clenched, so very clenched

You guys! Do you have enough guns yet? Let me answer that for you. No, you do not have enough guns yet. Go buy more guns because without guns they are going to attack us with “movie stars, and singers, and comedy shows, and award shows”!

No, seriously, they really are! Also? They are going to use their schools to “teach children that the president is another Hitler”! Another Hitler, you guys. Also too? They are going to use their media (they have their very own media!) to assassinate real news! Real news, totally dead on the deck, you guys. Unless you buy all the guns you really need (which, hint, is ALL the guns).

Wait, that’s not all! They are going to use their ex-president (you know, that Negro one? The one from Kenya, with the funny ears?) to “endorse the resistance”! That guy, he doesn’t even have a birth certificate thing, and they are going to use him for endorsing! Probably on an award show! Where he’ll be given an award for assassinating the real news to death! And an actor — or maybe even a singer — will give him the award!

Is that what you want? Do you want your children to grow up in a country where singers give awards to ex-presidents for assassinating real news? Then you’d better go out RIGHT NOW and buy as many guns as Jesus wants you to buy. If you think I’m kidding (I’m totally NOT kidding…would I kid about this?), just listen to what this extremely angry woman has to say.

 

See? I don’t know who this woman is, but she’s really intense and totally fucking furious about what they are doing. Or going to do. Or are thinking about maybe doing. Go buy some guns, you guys, or this already livid woman will become completely incensed. Seriously, she’s this close to having a damned seizure, she’s so pissed off at them. Buy some guns and send them to her. Maybe that’ll calm her down. I’m really worried about her right now.

Also plus? It’s not just about the welfare of this seething, choleric woman. You guys, it’s also about saving our country! Plus our freedom!. And according to this frightfully rancorous woman, the ONLY WAY to do that (and by ‘that’ I mean saving the country and our freedom), is to “fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth”!

That’s right! The violence of lies, you guys. It has to be fought with a clenched fist. Well, a clenched fist and more guns. We’re talking the National Rifle Association after all, not the National Clenched Fist Association. If you don’t have more guns, then you might could possibly become — NO, you WOULD become — a victim of their violence. You know, the violence of their lies. Only a clenched fist and more guns will protect you from them.

Oh, and if you’re wondering who they are, then you’re them. That’s how you can tell.

this is not somebody that would have been prohibited from having a gun

So this guy walks into…wait, let me start over. This guy who has military experience walks into the FBI office in Anchorage, Alaska, and tells them…wait, let me start over again. This guy, who served in Iraq but received a general discharge from the military after having gone AWOL a few times, walks into the FBI office…wait. Let’s try that again. This guy who’d served in Iraq and was basically kicked out of the military, and who was facing domestic abuse charges for having hit and strangled his girlfriend, walks into the Anchorage office of the FBI and tells them he’s hearing voices. They send him…wait, damn it, let me start over again.

This guy, Esteban Santiago, who’d served in Iraq, who’d gone AWOL often enough that he’d been given a general discharge from the military for ‘unsatisfactory performance’, who was being prosecuted for punching and strangling his girlfriend AND who’d been arrested for violating the subsequent restraining order forbidding him to go near her home, walks into the Anchorage office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and tells them he’s suffering from auditory command hallucinations directed by the CIA requiring him to watch violent propaganda videos released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which sparks the FBI into contacting Anchorage law enforcement, who subsequently seize Santiago’s Walther 9mm pistol and transport him to an area psychiatric facility for four days of evaluation, which determined Santiago wasn’t mentally ill.

So the Anchorage police gave him back his handgun.

esteban-santiago1

I shit you not, they returned Esteban Santiago’s gun to him. Why? Because, according to U.S. Attorney Karen Loeffler,

“As far as I know, this is not somebody that would have been prohibited (from having a gun) based on the information they had.”

What bits of information did they have? Let’s enumerate them, shall we?

  1. He was awaiting trial for assaulting his girlfriend. During an argument, she’d locked herself in the bathroom and called the police. Before the police arrived, Santiago (allegedly) kicked in the bathroom door, struck her, throttled her, then fled.
  2. He was also awaiting trial for violating the restraining order keeping him away from the woman who was now his ex-girlfriend.
  3. He presented himself to the FBI, confessed to having auditory hallucinations, and stated he’d been watching violent videos put out by militant Islamist terrorists.
  4. He was given an evaluation that determined he didn’t meet the criteria for being legally considered mentally ill.

Let’s look at that last issue first. Can a person who suffers from auditory command hallucinations NOT be mentally ill? Sure. In Alaska, mental illness is defined as having “an organic, mental, or emotional impairment that has substantial adverse effects on an individual’s ability to exercise conscious control of the individual’s actions or ability to perceive reality or to reason or understand.”

This sort of nonsense really happens. I once had a client who suffered from auditory command hallucinations. My client believed he had Go-Bots (these were transforming robot toys similar to Transformers) sitting on his shoulder. The Go-bots would identify gay men, then tell him to shoot those men the kneecap. (Spoiler: Go-Bots have shitty gaydar; none of the men he kneecapped were actually gay — not that it matters.) My client wasn’t considered medically ill because he knew shooting people in the kneecap was wrong and because he felt he could refuse to obey the Go-Bots if he’d really wanted to (he just didn’t see any reason why he shouldn’t trust the Go-Bots).

If Santiago was able to “exercise conscious control” of his actions, then legally he wasn’t mentally ill. By going to the FBI and informing them he was being controlled by the CIA, he was demonstrating that conscious control. Seriously — by reporting that he was hearing voices to the FBI he was proving that he wasn’t legally mentally ill.

estebansantiagomugshot

Now, you’re probably saying ‘Dude, the guy STILL assaulted his girlfriend! Shouldn’t that disqualify him from toting around a firearm? WTF? Allow me to respond. Dude, this is Alaska. In some other states, Santiago’s firearm would have been confiscated. But Alaska? They don’t even stop folks who are convicted of domestic abuse from buying and carrying firearms — and Santiago hadn’t even been tried yet.

So hey, let’s give him back his gun. And hey, while we’re at it, let’s let him transport that handgun from Alaska to the Gun Nut Mecca of Florida. Sure, we’ll make him transport it in checked luggage (not carry-on luggage, because that would be crazy), but let’s give him access to it once he lands. I mean, we don’t want to make it difficult for Esteban Santiago to protect himself once he lands in Fort Lauderdale, do we.

Because as T. Jefferson said, the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. And unsuspecting passengers idling around waiting for their baggage to arrive. Freedom isn’t free, right?

totally fucking worthless

I’m hoping at some point today I’ll get angry. Anger might be nice. Right now all I can muster up is a sort of deep, abiding melancholy.

Today there’ll be the standard offering of thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families, which are totally fucking worthless. As usual, there’ll be a pointless search for ‘answers’ — why and how ‘something like this’ can happen here. But whatever answers there are to be found will be totally fucking worthless, because we won’t actually do anything. There’ll be the predictable calls for effective gun legislation, which will be totally fucking worthless — and of course gun sales in Florida will skyrocket for a week or so, also totally fucking worthless.

There’ll be tearful memorial services, and people will leave flowers and notes and teddy bears outside the nightclub, and some newspaper or magazine will print photographs of all twenty twenty-nine fifty (the butcher’s bill keeps changing) of the fatally wounded victims. And it’ll all be totally fucking worthless, because we’ve done all that before and we all know that we’ll be doing it again.

Waiting for the dead and wounded.

Waiting for the dead and wounded.

For the next few days we’ll be reading the tweets sent by folks in the nightclub, we’ll be seeing chaotic smartphone videos and facebook posts. We’ll be hearing accounts from those who escaped, and the memories of family and friends of the dead (“He was a good boy, never bothered anybody, always willing to help, loved animals”), and we’ll tell ourselves what a tragic event this was and lamenting how many young, innocent lives were cut short. But all that will be totally fucking worthless because absolutely nothing will change. Not one goddamn thing.


I’m back. I had to step away for a while. Because you know what else is totally fucking worthless? Another blog post on another mass shooting.

I’d probably have just deleted all this and got on with my day had I not had a short chat with a friend. Here’s the reason it was a short chat — he said “Bernie would have found a way to get gun control passed if the election hadn’t been stolen from him.” And that anger I’d been searching for, it started to perk up. I held it in, though, and said if the Democrats can re-take Congress, maybe Hillary can get something passed. Which is when he said something like “I’ll never vote for Hillary, I’m done voting for the lesser of two evils, I’ll vote for the Green Party, I don’t care if Trump wins.”

Here’s yet another thing that’s totally fucking worthless: that guy’s opinion. But it helped me find that anger.

If there any chance at all — even a remote chance — of passing even the weakest and most tepid gun safety legislation, Democrats need to keep the White House and win both houses of Congress. Trump sure as hell isn’t going to do anything about guns.

Don’t tell me you want to stop mass shootings but aren’t willing to vote for Clinton because your candidate lost the primary. I don’t care if you think Clinton and Donald Trump are both the spawn of Satan — only one spawn of Satan has professed any interest in passing some responsible gun laws. I don’t care if the Green Party candidate has a plan to seize and melt every goddamn gun in the US and turn them all into orthodontic braces for poor kids — the Green Party isn’t going to win; they can only suck votes away from Clinton. I don’t care if the notion of voting for Clinton actually makes you physically ill — vomit, then vote Democratic and start pushing for gun safety legislation.

You don’t have to like Clinton. You don’t even have to trust her. All you have to do is ask yourself which of the two candidates — which of the two major political parties — is most likely to press for reasonable gun safety laws. And if you loathe Hillary Clinton more than you loathe mass shootings, then as far as I’m concerned you’re also totally fucking worthless.

 

sometimes accidents happen

At some point in your life, you’ve almost certainly had a bad neighbor. The guy in the next apartment who plays Motörhead through the Ages at full volume — every night. Or the fastidious neighbor who starts to mow the lawn at seven o’clock in the goddamn morning on a Sunday. Or the lady next door who owns half a dozen yappy little dogs that shit all over your yard. Or the family across the hall whose laissez-faire approach to garbage day is an open invitation to Buick-sized cockroaches.

But I’m going to guess that unless you live in Collier County, Florida — or more specifically, the city of Naples — or even more specifically, the suburb of Golden Gate Estates — your bad neighbor wasn’t all that bad. Because your neighbor wasn’t Herold Lanham. This is Herold Lanham:

Herold Lanham - dedicated to improving his skill.

Herold Lanham – dedicated to improving his skill.

Herold likes his guns. He likes shooting his guns. He likes shooting them in his backyard, where he’s set up a practice shooting range, with a three-foot berm to stop the bullets. He really likes shooting his guns — but he’s not very good at it. Herold was trying to get better at shooting his guns when he fired a round into the home of his neighbors, the Ledesma family. They, very reasonably, notified the police.

The police probably told Herold to be more careful.

Herold wasn’t discouraged by his astonishingly shitty marksmanship. No sir, practice, that’s what he needed. Practice and persistence. Gutta cavat lapidem non vi, sed sæpe cadendo, as they say in Collier County — the drop hollows out the stone not by strength, but by constant falling. He just needed to keep at it.

And he did. Herold soon returned to his backyard gun range. And hey, he shot the Ledesma house again. And put a round into the living room of the Zuferri family. The police were called again. They probably told him to be more careful. Again.

This unfortunate turn of events would cause most people to ask “Is target shooting right for me? Should I perhaps consider some other form of outdoor exercise? I hear badminton is fun.” But Herold Lanham is NOT most people. Was he disheartened? Was he dismayed by a few errant rounds? No sir, not at all.

More practice. Earnest practice. By perseverance the snail reached the ark, as they say in Collier County. Numquam dedite — never surrender. Quitters never win and winners never quit. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. And all that.

Herold was determined. Resolute, even. Dedicated to improving his skill. He plucked up his courage, picked up his gun, and returned once again to his backyard target range. Where he shot 14-year-old Deborah Ledesma, who had the misfortune to be…well, in her home. The round shattered a window, sending fragments of glass in the young woman’s face, and lodged in her left hand, breaking a few bones and rupturing a tendon.

Deborah Ledesma, 14. Accidents sometimes happen.

Deborah Ledesma, 14. Accidents sometimes happen.

The police were called again, along with an ambulance. This time Herold was arrested and charged with discharging a firearm in public. But hey, this is Florida, where it’s perfectly legal to shoot guns in the privacy of your own back yard.

That’s right. Section 790.15 of the Florida Statutes says you can’t “discharge a firearm in any public place“, but a backyard is NOT a public place. It says you can’t discharge a firearm “on the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street” but a backyard shooting range isn’t a road. It says you can’t discharge a firearm “over the right-of-way of any paved public road, highway, or street or over any occupied premises“, but there wasn’t any road between the backyard of the Lanham house and the backyard of the Ledesma house. And hey, Herold’s shot didn’t pass OVER any occupied premises. It smacked right into them. The law also states you can’t discharge a firearm on private property if it’s done “recklessly or negligently.” But our boy Herold, he’d built a three-foot berm to stop the bullets. He wasn’t being reckless; there was plenty of reck involved. As for negligence, he’d built a three-foot berm to stop bullets. What more could they expect?

So that charge had to be dropped. Instead, Herold was charged with shooting a missile into a building, and he was released on bond. His attorney acknowledges that the incident was unfortunate.

“There’s no doubt this was a tragedy. But I’m sorry, sometimes accidents happen, and that doesn’t mean somebody’s committed a crime simply because there’s a tragic outcome.”

By the way, in Florida there are no zoning requirements or building codes when it comes to adding a backyard firing range. Anybody can do it, and they can do it in any way they choose. Had Lanham wanted to build an addition to his home, or install a swimming pool, he’d have to have the plans approved and meet construction codes.

And that, my friends, is why the Second Amendment is the best amendment. Because accidents sometimes happen, and you can’t be held responsible for an accident. If it involves a firearm.

accidents, man, they happen

By now, almost everybody has heard about Jamie Gilt, the Second Amendment mom from Florida (of course) who was shot in the back by her four-year old son while driving her pickup truck. Wait, was that confusing? I didn’t mean her four-year old son shot her while HE was driving her pickup. Kid’s only four; he can’t be expected to multi-task like that. You can’t expect a kid to be able to drive and shoot with any accuracy until he’s reached puberty. She was driving the pickup. The four-year old kid was loitering in the back seat, playing with her .45-caliber handgun — which was apparently unsecured, with the safety off, and loaded with a round in the chamber.

Second Amendment Mom Jamie Gilt

Second Amendment Mom Jamie Gilt

I think we can all agree that a .45 caliber pistol is a lot of gun for a four-year old. According to every news report I’ve seen:

The boy was unharmed.

Yeah, right. Kid could have shot himself, but didn’t. Of course, he’s probably going to need years of therapy since he shot his own momma in the back. But hey, he managed not to shoot himself, so there’s that.

It’s great advertising for .45-caliber handguns, though. The round went clear through the truck’s back seat, into the woman’s back, and exited out her stomach. That’s serious penetration, right there. The woman’s lucky she hadn’t loaded the weapon with hollow points, which are perfectly legal in Florida.

But hey, Jamie Gilt wasn’t the only responsible gun owner to have a Second Amendment ‘accident’ recently. She’s simply the most attractive and her shooting was the most ironic, since she’d just posted a pro-gun comment on her Facebook page the day before her son popped her in the back. There were other ‘accidents’ with less attractive victims and less ironic circumstances.

A three-year-old boy shot his momma in Kentwood, Michigan. She was cleaning the family SUV when the boy found his daddy’s 9mm handgun in the vehicle. He “fired one shot before the weapon jammed,” hitting his poor momma in the head. According the report, the momma “wasn’t seriously hurt,” which reveals the weakness of the 9mm when compared to Jamie Gilt’s .45-caliber. The boy’s daddy said he “typically secures the weapon” but on that day “he was in a hurry to visit neighbors” so apparently left the loaded weapon lying about with the safety off and a round in the chamber. Ooop. No charges have been filed.

And there was 23-year-old Jacob Brumbaugh of Knoxville, Tennesee, who shot himself in the leg with his Glock outside a Cheesecake Factory. No charges were filed. And Kentuckian Ward Correll, who accidentally shot himself in the gut (the comments to the article remind us that “we have a awesome Lord” who’ll help Ward through this time of crisis — but who apparently was too busy to prevent Ward from shooting his damned self). No charges were filed. And the two-ear-old Sacramento girl who accidentally shot herself in the head. Well, the child’s mother says the girl shot herself in the head, but the police aren’t entirely convinced since the firearm involved somehow ‘disappeared.’ Is it possible that somebody, during the fuss that naturally follows when a two-year-old is shot in the head, said to themselves “Oh lawdy, that poor child’s gone and shot herself in the head…I’d better hide the gun.” Yes, this is America — it’s very possible. Charges may be filed.

Then there’s Lana Meisner, the wife of a former NFL player, who died after the rifle she was moving accidentally discharged. Apparently a pair of spurs (I’m NOT making this up) shifted in the rifle case and struck the trigger. Which is a lesson all gun owners should take to heart. DO NOT put your spurs in your rifle case along with a loaded rifle. No charges were filed. And Genie Wamsley of Greensburg, Indiana, who was shot in the hip by her neighbor, who was in the adjacent apartment innocently cleaning his loaded 9mm handgun. The round went through the apartment wall and stuck Ms. Wamsley while she was sitting on the sofa watching television. No charges have been filed yet, but authorities stated:

Gun safety classes are available locally…. Classes can help gun owners familiarize themselves with their firearms, which is a vital component of responsible gun ownership.

Hey, tyrant — show me where it says you have to be familiar with your firearm in the Second Amendment.

Gun safety classes are available locally.

Gun safety classes are available locally. (Image by Samantha Ann Peartree, age 5)

Oh yeah, and by the way, there’s Christopher Smith of Morgantown, W.V. Seems he was “recklessly manipulating a loaded handgun” and accidentally shot a child in the head. No word on the age of the child or his condition, but hey, at least Smith was arrested and charged with a crime. Of course, Smith is black. Might as well arrest him. He’d probably get arrested for something else anyway. This just saves time.

This isn’t even a comprehensive list of the accidental shootings in the last week or so. It’s just the ones that caught my eye. There’s not enough space here for the recent intentional shootings — the road rage shootings, the domestic violence shootings, the suicides, the murder-suicides, the mass shootings, the drunken arguments that would have resulted in fistfights if there wasn’t a gun handy.

Legislators, of course, say they won’t interfere with a constitutionally protected right. Besides, this last week they’ve been too busy in Indiana and South Carolina and Utah and Florida and West Virginia and Kentucky finding new ways to restrict the constitutionally protected right of women to have a legal medical procedure to terminate a pregnancy.

Priorities, people, priorities.

it ain’t over

First, let me say this: it’s always easy to know the right thing to do when you don’t have to actually do it your ownself. So when I say I think the Feds fucked up strategically in their dealings with the Great Bird Sanctuary Treason Plot, but did well tactically, remember that I’m mostly talking out my ass.

Second, let me make a pretty bad analogy. I mean, it’s not a totally horrible analogy, it’s just pretty bad. Here it is: Pretend you have a child (unless you actually have a child). That child knows he (and yeah, it’s a boy on account of boys are just like that) isn’t supposed to have chocolate. Now, pretend that boy takes a damned chocolate. You take the chocolate back from the boy, and he’s pissed on account you’re mean and stupid and he hates you. Now pretend that the boy takes a damned chocolate and you tell him “Child, you are NOT to take chocolates” but you just stand there with your thumb up your butt while he eats the chocolate. Then the next day the little bastard takes another damned chocolate. This time you take the chocolate from him, but now he’s pissed times two on account of you let him have the chocolate last time and didn’t do anything.

Get it? Wait, I meant to tell you the Bundy family is the child and the chocolate is seizing control over government lands. Now, get it?

My point is if the Feds had confiscated Cliven Bundy’s livestock like they were authorized to do before he called in all his faux patriot buddies, then it’s unlikely the Lesser Bundys would have started the Great Bird Sanctuary Treason Plot. Strategically, the Feds fucked up. If you tell the boy he can’t have chocolate, then you have to be ready to take his damned chocolate.

Charter Members of the Fuckwit Collective.

Charter Members of the Fuckwit Collective.

But they didn’t, and now there’s a dead fuckwitted cowboy and a wounded fuckwitted whatever-the-hell Ryan Bundy is.

It could have been worse. It could have been much worse. And there’s a very real possibility that it will get worse. On account of it’s not over. Not yet.

It’s important to remember that the people involved in the Great Bird Sanctuary Treason Plot aren’t just fuckwits. They’re fuckwits who are part of a religious/political/ideological movement with a long history of violent confrontation with law enforcement, a penchant for armed resistance in a siege, and a tradition of martyrdom. That’s not a recipe for peaceful resolution.

We’ve seen this same basic situation several times since the early 1980s. Well-armed, conspiracy-oriented, survivalist-minded, right-wing fuckwits with strange notions of Christianity and a deep, abiding suspicion of the U.S. government have repeatedly sparked violent confrontations with Federal law enforcement agents. Gordon Kahl and the Posse Comitatus in 1983, Robert Jay Mathews and the Brüder Schweigen (the Silent Brotherhood) in 1984, Richard Wayne Snell and The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord in that same year, Randy Weaver — whose wife and son were killed during their stand-off in 1992, David Koresh and 75 members of his group died after a long siege in 1993, the Montana Freemen in 1996, and on and on and on.

Some of those conflicts were resolved peacefully. Most weren’t. Most ended in bloodshed. Because these people have some real issues with impulse control AND they have guns.

Lavoy Finicum

Lavoy Finicum

Earlier I said the Feds fucked up strategically. I personally think they also fucked up by not taking a harder line against the Great Bird Sanctuary Treason Plot plotters in a way that’s what you call ‘timely.’ Like, say, a couple of days after they moved in. Instead, the Feds allowed the Lesser Bundys to think this was going to be BundyFest II.

Still, when the Feds finally decided to act, they did well tactically. By that I mean they handled the arrest of the Bundys and their camouflage remora in a professional way. They waited until the leaders of the movement left the compound, stopped them, and took them into custody with relatively little fuss. Aside from, you know, shooting the cowboy (and I don’t mean to make light of that; it’s sad that it happened, but it seemed clear from the beginning that Lavoy Finicum was redolent with the smell of burning martyr).

The problem is there are still at least a couple of Finicumesque fuckwits camped out in Malheur, working on their Braveheart imitations. It may not be easy to dislodge them.

you’ve probably got one in your community

So they arrested Trey Sudbrock again.

Who the hell is Trey Sudbrock? Nobody special. He’s a 21-year-old local guy who got dumped by his girlfriend. He’s just another guy at the intersection of male privilege, misogyny, and guns. There are tens of thousands of Trey Sudbrocks across These United States. You’ve probably got one in your community.

Here are the basic facts behind Trey Sudbrock’s story. on 24 November, a couple of days before Thanksgiving, he had a fight with his girlfriend. I don’t know what the fight was about, I don’t know who started it, or how it progressed. What I know is Trey Sudbrock was arrested and charged with domestic abuse. His girlfriend filed for a restraining order, which was granted. Sudbrock posted bond, and was released from jail with the proviso that he have no contact with his former girlfriend.

The story is pretty predictable from this point.

Trey Sudbrock

Trey Sudbrock

A week and a half later, on 3 December, Sudbrock violated that restraining order. During that incident, he killed his ex-girlfriend’s dog. Again, he was arrested. He posted bond and was again released. Then, on 23 December, the local sheriff arrested Sudbrock for the third time. He was charged with animal torture, stemming from the earlier incident.

Three days later, the day after Christmas, having been released from jail yet again, Sudbrock contacted a friend, asking to buy a gun. He allegedly told the friend he needed the weapon so he “could kill a lot of people.” He reportedly had US$2000 to spend on the firearm. His friend refused to sell him a gun, and instead reported Sudbrock to the Sheriff’s Office. Sudbrock’s been arrested yet again; this time he’s been charged with threatening terrorism — a Class D felony. The subsequent investigation revealed Sudbrock had contacted other friends about buying a firearm. They didn’t sell him one, but neither did they report him.

But guess what. Had his friends been less decent, they could have legally sold Sudbrock a gun. Or even loaned one to him. And had they done so, the odds are they would be completely free from any responsibility for whatever Sudbrock might have done with that gun.

As far as that goes, had Trey Sudbrock been patient enough to wait a couple of weeks, he could easily have bought a weapon from one of the unlicensed dealers at the gun show that’s going to be held next weekend at Adventureland Park in Des Moines. There were earlier gun shows he could have attended, but they would have required an inconvenient two or three hour drive.

Even though existing law prohibits anybody charged with or convicted of domestic abuse from buying a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer, there are almost always unlicensed dealers at gun shows. These unlicensed dealers are folks who don’t own a physical gun store. They have business cards, they sell firearms obtained directly from the manufacturer — new guns, still in the box, and they may make a substantial amount of their income from selling firearms and gun accessories, but they are considered by law to be private sellers, not ‘engaged’ in dealing firearms. And these unlicensed dealers don’t need to perform background checks. Even if they sell their weapons online.

That’s right, Trey Sudbrock could have gone online, bought himself a gun, and had it shipped right to his door. It’s easy. How easy? This easy.

Go to http://www.armslist.com. Pick out the gun you want. Create an account. Buy the gun.

Glock 42 -- US$399.00

Glock 42 — US$399.00

Let’s say Sudbrock wanted this sweet little Glock 42. It’s only a .380 caliber, so it lacks the stopping power of the 9mm, but hey, it would still do the trick. It’s less expensive than the 9mm too (with his $2000 Sudbrock could have bought five of these deadly beauties). If that’s not enough, the .380 is more easily concealed than the 9mm.

What about that inconvenient domestic abuse charge hanging over Sudbrock’s head? That awkward restraining order? No problem! All Sudbrock, as the buyer, would have to do is acknowledge the responsibilities listed on the seller’s website.

By purchasing through this system you agree to follow all manufacturer safety instructions and to only use the firearms in a safe manner in an approved area for a legal purpose.

Buyer assumes all responsibility for the legality of a specific item when you purchase it.

Buyer is responsible for securing your firearms from unauthorized use.

Buyer is responsible for checking all local laws before ordering or using an item that is sold here.

Buyer is responsible for complying with all firearms laws in your area.
Buyer must be of legal age to own any items you order.

Buyer must be at least 18 years of age to purchase ANY item from [name redacted]. Proof of Age can be requested prior to shipping an item.

Then it’s just a matter of waiting until that Glock arrives at the door.

Easy peasy, lemon breezy. For now.

This is one of the things that will change under President Obama’s new executive orders. If a gun seller has a website, if he has business cards, if he sells multiple firearms that are new from the manufacturer, if he obtains a substantial profit from those sales, he’ll be considered to be engaged in the business of selling firearms. That will obligate him to obtain a Federal Firearms License, and that will require him to conduct a background check on his customers.

The gun rights folks get one thing right: the executive orders issued by President Obama won’t stop mass murders. But they could prevent some of the Trey Sudbrocks of the world from buying a weapon at a gun show or online.

That’s a good thing.

It’s important to NOT allow the issue of mass murder frame the entire discussion about gun violence. This isn’t about trying to end mass murder. It’s about trying to reduce the level of overall gun violence — not just murders, but non-fatal shootings as well. It’s about making life a tad more safe for women like Trey Sudbrock’s former girlfriend.

They need that extra protection. Over the last decade, nine women were fatally shot by their domestic partners (husbands, boyfriends, and former husbands and boyfriends) every week. Every week. Easily twice that many are shot and survive. Something like 90% of those women who are shot had been physically abused on at least one prior occasion by the person who shot them.

If Obama’s executive orders make it even slightly more difficult for men like Trey Sudbrock to obtain a firearm, then it’ll be a success. It ain’t much, but it’s a start.