A comment yesterday prompted the reprinting of this post from July 24, 2012, a few days after the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting. How many more times will it have to be reprinted?
In the wake of the theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado, last week, there has been a lot of soul-searching and discussion about the nation’s gun laws. It didn’t seem to matter that mourning was, for a while at least, more appropriate than ratings grabs and political posturing. Commentators and politicians couldn’t wait to have their say on gun control. And as surely as the sun rises in the east, gun ownership was defended by the NRA — sometimes in grotesque statements that verged on blaming the victims for not having been armed and ready to defend themselves.
To the NRA and its supporters: Don’t tell non–gun owners you have a right to own guns while denying them the right to be free from guns and the danger they (and possibly you) pose. Only some 30 percent of Americans own guns. They have that right. But that means 70 percent of Americans don’t own guns. They have that right, and they need to assert it. The only reason we don’t have stricter gun laws is money — the money the National Rifle Association and its supporters spend to influence politicians and buy votes in Washington.
Lawmakers have limited the purchase of pseudoephedrine (brand name Sudafed) because it can be used to make meth, the purchase of fertilizer because it can be used to make bombs, nail clippers on planes because they can be used to attack pilots, and tape measures in court houses because they can be used to strangle guards. Those same lawmakers should also limit the purchase of firearms because they can be used to shoot people. All it takes is a little political fortitude.
We need some strict new laws governing the purchase, ownership, and use of firearms. And don’t say it’s too late; there are already too many guns out there. We may not be able to retrieve all the guns in the hands of criminals and irresponsible or incompetent individuals, but we can certainly make it more difficult for them to get guns in the future. If we don’t, we’re little better than enablers. And don’t argue that tighter laws will never stop the lone wolves. We know we can’t stop all of them, but we can certainly make it harder for them to succeed. When the problem in society is too many guns, the solution is not more guns, as the NRA argues; the solution is fewer guns and tighter controls.
Here are some off-the-cuff suggestions for lawmakers to consider:
- Ban the sale of assault weapons.
- Ban any clips or magazines larger than the minimum for any gun.
- Ban the purchase of police- or military-grade ammunition such as armor-piercing, hollow-point, etc.
- Ban the online sale of guns and ammunition. Anyone who wants these items badly enough must at least drive to the nearest retail outlet to get them.
- Ban the ownership or possession of more than, say, four guns, except for licensed collectors or retail merchants.
- Limit the number of guns that can be purchased within a given period of time to, say, one per year. No fast stockpiling of weapons.
- Require thorough background checks and waiting periods for all gun purchases. No impulse purchases.
- Require registration of any gun in working condition or that can be made workable.
- Ban the possession of guns in public except as necessary to transport them to and from gun ranges or hunting areas. During transport, guns shall be unloaded and secured out of reach of the driver and passengers.
- Eliminate carry permits. No civilian needs to be carrying a handgun in public. We have law enforcement officers for protection; we don’t need self-appointed vigilantes.
- Ban guns in all public buildings and venues.
- Ban guns in any establishment that serves or sells alcohol or other intoxicants.
- Charge with gross negligence, including a stiff fine or jail time as appropriate, any adult who allows his or her gun to fall into the hands of a child, resulting in the death or injury of that child or anyone else.
- If any gun used in the commission of a crime is traceable back to a registered owner who did not report that gun as lost or stolen, that owner shall be charged as an accessory to the crime.
- Institute a lifetime ban on gun ownership or possession for anyone convicted of a crime or DUI, or with a history of mental illness, or who brandishes as gun as a means of intimidating or threatening another individual. Gun ownership is a right that should be contingent on the owner being a responsible adult; demonstrate that you’re not responsible and you give up that right.
To many gun owners, the right to bear arms is practically a religion. And that’s a useful analogy. The law says we can practice any religion we want, but we don’t have the right to impose it, its tenets, and its effects on anyone else. Gun owners should confine their religion to their homes, gun ranges, hunting areas, and churches. They should not be allowed to impose it on the rest of us.
Tighter laws would not deny and are not intended to deny responsible, law-abiding adults their constitutional right to own guns. But some reasonable controls are in order. They are, in fact, long overdue. If other civilized, modern societies can do without guns, so can the United States. We are well past the days when a “well regulated Militia” was “necessary to the security of a free State” and every man carried a musket.
Regaining control of our guns will be a monumental task, but that should not deter us. The task will only get bigger with time. We need to start now.
President Obama once said:
“… [T]here have been plenty of folks in Washington who’ve said that the politics is just too hard … Don’t do it now. My question to them is: When is the right time? If not now, when? If not us, who?”
He wasn’t speaking of gun control at the time but the reasoning is the same: If not now, when?
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98 thoughts on “Worth repeating — Tighter gun laws: If not now, when?”
More than laws, our whole culture around guns needs to change, but I don’t have a clue how we got here, much less how it might be reversed.
It took a lot of pandering to a lot of gun owners to get here, not to mention a bunch of spineless, self-centered politicians. And I fear only a change to the Constitution and/or the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment will reverse it. Maybe even that won’t be enough, since our law enforcement officers are now choosing not to enforce the laws they disagree with.
I’m NOT a member of the NRA but unlike it, I realize I’m wasting my time on this topic. I started to respond with a list of reasons why the above suggested laws make no logical sense, but instead I’ve decided to simply buy and fill another gun safe to protect myself against the result of people who mistakenly think the law is obligated to protect them.
And based on our previous conversations, I realize I’m wasting my time trying to change the mind of someone determined to play vigilante and take the law into his own hands. Does the name George Zimmerman ring a bell?
That’s quite an accusation to make against someone who has never drawn his weapon. Forcing peaceful citizen to give up their right to defend themselves isn’t new. Does the name Adolph Hitler ring a bell?
Not an accusation. A comparison. Zimmerman carried a handgun because he thought he might need to defend himself and he used it rather than wait for the police to come handle the problem. How is that different from your position?
As for forcing peaceful citizens to give up their right to defend themselves, that didn’t seem to worry the Brits, the Aussies, the Canadians …
johnthecook…AMEN and AMEN Does the phrase “I’m from the Government and Iam here to help” mean anything. Tell that to the Native American!
And by the way, what you feel you have to protect yourself from is the result of people who lobby incessantly for more guns and more lax gun laws, and oppose tougher laws. Don’t blame those who want to control or limit the guns and leave law enforcement to the police.
Wrong on all counts. Zimmerman was an activist whereas I go out of my way to avoid an unnecessary confrontation because I realize that most of these situations are none of my business. It would take a blatant assault against my or mine before I would even think about lethal defensive force, but then I wouldn’t hesitate to use it.
I don’t belong to the NRA for the very reason you attribute to my convictions regarding individual liberty so long as mine doesn’t infringe on any others. Leaving your defense up to law enforcement is a sure way to become a victim of violence that takes place before the law can react to it. Besides, police aren’t under any obligation to protect you against violence.
Hopefully you’ll never be in a position to watch one of your loved ones being gunned down because you were powerless to protect them or yourself. Sometimes it takes that sort of situation to be able to face the cold hard fact that you have the primary responsibility for protecting yourself.
As you’ve known for some time, I’m one of those old-fashioned types who thinks protecting me and mine from criminals with guns is one of the things I pay the police to do. Obviously I do not think that’s a mistaken attitude nor do I think it contributes in any way to the proliferation of guns in our society. Your inclination to “fill another gun safe” to protect yourself from “the result of people who mistakenly think the law is obligated to protect them” (people like me) is precisely the problem. More guns, more guns. That’s your solution to the problem? It’s that kind of thinking that’s gotten us where we are today.
I’m with you on this one, PT. There are simply too many guns lying around. A few days ago, here in Joplin, a man took his 6-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter with him to visit his in laws. While the men were outside working and the sister in law was in another room, the boy found a loaded pistol and blew half the girl’s head off. Autopsy is pending.
An unnecessary tragedy. Another example of an irresponsible gun owner causing someone else’s death. And it happens every day.
This account is frantic yes, but incredibly rare, despite the media making it national news every time it happens. Statistically, it DOESN’T even happen every day. In 2010, 62 children between 0-14 were killed in a firearm related accident. That’s 0.1 per 100,000 people in that age group. 72 were killed in a firearm accident between the ages of 15-19, or 0.3 per 100,000 of that age group. To contrast, there have been over 200 cases of measles, a des ease deemed eradicated in the US, in just the past 2 months in Ohio. 30,000 children are killed every year by accidental poisoning, half of those cases being prescription medicine, non-prescription medicine or supplements left where children can get them. Those deaths are no less senseless and the parents are no more responsible that those where a child finds a gun. The difference is that the rate of children getting poisoned to death by accident is orders of magnitude higher than those shot by accident and it doesn’t make national news.
I recently stumbled upon an article that explains why my carrying a gun makes me behave differently than people who don’t carry a gun. If you’re interested, it’s here.
My attempt to link the above referenced article didn’t work…
Here it is as a simple URL:
I confess I laughed out loud when I read the first reason: “Because I carry a gun I avoid fights at all costs.” People I know avoid fights at all costs because that’s the way civilized, well mannered people behave. People I know don’t drink, or drink responsibly, because that’s the way responsible people behave. Carrying a gun wouldn’t change their behavior; they behave responsibly whether or not they carry a gun.
Bottom line, I’m not impressed.
With all do respect and with no offense intended, you’re old. Not just old, but an old editor – not exactly a demographic known for getting wild and crazy on the weekends or hanging out with those who do on a regular basis. Your statement is similar to the “I don’t know how *blank* got elected – everyone I know voted for the other guy.” The “people you know” probably aren’t carrying anyway, and it the people you know where the only ones the rest of us ever had to deal with, carrying would be unnecessary, but they aren’t. I live in a college town – the social events center around going out to clubs and drinking – sometimes people drink too much. It happens, but not when carrying as drinking, at all, in possession of a gun forfeits the right to have it under the law (unless you’re a sports star and think you are above the law, but I digress). Heck, I even speed less when I carry as I don’t want to have a police encounter while armed, even though I’m doing nothing else wrong.
Whether you are impressed or not, those who legally carry are either boring, like he people you know, and there is no point in restricting them further, or encouraged by the responsibility of having a firearm to keep even tighter control over themselves than usual to prevent losing their right to be armed.
Don’t make assumptions about who I know, what I know, or what I do. You’d be wrong about a lot of things.
Some of these are good common sense ideas. The best way to get legislation done is through the states. DC is a mess.
I need to make an excel sheet with the state’s laws so I can see what’s already down and what is working in what areas.
One size fits all no longer seems to fit this diverse country – those days are gone. What is appropriate for on area/demographics will not work in another. Each locale has differing problems – so local decisions will be most effective.
Guns are for killing. Self defense. Never for show or to bolster your image. I was taught that as a child. Would be nice if others taught their children that, too. If we all started with pre-K maybe eventually things would shift…but parents/society will have to be ready to turn away from entertainers/celebrities/ politicians that glorify violence and guns as a solution to problems. Little hope that will happen.
Mexico, one of the most violent countries around, has a total gun ban. (And as far as El Paso being the safest? Will be revealing some about the reality on that soon. Residents feel very different. Many ran from the Mexican violence and are appalled to see it spilling over.)
It will take more than gun laws.
It will take guts for people to stand up unify against violence as a solution..then there’s the mental health issues that must be address in addition. Little hope either of those will happen. Too much trouble and people want an easy solution – and there isn’t one.
I don’t know. I’m afraid a piecemeal approach, state by state, will just take that much longer and the resulting patchwork of laws will make enforcement that much more difficult. Not to mention people doing end runs to another state to avoid a specific law in their own state. We already have all those Colorado sheriffs who have decided on their own that our new gun laws are unconstitutional and therefore they will not enforce them. I can see that happening in a lot of other states, assuming any laws were passed in the first place.
It took a national law, via Roe v. Wade, to legalize abortion nationwide. It may require similar action to make same-sex marriage legal in every state. And I suspect gun legislation will be the toughest nut of all to crack.
You’re right about the solution being “too much trouble.” When the going gets tough, when the wall gets too high, when the NRA pushes back and sheriffs refuse to do their jobs, people will throw up their hands and say it’s someone else’s problem — “someone else” being those who’ve been directly affected, who’ve been attacked themselves or lost loved ones to gun violence. When it gets so bad that there are no “somebody elses” and everyone has been personally touched by gun violence, then, maybe, if there are enough people left, something will get done.
Your sheriffs sound like they are taking a lead from the US Attorney General – selective enforcement. (Face it CO is rebelling in several ways in opposition to fed laws, right? It’s that western attitude?)
Some states have strong laws. Others should join them. Faster as you can actually walk up to your representatives and see them. Too much posturing and fake concern as Fed representatives jump from cause to cause. (and there are those lobbyists)
Violence is getting that bad. People’s normal habits and daily are being adjusted to protect themselves. Some places are worst than others.
Worth noting, that kid stabbed 3 people first.
All the young killing males had clear warning signals and red flags that multiple people ignored or hoped would go away.
Kinda of like the young mom yesterday tried to run over a man in her car. Then drove her car into Offat’s Bayou. When people jumped in to save her – and her baby, she fought and kept grabbing the infant and shoving him back under the water trying to drown him. Rescuers were finally able to save both. Her grandmother said “Oh she had a troubled childhood and they weren’t surprised. They hoped she would get help as she isn’t in her right mind”
Explosive anger, violence as a solution, and ignoring the elephant in the room. More trouble ahead.
Yep, selective enforcement. That’s it exactly. And what set them off was nothing more than a limit on magazine sizes and background checks for online and private gun sales. Nothing so stringent as banning guns or limiting ownership or anything. I say anyone who only does their job selectively should lose the job.
I wouldn’t call it a western attitude so much as a rural attitude. Most of the state is rural and it’s the sheriffs in those counties who are refusing to enforce the new laws.
Denver and Springs have the political clout, though. (Hearing banjos? sorry….CO is really different in different parts.)
Springs and Boulder are polar opposites. Denver is sort of the melting pot but I think more liberal than conservative. Actually I’m always kind of dumbfounded by the conservatism in the Springs. I guess that’s what happens when Focus on the Family moves in. Glad I didn’t end up there.
Oh, I forgot about the air force academy – and there used to be some mega churches there by the FWY? I always liked the Denver area better
Where does Ft Collins fit in – are they in the break-away bunch?
Oh yes, the air force. That would probably be the biggest influence in the Springs.
I have no sense about Ft. Collins. Likely a college town would be pretty liberal, but they’re far enough north to be drifting toward a more rural bent, and are in a primarily rural county that was one of those that wanted to form a separate state, all because of the gun issue.
FT Collin’s university is very different from CU. Seems it’s more like TX A&M and agriculture oriented. Like of bike trails and greenbelts shown there. Sadly I think someday many states will end up dividing along ideology…so much for compromises and working together
It’s true we seem to be more and more divided. I really worry that we’ll reach a point of no return, beyond which the rift will be too wide to close. Then what?
It’s a concern. One good sign is many are trying to find common ground. Easy to descend into madness: people and countries
A sheriff’s oath it to the constitution. My view is that they are consistently enforcing the constitution.
Their job is to enforce the law that exists, whether or not they agree with it. Deciding a law’s constitutionality is the job of the courts. If sheriffs want to rule on constitutionality, they need to become judges.
Thomas Jefferson (for one) realized that neither judges (or any other single entity) was the ultimate arbiter of constitutionality.”
I respect Jefferson as much as anyone, but I don’t think for a second that he was arguing we let law enforcement decide what laws they will or won’t enforce, or by extension, the populace decide what laws they will or won’t obey. We’d have anarchy.
None of this is by coincidence. Politics have divided this country. For the worse. Liberalism vs Conservatism. Remember when we were all Americans ? I liked those days better.
As far as the guns go, America will never give up its constitutionally protected right to own and bear arms. This is why. 1. If someone owns a gun, it does not deprive anyone of life, liberty, or property 2. Murder deprives the victim of all three. 3. Owning a gun is legal because there is no loss of life, liberty, property. Murder is illegal because there is loss.
The point being that individuals cause murder. They use fists, knives, baseball bats, cars, gasoline, guns, whatever. Their actions cause the loss, cause the crime. The method they used did not cause it, they did.
The anti-gun propaganda blitz put on right now wants everyone to believe that gun owners = murderers but it is not true. The vast majority of gun owners are normal everyday people you know and work with. They do not like being blamed for things they did not do. Have you ever been falsely accused ? It makes you passionate. That is why they are so strong politically. Gun owners should not give up any rights based on the actions of a few deranged, usually liberal, wacko that can’t cope with reality. The insistence of liberal anti-gun people to blame guns and call for banning them is the reason we can’t do anything about this. It is agenda driven politics that only benefits politicians who crave more control over the people they serve.
I realize that as a practical matter we’ll never get rid of all the guns in this country. Not because of the Constitution, which is open to interpretation, but because there are just too many of them and we are not sealed off from sources across the world.
I know, or at least hope, that most gun owners are normal, everyday, responsible people. What I don’t understand is why, if they are so responsible, they don’t take a stand against the criminal or stupid or mentally ill gun owners who are making all gun owners look bad. Why, as responsible gun owners, would they sit back and let the NRA speak for them and misrepresent them? If gun owners are so strong because they are being falsely accused, why aren’t they using that strength to do something to improve their reputations, to eliminate the wingnuts and anyone else who misuses guns?
Don’t for a second be misled into thinking it was the actions of one deranged gunman who brought all this onus down on gun owners. Yes, a few mentally ill individuals have committed the the most heinous mass shootings — Columbine, Newtown, Aurora, Santa Barbara. If only those were the only shootings. If only stopping the mental ill would stop the killing. But it won’t. There are gun deaths every day across this country — turf wars, armed robbers, angry spouses, jealous lovers, greedy businessmen, pissed off drivers, stupid drunks, children unlucky enough to find a loaded gun … the list goes on and on.
I’m not expecting gun owners to give up their rights because of the acts of a few wackos. I am asking that responsible gun owners step up and accept some responsibility for what their fellow gun owners are doing that’s making all gun owners look bad. I’m asking them to recognize that by not allowing some stricter gun laws in this country, they are giving all the criminals, nuts, drunks, and other irresponsible people in this country easier access to instant lethality.
It’s a hackneyed old saying, but still true: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. More guns are not the solution to the problem; they are the problem.
It’s articles like this that cause me to by invite another friend or neighbor out to the gun range. No matter how infected the person was with hoplophobia if I am able to convince the person to get to the range they ALWAYS did a 180 in attitude. Of the 11 people that I’ve taken to the range in the last 2 years, 9 of them are now new owners of either an AR or an AK. The other 2 haven’t bought anything but I’m satisfied with the fact that they had an attitude change since they left the range with big smiles. BTW, the gender mix was 7 male and 4 female (with the 2 non-buyers being both male).
As far as your big bad ban list above, I’ll just make sure this blog entry gets noted on our side as an indication of the true intent of leftist liars squawking about “having a conversation”. After six years of Obama and the IRS/NSA/IRS scandals, the last thing the general public wants is more power being assumed by the government. In so many ways Obama has increased the power and presence of the NRA and 2nd right proponents by the big nasty stain he has smeared on the word “government”.
Have a nice day. I just got in a 1,000 pack of .223 and the kids are itching for some practice.
Hi James. Thanks for taking time to comment.
I can appreciate the fun you and your neighbors have at the gun range. I grew up with a gun and loved target shooting. And I can just imagine the fun of mowing things down with an AR or AK. Hell, I have fun just doing it just playing Battlefield. But after we were done at the range I’d prefer to see that weapon go back into the hands of the military or law enforcement. Those are not the kinds of weapons I’d like to see anywhere outside a gun range.
That said, I’ll point out that the gun range is just for fun. Yours is not a gun for self-defense. It’s not necessary for subsistence hunting. It’s for fun. We don’t have an inherent right to things just because they’re fun, particularly if they’re dangerous to others. You may be very responsible with your gun, but your attitude about non-regulation is allowing guns to flood the country and get into the hands of many people who are not as responsible as you. It’s not your gun that bothers me nearly so much as your not caring that your attitude is endangering others.
The list I made is from two years ago and is only “suggestions” to a Congress that did not and does not seem capable of coming up with even one idea to reduce the number of guns in our society. Note I said “reduce,” not “eliminate.” I did not for a moment think or expect everything on it to be done. As nearly as I can tell, only one item on the list would keep you from having your fun. And it’s debatable because no one seems capable of defining “assault weapon” anymore.
For the record, I don’t like what Obama’s done any more than you do. Or what Bush did. Or the way our government in general is being run. But as far as I can tell, nothing Obama has done has hindered your right to own your gun.
Here’s the thing – if you want to reduce the violence, you’re focusing in the wrong things. For one, these rifles, for that matter, all rifles, are responsible for less than 1% of “gun deaths” in the US, so that’s just a feel good measure. And my ARs and AK are not what the military carries (I was in the Army, I speak from experience) and are functionally no different than any other semi auto and are lower powered than your average hunting rifle, but I’m digressing here.
Besides the occasional crazy person bent on mass murder, the majority of homicides by gun are not stand alone criminal activity. Much of it is either gang activity or guns used in the commission of another crime. The key to reducing this is a combination of going after gangs and funding youth outreach programs in urban areas to reduce gang recruitment. Minnianapolis managed to reduce it’s youth violence rates by 50% over a couple of years doing just that. Combating urban decay and the “broken window” theory, giving people a community they can look at and be proud if also reduces criminal activity and the violence that goes with it as does combating poverty and desperation.
Of course, 2/3 of “gun deaths” are suicides which can only be addressed through increasing access to mental health resources and possibly the introduction of teaching coping mechanisms in schools – the first measure also has the potential to disrupt some of those crazy mass shooting people as well. The teaching of gun safety would also reduce accidents which, despite the fact that the national news now latches onto each kid/gun accident, have been dropping and are actually not as prevalent as you probably think.
In short, if we focus on the people and what motivates them, if we do the real work to make it so they don’t WANT to kill people rather than focusing on a tool that is misused by a few as a means to an end, we can accomplish what we all ultimately claim to want, less deaths, without trampling on anyone’s rights to do it.
First, I saw your two posts that appeared to be identical, so I opted to post only one. If I missed something or you’d like to change something here, let me know.
I realize handguns are easier to use in most situations, although assault-style rifles seem to have a lot of appeal to those bent on mass murder. The rapid fire and large magazines promise more kills, faster. And that’s what usually happens. We need to find ways to keep those deranged individuals from obtaining weapons like that and I think we have to approach it from two directions — identifying such individuals before they do anything (and that’s a very imperfect science) and regulating such weapons in a way that keeps such people from obtaining them. To me any auto or semiautomatic rifle with a decent sized magazine that makes it possible to spray a room with bullets should be unavailable to the public. It may be fun to have such guns, but it’s not necessary. I don’t think a person’s fun with guns trumps the safety and lives of the people endangered by them.
I had already assumed that most gun activity was gang or crime related, which leaves me wondering how to limit the number of guns obtained by such people. The Minneapolis program sounds like a good one that at least tries to get to the heart of the matter. Now the question is how to get other cities to follow their lead. Anything with a chance of working needs to be tried.
I’d not realized that so many gun deaths were suicides. A quick look at Pew Reserach found this: “Suicides by gun accounted for about six of every 10 firearm deaths in 2010 and just over half of all suicides, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Suicides were the main reason I suggested limiting/prohibiting impulse purchases of guns. I knew a woman who very unexpectedly went out and bought a gun and killed herself the same day. A simple waiting period might have saved her.
Yes, there’s a lot that can and should be done. Now how do we convince Congress and the states to get moving on some worthwhile programs? Or perhaps more to the point, how do we convince responsible gun owners to stop opposing any and every effort to alleviate the problem. Nobody has suggested banning all guns, confiscating all guns, or keeping responsible adults from buying guns.
Civil discussion – that’s a nice change.
Let’s start with paragraph 2. When it comes to “assault-style” rifles and their appeal to mass murderers, you don’t have much of a leg to stand on there. Sandy Hook used an AR-15 for all of his killing, true but the other recent high profile shootings did not. VA Tech used pistols with 10 round magazines, Aurora started with an AR-15, but it jammed in less than 30 rounds so most of the people hit, were hit with the shotgun he transitioned to. Gabby Giffords was shot by a guy weilding pistols, Hassan, the guy who shot up the SRP center at Ft Hood while I was deployed from there and the latest shooter at Ft Hood used pistols, the Naval Yard shooter used a shotgun and pistols and the CA shooter, when shooting, used pistols with 10 round magazines. Less than 350 (323 – all numbers as of 2011) people are killed with any kind of rifle a year – that is less than the number killed with blunt objects (496), less than half the number killed by hands and feet (728), and less than 1/5 the number killed by knives (1,694). So your focus on “these types” of weapons is silly.
You seem to have very little in the way of experiance with the way guns actually work, so consider this another offer to take you to the range and set you straight. For one thing, automatic weapons are essentially illegal already. See Mike King’s responce below for more detail, but they are a non factor. For another, there is no “spraying bullets” from semi auto’s – they need to be aimed to hit anything. This isn’t Hollywood where one shot, one kill is the norm (for the protagonist) and every shot from the hip hits it’s mark. As for rate of fire, they fire no faster than handguns – both fire, reset, and then the trigger must be pulled again to fire again. When it comes to magazine size, restrictions actually favor those intending harm. As shown by the killer in CA, someone planning for mayhem has the luxury of actually planning for the mayhem. He had 41, 10 round magazines. The Sandy Hook shooter had a large number of magazines and reloaded befor they were empty. Those of us who carry firearms for protection don’t have that luxury – if we are confronted with a life and death situation, we only have what we have on us when we aren’t expecting trouble. When it comes to magazine changes presenting an opportunity, while a fumble did give one durring the Gabby Giffords assassination attempt, the same tactic attempted by Sussan Hupp’s father durring the Lubby’s Cafeteria shooting (pistols and a car), killed him. Even a novice shooter can change a magazine in the time it takes for a rusher to cross about 5 feet.
Where I will agree with you is that we need to try to identify deranged people before they act and keep ANY gun away from them. In fact, if they are identifiable as a threat to others, they should not be on the streets at all, which will keep them from shooting, stabbing, kidnapping, or doing anything else to cause harm to the general public. Again, you must deal with the person, not the object. Some people WILL slip through the cracks – the CA killer, Aurora shooter and Gabby Giffords would be assasin all passed background checks. We can and should do better with getting records into the system (would have affected the Giffords shooter only), but this is not minority report where we can just arrest people before they do anything wrong without a SUBSTANTIAL reason to do so. So some will get through and cause harm. So people need to have the ability to respond when they do. The assistant principle at Pearl Middle school did just that, when a student started shooting, he retrieved his firearm from his car and held the student at gunpoint until police arrived. At Clackamas Mall, the shooter was confronted by a CC holder (who didn’t take the shot because the background wasn’t clear – 4th rule of gun safety) right before killing himself. A CC holder recently stopped a stabbing as well, so yes, there IS a reason for citizens to not be hampered in what they can carry.
In paragraph 3 you missed the point entirely – the program in Mineanapolis (I’m never going to spell that right) had nothing to do with gun restrictions – if anything, it’s a parks and rec program. While you seem to want to try to keep guns away from gangs by keeping guns away from the law abiding, as gangs aren’t buying their guns legally and they are often stolen, the point of the program is to END the gangs by removing motivators to join them. Your way, at best, turns a gang of gun wielding thugs into a gang of knife wielding thugs with an unarmed pool of victims, the “parks and rec” program shrinks the actual problem, the gangs, while leaving the population with the means to resist those who remain.
I’ll give you paragraph 4, to a point. A meta study of firearm regulations conducted by the CDC showed that no firearms regulations have conclusive evidence to their effectiveness or ineffectiveness except for 1, there was a correlation between a waiting period and reduction in suicides. I would make it a waiting period for the first gun, as the fact that one already has a gun kind of negates the purpose of a “cooling off” period.
You are incorrect, the biggest proponant of gun control, Diane Feinstein, HAS stated that she would make everyone turn in all their guns if she could get the votes. CA’s “assault weapon” ban keeps getting more and more strict and the approved handgun list keeps getting smaller and smaller – eventually, this will be an effective ban under the excuse “it’s not a ban, manufacturers just didn’t make anything that meets our requirements”. In New York, guns that were previously legal are now being confiscated. And while you claim not to want to keep responsible people from BUYING guns, your proposal is to prevent the bareing of arms for defense against those who would do harm. There is no trust between gun owners and those seeking restrictions. When there is no trust, there can be no compromise. The proposals that keep being made are rehashed proposals that have either been tried before and failed to do as promised, are an affront to the vast majority of gun owners who are responsible, and/or have nothing to do with the incident it claims to be a response to, which REALLY doesn’t help the trust issue. None of them go to the heart of the problem, which is what motivates people to kill.
You’re right, I don’t know that much about AKs and ARs. But I do know they were originally designed for the military, to kill people as quickly and efficiently as possible. As far as I know, law-abiding civilians have no need for guns like that. I think they are owned because they are fun and because they make the users feel powerful. I don’t think those are valid reasons for civilians to have such weapons.
I understand the problem with trying to identify dangerously mentally ill individuals before they hurt themselves or someone else. It’s impossible to know for sure what’s in someone else’s head at any given time, and suicidal or homicidal thoughts can rise suddenly or be hidden for a long time. Plus these individuals have rights like anyone else and can’t be arrested or detained just because someone thinks they “might” do something. Precisely because it is such a tricky situation, guns must be kept well away from people like this. Unfortunately such people may look perfectly normal to a shop owner, and almost everyone these days can buy online, not to mention unregulated private sales. I don’t know the answer here but it seems to me it must be approached on two fronts — identify such people earlier and make guns harder for them to get.
I didn’t miss the point about Minneapolis. I think it’s a wonderful plan for eliminating the conditions that draw kids into gangs in the first place. But kids are kids, young men are young men. Poverty and joblessness take a toll. They do get into fights, they do get territorial, and they do acquire guns (I never said they bought them). A gang of thugs intent on harm will arm itself with anything at hand. I just think it wise to keep the most lethal of those weapons — guns — out of their hands.
I don’t like Feinstein, but I agree with California’s bans on “assault weapons” weapons or whatever they call them. As nearly as I can tell they aren’t the weapon of choice for self-defense, hunting, or target shooting, and therefore aren’t necessary.
In any case, I’m not about getting rid of all the guns (much as I wish it were possible). I do think there is a lot can be done to limit their numbers and their availability to criminals and the mentally ill. But it’s going to require responsible gun owners (who are the market for and therefore the driving force behind the proliferation of guns) to help in coming up with some limits and tougher requirements on the acquisition and distribution of firearms in this country. I’d like to see some gun owners suggest that maybe, instead of them “having” to own guns for self-defense, they think of ways to negate or reduce their need for those guns.
The NRA is the mouthpiece for gun manufacturers who quite naturally want to protect their market and sell more guns. I keep hoping there are some responsible, less self-centered gun owners out there who will think for themselves, consider the problem, and help come up with some solutions.
Wow, you’ve made a couple of assertions, and a few speculations that are just plain incorrect. Let’s start with this assertion “I don’t know that much about AKs and ARs. But I do know they were originally designed for the military, to kill people as quickly and efficiently as possible.” That is false. The assault rifle (which IS a termed defined as a lightweight rifle, firing an intermediate cartridge with select fire capability [both semi and full automatic or burst modes], as opposed to assault weapon, which apparently means any gun with some combination of scary looking features to be determined at the whim of politicians that can be changed to ban more stuff when it becomes apparent that the original ban did nothing) was developed in WWII in response to WWI, where trench warfare resulted in a high number of deaths with no progress made on either side. The land between the trenches in known as “no mans land”, and is generally impossible to cross as well protected defenders were able to cut down all but the largest of advances with well aimed fire. That was the age of the battle rifle where full power cartridges and high accuracy were needed to kill the enemy at distance. This was also the age of the machine gun. Large heavy things made for static defense that kept the people in the other trench from breaking out of cover to advance. in WWII, things were different. Germany developed the “blitzkrieg” (lightning war) tactic – a tactic where mobility is key. Maneuver was used to get advantageous positions against the enemy and, in order to move, either the cover has to move (hiding behind tanks, for example) or you have to be able to make the enemy take cover (and stop shooting) long enough for your troops to move to a better position. This is done through high volume fire, which was the job of sub-machine gunners (using full automatic firearms in pistol caliber) through most of WWII, but they were inaccurate (as there job was to suppress, not kill) and had little use at distance. and if they were killed, the unit would no longer have maneuver capability. Towards the end of the war, the Sturmgauver 44 was developed as the first assault rifle, giving the individual solder full auto capability to suppress, with single shot capability for the moving element.
After the war, the US tried to do the same, giving a solder the full auto capability to suppress, previously the job of the Browning Automatic Rifle, which was heavy, but suppressed well as a line of them advanced across the battlefield, while still being able to make single shots like the M1 Garand. This led to the development of the M-14. The problem being that the recoil from a full power cartridge like the .308 is completely uncontrollable in full auto at that weight. so they started looking for a new weapon better suited TO THE TYPE OF FIGHTING seen in WWII and Korea. Because the tactic had changed to maneuvering for position and suppression, they wanted to reduce weight and decided that a LESS POWERFUL cartridge would be adequate. This saved weight as well (smaller cartridges, mean less weight per round), which was necessary as “one-shot-one-kill” went out the window. Each soldier needed to carry a lot MORE rounds for the same number of kills, because a lot of it was used up in suppressing fire and the rounds themselves were less powerful. Single shot was used for aimed fire, because in order to kill someone you still need to hit vital areas and you are ridiculously unlikely to do so with full auto.
So no, the M-16 and M-4 were NOT developed to kill as quickly and efficiently as possible. They were developed as a compromise of weight and power to allow a unit the ability to conduct maneuvers. It did that at the cost of lethality. The same with the AK-47/74 (military versions).
Your speculation of “As nearly as I can tell they aren’t the weapon of choice for self-defense, hunting, or target shooting, and therefore aren’t necessary.” is wrong as well. There have been a number of instances in the recent past – more than the number of mass shootings in the same time period – of citizens defending their homes from intruders with AR-15s. The light recoil and ease of use make them ideal for women for home defense where the recoil of a shotgun may be too much for them to handle. The .223 Remington cartridge (used in the AR-15) has been a popular varmint (such as prairie dogs) and predator (such as coyotes) cartridge for a long time and the AR-15 is very popular for these and for pest eradication on farms. The AR-10 (.308 version of the AR-15) is used for the same game as any other .308 and is rapidly becoming the hunting weapon of choice for medium sized game such as deer. With recent advances in bullet design, even the AR-15 is becoming popular in .223 for deer hunting as, with premium bullets, a clean kill is possible with what used to be considered an anemic cartridge. Hog hunting is almost exclusively the realm of the AR-15 and AK-47. As for target shooting, The AR-15 is very accurate at middle ranges and are excellent target guns. The largest growing segment of shooting sports is 3-gun competition, where ARs rule the rifle portion.
The popularity of the AR-15 IS partially driven by the military. Soldiers coming back from Vietnam and now from Iraq and Afghanistan (such as myself) like having a rifle similar to the one we learned on. The AR-15 has the safety in the same place and the same manual of arms (location of controls and process for loading, unloading, and firing). Just as the Garand was popular after WWII (I have one of those as well), the AR is popular now. But it is also popular due to it’s utility. As shown above, they are used for hunting, defense and sport and if you could only have one rifle, the AR-15 is perfect.
Let’s put this into the concept of tools. Take hammers. You have all kinds, sledgehammers, claw hammers, dead blow hammers, slide hammers, jack hammers, ball peen hammers, etc. A sledge hammer, like a full power battle rifle, is great at very specific tasks – great at demolition and driving stakes into the ground, worthless for housework. A small brass hammer, like a concealed carry pistol, has even more specific of a purpose – non-marring for small mechanical work. But just about everyone has a claw hammer. It’s middling size allows it to be pressed into all sorts of roles around the house, the correct punches lets it be used for more delicate work and swinging it a little harder (and a bit longer) will let you drive stakes just fine. That is where the AR-15 falls for many of us – the one rifle we’d rely on if we could only have one available. So yes, talk of banning them rubs us the wrong way.
“Poverty and joblessness takes it’s toll” – that’s what we need to focus on, though I will note that the Great Recession has NOT seen the surge in violent crime that was seen during the Depression years – it continues to fall, actually. The whole territorial thing happens AFTER they get into gangs and claim turf. This is also the point when kids “fighting” turns deadly – AFTER they join gangs and are taught that they must break laws and kill rivals to have a place to belong. You have to fight the disease, not attack other peoples’ immune systems because the fight against the weapons that citizens use to defend themselves, do not affect the cheap pieces of disposable crap that gangs are using (I’m a forensic science major and my professors, who have many years of experience in major cities, all say the same things – the criminal’s good guns are for show, the ones used to kill people are generally barely functional so they can throw them away without caring). And criminals are ingenious killers – look no further than prisons where access to anything that a reasonable person would consider to be usable as a weapon is banned and they still manage to kill each other.
“I’m not about getting rid of all the guns (much as I wish it were possible).” You DO realize that the fact that you wish it was “possible” illustrates that you ARE about getting rid of all guns, right? THAT is why there is no trust – if it were possible, you would do it. And we are suggesting ways to reduce the “need” for us to have guns for defense – that’s exactly what I’ve been doing by looking at ways to reduce gang membership, poverty and urban decay. That’s what I was doing by talking about increasing mental heath availability. You don’t need to restrict US to reduce violence, you need to make peoples’ lives better so they will work within the system. In fact, the homicide and violent crime rates have been decreasing since the early 90’s across most of the country as we have gotten less restricted. But at the same time we are realists – there will always be those who slip through the cracks and we will continue to be prepared for the ones who do.
As for your assertion that the NRA is the mouthpiece of the gun manufacturers, they are not. Their money comes not from the manufacturers, but by dues paying members. The mouthpiece of the gun manufacturers is the National Shooting Sports Foundation – they are the gun manufacturing trade organization. Wrong again.
Someone had mentioned after one of my old posts that the military assault rifles had at some point been made lighter, and their ammunition as well, but didn’t explain why. The history you provided is interesting and explains a lot. Thanks for that. It’s not the sort of info a grandmother normally stumbles across, and I really didn’t understand why the military would go to less-lethal ammunition (other than weight). I’m also intrigued by all the information on the versatility of the AR-15. I had no idea it was such an all-purpose weapon. I grew up with larger rifles for deer, shotguns for birds, and .22s for varmints and target shooting. If I were to get another rifle, an AR-15 sounds like a good choice. For self-defense, though, it still seems like a handgun would be easier to wield, especially in a small home. And an AR sure wouldn’t fit in a purse.
My wanting to get rid of all guns would be only in that perfect, imaginary world where people didn’t kill each other and therefore didn’t need guns. But we both know that will never happen. So no, I’m really not about getting rid of all guns. I honestly don’t think it’s possible.
I blame the liberal media for the NRA goof. That’s where I read that the gun manufacturers had become bigger supporters than its members.
Thanks again for patiently explaining all the history and background of the AR-15. If you lived around here I might even ask you for a chance to try one at the range.
And I would let you. The lower lethality was an effect rather than an intent. When fighting in cover rich environments, the need to many or for a clear shot is more important than overall power and that takes a lot of ammo for suppression. That’s great for urban environments, but the lack of power and range has proven to be a liability across valleys in Afghanistan. In fact, some of the old M-14s have come out of storage for exactly that purpose. It’s all about what kind of war is being fought as to which tool is best for the job.
And yes, the media tends to screw accuracy for tryining to make their own points these days – on both sides. People have heard of the NRA, fewer have heard of the NSSF, so the NRA is what they go after any time they want to blame gun lobbyists for something
Oh, and I the handguns for home defense – that’s kind of a judgment call. Pistols are smaller and easier to move with, but they are harder to shoot accurately and holding onto a long gun can be easier than a pistol. I think people should have the options to determine what works best for them.
•Ban the sale of assault weapons. – No such thing as an “assault weapon”. The AR and AK rifles are semi-automatic and fire a projectile smaller than most normal hunting rifles. New automatic firearms have been unavailable to the public since 1968, and the grandfathered ones cost thousands if not tens thousands of dollars.
•Ban any clips or magazines larger than the minimum for any gun. – It has been proven over and over again that magazine size has nothing to do with crimes committed with firearms. The latest killer in CA used CA legal 10 round magazines. I actually don’t understand what is meant by ” larger than the minimum for any gun” since my XDM came with 20 round mags, my Beretta has 18 round mags, and my rifles didn’t come with mags but will accommodate any up to 100 round drum mags. What is the minimum, one?
•Ban the purchase of police- or military-grade ammunition such as armor-piercing, hollow-point, etc. – On one hand they are trying to force “green” ammo on us, which is steel not lead. On the other hand they don’t want armor piercing which are steel and not lead. See the issue there? And hollow points are actually safer than FMJ (Full Metal Jacket) since they expand in the target rather than passing through and hitting an innocent bystander.
•Ban the online sale of guns and ammunition. Anyone who wants these items badly enough must at least drive to the nearest retail outlet to get them. – Actually online sales of firearms is regulated and the item can only be shipped to an FFL, where a background check has to be done before the firearm can be taken home. I actually don’t understand why people wouldn’t want ammo sold online, it’s not like criminals are buying online using a traceable credit card. It’s easier for them to purchase it at a retail outlet with untraceable cash.
•Ban the ownership or possession of more than, say, four guns, except for licensed collectors or retail merchants. – This is just ridiculous. I have four pistols in three calibers, all have a different purpose. I have six rifles in four different calibers all with a different purpose, and two shotguns which both have a different purpose.
•Limit the number of guns that can be purchased within a given period of time to, say, one per year. No fast stockpiling of weapons. – One per year is just plan asinine, and most states do have waiting periods to purchase most firearms.
•Require thorough background checks and waiting periods for all gun purchases. No impulse purchases. – All firearm purchases through a dealer do require a background check. As far as waiting periods, the CA killer bought his firearms well before he murdered 3 people with them, and CA has a 10 day waiting period on all firearm purchases which had no affect on the killers actions.
•Require registration of any gun in working condition or that can be made workable. – How in the hell do you expect to do that? It’s already been proven that a large majority of firearms owners will not comply with registration. There are not enough police officers in the country to enforce something like that.
•Ban the possession of guns in public except as necessary to transport them to and from gun ranges or hunting areas. During transport, guns shall be unloaded and secured out of reach of the driver and passengers. – Yea right, again how in the hell does anyone expect to enforce that? What are you going to do if attacked by a thug with a gun, throw your locked gun case at him and run?
•Eliminate carry permits. No civilian needs to be carrying a handgun in public. We have law enforcement officers for protection; we don’t need self-appointed vigilantes. – Bad guy has gun pointed at you since he will not obey the law. You ask him to calmly wait while you use your phone to call 911 to send someone with a gun to help you. The criminal shoots you dead, and the cops show up ten minutes later to put a tape line around your body and write a report…
•Ban guns in all public buildings and venues. – See the above post.
•Ban guns in any establishment that serves or sells alcohol or other intoxicants. – See the post above, again.
•Charge with gross negligence, including a stiff fine or jail time as appropriate, any adult who allows his or her gun to fall into the hands of a child, resulting in the death or injury of that child or anyone else. – This I can almost agree with, almost. All children should be taught firearm safety. NRA’s Eddie the Eagle safety program teaches children “If you see a gun: STOP! Don’t Touch. Leave the Area. Tell an Adult.”
•If any gun used in the commission of a crime is traceable back to a registered owner who did not report that gun as lost or stolen, that owner shall be charged as an accessory to the crime. – Maybe not as an accessory, but I do think firearms should be at the top of the list when stolen. I seriously doubt that most legal firearms owners lose, or have a firearm stolen and not report it.
•Institute a lifetime ban on gun ownership or possession for anyone convicted of a crime or DUI, or with a history of mental illness, or who brandishes as gun as a means of intimidating or threatening another individual. Gun ownership is a right that should be contingent on the owner being a responsible adult; demonstrate that you’re not responsible and you give up that right. – A lifetime ban is unreasonable, people can change. What kind of crime, should a person lose their right of self defense if they shoplift? What does DUI have to do with firearms? What if the “mental illness” has nothing to do with anger or abusive actions? What if the “brandishing” was in self defense, or just being seen while concealed carried which in some states can be an arrestable offense. Yes, firearm ownership is a right, but that right “shall not be infringed”. If someone is a free citizen, even someone who has done time and is not on probation, they have the fundamental right to self defense. If someone can not be trusted to own a firearm, should they actually be trusted to be free to walk around within our society?
In most cases you can’t prevent something from happening before it happens. No one can see into the future, and taking rights away from law abiding people will not stop crime from happening.
Semantics aside, I think you know what I mean. AKs and ARs.
Semantics again. Large clips and magazines. Nobody needs them except to get off a lot of rounds in a very short period of time. Can’t think of many cases where that’s necessary.
Semantics again. You know I’m talking about any ammunition designed to be more lethal or to pierce armor.
Banning online sales is about making the purchases face-to-face and less likely to circumvent various checks, restrictions, and tracking.
Limiting the number of guns that can be owned would inhibit stockpiling by any individual, particularly if they couldn’t all be purchased in a short period of time. Hard for me to imagine you have 12 different reasons for owning 12 different guns, but I’m sure you could list them.
Not all states have a waiting period like California. The woman I knew who bought a gun and shot herself with it the same day was in Oklahoma. The waiting periods allow a cooldown period and short circuits impulsive, ill-considered actions.
Not being able to find and register all older guns is no reason to not register all new purchases. We have to start somewhere.
The next few items … if guns can be prohibited in airports and court houses, for example, there’s no reason they can’t be prohibited in all public places. And especially in bars. Guns are dangerous enough without putting them in the hands of drunks.
It’s hard to teach children about firearm safety. They are children. They think and act like children. They are irresponsible, impulsive, curious, unpredictable, subject to whims, anger, peer pressure. And oddly enough, they only end up accidentally shot in those homes that have guns. The lesson is to not have guns in a home with children. Period. If a child is shot, or shoots someone else, it’s 100% the responsibility of the gun owner.
DUI is one of many indications that the person may behave irresponsibly. As is any criminal record. People can change but usually don’t. Irresponsible behavior is more than enough reason to deny someone a gun.
All that said, it’s clear you can and will shoot down any suggestion I make. And these were suggestions I thought of on the spur of the moment two years ago, food for thought for any legislators who might actually make time to consider such things. Since you’re the expert, the owner of 12 (really??) guns, surely you can suggest some ways to lessen the number of guns in our society, to get them out of the hands of criminal or sick individuals, to make society safer for everyone.
“Semantics again. Large clips and magazines. Nobody needs them except to get off a lot of rounds in a very short period of time. Can’t think of many cases where that’s necessary.”
I’m so tired of this blather.
1) Every time you see a team of police or SWAT about to enter a building to hunt down one bad guy they will inevitably be using AR’s with 30 round magazines.
2) They have made the determination that a 30 round magazine maximizes their chance of survival even though they are further equipped with body armor and outnumber the bad guy at least 10 to 1.
3) So when I get awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of an unknown number of assailants invading my home WHY would I not want to be armed with the same high capacity magazine to maximize the chance of my survival for myself and my family?
4) When you have the police give up their 30 round magazines then come back and talk to me. If that day ever comes (and we both know it won’t) I’ll still say “So what? I want what I want”
Of course that day won’t come. I don’t think civilians should be as heavily armed as the police.
See, that’s where we have a differance of opinion. There is a reason they are called “civilian law enforcement” – they are civilians. They face the same threat that we do because they are responding when we are already facing them. For that reason, I believe we should be exactly as well armed as the police. On a larger scale, a government for the people and by the people should never place itself above the people by carving out exemptions for themselves from the laws that govern the people.
I know you’ve stated previously that responding to threats is what you pay the police for. We also pay paramedics to respond to medical emergencies. I still keep a first aid kit in my car and prepare to respond to such emergencies. Before you respond that one is saving lives and the other is the taking of lives, let me point out a couple of things. The first is the first step of first aid taught in the combat lifesaver course – end the immediate threat. The first step of CLS is making sure they don’t get killed by getting shot again while working on them. It trumps even stopping the bleeding. So the ability to respond to a lethal threat IS saving life. The second is that paramedics – the guys with the advanced life saving equipment – can’t enter a hot area. So ending the threat, besides freeing you up to perform first aid, hastens the arrival of the trained professionals.
You’re right. We have a difference of opinion. Law enforcement is called law enforcement because that’s their job, not yours or mine. We’ve given them that authority. I expect them to have firepower superior to the criminals they might face.
I understand you feel you must be armed because the police might not arrive in time. I happen to feel that more guns in more American homes, including mine, pose a greater danger to everyone than any chance encounter with a gunman. With your military experience, maybe you’re used to living in a war zone bristling with guns and people used to shooting each other. I’m not. And do not want to be.
I do thank you for sharing your insight and experience. I’ve learned a great deal and been given a lot to think about.
Yes, we have given certain civilians the authority to conduct arrests and enforce the laws, this is true. But with that authority comes the responsibility to be bound even tighter to the law than the average citizen. The government, under no circumstances, should be allowed to exempt itself from any restriction placed on it’s people – that includes magazine restrictions and types of arms – because it removes them from the people. It provides a sense that the law doesn’t apply to them and THAT is a dangerous ideal. In fact, there has been a study done that shows that concealed weapons license holders, those who have gone through the background checks and training to get the license, have a LOWER rate of criminal activity (not just shootings, but arrest and convictions) than the police do. Another study has shown that, in shooting incidents, the police are more likely to wound or kill an innocent bystander than CWL holders. There are good cops, the majority of them I believe are servants of the people. There are bad cops who believe that the authority WE give them is power and that that power makes them better than us and the law doesn’t apply to them and foster resentment that the people below them don’t “appreciate” them enough for protecting the ants they see them as and complaining when they violate Constitutional rights to get them in trouble. The militarization of the police furthers this divide as he police go from being servants of the people to servants of the government. THAT is a problem, but I’m going to stop on that point before I go too far on a tangent into politics.
But even the good and bad cops together can’t be everywhere, especially in the days of shrinking personnel budgets. The police don’t, according to the Supream Court, and just plain can’t because of logistics, have the responsibility to protect you. They have the responsibility to enforce the law, to bring those who do you harm to Justice and build the case against them after the fact, but they cannot protect you. That responsibility lies, ultimatly, with you. You can choose to abdicate that responsibility. That is your prerogative. But those who choose to take up that responsibility should not be hampered.
When it comes to the military, I was in Baghdad. Dangerous place. Baghdad as it had large Sunni and Shia populations before the war that polarized to opposite sides of the river after the fall of Saddam. The US, in it’s infinite wisdom, thought that disarmament of the people who were already essentially disarmed under Saddam would help keep the peace. Boy were we wrong. People were getting dragged out of heir houses I the middle of the night and beaten to death, sectarian violence ravaged the city and, despite our best efforts, the flow of guns into the city was unstoppable. We could not protect the people and the government we installed with police patrolling I full military gear and US machine guns couldn’t stop the violence. Sectarian militias and death squads were formed to raid and kill people in their homes just because of aha version of Islam they decided to follow. Then, 2 things happened. we allowed each houshold to have 1 assault rifle (the real ones with full auto capability) for protection, and the Sons of Iraq, a militia group that formed to protect Sunni communities rather than to raid others, was coopted to keep the peace. As they were a group made up of the citizens, rather than cops pulled in from across the country to avoid favoritism, they were able to gather info on what was going on in the community that the cops could not and tip them off. There presence also prevented Shia groups for conducting raids I the neighborhoods they were acting in and the violence against citizens dropped substantially. I’m not sayin it was safe, bombings still occurred and we were still a target, but the citizens could sleep at night and that is important.
And, for the record, we rarely get shot at anymore. It’s ineffective and the shooters tend to die, so we almost exclusively face IEDs because those intent on doing harm are addaptible that way. The presence of guns does not equal shootings every day or even often. If it did, then police stations and military bases (down range, nori the states) would be killing fields. Seriously – a lot of people, mostly male, just out of high school in an enclosed area around each other 24 hours a day, no time off, no way to get away from each other with tensions running high and everyone has an m-16 or M-4. That’s deployment. If the mere presence of guns posed a danger to a society, this would be he environment that killings would happen in every day. But they don’t. It is very rare that there will be an intentional blue on blue attack down range. It’s because we understand that we are part of the same community. THAT is part of the point of the Minneanapolis program, connection with the community. It’s far more effective than trying to restrict guns.
I see few similarities between Baghdad and the U.S. And I don’t think the solutions seen in Baghdad, in a Middle Eastern country on a war or near-war footing, are anything I want to see in the U.S. (Admittedly we have neighborhoods that may be similar to the environment in Baghdad.) It seems like you’re thinking in terms of military solutions because that’s your background. But I don’t want to be anything like Baghdad. I want to be as far away from that lifestyle as possible. There’s no reason in a modern, peaceful nation for citizens to be arming themselves against each other and devolving into something resembling Afghanistan, where everyone has to sleep with a gun in order to feel safe. That means fewer guns in circulation, fewer people shooting each other or even thinking of shooting each other. The Minneapolis program sounds like a step in the right direction, reducing the motive for violence, but it seems to me it should also entail getting guns out of circulation. Unrestricted guns seem counterintuitive to the program’s ultimate goal because if it works, there’s no need for guns.
However, you were quite emphatic elsewhere that you don’t want to reduce the number of guns. So we are at an impasse.
There are a few issues with your statements here. Let’s start with the removing of guns from circulation because “if the plan works, we won’t need guns”. That is only applicable under the assumption that a) guns only have the legal purpose for defensively killing people and b) that any program would work 100%. No program works 100% and, just like herd immunity protects those who can’t get vaccines, the presence of as many citizens as possible who are able to respond to a threat protects those who can’t from opportunists who think they can pick off the weak from the herd because they don’t know who will or will not be able to respond effectively. Getting rid of guns is the equivalent of saying we can stop vaccinating for polio because we haven’t seen an outbreak here in decades – it’s a bad plan. And we’ve already discussed the fact that guns are used for hunting and sport shooting and even just as a way to zen out and relieve stress. Mastery over things that are dangerous, like becoming an expert driver or pilot or marksman, is a goal to be strived for in and of itself. From the point of view of someone who enjoys my sport, if the community approach works, there’s no need to try to get rid of guns.
As for Baghdad and me thinking of military solutions, that was a decidedly UNmilitary solution. The major problems we’ve had in Iraq and Afghanistan is that we’ve sent a military force, a force that excels at find/fix/destroy, to do the job of a police force – serve/protect – and government building. A military solution would have been to isolate the area – prevent all ingress and egress – and shell the city until they submitted. This was a civilian based approach, and it worked. Iraq is not something to strive to be, but the lessons learned are applicable to the US. And while YOU may not see any parallels of Baghdad and the US, the street code and view of police as an occupying force, the view that anyone who talks to the cops is a traitor to be purged, the killing of people because of what color they choose to wear – this is EXACTLY the thing we see where homicides are most prevalent. We are not the modern, peaceful nation you think us to be and that is the reality for those living in inner cities every day. Right now, they are Baghdad right after the ouster of Saddam.
And no, not having to sleep with a gun to feel safe does NOT mean less guns in circulation. It means a stronger community. We soldiers had no fear of each other even though we were surrounded by guns not because of the presence of the gun we slept with, but because we were one team with one fight. We protected each other. I went to Afghanistan as a civilian contractor who wasn’t allowed to carry a gun. I was surrounded by guns every day and had no fear that I would be shot. Those guns were being held by boys, some fresh from high school, in an environment full of stress and not once did I worry. Because we were a community. And if anyone did snap, I was surrounded by people who would respond to the threat. I would have preferred to be able to stand by them and fight in the event of a threat from outside or within, but I did not fear.
And that, once again, is the point. Where there is community to belong to, to be proud of, there is no fear. People aren’t arming themselves against each other, they are arming themselves FOR each other. They protect each other. The gangs understand this and provide that for those who are lost, and twist that need to illegal ends. If we give people that sense of belonging, satisfy that urge to be a part of something, they have something to fight FOR rather than AGAINST. Then we’ll have a peaceful nation that is prepared to protect it’s citizens because we will ALL come to their defense, not just say it’s someone else’s job. It’s not about bubble wrapping America, it’s about directing the pride of an entire people.
I would like to point out that this is a very important point in the discussion and something that seems to be taken for granted from both sides. You look at the reduction of violence as a way to remove the need for guns. Looking at it from that direction, we will not be able to forge common ground because we truly don’t own guns out of fear, despite what those on the gun control side of forums like to believe. Most of us actually enjoy shooting, even if it’s just paper or zombie targets. If we were a completely peaceful society around the world, we would still enjoy shooting, hunting and competing. This is where we lose chance for common ground.
From our side, we see the reduction of violence as the protection of innocents. We literally see it as our responsibility as citizens to do what is in our power to protect innocent people from those who would harm them and see the maintenance of the equipment and skills to do so as important. We have the sheepdog mentality (if you haven’t heard of this, google sheep, sheepdogs and wolves – it a paper written by a COL I believe. I’m trying not to presume here).
When it comes right down to it, we both want to reduce violence. We are on the same side in that respect, so being told that we are responsible for the acts of others, calling us gun-nuts and the constant relating of our firearms to our genitalia just entrenches us and puts us on the defensive of our way of life instead of allowing us to work together to find real solutions (I recognize that my side spouts it’s own predictable venom that is counter productive as well, but I DO have to put it a little more on yours because you’re the ones coming after us every time there’s a shooting). I get why the conversation immediately goes to guns – they’re visible and it just seems so easy to think “well, it wouldn’t have happened if the tool wasn’t there so let’s get rid of the tool”. It’s something simple and straightforward and not intricate so it can be reduced to a slogan, but it’s lazy, doesn’t address the CAUSE of the violence, only one means, and alienates those of us who use that tool safely on a regular basis. We need to get past the gun debate and work out the hard solutions. The gun debate mires us in this bickering when we could be working on things we can all agree on.
Actually, I’ve assumed most gun owners own guns because they like guns and enjoy shooting.
When I say “gun nuts” I don’t mean all gun owners; I mean nuts with guns.
I don’t recall ever relating guns to male genitalia.
I do hold gun owners responsible because they are the ones working against stricter gun laws.
Why do I blame gun owners every time there’s a shooting? Because it was a shooting. Had there been no gun, there’d have been no shooting.
Eliminating the cause of violence (ala the Minneapolis program) might help with gang shootings in inner cities. What about the rest of the country? And what about the suicides, the mentally ill, the angry, the drunk, the careless, the criminal, etc?
I wasn’t specifically speaking of you on the name calling, but go on just about any anti-gun site, such as MDA, and every other comment is penis related. This doesn’t exactly foster a working relationship, now does it?
The rest of your reply is rather disingenuous. The “I blame gun owners because it was a shooting” thing is insane. You don’t blame baseball players for beatings with baseball bats – why not? Because they aren’t the ones who conducted the beating! And there’s no “need” for baseball bats – they’re just for a silly game. And other reason to have one is to cause harm – offensivly or defensively. And they would be up in arms if you suggested restrictions on baseball bats as well. But you don’t because you understand it is the person behind the weapon and not the weapon itself that causes harm. There is ABSOLUTLY NO reason to blame an entire group of people on the actions of an individual. Claiming that the UC killer wouldn’t have killed the people he shot if he didn’t have a gun is the same as claiming that the 3 people he stabbed to death wouldn’t have been killed if he didn’t have a knife – it’s rediculous on the face of it!
You hold gun owners responsible for fighting against restrictions of the tools we use safely while admiring that the restrictions you want don’t get to the heart of the problem. And you keep asking for restrictions based on an emotional event, when what you are asking for would have had exactly zero effect on the event you claim to be responding to. Do you see why we get the impression that you seem to care less about reducing deaths and more about reducing guns? Following this shooting/stabbing, we’ve seen calls for universal background checks, magazine limitations, waiting periods, limits on how many guns can be bought in a time period etc. Every single one of those is in place in CA and he complied with every single one of them. He passed the background checks, the firearms safety testing, had CA legal guns with CA legal magazines. He bought them over the course of 3 months, complying with the 1 gun a month law and the 10 day waiting period. The ammo was registered with the state per CA law. And, and, somehow, another firearms related restriction will prevent it?
And yes, I want to start with gangs shootings – some estimates are that this is up to 80% of the gun violence we see. 4 cities have a highly disproportional effect on our countrie’s murder rate. So yes, that’s where I want to start.
Suicides and the mentally, as the common factor is mental illness, requires reforming our mental health system. I don’t have an answer as to ow to do that as it will require a very careful balancing of people’s rights that I don’t have the level of knowledge on medical privacy and gradation of illness and competancy to do the hard work to solve it, and it will be hard work.
Here’s the thing, finding the solution to preventing suicide won’t just reduce “gun suicides”, but ALL suicides. Finding solutions to reduce the causes of murder will not just reduce “gun murder” but ALL murder. That’s the thing about focusing on the people rather than the thing. Shifting from one set of violence to another, even though there would be a reduction in “gun deaths” doesn’t make us feel better because it both doesn’t reduce death (I’m pretty sure that very few of those murdered would be relieved that it wasn’t a gun that killed them) and also removes our ability to RESPOND to violence those criminals who will still be criminal in a world withou guns and will be even more able to prey I the weak using a differential in strength.
It’s interesting what I saw on TV yesterday. There was a comercial with a man diagnosed with skitsophrenia (sorry for the spelling). He said, “what? You were expecting” some sort of mustered. Sorry to diss appoint you. The commercial was about ending the stigma of mental illness because the actions of the few are not representative of the many. People fought very hard for the REMOVAL of restrictions on the mentally ill – de institutionalization, anti discrimination, etc. Groups have been fighting for their privacy rights and rights to not be locked away on a whim. Their rights as Americans are important and they should not shoulder the blame of those who kill because they fought for their rights. So, no, we as legal gun owners do NOT accept the blame for for murderers because we fight to be able to protect ourselves from them.
You are deflecting or missing my point. I said I blame gun owners every time there’s a shooting. Because it was a shooting. With a gun. Not a stoning or a knifing or a beating. The subject is guns, not baseball bats. When we have an epidemic of killing with baseball bats then we can discuss baseball bats. Also, bat owners are not fighting against stricter gun laws; gun owners are. So I blame gun owners for obstructing the passage of those laws.
Yes, deaths will continue, even if guns are restricted. People who are determined to kill themselves or others can usually find a way to do it. But if we restrict guns, if we make guns harder to get, we can at least reduce gun deaths.
Did you READ my response? You are blaming gun owners because they are fighting the national implementation of laws that did not prevent a crazy person from shooting people in a place where all of those laws are not only in effect, but were complied with. Tell me how this makes sense. Not to mention that all of your gun restriction proposals have been tried before and the CDC was unable to find that ANY of them had an affect on murders. Your fixation on restricting guns keeps us from being able to work on the heart of the violence problems – you know, the things that should reduce ALL deaths rather than just GUN deaths.
“People who are determined to kill themselves or others can usually find a way to do it. But if we restrict guns, if we make guns harder to get, we can at least reduce gun deaths” This is the problem. This fixation – this obsession with guns to the point that you are straight up saying that it’s cool if we shift the deaths over to another violent category as long as they aren’t killed with guns is what blows my mind. Of course, the second order effect is that less citizens will be able to be armed, the third order effect being that those willing to hurt people for their own gain have less to worry about when they do so, so they’ll do so more often. That’s not even using the “bad guys will get guns anyway” argument. And I’m not being speculative – it happened. In DC after their handgun ban was implemented and in Chicago after their ban was implemented violent crime and murders skyrocketed. California has the strictest gun laws in the country and are in the next to worst quintile of states for both violent crime and homicides and has at least two of he most dangerous cities in the country.
You also apparently missed the point that you are not being logically consistent. In no other unnatural cause of death do you deamonize the object rather than the person weilding it. In no other accidental death do you deamonize everyone else who owns one of the things that was involved in the accident rather than the person who caused it. 30,000 CHILDREN die each year due to ACCIDENTAL poisoning, half of which are from unattended prescription, non-prescription and over the counter supplemental drugs. To put that in perspective, that’s about the same amount of total people who die from suicide, homicide, and accident by gun. Where is the outrage? The laws proposed for prosecuting anyone who doesn’t lock up their pills or the deamonization of gym rats for having all those supplements? Bat owners aren’t fighting against bat restriction laws because you don’t propose them every time there’s a person beaten to death. Your statement of “epidemic”s is hilarious when you consider assault weapon bans reasonable when more people are killed each year by knives OR without a weapon at all OR are beaten to death than by “assault weapons” or even rifles in total. That’s not even going into the fact that “gun deaths” are at their lowest point since the 1970s, peaked around ’94 and have been falling ever since at the same time, gun restrictions have been falling away. More people are carrying in public than ever and all states now have some form of carry law. At the very least, this disproves the idea that less gun restrictions means more gun deaths.
But you are treating that last phrase like a religion. No matter how much data I show you or how much sense a real proposal to reduce the actual level of violence rather than just shifting it to non-gun violence makes, you insist that we have to allow you to pass laws that don’t affect you and make no sense to those it does affect because somehow gun death is worse that being beaten or stabbed or poisoned or blown up of mauled to death. Why? Seriously, why? I’m baffled as to why you would prefer to focus your effort on a portion of murders by taking away (you’ve already statedyou want to reduce the number in circulation and, since it’s a durable good, means taking them away) from people who derive enjoyment, skills, accomplishment and protection from them, despite the fact that the restrictions you want have not been shown to have an effect of those murders, rather than trying something new that doesn’t require anyone to give anything up (unless you count taxes) that has already been shown to have a positive effect on the rates of all kinda of violence? I don’t understand how removing peoples means of protection, making them unhappy with the government, and their recreation, making them unhappy in general, while doing nothing about the criminals and gangs that are the cause of the majority of the violence is going to make society safer. I’m a pretty smart cookie and this baffles me.
I’m not ignoring what you’re saying about all the other types of violence in our society, or all the causes for that violence, or all the other weapons and tools used to kill people in our society. I understand what you’re saying about them. I agree that they all need to be addressed. But you’ve mentioned a very broad range of issues and approaches. I’m just trying to keep the focus on one part of all that. Gun violence. I’d like to see all violence go away, but I can’t focus on everything at once. I can’t write about everything at once. This post and these comments are focusing on gun violence in particular. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about the other things you’ve mentioned. It just means I’m trying to stay focused on one topic: reducing guns and gun violence.
I happen to think one way to do that is to reduce, limit, or restrict the number of guns in America, the people who can have them, and the conditions under which they can be owned. Other countries have done it. So can we. There will always be lone wolves who find a way to get a gun and misuse it — in Santa Clara last week. In Seattle today. But that’s no reason not to try to keep guns out of their hands.
I know I’m starting to repeat myself. I’ve said all this and much more before, here or in other posts. Feel free to browse through them.
I understand that you and others who’ve commented love your guns and have no intention of giving them up or accepting any restrictions on them because unlike some other gun owners, you are responsible. And besides guns are “fun” (like toys?). And as James said, “I want what I want.” And as you said, “We DON’T want to reduce the number of guns, we like our guns.”
So that’s the basic impasse, the bottom line: I DO want to reduce the number of guns. I don’t think liking them or having fun with them or simply wanting them is reason enough to oppose their strict regulation.
The problem is that your single minded focus on “gun” violence is unproductive. You ignore the fact that all the restrictions you ask for have been tried before and have failed. You ignore the fact that prohibitions of ANYTHING in the US has historically failed and generally made things worse. You ignore the fact that the countries you want us to model after have either rolled back restrictions – Canada is ending at least it’s long gun registry for being costly and pointless – or have seen violence increase after their prohibitions, especially aggravated robberies and home invasions in the UK and Australia. You ignore the unintended consequences that have already been seen other places – the handgun bans in DC and Chicago were followed by an increase in homocides. You ignore the fact the both violence in general and gun violence has been dropping, drastically, over the past 20 years even as gun restrictions have been removed. We aren’t starting from scratch here, there IS data that shows that there is no link between gun restrictions and homicides.
The insistence on focusing the gun despite all this, despite the fact that a reduction in gun murders means nothing if there is no overall reduction in murders, really makes it seem that reducing violence is secondary to your desire to reduce guns. Addressing the factors that lead to violence reduces violence regardless of the weapon. Restricting a weapon both leaves the desire to do harm, thus the violence will still occur, and removes the ability for the victims to resist. How does this make things better?
Even worse, since we are at an impasse on gun control and it isn’t moving anywhere, your continuing to focus on them keeps us from developing the programs addressing the motivations for violence as we keep arguing about guns. Let’s try something new. You want to reduce gun violence, we can do that. The majority of non-self inflicted gun violence are a product of gang violence. So by framing the question as “How do we reduce gang violence” we can effectively reduce gun violence. We have an approach that did a substantially good job at that from Minianapolis – so let’s fund similar programs in the cities with the worse gang
problems! Then we should see gun murders drop! Then the only fight to have is funding!
The suggestions above were off the top of my head two years ago when I was angry at Congress for doing nothing. I expected suggestions like mine to be only food for thought, a kick in the pants to get Congress off the dime and to take my suggestions, or someone else’s, or do the research and come up with some new ones and do something positive and meaningful to reduce the presence of guns in our society.
You must understand I grew up in a white upper middle class suburb and moved to similar neighborhoods for the next 50 years. It’s where I live now. We don’t see guns here. We see soccer balls and pony tails and skinned knees and football helmets and neatly mowed lawns. There’s no place in this picture for guns. They are not part of the lifestyle unless hunters or sportsmen take them to the range. We don’t want to see a lot of people, strangers, walking around with guns. A man with a gun does not make us feel more secure; it makes us more anxious. We don’t know if he’s a responsible gun owner or a nut who’s about to shoot up the place. We shouldn’t have to feel that fear in our American communities just because some macho guy flashes his concealed weapon. We’ve already had a case here where a guy took his cc weapon into a movie theater (stupid move after the Aurora shooting). People freaked, left the theater, called police. He was perfectly legal, but he panicked a theater full of people. That shouldn’t happen. The majority of Americans don’t want guns in their lives. That should be reason enough to get rid of them. Or at least restrict them. The trick is hitting on a solution that works. It may take different approaches in different parts of the country, but with enough determination, I think it can be done.
I know you don’t want it done, but I think you’re in a minority. Most Americans see no need for lethal weapons to circulate freely and unrestricted in our communities. We don’t want to be a nation where people can and do go around shooting one another. We want to be rid of the guns. We refuse to go back to the Wild West or Revolutionary America.
Your words are pretty and imagery calculated for emotional impact, but they lack substance. It’s interesting that you bring up the revolution, wild west and majority rule all in the same place. You don’t want to live in the wild west? Homicide rates were even lower back then when the gun ownership rate and flood of veterans back from the civil war was high. Gunfights were very rare – despite the Hollywood westerns and romanticizing the bandit gangs of the time. In fact, the most famous one, the gunfight at the OK Corral, was a fight over gun control! As it relates to the Revolutionary War, a war that began literally when the government attempted to seize guns, It should be pointed out that majority rule would have us all still being British. 3% of Americans fought in the revolution and more than half were loyalists for much of the war. They then wrote a Constitution (well, after the failed experiment of the Articles of Confederation) and added to it the Bil of Rights. These innumerated rights we’re documented specifically to protect the minority from the whims of the majority (the rights of the majority don’t need protecting when majority rules). They instituted a republic in the hopes that the best of us would be elected and stay above the fray of emotion. This was obviously a miscalculation because had that been the case, the Patriot Act should never have come into being as it violates a number of amendments in the Bill of Rights.
I also grew up in a suburban neighborhood and my parents weren’t gun owners either. The only chance I had to shoot was at Boy Scout camp. And yet, I’ve never felt fear due to the mere presence of a gun. You say it was “stupid” to take a CC weapon to a movie theater after Aurora – considering a bunch of unarmed people had just been killed in a movie theater, that seems to me like a very reasonable thing to do. What would YOU have done had a copycat attempted to shoot up the theater? Note that the police you pay for protection didn’t show up to “protect” anyone until after it was over, and there response time wasn’t even that bad. Whether you “feel” more secure has no bearing on whether you “are” more secure. 56%, a majority, of Americans believe that this country is more dangerous now and that violent crime is up, yet the chances of the average American being the victim of a violent crime or murder is at it’s lowest point since 1970 and the trend has been downward for the past 20 years. So if you feel like you have to DO something based on your feelings, and your feelings are wrong, does it not seem likely that what you DO, such as panic at the sight of a legal carrier, could actually cause more damage than the alternative?
I apologize if this violates the comment policy (in not entirely sure) but I came across this article and it made me think of your suburban neighborhood and inability to handle seeing something you deem unpleasant. It’s a good read http://america.aljazeera.com/opinions/2014/6/trigger-warningsbooksptsdhighereducation.html
I never said my family didn’t have guns. My dad had several, and I had one. My brother has it right now because he has more use for it than I do. (See my reply to Jim Wheeler.)
I’ve written a fair amount about the Patriot Act. It was written in haste and fear and the majority of it is, I think, unconstitutional.
Yes, some of my points are emotional, based on my feelings. I’m entitled to that, as are you. You feel safer with guns. I feel safer without them. If and when I start feeling unsafe and insecure, I might get a gun. I’ve no reason to think even restrictive new laws would keep me from doing so. But for now I’d rather not have a gun around.
The guy taking a gun to the theater was unwise and irresponsible. He had every reason to believe it would cause a panic but he did it anyway. I consider that irresponsible and, depending on his motive, immature. The people in the theater had no way of knowing whether he was a law-abiding, responsible, licensed gun-owner or another sick individual who wanted to shoot up a theater. Maybe he felt more secure carrying his gun, but he panicked a hundred other people. Frankly I don’t think his rights trumped the rights of those other people to go enjoy a movie and feel safe doing it. But there again, I’m talking feelings, not statistics or law, so I guess you should just discount that story.
I didn’t say your family didn’t have guns, just that mine didn’t. Here’s what I don’t understand, you are now saying that not only does your “right to feel safe” not only trumps someone else’s “right to feel safe” but that your “right” places an obligation on other people to not only act within accordance of the law, but cater to your fear as well by renouncing their right to bear arms. First off, there is no “right to feel safe,” rights are a protection of your ability to act in a way that others may object to, as long as it does not interfere with the rights of others. Rights do NOT confer a responsibility onto another person to fulfill them for you. For instance, you have a right to pursue happiness – this does not require anyone to make you happy. You have the right to remain silent – and if you choose to wave that right it may be used against you in the court of law. That right does not require the police to gag you for your own protection. You have the right to keep and bear arms – I choose to exercise that right, you choose not to and nobody forces you to. This is as it should be with each person choosing how they wish to live their lives. This does not mean that you may dictate your wishes to those around you untill the point when it ACTUALLY interferes with your individual rights. Just like I have no right to prevent people from breastfeeding their child in public or to keep gay people from getting married.
The man in the movie theater had only the responsibility to handle his firearm safely and act lawfully in the exercise of his right. You realize that there is are a huge and rapidly growing number of people with concealed carry permits, right? Even if you don’t see them, you have guns around you and you have no idea who around you may be armed at all. If this doesn’t make you scared to walk outside and do all your shopping online, it shouldn’t, because you are just as safe today as you were yesterday and twice (seriously, violent crimes and gun homicides have dropped more than 50%) as safe as you were 20 years ago. The hugely vast majority of the people holding those guns are law abiding citizens. I realize this is America where we carry hand sanitizer everywhere to try and counter the tiny chance that we may get sick and die of dysentery from touching a piece of dirt, but playing the odds, a person with a gun is most likely NOT a threat. And if you’re not sure, how the person is acting is usually a pretty good indicator – even if you don’t see a gun, since criminals are rarely going to call attention to he selves by letting you see it first. And those people with permits – they commit crimes statistically less often than the police. I’m not making that up, there are studies showing just that.
It is irresponsible to panic at an object and it is irresponsible to pull police away from their jobs to question a man doing no wrong. And it is irresponsible to pass law, such as the Patriot Act and the push to do “something” about guns rather than the causes of violence, based on fear. Especially concerning a constitutional right because it’s very hard to get them back when people figure out that it was a bad idea.
That link won’t get you banned, but insults might. Take care.
I have no desire to be insulting
First off, 12 guns is a good start. I have 4 rifles just from the WWII era. But I digress – point 1 is NOT about semantics. The Mini-14, for example, is not considered an “assault weapon” – no pistol grip – yet fires the same round and the same rate as the AR-15 from detachable magazines and as I recall was used in the Hollywood shoot out. The Mini-30 – same thing except substitute AK-47 for AR-15. They are functionally identical but you want one banned because it’s scary looking while the other looks more traditional. People who know how these things work and have used them safely for years have a problem when people start throwing out bans that a) have nothing to do with the vast majority of crimes and b) have nothing to do with leathal capacity.
His second point was also not semantics as he wasn’t pointing out your magazine/clip mix, he was pointing out that the research shows no tie between magazine size and crime or number of victims and that your wording of “absolute minimum for the gun” was confusing. “Large” magazines are NOT only for getting off a large number of shots in a short period of time – it’s about maximizing preparedness. We don’t get to choose when we may need to use a gun and, as such, are limited to the number of rounds in our magazine and maybe a spare. An assailant has the option to plan – if they can’t get more than a 10 round magazine, they’ll bring a bunch of them or bring more people to gain an advantage. They have the luxury to plan. We do not. There WILL be misses, heck, the police don’t exactly have a great hit rate, and single round incapacitation is rare, so yes, we have a purpose for those magazines.
For the third point, again, he’s not arguing semantics. For one, armor piercing ammunition IS ALREADY illegal. Armor piercing applies to handgun calibers as just about any center fire rifle cartridge will penetrate soft armor worn by police – it’s only designed to stop handgun calibers. The military (military grade) is required by the Hauge Convention not to use expanding ammunition and police are mostly required to use expanding ammunition so the two are complete opposites. The reason the police use expanding ammunition is because there’s less of a chance of a pass through that will injure a bystander. Also, if you want to limit the amount of rounds we can carry, we better be able to carry ammo designed to adequately stop an attacker.
The online sales ban makes no sense and your argument for it makes even less. Guns can’t be shipped to a non-FFL. The FFL then must conduct the background check, face to face. That’s the law. If someone is going to circumvent that law, a ban doesn’t stop people from meeting offline and conducting the transaction anyway.
What’s the difference between “stockpiling”and collecting? If I have 15 rifles and I go crazy, I can really only use one at a time or two pistols at a time anyway. This seems like a restriction just to restrict.
What, exactly, would be the purpose or registration? Remember, I’m a forensic science major. New York and Massachusetts not only have registries, they require that every sale have a bullet caseing sent to be put into their database – 8 years and $40 million dollars later, that system has been used to catch exactly 0 criminals. Even Canada is getting rid of their registration system.
“If guns can be prohibited at airports and courthouses… There’s no reason they can’t be prohibited in all public places”. This is just assinine. You know what airports and courthouses have that other public places do not? Metal detectors and an entire compliment of security ensuring the safety of the people inside. Outside, police responce is much slower, there are all sorts of avenues of escape for violent offenders and you are responsible for your own safety. Even the ban of guns in airports didn’t keep that guy from shooting a bunch of TSA officers last year.
It is NOT hard to teach kids gun safety – they even used to teach it in school back in the days of rifle clubs. Teaching kids about guns takes away the mystery and reduces the curiosity. But we all agree that, on a case by case basis, people who negligently allow kids to get a hold of guns that result in injury should be held liable. Children should not have unsupervised access to guns, but they SHOULD be taught what to do if they encounter one.
And the end is where we have trust issues again. You want suggestions on how to “reduce the number of guns in society”. We DON’T want to reduce the number of guns, we like our guns. We want to reduce the level of VIOLENCE in society and don’t think that the tool is the cause.
I appologize if I’m stepping on your toes here Mike.
That was supposed to be a responce under Mike King’s thread – my phone doesn’t like this format
I’ve said my piece, and nothing in PiedType’s response will change my mind nor as it seems that I can change his with facts. He can believe what he wants and fear firearms if he so chooses, but we know the truth. Our 2A rights have been infringed upon enough, and we will never satisfy the Hoplophobes until we remove anything that can be used as a weapon and bubble wrap the nation.
Two corrections, Mike. (a) I’m a woman (see About), and (b) I’m not afraid of guns; I’m afraid of idiots with guns.
The kind of pro-gun passions and arguments exhibited in this post indicate how unlikely our gun culture is to change. I was struck by the seeming effectiveness of one of Eric’s arguments, i.e., that the problem of child poisonings is much larger than child gun deaths. I checked his numbers and they are correct, but then I realized that it was a logical fallacy: Cum hoc ergo propter hoc (with this, therefore because of this). The one has no connection to the other except that both are causes of child deaths.
There are many differences. The two are not similarly amenable to prevention. Poisonings occur mainly due to carelessness with many substances which are otherwise needed in society. Guns on the other hand, as shown by the experience in other first-world countries, are controllable by reasonable laws to keep them out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable. Like you, PT, I am at a loss as to why such legal limits aren’t more acceptable to the gun lobby, but the debate does seem to mirror the larger political divide in Washington. Rationality has succumbed to ideology. Nevertheless, I wanted you to know that there’s at least one gun owner, myself, who appreciates and agrees with your reasoning on the topic.
Thanks, Jim. I appreciate the support of a gun owner. I was one too, many years ago. My brothers still own guns, including the one I had (they had more use for it than I did), so I’m not writing from complete ignorance here. I could retrieve my gun from my brother on a moment’s notice and become a gun owner again. I wonder if that would change the conversation.
I agree with your observations about the child poisonings. I didn’t address them specifically because like some of the other things mentioned, they aren’t on point in a discussion of guns and gun deaths. Discussing child gun deaths would be, but I’ve already done that elsewhere.
Anyway, thanks for adding an important voice to the conversation.
Getting the email notifications – don’t see them on the page
Sorry, been having trouble with comments showing up in the right place. If it goes to the wrong place, I delete and try again. Have asked WordPress for help. Hope this one works.
A reminder: Read the comments policy before commenting.
At the point that poisonings came into the conversation, the thread was specifically addressing accidental child gun deaths – thus they ARE the same. It entered the conversation later due to the sheer scale of deaths. You’ve claimed gun deaths are an epidemic, and that is your reason behind the need to do SOMETHING, specifically gun related, about it. You have railed against gun owners for being irresponsible because of the few accidental deaths of children, proposing that they be held fully criminally liable for the death of a child who finds a gun, but don’t bat an eye at the carelessness of parents who carelessly allow their kids to get into their pills. If I’m interpreting Jim’s objection, he’s saying that those deaths are fine to ignore because there’s no legislation that could prevent it. You can’t legislate away everything, this is true, but the effort being put into “reducing guns in society,” put towards an education campaign to teach the public that even over the counter medicines and dietary supplements can kill kids while giving tips on how to keep them out of children’s hands has the potential to save many more lives. Think of the children.
There’s a reason this conversation keeps jumping from one section of violence to another to another – “gun violence” and “gun deaths” are distinctions that that try to lump together a large number of categories that have disparate causes into one problem based on politics to point to one solution – the removal of guns ( I’d really like to attach a Venn diagram to illustrate how “gun violence” as a category attempts to tie together portions of every single category of violence without encapsulating any of the causes). That would work if guns were the only way any particular category of death occurs, but it isn’t. This isn’t a chemistry experiment where take purified t-butyl chloride (violence), put it in a closed system with bromine (guns) getting t-butyl bromide (gun violence) and can stop the reaction by removing the bromine. This is an open system with fluorine and iodine and other compounds that will react to replace the chlorine group and cause another violent compound. In fact, removing the bromine in such a system will result in the same amount of violent compounds, just more of each of the other ones. The only way way to stop a reaction resulting in some kind of violence is to remove the t-butyl chloride. Then you have a system of guns and knives and all sorts of crazy things that, while they may be reactive, are not able to react with violence. (sorry, i just finished an organic chemistry test). Mathematically, violence-guns still produces violence of the same magnitude. guns-violence just equals guns without violence. The first equation has been shown in those other first world countries where violent crime rates have jumped after severely restricting firearms.
Restriction for the sake of restriction is a no-go. You, and history, have failed to show that the restrictions you push for have an affect on deaths, be it accidental, homicide, or suicide. You have openly stated that your goal is to reduce the number of guns we have and are allowed to have. That is NOT a targeting of those who do harm, but the targeting of gun owners as a whole with prior restraint. You can’t legislate away violence. You can legislate against violent action, but once the stick gets to a certain size, anyone willing to chance it is motivated enough to chance it. What crime would a person who intends to die not break? What person desperate enough to risk death to secure the acceptance of their gang or secure the resources needed to survive would be deterred by the thought of jail? No, the answer is not more legislation, it’s the carrot. give people a life good enough, a societal connection strong enough, that they can’t imagine jeopardizing it and you reduce violence AND increase everyone’s quality of life.
When I was talking about accidental child gun deaths, I meant exactly that. Child deaths by gun. Prescription drug deaths have nothing to do with gun deaths. That doesn’t mean those other deaths are unimportant or that I don’t care about them. It just means I’m talking about gun deaths.
You said “… ‘gun violence’ and ‘gun deaths’ are distinctions that that try to lump together a large number of categories that have disparate causes into one problem.” No, gun violence and gun deaths aren’t a lumping together of a number of categories; they are the category. They are the problem I’m talking about. By introducing other causes of death or the myriad reasons for violence or the need for better mental health care in this country, you are either missing the point or changing the subject. I’ve acknowledged all those things are problems, but they are not the subject here. The subject — my subject — is guns.
I like the Venn diagram idea. The one I imagine would have a circle in the center labeled “guns.” Around it would be circles labeled “gang member,” “criminal,” “mental health problem,” “anger issues,” “suicidal,” and “unsupervised child.” And where each of those circles overlaps the “guns” circle, the overlap would be labeled “gun death.” That would illustrate my point quite well.
Sorry, but you lost me completely with the chemistry analogy. I managed to avoid taking chemistry.
You’re absolutely right, we “can’t legislate away violence.” Humans being human, there aren’t enough carrots in the world to stop all the violence. But we can legislate away guns. Or at least make a concerted effort to restrict their numbers and control who has them.
Here, this is crude but it illustrates my point:
Child deaths BY GUN are a ridiculously tiny number and are caused by the same factor, irresponsible parenting, that kills 30,000 kids a year with poisonings! That means that if you address irresponsible parenting, not only could you further reduce the tiny number of kids killed by finding a gun, but you can also save some of the humongous number of kids killed by finding their parents diet pills! And you can do it without the major political struggle that ends in a stalemate, helping nobody! Why is this so hard to understand?
I like that diagram, though the outer circles should be labeled “death caused by” – because it shows how few of the guns are used to cause deaths. It also shows that, when you shrink the circle labeled guns, gun deaths may shrink but the problems remain, unchanged and just as large. Taking the gun out of death doesn’t prevent the death. Net change in deaths = 0, net change in liberty is huge. You CANNOT disregard the shift of implement used to cause death and claim to be doing something if substance. You can’t! Shrinking the motivators of death reduces the deaths giving you a net change that actually accomplishes something. If you are able to shrink the gang problem, gun deaths shrink AND less people die! So tell me, do you want to prevent violent deaths, or do you just want to shift demographics? Because I’m not content to give up my rights or jump through more hoops just to shuffle around the same numbers.
Child deaths by gun may be a relatively small number, but they are still part of the very large number of of gun deaths in this country. The issue here is gun deaths, not child poisonings. I understand you’d prefer I stop pushing for gun controls and focus on child poisonings, but it’s more effective to focus all my efforts on one specific objective than on a broad range of diverse objectives.
Yes, in the diagram, if I shrink the gun circle, that means the “gun deaths” shrink, and that is precisely my intent. It would be wrong to label the outer circles “death caused by” because those circles don’t represent deaths; they represent society’s problem areas. There are no deaths until those problem areas intersect with a cause or implement of death. In this diagram, that implement is guns. If you want to represent a different implement of death, you’d change the “guns” in the middle to, say, “prescription drugs.” Then all the overlaps would be “prescription drug deaths.”
Taking guns out of the equation won’t stop all deaths, but it will stop gun deaths. Net change in deaths = total deaths – gun deaths. I focus on guns because all the other implements that might cause death have other purposes. Eg., we need knives to cut food, prescription drugs to cure illness, etc. We can’t eliminate them. Guns are not essential. They can be eliminated. (But I hasten to add that if properly restricted and controlled, they need not be eliminated. There’s no reason healthy responsible adults can’t have guns for hunting, target shooting, etc.)
I can and do claim that removing a specific implement of death — guns — will shrink the number of gun deaths; it’s impossible to cause a gun death without a gun. And though you apparently disagree, I do think reducing the number of gun deaths in this country is “something of substance.”
Oh for crying out loud – no, I do not want you to focus on poisonings. I want you to focus on irresponsible parenting. I don’t wan you to focus on gang violence – I want you to focus on gangs. I don’t want you to focus on suicide by hanging – I want you to to as on suicidal tendencies. In short IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT IMPLEMENT IS USED! If a person is intent on mass murder and can’t get a gun, they’ll use a bomb or a knife or a match. If a person is intent on suicide and can’t get a gun, they’ll use a rope or a knife or pills that is how the numbers shift because this isn’t a closed system. THAT is why you cannot ignore the fact that there are other implements to be used for mayhem. The net reduction in deaths is 0 when you focus on an implement because the variable for “death by other implements” increases by the same amount “gun deaths” decrease because the motivation of the person to kill is not removed when they can’t get a gun! You MUST attack the motivation – the root cause – of the violence in order to get a net change. It is exactly appropriate to label the outer circles “deaths caused by” as, in order for the intersections to be labeled “gun deaths” it mustbe representative of deaths as not every interaction of in and set of people results in death. Any part of the outer circles that does not intersect with guns is a death motivated by that problem set by a means other than a gun. Even the CDC has shown that the focus on gun laws has NOT been effective in reducing deaths so you are NOT more effective focusing on an implement that you are by focusing on ANY of the driving forces behind the deaths.
And the simple fact that you see the reduction of the number of guns, in and of itself, “something of substance” is why we can’t work together. It’s not a compromise when we give something up and you breaths sigh of relief and gear up to get more for us next time. This is why you couldn’t get universal background checks – if it’s done in any way that could result in a registry, we don’t trust you not to use it to try to take more when, not if, that measure fail as it did in CA.
Im not talking difficult logic here. And it’s not just theoretical, the numbers are there from those who have come before and in our own history. Implements don’t act without people. People don’t act without some sort of motivator. People are falible of acting on a motivation with any number of implements – humans are really good at killing things. Therefore the limiting factor is not the implement, but the motivator (or the person, but reducing the number of people is kind of an issue). Why is this so hard to understand?
Let’s look at it this way we have 10 murderers. 5 of them are going to kill people without guns. Why? They’re not gun deaths so we don’t care. Of the other 5, 1 is going to shoot someone in a gang initiation, one is going to do a revenge murder against a member of a rival gang, 1 is going to kill someone in an armed robbery, 1 will kill his wife and the last one shoots a robber in self defense. And, just for fun, another 10 will shoot themselves for suicide.
Guns disappear overnight. Yippee! Your wish of zero gun deaths has been achieved! But what are the results? The kid planning murder for a gang initiation is still trying to join a gang, so he grabs his dad.’a hammer and bludgeons someone to death. The revenge killer still wants revenge for the death of a fellow gang member, but it’ll be hard to get to the guy directly, so he shanks his little sister on the way to school instead. The armed robber is still desperate and will stick up the guy with a knife that gets buried in the person’s rib cage. The wife killer, depending on whether this is a festering issue or an acute one, will kill his wife with poison or a kitchen knife or a candle stick or any of the Clue pieces, but will probably kill her with his hands by slamming her head into an exposed corner. The guy who killed in self defense? Well, he’s not so lucky. He wasn’t able to be prepared for a threat because he followed the law. He had a bad back and wasn’t able to take on the kid who targeted him and couldn’t run, so he died of internal injuries. The 10 people who wanted to kill themselves? 5 slashed wrists, 2 overdoses, 2 hangings and 1 jumped off a building.
So of 20 deaths that we started with when guns were available, we ended with 20 deaths when they were gone. The difference is we traded the death of a gang member for that of an innocent girl and the death of a criminal for that of a citizen. But congratulations! There were no gun deaths!
Let’s try a different path. Let’s focus on a cause. If we put all our energy into suicide prevention and are just 50% successful, we have 5 people who aren’t going to kill themselves with guns – who knows how many we’ve saved who AREN’T planning on using guns? How about focusing on gangs? If the kid isn’t trying to join a gang or the revenge killer were to be supported to leave the gang, we’ve taken away the motivation and saved a life. How about poverty? If the armed robber wasn’t impoverished, the likelihood of resorting to such things is reduced. Additionally, the man who shot the robber/home invader/unspecified may not have been put in a position where he had to fire in self defense and a life would be saved. Add marital counseling to a mental Heath program and we may have saved another life. And the 5 murders we don’t care about because they weren’t committed with a gun? They share motivations with the gun murders and lives are saved over there too.
That is what I mean by focusing on the causes and not the implement. Any one of the motivations addressed effectively has a more substantial impact on gun deaths and deaths in general than focusing on one of the tools used. That’s the point I’m trying to make – I can’t make it any simpler than that.
We can’t eliminate the other implements you mention. Hammers, knives, candlesticks, ropes, drugs, and bare fists all have purposes other than killing. They can’t be eliminated. Guns have no purpose but killing. Guns can be eliminated. Or at least controlled much more tightly.
As for eliminating the desire or need to kill. I’ve discussed that before. It’s a lofty ambition that will never be fully achieved because you can’t change human nature. Nevertheless, there are organizations and individuals across the country working on all those problems right now.
Now you’re starting to get it – you can’t remove all implements used to kill people – as shown above, that makes the focus on one implement futile in changing the number of deaths because if they have a reason to kill, they will just pick a different tool. If I want to build a house and I can’t get any nails, I’ll use screws. If I can’t get screws, I’ll cut dovetails – as long as I’m motivated to build the house, I can find a way to build the house.
You can’t change human nature, but you can change their environment to affect their motivations – that’s the entire point of the Mineanapolis program – make an environment where kids don’t need to turn to gangs to fulfill their basic human emotional needs. And it’s been shown to work! The CDC has stated that the measures you are focusing on have not had an effect on deaths where they have been tried. We’re not starting for a clean slate here – we should be doing what has been shown to work rather than rehashing that which has already failed.
Another illustration of the point. There was a school that had a horrible violence problem – don’t remember the name of the school – they tried everything to stop it from metal detectors to zero tolerance policies to guards till the place was like a prison and the violence continued. A new principle took over and tried something new – he fired the guards, removed the security systems and dumped that money into art programs. The kids no longer felt like they were criminals in a prison and had more chances for self expression and not only did he violence level drop, but school performance increased as well. The answer is NOT restriction, it’s giving people the chance to be full human beings.
Of course we’ll never get to be point where all people are taken care if and all motivations to do harm are gone – just like even if all guns were illegal we wouldn’t be able to get rifle of all the guns and gun deaths – but there is no substitution effect. Reducing the gang problem by 50% reduces gang deaths by 50% with no increase I another category. Reducing he guns by 50% not only doesn’t reduce gun deaths by 50% as it is a very small percentage of guns used for harm and they will be the last guns you’ll get, but the reduction in gun deaths you DO see will be mostly, if not completely, offset by an increase elsewhere.
You are trying to change all of society. Fix the mental health system, make sure there are no irresponsible parents, eliminate gangs and anger and suicidal thoughts and jealousy. Just fix all the bad influences and motivators in our society. Change human nature, eliminate the seven deadly sins, and you’ll eliminate all homicides and suicides. I don’t think it’s possible. I think it’s a noble ambition, something worth striving for. But humans are fallible and always will be.
My ambitions are not so lofty. I just want to reduce gun deaths. The most direct cause of gun deaths is guns. So that’s the logical place to start.
There are hundreds of organizations in this country focusing on different causes, trying to improve our society. Each has chosen a specific cause upon which to focus its efforts and resources. Some are working on mental health issues, some on law and order issues, some on homelessness, poverty, better parenting, education, etc. Name any issue, any problem, and there’s probably at least one organization already working on it. All together, they are actively trying to eliminate all the problems you’ve referenced. It’s impossible for one person to be a part of all those organizations, to work on all those problems. That’s why people pick one or two and concentrate on them. I happen to be focused on gun violence. I’m not ignoring all the problems you’ve cited, but neither can I work on all of them. So I focus on a few, and gun violence is one of them.
And no, you misread what I said. I did not say a reduction in the number of guns would be “something of substance” (although it would be). I said I see a reduction in the number of gun deaths as something of substance.
You keep saying you want to reduce the number of deaths from all causes. I’m talking about a way to reduce at least some of them. Not all of them. Not from all causes. But some of them. And you argue against it because it doesn’t cover every cause of death. That makes no sense. I’m suggesting a way to reduce some of the deaths, and you are rejecting it because it doesn’t reduce all the deaths. Any reduction at all is a step in the right direction, isn’t it?
What you’re really rejecting is any reduction at all that involves controlling guns. If I were speaking out about controlling children’s deaths from prescription drug poisoning, even though that doesn’t address adult deaths by suicide, or gang deaths in the inner city, or homicides during armed robberies, you wouldn’t object. You wouldn’t be saying, yes, but that doesn’t address all the causes of death in our society, so it’s not a valid concern. You wouldn’t even be here. You’re here because I wrote about gun control. And even though I said nothing about taking away your guns, you’re doing your best to change the subject.
The subject is still guns, gun violence, and gun control.
I’m, in fact, NOT saying your focus on “gun deaths”is pointless because it doesn’t address all deaths – I’m saying it’s pointless because the focus on one implement, as opposed to the focus on one cause, just shuffles the numbers. If we have three stacks of numbers – gun deaths, knife deaths and blunt implement deaths – and you remove all of the incidents resulting in the “gun death” column, the knife and blunt implement death columns rise by the same amount the blunt implement colmn fell. You didn’t prevent the incident, you just caused the perpetrator to use a different tool. However, picking just one of the causes and reducing those factors causes the number of incidents to fall causing a net change in the deaths. I am here because the only affect your focus has is to make things harder on me with no benefit to society.
If I thought your focus was merely futile, I’d ignore it, but not only are you pushing an agenda that doesn’t reduce the number of violent deaths, but one that harms gun owners as well. That is why I’m here – to protect people from your good intentions.
“That is why I’m here – to protect people from your good intentions.” And my good intentions are more lethal than your guns?
Yes as it paves the road to hell. My guns, used as intended and even if successfully used for an emergency, does not cause harm. If your intentions are successful, my chances of needing one increase while my ability to have it when I need it goes down, my liberty is reduced and my ability to resist harm are reduced. Your good intentions are harmful. My possession of firearms is not.
Okay, I see what you mean about the deaths would occur anyway, just by another implement. But that’s a supposition that might or might not be true, considering guns are designed specifically for killing and probably do it faster, more efficiently, and at greater range than anything else. If the would-be killer were forced to used a different implement, a death might not occur. A driveby shooting, for example, wouldn’t be possible with knives. A massacre of dozens might be limited to only one or two if the killer did not have several automatic weapons and piles of ammunition. To me those are very definite benefits to society, particularly to the people who escaped death because the criminal only had a knife instead of a gun, or ran out of ammo before he could kill everyone.
I’ve already covered that in the post breaking down motivations at the end of the next thread branch up – as long as the motivation is there, killing will happen. Instead of attacking a rival gang directly (the point of the vast majority of drive byes) they target softer targets like family members. If your goal is mass murder, bombs are the way to go – the biggest school massecure in terms of numbers killed was a boning by a groundskeeper in Michigan – and only half of the explosive detonated. If the weapon changes, the tactic changes, but it still happens.
And it’s not a supposition- it’s born out by the numbers. Violent crime incidents increased after the UK and Australian gun restrictions were put into place while those numbers around the world continued a downward trend. Heck, a UK soldier had his head cut off with a butcher knife in broad daylight as people watched! There are mass stabbings in China, an utter lack of guns in Japan hasn’t kept them from havin in of the highest suicide rates in the world and there are bombings all across Europe. That’s the substitution effect at work.
Look at the Santa Barbera killing. Three killed by gun, three by knife. Every person injured with the knife died because the stabbings were better planned out. Had he kept that up, he would have had a much higher body count using a knife which never runs out of ammo and never needs reloading. Either way, gun or knife, you have to hit something vital to kill – the fact that you’re not at a distance makes this easier with a knife.
But you’re also deflecting. The simple fact of the matter is that if you can remove the motivation to kill by altering a person’s environment or addressing mental health, he incident doesn’t happen and it doesn’t matter what implement they would have decided to use. Then there are no victims at all and no traumatized survivors. That is why looking at affecting causes is infinitely more important and effective that focusing on a tool to achieve your goal of less gun deaths.
Not deflecting. The explanation ended up elsewhere on the page. (These threads are getting hard to follow and the comments hard to keep up with.) Basically, many organizations are attacking all the problems you mention on many different fronts. I just happen to be focused on gun violence, and specific ways to reduce gun violence. As long as there are violent people and guns, there will be gun violence. You can’t eliminate the people, and changing human behavior is a very broad approach to the problem. It’s an admirable approach, it could certainly help, but I don’t think you’ll ever succeed in completely eliminating that part of the human psyche that resorts to violence. Eliminating guns is the surest way to reduce gun violence.
And now we’re back to you wanting to eliminate guns – that’s why you will never be able to come to a compromise with gun owners – you want to eliminate guns. All of this despite the simple logic of substitution effect, the fact that we’ve seen it in effect in the data and that focusing on the implement is, at best, an accounting measure to make it look like your reducing the budget by moving the numbers elsewhere. I’ve given you point after point after point that the big picture of violent deaths is not affected by focusing on the implement, even if you could get deaths by that implement to zero and all I’m getting back from you is “I’m focusing on gun deaths”. I am now convinced that your focus is getting rid of guns, not gun death, at this point because you really don’t seem to care if those gun deaths turn into knife or bomb or bat deaths from the simple reason that the killing motivation is still there. You’ve ignored the data showing that gun control has had no effect on violent deaths and freely admit that the sociological approach would be more effective, but you wish to continue with futility. So instead of working in the legislature to provide backing and funding for these important programs to reduce violence, we instead have to fight with you on this because if the politicians were to pass your plan, they then go “we did something – time to stop worrying about it”
I’ve tried in every case to say eliminate or reduce or control guns, because I’m not an absolutist out to eliminate guns entirely. (In fact, a search of this entire page indicates I’ve done that.) So don’t misstate my position as an absolute that we both know is neither achievable nor fair to responsible gun owners.
You’ve also said that elimination would be the perfect solution – knowing that it can’t happen and trying to get as far as you can does not change what you want to happen. And your suggestions and earlier statements that you blame gun owners for shootings stands as counter to your proclaimed desire to be “fair” to gun owners.
I do blame gun owners for opposing tougher gun control laws while at the same time failing to take any positive action against their own “bad actors.” You object to others doing anything and you won’t do anything yourselves.
I’ve just spent days tellin you what needs to be done in order to reduce gun deaths. The NRA promotes all sorts of gun safety programs to prevent accidental deaths. And how many proposals have been suggested to improve the mental health issue? That’s us doing something. You claim we’re “not doing anything” because what needs to be done isn’t specific to guns. You’ve said yourself that there are all sorts of programs addressing what DOES need to be done, but we can’t get the plans to Congress for backing and funding because we have to spend all our time fighting you because just passing a law that doesn’t do anything of substance is easier to break down into a sound bite that politicians can digest than the hard work it will take to actually do something effective.