The Limits of Gun Control in the Wake of the Sandy Hook Massacre

Outrage does not make ill-conceived policies smarter or more effective.

"These tragedies must end," says President Obama, referring to Adam Lanza's horrifying assault on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last Friday. Although it is hard to disagree with that sentiment, the measures Obama favors cannot reasonably be expected to prevent such thankfully rare but nevertheless appalling outbursts of senseless violence. 

After the massacre, Press Secretary Jay Carney reiterated Obama's support for reinstating the federal "assault weapon" ban that expired in 2004, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) promised to introduce a bill aimed at doing so next month. But we know for sure that an "assault weapon" ban would not have stopped Lanza or made his attack less deadly, because it didn't. 

The rifle that Lanza used, a .223-caliber Bushmaster M4 carbine, is legal under Connecticut's "assault weapon" ban, and the federal law used the same criteria. Except for specifically listed models, both laws cover semiautomatic rifles with detachable magazines that have at least two of these five features: 1) a folding or telescoping stock, 2) a pistol grip, 3) a bayonet mount, 4) a grenade launcher, and 5) a flash suppressor or threaded barrel. 

The fact that such features have little or no functional significance in the context of violent crime reveals the folly of trying to distinguish between "good" and "bad" guns. Any gun that can be used for self-defense or other legitimate purposes also can be used to murder people. 

Guns like Lanza's, modeled after the Colt AR-15, are among the most popular rifles in America, with an estimated 3.5 million sold since 1986. Only a tiny fraction of them are ever used in crimes. 

Prior to the federal "assault weapon" ban, firearms covered by the law were used in something like 2 percent of gun crimes, and these were mostly pistols, according to a 2004 study sponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). FBI numbers indicate that rifles of any kind (not just "assault weapons") are used in less than 3 percent of murders. Even killers with multiple victims are much more likely to use ordinary handguns than "assault weapons." 

I use those scare quotes because the very term assault weapon was invented by the anti-gun lobby as a way of blurring the distinction between semiautomatic firearms, which fire once per trigger pull, and machine guns such as the selective-fire assault rifles carried by soldiers. The president himself either does not understand the difference or deliberately obscures it, calling upon Congress to ban "AK-47s" and "automatic weapons."   

Given the fraudulent rationale for the "assault weapon" ban, it's not surprising that the NIJ study found little evidence the law had reduced gun violence. "Should it be renewed," University of Pennsylvania criminologist Christopher Koper and his co-authors concluded, "the ban's effects  on gun violence are likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement." 

That was so even when taking into account another aspect of the law that Obama wants to restore: its ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. While it is debatable whether the few seconds it takes to switch magazines or guns makes an important difference in attacks on moviegoers in a darkened theater or on first-graders in an elementary school, Lanza did use 30-round magazines, and this restriction at least looks like a relevant response to mass shootings. 

So many large-capacity magazines are already in circulation, however, that it's hard to see how reinstating this ban would stop a determined killer from obtaining them. Even when the ban was in force, Koper found, there was "an immense stock" of about 30 million such magazines, and the number surely has risen since then. 

Likewise, with around 300 million guns in circulation, there is not much that new laws can do to prevent a man bent on slaughtering innocents from obtaining one. The understandable grief and anger provoked by the Sandy Hook massacre does not change that unavoidable reality.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It doesn't matter whether or not any more gun control legislation will stop violence. That's not the point of it. The point is to chip away at the 2nd Amendment and getting away from a people capable of defending themselves and not being dependent on and subordinate to agents of the state.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    Actually, I can think of one gun control law that might stop violence: Require all adults to either carry a weapon or get a permit to go unarmed.

  • ||

    Yes. These clowns love to do studies of these mass killings but seem to focus on the shooter and weapons. But I'd be curious to know if these shootings have primarily occurred in so-called gun free zones.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Schools? Of course, "Gun Free". Aurora theater? "Gun Free".

  • Spacer||

    Almost all of them. Almost all were committed by people who were being force-fed pshychotropic drugs as well.

  • Matrix||

    I'm almost of the opinion that everyone who is not a pacifist should be required to be trained in firearm usage for several different types... rifles, shotguns, handguns, and even automatics. They don't have to be military/militia trained, but they should become familiar and proficient with firearms. Mass shootings would become a thing of the past, and "officials" would think twice about crossing the populace.

  • some guy||

    Sure, everyone "should" train themselves in the use of guns, but "requiring" it goes too far. I though we were aiming for a free society...

    The best we can do is fight back against gun control and advocate gun education. Hopefully people will realize that a gun is a useful tool and one worth understanding.

  • db||

    I have a hard time with the state "requiring" anyone to train for or posess anything, just as I object to state prohibitions of posession of certain items. While I agree a neraly universally armed society is likely to be safer than what we have, that is not enough to justify state coercion. The gun controllers' argument is similar: they believe that, through state coercion, they can remove the tools of crime. Even if that were true (which it is not), the proposed result is not a justification for coercion.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Didn't some state constitutions require that? All adult men were, by definition, state militiamen and required to be ready for service against riot and indian invasion. We could update and let the girls be required also.

  • Ron||

    In countries like Israel where everybody must serve two years in the military, including women. In those cases everyone would be trained to use weapons and maybe even have a greater appretiation of guns.I also believethat the lack of use of guns by kids today for hunting is why they are drawn to the improper use of guns since they have never seen what a bullet does to a body.Maybe everybody should have to watch as a deer is skinned after being shot then they will know what bullets do.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Hell, plinking can instill that sort of healthy respect, depending on the age. When I obliterated a watermelon with my dad's 20 gauge at 6 years old, it made an impression.

    (So did the buttstock. I still don't know what the hell they were thinking.)

    Cleaning deer and other game does it too, I agree. Especially if a lot of the meat's been shocked. (worthless POS Sierra bullet...)

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "In countries like Israel where everybody must serve two years in the military, including women."

    The problem with the models utilized in places like Switzerland and Israel is that they require you to first become the government's slave before you're given any rights.

  • LifeStrategies||

    There is one such city - Kennesaw, Ga, see http://rense.com/general9/gunlaw.htm

    In 1982, the Kennesaw City Council unanimously passed a law requiring heads of households to own at least one firearm with ammunition. The ordinance states the gun law is needed to "protect the safety, security and general welfare of the city and its inhabitants."

    Kennesaw Historical Society president Robert Jones said following the law's passage, the crime rate dropped 89 percent in the city, compared to the modest 10 percent drop statewide. "It did drop after it was passed," he said. "After it initially dropped, it has stayed at the same low level for the past 16 years."

    Mayor Leonard Church was not in office when the law was passed, but says: "You can't argue with the fact that Kennesaw has the lowest crime rate of any city our size in the country."

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Precisely. Just look at Tony's responses to this yesterday--despite the fact that Austria, Canada, and the UK have higher rates of violent crime than the US, gun control advocates persist in arguing that banning guns (or certain types of guns) will make our society safer.

    These types of incidents can only occur in a mass society so disjointed and disconnected that the scale of its dysfunctions end up creating people who view their fellow citizens as irrelevant. It's no coincidence that these incidents of psychosis tend to occur in people who are socially isolated and narcissistic to a great degree (and not just males--look at Amy Bishop).

    Rather than examine the big picture--how the degradation of our social institutions in the media and the increase of political tribalism and sociopathy has destroyed trust bonds and isolated people from their neighbors and communities, and thus created an environment in which violent acts can flourish--people focus in on guns and stupidly imagine that banning AR-15s and 100-round mags will magically create a safe society.

  • $park¥||

    how the degradation of our social institutions in the media and the increase of political tribalism and sociopathy has destroyed trust bonds and isolated people from their neighbors and communities

    Why do people continue to pound this stupid drum?

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Right, because context doesn't matter at all.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    While it is debatable whether the few seconds it takes to switch magazines or guns makes an important difference in attacks on moviegoers in a darkened theater or on first-graders in an elementary school, Lanza did use 30-round magazines, and this restriction at least looks like a relevant response to mass shootings.

    Back in their revolver-carrying era NYC police showed the irrelevance of magazine capacity with the New York Reload, which is to say drop the empty gun and draw the full one.

  • Matrix||

    Exactly. I could be packing 3-5 fully loaded semi-automatic pistols and do a lot of damage without the need to reload.

  • WTF||

    Or even if you only had one semi-auto pistol and a bunch of loaded mags, it only take a second or two to drop an empty mag on the floor and slap in a loaded one.

  • db||

    With mags close to hand, a good shooter can reload a semiauto pistol in about 1 second. I have seen some competitive shooters who can reload a revolver with speed loaders just as fast.

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    With mags close to hand, a good shooter can reload a semiauto pistol in about 1 second. I have seen some competitive shooters who can reload a revolver with speed loaders just as fast.

    Wow. I'm pretty fast reloading a revolver, but not like that! With my better semi-autos, about 2 seconds.
    The thing is, I don't own a handgun that carries more than 8 in the magazine, though I always carry a spare mag, loader or strip. I don't see the utility in it for me. To me, a handgun is for convenience -- for when you aren't expecting a problem. I figure long before 17 shots, I'll have won, or to a better weapon, or down.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Behold, the Miculek. Most people are a little slower...

  • Briggie||

  • Pound. Head. On. Desk.||

    I enjoyed the hell out of The Boondock Saints!

    "Rule of thumb?!" (Oh crap.)

  • Matrix||

    One of my liberal friends (fellow Jew) on Facebook got disgusted because our homestate (Oklahoma) is mulling over letting teachers and principals, who are properly trained, bring guns to school. Naturally the fearmongering and anti-gun rants abounded. I stepped in and laid out a reasoned response. They were so afraid that a teacher might have a gun around their precious snowflakes and might just snap at any moment. I had to remind them that a gun ban would not stop a teacher from snapping and shooting up the classroom. But leaving the teacher and her students like defenseless sheep for a gunman is not an appropriate approach to these horrors.

    Well, some French teacher came in and had to talk about how wonderful it is there to never have to worry about shootings in school, until I reminded her of the incident just this year outside of a Jewish school in France where an anti-Semite gunned down 3 students and a teacher. But that was quickly swept aside.

    Of course, I was the only person responding that was pro-gun. The rest of them were making the case that an armed teacher would be too scared to do anything.

    I would post a picture of the conversation (with names covered up), but she deleted the post. :-\

  • Whiterun Guard||

    You can't reason with the religious. Matters of faith are inherently averse to logic. So unless you're trying to get laid or lose 'friends' you are wasting your breath/keystrokes.

  • LemonMender||

    What convinced you that this had to do with religion except for your own ideology that dictated it must be so. To focus on religion and ignore that it is the ideological component (which can exist independent of religion) is to make a fundamental logical error.

  • ||

    Metaphors, how do they work?

  • Patriot||

    For these people, hating guns is a religion. I saw a lot of that in college, mostly with females. They have such as stupid, irrational fear of guns, it would be funny if these weren't the people running our country.

  • db||

    All dissent goes down the memory hole, eh?

  • some guy||

    I can understand not wanting teachers openly carrying in a school. I'm not worried about the teacher. I'm worried about the 30 kids running around, most of whom probably have never been taught anything about gun safety. If teachers are going to have guns in the classroom, I'd rather see them in a gun safe, where only the teacher and principal have the key or know the combination.

  • LemonMender||

    Which would negate the purported advantage of having them there in the first place. An inaccessible gun might as well not exist in these cases.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    The rest of them were making the case that an armed teacher would be too scared to do anything.

    Do they not see at all how well being unarmed works?

  • WTF||

    They probably think armed teachers would have made things 'worse' by firing wildly and hitting students and fellow teachers. They think the only answer is to pass a law that will somehow magically make guns go away.

  • Matrix||

    My rationale was that 1) the teachers would be trained anyway, and 2) gunmen very rarely pick places where they know the people are armed.

  • ||

    Well folks, I decided, since because of the weather here in UKR has caused me to cancel appointments, I decided to slog through ObamneyCare (AKA the PPACA) and found this:

    ‘‘(c) PROTECTION OF SECOND AMENDMENT GUN RIGHTS.—
    ‘‘(1) WELLNESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS.—
    A wellness and health promotion activity implemented under subsection (a)(1)(D) may not require the disclosure or collection of any information relating to

    ‘‘(A) the presence or storage of a lawfully possessed firearm or ammunition in the residence or on the property of an individual; or
    ‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition by an individual.

    ‘‘(2) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used for the collection of any information relating to—

    ‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition;
    ‘‘(B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or
    ‘‘(C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.

    (cont)

  • ||

    ‘‘(3) LIMITATION ON DATABASES OR DATABANKS.—None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used to maintain records of individual ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition.

    ‘‘(4) LIMITATION ON DETERMINATION OF PREMIUM RATES OR ELIGIBILITY FOR HEALTH INSURANCE.—
    A premium rate may not be increased, health insurance coverage may not be denied, and a discount, rebate, or reward offered for participation in a wellness program may not be reduced or withheld under any health benefit plan issued pursuant to or in accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act on the basis of, or on reliance upon—

    ‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or
    ‘‘(B) the lawful use or storage of a firearm or ammunition.

    ‘‘(5) LIMITATION ON DATA COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS.— No individual shall be required to disclose any information under any data collection activity authorized under the Patient
    Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act relating to—


    ‘‘(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition; or
    ‘‘(B) the lawful use, possession, or storage of a firearm or ammunition.’’

    (cont)

  • ||

    (cont)

    Emphases added by Dr. Groovus Awesomevich -)))


    In short, my fears about using ObamneyCare to undermine the 2nd Amendment appear to be unfounded, though I still worry that some dastardly and nefarious legal wordsmith may find some way around this.

    IANAL, but it appears to me:

    1) In the USA, Dr. Groovus cannot ask you about your gun ownership. Full stop. (not that I would).

    2) Insurance companies can ask about your gun ownership but cannot assess risk for your premiums and charge accordingly. (FUCK YOU, HAZEL MEADE! And shame on you for suggesting it!)

    3) FedGov cannot use provisions of ObamneyCare to make "naughty and nice" lists of USA citizens via medical care info.

    Hope you feel better now...

    Zdravstujtve vsjo, Reasonoidoj!

  • ||

    ^^HTML FAIL!^^

  • ||

    Also, this is on page 2073 of the online PDF of ObamneyCare.

    There, that should be everything. Pozhalujsta! -D

  • Ted S.||

    I blame the Ukrainian squirrels for the HTML fail.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    You could easily ask how often someone goes shooting and record it.

    And assess risk and premiums based on how often and under what circumstances you actually shoot.

    Regardless of who owns the firearms.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    "Oh you fire twice a year to train for the police? That's fine then."

    "Oh you go to the firing range once per month, not associated with your job" *consults chart* "Oh, I'm sorry that does put you into a somewhat higher risk category, and your premium is going to increase. Perhaps you should consider going somewhat less frequently? I mean you do care about your health and it would save you quite a tidy sum!"

  • ||

    Big deal. The law specifically prevents premium rate schedule assignment against that. Veterans have an inordinate and disproportionate DX of PTSD, and the ADA and PPACA specifically prevents discrimination against those with disabilities.

    If I ask you how often you shoot, I have to ask "With what are you shooting?", be it a gun, bow, or a slingshot, it does not matter what circumstances they are, be it the range, a field, or your backyard.

    Otherwise, cops and CLEET certified security guards (like you) would be un-insurable.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I'm saying you can find out all the salient and discriminatory information without violating any part of PPACA quite easily.

    And insurance companies can simply tie rate increases to non-employment related shooting (of firearms, but now that you mention it, there's a whole host of premium raising opportunities!).

    So the 'safeguards' are so easily worked around they might as not even be in there.

    And for the record, I have absolutely zero professional certifications!

  • ||

    Sure, I can, but that, and I repeat, cannot be used against you for risk assessment and premium assignment.

    Read it again, WRG, @ 08.14.

  • Ted S.||

    They'll just call it a penaltax. Or a desert topping.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Only I'm not raising your risk for the legal use/ownership/storage of a firearm. Just for being at a firing range/skeet range/hunting (see, we'll raise the premium on bow hunters too just to prove it's about the hunting and not the firearm!)

  • ||

    The only flaw I see, again, I would really like RC Dean's input here, is if either StateGov or FedGov changes safety requirements.

    Otherwise, what you postulate is moot. Gun activity through, and I quote, "...a wellness program...or ANY health benefit plan..." cannot be regulated by ObamneyCare premium wise.

  • R C Dean||

    Finally caught up.

    On first read, those protections look pretty comprehensive. Nothing in there that prevents your doctor from asking about your guns 'n' ammo, or from noting it in the chart, but it can't be in any ObamaCare database.

    It can't be used for underwriting or rate-setting in any insurance plan or wellness plan issued "pursuant to or in accordance with" ObamaCare. I'm not sure what this means, to tell you the truth. It may mean only plans sold through exchanges, or it may mean any insurance plan that has the specified minimum benefit level.

  • Ted S.||

    Would we better off if cops were uninsurable?

  • ||

    Perhaps they should have,"..read the bill to find out what's in it..."

    Any comment from RC Dean would be appreciated. Feel free to link to this.

  • Rich||

    "Well, I'll be fucked. Wish I'd read the bill."

    /Congress

  • Rich||

    Darn your fast fingers, Doc!

  • some guy||

    Ah, so there's at least one small piece of the Constitution that PPACA doesn't trample. Good to know.

  • nicole||

    Thanks, Groovus, that is good to know.

  • Spacer||

    I wouldn't trust what's written there any more than I'd trust the powers-that-be to obey the Bill o' Rights. I would not be surprised if there was a blanket clause somewhere else in the document that states that these terms may be easily changed, and all this "shall not" stuff is serving merely as a placeholder. I don't mean to seem pessimistic, but I've long since stopped taking the power-hungry at face value.

  • db||

    While it's a valid point that certain specific "assault weapon" bans would not have (and did not) prevent this crime, the gun controllers do not accept that as an argument that some "assault weapons" ban would have. The proposals they will come up with will not be as naïve as the ones on the 1994 ban.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Then they're unlikely to pass. Hell they all know this will blow over by New Years. As soon as the kids are buried, Xmas kicks in, then New Years and the National Championship game.

    None of them are going to expend the effort to do anything.

    I keep saying this is the ONE issue that has leftists feeling like we do on every other issue. It completely sucks (to them) and it's VERY unlikely to change, even symbolically.

  • Drake||

    Yes - every Republican Senator wants to be President. A vote for any kind of weapons ban is an automatic loss in too many primaries.

  • Matrix||

    RomneyCare.... he won the primary. And Republicans hate ObamaCare, even with it being modeled after RomneyCare.

  • Spacer||

    Listening to some of the pundits, they're no better educated now, insofar as the technology is concerned. They're just a bit cannier about the use of dead innocents to promote their agendas.

  • Rich||

    the folly of trying to distinguish between "good" and "bad" guns. Any gun that can be used for self-defense or other legitimate purposes also can be used to murder people.

    Exactly. IOW, *all* guns are bad.

    /sarc

  • West Texas||

    This isn't meant to be callous or cruel, but it sure would be nice if people would just accept that bad things sometimes happen than cannot be prevented. The "do something!" mindset is a scourge on our society.

  • Jordan||

    NO WE MUST HAVE A POLICE STATE SO WE ARE ALL NICE AND SAFE!!!11 /average retard

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Do the gun controllers really think right wing militias, hate groups,
    and 2nd amendment nuts are going to meekly turn in their weapons?
    So what is going to happen when, inevitably, the pendulum swings and
    President Santorum and V.P. Palin start the roundup of gays, commies,
    Democrats, abortionists and other fascist targets? Just as civil rights advocates needed to protect themselves from the Klan fifty years ago, the time may come when "progressives" wish they had a few
    AR-15s in the attic. Maybe we can convince the progs that gun control is really a right wing conspiracy to disarm its opponents?

  • Matrix||

    I mention that all the time... the ones that need to be armed the most are women, gays, and minorities. They are most at risk for being targetted for violence.

  • Sterling Archer||

    I don't often quote Ice Cube but:

    "I wish I were in Dixie, AK, AK;
    shit wouldn't been bad in the sixties, no way, no way."

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Romulus Augustus,

    Do the gun controllers really think right wing militias, hate groups, and 2nd amendment nuts are going to meekly turn in their weapons?


    I would like to ask the Black Panthers if they would be willing to meekly turn in THEIR weapons so they can make the white liberal honkys feel good about themselves again.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    The BP are exactly the reason that gun control started in Cal. Under Reagan, that POS. Can't have uppity nigggaz disrespectin the Po-leese and gettin away widit.

  • waaminn||

    You can blame laws for honest people "gun free zones" because if ONE person at that school would have had a concealed weapon, lives would have been saved! Period!

    www.PrivacyUSA.tk

  • Matrix||

    Anonbot has something positive to add to the discussion!

  • XM||

    It's interesting to me how the gun control advocates adapt tones and reasoning that could be considered as conservative - placing reasonable limitations on freedom for security, and restricting an individual's choices for fear of what someone might do.

    I'm reminded of how some conservatives scream "close the borders to prevent crimes" whenever an illegal alien is involved in a high profile murder (callously disregarding the nation's gun laws by using a black gun market, no doubt). There's a grain of truth to this, but the left would raise reasonable objections, the kind they thoroughly ignore in the gun control debate.

    Can someone inform the foes of the second amendment that screaming "Fire" in a crowded theater is a crime, but owning a gun that might do more damage than a less powerful gun in a mass shooting scenario isn't?

  • phandaal||

    Anyone with weapons experience will tell you this: Smaller magazines won't make a difference. It takes seconds to drop a spent magazine and put in a fresh one. What child or average mall shopper/movie goer is going to successfully charge a shooter and disarm him before he replaces his magazine and shoots whoever is charging him?

    As long as shooters can unload rounds into defenseless innocents without threat of retaliation, it doesn't matter if their magazine holds 5 rounds or 50. They'll get the shots off until they decide to stop.

  • tjblacken||

    Magazine change less than 1 second: http://youtu.be/Hgdq1FBYTUE

    This guy is very good, but in "gun free zone" and around unarmed victims, its also irrelevant. Just another feel good law.

  • Patriot||

    Would you support my Patriotic Eugenics Plan?
    1. We need to keep abortion legal and make it free to all who want it. Those who get pregnant, and then decide they don't want to have children, are not the genetic stock we want in our nation.
    2. Free birth control to all who want it. The fact is that we have a large population of undesirable stock who either can't afford birth control, or are too stupid to buy it. Either way they reproduce, and we pay for it. This needs to stop.
    3. End the welfare system for parents. If they can't take care of their children, they will be taken away and raised either by competent parents or the state. It would save money and discourage reproduction among these people.
    4. Pay women 2,500$ each to get sterilized, 250$ a year to go on long term birth control. Men get 500$ to get sterilized. Sterilization reversals will not be covered. Prisoners who get or have gotten sterilized will receive special treatment in prison.
    5. Give tax breaks to middle and upper class Americans to reproduce more and improve the gene pool.

  • uythsb||

    Merry Christmas

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    What gets my bile going is how many of the anti-gun panic mongers start out say something like "we need to have a serious discussion on the Second Amendment" and then blithely propose gutting it without even trying to pass an Amendment madofying it. These people scare the sh*t out of me. They either have no grasp of the concept of a Constitutional government, or they do and are hoping nobody will call them on it.

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