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Does The 2nd Amendment Provide Absolute Protection To Gun Owners?


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Something that always riles me about 2nd amendment debates is the "culture war" subtext.

This is a review of "Arms," A.J. Somerset's book about the history of America's gun culture.

"A former soldier who is now a technical writer in Canada, he skewers the gun industry, particularly the NRA, for convincing many gun owners that the Second Amendment is "the single most important sentence in the entire Bill of Rights" and that any threat to expanding gun ownership "” universal background checks, for instance "” is "an attack on Mom, apple pie, democracy, and Jesus himself."

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Both of my children were at UCLA yesterday during the lockdown following the murder/suicide. My daughter was locked in her apartment near campus, and my son, who was heading toward the engineering bui

The 2nd A regulated muskets, not machine guns.  

The good guy with a gun myth... "Tactical Experts Destroy the NRA's Heroic Gunslinger Fantasy" by Joshua Holland on thenation.com Over the past couple of years, when I'm in a crowd, I wonder

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Obama, a law professor who taught Constitutional law, knows how to amend the Constitution. The mechanics aren't hard to understand, you certainly don't need to be a lawyer to grasp it. If you had the political will to do it, nothing would stop you from at least trying.

Instead gun opponents pretend that Congress can solve this issue without a Constitutional amendment. Why? I really have no idea. I surmise it's an easy out, demonizing people who don't agree with you rather than actually doing something about it.

Take a lesson from the past. When women wanted the vote, nothing would stop them. When Evangelicals wanted to abolish consumption of alcohol, nothing would stop them. Of course, passing an amendment is easier than getting rid of one, but if you mean what you say, get to work.

Of course, what I am saying flies against reason. Three quarters of the states are not going to ratify amending or abolishing the Second Amendment in our lifetime. Mine, anyway. Prolly 20 years to go, maybe. But look how long it took for women to get the vote.

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Obama, a law professor who taught Constitutional law, knows how to amend the Constitution. The mechanics aren't hard to understand, you certainly don't need to be a lawyer to grasp it. If you had the political will to do it, nothing would stop you from at least trying.

Instead gun opponents pretend that Congress can solve this issue without a Constitutional amendment. Why? I really have no idea. I surmise it's an easy out, demonizing people who don't agree with you rather than actually doing something about it.

Take a lesson from the past. When women wanted the vote, nothing would stop them. When Evangelicals wanted to abolish consumption of alcohol, nothing would stop them. Of course, passing an amendment is easier than getting rid of one, but if you mean what you say, get to work.

Of course, what I am saying flies against reason. Three quarters of the states are not going to ratify amending or abolishing the Second Amendment in our lifetime. Mine, anyway. Prolly 20 years to go, maybe. But look how long it took for women to get the vote.

May I point out, once again, that the current state of 2nd-Amendment jurisprudence dates all the way back to 2008, when a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court threw out centuries of settled law and discovered in the amendment an individual right to guns that had never been found there before (other than in the D.C. Circuit Court decision they affirmed)? As Justice Stevens pointed out in his persuasive dissent, if the framers of the amendment had meant it to cover gun ownership for such private purposes as hunting and self-defense, they could have written that into the text, as did the authors of the Declaration of Rights of Pennsylvania and Vermont. They did not; they mentioned only a "well-regulated militia". So much for originalism.

I refer the reader to Plessy v. Ferguson and Bowers v. Hardwick: Horrible Supreme Court decisions can be undone when wiser judges replace foolish or misguided ones.

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Switzerland is often mentioned in discussions like this one as showing that civilians can have guns and its all OK.  This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Swiss context. I once lived there.  In Switzerland, all fit males must serve in the military (it's like a giant, all-encompassing reserve system) and must by law keep their weapon at the ready at home, and I believe that applies even after they get older and are no longer considered part of the military.  But they are trained military, not insane people.  The insane ones, or whatever you want to call them, like the mass shooters here, don't get the weapons  -- they're not part of that.  That's the key difference, and that's why the Swiss "example" really doesn't apply in these discussions of gun policy in the US.  Except of course to make the obvious point -- the key is not to ban all guns, but follow the Swiss example and don't put them in the hands of people who want to use them to kill other people.  Maybe the best way to do that is to have a system where the government doesn't have to prove you're nuts to keep you from getting a gun, but the alternate but reasonable system under which, to have a gun, the burden is on you to show that you're not nuts, and that burden would become more rigorous depending on the nature of the weapon you want to have (e.g. shotguns, no problem; assault weapons, strong test).  I fail to see why that would be such a burden on those who want to have a gun, but what do I know?

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I'm not going to call any members of a political party names. However, here's an interesting tidbit from the 2013/2014 campaign cycle:

NRA Independent Expenditures: $27,048,581
     For Democrats: $24,262
     Against Democrats: $15,200,018
     For Republicans: $10,823,998
     Against Republicans: $92,034

Source

"Here's Who Gets The Most Campaign Money From The NRA" by Walter Hickey on businessinsider.com

"How The NRA Exerts Influence Over Congress" on washingtonpost.com

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This is a contentious issue, clearly, but the part that has always puzzled me is how certain gun owners (not all of them, by any stretch - not even sure it is a majority, though it is a vocal group) equate "gun control" with "they're going to take my gun."  That's part of why I don't necessarily think we should be considering a Constitutional amendment - there are plenty of broader Constitutional principles that we legislate/regulate in order to make sense of the details.  If the Brady Bill isn't working anymore because times and situations have changed, then let's come up with something else.

The lack of funding for gun studies is also galling to me.  I think this article is very telling, even though it's a few years old - bottom line, the legislator who inserted the rider (which prohibited CDC research funding being used to "advocate or promote" gun control) now believes that we SHOULD study why gun violence in this country has reached the pitch that it has.  I think the comparison to traffic fatalities is very apt.

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On this topic I usually come down on the side of "the mentally ill." There's usually a cry to restrict gun ownership by "the mentally ill," as though that's a homogeneous group.

Well, just who ARE they, the mentally ill? If everyone has a right to own a gun because our duly elected president might any day now invade Texas and the entire Southwest proper and establish tyranny, why can't a person with obsessive-compulsive disorder, dysthymia, or fear of spiders own a gun too!

No, it's not "mental illness"  per se that should be the limiter, in my opinion. It's a history of acting out violently, whether you've been treated for mental illness or not. Like the Navy Yard guy. Or which one was it who had a history of shooting out neighbors' tires? There are so many of these mass shooting incidents that I can't even keep track anymore.

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Sorry, I am not going to edit or delete my posts, Don.  Have at it, it's your site. You started it to get away from censorship, but do as you will. I've been thrown out of better places than this.

[Done.

Unfortunately, I had to delete other peoples' perfectly reasonable posts because they were shooting yours down, but since yours are gone, there's nothing left to shoot down.

And after reading some of the things you've written, I'm quite certain you've been thrown out of worse places than this as well.]

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I don't want to take peoples' recreational guns away from them.

I don't want to outlaw hunting for food.

I don't necessarily want to outlaw home protection.

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I want guns to be treated, at the minimum, like driving an automobile.

I want a minimum age requirement of 21-or-higher.

I want a basic skills test, both written and in the field, to be passed before a person can possess (or operate) a working firearm.

I want all firearms to be taxed each year (just like automobiles are in Virginia)

I want all guns sold in the United States to be registered and have a home address associated with them, and re-registered (and re-taxed) when owners move to a new state.

I want all ammunition in the United States to be registered as well.

I want all firearms to be covered by mandatory liability insurance (thanks JW), just like automobiles, except with MUCH higher liability limits.

I want there to be a national, central database of guns and their owners, accessible by serial number, owner, etc.

I want owners to be legally responsible for safe storage of their firearms so they don't fall in the hands of children, with severe punishment if a child's theft should result in someone's death.

If people don't want the ongoing financial burden of owning firearms, I want the federal government to buy them back at current market value (accounting for appreciation (for antiques) and depreciation) and destroy them.

I want background checks and waiting periods to be enforced

Why do I want all this? Because guns are a privilege, and not a right. Don't believe me? See this, and try to refute my logic (good luck).

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I want the 28th Amendment to begin as follows:

Section 1. The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

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I would gladly take a toxic level of cyanide for this to occur. I would take the cyanide and commit suicide in public in order for the 2nd amendment to be repealed. I've lived a long, full, life, and I don't really need to live any longer. I wouldn't have said this a year ago, but my wife, mom, and dad, are gone, my son is at college (and he would understand), and things are different now. Maybe there will come a day when I wouldn't have to do this, but right now, tonight, I would end my life if only this amendment, and all the future damage it will be responsible for, would be repealed (and I could have some guarantee of that *before* I did it). Sacrificing my own life would save hundreds, perhaps thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of others. I would ask to see Matt one last time to explain everything to him, and maybe to have one more dinner together,and to tell him I love him one last time, but I would do it, and I know that he would understand.

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Please don't do that!!  But if you have to, do something way more dramatic than cyanide.  I'm thinking self immolation like that monk did in the Vietnam war.  Of course then the gun nuts (and they are nuts!) would say, "See!  Do you want to ban gasoline cans now?!?!  Do you want to ban gasoline?!!?"
 
That's just one of the many flawed arguments the NRA uses to bully and scare people. 
 
On a related note, did you see the article in the paper yesterday about an 11 year old killing an 8 year old because she wouldn't let him see her puppy?

"Boy, 11, Charged with Killing 8-Year-Old Girl After Argument About Puppies" by Elahe Izadhe on washingtonpost.com

That doesn't happen with knives, or baseball bats, or spoons, or gasoline cans, or anything thing else the NRA and the politicians they've bought always claim.

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Please don't do that!!  

Don't worry - I plan on living a long, healthy life. There's no more chance of such an exhibition rescinding the 2nd Amendment than God walking in my front door and saying, "If you follow me, you will live forever" (if (s)he did, I would become a monk - what fool wouldn't?)

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Let's face it, congress as a whole no longer represents the people, but corporations and lobbies. Until there's enough money and the resulting voting power behind a movement, very little will change.

Michael Bloomberg will try to make a dent in the NRA's power by beating them at their own game: $50 Million Bucks

I've read Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are looking at doing their part as well.

Maybe there is a little hope. No need to go out and buy that cyanide yet.

 

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Closer to home:

Gun store opens next to school

I don't know what I'd do if my child went to school there. I'd certainly be angry, but I don't see any solution other than yanking my kid out of school.

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Let's face it, congress as a whole no longer represents the people, but corporations and lobbies. Until there's enough money and the resulting voting power behind a movement, very little will change.

Michael Bloomberg will try to make a dent in the NRA's power by beating them at their own game: $50 Million Bucks

I've read Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are looking at doing their part as well.

Maybe there is a little hope. No need to go out and buy that cyanide yet.

Don't forget gay marriage - this was unthinkable just five years ago.

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No need to go out and buy that cyanide yet.

Just to make this perfectly clear, the cyanide comment is no different than a young soldier saying he'd give his life for his country. I'd give my life for mine, too. Hell, I pretty much *have* running this website! :lol:

And it's an equal-and-opposite reaction to the "prying my gun from my cold, dead, hands" argument. There's equal passion on both sides. Yes, I would die for my cause, IF I thought it would do anything, but I don't, so I'm not going to, so stop worrying (I've gotten a couple of messages). :)

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Don't forget gay marriage - this was unthinkable just five years ago.

True. And the legalization of marijuana  :D

The culture needs to change. I think of Mad Men and the incessant smoking. The tobacco lobby ain't what it used to be. There also aren't as many drunk driving deaths as there were when you could cruise down the road drinking a beer.

I'm also reminded of the picnic scene where Don picks up the blanket, shakes off the garbage, and heads back to the car. Give a hoot, don't pollute!

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On 10/9/2015 at 2:44 PM, Bart said:

Here's another one:

"Fatal Shooting at Texas Southern University in Houston" by Susan Svrulga on washingtonpost.com

I just now, for the first time ever, feared for my son's safety.

Scratch that - he was at the JCC pre-school during 9/11. Second time.

America: Love it or leave it. I think I may just leave it. And I'm not kidding.

Does anyone else sense that a critical barrier has been broken in recent weeks or months? Or is this (campus shootings) the new normal in the United States? If it is, this is not a country I want to live in.

I guess everyone has their pet issues - this is certainly one of mine. Racism and discrimination are too, but they're on the mend (in the long term). I can honestly say that at least one-third of my close friends are left-learning, and about one-third of my close friends are right-leaning - I respect both. I am an Independent, and do not affiliate with any party, in case anyone is curious - I strongly believe that every issue deserves its own consideration, and very few things in life can be boiled down to "yes" or "no." I've tried very hard to understand how anyone can think otherwise, and I struggle with it on a regular basis.

My goals are simple: I want people to be happy.

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"Man Critically Wounded in Shooting after Cowboys Game" by Dan Gartland on si.com

A couple thoughts:

1) They can go ahead and update the article now since the man died.

2) It isn't just the "mentally ill," or people who forgot to use their safety devices. Apparently, two people were fighting, and a crowd gathered around, and began *egging on the shooter to kill the man.*

I'm starting to feel the same way about gun owners as I do radical terrorists, because I have a much greater chance of being killed by a gun-owning American citizen: POLICE YOURSELVES OR WE'LL DO IT FOR YOU.

I have a friend (admittedly very liberal) on Facebook who made a fascinating comment. I've never heard it presented before, yet I absolutely believe that it's true - I'm talking about the very last sentence, which I will put in BOLD, but I'll quote the whole thing in its entirety:

"I dont even agree with the gun control advocates who say "we're not out to get rid of guns, lets just make gun ownership more controlled." Actually, I would be thrilled to ban guns entirely. The second amendment was a historically specific intervention, not a license for people to tote guns around movie theaters and restaurants and shoot them whenever they got pissed off or forgot to take meds or were spurned by a love interest. We are in a crazy place where people defend their right to protect themselves with guns...against other people who have guns. I also wonder...if guns were rare in America, would the police be so quick to shoot unarmed citizens out of fear?"

There's no doubt in my mind that the answer to the question she poses is: "No." If you think otherwise, ask yourselves, "Why do police have such itchy trigger fingers? Why do they approach drivers during traffic stops with such extreme caution?" My best friend was a Prince Georges County officer, and I rode along with him several times - the stress that they have to endure is unbelievable. Every single call may well be their last - I remember one arrest when the suspect literally had a bullet lodged in his head (incredibly, he was alert and talking as if he wasn't even injured), and I was on the scene as this officer was dying:

post-2-0-43122900-1444962342_thumb.png

This person is very much of a Francophile, and I suspect she has no problems with the guns in France - *lots* of people have guns in France. I think the NRA has caused the pendulum to tilt so far in one direction, for so long, that there is passionate, emotional desperation to get it back to the other side, and like with several other "sins of our forefathers" (cf: slavery/segregation/discrimination/racism -> affirmative action), there may well be a price to pay for us abusing our "rights" for so long, in the form of over-correction.

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This article dispels just about all the arguments the gun zealots continue to make.   2nd Amendment, personal safety, 10,000 laws on the books, comparisons to gun free zones like DC to other places, responsible gun owners, do you want to ban knives now too?, etc, etc.

"People Are Getting Shot By Toddlers on a Weekly Basis This Year" by Christopher Ingraham on washingtonpost.com

Toddlers are shooting and killing people weekly in the US.  Can you imagine growing up as a kid who shot and killed your brother or friend or mother when you were in diapers?  Even worse of course are the ones who kill themselves.

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"Zombie Festival Shooting Leaves 1 Dead, 5 Injured" by Jim Zarroli on npr.org

I can hear the jokes rolling in now ("Screw it, they were all dead to begin with."), but in the comments section, there is this opinion:

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Joe Gandalf  3 hours ago

 

"...mandate all handguns to be "smart", and can't be fired by anyone but the owner..."

I will be fine with that technology and requirement, as soon as our armed forces have enough faith in it to install the same on military weapons.

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The AR-15

"At the federal level, AR-15s are considered the same as any other rifle. During the period 1994"“2004 variants with certain features such as collapsible stocks, flash suppressors, and bayonet lugs were prohibited for sales to civilians by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, with the included Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Included in this was a restriction on the pistol grip that protrudes beneath the stock, which was considered an accessory feature under the ban and was also subject to restrictions. Some rifles were manufactured with a grip not described under the Ban installed in its place. Those AR-15s that were manufactured with the restricted features, as well as the accompanying full capacity magazines, were stamped "Restricted Military/Government/Law Enforcement/Export Only". The restrictions only applied to guns manufactured after the ban took effect. It was legal to own, sell, or buy any gun built before 1994. Hundreds of thousands of pre-ban ARs were sold during the ban as well as new guns redesigned to be legal."

Why would anyone want or need to own this?

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Why would anyone want or need to own this?

Same reason they'd want or need to own the AA12?

I understand the military might want something like this, but then again, shouldn't the 2nd Amendment also grant that right to civilians so they can combat our military, just in case our government oversteps its bounds and turns on the civilians?

To which I reply: best of luck.

The narrator of this video sounds like he's approaching orgasm.

I ask myself: what happens 100 years from now, when technology is dirt cheap, and every U.S.-hating terrorist in the world can get their grubby little hands on bombs, grenades, drones, etc. etc. We'd better either annihilate all our enemies and make the entire world a democracy in short order, or start making friends with everybody, like, right now. Because if not? We're fucked.

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Try this one on for size. The Department of Justice cannot block sales of guns to terror suspects. Thanks NRA!

In June 2011, Al Qaeda released a video featuring Adam Gadahn, an American-born member of the terrorist group, urging followers to commit violent acts of jihad by exploiting weaknesses in U.S. gun laws and the gun background check system. "America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms," Gadahn said. "You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle without a background check and, most likely, without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?"

"Closing the Terror Gap in Gun Background Checks" on everytownresearch.org

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Well, the founding fathers, in their infallible wisdom, never specified how old our well-regulated militia members should be. We must err on the side of caution! Age isn't explicitly stated! Therefore, let's arm everyone-- make it a legal requirement.

Dumbasses (apologies for the name calling, but this is beyond ridiculous).

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Actual quote from the article:

"When you shoot a gun, you take it out and point and shoot, and I don't necessarily think eyesight is necessary," said Michael Barber, a blind man interviewed by The Register at a gun store in Iowa last month.

The Simpsons don't even do fake news stories as ridiculous as this.

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Reading stories like that gets me "all jacked up" about how stupid people can be, and how far up on the stupidity scale many gun nuts are. Talk about getting your comeuppance.  Sad and unfortunate of course, especially for the kid who will now wind up having to carry the knowledge of this event through his life, but still.......  JMHO of course.

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For whatever it's worth, I would never, *ever* wish someone to get a hole blown through them, no matter how virulently they hated the government, or how ardently they supported unrestricted gun rights.

Okay, that said, I wonder what she thinks she could do against the federal government with that pistol.

People are *so delusional* about the power they think guns give them. Do they forget that the federal government controls the military?

"Oh, shit! A drone! And a tank! And an F-14! And a hydrogen bomb! Umm ... bang bang bang."

That pistol might dominate in a game of paintball, but that's about it.

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There was a similar story in the Post last week about a 5 year old who shot and killed his father (who was on the computer) in the same room where the mother was changing the baby. I can't imagine dealing with that (for the rest of their lives) as the wife/mother or the kid.

Say it with me now, "FREEDOM!"

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From the article:

The shooter quickly gathered up his shell casings from the pavement and fled the scene.

Wow! He didn't have time or the wherewithal to actually figure out what was going on before he started shooting, but his brain sure kicked into high gear in time to cover his ass.  Of course if they ever find this guy he'll probably get off because he was standing his ground. 

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From the article:

The shooter quickly gathered up his shell casings from the pavement and fled the scene.

Wow! He didn't have time or the wherewithal to actually figure out what was going on before he started shooting, but his brain sure kicked into high gear in time to cover his ass.  Of course if they ever find this guy he'll probably get off because he was standing his ground.

More than holding the shooter at fault, I find this to be an example of inadequate training.

I've pretty much decided that I want to keep this community apolitical (not anti-political; apolitical). However, this is *the one* issue that I feel strongly enough about where I'm willing to take a public position, and in doing so, possibly alienate good, productive, educated, thoughtful members whom I care about and admire.

I feel so strongly that gun ownership should be a privilege, not a right, that I feel obligated to state my position, but I also want to make it clear that I am very much of a political *independent*, and I most certainly do not self-identify as being associated with either of the two major parties. I have enormous respect and admiration for people such as Chris Cunningham, who is extremely vocal about the government not intervening in gun ownership. Chris hasn't posted here lately, and I fear that my having taken a position might have driven him away, in which case it's my loss, not his. Assuming there are only "two sides" to this issue (which is almost *always* false when it comes to political issues), I have respect for both sides - all sides - and carefully read and absorb every thoughtful posting about the subject, regardless of viewpoint. Yes, I want the 2nd Amendment to be rescinded, but I also want to say that it is *not* my end-game to take people's guns away from them; I just want people to pass two tests (a written test and a field test), and to be investigated thoroughly enough (whatever that involves, and there's plenty of room for debate on this issue) so that they are extremely unlikely to be a threat. I am not going to beat this issue to death, and I am going to do my best to confine my thoughts and comments to this one thread. I respect all intelligent, thoughtful people, regardless of their position on this particular issue.

Sorry, I feel the need to be direct and come right out and say this so people know where the website administrator stands on this one subject. I do not care to make it my business to be grandstanding about politics, and I feel no more qualified than anyone else to voice an opinion about this issue.

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Your weekly installment of children shooting people. This time a toddler found his mom's gun and shoots himself. Fortunately, he's expected to survive, but what a way to start your life.

"DeKalb Cops: Toddler Finds Gun in Mother's Purse, Shoots Himself" by Lauren Foreman on m.ajc.com

That sound you hear is FREEDOM, and also a two year old wailing from a self inflicted gun shot.

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Both of my children were at UCLA yesterday during the lockdown following the murder/suicide. My daughter was locked in her apartment near campus, and my son, who was heading toward the engineering building, was diverted to a small classroom on North campus where he hid with 20 other students and one teacher.

As a mother, this was terrifying. I am happy they are safe. Details about the shooter are still emerging. The teacher who was killed had two small children and sounds like a wonderful human being. Needless tragedy.

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