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An Online Journal of Independent Views & Discussion
June 7, 2013
Name, Website, All Contents copyright 2011-13, Warren-Hill Productions
Published in Northern Arizona, USAhttp://www.TheIndependentDaily.commailto:editor@TheIndependentDaily.comshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1

Merry Christmas and Pass the Ammo

Joseph Warren, Editor


“ America, the person most likely to kill you.”

Here in Arizona most of us view the acquisition and possession of Guns as an inherent right: Something inexorably granted to us by a freely interpreted Constitution, without much thought or consideration for the consequences.

Arizonans, for the most part, tend to see things as either black or white and we are opposed to mandates of any type - government or private. Ironically, we pride ourselves in our deeply-rooted American values while we shop freely at Walmart, and at the other purveyors of Chinese products, to ensure continued under- and unemployment of Americans.

So you understand: I sometimes carry a firearm. I have a permit to do so. I have been cleared by the Federal government on many levels throughout my life for various reasons. I have no criminal record. I am a graduate with a significantly high GPA from a Catholic University. I have an Honorable Discharge from the military. I very rarely consume alcohol. I am an “Older” American by definition, and even I don’t trust myself to carry a firearm in some situations, and anyone who says they do under all circumstances is naïve, foolish, and believes in his own infallibility.

I am a supporter of Gun ownership. But I believe that there is a time and a place. I think, though, that we’ve allowed our fears to over-reach logic in the sale and exchange of firearms, and that’s what this rather lengthy article is about.

As Americans we scratch our heads wondering why violence is so prevalent in schools, at offices, and in our neighborhoods, yet everyday as a country we condone violence on a global level through our military and glorify those deeds in film and television. We don’t show the underside of war…the deaths of the innocents.

As an example, following the horrific event at Sandy Hook where 26 children and adults were killed in a violent fusillade of gunfire in 2012, the group known loosely as the Sandy Hook Mothers took to the media to denounce the availability of firearms in America: They wanted them banned. They – Guns – had killed their children. The causality of this dreadful occurrence escaped them completely, as it did many Democrats and Republicans – most of whom failed and fail to see the clear link between what we as a country do to others, and, thus, what we have learned to do to each other.

Diane Feinstein for one was a vocal supporter of the Iraq war and the devastation that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of women, children and noncombatant men, and yet she purports to be against gun violence and gun ownership by Americans. She is not alone: Hypocrisy and truncations in logic abound in America today.

We wring our hands in frustration and confusion over neighborhood crime while allegedly Liberal Hollywood loves nothing better than to cast America’s Black people into the roles of felons, miscreants, sex-crazed punks, gangsters and pimps, with the possible exception of one-out-of-three Denzel movies. Middle Easterners fill the balance of on-screen mix in their roles as Terrorists, fueling impressively high anti-Muslim hate crimes on our streets in small-town and metropolitan America.

Our children learn through violent gaming that conflict is vanquished by might. They spend hours upon hours on Social Media sites mingling unfettered with friends, acquaintances and a slagheap of predators and social misfits who are guaranteed anonymity by virtue of the medium.

Like in Arizona, a large part of America is taught, and believes, that it is not only a God-given right to own a firearm, it is also a survival necessity. And that, sadly, has become a self-fulfilled prophecy.

So, where does that leave us?

I’d like to say that it’s difficult to buy a firearm in Arizona – a gun – if you are otherwise prevented from gun ownership in the United States, but that would be a lie. Guns are sold, swapped, transferred, bartered and available nearly literally on every street in any of Arizona’s cities.

Many of us carry them with us throughout our work and play time. We leave them unattended in cars. We stockpile them in our homes. We trade them off at gun shows and flea markets. We make no effort to ensure that the purchaser doesn’t intend to bring about unprovoked harm with our former firearm. “Hey, once it’s sold it’s not my problem…” It’s just one of the hundreds-of-millions of firearms in America today.

How many do we own?

For every 100 Americans, there are 90 firearms in the US today. That’s more than 300 million for every man, woman and child – including newborns and toddlers, or twice that per capita than any other country.

And while Mississippi is the national champion in illegal exportation of weapons outside its state borders, Arizona does pretty well too: something like 1600 illegal firearms every year find their way to other states. Personally, I would think the number would be higher given the availability of firearms here, but feelings can be misleading.

For what it’s worth, there are a lot of illegal guns that find their way into Arizona, too: More than 1000 a year. Some shoot cops. Some shoot Moms and Dads and children.

Most of the guns we sell off here in Arizona, a legal transaction by our definition but forbidden in most other states, find their way to California. Every year California is the primary recipient of other states’ generosity gaining more than 4000 illegal firearms acquired outside the scope of California’s laws for lawful gun exchange.

So, let’s take a look at what makes for a lawful exchange in California and by Federal law, in layman’s terms:

While not all inclusive, generally, someone who buys a gun cannot be a known Felon, someone who commits violent misdemeanors, or someone who has a documented problem with Domestic Abuse. A buyer cannot buy a gun for someone else – that’s called a straw man purchase and is strictly forbidden on all levels. Also, someone who has a history of mental illness can’t buy a gun, either.

To make certain all of the conditions are met, each purchaser, when buying through a bona fide gun dealer in California has to undergo a background check through the Federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS.

How good is the NICS system?

For the period 1998 through November 2014 more than one million applications for gun ownership were denied. 56% were rejected because they had been convicted of a serious crime. About 11% were rejected because they were deemed to be Fugitives from Justice: Wouldn’t you think they’d know better than to apply for lawful gun ownership? And, wouldn’t you question the intelligence of someone who thought they could withstand the scrutiny of an automated check system?

Anyway, nearly 10% had been convicted for Domestic Abuse, and 63 out of the more than one million had renounced their US Citizenship, and still wanted to legally own a firearm.

Not long ago the NICS process was heavily criticized for not being a very all-encompassing database – missing individual data that had led to what should have been a denied application, and subsequently to sensationally reported crimes. All along NICS is under mandate to include more state and local information to improve the effectiveness of its database. It’s working at it.

Still it would be nice to think that those who had been denied a legally purchased firearm would have said to themselves, “O, well: I suppose I shouldn’t have one…” and let it go at that, but I doubt that’s the case.

In Arizona one may apply for and be granted – so long as he or she isn’t one of those people who can’t own a handgun – a Concealed Weapons permit which allows the holder to carry a firearm, obviously as the name implies, concealed. A few years ago Arizona law changed to permit anyone who could legally own a firearm to carry it concealed nullifying the need for the permit.

Nowadays the advantage to having a permit is to obviate – to remove – the need to go through the professed long, lengthy and paperwork-intensive process to buy a handgun, as an example, from a licensed firearms dealer. No change has been made to the law to purchase a firearm from a private seller. In fact, the law’s set up to be an honor system.

For someone in Arizona to sell a handgun to anyone requires that the buyer provide an Arizona picture ID – like a driver’s license. It doesn’t require that the seller contact anyone to clear the individual as not being a Felon, mentally ill, or steaming mad at what his wife said that morning as he was walking out the door for work.

In truth, few Arizona sellers even bother with the ID: they’re more interested in the cash transaction. A number of years ago - beyond the Federal Statute of Limitations today, I bought a fully automatic firearm – a relic from World War Two that was still very functional. It included two, 36 round 9mm magazines, either of which I could empty into a target quicker than pouring 36 rounds from my hand. Total cost? Less than that for a standard 9mm sidearm. A few months later, I was offered another for about the same price. In the first case where I bought the weapon, I didn’t show an ID; the seller didn’t know me from…

Handguns are the most common, along with rifles and shotguns, piled atop flea market tables and in beds of pickup trucks. Available for barely nothing for a Saturday Night Special, to several hundred dollars or more for a quality firearm.

Stolen? Sometimes. Our licensed dealers try to impress on buyers the need to consider the private party firearm as potentially stolen and thus troublesome, to say the least. The reality is, that anyone who proposes to use a firearm immediately in a crime, or holds it for defense from fellow criminal elements in the future, or intends to dump it in California, as an example, really doesn’t care if it is a stolen firearm or not.

On average in the US there are about 230,000 firearms stolen during burglaries and robberies each year according to the Bureau of Justice. In Arizona in 2012, 256 firearms were reported “Lost” not stolen. How does one lose a firearm? Do you leave it accidentally on the restaurant table? In your child’s preschool class? Do you accidentally put it into the cell phone recycling bin, confusing your old iPhone for your Glock?

Statistically, we know from this number that there are about 256 Arizonans who ought to be included on the list of those ineligible to purchase a firearm. You can add an additional more than 800 names for 2012 alone from Florida, “Essie, have you seen my gat? I think I may have left it at my urologist.”

So, some years ago we at proposed a change to Arizona’s Revised Statutes – we did the line amendments for them, spelling out the intent of the proposed legislation: To improve the legal transfer of firearms within the state of Arizona, and to thus strive to ensure that only residents qualified to own a firearm may buy one through a private seller.

It was a simple law change. It said that to buy a firearm from a private seller in the state of Arizona, the purchaser must have a Concealed Weapons permit. No recordation of the firearm would be made – because we’re crazy about that here: We do Not want to register our guns. Under the proposed law only the purchaser data would be recorded - someone who probably has a record of prior firearms purchases from dealers, so there’s really nothing new or revelationary. To not follow the law was proposed to be regarded as a Felony.

If the purchaser didn’t have a Concealed Weapons permit, then they were required to buy the firearm through a licensed dealer. Simple. A little more restrictive than today, but it would also have improved enforcement against illegal gun sales.

We sent off the entire legislative package – being good citizens – to our state Senator, who promptly ignored it without response. She was a Democrat. We are not. We have been Independents for years and hold no party affiliation for precisely this reason: Neither Democrat nor Republican, generally speaking, has the fortitude to buck the tide of legislative fever, to painfully mix metaphors.

It would have been politically inconvenient for her, even though Arizona is not overwhelmingly Gun crazy: There are factions within our legislature who are, though, and those people are not interested in anything that looks like change in a more restrictive sense, because the National Rifle Association, of which I was a member, brings too many gifts to our legislators to be denied their very active voice.

Frankly, I don’t think anyone in Arizona is anticipating a gun battle while grocery shopping. I think the vast majority of Arizonans want to keep firearms away from children here and in other states. I think Arizonans, like everyone else in America are concerned about the direction our country has taken in the last 15 years or so. I believe that most of us want to live in peace with our neighbors, next door and globally.

But to do that we need to live above Fear.

Here are some facts to consider: According to the National Counter-Terrorism Center, A US citizen is hundreds of times more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than by a Terrorist act, so we can easily discount Terrorists from our daily lives.

If you are a resident of Texas you are twenty times more likely to be killed by your state government, making the use of a firearm moot unless you’re located somewhere in Waco. If you are a citizen of any other country in the world, you are tens-of-thousands of times more likely to be killed by the US government than by a Terrorist act, which brings us back to the point of this article: Our children learn from the highest authority how best to resolve conflict.

Most significantly, in America, the person most likely to kill you. In 2012 the US Suicide number was 40,600.

February 2015 Update: Arming Ukraine, from Bloomberg News

“Some U.S. officials and diplomats in Washington are openly discussing supplying weapons to the Ukrainian army, a position that has been rejected by Germany and is viewed skeptically by President Barack Obama. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said in an interview in Munich that the U.S. could provide defensive weapons to Ukraine.” See what I mean? Violence is our solution to every conflict. -Ed

We are reminded of an earlier-publish article from 2012 we thought you might like to read, as well:

Obama Affirms Feinstein’s Federal Hunting Limit on Children



“ continue killing more than ten (10) children, as an example, (he) must change out (his) magazine...” - Barak Obama and Diane Feinstein

This week President Barak Obama approved Senator Feinstein’s proposal to limit the number of “Kills per Weapon” to not more than ten (10) children without requiring a shooter to change out a magazine or revert to a second or subsequent weapon, failing once again to understand that it has nothing to do with the firearm.

The proposal advanced by Senator Diane Feinstein, California, and Manchin, West Virginia (both supporters of the Iraq War), is very reminiscent of the long-expired Assault Weapons Ban, a law which did nothing to curb violence in America (see the Shepherd’s Billy Club, column left).

Under the provisions of this legislation, weapons (or the magazines that feed them) may not have a capacity in excess of 10 rounds. Ipso facto, if any given shooter is a qualified marksman he will thus be limited to not more than 10 kills per magazine or weapon. Thereafter to continue killing children, as an example, “the shooter must change out the magazine and replace it with a fully charged magazine...”

As an alternative, the law will clearly imply that he may, “ the shooter’s own discretion, carry a separate, 10-round weapon hence obviating the need to re-charge the firearm previously so depleted...” (“Optionally, the shooter may avail himself of as many additional weapons as needed of said capacity.”)

In this way, Feinstein and our other Congressional members may avoid having to confront the issues of violence in our society: Please read, Connecticut, Why Are You Shocked, elsewhere in this issue. Likewise, no single Senator will be required to generate any original thoughts that might raise the ire of our friends at the National Rifle Association, the NRA.

As well, and foremost, to admit that our societal ills lay (at least in large part) at the feet of a government that promotes and condones violence on a global basis is tantamount to having pulled the trigger on the children of Connecticut. Thus both Feinstein and Manchin, who dually supported the 2002 resolution to invade Iraq are manifestly culpable in the murders of those 20 children.

...Reagan decided that providing help to the mentally ill was an unnecessary expense...

I suppose it goes without saying that likewise are Obama, Bush, and a host of other ne'er-do-wells, or as we theorize in an article appearing on this page, “Kill ‘Em All”, Lunatics.

Historically, culpability extends to the late 1960’s when then-Governor of California, Reagan decided that providing help to the mentally ill was an unnecessary expense, releasing people who otherwise would have benefitted greatly from mental health treatment: Fortunately, and seemingly, most have found their way into the US Congress.

We cannot legislate good behavior. We cannot legislate civility. We can only teach our children that violence is not an end in itself, and then, practice what we preach.