Editor’s note: Readers will recall that LR Net has begun to provide limited coverage of local political contests across the nation. The following editorial is the second in our series regarding Tim Keller, who is a progressive candidate for mayor of the city of Albuquerque.
Here at LR Net, we recently endorsed Tim Keller, who is a candidate for mayor of our own home city of Albuquerque. A few readers have asked, “Why Keller?” and over the next few days, we’ll try to answer that.
For instance, consider guns…
The (horrific) news this week was, of course, that a psychopath armed with scores of rifles opened fire on a concert crowd in Las Vegas, killing 59 innocent people and gravely wounding more than 500.
Along with the rest of the nation, we’ve watched aghast while the GOP basically announced its intention to do nothing about the problem of un-controlled gun ownership in America. Once again, as after so many other mass killings in the recent past, Republican pundits and candidates looked terribly sad, said they’d pray for the dead…and then remained inert. (After all, mustn’t annoy the NRA.)
Not so Keller.
Keller is actually thinking and talking about firearms, and what to do about them. He is actually saying…and saying clearly…exactly what he thinks needs to be done. In a world of officious mumbling, there is something terribly refreshing in that.
So what has he got in mind? Well, Second Amendment types can stop worrying. He’s not talking about mass confiscations or anything silly like that. He is, however, talking about the following (and here we quote directly from his campaign’s webpage):
- Closing gun show loopholes to ensure all gun owners submit to a background check
- Ending straw man purchases so firearms don’t fall into the hands of criminals and gangs
- Opposing federal restrictions to the city’s right to access, use and share trace data
- Developing and using technology to aid in the detection and tracing of illegal guns
- Coordinate with other law-enforcement agencies to ensure violent offenders are held fully accountable for using guns to commit crimes
We think all these are damn good ideas. We’re particularly interested, though, in two of them—the ending of restrictions on sharing trace data, and the development of technology to aid the detection of illegal guns. The former is absurd in an age of computers, the Internet, and the data-driven enterprise. Quite simply, for one branch of law enforcement to have vital information, and not share with the others, is absurd.
Meanwhile, the latter, new technologies, would offer vast advantages to both law officers, and gun owners themselves. If we could report, identify, and trace stolen or otherwise unlawful weapons in a great hurry, many a gun crime might be avoided. Moreover, the technology required to do such things is available and proven. (If
LoJack can be had for vehicles, why not something similar for firearms?)
In short, LR Net applauds Mr. Keller’s stance on firearms and gun crime. His ideas, and his willingness to be clear about them, put him head and shoulders above his opposition.
Follow up: We’ve heard that some privacy advocates oppose our position on data sharing and technologies for tracing weapons. We respond by admitting we understand their concerns. But, consider, the second you purchased a gun, your name, credit, information, and IP address probably entered some private company’s database. In other words, the grim fact is that you and your weapon are already on record somewhere.
So, you really don’t lose much by having your information in some governmental database. Indeed, unlike some private concerns (think the recent Equifax hack), a government agency has considerable power to punish those who violate the sanctity of its archives. Thus, in a strange way, having your data on an official server makes it more, not less secure.