Friday, September 16, 2016

Missouri - A Case Study in Republican Insanity

With gun deaths now exceeding deaths caused by auto accidents, one would think that even those only loosely connected with sanity and objective reality would agree that some sort of focus on increased gun safety is sensible.  Especially among supposedly "pro-life" Republicans.  Sadly, however, such is not the case and the only times Republicans worry about protecting life is before a child is born or when it comes to banning doctor assisted suicide for the terminally ill.  New levels of GOP are now on display in Missouri where the Missouri Republicans have wiped out sane and rational gun safety laws.  Frankly, the GOP has become akin to a pack of rabid dogs, lead by lunatic and scam artist in chief, Donald Trump.  An editorial in the New York Times looks at this latest form of GOP distemper.  Here are highlights:
In an alarming victory for the gun lobby, Missouri’s Republican-controlled Legislature voted Wednesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto and enact a wholesale retreat from gun safety in the state.
The law will let citizens carry concealed weapons in public without a state gun permit, criminal background check or firearms training. It strips local law enforcement of its current authority to deny firearms to those guilty of domestic violence and to other high-risk individuals. And it establishes a dangerous “stand your ground” standard that will allow gun owners to shoot and claim self-defense based on their own sense of feeling threatened.
The measure has drawn no great national attention, but it certainly provides further evidence that gun safety cannot be left to state lawmakers beholden to the gun lobby. Democrats opposed to the Missouri bill called it a “perfect storm” of lowered standards for the use of deadly force and an invitation for people to be armed without responsible controls. The measure was enacted by the Republicans, despite strong public opposition and warnings about the threat to public safety from the state Police Chiefs Association. Everytown for Gun Safety, one of the groups fighting the gun lobby, noted that stand-your-ground laws result in disproportionate harm to communities of color.
Mr. Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the measure in June, saying it would allow individuals with a criminal record to legally carry a concealed firearm even though they had been, or would have been, denied a permit under the old law’s background check. Mayors Sly James of Kansas City and Francis Slay of St. Louis warned against restricting the power of the local police to deny guns to those who commit domestic violence. They cited sharp spikes in domestic violence homicides in their cities, and they noted that the police would be left at greater risk by this bill.
Missouri is joining 10 other states that loosened gun laws to allow concealed firearms in public without the need for a permit. Federal gun controls still require background checks on buyers, but only at federally licensed dealers. Unfortunately, there is a separate and busy uncontrolled market where buyers at gun shows and on the internet do not have to undergo background checks.
In the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton has called for extensive gun safety measures, including a ban on the assault weapons favored by mass shooters, closing background-check loopholes, ending the gun industry’s outrageous protection from civil damage suits and denying guns to risky suspects on the government’s no-fly lists.
Yep, America is exceptional alright - exceptional in its stupidity and careless disregard for the lives of law abiding citizens.

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