Lindsey Graham Exemplifies the Dumb Gun Control Debate

Sitting here watching the news, I just saw a clip of Senator Lindsey Graham lashing out at “gun control,” stating that his right to enjoy the 8 guns he owns or his right to hunt should not be infringed by the actions of fringe members of society.

Fair enough.

What consistently bugs me about the gun control debate is the lack of follow up challenging this framing of the issue. Graham’s statement implies that “gun control” provisions would limit his ability to own guns or hunt. When framed this way, Republicans can shut down any effort to reform gun regulations with a hypothetical “worst case scenario.”

Why is there never a pointed follow-up asking, “is there any regulation that you can think of that could allow law-abiding citizens to keep their guns while reducing the risk that crazies will get guns?” or “do you own an assault rifle, and if not why not restrict access to assault rifles?” or “as a trained hunter, you are obviously proficient at handling guns safely — could you support laws that make gun licenses contingent on passing a safety test?”

Once the framing of the issue as though “gun control” seeks an outright gun ban rather than thoughtful licensing and regulation, the Republicans have already won. And the media almost never challenges these claims.

3 comments for “Lindsey Graham Exemplifies the Dumb Gun Control Debate

  1. George
    December 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    How would licensing and regulations in having access to buy firearms have stopped the events that took place as these guns where property of his mother and not his? You asked why no one asked the question of him, I am just asking how your Solutions really would have changed the mall or school shootings? I would love to see a real idea of how to reduce these events. Most pro-gun people really want to see these events stop. They just don’t seehow gun control would really change any of these events. I hope you recieve more fair responces.

    • December 19, 2012 at 10:43 pm

      It’s important to remember that we aren’t trying to address *this* event, but all events. Conservatives complain about liberals “taking advantage of this tragedy,” and there actually is some reason to that sentiment because getting too trapped in one story obscures the overall picture — Virginia Tech could have been helped with regulations, as could Aurora, and remember that smaller stories every day add up to the tune of an average of 8 children lost every day to guns. All circumstances are admittedly different. While this episode serves as a rallying point for public outcry it is not the only set of deaths that we should be working to solve.

      As to specific arguments:

      “How would licensing and regulations in having access to buy firearms have stopped the events that took place as these guns where property of his mother and not his?”

      Honestly, I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with his mother passing a background check if she intended to have a loaded assault rifle in the same home as a potentially violent and ill child. Banning AR-15s and high capacity clips would have diminished the death toll. It’s not perfect — nor would any rational policy maker assume we can (or even should) do all that’s necessary to prevent *every* killing, but anything that makes it harder to kill a lot of people fast is in our best interests as a society. Easier for people to escape, easier for people to overpower a gunman, and easier for cops to take a shooter out.

      “You asked why no one asked the question of him, I am just asking how your Solutions really would have changed the mall or school shootings?”

      Well, theoretically a legislator’s job is to pose solutions so it’s worth asking every lawmaker what they would do to keep them accountable. As for whether my ideas could save anyone — yeah, they really could. Imagine Aurora if the shooter had to constantly stop and reload firing only from a hunting rifle? It’s a minor reform that diminishes risks without crippling gun ownership for most Americans.

      Likewise, something akin to France’s regulations that require new and complete background checks every 3 years to make sure everyone is up to snuff would help a lot. While I often hear complaints that these wouldn’t be “real” solutions, it’s very difficult to argue with the empirical evidence — these other countries really do have much less gun violence.

      The theme of a lot of what I’ve been writing over the last week is an invitation to get past the idea that liberals want to “take away guns” and begin talking honestly about what can, perhaps not solve 100%, but at least by comparatively advantageous to where we are now.

  2. January 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

    Exactly Joe! This country has lost it’s mind. The presence of propaganda right wing media coordinating and pushing talking points allows GOP to hide their cowardice. So 20 children were murdered by an assault rifle and semi-automatic pistol toting lunatic – who had these guns because they were legally in the home of his mother who he murdered. And our ESTEEMED AND HONORABLE MEN OF THE GOP DIVERT AND OBFUSCATE AND DODGE THE ISSUE. – Convenience of gun owners over the lives of our children. It’s as simple as that!

    If President Obama’s modest proposals save even one life then they will have been a success. GOP and NRA – are you really saying because a measure won’t totally solve and stop all mass shootings we can’t do it – because people’s desire to have these killing machines will be hindered? Should we repeal DUI laws and murder as a crime – because they can’t stop every crime. Do you want tanks and RPG’s – what is the limit?

    Senator Graham and Rubio and Blunt – Are you really saying that the RIGHT FOR NRA GUN NUTS TO PLAY WITH THEIR GUNS AND HAVE COOL WEAPONS COMES ABOVE THE LIFE OF EVEN ONE CHILD OR PERSON WHO MIGHT BE SAVED IF WE BEGIN TO REDUCE THE AVAILABILITY OF RAPID SHOT MILITARY RIFLES AND HUGE MAGAZINES? REALLY? REALLY PEOPLE? DO ANY OF YOU HAVE CHILDREN? PLEASE STEP BACK AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE SAYING.

    There is no plot to take away all the guns. Thousands will continue to die because of the ocean of guns in this country – if they’re around they’ll get used – most often on their owner’s or owner’s family in some sort of accident/domestic crime/crime of passion/theft by a criminal. Until the 2nd Amendment can be clarified and limited – which it should be – by huge majorities that gun control advocates don’t have (and may never have so feel safe gun nuts all your guns can’t be taken) – modest gun controls actually work in your favor.

    NRA gun nuts – if you keep resisting any common sense measures you will push the country to take away more and more of your guns with more controls and eventually a constitutional amendment. YOU ARE MAKING IT HAPPEN BY BEING UNHINGED ABOUT YOUR GUNS BEING TAKEN AWAY BY THE GOVERNMENT.

Leave a Reply