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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Do something about assault weapons, now!

Uploaded: Aug 13, 2019
“Do Something Congress! “Cries have echoed around this country after last week’s American carnage in Texas and Ohio. As we all too painfully know, 31 people were killed and dozens more wounded by young men using assault and semi-automatic rifles.

This gun control issue is no longer just about Second Amendment rights, this is about the assault of innocents around the nation. We all have a moral and pragmatic obligation to stop what is now being described as "domestic terrorism."

That is why I was proud of the more than 20 Bay Area mayors, among 249 mayors nationally, who signed a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, asking him to reconvene Congress and address action on gun violence. The local mayors were Eric Filseth of Palo Alto, Ray Mueller, Menlo Park; Lisa Matichak, Mountain View and sort-of local Mayor Sam Liccardo of San Jose.

It’s a wonderful gesture, but sadly I am not optimistic about McConnell’s even reading the letter He’s already decided not to call back for a special session Senate members from another long vacation.

Do gun-rights promulgators like the National Rifle Association cringe, at least a little, when they see scores of people shattered to death in a church, or two young patents get shot down while trying to protect their infant – the orphan infant Melania Trump was holding in her hands in El Paso earlier this week?

This week Santa Clara County Board President Joe Simitian and Supervisor Susan Ellenberg announced they were co-sponsoring a resolution that will be voted on this week by all county supervisors, urging Congress to pass legislation banning assault weapons. Those kinds of guns have been used in so many mass shootings the last decade, the supervisors said, killing more than 2000 people and injuring nearly 1,000 “In the face of evidence like this, a federal assault weapons ban is more than common sense. It is a moral imperative,” the supervisors said. And I hope they are also asking for a ban on those huge magazines that can rat-a-tat and kill hundreds in minutes.

I personally feel that this anti-assault ban is desperately needed. And no, it is not an attempt to take guns and rifles away from you. If they make you feel safer in your homes, as you say, fine; and if you think they are fun because you like to go out and shoot at wild game and little rabbits. so be it. I like little rabbits but their lives don’t hold a candle to killing innocents and young infants at a Gilroy Garlic Festival.

The distinction we need to make is that while for many in this country, their guns are either fun or necessary, I understand that. But there is more to it than that. I ran into two middle-aged women this summer eating lunch in a nice restaurant in Vicksburg, Miss. The conversation went like this: “Where are you ‘al from?” “California.” “Californians don’t like guns, do they!”? “Many of us don’t.” “Oh, too bad. I like my guns. I am a Second Amendments rights person. And today I feel bad because I left my gun home.” “Do you carry a gun with you?” “Yes, in my purse all the time.” “Why. Is Vicksburg unsafe?” “Oh no, this city is safe but I need my gun to protect me. In fact we have a lot of guns. I have mine, my husband has his, we have two in our nightstands, two in the closet, and we just gave our 6-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter blue and pink tiny guns so they can protect themselves.

Scary tale for me, and not fine with me, but these are guns and not assault rifles and semiautomatics that do fine in battlefields when soldiers protect our country. Those are not fine – or even belong – anyplace on the streets of our towns.

That is why I am really proud of our supervisors and mayors. We are starting locally to try to end these terrible gun massacres that are occurring in our country and that have happened for years. We need to get rid of assault guns and semi-automatics and magazines. Period.
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Comments

 +   40 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 13, 2019 at 8:58 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

The ONLY solution for banning weapons outright is a constitutional amendment. However, gun-control activists know that this simply won't happen. It is a long process that simply won't be agreed upon by most states. So, they'll whine about the NRA (as an evil boogeyman) and ignore the fact that the problem is not the guns but the people holding them.

Most gun crimes are committed by people who aren't supposed to have guns in the first place. If you want to stop the rate of gun crimes (such as the daily criminal shootings in highly regulated areas like Chicago), then why not first focus on removing guns from the hands of people who commit the most gun crimes?

Felons shouldn't have guns. Individuals with multiple theft arrests shouldn't have guns. Individuals with a violent criminal history shouldn't have guns. Non-citizens should not have guns. Gang members shouldn't have guns. Children under the age of 18 should not have guns.

The one caveat that I think many Second Amendment activists and gun-control activists can agree upon is possibly restricting gun ownership from individuals with a clinically-diagnosed mental illness. This could include ANY mental illness aside that hasn't been cleared by a doctor (including those suffering from higher stage clinical depression or even bipolar disorder).

The rest of us? The overwhelming majority of Americans can be trusted with our right to bear arms.


 +   10 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 6:42 am

mauricio is a registered user.

" The overwhelming majority of Americans can be trusted with our right to bear arms."

No, they can't. This society is highly racist, violent and full of hate and bigotry. Not every place is Palo Alto or Woodside, they are the exception. There are also many people with untreated mental illnesses who have outrageously easy access to battlefield grade weapons capable of killing many of people in seconds. No one is talking about voiding the Second Amendment, but the Framers, who never anticipated the deadly modern weapons certainly never intended to enable the frequent mess murders of innocent civilians.

Israel's gun laws would be a great template to follow in the US, keeping the principle of legal gun ownership intact while guarding against national suicide.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 7:56 am

We have two problems. We have illegally held guns which lead to crime, gang problems etc.

We have legally held guns which can be used for the purpose they were designed.

What should be remembered about the latest atrocities is that the weapons were purchased legally! These were not hardened criminals but people who could have easily been our neighbor, living in our neighborhood, going to our schools, mixing in our restaurants, big box stores and grocery stores.

I think it is important to distinguish between criminals who acquire weapons illegally and use them in pursuit of their crimes. And those who legally purchase weapons to cause mayhem. Yes gun crime, gang crime, is bad. But havoc and mayhem caused by legally obtained guns to people without criminal histories and without apparent mental health issues have become a problem. The mother of one of the gunmen who legally obtained his weapon is reported to have said that she reported her son to the authorities saying that she didn't think he was mature enough to own a weapon. This was the gunman's mother reporting her son, probably not an easy thing for a mother to do. But, it seems the authorities took no notice of her warning.

Every gun has the potential to be used to cause harm. It may be accidental (someone cleaning the gun accidentally shooting himself in the foot), it may be neglect (a weapon not properly locked away just for a short time in an unusual circumstance and found by a child), it may be mistaken (a homeowner shooting a family member mistaking for an intruder), a family argument gone wrong, a weapon found by a family member cleaning out the home of a deceased parent, or a plethora of other scenarios.

Every time a gun is in a home it is a weapon waiting to be used. How that weapon is used varies. But in my mind the potential for it being used to cause bodily harm to someone who does not deserve it is much more likely than it being used to defend against an invading army or an unjust government.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 8:17 am

mauricio is a registered user.

The anti gun control crowd keep bringing up the 2nd Amendment as if it is absolute, but nothing in life is. The 1st Amendment guarantees the freedom of speech, but if you walk into a movie theater and scream 'Fire' you'd be arrested and prosecuted, and if you threaten to kill the President, the Secret Service and FBI would knock on your door within hours. Defaming another person could end up in heavy financial losses.

The Constitution is based on the Declaration of Independence, which says that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

Life and the pursuit of happiness are idenied by mess murders perpetrated by individuals or groups armed with battlefield grade assault weapons capable of killing many innocent civilians in seconds, weapons the framers could never even imagine centuries ago and the government has not only the right, but the obligation to protect the public by banning such weapons, based on the Declaration of Independence.


 +   27 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts, a resident of Mountain View,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 9:06 am

- Stepping back briefly to a longer focus: A major axis of differences in firearm perception separates country from city perspectives. People tend to grow up in rural areas knowing, basically, more about firearms. They're around; used in target shooting; sometimes for hunting; occasionally for problem varmints (the wild hog suddenly ravaging your vegetable garden). Whereas city and suburban folk associate guns with crime, and get their firearms understanding from TV and movies.

- Yet, pervading many anti-gun comments (including in Palo Alto Web Link ) is eagerness to second-guess thoughts and motives of gun owners. That's symptomatic of a broader conceit today (projecting your own notions about others' viewpoints instead of listening to them). "The NRA" is a useful rhetorical boogie-man (FYI, I have never had any use for the NRA). And it would help gun critics if they'd at least take responsibility to learn accurately what terms like "automatic" and "assault rifle" mean so they can use them rationally, not just emotionally.

- Lenin favored executing 100 innocents if needed to get one enemy of the state. The overwhelming majority of legal military-styled rifles belong to responsible law-abiding citizens; your proposed outright banning indicts that conscientious majority in the *hope* it will also deny guns to some murderers. Core notion of "ban this TYPE of gun" advocates: I don't see the need for them in civilian hands, so confiscation from the conscientious is justified, to reduce criminal access. Conscientious owners reply: Hubris. Your personal perception of the lack of any need for something (which you also imply little acquaintance with) is weak basis for national policy.

- It's well established already that faith in outlawing per-se is naïve. Many mass-shooting incidents (including two of the recent three) entail weapons already in some way illegal.

(By the way, it would improve serious discussion if the blogger could limit repeat commenters who compulsively "tailgate" every comment they dislike.)


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Tanu, a resident of another community,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 10:55 am

Tanu is a registered user.

Simply, the hardest thing to do is gauge someone's intentions so, banning automatic assault weapons and making sure that only the military uses could be the first step to multi-fold solution. Yes, this would translate into many legal, well intentioned owners to lose their access to these weapons, but keeping the bigger picture in mind, this is the call of the hour; humanity needs all of us to pitch in.


 +   32 people like this
Posted by Tanu, a resident of another community,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 10:55 am

Tanu is a registered user.

Simply, the hardest thing to do is gauge someone's intentions so, banning automatic assault weapons and making sure that only the military uses could be the first step to multi-fold solution. Yes, this would translate into many legal, well intentioned owners to lose their access to these weapons, but keeping the bigger picture in mind, this is the call of the hour; humanity needs all of us to pitch in.


 +   55 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:11 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Please explain to us why ordinary citizens, especially those living in rural areas not suffering from urban crime need military grade assault weapons. Please explain how Israel, a nation that has dealt with terrorism for the last 71 years, managed to provide great safety from mess shootings to its population despite rejecting 40 percent of all gun applications, allowing only hand guns and no automatic weapons whatsoever (a limit of one per person) regardless of how Left or Right wing the government may be. Even the most Right wing nationalist Israeli politicians think our failure to outlaw the private ownership of assault weapons is insane.


 +   35 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:52 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ mauricio -

--- ---- ---
You wrote: "No, they can't. This society is highly racist, violent and full of hate and bigotry. Not every place is Palo Alto or Woodside, they are the exception. There are also many people with untreated mental illnesses who have outrageously easy access to battlefield grade weapons capable of killing many of people in seconds. No one is talking about voiding the Second Amendment, but the Framers, who never anticipated the deadly modern weapons certainly never intended to enable the frequent mess murders of innocent civilians."
--- ---- ---

I wholeheartedly disagree. I've lived in Texas. I picked fields throughout the United States while growing up as a migrant farm worker. Where are all of these "racists" who are "violent and full of hate and bigotry?" For the most part, I think that "racism" is largely frowned upon by society. While there are a few, most of them are despised by the vast majority of Americans.

It is interesting that many Americans rightfully want to dispel myths about followers of religions like Islam -- that people should not stereotype or generalize an individual or an entire group on the basis of the actions of a few. Yet, many of those same people actually stereotype and generalize America as a whole because of the actions of an even smaller representation.

Mass murders are few and far between. Because they are terrifying (and much rarer), they get far more attention than the "everyday" shootings in places like Chicago. Four people in Chicago were shot just yesterday -- and it is hardly news.

The fact remains that most violent gun crimes happen in the hands of people who aren't supposed to own or operate firearms in the first place. Thus, the obvious first reaction should be to make sure that the people who aren't supposed to have firearms (the ones that I mentioned earlier) don't have them. That would cut the violent gun crime rate down to the point where you wouldn't need to ban weapons from the rest of us.

Contrary to what you've said, I can be trusted with my right to bear arms. So can everyone that I associate with. The problem isn't guns themselves. The problem isn't even guns in the right hands. The problem has always been guns in the wrong hands.

--- ---- ---
You also wrote, "The Constitution is based on the Declaration of Independence, which says that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
--- ---- ---

Actually, this isn't true. The Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776 by officials of the Second Continental Congress. These leaders voted to secede from Great Britain. It came only after the King and Parliament ignored the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms resolution and the Olive Branch petition in the year prior to declaring independence.

The Declaration of Independence was followed by a call of citizens to take up THEIR OWN ARMS against those British troops, military leaders and magistrates who were now considered occupiers and invaders.

The Declaration is not a current legal document (it was a legal document for the Second Continental Congress as per their representation for each of the thirteen colonies). It was also NOT the basis for the Constitution.

The Constitution is the accepted, unifying supreme law for the United States of America. It was ratified well over a decade after the Declaration of Independence -- and after the Articles of Confederation were deemed insufficient.

Those who supported and ratified the Constitution also cherished the words of the Declaration of Independence. That is why the Bill of Rights exists. The Bill of Rights reflects the individual and collective liberties of American citizens -- the "we the people of the United States." It imposed limits on the federal government by protecting the rights of the people.

The First Amendment protects the right of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition of government. The Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms.

Like I said, the only way for the type of gun control that gun control advocates and activists seek to come to fruition is through a constitutional amendment. Otherwise, pushes by any lawmakers or judges to control guns outside of the people who either never had or have lost such rights (e.g., non-citizens, felons, etc.) would ultimately fail in the U.S. Supreme Court for violating the Second Amendment.

This is why the best and most logical scenario would be to restrict guns from the possession of those who aren't supposed to have them anyway. A large majority of violent gun crimes are carried out by such people. By some estimates, it is roughly 80% of violent gun crimes.

Web Link

So, is there a compromise? What should effective gun control look like?

Instead of unconstitutional blanket restrictions on firearms (many of which make little statistical sense), why not implement the following measures:

1.) Law enforcement focus on removing firearms from felons and non-citizens.
2.) Legislation that restricts ownership of or access to firearms for perpetual criminals (e.g., thieves, etc.) or people convicted of various forms of violence.
3.) Legislation that restricts ownership of or access to firearms from people diagnosed with a mental disorder (who have not been cleared by a physician).
4.) Restrict ownership or access to firearms from children under the age of 18 (other than hunting rifles).
5.) Individual states can pass access-locking legislation for individuals who own non-hunting, non-single fire and/or automatic weapons. This could include everything from gun locks for those weapons or requirements that they are stored in locked gun safes.

The first measure would cover roughly 80% of violent gun crimes. Much of the remaining gun crimes would be reduced by the other four measures. The solution is not an unconstitutional ban for everyone else.


 +   24 people like this
Posted by Fr0hickey, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:55 am

Fr0hickey is a registered user.

Your first point is incorrect. The guns that the recent mass-shooters used are *not* military grade assault weapons.

Military grade assault weapons have burst or full-auto (one pull of trigger, multiple shots are fired in quick succession) capabilities. The civilian versions of the AR-15 does not have that capability.

Bump stocks facilitate multiple pulls of the trigger in quick succession, but it is not burst or full-auto.

Second, for Israel, national military service is mandatory for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18. Do you want the US to adopt this policy?

I agree with you that mass-shootings are terrible. Gun confiscation/ban is even more so.

On Nov. 11, 1938, the Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons was issued. Under it, Jews living under the Third Reich were forbidden to own or possess any form of weapons, including truncheons, knives, firearms and ammunition.


 +   24 people like this
Posted by Some thoughts, a resident of Mountain View,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 12:41 pm

mauricio's rhetorical "Please explain to us" comment, above, illustrates:

1. The mind-set I pointed out wherein YOUR not seeing justification for something is considered sufficient basis to deny it to others.

2. The problem of compulsive comment "tailgating" I warned of. That person commented three times in short order, and will almost certainly do so again.


 +   33 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 3:05 pm

mauricio is a registered user.

No one singled out one specific mass shooting incident. The mandatory military service of Israelis is irrelevant to this topic, and no, I do not recommend reinstating the draft. Israel's strict gun regulations are extremely efficient in all but preventing mess shootings. If we adopted them, mess shootings would become rare. 40 percent of gun purchase applications are denied in Israel because the applicants are deemed to be unsuitable to own guns, that's real background checks, not the farce we practice here, and that percentage would be much higher in the US. Only hand guns are allowed, a limit of one per person. A society that allows such easy access to guns its not a normal society, and we are not considered to be a normal society by the civilized world.


 +   12 people like this
Posted by anotherscaredmom, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 3:14 pm

anotherscaredmom is a registered user.

Given how well educated @Fr0hickey is about weapons, I would like to ask for a clarification.
I genuinely do not understand what would be a need for anyone (outside of the military) for a semi-automatic large capacity rifle . I am very serious. This is a weapon that has a sole purpose of firing as many bullets as quickly as possible; without having to stop and reload. It is created for a battlefield, in order to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible.
Can you please give me another use for it. Other then killing as many people as quickly as possible.
A handgun will give you protection against someone breaking into your house. A hunting shotgun will give you the thrill of hunting. Based on a recent conversation I had with someone who lives off the grid in bear country, you do not need more than that to protect yourself against a grizzly either.
Tell me, what other use is there. Other then killing a lot of people very quickly. Oh, and just having it as a toy in your basement for fun. Is there another use ? Because I have never heard of one, and I cannot think of one on my own.
Elementary schools started today. Every other mom I talked to during drop off confided that there is the gnawing fear deep inside of more then our usual earthquakes and fires.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 10:40 pm

I was watching an educational course about ancient Sparta. Described was the quandary of " when you put so much into military aspect like this, what do you do when you lose a battle?". You're already giving it your all. Likewise when the NRA loses how will it cope? Likely the whole dam will collapse.

As for me, I'm beyond "Civil Discourse". My daughter was almost at the Garlic Festival the day of the carnage. To the NRA and supporters I just say, "Assuredly because of you there will be more and more carnage. I hope it falls on you and yours".


 +   24 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 14, 2019 at 11:33 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ A Noun Ea Mus - Your post comes across as almost, uh, dangerous. Are you seriously calling for murder to fall on NRA members and their families?

I am not a member of the NRA. However, the NRA wouldn't have to exist if the anti-Second Amendment activists would realize that it is folly to try and create unconstitutional gun laws.

Their only viable recourse is to convince the nation to pass a constitutional amendment that repeals the right to bear arms (or, in the very least, most types of arms).

Of course, the prospect of this happening is unlikely and it would be slow anyway. So, the left now relies upon judicial activists to interpret the law however they see fit.

Personally, I oppose the repeal of the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights. Why? Most Americans can be trusted with their rights to bear arms. Besides, the problem of gun violence in this country is almost ENTIRELY because gun laws aren't being followed. Most people who commit violent gun crimes aren't supposed to own or operate them.

I know that it is popular among certain activist-minded individuals or groups to blame the NRA for gun crimes or any and every aspect of gun ownership that those individuals or groups dislike. Yet, to blame the NRA for the action of deranged people is cringe-inducing.

How is the NRA responsible for the 80% of gun crimes committed by people who are banned from owning or operating guns? Each and every gun crime is the result of violations of EXISTING laws.

In other words, those individuals who perpetrate such violence -- whether via the rare mass shootings or the much more common inner city gun violence -- are ignoring existing laws. Such individuals aren't going to follow the law anyway.

Before we cry out for an unconstitutional ban on gun ownership, why not first remove them from the hands of people who are committing most of the crimes? Those laws are already on the books. Let's find ways to properly enforce them -- particularly in the areas where most of those crimes take place.

I have no problem holding parents accountable if their children commit gun crimes. The parents should have kept guns away from those children. In fact, I have no problem with holding people financially responsible if they don't secure their own arms properly so that someone in their household uses them to commit murder. Such laws don't prohibit ownership, but they do force gun owners to take greater steps to lock their guns up and keep them out of the hands of people who might use them for nefarious purposes.

Prohibition wouldn't work. It is unconstitutional. Moreover, it would only keep guns out of the hands of people who respect and follow the law. Drugs are prohibited. Illegal immigration is prohibited. That still doesn't stop people who don't respect the law.

Most importantly, I should stress that wishing harm on Second Amendment supporters because deranged people used guns to murder people sounds a lot like violent radicalization. There are a lot of radical groups that begin their descent into calls for violence using similar rationales. It isn't helpful and sounds counterproductive.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 6:12 am

mauricio is a registered user.

[Portion removed.] No one has suggested repealing the 2nd Amendment. The Framers never imagined assault weapons that can kill multitudes of people in seconds, they lived in the era of the musket.

Why would anyone need semi automatic assault weapons that are made for battlefield combat? Their capacity for mayhem and carnage is a direct threat to the survival of this society. One handgun per person is sufficient for protecting one's home. It satisfies the current interpretation of the right to bear arms and it doesn't consist ute an unacceptable risk to the society at large.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 7:15 am

Nayeli,

I will remind you of the news reports that one of the recent shooters, aged in 20s, reported to the authorities that her son was not mature enough to own a gun. She was ignored. Parents often don't have a say in whether their "children" own guns. When 18 year olds can go out and buy almost any weapon legally, it has nothing to do with the parents.

Now a child getting hold of a weapon that is incorrectly stored at home is another thing altogether.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by ASSAULT WEAPONS SHOULD BE FEDERALLY BANNED, a resident of Menlo Park,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 7:39 am

2nd Amendment was ratified in 1771, BEFORE we had a military BEFORE we had local law enforcement in every jurisdiction in the country, when a MUSKET was your only option. Fast forward, we have a 'regulated militia' aka the US MILITARY. There is no need for assault weapons in the hands of civilians.

A Federal ban on Assault weapons is a huge first step. Mitch McConnell and his spineless GOP cronies have blood on their hands, their first loyalty is to the NRA, not the innocent people killed by assault weapon. VOTE BLUE IN 2020.


 +   26 people like this
Posted by Until NRA speaks out against assault weapons they ARE responsible, a resident of Evergreen Park,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 7:42 am

Not blame the NRA? Seriously? Suggest you read about the history of the gun lobby in America. It's all about money for the NRA. If they embrace the 2nd amendment ratified in 1771, then they should condone only a musket in the hands of civilians....not an AK47. Since the bible thumpers interpret the bible literally, then same should apply to 2nd amendment.


 +   20 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 10:24 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

Hi Resident,

Thank you for sharing this information. Do we know where that shooter obtained his gun? It would be interesting to see if he fits in one of the categories that I mentioned for REAL gun control to be effective and, of course, constitutional.

Most gun crimes are committed by people who aren't supposed to have access to firearms anyway. There is still the problem with the minority who don't fit in that category. While I haven't seen much in terms of statistical evidence, I have read articles where some shooters have been either diagnosed with mental disorders, deemed to have mental conditions or aptitudes that are identified via various ICD-10 designations or are diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.

I favor laws that restrict guns from the hands of individuals who are diagnosed with mental disorders (who haven't been cleared by medical professionals) or have intellectual disabilities diagnosed below a certain threshold.

By keeping guns out of the hands of children, those who are legally restricted from owning or operating them (the vast majority of gun crimes) as well as those with mental disorders or developmental issues, I suspect that it would go a long way toward stopping gun crimes and, yes, mass shootings.

The partisan rhetoric (as a few posters have used) is not going to help Democrats in states where the Second Amendment rights are popular among Republicans, Democrats and Independents. Democrats aren't likely to win the 2020 election without winning Pennsylvania. If they want to lose the state again, then they will loudly echo some of those statements and tie them with the Democratic Party.


 +   25 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 10:36 am

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ Until NRA speaks out: "Bible thumpers?" What exactly are those?

Isn't that a slur used by non-Christians to describe Christians who embrace the Bible? Isn't it a bit bigoted and xenophobic? Why did you even bring this up in a discussion about the Second Amendment and gun ownership?

If you used the term "Qur'an thumper," would it be considered a slur? What about a "Talmud thumper?" Do you complain about "Vedas thumpers?" "Kojiki thumpers?" "Communist manifesto thumpers?"

Just FYI: The term "Bible thumper" is a religious slur that is just as egregious as calling people of other religions by demeaning terms.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Nayeli -Is Religious Right PC enough?, a resident of Stanford,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 11:41 am

@Nayeli- You are SO right, apologies, let's replace Bible-Thumpers with Religions Right, is that PC enough for you? From scorning immigrants to accepting the president's profanity, evangelicals are proving just how flexible their values can be. However tide may be turning, let's hope so. Web Link

And BTW literal interpretation of ANY religious teachings used to spew hate is wrong. True Christians, Muslims, Buddhists..or any one with a belief system that is loving and compassionate does not hijack their beliefs to hurt others. We have had enough hateful rhetoric, ENOUGH!

So get off your soapbox and make a donation in support of the families who have tragically lost loves ones; slaughtered by young American-born white male patriots with an assault weapons, or is that a slur too?

Donate here Web Link


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Diana Diamond, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 11:55 am

Diana Diamond is a registered user.

Can we please get off topics like bible-thumping and what's happening in Israel? The questions I am posing is whether we must ban using assault and semiautomatic guns. Yes, there are hundreds of issues involving guns in our country, but as I said, assault weapons should be a non-partisan issue. Using them is a terrorist act, simply because shooting these guns can kills hundreds of innocents. This has nothing to do with Second Amendment rights, in my estimation. Our founding Fathers wouldn't know what we are discussing.

Should our country ban these guns nationally?

Diana


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Ban on assault weapons, a resident of Old Palo Alto,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 12:37 pm

Ban on assault weapons is a registered user.

Diana, but this is precisely where the issue is. It really should be a bipartisan issue. Assault weapons have no reason to exist outside of military. It has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment at all, and they absolutely should be banned nationally. To you and to me and to a huge chunk of population it's obvious and it's clear. But...but... we see just as clearly that another chunk of population (albeit much smaller) disagrees with that and sees it as an assault on their rights. They see that their right to buy a deadly weapon is more important than the danger this right delivers to the safety of children at schools, festival goers, grocery shoppers and worshipers of all faiths in their houses of worship. And it appears to be a very partisan divide, sadly. And just as sadly, there seems to be no obvious compromise to be made with them.


 +   22 people like this
Posted by Nayeli, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 1:09 pm

Nayeli is a registered user.

@ "NIR: Is Religious Right PC enough?" - No. Your attitude is part of the problem. How can compromise be reached when you feel that you have the moral high ground -- so much so that you can use slurs to describe a religious group (one that really doesn't have anything directly to do with this issue)? Would you appreciate it if people dealt with your views the same way that you deal with theirs?

I agree with Diana that mass shootings are an important issue. No one wants violent gun crimes or mass shootings to happen. In fact, the overwhelming majority of people who believe in their right to bear arms want to protect themselves and their families from such dangers. They understand that this is their Second Amendment right.

This is they the right can only be ultimately removed by constitutional amendment. Any other attempt is unconstitutional. If liberals were to temporarily stock every court in America with activist judges who interpret the Second Amendment to allow for such restrictions, most people understand that this is the result of fusing political and ideological views into their rulings. When the pendulum swings back, the conservative judges will overturn what they see as bad precedent or poor decisions.

Thus, the constitutional amendment is the only way that this can change. However, a blanket repeal or outright ban would not pass in 30-40 states. There would have to be some sort of compromise for that to happen to achieve enough support to pass a constitutional amendment of arms prohibition.

Thus, this is unlikely. Besides, I don't think that the solution is banning certain weapons. I think that the issue is keeping ALL weapons out of the hands of a select group of people. This would include those who have either forfeited their rights (e.g., felons, violent criminals, etc.), don't have the rights to begin with (e.g., non-citizens, children, etc.) or should be restricted over mental health issues or individuals with mental development disabilities.

What would the rate of violent gun crime be in this nation if all felons, violent criminals, gang members, non-citizens, the mentally ill and those with mental developmental disorders were prohibited from owning or operating firearms?

I suspect that rates of gun crimes would be vastly lower. Yet, instead of focusing on this as a first step, gun-control activists focus on bans. We already know that the individuals who commit most gun crimes aren't giving up their guns -- even if bans became law.

The grand irony is that most "mass shootings" -- as terrible and, thankfully, few in number as they are -- are NOT committed with military-style assault rifles. We know that Second Amendment advocates (probably including virtually all NRA members) are among the most trustworthy with their ownership of arms anyway.

As for the founding fathers' intent: We can't inject 21st century sociopolitical and ethical views into their intentions. In fact, the founding fathers of the Continental Congress in 1777 commissioned Josephe Belton to build 100 Belton flintlock rapid fire guns -- more than a decade before the Bill of Rights (*and the Second Amendment) was written.

My point is that gun-control should first begin with restrictions from the people who actually commit the violent gun crimes in the first place. Once that is successful, we can consider other subsequent options. Otherwise, it will take a constitutional amendment for gun prohibition to allow the gun-control advocates to successfully have their way.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by disingenuous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 1:12 pm

> "Bible thumpers?" What exactly are those?
> Isn't that a slur used by non-Christians to describe Christians who embrace the Bible?
> Isn't it a bit bigoted and xenophobic?
> If you used the term "Qur'an thumper," would it be considered a slur?
> What about a "Talmud thumper?"
> Do you complain about "Vedas thumpers?"
> "Kojiki thumpers?"
>"Communist manifesto thumpers?"
> Just FYI: The term "Bible thumper" is a religious slur that is just as egregious as calling people of other religions by demeaning terms.

If you asked the question, and then answer it a few sentences later, that's pretty disingenuous, besides being a sign of weak thought processes. And even then, you're still wrong.

I'm a Christian and use the phrase as every one else does - to describe an overly aggressive evangelical, with the overtone of grifter. Maybe a quick trip to a dictionary would have saved you the embarrassment.

Not to be confused with the Religions Right. They've already besmirched their marketing brand by selling out and supporting a serial adulterer/admitted sexual abuser who repeatedly paid porn actresses.




Assault style weapons have no reason to exist outside of military.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by disingenuous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 1:14 pm

> gun-control should first begin with restrictions from the people who actually commit the violent gun crimes in the first place

Beautiful. You used gun in both locations in that structure.

Remove the guns and it's all good. Just like the real world.

All gun crimes are violent. Remove the guns.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville,
on Aug 15, 2019 at 10:18 pm

"Assault weapons" really are semi automatic. They all should be banned.

But that is not the whole iceberg

National Gun Registration and Background Checks.

Single action rifles, revolvers all now only sold in registered gun stores. No more gun show/private or internet sales. You want to buy a gun go to the store. You want to sell a gun go to the store.

Even with these needed changes the remaining sheer volume will still assure more suicides, domestic killings etc.

It's a big hole we've dug.

Speaking of guns. When is our Praetorian Guard going to live up to historical standards?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by mauricio, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland,
on Aug 16, 2019 at 10:57 am

mauricio is a registered user.

Based on the bizarre(I'd use a much stronger word but it would be deleted) logic of the commentators who oppose a federal ban on assault weapons, there is no reason not to allow people to buy heavy artillery, shoulder held surface to air missiles, Apache helicopters and buzukas.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Sparkle T, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Aug 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm

"All gun crimes are violent. Remove the guns."

+1,000


 +   3 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 17, 2019 at 3:35 pm

In all the debate on this subject I don't see that anyone has defined what an assault weapon is.

Can someone please define what an assault weapon is.

What kinds of guns do people personally want to see banned or declared unlawful?

Is everyone referring to the same definition?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Balance, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Aug 17, 2019 at 6:48 pm

Balance is a registered user.

There are multiple definitions, varying by location and time: Web Link.

The practical difference between a regular home defense handgun and an "assault" rifle is not how many innocent people it can kill during a given period of time. The difference is in the effective distance and types of anti-bullet-protection it can overcome.

A handgun is a short-range low-power weapon: relatively reliable hits on target are only to about 60 feet out; the bullets will be stopped by a police-grade bulletproof vest.

An "assault" rifle is a medium-range medium-power weapon: reliable hits to about 300 feet out; one can manufacture hard-metal-core bullets that will penetrate most police-grade bulletproof vests.

When it comes to the insane and deplorable acts of killing innocents at a close distance, handguns could be even more effective than rifles, as they are quicker to aim, easier to retain, and a shooter can use two of them simultaneously.

Even a person with moderate mechanical skills can manufacture a high-capacity magazine for a handgun. With a bit of training, an average shooter can achieve rate of fire of 2 shots per second, more than sufficient for a mass shooting.

The practical benefits of "assault" rifles were demonstrated during mass riots. For instance in Los Angeles in 1992: Web Link.

A mostly unarmed rioting crowd, even if it includes individuals armed with handguns, stands a little chance against a properly trained and positioned defender armed with an "assault" rifle.

On a much less attractive flip side, as I mentioned, access to "assault" rifles makes gangs members, deranged psychos, and other individuals deadly not only to innocents at close range, but also to police officers and national guard soldiers at moderate ranges.

Any prohibition would be a double-edged sword. On one hand, banning "assault" rifles would benefit the police and national guard in situations when they have to deal with determined killers.

On the other hand, it would remove effective protection tools from the hands of individuals who might otherwise use them to ensure safety of their community at times of riots and large-scale natural disasters.


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Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Aug 17, 2019 at 7:46 pm

^ You mean criminalize individuals who might otherwise use them to ensure safety.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 18, 2019 at 12:08 am

> Balance, a resident of Charleston Meadows

That is at the very least a place to start. Thank you. You raised some questions,
do you have any suggestions that might be answers?

> The practical difference between a regular home defense handgun and an
> "assault" rifle is not how many innocent people it can kill during a given
> period of time. The difference is in the effective distance and types of
> anti-bullet-protection it can overcome.

> An "assault" rifle is a medium-range medium-power weapon: reliable hits
> to about 300 feet out; one can manufacture hard-metal-core bullets that
> will penetrate most police-grade bulletproof vests.

What is the distribution spread of distance of mass shooting victims. I am
under the impression that most people who were shot were closer than the
60 feet you put as the limit of a handgun.

> When it comes to the insane and deplorable acts of killing innocents at a
> close distance, handguns could be even more effective than rifles, as
> they are quicker to aim, easier to retain, and a shooter can use two of
> them simultaneously.

This is the point I have been trying to get at. Any gun that is single shot
reload is going to be useless for defense, aside from maybe a shotgun,
because if you are scared and your adrenalin is pumping your aim will be
shaky unless you are very practiced. So, for defense, it seems to me that
whatever gun would work could very well be classed as an assault rifle.
And that completely ignores the handgun angle your mentioned.

> A mostly unarmed rioting crowd, even if it includes individuals armed
> with handguns, stands a little chance against a properly trained and
> positioned defender armed with an "assault" rifle.

Against an unarmed crowd a guy with a samurai sword will prevail, so
I am not sure what point is that supposed to make.

For purposes of a mass shooter, what they need to kill masses of people
is a "semi-automatic weapon" that can shoot fast, as fast as the shooter
can pull his finger. Singling out "assault style" weapons might not make
any practical difference while the act is going on.

- but perhaps the unavailability of assault-style "sexy" weapons to gun
fetishists could act as at least a slight deterrent in itself?

> access to "assault" rifles makes gangs members, deranged psychos,
> and other individuals deadly not only to innocents at close range, but
> also to police officers and national guard soldiers at moderate ranges.

This raised another point of trying to ensure that guns civilians have will
be less than what the police have. That is a desired state, but is it possible?

Your points are well stated. Can anyone add or rebut these points.

The dual concerns are 1. Can a gun-owner protect themselves or deter
crime against himself? 2. In a mass shooter situation or standoff can the
police maintain a superior advantage.

So, the effort to equate any semi-automatic weapon with an assault
weapon is not so far-fetched. What experience have other states or
countries had with different methods to curb violent gun crimes? The
assault weapons ban is claimed to have worked, and waiting periods
and background checks add something to the mix as well.

The criminalizing of mental illness, because for these purposes a
lot of things are getting mashed together, drug use, depression, OCD,
BPD ... and I think I understand that while most shooters we think of
as mentally ill, a very small number of generically mentally ill people
are actually dangerous or violent.

Deciding someone is a menace and taking their guns or gun away,
seems like it might be problematic, and even violating due process.
This is a very intractable problem. Then there is the simple solution
of removing all guns from the public. How would that work?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Balance, a resident of Charleston Meadows,
on Aug 18, 2019 at 3:51 pm

Balance is a registered user.

> What is the distribution spread of distance of mass shooting victims.
> I am under the impression that most people who were shot
> were closer than the 60 feet you put as the limit of a handgun.

I don't have access to full stats. From press coverage, the two distances appearing most deadly to innocents are close range (where handguns are just as effective as "assault" rifles) and long range (sniper rifles).

60 feet is not a hard limit. An untrained psycho armed with a cheap handgun may not be able to aim accurately beyond 20 feet. A highly-trained individual armed with an accurate long-barrel large-caliber handgun may hit accurately beyond 180 feet.

From a victim's standpoint, there are three deadly dangerous factors in a mass-shooting situation:

(1) Close distance to the shooter. If you can run away, do, as quickly as you are able to, while zigzagging. If you have a kid with you, whom you can pick up and carry away, do it: when adrenalin is rushing, you can run with a lot heavier child than you could imagine in a normal state.

(2) Not knowing where the shooter is (sniper). Immediately fall to the ground, curl in fetal position, and put palms of your hands behind your neck, to protect vital arteries supplying blood to the brain. Once you identify where the shots are coming from, slowly crawl toward any barrier between you and the shooter you can find.

(3) Being knocked off feet, or being stomped by, other running victims. Be among the first to run out of the area, or among the first to reach a concealment. If you are knocked down after all, curl and protect your neck and head, start crawling only when it is safer to do so.

> Against an unarmed crowd a guy with a samurai sword will prevail,
> so I am not sure what point is that supposed to make.

Crowds not armed with firearms usually use improvised weapons, such as bottles, rocks, bricks, chairs, boxes, sticks, baseball bats, knives, machetes etc. Against one, two, or even three such attackers, a trained guy with a samurai sword may prevail. Against six or more, not likely.

Gang and crowd attacks don't happen in real life the way they are depicted in most movies. Instead of attacking one by one, gang members attack all at once. Instead of being inept and slowly moving beating targets for the hero, they tend to be young, fast, street-fights-hardened guys.

> This raised another point of trying to ensure that guns civilians have
> will be less than what the police have. That is a desired state, but is it possible?

There are people who still strongly object to the desirability of such state. They consider it a component of "police state". It is already achieved in the US though.

Police and other law-enforcement agencies have exclusive access to powerful fully-automatic weapons and highly effective protective gear. Not to mention they are better trained and much more experienced in application of force.

> 1. Can a gun-owner protect themselves or deter crime against himself?

It happens routinely. Just not in Palo Alto. That's how they do it in Arizona: Web Link.

A recall reading about a raping spree in Orlando, FL in late 1980s and early 1990s, which police had hard time containing. The rapidly growing number of tourists and transients visiting the area made patrolling the territory and tracking the people very difficult. It stopped only after concealed gun carrying laws were democratized in the area.

In one of the more graphic cases, a young woman was supplied with a gun by her older relative. It happened to be an ancient revolver of a huge caliber. During the rape attempt, she managed to pull the gun out of her purse and shoot it once. The bullet and gunpowder gases took out all the meat between the elbow and the palm of the rapist, who turned out to be a serial killer.

Both cases above were tragedies. God keep you and your loved ones from being a participant in such events! However, imagine the chilling impact that such cases had on the criminal community. According to criminals themselves, they are far less afraid of police than they are of armed homeowners, concealed guns, and dogs.

As to the mass shootings of innocents, they much more rarely happen in states and counties where obtaining a concealed handgun carry license is not a problem. The mainstream media doesn't publicize that much, yet stupid criminals sometimes try heists or shootings in such areas, only to be comically quickly shot down by good samaritans.

> 2. In a mass shooter situation or standoff can the police maintain a superior advantage.

In a mass shooter at a close range situation, police is usually not present in the beginning, when most victims are killed or wounded. Arming either all or select adult civilians, such as school teachers, can be more effective in preventing such events.

Even when police officers are numerous, densely stationed, well-trained, and heroic, like at the Gilroy festival, they still can't prevent the close proximity mass shooting deaths.

It is not a coincidence that the Gilroy shooter, or the evil people advising him, chose such festival as the scene of killings. He or they were less afraid of police than of occasional member of public carrying a concealed gun or knife at an event without weapons screening.

I highly doubt that a shooter, or a criminal in general, could be attracted to commit a comparable act at the Renaissance Faire, also near Gilroy, as such event attract many people armed with, and trained in use of, replicas of medieval weapons.

> Deciding someone is a menace and taking their guns or gun away,
> seems like it might be problematic, and even violating due process.

I believe that this shall only be done through a due process, by a court. Otherwise a black market of undeclared guns will expand, involving even law-abiding citizens afraid that their declared guns will be taken away by a gun-unfriendly administration at some point, for instance based on their seemingly innocent posts on Internet.

> Then there is the simple solution of removing all guns from the public. How would that work?

Simple? Historically, taking all guns away from the public was often followed either by fall of the empire, or by stiff suppression of political opposition, sometimes even genocide against the people from whom the guns were taken.

A country with armed population is unconquerable in practice. A country with unarmed population can easily fall to a regime that in a short time morphs from populist to fascist. Some facts for you to ponder on:

In Switzerland, keeping a fully automatic machine gun at home is not just a right of an able-bodied citizen, but an obligation. Moreover, the obligation includes regular training in use of the gun. Have you heard about mass shootings in Switzerland? Or about any country, including Nazi Germany at the apex of its power, conquering Switzerland?

The entity confiscating the guns may be not a fascist regime, but a much more democratic government that precedes it: Web Link.

Taking the guns away from the public opens up an easy opportunity for secret police to quietly apprehend political opponents in their homes, which paves the way for a later fascist regime.

It seems to me that the US follows the UK's road to total gun prohibition: Web Link.

Consider though that UK ceased to be a worldwide empire in a short 7 years after the "the Home Secretary ruled that self-defence was no longer a suitable reason for applying for a firearm certificate and directed police to refuse such applications".

I don't think the above is a causation. Yet it could be a significant correlative indicator. When country leadership no longer considers the Constitution or Common Law as binding, and there are no citizens left to oppose such position, it may well indicate that the country is no longer what it used to be: an Empire fully supported by its free citizens.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 18, 2019 at 11:42 pm

> Consider though that UK ceased to be a worldwide empire in a short 7
> years after the "the Home Secretary ruled that self-defence was no
> longer a suitable reason for applying for a firearm certificate and
> directed police to refuse such applications".

Reasonable post overall, but I'd say this was a big stretch to cause and effect given the history and the times.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Aug 18, 2019 at 11:52 pm

^ maybe why the above was followed immediately by "I don't think the above is a causation. Yet it could be a significant correlative indicator."


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by disingenuous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Aug 19, 2019 at 8:24 am

You won, per Godwin.

Amazing the lengths some will go to to defend guns that kill tens of thousands of Americans every year.

Make sure you grand-kid has her bullet proof backpack for the new school year!


 +   3 people like this
Posted by toxic masculinity, a resident of Midtown,
on Aug 20, 2019 at 1:10 am

One observation about so many killers, they are all men. Often young men.
There are various descriptions of such persons, toxic masculinity seems descriptive, and angry young men.
Men with no constructive occupation or much education.
Men for whom violence is normal. Even a sport.
Going out and shooting a living creature is a 'sport'.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Aug 20, 2019 at 1:15 am

> ^ maybe why the above was followed immediately by "I don't think the above is a causation. Yet it could be a significant correlative indicator."

People are suckers for Trumpian language now ... just blurt both sides of every issue and pretend to always be right. What is the point of talking about the UK supposedly losing its status as a world power after limiting firearms permitting ... what the heck do you think he was saying musical? Whatever it was it was not a logical argument as most of the rest of the comment was.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by guns are an emotional crutch, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Aug 20, 2019 at 11:25 am

@toxic masculinity

These men are so emotionally attached to their guns. What is the connection, or perhaps the better question: what are they making up for?

Something missing in their upbringing, or missing in their lives?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Aug 20, 2019 at 2:18 pm

^ ... like saying 4th of July fireworks are an emotional crutch.



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