Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Guns, guns and more guns

Mother Jones has a piece highlighting gun activists and their hopes to shoot down "Obamacare." It is the stuff that makes you wonder if the Founding Fathers knew what they were doing with the Second Amendment. I highly doubt it is how these people are portraying it.


The accusation comes from Gun Owners of America, a 300,000 member group that proudly advertises itself with a quotation from Ron Paul: "The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington." The GOA sits well to the right of the National Rifle Association, which it tends to dismiss as a pack of sell-outs. Yet, like the Tea Partiers who draw Republican congressional leaders to their racially tinged protests against "National Socialist Health Care," the GOA could influence the reform debate. GOA has thrown itself wholeheartedly into the battle for the soul of the GOP, pledging to help oust "RINOs" and other insufficiently trigger-happy Republicans in the 2010 primaries—and to go after conservative Democrats, too.

No version of the reform legislation mentions firearms. But that hasn't stopped the Virginia-based group from raising the alarm about what it calls the "anti-gun ObamaCare bill." The GOA has fixated on the proposal for a nationwide system of electronic health care records, which, it says, "will most likely dump your gun-related health data into a government database...This includes any firearms-related information your doctor has gleaned or any determination of post traumatic stress disorder or something similar, that can preclude you from owning firearms."

In other words, better record-keeping and information-sharing might lead some people to be denied gun permits on the basis of serious mental illness. Presumably, this could include people like Seung-Hui Cho, the student who gunned down 32 people in the 2007 Viriginia Tech massacre. Less than two years before the shooting, a judge had declared Cho "an imminent danger to himself because of mental illness" and ordered him into psychiatric treatment. But Virginia failed to supply this information to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, so Cho was able to purchase two semi-automatic pistols in local gun stores, along with two 10-round magazines of ammo on eBay. After the massacre, even George W. Bush willingly signed a new gun control bill—the first in 13 years. But GOA doesn't think insanity is necessarily incompatible with gun ownership.

And who is has been the GOA's executive director for 26 years? *Double Sigh:

Larry Pratt, the group's executive director for 26 years, has been immersed in far-right extremist activity for several decades—a fellow traveler and inspiration to the militias that sprung up in the 1990s.

Leonard Zeskind, an expert on white nationalist movements, describes Pratt as having "one foot in the political mainstream and the other in the fringe." Pratt hails from Fairfax, Virginia, and served two terms in the state legislature in the 1980s.

Pratt is also known for such gems as attacking gays, suggesting people with AIDs get shut off from the world, extreme anti-immigration, anti-Semitic anti-abortion stances. His organization also encouraged attendees of town halls to "enable their rights" by carrying firearms openly. Anybody still think we don't have a serious problem on the rise?

The GOA is a prime example of the "fringe" seeping into the main stream of American politics through the coddling of GOP. It is all under the guise of "real Uhmerika" and "patriots for the Second Amendment", but their clear purpose is eliminationism. Sadly, I am not sure anyone in the GOP is responsible enough to distance their party from this extreme rhetoric.

I am Frank Chow and I approved this message

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