The Conversation

Gun Control: Issues and news about gun control efforts

As Obama gets under way in Chicago

Feb 15, 2013 1:29 PM PT

I've seen Obama speak in Chicago in person--in 2008, at a church on the South Side. Obama often repeats a message of responsibility in these settings: parents should read to kids, kids should do their homework, young people should help their communities instead of hanging around in gangs, etc. That message of responsibility is part of what built support for Obama among suburbanites more used to hearing the usual grievance rhetoric from city politicians. I fully expect Obama to use the same language in his gun control (sorry, "economy") speech today at a school in Hyde Park. I also expect to see the media fawning over it. And--all well and good, because more of that rhetoric is needed. The problem is more than rhetoric is needed, and Obama has done much to undermine the notion of individual responsibility to which he pays homage in these speeches.

Judging Obama's gun policy by liberal media's 'racial code'

Feb 15, 2013 9:01 AM PT

President Barack Obama seems to think that different gun rules should apply to people in rural areas and people in urban areas. As I noted last month:

Curiously, the president attempted to draw a distinction between gun ownership in rural areas versus urban areas, according to the interview: 

Part of being able to move this forward is understanding the reality of guns in urban areas are very different from the realities of guns in rural areas. And if you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were ten, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family's traditions, you can see why you'd be pretty protective of that.

So it's trying to bridge those gaps that I think is going to be part of the biggest task over the next several months. And that means that advocates of gun control have to do a little more listening than they do sometimes.

Were any other politician to have made such a distinction, they might well have been accused of racism.

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Obama to Push Gun Control Agenda in South Side Chicago...WAIT, WHAT?

Feb 15, 2013 7:15 AM PT

Obama is paying a visit on his post-SOTU campaign tour to the south-side of Chicago to push his gun control anti-gun violence agenda. 

Chicago, with a gun violence death count of 500 for the year of 2012, has some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the nation.  It's not clear what Obama will talk about to his audience, as they are largely restricted from legally owning a firearm.  He may ask them to support more background checks for the guns they can't purchase in the first place. Or perhaps he will ask the criminals who buy/sell firearms to intitute some sort of background check within the black market where these guns are sold and purchased.  

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The treasures of an advanced society

Feb 14, 2013 1:37 PM PT

In response to South Africa's domestic violence disaster:

The health of a society may be reliably measured by how well it treasures its women.  Abandoning them with children or demanding government-subsidized contraception, so they can be more easily treated as recreational devices, isn't so great either.  There are many ways to cultivate a bad culture; fewer paths to the nourishment of a good one.  And the volume of shame swirling through a culture does not diminish just because people refuse to feel it.

South Africa's domestic violence disaster

Feb 14, 2013 1:17 PM PT

It is shocking that Oscar Pistorius would (allegedly) murder his girlfriend. But such events are all too common in South Africa. In December, I wrote about a South African friend who was stabbed to death by her husband.

That culture of domestic violence is not a black/white issue. It persists throughout the country. There are no easy solutions to it--and banning guns is not the answer, since men seem willing to hurt women with whatever comes to hand. We don't have the same cultural problem in the USA, but culture is part of the problem.

Toy Gun Makers in the Crosshairs

Feb 13, 2013 6:32 AM PT

The toy gun industry has experienced a backlash, as they struggle "to strike a delicate balance between profit and sensitivity."

"I have heard that toy guns that look like real weapons have slowed down in general, but toy weapons that are whimsical, fun and colorful, those have not been affected," said Beaver Raymond, co-founder of the Marshmallow Fun Company, a toymaker.

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Time to tug the ol' gun control heartstrings

Feb 12, 2013 8:54 AM PT

In response to Gun Control May Be "In Vogue" But It's Not Popular:

Doubtless that's why we're getting a big gun-control show at the SOTU tonight, complete with human props.  This issue is the quintessential example of emotion triumphing over reason.  Gun control sometimes polls well for a while in the abstract, after a big gun-related media freakout, but support always evaporates when the public takes a deep breath and begins thinking about the specific proposals on the table.  It only takes about ten seconds for people to remember that the police will most likely be visiting the site of their violent murder to investigate the crime, not to protect them.

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Julia, Get Your Gun!

Feb 11, 2013 8:29 AM PT

For years the feminists' underlying message to women was that they needed the government to support and protect them.  How empowering!  In 2012 the Obama campaign told us the story of Julia -- a woman who needs government from cradle to grave. 

Before conservatives give up on the "women's vote," I saw this hopeful headline in the New York Times, "Rising Voice of Gun Ownership is Female."  From the article:

In the debate over firearms regulations, the voices of gun owners have largely been those of men. But at firing ranges across the country, a growing number of women are learning to use firearms and honing their skills.

Women’s participation in shooting sports has surged over the last decade, increasing by 51.5 percent for target shooting from 2001 to 2011, to just over 5 million women, and by 41.8 percent for hunting, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.

Gun sales to women have risen in concert. In a survey last year by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, 73 percent of gun dealers said the number of female customers had gone up in 2011, as had a majority of retailers surveyed in the two previous years.

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