Thursday, June 23, 2016

Gun law sit-in: sorting good bills from the bad

While Republicans display unprecedented cowardice, I'm still developing my ideas to combat America's pandemic of mass shootings. Like I said, it will take time.

Congressional Democrats' sit-in has been a winner in the court of public opinion. Republicans have already adjourned Congress to begin their Fourth of July vacation almost 2 weeks early, but the sit-in continued until today. It would serve the GOP right if they caught the flu and it ruined their break.

This sit-in was inspired by congressional inaction on 4 gun-related bills. The press's reporting has gotten so lazy that it's hard to discern exactly what was in the bills, but we'll try to broadly sort good ideas from the bad.

The good: Expanded background checks. If you buy a gun at a gun shop, you already have to undergo a background check. Why should flea markets and gun shows be any different? A disproportionate number of gun purchases by right-wing domestic terrorists have taken place at these venues - not shops with fixed locations. For at least 30 years, the biggest criminal threat to America has been from right-wing domestic terrorism, and this has to become a major focus of legislative and law enforcement action.

The bad:
Using the "no fly" list to deny gun purchases. Another website calls this a "bad, stupid bill" because the "no fly" list is itself irreparably flawed. Our civil liberties support must extend to abolishing the "no fly" list. The list was developed by the thuggish Bush regime and is full of people who have no connection to terrorism or other serious crime. We didn't like the list when it was used to deny people the right to travel, so why should it be used for anything else?

In addition to honing in on right-wing extremism, we should repeal Bush's law that shields irresponsible gun dealers from being sued for customers' crimes.

The sit-in was certainly effective at calling attention to Republicans' inaction. I hope the Democrats have sit-ins on other issues too, like the minimum wage or expanding Social Security.