by Bob Adelmann
“…only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness [that we need more guns] from our souls. Cleansing a sickness from our souls doesn’t come easily. It’s gruesome.” ~ Colorado Senator John Morse (D) Photo Wikimedia Commons
Now that his favorite piece of gun control legislation has been pulled from consideration it’s worth taking the time to ask: what was John Morse
thinking? I’m not meaning that in a pejorative sense. I mean I really would like to know what’s what’s going on inside of his head that he would consider a bill like this, much less sponsor and promote it.
You can find the text of his bill, Senate Bill 196, here.
The King James version of the Holy Scriptures is helpful. Matthew 7:20 says “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” And I’m assuming for our purposes that he drafted the bill, or at the very least had an intimate understanding of what he was proposing.
The bill is based on a number of assumptions. This is from the bill itself:
The General Assembly hereby finds and declares:
(b) Military-style assault weapons are a common thread linking the recent mass shootings of Newtown, Oak Creek, Aurora, Colorado, and others…
Except that they weren’t. Not in the Newtown shooting. Not in the Aurora, Colorado shooting. What was used in the Aurora shooting was, according to the New York Times, was “ a semiautomatic variation of the military’s M-16 rifle,” which is, properly defined, an assault rifle which Wikipedia correctly defines as ”a selective fire (selective between automatic, semi-automatic, and burst fire) rifle that … are the standard service rifles in most modern armies.”
Not in the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Sikh Temple shooting. The weapon used was a 9mm semi-automatic handgun which Morse’s bill specifically excludes.
Morse’s bill states further:
(c) Because these weapons were originally intended for combat and were specifically designed to kill large numbers of people in a short period of time, they made it possible for the shooters in those tragedies to kill or injure between nine and seventy people in a single incident.
Except that they weren’t. Semi-automatic weapons are, by definition, designed to fire one round per squeeze of the trigger. I can find in no manufacturers’ sales literature any reference to these weapons being “designed to kill large numbers of people in a short period of time.” The most I can find is an oblique reference to self-defense purposes. This is from Ruger:
The new Ruger® Guide Gun combines features from several of Ruger’s most popular rifles to produce a high performance, feature-rich hunting rifle that is ready for whatever conditions and game come your way. (my emphasis)
The best I can tell is that Morse conjured this in his mind.
His bill goes on in an a reference, I assume, to the right to own firearms guaranteed in both the Colorado and the US Constitutions:
(d) Any private benefit for persons to own such weapons must be weighed against the greater danger that they pose to the public. (my emphasis)
Firearms are inanimate objects. How can they pose a “danger … to the public”? And who determines “private benefit?”
Then comes the real purpose:
(e) The right to manufacture, sell, or own assault weapons must carry with it some of the responsibility for damage, injury, and death that results from the discharge of that weapon. (again, my emphasis)
But they already do. Wrongful death laws go back to 1846 in this country.
It’s no wonder that the National Rifle Association said his bill is “a backdoor to banning legal firearms and is in direct violation of the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act.”
All I can figure is that he wants to outlaw ownership of these weapons for other reasons than those stated. And that is fraud.
So I find Morse’s complaint that “the gun lobby has actually argued we need more guns and managed to convince Coloradoans that they will lose their guns if we impose even reasonable restrictions on firearms,” grossly hypocritical and misleading. Instead I am thankful enough common sense still reigned in the Senate to cause this bill to be dropped down the memory hole.
My conclusion? Morse is a fraudulent hypocrite (or a hypocritical fraud, take your pick) and as a consequence a danger to society. He needs to be replaced.
A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at email@example.com.