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D.C. Police Investigating NBC’s David Gregory On Violation Of Gun Laws

David-Gregory-magazine1-620x345

Meet The Press host David Gregory is being investigated for potential violations of the District of Columbia’s strict gun control laws in connection with his interview with NRA Vice-President Wayne LaPierre on Sunday:

The Washington Metropolitan Police Department is investigating whether any city laws were violated when NBC’s David Gregory displayed what appeared to be a 30-round gun magazine on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, a spokesman confirmed to POLITICO.

“The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating this matter,” said police officer and spokesman Araz Alali in an interview Tuesday.

When pressed on what the police department was investigating, Alali added, “The ‘Meet the Press’, David Gregory incident.”

“There are D.C. code violations, D.C. code restrictions on guns, ammunition. We are investigating this matter. Beyond the scope of that, I can’t comment any further,” he said.

On Sunday, in an interview with the National Rifle Association’s head, Wayne LaPierre, Gregory displayed what appeared to be a 30-bullet gun magazine. He pushed LaPierre on the question of whether fewer children would have died during the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre this month had the gunman had access to fewer bullets.

The presence of the gun magazine on the show raises questions about a section in the D.C. code — much cited by conservatives and gun rights activists after “Meet the Press” on Sunday — which stipulates that “No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’ means a magazine,” among other devices.

Based on a strict reading of the statute, and assuming that what Gregory was holding during his interview with LaPierre on Sunday was indeed a genuine ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’ as defined in the D.C. Code, then it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that there was a violation of the law, albeit a technical one since it’s unlikely that Gregory was also in possession of the rifle that the magazine needs to be attached to. For that matter, we don’t even know if the magazine in question is an empty one or one that is fully loaded.

For the record, though, if this is indeed a violation of the law, there isn’t likely to be a “journalistic” exception. Several years ago, another journalist here in the D.C. area faced prosecution after it was discovered that he had images of child pornography on his laptop. As a defense, he claimed that he was investigating the world of underground child pornography for a story he was writing and that he should be entitled to a First Amendment defense. After several hearings and appeals, the defense was rejected and the journalist in question went to Federal Prison. In other words, you cannot violate the law in the practice of  journalism.

Is that what happened? It seems unlikely here, but it will be interesting  to see what this investigation reveals.

Update: It took a little digging on Google, but here’s some detail on the journalist who asserted a First Amendment defense to a child pornography charge that I noted above:

An award-winning journalist was sentenced to 18 months in prison today after pleading guilty to two counts of receiving and trafficking child pornography on the Net.

Veteran radio reporter Larry Matthews was indicted on 15 counts of possessing the illegal material in July 1997. His attorneys, with support of media organizations, argued that Matthews obtained the material during a news investigation about the online trade of child pornography.

Despite Matthews’s defense, he pleaded guilty–a risky strategy his attorneys hope will help them beat U.S. District Court of Maryland Judge Alexander Williams’s July 1998 ruling that Matthews couldn’t use the First Amendment as a defense to the charges. Matthews is now expected to appeal the conviction.

If the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reverses the lower court’s ruling suppressing Matthews’s First Amendment defense, the journalist can then withdraw his conditional guilty plea and return to the lower court for trial, where he can present his whole story, his lawyers say.

Matthews had faced up to 15 years in prison and more than $250,000 in fines for each count against him. He was not fined but must report to serve his time in 60 days.

In April 2000, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the First Amendment was not a defense to the charges of possession of child pornography:

A journalist charged with violating child pornography laws while he researched a story did not have the right to argue before the jury that his activity deserved First Amendment protection, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond (4th Cir.) held on April 13.

The ruling upheld the 18-month prison sentence that journalist Larry Matthews accepted in a March 1999 plea agreement after federal District Judge Alexander Williams Jr. in Greenbelt, Md., refused to allow him to assert a First Amendment defense at trial. As part of the agreement, Matthews pleaded guilty to two charges of transmitting and receiving child pornography in June

Matthews has asserted since being indicted for violating federal child pornography laws in 1997 that he was working on a freelance article and needed to pose online as a trader in child pornography to adequately research the article, and that such reporting is protected by the First Amendment. Matthews had previously prepared a story on child pornography for WTOP, a Washington, D.C., radio station.

The court dismissed Matthews’ First Amendment argument as “powerful rhetoric” that has “visceral appeal” but which is not a recognized defense under the law. While such a defense may work in a prosecution over adult pornography, it does not apply to child pornography, because the interest in protecting the sexual exploitation and abuse of children justifies greater limits on its distribution, the court held. The interest at stake in adult pornography cases — protecting “the sensibilities of unwilling recipients” — can be outweighed if a work has artistic, literary or other value.

The court also rejected Matthews’ argument that the statutory provision under which he was prosecuted violates his due process rights because it applies even if there is no criminal intent. Proper application of the statute does not require that the defendant knew he was breaking the law or acted with bad motive or evil intent, the court held, but rather that he knowingly engaged in the activities that the statute criminalizes.

There’s a legitimate debate about whether this is the right outcome, but it strikes me that it is a correct application of the law as it stands.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Nikki says:

    Who cares? If Cathy Lanier puts any effort into this “investigation,” she will have wasted the tax payers’ money and should receive a reprimand for it (I don’t care that she’s the Chief).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 7

  2. So someone should be able to violate the law at will if they are a “journalist”?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  3. Mike says:

    Doug,

    The DC law is one of the strictest in the country. There is no stipulation about ammunition being present, nor having a gun that can accept the magazine. If you simply possess (not import or buy, possess) a “high capacity” magazine, you are in violation of the law. Period. Technically speaking if he had passed the magazine across the table to LaPierre and LaPierre had held it he would be guilty of the same offense. That’s how strict the law is.

    Of course, I don’t see how anyone will be able to prove it since Gregory can always say “well it wasn’t ACTUALLY a magazine, it was just a prop that was shaped like a magazine, it wasn’t actually capable of holding any ammunition.” I don’t think that’s what happened, I think they screwed up and didn’t think things all the way through, but it’s not about what happened, it’s about what you can prove.

    @Nikki:

    Haha, so it’s okay to not investigate people who might have broken gun laws as long as it’s the right kind of people? Glad to see you believe in equal protection under the law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  4. Nikki says:

    So someone should be able to violate the law at will if they are a “journalist”?

    So police should conduct an “investigation” of a journalist who displayed on national television what may or may not have been an actual magazine clip that may or may not have contained any rounds that definitely could not have been fired without the matching rifle which the journalist did not display on national television?

    And you call yourselves fiscal conservatives…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4

  5. Mike says:

    And I should add that countless gun owners have gotten tripped up by these “technical” violations before, because many gun laws, both at the federal level and in some states/local jurisdictions, are extremely complex…and each and every time the anti-gun folks have said “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” which I’m completely okay with, because ignorance of the law ISN’T an excuse. Just kind of interesting to see how they behave now that the shoe is on the other foot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  6. Mike says:

    @Nikki:

    If the law was written in such a way that said “possession of ‘high capacity’ magazines is legal provided you do not have ammunition present and/or do not have a firearm that is capable of accepting the magazine,” that would be one thing. But that’s not how it is written, and gun owners have gotten tripped up before for a violation similar to Gregory’s. Amusing that then we didn’t hear the chorus of “well we can’t investigate, it’s a waste of time/money.”

    Bad/unclear laws that disproportionately target a particular subset of the population generally only get changed when someone outside that subset gets ensnared by the law, often in a public manner. If white suburban kids were getting locked up for drug offenses at the same rate that black urban kids were, we’d have had drug policy reform a LONG time ago. That’s why equal protection under the law is so important.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  7. Nikki says:

    @Mike:

    And I should add that countless gun owners have gotten tripped up by these “technical” violations before, because many gun laws, both at the federal level and in some states/local jurisdictions, are extremely complex…

    Then perhaps this new national gun reg conversation should also include the streamlining of local/state/federal gun laws, since the current crop is so complex. Then gun owners would be less likely to run afoul of “technical” violations and citizens could be more assured that their children won’t be mass murdered in their classrooms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  8. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Gregory was trying to pull a stunt for ratings and publicity, and the “stunt” was illegal. It was little different than a reporter buying pot or coke to show how easy it is to get illegal drugs.

    Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  9. bk says:

    Just when I thought that the right wing whiny-ass titty babies couldn’t get more stupid…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  10. swearyanthony says:

    The gun nuts who are whining about this once again show that they *only* care about the 2nd amendment. The 1st is an acceptable loss.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  11. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @bk: You said it, pal. Those whiny right-wingers need to just accept that liberals are morally superior, and certain laws simply don’t apply to them. It’s only right-wingers that should be prosecuted for possessing those magazines; Gregory was just trying to save us all when he broke it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 13

  12. Nikki says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: BWAHAHAHA. You think Gregory is a liberal.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  13. Mike says:

    @swearyanthony:

    I care about all of the Bill of Rights. I also care about equal protection under the law…there is no “journalistic exemption” to breaking laws. There’s no First Amendment protection that says “oh, and by the way, if you’re a member of the press you have an automatic get out of jail free card when it comes to any and all laws.” I’m not saying Gregory can’t express his views, however much I may disagree with them, all I’m saying is that if he did in fact break a law (on national TV, no less) he should face the consequences.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  14. @swearyanthony:

    Please explain to me how the 1st Amendment is a defense to violating an otherwise (presumably) valid law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Tillman says:

    Hilarious.

    @Nikki: I would have also accepted “you think Gregory is a journalist.”

    I understand the reaction “it’d be a waste of money to prosecute Gregory on this, given other priorities.” I also understand the reaction “it’s about equality under the law, and some gun laws are stupid too.”

    However, they should totally prosecute him/the responsible parties at the network over this. It sends a bad message if the media elite can just break laws for sensationalism, especially on politically-charged Sunday talk shows. Not to mention exposing the dumb law and opening it up for re-examination, and giving MSNBC something to report on that might be interesting.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  16. superdestroyer says:

    @Nikki:

    Why have progressives been pushing the idea that even though everyone is equal, some people are more equal than others. I guess it is easy to propose bad policies if one believes that the policies will never apply to progressives.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  17. JKB says:

    The question is, special privilege for specially connected, i.e., the 1%? or are all equal in the eyes of the law?

    Now if DC would like to be intelligent and modify the law… well…in the future they might avoid trapping one of their favored.

    But let’s look at some options Gregory and his minions could have used to avoid becoming gun felons

    Seems to me, they could have removed the spring and carrier, thus simply having a sheet metal box that looked like a magazine

    Or they could have picked up a toy one

    Or they could have used a photo.

    Or, which channel has the hologram?

    Of course, option 1 might undermine their premise that denying the law abiding high capacity magazines such magazines will be unavailable for those planning criminal acts

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  18. JKB says:

    @Nikki:

    What investigation. The studio is in DC. He held up a device he identified as a high capacity magazine while in the studio in DC.

    Now, Gregory could demonstrate that he was not holding an actual magazine. It would have been wise to film that in sequence with the broadcast.

    BTW, it is a magazine. Not a clip, not a magazine clip, not a high magazine clip

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  19. bk says:

    @JKB:

    BTW, it is a magazine. Not a clip, not a magazine clip, not a high magazine clip

    You represent the worst of the worst. People die every die, but it is more important that we use the correct terminology. You people disgust me.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 16 Thumb down 8

  20. bk says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Please explain to me how the 1st Amendment is a defense to violating an otherwise (presumably) valid law

    Please explain to us why you think this is a BFD. Please set forth how you would have reacted had you been watching MTP, seen this happen, and NOT waited to see how the Daily Caller or “Tiwtchy” responded. Seriously. We’ll wait.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  21. Andre Kenji says:

    @Mike:

    There’s no First Amendment protection that says “oh, and by the way, if you’re a member of the press you have an automatic get out of jail free card when it comes to any and all laws.”

    No, but one could argue that Gregory was using the magazines to make an argument and that´s part of speech. That falls under the First Amendment, and if someone wanted to build a sculpture using these magazines, for instance, it would be the same thing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  22. Andre Kenji says:

    By the way, that´s the internet. I´m not a lawyer, and I´ve never studied Law, I live in a country that uses Roman Law, but I´m arguing about the US Constitution with an American Lawyer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  23. JKB says:

    @Andre Kenji: Gregory was using the magazines to make an argument and that´s part of speech.

    so if someone was to brandish a firearm while making a point in a speech or conversation, that’d be covered by the 1st amendment as part of speech? I can tell you in reality if the police are around, you might get shot but will surely have your firearm taken and most likely be arrested.

    You have to consider the logical implications of your assertions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. bk says:

    I’m serious. I watched the show. I have never been a fan of David Gregory; I think he is a dick. I have never been a fan of guns. I think that La Pierre is a dick, but whose policies are more repellent to me. Be that as it may, had La Pierre been shown in the middle of the interview waving around a magazine/clip (help me out here, JKB), I would have said – wow, that just REALLY CONFIRMS that he is a dick, not that I needed any more confirmation.

    What I would NOT have done is join the Daily Caller/Twitchy police and write internet tough guy Cheetos-fueled ARREST THIS GUY posts from my mother’s basement. In my underwear. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much how this “scandal” started. Ooooh, shiny deflecting object!

    I’m waiting for the affixing of “-gate” to this. If it hasn’t already started.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  25. Jib says:

    OK, what actually is the penalty on this law? Because if its a fine, then pay the damn fine and lets move on. I am tired of elites of all types getting around the rule of the law because it is for ‘those people and I am different’.

    Honestly, he had to hold a real clip, a picture would not do? Friggin prima donna talent….

    However, if its 10 years hard time then I think we can all agree that’s a little much.

    Honestly, anyone know what penalties Mr Gregory is facing? Does it matter or all we all just drunk on indignation and good cheer!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  26. Mike says:

    @Jib:

    The statute carries a maximum penalty of a $1000 fine and/or up to a year in prison.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Jib says:

    Not a felony? No long term issues like voting. etc? $1000 fine a just a one nights tab for Gregory, 1 year in prison, thats a little tough for a clip with no bullets and no gun.

    $1000 fine, 30 hours community service doing anti-gun You Tube/TV spots for DC.

    NEXT CASE….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @bk:

    If any conservatives misstates something, progressives immediately jump on it and use to show that all conservatives are uninfomred and stupid. Yet, when progressives consistently confuse terms such as automatic, semi-automatic, magazine, clip, and high-powered, are all conservatives suppose to ignore the mistakes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  29. Herb says:

    It’s going to be so funny if it’s determined that the magazine belonged to, and was brought into the studio, by Wayne LaPierre.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  30. Franklin says:

    The wording of the law appears to violated here, no doubt. But, prosecutors have always had discretion and priorities, and this one may choose to make an example or decide he/she has bigger fish to fry. Regardless, Gregory was playing with fire by violating the law here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Andre Kenji: No, but one could argue that Gregory was using the magazines to make an argument and that´s part of speech. That falls under the First Amendment, and if someone wanted to build a sculpture using these magazines, for instance, it would be the same thing.

    So, if I wanted to argue in favor of legalizing marijuana, and held up a joint as a visual aid, I’d be free to do so? Good to know, dude!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  32. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Gregory has a ready-made defense: it was a fake magazine, not a real one. He just has to remind folks that NBC has a history of faking news stories — the GM truck scam, the Zimmerman 911 tape…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  33. Tsar Nicholas says:

    - You don’t need an ironic violation of a gun control ordinance by a liberal Democrat journalist to know that D.C. has one of the strictest gun control ordinances in the nation. The high rate of gun violence in D.C. over the past few decades itself is proof positive that it’s a strict “gun control” zone.

    - Liberals are extremely airheaded, none more so than media liberals, so you can’t expect them to connect sophomoric dots, even if you tried to help them out using a puppet show. But in this high dudgeon mode zaniness over guns the left’s sudden obsession with “high capacity” magazines truly is among the most absurd and loopy of obsessions.

    If you banned clips with a certain capacity it would have absolutely zero effect on the next Sandy Hill perpetrator. First, there are millions upon millions of high capacity magazines already in circulation. Second, the day after that ban would take effect a black market for new high capacity clips would develop and would continue production unabated. Third, even if you someone managed to eliminate the black market, and somehow waved a magic wand and confiscated the millions upon millions of high capacity clips already in circulation, the next Lanza-style spree killer simply would carry more clips with him. Reloading a gun takes seconds. 10 x 30 = 30 x 10.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  34. john personna says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    because carrying 30 magazines is easy …

    But there is no reason that civilian weapons should have fast-change magazines. A tool requirement, just one requiring a 2 or 3 second operation, changes the whole picture. Then your aspiring spree killer has to build his fantasy around shoot, get tool, drop cartridge, load, shoot, find tool again …

    There are scenarios good and bad gun owners construct to justify their purchase. The spree killers have and are reinforced by that “shoot, shoot, shoot” scenario. The 30-round magazines support them practically and emotionally. They build the glamour.

    Take away the 30 round magazines and you’ll have fewer people humping around a backpack full of small ones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  35. john personna says:

    (This is supported by the data. Households with weapons have more suicides. Sure, people without guns could do it another way. It is just (for gun advocates) an unfortunate truth in the data that they do not. The availability of the weapon, the scenario building, the glamour, go together.)

    (Remember, teen suicides are higher in gun owning homes. That rules out that the gun was bought for the purpose of suicide.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  36. Tony W says:

    @john personna:

    Households with weapons have more suicides.

    So maybe it is best we just wait for the problem to solve itself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: But there is no reason that civilian weapons should have fast-change magazines.

    Just like there’s no reason for cars that can go faster than 65 MPH. Or alcoholic beverages composed of more than a certain percentage of alcohol. Or any of a host of other examples.

    What you mean is, “I can’t accept any reason, and therefore my opinion should have the force of law.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  38. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    As it happens, going over 65 and selling 190 proof everclear are both illegal in my state.

    Thank you for conceding the argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  39. john personna says:

    (Maybe I am a little like Gregory. I have some 190 proof everclear from Texas. I don’t drink it though. I use it as fuel for my Caldera Cone. And so I am not the target of the law I ignore.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: Fool, you’re making MY argument. Can you give a reason WHY we should have cars that can go faster than, say, 80 MPH?

    It’s the same mentality as Bloomberg is imposing on New York City, banning transfats, sodas over a certain size, and all those other nannying moves.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  41. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Now you are just arguing implementation details.

    You have accepted the important piece, that societies may place limits on individuals for the safety of the whole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: Acknowledging that it’s happening is nowhere near accepting that it’s valid.

    The standard for “to prevent a few bad people from doing bad things, we’re going to deprive everyone of their right to choose” should be exceptionally high.

    (Back to the topic at hand) Except for elite liberals, of course. Rules are for the plebes and the proles, not the innately superior ones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  43. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “It’s the same mentality as Bloomberg is imposing on New York City, banning transfats, sodas over a certain size, and all those other nannying moves.”

    Is it?

    I mean, maybe it is a nanny state move to tell psycho killers they can’t use 30 round clips in their massacres, but……I don’t think it is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  44. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    We have limitations on cars, guns, and alcohol. We have use limits on all of those. We have manufacturing limits on all of those.

    The argument that we can’t regulate guns because that would be a new thing is pretty smelly.

    It is an old and well-established thing, in line with other examples as we’ve noted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  45. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “The standard for “to prevent a few bad people from doing bad things, we’re going to deprive everyone of their right to choose” should be exceptionally high.”

    Like…..higher than dead school kids?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  46. john personna says:

    @Herb:

    Another smelly argument, that mere seconds of inconvenience to legal shooters is worth more than even just 1 or 2 school children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  47. Herb says:

    @john personna: Yeah, well…..what do we expect? The “FREEEDUMMB!” folks know their preferred firearm policy makes it easier for bad people to acquire and unleash these weapons. They just don’t care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. john personna says:

    @this:

    Really, idiot downvoter?

    You actually rate a few seconds of your time higher than the life of a child?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  49. matt says:

    @john personna: Assumptions. Assuming that a magazine limit would be enforceable, assuming that all evil magazines would disappear magically, assuming that no black market magazines would appear (i mean it’s not like we have trouble stopping tons of drugs crossing the border), assuming that the criminal cares about the law, assuming that the criminal doesn’t find the smaller mags easier to bullet count, assuming that the reload might save a life.

    Hell going with your view we could assume that children are saved every year because the criminals had trouble counting to 30 during their shooting spree and thus dry fired at some kids who were then able to escape. Hell we KNOW that people were saved by the aura theater shooter’s gun jamming because he used a shitty drum magazine. If that shooter had used 10 or 20 round magazines he would of racked up more kills instead of spending time with a useless gun. Which gave people precious time to run away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  50. john personna says:

    @matt:

    It is very easy to assume that magazine limits and bullet buttons will save “a life.” That isn’t a high bar.

    That’s why gun advocates have been arguing the last week “we can’t stop all shootings.”

    Duh. They set their straw man out at the other end, because they know that any restriction on magazines and reloading will move things at the margin. We may not be able to predict precisely how 10 round magazines change shootings versus 5 round magazines, but we certainly know the direction of change. An increase in difficulty must incrementally move the shooting toll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

  51. john personna says:

    (it is really a pathetic argument “that we don’t know(!!!) if small magazines make spree killings harder(!!!) – talk about pretend idiocy)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  52. Herb says:

    @matt:

    “Hell we KNOW that people were saved by the aura theater shooter’s gun jamming because he used a shitty drum magazine.”

    People were saved?????

    That dude killed a dozen people and injured several more. I live in Aurora, went to that theater often, live five blocks from the dude’s boobytrapped apartment, and I used to work with one of the victims. He’s on permanent disability now because, unfortunately, he wasn’t “saved” when the gunman shot him twice.

    We’ve been inundated with all kinds of advice for what to do when the shooter shows up. Rush him. Shoot him with your concealed weapon. Hope he bought his 30 round clip from the crappy catalog. It’s all reactive.

    When it comes to proactively making sure the Loughners and the Moores and the Lanzas don’t have easy access to these weapons…..what ideas do you guys have?

    Can they be conveyed in words rather than shrugs?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  53. john personna says:

    @Herb:

    When it comes to proactively making sure the Loughners and the Moores and the Lanzas don’t have easy access to these weapons…..what ideas do you guys have?

    Not only that, we need to change the way they view the “possibility” of their spree. Maybe they would have gone if they only had 6-guns and repeaters, or maybe they just would not have built the same kind of scenario in their heads at all.

    If Lanza’s mom had only small capacity target pistols, would he even have gotten it in his head this he disliked small children enough to do them in?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  54. john personna says:

    Shorter: Lanza had the guns, the high capacity magazines, the ammunition … he went looking for targets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  55. JKB says:

    @john personna: It is very easy to assume that magazine limits and bullet buttons will save “a life.”

    Irony is…this post is about the abject failure of DC’s high capacity magazine ban from even keeping theoretically law-abiding people from possessing and using high capacity magazines in DC.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  56. Tillman says:

    An increase in difficulty must incrementally move the shooting toll.

    People look at these arguments all too often from a pure numbers perspective, like “how many people can we save by implementing/not implementing X,” when really they should be considering the statistical likelihood of how many people will commit X crime if it is more difficult to accomplish. That’s what I don’t understand about people who vehemently oppose further gun regulation: they don’t seem to realize that convenience raises the number of people willing to do something, even though marketers have known this for centuries.

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  57. JKB says:

    @Herb: When it comes to proactively making sure the Loughners and the Moores and the Lanzas don’t have easy access to these weapons…..what ideas do you guys have?

    You can’t, regardless of your fantasy world. Reportedly, these individuals were highly intelligent. Therefore, they can devise a way to achieve their goal. Perhaps not with a firearm but firearms are not difficult to make with a few tools. High capacity magazines are sheet metal boxes, a spring and a follower.

    The only way to proactively reduce the damage these types of individuals do is to have armed good guys as widely dispersed as possible. Mean and women who have upon them the capability to use deadly force to stop the threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury these types of killers present.

    Reality’s a bitch.

    BTW, I would recommend going to movies at one of the apparently many other theaters in Aurora bypassed as the killer sought out the one that was a helpless victim zone, i.e., posted gun free with threat of arrest to the law abiding who might carry a firearm.

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  58. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Another dumb argument.

    Which came first, crime in DC or gun regulations?

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  59. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna: In Aurora there was a additional factor: there is nothing in the US Constitution talking about tear gas, and it´s legal to buy tear gas in Colorado. That´s something that made the massacre even worse.

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  60. Herb says:

    @john personna:

    “maybe they just would not have built the same kind of scenario in their heads at all.”

    Right.

    Although I think it’s possible they would have conceived that scenario in their heads. They just wouldn’t be able to act on it. Which….problem solved.

    @Tillman:

    “they don’t seem to realize that convenience raises the number of people willing to do something, even though marketers have known this for centuries.”

    Hmmm….hate to say it, but I think you’re being too generous. I think they’re aware that convenience makes these massacres more likely to happen.

    They just do not care.
    It’s a small price to pay for “FREEEEEEEDUMB!!!”

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  61. Andre Kenji says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13

    : So, if I wanted to argue in favor of legalizing marijuana, and held up a joint as a visual aid, I’d be free to do so?

    In a TV Studio? Why not?

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  62. john personna says:

    @Tillman:

    That’s what I’m sayin’

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  63. JKB says:

    @Tillman: …that convenience raises the number of people willing to do something, even though marketers have known this for centuries.

    This is so true, which is why the killers select places with bold advertising that they contain helpless, unarmed people who are unlikely to inconvenience the killer by being able to defend themselves.

    Merchants and politicians work very hard and use the the risk of a felony arrest to make sure that the killers are not inconvenienced or surprised by a law abiding citizen with a firearm.

    In 1990 and 1995, Congress took great pains to ensure that no one would be at the school to protect the children. Not just in the building but within 1000 feet. They funded the posting of signs upon the sidewalk to alert the killer that the area was a designated mass murder hunting ground.

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  64. matt says:

    @john personna: Well the statistics out of California completely contradicts your assertion abut bullet buttons or magazine restrictions save lives.

    @Herb: Time spent messing with the gun was time he didn’t spend shooting people. Hence people were saved. Deal with it. Actually in all reality you should be glad the Aurora murderer used a gun. If he had put his effort into building a truck bomb far more people would of died. He obviously had the capability as his apartment was rigged quite well with bombs.

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  65. john personna says:

    @matt:

    What statistics do you have? Anything normalized for the independent variable?

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  66. john personna says:

    … I think I’ll sign off for a while.

    The nice thing about this thread though is that so many “gun advocates” have stood up with so many dumb arguments. I’m sure they highlight for normal people what this is all about. They do more damage to their cause than any of us could. Gun advicates will accept no, none, zero, inconveniences, to save even one life. They have not even argued that magazine or ejector restrictions are worse than inconveniences. They’ve accepted that. As Herb notes, they just don’t care.

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  67. Tony W says:

    Assuming that a magazine limit would be enforceable, assuming that all evil magazines would disappear magically, assuming that no black market magazines would appear…

    This is the classic dichotomy we hear over and over again. Because a particular remedy is not perfect, it should not even be attempted. We also hear the slippery-slope fallacy quite often from “conservatives” (i.e. “we must not regulate ammo purchases, because the next thing is going to be door-to-door confiscation).

    In fact, the situation we have created in America over 200+ years is quite complex and will require efforts on many fronts – including (at least) investments in education and mental health, reasonable regulation and limits on weaponry, and reasonable economic opportunities for everyone. A great deal of fear and ostracizing of the “other” (black, gay, Jew, Irish, Muslim, CEO, etc.) will subsequently die out when people have true confidence in themselves and their abilities to protect and provide for their families in nonviolent ways. In my view this is the real “liberal agenda” if there is one.

    Gun owners, like religious folks, tend to think in stark terms of black and white – one solution must fix everything, or we will do nothing. Unfortunately this simplistic worldview is more the norm than the exception.

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  68. Herb says:

    @JKB:

    “You can’t, regardless of your fantasy world. Reportedly, these individuals were highly intelligent. Therefore, they can devise a way to achieve their goal. Perhaps not with a firearm but firearms are not difficult to make with a few tools. High capacity magazines are sheet metal boxes, a spring and a follower. “

    I’m living in a fantasy world? You’re the one who thinks these guys were more like Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2 than “King Jeremy the Wicked.” Highly intelligent?

    They’re so intelligent they’re either dead or in prison.

    The only way to proactively reduce the damage these types of individuals do is to have armed good guys as widely dispersed as possible.

    That’s a very Baptist view. But this is NOT the “only” way to reduce the damage. It’s one way, yes, and it’s the method you prefer, but it’s not the “only” way.

    As for this:

    I would recommend going to movies at one of the apparently many other theaters in Aurora bypassed as the killer sought out the one that was a helpless victim zone, i.e., posted gun free with threat of arrest to the law abiding who might carry a firearm.

    Buzz off.

    Feel free to substitute “Buzz” with the appropriate four-letter word of your choice.

    Who is turning public spaces into “helpless victim zones?” Psycho killers, with an assist from the NRA and their toadies.

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  69. Herb says:

    @matt:

    “Time spent messing with the gun was time he didn’t spend shooting people. Hence people were saved. Deal with it.”

    I guess if someone broke out all your teeth but one, they would have “saved” your tooth.

    I don’t have to deal with anything. But I can give you the name and number of a guy who’s going to be dealing with a lot of problems for the rest of his life, you know, mostly because his “savior” was busy pumping bullets into his body.

    If he had put his effort into building a truck bomb far more people would of died.

    Yeah, and if he had built a nuclear weapon out of salad bowls, it would have been even WORSE.

    At least with the truck bomb, we’d know we’re dealing with a real villain, and not just some punk kid with emotional problems and a credit card.

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  70. Tillman says:

    @john personna: You did say that, but I used more words to say it. Unpacked it, if you will.

    @JKB:

    Merchants and politicians work very hard and use the the risk of a felony arrest to make sure that the killers are not inconvenienced or surprised by a law abiding citizen with a firearm.

    Okay, see, this is where you’re going astray. You’re presuming killers are an entirely different species from “law-abiding citizen with a firearm” when the two are only separated by, say, the pull of a loaded gun’s trigger while aiming at someone. Lanza was a law-abiding citizen with a firearm right up until the moment he pulled the trigger in an elementary school. We’re not dealing with two different populations, one where everyone uses guns responsibly and one where no one does. We’re dealing with one population of people with access to guns. You want a law that makes owning a gun (or certain types of gun) just inconvenient enough that, when a law-abiding citizen gets it into their head to kill someone else, the gun is not an easy option. This, if nothing else, minimizes collateral damage.

    The determined criminal will usurp and ignore any law in his way. The point is to make the law annoying enough to deter criminals with less perseverance from acting. Making everyone get a license in order to drive a car is inconvenient as hell, but it reduces the amount of death in the population overall.

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  71. Nikki says:

    @Tillman:
    “I would have also accepted “you think Gregory is a journalist.””

    Yeah, but I had already conceded the “journalist” when I responded to Doug. ;)

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  72. Nikki says:

    Lanza was a law-abiding citizen with a firearm right up until the moment he pulled the trigger in an elementary school

    Actually, it was up until the moment he shot his mother in the face, but we get your point.

    The point is to make the law annoying enough to deter criminals with less perseverance from acting.

    Good Christ, I wish we had thinking lawmakers who would/could finally get this.

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  73. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @john personna: There are limits on guns. I have no problem with sensible, reasonable, practical, Constitutional limitations. (The one on automatic weapons restrictions fit those requirements. The “Assault Weapons Ban” fell laughably short.)

    I haven’t seen any proposals that meet those criteria thus far in this thread.

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  74. JKB says:

    @Tillman: You’re presuming killers are an entirely different species from “law-abiding citizen with a firearm” when the two are only separated by, say, the pull of a loaded gun’s trigger while aiming at someone.

    So anyone with a gun, private citizen, police, military, etc. are all killers? What separates the law abiding from the criminal/murder is the following of the law, which recognizes intend, due care, justification, excusability, etc. What makes a criminal is inside the person. The pulling of a trigger while pointing at someone is an act. It is not a criminal act unless there is unjustifiable intent (murder) or willful negligence or a lack of due care (manslaughter).

    The point is to make the law annoying enough to deter criminals with less perseverance from acting.

    So you don’t think life in prison or a long sentence deters criminals? How about the death penalty? Would that deter criminals with “less perseverance” from acting?

    How about say, letting people lawfully carry? Your criminal with “less perseverance” might be annoyed at the prospect of being met with deadly force by any number of armed citizens so much that it deters them from acting?

    Do you know, that historically, and I can’t imagine this hasn’t been verified by scientific study that the possibility of being killed has been, not only annoying to people, but known to deter them from acting in a manner likely to get them killed. It is the whole concept behind the police saying, “stop or we will shoot”.

    But in reality, we need capabilities that will stop the criminal with the patience and perseverance of Job so that nothing annoys them into not acting. That capability is an armed person. The most effective armed persons are well-dispersed armed citizens who are likely to be where the criminal is and not have to come screaming in from far afield as the police most often have to do. The armed citizen can then increase the annoyance factor presented to the criminal by punching small holes in them with high speed projectiles. The most persistent criminals may still not be annoyed enough to be deterred but the sudden drop in blood pressure renders their level of annoyance moot and their ability to continue to act ineffective.

    So I agree, we need a law permitting the widespread lawful carry of firearms. Then if your law-abiding citizen suddenly going criminal happens, he/she can be annoyed all to hell until they are rendered no longer a threat of imminent death or serious bodily injury to others. It’s the only way. If anyone can go over to the darkside at anytime, then the only recourse is for all others be ready to stop them.

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  75. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    You still have not told us if you are willing to pony up to pay for the additional cost of repealing the helmet and seat belt laws you despise.

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  76. anjin-san says:

    Lots of talk about guns, little about reforming mental health care. If we want to actually do something about this problem, both issues need to be addressed.

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  77. Nikki says:

    Hey wingnut gun nuts, this David Gregory headline at Mediaite perfectly encapsulates why the rest of us are laughing at you.

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  78. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @Nikki: Darling Nikki, I advocate fighting stupid laws legally, not by ignoring them. And so do most responsible people. Which, naturally, excludes Mr. Gregory and… well, a lot of loony lefties posting here.

    And now it appears that NBC asked the DC police for permission to use that magazine… and were denied. So there goes the “ignorance” excuse.

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  79. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    So, if “no criminal intent” is enough to avoid being punished for breaking gun laws, why the hell were these people charged?

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  80. JKB says:

    @Nikki:

    Nice headline, completely wrong but then that is par for the course for Progressives. Conservatives are advocating for the rule of law and the equal application of the law to all people regardless of their economic, social, political or other class. Not only did Mr. Gregory and others, violate the DC gun restriction laws, he then openly and proudly displayed his disregard for the laws of the city he has chosen to work (and live?) in.

    So I take it you are against the equal application of law? You advocate for special privilege for special born?

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  81. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    DC Police should only go after Gregory if they also go after George H. W. Bush for possession of crack.

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  82. Dazedandconfused says:

    What if David borrowed it from the local police?

    I’m afraid I won’t be able to bear the thought of Fluffy as a martyr. Of any kind.

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  83. Nikki says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: Would DEARLY love to hear from all those who claiming equal protection under the law. Citizens have known for decades that the law is not equally applied. The only reason Jenos and his ilk want Gregory prosecuted is so the wingnuts can FINALLY get a scalp in 2012.

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  84. wr says:

    @JKB: “Reality’s a bitch”

    Yes, reality. Or, as sane people call it, paranoid delusions.

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  85. The Q says:

    Hey Matt, concerning California the murder and crime rates in LA and SF are down to 1960s era levels.with murder rates 50% below their 1970s rate, all the while California has junked gun control and followed the NRA errrr, sorry, Californians have very strict gun laws, so quit popinting out just Chicago and DC as gun control failures.

    LA and SF have a much bigger population than either of those two cities and our crime has plummeted along with strict gun laws and less gun owners.

    Gun freaks just don’t get it.

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  86. wr says:

    @JKB: Actually, you’re advocating for the rights of people to shoot anyone they decide is “going criminal.” You know, like that white guy in Florida who shot the black kids in their truck because they were criminally playing music too loudly.

    There’s a lot I dislike about our current gun laws, but the one I fear most is the thought of people — like, say, you and Tsar and SuperD — who have decided that only the class of people most resembling themselves are actually worthy of being considered citizens (or humans) and who carry guns in public. I really don’t want to see SuperD decide that turning us into a “one-party country” is a crime, and deciding to take out a few criminals.

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  87. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy: Bush had permission of law enforcement to use that, and gave it back to them after displaying it. NBC asked the DC cops for permission, and were told no — and did it anyway.

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  88. JKB says:

    @wr:

    Go back to school, learn how to comprehend what you read. I advocated nothing of the sort.

    Cute though, you disliked what I wrote so you seek to characterize it with your absurd interpretation.

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  89. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @Nikki: Alternately, we could be pointing out just how ridiculous the laws are (as we’ve been saying all along), and seeing if you can actually uphold your own standards against one of your own. Responsible gun owners who disagree with the law fight to change them, they don’t just ignore them.

    Obviously, the answer is no. The law is for the little people, the gun-nuts, and certainly not to apply to the Superior People.

    Alinsky Rule #4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.”

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  90. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @JKB: Don’t be so harsh on wr. Yeah, what you said is true, but it’s all he knows. It’s all he can do.

    He’s more to be pitied than loathed. And, generally, ignored.

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  91. Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail says:

    @There’s a lot I dislike about our current gun laws, but the one I fear most is the thought of people — like, say, you and Tsar and SuperD — who have decided that only the class of people most resembling themselves are actually worthy of being considered citizens (or humans) and who carry guns in public.

    Which is exactly what you and your side are advocating. Only the “right” class of people — law enforcement, licensed and certified “security” workers, and a few other elites, while the rest of the proles and plebes can suck it.

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  92. wr says:

    @JKB: “Go back to school, learn how to comprehend what you read. I advocated nothing of the sort”

    I’ve read and compreheded everything you’ve ever posted, and your view of the world comes through loud and clear. You divide the world into wonderful, brilliant, generous (white) rich people, and then the losers, takers, moochers and assorted sub-humans who exist only because the upper classes are so darned generous.

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  93. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail: If you can’t tell the difference between a set of laws that confines gun ownership to licensed law-enforcement officials and one that confines it to “elites,” then you have truly accomplished the impossible — you have proven yourself to be even more stupid than anyone here has imagined.

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  94. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: So, you’re saying that only the cops should be armed. No one else. Ever. Under any circumstances.

    And yeah, “elites.” When you’re saying that certain people have more rights than others, then you’re defining an elite. Own it.

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  95. bill says:

    so he can pay the $1,000 fine, not a real big deal aside from how he’s putting down the “armed guards in schools” response while his kids have armed guards in their private school….more elitist bs from the left.

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  96. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @bill: Plus, bill, it would make it rather difficult for Mr. Gregory to legally own a gun in the future. If he’s a good liberal, that is also “not a real big deal.”

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  97. An Interested Party says:

    ….more elitist bs from the left.

    If he’s a good liberal, that is also “not a real big deal.”

    It’s quite amusing that some people consider Gregory to be such a leftist…it distorts reality as well as the argument but it does allow said people to beat up their favorite strawmen…

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  98. matt says:

    @john personna: The FBI statistics itself clearly shows that California’s bullet buttons and magazine limits are not stopping murders.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-20

    @The Q: Murder rates are down a LOT everywhere not just California. That’s my point that despite what you say murder and violent crime involving guns is at a historical low over the last couple decades. The country has seen a massive decrease in crime overall over the last several decades. California itself is about average in it’s declines. Nothing special going on there at all.

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  99. matt says:

    @Herb: Yet you talk about how extreme measures are worth it to save one life. Till that one life isn’t part of your talking point apprently..

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  100. Herb says:

    @matt:

    ” Yet you talk about how extreme measures are worth it to save one life.”

    Extreme? Please.

    You’re the one who thinks efforts to keep deadly weapons out of the hands of psycho killers is “extreme.”

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  101. matt says:

    @Herb: I agree we should keep deadly weapons such as cars,bomb materials, knives, blunt objects, guns,and about anything out of psycho killers hands. Matter fact several hundred people are murdered a year by hands so we should probably amputate their hands too.

    So I only ask for you to start point out the psycho killers so we can begin to clean this society up.

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  102. john personna says:

    @matt:

    I asked you if you had normalized data, controlled for the change in question. That is not.

    It is so sad that you think that data proves the marginal impact of gun law that I don’t think I can even talk to you about it.

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  103. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian Who Has No Pony Tail:

    There are limits on guns. I have no problem with sensible, reasonable, practical, Constitutional limitations. (The one on automatic weapons restrictions fit those requirements. The “Assault Weapons Ban” fell laughably short.)

    The strange thing is, we aren’t talking about an assault weapons ban.

    We are talking about incremental change – reduced magazine size and bullet buttons.

    Of course those are sensible, reasonable, practical, and Constitutional limitations.

    The only argument against them is that they are “inconvenient” to law abiding shooters.

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  104. bill says:

    @An Interested Party: i don’t know that he’s “card carrying” member but he leans way more to the left than right. and the nads that he has when his school has armed guards vs. the rest of us? wth?

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  105. matt says:

    @john personna: Your bullet buttons and magazine limits had no noticeable effect on murder rate in California so I see no reason to force the rest of the country to implement similar laws.

    Your cries for “normalization” is a sad attempt at distracting from the realities of the discussion at hand. I never once saw you ask for normalization of data when you were comparing the USA to England.

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