Back to my favorite topic.
As everyone should know by this point, there’s absolutely no logical or historical basis for the idea that people have the right to walk around fully armed without any restriction at all. The NRA only took up this position as part of white backlash in the 1970s, Ronald Reagan supported gun control when guns meant armed Black Panthers, the American West of the 19th century was filled with towns that banned guns except for law control, there’s zero evidence that the Founders believed anything even remotely approaching what the NRA is arguing, etc., etc. Among the laws that restrict guns are hunting laws.
Rep. Mike Thompson, the California Democrat charged with crafting gun safety policies in the House of Representatives, keeps talking about ducks.
More specifically, duck hunting.
“Federal law prohibits me from having more than three shells in my shotgun when I’m duck hunting. So federal law provides more protection for the ducks than it does for citizens,” Thompson said earlier this month during a panel discussion on gun violence at the liberal Center for American Progress.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, also on the panel, was delighted by the line. “That’s a very powerful point,” Emanuel said. “My instinct is we’re gonna hear more of this line going forward.”
As it turns out, federal law places strict regulations on the types of firearms that can be used when hunting migratory birds, rules hunters have abided since the 1930s. Duck hunters are only allowed to use a shotgun, 10 gauge or smaller, that carries no more than three shells. If the shotgun carries more than three shells, the hunter is required to “plug” the gun so that only three shots can be fired before reloading.
Hunting laws have restricted gun use going back to the 1890s or early 1900s. These laws were controversial at the time because they restricted the killing of animals by working-class people, but in the modern context these laws are completely accepted. And they are a useful evidence point when it comes to gun control. There’s plenty of precedent to control types of guns, ammunition, hunting seasons, etc.
Of course, the response to this will probably be jihad against hunting laws. After all, it’s not like gun advocates are afraid of owning the crazy. Take Gayle Trotter, a conservative activist and gun extremist. Testifying before the Senate this week, Trotter argued that women needed guns to protect themselves from scary home invaders and would-be assaulters.
“An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon,” said Trotter, a mother of six. “And the peace of mind she has … knowing she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she’s fighting hardened violent criminals.”
Thing is, Trotter also advocates for policies that promote violence against women.
Despite her strong emphasis on the need to prevent violent crimes against women at home, Trotter is an outspoken opponent of the Violence Against Women Act, a law designed to aid women faced with domestic violence. In 2012, she wrote on the Independent Women’s Forum’s blog that VAWA infringed upon the rights of men who were falsely accused of domestic abuse. The law would also embolden “false accusers,” who would take “needed resources like shelters and legal aid … denying real victims of abuse access to these supports,” she wrote. Trotter and the forum characterized VAWA as “reckless demagoguery.”
VAWA=”reckless demagoguery.” Arguing for unrestricted guns at all costs so women can theoretically protect themselves in a legal world that Trotter hopes does not provide safeguards to women=”respectable commentary.” Gotcha.
Meanwhile, Americans by the thousands continue to die from guns. Slate has teamed up with the twitter feed @GunDeaths to create an interactive map of the people killed by gun violence since the Newtown Massacre. As of right now, it is 1478. Depressing stuff.