Gun Rights and Political Identity

Linking view on guns to political self-identity.

HIn reading numerous discussions about gun rights it struck me the degree to which the issue of guns and gun ownership increasingly seem like one of identity for those concerned with defending gun rights.  That is to say that the issue appears to go well beyond that of a policy debate to one of the way in which people view themselves.  On one level this has always been the case, for example if one is a hunter or a gun collector one is identifying gun ownership/usage with a part of one’s identity.  Further, gun ownership and usage is often highly correlated to where one lives, especially in terms of urban/rural divides and certainly that is linked to identity as well.   Indeed, the list continues insofar as if one has been in the military or worked in law enforcement guns can be identity issues as well. Beyond those areas, it seems that being a “protector” is part of the equation, whether it be a protector of one’s home or a protector of a specific interpretation of the Second Amendment.  Again here other issues are intertwined with identity.

As such, and as is often the case, political arguments about guns are not logical comparisons of comparative murder rates across countries or discussions of whether one is statistically more likely to be harmed by one’s own weapon versus using it to actually protect one’s home or family but are often about deep views of oneself.  (And yes, the previous is now a nominee in the Understatement Olympics–here’s hoping I take home the trophy!).

Beyond, however, the observation that many people see guns or gun ownership (or even just defense of gun rights) as linked to identity, Josh Marshall points to

The real story is that guns have become a key part of Republican partisan self-identification since the dawn of the Obama era. Republicans and Democrats have seen the gun control issue differently for decades. But not that differently. Democrats strongly supported gun control. And Republicans were basically divided on the issue. As Pew’s Carroll Doherty noted in this Pew write-up, “as recently as 2007, 48% of Republicans and GOP leaners said it was more important to control gun ownership, while 47% said it was more important to protect gun rights.”

The dawn of the Obama era brought a transformation that you can see powerfully in this chart of Pew data over the last quarter century.

This is a pretty dramatic (if not stunning) shift in opinion.  There is, of course, the question of why this might be the case, and it is a question that begs for more study.  I would certainly hypothesize that it is linked to numerous identity issues, with the obvious one being the racial component as well as the ongoing view in many quarters of the GOP electorate that President Obama is some “other” (e.g., Kenyan, Muslim, atheist, etc.).  I think it also is linked to identity issues over the US Constitution (and being a protector thereof as per above).  This seems to especially be the case for those who sincerely believe that the Second Amendment exists to give the people the power to attack the government if need be (to protect against tyranny) and therefore they need to be prepared in case Obama goes the tyranny route.  Without a doubt there are many conservatives who view themselves as the true defenders of the constitution (again, identity) so this all self-reinforces.  Of course, to confirm this would require actual study, but the hypotheses seems reasonable to me.

One thing that it does mean without a doubt:  if the issue is linked to identity, arguments about policy become all the more difficult (if not impossible).  Not, I would hasten to add, that it was especially easy to make policy or debate this issue prior to 2008.

And such is today’s happy thought on the prospects of dealing with the problem of gun violence.  (And yes, I am making the assumption that the status quo is unacceptable–and I would ask anyone who thinks that status quo is acceptable to please explain why that would be the case).

Beyond the specifics of gun policy, this is another situation wherein we see significant increased polarization along party lines and where that increased polarization is being generated on one side of the political spectrum (as we have seen in the Voteview studies of Congress).

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

Comments

  1. al-Ameda says:

    I would certainly hypothesize that it is linked to numerous identity issues, with the obvious one being the racial component as well as the ongoing view in many quarters of the GOP electorate that President Obama is some “other” (e.g., Kenyan, Muslim, atheist, etc.). I think it also is linked to identity issues over the US Constitution (and being a protector thereof as per above). This seems to especially be the case for those who sincerely believe that the Second Amendment exists to give the people the power to attack the government if need be (to protect against tyranny) and therefore they need to be prepared in case Obama goes the tyranny route. Without a doubt there are many conservatives who view themselves as the true defenders of the constitution (again, identity) so this all self-reinforces.

    I once heard a saying concerning a difference between Americans and Europeans, it was something like this: Most Europeans believe that there are people who may be conspiring to overthrow their government, while many Americans believe that there are people in their government who are conspiring to take away their rights.

    My only hope is that, over the next generation or so, gun ownership will become as stigmatized as tobacco usage.




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  2. Mu says:

    Amazing, I’m not as much of a pink unicorn as I thought for being a gun rights democrat. Of course that might be true for most non-coastal democrats.




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  3. gVOR08 says:

    Small example. Why is it common to wear cammo in the city? Because it’s become a badge of tribal identity.

    As I commented a day or two ago, conservatism as opposition to whatever liberals want has now extended to the lives of children.




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  4. Jason says:

    Since I first saw those Pew results I’ve been trying to find a good way to articulate my thoughts on this. Certainly, as you say, there is

    the racial component as well as the ongoing view in many quarters of the GOP electorate that President Obama is some “other” (e.g., Kenyan, Muslim, atheist, etc.).

    But I also think this president is different in another way. He might be the first president ever whose own identity is so far removed from gun owners. He’s modern, urban, and academic, and I have trouble picturing him at ease with a firearm, though I have no trouble picturing Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter that way. Yes, even among Democrats, most presidents have been able to identify with (and be identified by) the hunters and the veterans.

    So if this is an identity issue, that does make it hard for gun owners to trust Mr. Obama’s goals and intentions, which means they don’t trust him to find a workable legislation or compromise.




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  5. gVOR08 says:

    I think you have to factor into this the positive feedback loop of conservative voters, conservative politicians, and conservative media, each driving the others further and further away from reality. A positive feedback loop keeps cycling at higher and higher amplitude until something breaks. Trump may represent the breaking of the Republican Party.




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  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As a life long gun owner I can only say I am utterly disgusted with the 2nd Amendment absolutists. Their complete disregard for the actual meaning and purpose of the 2nd in conjunction with their complete denial of reality, unwillingness to apply logic and their apparent total disregard for the lives of others has made any conversation on the subject pointless. The only thing that could possible change their minds is having reality forced upon them in the bloodiest possible way, and the reaction of Roseburg OR says even that probably wouldn’t work.




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  7. C. Clavin says:

    Like everything else…it’s a measure of the growing Republican intransigence and mythology that drives the base.
    There was a time when you could have a reasonable conversation…Gadzooks, Reagan was for gun control and passed the Brady Bill which we all know established federal background checks for firearm purchases and created a five-day waiting period to give law enforcement time to run these checks. Was anyone’s freedom destroyed? How many lives were saved? Of course we all know too that Reagan could not get elected with today’s Republican base.
    Try to talk to the Republican base today and all you quickly realize all they see is the two extremes…everyone should have more guns…and everyone wants to take away their guns.
    There are common sense remedies to our gun violence problem. Criminy…there are real world examples of gun control working. (try finding an example of supply-side economics working) But we can’t even begin to have the discussion because of the idiocy of the Republican base. Same with abortion…you cannot have a discussion if one side is claiming single celled organisms are people and there is no compromise to that position.




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  8. Jack says:

    I am making the assumption that the status quo is unacceptable–and I would ask anyone who thinks that status quo is acceptable to please explain why that would be the case

    Steven, the current status quo is freedom and liberty. That must and always will remain the status quo. The right of self defense is not debatable. Every person has the right to defend themselves. Add to that, decision after decision (Warren v D.C., Castle Rock V Gonzales among others) by the courts that police are not there to protect the individual, it’s the individuals responsibility to protect themselves and you are left with a society that chooses the best available tool with which to protect itself–guns.

    Australia level gun confiscation and forced buy back will never come to this nation. Even if the 2nd amendment is repealed, which we can both agree would be a task of monumental proportions, that alone will not remove arms from civilian use. In US V Cruikshank, “The right there specified is that of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose.’ This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.” As you have so admirably stated above, many people “identify” as gun owners, and will not willingly go along with any proposal to disarm them. With over 300 million guns nationwide, that is a lot of firepower to forcefully remove from the hands of angry men and women–which explains the primary opposition to a national firearm registry. Many will say that firearms only belong in the hands of the police and military. I once saw a movie along that theme, it’s called Schindler’s List.

    So, with an outright ban off the board, we are left with working around the fringes to find a solution to gun violence–a blatantly inaccurate phrase if there ever was one. Efficacy of any law is paramount, without a modicum of evidence that it will actually work, it shouldn’t be proposed. Universal background checks won’t force criminals to undergo background checks…only the law abiding. So, that won’t work. The same goes for national registration. Pre-crime does not exist so you cannot and should not lock people up because they might commit some future crime. The “Assault Weapons Ban” (AWB) was and remains a joke. You don’t ban something for purely cosmetic reasons. Beyond that, the FBI statistics show that long guns total > 400 gun deaths a year (or thereabouts) and the AR and AK platform are popular and widely in use today, so banning them again will do nothing with those in existence—just like the last AWB. Magazine capacity laws do nothing to reduce gun violence as criminals simply buy numerous low capacity magazines. Regulating ammunition sales will simply result in straw buying that will be even harder to trace than gun straw buying. Stolen gun laws only punish the victim and not the criminal.

    What does that leave us? Enforce existing laws. Biden himself says we do not have the resources to enforce existing laws…and this genius may run for president. Lying on the 4473 is illegal. Lock people up. Straw-man buying is illegal. Lock people up. Stealing a firearm is illegal. Lock people up. Shooting people is illegal. Lock people up. Killing people with a gun is illegal. Lock people up. Selling a stolen firearm is illegal. Lock people up. Once you start sentencing people to prison for 10 plus years for merely having an illegal gun in their possession, lying on the 4473, stealing a firearm, selling an illegal firearm. Criminals may get the picture.




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  9. C. Clavin says:

    gun violence–a blatantly inaccurate phrase if there ever was one.

    I see the idiotic Republican base I described has arrived.




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  10. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:

    Many will say that firearms only belong in the hands of the police and military. I once saw a movie along that theme, it’s called Schindler’s List.

    Nice straw man, bonehead.




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  11. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    With over 300 million guns nationwide, that is a lot of firepower to forcefully remove from the hands of angry men and women–which explains the primary opposition to a national firearm registry.

    An apt example of Say’s Law – supply creates its own demand. Over 300 million guns and easy availability ensures that periodic mass shootings in any year are virtually inevitable.




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  12. Jack says:

    @al-Ameda: Gravity caused over 25k deaths last year. Do you want to eliminate that too?

    This is too easy. Send out the big guns.




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  13. Bokonon says:

    @Jack:

    What does that leave us? Enforce existing laws.

    One problem is that some sheriffs and state legislators in some parts of the United States are actively slow walking or even sabotaging some of those existing laws and regulations. Like registration and background checks.




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  14. @Jack:

    Steven, the current status quo is freedom and liberty

    To be blunt, you sound like a caricature with that statement.

    Yes, there is a constitutional right to bear arms. There are a myriad of constitutional rights, all of which are regulated, including speech and religion.

    Shooting people is illegal. Lock people up. Killing people with a gun is illegal. Lock people up

    A) This is not a useful policy prescription for the perpetrators of most mass shootings. As such, other policy remedies are needed,

    B) This does not bring back the dead, and we have an inordinate number of people killed by guns. As such, other policy remedies are needed.

    I would settle for starting with treating guns at least as seriously as we treat cars: registration and required training/licensing.

    Would that stop all of these mass murders, clearly not, but it would reduce them and it would also foster a more serious and responsible gun culture. It would also make it easier to determine who has illegal weapons and allow for more of the locking up you want.

    It also seems reasonable to require background checks for all guns sales/transfers of ownership.

    None of the above detracts from the right of self-defenses, btw.




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  15. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Jack proves my point so clearly that I can hardly believe it.
    You cannot have a discussion with these folks because they are so tied up by myths and emotions that reason holds no sway over them.
    Thanks, Jack…for once again proving me right.




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  16. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:

    Gravity caused over 25k deaths last year. Do you want to eliminate that too?

    What a maroon…..




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  17. @Jack:

    Many will say that firearms only belong in the hands of the police and military. I once saw a movie along that theme, it’s called Schindler’s List.

    This, of course, will never happen in the US.

    However, we can look around the world and see plenty of countries with very tight gun control laws and they do not have the problem we have with mass shootings and gun deaths in general. These are not fascist regimes, but democratic ones.

    No movie or Nazi references required.




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  18. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jason:

    I think you have it backwards. Obama may not be from gun culture, but he’s less alienated from exurban rural redstate America than they are from him. He has their number. ‘Bitter clingers’ may not have been great politics but it’s pretty accurate. What do they have? Kenyan usurper socialist?

    All of this hoopla about understanding gun owners is a red herring. Guns are obvious toys, which require no thought. It’s like trying to understand why a man who is fifty and recently divorced would buy a red Porsche.




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  19. @Jack:

    to gun violence–a blatantly inaccurate phrase if there ever was one.

    I’ll bite: what would you call it?




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  20. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    Efficacy of any law is paramount, without a modicum of evidence that it will actually work, it shouldn’t be proposed.

    This sounds reasonable — until it becomes clear that your standard for what ‘work’ means is very different for gun laws vice other laws.

    For most people, if the law makes the situation better after it’s passed, that’s enough justification. Your definition seems to require entirely eliminating all problems forever. I assume you also oppose speed limits, on the grounds that they are not widely obeyed and don’t eliminate reckless driving and infringe upon freedom? Never mind the fact that they demonstrably have saved millions of lives?




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  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’ll bite: what would you call it?

    If he stays true to form, he’ll reply that it’s just violence, and has nothing to do with the gun. If people didn’t have guns, they would be committing mass stranglings or poisonings or stabbings…




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  22. @Steven L. Taylor:

    No movie or Nazi references required.

    Seriously–I am really tired of this one. 1) It ridiculously simplifies the Holocaust, and 2) it ignores all the non-fascist countries with lower levels of gun violence. (Not to mention it equates gun control with Nazism and antisemitism).




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  23. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    This is not a useful policy prescription for the perpetrators of most mass shootings. As such, other policy remedies are needed,

    Well, unless you can perfect pre crime or you have a direct line to Elvis in the afterlife, you cannot predict when, where, or by whom the next mass shooting will occur. Additionally, mass shootings account for what…1% of the total murdered by gun violence? You do not create laws to target the 1%.

    I would settle for starting with treating guns at least as seriously as we treat cars: registration and required training/licensing.

    Driving is a privilege and owning a gun is a right. Training and licensing of cars is only required if the car is driven on public property. Private use on private land is not regulated. Additionally, I would love to buy a gun at 14. I would love my gun to be legal in all states. I would love to have my gun in a school zone without breaking a law. Mufflers are mandatory on cars. I would love to be penalized if I took the silencer off my gun. There are no background checks or waiting periods for cars. All statewide magazine capacity/assault weapon bans are now nullified. There aren’t horsepower/gasoline tank capacity/top speed mechanical restrictions on cars. Carry licenses are restricted to people 21 but of course since we are treating them like cars people age 14 can apply. Finally, Schools will now sponsor firearm training like they do drivers training.

    In short. Treating guns like cars will not reduce gun violence.

    It also seems reasonable to require background checks for all guns sales/transfers of ownership.

    Again, only the law abiding would undergo background checks. Criminals get >1% of their guns through gun shows. They get them through theft, black market, grey market, and straw men. This does not fix the problem and therefore we should question the efficacy of this proposed law.




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  24. @Jack:

    Driving is a privilege and owning a gun is a right.

    And that is a slogan.

    And again: because something is a right does not mean it cannot be regulated. This is not complicated.




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  25. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I’ll bite: what would you call it?

    We do not call death by automobiles car violence. We do not call it water violence when people drown, knife violence, gravity violence, or fist violence, or … Guns do not cause violence because they are inanimate objects.




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  26. Jack says:

    @DrDaveT:

    For most people, if the law makes the situation better after it’s passed, that’s enough justification.

    I would say any law that passes must address a majority, 51% of the problem, or it doesn’t get passed. 51% or more of the people do obey traffic laws, despite their nature of targeting victimless crimes.




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  27. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It ridiculously simplifies the Holocaust, and 2) it ignores all the non-fascist countries with lower levels of gun violence.

    Are you denying that Germany’s registration laws removed guns from the people’s hands and made Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent killing of the Jews that much easier?




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  28. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: There are countries with relatively lenient gun control laws that don’t have such problems. Switzerland, for example, sits behind only the U. S. and Yemen in per-capita gun ownership, and has a very long and deep gun tradition, and still only had 17 gun murders last year. Our gun homicide rate is 3.2 per 100,000. Switzerland’s is 0.77 per 100,000. We have several mass shootings per year. Switzerland’s most recent such incident was in 2001.

    The difference is the Swiss tradition has always emphasized understanding how such a powerful and significant right necessarily incurs equally powerful and significant responsibilities. Contrast that with America’s current gun culture, wherein the most minor gun control improvement is shouted down and painted as a slippery slope to Schindler’s List.

    I really think they just want the right without having to accept the responsibility.




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  29. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And again: because something is a right does not mean it cannot be regulated. This is not complicated.

    There are over 2k regulation in place already. It’s not like gun ownership, use, etc., are not already regulated. And while you are at it, please tell me you would not be upset if similar regulation was in place to use the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th amendment.




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  30. Jack says:

    @DrDaveT:

    If he stays true to form, he’ll reply that it’s just violence, and has nothing to do with the gun. If people didn’t have guns, they would be committing mass stranglings or poisonings or stabbings…

    Considering gun powder was not invented before the 9th century, I guess there was no murder before then.




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  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: How about “the actions of evil people abetted by other evil people who don’t care what happens as long as they get their way?”

    Kinda long, but…




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  32. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Are you denying that Germany’s registration laws removed guns from the people’s hands and made Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent killing of the Jews that much easier?

    Yes, I do deny it. This is a myth that’s grown up among gun nuts in the US that has no real basis in fact.




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  33. SKI says:

    I would settle for starting with treating guns at least as seriously as we treat cars: registration and required training/licensing.

    Add in mandatory insurance, like we do for cars, and that would go an awful long way towards reducing the issues.

    Require registration and insurance, create liability for injuries deaths caused by guns used/stored irresponsibly and let the free market dramatically limit the risk.

    Tell the NRA to go ahead and create their own insurance company. Let guns rights groups form a mutual protection insurance association. And watch how quickly their tune on “appropriate behavior” and regulations change…




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  34. Jack says:

    @SKI:

    Add in mandatory insurance, like we do for cars, and that would go an awful long way towards reducing the issues.

    Mandatory insurance only applies to cars driven on public roads. Additionally, insurance is not liable for the damage done buy a stolen car or a car used to intentionally inflict harm.




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  35. Mikey says:

    @Jack: Germany’s gun laws under Hitler were pretty lax, actually. One of his government’s moves was to eliminate almost entirely the restrictions imposed by the Weimar Republic in its attempts to comply with the disarmament requirements of the Treaty of Versailles. The Nazi regime’s gun laws were a tremendous loosening of restrictions. In fact, from 1938 on there was essentially no regulation of long guns or shotguns. Government employees and Nazi party members were wholly unregulated, whether for long guns or handguns.

    Gun rights advocates like to say Hitler forced gun registration and then used the registries to take Germans’ guns, but that’s a myth. His government actually eliminated registry and licensing requirements for most Germans.




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  36. C. Clavin says:

    The tragedy here is that guns shouldn’t be banned. And while I think it only makes sense to regulate a machine who’s only purpose is to kill, I also think the Australian model is way over-done.
    But when you have the NRA, and their dupes like Jack, opposing any basic common sense measures…and with mass killings happening regularly as a result of it….there will come a time when our society reaches a tipping point. And when that time comes it will really be draconian measures, like Australia.
    And when that does happen it will be because of this narrow-minded intransigence. Look at Obamacare…instead of working to make it better the Republican base held that there should be no capitulation. 10 years ago Jack would have told you that we would never have Obamacare. Now Jack says Australia-like gun control won’t happen here. Jack is always wrong. That’s his thing, apparently.




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  37. @Jack:

    We do not call death by automobiles car violence

    We do if someone deliberately drives a car into people to kill them.

    Come on, man.




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  38. @Jack:

    Are you denying that Germany’s registration laws removed guns from the people’s hands and made Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent killing of the Jews that much easier?

    One need only look at human history to know that if the state is going to direct that much organized violence against a minority, that the fact that that minority was armed is not enough to deter the state.

    Beyond that, it is a non sequitur to say: German Jews had no guns, there was the Holocaust, ergo gun control leads to Holocausts (which is essentially the anti–gun control argument being made here–that guns prevent tyranny, especially the worst tyranny one can think of).




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  39. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    We do if someone deliberately drives a car into people to kill them.

    No, we don’t. We call the driver a criminal, nowhere have I ever seen it called car violence.




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  40. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Are you denying that Germany’s registration laws removed guns from the people’s hands and made Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent killing of the Jews that much easier?

    Yes, I do deny it. This is a myth that’s grown up among gun nuts in the US that has no real basis in fact.

    The democratic Weimar regime that preceded Hitler had much tougher gun control regulations than the Nazis. After Hitler came to power, he deregulated the purchase and transfer of rifles, shotguns, and ammunition, and exempted many categories of Germans, including Nazi Party members, from any weapons regulations altogether. The legal age of gun ownership was also lowered from 20 to 18 years, and permits were extended from one year to three years in length.

    The NRA myth that Nazi Germany had tough gun control is just that — a myth. In actuality, Hitler’s Germany was much closer to the NRA ideal than we have.




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  41. C. Clavin says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    the fact that that minority was armed is not enough to deter the state.

    Jack is going to take on the U.S. Military. After all, it worked out so well for the Confederacy.




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  42. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    German Jews had no guns, there was the Holocaust, ergo gun control leads to Holocausts (which is essentially the anti–gun control argument being made here–that guns prevent tyranny, especially the worst tyranny one can think of).

    I am saying that the Jews inability to defend themselves with guns, because they were previously registered and then confiscated led to the holocaust. The same thing happened under Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, et al. When guns become registered, they soon become confiscated…and then mass murder by the state. That will not happen in the US because gun owners will not voluntarily give up their guns.

    Are you seriously suggesting that we send armed people to take the guns of other armed people? Do you want another Civil War?




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  43. gVOR08 says:

    @Jack:

    Are you denying that Germany’s registration laws removed guns from the people’s hands and made Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent killing of the Jews that much easier?

    Yes.




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  44. Jason says:

    @Modulo Myself: What you are saying isn’t backwards from what I said at all. If this is an identity issue (which it appears to be), and if he doesn’t come across as somebody who is comfortable with guns, then it does make it hard for gun owners to trust Mr. Obama’s goals and intentions. It doesn’t matter whether he secretly wants to take their guns or not – many gun owners just don’t trust him to understand them at all on this issue. It doesn’t matter whether you think guns are toys – they still don’t trust him. It’s a trust gap he doesn’t seem able to bridge, even though his actual opinions and proposals might not be much different from previous POTUSes who could.

    Meaningful gun legislation needs to come from somebody who is seen as a responsible gun owner who deeply understands America’s majority of gun owners.




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  45. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Are you denying that Germany’s registration laws removed guns from the people’s hands and made Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent killing of the Jews that much easier?

    It took the combined industrial might of the armies, navies and air forces of the Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, Canada, the United States, and most of the rest of Europe six years of hard fighting and tens of millions of lives to defeat Nazi Germany. But apparently if the 500,000 German Jews, who altogether made up less than 1% of the German population, had had revolvers and rifles, then Hitler could have been stopped…..




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  46. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Reading comprehension is not your strong suite. I stated, “Are you denying that Germany’s registration laws removed guns from the people’s hands and made Hitler’s rise to power and subsequent killing of the Jews that much easier?”

    Germany’s registration scheme led to the Jews being disarmed. Hitler’s subsequent easing of firearm restrictions did not apply to the Jews who had already had their weapons confiscated. Thus the Nazis were figuratively “shooting fish in a barrel”.




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  47. C. Clavin says:
  48. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    But apparently if the 500,000 German Jews, who altogether made up less than 1% of the German population, had had revolvers and rifles, then Hitler could have been stopped…..

    Meanwhile the armies of the Soviet Union, Britton, the US, France, etc., cannot put down the Taliban. I wonder if it’s because they are armed?




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  49. Lenoxus says:

    Every time I hear the Nazi argument, I wonder, how exactly it that supposed to have worked? The presumption is that prior to the Holocaust, the populace (either just Jews or all of Germany) was sufficiently armed to resist Nazi persecution. If so, why weren’t they sufficiently armed to resist their own de-armament? Is it just that they were too naive to realize what would follow the gun laws? (This is granting the questionable assumption that the argument is correct about the history.)

    By extension, if you really want to put any investment in the “tyranny argument”, then the discussion of actual gun control laws should be totally irrelevant to you. You can’t in one breath say that gun laws hurt law-abiding citizens while failing to deter criminals (“only outlaws will have guns”), then in the next say that one crucial purpose of guns is to enable people defy the law if the government ever gets too tyrannical in other ways, such as banning Bibles or something. If the latter is the case, why the heck are you worried about a technicality like “law”?

    “Oh no, here come the jack-booted thugs to take the guns I need to successfully defy any jack-booted thugs who might happen to be around!”




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  50. Pinky says:

    Armenia, then. Voluntary gun confiscation followed by genocide.




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  51. Jack says:

    @gVOR08: Apparently you missed this…The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns in your linked article.




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  52. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Reading comprehension is not your strong suite.

    Can’t. Stop. Laughing.




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  53. stonetools says:

    Erik Loomis over at Lawyers, Guns, and Money has a post on this, and comes to the conclusion you do. This is a matter of identity politics. Disaffected white men think they are “losing their country”, so they cling all the more tightly to the one thing that gives them a feeling of power: their lovely, sleek, deadly guns. In that way, they can feel like Daniel Boone conquering the West all over again.

    A place like Douglas County, rural, poor, and white, feels threatened by a secular America, one with a scary black man with a scary name from a scary city as president. With the gays marrying and the women running around, and the libtards in Eugene ruining their resource exploitation state, everything is threatening. Everything. The America they dreamed once existed is no more. And they don’t know what to do. So they arm themselves and kill each other.

    Unfortunately, they don’t kill each other: they kill others.
    Even this explanation is too simple. While it may explains a Jack, it doesn’t explain why apparently intelligent, rational people like Hal and Doug defend the status quo, and say essentially, that guns are great and 30,000 gun deaths a year is the cost of freedom. So far as I can tell, it seems like that they are committed to some mythical, 19th century idea of freedom that is threatened by the idea of well, modern government. In every other modern, industrialized country, people using sensible legislation has prevented the kind of mass gun violence that is commonplace in the USA and have done so while preserving freedom and democracy. Those countries have less crime, too. Despite that all this, folks like Doug and Hal seem to sweep aside the very existence of these countries , like young earth creationists pretending that that the geological record doesn’t exist.
    Circling back to Steven’s initial point, there is a connection between gun rights enthusiasts and young earth creationists. Both are groups whose ideologies and identities are threatened by modern reality. Their response is not to change their minds, but to reject the facts and defend their ideologies ever more fiercely. Of course, the problem here is that YECs are largely harmless, while the resistance of the gun rights people means we keep on suffering thousands of unnecessary gun deaths each year.




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  54. gVOR08 says:

    Steven, you had a nice thread going on why it’s so hard to talk reasonably about guns. Didn’t take long for @Jack: to both hijack it into a gun good/gun bad thread and prove your point.

    In fairness, you did ask for an explanation of why some think the status quo is acceptable, and Jack obliged. The rest of us may take what conclusions we wish from his argument.




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  55. Look, the whole problem with the “gun control leads to genocide” argument is that it ignores all the cases with gun control and yet without genocide.

    It might well be that a genocidal regime is going to be genocidal regardless of the gun laws (not to mention that the conditions that lead to genocidal regimes is a bit more complex than an issue of gun control).

    The question on the table is not, by the way, “how can we prevent a genocide?” it is “how can we lower gun deaths in the US?”




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  56. @gVOR08: True all around.




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  57. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    That will not happen in the US because gun owners will not voluntarily give up their guns.

    When a rifle platoon of US Marines with a Predator drone circling overhead as backup shows up at your door to take your guns, what exactly are you going to do about it?




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  58. The fact that he cannot even accept the label “gun violence” speaks rather heavily to the identity hypothesis, I would argue.




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  59. Mu says:

    Just to correct on myth, German gun control was instituted by Weimar as a measure against both left and right wing anti-democratic forces. The Nazis only continued those policies, as did the DDR communist regime. The West-German government initially had a rather relaxed attitude but laws were tightened after the Red Army Fraction scare in the mid-70s.




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  60. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    The law did prohibit Jews and other persecuted classes from owning guns in your linked article.

    Why didn’t they use their guns to stop the Nazis from taking their guns?




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  61. Mu says:

    @Rafer Janders: Wow, you’re not only abolishing the 2nd, 4th and 5th amendment, now you’re even asking for the use of regular troops against the own civilian population.
    And you call the other side nuts.




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  62. gVOR08 says:

    @stonetools:

    In that way, they can feel like Daniel Boone conquering the West all over again.

    I’ve been saying, facetiously, for years that we killed off the Indians and the buffalo too soon. Now all a man can do to prove he’s a man is buy a big gun and a big pickup truck. (Well, facetious about Indians, the rest of it I’m serious.)




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  63. Jack says:

    @stonetools:

    people using sensible legislation has prevented the kind of mass gun violence that is commonplace in the USA and have done so while preserving freedom and democracy.

    Now, please address all of the other violent crime that has skyrocketed in every “industrialized” nation once they remove firearms from the picture. Holy Hell, home owners in England are getting arrested because thugs (yobs) are breaking and entering into known occupied dwellings and people are defending themselves with bats. Who gets arrested? The home owner. No criminal in England goes into a known occupied home with the possibility of getting shot. That makes it easier for them to get away with burglary, intimidation, rape, and murder.

    But please, tell me more about these great nations with stringent gun laws.




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  64. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Jack:

    Additionally, mass shootings account for what…1% of the total murdered by gun violence? You do not create laws to target the 1%.

    You probably think this helps your argument, don’t you?




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  65. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    When a rifle platoon of US Marines with a Predator drone circling overhead as backup shows up at your door to take your guns, what exactly are you going to do about it?

    You have way too many assumptions in that sentence. But, let’s take it at face value. They will have to break down my door and face the gun(s) I have to get them. I’m not alone. This will lead to a civil war.




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  66. @Jack:

    Now, please address all of the other violent crime that has skyrocketed in every “industrialized” nation once they remove firearms from the picture.

    Citations, please.




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  67. Neil Hudelson says:

    Has anyone noticed that gun nuts can claim that:

    1. Gun control doesn’t work, as it’s still ALWAYS possible to get guns via the black market.

    2. Gun control left everyone defenseless in Nazi Germany, and hence the Holocaust.

    Without seeing the cognitive dissonance?

    Either gun control is like trying to hold water in a sieve, or it’s so effective it leads to tyranny. You can’t have both, right?




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  68. @Mu: He can correct me if I am wrong, but I think he is pointing out that armed citizens could not withstand a forced confiscation regime if the US government actually attempted one.

    It was a point about relative power, not a policy suggestion.




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  69. Jack says:

    Chicago Shootings Reach 2,349 This Year — Someone Shot Every 2.8 Hours

    Looks like gun control is really working in Chicago this year. YES! More of this!




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  70. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: UK, Australia.




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  71. @Jack: The point is that if we were ever to get to a place where such confiscation was policy, it would be ultimately impossible to resist. Indeed, if it ever got to that point it would be because there was wide social agreement on the subject.

    If the full force of the US government was truly dedicated to confiscating all the guns it could do so.

    (And yes, this isn’t going to happen).




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  72. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Jack, of course, ignores the existence of 2015 Germany-a modern, peaceful, prosperous, low crime democracy with a gun homicide rate that is one fifteenth that of the USA , and with few, if any, mass shootings.




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  73. A major problem with all these resistance fallacies is that they ignore what really happens when an authoritarian state asserts itself. In such situations there is typically significant social acceptance–it is what allows authoritarians to take over in the first place.

    If the military and police are on board with the takeover then they can take out a lot of opposition, armed or not. Sure, an insurgency can emerge but that won’t stop the subjugation of society.

    Note that a major part of what allowed the Holocaust was social acceptance of virulent antisemitism.




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  74. @Jack: That’s not how evidence works,




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  75. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: There are roughly 2.2 million active, guard, and reserve troops in the US military. There are approximately 46 million gun owners. Subtract from the military column those assigned over seas and those in non-combat positions and from each column those that will refuse to fight against their own and you still have a hefty disadvantage on the military side. The military will not use planes and tanks on US citizens. That leaves street by street confiscation that cannot happen simultaneously nationwide. Once people see it is happening elsewhere, they will band together and bunker down.




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  76. gVOR08 says:

    @Jack: You might have an acceptable argument if you could manage to leave out:
    …it’s called Schindler’s List
    …gun violence–a blatantly inaccurate phrase…
    …and this genius may run for president.
    Reading comprehension is not your strong suite.

    An acceptable argument. One more revealing than convincing, but not blatantly objectionable.




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  77. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    I’m sorry, what about the UK and Australia? I have relatives that live in the UK and they are unaware it has become some kind of crime ridden hellhole since they passed more restrictive gun safety legislation. But hey, that’s anecdotal. Please cite statistics showing that violent crime has or is skyrocketing in the UK, Australia, or every other industrialized country. I’ll wait.




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  78. gVOR08 says:

    @Jack:

    Apparently you missed this

    No. Did you miss the argument following it? An argument presented independently by others above.




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  79. Rafer Janders says:

    @Mu:

    Wow, you’re not only abolishing the 2nd, 4th and 5th amendment, now you’re even asking for the use of regular troops against the own civilian population.

    Look, it’s Jack’s fantasy, not mine. His argument is that he needs to use his guns to protect against a tyrannical government. If, then, the government is tyrannical, why wouldn’t it just use the overwhelming might of the US military to disarm the population?

    You can’t have it both ways. You can’t imagine a government so tyrannical you need your guns to protect against it, but not so tyrannical that it wouldn’t use all the force at its disposal.




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  80. @Jack: First, you need to read a little history of authoritarianism as well study up on the way politics works. This is important to stress because the argument you are making is that guns protect us from tyranny, but you are positing a cartoon version of how this works when it happens.

    Further, the point is this: IF there was a policy of confiscation it could only come about via social consensus. IF such a policy were enforced the individual person or groups holding out would not be able to resist.

    You are missing the point entirely.




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  81. @Rafer Janders:

    You can’t imagine a government so tyrannical you need your guns to protect against it, but not so tyrannical that it wouldn’t use all the force at its disposal.

    Exactly.




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  82. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    You have way too many assumptions in that sentence. But, let’s take it at face value. They will have to break down my door and face the gun(s) I have to get them.

    Or, you know, they can just have the Predator drone fire a missile and blow up your house, with your guns in it. No need to break down your door at all.




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  83. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jason:

    What you are saying is that gun owners are severely child-like and selfish people who refuse to be part of any society they can not control fully. Actually marginalized people don’t behave this way; only spoiled adult children, who, not surprisingly, have adopted guns as signs of their girthy seriousness.

    So the idea that there’s a happy democratic ending to all of this is ridiculous. A more obvious end would be to use the crackpot Citizens United interpretation of the first amendment, with a tech billionaire buying some judges and legal doctrines and getting the Supreme Court in ten to fifteen years to outlaw all non-hunting weapons.For about a minute it’s going to be hysterical as the Republicans with their Ayn Rand perpetual motion machines and money equaling awesome watch as their billionaires die off and go senile and the next wave buys away the politicians that have kept the red states in some sort of power.




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  84. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The fact that he cannot even accept the label “gun violence” speaks rather heavily to the identity hypothesis, I would argue.

    Yeah, if the gun is truly the holy Jesus weapon that makes him feel better, more powerful, and more secure, then no even indirect criticism of the gun can be conceded.




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  85. As a political scientist I find these weird scenarios wherein “the government” is able to be tyrannical but “the people” won’t accept it to be maddening.

    First, for a government to become a tyranny it requires the coercive apparatus of the state, i.e., the military and the police.

    Who makes up the military and the police? People.

    Second, if we look throughout history at tyrannical regimes we will find that they come into play with usually an important element of popular support (for various reasons).

    Therefore, to talk about “fighting tyranny” one has to understand what real tyranny looks like and how it comes about.




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  86. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:

    That leaves street by street confiscation that cannot happen simultaneously nationwide. Once people see it is happening elsewhere, they will band together and bunker down.

    Again…my point about mythology. Jack sees himself as some kind of renegade hero…Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood. That goes beyond identity politics to full blown delusion.
    Everyone else, including the military he wants to face down, sees Jack as a pasty white Steve Urkel.




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  87. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    The military will not use planes and tanks on US citizens.

    So this sad fantasy is reduced to loading the dice this way: we need guns to resist the tyrannical government — but the government is going to play fair and won’t use planes and tanks on us….




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  88. Jack says:

    @stonetools: Britain has the highest rate of violent crime in Europe, more so than the United States or even South Africa. They also have the second highest overall crime rate in the European Union. In 2008, Britain had a violent crime rate nearly five times higher than the United States (2034 vs. 446 per 100,000 population). — The most violent country in Europe: Britain is also worse than South Africa and U.S., Daily Mail, July 3, 2009, citing a joint report of the European Commission and United Nations

    Ironically, firearm use in crimes in the UK has doubled in the decade since handguns were banned. — Weapons sell for just £50 as suspects and victims grow ever younger, The Times, August 24, 2007

    U.K. street robberies soared 28% in 2001. Violent crime was up 11%, murders up 4%, and rapes were up 14%. This trend continued in the U.K in 2004 with a 10% increase in street crime, 8% increase in muggings, and a 22% increase in robberies. — British Home Office, reported by BBC news, July 12, 2005

    Comparing crime rates between America and Britain is fundamentally flawed. In America, a gun crime is recorded as a gun crime. In Britain, a crime is only recorded when there is a final disposition (a conviction). All unsolved gun crimes in Britain are not reported as gun crimes, grossly undercounting the amount of gun crime there. To make matters worse, British law enforcement has been exposed for falsifying criminal reports to create falsely lower crime figures, in part to preserve tourism. Fear in Britain, Gallant, Hills, Kopel, Independence Institute, July 18, 2000 and Crime Figures a Sham, Say Police, Daily Telegraph, April 1, 1996

    An ongoing parliamentary inquiry in Britain into the growing number of black market weapons has concluded that there are more than three million illegally held firearms in circulation – double the number believed to have been held 10 years ago – and that criminals are more willing than ever to use them. One in three criminals under the age of 25 possesses or has access to a firearm. — Reported in The Guardian, September 3, 2000

    http://crimeresearch.org/2013/12/murder-and-homicide-rates-before-and-after-gun-bans/




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  89. @Rafer Janders:

    we need guns to resist the tyrannical government — but the government is going to play fair and won’t use planes and tanks on us….

    Yup, like @I said:

    Therefore, to talk about “fighting tyranny” one has to understand what real tyranny looks like and how it comes about.




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  90. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Or, you know, they can just have the Predator drone fire a missile and blow up your house, with your guns in it. No need to break down your door at all.

    So, you are advocating summary executions of US citizens. How liberal of you.




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  91. @Jack: Are you seriously not understanding the point he is making?




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  92. Rafer Janders says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Are you seriously not understanding the point he is making?

    If he understood it, he might have to think. It’s easier for him not to.




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  93. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: If you and Rafer are suggesting that the US Constitution will have to be shredded to gain control of all US weapons in civilian hands, then yes I do understand. I also understand entire parts of the US military will revolt and use those same weapons against the government.




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  94. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    You have way too many assumptions in that sentence. But, let’s take it at face value. They will have to break down my door and face the gun(s) I have to get them.

    OK, forget the Predator missile then. You have a rifle platoon of about 40 battle-hardened young and trained Marines, blooded in the streets of Fallujah, Baghdad, Kunduz and Kandahar, armed with assault rifles, mortars, grenades, heavy machine guns, and anti-armor missiles. I’d say breaking down your door and facing your guns would take them, oh, I don’t know, let’s say…two, three seconds? Four if they’re moving slow?

    So, again, in order for your fantasy “I need my guns to resist the gubmint” fantasy to work you need a tyrannical, evil government that’s also so weak that it would only send enough force after you for you to successfully resist.




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  95. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    I also understand entire parts of the US military will revolt and use those same weapons against the government.

    If the US military will revolt and join you, then why do you need the guns? They’ve already got weapons enough.




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  96. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    OK, forget the Predator missile then. You have a rifle platoon of about 40 battle-hardened young and trained Marines, blooded in the streets of Fallujah, Baghdad, Kunduz and Kandahar, armed with assault rifles, mortars, grenades, heavy machine guns, and anti-armor missiles. I’d say breaking down your door and facing your guns would take them, oh, I don’t know, let’s say…two, three seconds? Four if they’re moving slow?

    Tell me again why these Marines have failed to subdue Iraq and Afghanistan.




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  97. markm says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I would settle for starting with treating guns at least as seriously as we treat cars: registration and required training/licensing.

    Would that stop all of these mass murders, clearly not, but it would reduce them and it would also foster a more serious and responsible gun culture

    How would this ‘reduce them’ and I don’t think the Sandy Hook/Aurora/Oregon shooter would partake in any registration/training/licensing.

    As a law abiding citizen, I already have to register weapons.

    It would also make it easier to determine who has illegal weapons and allow for more of the locking up you want.

    How will this help determine who has illegal weapons?.

    It also seems reasonable to require background checks for all guns sales/transfers of ownership

    Already required. If I want a new pistol, I go down to the gun shop, wait for the background check. If I am clean, I get the weapon.

    If I want one that I see online (in state or out of state), the sale has to go FFL to FFL….no different than if you walk into a gun store.

    If you want to by a pistol of mine and you have a CPL (concealed carry permit), I write you a receipt and we take it to the police station to transfer it (I SURE has hell will not sell you a weapon that is still registered in my name…nobody would ((except criminals that don’t care about this nonsense anyhow)).

    Where there is ‘some wiggle room’ is if Grandpa gives me his old service pistol…It’s most likely unregistered. But the amount of those transactions accounts for .001% of transfer/sales. And if Gramps piece is registered, you will transfer it from him to you removing future liability from him.

    Is there a mental health component proposal for any new rules and regs or is that dead in the water like it has been in the past?. It seem to me that, say the last eight mass shootings, there has been a strong mental health common denominator.




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  98. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    If the US military will revolt and join you, then why do you need the guns? They’ve already got weapons enough.

    This is my rifle. There are many like it but this one is mine.




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  99. Mu says:

    @Rafer Janders: Ok, wasn’t clear to me from the individual post, my bad.




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  100. @Jack: Then I guess you don’t understand (which does suggest that the whole discussion is pointless).

    1. You are arguing that guns in the hands of citizens are a needed bulwark against tyranny.

    2. We are pointing out that tyrannical governments don’t follow the constitution or other niceties and will resort to violence to get their way.

    Ergo: an armed citizenry does not prevent tyranny.

    QED

    (What you yourselves are actually helping to point out: other factors other than armed citizens prevent tyranny in an established democracy).




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  101. Lenoxus says:

    @Jack: Do you think the predator drone thing probably would happen or wouldn’t? We’re saying that you seem to be saying both are true at the same time.

    (A contradiction I was first to point out here, by the way. Rafer Janders and Neil Huderson just said it more succinctly than I did.)

    Again, Jack, either guns can effectively deter government tyranny (in which case gun owners don’t have to worry about some hypothetical confiscation because you can just use your guns themselves) or they can’t. Which is it? And if it’s the former, why didn’t the Jews in Nazi Germany just use their guns to resist gun confiscation?




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  102. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: You are arguing that guns in the hands of citizens are a needed bulwark against tyranny.

    That is an argument. Citizens are the last line of defense against a tyrannical government. If said government is willing to use the means you describe, why wouldn’t the populace then want to defend itself? My primary argument is self defense is a natural right and I have the right to own a tool who’s purpose best fits my abilities.




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  103. grumpy realist says:

    @Jack: If the gun is sitting quietly locked up, yeah. The trouble is that idiot people use them .

    The difference between a car and a gun is that we license cars and if you end up killing people with a car we don’t just shake our heads and say tsk tsk, too bad about the people who are killed, but liberty, y’know.

    How many people of your family have to be killed by some idiot with a gun before you would think that maybe we should start licensing these things? Or are you willing to lose all of them?

    In which case you really ARE a lunatic.




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  104. Lenoxus says:

    In the interest of balance, and because some people (like me!) might be curious about an actual answer to the paradox under discussion, here’s one gun-rights view of the issue. Make of it what you will…




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  105. @Jack: You really are missing the point (as well as missing why the Nazi argument doesn’t work).




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  106. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    Comparing crime rates between America and Britain is fundamentally flawed

    If that is true, then why are you quoting statistics saying that crime in the UK is now worse than the US? Maybe you need to cut and paste better from your source? And of course, your source is the discredited pro-gun rights charlatan , John Lott, a guy who performs the same role for gun rights advocates as Duane Gish did for young earth creationists-produce spurious statistics and arguments.

    Yet his daunting resume fails to tell the entire story. While his initial research was groundbreaking, further examination revealed numerous flaws. Today the “more guns, less crime” hypothesis has been thoroughly repudiated. On closer inspection his impressive credentials reveal an academic nomad, never able to secure a place in academia. His ethical transgressions range from accusations of fabricating an entire survey, to presenting faulty regressions, to creating elaborate online personas to defend his work and bash critics, to trying to revise his online history to deflect arguments. And this doesn’t even begin to cover the whole host of false claims and statistics he has peddled repeatedly in articles and TV appearances.

    More on Lott here .

    Meanwhile, for a rational look at comparing US and British statistics, go here. Money quote:

    And it’s also worth noting that while Swann implied that the UK is more violent than the US because of its handgun ban, violent crime has been declining in Britain since the mid-1990s, and it continued to do so without interruption after the 1997 Firearms Amendment went into effect.




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  107. robz says:

    @Jack:

    “vehicular homicide” Look it up.




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  108. Franklin says:

    @Jack:

    Gravity caused over 25k deaths last year. Do you want to eliminate that too?

    When are gun nuts going to stop using the “Somebody got killed by X. Should we ban X?” routine. In 100% of the cases I’ve seen, X does not refer to a device specifically designed to kill things, as guns are.

    I point this out every time I see it, and have yet to see a response to it. Mostly because there is none. So Jack: if you don’t want me to assume you are stupid, stop acting stupid.




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  109. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:

    I have the right to own a tool who’s purpose best fits my abilities.

    No sane person could read your comments and believe you are in any way capable of judging your own abilities.




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  110. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Jack doesn’t want to understand. After all, he’s served in the US military, so he understands that some guy with an AR15 and a handgun isn’t going to stop even one squad of marines. He just can’t concede the argument, because it wrecks his image of himself as Jack, defender of liberty and the Constitution and the bulwark against liberal overreach by the Kenyan usurper. Millions have the same fantasy, unfortunately.




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  111. KM says:

    @Jack:

    We do not call death by automobiles car violence. We do not call it water violence when people drown, knife violence, gravity violence, or fist violence, or … Guns do not cause violence because they are inanimate objects.

    Intent matters. From Hot Fuzz:

    [Sergeant Angel has told Danny Butterman that Official Vocabulary no longer refers to car crashes as accidents: They are now called collisions]
    Danny Butterman: Hey, why can’t we say “accident,” again?
    Nicholas Angel: Because “accident” implies there’s nobody to blame.

    Because most deaths of these are due to accidents or collisions not deliberate attacks. Guns incidents are usually attacks. Yes, even suicides since they are a deliberate attack upon one’s self. The only ones I wouldn’t consider gun violence are the ones who shot themselves in the foot when handling them. Collisions aren’t intentional since you don’t see mass ramming vehicles on the thruways like killer bumper cars. Even most hit and runs are accidents because someone isn’t intentionally stalking a person with intent to run them over; you’d be perfectly justified calling it car violence in that case as the car was a deliberate weapon with malicious aforethought. Same with drowning; intentional drowning of another is very rare and usually requires some form of restraint beside the water – there’s your fist violence!

    As for knife and fight, the word “fight” that usually follows implies violence. You wanna push for “violence” be my guest but fetch isn’t happening here, Gretchen. Nitpicky and poor sophistry.

    I have no idea what you seem to have against gravity but honestly Jack, it doesn’t make you sound clever or wise in your examples. It makes you sound like the nutty king yelling at the tide. Since the others are man-made or controlled by humans, try picking an orange from the same grove when making comparisons, ok?




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  112. @Franklin:

    When are gun nuts going to stop using the “Somebody got killed by X. Should we ban X?” routine. In 100% of the cases I’ve seen, X does not refer to a device specifically designed to kill things, as guns are.

    This.




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  113. gVOR08 says:

    @Lenoxus:

    When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.- Sinclair Lewis.

    People like Jack and the writer of your link will join whatever version of Blackshirts or Brownshirts or SA or KKK we get and cheerfully help round up the Blacks and the Browns and the gays and the liberals and confiscate their weapons. Then they might get purged, as the SA did, or left to keep their guns, as the government will have no doubt they can keep them conned.

    Hitler was POPULAR. Putin is POPULAR. He11, Saddam was probably popular.




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  114. Jack says:

    @grumpy realist: I will never advocate licensing gun. Period.




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  115. Rafer Janders says:

    @stonetools:

    After all, he’s served in the US military, so he understands that some guy with an AR15 and a handgun isn’t going to stop even one squad of marines. He just can’t concede the argument, because it wrecks his image of himself as Jack, defender of liberty and the Constitution and the bulwark against liberal overreach by the Kenyan usurper. Millions have the same fantasy, unfortunately.

    What they need for the fantasy to work is for the government to send a squad of British Army redcoats armed with muzzle loading flintlock muskets to disarm them — that, they could resist.




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  116. Jack says:

    @Franklin:

    X does not refer to a device specifically designed to kill things, as guns are

    My gun is designed to propel a bullet at 1400 fps in the direction it is pointed when the trigger is pulled. It has never killed a person although used on numerous occasions. Should I assume my gun is broke> Or should I assume your argument that guns are designed to kill faulty?




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  117. Jack says:

    @gVOR08:

    People like Jack and the writer of your link will join whatever version of Blackshirts or Brownshirts or SA or KKK we get and cheerfully help round up the Blacks and the Browns and the gays and the liberals and confiscate their weapons.

    Considering Gun Control originated with Southern Democrats trying to keep blacks from arming themselves, your argument is again, against Democrats…not Republicans. I encourage people of all ages, races, religions, etc., to become trained in self defense with the tools of their choosing.




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  118. Jason says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    What you are saying is that gun owners are severely child-like and selfish people who refuse to be part of any society they can not control fully.

    No, while you might think I would appreciate you telling me what it is that I am saying,I don’t. The way you characterize all gun owners in blanket statements lets me know all I need to about your willingness to have a conversation about guns that is not child-like. Cheers.




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  119. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Getting back to your original point, Steve, how do you discuss issues with someone who identifies purely as a gun owner and who is non rational on the issue? Do you have some pointers on how to advance the gun debate and get to a political solution?
    What do you think of Obama’s approach:

    President Barack Obama on Friday reiterated his calls for more gun laws, pledging to keep pushing the issue and saying his administration would look into ways it can better enforce existing regulations in the wake of Thursday’s massacre at an Oregon college campus.

    “I’m going to talk about this on a regular basis. And I will politicize this. Because our inaction is a political decision that we’re making,” Obama said during a White House press conference. “Unless we change that political dynamic, we’re not going to be able to make a big dent in this problem.”

    Obama called on gun-control advocates to act as “single-issue voters,” punishing and rewarding politicians at the polls on the topic.

    “The people who are troubled by this have to be as intense and organized and adamant about this issue as folks on the other side who are absolutists, who think that any gun safety measures are an assault on freedom, or communistic, or a plot by me to take over and stay in power forever, or something,” he said.




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  120. bookdragon says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Not only is the Nazi comparison ridiculous and offensive, but if there were any truth to it, wouldn’t you expect Israel’s gun laws to be less strict then ours?

    Interestingly, even though Israelis have greater reason for wanting to protect themselves and their families, their gun laws are much stricter than ours. To get a license a person must pass a background check, that takes into consideration the applicant’s health, mental, and criminal history, establish a genuine reason for possessing a firearm (such as self-defense, hunting, or sport), and pass a weapons-training course. The Israeli government maintains an official registry of all residents with firearms licenses. Further the licenses must be periodically renewed, which involves re-take a shooting course at a gun range every three years and pass a psychological exam every six years.

    I think adopting Israel’s approach would make a lot of sense. But of course, in Jack’s opinion, that makes me practically a Nazi…




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  121. KM says:

    @Jack:

    you still have a hefty disadvantage on the military side. The military will not use planes and tanks on US citizens.

    Wait, so you think they are coming to get you but they gonna do it half-assed? Man, even your fantasy are incoherent. Look what they sent out for the riots in Ferguson and others. Look at the body armor, the military vehicles, all those shiny shiny 2nd Amendment affirmers. That was the POLICE, not the military proper. You think you’re going to get any less?

    Maybe your neighbors will help you, band together and hold a block or two. Or maybe they don’t want their neighborhood turned to bullet-ridden shite because of the local crazy and turn on you. Not all gun-owner dream of street battles in suburbia and don’t have the rabid attachment you profess – you’ll lose vast numbers too, bodies you can’t afford to lose. Like Steven said, the only way this sort of thing happens is with broad social consent. If they come for your toys, it will be because the resistance you are counting on will be much much much smaller then you hope.




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  122. Jack says:

    @stonetools:

    What do you think of Obama’s approach:

    His approach that provided no indication of a specific law or proposal? That approach?




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  123. Joe says:

    @Jack:
    This response to Franklin’s assertion that guns are designed to kill things:

    It has never killed a person although used on numerous occasions. Should I assume my gun is broke> Or should I assume your argument that guns are designed to kill faulty?

    Logic fail 1.01: “things” are not only “people.” The point is so simple only you, Jack could miss it. I suppose you might be a dedicated target shooter, but there is a reason they call it “target practice.”




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  124. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:

    It has never killed a person although used on numerous occasions. Should I assume my gun is broke> Or should I assume your argument that guns are designed to kill faulty?

    You should make the same assumption that the rest of us do.
    That you are a dumb fwck.




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  125. SKI says:

    @Jack: So?

    I’m proposing a statute that provides heightened liability for using an inherently dangerous tool. Saying that isn’t how car insurance works is a non-sequitor.

    @markm:

    I don’t think the Sandy Hook/Aurora/Oregon shooter would partake in any registration/training/licensing.

    They would if they wanted to possess a gun.

    And if/when you add in my requirement for a minimum level insurance policy, those who may have provided access to firearms would care – especially if they retain liability for not transferring the weapon to a licensed, registered owner with their own insurance.

    And you can be sure that the insurance company, even one owned/run by the NRA or gun advocates, would insist on screenings before issuing policies to individuals.




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  126. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:

    Jack doesn’t want to understand. After all, he’s served in the US military

    Do buglers count?




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  127. David M says:

    @markm:

    I don’t think the Sandy Hook/Aurora/Oregon shooter would partake in any registration/training/licensing.

    Weren’t the weapons used in Sandy Hook / Oregon provided by the shooters parents? Or in other words, most likely the people that would follow those laws?




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  128. bookdragon says:

    Forgot to add this:

    Hey NRA, check out Israel’s gun laws

    “…America’s NRA claims the mass shootings are unavoidable and can only be controlled by more people having guns.

    Israel…a place where you can be sitting next to someone on a bus carrying an M16…begs to differ.”

    http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/israels-gun-laws/




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  129. steve says:

    Everyone should be aware of this article when some gun nut starts claiming that the UK is 4 or 5 times as violent as the US. The Brits include things like simple assault, where half the time there is no actual injury, in their definition of violent crime. The US does not. This article goes over it in some detail. Also, you just need to look at homicide rates. Ours is 4 times theirs.

    http://blog.skepticallibertarian.com/2013/01/12/fact-checking-ben-swann-is-the-uk-really-5-times-more-violent-than-the-us/

    Steve




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  130. grumpy realist says:

    I’ve read enough cases about people shooting guns and surprise, the bullet goes through a wall! Or surprise, the bullet does through someone’s yard! Or surprise, the bullet goes up in the air and comes down and hits someone!

    Yeah, I want training. The very least we can do is make sure that people who are running around with guns thinking they’re hot stuff know the laws of physics. If they ended up killing themselves, meh, no loss. But these idiots have an annoying tendency to kill OTHER PEOPLE.

    And those gun nuts who think that running around with your guns in public is fine and dandy? Yeah, you’re “just showing your rights.” I hope you try this right next to some other nervous ARMED nitwit, who decides that you’re holding your gun in a “threatening posture” and self-defense and all that, so he decides to, well, do something about it. Instant karma.




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  131. C. Clavin says:

    @David M:
    Yes. Law abiding gun owners and members of the cult. Who acted irresponsibly. And according to the cult should pay no penalty for that irresponsibility. Well except for the Sandy Hook mom. She paid, dearly.




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  132. Jack says:

    @SKI: SKI, No insurance company would participate in a gun insurance plan that would require them to pay out for the misuse of a firearm or the theft and subsequent misuse of a firearm.




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  133. steve says:

    “Considering Gun Control originated with Southern Democrats trying to keep blacks from arming themselves”

    Southern Democrat=Republican. Also, remember what happened when Saint Ronnie had black people carrying weapons around. Finally, gun control existed in the country long before what Jack refers to as it was not uncommon in individual towns.

    Steve




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  134. Jack says:

    @David M:

    Weren’t the weapons used in Sandy Hook / Oregon provided by the shooters parents? Or in other words, most likely the people that would follow those laws?

    The guns used in Sandy Hook were stolen. The guns used in Oregon were purchased by the shooter.




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  135. Jack says:

    Please, continue to talk about gun confiscation, more gun laws, and more gun regulation. There’s a reason Obama is employee of the month in every gun store nationwide as concealed carry and gun ownership climbs.




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  136. Jack says:

    Hard evidence — not doctor theories, news commentary, conjecture, hyperbole, rumor, innuendo or any other proposals — clearly shows that the only known way to actually stop spree murderers is to shoot them — or scare them into shooting themselves. Time and again society has found this works.

    https://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/10/no_author/only-one-way-to-stop-mass-murderers/




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  137. bookdragon says:

    @grumpy realist: This.

    If only the people who claim to be ‘pro-life’ would include in that definition at a minimum making sure that people who own firearms are properly trained to use them so that they don’t ‘accidentally’ discharge through the wall or floor and kill the kid in the apartment nearby.




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  138. David M says:

    @Jack:

    The guns used in Sandy Hook were purchased by his mother and stored in the house where he lived. That’s not stolen in any meaningful sense. Some of the weapons owned by the Oregon shooter were purchased by members of his family. So my point stands.




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  139. bookdragon says:

    @Jack: hmm… you mean except for those two US servicemen in France …or the stories of several unarmed teachers …or the school secretary who talked an armed nut job down…




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  140. al-Ameda says:

    @Jack:

    @al-Ameda: Gravity caused over 25k deaths last year. Do you want to eliminate that too?

    Well Jack, you got me there.
    The West wasn’t won with registered gravity.




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  141. C. Clavin says:

    @Jack:
    Well at least now we see where Jack gets his opinions from.




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  142. gVOR08 says:

    @al-Ameda: The West was won by the United States Army and federal infrastructure investment.




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  143. David M says:

    @Jack:

    No insurance company would participate in a gun insurance plan that would require them to pay out for the misuse of a firearm or the theft and subsequent misuse of a firearm.

    Interesting. So gun ownership is so inherently dangerous to society that it’s not possible to insure it in a meaningful way.




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  144. C. Clavin says:

    @gVOR08:
    Shhh…don’t tell Republicans. They think it was Wyatt Earp and Matt Dillon and the Cartwrights.




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  145. al-Ameda says:

    @gVOR08:

    @al-Ameda: The West was won by the United States Army and federal infrastructure investment.

    … and a little help from Chinese immigrant labor (who took jobs, like building the transcontinental railway) away from white workers.




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  146. SKI says:

    @Jack: SKI, No insurance company would participate in a gun insurance plan that would require them to pay out for the misuse of a firearm or the theft and subsequent misuse of a firearm.

    Why not? Are you suggesting that guns and gun owners are incapable of not harming other people?

    A basic tenet of law in the country is that people are responsible for the harm they cause other people if that harm is caused by them not acting reasonably. When people engage in inherently dangerous activity, they are held to an even higher standard of strict liability – which I am not actually advocating for. What is the problem in requiring insurance to protect the public from having those costs transferred to victims and the public at large?

    If the NRA and like-minded gun owners are to be believed, there shouldn’t be any problem with them collectively operating an insurance collective the way many doctors do. They can screen people for whether they are comfortable insuring them. The government doesn’t decide whether someone is a good risk or not (something they are pretty bad at) but actuaries and professionals do. What is the downside?




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  147. gVOR08 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    … and a little help from Chinese immigrant labor (who took jobs, like building the transcontinental railway) away from white workers.

    Well yeah, but they were only Irish.

    “All right… we’ll give some land to the n*****s and the chinks. But we don’t want the Irish! ” – Olson Johnson.




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  148. C. Clavin says:

    @David M:

    No insurance company would participate in a gun insurance plan

    What he actually means is that no one could afford that insurance because gun owners are mostly an irresponsible lot and the cost of any plan would be prohibitive.




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  149. C. Clavin says:

    As it rolls past 5:00 here on the east coast I think we should all thank Jack for being the NRA dupe of the day and for providing us with hours of entertainment at his expense.




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  150. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Jack: If “gun violence” is a misnomer, so is “gun rights,” since “guns are inaminate objects.” I have the right to protect my home; my shotgun has no rights.




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  151. Tillman says:

    Ah, another depressing gun thread.

    Marshall at TPM made an interesting point about debates over “piecemeal” regulation of gun ownership, and I’ll leave my contribution at that.




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  152. humanoid.panda says:

    People who keep arguing with Jack should heed to the wise words of Harry Frankfurt:

    “Telling a lie is an act with a sharp focus. It is designed to insert a particular falsehood at a particular point in a set or system of beliefs, in order to have that point occupied by the truth. This requires a degree of craftsmanship, in which the teller of the lie submits to objective constraints imposed by what he takes to be the truth. The liar is inescapably concerned with truth-values. In order to invent a lie at all, he must think he knows what is true. And in order to invent an effective lie, he must design his falsehood under the guidance of that truth.

    On the other hand, a person who takes to bullshit his way through has much more freedom. His focus is panoramic rather than particular. He does not limit himself to inserting a certain falsehood at a specific point, and thus he is not constrained by the truths surrounding that point or intersecting it. He is prepared, so far as is required, to fake the context as well. This freedom from the constraints to which the liar must submit does not necessarily mean, of course, that his task is easier than the task of the liar. But the mode of creativity upon which it relies is less analytical and less deliberative than that which is mobilized in lying. It is more expansive and independent, with more spacious opportunities for improvisation, color and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art. Hence the familiar notion of the ‘bullshit artist’.”

    “It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”

    Once someone pulls out the gun control and Holocaust card, that person had left behind reason, basic respect for his interlocutors, and the basic human dignity we all owe to the victims. The only civilized thing to do once someone does something like that is to recognize his goal is not communication or persuasion, but the production of bullshit- and tell him to go f*k himself.




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  153. humanoid.panda says:

    Also, if I were king, my gun control policy would be thus:

    1. Everyone, in theory, has the right to purchase a gun.
    2. To do so, one needs to pass a background test, mental health and vision test, and a training course.
    3. At the end of the class, students are asked why do they need guns.
    3. The only people categorically forbidden from owning guns besides criminals are people who think they need them to stop government tyranny, UN takeover of America, and/or fight the coming race war.

    It’s a Catch 22 really: if your reason to purchase a gun is to fight civil war, this, ipso facto, makes you a person who should not have any access to guns.




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  154. @humanoid.panda: Well, of course that’s your view if your are king!

    Sic semper tyrannis!




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  155. @humanoid.panda: Well, speaking for myself this kind of thing is an occupational hazard.

    Although in all seriousness: I always hope that maybe someone persuadable is reading.




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  156. @SC_Birdflyte: Indeed.




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  157. Ken in NJ says:

    @Jack: Mandatory insurance only applies to cars driven on public roads

    So make mandatory insurance only apply to firearms carried on public property. TADA

    Treating gun safety as we do automobile safety would be a wonderful solution.

    Want to own guns? Prove you are knowledgeable about both the applicable laws and regulations, as well as general gun safety by passing a written test. Pass the appropriate background check, including mental health screening. Renew your license every year.

    Every gun you own must be individually registered (registration to be renewed every other year) and insured.

    Carrying a weapon without a license, or with an expired license? The weapon is impounded. The person who was carrying it gets to go to court and pay a five hundred dollar fine. Carrying a weapon while your license is suspended? The weapon is impounded, and the person who was carrying it gets to go to court and pay a five hundred dollar fine, along with an automatic extension of the suspension.

    Carrying an uninsured firearm on public property? The uninsured weapon is impounded until proof of insurance is provided. The owner gets to go to court and pays a five hundred dollar fine. Carrying an unregistered weapon on public property? The unregistered weapon is impounded until proof of registration is provided. The owner gets to go to court and pay a five hundred dollar fine.

    Weapons may only be retrieved from impound by someone with a current, valid license who can also provide proof of registration and insurance. Any weapon impounded for longer than 30 is sold at auction, proceeds to pay impound charges.

    Hell, I own several guns and I could get behind this solution completely




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  158. MBunge says:

    @C. Clavin: gun owners are mostly an irresponsible lot

    That is demonstrably untrue, since gun deaths have actually been on the decline for decades and certainly don’t correspond in any way, as far as I know, with the number of gun owners out there.

    The vast majority of gun owners, even the squirelly ones, are as responsible and law-abiding as anyone else.

    Mike




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  159. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tillman: I’m reminded of something my dad used to say: “the only thing you can get from beating your head against a wall is a flat bloody spot about where your hairline is.”




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  160. MBunge says:

    @Tillman: Marshall at TPM made an interesting point

    What’s most interesting about his point is that Marshall appears totally oblivious that he’s using a logic he would reject if it was applied to almost anything else.

    His fundamental argument is that we’re justified in restricting the freedom and rights of the vast majority of people, not for anything they’ve actually done but because of what a relatively tiny group of people does and the possibility of what a small portion of the majority might do at some point in the future.

    Is there any other aspect of individual liberty where Marshall would consider THAT to be a valid perspective?

    Mike




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  161. Lenoxus says:

    @Jack:

    Hard evidence — not doctor theories, news commentary, conjecture, hyperbole, rumor, innuendo or any other proposals — clearly shows that the only known way to actually stop spree murderers is to shoot them — or scare them into shooting themselves. Time and again society has found this works.

    Why has the NRA called for mental-health initiatives if prevention in general is pointless? I’d say it’s because, reasonably enough, they want to propose actual solutions, so long as they don’t conflict with their own agenda. (This is reasonable in general; it’s the agenda which is preposterous.) Let’s look at the linked article:

    According to the evidence, every mass murder in recent times has been halted, in the final analysis, by shooting the murderers, or threatening to shoot them, with guns.

    Well, kinda yes, if you specifically want to focus on mass murders which have stopped after they became mass murders. But giving this any significance is like saying that some hypothetical airport security measure wouldn’t have stopped 9/11, because you can’t use a record of passports or a body scanner or whatever to prevent a plane from hitting a building. Or actually, it’s like saying (with eyes rolled at those crazy liberals) that you can’t use such things to save the people jumping to their deaths after the collision has occurred. As though there’s no possible consideration for changing the situation at any previous point in the process.

    The extreme statement — “every mass murder…” — is almost totally falsified by one significant case I can think of from two years ago, when a potential shooter was simply talked out of it without threat. I say “almost” because I guess that technically wasn’t a mass murder since he didn’t kill anyone yet. (Checkmate, gun-grabbers!)

    Now, as important (and courageous) as that clerk’s actions were, I acknowledge that it’s not an actionable policy. Much better if for us to determine ways to prevent anything from reaching even that point. Or is “mass murderer kills 12 and himself” really all we’re allowed to settle for, lest the Founding Fathers turn in their graves?




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  162. Lenoxus says:

    @Jack:

    X does not refer to a device specifically designed to kill things, as guns are

    My gun is designed to propel a bullet at 1400 fps in the direction it is pointed when the trigger is pulled.

    It’s true that before the invention of guns and gunpowder, bullets around the world went sadly unpropeled. “I can throw this tiny thing a fair distance, but that’s just not enough, you know?” said the people. “What can we do to make this tiny thing move really fast, for no reason other than to move a tiny thing really fast?”

    “I’ll get right on it,” said a medieval engineer, “after I determine a way to efficiently dig lines in farmlands, for no reason other than to dig lines.”

    “Say, what are you doing with that feather?”

    “I’m dispensing ink onto this paper. If it weren’t for the feather, the paper would remain blank, but now it has ink patterns on it. The patterns are totally arbitrary and serve no larger purpose, just like everything else in this meaningless universe.”

    “Ah, of course.”




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  163. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    His fundamental argument is that we’re justified in restricting the freedom and rights of the vast majority of people, not for anything they’ve actually done but because of what a relatively tiny group of people does and the possibility of what a small portion of the majority might do at some point in the future.

    Our society is quite comfortable with this concept. We get more or less comfortable depending on what’s being discussed, but left, right, and center are more than willing to restrict freedom/rights to avoid the negative affects of bad actors.




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  164. Tillman says:

    @MBunge: Really? I thought his fundamental argument was, whether you were for or against widespread gun ownership, a special interest group has managed the debate in such a way that any solutions to repeated mass shootings considered politically feasible (restriction of high-capacity magazines for example) are insignificant and wouldn’t address the basic problem.

    And isn’t the restriction of the majority’s liberty to prevent a minority from enacting harm the basis of most laws?




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  165. markm says:

    @David M:

    Weren’t the weapons used in Sandy Hook / Oregon provided by the shooters parents? Or in other words, most likely the people that would follow those laws?

    I believe that is the case but the darling children that committed those crimes I do not believe legally owned those weapons (correct me if I am wrong).

    Yes, if I want a weapon, I follow the laws to obtain one (as do the VAST majority of law abiding citizens). But we aren’t the one’s committing these crimes.

    If I am hell bent on committing a crime, I am not going to go through the legal hoops to lawfully obtain a weapon.

    That said, it is much easier to pass new laws and regulations against the law abiding under the banner of ‘we did something’ instead of getting to the root cause(s).




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  166. @MBunge: Why should gun rights be totally unfettered and free when, as I keep noting, other rights are regulated (such as speech, which I would argue is more fundamental than gun rights).




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  167. stonetools says:

    @markm:

    The plain fact is many of these mass murderers (and lots of other criminals) acquire their guns quite legally. Indeed, many killers are “responsible gun owners”, by the lights of the NRA, right up to the moment they start to kill.
    Deeper background checks, waiting periods and mandatory safety training by instructors trained to catch mentally unstable people would go a long way to stop mass killings by “responsible” gun owners like Holmes and Loughner. It won’t catch all. , but it would stop most, as it does in many other countries




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  168. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    The vast majority of gun owners, even the squirelly ones, are as responsible and law-abiding as anyone else.

    If so, they should have no problem complying with a standard of care that we demand as a matter of course from those who handle every other dangerous instrumentality-except for guns.
    It annoys me no end that people like you have no problem with society holding to a high standard of care people who operate tractor trailers, jet airplanes, hazardous materials, and virtually every other kind of weapon-bombs, land mines, grenade launchers, you name it. Yet when it comes to your special snowflake-the gun-we are supposed to trust that gun owners know what they are doing and that the vast majority are nice, wonderful, harmless people , even when walking around children’s playgrounds with weapons that can kill 26 people in 5 minutes. Well, eff it, 30,00 gun deaths a year seems to be pretty good evidence that trusting gun owners isn’t working and that more is needed.




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  169. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Why should gun rights be totally unfettered and free when, as I keep noting, other rights are regulated (such as speech, which I would argue is more fundamental than gun rights).

    It’s because guns are special. Merely possessing a gun makes you better, taller, more patriotic, more freedom loving, and dare I say, more MANLY than none gun owners, which is why it’s wrong to hold gun owners to any standard of care whatsoever and why it’s wrong to require them to prove they are capable of managing a dangerous and deadly weapon before they buy one and carry it around in public.




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  170. stonetools says:

    Interesting post on Facebook:

    “How about we treat every young man who wants to buy a gun like every woman who wants to get an abortion — mandatory 48-hr waiting period, parental permission, a note from his doctor proving he understands what he’s about to do, a video he has to watch about the effects of gun violence, an ultrasound wand up the ass (just because). Let’s close down all but one gun shop in every state and make him travel hundreds of miles, take time off work, and stay overnight in a strange town to get a gun. Make him walk through a gauntlet of people holding photos of loved ones who were shot to death, people who call him a murderer and beg him not to buy a gun.
    It makes more sense to do this with young men and guns than with women and health care, right? I mean, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?”

    Indeed.




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  171. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Because one can do more with harsh words and a gun than one can do with harsh words alone?




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  172. Grewgills says:

    @Jack:
    It’s probably already been done, but I’m calling BS. The graph in the article you cite shows a spike in homicides that peaks in 2002/2003, but drops back down to levels lower than 1997 by 2008/2009. The gun laws weren’t repealed then, yet the homicide rate continued to drop to well below the pre 1997 rate. For some reason neither you nor the article you cite bother to grapple with why. You simply assume that it went up because of gun control and ignore the subsequent decline. Why is that?
    As for your claims that the UK and Australia have radically higher violent crime rates than the US I’ll just leave these links:
    http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/United-Kingdom/United-States/Crime/Violent-crime
    http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/compare/Australia/United-States/Crime/Violent-crime
    Suffice to say, they show your claims about the relative rates of violent crime in the US vs the UK and Australia are complete and utter hogwash.




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  173. MBunge says:

    @Tillman: thought his fundamental argument was,

    His argument is that we need to stop obsessing with relatively minor gun control ideas and unify around a more expansive and aggressive approach. I believe he puts it “We are coming to take your guns. Not all of them. But a lot.”

    We’re going to take away your freedom of speech. Not all of it. But a lot.

    We’re going to take away your right to an abortion. Not all of it. But much of it.

    We’re going to limit your right to vote. Not entirely, but significantly.

    Or how about this?

    We’re going to take away your porn. Not all of it. But a lot of it.

    Mike




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  174. Grewgills says:

    @Jack:
    More evidence of your complete lack of accuracy regarding the US and other nations’ murder rates
    http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Crime/Violent-crime/Murder-rate-per-million-people
    You stated that the US had a higher murder rate than South Africa. Once again you are dead wrong. The above link shows South Africa at 16th in the world with 319 per million and the US at 99th with 42, UK at 157th at 12, and Australia at 164th with 10. How is it possible to be so wrong so often?
    BTW the only Western democracy higher than the US for murder rate in the world is Greenland at 35th with 195. I have no idea what is going on there.
    At some point you must be embarrassed by being shown to be so wrong so often.




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  175. MBunge says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Why should gun rights be totally unfettered and free

    Who is suggesting they should be? Guns are damn dangerous tools. Something like comprehensive background checks before you can own one should be the absolute minimum required. I would also support mandatory firearms training before you can have one.

    But to prevent the NRA from attacking it as the gun version of a poll tax, I would say gun training should be mandatory in school for everyone. Driver’s Ed for firearms, essentially, or an extension of selective service.

    How would Marshall and his social circle react to the government teaching their children how to safely handle and fire a gun?

    Mike




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  176. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: I mean, no woman getting an abortion has killed a room full of people in seconds, right?”

    And the response of any right-winger with even half a brain..,

    “Women getting abortions have killed millions of people since Roe v. Wade.”

    Mike




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  177. MBunge says:

    @stonetools: It annoys me no end that people like you

    Who is this “you” of whom you speak? It’s certainly not me and probably not a lot of people who believe in the right to own a gun.

    Mike




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  178. MBunge says:

    @James Pearce: Our society is quite comfortable with this concept.

    I don’t believe that’s true. Most limits on freedom or individual rights are based on morality, practicality or utility. Restricting the right of everyone to do X because of how a small subsection of the populace does X is fairly rare. There are some, like a ban on wearing masks in public because of the Ku Klux Klan, but not many.

    We don’t have anti-discrimination laws because of how “some” people discriminate. We don’t have consumer protection laws because of how “some” businesses operate. We don’t have traffic laws because of how “some” people drive. And I’m pretty sure feminists would object to saying we have sexual harassment laws because of how “some” people behave in the workplace.

    Mike




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  179. markm says:

    @SKI:

    And if/when you add in my requirement for a minimum level insurance policy, those who may have provided access to firearms would care – especially if they retain liability for not transferring the weapon to a licensed, registered owner with their own insurance.

    Serious question…..from a legal standpoint, could you be forced to purchase this insurance to participate in second amendment rights or would this be an infringement?.




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  180. markm says:

    @stonetools:

    The plain fact is many of these mass murderers (and lots of other criminals) acquire their guns quite legally. Indeed, many killers are “responsible gun owners”, by the lights of the NRA, right up to the moment they start to kill.

    Deeper background checks, waiting periods and mandatory safety training by instructors trained to catch mentally unstable people would go a long way to stop mass killings by “responsible” gun owners like Holmes and Loughner. It won’t catch all. , but it would stop most, as it does in many other countries

    But haven’t we been down this road before?. Isn’t the reason we cannot do deeper background checks is because of HIPAA laws and regs??.

    I am not a lawyer but just an everyday schmo. Everything I have read about extending background checks into one’s mental health/medical records ends instantly because of HIPAA.

    Is this not correct?.

    To your point, it sticks in my mind that the shooter at the Va-Tech was an example of another nutter that legally purchased his weapon but his mental health/medical records were off limits because of HIPAA.




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  181. Rafer Janders says:

    @MBunge:

    We don’t have consumer protection laws because of how “some” businesses operate.

    Um, yes, we do.

    We don’t have traffic laws because of how “some” people drive.

    Again, yes, we do.

    And I’m pretty sure feminists would object to saying we have sexual harassment laws because of how “some” people behave in the workplace.

    No, we wouldn’t.




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  182. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    Serious question…..from a legal standpoint, could you be forced to purchase this insurance to participate in second amendment rights or would this be an infringement?.

    No, you could be forced to purchase it. Just because something is a constitutional right, that does not mean it is absolute. There’s a First Amendment right to free speech, for example, yet we have certain restrictions on speech (libel and slander laws, fighting words laws, advertising restrictions, etc.).




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  183. James Pearce says:

    @MBunge:

    Restricting the right of everyone to do X because of how a small subsection of the populace does X is fairly rare.

    You say that, but then I think of the water and fire restrictions that come into play in my state and it just makes me think about how comfortable we are with restricting rights for the good of all.

    That concept applied to guns isn’t really all that controversial. We’re just “haggling about the price.”




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  184. markm says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    No, you could be forced to purchase it. Just because something is a constitutional right, that does not mean it is absolute. There’s a First Amendment right to free speech, for example, yet we have certain restrictions on speech (libel and slander laws, fighting words laws, advertising restrictions, etc.).

    Understood, but that is different than being required to purchase something to be able to partake in your constitutional rights. Again, I am not a lawyer but it seems to me, IF you could pass a such a law that it would be struggle in the courts.




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  185. markm says:

    A little help here:

    https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8

    Am I reading this correctly….in 2011 (the latest data compiled that I can find)….there were 8,583 murders by firearm (of any kind).

    Please tell me this is a faux site.




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  186. KM says:

    @MBunge:

    Restricting the right of everyone to do X because of how a small subsection of the populace does X is fairly rare.

    What the hell are you talking about? It’s as common as breathing, which is probably why you don’t notice it. Here are some example of restriction rights in everyday life because somebody somewhere screwed the pooch enough to affect us all:

    Parking. No Standing zones, limit parking times, switching sides of the street… all because enough people make a nuisance of themselves to get a law passed
    Public attire/nudity. I cannot walk around sans bra & shirt or nude (even at the beach) because enough people make a nuisance of themselves to get a law passed
    Noise ordinances. Because some idiot blasts their music at ear-bleed levels, there are rules about where, when and how loud I can play my jams
    Hunting/fishing. In order to prevent the forest from being depopulated in days by trigger-happy trophy hunters, there are now limits on what, where, when and how I can engage in my sport
    Owning pets. If certain people didn’t think owning a wolf or lion in the middle of suburbia was a good thing, there wouldn’t be laws against it. Ditto for number of pets because of pet hoarders and their abuse.
    Shoplifting. A vast majority of shoppers are not stealing but there are laws in place that affect them in terms of allowing bags being searched after they’ve been purchased (and thus your property and protected), tags and tracking methods we’d hate the NSA to use on us, detain you on without being law enforcement for questioning, and the presence of armed security guards that can follow you to your car and confront you. All of it legal.

    Need I go on? As James Pearce noted, we are entirely comfortable with slapping restrictions on everyone because 1% of the population are jerks. It’s an integral part of our lives and has been since society started. Again, you are unhappy it applies to a specific cause when you are totally and completely comfortable with this notion everywhere else in your life – it’s irrational and very hard to argue against logically.




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  187. Blue Galangal says:

    @KM:

    Look what they sent out for the riots in Ferguson and others. Look at the body armor, the military vehicles, all those shiny shiny 2nd Amendment affirmers. That was the POLICE, not the military proper. You think you’re going to get any less?

    THIS. Thank you. That was the first thing I thought of too. Holy cow, look at what they had out there in Ferguson; that, and the fact that they were rounding up reporters and relocating them to two or three blocks away for their “own safety.” It was clear that what was staying the hands of some of the police involved in Ferguson was the oversight being provided by reporters. We’ve also seen firsthand what happens when police don’t think anyone’s watching.

    But the government, which in this fantasy scenario has decided to confiscate guns, *isn’t* going to send out a mech infantry platoon and drones?

    Yeah. Right.




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  188. KM says:

    @MBunge:

    We don’t have anti-discrimination laws because of how “some” people discriminate. We don’t have consumer protection laws because of how “some” businesses operate. We don’t have traffic laws because of how “some” people drive. And I’m pretty sure feminists would object to saying we have sexual harassment laws because of how “some” people behave in the workplace.

    Upon reflection, I think you are referring to the concept that our laws are based on Principles rather then Practicalities. It’s a nice thought but not realistic. Everything is legal until it is explicitly illegal under code of law. The law can be general to try and cover a lot of cases but the only reason for it to exist in the first place is because “some” group did something objectionable / dangerous / legally questionable. We don’t pass laws for Freedom!!!, we do it to protect ourselves and perhaps give up some of that Freedom!!! in the process.

    And I’m pretty sure feminists would object to saying we have sexual harassment laws because of how “some” people behave in the workplace.

    This feminist would LOVE to live in a world where we didn’t need those laws because “some” people don’t exist to cause problems. Alternately, she was like a law that allows her to punch said “someone” in the face without repercussions for blatantly staring down her shirt. Alas, both things shall not be in this lifetime so “some” people necessitate harassment law and ruin it for everyone else.




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  189. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    I would say any law that passes must address a majority, 51% of the problem, or it doesn’t get passed

    Since nobody else commented on this, let me note in passing that this is probably the single most inane thing I have seen posted at this site by anyone. It’s a high bar, but you have surpassed it.

    “This law would prevent 4,000 highway fatalities per year, with zero negative side effects.”
    “Sorry, that’s only 37% of all fatalities. We’re not interested.”

    “This law would cut illegal immigration by an estimated 42%, without causing any rise in prices of US produce.”
    “Sorry, 42% is less than 51% — why would we want to do that?”




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  190. DrDaveT says:

    @Ken in NJ:

    Treating gun safety as we do automobile safety would be a wonderful solution.

    Yeah, it’s hard to say that we over-regulate automobiles, given those 30,000 deaths and untold injuries (and property damage) per year. We’re a right-to-drive society, to a fault — but we don’t even regulate guns as much as we do cars.




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  191. Tillman says:

    @DrDaveT: I dismissed being snarky earlier about how such a bar would prohibit any civil rights legislation, but those are better examples.




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  192. bookdragon says:

    @markm: But don’t you have to purchase a gun to be able to participate in your 2nd Amendment rights?

    If that’s not acceptable, are you now advocating that the government provide all citizens with guns so their rights aren’t restricted by lack of funds?




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  193. bookdragon says:

    @MBunge: Actually teaching basic firearms safety in school strikes me as a good idea as long as the ‘hands on’ part of the course is individual instruction or VERY low student to teacher ratios.

    I mean, seriously, picture a dozen teenage or prepubescent boys standing around a range with loaded guns …how long before someone fooling around or trying to show off negligently discharges a weapon into a himself or one of the other kids in the class?




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  194. C. Clavin says:

    @bookdragon:
    You mean…something like this???
    http://www.stripes.com/news/us/civilian-guards-ordered-to-leave-shopping-center-after-one-accidentally-fires-rifle-1.359517
    Only this was pre-pubescent boys standing around a recruiting center.




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  195. markm says:

    @bookdragon:

    In most cases, yes, you have to purchase your own weapon (setting aside the insignificant amount of hand me downs).

    I am not looking at it from a lack of funds angle but purely a legal angle (and not being a lawyer, I am simply posing the question with zero legal support).

    But you bring up another question (probably not related) but what are the current laws about requiring ID to vote?. I know there were some grumblings about ‘the poor cannot afford them’ or ‘they cannot get to the DMV’ to get an ID therefore the voter would be disenfranchised. I don’t know what the latest and greatest on that legal action (if any) but it always rears up around election time.




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  196. markm says:
  197. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    Anyone what?




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  198. KM says:

    @markm:

    Maybe I’m not getting your argument but are really comparing the purchase of an ID (used to facilitate voting but has other government applications) to the purchase of the gun (the actual item in question)? If we were talking about buying the right to vote itself, you’d have a case there but these are apples and oranges.

    If you are referring to the permits, then you still have a problem because there’s sections and language in the Constitution that specifically deals with the restrictions on voting of this nature (“unduly burden”) while the 2nd just says “infringed”. It’s going to be difficult to argue in court that being forced to pay for a permit is “infringement” while paying for the ID can easily be argued to be a burden. In order to argue for infringement (“act so as to limit or undermine; encroach on”), you by necessity have to argue that it is a burden or difficulty. Since you have the money to purchase the item, it can logically follow you have the money for the license so the burden aspect is limited. Meanwhile, voting is free so adding a cost to it can definitely be seen as a burden – one can be literally penniless and vote until these laws force you to come up with the money for the ID (as well as the travel costs, etc).




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  199. bookdragon says:

    @markm: Interesting point. Since a background check to buy a gun would require (I presume) some sort of ID, I’m surprised more 2nd A supporters aren’t pushing to make obtaining ID easier, particularly for people living in high crime areas where (presumably) having a gun to protect oneself would be all the more important.




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  200. markm says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I posted that link a few posts above asking if that was indeed accurate or a faux site/link.




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  201. KM says:

    @bookdragon :

    Since a background check to buy a gun would require (I presume) some sort of ID, I’m surprised more 2nd A supporters aren’t pushing to make obtaining ID easier

    Since the type of people to not have IDs in the first place are usually not the type of people gun nuts want armed, it’s not hard to see why it’s not at the top of the NRA agenda.

    A true reasonable gun enthusiast would be pro-ID for the reason you cited. However, they’d be pro-deep background check and frequent recert for safety reasons as well. Since it’s very clear they are not the voices driving this conversation, their needs and wants are going unheeded.




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  202. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    I posted that link a few posts above asking if that was indeed accurate or a faux site/link.

    Ah, OK. In that case, you can go to Google.com and do further research. I’d recommend sites by reputable public health organizations like the CDC or WHO, for example, or going directly to the FBI website and searching there.




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  203. markm says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I have Rafers. There are tons of stats out there but no two are created equal (apparently). I can’t verify the 8,583 deaths by weapon (of any kind) in 2011….I found an FBI stat that was close (if you removed suicide) but not a match.

    Either way, doesn’t that number seem intuitively low?. Not insignificant but for a nation of 318 million people, is the debate right now really about 8,583 deaths in a given year or is this about something else all together?.




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  204. markm says:

    Also surprising from that link is 323 deaths in 2011 by rifle (it doesn’t break it down into what type rifle but that doesn’t matter)…..so if laws/regulations were passed making it prohibitively harder to get an AR/AK style rifle…..in the big picture, this tree bears no fruit, no?.




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  205. Tillman says:

    @MBunge: Unfortunately, the only way out of that trap (because, as I noted, most law is based on restricting liberty in some fashion) is to be a libertarian and abandon any pretense of societal response to problems.

    That the argument can be used by any side only proves the validity of the argument form, not that the argument itself makes sense. If your goal is to reduce the number of abortions, closing abortion centers to limit access makes sense. If your goal is to limit free speech, censorship of topics makes sense. If your goal is to limit gun violence, regulations and bans make sense. It’s a matter of priorities.

    Plenty of people could respond to those examples with better ideas, that don’t restrict as much while tackling the problem, but those have the advantage of extensive study. It’s illegal in this country for our government to fund studies about the effects of widespread gun ownership on public health. The studies that could have been done in the time it’s been illegal might have suggested more acceptable avenues of gun control that would reduce violence, but our lovely advocacy group decided it’d be better not to think about it.




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  206. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    Either way, doesn’t that number seem intuitively low?. Not insignificant but for a nation of 318 million people, is the debate right now really about 8,583 deaths in a given year or is this about something else all together?.

    Low??? That’s the equivalent of three World Trade Center attacks every year, year after year.

    By comparison, Japan, which has a population of 300 million, has about 10 handguns deaths a year on average — the equivalent of 30 in the US.

    Canada, with 30 million people, has about 130 — the equivalent of 1,300 in the US.

    The UK, with 55 million people, has about about 60 a year — the equivalent of about 360 in the US.

    Germany, with 80 million people, has about 30 a year — the equivalent of about 120 in the US.

    We have a firearm murder rate that’s on average about 20-30 times higher than equivalent countries, and you’re saying that seems low? If ISIS or al-Qaeda were killing 8,000 plus Americans every year we’d have the entire country on lockdown.




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  207. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    Either way, doesn’t that number seem intuitively low?. Not insignificant but for a nation of 318 million people, is the debate right now really about 8,583 deaths in a given year or is this about something else all together?.

    In the seven years of active American combat in the Vietnam War, the US military suffered about 58,000 deaths — which is, on average, 8,285 a year. That is to say, as many Americas are being murdered by guns every year as died in combat during the Vietnam War.




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  208. JKB says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    @Jack: Then I guess you don’t understand (which does suggest that the whole discussion is pointless).

    1. You are arguing that guns in the hands of citizens are a needed bulwark against tyranny.

    2. We are pointing out that tyrannical governments don’t follow the constitution or other niceties and will resort to violence to get their way.

    Ergo: an armed citizenry does not prevent tyranny.

    QED

    No, you have speculated as to violence a government might inflict without a thought to how they sustain popular compliance while overtly murdering citizens. Of course, if the citizenry is unarmed, then they must comply earlier. Whereas, an armed citizenry is always at threat to engage the State forces.

    Yes, that we have a standing army is a threat to democracy and an overall mistake. That that army is steeped in allegiance not to the government or some leader, but to the Constitution means that those in power cannot ever be assured of the militaries loyalty should they abrogate that Constitution.

    But it has been shown historically and in recent history as well, that a band with popular support, armed with rifles, can effectively deter tyrannical governments, especially those that are not open to wholesale slaughter. Such groups can use their small arms to capture other arms and also demonstrate organization and commitment that can bring outside support in way of arms, etc.

    Perhaps I gave the political science department to much credit, but it seems that these historical facts should be known to such academics.

    The DC sniper is a good example of two individuals with a rifle diverting significant resources and challenging the legitimacy of the government. Now what if they weren’t criminals, but had support within the populace? What if it wasn’t just one team, but dozens? Yes, to overthrow a usurpation of power, military unit level conflict would need to be conducted, but it starts with a few people with rifles.

    Or do you challenge the entire premise of the United States Army’s Rangers and Green Berets? They can fight, small unit conflict, but their design is to train and advise local forces, who as the in Vietnam Montagnards may start out with crossbows and flintlocks.

    And guess what, by not registering your firearm, the government doesn’t know which home to drone strike.

    And the example of the gun confiscations in Britain and Australia are exactly why the Founders put forth the written Constitution and the enumerated Rights to protect the People from the follies of Parliament and the fleeting passions of the People themselves.




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  209. stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    Other people have piled on but let me just focus on this:

    We’re going to take away your freedom of speech. Not all of it. But a lot.

    Here is a non-exhaustive list of my freedom of speech rights that have been “taken away”.

    I cannot libel, slander, or commit perjury
    I cannot incite others to violence.
    (Here’s a famous one) I cannot falsely shout “Fire” in a crowded theater.
    I cannot broadcast my political opinion by megaphone at 3:00 AM in most residential neighborhoods.
    I cannot teach public schoolchildren creation science, or lead them in prayers to Cthulhu during school hours.
    I cannot make,consume or distribute child porn.

    I could go on, but the point has been made.Let’s move on to your favorite Amendment. AS has been pointed out, there are severe restrictions on my use of many weapons(Note that the language specifies “arms, not guns”). There are severe restrictions, and even out right bans , on my use of bombs, land mines, poison gas, hand grenades, shoulder-fired missiles, or even edged weapons like swords.Those restrictions are there, primarily because there is no mythology, and accompanying cult, around those weapons, so they are sensibly regulated on public policy and public health grounds. I note that it doesn’t even cross your mind that there is a constitutional issue concerning the restrictions on explosives , and that you don’t lament that “They have taken away ALL our rights to use shoulder fired missiles in our defense.”
    Finally, there are restrictions on the “Jesus weapon” too-just not enough, thanks to the afore mentioned cult and its politically powerful lobby. All I am asking for is rational restrictions, based on public policy and public health. In short, the same restrictions that we impose on other weapons , without much controversy.




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  210. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    By comparison, Japan, which has a population of 300 million, has about 10 handguns deaths a year on average — the equivalent of 30 in the US.

    Typo mistake — the above should say that Japan has a population of about 130 million.




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  211. @JKB: Two things:

    1) The everyday gun owner, in the face of tyrannical government, is not going to resist the confiscation.

    2) The presence of an armed insurgency does not mean that there is no tyranny. Indeed, who is it that the armed insurgents are fighting? That would be the tyrannical regime.

    The point is not that perfect confiscation is possible, the point is that the tyranny is not preventable by an armed populace. I can think of no good example of this being the case.

    Also: there is a difference between an occupying military dealing with an insurgency and how much they are willing to put up with violence to stay versus the ability of an small armed group to overthrow a government.

    If you like, I could teach a whole class on this. I certainly could assign reams of reading.

    But let’s stay focused: there is no evidence that an armed citizenry is a check on tyranny.

    And before you cite the American War for Independence, note that that the governments of the colonies declared independence and formed a government to fight a foreign power. It was not a case of plucky gun owners resisting an existing and in place government.

    Also: every case of revolutionary change that I can think of was a radically more complex affiar than simply armed dudes taking out the tyrant.

    The entire notion is laughable and lacks any evidence in reality.

    And again: yes, armed rebels can cause any number of problems for a government. They can persist for years (see, e.g., Colombia). BUT (and this is key): they do not end up being a check on government (and, ironically given the topic at hand) often lead the government to be more tyrannical as it pursues the insurgency. ARMED CITIZENS DO NOT FUNCTION AS A CHECK ON TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT EXCEPT IN FANTASIES.

    (Good lord, your best example is the DC sniper).




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  212. @Rafer Janders: Yeah–I don’t get his seeming argument that that is a low number.




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  213. stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    Unfortunately, the only way out of that trap (because, as I noted, most law is based on restricting liberty in some fashion) is to be a libertarian and abandon any pretense of societal response to problems.

    Every libertarian I know is quite happy with a societal response to the problem of protecting private property. In fact, for them it’s the only reason for society to exist.

    Also too, let’s ponder for a minute (then laugh at) all of those “limited government” conservatives and libertarians now living in South Carolina who are bawling for aid from Uncle Sugar or Big Gubmint or whatever they used to call the federal government before they needed help.




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  214. @Steven L. Taylor: I will add: I will readily concede that in the face of a tyrannical regime that some citizens will retain their weapons and fight the regime.

    But that is not acting as a “check” on tyranny. A check on government is the government trying to do X, some institutions thinking X is a problem and blocking X.

    My fundamental point is as follows:

    a) Armed citizens cannot prevent tyranny.
    b) Armed citizens almost certainly cannot overthrow a tyranny.

    As such: the whole argument that an armed citizenry act as a check on tyranny makes no sense (and there is no historical example to support the contention).

    This is all fantasy.

    An added bonus to this fantasy is that a substantial percentage of tyrannies (authoritarianism) have been supported (historically speaking) by nationalistic, pro-military segments of the population–a description that corresponds heavily to the hard-core gun rights advocates. If authoritarian governance ever comes to the US they will almost certainly be supporters of that government, not freedom fighters. It seems highly unlikely that the US will ever be taken over by left-wing radicals.

    What might spark greater authoritarianism in the US? Another terrorist attack. Who would that empower?




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  215. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    All of this nonsense about resisting tyranny is based on a misunderstanding how the American Revolution happened. The British in the 1770s were doing an excellent job of restoring what they called “order” and the American rebels called “tyranny” until the rebels raised a regular army, put it under the command of an ex- professional soldier (George Washington), hired some German mercenaries ( we don’t hear too much about THEM) and recruited a powerful foreign ally (France). It wasn’t all just plucky Minutemen with their muskets and Paul Revere riding around and ringing bells(according to Palin, anyway).
    All of this is part of the gun cult mythology where a man and his gun=freedom and is based on a romanticized version of both the American Revolution and the conquest of the West. Refuting the mythology appears nearly impossible, so long as Hollywood, gun industry propaganda, and popular sentiment keep feeding it. Oh well, it might be a futile fight but it is a good one.




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  216. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    And before you cite the American War for Independence, note that that the governments of the colonies declared independence and formed a government to fight a foreign power. It was not a case of plucky gun owners resisting an existing and in place government.

    And the war was won not by militia but by an increasingly professional military under the tutelage of professional officers from France and Poland. That and Admiral DeGrasse’s fleet.

    This is the problem with teaching of history as a series of inspirational patriotic tropes – idiots take that stuff literally. It was not the plucky civilian with his trusty musket who beat the Brits, it was the French king and Dutch moneylenders, both of whom were just leveraging us to screw Britain. We were given our independence largely by Louis XVI who, history notes, was neither a small ‘r’ republican nor still less a small ‘d’ democrat.




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  217. @stonetools: @michael reynolds: Not to mention that the British “tyranny” was not especially tyrannical.




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  218. C. Clavin says:

    Here’s the world the NRA sees…along with dupes like Jack…armed nut-jobs shooting up the place like it’s the wild west.
    No thanks.
    http://www.wxyz.com/news/region/oakland-county/customer-shoots-at-two-suspected-shoplifters-as-they-leave-auburn-hills-home-depot#Customer%20shoots%20at%20shoplifters




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  219. @C. Clavin: I jut noted and blogged that story. Amazing.




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  220. @MBunge: Most any discussion of regulating gun rights in any way is cast as violating the sacred intent of the Second Amendment by the NRA and its allies.

    Indeed, practically any change to existing laws is met with either a charge that it is tantamount to confiscation or that it is some way a violation of rights.




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  221. KM says:

    @C. Clavin @ Steven:

    Posted on the other thread but what the hell was she thinking? Would have served her right if another “good guy with a gun” just saw her shooting willy-nilly and took her ignorant ass out.




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  222. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    @Steven L. Taylor:
    Still and all it was some plucky New Englanders who got the musket ball rolling. If you’ve never read a detailed account of Lexington and Concord, you should. Far bloodier and violent than is usually portrayed. I recommend Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick. It will also make you understand the concept of a well-regulated militia in the context it was written, and not the way it has become perverted by the NRA et al.
    I would dare say however today’s Republicans would be the loyalists…who ended up in Nova Scotia after the French and others came to our aid.




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  223. DrDaveT says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    If ISIS or al-Qaeda were killing 8,000 plus Americans every year we’d have the entire country on lockdown.

    Freedom means being permitted to do to ourselves what we would nuke some other nation for doing to us, apparently.




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  224. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Most any discussion of regulating gun rights in any way is cast as violating the sacred intent of the Second Amendment by the NRA and its allies.

    Serious question, Steven: What do you think the intent of the Second Amendment was, at the time? What failure mode was it aimed at preventing?




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  225. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James Pearce: You can haggle about the price if you wish, but the impression I am getting is that for Mbunge and Jack, whatever the price, they will find it exorbitant, they just don’t want to say so in fear of being discovered for who they are.




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  226. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Tillman: Some how, I don’t see Jack as a “concerned about civil rights legislation” kind of guy.




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  227. @DrDaveT:

    Serious question, Steven: What do you think the intent of the Second Amendment was, at the time? What failure mode was it aimed at preventing?

    My honest answer is that I don’t think it matter what the original intent was (and, indeed, think we worship too much at the feet of intent). Further, even if we want to look at intent, the fact that the weapons in the 1790s were single shot muskets that took series time to reload strikes me as undercutting any notion of original intent.

    Like almost all constitutional provisions I suspect that there were multiple intents that went into those who ratified the provision.

    I do think that the connection to the need for a militia in the context of no standing army was a major intent–and one that we utterly ignore now.




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  228. Lenoxus says:

    @KM:

    Would have served her right if another “good guy with a gun” just saw her shooting willy-nilly and took her ignorant ass out.

    No it wouldn’t. The world is not improved by death.




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  229. KM says:

    @Lenoxus :

    The world is not improved by death.

    That’s clearly not how she felt by using lethal force in a crowded parking lot (as most reports are citing). She clearly felt theft of property not her own deserved potential death for the suspected thieves or nearby bystanders.

    I’m merely holding her to her own standard. After all, she’s not a “good guy” but a potential criminal herself. If people should die for their petty crimes, why is she exempt?




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  230. humanoid.panda says:

    @JKB:

    And the example of the gun confiscations in Britain and Australia are exactly why the Founders put forth the written Constitution and the enumerated Rights to protect the People from the follies of Parliament and the fleeting passions of the People themselves.

    Shorter JKB: if you vote for the wrong people, I reserve the right to shoot you in the face, for your own good.
    As I said, this is not possible under the American constitutional order, but if I had the power, I’d keep weapons, far, far, far away from anyone who thinks like this.




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  231. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I agree with you here. FWIW, I think that the Founders had to deal with their version of todays’s gun nuts and Tea Party ideologues. After some debate, Madison et al just threw up their hands and said , “We know this idea of a popular militia for defense is bulls^&t because militias can’t beat professional standing armies. Besides , look what happened last year when a so called “popular militia” led by some guy named Shay rebelled against the state of Massachusetts and George had to lead another “popular militia” up there to deal with it. What we will do is put in some compromise language giving the states the right to raise a well regulated militia to deal with local riots, slave revolts, and the like. That will keep ’em quiet”.
    Go forward 200 years, and thanks to a powerful gun lobby, ideologues on the Supreme Court,a mythology fostered by Hollywood and popular folklore, and you have the nutty descendants of the anti Federalists inflicting today’s murderous status quo on the nation.




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  232. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My honest answer is that I don’t think it matter what the original intent was

    I didn’t mean to imply that I thought the framers’ intent was relevant to the current policy question. I was asking a question out of pure historical curiosity.

    Your suggestion that the purpose of already-armed militias was to provide the troops (and their equipment) to be called up in emergencies, in the absence of a standing army, makes sense. @stonetools‘ added detail also helps. Thanks.




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  233. gVOR08 says:

    @DrDaveT: @stonetools It’s not the whole story, but a chunk of it was a response to Patrick Henry’s fear that the new federal government might disarm the Virginia slave patrols.




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  234. @DrDaveT: I am not sure I can give a definitive account of the history, to be honest.

    To some I think it was the ability to keep a weapon for hunting and such.

    There is a clear link to the notion of militias (see Article I, Section 8 for other references).

    And yes, some thought of them linked it the fight against the British.

    Interestingly, in a speech to Congress by Madison on June 16, 1789 proposed the following language:

    The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.

    The last clause, which did not make the cut, suggests strongly that the whole thing was about citizens being capable of serving in a militia.




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  235. One could interpret part of Federalist 46 as arguing that state militias could be used against the federal government should the federal government send a professional army against a given state. (Although that predates the 2nd Amendment).

    To understand that one has to recognize that standing armies at the time were often made up of mercenaries. It makes analogies to the present rather problematic (not to mention that in the 1780s an army and a militia would be similarly armed, technology wise. This is no longer the case).




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  236. DrDaveT says:

    @Jack:

    Gravity caused over 25k deaths last year. Do you want to eliminate that too?

    I take it you object to spending public funds on guard rails and bannisters, then? Really?

    (Setting aside, again, your persistent inability to distinguish between any response at all and “elimination”…)




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  237. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am not sure I can give a definitive account of the history, to be honest.

    I’m not that demanding; I don’t require definitive. 🙂

    I think your replies and those of others (thanks,@gVOR08) have given me a pretty good picture. The part I find particularly fascinating is that there would not have been any inclination to include such language unless someone perceived an impending or historical threat of confiscation. I was curious whether that was a vague memory of when the peasants were forbidden to own weapons, or a more urgent fear of specific confiscation.




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  238. DrDaveT says:

    @Lenoxus:

    here’s one gun-rights view of the issue.

    Wow. That’s such an amazing blend of careful thought, logical extrapolation, and paranoid schizophrenia.

    (I had to laugh out loud at the idea that BATF “controls” the IRS, though…)




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  239. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @C. Clavin: Another good source on the nature and extent of militia participation at Lexington and Concord is David Hackett Fischer, Paul Revere’s Ride.




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  240. markm says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Low??? That’s the equivalent of three World Trade Center attacks every year, year after year.

    This is true but in perspective, many people die every day by various means (unrelated to guns) in larger numbers.

    With 316 million people and millions and millions of guns out there, the number seems disproportionate to the conversation.

    In the seven years of active American combat in the Vietnam War, the US military suffered about 58,000 deaths — which is, on average, 8,285 a year. That is to say, as many Americas are being murdered by guns every year as died in combat during the Vietnam War.

    Again, more people die every year in other aspects of life unrelated to guns but that conversation isn’t even on the radar. It’s like we aren’t so much worried about the deaths in as much as we are the political issue.

    In 2011, 75,000 people died from infections in hospitals. This is NOT a fair stat (IMO) as we do not know what shape these people were in when they entered the hospital….BUT…..that’s still 75,000 people that died in 2011. That’s NINE TIMES the number of gun deaths. That’s a lot of people….or in the examples you stated, that’s NINE TIMES the number of deaths from the World Trade Center attacks. Every year. Also, NINE TIMES as many people die every year from medical related hospital infections every year as died in combat during the Vietnam.

    30,000+ people die EVERY YEAR in automobile accidents. This too seems like disproportionately low number for the amount of people driving every day….but that’s still a lot of people dying every year.

    If we were really upset about the raw numbers of yearly deaths caused by X, we could go into preventable deaths from health related issues. Those are truly astonishing numbers….every year. Those large numbers don’t seem to garner conversational traction though.




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  241. markm says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Yeah–I don’t get his seeming argument that that is a low number.

    If this is directed at me, see the post above.
    I have seen it written that there are 215 million guns (of all sorts) in the United States (I have no way to verify that but lets run with it). So in a nation of 318 million people where there are 215 million guns (spread evenly across the population, that’s 68% of residents having one gun), the 8,583 number just seems low to me.




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  242. gVOR08 says:

    @markm:

    This too seems like disproportionately low number for the amount of people driving every day

    That is true. We have very nearly the same number of traffic deaths now as we did in the 50s, despite the population doubling and vehicle miles traveled up by a factor of six. Why? Because far from the “conversation isn’t even on the radar”, we regulate the spit out of cars and roads.

    Ford made seat belts an option in the 50s. Couldn’t give them away. When they became mandatory people bitched they’re uncomfortable, it’s safer to be thrown from the car, I might be trapped in a fire, yadda yadda. There was no end of libertarian BS about the gubmit can’t force me to do nothin’. Don’t hear much of that anymore. Why? A, people get used to things. B, over time they evolved into much better and more comfortable systems. And C, the success of seat belts is blindingly obvious.

    We try hard to reduce by regulation the number of auto fatalities. In the meantime, we accept the current rate. Why? because cars are hugely useful, in fact indispensable. Handguns, not so much.




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  243. KM says:

    @markm :

    Also, NINE TIMES as many people die every year from medical related hospital infections every year as died in combat during the Vietnam.

    And 100% of people die within their lifetimes. That’s an infinity times the amount of Vietnam deaths and it’s only increasing!! Statistics! In perspective, does anything else really matter?

    Seriously though, it’s incredibly deceptive to compare a natural illness (which may or may not be caused by human factors) to an attack by another being. There’s only so much one can do about nature (we’re never going to get rid of heart attacks for instance) so they will always be high. You cannot live without a heart so heart attack is an inherent risk. Things like cars and guns are not needed to live and so removal of the objects vastly decreases the risks and thus deaths. Risk mitigation is the key to dropping these numbers. For heart attacks, it’s diet, exercise and medication. For cars and guns, it’s regulations, registrations and restrictions.

    You are trying to weasel out of the simple fact that those 8K+ people didn’t have to die and are dead because of an object you favor and don’t want restrictions on. You are essentially arguing that these deaths are acceptable because they are a minor statistic that’s acceptable to you but don’t want to come out and say it because it sounds cruel. It is cruel – it’s callous and dehumanizing to write off the equivalent populations of small towns every year to not be inconvenienced and then argue how it’s “not so bad. X kills more!”




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  244. @markm: Yet if we look at the comparative numbers in the US versus similarly developed economies we find that that number is high. There is also the real question of how preventable those deaths may or may not be (and what the cost would be the lower the number).

    You cannot treat a given statistic in the absence of other data–especially comparative data. If all you knew was that one batter only hit the ball about a third of the time you might think that sounds low (or high) but the only way to know the significance of that stat is to understand the context in which the number exists.

    To look at 8000+ deaths by guns per year and say “sounds low to me” is to take a “sh*t happens” attitude on this issue.

    To take one example from the news just this week: the following was preventable, 11-year-old Tennessee boy shoots 8-year-old girl over argument about puppy .

    And yes, one anecdote is not evidence, but there are a mound of such examples every year.




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  245. markm says:

    @KM:

    You are trying to weasel out of the simple fact that those 8K+ people didn’t have to die and are dead because of an object you favor and don’t want restrictions on

    I am not trying to weasel out of anything….I am pointing out that this discussion is NOT about deaths.




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  246. @markm:

    .I am pointing out that this discussion is NOT about deaths.

    Ok, I’ll bite. What’s it about?

    (Although I will go ahead and say that for me this conversation is very much about deaths).




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  247. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    No, you’re not. You’re trying to weasel. Other comparative countries to us have gun deaths from anywhere in the single to triple digits every year, while we have upwards of 8,000. That makes the discussion squarely about deaths, thousands of preventable deaths every year, year after year, deaths that would not have happened but for guns.




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  248. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    30,000+ people die EVERY YEAR in automobile accidents. This too seems like disproportionately low number for the amount of people driving every day….but that’s still a lot of people dying every year.

    Which we do a lot to mitigate, including requiring drivers licenses, having speed limits, requiring cars to have seat belts, air bags and safety features, studying ways to make roads safter, etc. — and yet we don’t really try to make guns safer at all, in fact, we don’t even study it.




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  249. markm says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    You cannot treat a given statistic in the absence of other data–especially comparative data. If all you knew was that one batter only hit the ball about a third of the time you might think that sounds low (or high) but the only way to know the significance of that stat is to understand the context in which the number exists.

    But, as I have compared deaths from guns versus, say deaths from suicide, those 8,583 deaths by gun, it really doesn’t matter what type of weapon was used. Similarly, 45,000 deaths by suicide, it doesn’t matter if the death was caused by pill overdose or slit wrists.

    Looking at the finite results of these two acts (or the acts I listed above), I am saying there is a seemingly disproportionate reaction to this topic which leads me to believe that the sheer number of deaths IS NOT what we are talking about.

    How about this….in the past two years, post links to all the stories posted here on OTB covering ‘guns’ along with the post counts. Over the same two years, post links to all the stories posted here on OTB covering ‘suicide’ along with the post counts.

    If the conversation truly is about the concern over the number of deaths, we can count up the posts and it should bear out in your favor.

    To look at 8000+ deaths by guns per year and say “sounds low to me” to take a “sh*t happens” attitude on this issue.

    Trust me, on this issue, I DO NOT have a shit happens attitude.
    When I say that seems intuitively low, that is based on the fact that there are 318 million people in this country and 215 million guns (and truthfully, there are probably more than that). If I go to any national news source on any given day, I can see multiple shootings from Chicago, Detroit, Philly, Baltimore. Double digit deaths per week….times 52 weeks, times the other places I didn’t list and sorry, that number seems intuitively low to me.




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  250. @markm:

    intuitively low

    Then I would say that your intuition is flawed in a globally comparative sense.

    I am saying there is a seemingly disproportionate reaction to this topic which leads me to believe that the sheer number of deaths IS NOT what we are talking about.

    I would note that you still haven’t said what you think it is about.




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  251. Mikey says:

    @markm: Considering there are nations (Switzerland for example) with high per-capita gun ownership rates and long traditions of gun ownership but that have gun homicide rates of less than 1 per 100,000 where ours is 3.2 per 100,000, that number seems damn high to me.

    Of course it’s about deaths. We’re talking about thousands of avoidable deaths per year. If we weren’t losing orders of magnitude more people every year to guns than every other developed nation on Earth combined, we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all.




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  252. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    and sorry, that number seems intuitively low to me.

    Something is wrong with your intuition. As I pointed out above, Japan, a country with 130 million people, about 10 gun homicides a year. The UK, with 55 million people, about 60. Germany, with 80 million people, about 30. Most every other advanced industrialized country has gun deaths in the double digits, while ours are over 8,000, and that seems intuitively low? It’s quite the reverse, it’s shockingly high.

    Also, the other point you’re ignoring is that 8,000 plus is the number of gun deaths, not the number of people shot, which is factors higher. We have very good ER and trauma surgeons in this country, so a lot of people who would otherwise die of their gunshots are saved in the hospital.




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  253. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    If I go to any national news source on any given day, I can see multiple shootings from Chicago, Detroit, Philly, Baltimore. Double digit deaths per week….times 52 weeks, times the other places I didn’t list and sorry, that number seems intuitively low to me.

    8,2000 divided by 52 is 157.69. That’s your multiple shootings per week in multiple cities right there.

    Is it the problem that you just can’t do math?




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  254. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    But, as I have compared deaths from guns versus, say deaths from suicide, those 8,583 deaths by gun, it really doesn’t matter what type of weapon was used. Similarly, 45,000 deaths by suicide, it doesn’t matter if the death was caused by pill overdose or slit wrists.

    Certainly it matters. A lot of people who try to commit suicide by pills, or slitting their wrists, or hanging, etc., survive their suicide attempts and never attempt it again. If you shoot yourself in the head, though, it’s generally fatal. All the research literature from multiple countries indicates that the presence and easy availability of guns, in and of themselves, make suicide attempts easier and deadlier.




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  255. Rafer Janders says:

    @markm:

    How about this….in the past two years, post links to all the stories posted here on OTB covering ‘guns’ along with the post counts. Over the same two years, post links to all the stories posted here on OTB covering ‘suicide’ along with the post counts.

    OTB is a political blog, not a public health or psychology blog. Gun control is a current political issue, one that is discussed every presidential campaign, whereas suicide is not. Why would you expect any parity between those sorts of posts? OTB doesn’t also regularly post about influenza, or advances in anxiety medication, or parity in insurance payment for medical health issues.




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  256. @Rafer Janders:

    OTB is a political blog, not a public health or psychology blog. Gun control is a current political issue, one that is discussed every presidential campaign, whereas suicide is not. Why would you expect any parity between those sorts of posts? OTB doesn’t also regularly post about influenza, or advances in anxiety medication, or parity in insurance payment for medical health issues.

    Indeed.

    Further, it always strikes me as weird when people try to use the “you didn’t blog about X or enough about Y” arguments. As I have often said: I blog about what it occurs to me to blog, meaning issues of interest to me/current events. It is also dictated by how much time I have in a given week or day.




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  257. KM says:

    Crossposted because I’m that ourtraged:

    So I stand corrected – Carson’s been involved in a hold up before. And what did Mister Wannabe BadAss Go Tackle the Gunman do?

    “I just said, ‘I believe that you want the guy behind the counter,’” Carson said.

    He redirected the aim of the gunman to another innocent person instead of trying to take the gunman down but has the nerve to criticize actual gunshot victims for not being brave. What. An. Asshole.




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  258. markm says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Then I would say that your intuition is flawed in a globally comparative sense.

    Wasn’t it you that said:

    You cannot treat a given statistic in the absence of other data–especially comparative data.

    What other globally comparative nation has 318 million people and 215 million guns that closely mirrors our laws and constitutional rights?.

    I would note that you still haven’t said what you think it is about.

    Yes I did.
    I said I do not believe this national discussion is not about 8,000+ deaths (maybe at one point it was but it no longer is). In today’s hyper partisan world, it’s devolved into nothing but a political issue where serious debate about resolving or seriously lowering any death rate has gone by the wayside.

    Case in point, post Oregon shooting, President Obama came out with a speech where for the first time, he looked and sounded visibly upset (his best and most believable speech IMO).

    He’s said he’s willing to take the heat and go around Congress to get it done this time. Have you read what he’s said they are trying to do?. Even his supporters are stunned how bland his plan is.

    If right now he isn’t willing to go for the heavy lift then it’s not going to happen and we’ll be right back here having another debate about another shooting and what won’t get done (all the while the money is flowing to both political parties).




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  259. markm says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Which we do a lot to mitigate, including requiring drivers licenses, having speed limits, requiring cars to have seat belts, air bags and safety features, studying ways to make roads safter, etc. — and yet we don’t really try to make guns safer at all, in fact, we don’t even study it.

    When is the last time you hunted?.
    When was the last weapon you purchased?.
    When was the last time you took concealed carry class?.

    There is an entire industry out there making gun safes/vaults and trigger locks and barrel locks but a gun is a fairly simple tool. You could load up a pistol/long gun and put it in your gun vault for years and years….there will be no big BANG sound.

    Enter the human component. That’s where the potential increases for problems. Until there is a will to do the political heavy lifting, nothing will change. Nothing.

    When you purchased your last weapon and they did the Federal background check…they (the FBI) didn’t have access to any of your medical/mental health records…just so you know.




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  260. markm says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    OTB is a political blog

    I don’t disagree but politics/current events/everyday life have plenty of overlap.

    not a public health or psychology blog.

    Gun control is a current political issue, one that is discussed every presidential campaign, whereas suicide is not

    . Why would you expect any parity between those sorts of posts? OTB doesn’t also regularly post about influenza, or advances in anxiety medication, or parity in insurance payment for medical health issues

    I know, right?!?.
    One would think that 45,000 deaths by suicide would garner attention if it was about the sheer number of deaths.




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  261. markm says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Further, it always strikes me as weird when people try to use the “you didn’t blog about X or enough about Y” arguments. As I have often said: I blog about what it occurs to me to blog

    I am not saying in any way what you should blog. I used you/OTB as an example (because we are here talking about this….again). I am saying in general, the sheer number if deaths, it would seem, would get more publicity if it was just about the deaths.

    There are plenty of articles written daily on suicide. ‘The media’ does cover it but it seems lacking in proportion.




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  262. markm says:

    @markm:

    If right now he isn’t willing to go for the heavy lift then it’s not going to happen and we’ll be right back here having another debate about another shooting and what won’t get done (all the while the money is flowing to both political parties).

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/10/09/one-person-dead-and-three-injured-in-shooting-at-northern-arizona-university/73639918/




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  263. @markm: I am going to have to point out that you don’t understand how comparison works.

    By the logic here it is impossible to compare to US to anywhere else because nowhere else is exactly like us.

    To continue the baseball analogy it is like saying you can’t talk batting averages and Babe Ruth because there was only one Babe Ruth,




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  264. markm says:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/10/08/gabrielle-giffords-gun-control-domestic-violence/73612294/

    WASHINGTON — Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and seriously wounded in 2011, is planning a new initiative to address gun violence against women and families.

    Giffords is hosting a daylong “Domestic Violence Awareness Summit” in Washington on Wednesday that is expected to draw more than 100 women from across the country. The new coalition will be announced at the event.

    The PAC raised more than $20 million in the 2013-2014 election cycle and $3.4 million in the first six months of this year.

    Yep, get the money flowing to and fro….and nothing happens. Wash, rinse, repeat.




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  265. markm says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Steven, we can keep going the rounds with this all day but I honestly have to get some things done so we’ll again fire up the debate in what I am sure will be a very short period of time.




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