Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Loonies Emerge

Predictably, the lunatic fringe began to be heard from only moments after President Obama announced proposals for tighter gun controls that also reaffirm the constitutional right of responsible individuals to own firearms.  The loony who got the most media attention was a sheriff.

Why was Sheriff Tim Mueller of Linn County, Oregon, so newsworthy?  Well, for one thing sheriffs usually are referred to as “law enforcement officers.” When Mueller sent a letter to Vice-president Joe Biden saying he would not enforce laws or executive orders improving gun control if he deemed them unconstitutional, the sheriff moved from the realm of enforcing laws to deciding their merits. That would make him a novelty in modern America—a cop who also is the judge.

Mueller says in his letter he has served as a law enforcer for 31 years, so it seems fair to assume he is an adult. He should know that convincing voters in Linn County to elect him sheriff did not confer the power to rule on the constitutionality of federal laws or executive actions. The Supreme Court has ruled several times that the federal government has all the authority it needs to establish reasonable gun controls. And what the president has proposed is reasonable.

It is not surprising that the National Rifle Association refused to participate in developing the current proposals. Even though many polls show a large number of NRA members support reasonable gun controls, its leadership prefers to pander to the fringe with scare tactics about the government confiscating all guns or “give an inch and they’ll take a mile” kinds of admonitions.

What is surprising is that thousands of people, at least some of whom probably are adults, have expressed support for Mueller. Perhaps we should adopt some mental health standards for individuals allowed to comment on important questions. Such action might be a nice complement to Mr. Obama’s proposals, which include strengthening programs that could help people with mental problems and also improve screening so those with serious mental health issues would be less likely to acquire firearms.

Unfortunately, it seems unlikely we will get to work any time soon on devising controls that would prevent mental midgets like Mueller from wearing badges while defying the legal system that true American patriots understand and support.


JHawk23 said...


schmidleysscribblins, said...

True, there are plenty of loonies when it comes to gun issues. I fear nothing short of an ammendment to the Constitution will make a difference, however.

Of course before that happens, Democrats will have to get on board. Harry Reid has a top rating with the NRA as does Joe Machin, Senator of West Virginia. I think even our moderate Democrat Senators here in Virginia will NOT agree with many of Mr Obama's proposals. Residents, including my nutty ex-husband will not give up their guns until you pry them out of their cold dead hands.

Meanwhile, we need to put more money into support for mental health clinics, back-ground checks, an armed guards on most schools. We had them on government buildings where I worked, so why not? Silly to think it can't be done.

What next...terrorists with bombs? Might seem unthinkable but so was 9-11 around here.

The world has changed and not for the better I fear. Dianne

Dick Klade said...

Some school districts in especially troubled areas do post guards. More choose not to for good reasons. I don't think the feds should impose any rules about school security on local authorities.

The NRA has lots of political power. It's not at all a sure thing that what the president proposes to Congress will be passed.

Big John said...

This bloke made it on to the British TV news.

Question ... What happens if the armed school guard turns out to be a nutter ?

Dick Klade said...

Good question, John. We know sanity is not guaranteed for all "good people" at all times.

PiedType said...

Certainly some of our inner city schools have armed guards and metal detectors at the doors. But that's a judgment call to be made by the local school districts who know their schools.

Tom Sightings said...

I don't understand how the NRA, with approx. 4 million members, wields so much clout in a nation of over 300 million people. Sure, there are a lot more gun owners than the 4 million NRA members, but they don't all agree with NRA positions. Do you know, does the NRA get financial support from gun companies? Is the NRA really more of a lobbying group for corporations than it is for hunters and collectors?

Dick Klade said...

Tom: The NRA can threaten lawmakers because it has influence beyond its 4 million members. About 80 million Americans own firearms, and many of them are exposed to and accept NRA messages.

The NRA launched a "corporate partner" drive in 1955. Although exact numbers are elusive,estimates are between $15 million and $40 million has been raised from gun manufacturers since then and the contributions continue. Obviously, that kind of money causes the NRA to be sympathetic to gun industry desires.

Kay said...

Excellent post, Dick! It's all so aggravating. The world is looking at us and shaking their heads in bewilderment. We look down on terrorism but won't protect ourselves from our own people.