Michelle Malkin and gun rights

Michelle Malkin is attractive so I usually give her the benefit of a doubt by just looking at her picture and passing by the column next to it. But occasionally I read it and her words remind me that she’s outstandingly nuts even in a business not noted for its steadiness.

Here’s her recent column on the Democratic CNN/YouTube debate. As you might expect, Malkin doesn’t have a lot of good to say about any of the candidates involved. But even so, her views on this subject seem a little out on the fringe.

For the record, here’s my view on gun control. The Second Amendment gives people a clear and unambigous right to own fire-arms. And that’s a really dumb idea. As far as I’m concerned, unlimited gun ownership ranks just below slavery and just ahead of the original method of picking the Vice President as proof that the founding fathers were as fallible as any politician of today. I’d like to see the Second Amendment repealed so we can have some effective gun control in this country (although I wouldn’t favor a complete ban) and lessen the chance that some idiot will shoot me someday.

Obviously, I’m on the left on this issue. But I realize there’s a broad spectrum of views on the subject. Ms Malkin, however, does not. She apparently sees that there is One True Answer.

Here’s a link to the YouTube video that was shown to the candidates. Jered Townsend likes his guns - he refers to them as his “babies” and wants to know if his babies are safe. He then pulls up a AR-15 into camera view and introduces it as his baby.

In response to this, Bill Richardson says his policy is “Nobody who has a criminal background or is mentally ill should be able to get a weapon.” Now Richardson actually has a fairly pro-gun voting record and the NRA has endorsed him. So Malkin was shocked by Richardson’s response - not defending the rights of criminals and lunatics to own guns? How Un-American is that? Next you’ll be saying imprisoned convicts shouldn’t be allowed to own guns.

Joe Biden answered next and Malkin was expecting nothing good from him. Biden was asked “Are you going to be able to keep his ‘baby’ safe?” and answered, “I’ll tell you what, if that is his baby, he needs help.”

Okay, it was a cheap shot but it got a laugh. Biden went on to say that he also would like to restrict gun sales to people who are “either mentally imbalanced and/or because they have a criminal record.”

Malkin by now is foaming at the mouth. (Okay, I don’t really know that she was literally foaming at the mouth but she wrote like she was.) Not only had Biden also rejected the Holy Text of the Second Amendment but he had mocked the mentally ill as well. She compared the abused Jered Townsend to Paris Hilton and the way she talks about her Chihuahua, to Brad Pitt and the way he talks about his Ducati motorcycle, to Al Gore and the way he talks about his Priuses and compact fluorescent light bulbs. Actually, I’m pretty sure neither Pitt or Gore have ever referred to these objects as their babies. Which I guess reduces Malkin’s argument to Jered Townsend being no crazier than Paris Hilton. It’s probably not a comparison you’d want to bring with you to a competency hearing.

All kidding aside, I don’t think Townsend is anything out of the ordinary - the man likes his gun and that doesn’t make him crazy. But there are other people out there who really are crazy. And I think a lot of people aren’t completely comfortable with the idea of these people having an AR-15 and access to a crowd.

I figure that hard-core Second Amendment supporters feel about this issue the same way that hard-core First Amendment supporters feel about flag burning or animal sacrifice - they thinks it’s important to uphold the principle but they’re not comfortable about the reality and they secretly wish that some of the people they’re defending would just disappear.

So, who’s in the mainstream here? Is it Bill Richardson and Joe Biden and myself who believe that criminals and mentally ill people should have restrictions on their gun ownership rights? Or are we out of touch and most people agree with Malkin that the founding fathers meant everyone should own a gun? Personally, I’m thinking somebody should have pulled Madison aside and asked him, *“How about Larry the Village Idiot, James, do you think he should be able to carry a loaded musket around town? What about Bill the Town Drunk when he’s three sheets in the wind? Do you want him shooting up Main Street? What about Mean Harvey? They say he shot four people and the only reason he got away was he threatened to shoot anyone on the jury who called him guilty. Or how about the Indians, James, do they have the right to own guns? Do your slaves have the right to own guns?” *

Forgive me for dismissing this so quickly, but if you want to read what the Founding Fathers thought, for the most part you only have to read what they wrote. They were quite prolific.

I think maybe Joe Biden ought to brush up on those particular parts of the Federalist Papers, myself. And while I had little quarrel with Richardson on this score, I feel he might jettison this admirable record to score points with Democratic activists who are more wrong than Joe Biden is, for the most part.

As for you, thank you for openly admitting your animosity toward the Second Amendment. Most people aren’t quite so honest.

Good Lord, I don’t know how they picked the videos, but I really wished they would have ruslted up a saner looking fellow to ask the question. When they get a weirdo like that, it’s too easy for the cantidate to dismiss the topic.

It would be like having a video question about gay rights at the Republican debate submitted by a couple greased up guys in leather chaps and what not. No response is even really required.

Interesting side note about slaves; American slaves actually had access to firearms, at least in the 18th century. They used them to keep birds and other vermin away from the fields and to hunt game (the choicest bits of which went straight to the master’s table.) Keep in mind that prior to the Revolution white opposition to slavery was virtually nonexistent, runaway slaves had virtually nowhere to go. They wouldn’t find friends in the north that would help them get away like they would generations later. Running north wouldn’t do them any good, because even northern States had slavery and would just send you back (where you might be beaten very badly or even to death in some cases.) Shooting your master in an attempt to escape would bring you little gain and great loss, you would certainly be summarily killed and possibly in a very nasty and painful manner.

Eventually the fear of slave revolts became so significant that I imagine the practice died out completely, but there was a time when (at least according to archaeological evidence and historical) that slaves were armed. I have no idea if Mr. Madison’s time was after that or not.

Michelle Malkin thinks convicted felons should own guns, you think gun rights are equivalent to slavery. There’s plenty of room for full-blown nuts on both sides of this issue…

He said no such thing. He’s welcome to correct me if I’m wrong, but as I see it all he said is that the several clauses of the Constitution seemed to be somewhat archaic. Hardly the most radical opinion out there.

Ranks “just below?” Even issuing free guns to schoolchildren would hardly be comparable at all to slavery as a moral or political problem. To equate the Second Amendment and slavery in any way whatsoever is pure Sarah Brady hysteria.

Both were enshrined in the Constitution by the framers.

Holy crap, I’ve engaged in pure Sarah Brady hysteria!

Both are old.

Aw man, I did it again!

You know, I think it’s possible to equate them in at least some ways and be purely factual. Perhaps in the realm of opinion there’s room for a cogent point without drawing down the wrath of the pure-Sarah-Brady-hysteria hysterics?


I really needed a good belly laugh this morning. Thanks!

Well to some of us first and second amendments are inexplicably linked and rank equally. A statement like

“As far as I’m concerned, freedom of speech and religion ranks just below slavery and just ahead of the original method of picking the Vice President as proof that the founding fathers were as fallible as any politician of today”

would make me feel about the poster roughly the same way as his original statement did. I’ll contend that both statement can be considered factual on some level, but it gave me a little pause. I feel that anybody who is legally allowed to drive a car unsupervised should be legally allowed to carry a gun unsupervised – and while both are extremely dangerous, there are a lot less cars than guns and cars kill more people in the United States.

The idea of effective gun control is laughable. Whatever system one envisions it only applies to those who comply with it. Here’s a good gun control idea for you – let’s instead of banning this or that, let’s just cut to the chase. I know it might be kind of unpopular with the freedom loving crowd, but let’s just make murder illegal and be done with it. There’s waay too much murder in this country, so something has to be done. In fact, we can, instead of say a citation or community service, isolate murderers from the rest of society for murder so that they cannot possibly murder again. Perhaps in some sort of a prison-like establishment. Ah, just imagine - a world with no murder! :rolleyes:

Sigh. Yes, Malkin’s article is idiotic, but not for the reason you state. It’s idiotic because she contorted the positions of the people who answered the question. Basically, here’s what happened. 1) A guy who is a bit extreme asks the question, while admitting that he broke the law while getting the gun during the gun ban. 2) Candidates attempt to skirt the specific question and move into safer territory by stating that felons and the mentally ill should not own guns—a position there is virtually complete agreement on. 3) Malkin recasts these answers as attacks on all gun owners as crazy, (missing completely Biden’s allusion to the guy admitting he broke the law).

Now at this point, she is the idiot, unfairly and childishly mischaracterizing reality. But then you do the exact same thing that she is guilty of. 4) You mischaracterize her position by implying that she—and others of her ilk, no doubt—think felons and the mentally ill should be allowed to have guns:

Hmmm, can’t say I see where in her article she stated such a position. (In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone state that as his or her position. Have you?) So, I’ll have to give Malkin a nice big :rolleyes: . And another one for your OP—in fact, make that two: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

I find the OP’s position absolutely laudable. He acknowledges the Second Amendment exists and has legal effect. He then goes on to say that he feels it’s poor public policy and should be repealed.

That’s how things should work. I disagree with the analysis of poor public policy, but I recognize that reasonable people may disagree on this point. Malkin, for whatever reason, feels that the answer is obvious, handed down from God to Moses to Charleton Heston. It’s not.

I certainly would agree, by the way, with restricting gun sales to criminals or the mentally unhinged, in the same way that I agree that a warrantless pat-down search of a detainee for the purposes of ensuring officer safety is Constitutional, even though the Fourth Amendment says that persons may be secure from search and seizure.

I don’t think it is that simple. There are a lot of people who identify as being on the left on many other issues who are in favor of gun control, certainly, but there are also many on the right on many other issues who hold the same view.

Personally I think removing from individuals the right to defend themselves and placing monopoly over the exercise of that right in the hands of authorities that have, throughout history, shown themselves to be hostile to the interests and wellbeing of the working class is not a position I consider to be “left.”

But I do accept that support for gun control is one of the positions that liberals, for want of a better term, have become saddled with in the United States, much to their detriment.

Read very literally, she doesn’t say that.

When Jered Townsend asked for assurance that he would be allowed to keep his guns, Governor Richardson and Senator Biden replied by talking about restrictions on gun ownership. Michelle Malkin took that as her jumping-off point, to talk about how Biden was smirking, the Democrats view gun owners with contempt, and want to take all their guns away.

Malkin’s conclusions have nothing to do with what the candidates said in the debate[sup]1[/sup]. That doesn’t make her evil, but it does make her a lousy columnist.

My WTF line from the column is:

What does that last line even mean? If a gun sits in a drawer fro 20 years, waiting for the moment a burglar comes in looking for the stereo, does she consider that “crime prevention”?

To be fair, what the candidates said didn’t have much to do with the question they were asked, either.

On preview, what magellan01 said.

I really don’t have a problem with the OP, nor most of the comments it’s been generating. I may not agree with the OP, but that’s not the same thing as thinking the OP is off in left field.

What I’d like to know, however, is just how the candidates, or any Dopers, might plan to define mental imbalance for the purposes of restricting firearms sales. If, as I think the simplest definition would be, anyone who is treated for any mental illness is the target - then I’d oppose that, strongly. For an example - someone who had been treated for Post-Partum Depression several years ago seems to me to be no increased risk from anyone else to own a fire arm. I also wonder how such a database could be arranged and still try to maintain HIPPA privacy issues.

On the other end of the scale, would it take the sort of court orders that were attempted with Cho to make such a ban stick for that person? If that’s the case I really don’t think a restriction against the mentally ill persons would be worth the paper it were written on.

The only idea I could see as possibly working would be for mental health caregivers to be required to notify the State when they think there’s an issue. Which goes right back to the HIPPA concerns above. I’m not saying that it’s an unreasonable requirement, nor that public health concerns can override a person’s individual right to privacy. But it would be a very fine balancing act, I think.

Your supposed solution is predicated on the idea that all murders are committed by repeat offenders. I can’t comment upon what fraction of murders are committed by repeat murderers, but it often is the case that many murders, especially those involving domestic disputes, are first-time murderers. To imply that only people who have killed before will murder other people is frankly, moronic.

I also object to the idea that the current criminal justice system only issues citations or community service to people convicted of murder. I do not always agree with everything handed down by the courts, and often would prefer to see harsher sentencing, but that’s by no means the same thing as claiming that it only issues community service.

The way it is now, it’s if the person has ever been adjudicated mentally defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

Unfortunately, many states have failed to make these records accessible to the National Instant Check System (NICS) so that the person can properly be denied the right to purchase.

As it is supposed to work, the legal documents surrounding the involuntary commitment or the paper where the judge declares the person mentally defective are supposed to be stored in the NICS database. All the information that is ever released when a Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealer calls the NICS number to get approval for a sale involves identifying that individual (in PA they put in your DL number and the system reads back your SSN) and then there is either a denial or an approval number which is placed on the form. The FFL, so far as I know, is never notified as to why a person is denied.

It’s sloppy writing, but I think the sense is clear?

Ask a sample of gun owners why they bought their guns, and a number of people will say “to prevent me becoming a victim of crime”. That’s the purpose - or “use” - of the item. As contrasted with hunting, target shooting etc.

I have a fire extinguisher that I’ve never operated, but I’d say I “use” it to protect me from fire.

I’d say you’ve never used it. If your reading is correct, it was damn sloppy writing.

All those people doing all that “crime prevention”, there shouldn’t be any crime at all by now.

I know it hurts when reality doesn’t conform to your expectations. But this really is an accurate list of things that the founding fathers were in favor of and included in the Constitution:

1 - Slavery
2 - Universal gun ownership
3 - The second place winner gets to be Vice President

All, in my opinion, bad ideas. I’d put alcohol prohibition on the list but that came later.

So I didn’t make the comparison - history did. If I had been foolish enough to have said “the second amendment is the worst idea in the Constitution” you could have then handed me my rhetorical ass by responding “slavery’s in the Constitution, so you’re saying you think gun ownership is worse than slavery, you hyperbole loving idiot.” But I kept a sense of proportion about it. I think we have too many guns in this country but it’s not as bad as slavery was. But it’s worse than the idea of having Al Gore replacing Dick Cheney.

In keeping with the above theme, I may not like the reality but I try to stay honest and acknowledge it exists. I think the intent of the Second Amendment is clear, even though I don’t like it, and I don’t like the idea of trying to weasel around it by coming up with some contrived interpretation.

I guess my main point (and I’ll admit I wondered around a bit in my OP) was that I felt both Richardson and Biden offered a position on gun control that was pretty reasonable and moderate and one that most people would agree with. But Malkin acted like they had said something so outlandish and out of touch that they had not only lost any hopes they had of being elected (which in their cases, were minimal anyway) but had condemned their entire party as well. By doing so, Malkin (in my opinion) showed that her position on gun control is so extreme that she doesn’t even realize it’s extreme.