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General News    H3'ed 4/3/09

Binghamton and Carthage Shootings Cause More Problems for Gun Lobby

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"The NRA is asking gunmen to refrain from mass shootings while key gun bills are before legislators," says a newscaster in a recent editorial cartoon.

Unfortunately, mass gunmen didn't listen. The month that began with the Alabama, Illinois church, Germany and Oakland police killings ended with one gunman killing eight at a Cathage, NC nursing home and another killing six in Santa Clara, CA.

Then April began with the killing of 14 in Binghamton, NY.

No one is even counting a church shooting in Turlock, CA, the fatal shooting of five in Miami and the Mexico drug shootings which use straw bought US weapons, also in March.

The March bloodbath creates PR problems for the gun lobby. When a gunman like Oakland's Lovelle Mixon kills police with assault weapons, it eviscerates the gun lobby's Good-Guys-Need-To-Be-Armed-Against-Bad-Guys argument since police are obviously armed and good guys. (Moreover, they are Enforcing-Existing-Laws, another gun lobby mantra.) Nor do Lovelle Mixons help the cause of military-style black guns which the pending D.C. Voting Rights Act would legalize while eliminating firearms registration and banning all future gun restrictions. Hello?

The gun lobby's opposition to bills restricting gun purchases to one a month is also hurt by the recent sprees of gun "collectors" like Alabama's Michael McLendon, who killed ten including his mother and grandmother, pastor-killing Terry Sedlacek, Cathage nursing home killer Robert Stewart, the Santa Clara killer Devarajan Raghavan and the Binghamton killer, Jiverly Voong.

Who can forget that Bruce Jeffrey "Santa Claus" Pardo who killed his e-wife and her family on Christmas Eve bought at least five guns in five months, too?

But even before the Alabama, Illinois, Miami, Oakland, Turlock, Carthage and Santa Clara shootings in March, Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president was on the defensive at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. in February.

Mad at the Obama administration, the press, the United Nations and a complacent public, LaPierre couldn't decide whether Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was friend or foe--first quoting her to prove President Obama is a gun grabber, then showing clips in which she was the gun grabber recommending trigger locks and licenses.

Ordaining that Mexico needs more guns not less and that law makers shouldn't legislate "on the fresh graves of tragedy," you'd never know the NRA realized its wet dream last year when the Supreme Court affirmed the Second Amendment in District of Columbia vs. Heller.

Of course, for years the NRA's Just Folks position against effete elites has conflicted with its actual deep pocketed influence peddling with political campaigns and causes and turned off followers. For years its hunter/rancher and rural constituents have recoiled at its paranoid secessionist/military weapon wing which drives so much NRA policy.

But recently expansionist laws like guns in churches, on campuses and on state parks are regarded as causing not preventing violence. Campus killers like Northern Illinois University's Stephen Phillip Kazmierczak and Virginia Tech's Seung-Hui Cho were legal gun owners, after all. So were Wisconsin church-killer Terry Ratzmann and immigrants Sulejman Talovic, the Trolley Square mall killer, Chai Vang, the Wisconsin hunter killer and Bart A. Ross, who killed a Chicago federal judge's family who had no trouble buying guns. Let's enforce existing laws!

What's also changing is newspapers like the Memphis Commercial Appeal are publishing searchable bases of state permit holders, despite gun owner identity "seal" laws in some states like Florida, Ohio and South Dakota, http://www.commercialappeal.com/data/gunpermits/ so people can see if their daycare worker or dentist is armed.

Now, the gun lobby that used to say the worst thing that can happen to a citizen is people finding out he or his house is unarmed because it might invite crime says the worst thing that can happen to a citizen is people finding out he or his house is armed because it might invite crime. Someone may steal your firearms says the gun lobby as if they were Faberge' eggs instead of "defense" weapons.

Which is more embarrassing for the gun lobby--the image that it's afraid of you and or the image of it begging the government to protect it from you and me? What happened to no %$#$% government interference? And why are they so scared, anyway? They're the ones that are armed.

It makes you think of Larry Singleton who attacked and mutilated 15-year-old hitchhiker Mary Vincent near Sacramento in 1978 because he was "afraid of her."
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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by (more...)

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