responsible gun owner

The Masculine-American Way (National Insecurity)

Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, 13 July 2016, via Daily Kos Comics.And … that would be Matt Bors.

The artist, I mean. Not the closet case with the rifle.

The fun part about asking, “Any questions?” or, “Who needs this one explained?” is the lovely adventure, when someone raises a hand or clears their throat, of trying to figure out just what they need explained and why.

At some point, though, we probably shouldn’t laugh at these people. They unwell, terrified of everything, and carry a killing range on average between a quarter and half mile. As such, they are extraordinarily dangerous.

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Image note: Detail of cartoon by Matt Bors, via Daily Kos Comics, 13 July 2016

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Responsible Gun Ownership (#Benghazi!)

'Scuse me while I responsibly point this at you.

Ángel González of the Seattle Times landed the unfortunate duty of penning the article:

Dane Gallion, 29, told officers he took the gun to Regal Cinemas 14 at the Landing on Thursday night because he was “concerned about recent mass shootings in public places,” according to a police account in a probable-cause statement released Saturday.

That same anxiety prompted him to keep the gun unholstered in his waistband, the statement says.

This is one of those. Gravity. Downhill. Abyss of stupidity. Really, it only gets worse.

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Police Potty Training

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

“We are now providing additional training on what to do when you have to go to the bathroom.”

Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine

This really ought to be one of the more memorable quotes you’ll read in a long time. But for all we might laugh at the absurdity and show derision unto irresponsibility, we should also bear in mind that these are trained professionals.

Capitol Police officers are getting training after officers accidentally left their guns in the Capitol’s public bathrooms three times this year.

One gun was found by a child.

“We are now providing additional training on what to do when you have to go to the bathroom,” Capitol Police Chief Kim C. Dine told Congress on Wednesday.

Dine said there is no excuse for officers accidentally leaving their guns in public bathrooms. He said the officers were being disciplined, but he did not name them. A first-time offender typically would be suspended for at least five days, he said.

Dine said he is considering increasing the minimum penalty to a 30-day suspension for a first offense, and termination for a subsequent violation.

“I would be remiss if I did not say that the officers involved in these recent weapons cases reported in the media in no way intended to leave their weapons unattended. But as noted, this is not acceptable and they will be held accountable,” Dine told the House Administration Committee. “They do take very seriously their life and safety responsibilities and they acknowledge that they made a mistake.”

(Associated Press)

Police potty training. It really is a good chuckle, isn’t it? But part of the reason Chief Dine was in front of Congress was to answer for the gyrocopter and a few other embarrassing incidents, including this thing with leaving guns in the bathroom. Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA01) offered the ritual questioning of department leadership, but then mended fences with an awkward bit about how, “We’re not here to criticize you”.

A hint for the distinguished gentleman from Pennsylvania’s First: Yes, you are.

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Responsible Gun Ownership

'Scuse me while I responsibly point this at you.

David Waldman describes the latest particular emergence of the general inevitability:

We have had our third in-school accidental discharge by an armed teacher during the still-very young 2014-2015 school year.

As Waldman notes, a criminal justice instructor at the Technology Center of DuPage, who is also a retired FBI agent, apparently shot a filing cabinet by accident on Friday, with a gun he was not authorized to carry on campus. Luckily, nobody was injured; the bullet passed through the filing cabinet and wall, finally stopping somewhere in “another classroom”.

You will recall that last month saw an armed 6th grade teacher injure herself with porcelain shrapnel as she accidentally Second Amendmented the toilet out from beneath herself in the faculty restroom, and an Idaho State University professor Second Amendment himself in the foot during class.

And that paragraph is just fun, reminding us that these responsible gun owners did at least manage to be responsible enough to not hurt anyone else. Then again, is that something we really need to thank them for?

But think about it for a moment. For the last twenty-five years, at least, as we have wrangled with gun violence in our American society, we keep running into a wall whereby doing the right thing is an unjust abrogation of the rights of “responsible gun owners”.

And these folks remind us that everyone is a responsible gun owner until they aren’t.

No, really. We all know these people. They use the “responsible gun owner” argument when discussing public safety, but always have a story or three to whip out ostensibly intended to be humorous or admirable or even defining, that also describes them being incredibly irresponsible with their firearms.

Like these teachers. They’re all responsible gun owners. Or, well, you know. They were. Not a one of them should ever describe themselves that way, ever again.

And let’s face it, this is the sort of thing “responsible gun owners” want to protect. Well, this and “accidentally” shooting a child to death in the parking lot of a gun store with a firearm you are not, by law, supposed to be carrying. And that’s why we don’t prosecute those outcomes: It’s the fair price of responsible gun ownership.

That is to say, the rest of us have to pay for the responsible gun owners irresponsibility.

You know. It’s the American Way.

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Waldman, David. “Seriously, people. This armed teacher thing really might not work out.” The Daily Kos. 4 October 2014.

A Contrast

In many ways I was not yet a grownup—still childish in love and in work, a renter and sometime student with not even a car title in my name. But with the license, and the gun, came a host of new grownup worries. First: Who do you shoot, and when?

Adam Weinstein

Among reflections on the recent shootings that have devatated communities across the country, Adam Weinstein’s column for Gawker is a must-read. There is, truly, more there than one can justly quote, from―Bang! Say da, da da da!

Back when the licenses were still a new thing and the required instructional classes weren’t a joke, my dad’s class was run through a host of scenarios: You’re broken down on a dirt road in the middle of the night. A black dude in a Cutty pulls up behind you, gets out, comes out with a tire-iron. What do you do? Half my dad’s class said to shoot the black man.

―to―

When my son was born, all of my questions suddenly had a very basic answer. I would love for him to grow up as I did, enjoying shooting but understanding that every gun is loaded and you never touch one without an adult and you don’t point it at anything you don’t intend to shoot. But more than that, I’d love to believe that he’ll have no mischievous accidents, no suicidal depressions or homicidal rages, no moments of weakness or fits of pique or questions that can be answered by the pull of a trigger. As with all the other scenarios in which I’m the good guy with the gun, I can never be sure. I carry my permit, as I always have. But now all my guns live with my father.

―and beyond. Just read it.

† † †

Meanwhile, there is also the tale of S. 1290, the “Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act of 2013”.

Laura Bassett explains the situation for Huffington Post:

The National Rifle Association is fighting proposed federal legislation that would prohibit those convicted of stalking and of domestic violence against dating partners from buying guns, according to a letter obtained by The Huffington Post.

Sorry, NRA says no.Federal law already bars persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from purchasing firearms. S. 1290, introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), would add convicted stalkers to that group of offenders and would expand the current definition of those convicted of domestic violence against “intimate partners” to include those who harmed dating partners.

Aides from two different senators’ offices confirm that the NRA sent a letter to lawmakers describing Klobuchar’s legislation as “a bill to turn disputes between family members and social acquaintances into lifetime firearm prohibitions.” The nation’s largest gun lobby wrote that it “strongly opposes” the bill because the measure “manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as ‘domestic violence’ and ‘stalking’ simply to cast as wide a net as possible for federal firearm prohibitions.”

The NRA’s letter imagines a “single shoving match” between two gay men as an example of how the domestic violence legislation could be misused. “Under S. 1290, for example, two men of equal size, strength, and economic status joined by a civil union or merely engaged (or formerly engaged) in an intimate ‘social relationship,’ could be subject to this prohibition for conviction of simple ‘assault’ arising from a single shoving match,” the letter says.

The NRA also argues in the letter that “stalking” is too broad of a term to indicate any danger to women. “‘Stalking’ offenses do not necessarily include violent or even threatening behavior,” the letter claims. “Under federal law, for example, stalking includes ‘a course of conduct’ that never involves any personal contact whatsoever, occurs wholly through the mail, online media, or telephone service, is undertaken with the intent to ‘harass’ and would be reasonably expected to cause (even if it doesn’t succeed in causing) ‘substantial emotional distress’ to another person.”

The letter adds that the federal stalking law on the books is “so broadly written that some constitutional scholars even claim it could reach speech protected under the First Amendment.”

Because, well, stalkers need guns, too.

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A Note to “Responsible Gun Owners” in and Around Mill Creek, Washington

The unhealthiest seed

Let me clear my throat.

You know, when I find your spent bullet in my garden, it would be difficult to imagine how such a thing might please me. Indeed, we think the bullet was fired around 10:30 pm on April 7, but that is based on a memory of a weird sound that was too long after a meteor sighting to be a cosmic rock exploding in the atmosphere. And it didn’t have the right resonance, either. Rather, it sounded, well, like something small striking something hard at high velocity. A pebble on the windshield, only more so. Of course, neither can that noise, which compelled us each to ask the other what had happened, be definitively established as the event. We’re having trouble figuring out where, exactly, the bullet hit the structure. Note the relatively light deformation from impact.

There were no reports of major crime in the area such to land stray rounds about the neighborhood; the nearest gun range is out of range and, at any rate, indoors.

Responsibility, indeed.But among all the rattles and clangs and bangs of traffic and construction in this area, every once in a while there comes a sound something akin to a responsible gun owner celebrating his or her constitutional rights.

To which end I would like to thank all the responsible gun owners in and around Mill Creek, Washington, for this treasured reminder of how they’re all keeping us all safe.

No, really, you do realize, do you not, there is a reason why I laugh whenever I hear the phrase responsible gun owner? You’re all responsible gun owners until one day you aren’t. If it is too much to ask that you keep your (ahem!) “responsibility” to yourself, then maybe you’re not the sort of person who should be allowed to possess or handle firearms.

Something Having Nothing To Do With Responsible Gun Ownership

Daniel Tepfer, bad pun and all:

Turns out a local man, who claimed he was the victim of a shooting by a Bridgeport gang, actually made poor choice of having a loaded gun in his waistband while out bicycling.

But Wendell Docteur’s poor choice has turned out to be a prescription for jail time.

On Thursday, the 22-year-old Docteur, of Hollister Street, was charged with making a false statement, unlawful discharge of a firearm and failure to report a lost firearm.

The moral of the story seems pretty obvious:

Police said Docteur told them he had been out riding his bicycle on California Street when he was confronted by a half dozen men, dressed all in black with hooded sweatshirts covering their faces.

He said the men demanded his money and then shot him. As they fled they yelled, “North End, North End,” which Docteur told police he took to mean they were a gang from the North End of Bridgeport ….

… Despite insisting he was shot at, police said they could only find a bullet exit hole from his pants.

When they confronted Docteur with this discrepancy, they said he admitted he had accidentally shot himself while riding.

Although Docteur has a pistol permit, police said he couldn’t account for the handgun he had shot himself with.

Between the notions of a black dude in a hooded sweatshirt and anyone with a gun, it seems pretty clear whose presence requires prejudicial caution.