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Bengs Would Vote for Some Background Checks But Still Normalizes Guns and the Obsolete Second Amendment

The murder of 19 children and two adults in a fourth-grade classroom in Uvalde, Texas, and 10 black shoppers in a grocery store in Buffalo by 18-year-old men armed with war rifles reminds us that the Second Amendment kills kids, cops, and other good Americans. The Second Amendment is an obsolete artifact of musket-bearing 18th-century frontiersmen in a new country with no standing army. The Second Amendment provides little benefit in 21st-century civil society to outweigh its enormous, deadly cost. We should repeal the Second Amendment and lock up all of our guns: no one touches a firearm unless the Russians invade.

Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Brian Bengs won’t go that far. In an interview with KELO-TV, the former Navy airman professes his great familiarity with and copious ownership of guns and resists bans on certain deadly weapons. But he says we have to do something:

“We need to do something,” he said. “We must do something because there’s too many people dying — my position is, we need to do something. At a minimum, common sense background checks.”

Some people should not have firearms, according to Bengs. “For example, the individual who shot up the school. He should not have had access to a weapon.”

“As I said, I’m a gun owner. I’ll say I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 or 9 weapons at my house,” said Bengs, again emphasizing his belief in background checks. “Are people still going to be able to get guns? Well if they are, they’re going to have to jump through more hoops. It should not be easy for an Al Qaeda terrorist, as happened in 2019, to be able to walk into a gun store and say ‘I’ll take that one’ and then go shoot up a Navy base” [Jacob Newton, “Democratic Senate Candidate Talks Gun Control,” KELO-TV, 2022.05.26].

Bengs does support the background-check bill floating in the Senate, although he seems to hint that he wouldn’t bend the filibuster to pass it:

If he were in the Senate, Bengs says he could only do what the structure of the Senate allows, bringing up HR 8, the bill which passed the U.S. House that would mandate background checks for every firearm sale. “I would be voting in favor of that,” he said. “Now John Thune’s position as the Republican whip, the minority whip, his job is to prevent votes on that, so if it cannot be voted on, the better for him” [Newton, 2022.05.26].

Alas, Bengs grants some quarter to the false notion that more guns in schools might be a good idea:

“Well, exposure to firearms reduces the fear to them, so to the extent that we expose people in a controlled, safe environment to team sports at a school — maybe schools should consider shooting teams as a possibility to expose people in a responsible controlled environment to ‘this is how a weapon works, this is the danger of a weapon, this is what you want to do, this is what you don’t want to do,’ while shooting at targets, would that be successful — I don’t know” [Newton, 2022.05.26].

Normalizing guns is the opposite of what we need to do. Normalizing guns means people with problems can turn more easily to the usually incorrect and deadly notion that having and using guns will solve their problems. Instead of coaching kids to visualize killing people (what are those targets shaped like?) and break things, we should coach them to think that guns are not for fun, that picking up a firearm, not to mention loading a round and pulling the trigger, is a grave and deadly action to be avoided at all costs, and that guns in general represent fear and failure of the civilized institutions that should be our first and constant focus for protecting civil society.

I say this to remind you that South Dakota’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate is no gun-grabbing radical. On gun policy, Bengs is just another moderate still mired in the NRA narrative of normalizing weapons of war in civilian life. You will not hear Democratic candidates in South Dakota speak the truth about how the Second Amendment has morphed from a temporary measure necessary to keep guns on hand in a new nation to maintain some defense against testy Redcoats into a deadly pox on contemporary American society that makes our politics stupid and our children dead.


  1. sx123 2022-05-27 06:34

    Random thoughts…

    Pretty sure there are already background checks. When I bought a .223 several years ago they called it in before I could buy it.

    Background checks may catch some things, but a lot of these psychos have no priors.

    Hollywood can’t say too much about ithe issue because movies are full of guns and depictions of graphic murders.

    Schools may need full airport security.

  2. All Mammal 2022-05-27 06:51

    Schools need to be gun free safe zones. Like airports and courthouses. The walk-through metal detectors with thermometers to check for temperatures would mean weapons and covid are turned away. They’re less than $5k.

    I guess cold, blue steel is part of the costume for some law enforcers. Some are unaware that people picking up arms are volunteering as tribute. And may the odds be ever in their favor) The concept of “ not on my watch” doesn’t occur to the props. I mean cops.

    I pack. Leaving my house is a process. Strapping up is a meditation. I know my assumed responsibility. To my poor mother’s dread, I never ran from it. I run to it. So, if there ever were to be rifle report, there will be a return fire because not on my watch, so help me.

    Sometimes, it’s necessary to sport a cowboy rig with snake shot for rattlers. Or slugs in case of rapey man snakes. Eww- their one-eyed flesh snake. Oh. Other times, bring the long gun to plink some tannerite to level the good earth and put in a cattle crossing. Even every bb gun I amass I don’t want to live without. I wouldn’t be alive without practice.

    I suspect Mr. Pay and Dr. Freud have a point with the phallic envy aspect. Because I lack a penis. So what? I like my guns:/ Gotta Stay ready so you never have to get ready. I learned even a bad man without a gun is deadly. And a pissed off prairie rattler is mean. And rabid raccoons are no fun. I would rather not be helpless in those situations I cannot avoid.

    Seriously, though. Mr. John and the Navy said it. Ship. Sailor. Then self.

    Where are the creepy noemette crusaders for the unborn when police won’t even protect breathing children.? They’re anti woke and anti born. Once born, noemettes lose interest. The ammosexual slogan should be: born lives don’t matter.
    Governor Noem can use that tag. For free!

  3. Nick Nemec 2022-05-27 08:40

    The current background check system ia a joke. Essentially they check if your name is on a list oof convicted felons or have outstanding warrants, and is missing many names. A true system wouldn’t be “instant”, would entail enough time to do a real background check and would involve asking people who know you what they think.

  4. sx123 2022-05-27 08:52

    Nick, I don’t know what all goes on during background check calls, but I like your idea of more of a delayed check instead of instant.

    One would also think that an 18yr old buying assault rifles out of the blue would raise eyebrows, especially in this day and age and would warrant further investigation before selling to them.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-05-27 09:35

    I bought a bolt-action .223 in 2020 and had possession the instant my FBI background was done. Last year I bought a Ruger 57 semi-auto pistol with two 20-shot magazines and it took a week for the FBI background check.

  6. mike from iowa 2022-05-27 10:43

    Put bleeding heart libs in charge of background checks and they can purge the rolls of legal gun owners just as magats kick registered Dems off voter rolls.

    First story I encountered on Newsflash was dipskit iowa congress passed a special AR deer season to protect corn from depredation, of all things. Why not, instead, do something to protect school kids from depredation, you stoopid mofos!?

  7. mike from iowa 2022-05-27 10:46

    My first handgun purchase back in the early 70s came with a week’s wait in background and mental health checks.

  8. ABC 2022-05-27 11:00

    Seems like Federal Law means that Pistol purchases take time, long guns and AR 15s are instant?

    In 1954, 5 Congresspeople were wounded in a shooting in the capitol by Puerto Rican nationalists. They shot off 30 rounds, wounding 5.

    The Senate would need 60 non-Southern Democrats to pass good gun legislation.

  9. Ryan 2022-05-27 11:05

    i own 2 rifles and a 9mm. for one of those, i was asked for my driver’s license, which was glanced at briefly and returned. no background checks, ever. no waiting, ever. rifle and boxed of cartridges were in my trunk minutes after i decided i would buy them, on my lunch break during work. all of this since 2005 or so. it’s frankly insane.

  10. All Mammal 2022-05-27 11:22

    I am 100% down to require references on a gun sale application, like Mr. Nemec mentioned. It also would make sense to ask: have you ever thought about harming yourself or others? Are you xenophobic? Do you hate certain groups of people or fear any body in particular?
    Then do some mental evaluation questions, like: what would you do if…?
    And why the heck are there not responsibility quizzes?! Circle the correct response to questions like: what should you do every time you pick up or are handed a firearm?

    If you have to be 21 to buy cigarettes, shouldn’t that be the youngest to buy a .22? All women should need a self defense clinic and practice self preservation at night and it would help to be informed where all the rapes are taking place, so we can make informed decisions to best stay away from danger. A person should have to have a number of hours training from an in-person, human instructor before concealed carry is legal.

    And for God’s sakes, throw the NRA out of policy making! It is illegal in the US to digitalize any gun serial number database. The ATF and Explosives’ archives outside Langely, VA is only permitted to use an antiquated paper filing system. They get 2 million plus new firearm serial numbers to file away and if an agency needs to check on a specific gun’s history, it is done by fax or mail and found by hand. The building’s floor is caving in and collapsing from the weight of all the paper- I sht you not! Ridiculous for something that important to be purposely designed to keep guns in the hands of criminals. Oh the humanity! A system designed to be redundant and as ineffective as possible.

    I feel the frustration of mothers in Chicago and Baltimore. The outrage of all mothers and law enforcement with the daily body count. The children losing their innocence and lives are paying for the sins of people who are not their peers, but will sentence them to life at 16 as their juror. This ain’t Sparta. It is madness.

    I have timed my firearm purchases out of curiosity from the point I say I’ll take it…7 minutes to walk out with a .380 Colt Mustang. And on that day, their online background verification was down, so the salesperson had to call using a landline. They apologized for the wait.

  11. Old Lady 2022-05-27 13:37

    I am a senior citizen SD native who has never owned a gun nor ever will. The common denominator of the mass shootings is the assault rifle. No individual should be allowed to buy or own a military style assault style weapon, regardless of their age. Mental illness of the shooter is impossible to control or predict, like hoping for world peace; but we can control access to weapons.

    I agree with All Mammal, the NRA needs to go away along with the politicians who benefit from their largess.

  12. Dakota roots 2022-05-27 14:08

    You need a license to catch a fish, but not to buy a gun to shoot fish in a barrel or children in a classroom.

  13. Donald Pay 2022-05-27 14:16

    I don’t need a firearm. I don’t hunt. I don’t feel I need a weapon for my personal safety. I’m white and live in a city with a good police department. I don’t have a problem with people who own firearms for hunting or personal safety. They should have thorough background checks and good firearm safety instruction and practice in how to use their firearms. It should be a periodic licensing. Even with Trump at the helm of our government, I never felt we got to the point where I thought I needed a weapon to violently defend my rights or the rights of others. I think had Trump succeeded with his coup, I might have gotten to that point, or I would have emigrated. If I was black, I might be armed to protect myself from lawless law enforcement and white supremacists. I can’t say, for sure. I want guns available to those who need them for legal purposes, and you should have to state why you are purchasing a firearm. Some military-style guns should be banned or restricted to gun ranges. Yeah, references might be a good thing. I think insurance should be a requirement.

  14. mike from iowa 2022-05-27 15:07

    I can hear Festus Q Ammosexual claim his AR or AK is all the insurance he needs.

  15. Mark Anderson 2022-05-27 15:34

    Well, at least with Democrats’s somewhat in charge, studying the effect of guns is going on. More guns, lax laws, more death. It’s really simple.

  16. leslie 2022-05-27 16:25

    Why do you liberal gun owners feel the need to explain? F*cking get rid if them. You are part of the problem. When one gets loose and used on impulse you’ll NEVER forgive yourselves. Or get the life back you deprived. A shooting death doesn’t EVER happen until you rationalize keeping one. Liberals are smarter than this.

    Then, TRAIN LEO, not the mediocre “training” of today. FUNDING police means 100 accountability.

    I am not a liberal squeamish about guns. We do NOT need guns in our society.

  17. larry kurtz 2022-05-27 18:15

    Actually, I priced an AR-15 today, they’re over $2000 so how an 18 year old can afford two plus ammunition, extra magazines and body armor remains a mystery.

  18. DaveFN 2022-05-27 18:15

    What if anything gives a kid a sense of agency in front of a virtual game screen if not a virtual gun to shoot? Is it a desire to control, a desire to kill, a desire to make the world go away, a desire to do something when the environment in which one lives offers no productive avenue? What gives a confused kid a sense of agency in reality if not a gun to do the same, predicated upon the availability of a real gun?

    All Mammal

    I have little doubt that you can separate virtual reality from the non-virtual so the above is not an issue for you.

    Notwithstanding the simplistic symbolic equivalence gun = penis = snake, which indeed may be operative in some cases, that which is most reviled, detested, and defended against in conscious thought not infrequently represents that which is the most desired when it comes to the unconscious.–be it a man or a gun.

  19. RS 2022-05-27 19:15

    Really don’t want to advertise it, but an Eastern SD radio station has an hour long program every weekday that you can buy sell or trade anything including any gun or ammunition that you want no questions asked. List your want or for sale and a phone number, no middleman check. Many times AR are called in for sale or requests looking for handguns. So don’t pretend we have any control.
    Take the time to look at what the situations really are that gun rights people are throwing out there. Chicago does have stricter gun laws but the guns flow like water from Indiana because they don’t. The US does lead the world in available guns and gun deaths per capita, so we fix it by adding more? It looks like where States have imposed stricter background checks and followups do lower the gun related crime rate like it should.
    When the framers of the 2nd Amendment created it, a long rifle could only get off 3 shots in a minute including reloading, Today an AR can empty 30 rounds in less than half of that time and be reloaded in 3 seconds. One individual will always have the ability to kill another with things that have nothing to do with guns (knives, hatchets, hammers, rope etc) through brute force or surprise. No, you can never stop every killing, but the shear numbers that a gun itself causes, aids and is responsible for in multiple killings cannot be a non-factor in blame.
    Signed multiple gun owner but no ARs

  20. Francis Schaffer 2022-05-27 20:06

    Mike from Iowa
    In the 1970’s there was a mental health check to purchase a gun? Handgun? Did this have to be renewed periodically similar to a driver’s license?

  21. Ryan 2022-05-27 21:02

    leslie, nobody is getting rid of what they have. It’s a political and practical nonstarter. New laws, however, would work if they include: noncursory background checks, waiting periods, magazine/capacity limits, fire rate limits, red flag laws, and national databases for these items. Most of these shooters commit their unbelievable acts with brand new weapons. Reasonable gun policy conversation necessarily includes the understanding that the vast majority of gun owners are responsible people who have and will own their guns without incident for their entire lives.

  22. leslie 2022-05-27 21:52

    lĭb′ər-əl, lĭb′rəl
    Favoring reform, open to new ideas, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; not bound by traditional thinking; broad-minded. synonym: broad-minded.

  23. All Mammal 2022-05-27 22:58

    I remember what it felt like to know I was safe and trusted the capability of who was responsible for keeping me that way. But then I grew up.

    Trust and believe, ladies and gentlemen, the one time I think, eh. I won’t need any of these heavy ol things today. It doesn’t go with my outfit. That’s when Murphy’s Law lunges at you. And that moment when you hate yourself for knowing better and now you’re just that helpless, dumb damsel.. no thanks. Everything sinks knowing you let people down. That promise to your mom to never make her have to bury a child.. knowing you broke your promise..that alone kills you.

    I do have an open mind. I am a dreamer. Wasn’t me who killed John Lennon. I envy women who believe there is no reason to be proficient with a firearm. Must be nice. I live in a different world and I would be dead at least two times over and would be responsible for numerous lost livestock if I decided there’s no need for packin heat.

    Furthermore, I would not be able to be independent. There have been times I was not safe in my own house.

    These are not excuses. They are explanations to stretch your mind around the concept that not everyone enjoys a safe and secure world. Even Mr. Grudznick doesn’t come to the Northside where I live. I guarantee, I will do whatever is in my power to keep people in my world safer when I am around.

    I will admit, dammit, I do feel cool riding my pony like a gunslinger in a Clint Eastwood movie. And I love eating a fat ol wild turkey. Good thing I never played Nintendo or was born with a small wiener, like Putin Annie.

    Bottom line, we should have listened to the students’ pleas after the Orlando nightclub massacre and passed federal gun control laws and booted the NRA lobbyists so we could track psychos and keep guns from where they don’t belong- Out of reach of kids and killers.

  24. mike from iowa 2022-05-28 08:13

    Francis Schaffer, if I remember right, the applicant was screened for any issues with mental health and could be denied a permit based on that info alone. I only had a handgun for less than five years and don’t remember having to renew it.

  25. mike from iowa 2022-05-28 08:21

    Women of child bearing age should be heavily armed to protect themselves from misogynists that want them executed for exercising their right to an abortion. The arming would include adolescent girls who are likely to be victims of rape and/or incest.

  26. leslie 2022-05-30 02:31

    warning signs, we now know, were present and escalating long before Tuesday’s nightmare in Uvalde—as they were before the one in Buffalo, and before that, in the run-up to the massacre at Oxford High School in Michigan.

    This is the true nature of these attacks. And the expanding knowledge of these patterns represents opportunity for threat assessment teams to intervene, before it’s too late.

    Diminishing this American nightmare is going to take many different forms of action: continuing a relentless, long-term effort to strengthen our nation’s gun laws. Quashing a surge in violent political extremism. Investing in a lacking mental health care system. And building community-based violence prevention programs.

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