Monday, December 17, 2012

Guns, Schools, and Politics.


The unspeakable tragedy in Connecticut will never leave my conscience. As a parent I was constantly on the verge of tears as the reports flooded the media. However, as a former candidate and current school board member I was floored to learn that in America children are 13 times more likely to die of gun violence than in any other industrialized nation. Thirteen more times likely to die of gun violence....

Failure in the eyes of the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners is an interesting concept. I returned this group’s survey as part of my campaign in the republican primary for Michigan’s 40th house district. While I support second amendment rights, I also support rational and reasonable gun laws and regulation. For groups like MCRGO and the NRA that position - support of reasonable laws and regulation -- is a failure. That stance is highlighted by the recent action in the Michigan Legislature under the recently passed SB 59 which seeks to eliminate gun free zones. The bill awaits Governor Snyder’s signature.

I have reproduced the groups survey, with my responses included. There is no room for a gray area in this survey which is admirable, you can’t dance around the issue. Interestingly I was the only primary candidate in my district to return the form. Perhaps because I was the only one that did not fear providing an honest response; that’s not necessarily a good strategy for winning a primary as it turns out. 

In the eyes of MCRGO we will not be safe until there are guns everywhere: "If you have pistol free zones they are actually mass murderer empowerment zones," said Steve Dulan, attorney for the Michigan Coalition of Responsible Gun Owners, who represents sportsman clubs throughout Michigan backing the bill [SB59]. "If you actually look at the history, even over the past 10 years in the U.S., you find that maybe all but one mass shooting has occurred in a so-called gun free zone." But what about the concept of tighter regulation of assult wepons, or the limiting the easy availablity of extended ammunition clips or specialty ammunition designed to inflict maximum trauma? The silence on these questions is deafening.   

Back to MCRGO's survey. I felt that qualified individuals should be able to carry registered concealed weapons. I felt that stand your ground laws are an invitation to madness. I felt that there should be gun free zones in Michigan (schools, churches, stadiums, libraries, and dormitories). I felt that local communities should have a say these matters. I felt that existing gun laws should be retained. I feel that guns in classrooms, dormitories, and libraries are a bad idea. I feel that Increasing the proliferation of guns is not likely to reduce the already unacceptably high rate of gun violence against children. All of this made me a failure in MCRGO’s eyes. My returned survey to MCRGO is posted below - my "fail" rating came as no surprise given the specific YES/NO nature of the survey. I did not oppose all of MCRGO's positoins, but there is no room for dissent in MCRGO's survey. But this is not a YES/NO issue; my worry is that YES/NO is exactly how this debate will be framed. If that happens it's not a debate, it's just a noisy argument which will accomplish nothing.  

MCRGO Survey Sent


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