Gun control - Dems have the NRA covered

I've had my mind on other things the last few days, so it was only today that Jerome's heads-up alerted me to the dark (but predictable) doings in the Senate Apps Committee.

There is nothing (that I can see) on the Committee site (which is not one of the better examples); but the today's NYT editorial he links says that 5 Dem members voted with the GOP for the Shelby Amendment, which strengthens the Tiahrt Amendment.

Feel free to yawn.

However - what the Tiahrt Amendment does is to prevent the ATF from using gun purchase info in all but the narrowest ways; the Shelby Amendment backs this prohibition with criminal sanctions.

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Baby Get Your Gun

I am in favor of registering firearms.  I am a gun owner myself.  

I believe that there are people that should not have guns or gun permits, like 10 month old babies, but I am not in charge of that and so we get....

Baby 'Bubba' gets a gun permit
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP)

Oh it is true and see below for more.

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Polls Show Declining Power of Gun Lobby

Gun Lobby's Declining Pull
By Glenn Hurowitz

Even in the wake of a shooting as horrific as the Virginia Tech massacre, the gun lobby still looms very large in Washington. Neither the congressional leadership nor any of the leading presidential candidates have indicated that they're going to bring up gun control legislation that could prevent guns from getting into the hands of people like Cho Seung-Hui - or the criminals who used guns to kill 11,624 Americans in 2004 alone. "I hope there's not a rush to do anything," said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid.
It's not that most Democrats think that common sense gun control measures don't make sense. It's that they've bought into the notion (peddled aggressively by the National Rifle Association) that any support at all for gun control is political suicide.  
It's an old Washington trick: if you can't win a policy debate on the merits, convince politicians that a certain policy will help them get elected. And the NRA has been a master at this gambit. During the 12 years in which Republicans controlled Congress, lots of pro-gun candidates won big with the NRA's vocal support.
But are those victories actually attributable to the gun issue - or were there other factors at work as well?
Public opinion data suggests that the gun lobby has played only a very small role in determining election outcomes; indeed, there's a strong indication that support for reasonable gun control measures actually boosts performance at the polls, even in relatively conservative districts.

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Guns, Exploitation, and Virginia Tech

I'm mildly in favor of gun control, but basically I think it should be left up to the urban, suburban, and rural areas to determine on their own.  The NRA has passed a series of laws mandating that gun control be regulated on a statewide basis, which undercuts the ability to manage guns according to local controls.  The National Rifle Association, though, is a different story.  It is a scary organization, quite antisemitic and a hotbed of racism and extremism.

Let's leave that aside.  There's this idea floating around that the Democratic base has given up on gun control or that the blogs don't care about guns.

-- Empowered by red-state freshmen named Webb, Tester, Shuler and Ellsworth, anti-gun Dems sounded defeated following the gun massacre. Carolyn McCarthy called new gun controls a "tough sell." Rosa DeLauro: "We tried and it didn't succeed." Lloyd Doggett: "We're not going to take this kind of political damage bringing up something that would never become law." Even Chuck Schumer, the DSCC chair, demurred.

-- Dem silence, echoed in the netroots, stands in marked contrast to the howling debate Giuliani sparked 4/14 in IA, where he urged GOPers to "get beyond issues like" abortion. One pro-life GOPer responded: "Apparently, we're supposed to just 'get beyond' the murder of 3,000 innocents every day in America." Hardly the voice of defeat.

-- With some regional exceptions, guns and abortion once defined each party's base. For the GOP, it apparently still does. Basking in their newfound power, have Dems moved on?

The reason we aren't pushing gun control is because more gun control restrictions would not in fact have prevented the Virginia Tech tragedy.  We're not like single issue groups on the right and left in that we don't avail ourselves of direct mail revenue based on opportunistic tragedies.  We're not suburbanized single issue voters adding up to 51 percent.  And so we mourn this tragedy without prescribing a public policy solution.  And personally, I try to keep from commenting on this kind of thing because it feels rapacious to do so.  I don't know how Matt Lauer does it every day, pretending he's not a multi-millionaire TV star but actually is the voice of ordinary Americans he doesn't know.  It's exploitative.

Anyway, from a public policy standpoint, Iraq seems much more relevant than gun control.  We're causing three Virginia Tech tragedies every single day in Iraq, and that's directly linkable to policy choices we can change.

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I reread the constitution and I could not find where citizens have a right to a fast loading semi-automatic handgun.  When the 2d amendment passed, the right to bear arms for militia purposes was based on a musket that took one minute to load for one shot.  Now the citizenry can buy police issued guns? Surely, a regular revolver can work for the ostentatious reason of defending oneself. On the other hand, Glocks are assault weapons. I mean, how far does this right go? Can we have explosive bullets shooting from an "arm" at 1000 rounds per minute? Either we hone down this right with common sense or terrorists are going to figure out that anybody in this country can take down thirty Americans without any of us being able to prevent it.  

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