Today’s Washington Post is running an op-ed bylined by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman that pushes a new gun show background check scheme by referring to five high-profile mass shootings that had absolutely no connection to gun shows.
It is a text book example of gun control bait-and-switch that has become a mainstay of the gun prohibition strategy over the past several years. The opinion piece cites specifically the mass shootings at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colo., Newtown, the Washington Navy Yard and in Tucson, the latter which left Giffords severely wounded and several others dead.
In none of those cases did the gunmen obtain their firearms from gun shows. Virginia Tech killer Sueng-Hui Cho bought two guns through licensed storefront shops. Tucson gunman Jared Loughner bought his pistol at a Sportsman’s Warehouse. Navy Yard gunman Aaron Alexis bought his Remington shotgun from a gun shop in Lorton, Va. James Eagan Holmes, the suspected Aurora gunman, purchased his firearms at various storefronts around Aurora and Denver, including Gander Mountain. Sandy Hook murderer Adam Lanza killed his own mother and took her legally-purchased firearms from their home.
This column also noted that Wisconsin Sikh Temple gunman Wade Michael Page was purchased at a storefront dealership in West Allis, a Milwaukee suburb.
Fort Hood gunman Nidal Hasan bought his gun at Guns Galore in Killeen, Tex.
Yet Giffords and Schneiderman, and a legion of other gun control advocates, continue to focus on gun shows and the alleged “loophole” that exists under federal law that allows private transactions to occur at such gatherings. It is perfectly legal. Gun rights advocates could justifiably ask why?
What they will get in reply would be “what if” rhetoric about crazy people and terrorists strolling through America’s “arms bazaars.” It is the kind of fear mongering for which gun rights organizations and their leaders are constantly criticized by anti-gunners, but who is really peddling public hysteria?
It is all part of the national gun control debate that has given us tirades like that from CNNs Piers Morgan earlier this week in which he once again resorted to name-calling when his argument over issues with Bellevue’s Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, began falling apart. Morgan has a penchant for calling people “idiots” when he begins losing a debate. Last year, he called Larry Pratt, head of Gun Owners of America, the same thing.
MEANWHILE, Washington residents – especially those in the state’s eastern half – recall that it was the gun rights issue that cost former House Speaker Tom Foley of Spokane his seat in Congress in 1994. It didn’t help that he opposed term limits and challenged them in court.
Foley passed away today at the age of 84. A lengthy tribute is found on this morning’s Seattle P-I.com web site by liberal pundit Joel Connelly, who could not resist taking a poke at Republican Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who now holds Foley’s seat.
Congressman Foley was friends with the late Bill Farden, founder and publisher of the now-defunct Fishing & Hunting News. The two had hunted together out in the Columbia Basin. Foley had historically been on the side of gun owners, but in 1994, the Clinton semi-auto ban passed and Foley was thrown out of office along with more than 50 of his Democrat colleagues.
Mr. Foley was a towering figure, who spent 30 years in Congress, and never seemed to lose touch with his constituents, except in that last year on the gun issue. As Connelly tells it, “a traumatic incident in June of 1994 shook him.” That was a shooting at Fairchild Air Force Base near Spokane in which five people were killed by a “mentally unstable enlisted man.”
The gunman, Dean Mellberg, had been discharged for mental instability. He was shot dead by a security policeman from approximately 70 yards, with a 9mm service pistol.
The ban, part of the Clinton crime bill that was originally written by now-Vice President Joe Biden, and Foley did not publicly endorse the measure. But, according to Connelly, “Foley relented” after the Fairchild shooting. In November 1994, the Democrat majority paid for their votes on gun control and taxes by losing their jobs. Foley was the first House Speaker to be voted out of office since 1860.