Aurora Massacre Laws That Wouldn’t Have Prevented Aurora Massacre

Nicholas Kristoff figures that, if we can't ban guns, we can at least make them safer.

Nicholas Kristoff figures that, if we can’t ban guns, we can at least make them safer.

 As a nation, we regulate fire exits, but not 100-round magazines. We shield youngsters in cinemas from violence — but only if it’s on the screen.

[…]

Yet if traditional efforts at gun control are at a political dead end, there should still be room for a public health effort to mitigate their harm.

Take auto safety, one of the great successes of public health. Many car accidents involve unlawful behavior such as speeding or driving while intoxicated. We prosecute those offenders, but, for decades, we’ve also taken a broader public health approach. We’ve required seat belts and air bags, we’ve created graduated licenses for young drivers, and we have engineered roads and intersections so that accidents are less lethal.

[…]

A recent survey found that more than 70 percent of N.R.A. members approve of criminal background checks for would-be gun owners. That suggests broad backing for one of the most crucial steps: a universal background check for all gun buyers, even when buying from private citizens. I’d also like to see us adopt Canada’s requirement that gun buyers have the support of two people vouching for them.

Other obvious steps include restricting high capacity magazines and limiting gun purchases to one a month. Making serial numbers more difficult to erase would help. And bravo to California for trying to require that new handguns imprint a microstamp on each bullet so that it can be traced back to the gun that fired it.

We should also finance research to design safer firearms. Many accidents would be averted if a gun always indicated if a round were in the chamber. And there should be ways to employ biometrics or a PIN so that a stolen gun would be unusable.

David Hemenway of the Harvard School of Public Health has written an excellent book about public health approaches to firearms. But he argues that we need changes not just in laws but also in social mores — just as we’ve stigmatized drunken driving. Not to mention other kinds of irresponsibility.

“Where I see social norms changing is dog poop,” Hemenway said in an interview. “You’re not allowed to let your city dog run loose now, and you have to pick up your dog poop.” He muses: What if people felt as responsible for their guns as for their dogs? For starters, one result might be more people buying gun safes or trigger locks.

The bottom line is that to promote public health and safety, we regulate everything from theater fire exits to toy guns (that’s why they have orange tips). And if we impose rules on toy guns to make them safer, shouldn’t we do the same with real ones?

I don’t have any serious philosophical objection to any of these proposals and think that some of them are no-brainers. Surely, if those convicted of violent crimes can be banned from voting, they can be banned from owning firearms. And, while I’m not sure about the practicality or cost of some of the safety measures suggested here, they sound reasonable enough in theory.

But here’s the thing: it’s odd to use the Aurora massacre as a justification for these things, since none of them would have had any impact whatsoever on the Aurora massacre.

The shooter wasn’t a convicted felon; a criminal background check wouldn’t have mattered.

I don’t know whether he filed the serial number off his gun or whether the ammo he used was traceable but, given that police found him almost immediately, it really wouldn’t have mattered.

According to Wikipedia,

He then fired a 12-gaugeRemington Model 870 shotgun, first at the ceiling and then at the audience. He also fired a Smith & Wesson M&P15[10] semi-automatic rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, which malfunctioned.[10][11] Finally, he fired a .40 S&W Glock Model 22 handgun.

Neither the shotgun nor the Glock would have been affected by any law being proposed by, well, anybody. The M&P15 is S&W’s version of the AR-15 and the shooter did have a 100-round drum. But, it reportedly malfunctioned, meaning that the large magazine was irrelevant to the crime.

The shooter’s victims were channelized in a dark theater and further disoriented by the assailant’s deployment of smoke grenades. He could have more easily carried a stash of smaller magazines and reloaded at will given his tactical advantage.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. mattb says:

    The M&P15 is S&W’s version of the AR-15 and the shooter did have a 100-round drum. But, it reportedly malfunctioned, meaning that the large magazine was irrelevant to the crime.

    James, need to take issue with the use of irrevlevant here. The gun did not jam on the first shot. So we don’t know how far through the magazine he got before it jammed.

    Additionally, on the entire extended magazine thing, it should also be noted that the .40 S&W Glock Model 22 handgun was fitted with a 40 round extended magazine as well.

  2. mattb says:

    He could have more easily carried a stash of smaller magazines and reloaded at will given his tactical advantage.

    Entirely true, but again… let me remind that in past mass shootings, most recently Arazona, the shooter has been subdued while attempting to reload.

    And — this conversations has been had at nauseum on other threads here — white it’s true that with practice individuals can reload at great speed in competition and on the range, there are a lot of reasons why a situation like this isn’t equal to the competition or the range.

    So assuming that the shooter in this case would have executed perfect reloads seems a stretch. In fact, as someone else pointed out, jams can typically be cleared very quickly (within seconds), but instead of taking that simple action the shooter just abandoned the gun. That’s a bit of anecdotal evidence about how one might compeletly ignore or fail at what’s easy to do under other circumstances.

    Ultimately, as the person being shot at (in either fight or flight) would prefer the luxary of having those additional seconds created by reload (not to mention the chance of a fumble) rather than having to move while the person is still shooting (or waiting for the gun to jam).

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Other obvious steps include restricting high capacity magazines and limiting gun purchases to one a month. Making serial numbers more difficult to erase would help. And bravo to California for trying to require that new handguns imprint a microstamp on each bullet so that it can be traced back to the gun that fired it.

    Right now this has a less than near-zero chance of being passed into law any time soon. The gun lobby would see this as yet another stealth opportunity to give government the ability to keep track of gun owners.

    America is awash in guns: 310M people, over 250M guns. We do not have the political will to extend the 1994 assault weapons ban law, let alone enact new laws to ID-tag bullets. Base Republicans actually believe – in the absence of ANY evidence whatsoever – that President Obama wants to take their guns away from them.

  4. Andy says:

    @mattb:

    Entirely true, but again… let me remind that in past mass shootings, most recently Arazona, the shooter has been subdued while attempting to reload.

    Actually in Arizona, he was subdued after he reloaded and his weapons jammed when he tried to fire. Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, changed magazines at least 17 times and didn’t use any of the 30+ round versions. George Hernnard reloaded several times during his massacre as did James Huberty. I haven’t done the research, but I’m unaware of a single case where reloading provided an opportunity to stop an assailant. If someone has data on this, please post it.

  5. Andy says:

    @mattb:

    So assuming that the shooter in this case would have executed perfect reloads seems a stretch. In fact, as someone else pointed out, jams can typically be cleared very quickly (within seconds), but instead of taking that simple action the shooter just abandoned the gun.

    It’s much quicker to change a magazine than clear most jams, but it depends on what jammed and why. Sometimes you can just rack the slide and clear a jam, but if it’s a problem with the magazine, it would require, at least, removing and replacing the magazine.

    A shooter would have to understand the mechanics of the firearm, diagnose the reason for the jam (a failure to feed, extract or eject being the most common), and implement the proper procedure to clear the jam. Depending on the situation, that could be quick and easy or it could be long and involved.

  6. @Andy:

    Could the jam have been a result of the reload? I’d think so.

  7. To the broader issue though, I think it might be a straw-man to say that any likely change in law should “stop” spree killers. I think it is sufficient to find changes which inconvenience them while not unduly inconveniencing law abiding citizens.

    It would be extreme, say, out outlaw and recall all semi-automatic weapons. It would be less extreme to restrict future sales to fixed magazines as we do in California. It would be less extreme still to restrict magazine size.

    Again, I don’t think it is really a rational argument to use the words “stop” or “every.” To do that we would need to do something draconian, which would never do.

  8. J-Dub says:

    I’d also like to see us adopt Canada’s requirement that gun buyers have the support of two people vouching for them.

    I can already see people getting sued for vouching for someone that goes on a shooting spree.

  9. Andy says:

    @john personna: Can’t be sure, but I’d say that’s likely. It doesn’t appear that he got a round off after reloading, but it’s unclear what exactly caused jam.

  10. Andy says:

    With regard to the future of gun control, technology may completely change the game.

  11. @Andy:

    People who had to print them would certainly be inconvenienced 😉

    That takes some serious CAD/CNC skills. In the years it take to develop those we could hope that our madman would find peace …

  12. Tlaloc says:

    I can already see people getting sued for vouching for someone that goes on a shooting spree.

    Yes, please. You make it sound like helping an unstable person commit mass murder shouldn’t have consequences…

  13. DRS says:

    Of all the aspects of this atrocity, the guns are the least interesting items for me. I’m more interested in how he got all the body protection, the smoke grenades (an earlier report said they were flash grenades, so I’m not sure if that’s been corrected or not), and the booby traps he left all over his apartment that took the police almost three days to dismantle.

    I’d like to see more attention paid to those things and how easy or not it was for him to acquire them. I rather think the cops are interested in those issues too.

  14. Lit3Bolt says:

    Crazy Nut: Forget about the badge! When do we get the gun?!

    Police Chief Wiggam: Hey, I’ve told you before, I’m not going to give you a gun until you tell me your name.

    Nut: I’ve had it up to HERE with your “rules!”

  15. @DRS:

    When I was surfing the webs yesterday (looking at single-shot, black-power, hunting) I noticed that some state which allowed the hunting set the limit for personal possession of black powder at 25 pounds … seems like a lot.

    Hard to enforce of course, unless you use state issued coupons or something. Not a bad idea.

  16. Franklin says:

    The real question is what would actually slow down these massacres?

    It’s now pretty hard to hijack a plane because pretty much every grown man on the plane will jump on you. But then, it’s unlikely hijackers will be carrying guns, much less semi-automatic guns.

    Of course, if a couple people in that theatre had had a concealed weapons permit, it might have ended sooner. But if nobody else has a gun, somebody’s got to do *something*, because everybody trying to hide under their seat isn’t going to stop the attacker from going row-by-row and shooting everybody. What do we do? Throw cellphones and hope it hits him in the eye?

  17. Lit3Bolt says:

    James, let’s take your argument and reverse it. If laws don’t matter, then why do we have laws against shoulder mounted grenade launchers? Why laws against full automatics? Why have civilian versions of weapons at all, if it doesn’t matter and any killer will simply pick and choose another weapon? If there’s simply nothing to be done, why have laws restricting gun use and manufacture in the first place? After all, there’s nothing strange about a country where you have to be 25 to rent a car, but only 18 to buy a gun right?

    In many many cases before a shooter goes on a spree, family members and health practitioners and ex-girlfriends have repeated stated their concern over a family member. Often, they have a mental health history. In an extraordinary number of cases, the shooters are young men.

    But, there’s nothing to be done. We are helpless in the face of evil. Especially young white male evil.

  18. gVOR08 says:

    @Andy: @Lit3Bolt: The link from the linked article is broken, so I can’t see what the guy actually did. But we are a technical breakthrough or several away from anybody printing the steel or the precision necessary for a real gun barrel.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    OK James, let’s stipulate that none of Kristoff’s proposals would have prevented Aurora. Aside from pissing off 2nd amendment absolutists, what harm would any of them do?

    I love conservatives. As I’ve said before, they feel your right to own an M&P 15 and two Glocks, each with an oversize magazine, is absolute. Your right to vote, meh.

  20. michael reynolds says:

    Yep, nothing to be done. And I’m sure all the NRA supporters will feel just the same when they’re identifying the remains of one of their children on a steel table at the police morgue.

    The American obsession with guns is a mental illness. It’s creepy and perverted. People who collect guns, especially more than one, are psychological counterparts to people who collect kiddie porn. The difference being that kiddie porn aficionados don’t have a national lobbying organization capable of cowing gutless politicians.

    Every argument advanced in favor of private ownership of guns is a lie. It’s not about hunting. It’s not about self-defense. It’s a psycho-sexual obsession. To say that you buy gun’s because it’s your right says nothing about why you feel you need a gun, three guns, ten guns, etc…

  21. Rob in CT says:

    Legislating based on statistically insignificant events (however tragic they may be!) is pretty much always a bad idea.

    The broader question is whether we can do anything to lower the statistically significant death/serious injury rate resulting from the use of guns, and yet still protect liberty.

    I know a lot of people think the answer to that question is no. I’m wobbly on it. I can’t really see how restricting magazine size is facism. I don’t think it’ll magically fix our problems either.

    We have to draw the line somewhere. Right now we allow semi-automatics but not full automatics. That’s a line. Is that ok? Or is that an unconstitutional assault on freedom?

    your right to own an M&P 15 and two Glocks, each with an oversize magazine, is absolute. Your right to vote, meh

    Dude, it’s not *their* right to vote they’re “meh” about.

  22. mattb says:

    @Andy:

    Actually in Arizona, he was subdued after he reloaded and his weapons jammed when he tried to fire.

    There have been some reports that the gun jammed, though I have yet to find a conclusive statement from the police. The general reporting matches the wikipedia write up of the case which highlights the fact that the shooter dropped the magazine in the process of reloading, helping to create the opening.

    Loughner allegedly proceeded to fire apparently randomly at other members of the crowd.[2][20] The weapon used was reported to be a 9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol with a 33-round magazine.[21][22] A nearby store employee said he heard “15 to 20 gunshots”.[23] Loughner stopped to reload, but dropped the loaded magazine from his pocket to the sidewalk, from where bystander Patricia Maisch grabbed it.[24] Another bystander clubbed the back of the assailant’s head with a folding chair, injuring his elbow in the process, representing the 20th injury.[25] The gunman was then tackled to the ground by 74-year-old retired US Army Colonel Bill Badger,[26] who himself had been shot, and was further subdued by Maisch and bystanders Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zamudio.[27]

    I appreciate the point about West Virginia. I never said reloading was a panacea. I am simply suggesting that it (a) provides another opportunity for the shooter to fumble and (b) provides another small window of opportunity for flight or fight.

  23. James Joyner says:

    @john personna: @Lit3Bolt: @gVOR08: @michael reynolds:

    Note that I’m not arguing against any of Kristoff’s reforms. Indeed, I endorse one of them outright and say that, on their face, the others strike me as perfectly reasonable. I own several rifles and shotguns (all of which are inheritances from my late wife’s and my own father) but no handguns and can’t imagine what I’d do with an AR-15. (I had an M-16A1 as an Army officer and thought it was a POS.)

    My point here is narrow: Most of what is being talked about in the wake of Aurora wouldn’t have precluded Aurora.

  24. Carson says:

    Have you heard of that weird lawsuit that someone has already filed? A person who was not even injured! He is trying to sue: Warner Brothers, the theater, and Holmes’ doctor – if he has one. Get this – he has even hired a publicist! I guess next he will already have a book deal. Notice he did not name Holmes in the lawsuit! The courts need to preempt this sort of foolishness by limiting the action to the perpetrator only – Holmes! Not the theater owner, Marvel Comics, Christian Bale, Mr. Jack Warner, the Joker, the gun company, the popcorn machine company, Holmes’ first grade teacher, or some other ridiculous notion! This sort of action brings dishonor and disrespect to those who were killed or injured and their families!

  25. The Q says:

    In 2006, Japan had 2 gun murders. Thats not a typo…..2. In 2007 they had 10, in 2008, 21 and in 2009, 7.

    The public reaction to the 21 in 2008 was absolute shock and outrage. It was a national scandal. Gun laws were made even more stringent.

    The japanese reaction wasn’t, “oh Tanaka-san got a gun and killed a school girl, therefore the laws don’t work and only criminals will have guns, so lets scrap them”. Instead, they doubled down on the regulations and the murder rate returned to single digits.

    Last year they had 6 gun murders. Last year alone in the US 597 people were killed by accidental discharges!!!!

    This ridiculous NRA argument that Mr. Joyner buys into is ludicrous. The fact that most of the Brady restrictions of the 80s after the attempt on Reagan have been repealed or overturned is mind-boggling.

    The UK had 63 gun murders and Germany had 350. We had 12000.

    The sick, paranoid gun freaks have got to be stopped and their silly, juvenile argument that if “everyone is packing, there would be no Aurora” is batshit crazy

    The fact that anyone can legally buy a 100 round magazine is beyond insane.

    I have been around a long time and the wingnut ideology of the last 30 years from defense, tax cuts, wealth inequality, gun rights, deficits, etc is wildly out of control and frankly downright dangerous to the future welfare of this country.

    Less gun control, more machine guns……another baby boomer production.

  26. mattb says:

    @Franklin:

    Of course, if a couple people in that theatre had had a concealed weapons permit, it might have ended sooner.

    Or it might have been even worse. I’m not arguing against CCW. But honest CCW people would say that the scenario in question is about the worst one they can imagine:
    a. Dark Theatre
    b. Surprise attack (which means adrenal dump and fine motor sklls including aiming going to shit)
    c. Smoke — and not only smoke but tear gas smoke (which means your eyes are not working well).
    d. People running and panicking (which means even if you can see the shooter [see a and c] your line of sight is most likely filled with people running in lots of directions.
    e. Perhaps the most important one, someone is shooting at you.

    All of those together mean that it is as (if not more likely) that someone who returned fire (unless they were next to the person… good luck with that) would have had a higher probability of hitting someone fleeing the scene. Trust me, police officers would be very cautious to open fire under those conditions.

    But if nobody else has a gun, somebody’s got to do *something*, because everybody trying to hide under their seat isn’t going to stop the attacker from going row-by-row and shooting everybody.

    Except that even though no one had a gun (or were able to charge the attacker) this scenario didn’t happen either. In part that’s because when shots start to get fired, all plans (including the shooters) fall apart.

    Again, I’m not trying to say CCW is bad or that if someone had a conceal pistol there and St John Wayne was guiding their hand, that they might have stopped the shooter. I’m simply saying that is a LOT of “mights” and that story doesn’t include a lot of other “mights” like “the person might accidently shoot some innocent people in trying to take out the bad guy.”

    The fact of the matter is, even if someone had a CCW in the theatre, there’s a good chance that they would have done the responsible thing — understand that they can’t safely take the shot and concentrate on getting themselves and those close to them out of safely out of harms way.

  27. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds: I guess what we need to do then is put everyone (or at least men) into psychoanalysis and/or a 12 step program beginning about age 13.

  28. The Q says:

    “People who collect guns, especially more than one, are psychological counterparts to people who collect kiddie porn. The difference being that kiddie porn aficionados don’t have a national lobbying organization capable of cowing gutless politicians.”

    Brilliantly stated.

  29. Andy says:

    @The Q: To get to where Japan is would require the confiscation of literally hundreds of millions of firearms in the US. Japan doesn’t simply have strict gun laws, they’ve actively eliminated most guns in their society. Is that something you think can be accomplished here in the USA?

  30. Graham says:

    @michael reynolds @The Q: You honestly think 150 million of your fellow Americans are as bad as pedophiles?

  31. mantis says:

    @The Q:

    In 2006, Japan had 2 gun murders. Thats not a typo…..2. In 2007 they had 10, in 2008, 21 and in 2009, 7.

    The public reaction to the 21 in 2008 was absolute shock and outrage. It was a national scandal. Gun laws were made even more stringent.

    Ok, but let’s look at some important numbers here. From GunPolicy.org:

    The rate of private gun ownership in Japan is 0.62 firearms per 100 people
    The rate of private gun ownership in the United States is 88.82 firearms per 100 people

    There are about 270,000,000 guns in the U.S. There are about 700,000 guns in Japan.

    Japan has had stringent gun control for many decades. They have prevented the gradual proliferation among the population as a result. We are long past doing anything about such proliferation. The guns are out there. Almost one per person.

    Without a massive confiscation program by the government, “gun control” in the US will be ineffective. We aren’t going to confiscate guns, so you can pretty much forget about effective gun control. If we want to do anything about gun violence, we need to focus on root causes.

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @Graham:

    Let me differentiate: I didn’t say pedophiles or molesters, I said people who collect kiddie porn. Porn-addicts don’t always act on their mental illness, neither do gun collectors, so I think the analogy is apt. In both cases you’re dealing with something irrational and obsessive.

    Look, if the point is hunting then you license hunting rifles and shotguns and keep them stored at a regulated club. If the point is self-defense then you should have to make a case that you have reasonable concerns, (such as a stalker) and then pass a test and receive a licensed firearm.

    If you feel you need ten weapons and five thousand rounds of ammunition, you are ipso facto nuts and should have no weapons at all. There is no rational case whatsoever for private ownership of assault rifles, extended magazines or armor-piercing bullets. Self defense is a single firearm and a single clip. Hunting is a rifle or shotgun.

    And before I hear the inevitable, “Have you ever fired a weapon, you pansy liberal?” Yes. I have. And I’ve owned firearms. And I got rid of my pistol 35 years ago when I realized it was owning me and making me more afraid and vulnerable rather than less. Traded it for a 35 millimeter camera.

  33. michael reynolds says:

    @mantis:
    One of the places to start is by challenging the gun obsession as what it is: a mental aberration disconnected from reality. I agree we can’t confiscate 270 million guns. But we can start changing people’s minds about what it means to own guns and ammunition. We can stigmatize it.

  34. Mike says:

    @michael reynolds:

    You don’t have a clue as to what you are talking about. 5,000 rounds is a drop in the bucket…I go through 400-500 rounds per range session, easy, and I go shooting at the range at least a couple of times a week, so 5,000 rounds is a little over a months supply of ammunition for me. As for the weapons thing, I have many guns (around 50) for many purposes…some of them are for self defense, some of them are .22s that I use for cheap plinking and working on the fundamentals of shooting, some of them are hunting guns, quite a few of them are historical military surplus type guns (M-1 Garand, M1903 Springfield, K98k Mauser, etc), some of them are unique oddities that are a lot of fun to shoot…I could go on. The point is that I am not “irrational and obsessive” just because I choose to own many firearms; I do not spend my days sitting around my house clutching my guns cowering in fear waiting for the blue helmets to come take all of them away (or whatever other self inflicted gun owner stereotype you want to insert here).

  35. The Q says:

    Andy, its a false dichotomy…either we eliminate all guns or screw it, just let anyone own an assault rifle?

    Like I said, the fact that in the US someone can legally purchase a 100 round clip/magazine is beyond all rationality.

    I own a pump action 12 gauge smith and wesson shot gun and a 30.06 single bolt action rifle.

    More than enough firepower to protect my home and hunt with. I am not advocating banning guns, just the over the top killing machines and their accessories.

    Why has that not happened?

    See mike Reynolds above.

  36. The Q says:

    Andy, its a false dichotomy…either we eliminate all guns or fuck it, just let anyone own an assault rifle?

    Like I said, the fact that in the US someone can legally purchase a 100 round clip/magazine is beyond all rationality.

    I own a pump action 12 gauge smith and wesson shot gun and a 30.06 single bolt action rifle.

    More than enough firepower to protect my home and hunt with. I am not advocating banning guns, just the over the top killing machines and their accessories.

    Why has that not happened?

  37. The Q says:

    Andy, its a false dichotomy…either we eliminate all guns or screw it, just let anyone own an assault rifle?

    Like I said, the fact that in the US someone can legally purchase a 100 round clip/magazine is beyond all rationality.

    I own a pump action 12 gauge smith and wesson shot gun and a 30.06 single bolt action rifle.

    More than enough firepower to protect my home and hunt with. I am not advocating banning guns, just the over the top killing machines and their accessories.

    Why has that not happened?

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Mike:

    I go through 400-500 rounds per range session, easy,

    Then absolutely no reason why those rounds shouldn’t be stored at the range. Why you feel you need to shoot 500 rounds, well, I don’t know, maybe Viagra would help.

    The point is that I am not “irrational and obsessive”

    Actually, you quite clearly are.

  39. michael reynolds says:

    @Mike:

    I go through 400-500 rounds per range session, easy,

    Then absolutely no reason why those rounds shouldn’t be stored at the range. Why you feel you need to shoot 500 rounds, well, I don’t know, maybe an certain medicine for middle-aged men that starts with “V” would help.

    The point is that I am not “irrational and obsessive”

    Actually, you quite clearly are.

  40. mattb says:

    @michael reynolds:

    People who collect guns, especially more than one, are psychological counterparts to people who collect kiddie porn.

    Woah… hyperbole much? (Oh wait, you do it all the time and get paid for it… man you rock!)

    First of all, I’d suggest anyone who obsessively collects is a little “touched.”

    But I think comparing weapon collectors to kiddie porn collectors is a little over the top. Beyond the aesthetics of collecting guns and other weapons, I think this also misses the fact that different guns are (like knives and pens) built for different activities/types/experiences of shooting. And, extending your argument, what about those amoung us who collect and train with other types of weapons?

    I appreciate the fact that our gun culture needs to change. Admittedly I’m somewhat stuck as to how.

  41. michael reynolds says:

    Hah. Sorry for that doubling, the spam filter caught the V word on the first attempt.

  42. Don’t know what jammed the weapons? Not technically. But consider that the accused is not known to have any actual training with firearms; the one range he is known to have tried to join turned him down.

    I am reminded of the scene of Michael Caine’s movie, Harry Brown, in which Brown, a former Royal Marine, tells the gangster he has shot, “You failed to maintain your weapon, son.”

    I was discussing the shooting last evening with a former Marine who fought in Iraq. On the malfunction of the 100-round magazine, he observed, “He obviously didn’t know that you do not load a 100-round magazine with 100 rounds.” As well, my guess is that the accused shooter (I won’t write his name) may never have fired the AR-15 at all, in fact, probably had never cleaned it. No wonder it jammed.

    With this much mayhem caused by a rank amateur, I shudder to think what someone actually skilled with firearms might have done.

  43. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Porn-addicts don’t always act on their mental illness, neither do gun collectors, so I think the analogy is apt. In both cases you’re dealing with something irrational and obsessive.

    I think the analogy is seriously flawed. People who are into kiddie porn sooner or later will want to experience the real thing – they are likely to move from mere voyeurism to actual criminal activity. Gun collectors, especially serious gun collectors, are not similarly drawn by their weapons to go out and start killing people. After all, they can shoot their guns without hurting anyone and people who use concealed carry are much less likely to commit crimes than the general population. If your analogy were apt, I think we would see those who utilize concealed carry would be more prone to violence, not less.

    And if you look at the history of mass killings, the perpetrators generally became interested in guns after they’ve already decided they want to kill a bunch of people, not the other way around. So I think you have the causality backwards and for most people, guns do not cause people to fantasize about killing people. In general, those people who love guns for whatever reason, aren’t the ones using guns to kill people.

    Certainly there are people that obsess about guns just as there are people who obsess about college football or golf, or archery or fast cars. Most of those are “irrational” to me, but they are normal human obsessions quite unlike sexual interest in children. One thing people should watch out for is a sudden, unexplained interest in guns – that might be a tell that something else is going on.

  44. Mike says:

    Microstamping is a dumb idea that is easily defeated by a variety of methods. As for universal background checks…that isn’t something that the evil gun lobby is holding up, that is on the government. Currently NICS is restricted to only being utilized by licensed FFLs; if you call and try to use it without a valid FFL # they will hang up on you. I would have absolutely no problem with opening up the system and requiring it for all gun sales (although it would require an expansion of the NICS call center due to the increased demand).

    And I’m not sure what you were referring to when you discussed violent criminals owning guns, but currently anyone who is a felon or convicted of misdameanor domestic violence is a prohibited possessor, meaning that under current law they go away for a long time if they possess a firearm, much less if they try to buy one. So the issue here isn’t new laws, it’s enforcing the ones already on the books.

  45. @James Joyner:

    Concentrating on the points of agreement, fine. I would prefer not to see the “stop” “every” arguments though, because they don’t really relate to any proposals on the table. The proposals that I’d consider serious tip heavily toward protecting gun owner rights. For that very reason they are not designed to stop every spree killer.

    @michael reynolds:

    I grew up in a no-gun house. My dad was a WWII vet and inner city school teacher. He was pro gun control. I got toy guns and pellet guns though, and we shot my granddads rifles, so I guess he wasn’t that extreme.

    Anyway, the first time I met a guy who owned 100 guns I was pretty shocked. He was the guardian of an early girlfriend (lol, classic). Anyway once I got over it I decided that he was exactly the kind of guy you wanted to have 100. They were all in safes. They were prudently used. It was better than 100 out there not in safes, under beds or whatever.

    I got to shoot a bunch of them at ranges, which was fun.

  46. stonetools says:

    IMO, its no use banning or restricting types of weapons. That just gets you into sophistical arguments with the definionists ( ” You can’t ban the AR 15 as an assault rifle, because its actually a battle rifle “) .
    I think the best approach is to follow Kristoff’s lead and regulate how people get ownership of these weapons.
    First of all, background checks. These should be expanded to checks for medical records. After all, the best way to keep the mentally ill from easily acquiring semi-automatic weapons is to have seller check before selling weapons to the mentally ill. This won’t be easy to set up, but its hard for the NRA to argue for the untrammeled right of crazies to buy their Glocks
    Secondly, the “vouch for ” provision ( I would raise the number from two to three “vouchers”). This would actually work to stop the Colorado massacre, had it been in effect. While the “lone whackos” frequently have no criminal or mental history records , its rare that they would be able to find three people who would vouch for their trustworthiness with semi-automatic weapons . Indeed, those who knew Holmes best would probably be the most reluctant to vouch for him .
    On the other hand, the well-adjusted prospective gun owner shouldn’t have much trouble rounding up three people to vouch for them .Again, the NRA doesn’t have any good argument against this, apart from inconvenience .

  47. @Mike:

    Just curious, Mike. In all the horse-trading, is there any change to current law you’d endorse?

    (I might have missed it in other comments)

    On this “5,000 rounds is a little over a months supply” … geez dude, what does that cost you?

  48. Mike says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Please, eludicate on how I am insane. Also I’ve never understood the obsession by those in support of gun control with sexualizing gun ownership and shooting. It’s a hobby for me, something that requires development of skill and something that I enjoy doing.

  49. The Q says:

    There was a brilliant psychological study done here in LA. At the Santa Monica Pier where there is a little coney Island type fun zone with a ferris wheel, roller coaster etc.

    they also have a Midway where you squirt guns at the clowns mouth, throw bean bags at milk bottles etc.

    A professor video taped men throwing or shooting at these games, with the regular stuffed animal prizes hanging from the walls. . He then put up on the wall, amongst all the prizes an UZI type plastic gun replica. You can then watch the video of what this subtle, almost subconscious image had on the men who then played.

    Its fascinating to watch their actions grow MORE violent. They throw the bags or balls more aggressively, the behaviour is completely modified merely by the presence of a FAKE gun.

    I don’t know if this is on youtube, but it was quite brilliant at displaying the unconscious affect that our gun crazed society induces.

    My point is that we are NOT Japan of course, but the NRA and gun fetish owners of multiple guns should be reined in and an anti gun culture developed here for future generations.

    If that means banning almost all types of guns or limiting the amount of guns we can own, so be it.

    To argue otherwise is crazy and irrational.

  50. mantis says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I agree we can’t confiscate 270 million guns. But we can start changing people’s minds about what it means to own guns and ammunition. We can stigmatize it.

    I’d like to agree, but broad cultural change is tough. Especially when the entertainment industry glamorizes the thing you are trying to stigmatize.

    IMO the big problem we have is most gun violence is restricted to a small fraction of the population. Most people’s lives are not really impacted by gun violence. When a spree killer shoots a bunch of people at a school or movie theater, it’s big news because the people getting killed are not the people who are normally killed by guns (i.e. brown people in the ghetto). Holmes killed 12 people. Here in Chicago, about that many are killed every week. But almost all of those murders happen in just a few, very poor neighborhoods. Their culture is ripe for change. The rest of us? Not so much.

  51. Mike says:

    @john personna:

    Well, setting aside the increase in mental health funding that I would like to see (not necessarily tied to guns specifically as far as restricting rights or anything, just a general increase), I would be okay with expanding the NICS check to require it for all transactions, including intrastate private party transactions (something that would eliminate the “gun show loophole” without unduly restricting the ability of individuals to sell guns intrastate without going through an FFL). There has already been an expansion of the NICS criteria towards incorporating mental health related stuff (part of the 2007 NICS Improvement Act, supported by the NRA among others), otherwise I would be in support of that as well. Finally, I would like to see increased enforcement of existing laws…laws against things such as straw purchasing or prohibited possessors buying guns already exist, they just aren’t enforced very strictly, and then even when they are enforced it is often pled down to a lesser charge and the individuals involved don’t even see serious jail time. If you want to get serious about gun crime (this is geared more towards generic “gun crime,” as far as gang members and the like, less so towards spree shooters), start throwing the book at people who buy a gun for a friend who they know is a prohibited possessor (as one example.)

    As for 5,000 being a little over a months supply…the majority of those are .22, which is extremely cheap. I can get a case of 5,000 .22 rounds for a little over $200.

  52. Andy says:

    @The Q:

    Andy, its a false dichotomy…either we eliminate all guns or screw it, just let anyone own an assault rifle?

    I never said it was either/or. I’m simply pointing out the uncomfortable reality that some choose to ignore. If you are going to make a comparison between Japan and the US, then you shouldn’t be surprised when someone brings up the rather obvious point of what to do about the guns that are already out there. This isn’t a trivial matter.

  53. @mantis:

    Personally, when I think about “needing” guns, I think about moving to Alaska and needing onet for back-country protection. I mean, you might feel pretty vulnerable standing there with a salmon. Interesting caution from the State of Alaska:

    You are allowed to carry a gun for protection in state parks. Remember, though, that more people are hurt by the guns they carry than are hurt by bears. Select a gun that will stop a bear (12-gauge shotgun or .300 mag rifle) and practice firing it at a rifle range. Any bear shot in self defense must be salvaged and turned over to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

    The high point there is that, even in Alaska, “more people are hurt by the guns they carry than are hurt by bears.”

  54. michael reynolds says:

    First, if anyone here said they owned 100 Spiderman action figures the words, “obsessive” and “irrational” would apply.

    But “harmless” would also apply.

    Owning 100 tools meant to kill human beings is not just irrational and obsessive, it is dangerous, and points to a disturbed individual. There’s 100 hummel figurines, and then there’s, let’s say, 100 working models of a guillotine. Or 100 torture devices. Or 100 working gas chambers.

    See how 100 baseball cards is different than 100 guns? What an obsessive collector chooses to obsess about necessarily goes to his mental make-up. Choosing to collect instruments of death is creepy. Sorry, it just is.

    The argument that one needs 100 guns because guns perform different functions is absurd. I know the difference between a hunting rifle or shotgun — and owning a handgun with an extended clip. In, I would guess, .001 percent of cases of obsessive gun collecting all the guns are meant for hunting. So, let’s cut the bullsh!t shall we? If you own 100 guns you own a significant number that have no purpose other than killing humans. Do you own a 45 auto? A 9 mil auto? Then you own a machine designed for the sole purpose of killing humans. No one hunts with a 45.

    The depth of brainwashing on this issue is so profound that even otherwise rational people fail to see the utter irrationality of their obsession.

    You are buying tools meant to kill other people. You’re buying ammo for those tools. Why don’t you knock off the rationalizing.

  55. @mantis:

    Look at Switzerland. The place is a flipping armed camp. Every male eligible for military mobilization – that’s every male between ages 20-30 (used to be age 45) – is required by law to keep his army-issued weapon at home. All the time. And these are the full-up military version, fully automatic fire and all that. Until 2007, they also kept at least 50 rounds of ammo.

    Proportionally, the number of homes in Switzerland with a firearm is much, much higher than here in the USA. Including semi-auto rifles, there are at minimum 1.2 million rifles in Swiss homes, perhaps as many as three million. Not even the Swiss government knows.

    Switzerland’s laws governing firearms acquisition by private individuals are no more onerous that getting a driver’s license here in the States, if that onerous. It’s really quite simple. In 2011, Swiss voters overwhelmingly turned back what The Guardian called, “a proposal to tighten the country’s relaxed gun laws.”

    And yet criminal assaults using firearms of any kind are outnumbered by those using edged weapons. The rate of actual shootings there is about one per 250,000 persons, estimated. The BBC reports that gun crime rates are so low that the Swiss government does not even bother keeping stats.

    There is something other than access and availability of weapons that results in the USA’s very high gun-crime rate. Overlooked by almost everyone commenting on the aftermath of massacres such as Aurora or Phoenix is that the vast majority of gun crimes committed here are done by men (not many women) who are already deeply engaged in other criminality.

    It’s not an “American gun culture” problem. The gun problem in the US is one of a large criminal subculture who will always be armed no matter what laws are passed. (England’s gun laws contend for the strictest in the world, yet the criminal underworld there is awash in firearms.)

    The “gun problem” in America is not defined by Aurora, horrific as that kind of massacre is. It is defined by what happens in cities like Chicago, where gun crime, though not mass killings, are rampant.

    That is probably the reason that just after Aurora, Univ. of Wisconsin Prof. Lester Hunt wrote that the Colorado shootings are “Irrelevant to Gun Control,” and quoted Cesare Beccaria (1764) thus:

    The laws of this nature are those which forbid one to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be suppose that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and more arbitry injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance.

    The Aurora theater was a “gun-free zone,” meaning that it was victim packed. But no, I do not think, as so many gun-rights advocates seem to, that if only Regal Cinemas had allowed legal carry permit holders to pack heat, the massacre could have been stopped or curtailed. And neither did the former Marine I spoke with last evening. But this comment is long enough, so I’ll explain in another.

  56. mantis says:

    @The Q:

    If that means banning almost all types of guns or limiting the amount of guns we can own, so be it.

    You’re ignoring my relevant comment.

  57. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    One of the places to start is by challenging the gun obsession as what it is: a mental aberration disconnected from reality. I agree we can’t confiscate 270 million guns. But we can start changing people’s minds about what it means to own guns and ammunition. We can stigmatize it.

    I would suggest that your tactics are counterproductive. Saying that gun owners are little different from kiddie pornographers or, as Q suggested, that gun owners are fetishists, does more to discredit your view than it does to discredit gun owners and gun ownership.

    If I went around telling people that those who consume alcohol are bad, psychologically disturbed, or whatever, I think most reasonable people will conclude that I’m the crazy one. Just sayin.

  58. @Mike:

    I think those are all good suggestions. I would accept them easily, and wouldn’t actually try to press too much further. I mean, what could I get anyway? I don’t think the California fixed magazine rule has been catastrophic, but I don’t really see them buying it across the country.

  59. @michael reynolds:

    Would you make an exception for actual collector’s items? I mean guns acquired for their investment value, as some people collect Corvette Stingrays or Mercedes Gullwings.

    I don’t collect myself, but I have known two men who each had a large collection. Their guns were almost all rare or trophy-class pieces, hardly ever or never fired.

    But I assume this kind of owner is not who you mean. Correct?

  60. @michael reynolds:

    You are buying tools meant to kill other people. You’re buying ammo for those tools. Why don’t you knock off the rationalizing.

    Don’t you live in an area with a Turkey Season? Or nearby?

  61. @this:

    Heh, if you are going to say “knock off the rationalizing” I think I can say “what, turkeys always came from the supermarket?”

  62. mantis says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    The “gun problem” in America is not defined by Aurora, horrific as that kind of massacre is. It is defined by what happens in cities like Chicago, where gun crime, though not mass killings, are rampant.

    Yep. I posted similar thoughts, no doubt while you were writing that.

  63. Mike says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Again, like I said, you don’t have a clue. A guillotine has a pretty limited purpose, as do torture chambers. You are projecting your opinion that guns are only for killing, when they are clearly not. Setting aside the fact that guns have multiple purposes, the variety of .22s (both handguns and rifles) that I own are primarily used for putting holes in paper. The “killer handguns” that I own are used for competition in shooting sports (IPSC, for example). The evil AR-15 that I own is used for long range shooting competitions.

  64. al-Ameda says:

    @Franklin:

    Of course, if a couple people in that theatre had had a concealed weapons permit, it might have ended sooner.

    Of course, we’re now short of the one gun per capita goal that would ensure maximum probability that fewer people would die in these random mass killings. 310M people, 250M guns, and if you figure than many Americans have multiple firearms and armaments, you can probably figure that over 100M people need to get a gun.

    Our national fetish with guns is a public health problem.

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    Would you make an exception for actual collector’s items? I mean guns acquired for their investment value, as some people collect Corvette Stingrays or Mercedes Gullwings.

    I would – it would be an insignificant number of people. But a true colector would not need ammo for all those collectible guns. And they’d have no objection to registering those weapons — after all, they have to be insured anyway.

  66. Mike says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    And then there is also that aspect of it…the majority of my military surplus rifles are collectors pieces that I shoot rarely/never (indeed, some of them are chambered in calibers that are so obscure that it is tough to find ammunition for them since I don’t yet have a reloading setup at home). Regarding collectors, here’s an interesting fact…a not inconsequential portion of the machine gun market is currently comprised of relatively wealthy individuals (doctors, lawyers, etc) who bought them as an investment without any real intention of shooting them. This is because of the restrictions placed on the market by the Hughes Amendment attached to the 1986 Gun Owners Protection Act have basically created a closed market (it is illegal for any non government entity to acquire any machine gun manufactured after 1986 unless they possess a specific type of FFL and a demonstration letter from a local law enforcement agency), so the prices have steadily risen (and were already high due to relative scarcity compared to non-machine guns).

  67. @Mike:

    They say the mafia liked .22s, but there what can you do? A .22 is a pretty minimal gun, and if anything is going to fall in “right to bear” it will.

    It wasn’t so long ago that Orange County, California high schools had .22s for PE.

  68. Lit3Bolt says:

    @James Joyner:

    Fine, let me make a similarly narrow point. Why are we being prevented from discussing these very reasonable reforms at all by a concerted effort by David Brooks, Mike Huckabee, James Taranto, Glenn Reynolds, Chris Christie, Ron Johnson, and Doug Mataconis?

    If the barest suggestion of , “Gee, why didn’t buying 6000 rounds of ammunition online not raise any red flags?” or “Wow, why did he need a 100 round drum magazine for that AR-15?” or “Hmmm, the manager of a gun shooting range denied him membership based on his demeanor, maybe they should track people like that?” is raised, there are instant and gratuitous accusations of “politicizing tragedy” which is, as political scientists should know, a weasel word intended to make sure any discussion or debate is stillborn.

    We make teenagers take a test before they can drive a moving vehicle. But we can’t do the same before they buy a gun and shoot someone, because 2nd Amendment!! and Freedom!!!

  69. michael reynolds says:

    @Andy:

    I would suggest that your tactics are counterproductive.

    What could possibly be more damaging than a supine political class owned body and soul by the murder’s lobby, the NRA, and a population that cannot distinguish between reality and reason on the one hand and Hollywood fantasies on the other?

    Irrational people are not vulnerable to rational arguments. The case has to be made to a new generation.

  70. michael reynolds says:

    @Mike:

    A guillotine has a pretty limited purpose, as do torture chambers.

    Why, what nonsense. My collection of 100 guillotines is wonderful for cutting carrots.

    Guns? For killing? Why, the very idea is craziness, I tell you. Guns are excellent for putting holes in paper. Target shooting, so that I can become more proficient at using a tool meant for, um, poking holes in paper. Perhaps paper with a target area that looks vaguely like a human being. Hmmm.

    It’s all perfectly rational, I tell you. Rational!

  71. BTW, something else comes drifting back from memory. The guy I knew with 100 guns …

    Remember the stories of Okinawa? How some guys had to take a pistol and crawl down the hole? Volunteers only? That guy did that, at 19. Then he’d been a US marshal in NY for 20 years, then he’d doubled for Victor Mature in the movies …

    not such a terrible guy, michael.

  72. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    They use .22’s because the slugs are difficult to match with ballistics. And they’re relatively quiet, make less splatter, etc… In other words, it’s a choice made so they can better cover up the crime.

  73. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    John, lots of perfectly nice people have dangerous and irrational obsessions.

  74. stonetools says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    Look at Switzerland. The place is a flipping armed camp. Every male eligible for military mobilization – that’s every male between ages 20-30 (used to be age 45) – is required by law to keep his army-issued weapon at home. All the time. And these are the full-up military version, fully automatic fire and all that. Until 2007, they also kept at least 50 rounds of ammo.

    Yes, let’s look at Switzerland- a country that actually has a “well-regulated militia”. How do they handle semi -automatic weapons?

    Basically, the sale of automatic firearms, selective fire weapons and certain accessories such as sound suppressors (“silencers”) is forbidden (as is the sale of certain disabled automatic firearms which have been identified as easily restored to fully automatic capability). The purchase of such items is however legal with a special permit issued by cantonal police. The issuance of such a permit requires additional requirements to be met, e.g. the possession of a specific gun locker

    In Israel, another country with a well-regulated militia, handles things thusly:

    It is forbidden in Israel to own any kind of firearm, including air pistols and rifles, without a firearms license….To obtain a gun license, an applicant must be a resident of Israel for at least three consecutive years, have no criminal record, be in good health, have no history of mental illness, pass a weapons-training course, and be over a certain age (20 for women who completed military service or civil service equivalent, 21 for men who completed military service or civil service equivalent, 27 for those who did not complete military service or civil service equivalent, 45 for residents of East Jerusalem). Gun licenses must be renewed every three years. Firearms permits are given only for personal use, not for business in the firearms sale. Permit holders for self-defense purposes may own only one handgun, and may purchase a maximum of fifty rounds a year, except for those shot at firing ranges.

    Note that neither the Israelis or the Swiss have the reputation of being cheese-eating surrender monkeys, or lazy sheeple unable or unwilling to defend themselves.

  75. @michael reynolds:

    Right, the perfect gun for quietly getting rid of associates, as opposed to robbing a bank or mounting a spree killing.

  76. mantis says:

    Why would you need to fire a projectile at at ~4000 feet per second to put a hole in a piece of paper? There are easier methods.

  77. @michael reynolds:

    Actually you are arguing that since others are dangerous and irrational with the same guns, my friend was too.

  78. Andy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What could possibly be more damaging than a supine political class owned body and soul by the murder’s lobby, the NRA, and a population that cannot distinguish between reality and reason on the one hand and Hollywood fantasies on the other?

    All written without a hint of irony?

    Irrational people are not vulnerable to rational arguments. The case has to be made to a new generation.

    Well, good luck with that. IMO the NRA loves people with your views – you serve as examples for how unreasonable the gun control movement is and you unwittingly weaken that movement.

  79. G.A. says:

    Irrational people are not vulnerable to rational arguments. The case has to be made to a new generation.

    lol….

  80. @mantis:

    Imagine you are living in eastern Oregon. It’s 10 miles to the store. You can get out of the house, away from the family, drive down to the range, drink coffee, talk to your buddies, eat donuts, and punch holes in paper. Some or all of those buddies might hunt each year.

    It’s a whole different thing from the city-vision, right?

    And it’s kind of nuts to say all the Oregon codgers are crazed killers.

  81. Lit3Bolt says:

    @john personna:

    He was first into the tunnel? Sounds crazy to me!

    I kid, I kid.

    No, there is something astonishing at how rare random shootings are, based on the population size and number of guns. However, even when those factors are accounted for, we have miles and away the highest gun death rate among Western nations.

    Maybe, instead of gun laws, we can increase funding for mental illness in this country, instead of ignoring it or screaming about socialized medicine? Anyone? A good idea? Good policy? Hello? >crickets<

  82. Could the theater massacre have been stopped or curtailed if permit holders had been allowed by Regal Cinemas to carry inside the theater?

    Only by mere luck.

    Here in Tennessee, carry permits have been issued to about three percent of the state’s adult population, and Tennessee’s rate is one of the highest in the country. And yet, according to the dealers and a sheriff I know, the majority of people who gain a carry permit do not carry. And the number of people who carry just after getting a permit is much higher than those who are still carrying, say, six months later.

    If the issue rate in Colo. is about the same as in Tenn., let’s do some math.

    Capacity of the theater: don’t know for certain, but multiplexes’ large screening rooms can hold 500 easily. So let’s use that.

    Number of carry-permit adults in the theater: your guess is as good as mine, but we know that one of the killed was a six-year-old girl. She cannot have been the only under-21 attendee. In fact, I would say that there were a lot of attendees aged 16-20. But only ages 21 and up can get a permit. So of the (presumed) 500 movie watchers, I would be surprised if more than 400 were permit eligible, and I actually think it’s a high figure.

    So: number of attendees who actually had a carry permit: 400 X .03 = 12.

    Number of permit holder who would likely actually brought a pistol into the theater: six is a very generous number.

    Now six might seem like enough to bring down the accused shooter, but no so fast. We know that the shooter set off smoke initiators prior to opening fire. He was probably obscured from view to most of the audience. So target acquisition by the six would have been difficult, and remember that the theater is darkened anyway.

    I doubt that just legally carrying a gun automatically makes one a Wyatt Earp (there are exceptions). The first inclination is to flee and if an armed attendee can do that, he will. And should. There is nothing in law or custom that lays upon an armed private citizen the obligation to engage an armed criminal. In fact, there is no legal obligation for a police officer to do so! Getting a permit and buying a pistol is easy – becoming a fighter in lethal danger is hard. It takes the Army months just to get it done to a very basic level.

    So – six armed good guys of whom certainly two will head for the doors. Four (maybe) left to engage the shooter, whom they can barely see and who is barraging the seats with rifle, shotgun and pistol fire. And what will they engage him with? A relatively un-powerful carry pistol of short range and limited ammo capacity, inaccurate more than a few yards away except in the hand of a skilled shooter. Even a larger gun, say a compact (since very few people try to pack a fullsize pistol), places a good guy at a severe disadvantage, firepower-wise. Unless he has a .357 magnum or a pistol with a caliber starting with “4,” the odds are great that one hit on the shooter will not bring him down – and getting even that one hit is very problematic. (Powerful pistols are expensive and most permit holders won’t pay the cost._

    Even if these (presumed) four good guys had bravely stood their ground and continued to fire back, the odds seem remote that any of them would have scored an incapacitating hit in time to have reduced the carnage. I would say that the permit holders would have killed or wounded no few innocents themselves because they would almost certainly have blazed away without regard for where their misses went. The conundrum is that if they took the time to aim and clear the line of fire, so much more time for the shooter to keep firing with great effect.

    There are occasions where an armed private citizen can stop potential lethal violence – see the link above. But Aurora was not one of them. If 2d Amendment advocates think the massacre doesn’t support greater gun control laws, then they need also to consider that it doesn’t support relaxing carry laws, either.

  83. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    Actually you are arguing that since others are dangerous and irrational with the same guns, my friend was too.

    Let me go anecdotal here. My sister-in-law’s best friend, her best friend’s husband, and two of their kids, were all murdered – shot – by their son.

    The day before that they all seemed to be nice, normal people. And maybe they were, or normal-ish, like most of us. But four people died and one will spend the rest of his life being brutalized in prison because they had guns in the house.

    Everyone knows the reality. Everyone knows you are far more likely to shoot yourself, or have your child shoot himself, or see a spouse commit suicide with a gun, or suffer an impulse murder, than you are to save yourself from home invaders. Everyone who collects guns knows that collection is itself a target. Right? I suspect your friend took steps to protect his collection because he would have known what a tempting target that is to thieves. And yet, 100 guns. Why? Why not 100 baseball cards, or 100 vintage computers?

    Substitute hand grenades for guns. If he had owned 100 hand grenades would you have thought it normal? If you walked in and saw 100 leather whips on display you’d have run for the door. But we are conditioned to accept as reasonable something which is batsh!t crazy.

  84. michael reynolds says:

    @Donald Sensing:
    Ditto that.

  85. @mantis:

    “Yep. I posted similar thoughts, no doubt while you were writing that.”

    Great minds think alike!

  86. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think guys like Mike are the problem, not because they are irrational, but because they are nice, reasonable guys who are really into their hobby. For them , it would be really inconvenient to get a firearms license, register their numerous guns, prove that they are mentally sound, or have to supply special documentation to buy their thousands of rounds of ammunition. “Its so inconvenient” they whine. ” Why do I have to go through all these procedures when all the authorities have to do is punish the criminals, or spend more money on mental health, or whatever. Just don’t make it more inconvenient for us law abiding folks who just want to collect lots of guns and hunt and target shoot!”

    The NRA is made up of folks who have made the devil’s bargain that it is better that thousands of people needlessly die from gun violence every year than they be inconvenienced.

  87. @michael reynolds:

    So the Olympian rifle and shotgun shooters competing in London are sexual deviants, right?

  88. @michael reynolds:

    As I said, my responsible friend had his guns in safes. In that case he or someone he shared the combinations and responsibility with would have had to flip out. I guess it’s theoretically possible, but you are getting into judging … it’s the “all men are rapists” thing.

  89. @Franklin:

    ” if a couple people” had been armed in the theater . . .

    Nope, not a chance. I posted a long comment explaining why.

  90. mantis says:

    @john personna:

    And it’s kind of nuts to say all the Oregon codgers are crazed killers.

    Ok, but I didn’t say that.

  91. michael reynolds says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    So the Olympian rifle and shotgun shooters competing in London are sexual deviants, right?

    Are they collecting 100 unregulated, unregistered guns and buying thousands of rounds of ammunition?

    In fact, the overwhelming majority of those Olympic shooters come from countries with very, very low rates of private ownership of guns. Right?

  92. Lit3Bolt says:

    @stonetools:

    Shhhh, if you use logic and compare us with other nations, that might disrupt the “More Guns+No Regulation = Less Crime” myth-making that the NRA believes.

    Why no “More Tasers=Less Crime” or “More Mace=Less Crime” or “More Grenades=Less Crime,” I wonder?

    @john personna:

    Ok, the anecdote is amusing, but please, stop it. The point Michael is making is that collecting 100 instruments of death is a little creepy. It’s like if I had 100 canisters of poison gas, or 100 different varieties of bombs, or 100 different garrotes lying about the house. Essentially, all these tools serve an equivalent purpose, which is to kill human beings. Just because they haven’t been used for that purpose (I use the poison to kill voles and mount their heads on my wall) doesn’t mean it never can be or will be. Your claim that it doesn’t matter is basically the one slavers and misogynists used, “B-b-because it’s my culture!” Well, your culture is kinda weird and dangerous and maybe it needs to change, slowly but surely. And you’re offended “because my friend isn’t like that and I’m not either.”

    But yeah, 100 guns is a little weird, a little unnecessary, and a little irrational in my opinion. Just because it’s your friend and his culture does not make it good, right, justified, ideal, or unchangeable.

  93. michael reynolds says:

    Regarding the argument that more legal gun holders would have helped with Auroa, see Sensing’s long post up-thread. And then consider as well that the military discovered in WW2 that a very large percentage of soldiers failed to return fire even when being fired upon.

    Another very serious problem the military continues to have: friendly fire.

    It’s not Hollywood. There would be no sudden drop in the music, followed by a zoom in on the plucky heroine standing with her gun leveled and spouting a ready quip. It would have been terrified amateurs firing blindly over the tops of their seats. Those that fired at all.

    I was held up once at gunpoint. 9 mil auto right in my face, in a restaurant I was managing. Believe me when I say I really would not have appreciated some wanna-be hero popping off with his concealed handgun. I’d likely have been shot and so too would some of my waiters and patrons. As it is I gave the man his money and he ran away. No bullets in me. Everyone had a cup of coffee.

  94. @Lit3Bolt:

    First that was on the “punch holes in paper” sub-topic. On that I was saying that culture is often tied to place and the risks and benefits in there.

    I think that a lot of the confusion is that a guy connected to a culture of coffee and shooting (not the same as “drankin’ and shootin”) is talking to someone in a city environment were guns always are associated with violence or protection.

    On the “100 guns,” my old friend had rare coins and antiques and musical instruments. For him I think they were all in the same mold.

  95. Why the heck did someone down-vote the turkey season comment?

    I hope to hell it was a vegetarian. That kind of person alone might make the claim that guns are only for murder, because “meat is murder.”

  96. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    John, I take your point about rural vs. urban/suburban, but rural life is a small slice of reality nowadays. We live in big dense cities and big slightly less-dense suburbs.

    This is one of those things, like bear-baiting or women not voting or Jim Crow laws that will have our grandchildren shaking their heads in contempt and disbelief.

  97. G.A. says:

    You honestly think 150 million of your fellow Americans are as bad as pedophiles?

    lol, Harry don’t need to think he has a gift from God….er, I mean dot….

  98. @michael reynolds:

    FWIW, I was on a bear hunt about 5 years ago. Not really my idea, but I went along to see Alaskans in their native environment.

    The people I hung out with had their names in for the Moose lottery but hadn’t won recently.

    Etc.

  99. Andy says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    The point Michael is making is that collecting 100 instruments of death is a little creepy.

    You see, this is a problem of perception. If you look at a gun and cannot see anything but “instrument of death” then I can understand the points you and Michael are making. But I think what you and Michael need to consider is that most people don’t think of guns that way and many consider them to be completely normal objects.

    I grew up around guns and my father would take me in to mountains and we’d go shooting for fun. I didn’t grow up thinking guns are “instruments of death” – quite the opposite, they are cherished memories of time I spent with my father. Today, like Mike, I think of them more like a hobby. It’s a hobby I don’t really participate in anymore, but when I did I not only shot at the range most weekends, but I made my own ammo and enjoyed the challenge of trying to make rounds that would maximize the accuracy of my guns. “Death” was about the farthest thing from my mind – I suspect Mike, who says he’s a competition shooter, would agree.

    So what I’m saying is that you should at least acknowledge that many people don’t view guns the way you do and hopefully that will prompt you to honestly explore why that’s the case. We aren’t crazy, we aren’t the equivalent of kiddie pornographers or any of that other nonsense.

  100. Mike says:

    @Andy:

    Pretty much that. I wouldn’t call myself a “competition shooter” (I do shoot in competitions but not regularly and my skills aren’t exactly where I’d like them to be) but yes, “death” is the farthest thing from my mind when I’m shooting. You bring up handloading…I know guys who do that who would obsess about wringing out the last bit of accuracy from their rounds (we’re talking fractions of an inch at several hundred yards), not because they were some crazy psychopath trying to think of more efficient ways to kill people, but because they enjoyed the challenge and the calculations and creativity required to meet the challenge.

  101. You are somewhere around Napa, michael?

    New turkey season takes hold

    The author reports a fine day out, without quite bagging a bird.

  102. The Q says:

    “how unreasonable the gun control movement is”…the problem with the NRA is that they think that banning 100 round cartridges is unreasonable…. that banning any “semi” automatic is unreasonable……that regulating ammunition is unreasonable, they even were against background checks when that was first proposed.

    So who is really being unreasonable? Nowhere do I advocate banning guns outright. Its in the bill of rights. So, if you want to buy a shotgun or single bolt action rifle. Fine. No problem.

    But as Reynolds observes, having hundreds of “toys”: errr guns, or collecting assault rifles by the score and the huge clips attendant with those should be banned forever.

    Why is this unreasonable? Oh, I forgot, when the government sends the 101st Airborne to confiscate my copies of the Turner Diaries, I will need to match their firepower.

  103. @The Q:

    It’s unreasonable because the guy with 100 guns, sane or insane, is no scarier than they guy with 3 guns.

    You’ve latched onto something that isn’t really a threat to you. It is a visualized fear. How many guns do you think the guy can carry?

    In fact, if there are 250M guns in America, you really do want them concentrated in 25M owners (with safes), rather than 100M (in nightstands). You’ve just cut the chances for flip-out violence by 1/4.

  104. @this:

    So who’s the vegan?

  105. Dialook says:

    DAMN GUN NUT TEABAGGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYkVlFQcuIw

  106. stonetools says:

    @The Q:

    For the folks at the top of the NRA, “any” restriction” on firearms is just a start on the slippery slope to serfdom. Banning 100 round magazines will prevent us from “watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants” or something.

  107. The Q says:

    Mike, I didn’t grow up thinking guns are “instruments of death” either, but owning a hundred of them is bordering on fetishism. Hey, I am 6 ft, 180. If I weighed 600 lbs, something is wrong with me. Its not normal, I may be dysfunctional. Same with guns.

    Look, how many more of these mass killing are we gonna go through in our lifetimes. 10? 20? 50?

    As we keep stripping away control regulations, does anyone think this will decrease the chances?

    Why have a friggin speed limit of 55? Because it keeps people from going 80. Have a speed limit of 70 and people go 90.

    We will never get rid of the guns or the crazies, but for christ sakes, Japan had 6 friggin gun murders last year while we had 12,000.

    Somewhere in the god damn middle is the solution. But gun freaks make it impossible to debate this rationally. Look at the reaction they have if you somehow confuse “clip” with “magazine”, immediately they will bring in the jargon…same with “assault” rifles, they will go into minute details of how fast the rounds come out, how “you” don’t know what you are talking about etc. that ain’t really a “machine” gun bla bla.

    Fetishism pure and simple. Like I said many times, if we lack the will to even bring to congress a bill banning 100 round cartridges because of NRA pressure, we will see many more Aurora’s.

  108. @this:

    If not a vegan, then joker.

    There used to be people who thought hunting was cruel and that farms were humane, but that was really before they found out how abattoirs really work. That, and feedlots, and battery chickens.

    Now there is actually at thing, people who are vegetarian mostly but will eat wild caught fish, hunted meat. The idea is that the salmon or elk or sheep has a long and natural life, and then a quick end. Better all told than a life in a feedlot.

    It is actually a pretty good argument. Anthropomorphising a bit, I’d rather spend my life on a mountain and then take my chances with the hunter, rather than being born into it.

  109. DRS says:

    Would those people who believe that Holmes could have been stopped if someone in the theater had shot back at him explain how they could have penetrated the body armour he was wearing? Because it just sounds too Hollywood-ish to be believable to me.

  110. The Q says:

    Sorry above first line is responding to Andy and his previous remark, not MIke

  111. @The Q:

    I think you are conflating the number of guns with the kinds.

    I don’t actually remember my friend owning what we’d now call assault rifles. He liked pistols, and bolt action rifles, and shotguns.

    I remember that an Anschutz bolt action .22 with set trigger was a prized purchase. At today’s prices that would be about a $1000 rifle.

    Not at all the assault thing.

  112. G.A. says:

    But as Reynolds observes, having hundreds of “toys”: errr guns, or collecting assault rifles by the score and the huge clips attendant with those should be banned forever.

    Why is this unreasonable?

    Because this is America and we have a Constitution!

    Well whats left of it anyhow…

    Heck with It! I want a tank and a nuke!!!!

  113. G.A. says:

    Would those people who believe that Holmes could have been stopped if someone in the theater had shot back at him explain how they could have penetrated the body armour he was wearing?

    Yes, you shoot him in the head, several times….

    Also there are plenty of hand guns that will knock you on your a$$ from that range…if not break your bones or take the wind out of you…Hollywood, is thinking that body armor is some kind of force field.

    And from the looks of the shooter he probably would have crapped his pants and ran for the exit if someone had returned fire, or died.

  114. Andy says:

    @The Q:

    he problem with the NRA is that they think that banning 100 round cartridges is unreasonable…. that banning any “semi” automatic is unreasonable……that regulating ammunition is unreasonable, they even were against background checks when that was first proposed.

    First of all, full disclosure. I’m not, nor have I ever been a member of the NRA. I’m not a “joiner” by disposition and I don’t agree with a lot of the NRA’s stances though I’m a general supporter of gun rights.

    That said, the NRA believes these proposals are the equivalent of the “camel’s nose under the tent.” And, be honest now, they are correct in that assessment, aren’t they? You don’t want to merely ban 100 round magazines, correct? That’s just a stepping stone to other restrictions.

    Secondly, are gun control advocates willing to compromise on their positions? Maybe the NRA would be willing to support, or at least no oppose, a ban on 100 round magazines, but would you give them a quid pro quo – say a loosening of restrictions elsewhere? I think the answer is no.

    The result is there is no room for compromise between the NRA and the gun control movement. They have opposing worldviews that can’t be reconciled except at the margins.

  115. John Burgess says:

    @stonetools: Not speaking as an NRA member–because I’m not–but I see huge difficulties in getting any agency (or any sentient individual) to willingly expose himself to legal liability to calling someone formally mentally disturbed.

    Sure, you might get a Psychiatrist or Psychologist to do it, but that would required that every person be required to provide the name of his/her doctors before engaging in a constitutionally protected activity. Providing names of doctors has an effect far beyond the intended goal of keeping guns out of the hands of crazies: it will also provide excuses for all sorts of mischief, from denial of insurance to making it easy to fire someone. No need to prove actual disability here… just knowing that Joe Blow is under the care of a shrink will do an adequate job of ruining his life.

    “And when the shrink says Joe Blow? No, he’s not crazy. He can buy a gun,” and then Joe Blow goes off his nut and kills? No shrink is going to accept that liability, either.

    I think it would have to be limited to cases where one’s mental stability has already come to the attention of law enforcement based on past behavior–not just the seeking of medical advice. This would not avoid all the problems, but it would provide at least some reasonable ground from which to argue against gun possession.

    @Michael Reynolds: It’s the Hummel collectors who scare me.

  116. @Andy:

    That said, the NRA believes these proposals are the equivalent of the “camel’s nose under the tent.” And, be honest now, they are correct in that assessment, aren’t they? You don’t want to merely ban 100 round magazines, correct? That’s just a stepping stone to other restrictions.

    For that reason we should have no budget either.

    Seriously, if you let what your loyal opposition wants be a blocker on any deal, you never have any deal.

    The NRA fully grasps that. They aren’t worried about the tail, they are stonewalling the nose.

  117. @DRS:

    He wasn’t wearing body armor. He was wearing a webbed shooting vest that held ammo, but no armor. Several media have corrected themselves on this, but not very loudly (they never correct their errors as loudly as the errors themselves).

  118. @michael reynolds:

    “And then consider as well that the military discovered in WW2 that a very large percentage of soldiers failed to return fire even when being fired upon.”

    This was the finding of SLA Marshall’s now-classic Men Against Fire, based on personal surveys he conducted with infantrymen following a firefight, usually within 30 minutes of its end. Marshall said that almost never did the percentage of infantry who fired their weapon twice or more approach 20 percent, even among units like paratroops and Rangers.

    His findings led to major changes in training and platoon configurations after the war, so that in Vietnam the number of firers was consistently two-thirds or more.

    Since then, Marshall’s work has come under close methodological scrutiny and actually hasn’t held up very well. But it’s still read and studied for the insights it offers in other ways.

  119. walt moffett says:

    @DRS:

    Poke around Ebay or amazon for body armor/trauma plates and flash bangs for a start. The booby traps could have copied from anarchist’s cookbook or one of the various army field manuals, findable at any government repository library or online.

    Reputable shops will require a purchase order or something on letterhead and copy of ID for body armor but both are easily created.

  120. G.A. says:

    Um what does banning anything do when criminals can still get what you ban ?NOTHING!!!!!

    Can you stop someone who plans on a massacre? Maybe but it gonna be real ******* HARD IF THEY ARE LHE ONLY ONES/ONE THAT HAS WEAPONS……..sigh…..

    When the government comes to round you up and say send you to a Bible camp?what are you prepared to do!?!?!?!?!?!?

    lol,ya,I thought that last one would make some of you come a wee bit out of that koolad haze for a moment…..

  121. michael reynolds says:

    I started thinking of guns as “instruments of death” when a robber was pointing one at my face and I could see his finger twitching on the trigger.

    Obviously I was mistaken.

    My wife started thinking the same when she had one shoved in her ear by a would-be rapist and was then pistol-whipped.

    Obviously she, too, was mistaken.

    But then it seems so much of the world is mistaken. The entire United States Army is under the mistaken impression that their rifles and those of their enemies are instruments of death, when they are clearly collectibles. LIke hummel figurines.

  122. Andy says:

    @john personna: Oh, I think they do want to prevent any “creeping normalcy,” but they also don’t have any incentive to compromise for the same reason the Brady campaign doesn’t have any incentive to compromise on their side. That’s just the way advocacy groups are.

  123. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Andy:

    Oh sure. Like I said, I’m amazed that Aurora doesn’t happen more often. Hunting is fun. Shooting guns is fun.

    The point Michael and I were making is to verbally goose some of the commentators out of a cultural blind spot. Guns are a unique American thing and will likely not change much even in my grandchildren’s lifetime. However, let’s recognize also that guns are not simple benign objects, ether. Simply by owning a gun, you and your family is more likely to be shot, or die by suicide. Instead of making you or your family safer, you’ve just increased their chance of death in a statistically significant manner.

    Also, gun control advocates are simply frustrated. It’s politically impossible to make the most moderate of suggestions. There’s a disconnect to the reaction of white gun crime to say, the Fort Hood shootings. There’s a disconnect in the rhetoric too, where no one is a criminal owning a gun, but firing a gun in any single place other than a firing range or a hunting zone automatically makes you a criminal suspect. The solution is not more guns, more guns until every single public place has metal detectors. It’s just that guns and gun shows and gun culture need to change with the urban, no mental illness support, highly populated times.

  124. G.A. says:

    “And then consider as well that the military discovered in WW2 that a very large percentage of soldiers failed to return fire even when being fired upon.”

    Was they getting attacked like with grenades, artillery and crap loads of the enemy pouring at them? Or sitting at a move with their girlfriends, wife or kids? Or reading a book in the library at the their college? Or eating at the officers mess hall? Or playing by the lake?Or sitting on the porch with friends in a liberal controlled city?

    Just wondering…

  125. The Q says:

    Andy, substitute “abortion” for guns and NOW for the NRA and you see they both use that slippery slope bullshite argument

    “You don’t want to merely ban 100 round magazines, correct? That’s just a stepping stone to other restrictions. ”

    No, its not. And thats the paranoia of the NRA. Just like abortion freaks think that defunding gov’t support to Planned Parenthood will lead to a ban on all abortions

    Its the law of the land. Restricting abortions or making them harder to get is EXACTLY the tactics of the wingnuts (not to mention killing doctors).

    Your slippery slope argument could be ” hey they just put a speed limit on cars and you can’t get drunk and drive, next they will be banning cars altogether. We all know what MADD is really up to. They’re coming for your cars. And then your motorcycles. And then your moped. Soon skateboards, pretty soon you won’t be able to “jog”.

    You get the idea of the insanity right?

    I don”t view outlawing Gatling guns as the next step in taking away my shot gun.

  126. Andy says:

    @The Q: Dude, chill. You’re confusing explanation with advocacy.

  127. The Q says:

    Well you have mentioned the slippery slope and the gun control nuts want to outlaw all guns meme several times.

    And its Mr. Dude to you.

  128. Andy says:

    @The Q: I was explaining why the NRA is acting like it is and why their adversaries are acting the way they are, I wasn’t endorsing their tactics or positions.

  129. Racehorse says:

    We have enough gun “control” laws. These would not have stopped Holmes. The larger shootings than this took place in Norway, England, Toronto: all have very strict gun laws.

  130. Lit3Bolt says:

    @G.A.:

    Dude, your own specious argument falls apart. Even though they were highly trained, the soldiers in World War two still failed to return fire. Therefore, it is unreasonable to assume that any citizen, no matter how they are armed or trained, can return fire in the situations you just described. Thank you for advocating for gun control laws and regulations as the only things that can stop a determined shooter, and dismissing the ridiculous concealed carry and citizen vigilante arguments. If a trained soldier cannot be expected to return fire in a surprise ambush by a gunman, HOW IS IT REASONABLE TO EXPECT THE SAME OF UNTRAINED CITIZENS?

    You, sir, are painfully stupid, but that’s expected because of your conservative beliefs. I hope that when one of your family members dies by a gun, you are able to chortle and gloat that they deserved it because they lived in a “liberal controlled city.” Most cities are liberal controlled because they have more people, not incestuous, theocratic cretins living in the county that are dependent on the largess and tourism of the so-called evil, liberal, cities.

  131. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Racehorse:

    9/11 happened, therefore we are helpless in the face of Muslim evil.

    See how retarded you are?

  132. matt says:

    @mattb: Just a FYI but the Tuscon shooter was taken down while trying to unjam his gun. It’s true that he was technically in the act of reloading as he had just inserted a fresh magazine but it was the resulting jam that allowed for the take down. Of course if he had been using standard magazines he wouldn’t of had that issue.

    We’re actually rather quite fortunate that these shooters are dumb or we’d be looking at massive death tolls.

  133. G.A. says:

    You, sir, are painfully stupid, but that’s expected because of your conservative beliefs. I hope that when one of your family members dies by a gun, you are able to chortle and gloat that they deserved it because they lived in a “liberal controlled city.” Most cities are liberal controlled because they have more people, not incestuous, theocratic cretins living in the county that are dependent on the largess and tourism of the so-called evil, liberal, cities.

    lol……most large cities are liberal controlled because they are liberal controlled just like you.

    And if one of my family members is gunned down I will blame you because of you spreading your liberal beliefs.

    And I have had friends and acquaintances murdered by liberals (to accurately describe the perpetrators)by gun and knife and hand and car you ignorant useful idiot. never by a conservative as you stereotype them.

    How many liberals murdered people last night in liberal controlled cities?that’s right, a lot. How many conservatives? Ya keep looking…….

    Liberalism murders!!!!

  134. mattb says:

    BTW… you want to talk about a brewing moral panic and the issue of regulations… what happens when you can print weapons?

    A Working Assault Rifle Made With a 3-D Printer
    http://m.popsci.com/technology/article/2012-07/working-assault-rifle-made-3-d-printer

  135. @mattb:

    Hack-A-Day has a good closeup.

    I really don’t know how far 3-d printing is going. People have been saying it will transform the world, but they’ve been overly optimistic about other things. Virtual Reality had this kind of optimism at one point.

    I think it costs a fair amount not to get a hobby setup to make cheap plastic parts. It is a really expensive way to get a whistle or Steven Colbert bust. The ones that can work with harder plastics and metal cost tens of thousands of dollars. An expensive way to get a receiver.

    I guess it might change, but metal printers won’t be at Home Depot for at least a decade.

  136. mattb says:

    @john personna: All depends on the price of the printers (small kits go for less that $300 now) and the goop.

    After that, it’s all an issue of economics.

    Do I think it’s going to be Doctorow’s Makers? No. But for a lot of items, it may be really upending.

  137. mattb says:

    What I’m a little more interested in if how and when this will all fit into the current moral panic.

  138. @mattb:

    Did you read Rule 34? That was a good one for “trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle.”

    It may be that 3-d printing is coming along and I should move my old pessimism, but so far I find the applications for consumer level devices pretty thin.

    The MakerBot Replicator $1749 and while the things it makes are kind of neat, you can buy a lot of geegaws for that.

  139. Caroling says:

    The tragedy in Colorado has re-ignited the debate about gun control and military-style assault rifles. One aspect of this issue that rarely gets enough attention is that the same type of gun used in the Aurora shooting is also fueling violence beyond our borders. Check out this powerful video. http://www.wola.org/video/us_guns_the_awful_shocking_truth