A debate about gun control (featuring a friend of mine)

My friend Johnny Sutton, who was a Texas prosecutor before becoming a U.S. Attorney during the Bush years, just gave me a call.  We got to talking about gun control, and he mentioned that he’d participated in a gun control forum at the LBJ Library.  What makes his pro-Second Amendment position interesting is that he’s a convert.  Although he grew up around guns and loves to hunt, his years as a prosecutor left him with a strong anti-gun bias.  If you look at Johnny’s bio, you’ll see that his work meant that he was constantly focused on the victims of gun crime:

From 1988 to 1995[9] Sutton served as a criminal trial prosecutor in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in Houston, where he tried more than 60 first chair felony jury trials. In 1994, Sutton obtained the death penalty against Raul Villareal in the rape and murder of two teenage girls, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Pena. Four other death penalty verdicts were rendered in the case.[10]

Bush administration

In 1995, Sutton accepted a position as criminal justice policy director for then-Governor George W. Bush, providing analysis and recommendations for proposed criminal justice laws for Bush to support or veto.[1]

Upon Bush’s election as president in 2000, Sutton became coordinator for the Bush-Cheney transition team assigned to the Department of Justice where he served as Associate Deputy Attorney General, initially advising on U.S.-Mexico border issues.

United States Attorney

On October 25, 2001, Bush nominated Sutton for U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas, one of the nation’s busiest criminal dockets, known for its high percentage of drug and immigration crimes and covering 68 counties including Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and 660 miles of border. Sutton returned to Austin, where he oversaw a staff of 140 lawyers and a changing mission. Traditionally focused on border-related crimes, the U.S. Attorney’s office increasingly focused on fighting terrorism.[1]

As U.S. attorney, Sutton prosecuted more than 400 prison gang members, including 19 members of the Texas Syndicate in 2004, and more than 100 public officials, including former Texas Attorney General Dan Morales in 2003 on mail and tax fraud charges. Sutton also supported the buildup of federal resources, from 9,000 to 20,000 border patrol agents, on the Mexico border, and pushed for prosecution of illegal immigrants previously deported, instead of just those who had committed a serious felony.[11]

Sutton was appointed vice chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys on May 27, 2005.[9] On March 28, 2006, Gonzales elevated Sutton to chair of the committee.[12] In this role, Sutton frequently traveled to Washington to advise the Department of Justice on border-related issues and testify before Congress.[11]

As Johnny told me, this work left him pro-gun control.  What changed his mind was Gov. George Bush’s announcement that he wanted Texas to become a concealed carry state.  Johnny wasn’t happy, but helped Bush implement this policy.  To Johnny’s surprise, it worked.  Texas became safer, not less safe, once concealed-carry became law.  Johnny became a convert.

And as you know from me, there’s no zealot quite like a convert.  That’s why Johnny can debate with passion on the subject of gun control and the dangers it poses to the American people.

Anyway, if you’re interested, here is a link to the LBJ page with the gun debate in which Johnny participated.  Johnny starts speaking about 20 minutes into the video.  He’s charming (of course).

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  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    The Left finds it relatively easy to fool domestic Americans and international citizens on this topic.
    The foreign position, that of the UK, France, Spain, Canada, and Australia goes something along the lines of “it’s better to trust in the state than in people that’ll get machine guns, since it’s better to be stabbed by serial killers and live than to die from gunshots”.
    The slight majority of American opinion is almost the reverse, “it’s better to trust in one’s neighbors, those we know and have met, than an unknown government hundreds of miles away, and it’s better to fight criminals with our bare hands than to trust in the federal government to use our power instead”.
    So the foreign concept is that you can only trust the state and the government to ensure civilizational safety, otherwise you lack trust in your civilization. Our position is that trust is not earned by people we have never met and are too greedy for their own good. The Leftist position is that if you don’t trust your government, you must be out to kill your neighbors too, for those neighbors are the ones that elected your government, thus you must obey, or else this is showing disloyalty to your “clique”, “family”, “tribe”, “clan”, and nation.
    Thus people are fooled, with something as easily illogical as that.
    Like the difference between Georgia and California, Texas and Australia, people are under the impression that just because we speak the same language and can (barely) comprehend each other, that this puts us in a position to judge what is good for people. Yet… those international citizens would never have said the same thing about Iraq or Afghanistan, a foreign nation that spoke a foreign language. Why is that? Do they think they understand us in the US because we can comprehend the British English or the Australian English? Do they think people from Georgia understand why California and Detroit is filled with crime because we speak the same language in the same country? When Australians and British are satisfied with gun laws that get rid of guns from criminals and replace it with knife crimes, what right do they think they are entitled to, to put a nation of 300 million into the same slave pit?
    Humans are more difficult to manage than that. Go take a course in Leftist emotional manipulation before presuming to know what is or isn’t true for separate bands of humans.
    It is not a question of “right” nor it is a question of cultural comprehension. It is a question of power. Do those international freaks have the power, do the Left have the power, to enforce their decrees over this land and this people. That is the only thing, that will be the only thing, that matters.

  • Danny Lemieux

    Ymarsaker is onto something. One of the unifying threads among the Liberal/Leftists I know is their barely concealed contempt for and lack of trust in their fellow citizens.
    Why and how that disdain for individuals can translate into their overriding faith in government collectively made up of such individuals and citizens (and often the dullest knives in the drawer) is a mystery to me.

  • Michael Adams

    The thing that struck me so hard in the past week has been the ignorance about little things, in the minds of media people, who see themselves as the peers of the ruling class.  (Yes, that includes Fox.) They do  not even know about pressure cookers! State legislatures  have passed and Congress would like to pass, gun laws regulating weapons about which they are abysmally ignorant. Well, they can have my pressure cookers when they can pry them from my cold dead fingers. Oh, my guns, too.

  • pakurilecz

    as a US Attorney i’m sruprised that your friend didn’t try to implement something like Operation Exile if he was interested in reducing crimes in which guns were used

  • Jose

    Mr Sutton made the interesting point that CCW holders in Texas, as a group, are more law-abiding than the police.

  • Jose

    Perhaps I should re-phrase: CCW holders in Texas, as a group, are more law-abiding than members of the police.
    Although after watching SWAT teams violate the 4th Amendment in Boston…

  • Mike Devx

    Jose, in #6:
    > Although after watching SWAT teams violate the 4th Amendment in Boston…
    Yep.  I haven’t been focusing on the “Boston Lockdown” yet.  I have heard it described in the Watertown area as “armed SWAT teams performing door to door warrantless searches, forcing residents out of their homes at gunpoint”.   At least some such residents whom, I might add, didn’t look anything like the suspect, were actually also being patted down.   Why were they being patted down?  “Is that a terrorist hiding in your pocket, are are you just happy to see me?”   Patted down?
    The official term for the Boston Lockdown is that it is a “request to civilians to shelter in place”.   Hmmm.

  • Mike Devx

    This apparently is what a “request to civilians to shelter in place” looks like.
    Threatening commands.
    “Hands in the air!”
    “Keep your hands up!”
    Pat-down searches.