Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Gun Free Zones and Conservative Sock Puppets

Pro-gunners, particularly of the rabidly conservative variety are irrational on the topic of firearms, particularly those used in mass shootings.  They would prefer to blame victims for being shot, or the absence of firearms, for shootings that clearly would not happen in the first place if access to those firearms were more strictly regulated.  They are one trick ponies for whom the only answer is more guns more guns more guns.

Gun free zones are defined by law.  Gun free zones are enforced by law enforcement or other appropriately legal authority, the kind who are armed.  Gun free zones generally tend to involve active measures to restrict firearms - like metal detectors and/or pat-downs, and actively asking people if they are carrying a firearm (or weapon of any kind). 

Simply posting that a retail establishment does not allow or welcome civilians with firearms (as distinct from law enforcement) without measures enforcing the request does not make the area a gun free zone.  It has no teeth; rather it relies on the good will of people entering to cooperate with the request.

Where a venue, like the venue in question where Christina Grimmie performed, simply has unarmed security looking in people's bags for contraband, which COULD potentially include firearms doesn't count.  For starters, most people carrying firearms use holsters, not backpacks or purses. Security was also checking for other contraband, like drugs and alcohol.  So far as I could determine, no attendees of the venue where Grimmie performed were ever asked if they were carrying, nor did anyone perform more than the most cursory glance into purses and bags -- because no one was enforcing a gun free zone.  Contrast this theater with, for example, the TSA at an airport, or most courthouses where people go through metal detectors under the supervision of armed deputies.

Right wing media, which likes to make up details that have no connection to actual events, claimed that Grimmie insisted on no firearms as a condition of her contract to perform.  That appears to be rubbish, since she was the opening act for the main performers, and does not appear to have the clout to demand special treatment in her contract.  Rather this appears to be a pro-gunner fiction where they seek to blame the victim for being shot.  Their fantasy is that had there only been lots and lots of amateur civilians around with little or no training but lots of firepower, the shooting would never have happened.

That of course does not fit the actual events; had someone been standing right next to the shooter with a loaded gun in their hand, and the safety off, they could not have prevented the shooting.

They consistently omit that the shooter, after firing, was tackled by the victims UNARMED brother, and shot himself (apparently so far, deemed accidentally).  No need for any NRA-style 'good guy with a gun'.

Those pro-gunners will look anywhere, do anything, no matter how torturous, to avoid looking at how it is that people who commit gun violence have such EASY access to firearms.  Without the guns, there would be no shooting, no death.  A similar attack occurred in Japan for example, where there was strict gun regulation; the attacker used a knife instead, and the victim survived, unlike Grimmie.

One of the most recent erroneously styled gun-free zone shootings involved Christina Grimmie, also in Orlando, Florida.  An allegedly deranged fan shot the singer as she was signing autographs in the lobby area of the theater where she had been performing.

We get the usual drivel that if there is gun regulation only criminals will have guns; rather we have overwhelming evidence that where there is strict, effectively executed gun control, criminals have FEWER firearms and there is less gun-related crime.  Law enforcement is safer, communities are safer; it is not a fact that is in question. Those states in the US which have the most rigorous state-wide gun control have the least gun crime, while those with the most pro-gun lax gun regulation have the worst problems with firearm violence.

For those conservative sock puppets that blog promoting pro-gunner propaganda, many are avoiding the topic of the Orlando massacre, but I have seen instead where they are pushing the standard party lie that gun free zones are somehow responsible for gun murders, for example the shooting of a minor celebrity in Florida who appeared on the TV reality show, the Voice.

What IS a gun free zone?  There is no consistent definition, rather there are patchwork of laws where each location is different.  The existing federal level law is the 1990's Gun-Free School Zones Act.  Look - it was bi-partisan!
The Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) is a federal United States law that prohibits any unauthorized individual from knowingly possessing a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone as defined by 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(25).
It was introduced in the U.S. Senate in October 1990 by Joseph R. Biden and signed into law in November 1990 by George H. W. Bush.
So.......that covers schools, but not other locations, like shopping malls or courthouses.

There was another Gun-Free School Zone act, but that was about zero-tolerance for students bringing guns to school.  While some students DO engage in mass shootings - notably for example, Columbine, one of the best known.  But the biggest gripe for the pro-gunners are other places that prohibit and penalize gun possession.
The Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 (GFSA) was part of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA). The Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 also amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.
In 1994, Congress introduced the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, which encouraged each state receiving federal funds for education to follow suit and introduce their own laws, now known as zero tolerance laws. President Bill Clinton signed the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 into law on March 31, 1994. The Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 requires each state receiving federal funds to have a state law in effect requiring local educational agencies to expel, for at least one year, any student who is determined to have brought a weapon to school. The one-year expulsion is mandatory, except when a chief administering officer of such local education agency may modify it on a case-by-case basis. In addition, schools are directed to develop policies requiring referral to the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system for any student who brings a firearm or weapon to school.
Here is the thing; private property can choose for whatever reason to ban firearms on their premises.  Often this is a choice based on increased insurance liability, because -- using Walmarts as an example - there are plenty of people carrying firearms, legal or otherwise, who are careless and outright dangerous, including going on shooting rampages.  Some retail establishments that offer food and alcoholic beverages prefer not to have firearms carried on their premises because alcohol in quantity doesn't mix well with firearms.  The annual Darwin Awards, year in and year out, are an excellent example of the epic and even fatal stupidity of firearms used where "alcohol was involved'.

There is no evidence that more guns reduce crime or make us safer.  They don't. Better, effective, restrictive gun regulation DOES make people safer and reduce gun crime.  It's time for the pro-gunners to quit doing their one trick pony act, and to pull the NRA and other gun crazies out of their behinds, and to start THINKING rationally, not just mouthing whatever propaganda is the current party line.

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