President Obama’s Empty Rhetoric On Guns

In the wake of yesterday's shootings in Oregon, President Obama took the airwaves to offer the same empty rhetoric he has on this issue in the past, and to make the false claim that there are simple solutions to what is a very complex problem.

Obama Podium

Within hours after the news of yesterday’s campus shooting in southern Oregon had hit the news, and before we knew very many details about what happened, who committed the crime, how he was able to do it, or what may have motivated him, President Obama took to the lectern in the White House Briefing Room to give a statement that he’s given many times before since taking office:

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s rage about gun massacres, building for years, spilled out Thursday night as he acknowledged his own powerlessness to prevent another tragedy and pleaded with voters to force change themselves.

“So tonight, as those of us who are lucky enough to hug our kids a little closer are thinking about the families who aren’t so fortunate,” the president said in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room, named for a man severely wounded by a would-be assassin’s bullet, “I’d ask the American people to think about how they can get our government to change these laws, and to save these lives and let these people grow up.”

Mr. Obama admitted that he was unable to do anything to prevent such tragedies by himself. And he did little to try to hide the anger and frustration that have deepened as he returns again and again to the White House lectern in the wake of a deadly mass shooting.

Mr. Obama took a veiled swipe at the National Rifle Association, which has successfully fought most limits on gun use and manufacture and has pushed through legislation in many states making gun ownership far easier. “And I would particularly ask America’s gun owners who are using those guns properly, safely, to hunt for sport, for protecting their families, to think about whether your views are being properly represented by the organization that suggests it is speaking for you,” he said.

Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the N.R.A., declined to respond to Mr. Obama, saying that it was the organization’s policy “not to comment until all the facts are known.” Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s executive vice president, declared after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

On Thursday night, Mr. Obama said that given the frequency of mass shootings, people had “become numb to this.”

“And what’s become routine, of course, is the response of those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation,” Mr. Obama said. “Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out. ‘We need more guns,’ they’ll argue. ‘Fewer gun-safety laws.’ ”

“Does anybody really believe that?” he asked, his voice rising.

(…)

[W]hat was different this time was that the president did not announce any new initiative or effort to fix the problem. Instead, he pointed out that there is “a gun for roughly every man, woman and child in America. So how can you with a straight face make the argument that more guns will make us safer?”

States and countries that have gun limits have far fewer gun deaths than those that do not, he said. “So we know there are ways to prevent it,” he said.

He pointed out that the government responds to mine disasters by insisting on safer mines, to weather disasters by improving community safety, and to highway deaths by fixing roads and insisting that drivers wear seatbelts.

But guns are seen as so different that Congress has forbidden the federal government even to collect certain statistics, he said. He rejected the notion that the Constitution forbids even modest regulation of deadly weapons.

He also asked news organizations to tally the number of Americans killed by terrorist attacks over the last 10 years and compare that with the number killed by domestic gun violence. And he implicitly compared the trillions of dollars spent and multiple agencies devoted to preventing the relatively few terrorism deaths with the minimal effort and money spent to prevent the far greater number of gun deaths.

And then he challenged voters to make gun safety a priority.

“If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views,” he said.

Here’s the video of the President’s speech:

None of this is unfamiliar rhetoric from the President, of course. Most recently, we heard it in response to the shootings earlier this year in Charleston, South Carolina that left nine people dead in the basement of an historic African-American church. Before that, the President said similar things after the Phoenix, Arizona shooting that injured former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the shooting at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, and of course, the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut that resulted in the death of 20 schoolchildren. It was only in the wake of the Newtown shooting, though, that it seemed like there was any real possibility of the kind of political momentum that could lead to the passage of new gun laws on the national level. Polling in the aftermath of that shooting showed that the public was more receptive to some forms of gun control than it had been in the past, especially expanded background checks that would cover areas outside the scope of current laws such as private sales. As we saw, though, that political momentum was short-lived indeed and, just four months after the attacks, the Senate was unable to pass even an expanded background check bill. While some states, most notably New York and Connecticut which are firmly under Democratic Party control, were able to pass additional gun regulations, by the time we reached the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shootings public opinion on gun control had returned to its historic norms, meaning that it was largely a low-priority issue for voters except for those highly motivated on either side of the issue, and even then the people most highly motivated are those most supportive of gun rights.

It’s possible that this latest shooting, and President Obama’s words yesterday will have a different impact than those incidents in the past and that we’ll see some real movement on the gun rights issue, but for many reasons it simply isn’t likely. The most immediate reason for that, of course, is the fact that we’re headed into an election season that will include not just the race for President, but also the entire House of Representatives, one-third of the Senate, and numerous state legislatures and Governor’s Mansions. Under those circumstances, neither side is going to want to actually move forward on legislation for political reasons. For Republicans, of course, the reluctance is rooted in the fact that a significant part of their electorate is supportive of gun rights and highly skeptical of any laws designed to restrict them. Democrats, meanwhile, have a base that is supportive of gun control generally but also want to appeal to independent voters that have more mixed views on gun control. For both parties, it makes much more sense to use the gun control issue as a cudgel to motivate their respective bases than to actually do anything constructive. For these reasons, and because that segment of voters that generally favors something vaguely defined as “gun control” but isn’t very passionate about this issue, I wouldn’t expect anything to be done in the wake of this shooting other than much of the same old rhetoric from both sides, which is basically what we got from the President last night.

Even if it were politically possible to do “something,” and President Obama never did specify exactly what he thinks should be done, though, it’s not at all clear that anything he proposes would be effective. Background checks didn’t stop Dylann Roof from buying the handgun that he used to kill nine people in Charleston in June, for example, and they didn’t stop Adam Lanza from taking the guns his mother had purchased even though it was illegal for someone his age to even own a gun Connecticut in 2012. One could perhaps make an argument that better mental health screening could have prevented James Holmes, Seung-Hui Choi, or Jared Lee Loughner from getting being able to buy a gun, admittedly. However, as I’ve noted before, expanding restrictions on gun ownership based on a person’s mental health status raises serious medical privacy, individual libertydue process questions as well as the risk that people who need help won’t get it because of the fear that they will be reported to the state. As Brian Doherty notes, Obama’s rhetoric last night was largely empty:

Obama is undoubtedly overreaching beyond the facts when he speaks over and over about how apparently easy and simple gun-safety laws would have prevented this, or future tragedies like this.

He doesn’t, even in this very long speech, get down to a single specific or even a hint of a specific about exactly what new laws he wants that would have prevented this from happening. Maybe because he was politically savvy enough to realize that whenever we do know, someone could point out that, well, that law you suggest wouldn’t have actually stopped this.

I don’t know what law could have stopped this from happening, and thus cannot argue in good faith that none could. But neither does Obama know, yet he felt it appropriate to take to the bully pulpit and play on our national grief with vague talk about laws that could change this, when he has no idea if it’s true.

He never mentioned anything about the Second Amendment or the fact that one of the problems with restricting access to guns in a manner other countries do is that we have that Amendment. Guns are a legally special item in the United States, for good reasons. Discussing them as if they were any other random safety issue misses the key point in why guns are such a politically contentious issue.

He spells out how many guns there are in this country, and that is an important part of the issue. Because you can’t make those guns disappear. By making such a vague speech, refusing to acknowledge the Second Amendment exists, and making it clear that in some senses he thinks the problem is the sheer fact that there are so many guns, he certainly gives reason for Second Amendment advocates to mistrust his intentions.

Obama carefully included self-defense as one of those legitimate reasons law abiding citizens might have a gun.

But the sad fact is that one can or might be a perfectly law abiding gun owner, until the moment you use it to murder someone for no reason. That is, laws that would not bedevil “law abiding gun owners” in most cases won’t bedevil even evil shooters.

Obama acts as if the question of how to stop things like this from happening is easy. It’s not, which is why this speech contained so few specifics.

Jacob Sullum also notes that Obama’s appeal for “common sense” laws is basically meaningless rhetoric:

Obama did not mention a single specific policy fitting that description.

That telling omission makes it pretty hard to buy Obama’s argument that anyone who opposes “common-sense gun-safety laws” has blood on his hands. “This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America,” he said. “We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loved ones because of our inaction.” If only we had done something, in other words, those people in Oregon would still be alive. But we are left to guess what that thing might be.

Obama did offer some clues. “It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun,” he said. So presumably the “common-sense gun legislation” he supports has something to do with making it harder for would-be mass murderers to obtain firearms. The problem is that would-be mass murderers look a lot like “law-abiding gun owners” until they commit their crimes (because that is what they are), and any effort to distinguish between the two groups is bound to be underinclusive, missing seemingly harmless people with murder in their hearts, or overinclusive, depriving actually harmless people of their constitutional rights. Probably it will be both.

Perhaps the best example of how empty this rhetoric is, though, came this morning when National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke asked Mark Halperin or others exactly what they are proposing that would prevent mass shootings like this:

“Joe Biden doesn’t know how to fix this problem. I don’t know how to fix this problem. I think it’s fair to say you don’t know how to fix this problem. It’s a very complex question in a country with 300 to 350 million guns on the street,” Cooke said. “The way they talk is as if they have the answer and there are these recalcitrant forces in the country that say ‘no, no, no,’ even though deep down they know their legislation will work. That’s simply not the case. It’s far more complicated than that.”

Halperin took issue with Cooke’s statement. He argued with Cooke’s attitude of simply labeling the issue as complicated and identifying what will not work. Instead, Halperin wanted leaders to “have a thirst and hunger and passion to try to come up with solutions.”

When further pressed by Cooke to offer his plan, Halperin explained he’s “not an expert in the field.”

We can agree that mass shootings like this are a problem, but the empty rhetoric that the President offered last night, as well as other appeals for “common sense” legislation is essentially meaningless. Even if these laws could be passed, which is highly unlikely, and even if they could survive challenges in court, which isn’t at all clear, there’s no evidence at all that any of them will actually do anything to address what we can all agree is a problem. James Joyner noted this here at OTB in a post in the wake of the Charleston shootings. The advocates for more control, though, won’t acknowledge this. They’ll say that those of us who question the efficacy of these proposed laws, or who recognize the fact that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to gun ownership subject to some reasonable regulations, have “blood on our hands.” That’s not an argument, though, that’s just empty rhetoric that doesn’t address the reality of the situation. As long as that’s all we have in the way of proposals, we’re not going to accomplish anything.

FILED UNDER: Guns and Gun Control, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Gustopher says:

    When one of the problems is inflexible opposition, intent on making America into a their distorted vision of the Wild West with guns everywhere and good guys shooting the bad guys down in the street, is there any purpose in proposing anything specific?

    Specifics on gun control would really distract from the heart of the problem — a congress that will accept no restrictions on guns of any kind, and an electorate that keeps voting them back into office.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    every life is precious…but guns are more precious.

  3. James says:

    Shorter Mataconis: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  4. Jc says:

    How about close the gun show loophole
    Reinstate the prohibition of assault weapons and high cap mags
    Required firearms training
    National gun registry
    Mental health screening requirement

  5. al-Ameda says:

    I think it’s fair to say you don’t know how to fix this problem. It’s a very complex question in a country with 300 to 350 million guns on the street,” Cooke said. “The way they talk is as if they have the answer and there are these recalcitrant forces in the country that say ‘no, no, no,’ even though deep down they know their legislation will work. That’s simply not the case. It’s far more complicated than that.”

    Cooke is partially correct, it is complicated. But really, the basic problem is that we do not have the political will to make further changes.

    With “300 to 350 million guns on the street” we have more than enough supply – couple that with easy access for most people to acquire a gun, or many guns – to ensure that there will always be periodic mass shootings

  6. Modulo Myself says:

    I’m not sure what is so empty about his rhetoric. This study says that gun control works. If that’s true, what does that mean? Will it save the world and stop all gun violence? But it will, in theory, reduce the casualty count. The idea that this is empty is bizarre.

    Or you can devote yourself to a dull ideology which loathes public health and loves selfishness and fascist fairy tales all in order to assure yourself that gun control has no chance of working and then go from there.

  7. gVOR08 says:

    So, Doug, what would you have Obama do except use the bully pulpit as best he can to move attitudes toward a better place?

    I have felt over the years that there are a set of fallacies common to conservatives. The big one is the inevitable reaction to everything – This is just how things are, nothing can be done. Another is – This won’t fix everything so there’s no point to doing it at all.

  8. LaMont says:

    “Even if these laws could be passed, which is highly unlikely, and even if they could survive challenges in court, which isn’t at all clear, there’s no evidence at all that any of them will actually do anything to address what we can all agree is a problem.”

    This is such an asinine defeatist argument – mainly because we have evidence that other advanced countries do not have this problem. Yet, conservatives will continue to take the perspective that hardly anything can be done because, you know, we have criminals that don’t follow laws and freedom! Until we change the sick culture this country has with regard to guns nothing will happen. There is no straight-faced reason Congress cannot act to show, at the very least, that they take this problem seriously. However, solely for the likes of the NRA, nothing gets done. So apparently, when it comes to guns, special interest and a twisted interpretation of the 2nd amendment is more important than lives that are struck down by guns at an alarming rate in this country.

  9. Stan says:

    What this post doesn’t do is explain why it’s necessary that Americans have such easy access to guns. For hunting? For protection against street crime or home invasion? To defend one’s homeland against invasion by the Huns, the Nazis, the Commies, or ISIS? Or the Klingons? I don’t get it. And I also don’t get Doug’s constant braying about our precious constitutional rights. As far as I know, private ownership of flame throwers is illegal. Is this an infringement of our civil liberties? Are there any restrictions on our liberties of the type called for by Thomas Hobbes that Doug would accept? I know that he has a bee in his bonnet about gun rights. What I don’t understand is why.

  10. reid says:

    We all know that the pro-gun rights groups have gotten so powerful, and the country has become so polarized in general with the right-wing hating Obama and the Democrats, that nothing can ever be done about this issue. Obama knows this, hence the frustrated “empty rhetoric” you’re complaining about. What do you think he could have done? And why aren’t you complaining about the forces from the right that prevent any kind of honest discussion of the issue?

  11. Modulo Myself says:

    @Stan:

    It’s enough that people want guns. Seriously, I would love to hear Obama explain to Americans who love guns that they are dupes of an obvious marketing campaign, but it’s not going to happen.

  12. Scott says:

    Of course it is empty rhetoric. Obama, saying soothing words about the dead and dying is also empty rhetoric. Empty rhetoric is all anybody has about guns and shooting. Nothing will be done so why waste any energy lamenting the inevitable. .

  13. the Q says:

    Many on the right noted the invasion of Iraq, even though Saddam had nothing to do with 911, was justified because it sent a “message” that we won’t tolerate terrorism. That we needed to do “something” even if Iraq wasn’t the perfect solution.

    So, now that Obama is pretty much advocating we do something to send a message, the wingnuts are all of sudden concerned with what the “right” thing “is”.

    Also, the idiot NRA slogan that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun is so phucking ludicrous that I want to punch that guy.

    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is to not have guns available for the bad guy.

    Gun control is like pollution control – its not gonna be done overnight, it will take decades.

    I grew up in LA. In 1948, we had killer smog – 20 people actually died just breathing the air during one siege.

    40 years ago, one out of two days in the LA basin was a first stage smog alert, because of harsh laws enacted over the years, there has been ONE in the last decade!!!! Why? Because it was a long hard tough slog over the protests of the usual azzhole suspects.

    Wingnuts said that pollution was natural to the LA basin bla bla bla, nothing can be done about the air, etc.

    NRA is against ANY measures – common sense measures – to slow down the violence.

    In Japan, 5 years ago, 12…thats right 12, people were killed and the Japanese people went into a rage, passing even more strenous gun control laws since the usual number killed by guns is in the single digits, last year 5…..5!!!!!!! were killed in Japan.

    They do have guns there, not many, but they realize that a bad guy with a gun will never be allowed there.

    Also, you would think that in Japan “only criminals will have guns” and the crime should be soaring because of an unarmed populace, yet crime is far lower there with few guns, than it is here with many guns.

    Yes, there is the second amendment. so lets be good little strict constructionists and give every one the right to bear a musket. I highly doubt you would get much pushback from the “empty rhetoric” liberals.

    The real problem is the “empty rhetoric” of the wingnut NRA dipschittz who believe MORE guns equal more safety.

    Coming back to LA, in 1992 we had 1100 homicides, last year 280, an astonishing dip in that LA then was 55% white, now its 29% white and the NRA would forecast “MORE minorities = more crime”…hasn’t happened and LA has some of the toughest gun restrictions in the country.

    So the empty rhetoric is from the rightwing NRA supporters.

  14. michael reynolds says:

    Actually, Doug, Obama is doing what can be done, which is to repeatedly stigmatize guns and gun owners and to refuse to allow this to be seen as normal. That’s actually what needs to happen, and that’s what he’s doing with what you are pleased to call, “empty rhetoric.”

  15. LaMont says:

    @Stan:

    As far as I know, private ownership of flame throwers is illegal.

    Apparently, they aren’t. For a cool $900, anyone can own one.

    http://www.mlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/08/is_personal_flamethrower_just.html#lf_comment=371070948

    But to extend your point, the logical conclusion to all of this is – why can’t I own a nuclear bomb?

  16. Stonetools says:

    Doug Mataconis in 1950: ” it is pointless to call for laws banning racial discrimination. This is a complex problem and besides, polls show the public, especially in the South, is deeply opposed to such laws.”
    Doug Mataconis in 2000: It is pointless to call for laws requiring that gays should be allowed to serve in the military and to marry. The polls show that the public is deeply skeptical of such laws and the Republicans would block any such attempts.”
    Yet such laws were passed. President Obama is being aspirational. Gun control is going to be a long march. The President is calling for first steps in the March. To use an example Doug could understand , in 1961 no one was certain that it was even possible to go to the Moon. Yet President Kennedy not only announced the goal-he set a timetable.
    There is nothing wrong with the President announcing an aspirational goal. You may call it empty rhetoric. I call it leadership.

  17. the Q says:

    Yes, if more weapons make a society safer, than why are wingnuts so opposed to Iran getting nukes?

    I mean, a nuke sitting on the table just doesn’t get up and nuke someone and if other countries know that Iran is “packing” they won’t be tempted to, I don’t know, go to war with her?

    It seems if there are bad guys with nukes, the good guys with the nukes (USA/France/Britain) will be able to stop her so why are we trying to outlaw nukes since only the bad guys will get them?

    NRA logic extended to the greater world looks silly and inane, yet this dogma rules in some parts of this country.

  18. Tyrell says:

    In the 1960’s we were shocked and saddened as we watched our leaders shot down in the streets. We seemed to get used to it and started expecting it. Indeed, it did continue into the ’70’s, with two, maybe three attempts on Ford, the shooting of George Wallace, and later the shooting of Reagan that came millimetres close of assassination. There were proposals back then and some laws passed, mainly concerning mail order rifles.*** see below for more about this.
    As has been pointed out, doctors have laws controlling what patient information they can give out. I can not even get medical information on my wife without her consent.
    I don’t know what other laws could be passed.
    Think about this: there will be probably dozens of people killed this weekend in shootings: gang related, drug related (right there – drug laws need to be looked at), a small amount of shootings in bank hold ups and burglaries, a large number of domestic shootings. And what kind of law could affect domestic gun incidents ?
    Cleveland is seeing a big increase in gun crime lately, with a young child killed yesterday in some sort of drive by or cross fire shooting. Maybe more should be done to outlaw gangs.
    Statistics do show that crime rates overall have been in decline for years (for a good reading about why, read “Freakonomics”).
    One idea that I thought could help would be for the president to form an independent committee to study the problem and make recommendations. A committee made up of law enforcement (including the FBI director), military, hunters/sportsmen, and psychiatrists. Sorry, politicians sit this one out.
    Think about this: all of these mass shootings have occurred in suburban areas, not in the city (with few exceptions).
    *** At the time it was suspected that the assassinations were part of a larger, organized plan. Today, it is known as fact. Because of rapid advances in technology, this would be a good time for these assassination cases to maybe be reopened by the Attorney General. I am going to re-read the complete Warren Report on the assassination of President Kennedy and look for details, comparing to more recent knowledge. Many files rated to the Kennedy assassination are still classified: they will never be released. I will get back later on what I find.
    “I am just a patsy” Lee Oswald. I distinctly remember a lot of people saying that Oswald would not survive the week.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    Cleek’s Law:

    Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.

    Parts of this country have become so insane that this applies even to liberals wanting fewer dead children.

  20. Hal_10000 says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    This study says that gun control works

    No, it doesn’t. It says that gun control works if you carefully cherry-pick your data. What they did was compare the rate of violence in Connecticut for a ten-year span after a gun control law was passed to a pseudo-Connecticut (basically, Rhode Island).

    To quote me:

    Of course, if you look at the data before that law was passed, Connecticut’s rate of gun violence was already falling. And if you look at the data after their ten year window, Connecticut’s rate comes back up. And if you compare them to literally any state other than Rhode Island, the supposed reduction in violence disappears. And if you look at other states that have passed similar gun control laws, you don’t see a reduction in gun murders.

  21. the Q says:

    Pop Quiz, does anyone really think that there would be LESS CRIME AND VIOLENCE if we had zero guns as opposed to the 200-300 million currently in circulation?

    Seems like we should ban gun sales and ammunition sales, but not the right to own a gun. Is that constitutionally kosher?

  22. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Dude, you’re just completely full of sh-t. Really. Completely.

    Study after study shows that guns have no protective influence. Comparison after comparison shows that country’s with gun control do far better than we do.

    Does state-by-state gun control work? No, not very well, since people like you have ensured that we are up to our necks in guns. Your insistence on spreading your poison means that yes, it’s really hard to stop a killer in one state from buying a gun by mail or at a gun show or at a store over the border or from a private seller.

    But the fault is yours. You. You and people like you in the gun cult spread your sickness throughout the country and people die as a direct result. Now, you don’t like that fact, but it’s a fact. And the only reason you deny the obvious is that you’re committed to your gun obsession and unable to get any distance from it.

    These shootings happen, these children die, because people like you insist that this country should be swimming in millions and millions of guns.

    Not true? Then explain something to me. What if I start making bombs? What if I make thousands of bombs. I don’t set any of them off, I just sell them to people who say they’ll only use that bomb for self-defense. Now, when one of my bombs goes off in a shopping mall, am I to blame?

    According to you? No.

    Let’s say I cook up some anthrax. I don’t use the anthrax, I just. . . make it available. You have any problems with me making anthrax? How about Sarin? How about a dirty nuke?

    That’s all fine with you? If so: welcome to the next Mad Max movie. And if not, explain why not in view of your position that the fault is not with the weapon or the seller of the weapon or the apologist for the weapon.

    The inevitable extension of your “it’s not the gun, it’s the shooter,” position is to accept bomb-making and distribution, chemical weapons production and distribution, biological weapons and distribution. Right? If not, explain.

  23. the Q says:

    There is also the “weapons effect”. In one classic experiment, researchers taped participants at a carnival where you had to throw beanbags to knock over milk bottles.

    The researchers then put a plastic replica of a machine gun on the counter next to the stuffed animals.

    Looking at the video, without the gun, guys would act normally, but when the gun was placed in sight, guys behaviour became more violent. Its an astonishing real world experiment and one can see the heightened agitation from males as they throw with more aggression, etc.

    Another reason to really treat this as a public health problem….oh, but the wingnuts banned gov’t from collecting data..oh, well.

  24. Hal_10000 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The inevitable extension of your “it’s not the gun, it’s the shooter,” position is to accept bomb-making and distribution, chemical weapons production and distribution, biological weapons and distribution. Right? If not, explain.

    The difference is that bombs, biological weapons and chemical weapons are, by definition, not defensive weapons and never can be. All these weapons are intended primarily for mass destruction. That is their only purpose. That is fundamentally different from guns. No one is going to blow up his house to stop a burglar. No one is going to use anthrax on a deer. No one goes out into the woods and sprays coke bottles with sarin recreationally.

    I don’t believe in an unlimited Second Amendment. As SCOTUS has noted, restrictions on think like machine guns are reasonable. And that would certainly apply to bombs or chemical weapons.

    The simple fact is that we have seen violence and gun violence drop by more than half in the last twenty five years without any significant gun control. The simple fact is that we have seen violence in the US drop faster than nations that imposed strict gun control (like Australia). The violence we see in this country (of which mass shootings are less than 0.5%) is primarily concentrated in cities, which have low rates of gun ownership. You don’t see Jim Bob with his collection of AK-47’s doing a drive-by (or, not unrelated, being shot by police for carrying).

    And the simple fact is that the case that gun control “works” is based heavily on cherry-picked studies, inappropriate analyses and, on occasion, outright lies (see the Arming of America). Gun control is to the Left what global warming denialism is to the Right: they will cite any “fact” necessary to make the argument. I’ve been debunking this stuff for years.

    Look, I understand. What just happened in Oregon — what happens 12000 times a year — is horrible. There is an urge to do something and a feeling of powerlessness that we can’t do something. But I prefer to do something I know is going to work. In the absence of evidence that gun control works, my default is toward freedom.

    Does state-by-state gun control work? No, not very well, since people like you have ensured that we are up to our necks in guns. Your insistence on spreading your poison means that yes, it’s really hard to stop a killer in one state from buying a gun by mail or at a gun show or at a store over the border or from a private seller.

    Again, make up your mind. You guys cite state-by-state data to claim that gun control works. Then say state-by-state isn’t useful when I point out that it doesn’t. As Doug pointed out above, these incidents don’t involve people going across state lines. But put away state-by-state data. We’ve been told that when Bush loosened national gun laws and that in the absence of more national gun control, violence would surge. It has not. It has fallen.

  25. Stan says:

    @LaMont: I hope you realize that every time you go on the internet in the next few weeks you’ll be seeing adds for flamethrowers.

  26. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    You’re trying to sidestep. Now you’re shifting your “guns don’t kill, people kill” argument to one of self-defense. Sadly for you, the self defense argument is nonsense. Gun owners are less safe, not more.

    If I have a long driveway, I could absolutely use a bomb for self-defense. You know, that’s what a mine field is: bombs used defensively. Right? It’s at least as plausible as the idea that I need an assault rifle with armor-piercing bullets in a 30 round magazine for “self-defense.”

    And boy, when it comes to cherry-picking, who’s better than you? Yes, crime has dropped in this country, by more than in some other countries. Because it’s easier to drop from 100 to 90 than it is to drop from 2 to 1. Ebola cases have dropped by far larger numbers in Liberia than they have in the US. Obviously that proves that Liberia is doing a better job controlling disease. Right?

    Meanwhile: 45 school massacres this year so far, and we still have three months to go.

    36 Americans die every day because of guns. And you want to pooh pooh that. Would you be so glib about 36 Americans dying every day from Islamic extremists? Um. . . No. The whole country – including you – would be freaking out if that happened.

    So, I’d say nice try, but it’s all as vapid as the usual pro-gun arguments which without exception come apart like papier maché in a tornado.

    You’re not bill or Jack, you’re not an idiot. So why don’t you think about the fact that I can destroy your arguments without straining a brain cell, and ask yourself why you cling to your fragile arguments? You’re insisting that 2+2=5, and people keep showing you that you’re wrong, and nevertheless you insist. Why?

  27. steve s says:

    @michael reynolds: michael reynolds, could you please email me at stevestory@gmail.com

  28. C. Clavin says:

    my default is toward freedom

    I’d feel a whole fwck-load freer if guns were a lot rarer

  29. Tillman says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If I have a long driveway, I could absolutely use a bomb for self-defense. You know, that’s what a mine field is: bombs used defensively. Right? It’s at least as plausible as the idea that I need an assault rifle with armor-piercing bullets in a 30 round magazine for “self-defense.”

    This paragraph makes me think you don’t have a driveway at all.

  30. SKI says:

    @Hal_10000:

    And the simple fact is that the case that gun control “works” is based heavily on cherry-picked studies, inappropriate analyses and, on occasion, outright lies (see the Arming of America)

    Explain every other country that has more restrictive gun ownership laws also having less gun deaths per capita.

    In particular, explain Canada, which has the following gun laws:

    Canadian gun laws are complicated, dividing firearms into categories with requirements including registration, permits, training courses and exams for all allowed weapons. First-time owners must also fill out a survey that asks about mental health and criminal record. There is a background check and mandatory 28-day waiting period.

    and the following gun deaths:

    In 2011, the U.S. population was approximately 312 million, and the country had 11,000 homicides from firearms. In the same year, Canada’s population was approximately 34 million and 158 gun-related homicides. That’s roughly 1 death for every 28,000 people in the United States vs. 1 death for every 215,000 people in Canada.

  31. mantis says:

    A national gun registry, mental health screening, mandatory gun training, and longer waiting periods will all help to reduce murders committed with legally purchased guns.

    We need extremely harsh punishments for those who supply guns illegally to murderers. If you straw purchase a gun, sell a gun outside of the proper process, give a gun as a gift, or lose your own gun due to negligence, and that gun is used in a murder, you should be tried as an accessory to the murder.

    If a gun owner allows his/her gun to fall into the hands of a child as a result of negligence and it is fired by the child in any way, that owner should be locked up for 20 years or more.

    We can pass laws that do not violate the 1st Amendment but do reduce gun homicides and injuries. We won’t do so because many of our politicians are in the pocket of an industry that profits from gun deaths, and the people refuse to toss them out on their ears for doing nothing.

  32. Hal_10000 says:

    Meanwhile: 45 school massacres this year so far, and we still have three months to go.

    I’ll pick this out because it illustrates what I’m talking about. That’s Everytown USA. They count as a “school shooting” any shooting that takes place near a school. So a guy commits suicide in a parking lot or place is robbed on a street near a university and that counts. Politifact and CNN both rated that as a garbage claim. The number of children killed by gunfire in schools every year is very low and a fraction of what it was 25 years ago (I’m having trouble finding the data, since Google is swamped with Everytown’s nonsense. If memory serves, it’s about 20-40 year out of 20 million children). Children are rarely safer than when they are in school.

    See what I mean?

  33. mantis says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I’ll pick this out because it illustrates what I’m talking about.

    No, you pick that out because you think by highlighting one misleading statistic you can create an excuse to do nothing. Your goal is the status quo. What is the status quo? I’ll tell you:

    In the US, more than 10,000 people are killed in gun homicides each year. That is 29.7 firearm homicides per million people annually. The #2 among developed countries, Switzerland, has 7.7 firearm homicides per million. That is an enormous gap.

    We have a mass shooting (4 or more people shot) nearly every day in this country.

    We have 4.4% of the world’s population, yet almost half of the world’s civilian-owned guns.

    This is what you want to maintain. Your lip service to “doing only what has been proven to work” is utter bullshit. You want to do nothing at all.

  34. Rafer Janders says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The difference is that bombs, biological weapons and chemical weapons are, by definition, not defensive weapons and never can be.

    Neither is a gun, you idiot — that’s why the bullets come out. The very purpose of a gun is offensive — to propel bullets at high velocity over a distance so they can then tear through human flesh and tissue.

    A helmet is defensive. A shield is defensive. A wall, a ditch, barbed wire is defensive. Hell, even a bomb when used as a mine is primarily defensive. But a gun’s sole purpose is offense.

  35. Modulo Myself says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Gun control is to the Left what global warming denialism is to the Right: they will cite any “fact” necessary to make the argument.

    The pro-gun Sheriff in Oregon is a Sandy Hook truther. This is a guy who believes that the government conspired against gun rights people by slaughtering kids in an elementary school. These are your people. Embrace them.

  36. Hal_10000 says:

    This is what you want to maintain. Your lip service to “doing only what has been proven to work” is utter bullshit. You want to do nothing at all.

    Not nothing at all. But the problem is we don’t know what to do. Violence has fallen 50% in the last 25 years and no one really knows why. As I said in the other thread, I’ve heard all kinds of theories advanced (including a lack of gun control) and one of them really hold up.

    One way I think we can reduced violence — especially the 99.5% that is not mass shootings — is ending the War on Drugs. A huge amount of the violence in this country is drug-related and we had a huge drop in violence the last time we ended a prohibition. I don’t know that it will work, really, but it’s worth a try.

    The pro-gun Sheriff in Oregon is a Sandy Hook truther. This is a guy who believes that the government conspired against gun rights people by slaughtering kids in an elementary school. These are your people. Embrace them

    And by that logic, anyone who opposes the Patriot Act must be a 9/11 Truther.

  37. Hal_10000 says:

    No, you pick that out because you think by highlighting one misleading statistic you can create an excuse to do nothing.

    No, it’s an example. In other threads, I’ve pointed out the flaws in the Connecticut study and the Missouri study. In links to my own page, I’ve pointed out the flaws in Mother Jones’ claim that mass shootings are rising or their “ten myths”. I’ve pointed out the problems in the comparison to other countries in Australia. The entire case that gun control “works” is based on stats and studies exactly like Everytown’s. It’s not an outlier; it’s a paradigm.

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:

    So now you’re reduced to pooh-poohing the number of children who die each year so that you can keep your guns.

    Your “logic” is exploded. And now you’re busy lowering your moral tone to what, “contemptible?”

    This is the guy you are? This is who you want to be? The guy who argues that we should just move on and accept mass murders? Not to mention the daily gun murders. Or the accidents where children kill themselves or family members.

    Move along, nothing to see, just dead people.

    Because hey, what’s a few hundred or a few thousand dead, so long as you get to stroke your weapons and indulge your hero fantasies. Right? It’s really all about you.

  39. Stonetools says:

    The Miller Act of 1934, which in effect bans the public from selling or possessing automatic weapons , proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that gun control works in the the USA. When was the last time anyone has heard of anyone killed by automatic weapons fire? I challenge HAL-1000 or anyone else to come up with anything more than an isolated example.
    The plain fact is that the USA is good at arms control. We have sensible laws aimed at the control of every weapon-except for one. No one-even the nuttiest gun nut-objects to the close regulation of explosives, poison gas, or edged weapons like swords or cutlasses. For example If I told Doug, Jack, or Hal that I wanted to set up a bomb depot next to their home they would sic the authorities on me faster than I could say “well regulated militia.”
    America’s problem is with what I call the Jesus weapon-guns. It is the gun that has the mythology( thanks NRA and Hollywood) and the well heeled industry lobby. (Sadly too it is the gun that has the history of putting down the slave revolt, exterminating the Indians, and ensuring white supremacy but Doug, Jack & Hal don’t want to talk about that.)
    Our approach should simply be that we want guns regulated just like other “arms” without the kind of special treatment. Note that no one argues ” if bombs are outlawed, only outlaws would have bombs”. Note that Hal doesn’t insist that “bomb control doesn’t work” and Doug doesn’t think the laws restricting possession of edged weapons pose constitutional issues. These arguments just don’t come up in the context of other weapons-ever. When those other weapons are mentioned, Jack would say of course there is no constitutional right to carry those other weapons because argle bargle, applesauce, and whatever Scalia pulled it out of his a$$ to make HELLER work.
    Of course Doug is angry that DGAF Obama is speaking the truth about gun control and challenging the status quo where 30,000 mostly preventable gun deaths a year is the price of making things convenient for a bunch of people who virtually worship their guns the way Cannanites worshipped Baal. Maybe Doug could change his libertarian ideology which apparently privileges the gun cultists over the 30,000 victims and their loved ones. But then that’s about as likely as Ben Carson saying something intelligent about geology or Ted Cruz caring about anyone other than himself. Ideology is a powerful blinder.

  40. mantis says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I don’t know that it will work, really, but it’s worth a try.

    I agree with you completely on this point, but it does not comport with your stated desire to not enact any gun control measures because we don’t know they will work. I mentioned several measures above that I think are worth a try, even if some of them may be a bit extreme. Putting aside the policy details for the moment, I believe that if we make it more difficult for people to obtain guns legally, there will be less gun violence. If we enact harsh punishments for those who enable guns to be obtained illegally, there will be less gun violence. If we enact harsh punishments for people who are careless with their guns and allow them to fall into the hands of children, there will be fewer gun accidents. Do you think any of this is unlikely?

  41. Stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    The Constiution speaks about “arms” , not offensive or defensive weapons. As RJ points out, there are no ” defensive weapons”. You and the other pro gun folks are doing so because you are desperately trying to justify the special treatment of guns over other types of weapons. Give it up-it can’t be done. Scalia tried in Heller and it really didn’t work.

  42. Modulo Myself says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Well, the views that were fringe and militia-like when I grew up are now pretty mainstream. That didn’t happen with 9/11 truthers. I wonder how much of what you write is what you actually really believe, and I wonder how much of it is the need to convince yourself that you weren’t taken in by a scam that produces these fringe views by the millions.

    As far as I can tell, the criticism against the CT study is that it’s very hard to create an alternate reality where violent crime has dropped and gun control has not been passed. Beneath that is a dogmatic belief that gun control will never work, which is a strange one to have. As if violence and guns are not remotely and could never be part of the same pattern. It’s like you want to deny something intrinsic about weapons, which is also very strange. I can’t think of a single other right that we have that supporters find it impossible to mention about any consequences of.

  43. Bokonon says:

    @gVOR08: You know, conservatives SAY those things on the one hand about poverty, social welfare, and other problems that involve public policy and government. Nothing can be done, government solutions are ineffective, that’s just the way things are, get used to self-reliance, sorry about your losses.

    But where it comes to banning abortion or pursuing the war on drugs, conservatives are all on fire to use draconian regulations, laws and penalties to drive solutions. Costs and consequences be damned. Heck, you aren’t even ALLOWED to argue utility or expense or losses of liberty or unintended consequences. Not when we have moral work to do!

    Funny about that.

  44. The Daily Beast, IMO, got it right.

    “…Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin held a press conference. Hanlin said he would leave it to the coroner’s office to identify the killer.

    “I will not give him the credit he probably sought,” Hanlin said of the killer. “You will never hear me use his name.”

    The coroner will be obliged to issue an official identification, and news organizations will be obliged to report it.

    But if you hear it, forget that Chris in that very instant.

    Think of Chris Mintz, who was shot while rushing a killer on his son’s sixth birthday.”

    MY daughter said she heard the story on NPR and they barely mentioned the shooter – who had written that the shooter in Roanoke, VA got national recognition from his two murders.

    I’m not suggesting that press refusal to mention the will eliminate mass shootings, but it is likely to reduce the incentive. This is a change that the media can make. They can report on the shooter without glamorizing him (or her). The do not need elaborate efforts to change gun laws either nationally or state by state.

  45. DrDaveT says:

    @Stan:

    What this post doesn’t do is explain why it’s necessary that Americans have such easy access to guns.

    As I understand it, it’s because when Jesus Christ came down from Mt. Sinai with the Bill of Rights inscribed on golden tablets, the finger of God had written “Thou shalt not swive with thy neighbor’s right to pack heat”.

  46. Hal_10000 says:

    Move along, nothing to see, just dead people.

    As opposed to, “oh, look, dead people! Time to advance our agenda!”? I’m not saying these are acceptable and you know it. I’m saying that you are exaggerating a danger so that people will be scared into doing what you want, whether it is effective in addressing that danger or not. Opposing a war doesn’t mean you think another 9/11 is acceptable. It means you don’t think A prevents B. We would all be a lot “safer” if we set fire to the entire Bill of Rights. But we don’t.

    Well, mostly.

    Well, somewhat.

    Because hey, what’s a few hundred or a few thousand dead, so long as you get to stroke your weapons and indulge your hero fantasies. Right?

    I own one gun. It is unloaded, in a safe and hasn’t been fired since 1999. Try stereotyping someone else.

    As far as I can tell, the criticism against the CT study is that it’s very hard to create an alternate reality where violent crime has dropped and gun control has not been passed.

    The criticism of the CT study is that you get the results you want only if you do it precisely that way. If you change anything: the year you start the study, the year you end the study, the states you compare to, the effect vanishes. It’s like the people claiming that there’s a “pause” in global warming. There is … if you start in 1998 and stop in 2010.

    I was thinking about this some more on the drive home. If you look at gun ownership and violence within this country, you keep running into the issue that the communities that are most victimized by violence also have low gun ownership rates. So if it’s not guns, what is the problem? I think the larger problem is a culture of violence.

    Now by that, I don’t mean what Republicans usually mean when they say that: rap music, video games and, when you get down it, what they really mean is black people in general. No, I mean something much more concrete. I mean 80,000 SWAT raids a year. I mean millions of people pulled over and searched apropos of nothing. I mean being the only civilized country that still executes people and seems to not care very much about whether they’re guilty. I mean two million people in prison. I mean a thousand people killed by police every year and God knows how many thousands pushed around, beaten or roughed up. I mean kids … kids … sitting in prison for months or years awaiting trial. I mean a nation that’s been at war basically since World War 2. I mean a commentariat and a political class that regard war and violence as the things that “serious” people believe in. I mean talk show hosts that lament that our execution methods are “too humane” and make jokes about people being raped in prison. And unlike gun ownership, the Culture of Institutional Violence is something that is preferentially delivered to the communities most afflicted with violence. If you look at where most of our violence occurs, it is in the community upon which most of our institutional violence has been delivered, where even petty crimes can put someone on a track that ends with a lifetime in prison. That’s not a coincidence. (I realize I’m on a trail Ta-Nehisi has already broken; but I think he has a point.)

    That’s really hard to fix, though. And it would take a long time to fix it. Much easier to limit magazine sizes. Makes us feel like we’re doing something.

  47. grumpy realist says:

    It’s also ironic that the same group that goes nuts over contraceptives and Plan B as “killing the baybeez!” doesn’t give a crap about kids getting killed in mass shootings. Or getting killed because Daddy left out a loaded gun.

  48. LaMont says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I stopped reading after the phrase “exaggerating a danger”. In what world do you live in where it isn’t common knowledge that guns are as dangerous as dangerous gets? We don’t have to “exaggerate” anything when it comes to guns and the impact they have on society. Get a f#$cking clue man!

  49. Lenoxus says:

    Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s executive vice president, declared after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

    Actually, that’s sort of true. But it’s usually much more effective to place those “good guys with guns” further up the supply chain, enforcing the type of arms that can be manufactured and the contexts in which they can be bought. An ounce of prevention is preferable to “shooter kills two, is killed by heroic bystander”, the supposedly Founding-Father-approved (or at least, Wayne-LaPierre-approved) outcome for these events.

    One thing Obama said that I really respect is that this is “something we should politicize.” Yes! That nicely heads off the NRA at the pass, since “Don’t politicize deaths!” is their constant refrain, one which can’t really be obeyed if these events are going to happen as frequently as they do. We need to own the political nature of things here.

    And of course as I said on another thread, “politics” is in fact the job of politicians, and pretending otherwise is lazy thinking. I would absolutely love to see a comprehensive, messy political sausage of gun control happen within the remainder of Obama’s term. I guess the math makes that completely impossible… too bad.

  50. Tillman says:

    @The unoriginal Herb: Sadly, I know the CBS Evening News was discussing the shooter by name tonight. Frankly, if news orgs didn’t show photos and only referred to “the shooter” when discussing background for a set period of time (say, a month, enough time for the next massacre), you’d remove the glory element and reduce the incentive to…

    …honestly, I’ve never understood the glory-seeking part of mass killing nor had it proven to me, but it’d still be neat to do. The “avoid glorying the shooter’s name” part, not the mass killing.

    @rest of thread: the analogy between guns and bombs in terms of “role,” accompanying regulatory structure, and damage dealt is specious, and is hysterical rhetoric in place of an argument. If the gun is dangerous by itself and worth controlling the sale and distribution of (as I believe*), it doesn’t need comparison to weapons of mass destruction. The attempt at reductio ad absurdum by substituting the two is failing to convince.

    Is it just me, or since Donald Trump entered the Republican primary everybody’s rhetoric has become more polarized on every issue? Like a sick game of follow the leader…

    * Which I feel the need to point out since the commentary flying around here loves painting any possible opponent of gun control advocated by the commentariat as a “gun nut,” and the only one I’ve really observed here nutty about his guns is Jack.

  51. Tillman says:

    @LaMont:

    In what world do you live in where it isn’t common knowledge that guns are as dangerous as dangerous gets?

    Guns aren’t as dangerous in any fwcking sense as nuclear weapons. We have nukes being used in place of guns as a method of argument. So yes, people are exaggerating by going to scarier weapons as contrast to semi-automatic handguns, which kill at most tens of people in these massacres, compared to weapons that at their weakest leveled cities, killed hundreds of thousands, and in a sane world would be counted as a crime against humanity to use.

  52. Modulo Myself says:

    The criticism of the CT study is that you get the results you want only if you do it precisely that way. If you change anything: the year you start the study, the year you end the study, the states you compare to, the effect vanishes. It’s like the people claiming that there’s a “pause” in global warming. There is … if you start in 1998 and stop in 2010.

    I googled ‘CT gun study criticism’ and the first response was a Reason article, which basically stated your claims. But there’s also this:

    Granting that neither I nor anyone else I know has done extensive social science research on the results of Connecticut’s gun change ourselves, let’s walk through five potential problems with leaping from this study’s results to the conclusion that instituting Connecticut-like laws nationally is a public safety imperative, one we can be confident will reduce gun homicides by 40 percent.

    I’m reading this as basically saying we know nothing about the social science involved and are here to poke holes in the study’s set-up. IWhy did they pick Rhode Island and use the ten year interval they did? Was it to cherry pick or was there a legitimate methodology behind it? If anything reminds me of global warming scepticism, it’s the endless procession of ‘debunking’ which never seems to come from people actually knowledgeable in the field. Instead: right-wing marginal scienticians destined to be wrong and paid to be convincing to those who need to hear the message.

  53. Argon says:

    Jeb! helpfully notes that ‘stuff happens.’

    Sad that the immediate outcome of this shooting is that people will buy more guns.

  54. LC says:

    Doug, this is embarrassing, even for you.

  55. Stonetools says:

    @Hal_10000:

    All of those things are good but gun control is also part of the solution because gun control can and does work, as you do grudgingly admit. Those minority communities kill each other with guns and are killed by the police with guns. I note that no gun rights advocate calls for more guns in these minority communities. Clearly they don’t need more guns in Chicago, and indeed could do with fewer guns.
    I note too that you skip over the fact that the Miller Act did reduce deaths from automatic weapons fire to effectively zero. You also skip over the fact that banning or severely restricting categories of weapons like bombs not only seems to work, but is accepted by you as not even a constitutional question. I know that as a libertarian you think this is some kind of freedom issue, but it’s not. If it was , you would be arguing ” bombs don’t kill people, people kill people”. But you are not, and Doug and Jack aren’ t either. That’s a big tell that ideology and tribalism and not logic and evidence is controlling you on this point.
    To sum up, gun control can’t solve the entire gun violence problem in the US. But it is part if the solution, and President Obama is right to press it as part of solution.

  56. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Doug,

    to make the false claim that there are simple solutions

    You do understand the difference between “simple solutions” and “simple steps towards a solution” — don’t you?

    Seaching through the transcript I don’t find the word “solution” used at all.

  57. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Don’t know if this is accurate or not, but consider the possibilities in today’s context.

    Gun Control took a big step forward with Gov. Ron Reagan quickly approving the Mulford Act when the Black Panthers began protesting with open weapons.

    Scary people with open carry guns…….. Ron says we need gun control.

  58. Stonetools says:

    @Tillman:

    The reality is that since WW2 far more people have been killed by small arms( also known as guns) than by any other weapon. So guns are pretty dangerous.
    Fun fact: since 2002 263 Americans have been killed by terrorism worldwide. Americans killed Intentionally by guns in the United States 2002-2013: 141, 276. That doesn’t even include gun deaths from suicides and accidents.
    If gun deaths were a virus, there would be a Manhattan Project aimed at combatting the plague and it would be a matter of national security. We certainly wouldn’t be shrugging it off as some kind of inevitable by product of freedom or say that it was a problem that was somehow inappropriate for the President to speak about.

  59. JKB says:

    So much “concern” for the children? Yet none for the 10,000 children killed each year, many then chopped up and sold for parts”.

    the Congressional Budget Office estimated that about 10,000 unborn babies are killed each year in the United States in abortions that take place at 20 weeks or later in pregnancy.

    That works out to an average of 27.4 late-term abortion per day or 1.14 per hour.

    Oh, wait, that 10,000 is very close to the gun homicides in the US, of course most of those are done by criminals, while some are in self defense.

  60. JKB says:

    The study of Anglo-American constitutional law is that of the liberties of the people. Neither a body of dry technicalities, as the demagogue is prone to consider it, nor an instrument new created in the year 1787 and now but an inconvenient impediment to the national destiny, our own Constitution registers the totality of those principles which, in eight hundred and forty years of struggle, the Saxon peoples have won back again from Norman kings, the common law from Roman conceptions of a Sovereign State; each rising wave of freedom leaving its record in some historic document, then perhaps to recede again until the next flood left a higher record still. And if to the Mother Country is due the invention of the Constitution as a bulwark of “the people against the Executive, to our forefathers belongs the glory of protecting the people against the Legislative as well; and against the usurpations of any Government or law, even of their own making, on that irreducible minimum which time has shown to be necessary to the English-American people for freedom as they understand it. Give them less than this and they will fight.

    THE CONSTITUTION AND THE PEOPLE’S LIBERTIES, F. J. STIMSON. (1907)

  61. Argon says:

    Don’t feed the troll.

  62. Moosebreath says:

    Dan Drezner had a good take on this.

    “But it’s also worth noting what the president did not say. He did not:

    Threaten to veto all appropriation bills unless and until Congress passed gun safety legislation;
    Refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless and until Congress passed gun safety legislation;
    Demand the resignations of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid because they have failed to push through gun safety legislation;

    No, instead, Obama said the following:

    Each time this happens I am going to say that we can actually do something about it, but we’re going to have to change our laws. And this is not something I can do by myself. I’ve got to have a Congress and I’ve got to have state legislatures and governors who are willing to work with me on this.

    Contrast this with some GOP efforts to hold the entire federal government hostage in response to funding for Planned Parenthood. I don’t doubt that anti-abortion conservatives are as appalled that the federal government funds an abortion provider, even if that funding does not actually go towards that task. They clearly feel strongly about the subject. On the other hand, their tactical plan of holding the entire federal government hostage to get their way has contributed to the ouster of House Speaker John Boehner, and will likely lead to more turmoil come December.”

  63. Stonetools says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Shorter Reason: my ignorance and sophistical punditry beats your scientific expertise and firsthand knowledge of the data.
    Here is a more even handed and respectful discussion of the CT study. The conclusion : the study did demonstrate that the CT law worked and moreover, a followuop study showed that repeal of a similar law in Missouri led to more gun related deaths. As usual, scientific study of gun violence supports the case for gun control.

  64. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    As long as I care more about my right to have a gun than your right to live, you are less safe.

    As long as I care more about my right to “keep my gun handy for my self-protection” than I do about my child getting hold of it, my child and his friends and classmates are less safe.

    As long as I care more about my Second Amendment rights than I do about obviously deranged people being able to buy guns, society will be less safe.

    As long as I care more about my own convenience than I do about the safety of society, guns will be easy to obtain.

    It starts and ends with me. I used “me” in this rant because rhetorical theory teaches that sentences that start with “you” create hostility in the audience and cause them to automatically reject the message.

    Now I expect that “you” will see through the trick and downvote “me” to hell. Let the downvoting begin!

  65. MBunge says:

    @Stonetools: Americans killed Intentionally by guns in the United States 2002-2013: 141, 276.

    Over 11 years, that’s about 13,000 deaths a year in a country of 300,000,000. Do more or fewer people die in US auto accidents every year. How many lives would be saved if we put governors on cars so they could never drive faster than 55 mph?

    And to perhaps preempt any hysterical reaction, I’m fully supportive of expanded gun control laws as well as public health reforms to try and deal with the lunacy behind these mass shootings.

    Mike

  66. MBunge says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: It starts and ends with me.

    Yes, it does. According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use resulted in 88,000 deaths a year between 2006-2010, a massively higher body count than guns. Has that led to increased agitation for the return of Prohibition? Of course not, because we decided that our right to booze it up is more important than the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of people.

    Mike

  67. Stonetools says:

    @MBunge:

    In fact, we do have a complex system of traffic laws, car safety laws and regulations aimed at reducing automobile accident deaths as you know. Your argument sounds suspiciously like that of libertarians who used to rail against seat belt laws, speed limit laws, and laws requiring airbags on the basis that X number of automobile deaths per year wasn’t “so bad” and was a small price to pay for the ” freedom” to drive unimpeded by those pesky car safety laws. Libertarians lost that argument too. Frankly, it’s a standard conservative trope
    “In a nation of X million, only Y number of people die from (lung cancer, air pollution, food poisoning ) every year. Why then should we endanger our freedom by imposing socialistic regulation of the ( tobacco industry, manufacturers, meat packing industry). Isn’t our freedom worth a few thousand deaths?” More dramatic statements of this are “We could reduce traffic fatalities to zero if we imposed speed limits of 25 mph or did away with cars altogether. Therefore we shouldn’t impose car safety regulations at all!”
    In short, its the good old ” false dilemma” and “straw man” fallacies, dressed up in statistical garb.
    Circling back to your original point, 141,276 deaths is a lot of deaths when it could be so much less with only reasonable gun safety legislation. You might want to try your argument that “only ten people died” on the grieving parents of those who died in Oregon. No? Didn’t think so.

  68. Paludicola says:

    If the President’s rhetoric is empty, that’s fine. I prefer it to the principal alternatives, which are either callous and psychotic.

    It’s just another hurricane anyway.

  69. LaMont says:

    @Tillman:

    I don’t buy that. They’re both designed for the particular pupose of destruction. Yet, one is treated seriously and the other is treated like it’s not such a big deal. That arguement leads to the logical conclusion that 1, 2, 10 or 25 people dieing at the hands of someone with a gun is not that big of a deal. Guns destroy like nuclear weapons does on a micro scale – except they are arguably just as dangerous in this country because they are easily accessible. Care to count up all of those that died at the hands of a gun in this country (excluding war) and compare that to the number of those that has died by nuclear weapons everywhere else? My central arguement is that one should be taken as serious as the other – they are both crimes against humankind.

  70. Lenoxus says:

    Remember those anti-music-piracy commercials?

    “You wouldn’t regulate a car!”

    @MBunge:

    How many lives would be saved if we put governors on cars so they could never drive faster than 55 mph?

    Aside from simple falseness (cars are regulated to the point that we know the ownership history of every vehicle) this argument will become obsolete. We are headed into an era of driverless vehicles that will likely result in a significant reduction of deaths, unless everyone starts insisting, irrationally, that their freedom to be the one touching the wheel and pressing the pedals trumps all other concerns. (I’m just talking about future conversations — “Say, Fred, aren’t you one of those people who still drives?” — not actual legal policy.)

    “You wouldn’t regulate alcohol!”

    @MBunge:

    Has that led to increased agitation for the return of Prohibition? Of course not, because we decided that our right to booze it up is more important than the avoidable deaths of tens of thousands of people.

    Alcohol prohibition barely affected the actual rate of alcohol consumption; people just bought it from the mob. Gun control does not seem to have a similar effect of swelling the coffers of organized crime (maybe because guns aren’t physically addicting, and aren’t culturally ingrained in the sense of “If you’re having a social event, better buy lots of ammunition!”).

    Also, you’re conflating entirely different levels of regulation— no one is going to constitutionally ban all guns, and alcohol is “controlled”.

    I hear that you do support some increase in gun control, so it’s confusing that you would make those talking points.

    Anyway, I really wish gun-rights supporters could put together a coherent narrative about the status quo on guns. Are the high number of gun deaths the price we pay for Constitutional freedoms (implying that we could make the tradeoff the other way if we wished)? Are they simply impossible to prevent no matter what (“criminals gonna criminal!”)? Or are they actually the result of gun-free zones and too few “good guys with guns”, so what we really need is a huge loosening of restrictions to achieve the ultimate peace that is mutually-assured destruction?

    The last one is rarely said with much of a straight face by enough people, which grants gun-control supporters the upper hand whenever another massacre happens. I sort of wish the Tea Party would get behind it more seriously, the whole arm-the-schools-arm-the-stores-arm-everybody concept, so that we as a nation could laugh them off once and for all.

  71. Jack says:

    http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/10/02/shooting-reported-off-reisterstown-road/

    5 people shot, 1 dead in the middle of the afternoon in Baltimore. Where is President Stompy Feet? Oh, it’s Baltimore, and like Chicago, the president doesn’t care about inner city violence (#Blacklivesdon’tmatter) because he can never stop that and it’s a democrat stronghold with strict firearm laws. Of course, I’m sure this upstanding citizen underwent the requisite background checks and didn’t buy this gun on the street–I guess we need to close the “sell a gun out of your trunk to a would be criminal on the street” loophole.

    Also, I’d like to remind everyone that what stopped the shooter in Oregon was a guy with a gun. Not a guy with a great personality armed with good intentions.

    I repeat:

    I have a gun…

    You don’t want me to have it…

    I won’t let you take it…

    Your move….

  72. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Jack:

    LOL. I love the schoolyard macho fantasies of gun owners. Supposedly you’re an adult, right? Enjoy your paranoid fantasies that will likely end up with either you or one of your loved ones dead because you wanted to play cops and robbers.

    Pro tip: if you want to argue against gun control, at least brush up on appearing sane and not agitating for even more gun violence.

    Actually, never mind, you’re such an easy mark, I can’t pass up this business opportunity. Want to buy some guns? How about some gun magazines? A cutting board shaped like a gun? Also, I have copies of “Delta Farce,” “Navy Seals,” and the John Wayne classic “The Green Berets” on VHS for 2.99.

  73. Jack says:

    @Lit3Bolt: So, you don’t have an argument. Noted.

  74. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    I don’t want to take your gun.

    I do want you to be increasingly shunned, increasingly marginalized and rejected as sort of ‘unclean’ by society.

    I want your lunatic fantasies exposed. I want people to understand that guys like you acquire guns in hopes of finding an excuse some day to shoot and kill a human being. A man might own a gun, but a man who owns many guns – as you claim to do – is a man who fantasizes about murder.

    No laws. No ‘taking,’ I just want people to see guys like you for what you are: a member of a dangerous cult. Once that’s accomplished – and thanks to creeps like you who make it easy, we are well on our way – your political clout will disappear.

  75. Tony W says:

    @MBunge:

    According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use resulted in 88,000 deaths

    Guess that helps explain this:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetstemwedel/2015/10/01/congress-still-bans-cdc-scientists-from-studying-gun-violence/

  76. Modulo Myself says:

    @MBunge:

    Let’s ignore all the regulation that goes with autos and alcohol and say the obvious: very few private citizens actually need guns in the way they need automobiles. Instead, they want guns in the same way that everybody basically wants alcohol. And yet guns are the exact opposite of alcohol, which is actually pleasurable. They’re weapons. Any kind of play that comes from them is based on violence rather than pleasure.

    Of course, we’re not talking about banning weapons. We’re talking about seriously regulating guns at a federal level. One of the things to me that is clear is that guns are so useless and beheld so fraudulently that the merest criticism causes their fans to lose their shit in fear of being found out.

    I mean, I like wine a great deal, but I’m not going to quibble with the analysis that drinking two bottles of Cote Rotie a day is both bad for me and an incredible indulgence and waste, But if I translated my fondness for wine into gun nuttery, I’d be going bankrupt hitting auctions for rare wine, drinking five bottles a day, and blaming my bloated incompetence on a government plot to take away my right to be drunk.

  77. Stonetools says:

    Jack is the parody of the insecure gun nut who depends on the possession of a gun to bolster his feelings of manhood. Honestly I would pity him if his psychological problem didn’t translate into laws that allow thousands of unnecessary gun deaths per year.
    Mean while, Jeb Bush’s response perfectly encapsulates in two words how the gun cult and the Republican Party who panders to it feels about gun deaths : ” Stuff happens.” In other words , to the grieving families of gun death victims: ” FU. I’m never going to inconvenience myself so that there will fewer gun deaths and the rest of America is just going to have to suck it up. Yee haw.”

  78. Yolo Contendere says:

    @Jack: The next move usually ends up being something like this.

    Still want someone to make that next move?

  79. Tillman says:

    @Stonetools:

    If gun deaths were a virus, there would be a Manhattan Project aimed at combatting the plague and it would be a matter of national security.

    Heart disease kills more people than guns do. By your logic, heart disease should receive more consideration in our policy efforts as a matter of national security than gun proliferation. Or have I misunderstood your thrust?

    The beautiful thing is the exact same argument the gun nut counters with, the lumping of multiple weapons into a single banned/limited category ignoring their different uses, is still applicable talking about a broad category like “heart disease” which covers many related ailments. You see why comparisons to disease and nuclear weaponry might be unpersuasive?

    @LaMont:

    I don’t buy that. They’re both designed for the particular pupose of destruction. Yet, one is treated seriously and the other is treated like it’s not such a big deal.

    There’s a very simple reason why nukes are considered “serious” compared to guns, and I’ll demonstrate with a hypothetical. Let’s say I will distribute these weapons to a set number of people in a city, and those people are determined to inflict harm with them. I’ll give a thousand hand guns to one set of dudes in L.A., and I’ll give ten Fat Man-level* nukes to another set of dudes in New York. Which city would you rather be in when the mayhem starts? We can go ten thousand hand guns to one nuke and it still isn’t comparable.

    “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed! But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops! Uh, depending on the breaks.”

    @Jack:

    Oh, it’s Baltimore, and like Chicago, the president doesn’t care about inner city violence (#Blacklivesdon’tmatter) because he can never stop that and it’s a democrat stronghold with strict firearm laws.

    Read a great thread about gun control on reddit so I’m going to repost the dude with the excellent comment here because you’re a fanatic and I don’t trust you to follow links:

    1) Chicago (and Cook County) is much, much larger than most American cities, which skews the numbers. On a per capita basis, Chicago doesn’t even crack the top 30 for murder rates in the US. If Chicago had the violent crime rate of Atlanta (1433 per 100,000) there likely would have been almost TWICE as many shootings this past weekend as there were. Chicago’s violent crime rate, for the record, is around 884/100,000. As long as you’re not living in Englewood or Austin and you’re not in a gang (~80% of gun violence in the city is gang-related), you’re in a very safe American city. The violent crime rate in Chicago has been on a general downward trend for the past 3 and a half decades.

    2) Guns are NOT illegal in Chicago, they’re just onerous to purchase. Several stores and restaurants in Chicago will post policies regarding whether people are allowed to bring guns into the establishment, actually! Which in any of the other big three US cities (LA, NYC) would seem like the wild west. [Edit to add: There are also few if any penalties for being caught with a gun that isn’t yours. If Chicago had strong laws against possessing a gun that isn’t registered to you – and enforced those laws – we’d actually be seeing real gun control in Chicago that doesn’t hurt law-abiding gun owners]

    3) As /r/xeroshogun points out, Chicago is in a unique situation because the CITY has strict gun control laws, but 15 minutes outside the city in any direction is another story entirely. Indiana and Wisconsin both make it very easy to get guns, and Illinois isn’t exactly cracking down on guns either. 1500 guns used in crimes in Chicago from 2009-2013 were traced to a single gun store located about 15 minutes outside of the city.

    4) By comparison to Chicago, New York City has EXTREMELY onerous gun laws, but unlike Chicago those gun laws are also matched by similarly strict (though not as strict as the city) laws in the rest of the state, and in bordering states New Jersey and Connecticut. Perhaps not coincidentally, New York City has one of the lowest per capita violent crime rates of any major city in the United States, so much so that several precincts have ~0 gun-related violent crimes to report in any given recent year. By NYC standards, Chicago’s gun laws practically look like “move here, get a free gun!”

    5) Moreover, ATF stats seem to indicate that it is not city laws that curb gun access, but federal laws and tracking.

    6) Finally, people keep saying straw purchases are illegal. That’s right! But they’re also really easy. Living in Chicago, it’s very easy to find someone who’s legally able to purchase on your behalf. Living in NYC, it’s much, much harder. Don’t just look at how illegal something is, but how difficult it is to do that illegal thing. In Cook County, the situation is “illegal but easy” when it comes to guns – again, because of the laws of the surrounding counties.

    7) And as /u/letsgohawks points out, “once you get your Illinois FOID card, guns are easy to get. You don’t even have to leave Cook county. And since they’re not actually registered to you, strawman purchases are almost impossible to stop.” So I don’t know where people get the idea that getting guns in Chicago is a hard thing to do.

    The dude included links in several sentences I’m not reproducing to avoid the moderation queue. Happy reading!

    * Let’s keep in mind Fat Mans are developmentally equivalent to flintlock pistols, the sorts of weapons around when the Second Amendment was written.

  80. bk says:

    Maybe your worst post ever, Doug.

  81. Rafer Janders says:

    @Tillman:

    Heart disease kills more people than guns do. By your logic, heart disease should receive more consideration in our policy efforts as a matter of national security than gun proliferation. Or have I misunderstood your thrust?

    When’s the last time someone walked into a school and killed a dozen people in one minute with his heart disease?

  82. Tony W says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    When’s the last time someone walked into a school and killed a dozen people in one minute with his heart disease?

    Maybe here? I guess that takes more than one minute :o)

  83. John Cole says:

    This is a very embarrassing post.

    Not for President Obama. For the author.

  84. JKB says:

    There is no gun control. There is only the desire to limit possession of guns to a small elite and their minions.

    Which is odd, since many here are often complaining about how those minions gun down innocent minorities.

    Is their some weird belief system that if the elite and their retainers have all the guns, they’ll suddenly not use those guns against people attacking them?

    It is interesting

    Pro-gun control – desire to limit the liberty to own/possess guns to a small elite and their cronies and minions

    Anti-capitalism – desire to limit the liberty to retain and invest surplus earnings, those over subsistence, in additional productive/income-generating activities for personal betterment to a small elite and their cronies and minions.

    I think I see a common thread…

  85. James Pearce says:

    @Jack:

    Also, I’d like to remind everyone that what stopped the shooter in Oregon was a guy with a gun. Not a guy with a great personality armed with good intentions.

    This morning’s headline: Oregon shooting: Medical examiner rules gunman killed self, sheriff says

  86. Tillman says:

    @Rafer Janders: So it’s not the death caused that matters, but the crime? Then you have to reckon with crime in general being on a downward slope regardless of policy. Changing the emphasis doesn’t get rid of the essential problem.

  87. Grewgills says:

    @James Pearce:
    Well, Jack is sort of right, he did have a gun.

  88. Dave says:

    @Gustopher: You speak of “a congress that will accept no restrictions on guns of any kind”. That is demonstrably untrue.

    A few examples of federal firearms laws include:

    – Heavy restrictions on “Title II weapons”, such as fully automatic weapons;
    – The requirement for background checks on most (though not all) firearms purchases;
    – Various restrictions and licensing requirements for the interstate sale of firearms and for the manufacture of firearms.

    These restrictions are less than what you presumably advocate, but they are significantly more than “none”.

  89. Rafer Janders says:

    @Tillman:

    So it’s not the death caused that matters, but the crime?

    No, from a public health standard, it’s the transmissibility i.e infectiousness of the behavior. Certain public health problems, such as heart disease, are caused by individual behaviors that, while having an impact across society en masse, are limited to that one individual and take years to manifest. Certain other problems, such as Ebola or mass shootings, have the potential to have one individual infect many other innocent people suddenly and without warning. We therefore often take the threat of infectious diseases more seriously than we do the threat of individual self-inflicted diseases.

  90. JKB says:

    Many gun control advocates seem to be under the impression that governments can pass new felony legislation that will take guns off the streets without requiring more aggressive policing, without putting more people in prison, and without the racial disparities in enforcement that characterize the rest of our criminal justice system. This is a fantasy: Gun control and tough-on-crime politics are two sides of the same coin. If governments are serious about cracking down on illegal guns in a meaningful way, they will need to use all of the same tools that they used to crack down on crime from the 1970s onward—tough criminal penalties (i.e., long prison sentences for offenders) and aggressive policing, especially in poor and minority neighborhoods that tend to have the highest rates of crime. Indeed, as Reason‘s A. Barton Hinkle pointed out, New York’s notorious stop-and-frisk policy, which left-wing mayor Bill DeBlasio led the charge against, was arguably one of the most effective gun control policies in the country.

  91. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    This is a fantasy: Gun control and tough-on-crime politics are two sides of the same coin.

    Bullshit.

    Notice how most of the liberal gun controls solutions, none of which are even remotely acceptable on the right, happen at the gun store? We don’t need a “tough on crime” approach. We just need a regulatory apparatus and an enforcement mechanism.

  92. michael reynolds says:
  93. anjin-san says:

    @James Pearce:

    Don’t bring up facts. I get the feeling that hero fantasies involving guns are all that Jack has…

  94. anjin-san says:

    @JKB:

    I think I see a common thread…

    Idiots that swallow the nonsense the right wing media feeds them with gusto?

  95. LaMont says:

    @Tillman:

    I’ll give a thousand hand guns to one set of dudes in L.A., and I’ll give ten Fat Man-level* nukes to another set of dudes in New York. Which city would you rather be in when the mayhem starts? We can go ten thousand hand guns to one nuke and it still isn’t comparable.

    My point is, in reality, todays policies would dictate that New York would be a much safer place as nuclear weapons are regulated to an exponential degree.

    I understand that quantity makes nuclear weapons very dangerous. In fact, most people understand this and it is the reason that anyone arguing their rights to own a nuclear bomb is being infringed is insane. So why isn’t this same argument for guns also considered insane when you think about the actual impact it has on society? Just using back-of-the-envelope numbers – The nuclear bombings and Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed about 300,000 people. On average, the number of deaths from guns in this country come out to about 30,000 per year. So in just the past ten years, the U.S. has matched the number of those killed by nuclear bombs in Japan. And sense overall crime has trended down the past 30 or 40 years, you could argue that the impact on gun deaths in the U.S. to date is the equivalent of one Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombing event on U.S. soil every ten years for the past 3 to 4 decades. In this sense, the impact of guns are much more dangerous than the impact of nuclear weapons. Why? Because we do not think guns are as dangerous as nuclear bombs and the statistics bare the fruit of our passive culture/policies/attitudes toward them.

  96. LaMont says:

    @LaMont:

    My point is, in reality, todays policies would dictate that New York would be a much safer place as nuclear weapons are regulated to an exponential degree

    I meant LA – That is if the people in NY could use the Nukes against those in LA and those in LA used there guns against those in NY. Or NY if you meant the mayhem stays local – but you get my point…

  97. Sherparick says:

    Actually, we know what would works quite well, not full proof, but at least they tend to make the massacres very rare, and those are the very serious and complete gun laws that exist in the U.K,, Australia, Europe, and Japan. Also, Heller is just a Democratic President and couple of Democratic appointments over the next 8 years (if Kennedy and or Scalia leave the court) from being reversed.

    Even without deleting the 2d Amendment from the Constitution, I would use the “well regulated militia” bit to regulate the hell out of gun ownership if I was the Green Lantern. In the alternative, the President must use his “well worn empty rhetoric,” to motivate the currently unorganized and insufficiently motivated to go out and hurt pro-gun legislators at the ballot box. Because that is the only way you change things in a democracy. Currently, and for the past 20 years, the pro-gun forces, motivated by one part fanaticism, one part racial identity politics, and two parts greed (1 part the media grifters and fund raisers and 1 part the gun and ammunition manufacturers) have had all the motivation.

  98. Jenos Idanian says:

    Now that we’ve had a chance to actually learn some facts about this shooting, a few thoughts:

    1) This shooter was biracial. I wonder, if President Obama had a son, if he’d look like him.

    2) The initial reports that the shooter was a “Republican” turned out to be BS, and I suspect it was a hurried read of his support for the IRA — the Irish Republican Army.

    3) After the black church shootings, there was a jihad against the Confederate battle flag because he liked it. This shooter specifically targeted Christians for execution. Will we at least see a few calls for toning down the anti-Christian rhetoric?

    4) Yet more call for “common sense gun control laws,” but an appallingly typical lack of details. The first example:

    How about close the gun show loophole
    Reinstate the prohibition of assault weapons and high cap mags
    Required firearms training
    National gun registry
    Mental health screening requirement

    A) The “gun show loophole” is a myth. If a dealer sells a gun, there must be a background check. If a private seller sells one, there doesn’t need to be. Whether or not this happens at a gun show or the parking lot of a CVS doesn’t matter.

    B) “Assault weapons” are used in a laughably small number of crimes, and the very term is a politically-created fiction. And “high-capacity magazines” are a boogeyman.

    C) Training by licensed trainers in approved facilities — and see how quick those approvals get passed. Look at what would-be legal gun owners in DC and Chicago and New York already face. This is a ban by any other name.

    D) Just what would that achieve? The only goal I can see would be in facilitating confiscations from legal gun owners.

    E) See C.

    So, these “common-sense gun laws.” I’d like to hear how those “common-sense laws” would pass these incredibly simple and logical tests:

    1) How would they have prevented any of the previous shootings?

    2) How will they discriminate between would-be criminals and those who would never commit a mass shooting?

    3) How can they pass the 2nd Amendment?

    It’s also been pointed out that we can pretty much count on these laws having a disproportionate impact on black people, especially black men. Add in that it will be enforced by the same cops who are the targets of the “black lives matter” protests, it’s a lock that it will be considered racist. THEN toss in how most guns used in violent crimes are obtained through other means than the sales that would be targeted by the above laws, and just what will this achieve?

    Oh, it makes liberals feel good about themselves. And that, after all, is The Greatest Good, right?

    4) What limits would they have that would protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners? j

  99. JKB says:

    @James Pearce: happen at the gun store?

    So in your plan, there won’t be any effort to actually stop killings committed with firearms, you just want to make it more difficult for the people who don’t misuse firearms?

    Funny wrinkle in your plan. Few of those serving time who used a gun in their offense got their gun from a retail outlet, pawn shop, flea market or gun show. 40% got their firearm from family or friends as in borrowed, and 30% got theirs from “the street” and 10% by illegal means, such as theft. So, how is your “happen at the gun store” plan suppose to reduce gun crimes? These numbers are even less for the largest group of gun offenders, those 25 and younger, even the larger 20 and under group who are prohibited from gun possession by federal law. Not to mention 8 in 10 inmates were prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm when they used one in their current offense.

    Hmm?

  100. gVOR08 says:

    @michael reynolds: I mostly agree with you, culture must change. That Fred Hiatt agrees with us gives me pause.

  101. Mu says:

    Turns out Obama’s “I can’t do anything” was the most effective speech he’s given on the topic. His previous threats of new legislation usually led to panic buying. We had a gun show this weekend, and it was dead, maybe half the usual crowd, and a shadow to those after CT and CO.

  102. James Pearce says:

    @JKB: So, in other words, you support allowing mentally ill wannabe-killers free and unfettered access to guns? Let’s not beat around the bush now.

    Every time a massacre occurs, we hear calls for gun control. Understandable under the circumstances. Every time someone dies from eating peanut butter, we hear calls for more peanut butter labeling. People see a problem and want to fix it, even if the solutions may turn out to be imperfect.

    And every time a massacre occurs, we get this chorus of support for unfettered gun rights. What gets me is that it’s so often out of proportion to the calls for gun control, which are rather weak and marginal. (See the freak out over magazine limits, which is, at heart, an argument over extra bullets.)

    Considering these measures are weak and marginal, why not take a chill pill? Why not let a massacre pass without defending law-abiding gun owners?

    The right is about to jump the shark on this issue, and I can think of no greater peril to the second amendment than if it’s primary defenders lose all credibility. As proponents of gun rights, righties should be first in line for “common-sense” gun control measures. They should be comfortable setting boundaries and defending them. They should not, with these stakes, be so damn indulgent.

  103. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: So, what rules do you want to put in place regarding the mentally ill? Was this last shooter even diagnosed? At what point during examination and treatment do you want to deny the patient their rights, and how would you deal with those who value their rights above treatment and don’t seek (or accept) treatment because they fear losing their rights?

    You want to change the rules. So tell us how you want those rules changed.

  104. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Why not let a massacre pass without defending law-abiding gun owners?

    Because the first thing the gun-control advocates usually do is to disarm those who didn’t do the shooting. See above for plenty of examples.

  105. James Pearce says:

    @JKB: Here’s Hillary’s big plan to take guns from law-abiding Americans for gun control:

    * closing the so-called gun show loophole, under which private sellers at gun shows and on the Internet aren’t required to perform background checks;
    * closing the so-called Charleston loophole, under which an individual with a felony record who would otherwise be barred from getting a gun can buy one if their background check is not completed within three days;
    * repealing the gun industry’s exemption from lawsuits against manufacturers, which they were granted under a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act;
    * prohibiting domestic abusers from buying and possessing firearms.

    Background checks and lawsuits, that’s about it.

    So bold, so revolutionary, so…banal.

    Seriously, bud, this is what the “gun rights” crowd is fighting. You won the war. Now can you accept the victory?

  106. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Let me take a second pass at that.

    Why not let a massacre pass without defending law-abiding gun owners?

    Why not let a massacre pass without attacking law-abiding gun owners?

  107. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: So bold, so revolutionary, so…banal.

    So, what would your “bold” and “revolutionary” solutions be?

  108. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Because the first thing the gun-control advocates usually do is to disarm those who didn’t do the shooting.

    See my previous post about Clinton’s “bold” “plan.”

    The first thing the gun-control advocates do is call for background checks. This “disarms” who exactly, and how?

    So, what rules do you want to put in place regarding the mentally ill? Was this last shooter even diagnosed?

    If you think I’m calling for rules targeting the mentally ill, nah. This is the essential problem we’re dealing with: How to tell the murderer from the sportsman?

    The answer I think we all can agree on is, well, you can’t. So you craft rules that affect both the murderer and the sportsman, rules which the sportsman can endure but dissuade the murderer.

    To get there, there must be some acknowledgement that the sportsman can, in fact, endure things like background checks and clip limits. Set the boundary, and defend it.

  109. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Why not let a massacre pass without attacking law-abiding gun owners?

    Such delicate snowflakes…”attacked” by background checks.

    Maybe this would go better if you guys on the right were participating in the same conversation as we liberals. If you want to defend “law-abiding gun owners,” stop rising to the defense of rampage killers who, almost to a man, are “law-abiding gun owners” until the moment they shoot up a college campus or theater.

    So, what would your “bold” and “revolutionary” solutions be?

    The glory of being a network engineer instead of a political scientist is that the solutions I have to come up with are of limited scope…

    The downside is that I see a problem, and think of how to fix it. Some problems have no solutions and need a “work around.” But by no means should a problem be left to fester and grow.

  110. Dave says:

    “Alcohol prohibition barely affected the actual rate of alcohol consumption; people just bought it from the mob.”

    That is not true. See this NBER research paper on the topic, which estimates that alcohol consumption initially fell to 30% of its pre-Prohibition level. It did increase in later years, to 60% to 70% of pre-Prohibition levels. That is still a 30% to 40% decrease, which is far more than “barely affected”.

    http://www.nber.org/papers/w3675

  111. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: So, universal background checks. Every sale goes through the federal database.

    You willing to expand the database’s capacity to handle the increase? Liberals like to say that 30 to 40 percent of all gun sales do NOT go through a background check. So you wanna ramp up the capacity from 50-70%, give or take?

    You wanna expand access to who can run background checks? What’s to keep that from being abused? Suppose I’m stalking someone, and want to find out of they might have a gun. Run a quick background check; if they come back rejected, then they probably don’t.

    You wanna require all gun sales to go through a dealer? How are you going to compel dealers to rubber-stamp deals? What if I want to sell my old gun to my brother, and no dealer within 50 miles wants to be bothered?

    The majority of guns used in crimes aren’t obtained through legal sales. So just what the hell would this achieve?

    But all that leaves us with the confounding conundrum of why these shootings keep happening in gun-free zones. Why don’t we launch a massive literacy drive so that EVERYONE can understand that when they see a sign saying “GUN FREE ZONE,” they need to not bring any guns in there?

    And again, this particular shooter was targeting Christians. Could someone PLEASE make at least a token condemnation for the heated anti-Christian rhetoric that obviously inspired this guy and drove him to this horrific act?

  112. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Such delicate snowflakes…”attacked” by background checks.

    OK, I accept that you feel so impotent in this case, you need to lash out at SOMEBODY, and luckily you chose people who are tough enough to take it and are level-headed enough to not choose to retaliate. I get it.

    But you’re still arguing “why are you defending those people I hit for no reason?”

  113. Dave says:

    @Dave: Link here on the NBER paper that I mentioned above – http://www.nber.org/papers/w3675

  114. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    OK, I accept that you feel so impotent in this case, you need to lash out at SOMEBODY, and luckily you chose people who are tough enough to take it and are level-headed enough to not choose to retaliate. I get it.

    Please….

    I see “law-abiding gun owners” as a distinct category from the “psychos planning gun massacres” set. The right are the ones who think an attack on one is an attack on the other.

    You wanna expand access to who can run background checks? What’s to keep that from being abused?

    You’re worried about background check abuse, but not gun massacres….

    Priorities, man. Priorities.

    You wanna require all gun sales to go through a dealer? How are you going to compel dealers to rubber-stamp deals?

    How else? A regulatory regime with an enforcement mechanism. You know, like how you shut down bars that sell alcohol to underage kids.

    But all that leaves us with the confounding conundrum of why these shootings keep happening in gun-free zones.

    Ah, the old “seeing a correlation, mistaking it for causation” gambit. Only works until that day in junior high you hear “Correlation doesn’t mean causation.”

    Could someone PLEASE make at least a token condemnation for the heated anti-Christian rhetoric that obviously inspired this guy and drove him to this horrific act?

    I’ll condemn any rhetoric that leads people to commit massacres. I also support making it hard for them to acquire the material means to actually commit them.

    How come that’s a bridge too far for you?

  115. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: That’s a step in the right direction. Maybe you don’t recall the anti-Confederate jihad, but I do, and I was wondering what was the difference this time.

    And as for the gun-free zones… if the presence of guns is such a bad thing, why do these bad things keep happening in places where the bad people are pretty much guaranteed that they won’t be facing other people with guns? When was the last mass shooting at a gun show? At a gun store? A shooting range?

    Willy Sutton famously didn’t say (but wished he had) that he robbed banks because that’s where the money is. These killers commit their shootings where the guaranteed-unarmed victims are, and most of the time kill themselves when they finally face someone else who does have a gun. That’s not simple correlation; that is a pretty easily grasped cause and effect.

    But how about you take one more step here: just how would your proposed measures have stopped this shooting? Or any of the prior ones? Or is this just so you can feel like you’re doing SOMETHING, regardless of whether or not it’ll actually do any good?

  116. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    When was the last mass shooting at a gun show? At a gun store? A shooting range?

    Chris Kyle, the deadliest sniper in Navy history, was murdered at a shooting range. (Shootings at gun shows are rather common. They’re most often accidents, but I believe your point is that guns promote safety so I can understand why accidental shootings at gun shows go without mention.)

    Beyond that, don’t mistake a preference for sitting ducks as a preference for gun-free zones. Almost all of these guys consider their rampage their final act. They’re not going to stay home and rethink their life if we get rid of gun-free zones. They will only armor-up to the point where we won’t need just a “good guy with a gun” but a “good guy with a gun that has armor-piercing bullets and who is also a crack shot.”

    just how would your proposed measures have stopped this shooting?

    I haven’t proposed anything. Other people have, not Republicans, of course, since they’re rather useless on this topic. If I were to propose something, my proposed measures probably wouldn’t have stopped the shooting either.

    But they would have made it much harder to carry out. Determined killers only, please. No more of these lazy bastards who rely on indifference and water-carrying gun enthusiasts.

  117. JKB says:

    @James Pearce:

    Oooh, Hillary is going to go after the 0.4% of firearm-related crime where the gun was purchased at a flea market or gun show. And that assumes the person convicted was a prohibited person at the time the bought the gun.

    Oh, but we will get the situation like in the state of Washington where two hunters trying to safely cross a fence violate the law then they hand their rifle to the other while they climb over.

    And the “Charleston Loophole”? That is in there to stop people like you getting control of the background system and delaying response to deny people their Constitutional rights. In any case, there are procedures where the usually state police (don’t know SC specific system) can issue a denial pending review, which can be appealed but it does take more than 3 days. On the other hand, if they just sit on the check it goes through. So is Hillary going to somehow impose penalties on state agencies for failure to perform? I think there is a State’s rights issue there.

    So you want to be able to harass gun manufactures for the use of their product by purchasers. This is to accomplish what? Well, except all those ideas on how to make a Constitutional right expensive and only available to the wealthy. Why do you on the Left hate poor people?

    Those properly adjudicated, theres that old due process (damn civil rights), of domestic abuse is a prohibited person. So what’s Hillary going to do? Deny due process?

    And the reason for the opposition is that the gun controllers and their politicians are not trustworthy. Today you have this list of “reasonable” controls, tomorrow more. You wanted background checks, you got background checks, now you want more background checks and to do away with due process.

    If you weren’t so despicable, there might be some trust to work with.

  118. James Pearce says:

    @JKB:

    If you weren’t so despicable, there might be some trust to work with.

    Yeah, well, if someone told you that your emotional state was the most important thing in the world, that person was wrong and you’re a fool for believing them.

    I mean….seriously.

    So is Hillary going to somehow impose penalties on state agencies for failure to perform? I think there is a State’s rights issue there.

    You’re mooing on about “State’s rights” and you want us to ask your opinion on how to prevent gun massacres?

    That’s a big flashing sign, JKB, that says “DISREGARD. DISREGARD.”

  119. rondo1342 says:
  120. James Pearce says:

    @rondo1342: From your link:

    But even if these worries about confiscation seem politically misplaced and even they are encouraged by political advocates (psychological persuasion is, after all, what political advocates on all sides do), that doesn’t mean they are fake or easily dismissed. Any attempt to reform gun laws will have to grapple with this fear of government.

    As if the right’s paranoia on the issue is something that should be assuaged rather than totally disregarded.

    When righties decry minor gun restrictions as “gun grabs,” that just means it’s liberals who have to be more reasonable…

    Sure, dude.

  121. rondo1342 says:

    @James Pearce: From one of your earlier comments:

    “Seriously, bud, this is what the “gun rights” crowd is fighting. You won the war. Now can you accept the victory?”

    I’m perfectly happy to declare victory and retire from the field, when it comes to gun rights. But too many people aren’t.

    Look, I’m fully aware of the problem with gun violence in the US, and I’m all ears to listen to ideas for reducing gun violence other than the current stale gun control proposals…for example, start by ending the idiot war on drugs, IMO the single biggest driver of gun violence in America in my near 50 year lifetime. I’m open to anything regarding tightening up mental illness laws, but recognize there’s serious issues about patient privacy rights there, too. I’m very leery of locking up/institutionalizing someone who “might” be violent, based on a psychological profile….much room for abuse there.

    But stuff like this (from Hillary’s proposals you provided in same comment above):

    “repealing the gun industry’s exemption from lawsuits against manufacturers, which they were granted under a 2005 law called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act;”

    just gets my neckhairs up, and is a fine example of why I won’t retire from the field. How does this particular proposal do anything to deter anyone from using a gun criminally? Do you think a drug trafficker who’s about to execute a rival, or a kid like Dylan Roof who’s arrived at the mental state to go shoot up a church, care about the finer points of product liability laws? This seems more of an attack on a legal industry that provides products tens of millions of people use responsibly, rather than address gun violence.

  122. James Pearce says:

    @rondo1342:

    How does this particular proposal do anything to deter anyone from using a gun criminally?

    That’s a good question, but it’s also an incomplete question.

    If we could just debate how to deter gun crime, we might come up with some solutions. But we have to debate how to deter gun crime without restricting access to guns.. It’s the difference between debating how to build a house versus how to build a house without tools.

    That’s why we get this background check stuff, this gun show loophole stuff, this product liability stuff. Lefty politicians pimp this stuff not because they think it will solve the problem, but because they think it will navigate all the obstacles right-wingers have put in our path. It’s true, background checks won’t actually deter gun crime. But it also doesn’t restrict access to guns for, ahem, “law-abiding gun owners.”

    That’s why I think it’s ironic to hear complaints from gun enthusiasts that they laws won’t do anything. Yes, that’s true. We can’t have laws that “do something” about rampage killers. We can only have toothless, BS laws because that’s the only thing the right will support.

    And, hell, they won’t even consider that stuff. It’s all “gun grabs” and “gun free zones.”

    (PS. Hillary Clinton is an idiot if she thinks her gun policies will a) “do something” or b) pass the right-wing gauntlet. Let it be known: They will do neither. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why I don’t support Clinton. She thinks the right can still be bought off with “common sense” compromises. Show her John Boehner’s scalp and she won’t change her mind. )

  123. Lenoxus says:

    @Dave:

    “Alcohol prohibition barely affected the actual rate of alcohol consumption; people just bought it from the mob.”

    That is not true. See this NBER research paper on the topic, which estimates that alcohol consumption initially fell to 30% of its pre-Prohibition level. It did increase in later years, to 60% to 70% of pre-Prohibition levels. That is still a 30% to 40% decrease, which is far more than “barely affected”.

    My mistake. I had been fooled by the common exaggerations of the amendment’s effect.

  124. rondo1342 says:

    @James Pearce:

    “But we have to debate how to deter gun crime without restricting access to guns.. ”

    and

    “It’s true, background checks won’t actually deter gun crime. But it also doesn’t restrict access to guns for, ahem, “law-abiding gun owners.”

    Well, yeah! That’s the whole debate right there! I am a law abiding citizen, nothing more serious than a few speeding tickets over the years. Why SHOULD my access to weapons be more restricted, above and beyond the current statutory requirements (no felonies, no mental illness, no outstanding warrants, ete etc)? How does making it harder for me to access a weapon prevent a weekend in Chicago that sees a dozen+ people shot? Assuming I meet the requirements above, it’s not on me to further prove my worthiness to exercise a right explicitly stated in the Second Amendment, it’s on the government to not unduly restrict it. I need no justification whatsoever, what anyone thinks I “need” is irrelevant (speaking of what’s currently legal, here…..not 155mm howitzers or SAMs). Only if I demonstrate behavior that is harmful to others, then is the state justified in removing my access to them. And yes, this will often be apparent only “after the fact”, but that’s the tradeoff between liberty and security…..a state that attempts to legislate harm to 0%, that restricts everyone’s behavior based on what a few do, is one I don’t want to live in.

    I’m not calling for the abolition of the current regulatory setup, just opposed to adding more layers to it that those determined to do harm will not comply with.

    And if that makes me a “right-winger” (note: I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party) who’s placing “obstacles” in the way of “common sense” –whatever that means– gun control laws, then guilty as charged. This isn’t to say I’m indifferent to reducing gun violence; it’s that I’m hostile to gun control efforts that have zero effect on the people committing gun violence.

    IL’s Firearm Owners ID (FOID) card is an excellent example of meaningless gun control laws I despise, I had to have one when I lived in IL a few years ago. You have to have the card to buy guns and/or ammo, state does all the usual background checks, etc etc…..cost $10 or so, can’t remember.

    I’ll make the bold prediction that none of the shootings in Chicago this year were committed by FOID cardholders. Nor did lack of FOID card impede them in any way of obtaining weapons/ammo. And I’ll also wager zero FOID cardholders shot anybody in IL this year. The only thing I could discern the FOID card accomplished was funneling citizens’ $$$ into the state’s coffers.

    I’m all ears on proposals to end gun violence (suggestion: end the drug war, that’s killed FAR more people than any number of mass shooters……and it would reduce violence and 5th Amendment abuses, ie civil asset forfeiture, by cops, too!). But I’m not interested in hearing about proposals that only add additional bureaucratic hoops for law abiding gun owners to jump through while having zero deterrent effect on those bent on doing harm.

    Lastly, as you said earlier, we gun rights advocates have “won the war,” and that you want us to “accept the victory”. I’ll happily do exactly that, once gun control proponents concede defeat….and they haven’t. Until then, I’m not retiring from the field of battle.

  125. James Pearce says:

    @rondo1342:

    Why SHOULD my access to weapons be more restricted, above and beyond the current statutory requirements (no felonies, no mental illness, no outstanding warrants, ete etc)?

    Why do I have to take my shoes off at the airport or go through the metal detectors when I get called for jury duty? Why do I, a totally competent driver, have to go the speed limit?

    We live in a society with other people in it.

    a state that attempts to legislate harm to 0%, that restricts everyone’s behavior based on what a few do, is one I don’t want to live in.

    But you live in that state now.

    I’ll make the bold prediction that none of the shootings in Chicago this year were committed by FOID cardholders. Nor did lack of FOID card impede them in any way of obtaining weapons/ammo. And I’ll also wager zero FOID cardholders shot anybody in IL this year.

    I’ll take that wager just based on statistical probability. How much do I win?

    I read something somewhere that says most of the guns used in Chicago crimes were purchased outside Illinois. Seems to me that the FOID card might deter more gun crimes in Chicago….if Chicago were further away from Indiana.

    Also:

    I’m all ears on proposals to end gun violence…..But I’m not interested in hearing about proposals that only add additional bureaucratic

    Either you’re “all ears” or you’re “not interested” in certain solutions. You can’t be both. Let’s just be honest with ourselves and say you’re not actually “all ears,” that there are some things more important to you than reducing gun massacres.

    And seriously, I would totally high five the guy that comes out and says, “Yeah, you know….I’ve thought a lot about this and I’m willing to accept a monthly or bi-monthly gun massacre as the price of living in a free society.”

    People may look at you weird, wondering why you won’t accept bureaucratic inconvenience instead of dead people, but hey…..own it, man. Don’t apologize for your beliefs. Just work to make sure they’re not garbage.

  126. rondo1342 says:

    @James Pearce:

    “And seriously, I would totally high five the guy that comes out and says, “Yeah, you know….I’ve thought a lot about this and I’m willing to accept a monthly or bi-monthly gun massacre as the price of living in a free society.”

    People may look at you weird, wondering why you won’t accept bureaucratic inconvenience instead of dead people, but hey…..own it, man. Don’t apologize for your beliefs. Just work to make sure they’re not garbage.”

    I see. So we are mutually in agreement on the problem (gun violence), but have different views on the solution. But apparently my disagreement with the current proposed solutions by the gun control crowd, based on reasons of efficacy rather than emotion, is the equivalent of me being “pro gun massacre.” Got it.

    I deeply resent the notion that my desire to protect the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens is conflated with an indifference of the victims of mass shootings. The perpetrators of those shootings are responsible for their actions, not anyone else.

    And no, I will not accept “bureaucratic inconvenience” that does nothing –key words here are “does nothing”– to solve the problem. If melting down my guns (all five of them, does that make me a “gun nut”?) would guarantee there’d never be another mass shooting in the US, I’d do it in a heartbeat. If going through the same level of investigation I went through to get a TS/SCI clearance I had when I was active duty USAF would reduce gun homicides in Chicago (or Baltimore, or wherever) by 90%, I’d be all over that being the requirement to buy a gun.

    But neither of those two measures will do one goddamned thing to reduce the current levels of gun violence, because those willing to employ guns in a criminally violent manner simply do not care what the law says. To ignore this truth is to ignore reality.

    We need to address the WHY people resort to violence, not what they use. And this is equally applicable to knives, baseball bats, bare hands, tire irons, whatever. You’re just as dead being stabbed as you are being shot. The focus on the implement rather than the motivation is misplaced, IMO…..

    If you truly believe my opposition to the current proposed gun control laws = indifference to/reveling in mass shootings, then f#ck you, and the horse you rode in on.

    I have nothing else to say. I’ll depart the field of this comment section, but will not depart the field of defending citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

  127. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    how would you deal with those who value their rights above treatment

    Every time I think you can’t say anything stupider than you already have…

    News flash skippy – people who are are so seriously mentally ill that they commit mass murder have thought processes radically different than folks who watch Fox News obsessively, pat themselves on their backs for being great patriots, and obsesses about teh tyranny. This group is composed of gullible simpletons. Folks who are psychotic are something else.

    I once took a gun away from a relative who is a paranoid schizophrenic who was off his meds at the time. My blood still runs cold thinking about the many ways that could have ended horribly.

    And you are worried about his “rights”. My God you are an imbecile.

  128. anjin-san says:

    @rondo1342:

    those willing to employ guns in a criminally violent manner simply do not care what the law says. To ignore this truth is to ignore reality.

    Now all you have to do is explain why every other county in the advanced world seems to do a vastly more successful job of controlling gun violence than we do, and reconcile that with more or less unfettered access to guns in this country.

  129. Mu says:

    @anjin-san: There is a big difference between Europe and the US so. Guns in Europe were mainly outlawed as a political danger to the state, not to reduce violence. No one there ever thought it was not a measure of suppression; the concept of taking guns away “for their own good” is something new, probably pioneered by the Australians.

  130. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: I once took a gun away from a relative who is a paranoid schizophrenic who was off his meds at the time. My blood still runs cold thinking about the many ways that could have ended horribly.

    Well, ain’t you heroic. But let’s look at your actions from a proper, “liberal” perspective.

    You decided that your relative was incompetent to possess his guns. Did you call the authorities, or did you take it on yourself to act? Why wouldn’t you involve the authorities? They have the power to take the gun AND keep him from possessing any more.

    Do you have the medical training and certifications to declare that your relative was incompetent and unable to exercise his rights? Or did you just act?

    Do you have the legal authority to declare him incompetent? Or did you go vigilante?

    Do you possess a gun permit? Or were you in illegal possession of a gun?

    I’ll guess you don’t, but I won’t declare it. But even if you did, you didn’t undergo a background check before taking possession of that gun.

    Sounds like you stole the gun, rationalizing it by saying that the person was incompetent (which you lack the legal authority to make) and chose to confiscate that weapon (which you lack the legal authority to do) and ended up with possession of a gun without the permission of the owner and without undergoing a background check.

    That wasn’t your intention? Don’t matter. THE LAW IS THE LAW, and that’s how the law is and would be if the gun-control advocates get their way.

    So… fun anecdote, yay for you — but it doesn’t advance the gun control argument one damned bit.

    But since we’re going for anecdotes, here’s a list of
    mass shootings and would-be mass shootings stopped by civilians with guns.

    Oh, and wonderfully peaceful, gun-free Europe? Not so much.

  131. Jenos Idanian says:

    Oh, and previous links courtesy of LA violent crimes prosecutor Patterico. I should have linked him in the previous comment, but 1) it would have been a third link in a single comment and risked auto moderation, and 2) he deserves to be distinguished in a unique comment.

  132. James Pearce says:

    @rondo1342:

    I deeply resent the notion that my desire to protect the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens is conflated with an indifference of the victims of mass shootings.

    That’s kind of the problem on the right. After having conflated their desire to protect the 2nd Amendment with indifference to mass shootings, all we liberals get is resentment for pointing it out.

    And like I’ve said before….this is not about the pro-gun crowd’s emotions.

    And no, I will not accept “bureaucratic inconvenience” that does nothing –key words here are “does nothing”– to solve the problem.

    Yeah well, I don’t accept someone criticizing any gun control suggestion for “doing nothing” when their preferred approach is to literally do nothing.

    Or…

    We need to address the WHY people resort to violence, not what they use. And this is equally applicable to knives, baseball bats, bare hands, tire irons, whatever.

    What we need to do is stop pretending the whys of the violence are so inexplicable. The killers tell us. Some of them are mentally ill and have paranoid fantasies they want to act out. Some are resentful dicks and are seeking some kind of revenge on the world. Some just had a bad day and decided to end it all with a blaze of glory.

    The whys are, frankly, not that interesting. Creepy people doing creepy things. That’s happened all over the world for thousands of years.

    Why, though, why does here in America, in the 21st Century, why does it manifest itself in mass shootings? This is why: Because when the creep walks into the gun store to purchase his death arsenal, the clerk doesn’t say “What do you need this for?” He says, “How much do you need?”

  133. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    But since we’re going for anecdotes, here’s a list of mass shootings and would-be mass shootings stopped by civilians with guns.

    Volokh goes back 20 years to get 9 “anecdotes” of mass shootings stopped by civilians with guns. Reaching…

  134. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: 20 years? That’s nothing. I’m waiting for the FIRST “gunfight at the OK Corral” that has been predicted every time gun control laws are loosened.

    But there are nine real examples, on a vague tangent. Any thoughts on the legality of anjin’s purported heroism?

  135. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    But let’s look at your actions from a proper, “liberal” perspective.

    You see Jenos, that’s the difference between you and a rational person. You are more interested in scoring you sad little political points than anything else (the truly sad part being that you never actually score). A normal person is more concerned with doing the right thing, keeping their family safe, and taking care of business.

    I can only imagine what an ineffective little twit you are in real life.

  136. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’m waiting for the FIRST “gunfight at the OK Corral” that has been predicted every time gun control laws are loosened.

    Back in May, some bikers got into a gunfight at a restaurant in Waco. 9 fatalities.

    Your wait is over.

  137. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’m waiting for the FIRST “gunfight at the OK Corral” that has been predicted every time gun control laws are loosened.

    The number of Americans have died from gunshot wounds in the last 10 years roughly equals the death totals from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. You don’t have to wait for the “gunfight” to start, because it is ongoing and never stops.

  138. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: You mean this shootout in Waco?

    You need to keep up with your straw men, sport…

  139. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    anjin’s purported heroism

    I make no claims of heroic action, you are simply making things up again. Sort of like your repeated comments on OTB saying I claim to be “a proud gun owner’ – something I never said.

    I’m curious, can you make it through even a single day of commenting without lying?

  140. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Your analogy, your arguments. And, as always, you don’t actually answer any questions.

    Did you have the qualifications to make that judgment?

    Did you have the legal right to to declare him incompetent?

    Did you possess a gun permit so you could legally possess that gun?

    Why didn’t you report the situation to the proper authorities instead of playing vigilante and take the law into your own hands?

  141. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: No, you didn’t claim to be a hero. You just spoke of accomplishing a deed that some would regard as heroic.

    Tell me, when was the last day you actually said something of substance, and didn’t waste all your time half-saying things, then mocking people who assumed you were actually trying to communicate?

  142. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You mean this shootout in Waco?

    That’s the one.

    Lemme guess…it doesn’t count?

  143. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Did you READ that article? Or is it only bad when cops wrongly kill black people?

    That was a biker brawl (possibly instigated by undercover cops) that apparently turned into a police massacre, followed by a huge coverup of the police misconduct. Toss in a bit of small-town cronyism and corruption, and you got quite the event there.

  144. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Do you know what happened at the OK corral? You do realize that one side of that famous gunfight was corrupt lawmen don’t you?

  145. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Did you READ that article? Or is it only bad when cops wrongly kill black people?

    Having been somewhat fascinated by that story since it came out, yes, I did read the article.

    The idea that the cops initiated that shootout is, well, goofy. It’s not only implausible, it’s unsupported. Some guy, who is not a ballistics expert, can identify the origin and trajectory of a shooter by sound alone? This I would consider unreliable testimony…

    It’s more likely that it was the Cubans in league with the mob and the CIA than it was the Waco PD. Much more likely than either scenario: The biker fight turned into a shootout that killed 3 times as many people as shootout at the OK Corral.

  146. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    That was a biker brawl (possibly instigated by undercover cops) that apparently turned into a police massacre, followed by a huge coverup of the police misconduct. Toss in a bit of small-town cronyism and corruption, and you got quite the event there.

    Um, the OK Corral was itself a gunfight between lawmen on one side and gangsters on the other that turned into a massacre of the gangsters by the lawmen, with a bit of small-town cronyism and corruption on the part of the Earps — as was the Waco gunfight. So it doesn’t count because….?

  147. Jenos Idanian says:

    And amid all these diversions and trivial asides, the whole idea that “guns are so dangerous, that they should only be in the hands of the police — who are using them to kill black people” gets quietly swept under the rug… again…

    And let me paraphrase something I read somewhere else… why do gun rights advocates talk about how they worry about wholesale confiscation? Because President Obama says he doesn’t support it… but also said that he was staunchly against gay marriage, that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan,” who said that raising the federal debt was unpatriotic, that he opposes single-payer, and so on, won’t stop praising Australia’s gun-control actions… which was confiscation. And England’s gun-control actions… which was confiscation.

    That’s the end plan.

    Now, for an actual plan that might help reduce gun violence, see Scott Adams (who, I am becoming convinced, is one of the most creative thinkers alive today) for a truly unique proposal. I’m not committing to it, but I like it so far.

  148. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Interesting article. Even more interesting is your response to it. It sounds like the Waco police definitely overreacted, if not instigated some of what went down. However, the article also says (often quoting the bikers themselves), that a number of these bikers were involved in criminal enterprises, and several had been involved in vicious, violent attacks on members of rival biker gangs in the months and years that preceded the Waco meeting.

    It’s interesting that you defend admitted violent criminals against police overreach, but think that a black kid who smokes pot and defends himself against a guy stalking him at night with a gun deserves death.

  149. Monala says:

    @Jenos Idanian: This is such BS:

    “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” and “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan,”

    Yeah, Obama said that. And what he meant was, the ACA wasn’t going to take away your health plan or your doctor. That didn’t mean that various market forces weren’t going to create changes, and some of them driven by the ACA–but that’s always been the case. You know how many different health plans and doctors I’ve had in my 20+ years of working? Too many to count.

  150. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Re Scott Adams’s proposal.

    Are you prepared to acknowledge, as Adams did, “the nation’s legitimate concerns” about guns?

  151. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Absolutely I acknowledge that. I just disagree with you about what those concerns should be.

    Too many guns are in the hands of people who have no legal right to possess them, but for some reason too many people obsess of guns in the hands of people who have the legal right to possess them. That’s one.

    The gun aspect of most criminal charges is usually the first plea-bargained away. That’s another.

    The main one, though, is the mindset that seems to argue that “we can’t do anything about the small percentage of people who do bad things with guns, so we’ll focus our efforts on thsoe who haven’t done any bad things, because some day they might do something bad.”

    I’ve also been considering another argument I’ve read. I’m over 6 feet tall and over 200 pounds. If fewer people have guns, I can be a lot more bullying than I am now, in near-complete comfort that my size gives me an advantage over the smaller, the weaker, the older. Like women. Without the Great Equalizer, we can go back to Might Makes Right. And as one who’s bigger than average, I’m on the winning side of that one.

  152. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Monala: Yeah, Obama said that. And what he meant was, the ACA wasn’t going to take away your health plan or your doctor.

    1) When you’re resorting to the “yes, that’s what he said, but what he meant” argument, you’ve already lost.

    2) The long version of “you can keep your plan” was “we won’t outlaw it unless it changes in the slightest degree. If they change one letter, one punctuation mark, one single number, it’s toast. And then you will sign up for a plan that meets our definition of adequate (including pregnancy care for post-menopausal lesbians and nuns, among other absurdities), at the price we say you can afford or we fine you.”

    So… he lied. He lied to advance his agenda. Like he lied on gay marriage, and a host of other issues.

    Obama says he opposes gun confiscation. I don’t believe him, and with damned good reason.

    Why do you believe him? Or are you just pretending that you believe him because you know his lie is politically expedient, as he has done so many times? And have you started writing your “of course he lied then! He had to! And we all knew he was lying, so what’s the big deal?” pieces yet?

  153. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Too many guns are in the hands of people who have no legal right to possess them, but for some reason too many people obsess of guns in the hands of people who have the legal right to possess them.

    If that’s your read on the “nation’s legitimate concerns” then I would suggest a do-over.

  154. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: The first part is a legitimate concern. The second part is the sheer reality-defying illogic a lot of people seem to espouse.

    Also, I didn’t say it was an all-conclusive statement. It was one example.

    I’m not a big fan of punishing people (or depriving them of their rights) because others have acted wrongly, and they might. By that reasoning, let’s lock up all women as potential prostitutes.

  155. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    I’m not a big fan of punishing people (or depriving them of their rights) because others have acted wrongly, and they might.

    Then stop thinking of a background check on your gun purchase as “punishment.” Think of it like….showing your ID at the voting booth.

  156. Jenos Idanian says:

    @James Pearce: Oddly enough, I did show my ID the last time I voted. And it didn’t bother me in the least.

    You willing to guarantee it’ll stop there?

    You saying I need to use a background check if I want to sell a gun to my brother, the honorably-served veteran who’s never had any trouble with the law whatsoever? (Hypothetically speaking, of course.)

    The majority of guns used in crimes aren’t bought through private sales. Why are you fixated on such a tiny fraction of the problem? How would you address the criminals who steal or “borrow” their guns from their legal owners?

  157. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    for some reason too many people obsess of guns in the hands of people who have the legal right to possess them

    Could that reason be that so many mass murderers legally own the guns they kill with?

    Could it be that there are so many tragedies in the home involving legal guns?

    Just how many dead children will it take before you say “perhaps we need to do something”? 1000? 10,000? 100,000?

    If terrorists had killed those kids in Oregon, conservatives would be chomping at the bit for war. As it is – “shrug”…

  158. anjin-san says:

    Oddly enough, I did show my ID the last time I voted. And it didn’t bother me in the least.

    So you have no problem with people placing impediments between you and the exercise of your rights?

  159. anjin-san says:

    Congressman Whose Amendment Ended Federal Gun Research: ‘I Have Regrets’

    In 1996, Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR) spearheaded a piece of legislation that effectively put an end to government-funded research of gun violence. Now 75, the retired congressman admitted in a Huffington Post interview, “I have regrets.”

    Dickey said his mind was changed after years of watching people lose their lives in mass shootings, like the massacre at Umpqua Community College last week that left 10 people dead.

    “I wish we had started the proper research and kept it going all this time,” Dickey said.

    His namesake amendment eliminated the $2.6 million that the Center for Disease Control spent on researching the effects of firearms ownership on public health. Passed by a Republican-dominated Congress, the NRA-backed amendment explicitly stated that, “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

    Over the last two decades, conservatives have relied on the Dickey amendment to make the case that gun violence is not a public health issue. As the Huffington Post reported, congressional Republicans extended the Dickey amendment to apply to the National Institutes of Health in 2011, and in the wake of the Charleston church shooting this summer, House Speaker John Boehner defended the lack of governmental research by saying “a gun is not a disease.”

    Dickey now finds himself at odds with the current crop of conservatives in Congress, who he says are over-interpreting his law. He told the Huffington Post that safety barriers along highways are the kind of common-sense life-saving measures that research can produce.

    “If we had somehow gotten the research going, we could have somehow found a solution to the gun violence without there being any restrictions on the Second Amendment,” Dickey said. “We could have used that all these years to develop the equivalent of that little small fence.”

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jay-dickey-regrets-amendment

  160. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: If terrorists had killed those kids in Oregon, conservatives would be chomping at the bit for war.

    It’s “champing” at the bit.

    And what is your solution? What is your proposed answer?

    Yeah, I know. You don’t do substantive answers, so you won’t answer. But I figured it was worth a try.

  161. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You willing to guarantee it’ll stop there?

    At background checks?

    No. If background checks don’t stop mass shootings, we’ll try the next idea.

    Remember, Jenos, we’re trying to reduce mass shootings. The preservation of unfettered access to guns is of secondary importance.

  162. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And what is your solution? What is your proposed answer?

    Background checks. Mandatory waiting periods. Restrictions on magazine size. Restrictions on the number of weapons that can be bought in a six month period. Mandatory liability insurance for gun owners. Restrictions on the ability of people with serious mental health problems to ever buy a gun. A requirement to display proficiency before purchase is allowed. Criminal penalties for negligently allowing access to a weapon to another party that uses it to cause harm.

    I have no problem with substance, I just don’t like directing it at you, as it tends to be a waste of pixels.

  163. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Oh, look, a nice laundry list. Where did you cut and paste it from?

    As always, the devil is in the details.

    “Background checks.” So how you gonna expand the database’s accessibility without compromising privacy rights, opening it to abuse, and paying for it? Or will it only still be accessible to licensed dealers?

    “Mandatory waiting periods.” Just what past crimes will that have prevented?

    “Restrictions on magazine size.” A true demonstration of ignorance. I could give you three reasons why that wouldn’t achieve a single productive thing without even trying. But like you said, why waste my time?

    “Restrictions on the number of weapons that can be bought in a six month period.” Again, what would that achieve? The last shooter owned a bunch of guns, but only used a couple.

    “Mandatory liability insurance for gun owners.” Nice ploy. Mandatory insurance, or you don’t get to own a gun. And set the premiums so only the very wealthy can afford to defend themselves. I guess poor people’s lives aren’t that important to you?

    “Restrictions on the ability of people with serious mental health problems to ever buy a gun.” HIPPA aside, “never?” Guess some people can never be cured. You get that idea from the Soviet mental health system? And how do you define “serious,” and cover reporting?

    “Criminal penalties for negligently allowing access to a weapon to another party that uses it to cause harm.” Typically sloppy phrasing, but a germ of possibility there. Which is why we already have such laws. We just don’t use them.

    We got a whole bunch of great laws on the books already. And some crappy ones, for that matter. Why don’t we enforce them?

  164. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Where did you cut and paste it from?

    That’s your trick skippy, not mine. I’ve been a gun owner for decades, so I’ve given some thought to how we can balance gun ownership with pubic safety. I know, I know – I lost you at “given some thought”.

    You’re right Jenos. This is tea party america now. We can’t get it done. It’s way too hard to stop the wholesale slaughter of our children. Let’s give up.

    It’s “champing” at the bit.

    Oh look, the graceless grammarian is in the house.

  165. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Guess some people can never be cured.

    Please detail the cures for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I will stand by.

  166. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Restrictions on magazine size.” A true demonstration of ignorance.

    Really? How much experience do you have owning/firing weapons with large capacity magazines? Let me guess – none. I on the other hand, actually have some real life experience with firearms.

  167. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: Hey, look! I got you to get specific! I’m giving myself a cookie.

    So, in your world, upon a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, by a properly qualified professional, a person forfeits their privacy rights and gets entered into a database accessible by pretty much anyone (you didn’t say anything about the database, so I’ll guess an answer) that says “this person has something about them that disqualifies them from owning a gun.” Privacy, scmivacy.

    I’m sure employers will never use that database to get some extra info about applicants. Or stalkers to see if their fixation might be armed. And the people making the evaluations will never “err on the side of caution” and decide that certain people shouldn’t be allowed guns.

    I can quite readily see you and a couple of others here making such a verdict about me, for example. Never mind that there is absolutely nothing about my background that would disqualify me from owning a gun, should I so choose.

    But you got yours, so screw anyone else who might want to exercise the same right you declare so proudly, right?

    And do you practice what you preach? Do you own a minimal amount of guns? Are all your magazines within what you would consider a “reasonable” limit? Do you carry extra liability insurance?

    Just wondering if you actually live by your own rules…

  168. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    > Again, Please detail the cures for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    Oh wait, you can’t, because there are none.

    I’m sorry Jenos Go Bye Bye, I have better things to do than debate someone who proves himself to be an idiot with pretty much every keystroke…

  169. Jenos Idanian says:

    @anjin-san: So… you don’t live by the rules you impose on others. How astonishingly predictable.

    Hey, how about if you start a hashtag campaign — “#wishthegunsaway” or something. That might work…