A Question for Sunday

When may I shoot a student?

Gun FlagVia the NYT:  When May I Shoot a Student?

So asks Boise State Biology and Criminal Justice Professor Greg Hampikian in a column directed at the Idaho legislature (but is germane to other states, such as Texas).  The piece is, I will admit, a snarky open letter than will appeal more to people on Hampikian’s side (of which I would count myself) than it is likely to persuade those in favor of limiting guns on campus.

Still, I would point to the following from towards the end of the piece:

Some of my colleagues are concerned that you are encouraging firearms within a densely packed concentration of young people who are away from home for the first time, and are coincidentally the age associated with alcohol and drug experimentation, and the commission of felonies.

Once again, this reflects outdated thinking about students. My current students have grown up learning responsible weapon use through virtual training available on the Xbox and PlayStation.

I would note the alcohol and drug experimentation issue, which I think is a real concern.  I would further note the shooting at Northern Arizona University this week appears to have been sparked by a fight between freshmen fraternity members (I have not seen any evidence of alcohol in this incidence, but would hardly be shocked if we find out it was involved).  I cannot help but think that if we encourage more guns on campus (and yes, I recognize that there are already guns on campus) that it will increase the chances of fights leading to shootings while not raising the general level of safety on campus (indeed, creating the opposite).  It is all about probabilities:  what is more likely?  A rampage shooter is taken down by an armed student or an accident happening with a concealed weapon/such a weapon being used in anger?

Back to the column:  I have teenage boys with teenage boy friends (not to mention I have been teaching at the college level for over two decades) and I can attest that yes:  some of them do think that hours spent playing Call of Duty and the like prepares them for real life gun heroics.  I would add that reading public pronouncements from grown men also often lend themselves to action hero-like assumptions about how one would react in such a situation (e.g., Ben Carson of late or John Derbyshire writing about counting rounds back after the Virginia Tech shooting).

To borrow something I wrote to a friend on Facebook in the last day or so:   school can be very stressful (money is involved, one’s future is involved, self-imagine is involved, often relationships are involved, etc). This is not a good context for firearms in my opinion.

I already worry that stressed out students who see their futures on the line might be armed when they come see me about a failing grade late on an afternoon when the building is mostly empty.  I already have to think about what could, or could not, be done in classroom X (with the two doors) or classroom Y (with just the one) in the case of violence.  These concerns would certainly be raised if guns on campus were given legal sanction.

And, I would note, Hampikian’s question is a valid one:  if we go down the rabbit hole that some want (armed students, armed faculty and staff) what is the point at which a professor has to decide to shoot a student?  How much threat is enough, especially if one thinks they might be armed?  If they come into office yelling at a professor about how the grade they received is going to ruin their life and then they quickly reach into a backpack, what should the armed professor do?  We currently know that “I thought he was reaching for a gun” often leads to law enforcement making bad decisions, do we want untrained individuals having to make such decisions?  Angry confrontations between armed students or between armed students and faculty is more likely than a good guy with a gun taking out a bad guy with a gun.

Again, it is about probabilities and so the question needs to be:  do legally sanctioned guns on campus have a higher probability of increasing or decreasing gun violence on campus?

Of the things that bother me about this movement is that it seems grounded in best case scenarios (wholly responsible and skillful usage of weapons).  Laws and policies have to take into account likely case scenarios (as well as worst case scenarios) and cannot be based on the best case outcomes.

FILED UNDER: Academia, Education, Guns and Gun Control
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Kyle Huckins says:

    The NRA cannot conceive of panicked crossfire.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    If my daughters were applying for admission to colleges and universities today, I would urge them to not apply to colleges and universities where carrying weaponry is encouraged. I can see no benefit to having students and teachers carrying weapons.

    Maybe it’s as simple as asking yourself this question: A few thousand 19 to 22 year old young male students carrying weapons on and around campus – What could possibly go wrong?

  3. ernieyeball says:

    According to Huckleberry the Huckster Huckabee, if you are not a student of David Barton you deserve to be shot (shot dead I presume).

    I don’t know anyone in America who is a more effective communicator [than David Barton.] I just wish that every single young person in America would be able to be under his tutelage and understand something about who we really are as a nation. I almost wish that there would be something like a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced — at gun point no less — to listen to every David Barton message. And I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.
    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/03/31/154984/mike-huckabee-david-barton/

  4. ernieyeball says:

    Laws and policies have to take into account likely case scenarios (as well as worst case scenarios) and cannot be based on the best case outcomes.

    Especially when the “best case outcome” means that someone gets killed.

  5. Ben Wolf says:

    What’s so difficult about sommersaulting while firing twin glocks, every bullet invariably hitting the target? Video games can only replicate the real world; ask any physicist, or Neo.

  6. Cheryl Rofer says:

    Your discussion takes us to the goal of the desire for everyone armed at all times: to Hobbes’s state of nature. The rule of law is removed; you or another faculty member must decide when to shoot a student, or students get to decide when to off faculty and staff.

    Which is precisely what is wrong with the arguments for more and more guns and that “good guys” will always win. Allegedly, the United States relies on the rule of law, particularly in matters of life and death, for both good guys and bad. Those arguing for all guns everywhere are arguing against that.

    Something something about the definition of the state as having the monopoly on violence, too.

  7. CSK says:

    When may I shoot a student?

    Well, the third time he or she comes to my office whining about having gotten a C- on a paper rather than an A seems reasonable.

  8. Mikey says:

    My daughter’s a college professor. She tells me about her students. The thought of some of them carrying a firearm around campus is utterly terrifying.

  9. M. Bouffant says:

    Certainly no problem here:

    TAMPA — A University of South Florida student has been arrested after campus police said he shot at the exterior of a student dormitory building early Sunday.

    Benjamin Knox, 21, of DeLand was charged with possessing or discharging a firearm on campus and shooting into an occupied dwelling, according to USF police.

    No one was injured in the shooting.

    Early Sunday, about 4 a.m., campus police responded to the Crescent Hill parking garage after hearing gunshots. A witness also heard gunshots, followed by screeching tires, police said.

    Officers didn’t find anyone at the parking garage, but they spotted a parked vehicle that held an open gun case and a box of ammunition “within plain sight.”

    They also found spent shell casings next to the car “where it appeared that several random shots were fired from a handgun,” police said.

    The shots hit the exterior of the Holly D residence hall, according to police.

    Police said they identified the driver as Knox, a resident student. They said they found him in his dorm room, took him into custody and took possession of the handgun they say was used in the shooting.

  10. JKB says:

    Well, first off, to lawfully possess a handgun, you must be 21. The same 21 age is required for carry permits.

    So any change from “helpless victim” zone to some carrying firearms will only impact those faculty and students who are over the age of 21.

    Two average (18-19 yr olds) freshmen getting into an argument that goes to guns will already be committing a felony by having the handguns. Then we can throw in that getting into a physical altercation while carrying a firearm is a good way to get charged with aggravated assault. Yet another felony and they haven’t even pulled out the guns yet.

    As for the facetious “when can a professor shoot”, I refer to that this thing called the law. A firearm is a deadly weapon, any discharge in the direction of another person is attempted murder. The only justification for using a firearm, i.e., discharging it, is to stop a threat is a reasonable belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury.

    Now if you believe an angry student might reasonably be reaching for a firearm, and being angry isn’t reasonable belief, you could go perhaps as far as getting your gun in hand, but not bringing it to bear until you are able to see what she is removing from her bag. But again, if the student is less than 21 yrs old, you have no additional fear or them having a firearm just because lawful carry permit holders are permitted to carry on campus than you had before the campus carry change.

    So it is okay to speak in ignorance, but it is just surprising so many supposedly educated and mature professors are speaking that way.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:
    Thanks for updating us on Gun Industry talking points.

  12. C. Clavin says:

    The idea that more guns leads to greater safety is insane. Pure insanity.
    It’s like tax cuts that pay for themselves…a myth that only the Republican base believes.

  13. David in KC says:

    @JKB: The federal age restriction on selling hand guns applies only to federally licensed dealers. So, depending on the state, an 18 year old can buy a hand gun at a gun show. Or receive it as a gift, or any other method that doesn’t involve a federally licensed dealer. A quick perusal of state hand gun laws seems to suggest a large number of states in fact allow the ownership of hand guns. I didn’t dig into concealed carry stuff, but ownership is not limited to those 21 and older.

  14. @JKB:

    Well, first off, to lawfully possess a handgun, you must be 21. The same 21 age is required for carry permits.

    So any change from “helpless victim” zone to some carrying firearms will only impact those faculty and students who are over the age of 21.

    Actually, in Alabama the age is 18. But it is a fair point that it varies state to state.

    Still, having to worry about half the student body carrying obviates nothing I have written.

    As for the facetious “when can a professor shoot”, I refer to that this thing called the law. A firearm is a deadly weapon, any discharge in the direction of another person is attempted murder. The only justification for using a firearm, i.e., discharging it, is to stop a threat is a reasonable belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury.

    The law punishes ex post (or not in many cases). It does not imbue pre shooting wisdom.

  15. ernieyeball says:

    @JKB:..JKBJust Kidding Because… I don’t know what I’m talking about.

  16. @Steven L. Taylor: In checking the law in AL it also ends up that it is cheaper than getting a driver’s license (and in some counties it is cheaper than going to the movies.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    From Wikipedia:

    An Unrestricted jurisdiction is one in which a permit is not required to carry a concealed handgun. This is sometimes called Constitutional carry. Within the Unrestricted category, there exists states that are Fully Unrestricted, where no permit is required for lawful open or concealed carry, and Partially Unrestricted, where certain forms of concealed carry may be legal without a permit, while other forms of carry may require a permit.

    Among U.S. states, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, and Vermont are Fully Unrestricted, and allow those who are not prohibited from owning a firearm to carry a concealed firearm in any place not deemed off-limits by law without a permit. Wyoming only extends permitless carry to residents of the state; non-residents must still have a permit issued by their home state to legally carry concealed in Wyoming. On July 8, 2015, Gov. Paul LePage of Maine signed LD 652, which would allow permitless carry in that state as well, which would take effect in October of 2015.[35][36][37][38][39] These states also allow the open carry of a handgun without a permit.

    Oh, look, it turns out you’re the one who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. And that’s just the states that have no law at all restricting concealed carry. Others have laws that are clearly b.s.

  18. David in KC says:

    @David in KC: Looks like 18 states allow purchasing a handgun upon reaching the ripe old age of 18.

  19. Stonetools says:

    I think that your fellow front pager and gun rights advocate Doug Mataconis should weigh in on this one. I would like hear a halfway rational response( JKB’S attempt didn’t make the cut).

  20. DrDaveT says:

    It is all about probabilities: what is more likely? A rampage shooter is taken down by an armed student or an accident happening with a concealed weapon/such a weapon being used in anger?

    Yabbut, you’re being rational. To the advocates of universal armament, it’s NOT all about probabilities, because they honestly do not care that more people will die under their ideal regime. That’s a feature for them, because they imagine that the ones doing the dying will include fewer of people like them, and more of people they don’t like. And to the extent that people like them do die, it’s OK because they died Free(tm).

    You can’t finesse this fundamental difference of criteria. If the point were to save lives and/or make people generally more safe, they would be for gun control. For them, the point is to make people more Free(tm), even if it means many more innocent (and not-so-innocent) deaths and maimings. “The tree of Liberty must be watered…” etc. It’s not a position that can be argued against on pragmatic or statistical grounds, any more than religious convictions can be.

  21. JKB says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The law punishes ex post (or not in many cases). It does not imbue pre shooting wisdom.

    Such is the nature of law and is the nature it has had since time immemorial. Under English Common Law, one could attack another for say trespassing upon a field. The attacker would not be held responsible if, after a hearing, it was shown that there was private property in that field. It is the entire premise of law that one can take an action but will have to answer for it afterwards. If one can offer an accepted justification for the act, then even an act that is on its face prohibited, is forgiven or excused.

    Take for example an executioner executing a lawful death warrant. The executioner has on its face intentionally killed another human, the definition of murder. However, under the law, the act is excused under the law because it was done by lawful judicial order.

    I’m sorry you don’t like human nature and how we humans have come to handle those bad actors, but that is a matter to take up with God, if you believe or, well, I don’t know who if you don’t.

    But if you are concerned about pre-???? wisdom then I assume you support making college campuses no alcohol zones and impose penalties on students, faculty and staff who drink on campus or enter the campus under the influence? It would certainly be a more effective measure reducing health impacts, sexual assaults, falls and other injuries and one third of gun deaths involve alcohol.

  22. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: yet the schools where the “mass shootings” take place always seem to be “gun free” zones? despite the cavalier assumption that seems to follow this hysterical topic, chl gun owners are the ones you want to carry guns. you wouldn’t know they have them and would be fortunate if the need arose for them to use them. and the story would get buried quickly as they usually do when a legit gun owner offs a wack job/criminal.

  23. gVOR08 says:

    …some of them do think that hours spent playing Call of Duty and the like prepares them for real life gun heroics.

    Good Gawd. That is frightening.

  24. Jenos Idanian says:

    An unserious question, but I’ll give it a serious answer:

    When you legitimately believe that the student poses an immediate threat to you or others.

    The same rule that applies for shooting non-students.

    So you don’t want to be responsible for the physical safety of your students, and instead put your faith in the Power of the Gun-Free Zone signs? That’s your right. You’re under no obligation to protect them from attackers. You’re exercising your right to choose as you see best. As has been said repeatedly, not everyone can be a hero, and if you believe you’re not qualified to be one, I won’t try to persuade you otherwise.

  25. PogueMahone says:

    @JKB:

    As for the facetious “when can a professor shoot”, I refer to that this thing called the law. A firearm is a deadly weapon, any discharge in the direction of another person is attempted murder.
    […]
    So it is okay to speak in ignorance, but it is just surprising so many supposedly educated and mature professors are speaking that way.

    Actually, attempted murder requires the culpable mental state of intent. IOW, the shooter must intend for his victim to die.
    If the shooter could show the shooting was accidental or their was no intent to kill then it is not attempted murder.

    Typically I wouldn’t be so pedantic, but if you are accusing others of being ignorant, I think it is important you have your facts straight first.

    Just saying…

  26. @JKB: @Jenos Idanian: As you all may have noted, I did describe the column that I was quoting as “snarky” (so the fact that both of you think you are making some kind of point about the nature of the question raises the question of how well you read the post).

    Beyond that: the underlying point remains important–and you, and all defenders of these policies (on balance), are ignoring the fact that if you think increasing the number of guns on campus to include armed students, faculty, and staff then you are, in fact, raising the question of when you have to shoot someone. I understand the notion of self defense and the legal parameters therewith, but the underlying logic of an escalation of firearms in everyday society means ultimately asking the question about when should you shoot.

    Pretending like guns will be kept safe and irrelevant until that magic moment that a bad guys appears is the underlying flaw in these fantasies about an armed society being a polite society (and a safe one). After all, the unspoken part of “an armed society is a polite society” is “because someone might gun you down if you are rude.”

    The Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman situation underscores this, btw. A confluence of the law and one man’s personal interpretation led to death. In that case the question was: “when can I shoot a teenager in a hoodie?” Zimmerman answered that question incorrectly. The more you proliferate guns the more likely it is that people are are going to answer these kinds of questions incorrectly.

    That’s the whole point of the question.

  27. C. Clavin says:

    @JKB:

    But if you are concerned about pre-???? wisdom then I assume you support making college campuses no alcohol zones and impose penalties on students, faculty and staff who drink on campus or enter the campus under the influence?

    Is alcohol designed for the singular purpose of killing people? There are certainly bad potential side effects, or occurrences, influenced by alcohol. But a guns specific purpose is to kill.
    Nonsensical argument…per usual.

  28. @JKB:

    But if you are concerned about pre-???? wisdom then I assume you support making college campuses no alcohol zones and impose penalties on students, faculty and staff who drink on campus or enter the campus under the influence?

    You cannot bring alcohol to class.* I do not have alcohol in my office. Indeed, there are significant limitations pertaining to alcohol on college campuses and a student who came to class inebriated would likely be escorted out of class by campus police.

    This is a lousy analogy for your position.

    *I guess you could hide in your backpack, but you certainly aren’t sanctioned to carry around hooch on campus.

  29. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    As has been said repeatedly, not everyone can be a hero, and if you believe you’re not qualified to be one, I won’t try to persuade you otherwise.

    AWWWWWW…Indiana-Jones-Boy sees himself as a big ol’ strapping hero.
    That’s almost as fwcking precious as it is fwcking ridiculous.
    From the basement of his mommies house wearing his onesy and dropping orange Cheetos dust on the keyboard of his mothers computer.

  30. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: Just once, can you not lie in a comment about me?

    I never said I saw myself as a hero. In fact, I have said repeatedly I do not own any guns, despite being perfectly legally allowed to do so, because I don’t want the responsibility.

    But unlike you, I respect other people’s right to choose on whether or not to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. I’ve made my choice, but unlike you, I don’t feel this overwhelming compunction (in your case, driven by a bizarre blend of stupidity, arrogance, and insecurity) to deny that right to choose to others.

  31. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: In the recent shooting in Oregon, Army veteran and student Chris Mintz charged the gunman and was shot seven times. (He survived, and is recovering.)

    Yes, we should all thank God that the only guns present were in the hands of the murderer. God only knows what might have happened if Mr. Mintz had had more than just his fists to use.

    I wonder if Liviu Librescu might have carried a gun, had he been given that choice?

  32. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    No…unlike me you see a blanket right to carry a death machine in public and the possibilities for wild cross-fire fights between untrained civilians as a feature, not a bug. You think that Oregon classroom would be safer with 30 students firing off indiscriminately? That the Aurora movie theater would have been awesome with a bunch of people firing at each other in the dark. The idiocy is awe-inspiring.
    I’m all for guns…as long as intellectually disadvantaged folks like you can be prevented from owning them.

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: You just can’t grasp concepts beyond “me good, you bad,” can you?

    I fiercely believe in my right to choose whether to keep and bear arms. And should I choose to exercise that right, I will do so — there is absolutely no legal barrier preventing me from doing so. And your laughably stupid and bellicose words will not change that in the least.

    But I have made my choice. And you had no say in that.

    I may change my mind some day. I don’t see that happening, but I reserve the right to choose differently in the meantime.

    But now I understand your mindset a bit better. You are so terrified of other people making bad choices because you project your own fears of yourself on them. Since you have such poor impulse control and judgment, you assume that no one else can make good judgments.

    Now, if we were a nation were people were as stupid and belligerent and arrogant as you, then you might have a good argument. People like you can barely be trusted to make decisions about what pants to wear. But, luckily, you are a serious outlier and it would be unfair to judge everyone as if they were your peers.

    Why are you so terrified of other people making choices? Because you expect them to make as poor choices as you have, and you will? No wonder you are so insistent on controlling others. It helps you deny how poorly you can control yourself.

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Fascinating what you are willing to allow people to make choices about hypocrite boy. Every life is precious…but the gun industry is more precious.
    People show every single fwcking day that they make bad choices. (Your mother for instance.)
    http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/2015/10/one-person-shot-near-att-stadium.html/
    Killing machines should be well-regulated. Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase?
    At it’s very minimum it means well-trained…training morons like you refuse to even consider because it’s an abridgment to your blanket right to aggrandize your self with a prosthetic.

  35. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I fiercely believe in my right to choose whether to keep and bear arms. And should I choose to exercise that right, I will do so — there is absolutely no legal barrier preventing me from doing so. And your laughably stupid and bellicose words will not change that in the least.

    You do realize that “a well regulated …” is still in the Second Amendment? So there may in fact be legal barriers that prevent your unfettered access to weaponry.

    Be that as it is may, the fact is this country is awash in guns – 300M-330M, depending which stats you care to believe – and that supply coupled with easy access, pretty much ensures that we’re going to have occasional mass shootings throughout any year. As long as we have a powerful culture of gun-ownership in this country we’re going to have to live with this.

  36. Jenos Idanian says:

    @al-Ameda: You do realize that “a well regulated …” is still in the Second Amendment?

    I’m more aware of it than you are.

    And answer this: how is it impossible to even to try to deport 12 million illegal aliens (or however many there are), but rounding up (or at least controlling) 300-350 million guns is an achievable goal?

    And yeah, you’re going to have to “live with” a culture that includes people who actually believe in their Constitutional rights, no matter how much you disapprove. Suck it.

    BTW, you’ve said you’re a gun owner. I’m not. You’d think Cliffy would be more hysterical about you and your real guns than me and my non-existent guns. But expecting consistency from Cliffy… yeah, that’s a fantasy.

  37. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    And of course you ignore the real issue that you yourself raised…

    You think that Oregon classroom would be safer with 30 students firing off indiscriminately? That the Aurora movie theater would have been awesome with a bunch of people firing at each other in the dark.

    …in order to go off on a meaningless word salad about things you know nothing of.
    Move the goal posts and change the subject. That’s how cowardly you are.

  38. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    God only knows what might have happened if Mr. Mintz had had more than just his fists to use.

    If nothing else, it would have allowed Volokh to update his list and make it “Top Ten Mass Shootings Averted By Good Guys With Guns.”

    You know, one thing I wish could be conceded here is the context. Jenos, you’re talking about gun freedom in the context of mass shootings. Are you just totally blinded by your ideology? Are you not able to see how utterly gross it is to continue associating responsible gun owners with rampage killers? Are you not at all interested in delineating a difference between you, who CHOOSES to own a gun for personal safety reasons, and the killer who CHOOSES to own a gun for murderous reasons?

    Take a step back. Breathe. Society is telling you that they don’t want to live in a world subject to arbitrary shootings. (That includes gun fights, by the way.) If you want a say in how that all works out, you need to be willing to set the boundary between you, the freedom-loving gun owner, and a killer.

  39. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You’d think Cliffy would be more hysterical about you and your real guns than me and my non-existent guns.

    Can you be that fwcking thick?
    I don’t care about guns…I grew up around them and I have owned them and, although I do not currently, I likely will sometime in the future. The minute a nice 1911 crosses my path it’s mine.
    However…it is critical that we prevent intellectually disadvantaged people like you from having them. They are too dangerous to be in the hands of fools.

  40. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    And anyone who wants to own one should be subject to rigorous training and regulation per the actual 2nd and not the gun industries perversion of the 2nd.

  41. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    BTW, you’ve said you’re a gun owner. I’m not. You’d think Cliffy would be more hysterical about you and your real guns than me and my non-existent guns. But expecting consistency from Cliffy… yeah, that’s a fantasy.

    You’ve confused me with another OTB’er – I’ve never said that I’m a gun owner. I’ve never owned a gun.

  42. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Zimmerman answered that question incorrectly.

    According to him, and a Florida court of law (snark) he answered that question quite correctly.

  43. @Jenos Idanian:

    And answer this: how is it impossible to even to try to deport 12 million illegal aliens (or however many there are), but rounding up (or at least controlling) 300-350 million guns is an achievable goal?

    I did not advocate for confiscation of weapons (nor did anyone in this thread, IIRC). Controlling said weapons is difficult as well.

    However, that does not mean that we can’t create a better system than we currently have (ditto with immigration policy).

  44. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    But now I understand your mindset a bit better. You are so terrified of other people making bad choices because you project your own fears of yourself on them. Since you have such poor impulse control and judgment, you assume that no one else can make good judgments.

    I stand in awe of how you can steadfastly ignore the clear empirical evidence regarding the rate at which real people do, in fact, make terrible decisions with guns. C. Clavin doesn’t have to project or guess; he can look it up. Despite the best efforts of various organizations, we actually do have some data on this.

    So, a serious question in response to your serious reply: is there any point at which you would agree that the benefits of legal gun ownership are outweighed by the costs? If (hypothetically) it turned out that there were 5 non-bad-guy deaths for every justified self-defense death? 50? 500? 5 million? Where’s the line? Or is the principle so important that the actual outcomes are not relevant?

  45. grumpy realist says:

    @DrDaveT: That’s the problem. These people are so much in love with their guns that they absolutely refuse to be held to the requirement to use them responsibly.

    And this thing about “bad guys with guns” vs. “good guys with guns” is a load of hooey 99% of the time. I’m sure that concealed-carry dingbat in Detroit who shot after the shoplifters was absolutely convinced that she was A Good Person and Just Doing Her Job. The fact that she endangered everyone around her never entered her little pea-brain.

  46. dmichael says:

    I would like to see this circulated as widely as possible: A message to responsible gun owners. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN6rjamk0Q0. I found it a useful analysis of this issue.

  47. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: You know, one thing I wish could be conceded here is the context. Jenos, you’re talking about gun freedom in the context of mass shootings. Are you just totally blinded by your ideology? Are you not able to see how utterly gross it is to continue associating responsible gun owners with rampage killers? Are you not at all interested in delineating a difference between you, who CHOOSES to own a gun for personal safety reasons, and the killer who CHOOSES to own a gun for murderous reasons?

    Context: So, circumstances trump principles? Emotions trump reason?

    What other Constitutional rights are contingent on the motives of those who exercise them? What other rights should be subject to prior restraint? Do we limit other rights based on what “some people” think they might do in the future?

    I’m waiting for these oft-cited “common sense” regulations and laws that would both 1) pass Constitutional muster and 2) have prevented the mass shooting that inspired the latest round of hysteria. I’ve been waiting for a long time, and I expect I’ll die waiting.

    On a previous thread, the notoriously-content-free anjin-san made his proposals (my apologies, Al-ameda; anjin is the proud gun owner, not you), and I pointed out the problems with each of his solutions.

    My position is a variation of Chesterton’s Fence. Before I will support a change, I want proof — or at least some convincing arguments — that the changes will actually make things better. That means that they will make the problems better without causing more harm.

    Your side wants to make the changes. So explain how they will work.

  48. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Do we limit other rights based on what “some people” think they might do in the future?

    Um, yes, all the time. Every single day, in millions of possible circumstances. That’s why we have laws against libel and slander, traffic ordinances, security checks at the airport, speed limits, housing regulations, noise ordinances, insider trading regulations, etc. etc. etc. Almost every law is a limitation on right because we recognize that some people will inevitably misbehave and we need to set limits on such misbehavior so that we can live together.

  49. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    You can’t even answer the issues you yourself posed…why should anyone indulge you?
    @Jenos Idanian:

    Yes, we should all thank God that the only guns present were in the hands of the murderer. God only knows what might have happened if Mr. Mintz had had more than just his fists to use.

    @C. Clavin:

    You think that Oregon classroom would be safer with 30 students firing off indiscriminately? That the Aurora movie theater would have been awesome with a bunch of people firing at each other in the dark.

    You have this childish view of the hero vigilante saving your bacon. It’s fantasy. And most responsible cops would tell you so. Which is why you ignore it and move onto other shiny objects to distract from your foolishness.

  50. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Before I will support a change, I want proof — or at least some convincing arguments — that the changes will actually make things better.

    Implicit here is that the status quo is “better.” And that’s what you’re not seeming to get here.

    You should be prepared to offer background checks and clip limits in the effort to retain your 2nd amendment rights rather than demanding line by line satisfaction. The concessions, I assure you, will not come from those demanding action on gun violence.

  51. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: What is your obsession with trying to make sure that we are a nation of victims, and not allowing anyone to try to be heroic?

    Why, look at all these tragedies that barely avoided being far worse.

    But let’s look at your laughably stupid and fatally flawed “argument.” Let’s just pretend that there were 30 students in that room, and they were all armed, because the college had declared that it was NOT a gun-free zone, and law-abiding students with legally-owned guns were welcome to exercise their rights. In your fantasy, the gunman rushes in and starts shooting, they all draw, and a massive firefight ends up with countless dead and wounded, and no one quite sure what the hell happened.

    That would never happen. Mass shootings almost always happen when the shooter is reasonably certain that their victims are unarmed. Given a choice between a roomful of people who may be armed and a roomful of people who are guaranteed to be unarmed, only a would-be mass shooter as stupid as…. well, you would choose the former.

    Find a new fantasy for your fascistic spank-bank, cliffy. One that has at least a remote resemblance to reality.

  52. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Background checks and clip limits? Worthless. Would a background check have blocked that Oregon shooter from getting his guns?

    Clip limits? First up, you mean “magazines.” “Clips” are different. And they are easily defeated — just carry multiple guns and multiple magazines.

    Also, there are a zillion magazines out there already that you would “limit.” You wanna confiscate them all? They’re also not registered, so how the hell you gonna find them all?

    Suppose I have a gun and a magazine that holds more rounds than you think I should have. What you gonna do? I’ll just buy a “legal” magazine and use that whenever there’s a chance my gun might be inspected, and keep the illegal ones without telling. You wanna do a magazine search of every registered gun owner’s home, just to make certain they aren’t holding any “illegal” magazines?

  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Oh, and I forgot this:

    Implicit here is that the status quo is “better.” And that’s what you’re not seeming to get here.

    No, implicit in your argument is that things are as bad as they could get, and could not get worse, so any change will be good — or, at least, neutral.

    Obviously, that is not true.

  54. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    When you legitimately believe that the student poses an immediate threat to you or others.

    So the test for when I may legitimately shoot you is both unobservable and subjective? It depends not on any objective facts about the situation, or criteria of reasonable inference, but only on my state of mind and beliefs (whether warranted or not) about your intentions and/or capabilities?

    Or perhaps you packing more into the word ‘legitimately’ than usual. Could you unpack it? What makes my belief that you are an immediate danger legitimate, to a degree that I may legitimately shoot you?

  55. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    My position is a variation of Chesterton’s Fence.

    Congratulations — you are the first commenter here to cite an actual conservative principle in a very long time.

    Of course, Chesterton was willing to accept empirical evidence, which somewhat sets him apart from the usual anti-gun-control approach…

  56. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    Implicit here is that the status quo is “better.”

    No, I’ll defend Jenos on this (very narrow) point. The only time it is not unreasonable to ask for evidence that the change will be an improvement is when the current situation is as bad as possible.

    Now, what evidence would be convincing to someone who believes the principle is more important than the outcomes? That’s a very different question…

  57. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Background checks and clip limits? Worthless.

    Worth less than what? I have yet to hear anything constructive on this issue from you.

    Clip limits? First up, you mean “magazines.” “Clips” are different.

    Don’t argue jargon. You get no authority from it and it really brings nothing to the conversation. Free advice from the fat man.

    You wanna confiscate them all?

    No, but you sure seem to want to argue against some kind of fictional confiscation plan.

    Suppose I have a gun and a magazine that holds more rounds than you think I should have. What you gonna do?

    Me, I’ll do nothing. But it’s not me you have to worry about. Suppose you have a gun and a magazine that holds more rounds than your local laws say you should have. What you gonna do?

    Spend a night in jail and pay a fine. That’s what you gonna do.

    I’m not talking about being an internet tough guy here, Jenos. I’m talking about being a productive member of society, trying to be useful, trying to make a better world. I continue to think gun owners have something valuable to contribute to that discussion, but after talking to you, maybe I’m wrong.

    No, implicit in your argument is that things are as bad as they could get,

    Wrong again. Implicit in my argument is that it’s too easy for spree killers to get their arsenals. I want to make that harder. Gun owners should want that too.

  58. Jenos Idanian says:

    @DrDaveT: So the test for when I may legitimately shoot you is both unobservable and subjective?

    Yes, I used an ambiguous word. But I elaborated on it — I said the same rules apply as in any other circumstance. Which means that the person being shot at is, in the perceptions of a reasonable person, posing an imminent threat to the life or health of the shooter or other innocents.

    I don’t know the precise legal wording, but that should make it fairly clear to any reasonable person. And the shooter has to take reasonable precautions and not endanger or injure others in the process. For example, the guy who accidentally shot the carjacking victim and the woman who shot at the Home Depot shoplifter should both face criminal charges for their actions.

  59. ernieyeball says:

    @Jenos Idanian:..Mass shootings almost always happen when the shooter is reasonably certain that their victims are unarmed.

    Jenos the Mind Reader practices Telepathy.
    So you claim to know what killers are “reasonably certain ” of!
    I don’t believe you.

  60. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @JKB:

    I assume you support making college campuses no alcohol zones and impose penalties on students, faculty and staff who drink on campus or enter the campus under the influence?

    You really gonna take a position against terminating an employee who shows up drunk? Really?

    By the way, every contract that I have ever worked under made the school a no alcohol zone for the teachers and employees. It worked fine.

  61. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Wrong again. Implicit in my argument is that it’s too easy for spree killers to get their arsenals. I want to make that harder. Gun owners should want that too.

    Actually, it’s legally impossible for spree killers to get arsenals.

    What you don’t like is that future spree killers get arsenals. That potential spree killers get their arsenals.

    There are terms for laws that are based on what people might do in the future. “Ex post facto” and “prior restraint” are two of them. And they are generally held unconstitutional.

  62. Jenos Idanian says:

    @ernieyeball: It’s called looking at the established facts and observing a trend. I don’t recall any mass murders at gun stores, firing ranges, police stations, gun shows, or the like. Schools, college campuses, Fort Hood (where the troops were forbidden from having guns unless required by their current duties), the Navy Yard, malls….

    It’s the pattern. “Gun-free zones” are hunting ranges for mass murderers.

  63. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    What is your obsession with trying to make sure that we are a nation of victims, and not allowing anyone to try to be heroic?

    Sorry Indiana Jones boy…I live in the real world…not your mothers basement playing video games like you.

  64. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    There are terms for laws that are based on what people might do in the future. “Ex post facto” and “prior restraint” are two of them. And they are generally held unconstitutional.

    Future spree killers thank you for defending their constitutional rights.

    And if they’re mad at me that I won’t let them accumulate enough weaponry to shoot 80 people in 5 minutes….oh, well. Some things cannot be helped.

  65. ernieyeball says:

    @Jenos Idanian:..For example, the guy who accidentally shot the carjacking victim and the woman who shot at the Home Depot shoplifter should both face criminal charges for their actions.

    Yes. And the penalty for their total recklessness with their killing tools should be that they can never get their paws on a firearm again.

  66. Jenos Idanian says:

    @ernieyeball: And the penalty for their total recklessness with their killing tools should be that they can never get their paws on a firearm again.

    Absolutely not.

    If that’s the extent of the penalty, that is. Criminal charges should involve jail time for the guy who killed the driver, and probably for the woman at Home Depot. And they should be stripped of their gun ownership rights as part of their conviction.

    But as a penalty in and of itself? And without a criminal conviction? Absolutely not.

  67. ernieyeball says:

    @Jenos Idanian: ..should both face criminal charges for their actions.

    That’s what you said isn’t it? “…should both face criminal charges…”
    And I wrote: “YES. And…”
    I never wrote: “… a penalty in and of itself? And without a criminal conviction?”
    But I do understand that you have to attribute to me things that I never stated in an attempt to win your arguments.

  68. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    That would never happen. Mass shootings almost always happen when the shooter is reasonably certain that their victims are unarmed.

    This is completely assinine. There’s no other word.
    It’s a statistical fact that the presence of guns increases incidents of gun violence, and doesn’t lessen it. So arm 30 students and there is how much greater a chance for gun violence? 30 times? 60 times? 90 times? We don’t really know because the Gun Industry, which has bought and paid for Congress (along with dupes they don’t pay like Jenos), prevents any research into the topic. What we do know for a fact is that a gun in a house means the inhabitants are 3 times more likely to be killed by a gun…and for women it’s even worse. For every time a gun is used in self-defense 50 people are killed by gun homicide. So yeah…let’s arm everyone in a classroom. It makes no sense based on…you know…facts…but the Gun Industry gets a chubby just thinking about it.

  69. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    There are terms for laws that are based on what people might do in the future. “Ex post facto” and “prior restraint” are two of them. And they are generally held unconstitutional.

    Um, no. Sadly, hilariously no. A fail on the most basic grade school understanding of the law. Almost every law is based on what people might do in the future. Hence, for example, laws, against murder, or kidnapping, or insider trading. I’ve done none of these as of now, and yet the fact that laws against them ban me from doing them in the future if I’m so inclined is not an unconstitutional restriction.

    Also, ding for the blatant misuse of legal terms: “prior restraint” is generally only in use in First Amendment cases, and refers to a government action that bans or inhibits speech before it can take place, while. prohibitions against “ex post facto” laws are prohibitions against laws punishing someone in the present for an action that person took in the past that was legal at the time he did it.

  70. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Alas, as the thread move on in its death spiral to insanity, we discover the reason that we cannot do the things that other people in other countries can do. It is because our society is, in aggregate, simply not good enough to care about what happens to our fellow citizens if that care involves any inconvenience (or in the case of Jenos, perceived future inconvenience). We see over and over that the Jenoses and JKBs of society outnumber the Grumpy Realists, James Pierces, Dr. Taylors and Dr. Daves.

    Maybe Reynolds’ kids will be able to address this problem, maybe their grandkids. We, however, won’t.

  71. Jenos Idanian says:

    @ernieyeball: I wasn’t looking to argue with you; your comment was ambiguous, and I wanted to make my own position crystal clear.

    I am glad that we agree on that point, and that you took the time to make it clear. Thank you.

  72. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Fort Hood (where the troops were forbidden from having guns unless required by their current duties),

    Odd, isn’t it, that the military considers it safer to forbid troops from carrying guns around? That the military, which seems to know a thing or two about weapons, fears the consequences of the unregulated carrying around of guns?

  73. C. Clavin says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    We see over and over that the Jenoses and JKBs of society outnumber the Grumpy Realists, James Pierces, Dr. Taylors and Dr. Daves.

    Well…no they don’t. Most people, including NRA members, are in favor of reasonable common-sense regulation. Jenos and JKB are part of the nut-job gun-cult and so must be ignored. Unfortunately the Gun Lobby does hold sway over Congress and most State Houses. we all enjoy freedom of speech…the NRA and the Koch Bros have more freedom because they have more money.
    Soon we will reach a tipping point and chaos theory teaches us that the result will be far worse than had the Gun Industry worked to implement moderate regulations to make people more, not less, safe. We can do small sensible things now, like background checks and rigorous training…or we can end up like Australia later.

  74. ernieyeball says:

    @Jenos Idanian:.. I wasn’t looking to argue with you.

    I don’t believe that either.

  75. MarkedMan says:

    @Rafer Janders: Your point about the military closely regulating who can carry a gun, when and where, seems to be a pretty relevant point. These are guys who have been screened for mental problems before even entering the service, and then examined closely while under stressful circumstances during basic training. Every one of them has had extensive training on gun use and gun safety. And the military has hundreds of years of experience with situations where lots of people are walking around armed. And based on that experience they have made the decision that whenever practical soldiers are not to carry their weapons.

    Makes you think.

  76. anjin-san says:

    @JKB:

    Shorter JKB “My last post was utter nonsense filled with falsehoods and sneering condescension with that has no basis in reality, so read this one too.”

  77. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Background checks and clip limits? Worthless

    How much experience do you have purchasing, handling, and firing guns?

    None? That’s what I though. Why don’t you stop pontificating about subjects you know nothing about and go try to get a life?

  78. Tylerh says:

    NEVER FORGET:

    Guns don’t kill people.

    Bullets do.

    We should just adopt the Swiss model: you can have your gun — but every bullet gets registered with the local police.

    see — problem solved!

  79. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    What is your obsession with trying to make sure that we are a nation of victims

    By your own admission you do not own or carry guns.

    So let’s extend your “logic”… Jenos is a victim. He is a victim by choice. Why would we want to hear arguments in favor of gun rights from someone who has chosen to emasculate himself and prostrate himself at the feet of criminals and crazies?

    Can you just once construct an argument that is not shredded more easily than cheap toilet paper?

  80. C. Clavin says:
  81. C. Clavin says:
  82. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: My non ownershipis by choice. The argument here us whether I should be allowed that choice.

    Why do you own your guns? Would your reasons pass muster from the majority here? Let’s hear your excuses sound reasons for your cultish devotion to possessing such potent phallic symbols to compensate for your own shortcomings…

    Come on, people. You have a gun owner you can grill, one who is on your side. Where is you intelllectual curiosity?

  83. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    The argument here us whether I should be allowed that choice.

    No, douche…that’s your straw-man.

  84. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Sorry Jenos, your sad attempts to control the conversation are just that – sad.

  85. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Yes, I used an ambiguous word. But I elaborated on it — I said the same rules apply as in any other circumstance. Which means that the person being shot at is, in the perceptions of a reasonable person, posing an imminent threat to the life or health of the shooter or other innocents.

    But this is the crux — you have just shifted from something I might possibly be able to know at the time, to something that can only be established authoritatively after the fact, when it’s too late.

    Or, in the case when I shoot you dead because I think you pose an imminent threat, can never be established authoritatively. Dead men tell no tales.

    Steven’s original question still begs an answer — in what circumstances is it justified for me to act, now, to shoot you? A reasonable answer must restrict itself to things that I can know at the time the decision is required. That rules out any of the “what a reasonable person would eventually decide was a plausible threat, having weighed all of the evidence” kinds of criteria, because there’s no time for such cogitation at the critical moment. It has to be something I can know immediately, in time to defend myself.

  86. James Pearce says:

    @DrDaveT:

    No, I’ll defend Jenos on this (very narrow) point. The only time it is not unreasonable to ask for evidence that the change will be an improvement is when the current situation is as bad as possible.

    I missed this earlier. I have to ask:

    Where will this evidence come from? How is one going to produce evidence that a policy “will be an improvement” before the policy is even implemented? If there is “evidence” a policy doesn’t work, do we go back?

    In some case, sure, it would be nice to have evidence that a policy works before implementing it, but let’s get real…..that’s not how things actually work.

  87. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @DrDaveT: I didn’t cite the exact wording, but I was trying to capture the sentiment of the existing laws regarding the use of lethal force. And I think those laws are perfectly reasonable, understandable, and adequate.

    And my mildly-snarky initial point is that the same rules to students as well as non-students.

  88. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I get it, annie. You’re special. You’re entitled to your guns, and you have no obligation to give your reasons why you possess them to anyone here who happens to ask.

    It happens that I agree with that position. I’m just surprised that everyone else here agrees with me — you have every right to possess your guns, and no obligation to explain why you feel the need to have them.

    I am curious why you’re so comfortable with people who either don’t think you should possess your guns, or agree that you’re special and the rules they’d impose on other people (like me) don’t apply to you.

  89. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    you have no obligation to give your reasons why you possess them to anyone here who happens to ask

    I have no obligations of any kind to anyone here. It’s a blog dude, not a Mason’s lodge. Unlike you, I chose to engage in informed intelligent debate (for the most part), but that is something I chose, not an obligation. If any of the people here that I respect, and there are many, wants to know why I own guns I will be happy to explain.

    You’re special.

    Please show where I said that, or even implied it. Be specific. I purchased my guns legally, I own them legally, and I store and handle them responsibly. Nothing special.

    I am curious why you’re so comfortable with people who either don’t think you should possess your guns

    Because I’m not a brainless twit like you perhaps? Because I’m not freaked out by divergent viewpoints? Because I don’t argue with people I disagree with in a sad attempt to validate my existence? < Yes, I am talking about you.

  90. anjin-san says:

    Say Jenos, don’t you have more to tell us about “Ex post facto” and “prior restraint”? 🙂

  91. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Jenos, never EVER try to talk about legal terms unless you manage to claw your way through law school, ok? There are enough of us here with a J.D. that your comments about law are about as silly as James P’s comments about economics.

    You’re busted, in other words.

  92. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: Yes, I’m not a lawyer. I was speaking as a layman — the “ex post facto” bit is from making gun manufacturers liable for people killed by guns they made, and the “prior restraint” in banning people from buying guns because someone thinks they might do something bad with them in the future. Metaphorical shorthand that I make automatically.

    @anjin-san: Yes, you’re special. Because you would never misuse your guns, either willfully or accidentally. But others? They’re not as special as you, so they need to prove that they’d live up to your high standards.

    But I would never worry about you and your guns. For one, you take such great pains to never fully commit to a position, to never declare an opinion, to never firmly take a side, that I can’t see you ever taking any kind of decisive action with your guns. For another, it’s very out of character for you to make such a firm declaration about anything that I have my doubts about your veracity in this case — which would make your guns fictional.

    So, folks, come on — tell me this magic test that would show, with near-infallible accuracy, which people are going to turn into mass murderers and should be denied guns, and who’s as harmless as our little annie here (or me, for that matter) and should be entrusted with their Constitutional right.

    Then we can move on to other rights, and decide who should be allowed to exercise them — and who should not. If it’s good enough for the 2nd Amendment, why not the 1st? Or the 5th?

  93. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @grumpy realist: I’m “busted?” For using legalese language without either being a lawyer or declaring that I’m not one? Did someone pass a rule somewhere that one has to be part of The Magic Brethren to use certain words? Is there some copyright or trademark on legalese?

    BTW, I’ve passed bars in several states. And a few bars I’ve not passed, but gone in and had a beverage or two. But mainly I pass them by.

  94. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    No surprises here. Your position is boilerplate conservative. “Stopping the slaughter of American children by gunshots would be hard. We are not up to it. We accept that large numbers of children will be slaughtered. Is there anything good on TV tonight?”

    Nope, no surprises here.

  95. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Is there some copyright or trademark on legalese?

    No, only people who understand what it actually means, and people who don’t.

    You would belong to the latter group.

  96. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    For using legalese language without either being a lawyer or declaring that I’m not one?

    No, for using it like a moron who’s too stupid to understand what it means, you oily little twit.

    Otto West: Don’t call me stupid.
    Wanda: Oh, right! To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people! I’ve known sheep that could outwit you. I’ve worn dresses with higher IQs. But you think you’re an intellectual, don’t you, ape?
    Otto West: Apes don’t read philosophy.
    Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

  97. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Rafer Janders: Props for the Wanda quote.

    As for my using legalistic terms… “Don’t argue jargon. You get no authority from it and it really brings nothing to the conversation.”

    I’d be a little less leery of confiscation plans if Obama would stop praising the gun control actions in Australia and the United Kingdom… which were confiscation.

  98. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    As for my using legalistic terms…

    The problem isn’t that you used legalistic terms, it’s that you (a) aren’t smart enough to understand them and (b) think that they mean the exact opposite of what they mean. It’s not jargon, it’s comprehension. Case in point, an ex post facto law would criminalize an action taken in the past, not in the future, you bumbling twizzlestick.

  99. ernieyeball says:

    It’s the End of the World As We Know It!
    Direct from the BBC

    Playboy ‘to drop’ naked women images
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-34511999

    (And I feel fine…)

  100. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Rafer Janders: So, a gun manufacturer legally sells a gun to a licensed dealer, who then sells it to a legal buyer who later commits a murder with the gun. How is holding the manufacturer liable for that murder NOT an “ex post facto” law (in spirit)? They made a legal product and legally sold it, and then a third party later misused it. Are those calling for that liability law NOT saying that, retroactively, the manufacturer either knew or should have known that it would be used illegally in the future?

    But if you wanna play that “technical vs. totally wrong” argument, just how many modern handguns (and rifles, for that matter) use high-capacity clips? Has there ever been a high-capacity clip?

    Clips are not magazines, and magazines are not clips. They are utterly incompatible, even though they serve the same general function.

    But we should definitely listen to the opinion of people about guns who are not only totally ignorant about guns, but take perverse pride in their ignorance, usually insisting that people who actually know what the hell they are talking about are “fetishists” and the like.

    So, does that make certain people “legalistic fetishists?” Are there special clubs you go to and expound? Is there a secret handshake? Enquiring minds want to know…

  101. gVOR08 says:

    @Jenos Idanian: A) Calling a removable box magazine a “clip” may not be technically correct, but it is quite common usage, widely understood. B) I am not a lawyer, but even I understand that an ex post facto law is a law passed after the act, making the act illegal retroactively. If we passed a law making your gun manufacturer liable for a murder committed last year, it would be ex post facto.

  102. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Dude, over and over again we re-regulate things that are out there in the community without it turning into a freak show. We have mandatory emissions tests here in Chicago. I don’t care if your car is a gas-guzzler from the 1960s–does it pass the emissions tests or not?

    If I were head honcho, what I would do to control guns is make people carry insurance for any damage for any shooting their guns are used for. And if you don’t have insurance on your gun, you don’t get to carry.

    The pricing the insurance companies will do will do the rest. Being a reckless idiot won’t be a crime; it just will just be very, very expensive for you to have your metal phallic substitute. Which is as it should be.

    (I still remember the two “deer hunters” from NYC who thought nothing of running around trying to shoot deer in my friend’s backyard. There are certain levels of stupidity that should be punished by total and permanent removal from society.)

  103. C. Clavin says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Jenos, never EVER try to talk about legal terms unless you manage to claw your way through law school, ok?

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever read on OTB…including the caption contests.
    Jeno’s with a JD…hilarious in it’s utter impossibility.

  104. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT:

    You can’t finesse this fundamental difference of criteria. If the point were to save lives and/or make people generally more safe, they would be for gun control. For them, the point is to make people more Free(tm), even if it means many more innocent (and not-so-innocent) deaths and maimings.

    This thread has run its predictable course, but let me note in closing that I think I understand this view pretty well, because it’s not unrelated to my views on Homeland Security. I think the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Act were both insane. I agree with Ben Franklin in that case, that a man who would trade liberty for security deserves neither. I think the technical term for such a person is ‘coward’.

    So what is different about guns? Part of it is the internal-vs-external threat. I oppose the Festung Amerika approach to external threats, especially overblown external threats, because if we let Osama bin Laden decide what America should look like, we’re idiot losers. On the other hand, we as a society have every right to decide how much freedom should apply to gun ownership and use.

    There are certainly times when some short-term restrictions of liberty are necessary — the Civil War and WW2 come to mind — but those involved actual existential threats, as opposed to inane rhetoric about existential threats. But that makes it clear that the “freedom no matter the cost” position is not mine — I think there is an actual cost/benefit analysis that has to happen. So far as I can tell, none of the vocal advocates for gun rights admit that — they take the absolute position that no amount of social cost can outweigh any amount of Free(tm).

  105. bookdragon says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I knew Dr. Librescu. He was on my PhD committee, so let me answer that one: No. I seriously doubt he would have carried a gun on campus or wanted random numbers of young people in his class to be armed. He knew how to use a gun and had used one in combat, but the idea that our peaceful campus should become a quasi-armed camp is not something I could see him supporting.

    I’ll also point out that VT was not at the time a ‘gun free zone’. I don’t know if anyone there had gun, but the probability is high that even if they did, they wouldn’t have been able to draw it quickly enough when a nut burst into their classroom and sprayed it with bullets and anyone in adjacent classrooms with a handgun would have been nuts to go into the hallway to face down someone with an AR – not only that, but would have endangered everyone else in that room by drawing the shooters attention to it.

    Btw, was the campus in Oregon was a ‘gun free zone’ either. One of several students who did have a gun with him that day explained why he didn’t rush toward the gunfire to use it: he knew police and SWAT would be arriving and that to them anyone holding a gun would look like a shooter.

  106. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’d be a little less leery of confiscation plans if Obama would stop praising the gun control actions in Australia and the United Kingdom… which were confiscation.

    Oh god, we’re back to those apocryphal “Obama is going to confiscate our guns” predictions that conservatives have been pimping ever since Obama’s inauguration in January 2009.

  107. Jenos Idanian says:

    @bookdragon: First, you have my envy for having known Dr. Librescu. It’s a shame that it took his death for the rest of the world to know about him.

    My own recollections were that VT had a firm “no guns” policy on campus, but I’ve never been there. So I did a little basic digging, and it seems to confirm my memory. In 2005, a student with a concealed-carry permit was discovered to have his gun on him on campus, and was disciplined for violating that rule. And in 2006, the university opposed a bill that would have forbidden colleges from banning guns — and the bill didn’t pass.

    And thank you for that citation of the armed student in Oregon. It’s an example of how gun owners can — and do — act with intelligence, consideration, restraint, and foresight, even when faced with a crisis. This guy didn’t try to play Rambo or super-hero or Old West sheriff; he deliberately looked at the circumstances and made a reasoned, responsible choice to not to try to intervene and play hero. One would get the impression from the regulars here that such a thing would be inconceivable.

  108. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    One would get the impression from the regulars here that such a thing would be inconceivable.

    You are right…gun owners are such a responsible bunch.
    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/2-year-old-accidentally-shoots-grandma-back-police/nnzwZ/
    Which is why we don’t hear stories like this one every day. Oh…wait….um…er…we do…every single fwcking day.

  109. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And thank you for that citation of the armed student in Oregon. It’s an example of how gun owners can — and do — act with intelligence, consideration, restraint, and foresight, even when faced with a crisis.

    I guess you are completely unable to grasp the irony of you applauding this students intelligence and restraint…for doing the exact opposite of what you advocate.
    What a fwcking maroon you are.

  110. stonetools says:

    and the coments is not the course it took, which is depressingly similar to other gun threads, but the continuing success of a shift in strategy by liberals. They moved from calling for bans on specific categories of weapons a la Miller to calling for regulation to keep the weapons out of the hands of dangerous people. Not only its this publicly much more popular, but the arguments that the NRA used against bans don’t really work against the safety regulation approach. The NRA is really left to argue for freedom of gun owners to be irresponsible d!cks, which is not really a sustainable long term approach, in light of stories like this:

    A 2-year-old accidentally shot his grandmother with a revolver in South Carolina on Sunday after finding the weapon in the back seat of his great-aunt’s car, police said.

    The 40-year-old grandmother, who has not been identified, is expected to recover, according to Officer Mark Bollinger with the Rock Hill Police Department.

    The woman was shot in the back by the toddler while sitting in the passenger seat of her sister’s car, police said. The toddler had found the .357 magnum revolver in a pouch behind the passenger seat.

    The proliferation of such stories, plus the mass shootings, gives the lie to the whole “guns make us safer” and “all legal gun owners are responsible, trustworthy people” myths. It now appears that allowing just about anyone to have guns means that not only criminals. but sociopaths, schizophrenics, and plain old irresponsible people also have have access to guns as well (surprise!). All this relentlessly points in the direction of more safety regulation- the way we regulate other dangerous instrumentalities, including almost every other weapon. As I have pointed out, no one -not even the most committed gun nut-really objects to the very strict regulation of explosive weapons, and no one can really explain why hand grenades are strictly regulated whereas I can walk into any gun shop and walk out half an hour later with an AR15 with a 100 round magazine-a weapon deadlier than any hand grenade and any rifle the average WW2 infantryman carried.
    The lack of such explanations means that the pressure for these laws will continue and eventually move what now looks like an immoveable barriers. You really can’t continue to maintain a status quo leading to thousands of unnecessary deaths based on irrational arguments, hatred of liberals and tribal loyalty forever. Ask the the car industry and the tobacco industry.

  111. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    So, a gun manufacturer legally sells a gun to a licensed dealer, who then sells it to a legal buyer who later commits a murder with the gun. How is holding the manufacturer liable for that murder NOT an “ex post facto” law (in spirit)? They made a legal product and legally sold it, and then a third party later misused it. Are those calling for that liability law NOT saying that, retroactively, the manufacturer either knew or should have known that it would be used illegally in the future?

    Dumb, dumber, dumbest, all in one. One is reminded of Wolfgang Pauli, who upon being shown the work of a confused young physicist exclaimed “Das ist nicht nur nicht richtig, es ist nicht einmal falsch!” (“That is not only not right, it’s not even wrong.”)

  112. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian: @Jenos Idanian:

    And thank you for that citation of the armed student in Oregon. It’s an example of how gun owners can — and do — act with intelligence, consideration, restraint, and foresight, even when faced with a crisis. This guy didn’t try to play Rambo or super-hero or Old West sheriff; he deliberately looked at the circumstances and made a reasoned, responsible choice to not to try to intervene and play hero

    Yes, John Parker Jr. did it exactly right – which is what we would expect from a highly trained military veteran. He was not just some dude who happened to be packing.

    This is a good example of why so many liberals feel that folks who want to own/carry guns should undergo training, so they are competent to handle a deadly weapon.

    You and your ignorant blather about guns and the law surrounding them are a fine example of why we need an informed public.

  113. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: Just what am I advocating here, Cliffy? Certainly not what you have convinced yourself, because you’re too much of a “fwcking moron” to grasp.

    I’m in favor of choice, because I respect my fellow citizens — another concept you’re too much of a “fwcking moron” to grasp.

    I’ve made my choice, for my own reasons. I reserve the right to change my choice.

    This responsible gun owner made a right choice. But your position is that he should never have been able to make that choice — he should have been denied the opportunity to act responsibly, because you’re panty-wetting terrified that he might have made the wrong choice.

    Get over yourself, Cliffy. Grow up a little.

  114. bookdragon says:

    @Jenos Idanian: You’re digging comes from an era after the shooting. When I was there in the mid-90s, to the best of my knowledge, there was no such rule. I recall seeing guys with rifles on the racks of their pick ups in the parking lot (ready to go hunting as soon as class was out).

    I’m also sure, since this was SW VA, that a few probably did have a gun in a back pack, but not many. Up until that day Blacksburg and VT were thought of as safe, low crime areas. I’m a woman and thought nothing of walking home from the computer alone after midnight (granted, I’m a black belt and any guy who tried to grab me would quickly learn that he’d failed Victim Selection 101, but at my undergrad school I carried a boken to make the point clear. I never felt the need at VT).

    As to the rest, I grew up in an area where hunting was common. I know gun owners can be responsible and intelligent. I am not anti-gun or anti-gun ownership. What I am is anti-idiots owning guns.

    As I said in a different thread, what I would be in favor of is adopting the sort of gun laws that Israel has – ones requiring a level training and physical and psychological evaluation for a license. Since last time I was there (and to this day according to those I know there) no one even blinks if someone with an M16 sits down next to you on a bus, I think it would be difficult to call their laws confiscatory or extreme.

  115. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Just what am I advocating here, Cliffy?

    @Jenos Idanian: @Jenos Idanian:

    Yes, we should all thank God that the only guns present were in the hands of the murderer. God only knows what might have happened if Mr. Mintz had had more than just his fists to use.

    In your own words you are advocating for the “hero vigilante”…that an armed gunman should be confronted by civilians in a crowded classroom or theater…which is the opposite of what you applauded with that student in Oregon…and for that matter the opposite of good common sense. Which of course, makes perfect sense.
    I’m sure you’ll move the goal posts now…it’s easier than admitting you are wrong….especially given your abject cowardice.

  116. Jenos Idanian says:

    @C. Clavin: My God, you’re too fwcking stupid to even bother answering.

  117. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    And more…
    @Jenos Idanian:

    What is your obsession with trying to make sure that we are a nation of victims, and not allowing anyone to try to be heroic?

  118. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Wow…even you realize how stupid you are and moving the goal posts will be futile.
    But still cannot admit you are wrong.
    The pinnacle of cowardly, you are.

  119. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    This responsible gun owner made a right choice. But your position is that he should never have been able to make that choice — he should have been denied the opportunity to act responsibly, because you’re panty-wetting terrified that he might have made the wrong choice.

    Again you are forced to lie and mis-characterize my position.
    A pretty basic premise is at work with your every comment…If you have to lie to make your point you don’t actually have a point.
    I’ll refer you to this comment:
    @C. Clavin:
    And this one:
    @C. Clavin:

  120. C. Clavin says:

    @bookdragon:

    As I said in a different thread, what I would be in favor of is adopting the sort of gun laws that Israel has – ones requiring a level training and physical and psychological evaluation for a license.

    This.

  121. stonetools says:

    @bookdragon:

    I’m a woman and thought nothing of walking home from the computer alone after midnight (granted, I’m a black belt and any guy who tried to grab me would quickly learn that he’d failed Victim Selection 101, but at my undergrad school I carried a boken to make the point clear. I never felt the need at VT).

    Heh, that reminds me of this hilarious video.

    This really is justice of the sweetest kind.

    While walking home from her jiu-jitsu class in Brazil, a robber tried to steal from Monique Bastos. The robber, of course, didn’t know the person he was robbing was an MMA fighter, who responded by swiftly putting the man in a headlock until police arrived.

    According to MMAFighting.com’s article:

    “I was going to my jiu-jitsu training when they arrived on a motorcycle and said they wanted our phones,” Bastos told MMAFighting.com. “I tried to hold my phone, and I realized they were not armed. When they tried to escape, I lifted the rear wheel of the bike and they fell on the ground. The guy who took my phone ran away, but I was able to get the other one.”

    Bastos, who has six professional MMA fights on her record and a few jiu-jitsu matches and muay thai bouts, got him into a rear-naked choke and took him to the sidewalk, where she locked a triangle choke and waited for the police.

    Just goes to show that you don’t have to have a gun to defend yourself.

  122. bookdragon says:

    @stonetools: Yes. That reminds me of my room mate sophomore year (at Big Ten school in a less-than-safe city area). She was jumped while walking home from the library in the late afternoon. However, she was ROTC and had spent that summer at boot camp, so she reflexively broke the hold, threw the guy and in her words ‘kicked and jumped on him until he stop moving’. But then she heard something and thinking he might have buddies, ran.

    He was probably lucky for that noise. It was her first real combat experience and with the adrenaline going, I’m not sure she would have stopped short of stomping him to death otherwise.

  123. stonetools says:

    Circling back to the initial question, my advice to Steve or any professor in a shall-issue state would be to say as follows on the first day of class :

    “Good morning, students. Let me warn you that I am armed with a 9mm Beretta semi-automatic pistol with 17 rounds in the magazine. Thanks to the laws of our freedom loving state, I am authorized to carry this weapon with no training or evaluation whatsoever as to my mental health or fitness to do so. Also thanks to the law I can legally shoot you dead if I think you threaten my safety and the lives of others. As has been held in numerous police and other shooting cases, if you make a furtive move toward your waist area or pocket, or make a sudden move toward me, I can consider that a threat to my life and safety and commence shooting. Since this is not a gun free zone, you may have a gun, so I can treat such moves as “threatening.” Of course, if you are black, I can treat just about any action you take as threatening, so African American students should take extra care to be non threatening and it’s your own fault if you don’t take such care and get shot.So keep your hands in view at all times, don’t make any sudden moves, and never reach into your pocket or a bag without my express permission. Otherwise, enjoy the class and I look forward to a vigorous, but not too vigorous, heh, heh, discussion of the ideas presented in my lectures.”

  124. anjin-san says:

    One thing that conservatives seem to be unable to grasp is the risk/reward equation that guns present.

    Sure, there are robberies, muggings, and so on that have been thwarted by a citizen with a gun. Now how do those balance out with the deaths of children, shootings during a heated argument, and other tragedies that would not have occurred if a gun had not been present?

  125. C. Clavin says:

    @anjin-san:
    For every use of a gun in self-defense there are 50 gun homicides.
    Cost benefit that….

  126. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Let’s make it so simple that a “fwcking moron” like you can understand, Cliffy.

    Mr. Mintz was at the scene of the shooting. As a veteran, he can be presumed to have good training with firearms, as well as a certain level-headedness when the shooting starts. He had the presence of mind and the physical courage to attack the gunman. (And was seriously wounded in the attempt.)

    By what you laughably call your “reasoning,” it’s a good thing that he did not have a gun with which he may or may not have chosen to shoot back at the gunman, right? Because you support the policy that says that he, a student, was forbidden from bringing a legally-owned firearm with himself.

    So yes, I characterized your position of “thank God that the only person there with a gun was the murderer.” Because that’s what you’re arguing here — that if other people besides the would-be mass murderer possess guns, that would be horrible. Which means that the only armed person is the gunman.

    Just own it, you “fwcking moron.” Just act like you might actually have a pair and man up and fwcking own your own position.

  127. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: Those are superb stories, stone. But what about those who do lack superb physical health, great conditioning, and up to several years of rigorous training?

    “Have no fear of any man
    No matter what his size
    When danger threatens, call on me
    And I will equalize.”

    (Attributed to Colt Firearms, c. 19th century)

  128. anjin-san says:

    So let’s see Jenos – you think a handgun is such a critical, essential item for self-defense that you… don’t carry one, don’t own one, don’t know how to handle one.

    Got it.

  129. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    You cannot type a comment without lying.
    Call up to mom and she’ll bring you some jello.

  130. DrDaveT says:

    @James Pearce:

    I have to ask: Where will this evidence come from? How is one going to produce evidence that a policy “will be an improvement” before the policy is even implemented?

    I’m construing ‘evidence’ to include not just empirical evidence but all reasoned argument. Despite the best attempts of the NRA to forbid it, there is plenty of behavioral economics research out there that can form the basis for predictions of — at the very least — the sign of the changes we would get under various proposed policies.

  131. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Once again, you show your inner fascist.

    Yes, I do not own any guns. This is by my choice. After careful evaluation of my lifestyle, geography, demographics, and a host of other factors, I decided that the responsibilities of gun ownership outweigh the benefits. For me.

    Unlike you and the others here, I do not feel this overwhelming impulse to impose my decision on others. I respect their right to make their own choices, and to be responsible for those choices. I am not a small woman living in a high-crime area. I am not in a particularly risky business. I do not routinely carry valuables or large amounts of cash. I have no interest in hunting. I have a mild curiosity about sport shooting (I wonder if I would be a good target shooter), but not curious enough to invest the time and energy and money to find out.

    Others have different lives, different circumstances, different opinions, different beliefs. I respect and embrace that diversity, and respect and embrace their right to come to different conclusions than I have. And as I would appreciate their support in defending their rights, I feel a certain obligation to defend their rights.

    I don’t have to agree with someone to defend their rights. I like to paraphrase the quote often mistakenly attributed to Voltaire: “I think you’re wrong, but I will defend your right to be wrong.”

  132. Jenos Idanian says:

    @DrDaveT: Can any of that research boil down to predictions on individuals? Because that’s what it boils down to — the rights of individuals at stake here.

  133. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I don’t have to agree with someone to defend their rights

    Why don’t you tell us all the steps you have been taking to fight for voting rights in places where they are under attack from Republicans?

  134. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: annie’s breaking out the straw man diversion again. Anyone got a lighter?

    I’m still waiting to hear why you own your guns. Answer that, and I’ll consider answering your totally off-topic and irrelevant question.

  135. Jenos Idanian says:

    I’m feeling the overwhelming urge to say “THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED, DENIERS!”

    …but I’ll exert a modicum of restraint.

  136. @Jenos Idanian: I read through the article the other day, and do plan to go back and give it a look. I am more than open to good social science on this issue even if it produces results that are contrary to my assumptions.

    Having said that, a) this is one article (unlike the debate you reference–indeed, if one article is enough for you, I assume you are now a hardcore enthusiast for fighting climate change), but more importantly, b) the case selection in that article is highly problematic (it is not sufficiently comprehensive to make the claims it makes).

  137. (I have noted that this piece is making the rounds in the pro-gun community. It is amazing how easy it is to get certain people interested in scholarly publications….).

  138. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: First up, I didn’t say I fully agreed with the article. I haven’t looked at it too thoroughly myself, but — like most people — I tend to prefer studies that reinforce my own opinions and observations. To me, this is merely an extrapolation of a phenomenon that has been observed on a smaller scale: areas with tighter gun controls tend to have far more violent crime than areas with looser gun controls. And there is a ready explanation for the phenomenon: people inclined to use violence in anti-social fashion prefer to express their inclinations where they can be reasonably assured that they will have a monopoly on weapons.

    Or, in other words, predators prefer defenseless prey.

    Disarm everyone, and the violence doesn’t go away. We end up with “might makes right” again.I’m not that enamored of that model.

  139. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    areas with tighter gun controls tend to have far more violent crime than areas with looser gun controls.

    Really?

    https://www.census.gov/statab/ranks/rank21.html

  140. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: So, annie, you gonna explain why you’re a gun owner? What are your reasons for owning guns?

    Come on, annie. Just for once, pry yourself out of your “always attack” mode and try engaging in an actual discussion. And don’t pull the old, tired “I do engage in discussions, but not with you because you’re a big old doody-head” schtick. You could just as easily ignore me instead of trying to attack me.

    I’d say that it’s getting tedious, but it was always tedious. But now it’s just… mundane. You’re basically background noise.

  141. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Have no fear of any man

    I’m fairly sure George Zimmerman felt this sort of boldness as he decided to follow Treyvon Martin, a kid who was going about his lawful business. Now everything we know about Zimmermann says that he is a complete punk, and absent the false courage that a cowardly man can get from a gun, that tragedy would have never taken place.

    Fear is baked into human beings for a reason. It actually serves an important purpose. But you keep quoting gun manufactures marketing slogans. Meanwhile the bodies continue to pile up.

    you gonna explain why you’re a gun owner?

    Your demands for me to explain myself impress me about as much as an enraged cocker spaniel.

  142. @Jenos Idanian: Soooo, in other words you found a headline that confirmed your bias and you really aren’t about trying to see what the social science does, or does not, say.

    (I note that you pretty much immediately go back to your talking points–ones that you had prior to citing the Beliefnet article)

  143. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Who’s demanding? I’m asking.

    Why, it’s like I didn’t say anything like “You’re entitled to your guns, and you have no obligation to give your reasons why you possess them to anyone here who happens to ask.”

    But I did. And you, as is your wont, are not only refusing to answer, but refusing to even declare you’re refusing. A simple “I don’t want to explain” would be sufficient.

    So, in the absence of clarification, and your obstinate refusal to clarify, I feel perfectly justified in guessing an answer, and working from that assumption. So here are some possible answers for why you own guns:

    1) You engage in illegal activity, and want to protect yourself from other criminals.

    2) You live in fear of other people, and want to protect yourself.

    3) You consider yourself superior to others, and it’s your moral obligation to protect your superiority for the good of humanity. And part of that superiority is that you are above the concerns about gun-owners because you’re so obviously above all that.

    Again, you’re under no obligation to explain why you own guns. But you brought it up, which makes it perfectly fair to ask you to elaborate.

    And if you don’t want to elaborate, then I’ll be glad to do it for you.

  144. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Then the very least they can do before arming themselves with a gun is learning how to use it properly, making certain that they don’t have mental health issues, and being responsible actors when they do have the gun in their hands.

    I’m not worried about traditional gun owners who realize that a gun is a dangerous tool that should be used carefully and responsibly, make certain it isn’t left around where their kid can get hold of it, assume it is loaded, never shoot at anything they are not absolutely certain is a legitimate target, and realize that what goes up comes down.

    I AM worried about swaggering would-be Rambo types who think it’s perfectly fine to load themselves up with guns in public places, scare the piss out of everyone, and act like total dicks. Why shouldn’t we assume that they are potential mass shooters looking for an excuse to kill?

  145. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: Then the very least they can do before arming themselves with a gun is learning how to use it properly, making certain that they don’t have mental health issues, and being responsible actors when they do have the gun in their hands.

    Who could argue with that? I agree. They should.

    Once again, the devil is in the details, especially when your good ideas are given the force of law.

    Training? Trained by who? “Certified” experts? Certified and licensed and regulated by who? Watch DC set up nigh-impossible standards for these trainers and limit the number of trainers and training facilities. Boom — back-door ban.

    Mental health issues? How about those who don’t seek treatment? How about the privacy of the patients? And what would be the criteria banning people from owning guns?

    “Being responsible?” Most people are, at least publicly, responsible with their guns — until they aren’t. How do you identify them first?

    Here’s a suggestion. 10% off your gun permit if you present a certificate showing you passed a safety and training course. A carrot instead of a stick.

  146. DrDaveT says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Can any of that research boil down to predictions on individuals? Because that’s what it boils down to — the rights of individuals at stake here.

    The victims are also individuals, every one of them. We just don’t know who they will be yet. Those individuals, and their right not to die for no good reason, don’t seem to matter as much to you. I suspect that’s an availability bias; because you can’t identify them today, they seem less real to you than the gun owner that you can point to today.

    Which brings us back to my earlier question that you never deigned to answer. Is there any number of lives saved that would, in your view, justify restricting that individual right? If the answer is “No” — if the principle is paramount — please just say so, so that we can stop wasting our time pointing to the consequences of the principle. If the answer is “Yes”, can you estimate about what it might be, in terms of innocent victims per righteous act?

  147. bookdragon says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I admit that since the backdoor ban method has been used to limit abortion, I think it would be interesting to be able to see conservatives complain about the tactic wrt to gun licenses, but I think that if we’re talking about national legislation a provision could easily be made to allow certification by licensed trainers in any state. Given that VA is a Metro ride away, I doubt many in DC would be seriously inconvenienced.

    But quite apart from any thorny issues of standards for training how about having to pass a written test covering gun handling, safety and legal/legitimate use? Something akin to the written test to get a driver’s license. I’d vastly prefer that the applicant also have to pass a ‘behind the wheel’ test as well – demonstrate that you know how to use the weapon safely, including clearing it and cleaning it – but a written test would at least weed out the truly clueless, incompetent and/or loony.

  148. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Here’s a suggestion. 10% off your gun permit if you present a certificate showing you passed a safety and training course. A carrot instead of a stick.

    The fee to register a gun in CA is $30. Is $3.00 a powerful incentive in your neck of the woods?

  149. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @bookdragon: I was thinking specifically of actual moves to ban guns. DC was so bad that it prompted Heller, and San Francisco just shut down the last gun store by requiring the store to record every single gun sale, and turn the videos to the police on a weekly basis. Chicago also pulled a fun stunt with their zoning — I don’t recall the particulars, but they said that gun stores couldn’t be within a certain distance of any schools or churches, and that pretty much ruled out the entire city.

    But if you wanna use the abortion example to show we are talking about the same thing, then fine with me. Just don’t ask me to discuss that as well.

  150. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: I dunno. I don’t own any guns. I just tossed it out as an example or a starting point. You wanna piss on that instead of having an actual discussion? No great surprise.

    And just what was your reason for owning your guns again?

  151. Bookdragon says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: So no comment on any simple common sense measures like requiring a written exam to get a license?

    As to the other, I’m not familiar with DC’s gun laws, but I don’t see how recording all gun sales or providing store video to police could be so onerous as to shut down a legitimate gun dealer, especially one with no other competitors. And the bit about Chicago strikes me as patently false. Have you ever been to Chicago? My husband is from Chicago and there is no way that requiring gun shops to be a certain distance from churches and schools could effectively ban them, unless that distance is several miles. And even then you could probably find a spot in some business district.

  152. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Once again, you show your inner fascist

    Well of course. Because wanting to stop children from being murdered is a sure sign of a fascist.

  153. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Oh, that makes all the difference. “IT’S FOR THE CHILDREN!!!!”

    Come on, annie. Just either say why you own your guns, or say you won’t answer. How long can you just ignore it?

  154. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Bookdragon: So no comment on any simple common sense measures like requiring a written exam to get a license?

    I missed that; sorry.

    My initial concern would be that the exam would be prepared by people as ignorant about guns as… well, several of the people who’ve commented here. But just what would be covered by that test? A lot of good stuff can be covered in writing, but the really important stuff… not so much.

    Generally, though, it sounds like a decent starting point. Worth kicking around.

  155. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Which brings us back to my earlier question that you never deigned to answer. Is there any number of lives saved that would, in your view, justify restricting that individual right?

    […crickets…]