Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 16, 2009

COBURN RAISES THE TEMPERATURE.... Richard Poplawski recently gunned down three police officers, in part because he feared the non-existent "Obama gun ban." In the wake of tragedy, I'd hoped some of the less responsible voices on the right might be inclined to lower the temperature a bit, especially since the administration hasn't made any efforts to pursue new gun control measures.

So much for that idea.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said this week that the administration will try "all sorts of things" to chip away at the individual right to own a gun, warning of gun control policies aimed at "disarming us."

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Cushing, Oklahoma, Coburn warned that Attorney General Eric Holder "doesn't believe in the second amendment" and "doesn't even know what an assault weapon is."

"He doesn't believe in our right to own and hold a gun," Coburn said of Holder, whose nomination he vigorously opposed. "He doesn't believe the Second Amendment means it's a right for me to have a gun to protect myself."

Coburn added, "I'm very worried about the Second Amendment, in terms of this administration," adding, "Even though the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the Second Amendment means we get the right to own a gun."

First, the Supreme Court's ruling in Heller wasn't "unanimous"; it was a 5-4 split. (Coburn was only off by four justices.)

Second, what possible good could it serve to have a sitting U.S. senator tell a group of voters that the administration is pursuing policies aimed at "disarming us"? A report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security, which was requested and prepared by Bush administration officials, just told us that irrational fears of gun control are stirring political radicals and extremists.

Coburn doesn't even have Rick Perry's excuse for irresponsible nonsense, since Coburn hasn't announced whether he'll seek re-election, and will probably win fairly easily if he does.

It's the height of irresponsibility to spout such drivel. That Coburn seems to believe his own rhetoric doesn't make it any better.

Steve Benen 2:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (43)

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Comments

All I want to know is, are we going to 'take away their guns' before or after we re-institute the Fairness Doctrine?

And where is Vince Foster when you need him?

Posted by: leo on April 16, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Coburn needs to be visited by the FBI fairy.

Posted by: doubtful on April 16, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe Poplawski's defense attorney should call Coburn as a witness. Get him on the stand under oath spouting this nonsense and it'll stop pretty quick. Or he'd have to admit that it's nonsense, and that would ALSO make the news (I think).

Posted by: Michigoose on April 16, 2009 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow with these binary morons there is such a fine line between keeping assault rifles from drug smugglers and letting people hunt delicious squirrels in the fall.

Posted by: Danp on April 16, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Coburn's "irresponsibility" pales in comparison to your attribution of a nut's excuse for a rampage to his political beliefs. His mother called the cops for Christ's sake ! He was crazy ! You guys keep bringing up McVeigh the same way to trash all veterans as nutcases. Why not get a series of two before you draw conclusions ? In medicine we say "Beware of the guy with one case."

Posted by: Mike K on April 16, 2009 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Some questions/observations:

1. When all of a sudden did the Homeland Security Department become a credible institution?
2. When did we start trusting federal bureaucrats (Bush-appointed, in this case) to vet political ideology?
3. Am I the only one who was concerned about Lois Capps' Homegrown Terrorism and Domestic Extremism bill? Isn't this report (and the little-mentioned left-wing companion to it) exactly the kind of thing she was advocating?
4. I wish MY senators would talk as "irresponsibly" about the 4th amendment as Coburn talks about the 2nd.

Posted by: Slaney Black on April 16, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

"You guys keep bringing up McVeigh the same way to trash all veterans as nutcases. "

Whaaa? I've never seen anybody do this. It's an outright lie.

Posted by: dk on April 16, 2009 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

Mark Kirk (IL-10), a mislabeled Republican "moderate" who is most likely going to be a candidate for governor or senator next year said of Governor Quinn yesterday, "“I think the people of Illinois are ready to shoot anyone who is going to raise taxes by that degree.”

This is because Quinn is trying to close an $11 billion budget gap by taking Illinois's ancient regressive income tax into the 21th century by upping the rate from 3% to 4.5% and tripling personal exemptions. A majority of Illinoisans will have no increase at all.

I suggest folks go read up on the violent vitriol directed against JFK from the right in the weeks and months before he was shot in Dallas. Then they can tell us it’s all just “harmless” palaver to get their names in the paper. If political assassination talk and dogwhistling to lunatics is all Republican politicians have left they don’t belong in decent society let alone public office.


Posted by: markg8 on April 16, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Mike K: your attribution of a nut's excuse for a rampage to his political beliefs

His friend, who was interviewed by the media in response to the rampage, said that's why he did it. No one here made the attribution.

Posted by: Michigoose on April 16, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

And Heller doesn't say what he says it says. The majority did say the government can restrict the gun rights of felons, the insane.... Maybe they should have included sitting US Senators too.

Posted by: Tigershark on April 16, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

You guys keep bringing up McVeigh the same way to trash all veterans as nutcases.

WTF are you mumbling about now? I for one didn't even know McVeigh was a vet. I've never once seen a reference to him that even mentions military service, much less suggests that it turned him into a terrorist.

Produce multiple cites to back yourself up or shut the hell up, you crazy old man.

Posted by: shortstop on April 16, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

1. When all of a sudden did the Homeland Security Department become a credible institution?

That's an excellent question.

Posted by: The Galloping Trollop on April 16, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

The ironic thing is that Obama is a known proponent of the individual-right interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on April 16, 2009 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to commend Senator Coburn for having the courage to stand up for our rights. When The Chosen One tries to take my weapons, he will get what's coming to him!

So, you say you want a revolution...

You will get one if you try to take away my M60 machine gun.

You will get one if you try to take away my AK-47s.

You will get one if you try to take away my Uzis.

You will get one if you try to take away my militia's tanks (functional & we possess shells - but purely for parade & window dressing functionality).

You will get one if you try to take away my Claymore mines.

You will get one if you try to take away my M-79.

All of these plus my assortment of semi-automatic handguns are just for hunting & self defense. You too should prepare for the End of Times!

Posted by: FreedomFighter on April 16, 2009 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oh please Mike K, if it were only the case that right-wingers were getting shot regularly by left leaning people, I might give your argument a half a thought.

Posted by: Jeff H on April 16, 2009 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

It truly is frightening when you can't tell whether a post like FreedomFighter's is a parody or not.

Posted by: dk on April 16, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I live in rural Maine where owning guns, even by youngsters, is a part of everyday life. Hunting Seasons are looked forward to by residents as well as visitors with as much anticipation as Christmas is for children. I say this because I am not unaware of the value of owning a gun and can certainly understand the fervor over the 2nd Amendment. BUT, why any sane person would consider owning an assault rifle as a Right,is beyond me. They are made for one thing, and one thing only - ASSAULT. Not hunting, not defending oneself, not target practice, but are, simply put, Mass-Killing Machines! Why would the average person even need such a weapon?

I'm fairly certain when the 2nd Amendment was drafted, the Founding Fathers had no idea that "arms" would evolve into the mass-killing weapons that they have become, and if they had ever dreamed of such a thing, the wording of that Amendment would have been phrased a differently.

Assault weapons have no place in our society and should be banned for eternity.

Posted by: mrspeel on April 16, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we need a new law on the books. Murder by social agitation!

Posted by: mat1492 on April 16, 2009 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, okay; I missed this tempest in a teabag: apparently Napolitano's getting nailed for making a factual comment about McVeigh's military service. Boo freaking hoo.

So, Mike K, let's see these supposedly repeated instances of people using McVeigh to call all vets nutcases. Be specific. Show your work.

Posted by: shortstop on April 16, 2009 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

warning of gun control policies aimed at "disarming us."

Loons like Coburn shouldn't be allowed to handle a butter knife, let alone a firearm.

Posted by: PeakVT on April 16, 2009 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

mrspeel, I think a lot of the problems with 'gun control' legislation is that there isn't one clear definition of what an assault rifle is. In AWB legislation, it has a lot to do with how the weapon looks, and not how it functions and in that respect some of the laws are very silly. If you make a few modifications that don't make the weapon any more dangerous, you could turn a perfectly legal firearm into one that is illegal. That does not make sense.

Posted by: dk on April 16, 2009 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Coburn also claims Obama wants to take away everyone's forks and knives, making us all eat with chopsticks.

Posted by: qwerty on April 16, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Why is the right still fighting about the meanimg/scope of the 2nd amendment? DC v. Heller means that U.S. citizens have a Constitutional right to own a firearm for personal use. That's the law of the land. End of debate. They won. Don't they know this?

In the absence of a credible and creditable move to amend the Constitution to deny that right, what's the source of this fear? Besides bat-shit craziness?

Posted by: DaCheckr on April 16, 2009 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

A point of clarification. It's not the Second Amendment that gives you the right to shoot your mouth off without thinking. That's the First Amendment.

Posted by: clb72 on April 16, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm fairly certain when the 2nd Amendment was drafted, the Founding Fathers had no idea that "arms" would evolve into the mass-killing weapons that they have become, and if they had ever dreamed of such a thing, the wording of that Amendment would have been phrased a differently.

Since the context of the 2nd amendment is a "well-regulated militia", the 'arms' in question would be an infantryman's weapons...in other words, something cheap and light and as mass-killing as possible.

Assault weapons have no place in our society and should be banned for eternity.

Assault rifles are an infantryman's weapon. If the Kentucky Long Rifle has any modern equivalent, it's the AK47: cheap, deadly and ubiquitous. A people's killing machine.

Now, on machine pistols like TEC-9's, which have basically no legitimate military use whatsoever, I agree.

Posted by: Slaney Black on April 16, 2009 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps we need a new law on the books. Murder by social agitation!

Yes, how about a Sedition Act?

Coburn needs to be visited by the FBI fairy.

I seriously hope you people are kidding.


Posted by: Slaney Black on April 16, 2009 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

When Texas offically attempts to secede (please, let it be so!), allow it on the condition they take Oklahoma with them.

Posted by: Shine on April 16, 2009 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

It's the height of irresponsibility to spout such drivel.

why on Earth would anyone be incredulous at a republican being irresponsible, its virtually required to be a member in good standing.

Posted by: pluege on April 16, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone read Bob Herbert's NYT column this week ?

Since September 11th 2001 120,000 people have died from non- terror homicides. Someone is killed by a gun every 17 minutes. If a 200 people or so were killed every week in a plane crash there would be total outrage and the air traffic system would be shut down . What do we get? shrugs and calls for less gun regulation . BLAM BLAM BLAM - Its the American ' effin way baby

Posted by: John R on April 16, 2009 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

Slaney Black wrote: "Since the context of the 2nd amendment is a 'well-regulated militia', the 'arms' in question would be an infantryman's weapons...in other words, something cheap and light and as mass-killing as possible."

An "infantryman's weapons" of the 1770s consisted of flintlock pistols and single-shot muzzle-loading rifles. The "infantryman's weapons" of today would have been regarded by the authors of the Constitution as weapons of mass destruction.

Are you arguing that they wanted every citizen to own and carry rocket-propelled grenades and shoulder-launched Stinger anti-aircraft missiles?

Also, since as you point out the context of the Second Amendment is a 'well-regulated militia' there is no individual right of private citizens to bear arms, only a right for the States to organize well-regulated militias and for members of the State militias -- i.e. the present-day National Guard -- to bear arms.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 16, 2009 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously hope you people are kidding. -Slaney Black

You're delusional if you think I am kidding. A person in his position knows full well that no one in the Obama Administration is 'coming for his guns,' yet here Coburn is spewing this rhetoric.

Other than inciting violence against the Administration, what could his reasoning possibly be?

How many cops have to die because of this 'coming for our guns' lie? Seriously, what is Coburn et al's goal with this inflammatory rhetoric?

You're damned right I think he should be investigated.

Posted by: doubtful on April 16, 2009 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

doubtful wrote: "How many cops have to die because of this 'coming for our guns' lie?"

I suspect that Slaney Black shares the NRA's concern that "when guns are outlawed, only cops will have guns".

Or something like that.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 16, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Something tells me that Dr. Tom Coburn missed his rotation in an ER during med school - he seems to have zero understanding of the devastation that guns inflict.

Posted by: ghillie on April 16, 2009 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

And the gun store owners who are making a "killing" selling out their stock of guns and ammo at enormously inflated prices are laughing all the way to the bank. "Stock up now before Obama and the UN take away your guns!"

Posted by: clonus on April 16, 2009 at 4:43 PM | PERMALINK

clonus -- yep. The NRA represents the interests of gun manufacturers, and this is the best scam they've ever come up with.

Posted by: Redshift on April 16, 2009 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

People like Coburn have been making this same argument for decades. Just how real is the danger that anybody is going to take away guns? Well, Dems have been around a very long time, just how many guns have they taken away?

Guns in the hands of the public (per capita):
1900 ?
1950 ?
1980 ?
2000 ?
2009 ?

Somehow I'll bet there are as many or more today than ever before.

Posted by: MarkH on April 16, 2009 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

An "infantryman's weapons" of the 1770s consisted of flintlock pistols and single-shot muzzle-loading rifles. The "infantryman's weapons" of today would have been regarded by the authors of the Constitution as weapons of mass destruction.

An infantryman's weapon today is an assault rifle, M16 or AK47, semiautomatic or selective fire. Fully automatic weapons, anti-aircraft missiles, whatever, are not part of a soldier's basic equipment.

Nor, for that matter, are machine pistols, like the TEC-9 (shunned by just about every army worldwide) or the mini-Uzi (not even the Israelis use it).

So, since the 2nd amendment prohibits infringement on the right to bear arms of a well-regulated militia, semiautomatic assault rifles should be legal.

The other things you cited, plus the ones I added and others, should not.

doubtful wrote: "How many cops have to die because of this 'coming for our guns' lie?"

I suspect that Slaney Black shares the NRA's concern that "when guns are outlawed, only cops will have guns".

I've been arrested several times. For peaceful left-wing protest activities. So first of all, the boys in blue get limited sympathy from me.

Second of all, cops die all the time because of constitutional limitations on search and seizure and arbitrary detention. That doesn't bother me in the slightest.

Posted by: Slaney Black on April 16, 2009 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

The republicans are aligning themselves with the most extreme, devisive nutballs in our society. Its been coming for a number of years. They won't be winning any elections for a long, long time if their party even survives.

Posted by: James G on April 16, 2009 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

Just today I watched the Obamination jivin' with that debunked story that "90% of Mexican cartel guns come from the US," rather obvious anti-freedom agitprop. We do have a Bill of Rights, you know.

Posted by: Luther on April 16, 2009 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Just today I watched the Obamination jivin' with that debunked story that "90% of Mexican cartel guns come from the US," rather obvious anti-freedom agitprop. We do have a Bill of Rights, you know."

Really ? Then where are the guns that they're using coming from ?

Posted by: OhNoNotAgain on April 16, 2009 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

So what does the average person who owns a rocket launcher, grenades, AK47 and the like do with them? Polish them up and hang them over the mantle? You can't hunt with them, and they won't fit in a bedside table drawer, so, what are they for? Collecting I understand, esp if things can be stored safely. But, otherwise, what purpose do they serve?

Posted by: Heather on April 17, 2009 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Remember, Oklahoma was populated by Southern whites too stupid, ignorant and incompetent to "make it" in America by any way other than stealing the last land of the Native Americans. Okies don't just sound like ignorant morons - they are ignorant morons.

Posted by: TCinLA on April 17, 2009 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Time to feel sorry for Mykeie K - his mother's his sister. You know, the typical Southern "family jungle".

Posted by: TCinLA on April 17, 2009 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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