Expecting yet another round of amorphous generalities and off-the-shelf solutions to the problem of determining in advance just which solid citizen will become a psychotic citizen, I tuned into Rachel Maddow last night. Much to my surprise she seemed to know what she was talking about and got right to points that needed to be heard through the clamor and frenzy.
How do I know these were important points? Because I've been trying to make them, that's how. And wouldn't you know the worst and most angry attacks against some simple ideas have come from our young Liberal friends who see any departure from dogma as anathema. Background checks would have been useless here. the weapons weren't bought at a gun show nor would registration have made a difference. Other things might have. Can we talk?
The first thing that occurred to me Monday morning and to Maddow on Monday evening was the strange fact that a man could bring at least ten rifles into a hotel room, along with tripods and cases of ammunition without anyone taking notice or bothering to have a hotel security person or even housekeeping take a look. The hotel didn't know where to find the shooter because nobody took notice. Locating him minutes sooner would have saved lives. So far only Ms Maddow has suggested such a small thing might have allowed this horror to have been averted. "Customers will kindly check rifles at the front desk." Hotels already have the right to do this. Anyone can refuse to allow guns on their property. Why don't they? Little by little, step by step we can get to a better place.
But of course the degree of mayhem was so high because in some fashion some legal guns had been converted whether legally or illegally (we still don't know how) to something like fully automatic weapons. To the layman, that means machine gun or a smaller caliber submachine gun. This might involve drilling some holes and replacing some parts, or it could involve gadgets added to the trigger or the stock. Some of these are legal in Nevada and elsewhere, some are prohibited by Federal Law which heavily regulates gas or recoil operated automatic weapons, but ignores other forms. Suggest that and the reaction is anger and mistrust. "We don't want that, we want sensible gun control."
Instead of the same old and vague cries for gun control, would some good Congressman suggest an effective way to get these devices off the market? Can we start there and not drown the idea in ad hominem attacks or raging about the NRA?
Such high rates of fire, it can be and has been well argued, are too dangerous for private ownership and perhaps those 100 round or 75 round magazines I see for sale aren't much less so. I'm not naive enough to think banning them would get rid of them any time soon, but it would be more effective to argue for such specific action than to blather endlessly about demanding things which demonstrably don't work and pretending they do. Weapons that are not "military style" can also be modified of course. I've seen kits to combine ordinary hunting rifles to make perfectly legal multiple-barrel "Gattling" guns. Let's add them to the list of things: destructive weapons, the Feds have successfully kept off the streets for many, many years.