“Common Ground”

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SCENE: Mitch BERG is eating a plate of galbi and kimchi at Mirror of Korea on Snelling Avenue. Lost in a gustatory reverie, he fails to notice Avery LIBRELLE has entered the restaurant.

LIBRELLE: Merg!

BERG: (Shaken from his bliss) Oh, hey, Avery.

LIBRELLE: It’s time for us to find common ground on commonsense gun violence legislation.

BERG: Well, that’s great. So what do you propose for that “common ground”?’

LIBRELLE: Our common ground should include background checks, bringing back Obama’s law preventing the mentally ill from easy access to guns, bans on certain types of guns, online restrictions, stop exploiting the Second Amendment.

BERG: Huh.

LIBRELLE: Yes, these would be hard to do but we have to start somewhere.

BERG: OK. Well, one of the important exercises of finding common ground is defining the ground we do not have in common. OK. Let’s go through this one at a time.

Background checks – we already have them. If you’re talking about “universal background checks“, they have two huge problems; people to get guns illegally today, will still get them exactly the same way when they are “universal“. And there is no way for “Universal” background checks to work without a national registry of who has actually taken background checks, and for which firearms. If you want to ask for a registry, say it in is many words – and watch for the consequences.

I’m not sure which Obama era law you’re talking about; there are already laws against violently mentally ill people getting guns. It’s already supposed to be reported in some form to the NICS database. But the reporting is extremely uneven, as are the standards for who is considered “violently mentally ill”. Also, many state level laws have no due process; a malicious denunciation can and does deprive people of their rights. In what other area do people find that acceptable?

Banning certain types of guns – well, then you are anti-gun. “Assault weapon” bans had absolutely zero effect on crime from 1994 to2004; they are used in far less than 1% of all firearm homicides nationwide. It’s security theater and no more.

Not sure what you mean by “exploiting the Second Amendment“; it sounds like another way of saying “stop standing up for your rights”. I’d love a clarification.

Finally – you say “We have to start somewhere” – and we have! Were you aware that firearm homicides are down 50% in the last 20 years? That firearm homicides at schools are down 75%? And that’s almost entirely due to policies the NRA and us law abiding shooters have pressed for.

This is why when people ask for “commonsense gun laws“, I asked if they get into specific policies immediately. None of the ones that people on the left are calling for will do a bit of good. Ever.

LIBRELLE: Typical conservative. I give you some common ground, and you don’t accept it.

BERG: “Common ground” can’t be dictated! But I’ll do my bit, here: how about we start with getting the Department of Justice to take straw buyers seriously, and start intervening with at risk youth before they join gangs, and maybe come up with a “Red Flag” law that doesn’t trample due process?

LIBRELLE: But what do any of those have to do with school shootings?

BERG: School shootings are a tiny fraction of the homicides in this country, compared to gang violence and…

LIBRELLE: I don’t care about any of that. And you’re being a typical conservative. I’ve told you what our common ground will be…

BERG: You’re not “seeking common ground”; you’re trying to…

(But LIBRELLE’s attention has wandered already)

WAITRESS: Hey, si…er, ma’… (Looks at BERG, at a loss. BERG shrugs. WAITRESS continues) Would you like to have a seat?

LIBRELLE: Is your kimchi non-GMO?

(And SCENE)