Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Oregon's New Political TV Ad from Bloomberg's Everytown Moms

I just saw this while watching the news this morning:

The majority of gun owners want background checks in place.
Indeed, the majority of gun owners support background checks. The majority of gun owners, however, DO NOT support expanding or enhancing the current background check system.

We need to be clear(er) on this point. The polls and surveys ask, "Do you support background checks on gun sales?" Most of us are OK with them as long as they're non-intrusive and cannot be used to build a registry of guns or gun owners, but the poll answers are being conflated to include actions we don't support.

[sarcasm] Because everyone knows, if we support background checks, then we obviously must support a draconian mental-health-evaluation, traffic-tickets-included, due-process-stripping, 90-day-waiting-period, 100-page-questionaire, felony-if-you-answer-wrong, strip-naked-and-get-up-on-the-probulator* "background check" applicable every time a gun passes from one hand to the next, even if only for a few minutes, right? [/sarcasm]

On top of that, he claims to be a gun owner, but he's playing on his victim status, having lost his brother during the Clackamas Town Center shooting. I'll be the last to downplay his loss, but let's do some fact-checking here.

Here's the Wikipedia article on the shooting. Like a lot of Wikipedia articles, it's a bit short on details, but the pertinent bits are there.
  • The Clackamas Town Center mall has a "No Guns" policy.**
  • The shooter stole his rifle, so no background check was performed; he exploited the "steal-a-gun loophole", I guess.
  • Even if he had tried to purchase the rifle at a gun store or gun show (no "gun show loophole" in Oregon since 2001; see ORS 166.433), he had a clean criminal background and no previously reported mental health issues. He'd have passed.
  • The shooter evidently planned this to be much bigger (he'd purchased ammo and AR-15 magazines before stealing the gun), but seemed to be shooting randomly, without aiming; he attacked a crowded food court, but missed with 13 of his 16 shots (#17 was used on himself).
  • Importantly, but disregarded by many news articles on the shooting, the shooter was confronted early on by a concealed handgun license (CHL) carrier who did not fire due to the proximity of bystanders, which may have caused the shooter to retreat and take his own life, ending the incident.
So like we tend to ask after every such tragedy: Which new "common sense" law being proposed would have stopped this?

And on that note, I will NOT be supporting John Kitzhaber's re-election campaign for Governor of Oregon.

* - Yes, that's a "Futurama" reference.
** - It's worth mentioning that in Oregon, "No Guns" policies -- even clearly posted ones (which this one isn't, IIRC) -- carry very weak force of statutory law (case law is different; IANAL, yadda yadda). If a person is discovered carrying against the policy, he/she can be asked to leave. If they don't, they can be arrested/charged with trespassing -- a misdemeanor (see ORS 164.265). However, it's a distinction only LEOs, attorneys, and CHL holders would recognize. I doubt the shooter considered it.

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