Saturday, January 19, 2008

Gun voters are not rational people

In Virginia politics, even after the Virginia tech massacre, a reasonable gun saftey measure was defeated in the state senate by the Republicans:

from the Washington Post

A Virginia House committee on Friday defeated an effort to close a major loophole in the state's gun laws, angering families of victims of the Virginia Tech massacre and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D), who had pushed hard for the law.

The House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee voted along party lines to kill a requirement that all sellers conduct background checks on firearms buyers at gun shows, a move that makes passing a bill on the checks this year nearly impossible.

For years, gun control advocates have tried to close the loophole. They had hoped that the April 16 shooting at Virginia Tech and Kaine's lobbying would give them momentum to succeed this year.
The 13 to 9 vote by the committee, which is controlled by Republicans from rural areas, came after an hour of passionate testimony by families of those killed or injured at Virginia Tech. But even a delegate who works at the university and represents part of the area around the campus, David A. Nutter (R-Montgomery), voted against the proposal, showing the importance of firearms in rural
Virginia. Opponents said they feared that the measure could lead to further checks on private sales.

The measure aimed to prevent mentally unstable people from circumventing the background check law. Dealers are able to sell guns without any background check at Gun shows which are common on the weekend. Were they at a normal gun store the person would have to pass a background check.

The horror at Virginia Tech was committed by a person who clearly was mentally unstable, and had a documented mental illness. Yet, he was still able to easily purchase a weapon because of the problems with the system. That people would be so extreme to support 2nd amendment rights over safety is unbelievabe. Every constitutional right must have time and manner restrictions, otherwise they are rendered meaningless in practice. People can't have a "right" to a chemical weapon gun if one exists. Likewise, I don't have a right to carry a gun into a federal building. You can affirm a basic right to self-protection without ignoring the reality that some people can't participate because of their backgound: criminal, mental illness, or other threats to the general public.

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