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Extremism On Second Amendment Violates Common Sense

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Extremism On Second Amendment Violates Common Sense

Gun violence

Who could possibly be against keeping guns out of the hands of toddlers?

Plenty of people, it would seem, if you were able to follow Hillary Clinton’s argument in Wednesday’s presidential debate about a landmark Supreme Court ruling on the Second Amendment, and the vituperative reaction to it.

It’s a bit of a rabbit hole that Clinton threw herself into, but that’s pretty typical of the mind-numbing ideological stalemate that has frozen out common sense in the gun control debate. So let me explain.

Clinton was challenged about her opposition to the famous District of Columbia v. Heller decision of 2008 that struck down a gun control law passed in Washington, D.C. in 1975. For Second Amendment stalwarts, the Heller majority opinion, written by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, is darn close to holy scripture. The 5-4 decision was a broad affirmation of an individual’s right to private gun ownership for self-defense. It is huge.

Clinton said that she supported the individual’s right to own guns but disagreed with the ruling in that it didn’t support “reasonable restrictions.”

“What the District of Columbia was trying to do was to protect toddlers from guns,” Clinton said.

This sent gun rights people howling. They savaged Clinton for misrepresenting the crux of the D.C. law and the principles on which the decision turned. Nowhere in the law or the decision are children mentioned, they objected.

But that’s a little beside the point. A federal petition filed in support of the original law did argue for its use in keeping children safe, Politifact reported soon after the debate.

“The smaller the weapon, the more likely a child can use it, and children as young as three years old are strong enough to fire today’s handguns,” the petition stated.

Among other restrictions, the law had called for licensed guns in the home to be unloaded and disassembled or kept with a trigger lock, for safety concerns. Granted, the safe handling of firearms wasn’t the main impetus of the Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975. Preventing criminal gun violence — murders and other crimes — was the primary concern. But, knowing what we now do about gun accidents involving children, it is an entirely valid standpoint from which to criticize Heller.

Nevertheless, Clinton’s argument was judged half true by Politifact. A sane point of view — that the Scalia majority on the court had overreached by quashing any sensible regulation of firearms — was lost.

Keeping handguns away from small children shouldn’t be controversial. There is scarcely a police reporter or emergency room doctor in America who hasn’t faced the horror of a child shooting himself, a sibling, a friend or a parent.

The prevalence of these incidents is astounding, even though we don’t have anything near adequate data on this type of tragedy. Reporting by the Washington Post has found about one shooting by a young child a week in America. This is likely an under count, as many instances do not make the news unless it’s a parent or a sibling who dies. The Centers for Disease Control find that at least six children are injured in an unintentional shooting every day.

There really is no argument that such shootings shouldn’t be prevented. Indeed, they’re highly preventable — so much so that it’s a misnomer to call most of them “accidental.” Malign neglect is more often a better description.

It so happens that my state, Missouri, ranked the highest for toddler shootings last year in one study. Missouri, along with 23 other states, does not have a child endangerment law that includes firearms and holds adults criminally responsible for unintentional shootings of children.

A new national initiative announced in mid-October seeks change. The Children’s Firearm Safety Alliance is coordinating physicians, law enforcement, prosecutors, lawmakers and other advocates to look at what can be done nationally through policy work, legislation and education around gun safety.

It has promoted the hashtag #NotAnAccident and propagated this disturbing tidbit: You are more likely to be shot by a U.S. toddler than by a terrorist. The ongoing psychological trauma of these shootings shouldn’t be discounted. What an awful burden it must be for someone to carry through life knowing that, as a young child, he or she took a life or caused serious injury.

Keeping a loaded gun unsecured and within easy reach of a toddler ought to be considered a criminal act of negligence. A portion of the law that was struck down in Heller understood this. It’s time to admit that upholding a person’s right to own a gun doesn’t need to conflict with efforts to keep young children’s tiny hands away from pulling triggers.

Mary Sanchez is an opinion-page columnist for The Kansas City Star. Readers may write to her at: Kansas City Star, 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108-1413, or via e-mail at msanchez@kcstar.com.


Photo: Handguns are seen for sale in a display case at Metro Shooting Supplies in Bridgeton, Missouri, November 13, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Young

Mary Sanchez

Mary Sanchez has spent years covering immigration, schools, and other volatile beats for The Kansas City Star. She is now an editorial columnist for the Star, where she continues to offer insightful commentary on immigration, culture, and politics.

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  1. leadvillexp October 21, 2016

    We all agree guns should be kept out of reach o children. As should pill bottles, cleaning agents, drugs and sharp objects. People make mistakes and some are fatal. All should not be held responsible for a few. Pitchforks and shovels are tools the same as firearms. How many are stabbed by a knife? Should we ban knifes? We need the Second Amendment to protect the rest. The First Amendment is nothing unless we can defend it. For all those that say we can not stand against the government that has nukes and drones one only has to look to Vietnam. A bunch of guerrillas with antiquated weapons drove us out. Citizens need to stand up for what is right. Screw the lawyers and politicians. I recently heard a lawyer on a major TV station tell the people that they were the politicians and as such made the law and that they made it in their favor. During the interview he gave his name and said he was of the privileged class. We need to get the lawyers out of our government and get back to the people. A farmer should be president, if he can run a farm he could run our government!

    1. Box October 21, 2016

      Good post. Well said and I agree. Nothing more to say.

      1. Thoughtopsy October 23, 2016

        You could start any post with your last sentence.

    2. I Am Helpy October 22, 2016

      Don’t care about your moronic analogies. Guns should be banned no matter how much of a terrified weenie you are.

      I hope that helps!

      1. DEFENDER88 October 22, 2016

        Talk about “Terrified Wennies”.
        “You” seem to be the most “Terrified” person in here.
        Since you are clearly terrified of guns that makes you a classic Hoplophobe (ie An unreasonable fear of guns.)
        I actually feel sorry for you having to live like that.

        HOPLOPHOBE – a word to describe a mental aberration consisting of an unreasoning terror of gadgetry, specifically, weapons. The most common manifestation of hoplophobia is the idea that instruments possess a will of their own, apart from that of their user. This is not a reasoned position, but when you point this out to a hoplophobe he is not impressed because his is an unreasonable position.

        And don’t come at me about RedNecks with guns – I have been “Shot At” 3 times by RedNecks. I grew up with them and know about them a hell of a lot more then you.

        You don’t seem to understand how this works:
        Like most other classes, most are good folks but yes some are bad.
        “Shooting Back” – Terrifies “them”, almost as much as you are terrified.
        They don’t bother me anymore – “Funny how that works”.
        But you need a gun to do that.
        ps RedNecks are not shooting up Kindergartens. It is the intellectually elite like you who do that – on Meds.

        Works well on Thugs too.
        Hell, just “Showing a gun” Terrifies “Thugs”.
        But you need a gun to do that.

        Now for Terrorists and Mass Killers – you have to actually shoot them to stop them.
        But you need a gun to do that.

        Hope this helps !

        1. I Am Helpy October 22, 2016

          OK sorry to hear that you’re a coward and that you have nothing except insults and racism. Better luck next time!

          1. DEFENDER88 October 22, 2016

            Think I will just let your stupid a*s remarks stand as they are.
            Not interested in mindless mud wallowing with you.
            You provide nothing constructive or informative, anywhere in here, to support a position.

          2. I Am Helpy October 22, 2016

            OK sorry that you’re not even man enough to stand up for the beliefs you’ve been told to have. No wonder you love guns.

          3. DEFENDER88 October 24, 2016

            I let your comments stand without rebuttal so reasonable people will see how/who you are.
            You offer nothing that contributes to information on this issue.
            Nothing but condescending remarks.

          4. I Am Helpy October 24, 2016

            Right, right. You got nothing.

          5. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            Helpy never offers anything. He is an idiot.

        2. Independent1 October 22, 2016

          Why is it you always come out of the gutter and start spewing NRA lies every time there’s an article on the NM related to gun control?? It’s clear you’re nothing but an disgusting NRA troll. How much to they pay you to spew your nonsensical gun-related propaganda???

          1. DEFENDER88 October 22, 2016

            This Gun “Control”, agenda driven, Site needs some “factual information” on the issue to balance the dis-information, obfuscation and outright lies you and others spew out on the Gun Control issue. And since I have good, Fact Based Arguments and valid information, I don’t even have to call “you” names or try to insult “you”.

          2. Independent1 October 22, 2016

            What total hogwash. The last thing anyone needs are your FABRICATED FACTS!! GET LOST!!!!!!!


          3. DEFENDER88 October 24, 2016

            One thing I do hope is that “YOU” do “NOT” even own a gun.
            You – while intelligent, are much too volatile, aggressive, thin skinned etc and don’t have the calm, self assured temperament needed to be a “Responsible” gun owner. You act more like some of the school killers – Intelligent but unbalanced and on the edge of chaos.

          4. Independent1 October 24, 2016

            You pathological lying NRA types, who are so corrupt and hungry for money, that you’re willing to spew your lies even knowing that there are almost one hundred people in America dying every day – just because they believed your lies and bought a gun.

            Don’t give me any BS that you don’t know the true facts – that where gun ownership is the highest, gun deaths are the greatest. That you don’t know the NRA BS: “That a gun will protect you,” isn’t also a flat-out lie.

            That you don’t know that study after study has shown that when an altercation or home break in occurs, that if someone in that home has a gun, the probability of someone getting shot and killed is almost 5 times higher than if there hadn’t been a gun.

            You know all that, and yet you deliberately come on here and lie. You’re nothing more than an opportunistic liar who is willing to con people into owning guns knowing that by doing so you’re setting them up to be killed by that gun they just bought; or to have someone else killed in that stupid home which happens constantly every single day.

            Just the fact that England sees around 60 homicides per year by gun where guns are banned (around 300 comparative to the U.S.) while the U.S. has over 11,000 where guns are more prevalent than anywhere else in the planet – proves without question that what you’re doing is nothing short of abetting murder!! Intentionally setting people up to be murdered!!! You are a total LOWLIFE!!! No different than any murderer!!!!!!!

            And you don’t have to lose one ounce of sleep worrying about me ever buying a gun BECAUSE I KNOW BETTER!!!!!! I’M NOT STUPID LIKE YOU AND YOUR ILK!!!

          5. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            Sorry your comment makes no sense unless you want the bad guy to win. Five times higher? If it is the bad guy I hope so. If some one breaks into my home or attacks mine I hope they take care of business. Yes my family shoots and has been trained. The bad guy most likely will die. So if you are like my mother who I love dearly, who said she would rather be raped than kill someone good luck. Me and mine will defend ourselves to the death, thank you. I work hard for what I have and will defend what I own to the death. If you know another way to defend what you have let me know. I will not give up what I worked for.

          6. DEFENDER88 March 3, 2017

            Just so you know. Independent One is always spewing out data sets to prove his points about how more guns equals more killing/crime. Problem is I (as a Degreed Engineer and MBA) know Statistics and the rules governing interpretation of data sets. And have looked into his interpretation of Gun Crime and killing data sets. His analysis is seriously flawed to outright lies since he interpolates across data sets making assumptions which can not be supported and which I have found to be false. Also he often uses data and conclusions from small (anti-gun) studies from a school in Utah ie One State studies, as a basis for his false conclusions. And he often quotes the Gun Crime rate in the US as 33,000 killed per year(like Hillary quoted) – problem here is that figure includes suicides(which is definitely not gun crime – duh). Just more of their obfuscation and deceptions.
            Hoping that a “Lie told often enough will become truth”.
            And they try to deceive the public with this false data to push their agenda of disarming honest gun owners.
            The actual gun “crime” figure is about 3,000/y Gun Crime and 30,000/yr gun Suicides. Suicides are sad but are not real “gun crime”.

            Also just so you know – with so called Assault Rifles – they are a sub set of the Group – Rifles.
            Rifles (as a group) compose less then 4% of gun crime – Assault Rifles as a sub-set of Rifles compose about 1/5th of 1% of gun crime – so how is a ban on Assault Rifles going to help the gun crime issue??? Its flashy news etc, and heart breaking because of the school shootings but it is not a major factor in overall US gun crime.

      2. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

        Helpy, I have talked to you a hundred times, you are an idiot! When the world crashes down on you and you call for help and it ain’t there let me know. I will try to get some emotions out to you. I don’t know where you live but II assume it must be Utopia.

        1. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

          OK sorry that you support fascism and murdered children. You are vile.

          1. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            You use the word faschism. Do you know the meaning? I have read Hitlers Mein Kamph and the communst manifesto Like so many I don’t think you do. You also don’t know what racism is. Define it. These words are thrown around all to much and are part of the problem in this country today. You run on emotion and not on logic.

          2. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

            I didn’t use the word “faschism”, but only because I can spell.

          3. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            Yes you are right. My spell check picked it up but I didn’t pay attention. It dosen’t take away from what I said..

          4. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

            Correct, what you said would have been equally stupid even if you were literate.

          5. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            You can call me all the names you want including illiterate. I have many friends, people you and Hillary would love. They live in the Adirondacks. Something like Appalachia. They can not read or write. I think you live in a city. You preach but have no understanding of the needy. You don’t understand a people to proud to take charity. They will pick up cans to survive. Yes I back the NRA, we kill deer, squirrels, woodchucks, raccoons, beavers and other animals to eat. My children grew up with the hillbillies and we love them.

          6. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

            Was I unclear before? You support Nazis. Your opinion is so irrelevant to me that there are not words.

          7. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            I never said supported NAZI’s or for that matter KKK. I am sorry that I have to resort to saying that your tomato is getting soft.

          8. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

            “I’m not a Nazi!” lied the Trump supporter, moments after posting some racist drivel.

          9. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            As I have said, define racist. You don’t know what you are talking about.

          10. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

            “You have to jump through the hoops I set up, for some reason!”, insisted the conspiracy theorist, piggish eyes glinting

          11. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            Glad to do it. Someone has to expose you!

          12. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

            “I think I’m winning, for some reason! Maybe it is this recent head injury!” grunted the treacherous inbred swine semi-coherently

          13. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            Winning? What? I still want to know if you are a paid blogger,

          14. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

            “My mother was also my sister!” he continued, pointlessly

          15. leadvillexp March 2, 2017

            Got nothing logical left to say. That was my point in the first place!

          16. I Am Helpy March 3, 2017

            OK Ivan

          17. I Am Helpy March 2, 2017

            PS: you LITERALLY have no problem with Nazis running the country or children getting shot. I don’t especially care what your moronic opinion on any topic is.

    3. Independent1 October 22, 2016

      Say, why don’t you try explaining to all of us here on the NM, why it is that for 2015 there were less than 60 gun-related homicides in England (58 to be exact); which if we extrapolated to equal the fact that England has 1/5th the population of the U.S. – that would give us 290 gun-related homicides in England compared to the 11,000 plus gun-related homicides in England.

      That’s 290 homicides by gun in England compared to over 11,000 in the U.S.
      And why? Because England bans guns and the U.S. is for the most part a gun filled nation.

      Now I’m sure you’re thinking, well, that doesn’t mean there’s the same violence level in England as the U.S.; but you’d be wrong. Because if we take all the other means of homicides, knives, blunt instruments, ropes for strangulation, etc. etc. the numbers between the two countries are almost the same (625 homicides in England other than gun-related times 5 = 3,125 comparative homicides). And the U.S. has 14-15,000 plus homicides minus the 11,000 to 12,000 gun-related U.S. homicides = about 3,000 plus non gun-related homicides.

      These stats make it really clear that the NRA lies: More guns DOES NOT mean people are safer. When all numbers are comparative, there are 11,000 more deaths in the U.S. than in England all attributable to gun deaths, because the U.S, DOES NOT ban guns or even even ensure that people who are not mentally or even character wise qualified to have them – can’t get them. There are no background checks for all gun purchases like there should be!!!

  2. jennifer.chapman.92 October 21, 2016

    Acquire $90 every day for working on the web from your own home for couple of hr’s daily… Get paid each week… All what is required is a computer, connection to the web, plus a little sparetime… http://korta.nu/NDe

  3. Aaron_of_Portsmouth October 21, 2016

    One of many items in short supply on the Right is commonsense. Along with a general disdain for intelligence and a patently insular attitude, conservative elements are obsessed with extremism and with building walls around themselves.
    Theirs is a philosophy that no longer has a place in a world desperately trying to move forward towards the goal of the Oneness of Humankind. This goal is necessary for the establishment not only for “The Lesser Peace”, as outlined by Baha’u’llah, but for the eventual establishment of “The Most Great Peace”. The latter could have been achieved if the Kings, Rulers, and religious Leaders of the 19th Century had responded favorably to Baha’u’llah’s summons to them in Letters He addressed to them.

    But since they rejected the entreaties by Baha’u’llah, we now have to settle for The Lesser Peace, which for now, Trump, the GOP, and other recalcitrant and backwards-looking leaders and individuals block the path to its full implementation.

  4. Box October 21, 2016

    As a gun owner I dread the chance and wither at the thought that children can get their hands on a gun. Though the percentages are microscopically small, tragic accidents have happened and many states already have extreme laws in place about how guns are kept and stored.

    But thats not what Mrs. Clinton is talking about. Her record is very clear. She not only supports but is rabidly pushing for the UN Small Arm Treaty to happen so that the UN can ban guns in the US. Second, she IS the main, active, front line proponent of the ridding of surplus weapons from the market, notably the famed M1 Garand. How does that play with legitimate collectors of ancient, unfired, guns? Third, she has repeatedly said Obama was too wimpy on gun control and if elected she “would finish the job.” So when she says she supports the 2nd Amend its pure BS, PARTICULARLY when she says, as Progressive talk, that the Constitution is a living, flexible document, subject to the interpretation of the President.

    I have to digress and refer to Obama. In a 2008 campaign rally he said, “i see sportsmen back there. Dont worry, im not going to take your guns.” But from the first day of office and until the last day of office, he certainly tried. Liberals are fond to say that in eight years Obama didnt get your guns so what are you complaining about? But liberals skirt the fact of how often he tried and is still trying at this very moment. The fact that he failed doesnt mean he is on the side of gun owners or the Constitution that he promised to uphold.

    So lets add it up. Obama lied, and Hillary as well. Ok, they are out. Only Trump hasnt yet had the chance to lie, so when he says “i’ll put Justices on the SC to protect the 2nd Am”, gun owners are willing to try him out and see.

    What I hoped for from both candidates was discussion about not more laws but how to further enforce laws already on the books about safety and gun crimes. We have more laws than the average liberal can even imagine. Whats lacking is enforcement and follow-through with harsh penalties for criminals. Both candidates skirted that critical item, in my view.

    1. I Am Helpy October 21, 2016

      Yes that strawman you’ve constructed out of pure bullcrap sure is scary! What if rednecks can no longer get guns?!?! How would they shoot up kindergartens and mosques?

      oh no oh no oh no

      1. kep November 27, 2016

        Most, if not all the mass shootings have been committed by Liberals or Muslims.

        1. I Am Helpy November 27, 2016

          Yeah that is 100% false.


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