms of pre-industrial aristocrats.
Let's distinguish between the laws and the constitution. The former only need comply with the restrictions of the latter, which does not prohibit temporal solutions to problems the founding fathers never could have anticpated.
When there is some flaw it the constitution, there are ways to remedy or modify it. Ignoring it is not the solution.

Laws, if followed and enforced as strictly as we, at least used to, wish the constition to be, will work to meet the needs of a current problem. The problem, as I see it is, that laws are not enforced very well, particularly in the punishments phase, and there seems to be a cry to pass that same standard on as to following the constitution.

Let's not blame the document, let's look in the mirror at those unable to produce meaningful law in the legislative branch and convince the judicial branch to take the result seriously. You and I, through the electoral process, have not put the right people in place to accomplish this.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:53 PM   #7
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Actually, I have. Everyone who've I've ever voted for is working towards a solution.

The problem is that there are others working against one, people who promote an idolatrous view of the Constitution and the Founding Fathers.

Not recognizing one's own responsibility for a problem is a a problem. Unfairly blaming oneself for a problem is also a problem. Neither approach brings a solution closer.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:07 PM   #8
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Quote:
However, the President's legislative proposals are what concern me the most. These include reinstating and expanding the assault weapons ban, limiting ammunition magazines to ten rounds, and requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. These legislative proposals were vague (definition of a semi-automatic assault weapon) and included no plans on how to implement or enforce them (background checks for private sales between family members and friends).
These proposals bother him the most because... they're vague and there's no specifics about how to implement them?

Really?

I bet that, for one, there would be plenty of specifics before these proposals ever made it into law, especially if the Republicans in congress would actually engage in dialogue regarding specifics rather than just saying, "No, not specific enough, not gonna do it." For two, if the legislation were perfectly specific, with exact specifications regarding the banned guns/clips/mags and procedures for background checks, it would still be met with the exact same argument being used now; specifically the Rep's very next line:
Quote:
While I agree with the President that we must identify ways to ensure that our children are safe and protected from those who wish to do them harm, I do not believe that infringing the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners is the way to achieve that goal.
Of course, there is legitimate debate regarding the second amendment - do background checks, in themselves, infringe on the second? Does the second amendment mean ANY weapon the government has should also be available to the citizenry, including explosives, bombs, gas, grenade launchers, the whole shebang, or are some restrictions logical? But the Republicans don't seem to want to participate in this discussion honestly. They want to say they want to find ways to "keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill," out of one side of their mouth and whine about background checks out of the other. They want to say that their freedom to form an armed militia means they have a constitutional right to any gun, clip, or mag they want, because the citizens should have the same sort of weapons the government has out of one side of their mouth, then talk about how we need to go to war with other countries - entire COUNTRIES - because those countries are developing the same weapons capability that the US has. There's no way they'd tolerate someone building bombs in their back yard.

This is all smoke, mirrors, and bullshit when what we need is an honest dialogue.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:32 PM   #9
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I'm utterly mystified that anyone on any side of this debate sees background checks as something to waffle over. Enforcing them? Yeah, that's a problem. I get that. But I assume the President's proposals include guidelines for enforcing them. So what's the real objection?
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:53 PM   #10
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He says nothing of substance. He adds nothing to the debate. He implies support of existing 20th century gun laws, and then falls back on the old standard of reciting the words "shall not be infringed," as if that is the end of the argument.

If the right of gun ownership is never to be infringed, how can you support ANY law, no matter how reasonable-sounding, or time-tested that prevents citizens from owning and carrying the weapon they may want?

If you do support existing laws then you have already agreed that "shall not be infringed" is not an absolute value, so stop reciting it as if it were. Instead, enter the debate on what is and is not effective and reasonable in the 21st century and stop trying to convince people the future is never going to happen.
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