Monday, March 21, 2011

Tully Praises Kennedy for "Bold" Initiative on Guns; Kennedy is Still to the Right of Mayor Ballard on Gun Rights Issues

Over the weekend, Matthew Tully had a column praising Democratic candidate for her initiative on guns:
Kennedy's plan centers on the loophole that allows people to buy guns without a background check from unlicensed sellers at places such as gun shows. If elected, she plans to join a coalition of U.S. mayors that has asked Congress to close the loophole.

She also plans to step up community education efforts, push for stronger penalties for illegal gun traffickers, and improve the process of making sure people who should not buy guns are entered into the federal background-check database.

Hoping to guide a calm discussion on the issue, she is stressing her support for gun rights and emphasizing that her plan is focused only on those who illegally possess guns.

If you're not a criminal and if you don't have a history of drug abuse or mental illness, you shouldn't be worried," Kennedy said.
Tully fell over himself praising this as a "bold" position.   Of course, there is  nothing bold about her position. Kennedy's  proposed reforms would not actually do anything.   How many guns used in crimes are bought at gun shows?  Besides, although I've never bought a gun at a gun show, I'm told the "loophole" doesn't exist.  As far as a "history of mental illness" being a deterrent, I always get a kick out of that one. There is no database of people with mental illness used for screening gun purchases. Rather it depends almost entirely on self-reporting.  It's pretty safe to say that Kennedy's suggestions aren't going to do anything to keep criminals from getting guns.

Kennedy's move is primarily a political one aimed at solidifying her base which frankly doesn't like guns.

I note with interest what Tully reports as Mayor Greg Ballard's response when asked about the Kennedy iniative:
That explains why so many politicians cower in fear of the consequences of even talking about the issues that Kennedy brought up last week. It also likely explains why incumbent Mayor Greg Ballard's dance around the issue was so clumsy last week that I had little idea of what his real position was after 20 minutes of questioning him on the topic.
Ah... Ballard has finally awoken to the fact that Republicans, his base, tend to be very supportive of gun rights.  The problem for Ballard though is that he has spent three years ticking off gun rights supporters.  Here are five positions Ballard has taken with respect to gun rights:
  • Ballard has praised NYC style gun registration and suggested it should be used in Indianapolis.
  • Ballard has maintained the strictest gun return policy in the Midwest.  In Indianapolis, if a gun is wrongly taken from your home, Ballard's IMPD will not return it unless you're fingerprinted and the gun undergoes ballistics testing.
  • Ballard had taken the position that the City of Indianapolis does not have to comply with the Second Amendment, a position directly contrary to Attorney General Greg Zoeller.
  • Ballard has threatened to veto a city-county council measure allowing people with gun permits to take their guns into city parks.  This is despite laws that allow gun owners to take guns into state parks and into federal parks, the latter which was signed into law by President Obama.  Ballard is to the left of Obama on the issue.
  • Ballard appointed Frank Straub as public safety director despite Straub's long history of hostility to gunowners rights.
The fact is Ballard finds himself to the left of Melina Kennedy when it comes to gun rights, which is not a place where any Republican should want to be.  Now he (or his political advisers) have awoken to that fact, and Ballard is trying to find a way to get back to the right.  It's too late for that.


Pete Boggs said...

NYT: "Riveting!"

Criminals listen to people like Kennedy with keen interest.

Nicolas Martin said...

In addition, people referred to as "mentally ill" are no more likely to commit violent acts than the general population.

Severe Mental Illness Alone Does Not Predict Violent Crime

The best predictor I know of violence is whether a person aspires to political office. Those people you need to keep your eye on.

Nicolas Martin said...

Since there is no good alternate place to post this, I'll do it here.

Harkening back to a discussion in which I argued that corporations don't pay taxes, and was refuted by Mr. Ogden, I should like to quote the esteemed Walter Williams, professor at the country's best school of economics, George Mason University.

"What about the politician who tells us that he's not going to raise taxes on the middle class; instead, he's going to raise corporate income taxes as means to get rich corporations to pay their rightful share of government? If a tax is levied on a corporation, and if it is to survive, it will have one of three responses, or some combination thereof. One response is to raise the price of its product, so who bears the burden? Another response is to lower dividends; again, who bears the burden? Yet another response is to lay off workers. In each case, it is people, not some legal fiction called a corporation, who bear the burden of the tax.

"Because corporations have these responses to the imposition of a tax, they are merely government tax collectors.

"They collect money from people and send it to Washington. Therefore, you should tell that politician, who promises to tax corporations instead of you, that he's an idiot because corporations, like land, do not pay taxes. Only people pay taxes."

-- Dr. Walter Williams

Djonni Smith said...

It's not that I don't want civilians to own a gun. It's about firearm responsibility. I agree that gun shop owners should look for background check first before selling their items.