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Meaningful Action To Prevent More Tragedies Like This

Will the massacre of twenty children in a Connecticut elementary school mark a turning point in America’s gun culture? Don’t count on it.

NYT (“Debate on Gun Control Is Revived, Amid a Trend Toward Fewer Restrictions“):

The day before a gunman massacred 20 schoolchildren in their classrooms in Connecticut on Friday, lawmakers in Michigan passed a bill — over the objections of the state’s school boards — that would allow people to carry concealed weapons in schools.

That same day, Ohio lawmakers passed a bill that would allow guns in cars at the Statehouse garage. Earlier in the week, a federal appeals court struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois. And Florida officials announced that they would soon issue their millionth concealed weapon and firearm license — or, as a state news release put it, the program would be “One Million Strong.”

The legal and political debate over the nation’s gun laws was following a familiar trajectory: toward fewer restrictions. Now, as the country absorbs news of yet another mass shooting, this one claiming the lives of young children, both supporters and opponents of stricter gun laws are asking whether the carnage might change that pattern at the state or national levels.

As President Obama used his weekly Saturday address to repeat his impassioned but vague call to take “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this,” some gun control advocates said they hoped the shooting would be a catalyst for change.

“We genuinely believe that this one is different,” Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said in an interview on Saturday. “It’s different because no decent human being can look at a tragedy like this and not be outraged by the fact that it can happen in our nation. And because this time, we’re really poised to harness that outrage and create a focused and sustained outcry for change.”

Writing in the New York Review of Books, Garry Wills calls guns “Our Moloch.”

Few crimes are more harshly forbidden in the Old Testament than sacrifice to the god Moloch (for which see Leviticus 18.21, 20.1-5). The sacrifice referred to was of living children consumed in the fires of offering to Moloch. Ever since then, worship of Moloch has been the sign of a deeply degraded culture. Ancient Romans justified the destruction of Carthage by noting that children were sacrificed to Moloch there. Milton represented Moloch as the first pagan god who joined Satan’s war on humankind:

First Moloch, horrid king, besmear’d with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears,
Though for the noise of Drums and Timbrels loud
Their children’s cries unheard, that pass’d through fire
To his grim idol. (Paradise Lost 1.392-96)

Read again those lines, with recent images seared into our brains—“besmeared with blood” and “parents’ tears.” They give the real meaning of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning. That horror cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god. We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily—sometimes, as at Sandy Hook, by directly throwing them into the fire-hose of bullets from our protected private killing machines, sometimes by blighting our children’s lives by the death of a parent, a schoolmate, a teacher, a protector. Sometime this is done by mass killings (eight this year), sometimes by private offerings to the god (thousands this year).

The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?

Its power to do good is matched by its incapacity to do anything wrong. It cannot kill. Thwarting the god is what kills. If it seems to kill, that is only because the god’s bottomless appetite for death has not been adequately fed. The answer to problems caused by guns is more guns, millions of guns, guns everywhere, carried openly, carried secretly, in bars, in churches, in offices, in government buildings. Only the lack of guns can be a curse, not their beneficent omnipresence.

The debate over guns is much like debates over religion, except more dogmatic. The automobile is the only other of our inventions that kills more innocent others; but we’re constantly reacting to that fact by tinkering with the technology and imposing regulations to make cars safer. Any attempt to make it harder to use a gun to kill people, even accidentally, is treated as an act of tyranny and the slippery slope to Fascism.

Part of this is a function of the fact that the right to bear arms is enshrined in our Constitution. Our homes and “effects” are the only others of our possessions to even get a mention although, oddly, the 4th Amendment has been much less zealously safeguarded than the 2nd. The police can search your body and your automobile pretty much on a whim; the Supreme Court has time and again said so, citing public safety concerns nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. For that matter, even our most fundamental right, freedom of speech, has long been burdened with “time, place, and manner” restrictions. But requiring trigger locks on guns not in use? Or tell people they can’t carry a concealed handgun in a crowded shopping mall? That’s unconstitutional. (Unless, oddly, it’s a federal courthouse; then, public safety requires that we be searched and stripped of not only our weapons but our cellular telephones.)

Indeed, despite a number of widely publicized shooting sprees over the years, many of them in America’s schools, support for gun rights has only grown:

And, as Max Fisher illustrates in a series of charts, Americans own an inordinate number of guns.

Or, as Fisher puts it,

Americans don’t just have more guns that anyone else – 270 million privately held firearms. They also have the highest gun ownership per capita rate in the world, with an average of about nine guns for every 10 Americans. The second highest gun ownership rate in the world is Yemen; yes, Americans have nearly twice as many guns per person as do Yemenis, who live in a conflict-torn Arab nation still dealing with poverty, political unrest, a separatist Shia insurgency, an al-Qaeda branch, and the aftereffects of a 1994 civil war.

Now, as it happens, I own more firearms than the average American and the average Yemeni combined. They’re all long guns—rifles and shotguns—that were once owned by either my late father or my late wife’s late father. And they’re all stored in a location and state of readiness that ensures my children can’t get to them, thus making them useless for personal protection unless the assailant gives me a lot of warning (in which case, I’m much more likely to leave the house than engage in a shootout). But, nonetheless, I own them.

While I’m not a hunter, I support the right of others to engage in that sport. It’s a time-honored bonding ritual and one that’s good for our ecosystem. While I do it so infrequently that it’s hardly a hobby, I do from time to time enjoy target shooting and think it should be legal.

It’s much harder to find a rationale for allowing people to walk around with handguns strapped to their waist. But over the past quarter century,  ”shall issue” laws have spread like wildfire. In 1986, even Texas wouldn’t issue a concealed carry permit; now, only Wisconsin and Illinois won’t–and Illinois’ ban just got struck down by a federal appellate court.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, Ezra Klein compiled “Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States.” The upshot of the list is that the United States has a lot of shooting sprees and mass killings compared to other countries in the world. And within the United States, places with a higher concentration of guns have a higher concentration of violence and restrictions on gun ownership tend to coincide with reduced gun violence.

And yet, as John Sides pointed out after the Aurora massacre in July, despite the rise in these gut-wrenching mass shooting incidents, gun violence is actually in decline.

First, we are a less violent nation now than we’ve been in over forty years.  In 2010, violent crime rates hit a low not seen since 1972; murder rates sunk to levels last experienced during the Kennedy Administration.  Our perceptions of our own safety have shifted, as well.  In the early 1980s, almost half of Americans told the General Social Survey (GSS) they were “afraid to walk alone at night” in their own neighborhoods; now only one-third feel this way.

Second, for all the attention given to America’s culture of guns, ownership of firearms is at or near all-time lows.  Since 1973, the GSS has been asking Americans whether they keep a gun in their home.  In the 1970s, about half of the nation said yes; today only about one-third do.  Driving the decline: a dramatic drop in ownership of pistols and shotguns, the very weapons most likely to be used in violent crimes.

So, we have something of a paradox. There have been more mass shooting incidents, most involving innocent kids, in recent years than I can remember. Each of them wrenches the public consciousness and sparks cries to “do something.” And, yet, gun crimes are actually on the wane.

Is it insane that some yahoo who wants to die famous can grab his mommy’s M-16 knockoff, head down to the local school, and destroy the lives of 20-plus families? Absolutely. And arguments about “rights” ring incredibly hollow against that backdrop. If we can restrict people’s right to speak, assemble, and travel in the interests of public order and safety, surely the right to carry instruments that can so easily kill two dozen people can be abridged.

But, even if the 2nd Amendment and Heller and McDonald weren’t there as impediments against such restrictions, it’s not at all obvious what laws would need to be in place to prevent this sort of evil.

Banning so-called “assault rifles” is a reaction to cosmetics, not capability. Yes, it seems scary that you can buy a Bushmaster Patrolman’s Carbine M4A3 at Walmart. It’s a cheap knockoff of the M4 carbine variant on the AR15/M16 series that’s been the US military standard going back to the late Vietnam era. But, contrary to most media reports, they’re not automatic fire weapons. While military and police variants offer three round burst capability, the ones for civilian sale are only semi-automatic (that is, one trigger pull fires one round).  Like pretty much every other rifle or pistol on the market.

We could restrict magazine sizes to, say, those that hold only 10, 12, or 15 rounds. But, aside from the rare circumstance where an assailant is in a gun fight with police, where taking a few seconds (assuming the shooter is a rank amateur) to change magazines might provide an opening, that’s unlikely to matter. It’s not as if the teachers and children had the ability to fire back. (And, no, we really don’t want to arm teachers.)

I’m certainly in favor of measures to restrict crazy people from getting their hands on guns. But, sadly, we usually don’t know these people are crazy until it’s too late. The shooter in this case apparently used his mommy’s gun; there’s no evidence I’m aware of that she was crazy.

One intriguing possibility is mandating some technological solution to make it harder for people other than the registered owner to fire the gun. Various “smart gun” technologies exist or are in the works which rely on RFID chips and biometric devices; cruder devices, which rely on complicated rings to activate the trigger, have been available for decades. If effectively implemented, they could conceivably greatly reduce the number of crimes committed with stolen weapons, including cases such as this one where a teenager steals a weapon from a parent. They’d also, presumably, cut down on gun suicides and accidental shooting deaths of children.

Naturally, they’re, naturally, bitterly opposed by the NRA and other gun advocates.

UPDATE: As if on cue, WaPo retweeted Sarah Kliff’s WonkBlog essay “What would ‘meaningful action’ on gun control look like?” moments after this piece went live. Literally none of the steps suggested—more extensive background checks, banning ‘certain types’ of firearms, increasing waiting periods, or increasing public health funding—would have had the slightest impact in Newtown, Connecticut.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Murray says:

    I think the “gun cult” in this country that you mention is particularly relevant. Other countries, such as Canada or Switzerland, have a history of armed citizenry and militia defense to fight for their liberty (which is what I understand the 2nd Amendment is about) yet they haven’t developed a cult of the gun per se.

    A meaningful action to prevent mass shootings would in my mind be to fight that cult. How? I haven’t got the foggiest idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  2. C. Clavin says:

    I’ve been watching this intently since it happened. The guy that sits next to me at work said something about teachers being armed would have stopped this. That’s pretty much the NRA line.
    But what are these people actually proposing when they say this?
    They are proposing a world in which everyone is forced to arm themselves in order to protect themselves. They are proposing a world in which I have to carry a firearm into a crowded movie theater in order to insure my safety. They are proposing a world in which even elementary school teachers have to be armed in order to insure the safety of 4 year olds. Is that really the world to which we aspire????
    It appears these weapons were purchased legally. Yet a disturbed individual still used them to slaughter the most innocent, the most vulnerable, amongst us. Clearly the laws in place are not working. So by some convoluted logic we should not make more effective laws? Instead we should have fire-fights in our elementary schools?

    I have nothing against guns themselves. I am by nature fascinated by technology and mechanics…and weapons of all sorts certainly fall in that category. However I do cherish my safety, and certainly the safety of children. If guns cannot be a safe element in our society, and I think that verdict is in by now, then they really have no place in our society.

    As someone pointed out to me the other day…we clearly have the right to bear arms…but no where in the Constitution does it mention ammunition.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 15 Thumb down 5

  3. john personna says:

    It has gotten to where “gun control” types know they can’t stop the weapons, and do just want one or two seconds while a shooter fumbles for a new magazine. It was what they got in Arizona, and it was enough. They didn’t need to shoot back at that moment. Add a California style bullet button and you’ve got more of a juggle going on, under pressure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  4. C. Clavin says:

    “…We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News, discussing the murder spree that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, CT that morning. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?…”

    Why didn’t I think of that? All we have to do to stop the carnage is to pray to an infinitely old, infinitely powerful, totally omniscient being for which there is absolutley no proof of. And that will fix everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  5. Rick DeMent says:

    Right, how well did God to preventing child abuse in churches?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  6. swearyanthony says:

    I like Fallows suggestion of reframing it as “gun safety”. And if the NRA complains, picket them. If “pro life” folks can picket Planned Parenthood, why cant other folks be out the front of the NRAs offices?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    Like you JJ I’m not holding my breath. These sort of regular mass shootings and indeed the overall 9,000 gun homicides which are swelled by numerous accidents and suicides is simply the societal cost of living in an enviroment where there are probably around 350 million guns in circulation and access to them by the criminal and uncriminal, sane and insane, is effectively unimpeded. You can ask the question what kind of society allows atrocities like this to happen regularly without doing something about it and the answer is our’s does. We put a higher value on the recreational pursuits of gun owners and some supposed “freedoms” than we do on thousands of human lives including those of children. We don’t apply the same rules to other hazards from which death beckons like trains, planes, automobiles, prescription drugs, unguarded machinery, tainted food, toys, ladders, but for some reason guns are exempted from all the normal commonsense protections we erect around ourselves. It’s inexplicable but there we are. We’ll have all the usual circus surrounding these events. Crocodile tears by politicians and the media, prayer vigils, endless bloviating (there was an unbelievable example in the NYT yesterday where that ass Douhat spent a lot of time talking about The Brothers Karamazov), and then it will disappear off the national radar while we wait for the next one. One would have thought the mental image of the bullet riddled bodies of 20 six and seven year olds might linger longer on the national retina but I doubt it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    Literally none of the steps suggested—more extensive background checks, banning ‘certain types’ of firearms, increasing waiting periods, or increasing public health funding—would have had the slightest impact in Newtown, Connecticut.

    This btw JJ is not necessarily true.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  9. john personna says:

    You know, for what it’s worth, I think too much of gun advocacy rests on a smug assumption that the owner knows so much more than everyone else:

    Banning so-called “assault rifles” is a reaction to cosmetics, not capability. Yes, it seems scary that you can buy a Bushmaster Patrolman’s Carbine M4A3 at Walmart. It’s a cheap knockoff of the M4 carbine variant on the AR15/M16 series that’s been the US military standard going back to the late Vietnam era. But, contrary to most media reports, they’re not automatic fire weapons. While military and police variants offer three round burst capability, the ones for civilian sale are only semi-automatic (that is, one trigger pull fires one round). Like pretty much every other rifle or pistol on the market.

    The Bushmaster was own by a “model family” who knew exactly what it was, and its advantages in “urban combat” over, say, a Savage bolt-action .223

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  10. Argon says:

    We could come to understand that the 2nd amendment covers militias, not unrestricted, individual ownership.

    We could require that guns held by civilians not have clips, but must be manually loaded. Perhaps bolt action only and a max of five rounds in the gun.

    Yes, this won’t prevent all tragedies but it could reduce some. Odd that we live in a country where sales of sudafed and fertilizer are monitored or restricted and voting access is limited but guns aren’t regulated any significant way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  11. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Which of those would have mattered in this case? The only possible exception is a ban on “certain types” of guns. But only if that “type” is semi-automatic. Such a ban would be considered draconian even by non-NRA types.

    @john personna: Sure. But, lordy, restricting ownership to “bolt action” weapons is light years further than it’s rational to debate at this juncture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  12. john personna says:

    @Argon:

    Perhaps bolt action only and a max of five rounds in the gun.

    If we were sane, we might consider a dividing line at “repeating arms,” meaning revolvers, lever action, bolt action, and pump weapons. Ones where you actively do something. And then small truly fixed magazines.

    I can’t think of a reasonable pursuit which would be blocked by such a rule.

    I don’t know why some neighborhood nimrod needs to be better heeled than Doc Holliday.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  13. al-Ameda says:

    Please, we go through this collective handwringing after every mass killing.

    The reality is, we’re not going to do anything about preventing gun violence that results in mass killings. We’re a nation that is awash in guns, where, according to polling, fewer and fewer people believe that more regulation of guns is desirable; where we could not extend a ban on assault rifles; where the gun lobby controls the weapons regulation “debate” in Washington.

    People think that somehow this is different because very young school children were murdered. It’s not, we don’t have the collective political will and capability to do anything about it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  14. PJ says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The guy that sits next to me at work said something about teachers being armed would have stopped this.

    I really would like to know how he thinks that that would work out.

    If someone enters a classroom with the intent to harm or kill children, then that person will within seconds be able to pick out the only adult present in the room and shoot that person. Thus the teacher would really have to draw their weapon every time someone enters the classroom to actually have a some sort of chance. I wonder what that would do to the children in the classroom or for that matter the child getting back from the restroom ending up facing a gun.

    The teachers would have to carry since they wouldn’t be at their desk all the time. So while the teacher is helping one kid, another kid may get the idea to sneak up and take the teacher’s gun. Somehow I doubt that that kind of incident or worse will be few and far between…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  15. john personna says:

    @James Joyner:

    What I was really sensitive to was the “evil back rifle” canard.

    Guns with high capacity detachable magazines are different, and are indeed the spree shooter’s choice. It was not a coincidence that the Swedish shooter ordered his big magazines from America.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  16. john personna says:

    @PJ:

    Not to mention that a disturbed teen now knows where to find guns, and that he only needs to surprise a kindergarten teacher.

    Arming everyone is a very badly thought out plan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    But, contrary to most media reports, they’re not automatic fire weapons. While military and police variants offer three round burst capability, the ones for civilian sale are only semi-automatic (that is, one trigger pull fires one round). Like pretty much every other rifle or pistol on the market.

    I’m bound to say I find this sort of hair splitting by JJ symptomatic of the kind of moral blindness that pervades the entire language of guns in this country. Yes technically they are not automatics but for all practical purposes in the circumstances we’re discussing this doesn’t make a dimes worth of difference. The function of all these semi automatic weapons whether of the hand or shoulder variety is killing people not shooting clay pigeons.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  18. AK says:

    Why do gun advocates oppose smart guns/RFID/biometrics/tech solutions? They seem a good solution in general as well as a good political compromise.

    What’s bad about ensuring that guns are only used by the people they are registered to

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  19. Michael Robinson says:

    @AK:

    The bad thing (from the perspective of the gun advocates) of ensuring guns are only used by the people they’re registered to, is that then the government has a list of all the gun owners and the guns they own and can come and confiscate them at will.

    Seriously.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  20. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: @Brummagem Joe: I don’t think this is a matter of hair splitting. This weapon is essentially no different than any other semi-automatic rifle. People think assault rifles are machine guns; they’re not.

    I address the magazine issue separately. I’m not reflexively opposed to restricting magazine sizes–hell, we usually only used 20 round clips in the Army–I’m just not sure it makes any practical difference.

    @AK: They make two arguments. One, is essentially, “slippery slope.” The other is that these sort of limitations could make it harder to quickly use the weapon for self defense. I find neither line of reasoning persuasive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  21. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    Which of those would have mattered in this case?

    Well you gave an example…..you just claimed it was draconian and therefore unacceptable. I’d also say a regime such as they have in Canada where there is quite a high gun population but where they have extended waiting periods, intensive background checks (which were referred to in this WAPO blog comment), and sponsors might have averted this tragedy. Impossible to say but you made a blanket assertion which I don’t think was accurate and furthermore it was grounded in the assumption that nothing can ever be done about this problem. Well of course something can be done about it if the will existed. I agree with you that the will doesn’t exist but that’s something different.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  22. Tsar Nicholas says:

    It goes without saying that the reactionary left will react to this sort thing, as they’ve done so many times in the past, by wanting to “prevent it from happening again,” with various sorts of governmental restrictions. That’s merely a function of core left-wing psychiatry. Sun rises in the east.

    Probably the greatest irony of this whole putative debate is that it doesn’t take a ouija board or a divining rod to determine the effect of gun control. All one needs to do is to peruse the metro sections of newspapers in places like Detroit, Philly, San Francisco, L.A., Chicago and Boston. The corpses of gunshot victims in gun control cities speak loudly enough. But leftists can’t hear them.

    In terms of the raw politics of it all the reality is nothing will happen, much to the frothing consternation of effete liberals. No Democrat statewide office holder in any red or purple state will vote for gun control. Because that would make them former office holders.

    The “smart gun” rubric is worth a few thoughts. Always be wary of the laws of unintended and unwanted consequences of government actions.

    A mandatory biometric trigger lock, for example, sounds like a great idea, right up until the time at which someone’s young adult daughter is thwarted in her attempt to prevent a home intruder from raping, sodomizing and then strangling her. Or right up until the time at which a battered wife is prevented from fending off a fatal attack from an abusive husband. So on, so forth. And of course the mission creep potential is so obvious it speaks for itself. The road to regulatory hell always has been paved with the very best of intentions.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 25

  23. Andre Kenji says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The guy that sits next to me at work said something about teachers being armed would have stopped this.

    IF the Conservatives are willing to increase teacher salaries to reflect the risks and the hours of training per year and if they are willing to increase taxes and education spending to pay for the guns, training and other safeties issues, then, no problem, I believe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  24. john personna says:

    @James Joyner:

    People think assault rifles are machine guns; they’re not.

    I really think this is a canard, used even when the audience is fully informed on the types of weapons involved.

    I mean look at this conversation, I say above that we all fully understand that “evil black rifles” are characterized by high capacity removable clips, and you just use the redirection that magazines are separate.

    No. People buy AR-15 clones because they want an evil black rifle, one with high capacity, rapidly changed, magazines.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

  25. john personna says:

    @James Joyner:

    I address the magazine issue separately. I’m not reflexively opposed to restricting magazine sizes–hell, we usually only used 20 round clips in the Army–I’m just not sure it makes any practical difference.

    Why haven’t you internalized the California law?

    Is this another “we aren’t Danes” thing? In this case “we aren’t Californians, so anything tested there is impossible for the rest of us?”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  26. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Teachers would also have to adopt the policeman’s spacial awareness, and place their hand on their hilt when anyone enters a zone of personal space.

    Brilliant!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  27. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    People think assault rifles are machine guns; they’re not.

    I don’t think they do but for all practical purposes they are machine guns. Functionally they may be somewhat less efficient at killing people quickly than autos but it’s only a matter of degree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  28. john personna says:

    Why is there a huge market for evil black rifles?

    Is it because my generation was raised on John Wayne movies and cowboy guns, and the next is raised on first-person shooters?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  29. C. Clavin says:

    So Tsar is firmly in the “fire-fights in elementary schools are preferable to effective gun-laws” camp.
    What a suprise.
    Is it a rule that all Republicans have to be stupid? Or that all stupid people have to be Republicans?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 3

  30. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    and if they are willing to increase taxes and education spending to pay for the guns, training and other safeties issues, then, no problem, I believe.

    Of course you could ask the wider question of what kind of deeply sick society requires teachers to be wandering the corridors of elementary schools armed to the teeth. And at a more mundane leve…..l would you want your six year old child to be attending such schools?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  31. Bernieyeball says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: The road to regulatory hell always has been paved with the very best of intentions.

    The road to the bullet riddled bodies of innocent 6 and 7 year old schoolchildren has been paved with the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States…which was written with the very best of intentions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  32. bk says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    the reactionary left will react to this sort thing, as they’ve done so many times in the past, by wanting to “prevent it from happening again,”

    I’m sitting here trying to summon up a non-ad hominem response, such as “yeah, it’s only the ‘reactionary left’ that is upset about this”, but I can’t get past the fact, that your comments have so often demonstrated, that you are truly an asshole.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 4

  33. JKB says:

    @AK: What’s bad about ensuring that guns are only used by the people they are registered to

    Well, first off, outside a few anti-gun locales, we don’t register guns to people. In almost all instances, such registration programs have been used to interfere with lawful ownership by meddling bureaucrats.

    Secondly, the problem with the biometric technology is that it isn’t reliable. Such technology is slow, in gunfight time, and they fail to activate for approved users on occasion. In such cases, the blue screen of death would really mean death. But if you wish the acceptance of this technology simply have it mandated for the Presidents SS detail, the FBI and other law enforcement. Then after proven in actual real life use, opposition to such technology will fade. Why do they not do this? Because the technology isn’t reliable enough to stake your life on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

  34. Bernieyeball says:

    @C. Clavin: Is that really the world to which we aspire????

    Yes that is exactly what at least one pro gun advocate aspires to:

    Eric Florack says:
    Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 10:56
    Those people who got shot, those who died, were waiting for the police, thinking they had no need for self-protection… that the government was able to protect them. They were dependent on the falicy that the job of protecting them was the government’s and also that the government’s war on individuals using their second amendment rights to carry firearms, was sufficient for their protection.

    Think, now; what would have happened, had just one armed citizen been in that room? Just one person who wasn’t a sheep? That one armed citizen could have stopped the situation long prior to the arrival of the police. Many lives would have been saved, many injuries averted.

    Here’s the solution. More guns in the hands of citizens. Less dependance on government to do our jobs… including self-protection… for us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  35. C. Clavin says:

    So JKB also falls firmly in the “fire-fights in elementary schools are preferable to effective gun laws” camp.
    Again…no suprise there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4

  36. Tony W says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    someone’s young adult daughter is thwarted in her attempt to prevent a home intruder from raping, sodomizing and then strangling her. Or right up until the time at which a battered wife is prevented from fending off a fatal attack from an abusive husband

    Is this really the typical use-case for personal weapons in this country? This moronic crap-pile of an argument is exactly how we got where we are as a society.

    If this is how our country’s guns are beign used, then I would argue that the guns really are not the issue but rather lack of social services to allow our people to see alternatives to this sort of behavior. It’s a twisted morality that sees preservation of gun “rights” without restriction as preferable to the real health and safety of our citizens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5

  37. Brummagem Joe says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Is it a rule that all Republicans have to be stupid? Or that all stupid people have to be Republicans?

    Mill’s dictum remains as relevant as it did in the mid 19th century.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  38. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    I agree that there is no reason to introduce electronics into a simple mechanical device.

    And there are plenty of “gun safety” proposals which are in the mechanical domain.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  39. Just Me says:

    Honestly rather than trying to ban all the guns, creating a better safety net with meaningful support for the mentally ill would probably go further.

    I would also argue making it easier for family members of the mentally ill to get involuntary commitments and help would go further.

    I realize we live in a country where adult mentally ill people have the right to refuse help and/or medications, but the reality here, when it comes to mass shootings is that the failing is in the mental health system and not in the gun laws.

    Although I would fully support waiting periods for bacground checks-problem is the government needs to have a meaningful way to flag the mentally ill if they aren’t allowed to purchase a fire arm.

    We own 3 shot guns and a muzzle loader. They are stored in such a way as to be useless for defense of our home and used primarily for hunting although my husband and daughters enjoy target shooting as well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  40. john personna says:

    @Tony W:

    If that girl had a double barrel shotgun, any intruder would back down fast.

    The switcheroo here is that she should be all SWAT to protect herself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  41. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    Honestly rather than trying to ban all the guns, creating a better safety net with meaningful support for the mentally ill would probably go further.

    Did anyone above actually ask for a ban on all guns?

    Or did your brain just freeze up?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  42. C. Clavin says:

    Interesting that people like Tsar and JKB and Florack want to pursue a policy of mutually assured destruction…when even Reagan, wo was suffering from alzheimers, knew that was a stupid idea and wanted to disarm.
    Tsar, JKB, and Florack…they’d all be smarter if they had alzheimers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  43. Bernieyeball says:

    From Mr Joyners Post: Literally none of the steps suggested—more extensive background checks, banning ‘certain types’ of firearms, increasing waiting periods, or increasing public health funding—would have had the slightest impact in Newtown, Connecticut.

    I suspect that the murderous Sandy Hook killer would not have been deterred by knowledge of armed teachers either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  44. john personna says:

    @Bernieyeball:

    On the other hand, Dawn Hochsprung could have really used that 2 seconds while Lanza fumbled with a bullet button for magazine ejection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  45. C. Clavin says:

    @ JP…
    Indeed.
    Dawn Hochsprung was a f’ lot braver than keyboard cowboys like Tsar, JKB, and Florack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  46. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin: “fire-fights in elementary schools are preferable to effective gun laws”

    Where exactly was the fighting in this or other school mass shootings. The law-abiding are specifically prevented from having weapons in a federally designated “gun-free” school zone. In addition, they are specifically prohibited by law from discharging a firearm in a federally designated “gun-free” school zone, even in self defense or defense of others including children.

    Let us examine where the “effective” gun laws worked in this situation, or laws in general for that matter:

    The killer killed his mother (an illegal act)

    Stole her firearms (an illegal act)

    Stole her car (an illegal act)

    Transported loaded firearms without lawful permit (an illegal act)

    Carried those fire arms within 1000 ft of a school (an illegal act)

    Broke and entered the school (an illegal act)

    Carried firearms into the school (an illegal act)

    Discharged those firearms on public property in a “gun-free” school zone(an illegal act) multiple counts

    Intentionally attempted to murder (an illegal act)

    Did intentionally kill 26 individuals (an illegal act) multiple counts—An act so illegal that the person committing this crime may be shot or otherwise have deadly force inflicted upon them until they stop with all such measures deemed justified acts by the person inflicting them.

    So where is the hole in the “effective” laws, gun laws or not?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8

  47. Brummagem Joe says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Interesting that people like Tsar and JKB and Florack want to pursue a policy of mutually assured destruction

    What’s disturbing about this is not the obvious retards but the intelligent equivocators like JJ. I believe he has a couple of kids. Would he endorse regulations that would protect them from life’s every day hazards, of course he would, and he even say’s he stores his firearms remote from his home, but essentially he’s willing to accept the gun status quo either from inclination or inertia (I suspect the former). It’s totally irrational but who said irrationality was the sole province of the retards. I’ll even fess up to the odd bits of irrationality myself but generally the outcomes aren’t fatal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  48. Andre Kenji says:

    @Brummagem Joe: If Conservatives are willing to deal with the extremely high costs associated with the idea(That would include earlier retirement to teachers – an armed 65 year old woman with a gun wouldn´t be helpful during a killing spree) I´m OK with it. ;-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  49. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    So, are you really that dumb, or do you think it’s smart to play that dumb on the internets?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  50. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    If Conservatives are willing to deal with the extremely high costs associated with the idea

    I wouldn’t rely on their unwillingness to accept the concept…..it’s always easy to forget the cost part.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  51. C. Clavin says:

    @ JKB…
    You are correct…the gun laws on the books are not effective. If, as you say, they cannot be made so…then there is no place for guns. If you would prefer that citizens arm themselves rather than regulate themselves then you are advocating for fire-fights in elementary schools and movie theaters and mall parking lots.
    You claim biometrics are slow. At the time the Constitution was written muzzle-loaders were slow too. Technology advances…in spite of the wishes of Republicans.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  52. jukeboxgrad says:

    james:

    as Max Fisher illustrates in a series of charts, Americans own an inordinate number of guns

    We’re not going to get very far unless we understand the connection between that fact and this fact (link):

    US military spending accounts for 41 percent … of the world’s total military spending … US spending is as much as than the next top 14 countries.

    We love weapons. They are a fetish. We indulge this fetish when we buy lots of guns and take them home, and we also indulge this fetish when we create a war industry that’s much bigger than it needs to be. It’s the same impulse; the main difference is whether or not uniforms are involved. Why do we do this? The rest of the world sees what we cannot see about ourselves: that we are a violent society. Some self-awareness about this is in order.

    none of the steps suggested—more extensive background checks, banning ‘certain types’ of firearms, increasing waiting periods, or increasing public health funding—would have had the slightest impact in Newtown, Connecticut.

    You’re wrong, because you need to look at the situation more broadly. This is not a legal problem to be solved by legal measures; it’s a cultural problem. Changing the law is a step in changing the culture. Necessary, but not sufficient.

    What does it say about our culture that it’s considered normal for “a well-to-do suburban divorcee [to] keep a cache of high-power weapons in the house” (link)? She was a gun nut, and her son was just a nut.

    In Israel, guns are a tool, not a fetish (link):

    Despite militarized society, Israel has strict gun laws … First-time visitors to Israel might be taken aback to see groups of armed teenagers walking through a city plaza on a weeknight, or surprised to walk into a public bathroom and see an M-16 laying across the sinks as a soldier washes his face. But guns are ubiquitous in Israel, where most 18-year-olds are drafted into the army after high school. However, once those soldiers finish their service two or three years later, they are subject to civilian gun control regulations that are much stricter than American laws.

    In Israel, a gun nut like Nancy Lanza is not allowed to collect guns. And if she tried, she would be seen as a nut. Here, she is seen as an “avid gun enthusiast.” We are all so immersed in the fetish that we don’t see the craziness in that language. Imagine describing an alcoholic as an ‘avid alcohol enthusiast.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  53. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe: I’m saying those specific proposals wouldn’t have mattered in this specific case. The boy’s mother had the gun in question for quite some time. She would have passed background checks, etc.

    @john personna: I’m sure there’s some psychology to owing an AR clone although, having carried one for years as a cadet and Army officer, I was never much impressed with them. I’m just not sure that it makes much of a practical difference since you can put a large clip on most semi-automatic weapons.

    @Brummagem Joe: The point of my post is that I think we ought to consider reasonable restrictions. I’m even willing to do things like restrict magazine size if there’s evidence it matters. And I close by calling for a close look at various smart technology to restrict who can fire a weapon. I merely note that a lot of the popular proposals wouldn’t actually impact the very crimes that spark the conversation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  54. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner:

    This weapon is essentially no different than any other semi-automatic rifle.

    Oh come off it James, you know better than that. The AK-47 and the M-4 are designed for one thing and one thing only: Killing people. The standard semi-auto deer rifle has a five round clip.

    Limiting clip capacity makes common sense. I was listening to an idiot on the radio defending 30 round clips with the scenario that maybe one misses the intruder with the first 15 rounds. I was screaming at the radio “You don’t need more rounds you idiot! What you need is more practice!”

    Other common sense regs would be waiting periods and a registry of people with serious mental illness. To say that none of these would have stopped this tragedy misses the whole point: They would stop other tragedies.

    Smart guns: People who regularly shoot recreationally like to share their weapons on the range. You can not do that with a smart gun.

    For the record I have a semi-auto .22LR for the varmints about the homestead, a .30-06 bolt action for deer, a 12 ga. pump for birds and a 9mm semi-auto handgun for personal protection that I hate and will soon be trading for a good old fashioned .357 revolver.

    Lastly, assault rifles. I do not own one and do not want to. I know why people like to shoot them: It is fun. That is all there is to it. Yeah, you got the nutty militia types with their end of the world rhetoric that I don’t think even they believe, but really they are just plain fun to shoot. So what. Ban them. Now. If that saves the life of just one child, it is worth it.

    Last time I checked the Constitution, “Fun” was not in it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  55. JKB says:

    @Bernieyeball: I suspect that the murderous Sandy Hook killer would not have been deterred by knowledge of armed teachers either.

    Knowledge of armed teachers isn’t the value of having armed teachers. The capability of causing damage that stops the killer’s attack is the value.

    That said, armed teachers are problematic. The threat level is low even as these events are sensationalized. Maintaining quals and awareness requires near constant effort. And the pool of teachers is not one best suited for aggressive response. Which is odd, many are union members and unions are known for their thugs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 13

  56. Dave says:

    Just a note about the article, Wisconsin allows concealed carry and has since Walker became governor. At the same time he passed the castle laws to make it easier to subdue home invaders. I would also like to say about the conceal carry laws, if they are so great for everyone else’s jobs to have a gun on you at all times. Then why are courthouses and the capitol buildings and most other governmental buildings off limit? Wouldn’t congress be much safer if we could carry our firearms into the capitol? I say this as a hunter and owner of several guns. I have luckily never been in a situation where having a gun on me would have been helpful. However I have been in a few situations where having a gun would have made things much worse. I for one do not like living in a world where everyone has need to be armed all the time. The only bright side is sitting back and laughing at all the idiots who shoot themselves by accident. Less funny when they shoot others on accident.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  57. john personna says:

    @James Joyner:

    A lot of very good sporting semi-autos have fixed magazines, sometimes tubular.

    Semi-auto carbines, as a subset, commonly have detachable magazines. It would be really nice if those had some kind of slow-swap modification.

    To me, this is like a lot of modern questions where you ask the American people “will you make bare minimum effort?”

    … and the answer is no, bare minimum effort is too much for all of us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  58. JKB says:

    @C. Clavin: If, as you say, they cannot be made so…then there is no place for guns.

    Please tell me more about how we un-invent guns?

    You wish to take guns from law-abiding citizens but leave them for the military and police? Leave them for the State? Of course, the government never misuses such force. Of course, the government never loses any of its weapons. Of course, criminals have no access to drills, presses, etc. needed to make a gun.

    You solution is idiotic since it hinges on humans losing the knowledge of how to make a firearm.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  59. C. Clavin says:

    Oh my word…JKB is pulling out the Union Thug meme.
    Idiot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  60. Scott O says:

    “What would ‘meaningful action’ on gun control look like?”

    Not mentioned by Sarah Kliff, but brought up in the comments, how about we require liability insurance for guns as we do with cars? Would it have made any difference Newtown? Well maybe if it cost Adam’s mom $1000 a year to own her gun collection she would have decided that she only needed to own one gun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  61. C. Clavin says:

    JKB…

    “…Please tell me more about how we un-invent guns?..”

    Are you really this dumb…or do you just think it’s smart to act dumb on the internet?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  62. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m saying those specific proposals wouldn’t have mattered in this specific case. The boy’s mother had the gun in question for quite some time. She would have passed background checks, etc.

    Except that you admitted that at least one of them would but you said it was draconian.

    The point of my post is that I think we ought to consider reasonable restrictions. I’m even willing to do things like restrict magazine size

    Yes I’m sure this sort of “reasonable” restriction is going to make an immense amount of difference.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  63. bk says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Last time I checked the Constitution, “Fun” was not in it.

    Neither is “small penis compensation”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  64. Bernieyeball says:

    @JKB: Knowledge of armed teachers isn’t the value of having armed teachers.

    “An armed society is a polite society.” is the mantra I hear all the time by pro gun advocates.
    If it does not mean fear of retaliation by a gun toter what does it mean?
    Could it be another meaningless cliche?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  65. Brummagem Joe says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Are you really this dumb…or do you just think it’s smart to act dumb on the internet?

    No it’s the real thing…..not an artful imitation

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  66. JKB says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Lastly, assault rifles.

    Assault rifles are select fire weapons and require an Federal Firearms License to own. No new select fire weapons have been permitted in private ownership since 1986. Automatic weapons are fun to shoot but they are expensive and not owned by that many people.

    i believe you meant, semi-automatic rifles cosmetically patterned after popular assault rifles. What would the ban do if the same rifle is available cosmetically patterned after traditional hunting rifles?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  67. James Joyner says:

    @Brummagem Joe: As noted in the original piece, assault rifles are functionally just regular semi-automatic rifles that look scary and have a bigger magazine. I’m willing to restrict magazine size if there’s real evidence that it would matter. But, yes, I think banning any semi-automatic weapon is a draconian restriction.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  68. Rafer Janders says:

    I know this: if the killer had converted to Islam before his rampage and had shouted “Allahu Akbar! Revenge for bin Laden!” as he murdered those children, we’d actually be doing something about it now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  69. Brummagem Joe says:

    We don’t have to go to Britain or Switzerland, there is a perfectly reasonable regulatory model right next door where gun ownership is quite high, they have been a frontier society, they drive on the same side of the road, have similar geography, and even speak a sub Americanese.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  70. john personna says:

    @James Joyner:

    First of all, we DO have more options than just magazine size. We have California and its bullet button. But:

    But, yes, I think banning any semi-automatic weapon is a draconian restriction.

    Seriously, why? You may have a semi-auto that you like, but why would a repeating arms restriction be so limiting?

    Perhaps someone would miss a goose with a pump gun, but we’ve got hardy souls going the other way and trying to take them bow hunting. Given geese scarcity …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  71. Brummagem Joe says:

    @James Joyner:

    But, yes, I think banning any semi-automatic weapon is a draconian restriction.

    It is but that was one of the possible options listed none of which you said would have prevented this happening. And you know as well as I do you’re not going to put a ding in this problem by tinkering around with magazine sizes. It would require a regulatory regime like that in Canada where there are no bans on semis but they are just sensible about the entire subject. Something we refuse to be.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  72. john personna says:

    @this:

    Actually, I should not have asked. I think what this is, is a repeat of “all semi-autos are alike” as a form of rhetoric.

    It isn’t true. Tube fed sporting guns are quite different in kind than removable magazine carbines.

    Gun advocates work to form a relentless binding, that all guns are evil black rifles, and so evil black rifles cannot be singled out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  73. john personna says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    In fairness, a restriction on semi-autos, magazines, or ease of magazine replacement, would not “prevent” sprees.

    It would just make them more clumsy … and possibly make them less attractive to the kind of nut who fantasizes about it all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  74. Bernieyeball says:

    @john personna: On the other hand, Dawn Hochsprung could have really used that 2 seconds while Lanza fumbled with a bullet button for magazine ejection.

    Are we to assume before the shooter ejects the magazine he has not already shot x rounds and killed the teacher? Of course if the 6 and 7 year olds had been armed they could have had “The capability of causing damage that stops the killer’s attack…” as posited by Citizen JKB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  75. john personna says:

    @Bernieyeball:

    Really my “bullet button” thing is “can you even give us 2 seconds?”

    If gun advocates won’t give us 2 seconds, they won’t give us anything. Victims in any mall, campus, post office, sporting camp, barbecue joint, or kindergarten. wouldn’t even have that chance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  76. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    On the other hand, Dawn Hochsprung could have really used that 2 seconds while Lanza fumbled with a bullet button for magazine ejection.

    From what I’ve read, she was the first one shot.

    I know we’ve gone down this road before, but I don’t see a lot of value in this “fumble time” argument. I think it can make a difference sometimes but usually it makes no difference at all. IMO, once the gunman is in the building and killing people, then the system has already failed.

    @C. Clavin:

    So by some convoluted logic we should not make more effective laws? Instead we should have fire-fights in our elementary schools?

    What is a more effective law? It’s easy to say we need more effective laws, it’s a bit more difficult to come up with proposals that are, in reality, effective and it’s more difficult still to come up with something that is effective and can actually pass to become law. Most of the proposals I’ve read so far would not have made a difference. Laws that might actually have made a difference (like a ban on magazine fed weapons or repeating arms, or some of the other ideas mentioned here and elsewhere) have very limited political support and its an open question whether they would be ruled Constitutional even if passed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  77. Whitfield says:

    How would new gun laws affect people who already have guns? Some people modify these guns to make them automatic; laws against this would be very hard to enforce. I even know some who make their own ammunition – that is very common.
    As far as hunting, I don’t question the right to do that, but I think it would be better if the hunters had to use their bare hands. I don’t see deer carrying guns. Even the playing field !

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  78. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    I know we’ve gone down this road before, but I don’t see a lot of value in this “fumble time” argument. I think it can make a difference sometimes but usually it makes no difference at all. IMO, once the gunman is in the building and killing people, then the system has already failed.

    And yet this is when the Arizona shooter was tackled.

    Look, what I am looking for here is the barest accommodation by gun makers to hinder spree shooters.

    You seem to be taking the position that guns should be freely suited for this purpose.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  79. john personna says:

    Really, isn’t:

    just because Jared Loughner was tackled at a magazine change, that doesn’t mean anyone else will be

    the WORST ARGUMENT EVAR?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  80. Whitfield says:

    @James Joyner: I have some very old bolt action rifles that are antiques, but not really worth much. They may not even work. How would any new gun laws affect casual and professional collectors ? How about those people who just use a gun at competitions only ? There was a time when many high schools had rifle teams and it evidently wasn’t a problem.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  81. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    You seem to be taking the position that guns should be freely suited for this purpose.

    John,

    How about you quit playing psychologist right now. If you want to know what my position is, please ask and don’t assume.

    And yet this is when the Arizona shooter was tackled.

    Yes, I said it works sometimes, did you miss that part?

    Look, what I am looking for here is the barest accommodation by gun makers to hinder spree shooters.

    I don’t have a problem with that. I think in the last thread I said that I don’t really have a problem with limiting magazine sizes either. My argument is that I simply don’t think it makes much difference. And I pointed out that it works the other way too – the super-high capacity magazines aren’t reliable – the Colorado shooter’s jammed early, for example. It takes a lot longer to clear a jammed weapon than to change a magazine. And, before you make more assumptions, I’m pointing this out not to advocate for high-capacity magazines but simply to point out something that is rather obvious about the limited utility of this “fumble time” concept of yours – especially in this latest case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  82. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    So you are arguing a contradiction.

    That’s all “I think it can make a difference sometimes but usually it makes no difference at all” is.

    Dissonance noted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  83. C. Clavin says:

    BK pretty much summed up the entire topic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  84. sam says:

    @JKB:

    Which is odd, many are union members and unions are known for their thugs.

    Some of the teachers died defending the children in their care. You really are an asshole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  85. Brummagem Joe says:

    @john personna:

    and possibly make them less attractive to the kind of nut who fantasizes about it all. t

    My definition of tinkering around the edges.There’s no way you can ever legislate this type of event away completely as we know from the shooting in Norway all one can do is mitigate.And Canada which is probably the country in the world that is closest to us physically and culturally has been able to do this and still have levels of gun ownership that are high by western standards. The reason it doesn’t happen here is because of a section of public opinion whose spectrum I see stretching from the entirely crazy like JKB and co to JJ and other apparently rational people some of whom I know. These outrages are the price JJ and others are willing to pay and so we and the rest of society will continue to pay them until they wise up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  86. Andy says:

    @john personna: No John, there is no contradiction. You can review the statistics for yourself and dispute my characterization with evidence if you’d like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  87. Bernieyeball says:

    @john personna: Well damn. I figured since I countered with a nonsensical remark (arming 6 and 7 year olds) I hoped you would know I wasn’t taking you seriously.
    It may be time for me to go watch the Bears pound the Cheeseheads into the turf at Soldier Field to get away from this gruesome affair if only for a few hours.
    I truly appreciate that the parents of the murdered innocents will likely never have respite from their horrific pain.
    I suspect there is no consolation anyone can give them.

    “Pleased to meet you
    Hope you guess my name
    But what’s puzzling you
    Is the nature of my game”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  88. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    Look, I’ve talked about fumble time, and very importantly “bullet buttons” many time above.

    When you ignore the button and just say “well, fumble time doesn’t always work,” I see that as a dodge. A double dodge, really.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  89. john personna says:

    Perhaps I just expected gun advocates to hold the line, that there is no change they’ll accept.

    There is nothing possible in the world which would hinder spree shooters which would also be acceptable to advocates.

    We live in the best of all possible worlds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  90. JKB says:

    @Whitfield: Some people modify these guns to make them automatic; laws against this would be very hard to enforce.

    Actually, modifying your firearm to fire more than one round per trigger pull is a criminal act. It has been since the 1930s. It is actively enforced. Even using a string to connect the slide and trigger so that the motion of the slide cause the trigger to be pulled is a criminal act and has been prosecuted. Having a malfunctioning gun at a range has led to arrest and prosecution.

    You should really read up on the reality of gun laws.

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  91. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Bernieyeball:

    It may be time for me to go watch the Bears pound the Cheeseheads into the turf at Soldier Field to get away from this gruesome affair if only for a few hours.

    I’ll join you at least in spirit. The way these threads get entangled in legalities and technical hairsplitting of the sort JJ hid behind is symptomatic of the entire problem. Let’s talk about the shape of the trees….. that poses no threat to the size of the wood.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  92. Argon says:

    Re: Semi-automatic vs automatic weapons and JJ…
    Semi-automatics have much better control and per-bullet impact than automatics. Any quibbling like ‘but they’re not full automatics’ is pointless. If you can pull a trigger and fire a shot at each thing you can aim at, that’s far more devastating overall than ‘spray-and-pray’.

    Five shot, manual reloading and hand-cycling/bolt-action devices are more than sufficient for self defense, game hunting and target sports.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  93. JKB says:

    @john personna:

    Your suggestions are to degrade the function of a firearm and thus hinder its utility for its designed function, i.e., self defense.

    You could easily overcome objections to your degradations of function by having such degraded firearms adopted by law enforcement. Then after a time, assuming no increase in police deaths due to the degraded function, you could argue that such degradation are feasible.

    But I can tell you how that will work. A friend was in law enforcement and a member of a high risk entry team. They did an entry on a home. The occupant rose from the couch and started firing at them. They shot him 10 times before a shot to his ankle dropped him. The doctor plucked the 9mm rounds from his skin with is fingers. Within 2 weeks, the entire team had dumped their 9mm firearms and switched to .40 S&W caliber firearms.

    The rule is simple, a firearm that doesn’t work in a manner that proves its utility in ending an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury is not a useful firearm and will not be acceptable.

    The solution lies not with “gun control” but with services to the mentally handicapped. That may have to include a method where someone can be hospitalized/treated by force after a fair hearing that investigates their dangerous but non-criminal behavior.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  94. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Coward. If you can’t feel safe with a coach gun, a double barrel, side-by-side 12 ga,, you are a pussy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  95. JKB says:

    @Argon: Five shot, manual reloading and hand-cycling/bolt-action devices are more than sufficient for self defense, game hunting and target sports.

    Given that firearms are carried by law enforcement, Secret Service, FBI, personal security, etc. for self defense and defense of others, and they choose greater than 5-shot semi-automatic handguns and rifles, your statement has no merit. If your listed weapons were more than sufficient, why are they not mandated by Executive order, or state law for government employees needing self defense capability?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  96. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    (Not to mention that your whole scenario is inverted. No one is talking about restricting police. They guy most likely to buy an evil black rifle in that scenario is the criminal, looking to fight off a SWAT team.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  97. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Those are the assault forces, nimrod.

    Those are not homeowners who hears a sound downstairs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  98. rudderpedals says:

    The Moloch piece was moving. A statue of Charlton Heston memorializing each slaughter site would put a common, recognizable face of the modern day Moloch in every state across the country that could unite those of us who would resist the descent into uncivilized nihilism and anarchy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  99. Scott says:

    A couple of thoughts:

    The probability of a Newtown incident at any given school is pretty miniscule. Any ideas to prevent such an incident would probably have worse consequences, e.g. arming teachers would probably lead to accidents that result in death and injury.

    We need to look at gun control differently. Let’s view it as risk reduction. Putting reasonable restriction, barriers and safety requirements will not eliminate incidences but will reduce the probability of incidences.

    I see no issue with linking gun ownership with responsibility. The responsibility to be trained. The responsibility to safely store weapons. The responsibility to be liable for gun ownership.

    I think that looking at the situation rationally would yield fruit but rationality is not the province of the right or left on this issue. Mere emotionalism.

    As a suburbanite and non hunter, I don’t own any guns. Why? Because the risk of gun ownership is higher than any risk from home invasion or other nightmare scenarios and therefore I consider it irrational to own a gun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  100. Dave says:

    @JKB:

    If your listed weapons were more than sufficient, why are they not mandated by Executive order, or state law for government employees needing self defense capability?

    Honest to G_d, that has to be one of the poorest bits of reasoning I’ve ever seen on this site. Please review John Personna’s replies above and then go sit somewhere, preferably without an internet connection, and really think through what the arguments are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  101. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    in gunfight time,

    I’m 53 years old. I don’t know anyone who has had to fight for their life in a gun battle, outside of military combat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  102. anjin-san says:

    @ john personna

    you are a pussy

    Bingo. You keep hearing it when JKB, bithead, and Jenos speak. They are guys who live in fear, and embrace things like gun culture and military fantasies to deal with it. It’s no coincidence that they are all George Zimmermann fanboys.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  103. Let's Be Free says:

    I’ve got a pro-abortion. pro-tax, pro-government subsidies on anything that moves or doesn’t move, pro-Obama neighbor who is loathe to venture out without an automatic weapon on his person. He says he doesn’t trust bear spray. You guys with the inside the Beltway perspective have no idea how other people live and are incompentent to manage or police yourselves. Good luck!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  104. Brummagem Joe says:

    @JKB:

    Your suggestions are to degrade the function of a firearm and thus hinder its utility for its designed function, i.e., self defense.

    This is not the function of these firearms. Self defense may be one of the purposes to which they are put but their function is to kill people. You’re so cretinous that I don’t usually bother responding to any of your comments but my regard for the English language compels me to speak out and who knows I might have added to your meagre store of knowledge.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  105. john personna says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    When I hike the California mountains (unarmed) I meet people packing pistols. I don’t see a need here, but doesn’t freak me out. Of course the noise of a .44 can ruin a quiet morning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  106. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    You guys with the inside the Beltway perspective have no idea how other people live and are incompentent to manage or police yourselves.

    Really. I live in urban CT and the odd bear has been spotted on the edge of our town.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  107. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    Of course, criminals have no access to drills, presses, etc. needed to make a gun.

    Ah, the old “some people will evade the law, so it makes no sense to have any law in the first place” argument.

    Similarly, some people will still drink and drive, so why bother banning drunk driving?

    Some people will still manufacture meth in their trailers, so why ban making meth?

    Some 12 year olds will still get their hands on a beer, so why ban underage drinking?

    Some pedophiles will still make child pornography, so why ban videos of children having sex?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  108. Rafer Janders says:

    @Michael Robinson:

    The bad thing (from the perspective of the gun advocates) of ensuring guns are only used by the people they’re registered to, is that then the government has a list of all the gun owners and the guns they own and can come and confiscate them at will.

    Just like the government has a list of everyone with a car registration so they can come and confiscate everyone’s cars at will! And via tax registries they have a list of everyone who owns a home so they can come and confiscate everyone’s houses or apartments at will!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  109. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    But, lordy, restricting ownership to “bolt action” weapons is light years further than it’s rational to debate at this juncture.

    Oh, gracious, just like advocating gay marriage rights was considered light years further than it was rational to debate in the 90’s? And yet look where we are now.

    Sometime you have to push the envelope of the discussion. If you restrict the debate only to what the Very Serious People consider “rational” you’re playing by their rules and ceding the ground to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  110. Gustopher says:

    Until we have a mass shooting at a private school, where the children and grandchildren of the right-wing policy makers go, nothing will happen. Some hand-wringing, some petitions, but ultimately nothing.

    The Democratic Party has completely given up on gun control — it’s an issue that loses elections for them, even after they’ve given up on it. Obama has done nothing about guns, ever, and you still hear of people hoarding ammunition and weapons because “Obama’s gonna take away my guns! (psst: scary black man)”

    For change to come, it will have to come from the right, and it will have to be spurred by a tragedy that affects the right. Public school kids — that’s nothing, that’s just the price we pay for freedom, we should have armed guards or teachers or packs of roving cyborg dogs with automatic weapons or something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  111. matt says:

    @Whitfield:I can’t say for most guns but I know that modifying an AK for full auto will result in a time bomb. The gun WILL blow up in your face and it’ll probably be much sooner then you’d ever expect. The FCG of a legal AK is setup so that an out of battery firing is very likely if you modify it to shoot full auto

    Some of my thoughts.
    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/shots-fired-at-connecticut-elementary-school-multiple-deaths-reported/?#comment-1676492

    I think a strong and solid method of treating and helping those with mental issues WOULD have an effect on these mass murders. The problem is we cannot measure something that doesn’t happen so we’ll never know for sure.

    I saw someone mention the California mag release lock earlier. Someone about to make an attempt at a mass murder won’t bother with installing a mag lock…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  112. Rafer Janders says:

    @Michael Robinson:

    The bad thing (from the perspective of the gun advocates) of ensuring guns are only used by the people they’re registered to, is that then the government has a list of all the gun owners and the guns they own and can come and confiscate them at will.

    “At will”? Or would there need to be a law, passed by majority vote by a duly elected legislature (filled with legislators with an eye on their own re-election), signed by the executive (who similarly wants to get re-elected), and not enjoined as unconstitutional by the courts, authorizing such a confiscation first? And if there was such a law, wouldn’t it be a sign that the overwhelming majority of voters wanted it?

    In that case, then the government should be able to confiscate these weapons, because that’s how we roll in a democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  113. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    I think a strong and solid method of treating and helping those with mental issues WOULD have an effect on these mass murders.

    The thing is, every other country on earth also has lots of people with mental health issues. And yet most other countries don’t have all these mass gun murders. The only major difference between us and them is that we permit free access to guns and they don’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  114. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    If you restrict the debate only to what the Very Serious People consider “rational” you’re playing by their rules and ceding the ground to them.

    Actually I find the sophistry on this topic of the educated, and allegedly sophisticated and worldly wise, more distasteful than that of the cretins. At least they have the excuse of stupidity whereas the intelligent have no such defense. They are supposed to apply reason to issues. One can I think make an analogy to other situations where the upper middle classes were complicit in a public harm (eg. treatment of blacks in Jim Crow days) and really had no alibi. Until these people can be made to face up to realities no change is going to happen alas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  115. anjin-san says:

    @ matt

    I think a strong and solid method of treating and helping those with mental issues WOULD have an effect on these mass murders.

    The method already exists. The problems are lack of funding – often due to the desire of conservatives to kill government programs as well as lack of revenue due to historically low taxes, and a swing of the pendulum too far in the direction of patients rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  116. matt says:

    32,000 people are killed a year in motor vehicle accidents. Maybe we should make some “commonsensical” changes for safety.
    How about we make it illegal for a car to go 0-60 in under 11 seconds. After-all there’s no reason for you to be rapidly increasing in velocity in a residential neighborhood.
    It should be illegal for cars to go over 90 MPH. After-all most speed limits are below 80 and there’s no reason for you to be going above the speed limit.
    Now that I think about it drunk drivers account for over 10,000 of those deaths a year so we definitely should have all cars require a breathalyzer.
    Sleepy drivers also cause accidents so we definitely need a limit on how long you can drive your car and probably a system that measures your blinking to insure you’re not tired. If you’re tired the car should sound a warning and then shut off.
    We should make SUVs illegal because really no one needs that much space. If you need that much space then you should apply for a special license to operate a pickup truck.
    ALl vehicles should be limited to a mandatory height so all bumpers match up.
    Actually forget bumpers we should completely cover the car in soft rubber to absorb impacts like bumper cars. This super soft rubber might help with pedestrian fatalities.

    About 200,000 people die a year due to medical errors mmm maybe I should look into that next.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

  117. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders: There’s a lot of differences in most cases but don’t let me ruin the simple beliefs you hold.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  118. anjin-san says:

    About 200,000 people die a year due to medical errors mmm maybe I should look into that next.

    This argument is no less stupid than it was the first time you made it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  119. matt says:

    @anjin-san: You could save a shit ton more people easier if you put half the effort into advocating for medical records reform and such..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  120. Brummagem Joe says:

    @anjin-san:

    This argument is no less stupid than it was the first time you made it.

    Repeating the same arguments endlessly is matt’s modus operandi. Maybe his record is broken.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  121. matt says:

    @Brummagem Joe: So you admit it’s not about saving lives? That you’re only using the dead as an excuse to push for the banning of something you disagree with…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  122. Brummagem Joe says:

    @matt:

    I don’t admit anything your entire dialectic is beyond parody and not to be taken seriously

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  123. JKB says:

    @john personna: Those are the assault forces, nimrod.

    Actually, they are individuals discharging their firearms in self defense. Just like someone who hears a sound downstairs and is confronted with an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. That the police officers were making a dynamic entry as opposed to sleeping in their homes is simply a function of their job.

    Or are you implying that police officers making a lawful entry to effect an arrest were actually there to murder the individual, i .e., entered with the intent to kill the individual rather than arrest them? BTW, if so they failed, he survived as I indicated, the rounds to the center of body mass were ineffective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6

  124. Rafer Janders says:

    I fully admit that for me it’s not about saving lives, it’s about being able to confiscate freedom-loving gun owners’ guns so that the government will be better able to round them up into FEMA socialist re-education camps without having to face armed resist….damn. I’ve said too much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  125. matt says:

    @JKB: The militarization of the police force is one of the problems I addressed in my solutions post. The whole culture of the military is invading our police force. It’s not uncommon to hear a policeman referring to you and I as “civvies”. Furthering the divide between the “protector” and the “protected” produces all kinds of negatives. One of the biggest negatives is that police mistreatment reinforces the concept of anti-snitching that exists in most of the USA. These are the results of a multi-decade long failed war on drugs.

    Real community outreach could easily result in increased cooperation between communities and their police force. This cooperation could lead to more of these plots being reported earlier. The dude that shot up the theater had red flags everywhere but no one was willing to tell..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  126. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders: Ah, the old “some people will evade the law, so it makes no sense to have any law in the first place” argument.

    Except that there are laws governing illegal use of firearms. The argument is that banning firearms will eliminate the “threat” guns pose. As I pointed out, all you eliminate is the possession of guns by law-abiding citizens. Outside of self defense, discharging a firearm into another person is illegal and by definition not something law abiding citizens do. (Exception being designated combat zones where intentional killing and wounding the enemy is part of the ROE. Oops, sorry I guess now we are suppose to say opposing force)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  127. Rafer Janders says:

    @matt:

    I think a strong and solid method of treating and helping those with mental issues WOULD have an effect on these mass murders.

    Also, too, the vast, overwhelming majority of gun deaths aren’t from mass spree killings by the mentally ill, so focusing efforts only on restricting guns to those with mental issues will still leave the majority of the problem unaddressed. It’s guns, not mental illness, which are the real danger here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  128. anjin-san says:

    half the effort into advocating for medical records reform

    Democrats have been working long and hard to drag medical insurance, as well as standards and practices into the 21st century. It would indeed save a lot of lives. Were it not for conservatives who worship the 19th century, we would be a lot further down that road. At any rate, your attempt to change the subject is noted and dismissed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  129. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    round them up into FEMA socialist re-education camps without having to face armed resist….damn.

    A day looking at pictures of Nancy Pelosi would surely qualify as cruel and unusual punishment. Republicans could be demanding UN intervention.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  130. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders: So you consider it perfectly normal to murder groups of people in cold blood? Wow I strongly suggest you get some help from a qualified counselor…

    @anjin-san:
    Oh so it’s too tough of a fight for you so you’ve decided to move on?

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  131. john personna says:

    @matt:

    You know, it was James’ observation way up top that we DO make safety based changes to cars and driving rules all the time. Airbags, love them or hate them, are one example. Seat-belt laws are one on he “behavior” side.

    The most recent debate was on whether all cars should have backup cameras.

    So it’s not like no one is doing cost benefit analysis on changes and impacts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  132. Rafer Janders says:

    Since gun advocates are often right-wingers, I’d presume they’d be in favor of a private industry rather than a government solution.

    So let’s just require all gun owners to carry liability insurance the same way that car owners do, and then we can see just how high a premium the insurance companies will charge per gun…something tells me that the cost will be more than most gun owners will be willing to bear, given the potential liability to the insurance companies of a multi-million dollar payout.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  133. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    As I pointed out, all you eliminate is the possession of guns by law-abiding citizens.

    Like the Newtown murder’s mother?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  134. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders: That insurance already exists and is quite affordable. I’d be reasonably inclined to follow that suggestion if you can provide enough reason behind it.

    I also carry renters insurance that covers anything my dog might do to a person or their property (pets included).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  135. Rafer Janders says:

    @john personna:

    You know, it was James’ observation way up top that we DO make safety based changes to cars and driving rules all the time. Airbags, love them or hate them, are one example. Seat-belt laws are one on he “behavior” side.

    Not only that, but we require every car owner to receive permission by the state to drive, in the form of a driver’s license, and to have to pass written and operating tests to get that license, and to then carry liability insurance for the car. None of which are currently required for ownership of a gun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  136. matt says:

    @Rafer Janders: I had a FOID card and I had coverage in Illinois. Of course that’s not enough for you. Chicago being in Illinois and having widespread bans on all guns still had some of the highest murder rates in the country.

    Could you please spend a little time learning about purchasing and owning a firearm before going off..

    Even in Texas which has super lax gun laws you’re still required to pass a NICS. The store that sells you the gun is required to keep the forms on file forever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  137. Brummagem Joe says:

    Of one thing you can be assured whenever the need for gun controls surfaces as it does after every shooting outrage then the less bright segment of the gun crowd are going to produce more red herrings than there are in the North Atlantic.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  138. john personna says:

    You know, I’ve read a little bit about neurobiology and human intelligence. One of the central ideas is the importance of scenarios, and how we spin them to predict what happens next, and the probable result of our actions. Some people think that bright animals, like crows, can work a scenario to come up with a plan. It all goes together with “if A, then do B, to get C.”

    When advocates spin really improbable scenarios to defend extreme weapons, are they demonstrating a suspension of rationality in service of their argument, or is their view broken at a deeper level?

    Where does this idea come from that you have to “be” a SWAT team to be safe?

    Is it made up to make an argument, or are people that whack?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  139. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders: So let’s just require all gun owners to carry liability insurance the same way that car owners do

    Do you somehow think that a gun owner (or person who discharges a gun) isn’t responsible for any unjustifiable damage caused by every round discharged from that gun? If your use of your weapon is determined to be justifiable self defense, then there are laws that invalidate civil claims. By the person (or their family) who presented the imminent threat. However, you are still responsible for damage or injuries to other people or property. Unlike those cops in NY city, a private owner cannot shoot have the people on the street then say sorry. Although, i doubt NYC avoids the civil suits by those struck by errant police bullets but there are laws that mitigate police liability depending on circumstances.

    But your hope to use an insurance requirement to impose costs that would infringe gun owner’s rights is unconstitutional. In any case, the risk of any one gun owner to a claim is minimal and thus in an open insurance market, such costs would not be high. And government action to force up the cost would be unconstitutional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  140. matt says:

    @JKB: Indeed there’s insurance just for self defense cases.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  141. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Yes, we know those parents can now sue the Lanza estate in civil court for damages.

    Brilliant!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  142. stonetools says:

    @JKB:

    The solution lies not with “gun control” but with services to the mentally handicapped. That may have to include a method where someone can be hospitalized/treated by force after a fair hearing that investigates their dangerous but non-criminal behavior.

    Heh. Until a couple of days ago, folks like JKB didn’t give a d@mn about services for the mentally ill. As far as the mentally ill were concerned, conservatives would say that the mentally ill were on their own. After the incident, JKB and friends are all about providing treatment to the mentally ill, now that better gun safety legislation is now a possibility. How does that work for other liberal causes?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  143. anjin-san says:

    @ matt

    Oh so it’s too tough of a fight for you

    So now you are a self-declared thread champion? Why don’t you go do a little Snoopy dance and pat yourself on the back a few times?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  144. Scott O says:

    @JKB:

    Do you somehow think that a gun owner (or person who discharges a gun) isn’t responsible for any unjustifiable damage caused by every round discharged from that gun?

    Do you think the families in Newtown will be compensated for their losses. Of course no amount of money will truly compensate for the loss of a child but you know what I mean. I doubt that Mrs. Lanza’s assets are great enough or that she had some kind of insurance that would cover this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  145. Gustopher says:

    @Rafer Janders: regarding requiring insurance, I was about to write that unlike driving a car, gun ownership is protected in the constitution, and that might make insurance an unacceptable burden from a legal standpoint.

    But, now we have ObamaCare, which creates a similar burden with the mandate. So, it’s probably legally ok.

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  146. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    As I pointed out, all you eliminate is the possession of guns by law-abiding citizens.

    Personally, I’m completely happy if guns are not held by law-abiding citizens, but only by cops and criminals. You know why? Because on average I’m in far more danger of being shot to death by a law-abiding citizen than I am by a criminal.

    Most professionals criminals have no reason to shoot me. But there’s always a small chance that I could be shot and killed by the guy I get into a barfight with after he’s harassed my sister, or another driver who thinks I’ve cut him off in traffic, or the jealous ex-husband of the woman I’m sleeping with, or the next-door neighbor who thinks I’ve complained about his barking dog once too often and greets me at the door next time I come over with a bullet through my chest, or the deranged son of my cousin, etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  147. anjin-san says:

    Given that Mrs. Lanza was apparently a highly irresponsible gun owner (unsecured weapons in a home with an unstable family member) it seems rather unlikely that she had a ton of liability insurance.

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  148. C. Clavin says:

    Here’s the bottom line for me…
    This kids mother was a typical gun enthusiast. And she let a mentally unstable person gain access to her weapons and they were used to massacre 26 people.
    The Aurora Theater.
    Gabby Giffords.
    Columbine.
    Guns are meant for one thing. Just one. One thing only.
    They need to be expensive. They need to be rare.
    Guns are cool. I get that.
    Dusenbergs are cool. But they are rare and expensive and the people who own them treat them with the respect they deserve.
    This kids gun enthusiast mom? Not so much.
    The 2nd promises the right to arms. It does not promise cheap and plentiful arms.
    I’ve been to Cabellas and watched idiots shopping for handguns…whose only purpose is to kill…that cost nothing and come in designer colors.
    Enough.
    Murder weapons need to be rare and they need to be expensive.
    And there is zero that is unconstitutional about that.
    Will troubled people still manage to gain access to murder weapons? Yes…but nowhere near so f’ing easy.

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  149. stonetools says:

    @James Joyner:

    JJ,, I can think of a legislative scheme that would include the current incident.
    I think we should abandon the gun ban approach, since the gun nuts generally rise in wrath to protect their God-given right to own their deadly toys and derail the debate with esoteric wankery about firing action, caliber, muzzle velocity, etc.
    I think the best approach is to build on the Swiss approach, which allows you buy any type of non-military grade weapon, subject to you having a license. The relevant provisions are:

    to purchase a firearm in a commercial shop, one needs to have a Waffenerwerbsschein (weapon acquisition permit). A permit allows the purchase of three firearms. Everyone over the age of 18 who is not psychiatrically disabled (such as having had a history of endangering his own life or the lives of others) or identified as posing security problems, and who has a clean criminal record (requires a Criminal Records Bureau check) can request such a permit.

    To buy a gun from an individual, no permit is needed, but the seller is expected to establish a reasonable certainty that the purchaser will fulfill the above-mentioned conditions (usually done through a Criminal Records Bureau check). The participants in such a transaction are required to prepare a written contract detailing the identities of both vendor and purchaser, the weapon’s type, manufacturer, and serial number. The law requires the written contract to be kept for ten years by the buyer and seller. The seller is also required to see some official ID from the purchaser.

    After turning 18, any individual can buy singleshot or semiautomatic long arms (breech-loading or muzzle-loading) without a permit (so-called “free arms”). Likewise, members of a recognized rifle association do not need a buying permit for purchasing antique repeaters, and hunters do not need one for buying typical hunting rifles.[citation needed]

    You extend it to the current case by requiring that the seller establish that an authorized user ( such as child using a parent’s weapon) must be capable of fulfilling the same requirements as a buyer/owner. The seller would have to inquire not only as to who would own the gun, but as to whether the owner planned to authorize another to use the gun.

    I would also add to the above a requirement that the owner (or any authorized user) have three people vouch that the owner/user be of good character and would be a responsible gun owner/user. ( A number of states already have such a requirement). I suspect the killer in the current case (and most mentally disturbed people) would not be able to meet that requirement.
    Now this scheme would not catch every possible situation. But it would be a big improvement on the status quo.
    Such legislation could be put forth as a model that all states should follow, with each state free to establish stricter-but not looser-requirements. How’s this for a first cut?

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  150. Andre Kenji says:

    In fact, this episode demonstrates a brutal and simple fact. Healthcare is not a matter of a service that is provided for individuals(As both Liberals and Conservatives think it is), but it´s a matter of Public Welfare and Safety. It´s not a matter of “rationing” or “keeping you healthcare if you like it”. It´s a matter that many people that demands treatment(I´m not only talking about mentally ill) are a risk to people, it´s a matter that Heathcare also means a policy to treat people that could be dangerous.

    That´s why these incidents are much rarer in Canada.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  151. john personna says:

    @anjin-san:

    For what it’s worth, given a safe, there are all kinds of ways a 20 year old would get in. A single mom may have given him, and adult, the combination. Or, he might have simply assaulted her while it was open.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  152. C. Clavin says:

    I guess my point is that if you want to walk into a theater and kill me…it should be f’ing hard for you to do. The NRA wants to make it as easy as possible. That’s the choice our society needs to make.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  153. C. Clavin says:

    Should it be easy for an emotionally troubled 20yo to kill 20 children? Or should it be hard?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  154. Modulo Myself says:

    I’m guessing that conservative’s sudden emphasis on mental health care will vanish when it is made clear how far into the suvivalist idea Nancy Lanza sadly was:

    “Last time we visited with her in person we talked about prepping and you know, are you ready for what can happen down the line when the economy collapses,” said the gunman’s aunt, Marsha Lanza.

    The reporter asked, “Survivalist kind of thing?”

    “Yea,” said Marsha Lanza.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  155. anjin-san says:

    @ john personna

    A safe is not perfect, but it’s a lot better than nothing. And it seems like they had to know this kid was not quite normal, so giving him the combination would take us back to irresponsibility.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  156. john personna says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    They gave up “survivalist’ when it became a nut badge.

    … see also “realistic scenarios” as a sign of mental health.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  157. john personna says:

    @anjin-san:

    I know, I was just addressing the assumption that (a) there was not a safe, or that (b) he’d be denied access.

    Certainly everyone who has guns should have a good safe. As a bonus you can keep your Krugerrands inside too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  158. C. Clavin says:

    @ JP…
    You are exactly right.
    This typical enthusiast somehow allowed access to her collection of murder weapons.
    There should be no such thing as a typical enthusiast.
    They have proven repeatedly they are incapable of handling the responsibility.

    BTW…I’m a motorcycle enthusiast and I feel the same way about them. Nothing troubles me more than an inexperienced irresponsible rider on a high-powered machine. Of course vehicular homicides are rarely intentional. Still I would like to see access limited.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  159. Pharoah Narim says:

    “we usually don’t know these people are crazy until it’s too late. ” This is absolutely NOT true. All these guys have been spooking people for years. When they snap–NO ONE IS SURPRISED. When people show signs of people sociopaths–aggressive action is needed to evaluated them and, if need be, institutionalize them. The problem is we don’t do that any more–we through them out to the wolves and when they snap–we entertain ourselves with feel good notions about “gun-control” which is unrelated. The issue is “people control”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  160. Modulo Myself says:

    @john personna:

    The sentiment that the economy will collapse because the government keeps on supporting the moochers is a pretty strong one.

    I just read a story on my facebook feed about a guy who drives around in a BMW with a 1000 rounds and a rifle locked in the trunk. “For when the shit goes down.” It’s basically porn for unhappy rich people, but maybe it’s highly acceptable in parts of the country I do not frequent. Note especially that the remark on facebook by the teller of this story is that this guy was a nice guy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  161. David M says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    The issues aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  162. Spartacus says:

    @James Joyner:

    As noted in the original piece, assault rifles are functionally just regular semi-automatic rifles that look scary and have a bigger magazine. I’m willing to restrict magazine size if there’s real evidence that it would matter. But, yes, I think banning any semi-automatic weapon is a draconian restriction.

    Why on earth would you oppose fully automatic weapons or any kind of restriction on magazine sizes? Is this your way of trying to “level the playing field” between a heavily armed gunman intent on killing as many people as possible and innocent, unarmed 6-year olds?

    I know as a GOP tribalist, you have difficulty evaluating policy options on the merits, but, seriously, if your intent is to enact restrictions that make it less likely that large numbers of defenseless innocents will be murdered by a single gunman, why are you willing to outlaw fully automatic weapons or large magazines, but not semi-automatic weapons or very small magazines? Do you really want to argue that the balance of interests here favors the gun owner and not the innocent citizenry?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  163. wr says:

    @matt: “Could you please spend a little time learning about purchasing and owning a firearm before going off..”

    We get it. You like to play with guns. You like to talk about guns. You like to describe gun models and cite numbers. You like to believe this makes you an expert on the issue of societal control of weapons.

    What it really makes you is a bore who likes to claim special knowledge because he has a hobby. I’m pleased you take such pleasure in shooting things. Really, knock yourself out. But stop claiming you have some kind of expertise in the social issue and that anyone who doesn’t share your taste in hobbies lacks it. You’re convincing no one but yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  164. Whitfield says:

    @anjin-san: How can you help someone who wants and is determined to kill people ? They obviously need to be locked up, but you would have to prove that they are dangerous to others.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  165. Rafer Janders says:

    @Gustopher:

    regarding requiring insurance, I was about to write that unlike driving a car, gun ownership is protected in the constitution, and that might make insurance an unacceptable burden from a legal standpoint.

    There are many rights that are protected in the Constitution, but that does not mean that we can’t regulate those rights within reason — for example, you have the right to marry, but the state can still require marriage licenses. Rights do not guarantee a free-for-all, and actions permitted by the Constitution can still be subject to reasonable regulation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  166. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    Look, I’ve talked about fumble time, and very importantly “bullet buttons” many time above.

    When you ignore the button and just say “well, fumble time doesn’t always work,” I see that as a dodge. A double dodge, really.

    What you “see” when it comes to me and reality are two different things. Also, most people in this thread haven’t said a word about “bullet buttons” – are they dodging too?

    Look, I’ve already told you I will happily give you my opinion on almost anything, all you have to do is ask. On the other hand, I won’t play these games where you make bad assumptions and then expect me to answer them, or make some lame statement that I am “dodging” for not responding to a point you never made to me in the first place. In short, if you really are interested in my opinion on bullet buttons (and frankly, I have my doubts), then ask my opinion and quit assuming and quit playing games.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  167. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Spartacus:

    I know as a GOP tribalist, you have difficulty evaluating policy options on the merits,

    It’s a bit of JJ sophistry. He’s adept at it I’ll give him that. He’s just as committed to opposing sensible regulatory policies as the dumbest poster here but even he knows trotting out the matt inanities are going to make him look exceptionally stupid which he has enough personal pride to want to avoid so he seeks cover in vague, legalistic and technical distractions. I have a couple of gun loving friends who are very bright and they hide behind exactly the same smokescreens. JJ and people like him are the problem, much more so than the cretins. The irrationality of it all is not fundamentally dissimilar from a lot of the isms that have bedevilled society for centuries. Reason is suspended.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  168. jmc says:

    I grew up in a county (the UK) where owning handguns was defacto illegal for most private individuals and you needed the permission of the police to legally own any firearms. Still did not stop two of the worst mass killings in history. After the Dunblane massacre (16 small children like in Conn) the authorities confiscated most legally held fire arms Since then the murder rate involving firearms has increased almost 300%…

    The reason gun control advocates and their laws never work is because they have little interest in proposing pragmatic or practical solutions to the problem. For a start they should face up to the fact that most mass killings happen in “gun free zones”. How about making them “may carry” zones and making sure that those with concealed weapons permits in these “may carry” zones have the proper training to deal with the rare occurrence of a potential mass killer on the loose.

    That really would reduce the body count from the next attempted mass killing. Because there will be a next one. No matter what “gun control” laws are passed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  169. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    I didn’t ask you anything.

    You answered me, and assured me that I was wrong about fumble time.

    At that point, yeah, you should have included the bullet button in your analysis, if you wanted to respond to my actual message.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  170. Andre Kenji says:

    @Pharoah Narim: .

    When people show signs of people sociopaths–aggressive action is needed to evaluated them and, if need be, institutionalize them. The problem is we don’t do that any more–we through them out to the wolves and when they snap–

    No, that goes to my point: all over the world Healthcare is a matter of GENERAL welfare and public policy. Everytime that people discusses Healthcare in the United States you only see people talking about “me, me, me”. That´s why there are mandatory vaccination in most of the world, and that´s why several diseases like polio were controlled. Don´t treat someone that has somekind of mental problem and you have a potential killer.

    That´s simple.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  171. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Your suggestions are to degrade the function of a firearm and thus hinder its utility for its designed function, i.e., self defense.

    Self-defense? Really?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  172. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    I didn’t ask you anything.

    I know. Instead of asking you assume. Better to ask and be sure you are characterizing my position correclty.

    You answered me, and assured me that I was wrong about fumble time.

    Yes, and the statistics back up my position. “Fumble time” is rarely a factor in these mass killings. If I am wrong, then please present your evidence.

    At that point, yeah, you should have included the bullet button in your analysis, if you wanted to respond to my actual message.

    And what, exactly, was your “actual message?” What, exactly, would you like me to respond to? You see, I’m not exactly clear on either and I’d rather not make assumptions about your message.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  173. Spartacus says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    JJ and people like him are the problem, much more so than the cretins.

    Absolutely. He’s quick to criticize Palin, Limbaugh and other extremists, but he, David Frum, David Brooks and their ilk are, by far, the larger problem. It’s an insult to his readership for him to try and posture as if he’s open-minded to meaningful solutions to any public policy issue.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  174. john personna says:

    @Andy:

    Slow down and think about they way this developed. I mentioned fumble time and bullet buttons together in my 08:47 post. Three people agreed, and one dis.

    I talked about fumble time and bullet buttons together again at 10:30 and got five more agreements.

    You disagreed at 11:42 and talked abut no-button fumbles.

    What should I ask you? I think I’ve been pointing out that you are going in a different direction on this. What “statistics” do you mean? Surely you don’t have anything that says more fumble is bad.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  175. Brummagem Joe says:

    @jmc:

    Since then the murder rate involving firearms has increased almost 300%…

    And what are the gun homicides per hundred in Britain versus those in the US? Give us the numbers instead of this nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  176. Spartacus says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    All these guys have been spooking people for years. When they snap–NO ONE IS SURPRISED. When people show signs of people sociopaths–aggressive action is needed to evaluated them and, if need be, institutionalize them.

    You’re right that many of these people have exhibited scary behavior before snapping, but a lot of that “scary” behavior is nothing more than being extremely shy, socially awkward and/or very lonesome – none of which is illegal, all of which is also widespread among other people who never so much as harm a housefly. It’s ironic that many people who are worried about gun owners’ 2nd Amendment rights seem to have no problem walking roughshod over other people’s 4th Amendment rights.

    Moreover, in the Newton case, the shooter apparently didn’t use guns that he had purchased. He used guns that his mother – an apparent survivalist – had purchased. Now, I certainly think that these “survivalists” are truly scary and should never own a gun, but there are a whole lot of white evangelical Christians in this country who are also survivalists. Do you support locking them up or at least taking away their guns so that they or the wacky children they’ve raised don’t use the family guns to go out and murder tens of innocent 6-year olds?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  177. Brummagem Joe says:

    @jmc:

    Furthermore you’re a liar. I’ve looked up the numbers and gun homicides are not 300% higher than they were at the time of the dunblane shooting. The total number of deaths last year was 51 in a population of about 62 million versus just under 9000 in our population of 310 million. You’re also lying about confiscation. The number of privately held firearms is at record highs. Of course most of them are sporting guns of the sort I used to own one of when I lived in Britain in the late 70’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  178. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Spartacus:

    He’s quick to criticize Palin, Limbaugh and other extremists, but he, David Frum, David Brooks and their ilk are, by far, the larger problem.

    Yes all these supposed moderates are masters of the McGuffin. Brooks waffles about income inequality being a social problem and yesterday in what has to be the most tin eared bit of bloviating I’ve seen so far Douhat was waxing lyrical about loss of innocence and The Brothers Karamazov……nary a word about death by guns, shooters etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  179. Lynda says:

    @jmc:

    After the Dunblane massacre (16 small children like in Conn) the authorities confiscated most legally held fire arms Since then the murder rate involving firearms has increased almost 300%…

    Citation please as your description directly contradicts all data that I have been able to find.

    For instance
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate
    2011 UK Total firearm death 0.25, homicides 0.04

    Or http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10220974
    There were 39 fatal injuries from crimes involving firearms in 2008-09, the lowest recorded by the police in 20 years

    And from this http://www.gunpolicy.org/firearms/region/united-kingdom
    Rate of Homicide in uk 1995=1.56, 2000=1.7, 2005= 1.53, 2009=1.2
    Ie Overall trend has been down although a bump up to 2.1 in 2002

    Rate of Gun homicides in UK 1998=0.06, 1999=0.08, 2001=0.07, 2002=0.05, 2003=0.07, 2004=0.09, 2005=0.07, 2006=0.08, 2007=0.04, 2008=0.05, 2009=0.03
    ie range of 0.03 to 0.09 with max occurring in 2004 and min in 2009

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  180. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Lynda:

    You obviously worked hard than me and I couldn’t get the link to my number to take for some reason. Thanks for the data dump. He’s a liar like so many of these apologists.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  181. Whitfield says:

    What are these “assault” rifles being used for ? I can’t imagine someone using these to hunt animals: totally nonsensical and probably against many states’ hunting regulations. If these are used at competitions and shooting ranges, then I can see giving permission to carry them there only; I can’t think of any other places that someone would need them. So laws should be passed that would prohibit these at schools, sports events, movie theaters, theme parks, and some other places. Maybe the licensing should be based on usage: hunting, sports, collector, or job related. That should weed out some of the nuts. And how about all of these gangs ? I have always wondered how they get all of their guns since they certainly could not be allowed to purchase them legally, considering most of them would have a record a mile long. The police need to raid their hangouts and take every weapon. When I think of gun collectors, I think of antique guns: muskets, dueling pistols, bolt action, and flintlocks. These are probably not the type used in crimes. The manager of a local convenience store carries a pistol. No robberies there and I always feel safe when I go in there to buy a drink or coffee.

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  182. jmc says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    What nonsense? I wrote about the realities of gun ownership in the UK. The UK has always had a historically low murder rates in the last century. But then it had a very different history from the US in the last 150 years. The murder rates were pretty comparable back in the 18’th century. But from historic lows about 60 years ago it has been on a steady upward curve for the last few decades. But the real change has been the firearm violence in the last two decades, the real kick point in the last decade. Go look up the Home Office numbers. Or can you not be arsed to google them?..

    One thing the UK does have in common with the US is the large difference in white / non-white murder rates. We both know who does most of the per capita killing in the US. The UK is no different. Look up Yadies and their gun killing culture. There is a reason why Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

    Guns may or may not kill people but certain sub-cultures most certainly do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  183. Andy says:

    @john personna:

    John,

    Things got derailed when you began to make assumptions:

    You seem to be taking the position that guns should be freely suited for this purpose.

    And then you accused me of “dodging” for not specifically addressing bullet buttons. You could have, instead, written something like, “hey, you didn’t mention bullet buttons, what about those?” The thing is, John, I don’t have any patience for such debate “techniques” so if you’re interested in honest conversation then please don’t accuse me of “dodging” or try to put words in my mouth….

    What should I ask you?

    I can’t read your mind, so how should I know?

    What “statistics” do you mean?

    Historically, “fumble time” is a trivial or non-factor in the vast majority of mass shootings. Here’s a description of the Luby’s restaurant massacre:

    Among his victims, actual and potential, the terror and feeling of utter helplessness was so great that people could do nothing more than duck under tables, chairs and benches, clasping each other’s hands and praying. There was no panic, no screaming, no mad scramble for the door—and the eerie silence persisted even during the lulls when Hennard paused methodically to reload his weapons and continue the slaughter. By the time police arrived, Hennard had killed 22 people at the scene; one more died later and 27 others were wounded. Exchanging fire with two officers for a few minutes, Hennard suffered four wounds before ending the madness: He dashed toward the rest rooms and, using the final bullet in his clip, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

    Even when “fumble time” is available, few take advantage.

    Surely you don’t have anything that says more fumble is bad.

    You originally mentioned 2 seconds. That’s not a lot of time. In principle, I don’t think “more fumble” is bad, but it all depends on what you mean by “more fumble.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  184. Liberty60 says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:
    Yes, because “wanting to prevent it from happening again” is the utmost in fascism.

    Far better to shrug our shoulders and remind ourselves that shit happens, and wonder whats on HBO tonight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  185. Spartacus says:

    @jmc:

    Look up Yadies and their gun killing culture. . . Guns may or may not kill people but certain sub-cultures most certainly do.

    This is an excellent point and it’s quite comforting and persuasive in light of last week’s horrible tragedy.

    —- The Parents of the 20 dead children in Newton

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  186. Brummagem Joe says:

    @jmc:

    You claimed gun homicides were 300% higher now than in 1996 when the Dunblane shooting occurred…..this was a lie, a blatant lie so don’t waste our time with any more of your bs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  187. jmc says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Really? Then the British newspapers must have lied too at the time. We are talking Sunday Times and Observer here. The 300% number was given for London at the height of the gun crime scare back in the Blair years. There was a massive police clamp down but it made little real difference. The confiscation stories where widely reported at the time. Millions of them were destroyed. Basically its gun club ownership only now.

    The current gun laws in the UK are draconian in the extreme yet gun crime is a widespread problem in most urban areas of the UK.. Or did you miss the recent story where an SAS sniper was recently sent to jail because he had an undeclared handgun packed away by a third party and shipped back in his personal belongings after he was wounded . Thats how insane the UK laws are. He was released after a massive public outcry but if he had not been a wounded veteran he’d be in jail for the next five years. You should look up the legal issues the UK Olympic shooting team had with its target pistols. That has also been a big story over the years.

    So you lived in the UK back in the ’70’s, well hoop dee doo. The UK of today, especially the built up urban areas are a very different place from back then. If you were actually familiar with the realities of contemporary UK you would know that violent crimes is a really big deal and that gun crimes is a common occurrence in big cities. And as you cannot legally defend yourself, even pepper spray is illegal, its a great time to be a street thug.

    And yes I do know the realities of the US. Lived in the US for a large chunk of the last 25 years. I arrived having a typical European anti-gun bias but over the years have come to realize that a lot of the gun rights peoples arguments have some merit, even if very badly presented , and that the gun control people are often basically power obsessed cranks with personality issues. I also learned that I can have a serious disagreement with gun rights people and they will respect my right to a different opinion whereas the gun control people tend to brook no disagreement and are often quick to personalize and vilify those who dare differ with them. I currently spend most of the year living in San Francisco so I know of what I speak.

    Which is a pity because the real solution is going to be somewhere between the two polar opposites. But to date I tend to only hear practical and pragmatic ideas from gun rights side of the spectrum and the same tired old polemics from the other side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  188. Spartacus says:

    @jmc:

    There is a reason why Jamaica has one of the highest murder rates in the world.

    This is another excellent point by you. Most liberals are going to respond by pointing out that it’s stupid to compare a poor, third-world country like Jamaica with leading first-world OECD countries like the U.S. and the U.K., but what do they know.

    We all know that the “whiter” a country, the lower its murder rate. Just check out the much higher murder rates in racially diverse countries like France and the U.S. in comparison to the low murder rate in all white Russia.

    http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/safety/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  189. wr says:

    @jmc: “I also learned that I can have a serious disagreement with gun rights people and they will respect my right to a different opinion whereas the gun control people tend to brook no disagreement and are often quick to personalize and vilify those who dare differ with them. I currently spend most of the year living in San Francisco so I know of what I speak.”

    Hmm. You go up to liberals and try to spread your innocent message that “guns don’t kill people, ni**ers kill people,” and those darned intolerant libs personalize and vilify you. What a poor, misunderstood saint you are.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  190. jmc says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    The number was quoted for London in a Sunday Times article (now behind a paywall) while Blair was still Prime Minster during one of the many gun crime scares. Probably around 2005. The base was around 1995 if I remember correctly and it was for the Greater London. area. The other major conurbations like Greater Manchester had the same kind of trends and problems.

    As one of the people deeply horrified by Dunblaine who fully supported the clamp down at the time the number really stuck out as it support some of the claims made by gun rights advocates as to the ineffectiveness of most gun control laws. What came out of both Dunblane and Hungerford was the perpetrator was already know about, that the existing laws would have dealt with them if applied and the extreme reaction to both massacres by politicians was pure ass covering of the highest order. In the case of Dunblane the police did not want to give a gun license to the killer but where overruled by a senior Labour politician and that there was a massive cover up involved which had little to do with the murder of all those little children. But thats another story..

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  191. Brummagem Joe says:

    @jmc:

    Lynda has provided a link to the data so would you like to provide a link that supports your contention that UK gun homicides have tripled since 1996. There were 51 last year, it’s one of the lowest in the world. And for your info I lived in central London and as it happens one of my sons currently lives in London. And my wife btw is a brit and still has all her family there. You’re a liar and not a particularly skilful one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  192. Lynda says:

    @Brummagem Joe:
    Thanks Joe,

    If jmc actually cares about the issue and is interested in reasonable argument he will link and summarise the data from the home office proving that gun homicides in the UK have increased in the last decade – and by that I meant dates of up to 2011 rather than the “Blair” years of 1997 to 2007. And that the “Yadies did it”

    Apparently he cannot be arsed to provide those links and until he does I suggest we ignore him

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  193. jmc says:

    @wr:

    And so you have just proved my point in abundance. No one more tolerant that a liberal bigot.

    So the difference in murder rates between the various races is purely imaginary. I must have imagined all those decades of stats from the DOJ and elsewhere.. Go look them up.

    Funny how in a city with a very large numbers of asians and whites (SF) its the blacks and the hispanics who disproportionately die of gun-shot wounds. Or is the SFPD all part of the racist conspiracy too?

    .

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  194. john personna says:

    FWIW, just learned my sister was just coming back to the Newport Beach Macy’s parking lot, heard the evacuation order over loudspeaker, left. That was the one where the guy shot 50 times, but at the sky and ground.

    Close to home.

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  195. Brummagem Joe says:

    @jmc:

    And so you have just proved my point in abundance. No one more tolerant that a liberal bigot.

    Yep liberals are exceptionally intolerant of liars……this one certainly is

    Apparently he cannot be arsed to provide those links and until he does I suggest we ignore him

    Sound advice Lynda…..I’ll take it.

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  196. Lynda says:

    @john personna:

    Very glad that it was the sky and concrete the shooter hit and not your sister. Hope you hug her extra tight when you next see her, brushes that close can be very unsettling.

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  197. Spartacus says:

    @jmc:

    So the difference in murder rates between the various races is purely imaginary.

    Not at all imaginary – just entirely irrelevant to the question of whether we should enact laws that (a) severely limit a person’s ability to acquire a gun, and (b) make guns substantially less lethal once they have been acquired.

    Unless you want to argue that racial minorities should have their 2nd and 14th Amendment rights revoked, you’ve neither advanced the discussion nor effectively hidden your limited capacity for reasoning.

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  198. john personna says:

    @Lynda:

    Thank you, I will try to be as demonstrative as Nordic norms allow ;-)

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  199. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Lynda:

    brushes that close can be very unsettling.

    Interestingly I was actually present at an exhibition in London in 1976 with my wife and two of my kids when an IRA bomb went off. It was a little distance from us and we were unharmed but it was pretty messy I can tell you. So our lying idiot can tell me little about urban violence.

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  200. Rafer Janders says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Interestingly I was actually present at an exhibition in London in 1976 with my wife and two of my kids when an IRA bomb went off.

    I was in London at the same time with my father and mother, and also down the street when an IRA bomb went off. Who knows, might have been the same one….

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  201. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I can’t remember whether it was Earls Court or Olympia but it was an Ideal Home exhibition. No one was killed but I think about 30 or 40 people were seriously injured. As we exited there were people lying around everywhere covered in blood, minus arms etc. Very messy. We had to cover up the kid’s faces so they couldn’t see anything.But there was no panic or anything…..really the Brits at their best.

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  202. Pharoah Narim says:

    @Spartacus:

    You have a tough rough to hoe if you’re trying to compare survivalist and evangelicals; who happen to be run-of-the-mill harmless fools, with sociopaths and schizoids who have medical conditions that are exacerbated by the normal spectrum of human experiences. Being a fool is a victimless tragedy. Being a headcase—that can be dangerous to personal and societal health. Obviously 99% of head cases don’t shoot innocents but we can shrink the raw numbers of the 1% pool which will reduce the frequency of these types of attacks with aggressive mental health policy. Look, sometimes people lose the DNA lottery–if you’re a paranoid schizoid or are on the high end of the sociopath spectrum–Constitutional rights with regard to personal mobility are, IMO, an extremely low priority.

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  203. Spartacus says:

    @Pharoah Narim:

    Obviously 99% of head cases don’t shoot innocents but we can shrink the raw numbers of the 1% pool which will reduce the frequency of these types of attacks with aggressive mental health policy.

    I agree with this, but as someone else pointed out, we don’t know in advance who’s crazy enough to present a danger to themselves or others and who’s simply crazy and harmless.

    If we’re going to pass laws that run the risk of unnecessarily infringing on the rights of non-murderers by either mistakenly locking up the wrong people or mistakenly making it extremely difficult for regular people to possess less deadly guns, no rational person would argue that we should err on the side of locking up people who have committed no wrong and may never harm another person.

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  204. anjin-san says:

    we don’t know in advance who’s crazy enough to present a danger to themselves or others and who’s simply crazy and harmless.

    Not sure what you are talking about. To get a 5150 in CA, a a qualified officer or clinician has to say that the patient is a danger to himself or others. It’s psych care 101.

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  205. Lynda says:

    Joe & Rafer, sorry to hear your families were in London at that time. The IRA touched many lives and usually not for the better.

    We lived in Warrington up until 2000. In 1993 an IRA bomb exploded the weekend before Mother’s day and killed two children in the town center. My family planned to get into town early to shop but instead had a lie in. Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry were not so fortunate.

    Nothing will ever bring them back but their deaths were so shocking to people on all sides of the political aisle that it helped increase public pressure to find a resolution to the “Troubles”. I can only hope that this tragic event is one of the last of its kind.

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  206. giantslor says:

    @C. Clavin: @C. Clavin: Ammunition? It doesn’t even mention guns. “Arms” are any weapon.

    Here’s a reasonable implementation of the 2nd Amendment: allow (very) well-regulated militias the right to own swords. That’s it.

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  207. matt says:

    @anjin-san: WEll if you were truly worried about public safety and the saving of lives maybe you should work on the stuff that would result in the most lives saved and not something that is involved in the killing of a relatively small number of people a year. Even if you were to ban all guns now you wouldn’t see any results for a very long time. Fix medical errors and you’re already saving +100,000 people a year almost instantly. So you’re essentially admitting that it’s not about saving lives or public safety that it’s really just about you not liking the tool. My car analogy holds very true because I know people who think that cars are not needed. Just like people who think that guns aren’t needed these people live in cities where public transportation allows easy access to work play and supplies. So if you think that further retrictions on a tool that is used to kill 9000 people is important then you should consider further restrictions on a tool that is involved with killing +33000 people to be even more important.

    @Rafer Janders: On average you’re much more likely to die in a car accident or at the hospital than be shot. You You’re almost as likely to be killed by a non gun as a gun. Your chances of drowning in your pool in your backyard is about half the chance of you being shot and killed by a gun. There’s all kinds of things that you do daily which has a much higher chance of killing you then some random gun. You seem to be delusioned into believing that there’s a high chance of you being killed by a gun. Matter fact all of these have a MUCH MUCH higher chance of killing then some random dude with a gun.

    1. Heart Disease
    2. Cancer
    3. Stroke
    4. Chronic Lung Disease
    5. Accidents
    6. Alzheimer’s
    7. Diabetes
    8. Influenza and Pneumonia
    9. Nephritis/Kidney Disease
    10. Blood Poisoning
    11. Suicide
    12. Liver Disease
    13. Hypertension/Renal
    14. Parkinson’s Disease

    @Lynda: DO you really believe that without a firearm no one is going to be murdered? All your stats only include firearms and not all murders. Just because you remove one tool doesn’t mean suddenly people are going to stop killing each other.

    @Spartacus: Fully automatic weapons have been banned for MANY decades. Will you anti-gun nuts at least learn a little about something before pretending your experts? An assault rifle is a military grade rifle with full auto capability and/or selective fire. None of these shootings involved an assault rifle.

    @wr: We have a thread where people are claiming there are no restrictions on guns and that automatic weaponry is common place and you think I’m being unreasonable to request that posters actually educate themselves first before posting such stupid? Really? We get it. You don’t like a tool because it scares you and you focus on it because focusing on auto accidents means you’d have to take a hard look at a tool you enjoy greatly.

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  208. matt says:

    StoneTools : Since it seems you’ve stopped going to the other thread here’s that link again showing how completely ridiculous you’re being with your asshole grade snark in the last thread.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/A-Plague-of-Pigs-in-Texas.html

    http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/shots-fired-at-connecticut-elementary-school-multiple-deaths-reported/?#comment-1676492

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  209. matt says:

    You know you guys could be taking this chance to produce reasonable regulation to help shore up the safety of guns. Presenting some reasonable things such as nation wide foid card or the requirement for insurance. You could also suggest broadening the NICS check system to allow private dealers to easily do background checks. ALl of these are reasonable fairly centrist ideas. Instead y’all come out with OMGZ BAN ALL SEMI-AUTOS and GUN OWNERS ARE TERRIBLE PEOPLE. Then you act all surprised when otherwise reasonable gun owners stop showing interest in negotiating with you. You have no interest in reasonable gun control measures. You focus solely on the number of killed with guns while dismissing that nearly half the murders each year are committed without a firearm. You ignore the reality that you’re MUCH more likely to be killed by your car or any number of daily activities then by a gun. I bet you continue to swim in pools despite the fact that you probably have a much higher chance of drowning than you do being murdered by a gun. Reasonable gun control measures to you is the complete and utter removal of every firearm . Give you an inch and you’ll scream for a mile. All the while anyone who dares attempt to bring reason and actual numbers outside of firearm deaths is suddenly a gun nut who loves their guns more then their children.

    It’s silly because despite what you might think the current gun control laws have lead us down a path of reduced crime. Murder rates are lower then they have been in decades.

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  210. matt says:

    According to the FBI out of the 14000 people murdered last year 1500 were by people who were strangers. Most of the murders were committed by relatives or friends/acquaintance of the victim. Meaning a lot if not most murders are heat of the moment conflict related (over drugs grudges marital problems etc).

    There is an unknown factor in about 4500 murders though which probably breaks down similar to the known murders.

    With this knowledge most of the people’s chances of being murdered are probably much lower then they’d ever imagine. This makes sense as a majority of the murders are located in cities and are concentrated in certain generally low income areas.

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  211. David M says:

    @matt:

    Instead y’all come out with OMGZ BAN ALL SEMI-AUTOS….Then you act all surprised when otherwise reasonable gun owners stop showing interest in negotiating with you

    STFU liar. Start quoting those people directly as this is several threads you’ve straight lied repeatedly about the previous comments. You’re the one unwilling to negotiate in good faith and should be ignored until you are willing to stop dishonestly attributing positions to people that they haven’t taken and then using those imaginary positions to dismiss any arguments you don’t agree with. Truly epic trolling though.

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  212. matt says:

    @David M:

    Here’s a clear one right here who rants about why should semi autos be legal . Read the post he’s responding to
    @Spartacus:

    Here someone is advocating a ban on assault rifles which are already banned so one can only assume they are referring to the bushmaster which is a semi auto. To truly ban such a gun would require the banning of all semi auto actions.
    @al-Ameda:

    Also go to the earlier thread and you’ll see Micheal and some others questioning why any semi auto is legal.

    I’ve provided many reality based solutions and all I get from you is the same thing over and over. It’s getting rather tiresome to deal with such dreck..

    I do admit though it’s rather hilarious to see you complaining about me building strawmen when all you do is fight a strawman gun owner without ever actually responding to my points.

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  213. matt says:

    Here’s another one for you. He wants to ban assault rifles. Since assault rifles are already banned one can only conclude he’s trying to refer to semi-auto rifles like the bushmaster which uses the same action as semi-auto hunting rifles and is in itself a hunting rifle too.
    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Here’s stone talking about maybe having to abandon the outright banning of all guns.@stonetools:

    Here’s a fellow discussing how the argument against banning all guns doesn’t make sense.
    @Rafer Janders:

    I can keep going just from this thread but if these don’t do it for you then you’ve obviously decided that you’d rather troll then have a serious discussion.

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  214. David M says:

    @matt:

    I wonder why you can’t actually come up with the quotes from all these people you claim want to ban all semi-automatic weapons. Odd that it’s everyone and no one.

    Here’s stonetools banning all guns:

    I think we should abandon the gun ban approach

    WTF is wrong with you? In case you actually cannot read, that is not calling for a ban of all guns.

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  215. matt says:

    @David M: Okay you’re just a troll. Thanks for clarifying.

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  216. matt says:

    @David M: Really if I say a car ban or a soda ban what do you think I’m referring to? Especially after I’ve spent several posts railing against the evils of all those items and their owners. Jeesus christ dude you’re a good troll..

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  217. David M says:

    @matt:

    At this point, just a link from you is completely worthless, unless you are quoting people I can’t imagine why anyone would ever believe anything you wrote. You’re on record saying multiple people support banning all semiautomatic weapons when they did not. And you’d have to be completely dishonest to read “gun owners like matt should be shunned in polite society and considered social pariahs” as advocating a gun ban.

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  218. matt says:

    @David M: Since it’s obvious you have nothing to add to this discussion I can only politely request that you go troll somewhere else.

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  219. David M says:

    @matt:

    Seems highly unlikely it’s possible to offer less than you have on this subject. You are the one repeatedly making things up.

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  220. matt says:

    Here’s some food for thought. This gun is legally owned in England.
    http://i46.tinypic.com/6jj11f.jpg

    There’s a whole collection of people living in England that are owners who also post at the AK forum I go to.
    Their laws are quite nonsensical at times and even over there the debate is about if the laws are even effective.

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  221. David M says:

    @matt:

    That’s why people who freak out about non-existent plans to ban guns are part of the problem, no matter what other measures they claim to “support”. They are nothing but a distraction serving only to make any reform less likely. Repeatedly railing against a gun ban not being discussed does nothing but protect the status quo, and derails the conversation from anything productive.

    Why shouldn’t you be viewed as part of a destructive force in society, that makes everyone less safe by making sure no reform can happen?

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  222. matt says:

    @David M: Oh look you’ve finally decided to get somewhat serious. Excellent maybe now we can have a rational conversation.

    The problem is there ARE plans to ban guns. Despite your desperate pleas this thread has several examples. In the last two discussion threads we’ve had several people declare that there’s no reason for semi-automatic weapons to be legal. So first off you need to acknowledge that there are people who are interested in banning semi-automatic weapons. Hell there’s quite a few that want to ban all guns but fortunately those are a smaller amount.

    The following is part of a Democratics platform in some areas.
    Ban the sale or transfer of semi-automatic guns, except those used for hunting.

    The problem is there really isn’t a semi-automatic gun out there that isn’t used for hunting by someone. The other problem is that you cannot ban an action without banning all the guns that use that action. So really what’s the point of having that as part of your policy on guns as a Democart?

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  223. David M says:

    @matt:

    You were the first person to bring up banning guns in the last thread. Bringing it up preemptively and saying people support guns bans when they do not is not constructive unless your goal is to make sure reform cannot happen. Kind of like how the GOP claimed to support “health care reform”, but somehow never managed actually support anything.

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  224. matt says:

    @David M: It’s readily apparent you’re only interested in arguing and not facts..

    So far for realistic solutions I have the following suggestions.

    We need a public option with strong treatment options for mentally ill people (especially for the poor).

    We as a society need to stop glorifying violence and insisting on using it to solve our problems (Iraq the drumwar for war with Iran etc).

    We need to stop glorifying everything military even when clearly we shouldn’t be.

    We need to close any NICS related loopholes and provide for a free easy way for private sales to involve a NICS. That will fix the gun show loopholes that do exist.

    We need for some tightening in CCW requirements with training and background checks as a minimum requirement. It’s kind of odd though that despite the lax areas like Florida CCWs commit crimes at a far lower rate then the average population.

    We need to stop militarizing the police and focus on community outreach. Removing the stigma of snitching will increase the chances of discovering a shooting plot before it happens.

    We need to look at our culture and ourselves in an honest light.

    we should consider requiring gun owners to carry insurance to cover accidents with their firearms.

    We should consider a national FOID card like system with required training classes. I’m worried about this bit because we cannot even get a national ID passed. There’s also the problem that such a requirement will become a manner for the government to restrict ownership solely by passing ever ridiculous fees. There’s also the unintended consequences of such a precedent.

    Anyone have something reasonable to add?

    Because really people in the end you’re way WAAAAY more likely to die in an auto accident or drown in your pool then be murdered by some stranger using a gun.

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  225. matt says:

    Oops didn’t realize I had left the part in about concealed carry having an extremely low to almost non existent criminal rate. Too late to edit ;(

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  226. Eric Florack says:

    i would urge you to read this article.http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/danieljmitchell/2012/12/17/an-honest-liberal-writes-about-gun-control-n1468341/page/full/

    Some inconvienient facts:

    There are two reasons the press goes nuts on these events. first, because it serves the lefts agenda, and second because like airliner crashes, theyre a rare event, in the grand scheme.

    gun control laws have never prevented any crime, theyve simply given some criminals an advantage

    finally, did anyone notice that the Newtown perp left the scary “assult weapon” in the car and still managed to kill all those people anyway?
    all it would have taken is one armed person to stop what went down there, other than the perp, and most if not all those kids would be alive. I suggest that if anyone shares the blame for the death toll in newtown, it is gun control advocates.

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  227. Eric Florack says:

    as to the assult weapon he left in the car, why is DiFi concentrating on the weapon that wasnt used?

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  228. Brummagem Joe says:

    @matt:

    There’s a whole collection of people living in England that are owners who also post at the AK forum I go to.

    Q.E.D.

    (ps. according to another gun nut they’ve all been confiscated in England)

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  229. Eric Florack says:

    @john personna: since the bushmaster got left in the car, why is it even an issue?

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  230. Actually, mass killings are not on the rise.

    And yet those who study mass shootings say they are not becoming more common.
    “There is no pattern, there is no increase,” says criminologist James Allen Fox of Boston’s Northeastern University, who has been studying the subject since the 1980s, spurred by a rash of mass shootings in post offices. …

    Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century. …

    Still, he understands the public perception — and extensive media coverage — when mass shootings occur in places like malls and schools.

    Bingo.

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  231. Rob in CT says:

    Just to make sure we’re all using the same facts: where are you getting the info that he left the rifle in the car?

    All the stories I’ve read indicate he used it

    He then drove to the school in her car with four guns, including a shotgun that was left in the back of the vehicle, and shot up two classrooms around 9:30 a.m., police say. Police added that multiple 30-round magazines and hundreds of bullets were also found at the scene.

    The rifle used was a Bushmaster .223-caliber, according to an official with knowledge of the investigation who was not authorized to speak about it and talked on condition of anonymity. The gun is commonly seen at competitions and was the type used in the 2002 sniper killings in the Washington, D.C., area. Also found in the school were two handguns, a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/16/at-least-26-dead-in-shooting-at-connecticut-school/#ixzz2FJpssvrw

    He left a shotgun in the car.

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  232. Rick DeMent says:

    Since the entire reason for the 2nd amendment was to prevent the federal Government from keeping a large standing army, I think it’s about time we all realized that, that ship has sailed. Even if the 2nd grants individuals the right to have guns it does not mean that the ability to carry them in public is constitutionally protected or that the ability of government to restrict the type and functionality when in public is restricted any more then the first allows people to yell “fire” in a theater.

    The idea that more people running around packing heat is going to help the situation is first order insane. Most people like would crap their pants if faced with an actual shooter and the others would start shooting at each other not knowing who the bad guy is.

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  233. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Maybe Eric Florack doesn’t trust Fox News….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  234. Rob in CT says:

    Also, while I agree that the reportage of crimes like these may give people inflated impressions of the scale of the problem, I think it’s perfectly understandable. 20 little kids were shot by a madman. It’s shocking, horrifying, etc.

    Now…

    I’m for reasonable measures. Sign me up for Matt’s list of suggested changes. I’d also add that since this looks to be a case where a gun owner failed to adequately secure her weapons, more focus on doing so would be welcome. This guy was apparently able to lay his hands on lots of firepower (2 handguns, 1 rifle, 1 shotgun) with relative ease.

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  235. Rob in CT says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Well, they’re media, so they’re leftists. ;)

    I made sure I used a bubble-approved link.

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  236. @Rob in CT:

    There were many news reports quoting unnamed law-enforcement sources that the .223 rifle had been found in Lanza’s car. Of course, there were many news reports saying the shooter was his brother, too.

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  237. @Rob in CT:

    Well, yes – but he murdered the guns’ owner and then stole the guns.

    There were reports also that he tried to buy a gun at Dick’s Sporting Goods but was denied. I am not so sure this is credible. He could not legally buy a handgun, not having turned 21, but I have never seen a Dick;s that sells handguns. And he was old enough to buy a long gun, which as it turned out was his weapon of choice inside the school.

    So why would the clerk at Dick’s have refused the sale (if the attempt was in fact actually made)? Either he popped up “no” on the background check (but why?) or there was some problem with the sale itself. Or perhaps there is some internal Dick’s policy, such as no gun sales to anyone under 21. I don’t know.

    As James will affirm, we learn in the Army that “first reports are always wrong,” and I am sure that there is a lot of reporting that will turn out to be plain erroneous.

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  238. @Donald Sensing:
    One more datum: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, “In the last decade (since 2000) the homicide rate declined to levels last seen in the mid-1960s.” (The end date is 2008, the most recent year the BJS site has online with data.)

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  239. Here is what else happened Friday: Michigan approves concealed weapons in schools, churches

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  240. mattb says:

    @Eric Florack:

    gun control laws have never prevented any crime, they’ve simply given some criminals an advantage

    The facts seem to contradict this assertion. See this article in the Atlantic. The fact is that there is a strong correlation between regulations of guns and reduced gun deaths. States that have heavier regulations have lower levels of gun violence.

    That said, there is no perfect level of regulation. Note on the chart that CT has — on average — a higher degree of gun laws and a lower amount of gun deaths than other states. This shooting as with mass shootings was an aberration (not unlike events like 9/11). And little could have been done to legally prevent it — other than restricting magazine size (which is something I support).

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  241. mattb says:

    @mattb:

    This shooting as with mass shootings was an aberration (not unlike events like 9/11). And little could have been done to legally prevent it — other than restricting magazine size (which is something I support).

    Before I get misconstrued, I firmly believe in gun regulation, and think we need to strengthen current local and national regulations. The Atlantic article I linked to above demonstrates how valuable it is at curving gun related deaths.

    My point about this mass shooting — in particular — is that it’s an outlier (even among recent mass shootings) in that the individual involved was not the one who had acquired the guns. Nor were the guns acquired with the shooting in mind. And to that point — other than limiting magazine capacity (which I support) and requiring additional measures for securing guns in the home — I don’t think it’s possible to legislatively prevent this type of event from happening.

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  242. mattb says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    And he was old enough to buy a long gun, which as it turned out was his weapon of choice inside the school.

    BTW, this is a topic that has yet to come up on any of the threads here (at least that I have seen). The fact is that one does not need a license in most (if any states) to purchase a semi-automatic rifle (long gun). Again, in this case it would not have made a difference, but perhaps it’s time to seriously consider whether or not this still makes sense.

    Should licenses be required for long guns? Or just semi-automatic long guns?

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  243. john personna says:

    We need smaller magazines and a mechanism to slow changes on civilian guns

    A “tool” requirement means you need a third hand to be fast.

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  244. Eric Florack says:

    @C. Clavin: i suppose itd be a lot harder wre someone shooting back. fFurther, hed be far less likely to try if he knew someone would. As it is, our phobia about guns has us leaving the sheep unguarded from such wolves. its the anti-gun nonsense that is the biggest reason those kids are dead.

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  245. @mattb:
    The fact is that one does not need a license in most (if any states) to purchase a semi-automatic rifle (long gun).

    In my state, Tennessee, you don’t need a license to buy any gun unless it is specifically covered as falling under an FFL requirement.

    Whether purchasing a rifle of any kind, a shotgun or a handgun, the buyer must complete the national background check. and make certain certifications, but is not issued any sort of license to make the purchase.

    The only (I think) exceptions are antique guns and muzzle loading guns, a.k.a. black powder firearms, which do not require the background check. I think..

    You may be confusing a license to buy with a carry permit. Tennessee does not issue concealed carry permits. They are plain carry permits and you need one to bear handguns in public at all, concealed or open carried. (There is no legal authorization to walk down the street carrying a long gun.) Some states, such as California (yes!) require a permit to carry concealed but no kind of certification to carry openly, say, cowboy style like on TV westerns.

    Tennessee’s exceptions to needing the permit are to transport the guns or use at a public or private shooting range. When transporting, guns may not be loaded. Firearms instructors for permit certification generally tell non-permit holders to carry the guns and ammo in separate places in the car to avoid the appearance of going armed.

    Tennessee does exclude carrying weapons (not just firearm weapons) on school property, permit or no.

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  246. john personna says:

    @mattb:

    Once you try to discourage single murder or suicide it gets harder. Gang bangers saw off single or double shotguns. But sure I think levels of requirements make sense.

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  247. Eric Florack says:

    @mattb: So because you cant kill someone witha gun, meayou cant kill them? id suggest looking at the direct correlation to murders of other varieties, in places that have stronger gun laws, such as the UK… and look at overall crime rates, as well… for example autrailia, which saw a 37% increase in crime as anti gun laws kicked in

    Ogm, btw, your argument ignores the founders who thought, rightly, that an arrmed citizen was the best defense againt an out of control government. No accident i suppose that the anti-gunners are all leftists. hmmmmm?

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  248. mattb says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    You may be confusing a license to buy with a carry permit. Tennessee does not issue concealed carry permits. They are plain carry permits and you need one to bear handguns in public at all, concealed or open carried.

    I am using license and permit somewhat interchangeably. Here in New York State, there’s not licensing or permit to buy a long gun. You do need a license or permit to buy pistols. And there is a separate concealed carry permit that’s required.

    Here’s the rundown:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_New_York

    For the record, according to the Atlantic, New York state also has a lower level of per capita gun death than Tennessee (http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/the-geography-of-gun-deaths/69354/).

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  249. Spartacus says:

    @mattb:

    the individual involved was not the one who had acquired the guns.

    This argues in favor of legislation that would dramatically reduce the pervasiveness of guns. Since we know that guns are often stolen, we should try to reduce the number of them that are available for theft.

    Nor were the guns acquired with the shooting in mind.

    As you point out, this argues that we should try to dramatically reduce the lethal power of guns.

    I don’t think it’s possible to legislatively prevent this type of event from happening.

    Probably true, but there are legislative steps we can take that would reduce the likelihood of this type of event. Those people who argue that gun owners’ rights will be infringed are correct, but the burden is on them to show that the infringement of gun owners’ rights causes greater harm than the infringement of the public’s safety.

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  250. john personna says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Rational adults understand that we never “prevent” crime, we only try to reduce the levels, the odds.

    Sort of like how we can’t “prevent” cancer.

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  251. mattb says:

    @Eric Florack:

    So because you cant kill someone witha gun, meayou cant kill them? id suggest looking at the direct correlation to murders of other varieties, in places that have stronger gun laws, such as the UK… and look at overall crime rates, as well… for example autrailia, which saw a 37% increase in crime as anti gun laws kicked in

    Well, looking at the United States, at a quick glance it appears that there is no corresponding increase in other forms of murder in states that have higher gun regulation.

    This data suggests that the North East (which typically has a higher level of gun control and in many cases no death penalty) has a lower per capita murder rate than the rest of the country:
    http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/murder-rates-nationally-and-state

    Combine it with the chart that I linked to at the Atlantic, we find that in many states with lax gun regulations, you are not only more likely to be killed with a gun, but you are statistically more likely to be a murder victim.

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  252. Rafer Janders says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Ogm, btw, your argument ignores the founders who thought, rightly, that an arrmed citizen was the best defense againt an out of control government.

    Yep, you just put your armed citizen self with your little rifle up against the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Force, and see who comes out on top.

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  253. mattb says:

    @Spartacus:

    Probably true, but there are legislative steps we can take that would reduce the likelihood of this type of event. Those people who argue that gun owners’ rights will be infringed are correct, but the burden is on them to show that the infringement of gun owners’ rights causes greater harm than the infringement of the public’s safety.

    Sorry… this is the point I jump off the “regulation train.”

    I think there is more smart regulation that can be put into place. And I support that.

    But, as has been pointed out, mass shootings have actually been decreasing overall. As has gun violence. There is no question we’re in an uptick, but we don’t have a sense of whether or not this is a sustained upward trend or not.

    Much of what some people are discussing here is “moral panic” regulation. And that’s the type of stuff that leads to the security theater that we’re all subjected to by the TSA. An sadly, it’s designed to make people *feel safe* rather than actually doing anything to promote actual safety.

    Again, reducing magazine capacity makes sense (and I don’t see that as being onerous for people at the range). Trying to come up with logical regulation of semi-automatics makes sense (i.e. based on functional regulation, not cosmetic regulation).

    But trying to regulate the problem out of existence doesn’t make sense and doesn’t have a rats chance of passing at the federal or state level.

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  254. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    Much of what some people are discussing here is “moral panic” regulation.

    Is this the same as scary gun syndrome legislation…….LOL

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  255. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Rafer dear boy the other day you accused me of being mentally retarded or some such but you’re dealing with the real thing here. Unless you enjoy intellectual conversations with dishevelled individuals pushing supermarket carts it is a waste of energy.

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  256. Rick DeMent says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Ogm, btw, your argument ignores the founders who thought, rightly, that an arrmed citizen was the best defense againt an out of control government.

    ah this is wrong, dead wrong. The founders thought that armed citizens were the best way to defend the country as opposed to keeping a standing army which would be controlled by the government. The problem with this view is that the founding fathers were wrong, we need an standing army. There has never been a time when any group of armed citizens were able to fight a government with a standing army. Our own revolution would have been toast without the Continental army and the French intervention.

    Not one tyrant was ever overthrown with nothing but citizen solders that I can remember (India was but they didn’t use guns at all). The only armed insurrection by citizens and the federal government in our history was the whiskey rebellion and George Washington’s jackboots put that down as soon as the federal troops could get to western Pennsylvania. The civil war was fought by the south with arms appropriated from the federal installations they sized and gun runners. So like a lot of conservatives your wrong, dead wrong, wholly and comically wrong.

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  257. Spartacus says:

    @mattb:

    Can you explain why the balance of interests in regulating guns should favor gun owners and not public safety?

    Can you also explain the rationale for outlawing fully automatic weapons and very large magazine clips and why that rationale should not apply to the argument against semi-automatic weapons and very small clips?

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  258. Ernieyeball says:

    @Rick DeMent: The founders thought that armed citizens were the best way to defend the country as opposed to keeping a standing army which would be controlled by the government.

    Too often folks dismiss the opening words of the 2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” (can I assume that the “free State” is the government of the United States established by the USCon?)

    Also I never hear anyone refer to the other references to Militia in the USCon.
    Like Amendment 5.
    Or Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 16. To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
    Or Article II, Section 2, Paragraph.1 The President shall be Commander in Chief…of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;

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  259. mattb says:

    @Spartacus:

    Can you explain why the balance of interests in regulating guns should favor gun owners and not public safety?

    First of all, all laws are formed in the dialectical space between the rights of the mass and the rights of the individuals. That tension should be there.

    Can you also explain the rationale for outlawing fully automatic weapons and very large magazine clips and why that rationale should not apply to the argument against semi-automatic weapons and very small clips?

    You’ve just started a reverse slippery slope argument. And again, for the fricking record, how many times do I have to write I support reducing the capacity of magazines. The semi-automatic issue is far more complex… especially if we extend it beyond long guns to pistols.

    But to your point, can you make a coherent argument for what you’re stating that just stops there — with semi-automatic weapons and small magazines? I suspect that any rational you use could easily be extended to outlawing all firearms.

    After all, someone kickin’ it old school armed with multiple revolvers and shotguns can easily dispatch a lot of people in short order (see Travis Bickle and just about every 70’s urban revenge flick).

    This sort of reasoning is the inverse of arguing against allowing gay marriage because if its allow that then you cannot make a coherent argument against bigamy, pedophilia, and bestiality.

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  260. Lynda says:

    @matt:

    DO you really believe that without a firearm no one is going to be murdered? All your stats only include firearms and not all murders.

    Thanks for asking but no I don’t, like a good little economist I believe in “substitute goods”. This is why I DID include the total homicide stats by all methods and summarized them from 1995. I even highlighted that the peak in homicides had been in 2002 – several years after the handgun restrictions were brought in.

    Looking at the data dispassionately I cannot see that the gun restrictions have resulted in a dramatic reduction in overall UK homicide rates (ie if a guy wants to kill his ex-wife he will find means to do and if not a gun he will stab her). However, the most common substitute, knives, are generally considered a less effective killing tool and thus the intended victim is more likely to either escape or survive. So I do believe that the gun ban has reduced somewhat the murder rate, just not dramatically. It may or may not have affected the attempted murder rate – I cannot seem to find many stats on that.

    However, the gun restrictions were not brought in to reduce overall crime or even murder rates although obviously it was probably hoped they would also be affected. They were brought as a direct result of two mass shootings – Hungerford 1987 and Dunblane 1996. There has only been one such mass attack since in Cumbria 2010, despite the UK having similar or even worse overall crime stats than the US. Perhaps you think that that is just a coincidence?

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  261. Eric Florack says:

    @Rob in CT: Current reports from local NYC stations
    and ill tell you what…. since we”re so hot on the trail of a solution for the problem of gun violence, the stats ive seen recently suggest that over 90% of violent crime is committed by self-identified Democrats
    NOW..
    Using the same logic that many here seem to be employing in their anti=-gun rethoric, one could conclude that the problem isnt guns, its Democrats… and the logical action is to ban Democrats.
    Somehow I suspect and will suppose your desire to solve the problem doesnt extend quite so far.

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  262. anjin-san says:

    90% of violent crime is committed by self-identified Democrats

    So what you are telling us is that you are self-identifying as one of the mentally ill people we have been discussing.

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  263. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Lynda:

    Interestingly in their gun crime stats I believe that the Home Office includes air guns. Something like 40% of crimes (robberies mostly I presume) involving guns are actually air guns. Not quite the stopping power of a Glock 9mm. And of course while tighter gun laws have probably reduced the overall homicide rate somewhat that overall rate is still massively below that of the US.

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  264. anjin-san says:

    TPM blows up the right wing myth that “only our guns keep us free”…

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/12/in_search_of_the_guns_freedom_unicorn.php?ref=fpblg

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  265. mattb says:

    @Ernieyeball:

    Too often folks dismiss the opening words of the 2nd Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” (can I assume that the “free State” is the government of the United States established by the USCon?)

    Thus, the right issue doth make strict constructions of us all… ;P

    The “it was only about the Militia argument…” while a nice thought experiment, is currently a non-starter thanks to numerous Federal decisions on firearms which has firmly established that the right to own and bear arms, as enshrined by the second amendment, as having little to nothing to do with Militias.

    Of course, as with all Constitutional issues, it’s possible that the courts will swing back to a strict construction perspective, but that seems to me to be highly unlikely any time soon.

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  266. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Eric Florack:

    the stats ive seen recently suggest that over 90% of violent crime is committed by self-identified Democrats

    You wouldn’t like to provide a link to these magic numbers would you Eric………..LOL…..who peer reviewed them?……Hugh Hewitt……LOL

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  267. mattb says:

    @Eric Florack:

    the stats ive seen recently suggest that over 90% of violent crime is committed by self-identified Democrats

    Translating Eric F speak:
    The cities with the highest rates of violent crime vote predominantly democratic. This is correct.

    Eric’s twisted logic is that this means that “over 90% of violent crime is committed by self-identified Democrats” [No idea where that specific statistic comes from other than Eric's copious ass].

    What Eric fails to mention: the highest statewide per-capita murder and violent crime rates have a lot of Red in them (five Red, five Blue). Here they are in descending order according to last year’s crime statistics:

    10 Arkansas (Red)
    9 Maryland (Blue)
    8 Louisiana (Red)
    7 Florida (Blue)
    6 Delaware (Blue)
    5 Nevada (Blue)
    4 New Mexico (Blue)
    3 South Carolina (Red)
    2 Alaska (Red)
    1 Tennessee (Red)

    Of course, I’m sure that Eric believes that all of the crime in Red states is committed by “self professed democrats” (which I’m pretty sure is Eric’s new code word for minorities).

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  268. mattb says:

    Oops.. forgot to link to the sources I pulled that from…
    2012 Ranking – http://247wallst.com/2012/10/31/americas-most-violent-states/
    past rankings are available via the FBI’s website…

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  269. john personna says:

    For what it’s worth, I mistrust all “mass shootings increasing/decreasing.”

    The data are lumpy with 0-3 large incidents per year. A meaningful statistic should take like a century to accumulate.

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  270. mattb says:

    @john personna:
    Agreed. Not to mention the problems with defining “mass shootings” (is it 2 victims, 3, 4, etc).

    That’s why it’s more useful to go with straight crime statistics on gun crime. Which, in response to some detractors, are what I think regulations should be built upon (first) wherever possible.

    Different question @john personna, you keep bringing up methods for slowing down the rate of fire (versus reload) on semi-automatic weapons. Are there really any viable, non-cost prohibitive options for that?

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  271. john personna says:

    @mattb:

    I’m not an expert or even gun owner, but I observe that we have this bullet button thing in California, and the things on sale at Turners are still a pretty good enthusiast’s wish list.

    As I understand it, legislators wanted even more of a “tool required” change, and the use of a bullet, as a tool, was a manufacturer’s innovation. Some legislators would not like a more difficult process, manufacturers want to hold the line, etc.

    I have no idea what else is possible, but it doesn’t seem like the current law has caused huge problems.

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  272. john personna says:

    “Some legislators would [now] like a more difficult process, manufacturers want to hold the line, etc.”

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  273. mattb says:

    @john personna:

    I’m not an expert or even gun owner, but I observe that we have this bullet button thing in California, and the things on sale at Turners are still a pretty good enthusiast’s wish list.

    From what I can tell, that slows downs changing magazines, but does nothing to rate of fire. Again, I’m with you on the idea that slowing down magazine change is a good thing.

    In previous comments you had talked about slowing down rate of fire and I wasn’t sure if you were talking about the time inbetween bullets of the same magazine or switching magazines.

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  274. john personna says:

    @mattb:

    I don’t think I said rate of fire, unless I responded to that, thinking magazine changes.

    I am an incrementalist on a lot of things – in this too. Magazine changing seems like something that should be possible to address in an incremental way. I don’t see larger increments of change being politically possible.

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  275. Spartacus says:

    @mattb:

    First of all, all laws are formed in the dialectical space between the rights of the mass and the rights of the individuals. That tension should be there.

    That tension, in some form or another, exists with all laws and I haven’t argued that it shouldn’t be present with gun regulation. I simply asked straight-forwardly why the balance of interests should favor gun owners? You did not provide an answer.

    You’ve just started a reverse slippery slope argument. . . But to your point, can you make a coherent argument for what you’re stating that just stops there — with semi-automatic weapons and small magazines? I suspect that any rational you use could easily be extended to outlawing all firearms.

    Since you didn’t make a rational argument for why fully automatic weapons and large magazines should be outlawed while semis and small magazines are not, I have to assume you can not. Yet, you firmly believe that fully automatic weapons and small magazines should be banned. Why? What harm do those things cause that semis and smaller magazines do not cause? Are you merely looking to pass regulation for the sake of passing a law? I seriously don’t understand what you and others are trying to achieve by favoring the ban on those things while still allowing semis and smaller mags.

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  276. john personna says:

    @Spartacus:

    I seriously don’t understand what you and others are trying to achieve by favoring the ban on those things while still allowing semis and smaller mags.

    Speaking for myself, I think that US culture can only bend so far. When you try for too much you either fail, or get a fig leaf law with loopholes galore.

    An “assault rifle ban” that makes a “bad gun list” is an example of a bad outcome, a fig leaf.

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  277. mattb says:

    @Spartacus:

    I seriously don’t understand what you and others are trying to achieve by favoring the ban on those things while still allowing semis and smaller mags.

    @john personna has largely expressed my feeling. To go a bit further, I see the realm of philosophy as being fundamentally different than the realm of law in that the prior is able to achieve a level of perfection that the latter is not.

    I readily admit (and thought I did) that I’m not sure that there is any way to argue for the banning of large capacity magazines and fully automatic weapons without providing an argument for the banning of semi-automatic weapons and small capacity magazines. My point was that I fully expect that same argument could be extended to banning all firearms.

    That’s the beauty of arguments. They can remain perfect.

    Like @john personna, I don’t believe that laws can be perfect. And any law that’s going to be enacted has to be done so in the world as it currently exists — including in a US replete with semi-automatics and grandfathered high capacity magazines.

    Now, my opinion is, at the very least, we can act (as the Canadians did) to restrict magazine size. And I think that its entirely possible to do what Canada did in 96 and not allow any magazines to be grandfathered in (they had to be pinned or turned in).

    Semi-automatics present a far more difficult problem.

    First, are we talking about all semi-automatics or just rifles? After that, should they be banned outright (note that Canada doesn’t do this)? If so, what do we do for current weapon holders?

    Or should a license be required for all semi-automatics (again, in Canada for example, you don’t need a license for semi-automatic long [+470mm] guns)?

    And which of these regulations or outright banings have a snowball’s chance in hell of passing a state legislature? Let alone the federal legislature?

    And at some point, we need to figure out where enough is enough. I think we need more gun restrictions. But as pointed out in that Atlantic chart, it’s also clear that if we look at things on a state by state basis, there’s gun regulations do (in general work).

    And I don’t necessarily think that it’s smart to try to base regulations around actions by crazy people. But then again, I don’t really understand the point of getting a “freedom search” every time I have to board a US plane. And I’m truly afraid of what we’ll all have to go through after the first “rectal bomber” attempts to take down a jet.

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  278. Spartacus says:

    @john personna:

    When you try for too much you either fail, or get a fig leaf law with loopholes galore. An “assault rifle ban” that makes a “bad gun list” is an example of a bad outcome, a fig leaf.

    Fair points, really. But, why wouldn’t outlawing fully automatic weapons and large magazines also produce a bad outcome? It sounds like Mattb and others are saying we should outlaw guns that are very, very, very lethal, but not outlaw guns that are only very, very lethal. Does the absence of that one extra “very” really produce a meaningful benefit to society?

    So then, he turns the issue to why should we outlaw very, very, very lethal weapons, but not those that are merely very lethal. That’s a very good question, but it should be answered only after someone answers the very first question I asked, which was why the balance of interests should favor gun owners and not the public at large? I have yet to see an answer to that question.

    We know that societies that have fewer guns (of any sort) have fewer gun deaths. That’s an undeniable fact, and that’s where we should be trying to go. So why do we consider the infringement of gun owners’ rights to be a greater harm than the infringement upon public safety?

    Now, I don’t say any of this without recognizing that, culturally, America is not there yet. But this goes to a point Michael Reynolds made a few days ago when he argued gun opponents need to “win the hearts and minds” of the public on this issue. Well, winning “the minds” necessarily requires a discussion about the balance of interests between a person’s right to own a very lethal weapon and the public’s right to greater safety in the form of fewer guns in society.

    I’d much rather live in a society where very few guns exist, a person’s ability to acquire and retain a gun is severely restricted and those guns that do exist are the least lethal possible. The benefits of such a society are obvious and would be shared by all. The benefits of the current conditions are not at all obvious (more likely, they are non-existent) and would be shared only by those who wish to own a gun of their choosing. So, we should be working to the kind of society I described and not one in which only fully automatic weapons are large magazines are outlawed.

    Sorry for the length of my comment.

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  279. mattb says:

    Shorter @mattb:
    Here’s the ugly truth. With the exception of the issue of magazine size, there is little to nothing that prevents this sort of tragedy — legal guns being misappropriated by a family member or other third party — from happening in Canada despite Canada’s stricter gun laws. As with the Colarado Shooting, I’m pretty sure all of the guns used on Friday are legal in Canada.

    This fact should not be used as rational for not pursuing stronger regulations.

    But it should serve as a reminder that stricter gun regulations are not necessarily helpful in these sorts of extreme circumstances.

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  280. mattb says:

    @Spartacus:

    It sounds like Mattb and others are saying we should outlaw guns that are very, very, very lethal, but not outlaw guns that are only very, very lethal. Does the absence of that one extra “very” really produce a meaningful benefit to society?

    My point is that argument you put forward can also be used to ban guns that are, in turn, “very lethal” and ultimately “lethal.” And after that, it can be used to go after other objects that are lethal… I mean why would anyone need a machete for example? Or a reproduction sword which could be sharpened to a practical edge? Likewise, what’s the minimum knife length we should allow in the US?

    Again, I’m not ANTI REGULATION. But starting from the perspective that every gun owner (or every gun) is a mass shooting waiting to happen is similar to starting from the perspective that every airline passenger is a terrorist.

    Applying your same logic, why should ANY dangerous animals be allowed to live in striking distance of humans. Most people in the northeast live in proximity to coyotes. And there are — albeit rare — coyote attacks on humans. Can you present a reason we shouldn’t put down all packs wholesale? What about bears? What about wolves and bears in areas where they circulate?

    Or what about all the laws banning certain dog breeds from large areas? Again… moral panic, but at least dingos (or rather pit bulls) aren’t eating your babies.

    The point is that these topics turn into moral panics. People dread the possibility of being the victim of a mass shooting or terrorist or animal attack. And, in reaction, bad laws come into existence (again TSA safety theater or anti-animal laws).

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  281. mattb says:

    Look, if people are really concerned about public health, at the same time you are advocating for gun control, I’d also urge the same people to request legislation to permenantly remove the driver’s licenses of anyone convicted of DUI or DWI.

    That will, honestly, do far more for public health than banning semi-automatic weapons.

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  282. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    But it should serve as a reminder that stricter gun regulations are not necessarily helpful in these sorts of extreme circumstances.

    We also need to be reminded that stricter regulations aren’t necessarily going to prevent a Canada goose from falling on my head.

    Of course you can’t absolutely prevent these sort of tragedies as the experience in places like the UK and Norway demonstrate. It’s a matter of sensible cost/benefit calculation. And the fact is that Canada, which is culturally and physically close to us, has high private ownership of firearms but nothing like the homicide rates we experience in the US. The reason for is completely obvious to anyone with respect for empirical evidence. They don’t ban guns but have a rigorous system of regulation which is summarised here:

    http://www.canadianlawsite.ca/gunlaws.htm#b

    This provides a perfectly sensible template for a regulatory regime in the US.

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  283. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    That will, honestly, do far more for public health than banning semi-automatic weapons.

    And how do these people go through life and earn a living in a country where public transport systems are minimal……cost/benefit

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  284. mattb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Of course you can’t absolutely prevent these sort of tragedies as the experience in places like the UK and Norway demonstrate.

    Do you really want to list Norway? I mean, if we are going by the rule that one is too many? (BTW, Norway also allows semi-automatic weapons).

    Beyond that Joe, have you noticed that, in general, I tend to write pretty positively about the Canadian gun laws (and keep saying that I favor regulation)?

    My point, for people like @Spartacus is that there’s no way for any gun regulation short of total banning to prevent these types of freak mass occurrences from happening (see Norway and it’s enlightened laws). In fact, I’ll go on record as saying it’s a matter of when, not if, for a mass shooting to occur in Canada.

    The goal, therefore, should not be to stop mass shootings, but to rather focus on intelligently decreasing the overall number of gun deaths. And as I keep saying, I think regulation can do that.

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  285. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    Btw genius there are about 1.4 million DUI arrests each year. Now lets assume about 200k are recidivists so 1.2 million a year. Wow in ten years that means we’ve got 12 million permanently barred from driving……cost/benefit?

    http://www.numberof.net/number-of-duis-per-year/

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  286. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    e goal, therefore, should not be to stop mass shootings, but to rather focus on intelligently decreasing the overall number of gun deaths.

    Of course it is but the mass shootings are part ot the total. They are not mutually exclusive goals.

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  287. mattb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    And how do these people go through life and earn a living in a country where public transport systems are minimal……cost/benefit

    Sorry. they wanted to drink and drive and endanger my lives and the lives of children, they should figure something out.

    I mean, if we’re extending the logic that it should be as difficult as possible for dangerous people (i.e. those who knowingly or unknowingly make the decision) to get their hands on dangerous weapons, why shouldn’t it difficult for known drunk drivers to have access to cars?

    In fact, I’d argue that every drunk driver has actually proven themselves to be a far more clear and present danger to society than a perspective gun owner.

    This is a public health issue.

    And it shouldn’t matter that the US is a “car culture.” I mean, we’ve all agreed that we can’t take the fact we’re a “gun culture” into consideration. If you get busted for drunk driving then you need to relocate yourself to a bus route (and build your life around that) or to a city where public transportation is available.

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  288. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    Sorry. they wanted to drink and drive and endanger my lives and the lives of children, they should figure something out.

    Realistic as ever…….after 10 years we have 12 million permanently barred from driving (many of them young people of course)…….after 20 years wow….we have 24 million…..cost/benefit.

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  289. mattb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    e goal, therefore, should not be to stop mass shootings, but to rather focus on intelligently decreasing the overall number of gun deaths.

    Of course it is but the mass shootings are part ot the total. They are not mutually exclusive goals.

    They are, of course, not mutually exclusive goals. However, the total percentage of gun deaths due to mass shooting is a percentage rounding error. So that needs to be kept in perspective.

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  290. mattb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Btw genius there are about 1.4 million DUI arrests each year. Now lets assume about 200k are recidivists so 1.2 million a year. Wow in ten years that means we’ve got 12 million permanently barred from driving……cost/benefit?

    From the CDC:

    In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.1

    Of the 1,210 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2010, 211 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.1

    So let’s see… multiply that across 10 years and you get 100K Americans, including 2110 dead children killed due to drunk drivers. That’s what… 1000x as bad as the shooting on Friday.

    And yet you’re too pro-drunk driver to even talk about harsh penalties to keep these people alive. You’re coming up with all these mealy mouth rationals for useless regulations in the face of this public health epidemic.

    Or, if you’re not willing to discuss banning drunk drivers from driving, what should we do to make sure that Alcohol is harder for drivers to purchase. I mean when it comes down to it, every driver is a potential drunk driver.

    [I hope some people might see what I'm doing here. And, btw, as with gun control, I do support strengthening regulations on people convicted of DUI/DWI]

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  291. mattb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Of course you can’t absolutely prevent these sort of tragedies as the experience in places like the UK and Norway demonstrate

    Sorry… in my quest for snark, I misread your comment. I apologize.

    For the last time… to be clear… I support Canadian style regulations. I don’t think they are impossible. And I have written to my elected officials about them.

    My point with the drunk driving stuff is to also highlight the limit of those regulations, especially when they meet reality. If you read what Sparticus is advocating for, as an example, it’s clear that a Canadian system does not go remotely far enough his his (or her) mind.

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  292. Spartacus says:

    @mattb:

    My point is that argument you put forward can also be used to ban guns that are, in turn, “very lethal” and ultimately “lethal.” And after that, it can be used to go after other objects that are lethal…

    Yes, I readily acknowledged that in my comment to John Personna. As I point out, however, the question that first needs to be answered is why the balance of interests should favor gun owners and not the public at large? This is another way of addressing the cost/benefit issue that Brummagem Joe raised.

    I’ll state my position again: a society where very few guns exist, a person’s ability to acquire and retain a gun is severely restricted and those guns that do exist are the least lethal possible. We should pass whatever laws will move us in this direction (and keep moving us further and further in this direction) as quickly as possible.

    The benefits of this kind of society greatly outweigh the cost (or burden) imposed upon those who want a less restrictive gun policy.

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  293. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    And yet you’re too pro-drunk driver to even talk about harsh penalties to keep these people alive.

    Of course I’m pro drunk driver…..stands to reason…….now do you want to look at the the number of road deaths due to speeding? …..according to your reasoning we’re going to ban anyone getting a speeding ticket for life……Which of course is why the entire driving accidents (even the drunks didn’t actually want to kill anyone) is a false analogy to gun deaths. What false analogy do you want to go with next……medical errors?

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  294. mattb says:

    @Spartacus:
    Ok… then basically you are willing to sacrifice 100K Americans, including 2110 dead children killed due to drunk drivers a decade to drunk driving because the cost of banning convicted drunk drivers would be too onerous for the US to bear.

    I mean, I’ve already been accused of willing to sacrifice the lives of innocents to guns because I don’t support draconian enough bans on weapons (and again, let’s be clear that adopting a Canadian system like Joe is suggesting is not good enough for you based on your comments given it doesn’t ban semi-automatic weapons).

    I just want to be clear how much blood you’re willing to endure in your cost/benefit analysis.

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  295. mattb says:

    @Brummagem Joe:
    Good to hear that you support 100k dead Americans a decade and admit that you’re pro drunk driving. I mean, in any category, some innocent blood is going to have to be spilled in order to make sure we stay a free, functioning country.

    I don’t think there’s much more to say on this topic.

    I support Canadian style gun restrictions. They wouldn’t have most likely prevented this from happening. At best — and it would have been a good thing — they might have limited the death toll. I do think they would help further reduce overall number of gun deaths in the US.

    I also think that Canadian style gun restrictions would, most likely, not be good enough for most people here (again the guns that were used in the recent mass shootings are all legal in Canada, though the magazines were not).

    But again, I do support that style of restriction.

    That’s about it.

    I’m out.

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  296. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    Ok… then basically you are willing to sacrifice 100K Americans, including 2110 dead children killed due to drunk drivers a decade to drunk driving because the cost of banning convicted drunk drivers would be too onerous for the US to bear.

    About a third of road deaths in the US are due to speeding…..this is independant of dui……so start banning anyone receiving a speeding ticket for life……since this is your logic for dui it HAS to apply to speeding…..the price in road deaths isn’t very different.

    http://www.smartmotorist.com/traffic-and-safety-guideline/excessive-speed-is-a-factor-in-one-third-of-all-fatal-crashes.html

    COST/BENEFIT

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  297. Brummagem Joe says:

    @mattb:

    Good to hear that you support 100k dead Americans a decade and admit that you’re pro drunk driving.

    I’m not going say what you are but just let the acuity of your comments speak for itself.

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  298. Spartacus says:

    @mattb:

    Ok… then basically you are willing to sacrifice 100K Americans, including 2110 dead children killed due to drunk drivers a decade to drunk driving because the cost of banning convicted drunk drivers would be too onerous for the US to bear.

    If, after all the comments I’ve made on this topic, you really think that is the logical conclusion of the position that I stated, then you may want to demonstrate your own commitment to gun safety by relinquishing whatever guns you have. You’ve clearly jumped the shark.

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  299. mattb says:

    @Spartacus:
    I don’t own guns. I have been pretty clear about that from the beginning. I have no current plans to acquire them. I do occasionally target and skeet shoot at a legitimate range, with friends.

    My point — which has apparently been inarticulately made — is that I think framing mass shootings as a public health issue inorder to push for extreme regulation (i.e. banning all semi-automatics) to remove potentially dangerous objects from potentially irresponsible hands is akin to the legislation that I proposed.

    In retrospect, probably what would have been closer would be arguing that all cars should be fitted with breathalizers and everyone should have to take a blood alcohol test every time they wish to start their car.

    My point is that either measure would greatly diminish the chances of a non-insignificant amount of people being killed by drunk driving. As you and Joe point out, the toll on the population make you unwilling to enact that sort of legislation. Thus, on some level, you are agreeing to a certain level of death inorder to maintain the current social order.

    If I have misrepresented your view — that you think all semi-automatic weapons should be banned — please let me know.

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  300. wr says:

    @mattb: “I mean, if we’re extending the logic that it should be as difficult as possible for dangerous people (i.e. those who knowingly or unknowingly make the decision) to get their hands on dangerous weapons, why shouldn’t it difficult for known drunk drivers to have access to cars?”

    Gosh, maybe it’s because in many parts of this country it’s simply impossible to live and work without a car, while there is absolutely no part of this country where the same can be said of a gun. Oh, I know, now we get to hear about the killer pigs in Texas and all the bears that are ravaging half this nation. And how target shooting is so immensely pleasurable that it is the single most important thing a man can aspire to. But once we’re past those inane talking points, it’s a simple fact — people need cars for transportation. People need guns to kill people or to feel like they can kill people if they want.

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  301. mattb says:

    @wr:

    But once we’re past those inane talking points, it’s a simple fact — people need cars for transportation. People need guns to kill people or to feel like they can kill people if they want.

    GOD… I UNDERSTAND YOUR POINT!!!! THIS IS AN ALLEGORY TO TRY AND MAKE A POINT!

    Again, as I keep pointing out, I’m talking about people who have actively engaged in drunk driving. Drunk driving that is portrayed as a public health issue.

    F*CK!

    I give up.

    You’re all [I mean this in the general sense... not anyone in particular... just everyone whose pointed out how wrong I am] right. I’m an a-hole. I don’t know what I’m talking about. Burn the constitution. Ban all guns.

    There is no moral reason to possible own a gun. Of any type.

    Ban violent video games too. What moral reason is there to own a game that is neurologially programming you for violence!!

    And books with guns!!

    And anything with a blade capable of breaking mammalian flesh.

    And why the hell are any of you eating meat? Which is mass murder on an incalculable scale?!

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  302. Spartacus says:

    @mattb:

    In retrospect, probably what would have been closer would be arguing that all cars should be fitted with breathalizers and everyone should have to take a blood alcohol test every time they wish to start their car.

    I think this is an excellent idea and I don’t see any downside at all so long as the financial cost is not prohibitive. The infringement on people who want to drive without breathing into the breathalyzer is negligible, but the benefit to society is huge. So yeah, I’d absolutely be in favor of this.

    If I have misrepresented your view — that you think all semi-automatic weapons should be banned — please let me know.

    My only reason for opposing a ban is that, purely on a practical/political level, passage of such a law, much less actual compliance, is highly unlikely. But from a policy perspective, I absolutely think no one should have a semi-automatic weapon.

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  303. matt says:

    @mattb: I find that hard to believe as Illinois a higher level of gun control then most other states. Chicago itself had essentially a complete ban on all guns and yet it suffered from some of the worst gun violence in the country. New York City for all intents is an island state and it still has a great deal of violence issues. I’m not exactly convinced about your statement so if you could provide me with some stats to backup your assertion I’d appreciate it.

    @Rob in CT: Instead we’ll probably end up with a hackney set of stupid laws that do nothing but make people feel good.

    @mattb: They really aren’t interested in public health. If they were they’d be all over my suggestions about medical errors and such. The reality of guns is that unless you know someone that owns a gun you’re statistically much more likely to die from a HUGE host of other things. If you know a person with a gun you’re still statistically likely to die via a HUGE host of other things but somewhere in there will be a slightly larger chance of a gun based death. The FBI statistics themselves show that a majority of people killed by a gun knew their murderer. That most of the cases of gun related murder involve other criminal acts or domestic violence.

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  304. matt says:

    @mattb: I actually made that point in the other discussion.
    Here’s a repost.

    32,000 people are killed a year in motor vehicle accidents. Maybe we should make some “commonsensical” changes for safety.

    How about we make it illegal for a car to go 0-60 in under 11 seconds. After-all there’s no reason for you to be rapidly increasing in velocity in a residential neighborhood.

    It should be illegal for cars to go over 90 MPH. After-all most speed limits are below 80 and there’s no reason for you to be going above the speed limit.

    Now that I think about it drunk drivers account for over 10,000 of those deaths a year so we definitely should have all cars require a breathalyzer.

    Sleepy drivers also cause accidents so we definitely need a limit on how long you can drive your car and probably a system that measures your blinking to insure you’re not tired. If you’re tired the car should sound a warning and then shut off.

    We should make SUVs illegal because really no one needs that much space. If you need that much space then you should apply for a special license to operate a pickup truck.

    ALl vehicles should be limited to a mandatory height so all bumpers match up.

    Actually forget bumpers we should completely cover the car in soft rubber to absorb impacts like bumper cars. This super soft rubber might help with pedestrian fatalities.

    You can take this logic to all kinds of commonly used tools.

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  305. matt says:

    @wr: Gosh maybe in parts of this country (a lot actually) it’s impossible to own a farm and work on it without having to deal with wild animals trying to eat you or your livelihood? You know areas where it takes +45 minutes for a cop to arrive?

    That having a gun is the only way to ensure your safety and survival in such areas?

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  306. matt says:

    @john personna: Just a FYI but any attempt to do that will result in criminals easily defeating the mechanism. The California mag lock is completely ineffective if someone decided to go on a shooting spree as it’s easy to defeat.

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  307. matt says:

    @Lynda: Well here in the USA according to the FBI crime statistics most victims killed by a gun knew their killer. Of those murders most are of the passion variety either stemming from domestic disputes or crime related disputes. The thing is the passion murder types will happen just as likely without the gun as over 40% of murders committed in the USA don’t even involve a gun. A knife, blunt object or plain old strangulation is how most of the non gun related murders end up. So for the domestic aspect I don’t see the possibility for much of a decrease in murder rates. As for the crime related murders (drug dealers gangs etc) the only part that would decrease are the incidents of a bystander getting hit by a bullet.

    Overall there’s not much room for a realistic drop in murder in this country without some serious changes that have nothing to do with guns.

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  308. matt says:

    @Brummagem Joe: The stopping power isn’t generally as great but they are just as lethal. It’s the same reason why a 22 pistol is a deadly thing despite people mocking it’s small size. Bad things happen when a round bounces around inside the human body instead of quickly departing.

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  309. Rob in CT says:

    In retrospect, probably what would have been closer would be arguing that all cars should be fitted with breathalizers and everyone should have to take a blood alcohol test every time they wish to start their car.

    I’ve long liked this idea, btw. Even though it’s no doubt defeatable, your hardcore drunk is, well… a hardcore drunk (which is to say dysfunctional). I think it would help, and it doesn’t seem like it’s that big an imposition to me.

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  310. wr says:

    @matt: Gosh, maybe there’s a part of the country where the only way to remove stubborn rocks from a field is with a rocket launcher, so we should make it legal for everyone in the nation to own one.

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  311. niamh says:

    i think the killings are very upsetting so i think new laws will really help the society in america as i live in England i do not see many of these shooting incidents so it comes as quite a shock for me maybe if president Obama changed the laws to like England there would be much less incidents.

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  312. niamh says:

    @Rob in CT: well i think that is a bit crazy if you had to get to an important meeting you do not want to be late having tests also some people do not like blood or injections so this idea would not work thank you

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  313. Ernieyeball says:

    @niamh: …if president Obama changed the laws…

    In the United States the President does not “change the laws”.
    For a bill to become a law it has to pass both chambers of Congress, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Then:
    “Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.”
    Art. I Sec. 7 USCon

    Even though they were supposed to pass a US Constitution test to graduate from High School, many US Citizens do not know this either.
    There are many web sites that reproduce the US Constitution if you are interested in reading it.
    http://www.usconstitution.net is one of them.

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  314. Ernieyeball says:

    Well. I accidently hit post instead of preview and this is what happens. Obviously I never took an internet blog aptitude test to get out of High School (1966).

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  315. john personna says:

    @matt:

    Remember, all this is about percentages. Some percentage of criminals will be skilled gunsmiths with access to full metal shops. They might be able to remove a welded bullet button without destroying the gun. Of course, not everyone is that skilled. I doubt Lanza was, or that he had the lead time to modify the family guns.

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  316. Lynda says:

    @matt:

    The thing is the passion murder types will happen just as likely without the gun as over 40% of murders committed in the USA don’t even involve a gun

    Matt, why do you conclude that there would be no reduction in murders, either domestic or criminal, if the method type was changed? You seem to be making the assumption that for every one of those murders that are committed with a firearm currently (approx. 60% by your stats) if a gun was not available an equivalent murderer in the future would seamlessly switch to another method like a knife and would be equally successful in their goal ie a 1 to 1 substitution.

    What do you base that on – aren’t guns the most effective killing weapons?

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  317. matt says:

    @Lynda: Why do you conclude there would be? Even England only saw a slightly faster drop in murders then what was already occurring. Last I checked the USA was seeing a drop in murders equal to England in percentage. Hell Australia saw an uptick in home invasion rape assault and such after they passed their laws (reversing a downward trend). Even now the USA is seeing a similar drop in crime as Australia. The crazy thing about the drop in crime is that it’s common knowledge that when economies tank crime skyrockets. The lack of skyrocketing crime in most industrial countries has puzzled experts.

    England is nothing like the majority of the USA. Even Australia is only superficially similar.

    I live in a city in Texas where it’s uber easy to get a gun. Turns out that more people are murdered here with a knife then a gun. A knife doesn’t make a huge noise. A knife is easier to conceal and if it’s composite can pass through metal detectors. A knife is more effective in fights that start close then a gun. Knives don’t leave behind ballistic evidence (bullets powder burns powder residue etc). So in the end here people prefer to use a knife because it’s got all kinds of advantages over using a gun despite the ease of availability of guns.

    @john personna: Yes you are correct but to counter your mark I’d like to point to the illegal modified full auto guns used in crime. A legally owned fully automatic gun hasn’t been used in a crime ever as far a I can find. The ones you see are modified semi-autos that through some machining have been made into fully automatic.

    Now having said that I’d like to point out that for the AK family the modification results in a gun that is extremely unsafe. Modifying the AKs semi-auto action into full auto causes a lot of dangerous things like runaway shooting and out of battery ignition. This is a natural result because of the design of the AK semi auto action. This doesn’t apply to a lot of other guns because there are differences in the action.

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  318. wr says:

    @mattb: “I give up”

    I wish. You’ve spent the last few days spewing out post after post — more words than in my last two books put together, I’d bet. You keep saying the same things over and over again. Guns are good, and you’ll prove it by showing that cars are dangerous. Yippee. We get it. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find this to be among the more pathetic analogies out there, and constant repetition isn’t helping it any.

    So please feel free to give up. But we both know you won’t.

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  319. wr says:

    @matt: “They really aren’t interested in public health. If they were they’d be all over my suggestions about medical errors and such”

    Sure, fixing medical errors is important. So is enforcing laws against drunk driving. So are all the other straw issues you’ve thrown up here. We’re all interested in public health, and these are important issues.

    But they’re not arguments against gun control. And I, for one, am really not interested in them as a way to change the subject when you’re losing an argument.

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  320. matt says:

    @wr: You’re just mad that your “concern for public safety” is being revealed as the bullshit it is. Your crusade against a tool that is used in a tiny fraction of deaths a year is duly noted.

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  321. Lynda says:

    @matt:

    Why do you conclude there would be?

    I made clear why I thought there would be a reduction in the US murder rate even though murderers would often substitute other weapons if guns not available – I believe that firearms are the most effective overall weapons at killing. To quote you from earlier in the thread “Bad things happen when a round bounces around inside the human body instead of quickly departing.”

    Even England only saw a slightly faster drop in murders then what was already occurring.

    I agree, but firearms were never very common in the UK even before the regs so you wouldn’t expect there to be large drop. Firearms deaths are much more often suicides than murder in OECD countries (60% in US and still 67% in UK according to Wikipedia latest data) yet UK firearm suicides have always been so miniscule that even lumped in with drowning and jumping they barely register either pre or post gun restrictions. http://www.bmj.com/content/336/7643/539 Fig 1

    Either a) people had access to guns but for some reason chose a logistically harder method to commit suicide like hanging or car exhaust b) gun owners in the UK were/are a lot less suicidal than the general population c) there were not and are not many guns in circulation in the UK to be used killing anyone so restricting them didn’t change UK figures on murders/suicides much.

    Compare that to the US stats where the majority of suicides are by firearm. I believe that gun restrictions would lead to a reduction in total numbers of both suicides and murders.

    I live in a city in Texas where it’s uber easy to get a gun. Turns out that more people are murdered here with a knife then a gun

    Citation please? Overall for Texas 67% of murders due to firearms, only 15% are knife – exactly the same as national stats http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/crimereports/10/citCh3.pdf

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  322. matt says:

    @Lynda: I said here in my city not Texas not USA not NORTH AMERICA but my city. Right now about 78% of the murders involve a knife. I would give you links but then you would have my location and that’s something I don’t want to give to the unhinged nuts who post and lurk here.

    Thanks for providing further proof backing my statements about England not being the same as the USA..

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  323. Lynda says:

    @matt:
    We appear to have reached an impasse on the guns v knives debate. You seem to think they are both equally effective and I vehemently disagree.

    I have also lost track of whether you believe that the UK has any applicable lessons for the US on reducing the frequency of horrible events like Sandy Hook – your last posting suggests not.

    Since I am about to head back there for the holidays I will sign off with sincere wishes that you and your family have a happy, and above all safe, holiday season.

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  324. matt says:

    @Lynda: I never said they were equally effective I just said that knives are preferred as the method of murder in my area. You implied that if guns didn’t exist none of the 8400 people murdered by a gun would of ended up murdered. I responded that most those people would still be dead even with a gun ban. I then related my personal experiences here.

    Like I said England is not the USA and there’s a lot of reasons why (island nation etc)..

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  325. Lynda says:

    @matt:
    Happy Holidays Matt – Peace on Earth and Goodwill to All Men

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  326. matt says:

    @Lynda: I’ll toast to that. Cheers. Happy holidays and good wishes to your family.

    I’ve been working two jobs really hard the last week to insure that stuff will go well.

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