Thursday, October 20, 2005

It's the NRA's country -- we just live in it:

President Bush will likely get a chance to sign into law a bill to shield the gun industry from lawsuits brought by victims of gun crimes, a controversial measure that has survived the Senate for the first time and is headed for passage in the House....

Opponents say the strength of the bill's support is testament to the influence of the gun lobby. They say that if the bill had been law when six victims of convicted Washington-area snipers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo sued the gun dealer from which they obtained their rifle, the dealer would not have agreed to pay the families and victims $2.5 million....

Supporters, of course, see it differently:

..."Lawsuits seeking to hold the firearms industry responsible for the criminal and unlawful use of its products are brazen attempts to accomplish through litigation what has not been achieved by legislation and the democratic process," House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said in remarks prepared for Thursday's floor debate....

The House will pass the bill today.

The gun lobby's fondness for achieving things through legislation and the democratic process does not, I should point out, extend to legislation it doesn't like:

Starting Wednesday, handgun owners won't need permits to carry concealed weapons in the seven Alaska cities where they're still required. There also will be no more restrictions on keeping a firearm in a vehicle.

A new state anti-gun control law that goes into effect will essentially bar municipalities from passing gun laws that are more restrictive than state law.

... the NRA ... calls it state pre-emption, and Alaska will be the 44th state to have such a law on its books.

"We are looking to make it uniform to all 50 states," said NRA spokeswoman Kelly Hobbs....

The opponents of this, are, of course, a bunch of granola-eating liberals ... in cop shoes:

... Alaska police chiefs worry about no longer being able to enforce laws banning guns from public buildings, such as city halls.

The new law would allow cities to keep guns out of places beyond a restricted access point, such as a metal detector, but the chiefs say their cities can't afford the staff or equipment.

"There are lots of people, myself included, we really value our constitutional rights," said Anchorage Police Chief Walter Monegan. "But if we had the same enthusiasm to also support our constitutional responsibilities, then I would be less concerned over this issue."...

I'm not a "gun-grabber." I think there should be background checks at gun shows, and I think it's unconscionable that Congress has made the ATF toothless, unable to rein in really bad gun dealers like Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, the source of the D.C. snipers' rifle. (The pressure on the ATF not to charge bad dealers with crimes dovetails neatly with the anti-lawsuit bill, which permits suits when a crime has been committed. If the ATF doesn't charge even the worst dealers with crimes, what good is that?)

People who actually believe that a limited tightening of the gun laws would put us a short step from house-to-house confiscation of law-abiding owners' guns are exactly as ignorant as people who think Jews put Christian babies' blood in Passover matzohs.

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