mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“More Frequent Than You Might Think”: Do We Really Want To Lead The World In Toddler Shootings?

I remember last fall when I saw this article by Christopher Ingraham I hesitated to share it because it is so sad.

This week a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the back seat of the car he was riding in and accidentally shot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat. This type of thing happens from time to time: A little kid finds a gun, fires it, and hurts or kills himself or someone else. These cases rarely bubble up to the national level except when someone, like a parent, ends up dead.

But cases like this happen a lot more frequently than you might think. After spending a few hours sifting through news reports, I’ve found at least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself.

This week, Ingraham updated the numbers.

There have been at least 23 toddler-involved shootings since Jan. 1, compared with 18 over the same period last year.

In the vast majority of cases, the children accidentally shoot themselves. That’s happened 18 times this year, and in nine of those cases the children died of their wounds.

Toddlers have shot other people five times this year. Two of those cases were fatal: this week’s incident in Milwaukee, and that of a 3-year-old Alabama boy who fatally shot his 9-year-old brother in February.

I know we all despaired when even the shooting of 20 first and second graders in Newton wasn’t enough to unseat the power of the gun lobby in blocking the implementation of small steps towards common sense gun control. But are we really willing to be the world’s leader in toddler shootings?

Recently President Obama initiated one step in a process that could prevent these kinds of tragedies.

President Obama will use the power of his office to try to jump-start long-stalled “smart-gun” technology that could eventually allow only the owner of a firearm to use it, the White House announced Friday…

The administration stopped short of mandating the use of smart guns by federal agencies but said it saw promise in committing more federal money and attention to a technology that has evolved in fits and starts over more than two decades.

The idea behind the smart-gun technology is to limit the use of a firearm to its owner, through personalized identifiers like a biometric sensor on the gun grip, a ring sensor worn by the owner or a digital pass code entered on a wristband.

Advocates see the technology as a way of stopping criminals from using stolen guns — or children from accidentally shooting themselves or others.

In reporting on this, the Fox News headline reads: Obama set to push for ‘smart gun’ tech despite concerns. You might wonder about the source of those “concerns.”

The NRA does not oppose the technology. But in responding to the president’s controversial January executive action, the group’s Institute for Legislative Action said the private market, not the government, should drive its development.

“Although NRA is not opposed to the development of new firearms technology, we do not believe the government should be picking winners and losers in the marketplace,” the statement said.

While the administration may not be pushing an executive order mandating the purchase of smart guns, Second Amendment advocates fear a slippery slope.

There is no argument to be made here that this is an attempt by Obama to take away anyone’s guns. In light of that, the fallback position is to worry about a “slippery slope”…the case to be made when all else fails.

Second Amendment advocates can’t stop President Obama from pursuing the possibilities of this kind of technology. But in light of these numbers on toddler shootings, it actually blows my mind that they would even attempt to raise objections.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 3, 2016

May 4, 2016 Posted by | Gun Control, Gun Deaths, Gun Lobby, Toddler Shootings | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Want Fewer Murders? Tax Guns and Ammo”: An Approach That Other Municipalities Could Adopt

With a new national push to combat gun violence, the city of Seattle has begun to tax firearms and ammunition in an audaciously creative way to get around Second Amendment protections on guns. The tax has passed its first court test, signaling an approach that other municipalities could adopt, with a $25 tax on every firearm sold in the city, 2 cents on every round of .22 caliber ammunition, and a 5-cent tax for every other round of ammunition.

The tax went into effect on Jan. 1 after surviving a challenge from the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups when King County Superior Court Judge Palmer Rubinson ruled in December that Seattle has the “constitutional and legislative authority to impose taxes”—which, as she noted, is separate from the city’s ability to regulate guns.

City attorney Pete Holmes was initially surprised the NRA didn’t ask for a stay in the judge’s ruling when filing its appeal Monday in state court.  If the NRA sought constitutional relief, they would have appealed in federal court. But, from a legal standpoint, this isn’t about the Constitution. “Everybody assumes this is about the Second Amendment, but it’s not, and that’s the story,” Holmes told The Daily Beast in a telephone interview.

“No one is telling you that you can’t own or buy a gun,” says Holmes. “We believe we are in a safe haven. We’re not regulating guns; we’re simply adding a tax.”

In Seattle, satisfying the Second Amendment is easier for gun-safety advocates than clearing “State Preemption,” a legislative barrier that the NRA employs to block gun-safety regulation in some three-dozen states, including Washington. It’s a short statute the gun rights lobby writes and then muscles through state legislatures; it says no other body, such as the municipal authorities in cities like Seattle, can regulate firearms. The NRA’s Institute of Legal Action (ILA) churns out the statutes and lawmakers in state after state are happy to oblige.

And with so many state legislatures wholly owned subsidiaries of the NRA, it’s an effective maneuver. Holmes says it was the undoing of an executive order issued two Seattle mayors ago banning firearms in city playgrounds and parks. The Court overturned the ban not under the Second Amendment but under State Preemption.

So it is a big deal in Seattle that this modest tax is in place, and that the money it generates will go toward compiling data about gun violence and putting targeted intervention programs in place. After the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre of first-graders, Seattle funded a study that found people with gunshot wounds treated at Harbor View Hospital, the regional trauma center, are 30 percent more likely to return with another gunshot, or as a homicide victim.

The study was the first of its kind done by a city, and researchers found parallels with alcohol-related injuries in the early 1990s. Spending 20-30 minutes with patients injured in such incidents before releasing them to talk about risk and their chances of being readmitted paid off in lower re-admittance rates.

That is now considered Best Practices in all trauma centers when it comes to alcohol. So could Seattle do the same for gunshot victims? It was worth a shot, and when the seed money ran out for the gun-violence victim research and intervention program, then-City Council President Tim Burgess, a former Seattle police officer, proposed the gun-violence tax to fund continued efforts.

Not all proponents of gun regulation are fully supportive of the Seattle tax. Ralph Fascitelli, Board President of Washington Ceasefire and a longtime gun-safety advocate, praises the tax as a “good morale boost” but says it is “more symbolic than significant” because gun buyers can easily avoid the tax by going outside the city limits for their purchases.

He would also rather see the money raised go toward smart-gun technology than more research. Noting that his organization has given its “civic leader of the year” award to both Burgess and Holmes, he says, “They’re doing the best they can, but they’re like Houdini in a straitjacket—getting oxygen at sea level is success.”

Asked for his response to the criticism, Burgess notes that the tax will raise $300,000 to $500,000 a year to fund research and prevention programs, which is hardly chump change. And while his friend Fascitelli argues smart guns are prevention, “we’re not there yet,” says Burgess.

Also, if people are counting, many millions are spent each year in uncompensated care at Harbor View to care for gunshot victims, and there’s no tax anybody dares to imagine at this point that would cover that.

Seattle, like every city in America, is “awash in guns,” says Holmes. “We’re looking to do something to help reduce what is a public health issue.” Automobile deaths are second to gun deaths in America for the first time in part, he says, because as a society we treated car accidents as a problem we could solve. He’d like to see the same approach to guns.

“I’m a hayseed from Virginia,” Holmes says. “I go hunting; I was on the skeet and trap team in college. I own guns. I want to be able to talk to my friends from the rural areas and tell them if you want an AR-15 in the country, you probably won’t be doing much damage.”

Washington is an open-carry state, but when a bunch of people with loaded AR-15’s showed up at the state’s annual gay pride parade, Holmes says that “spoiled the parade and alienated a lot of people.”

That’s the kind of behavior that can get states with a deeply engrained pro-gun culture to embrace new regulations. Washington passed a ballot measure in 2014 expanding background checks. Gun groups protested the new law by coming to the state capitol in Olympia, brandishing their guns and loudly objecting until the lieutenant governor banned bringing guns into the state house.

Common-sense gun laws are the new refrain, and while they don’t go far enough for some people, they look more achievable than they have in a long time. More regulations are inevitable, and the question now is how many cracks will it take in the NRA’s façade for its cloak of invincibility to crumble.

 

By: Eleanor Clift, The Daily Beast, January 7, 2016

January 8, 2016 Posted by | Ammunition Taxes, Firearms Taxes, Gun Violence, National Rifle Association | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“A Toddler Shooter Proves The NRA Wrong”: Willfully Endangering Our Children, The NRA Is Clearly Culpable

In a week of things that only happen with guns and in America, add yet another to the list.

In Rock Hill, South Carolina, Americans’ propensity for leaving semi-hidden deadly weaponry around like it’s a Hanukkah present allowed a 2-year-old to grab a .357 revolver and shoot his grandmother in the back.

The toddler’s great-aunt was taking him for a ride in her car, and naturally there was a revolver in the back pouch of the seat in front of him, where he could reach it and shoot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat.

“There could be some child neglect or some unlawful conduct towards a child charges based on the age of the child and leaving the gun within reaching distance of a young minor,” said Rock Hill Police Chief Mark Bollinger.

The operative phrase is “could be.” If the grandmother or great-aunt had put the toddler in the back without a car seat, you can bet your ass there’d be charges. If they’d put a shot of whiskey in front of him, same deal. Or if they hadn’t fed him or left him in a hot car, or perhaps, if he were five years older, just let him walk less than half a mile to a playground.

But a gun within reach, nah. Not in the America where we’re electing cast members from Buckwild to represent us in Congress. Tea Party ignoramuses think a gun fetish is just a lifestyle choice and National Rifle Association (NRA) bullshit and legalistic bribes are tantamount to Solomonic judgments.

For here again, as with the campus shootings in Oregon, Texas, and Arizona, or the execution of a reporter on live television in Roanoke, Virginia, the NRA is clearly culpable. It has lobbied against every attempt to require that guns be stored with safety locks and told parents not to use them. It fights against the requirement or even existence on the market of smart gun technology that would allow only the owner of the weapon to use it. It has fought mandated training and the kind of personal liability insurance requirement that tends to make people more careful with their deadly weaponry.

No, the NRA pushes on kids its inane Eddie the Eagle, a cartoon character who’s supposed to convince children to get an adult when they see a gun. It’s been proven to work about as well as telling Ted Nugent to bathe. There’s a reason these things don’t happen in other high-income countries, nations not saddled with this group of misanthropic, evolutionary-scale losers operating out of the congressional offices of the vast majority of members of one of our two major parties.

Speaking of this, I have been impressed by President Obama’s reaction to the recent shootings, his righteous anger at those willfully endangering our children. But using everything at your disposal really means using everything at your disposal. So why, then, would his Justice Department award a $2.4 million grant to the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the gun industry’s official lobby, which in a cruel twist of irony is located in Newtown, Connecticut?

Handing out gun locks and teaching safety is an obvious good. But can’t you find people better to do it than the yahoos who exist near Sandy Hook and still lobbied against every reform that could have saved kids’ lives after a massacre in their own damn town? Is it possible to be more terrible human beings (I use that term loosely)?

There’s a battle raging. And the NRA is on the wrong side of it, and history as well. It will be demographically extinct within a decade to a decade and a half. But a lot of innocent people can die in that timespan, and it seems determined to make as many as possible pay the price for its ignorance and avarice.

Kids shooting their family members in cars is patently ridiculous, and preventable. It’s just another symptom of a society sick with the NRA virus. We’ve started to get better, as gun owners increasingly realize the NRA leadership is a bunch of batshit nutters and break away to do their own thing. But clearly it’s no time to let up now.

 

By: Cliff Schecter, The Daily Beast, October 13, 2015

October 20, 2015 Posted by | Gun Control, Gun Deaths, National Rifle Association | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

%d bloggers like this: