Four Friday “gun” opinions

Four Friday “gun” opinions March 2, 2018

Here are just a few words of commentary with the aim of inviting discussion:

On armed teachers

School districts should not be in the business of promoting the carrying of weapons by teachers.  They should not ask a teacher who just wants to impart her love of knowledge to students to now be tasked with physically protecting them, nor should a teacher feel any expectation to do so.

But at the same time, I’d add that schools should be willing, experimentally and as a pilot program, to permit those teachers who already concealed-carry, following the laws of their state, to bring their weapon into the school building, under the provision that they document having undergone appropriate training (the relevant training for their state plus additional training if their state’s requirements are light), and that the weapon be on their body but fully concealed at all times and never disclosed to students.  (Note, there are concealed-carry undergarments for women as well, so that it is possible even when wearing a skirt.)

To be honest, some of the complaints about carrying-teachers really can’t seem to keep their story straight.  Teachers are good people, who love their students — but they’re so fundamentally incompetent, twitter tells me, that, if they carried, they’d start shooting the minute a boy starts mouthing off at them.  To the best of my knowledge, the rise of concealed-carry practices in general has not led to an explosion of hot-tempered concealed-carriers pulling out their weapon at the slightest provocation.  And, of those small number of schools which do permit teachers to carry, I have not read of any examples of things going haywire.

On Chubb’s NRA pull-out

In the news recently, “Insurer Chubb says will stop underwriting NRA insurance for gun owners.”

The policy itself is described as follows:

NRA Carry Guard provides coverage for gun owners who face legal or other costs for self-defense shootings. The NRA website says the insurance plans are for “those who lawfully carry firearms and their families” and include the cost to defend against civil and criminal legal actions and access to attorneys. Benefits also include payments for bail, criminal defense legal retainer fees, lawful firearm replacement, compensation while in court, psychological support and cleanup costs for any covered claim resulting from the use of a legally possessed firearm—including an act of self-defense.

Now, Chubb says it had actually made that decision several months ago, not directly in response to the Parkland shooting, but here’s what I find odd:  gun control groups are cheering this decision — but at the same time, one so-called “gun safety” measure that they promote is in fact to require gun owners to carry liability insurance for their guns.  What am I missing?

On the power of the NRA

Also in the news are complaints that the NRA is buying off legislators with its “blood money,” and lists of campaign contributions made from the NRA to various politicians.  Here’s an article in CNN asserting that “many in Congress have come to rely on the NRA’s largesse to help them remain in office.”  But that’s missing the point, as a New York Times article, with a straight-to-the-point headline, “The True Source of the N.R.A.’s Clout: Mobilization, Not Donations,” reveals.

“It’s really not the contributions,” said Cleta Mitchell, a former N.R.A. board member. “It’s the ability of the N.R.A. to tell its members: Here’s who’s good on the Second Amendment.”

Far more than any check the N.R.A. could write, it is this mobilization operation that has made the organization such a challenging adversary for Democrats and gun control advocates. . . .

Compared with the towering sums of money donated to House and Senate candidates in the last cycle — $1.7 billion — the N.R.A.’s direct contributions were almost a rounding error.

The N.R.A. directly donated a total of just $1.1 million to candidates for federal office in 2016, with 99 percent of that money going to Republicans, while giving a total of only $309,000 in direct contributions to state legislative candidates in 2016 and 2017, according to tallies by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks federal donations, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, which tracks state-level donations.

NRA members vote, and NRA members call their legislators, repeatedly, in reaction to the message, “your Second Amendment rights are under attack,” and this is what’s effective, not campaign cash.

The Gun Violence Restraining Order proposal

This is a proposal that’s circulating in conservative circles.  The idea is this:  allow individuals who have knowledge that someone owns guns and have reason to believe that this person might harm themselves or another, to have those guns removed, for a limited but renewable period of time, from that individual’s possession.  These laws are already on the books in certain states, and under consideration elsewhere.

Note that it has the support of gun-rights supporters; the author of the National Review article, in fact, just published an article in The Atlantic defending the fact that he carries guns.  But the Giffords Law Center also writes about this favorably.  Why, then, is this not under discussion in, for example, Illinois’ latest round of gun regulation bills?

And now it’s time to mosey on over to the home office. . .

Image:  own photograph.


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