You keep using that word …

Lott has published an op-ed in the New York Post on the NAS panel. Lott once again claims that the panel was stacked:

The panel was set up during the Clinton administration, and all but one of its members (whose views on guns were publicly known before their appointments) favored gun control.

In his op-ed he doesn’t tell us who the members are who were publicly known to be “entirely pro-gun control”, but in his book The Bias Against Guns he gives three names:

Richard Rosenfeld,
who wrote an editorial in JAMA saying “current knowledge does not warrant relaxing or abandoning any of the Brady Act-type restrictions on handgun purchases.” OK, that seems to be supporting gun control.
Peter Reuter,
who studied the 1996 gun laws in Australia and wrote: Australia: A Massive Buyback of Low-Risk Guns. As you might guess from the title, Reuter seems to think that the buyback was misdirected. I don’t see how this counts as supporting gun control.
Steve Levitt
The only evidence that Lott offers that Levitt favours gun control is an NRO article by Dave Kopel and Glenn Reynolds who say that Levitt has been described as “rabidly antigun”. However, Reynolds and Kopel have no evidence to support this claim other than the word of a “scholar” whose identity they refuse to reveal. The anonymous scholar is probably none other than Lott. The whole story is here.

Even if we are extra generous to Lott and let him count both Rosenfeld and Reuter, that is only two out of eighteen panel members who support gun control. Notice the way he made it sound like almost all of them supported it.

Of course, it may be that all the others are secret supporters of gun control—the real test of whether the panel was biased is whether their report was biased. Lott claims that it is; that it ignores the evidence that shows that gun control is harmful.

It’s bad enough that the panel backed away from its own survey and empirical work; worse yet is that it didn’t really look objectively at all the evidence. If it had, it would have found not just that gun control doesn’t help solve the problems of crime, suicide and gun accidents, but that it may actually be counterproductive.

The panel simply ignored many studies showing just that. For example, the research on gun locks that the panel considered examined only whether accidental gun deaths and suicides were prevented. There was no mention of research that shows that locking up guns prevents people from using them defensively.

The research that Lott claims they did not mention was conducted by Lott and Whitley on child access prevention (CAP) laws that make owners liable if a child uses an unlocked firearm. But here is what is on page 218:

Two papers evaluate the effects of CAP laws on accidents, suicide, and crime. Lott and Whitley (2002), using the same basic data and methods as in the Lott and Mustard (1997) analysis of right-to-carry laws (see Chapter 6), conclude that CAP laws have no discernible effect on juvenile accidents or suicide, but they do result in a substantial increase in violent and property crime. In sharp contrast, Cummings et al. (1997) find that CAP laws reduce accidents and may reduce suicides and homicide among youth as well, although these are imprecisely measured.

The report goes on to discuss Lott’s and Cummings’ research for another page or so. Note that Lott must have read this passage, since he states that the panel examined the research on gun locks and accidents and suicides. It is difficult to understand why Lott claimed that the panel did not mention the Lott and Whitley research.

Lott also claims:

The panel also ignored most of the studies that find a benefit in crime reduction from right-to-carry laws. It did pay attention to some non-peer reviewed papers on the right-to-carry issue, and it also noted one part of a right-to-carry study that indicated little or no benefit from such laws. What the panel didn’t point out, however, is that the authors of that particular study had concluded that data in their work did much more to show there were benefits than to debunk it.

Ignored? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

The report has a whole chapter and three appendices on right-to-carry laws. If you compare the report’s references on carry laws with Lott’s own list of studies that Lott claims show a benefit from carry laws, you will see that most of Lott’s list appears in the panel’s references. And most of the discrepancy is because Lott padded his list with studies that were not about carry laws. As for the fact that they did not point out that the authors of “that particular study” (who were Plassman and Tideman) felt that their data was supportive of Lott’s thesis, what of it? The panel did its own analysis of Plassman and Tideman’s data and concluded that it was not supportive of Lott’s thesis. And what Lott doesn’t point out was that the panel also did its own analysis of Lott’s data and concluded that there was “no credible evidence” that carry laws either increase or decrease violent crime.

Lott next misrepresents James Q Wilson’s dissent:

James Q. Wilson, professor of management and public policy at UCLA, was the one dissenting panelist and the only member whose views were known in advance to not be entirely pro-gun control. His dissent focused on the right-to-carry issue, and the fact that emphasizing results that could not withstand peer-reviewed studies called into question the panel’s contention that right-to-carry laws had not for sure had a positive effect.

Lott doesn’t have any answer to Ayres and Donohue’s research, so all he ever does is point out that it was published in the Stanford Law Review, which like all law reviews is not peer-reviewed and imply that there must be something wrong with it. It looks like he messed up his argument this time though—there aren’t any peer-reviewed studies that contradict Ayres and Donohue. In any case, this bears no relation whatsoever to anything Wilson says in his dissent. And don’t you like the way he turns the panel’s conclusion that there was “no credible evidence” that carry laws had a positive effect into “not for sure had a positive effect”?

Lott misrepresents Wilson some more:

Wilson also said that that conclusion was inaccurate given that “virtually every reanalysis done by the committee” confirmed right-to-carry laws reduced crime. He found the committee’s only results that didn’t confirm the drop in crime “quite puzzling.” They accounted for “no control variables” — nothing on any of the social, demographic, and public policies that might affect crime — and he didn’t understand how evidence that wouldn’t get published in a peer-reviewed journal would be given such weight.

But Wilson didn’t say that Lott’s reductions in crime survived virtually every reanalysis by the committee. He said that the reductions in murder did. Contrary to the impression Lott tries to create, Wilson did not dispute the committee’s finding that Lott’s results for violent crimes other than murder were fragile. As for the results on murder, the committee’s response to Wilson’s dissent, deals with this most adequately.

If you want to know what the panel found it is probably just best to completely ignore Lott’s misrepresentations of their report and read the report or the press release or the panel’s opening statement.

Update: Lott also claims that the panel presented “a survey that covered 80 different gun-control measures”. This is not true. The survey covered 80 different firearms education programs and found:

There is almost no evidence that violence-prevention programs intended to steer children away from guns have had any effects on their behavior, knowledge, or attitudes regarding firearms. More than 80 such programs exist.

Comments

  1. #1 Eli Rabett
    January 2, 2005

    You seriously need to tighten this up and send it as a submission to the NYT. Lott has a megaphone.

  2. #2 rangemaster
    January 3, 2005

    You left me a comment, so I fell obliged to respond. The point I’ve been making on my blog for the last few weeks is that the data on gun control are, at best, inconclusive. But, in the United States, anyway, the right to keep and bear arms is a fundmental individual right that is guaranteed by our Constitution. In this sense, it doesn’t matter what the data say, because the right to keep and bear arms is no more a policy issue than the right to free speech.

    That was my point in citing the NAS study.

  3. #3 liberal
    January 3, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, But, in the United States, anyway, the right to keep and bear arms is a fundmental individual right that is guaranteed by our Constitution.

    No, it’s not. The Second Amendment clearly refers to a “well regulated militia.”

    For a thorough debunking of so-called Second Amendment scholarship, see Gary Wills, “To Keep and Bear Arms,” New York Review of Books, 21 Sep 1995.

  4. #4 rangemaster
    January 3, 2005

    Lberal wrote: [<em>]No, it’s not. The Second Amendment clearly refers to a “well regulated militia.” For a thorough debunking of so-called Second Amendment scholarship, see Gary Wills, “To Keep and Bear Arms,” New York Review of Books, 21 Sep 1995.[/<em>]

    The Second Amendment DOES guarnatee an INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear arms. See http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/secondamendment2.htm. This is the United State’s Attorney General’ Opinion stating that it does. While AGOs don’t have the force of law, absent clear dispositive precedent on the issue, they hold great weight.

    Also, if you’re going to take a position on the law, you should cite law, not books.

  5. #5 rangemaster
    January 3, 2005

    Liberal, here’s an exceprt from that DOJ opinion:

    “For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right to keep and to bear arms. [O]ur examination of the original meaning of the Amendment provides extensive reasons to conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, and no persuasive basis for either the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views. [T]he broader history of the Anglo-American right of individuals to have and use arms, from England’s Revolution of 1688-1689 to the ratification of the Second Amendment a hundred years later, leads to the same conclusion. Finally, the first hundred years of interpretations of the Amendment, and especially the commentaries and case law in the pre-Civil War period closest to the Amendment’s ratification, confirm what the text and history of the Second Amendment require.”

  6. #6 liberal
    January 4, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, Seelink This is the United State’s Attorney General’ Opinion stating that it does. While AGOs don’t have the force of law, absent clear dispositive precedent…

    (1) That link is dead.

    (2) Why should anyone care what John Ashcroft has to say in the matter?

    Also, if you’re going to take a position on the law, you should cite law, not books.

    Bizarre.

  7. #7 rangemaster
    January 4, 2005

    Liberal wrote: “1) That link is dead.
    (2) Why should anyone care what John Ashcroft has to say in the matter? Also, if you’re going to take a position on the law, you should cite law, not books. Bizarre.”

    1)Try the link again:http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/secondamendment2.htm It works on my computer . If you can’t access it go to the department of justice’s homepage and follow the links to the section on Attorney General Opinions (AGOs). It’s there.
    2)Everyone should care what John Ashcroft has to say when it comes to the state of American law because he is the Attorney General of the United States and AGOs carry great weight (akin to the force of law). I assume that you’re not a lawyer, but if you were, you would know that AGOs are often cited as case law and are, more often than not, followed by the Courts. Attorney General Opinions are the official legal position of the nation’s top lawyer, and are at least as legally significant as opinions issued by the American Bar Association and other distinguished legal organizations.

    Finally, I don’t see what is “bizarre” about urging you to cite legally significant sources rather than a book written by a non-judicial actor WHEN YOUR ARE MAKING PRONOUNCEMENTS ON THE CURRENT STATE OF AMERICAN LAW. IF you were arguing your case before the United States Supreme Court, the Justices would not accept as holy writ the opinion of a lone author; they would demand you cite legal authority. Attorney General Opinions are legal authority.

    As the law stands right now 1) the Supreme Court has not held that held that the Second Amendment only guarantees the right of the states to maintain militias. 2) Some circuits have adopted the so-called “collective rights view” which is more in-line with the position taken by Gary Wills. No surprise, but the 9th “Circus” has taken the lead in this regard. 3) Early jurisprudence of the Supreme Court–Courts closer in time to the ratification of the Bill of Rights–points strongly to the individual rights view. 4) the plain language of the Second Amendment indicates that the militia clause is mere precatory language, while the substantive language of the rest of the clause secures an individual right. So, at best, the legal question we’re arguing about is unresolved. And, in the absence of a resolution, the AGO cited above is very persuasive authority.

    Besides, why would anyone be so eager to read a substantive right out of the U.S. Constitution? As an American (I assume), don’t you think that all rights guaranteed by the Constitution are precious? Why are you so concerned about a fundamental right to keep and bear arms? Do you fear your armed countrymen? Are you unable to see the value of an armed citizenry? 6 million Jews in Europe would have attested to value of an armed citizenry, that is, if they weren’t systematically murdered by a regime that disarmed them under the guise of “gun control” and “public safety.” If you don’t want to own a gun, that’s your thing. But why actively try to destroy the rights of those of use who do?

    That, my friend, is bizarre.

  8. #8 liberal
    January 4, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, Finally, I don’t see what is “bizarre” about urging you to cite legally significant sources rather than a book written by a non-judicial actor WHEN YOUR ARE MAKING PRONOUNCEMENTS ON THE CURRENT STATE OF AMERICAN LAW. It’s clear why your statement is bizarre: it disallows citing of secondary sources.

    4) the plain language of the Second Amendment indicates that the militia clause is mere precatory language, while the substantive language of the rest of the clause secures an individual right. It doesn’t read that way to me; it states the purpose of the amendment. Furthermore, one major point of Wills’ article is that “keeping” and “bearing” arms, in its historical context, doesn’t mean what you claim it does.

    Why are you so concerned about a fundamental right to keep and bear arms? Mirror time.

    Do you fear your armed countrymen? Uh, yes. There have been many incidents of “road rage” confrontation wherein one person is murdered by another. Not that I know that it’s a statistically important danger, but I don’t see that I gain anything, on net, by allowing civilians to possess handguns.

    6 million Jews in Europe would have attested to value of an armed citizenry, that is, if they weren’t systematically murdered by a regime that disarmed them under the guise of “gun control” and “public safety.” Silly. The main reason Jews in Europe were vulnerable was because they lived in small, isolated pockets and could be separated from the rest of the population because of ethnic tensions. Initial possession of sidearms is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for “survival”; rather, the socio-political situation is determinative (short of a group possessing strong economic powers and/or substantial military firepower). That is, the guns can always be had later.

    But why actively try to destroy the rights of those of use who do? First, I’m not advocating “destroying” anyone’s rights, but rather regulating them. Second, I want to regulate those rights because your right to a weapon violates my right to limits on private possession of weapons. Think the latter right doesn’t exist? OK…should private possession of nuclear arms be allowed?

  9. #9 Ian Gould
    January 4, 2005

    Rangemaster:

    My understanding is that prior to Ashcroft’s opinion the official position of the US government had indeed been that the constitutional right to bear arms was a collective right (i.e. a right residing in the militias constituted by the states) not an individual right.

    Oddly, Ashcroft’s reversal of two centuries of policy and judicial interpretation didn’t get decried as “judicial activism”.

  10. #10 Terry Josiah
    January 4, 2005

    Your wrong. The official position of the US government that the second amendament is “a collective right” is wrong, never mind it being a position for two centuries.
    At http://www.keepandbeararms.com you can find the arguements on why the second amendament right is an individual right with evidence from history, court rulings and plain english which proves, no if, and or buts about it, the second amendament is an individual right.
    Further more, two famous, liberal, very liberal, Harvard law professors, Alan Dershowitz and Laurence Tribe, both studied the second amendament independently and both came to the conclusion that it is an individual right.
    As for “collective right”, there is no mention of it in the Constitution. It doesn’t exist.
    Second, the State can’t be trusted. George Will wrote a column on Condelazzea Rice’s farther, a minister, during the sixties, at night, protected his neighborhood, with him and others armed with shotguns. As George Will said, “They formed a militia.” The reason they did, they had to. The state wasn’t protecting them.
    And finally, I live in Los Angeles and saw the 1992 riots first hand. I saw the police let people steal from a store.
    They didn’t even make the criminals put down the property, never mind arrest them.
    I saw a single, middle aged lady protect her store with a snub nose .38. Her store was the only one in that shopping center that wasn’t looted.
    If you think the 2nd amendament is a “collective right” you can’t read or your or liar.
    Which is it?

  11. #11 Carleton Wu
    January 4, 2005

    rangemaster,
    Remarkable use of the “well your(sic) wrong” rebuttal. I have rarely seen it used so effectively, or at least so profusely. Personally, I think that the second amendment is intended as an individual right, but I don’t think that the collective right position is ridiculous on its face; nor does the USSC, as has been pointed out already.
    In other news, the AG’s pronouncements have no weight as law. They are sometimes cited by courts in their interpretation of our laws- but then, so are various blog posts, the laws of other countries, statements by legislators, etc- *none* of which have the force of law. AG pronoucements sure as *hell* aren’t “akin to force of law”, and I wouldn’t want to live in a country where one unelected official could create laws by fiat. Nor do I see anything in the Consitution or the US legal code supporting such a position.
    Curious as to why you objected to citing a book (which presumably has primary citations in it), but now find it acceptable to cite a web page…
    Also, even if you assume that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, it would merely prevent the Federal government from passing any restrictive laws. I don’t believe that the USSC has ever extended the incorporation doctrine of rights (from the 14th amendment) to the 2nd amendment. So states would still be perfectly free (within the boundaries of their own consitutions) to pass draconian firearms restrictions, regardless of your interpretation of the 2nd amendment.
    Wu

  12. #12 Ian Gould
    January 4, 2005

    Terry: <>

    If you must enage in personal abuse at least try to be grammatically correct.

    My illiteracy/dishonesty was shared by every US Attorney-General prior to Ashcroft and their respective employers including those notorious left-wingers Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan and Bush Sr.

    Your anecdotes about Rice’s father and the LA riots are relevant to why you BELIEVE individuals should have the right to bear arms. They are wholly irrelevant to the question of whether the US Constitution actually recognises such a right.

  13. #13 rangemaster
    January 4, 2005

    Liberal wrote:
    “It’s clear why your statement is bizarre: it disallows citing of secondary sources.” Not disallow secondary sources. But, yes, DEMAND primary sources when you proclaim the current state of American law. The law, unlike other disciplin has an ultimate answer (sometimes), and that answer is found in “the law,” which means primary sources of legal authority. Cite secondary sources all you want, but, in the end, you have to use “the law” when making a legal argument.

    Liberal wrote:
    “[The Second Amendment] doesn’t read that way to me; it states the purpose of the amendment. Furthermore, one major point of Wills’ article is that “keeping” and “bearing” arms, in its historical context, doesn’t mean what you claim it does.” Two people can read the same words and come to different conclusions as to their meaning, fine. But, as for the “keeping” and “bearing” arms not *really* meaning “to keep” and to bear” 1) this is an absurd reading of the plain language of the amemdment, and 2) the 5th Circuit, in Emerson v. United States has rejected that very argument. They agree that “to keep” means just that and “to bear” means just that. Legal revisionsim can’t change the plain meaning of the amendment.

    Liberal wrote: “Mirror time.” I’m not concerned about it. I think it’s great. I also think free speech is great, freedom from unreasonable searches and siezures is great etc . . . I’m not advocating the curtailment of any rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

    Liberal wrote:
    “There have been many incidents of “road rage” confrontation wherein one person is murdered by another. Not that I know that it’s a statistically important danger, but I don’t see that I gain anything, on net, by allowing civilians to possess handguns.”

    I’m sure for every road rage incident involving a firearm, there are many more fatal car accidents. But, I don’t hear you advocating the abolition of certain types of common road cars because “statistically” they are involved in more accidents. What’s the deal with handguns? Moreover, I don’t gain anything by allowing civilians the right to publish their speech on the internet, but, it isn’t about what I gain and I certainly don’t have the right to use state power to prevent free speech. My point is, it is not up to you to “allow” me or anyone else to possess a handgun anymore than it is up to me to “allow” you to possess a computer and an internet connection. Get the point? Besides, I find handguns very useful: I (legally) carry mine everyday, I use it to protect my family. Who gets to tell me that because *they* don’t gain anything by me having a gun that I don’t get to have one?

    Liberal wrote:
    “The main reason Jews in Europe were vulnerable was because they lived in small, isolated pockets and could be separated from the rest of the population because of ethnic tensions. Initial possession of sidearms is neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for “survival”; rather, the socio-political situation is determinative (short of a group possessing strong economic powers and/or substantial military firepower). That is, the guns can always be had later.”

    That may be so, but history (e.g. Warsaw uprising) and commonsense don’t support that thesis. All the socioeconomic power in the world doesn’t help when you’re being rounded up by people with guns. It’s just silly, IMHO, to assert that Jews wouldn’t have been able to put up more resistence if they were armed. The time for the Jew to find guns would not have been after-the-fact. That’s like waiting to look for a job only after you’ve been evicted from your apartment.

    Liberal wrote:
    “I’m not advocating “destroying” anyone’s rights, but rather regulating them. Second, I want to regulate those rights because your right to a weapon violates my right to limits on private possession of weapons. Think the latter right doesn’t exist? OK…should private possession of nuclear arms be allowed?”

    The private possession of firearms be limited, to a point. No, nuclear weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment. But, think again about the free speech example. There is a very limited right for the state to limit speech, but in general the First Amendment “overprotects.” Your argument on banning or limiting handguns would be akin to me arguing for the abolition of all political speech. It’s a matter of degree and you are way over the line in advocating a handgun ban or restriction.

  14. #14 liberal
    January 4, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, But, I don’t hear you advocating the abolition of certain types of common road cars because “statistically” they are involved in more accidents.

    How do you know what my position on cars is? Actually, I think SUVs should have a tax levied against them (not banned), because of the externalities they create. (More traffic fatalities for people driving non-SUVs; increased traffic congestion because cars cannot see around them and get through intersections as efficiently (one study put the congestion increase at over 10%).)

    The private possession of firearms be limited, to a point. Then why can’t the state ban, say, handguns?

    No, nuclear weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment. Why not?

    But, think again about the free speech example. There is a very limited right for the state to limit speech, but in general the First Amendment “overprotects.” Guns are not speech, and the second amendment is not the first amendment.

    Your argument on banning or limiting handguns would be akin to me arguing for the abolition of all political speech. That’s a poor analogy.

    It’s a matter of degree and you are way over the line in advocating a handgun ban or restriction. So sayeth you.

  15. #15 liberal
    January 4, 2005

    Terry Josiah wrote, Further more, two famous, liberal, very liberal, Harvard law professors, Alan Dershowitz and Laurence Tribe, both studied the second amendament independently and both came to the conclusion that it is an individual right. That’s the logical fallacy of “appeal to authority.” Perhaps it should be known in the US as the “Even the liberal New Republic…” fallacy.

  16. #16 rangemaster
    January 4, 2005

    Liberal wrote: “Actually, I think SUVs should have a tax levied against them (not banned), because of the externalities they create.” Why would you want to ban handgunsuns, but not SUVs, which are certainly responsible for more deaths per year than handguns? Again, what’s your “bias against guns”?

    Liberal Wrote: “[if the private possession of firearms may be limited to a point] why can’t the state ban, say, handguns?” All constitutional rights place the burden on the state to justify an intrusion thereupon. And, even when the state is permitted to restrict a constitutional right, it must do so in the least intrusive mean possible. Handguns are fundamental to the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms. I have a concealed carry permit. Would you suggest that I carry around a rifle once you ban my handgun? What if I advocated banning computers — an instrument necessary to the exercise of free speech– and said “hey, you still have pens and typewriters.” The First Amendment protects the instruments of speech as well as the speech itself; same’s true for the Second Amendment.

    Liberal wrote: [No, nuclear weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment.] Why not?

    It’s all about the state’s right to restrict, to a point, the exercise of any civil right. You have the right to speech, but the state may punish you for yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre etc. I have written on this question in general, and I invite you to read my essay: http://www.smokemygun.com/blog/index.php?p=10. Here’s an excerpt that explains my position:

    “. . . like any other civil right, the right to keep and bear arms is not limitless and is always checked by the interests of other individuals in society, and society as a whole. Moreover, this limitation on the right to keep and bear arms also sets reasonable limits on what arms may be privately owned by civilians. Thus, although the Second Amendment protects an individual right to own the basic instruments of war (e.g. rifles, handguns, shotguns etc.) it DOES NOT protect an individual right to own weapons that are inordinately dangerous in private hands such as fully automatic machine guns, explosives, grenades, rockets, etc. Weapons that cannot be used with reasonable precision and stored safely by private individuals are beyond the protection of the Second Amendment. However, just as the First Amendment does not protect fighting words, but provides a firm refuge for politically unpopular speech, the Second Amendment does not protect bombs and tanks, but certainly protects “evil looking” semi-automatic weapons [and basic handguns].

    The difference, IMHO, is that you haven’t given me a solid reason why handguns are anywhere near as dangerous in private hands as nuclear weapons. They are apples and oranges. Handguns can be aimed and used with precision; they can be stored safely and responsibly by private individuals. They are limited by ammunition capacity and destructive power to make them suitable for self-defense WITHOUT causing unreasonable risk to others. Nuclear weapons cannot be used or stored safely by private citizens. They have the potential to exact mass and indiscriminate death. Moreover, they are disproportionate to any legitimate use of private weapons (i.e. self-defense, defense of community, defense of others etc.). This, again IMHO, is not a fair comparison.

    Liberal wrote: “[Your argument on banning or limiting handguns would be akin to me arguing for the abolition of all political speech.] That’s a poor analogy.”

    Is it? Two fundamental civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution (and even written into the Bill of Rights in sequential order). How is it a “poor analogy?” Is it just because you like speech more than you like guns? Give me a reason why it’s a poor analogy.

    Liberal wrote: [It's a matter of degree and you are way over the line in advocating a handgun ban or restriction.] So sayeth you.

    Yes, so sayeth me and 80 million other gun owners in the United States. But to take this out of the realm of pure personal opinion, I ask you again, why are so cavalier about using state power to restrict private behavior (be it taxing SUVs or banning handguns)? Do you feel entitled to tell others what to do and how to live their lives? I take from your moniker that you’re not a libertarian or even a conservative, but what is it that makes you feel entitled to control the rest of us? Is it a sense of moral or intellectual superiority? Or is it just a desire to control those around you?

    Please don’t my words as a personal attack, because it is not meant that way. But, you’re advocating taking guns away from people who possess them and use the lawfully–people who have done nothing to warrant your distrust. Moreover, you haven’t given me a good reason why the government, at your behest, should infringe on the right to keep and bear arms by banning handguns. Thus, I must search for deeper, more sinister motives behind your views.

  17. #17 rangemaster
    January 4, 2005

    Ian Gould Wrote: “My understanding is that prior to Ashcroft’s opinion the official position of the US government had indeed been that the constitutional right to bear arms was a collective right (i.e. a right residing in the militias constituted by the states) not an individual right.

    Oddly, Ashcroft’s reversal of two centuries of policy and judicial interpretation didn’t get decried as ‘judicial activism’.”

    What do you mean by the “official position of the U.S. Government”? There are three branches of that government. Each one has had, at various times, a different take on the Second Amendment, for different reasons. All Ashcroft did was to reverse Reno’s “collective rights” position, which is his right to do as the sitting Attorney General. The same happens on a number of policy issues when new presidents take office, for example. As for calling this switch “judicial activism,” that is impossible as Ashcroft is not a member of the judiciary.

  18. #18 rangemaster
    January 5, 2005

    Carleton Wu wrote: “the AG’s pronouncements have no weight as law. They are sometimes cited by courts in their interpretation of our laws- but then, so are various blog posts, the laws of other countries, statements by legislators, etc- *none* of which have the force of law. AG pronouncements sure as *hell* aren’t “akin to force of law”, and I wouldn’t want to live in a country where one unelected official could create laws by fiat. Nor do I see anything in the Constitution or the US legal code supporting such a position.”

    You’re right in that AGOs are not, strictly speaking, law (i.e. statutes and caselaw). However, when an issue of law is unresolved, they are often cited and used to advise clients and to predict the outcome of the issue in the courts. In a sense, they are quasi-law. They are the official legal memoranda of the Attorney General and are extremely persuasive.

    Because the federal courts are barred from issuing advisory opinions, AGOs often help to resolve the matter long before there is “a case or controversy” in the courts. No, AGOs are not the final word, but they serve as a guidepost to guide litigants when there is no dispositive precedent on the matter. They are certainly more persuasive than books, blog posts, scholarly articles, comments by legislators etc. They are, often times, as persuasive as opinions rendered from other circuits, which are not officially binding on a circuit or the district courts therein.

    So, no, they don’t have the force of law, but they are often times damn close.

  19. #19 rangemaster
    January 5, 2005

    Carlton Wu wrote: “Curious as to why you objected to citing a book (which presumably has primary citations in it), but now find it acceptable to cite a web page…”

    The web page was a link to an Attorney General’s opinion. It’s not the medium to which I object, but rather the content.

    Carlton Wu wrote: “even if you assume that the 2nd amendment protects an individual right to bear arms, it would merely prevent the Federal government from passing any restrictive laws. I don’t believe that the USSC has ever extended the incorporation doctrine of rights (from the 14th amendment) to the 2nd amendment. So states would still be perfectly free (within the boundaries of their own constitutions) to pass draconian firearms restrictions, regardless of your interpretation of the 2nd amendment.”

    Absolutely true, in fact, it has been expressly held that Second Amendment is NOT incorporated through the 14th Amendment and therefore applicable to the states. So, when it comes to state bans on certain guns, or all guns, UNDER THE SECOND AMENDMENT, the debate is purely a matter of personal opinion/policy AS THE LAW NOW STANDS. that’s fine, I’ll just live in states with RKBA provision in their constitutions.

    However, there are other grounds to challenge a state’s outright ban on private gun ownership. My first thought would be a commerce clause challenge. My next would be an Art. IV, s. 2 privileges and immunities challenge. Don’t know if they’d stick, but my point is only to say that the Second Amendment’s non-incorporation would not be the final word, IMHO.

  20. #20 rangemaster
    January 5, 2005

    Carleton Wu wrote:

    “I wouldn’t want to live in a country where one unelected official could create laws by fiat.”

    Unfortunately, you do live in such a country. Unelected federal judges “create laws by fiat” all the time when they engage in judicial activism and legislate from the bench.

  21. #21 RH Morgan
    January 5, 2005

    It pains me to see people cite Wills as an authority, and as refutation of an individualist interpretation of the Second. In preface, I would say that neither interpretation is dispositive, and Wills’ arguments, though seriously deficient, don’t prove the collective rights interpretation wrong.

    As for Wills, where do I begin? I feel like a mosquito at a nudist colony. Here goes.

    Wills fabricates a meaning of ‘arms’ to cover all equipment, to include rifles, pistols, field pieces, uniforms, etc. He fabricates this meaning by inventing a false meaning for root ‘ar’, which he renders as ‘to fit out’, as in ‘to equip and provision’. The root ‘ar’ is actually ‘to fit to, or on, or closely’. He also takes ‘keep’ from the expression ‘to keep up an army’, and stitches it to ‘bear’ via a truncated quote from Trenchard having to do with parishes keeping firelocks for shooting on holidays. From this he has it that militia weapons were centrally stored.

    Yes, Wills is right about ‘bear arms’ — it means military service. Yes, he is right that you can’t just read classical republicanism into the Second. Yes, he is right that Halbrook misinterpreted an expression. Yes, he is right that Madison’s note to Coxe shouldn’t be read as an unambiguous endorsement of the individualist view.

    But his errors dwarf his correct positions. He has it that the preamble determines the scope of operative language. That is false. The only rule is that it doesn’t expand the scope. He points out that Reynolds truncated a quote from Henry, and then Wills quotes Henry with bracketed insertions designed to alter the meaning of the original. Wills changes the punctuation of Madison’s first “Second Amendment” proposal to Congress, in order to achieve a like purpose. Wills claims the original proposal is synonymous in all relevant respects with the adopted text. he fails to point out that Madison’s original proposal was to be interlineated in the section of the Constitution devoted to individual rights. Moreover, the expression “shall not be infringed” generally accompanies individual civil liberties, not a collective right. In his book A Necessary Evil, Wills has it that in the Miller case, the USSC held that shotgun is not a militia weapon. Not so. They instead decline to assert that by judicial notice in the absence of evidence — there was no evidentiary record to that effect because it came to the USSC on demurrer (no evidence had been taken). The USSC has never declared on the issue of individual v. collective rights, and now we have conflict between circuits (even the Ninth, until last year admitted that the USSC hadn’t taken sides).

    I’m not here to take sides in the individualist v. collective rights argument. I would just caution you not to cite Wills. He is right on some questions. But he doesn’t understand how to read a decision. He doesn’t know legal concepts or language. And when he doesn’t have the evidence, he makes it up.

  22. #22 liberal
    January 5, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, Why would you want to ban handgunsuns, but not SUVs, which are certainly responsible for more deaths per year than handguns? Again, what’s your “bias against guns”? It’s not a bias against guns; it’s a bias against handguns. A handgun has no use for hunting, and it’s a decidedly inferior instrument for home defense. (Best defense is a dog, as a deterrent; next best is a shotgun.)

    All constitutional rights place the burden on the state to justify an intrusion thereupon. And, even when the state is permitted to restrict a constitutional right, it must do so in the least intrusive mean possible. Handguns are fundamental to the exercise of the right to keep and bear arms. I have a concealed carry permit. Would you suggest that I carry around a rifle once you ban my handgun? Yes, you should carry a rifle around. The only reason for carrying a concealed weapon is to surprise others. And I don’t share your belief in a constitutionallty protected individual right to “keep and bear arms.”

    The difference, IMHO, is that you haven’t given me a solid reason why handguns are anywhere near as dangerous in private hands as nuclear weapons. I was merely pointing out that the individual “right” to weapons is not absolute, and even if such a right existed (which it doesn’t), it would be limited. The reason I think it’s reasonable to ban handguns is that they’re not accurate and their only use is to kill other humans under condition of surprise.

    Handguns can be aimed and used with precision… LOL! They’re extremely imprecise in actual usage.

    This, again IMHO, is not a fair comparison. I wasn’t making that comparison. Clearly, the point was that any “right” to arms is limited.

    Is it just because you like speech more than you like guns? Give me a reason why it’s a poor analogy. Because speech and weapons are two completely different kinds. Duh. Do I really have to point this out to you?

    So sayeth you. Yes, so sayeth me and 80 million other gun owners in the United States. But to take this out of the realm of pure personal opinion, I ask you again, why are so cavalier about using state power to restrict private behavior (be it taxing SUVs or banning handguns)? First, you don’t know about the 80 million gun owners; my father owns many guns and doesn’t agree with your notions. Second, re SUVs, the point isn’t to restrict personal behavior but to internalize costs presented by SUVs that are currently externalities. This is an idea well known to economists.

    I take from your moniker that you’re not a libertarian or even a conservative, but what is it that makes you feel entitled to control the rest of us? Most “libertarians” are not libertarians but rather advocates of an aristocratic form of political economy; see Are you a Real Libertarian, or a ROYAL Libertarian? for details.

    Moreover, you haven’t given me a good reason why the government, at your behest, should infringe on the right to keep and bear arms by banning handguns. Thus, I must search for deeper, more sinister motives behind your views. It’s actually not a strongly held belief on my part (that gun control should be augmented). But as a descriptive (not normative) issue you’re simply wrong about the second amendment.

  23. #23 notherbob2
    January 5, 2005

    I will make the same offer, only I really want you to read the report (at least the Executive Summary). You will find that it, in so many exact words, confirms Lott’s primary conclusion: On NEARLY EVERY issue they DECIDE NOT TO DECIDE because they need FURTHER STUDY! And isn’t it true that if Lott is right about that, do we care if he is wrong about the other minor points he made?
    Now do you see why this puffed up liberal rebuttal in Deltoid is so well crafted? It never says Lott is wrong in his conclusion, instead it says “read the report” and implies that if you do, Lott will be proven wrong. That is just NOT SO. [do you mean it is a well-crafted lie?-ed] We tolerate pusillanimity in the law because people pay a lot of money for it. Why liberals tolerate it in their writings continues to amaze me. My conclusion: Lott slanted his report to reinforce his views, but no worse than we see daily in the NYT. Lott accurately portrayed the panel’s report: “The only conclusion it could draw was: Let’s study the question some more.”
    Deltoid readers have been gulled.

  24. #24 rangemaster
    January 5, 2005

    Liberal wrote:

    “It’s not a bias against guns; it’s a bias against handguns. A handgun has no use for hunting, and it’s a decidedly inferior instrument for home defense. (Best defense is a dog, as a deterrent; next best is a shotgun.)”

    1) Handguns are used for hunting all the time. Large-framed .44 magnums, .454 Casulls, .480 Ruger’s etc. are superb hunting guns, and given their size, they are really only suited for hunting. You’re wrong on that point. 2) A handgun is not an inferior instrument for home defense. I agree that a dog and a shotgun are good in some circumstances, but a handgun is easy to access in a hurry (I keep mine in my nightstand) and easier to bring into action quickly. Home invasion robberies happen very fast and you’re often taken by surprise. I know from first hand experience. While, given time, a shotgun would be better in terms of aiming and stopping power, a handgun is necessary for quick access. I consider both types of guns essential for home defense.

    Liberal wrote:

    “Yes, you should carry a rifle around. The only reason for carrying a concealed weapon is to surprise others. And I don’t share your belief in a constitutionally protected individual right to ‘keep and bear arms.'”

    1) There would be no practical way to carry a rifle around. That’s like saying, you should carry around a desktop computer instead of a laptop. That’s silly and frankly disingenuous because you know it would practically eliminate all carrying of arms. 2) Concealed handguns are not only good for taking people by surprise, unless you mean surprising an attacker who intends to kill you. Concealed carry is a manner in which millions of people carry a means of self-defense. I agree with you in part, here, because I think rather than concealed carry, people should be permitted to carry openly. But, my guess is that state legislatures opt for concealed carry permits because people aren’t comfortable with open carry. Out-of-sight, out of mind, I guess. Nonetheless, you’ve got it all wrong. Concealed guns are carried for protection (legally anyway). 3) We disagree on the scope of the Second Amendment, that’s clear.

    Liberal Wrote:

    “I was merely pointing out that the individual “right” to weapons is not absolute, and even if such a right existed (which it doesn’t), it would be limited. The reason I think it’s reasonable to ban handguns is that they’re not accurate and their only use is to kill other humans under condition of surprise.”

    1) It is limited, but not to the extent you think it is (if you acknowledged the RKBA). Handguns are very accurate. I can consistently produce 1.5″ groups at 25 yard with most of my handguns. That’s plenty accurate for me to hit an attacker center mass without harming bystanders. 3) they are not only used to kill humans. They are used to hunt, as protection against wild animals in the field (I carry a sidearm when I hunt for that very reason), and they are used for self-defense. As far as killing humans, not all homicide is legally or morally indefensible. The law of all 50 states allows for the use of deadly force in self-defense. Every human being has the right to preserve his or her own life when confronted by someone who would take it. Banning handguns would deprive many people of the means to defend their very lives against such an attack. I hope your concern about handguns being used to kill people is not a concern for the well-being of an attacker who gets killed by someone who is defending his or her life! As for the condition of surprise thing, well, why was the criminal attacking the person who “surprised” him with a concealed gun?

    Liberal wrote: LOL! “[handguns are] extremely imprecise in actual usage.”

    1) Have you ever fired a handgun? What’s you’re basis for making such an assertion? 2) Like I said, in my hands, my handguns are quite precise within self-defense ranges.

    Liberal wrote:

    “speech and weapons are two completely different kinds. Duh. Do I really have to point this out to you?”

    Words and guns are different things. But, the principle that the certain fundamental rights cannot be infringed upon by the government, absent compelling reasons and by using the least intrusive means is the same. You can’t play favorites with civil rights. You have to value all of them or none of them are safe.

    Liberal wrote: “First, you don’t know about the 80 million gun owners; my father owns many guns and doesn’t agree with your notions. Second, re SUVs, the point isn’t to restrict personal behavior but to internalize costs presented by SUVs that are currently externalities. This is an idea well known to economists.”

    1) Good point, I don’t know the views of each and every gun owner in the U.S. But I know the views of the NRA, the largest gun rights organization in the country. I also know that there are more handguns in private hand that rifles and shotguns. So, let’s split the difference and say 40 million gun owners in the U.S. How’s that? 2) the idea of externalities is not just well-known to economists, it’s well-known to the average joe like me who happened to take econ 101 in his freshman year in college. So, I’m not missing your point. And, to an extent, I would agree that legislative policy should seek to internalize NEGATIVE externalities. And I agree that tax policy is often the best way to do this. But, you need to present hard data and accurately measure the externalities before you act. With guns, anyway, I don’t believe that data exists. Moreover, there are positive externalities with SUVs and with guns (i.e. oftentimes SUVs are safer than cars and all guns in private hands, as Mr. Lott has pointed out, deter crime because criminals don’t know who’s armed and who’s not. You can’t hide a political agenda behind economic theories, sociological theories etc. Commonsense also must play a role in policy making.

    Liberal wrote: “Most “libertarians” are not libertarians but rather advocates of an aristocratic form of political economy.”

    That comment is laced with Marxism- Marxism in the sense that it is overly concerned with class distinctions and the constructed antagonism between a class who controls the means of production and the class who does not. I find very little value in Marxist analysis. I’ll define my own terms: libertarians value maximum personal autonomy over their persons and their property; they also demand that the government must justify its intrusions thereupon rather than the government ask for justification why it should not. End of debate. Use class analysis as a stick with which to beat someone else. I’m not playing that game.

    Liberal wrote:

    “It’s actually not a strongly held belief on my part (that gun control should be augmented). But as a descriptive (not normative) issue you’re simply wrong about the second amendment.”

    We’ve clearly come to an impasse on the scope of the Second Amendment. That’s why we have courts.

  25. #25 Tim Lambert
    January 5, 2005

    notherbob2’s seems to think that if he can find one accurate statement in Lott’s article, then none of Lott’s blatant falsehoods matter. He even has the gall to accuse me of dishonesty because I implied that reading the report would prove Lott wrong. But reading the report does prove Lott wrong. For example, he claims that the panel ignored studies that they did not ignore. And yes, the panel did conclude that more study was needed, but Lott’s conclusion was that they wrong and should have concluded that gun control is ineffective. And Lott’s conclusion is wrong — the data just does not settle the question either way.

    Oh, and notherbob2, this is my comment section and you are not allowed to insult other commentors here or accuse them of dishonesty. Please do not do it again.

  26. #26 liberal
    January 5, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, Handguns are used for hunting all the time. Large-framed .44 magnums, .454 Casulls, .480 Ruger’s etc. are superb hunting guns, and given their size, they are really only suited for hunting. You’re wrong on that point.

    Really? What do you hunt with a pistol? And (a) what’s legally hunted with a pistol, (b) what’s better hunted with a pistol than another weapon (either shotgun or rifle)?

    they are not only used to kill humans. They are used to hunt, as protection against wild animals in the field (I carry a sidearm when I hunt for that very reason),

    I never said they are only used to kill humans. I said they have no use hunting, mean that you don’t need them for hunting. And what wild animals do you need protecting from in the field?

    Handguns are very accurate. I can consistently produce 1.5″ groups at 25 yard with most of my handguns. That’s plenty accurate for me to hit an attacker center mass without harming bystanders. That completely misses the point. You’re consistently that accurate at a firing range. If you must fire rapidly, or fire at a moving target, you’re not going to be that accurate. Have you ever fired a handgun? What’s you’re basis for making such an assertion? Yes, I’ve fired all three (handgun, shotgun, rifle).

    Banning handguns would deprive many people of the means to defend their very lives against such an attack. There’s no consistent econometric analysis that shows that, in aggregate, such defense works as well as gun-proponents claim. I hope your concern about handguns being used to kill people is not a concern for the well-being of an attacker who gets killed by someone who is defending his or her life! Depends on whether they are indeed defending their life. Recall that case from Texas where a Japanese exchange student went to the wrong address on Halloween carrying a toy gun. The couple inside opened the door and shot him dead, and IIRC a jury found them innocent (of manslaughter, I presume). They had every opportunity to just wait behind the closed door and call 911.

    That’s like saying, you should carry around a desktop computer instead of a laptop. That’s silly and frankly disingenuous because you know it would practically eliminate all carrying of arms. Bizarre. You could easily sling a rifle over your back. Please compare the weight and bulkiness of a rifle to that of a desktop computer and flat-panel display (not to mention the relative fragility).

    “Most “libertarians” are not libertarians but rather advocates of an aristocratic form of political economy.” That comment is laced with Marxism- Marxism in the sense that it is overly concerned with class distinctions and the constructed antagonism between a class who controls the means of production and the class who does not.

    Wrong on all counts. (You clearly didn’t read the page I linked to, or if so didn’t understand it.) The classical liberals all understood (unlike many modern economists) that there are three factors of production: land, labor, and capital. Marxism pits capital against labor. The page I linked to draws from Georgism (after Henry George), which takes a critical look at landowning and capture of Ricardian land rent. Marxists and many leftists have no use for Georgism or its variants, and Marx and George despised each other. Even Milton Friedman agrees that the tax George advocated (land value taxation) is “the least bad tax.”

  27. #27 liberal
    January 5, 2005

    I should add that Friedman has it partly wrong—LVT is not just the least bad tax, it’s a good tax, because not only does it induce inefficiencies like deadweight loss, it’s one of the few taxes that increases efficiency by preventing wasteful hoarding of land for speculation.

  28. #28 liberal
    January 5, 2005

    Correction: “because not only does it not induce inefficiencies like deadweight loss”

  29. #29 rangemaster
    January 6, 2005

    Liberal wrote:

    “What do you hunt with a pistol? And (a) what’s legally hunted with a pistol, (b) what’s better hunted with a pistol than another weapon (either shotgun or rifle)?”

    1) If the caliber of the handgun (i.e. revolvers and pistols) is sufficient for the task, you can hunt just about anything with a pistol that you can hunt with a rifle. In terms of the legality of hunting with a handgun, in general, it’s the caliber of the handgun that matters. Some states won’t allow hunting the regular line-up of medium to large game (deer, hogs etc.) with anything smaller than a .44 magnum. However, other states don’t specify a caliber, but rather a minimum amount of energy (measured in foot pounds) at a certain distance. 500 ft.lbs at 50 yards is a round number to use as an example. That would mean that hotter .357 magnums up to a S&W 500 magnum (with all the calibers in between) would be legal for hunting this kind of game. As for smaller game (varmints etc.) smaller calibers are usually legal. 3) It’s not necessarily that a certain animal is “better” hunted with a handgun (as handguns and rifles can be chambered for the same cartridge, and handguns can even be more powerful than rifles), but that some kinds of hunting are better with a handgun. For example, when hunting in thick brush, a handgun of sufficient caliber can be extremely useful because 1) shots have to be quick, and 2) a handgun is easier to maneuver with. Other, hunting applications are not as well-suited for handguns (i.e. tree stand, long shots etc.). Handguns are just another tool available to the hunter. Just like the auto mechanic has big wrenches and little wrenches, the hunter has various rifles and various handguns.

    Plus, the handgun is useful as a backup even when the hunter carries a rifle. For instance, when the hunter gets charged by an angry 300 lb Russian boar at 25 feet, he would be well-served to drop his bolt-action rifle and grab his six-shot .44 magnum handgun. It could literally mean the difference between life and death (for the hunter).

    And that leads me to my next point . . .

    Liberal wrote:

    “And what wild animals do you need protecting from in the field?”

    Depends on where you are. In Alaska, for example, hunters, hikers etc. would be well-served to carry large caliber handguns (454 Casulls, 500 magnums) because of the very real risk of a grizzly attack. Think about it: Alaskan hunter has put down his rifle to clean the game he has killed, turns out, Mr. Bear wants it too. Or, hiker has accidentally stumbled upon a mother bear and her cubs. Hunter/hiker always has that handgun strapped to his waist even when he has put down the rifle. In another example, many people carry handguns in California because of the very real threat of mountain lion attacks. Here in Florida, black bears, wild hogs: all have the potential to be very dangerous and good sidearm is a very wise addition to any outdoorsman’s packing list for that reason.

    Liberal wrote:

    “That completely misses the point. You’re consistently that accurate at a firing range. If you must fire rapidly, or fire at a moving target, you’re not going to be that accurate. Have you ever fired a handgun? What’s you’re basis for making such an assertion? Yes, I’ve fired all three (handgun, shotgun, rifle).”

    1) I also train with rapid fire drills. Not the same results as slow, aimed fire, but still all center mass hits up to 25yards. As for moving targets, yes, harder to hit. But shooting discipline dictates that you don’t shoot at something (or someone) when someone else is in your line of fire. Armed citizens aren’t cops, and we don’t get into shootouts with criminals who are running around, holding hostages, or whatever scenario you can think of. We carry our guns to protect ourselves from an imminent attack. In other words, if the assailant is far enough away where I might have trouble hitting him if he’s moving, I will be running away, not playing Dirty Harry. But, at close ranges where the threat is imminent, a handgun is plenty accurate if I do my part. The law requires as much. 2) If handguns are so dangerous and inaccurate in real life defensive situations, why do the police carry them, given the litigious environment in which police departments now operate? 3) Since you’ve fired all three (handgun, shotgun, rifle) you should know that a handgun is more precise than a shotgun. shotguns spray pellets and hit a large surface area. certainly increases the risk of hitting the wrong person. And, at close ranges, a handguns are much better than rifles because they can be brought into service much faster. Rifles knock into walls, they get caught on clothing and are more easily taken away.

    Liberal wrote:

    “Bizarre. You could easily sling a rifle over your back. Please compare the weight and bulkiness of a rifle to that of a desktop computer and flat-panel display (not to mention the relative fragility).”

    Yes, you could sling a rifle over your back, but it wouldn’t suffice for self-defense and it wouldn’t be practical to carry around. How, for instance, am I to go out to dinner and a movie with my girlfriend with even a carbine strapped to my back? How am I going to get in and out of cars? How am I going to walk through tight hallways? How am I going to bring the rifle into action quickly when I have to reach around and get it off my back? Moreover, what am I going to do with the rifle when I am sitting at a table, in the John etc.? hang it over the back of my chair? Suggesting that I carry a rifle in lieu of a handgun is basically suggesting that I don’t carry at all, given the practical problems with the rifle as a carry piece. 2) No, not the same as a comparison between a desktop and laptop, except that one is so impractical to carry that you wouldn’t do it. Perhaps I should have said a very heavy, bulky laptop versus a new, compact one. Principle’s the same.

    Liberal wrote:

    “There’s no consistent econometric analysis that shows that, in aggregate, such defense works as well as gun-proponents claim.”

    I don’t really care about the aggregate, I only care about me and my ability to use a gun effectively. I know that, armed, I am much better at warding off criminal attack than unarmed. Besides, there’s also “no consistent econometric analysis that shows” such claims are patently false either. My personal experience, however, evidences the advantages of carrying a handgun for self-defense.

    Liberal wrote:

    “you clearly didn’t read the page I linked to, or if so didn’t understand it . . ” Closer to the former: I skimmed it in a very cursory manner. I’m not an economist, and that’s why I defined my own terms. You are clearly better-versed in the subject, as I am clearly better versed in the law. Doesn’t mean we can’t comment on these area (subject to the correction of people better informed than us).

  30. #30 liberal
    January 6, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, If handguns are so dangerous and inaccurate in real life defensive situations, why do the police carry them, given the litigious environment in which police departments now operate?

    I’m not arguing there’s no advantage to carrying handguns. My point is that there are costs and benefits to everything. Clearly, the costs of allowing the police handguns are quite different than allowing private citizens handguns.

    Since you’ve fired all three (handgun, shotgun, rifle) you should know that a handgun is more precise than a shotgun. shotguns spray pellets and hit a large surface area. certainly increases the risk of hitting the wrong person. I don’t want any private citizen firing even a handgun when there’s a bunch of people standing around.

    How, for instance, am I to go out to dinner and a movie with my girlfriend with even a carbine strapped to my back? How am I going to get in and out of cars? How am I going to walk through tight hallways? Tough. I carry around a very long umbrella because it provides better protection against rain. It’s a hassle in restaurants, etc. That’s my problem. If you want to carry around a loaded weapon (as a civilian), into restaurants, movie theaters, etc, I want it to be something big that I can see so I can get away from you and avoid having any dealings with you.

    Closer to the former: I skimmed it in a very cursory manner. I’m not an economist, and that’s why I defined my own terms. You are clearly better-versed in the subject, as I am clearly better versed in the law. LOL! Better versed in the law? Given that you had written Everyone should care what John Ashcroft has to say when it comes to the state of American law because he is the Attorney General of the United States and AGOs carry great weight (akin to the force of law). I assume that you’re not a lawyer, but if you were, you would know that AGOs are often cited as case law and are, more often than not, followed by the Courts. that’s doubtful.

  31. #31 production line 12
    January 6, 2005

    Must be a pain in the arse wandering around in constant fear of imminent attacks from criminals and rampaging beasts.

  32. #32 liberal
    January 6, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, Here in Florida, black bears, wild hogs: all have the potential to be very dangerous… How many humans in North America, exercising reasonable judgement, have been killed or severely maimed by black bears?

  33. #33 liberal
    January 6, 2005

    production line 12 wrote, Must be a pain in the arse wandering around in constant fear of imminent attacks from criminals and rampaging beasts.

    Yeah, no kidding… :-)

  34. #34 notherbob2
    January 6, 2005

    “Oh, and notherbob2, this is my comment section and you are not allowed to insult other commentors here or accuse them of dishonesty. Please do not do it again.”

    dis.hon.es.ty .
    n., pl.

    1. Lack of honesty or integrity; improbity.

    2. A dishonest act or statement .GuruNet

    Quoting from the Deltoid post on Lott:

    1. “Lott next misrepresents James Q Wilson’s dissent”

    2. “Lott misrepresents Wilson some more.”

    3. “If you want to know what the panel found it is probably just best to completely ignore Lott’s misrepresentations.”

    misrepresentation .
    noun
    An untrue declaration: canard, cock-and-bull story, falsehood, falsity, fib, fiction, inveracity, lie2, misstatement, prevarication, story, tale, untruth. Informal fish story, tall tale. Slang whopper. .GuruNet

    Sorry. It’s your blog and you make the rules. I take it that the rule is that you are the only one who is allowed to insult other writers or accuse them of dishonesty on your blog?

  35. #35 rangemaster
    January 6, 2005

    Liberal wrote:

    “I’m not arguing there’s no advantage to carrying handguns. My point is that there are costs and benefits to everything. Clearly, the costs of allowing the police handguns are quite different than allowing private citizens handguns.” Says you.

    Liberal wrote:

    “I don’t want any private citizen firing even a handgun when there’s a bunch of people standing around.” What is so magical about the police that it’s okay for them to be fire in public? If my life is in danger, I don’t care what you want. I’m going to shoot to kill and live to hash it out with you later, I suppose.

    Liberal wrote:

    “Tough. I carry around a very long umbrella because it provides better protection against rain. It’s a hassle in restaurants, etc. That’s my problem. If you want to carry around a loaded weapon (as a civilian), into restaurants, movie theaters, etc, I want it to be something big that I can see so I can get away from you and avoid having any dealings with you.” That, my friend, is insane. Why the irrational fear of people with guns? I assume you have dealings with armed police officers; do you fear them as you would fear an armed non LEO? Having a gun does not make me dangerous UNLESS YOU ATTACK ME. If you don’t plan to attack me, then you have nothing to fear from my loaded weapon. It won’t go off on its own. You certainly exhibit a “bias against guns,” IMHO. Carrying a gun legally is my right and your irrational fear is not my problem.

    Liberal wrote:

    “LOL! Better versed in the law?” I’m sorry, where did you go to law school? Where do you practice? I stand behind my statement about AGOs. But you have to read the entire quote, not just cite me out-of-context. Also, if you read my exchange with Carelton Wu, I clarify my position. I certainly am better versed in the law than you.

  36. #36 rangemaster
    January 6, 2005

    Liberal,

    So I’m not misunderstood, when I said “If my life is in danger, I don’t care what you want. I’m going to shoot to kill and live to hash it out with you later, I suppose” I meant I would live to argue with you about the right to carry a gun rather than die at the hands of an attacker. Phrase could be misconstrued– realized that after I wrote it.

  37. #37 rangemaster
    January 6, 2005

    Liberal wrote:

    “[Closer to the former: I skimmed it in a very cursory manner. I'm not an economist, and that's why I defined my own terms. You are clearly better-versed in the subject, as I am clearly better versed in the law.] LOL! Better versed in the law? Given that you had written Everyone should care what John Ashcroft has to say when it comes to the state of American law because he is the Attorney General of the United States and AGOs carry great weight (akin to the force of law). I assume that you’re not a lawyer, but if you were, you would know that AGOs are often cited as case law and are, more often than not, followed by the Courts. that’s doubtful.”

    Liberal, I’d like to keep this from becoming a pissing match and certainly getting into whether “most ‘libertarians’ are not libertarians but rather advocates of an aristocratic form of political economy.” That’s off topic. It’s why I chose not to read it and why I refused to engage in a debate about it. I’m here to discuss 1) the legal status of the Second Amendment, and 2) policy issues surrounding private gun ownership.

    1) You still haven’t proven that the Second Amendment guarantees only a collective right. You have cited no legal authority, and you have not backed up your “you’re wrong” position. Until you give me some legal authority, you’re words will ring hollow.

    2) You are entitled to your opinions about private gun ownership. I hope you don’t feel personally attacked my me in this regard. My questions to you are motivated by curiosity. You have made it clear that 1) you don’t think people should have handguns at all, 2) you don’t think people should carry handguns, and 3) in general, you are (irrationally) afraid of people who have guns. I say irrationally, because you assume that a) guns are intrinsically dangerous, and b) those who carry them are also intrinsically dangerous. What you haven’t taken into account is that it is possible for handguns and people who use handguns could be of no threat to you. You assume that they are too dangerous to be tolerated.

    In a sense, you sound like many people who have little experience with guns. People who are around guns a lot, understand that they are perfectly safe. and that it takes a person to make them dangerous. When I take a new shooter to the gun range, I often notice that they are afraid of the gun, as if it were going to jump up and shoot them. That is irrational in the sense that it’s not based in reality. However, once they get comfortable with guns in general, they stop fearing them because they realize that they are in complete control. Also, once they get to know some people who own and shoot guns, they also stop fearing gun owners because they realize that they are not the stereotypical nutjobs the media makes them out to be. In fact, they realize that, on whole, gun owners are responsible conscientious people who take the law and gun safety seriously. Of course, they still fear armed criminals and people who are no responsible with guns. But, oddly, they don’t fear them as much because they now feel empowered to protect themselves. They also realize that more restrictive gun laws would not keep guns out of the hands of criminals because criminals do not follow the law in the first place. Thus, rather than being a point of anxiety for them, guns become a point of comfort.

    I would urge you to get more experience with guns, and get to know more gun owners. I suspect that many of your views are informed by lack of information and lack of experience with guns and gunowners. I also think that many of your positions on guns are informed by a sense of disempowerment: you feel overwhelmed by he prospect of others carry and possess handguns when you do not carry or possess handguns. I do not live in such fear and I do not experience such disempowerment because I am armed and proficient with my guns. I have taken responsibility for my own safety. I just am not driven by the same fear of armed people and I thus do not take the view that they should be disarmed.

  38. #38 production line 12
    January 6, 2005

    ‘I just am not driven by the same fear of armed people’

    So it’s only the UNARMED criminals (and unarmed rampaging beasts) that you feel the need to protect yourself from by carrying a handgun?

  39. #39 production line 12
    January 6, 2005

    For what it’s worth, I grew up in households with guns, and the general attitude toward them was punctuated by three fairly simple rules:
    1. Unless they are being used for a specific purpose (that is, to shoot at something, not to carry around on the off chance you might feel the need to shoot at something), they are to be locked away in a secure place.
    2. The ammunition is to be locked away in a DIFFERENT secure place.
    3. Civilians who carry handguns should be avoided at all costs.

  40. #40 rangemaster
    January 6, 2005

    production line 12 wrote:

    “So it’s only the UNARMED criminals (and unarmed rampaging beasts) that you feel the need to protect yourself from by carrying a handgun?”

    That’s just silly and you know it. If you’re going to play with logic just to be smug, at least do it correctly. Lack-of-fear of armed criminals does not preclude lack-of-fear of unarmed criminals or animals. Nice try, though.

    Anyway, production line 12, if you want to engage in a substantive discussion, I welcome your comments. Picking out something I say and pouncing on it with limited effectiveness, just to be smug, doesn’t add to the debate and I won’t respond further.

  41. #41 rangemaster
    January 6, 2005

    production line 12 wrote:

    “For what it’s worth, I grew up in households with guns, and the general attitude toward them was punctuated by three fairly simple rules: 1. Unless they are being used for a specific purpose (that is, to shoot at something, not to carry around on the off chance you might feel the need to shoot at something), they are to be locked away in a secure place.
    2. The ammunition is to be locked away in a DIFFERENT secure place.

    3. Civilians who carry handguns should be avoided at all costs.”

    1) not a good policy if you use your guns for self-defense. That assumes that the operator of the gun is not responsible enough not to shoot at something. Just because you can drive your car into a building, do you really think that there’s a good chance you will? See what I’m getting at?

    2) not a good policy if you use your guns for self-defense. Guns can be stored safely loaded. There are special safes that allow easy access to a loaded gun for those who need to keep them locked away from others (e.g. kids). Safe storage does not mean keeping ammo separate from the gun. Your family’s rule worked for your family. My way works for me.

    3) Irrational. That’s like saying “avoid Germans at all costs because some of them used to be Nazis.” Both you and Liberal stereotype people who carry guns.

    Not all people who carry guns are dangerous. I carry my gun around all the time and 1) people don’t even know it, and 2) I would never use it unless my life was in danger. I’ve had my temper tested, I stayed calm. I’ve been though just about all of life’s every day frustrations with my gun in tow. It doesn’t change anything and it doesn’t come out of the holster. In fact, I am overly law-abiding and calm BECAUSE I have a gun. People who carry guns have a heightened responsibility in that regard, and I take mine seriously.

    Also, the gun’s not going to blow up or go off on its own.

  42. #42 ChrisPer
    January 6, 2005

    So we can say that guns have different purposes – Liberal grew up in a ‘sporting or work’ uses environment, and rangemaster is in a armed self-defense environment. Tends to frame your ideas strongly in both cases, because both of you take the guidelines you were taught seriously as intended. However, you can both recognise the fact that others’ lives and conditions are not yours.

  43. #43 rangemaster
    January 6, 2005

    Production line 12 wrote:

    “So it’s only the UNARMED criminals (and unarmed rampaging beasts) that you feel the need to protect yourself from by carrying a handgun?”

    Your statement implies that there really is real threat from criminals and beasts. That’s what I thought before someone broke into my house and held me hostage for a good long while. And, just ask the dead and disfigured mountain bikers in California of the threat from animals is not real. Just ask Game officers in Alaska why they carry guns into the field if the threat of bear attacks isn’t real.

    Just because you haven’t experienced a violent crime doesn’t mean it isn’t a possibility. IMHO, it’s also insulting to those of us who have survived violent attacks to insinuate that we are overreacting.

  44. #44 production line 12
    January 6, 2005

    Easy there, tiger. Clearly this is a topic that you hold sacrosanct. But I do reckon your self-belief is sturdy enough to withstand a little piss-taking without getting huffy. Can’t have a man who’s prepared to carry a loaded weapon gettin’ huffy now, can we?

    And so what is a production line to do? I would like to ‘engage in substantive discussion’ with you, but cannot, for you find the very basis of my position insulting. Yes, rangemaster, I do think you are overreacting. I encourage you to decide not to be insulted by that… It’s easy if you try.

    Seems to me it all comes down to a perception of threat. You believe that you’re under constant threat from criminals and wildlife, and hence feel the need to carry a concealed firearm. I, in an act which is, apparently, flagrantly and grossly offensive, have the temerity to think the actual threat to you is far smaller than you perceive. (Maybe all them Greenies should take mortal offence at sceptics of the danger inherent in climate change? Yes, I am being silly again, aren’t I? I do apologise, and only a little bit insincerely).

    On the other hand, I feel no real threat from said criminals and wildlife, but I certainly feel uncomfortable about the notion of a person who has suffered what sounds like a highly traumatic experience involving violence, with an exaggerated sense of personal danger, carrying around death-dealing technology. Gladdens my cockles that you’ve ‘had your temper tested’ and thus far you’ve managed to ‘stay calm’. ‘Cept what happens on that one occasion when you don’t? Gonna blow some mutha away? If not you, then maybe some other concealed firearm carryin’ enthusiast?

    The fear of nasty criminals and casually rampaging wildlife vs the fear of people carrying concealed firearms… who wins?

    Well, you, cos you’re allowed to carry a concealed firearm, and I’m not allowed to stop you.

    But at least I know my fear is real.
    (taking the piss again, mate, just taking the piss).

  45. #45 Tim Lambert
    January 6, 2005

    notherbob2, an intentional misrepresentation is dishonest. I did not say that Lott’s various misrepresentations were intentional. But my rule only applies to folks who comment here, so unless Lott chooses to post under his own name it doesn’t apply to him.

  46. #46 liberal
    January 6, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, I hope you don’t feel personally attacked my me in this regard. No. Given I post on USENET, this thread is pretty tame to me in terms of level of insult.

    I say irrationally, because you assume that a) guns are intrinsically dangerous, and b) those who carry them are also intrinsically dangerous. What you haven’t taken into account is that it is possible for handguns and people who use handguns could be of no threat to you. You assume that they are too dangerous to be tolerated. Of course I realize it’s possible for people to use handguns and be of no threat; I assume most are. But “most” does not equal “all.” There are many cases where e.g. road rage has resulted in a murder committed by the gun owner; I don’t trust human nature enough to think it’s a good thing for many people to be walking around armed.

  47. #47 notherbob2
    January 6, 2005

    Tim, you have taken my best shots like a gentleman. I hope that I have made you set your posting bar a little higher as that was my intent. If you had it to do over again and feel that you would do it exactly the same way, then I have failed. That said, I bid you good day.

  48. #48 liberal
    January 6, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, People who carry guns have a heightened responsibility in that regard, and I take mine seriously. No; not all do, and not all have the competence to carry out the sense of responsibility appropriately.

    One policy alternative would be (contrary to my position stated above) to allow personal possession and carrying of handguns, but required periodic skill assessments, as well as assessments as to whether the person understood their legal responsibilities, and of their mindset (e.g. whether they’d be able to keep their cool and not draw unless necessary).

  49. #49 liberal
    January 6, 2005

    rangemaster wrote, Moreover, there are positive externalities with SUVs and with guns (i.e. oftentimes SUVs are safer than cars and all guns in private hands, as Mr. Lott has pointed out, deter crime because criminals don’t know who’s armed and who’s not.

    On net, SUVs are mediocre for protecting their occupants. (Better than small cars, worse than a large heavy car (I think probably a Crown Vic is very good).) But the SUV’s safety for its occupants is an internal, not external, benefit; they’re very good at killing people in cars.

    Re Lott, if you’ve read anything our host Tim has written, you’d know he hasn’t proved much of anything.

  50. #50 liberal
    January 6, 2005

    ChrisPer wrote, However, you can both recognise the fact that others’ lives and conditions are not yours.

    I’m well aware that some people have faced much greater threat of violence than I have and may feel differently about public policy in this arena than I do. While I acknowledge their feelings, I think their conclusions and reasoning are faulty.

  51. #51 Carl Jarrett
    January 6, 2005

    John Lott is still out there on the usenet. In the post noted below, the poster (most likely John Lott) uses Lott’s son’s email to claim that Lott’s blog contains a rebuttal to Lambert’s comments on the “You keep using that word…”

    From: Maximwar (maximlott87@aol.com)
    Subject: Re: That Queen’s Speech In Full !
    Newsgroups: uk.politics.misc, uk.legal
    Date: 2005-01-04 12:51:07 PST

    Note that Lott refutes these claims on his blog site,
    http://www.johnrlott.com.

  52. #52 rangemaster
    January 7, 2005

    “Can’t have a man who’s prepared to carry a loaded weapon gettin’ huffy now, can we?”

    Why not. Men who drive cars “get huffy” all the time. Men who use kitchen knives get huffy all the time. Men who carry around baseball bats to and from little league games get huffy all the time. All have the potential to be weapons, but you seem to single out guns as something worse. Why?

    Production Line 12 wrote:

    “Easy there, tiger. Clearly this is a topic that you hold sacrosanct.”

    It most certainly is a topic that I hold sacrosanct. Gun owners are constantly fighting a political, legal, and PR battle to keep out gun rights. Hell, I’ve been arguing with Liberal– a fellow American– for days now about whether the right to ban handguns exists. I don’t hear people talking about infringing the right to free speech; I don’t hear people talking about infringing the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. Only hear people talking about infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. Yes, I take it very seriously because it is a serious subject for those of us who care about out civil rights.

    Production Line 12 Wrote:

    “Yes, rangemaster, I do think you are overreacting. I encourage you to decide not to be insulted by that… It’s easy if you try. Seems to me it all comes down to a perception of threat. You believe that you’re under constant threat from criminals and wildlife, and hence feel the need to carry a concealed firearm. I, in an act which is, apparently, flagrantly and grossly offensive, have the temerity to think the actual threat to you is far smaller than you perceive.”

    You misstate my position. I understand that I am not under a constant threat of attack from criminals and animals. But, having been in a bad spot once already, I also understand that crime can happen anywhere, at any time. So, just as a prudent man saves money for the day when he might need it– not because he feels under constant threat of unemployment, sickness etc.– I carry a gun. I don’t carry it everywhere. But, when I go the convenient store to pick up a gallon of milk at 11:00 at night, I carry it. In my town, that’s not overacting, that’s just prudent. And, yes, I keep a loaded handgun and a shotgun within easy access in my home. May never have an intruder in my home as long as I live, but the only harm of me keeping my guns in such a state is that they will sit there unused if no one decides to break in. Again, prudence, not paranoia, no matter how you try to spin it.

    Production Line 12 Wrote:

    “I certainly feel uncomfortable about the notion of a person who has suffered what sounds like a highly traumatic experience involving violence, with an exaggerated sense of personal danger, carrying around death-dealing technology.”

    Let’s just assume that you’re right. Let’s assume that I have an “exaggerated sense of personal danger.” I still don’t see your point. I drive a car to work everyday. That’s could easily be used as a deadly weapon. I use kitchen knives every night. Those could certainly be used as a deadly weapon. I have a pocket knife in my truck. That could certainly be used as a deadly weapon.

    Under your logic, therefore, any crime victim with an “exaggerated sense of personal danger” shouldn’t be allowed to drive, cut things, play sports etc . . . Get my point?

    Don’t you think that you have an “exaggerated sense of personal danger” in taking such concern about people who carry handguns?

    Production Line 12 wrote:

    “But at least I know my fear is real.” Is it?

    Production Line 12 wrote:

    “Gladdens my cockles that you’ve ‘had your temper tested’ and thus far you’ve managed to ‘stay calm’. ‘Cept what happens on that one occasion when you don’t? Gonna blow some mutha away? If not you, then maybe some other concealed firearm carryin’ enthusiast?”

    What gives you any basis to assume that I would piss away the rest of my life– and make my family go without me– just to indulge my temper? People get mad all the time. But, they don’t kill other people just because they’re angry. I can control myself. If I couldn’t, I wouldn’t carry a gun.

    In my state (Florida), to get a concealed carry license, you have to undergo an FBI background check, get firearms training, and deomonstrate knowledge of the law. Statistically speaking, gun crimes committed by Florida concealed carry permit holders is almost unheard of. Folks who take the time and spend the money to get licensed in Florida are, on the whole, law-abiding knowledgable people who are not part of the problem when it comes to gun crime and gun accidents. Now, criminals don’t take the time to get a license . . . but by their very nature, don’t really care about firearms laws. I think worrying about me and my fellow permit holders is wasted engery; worrying about the criminals out there with guns is both of our problem.

  53. #53 rangemaster
    January 7, 2005

    Liberal Wrote:

    “Of course I realize it’s possible for people to use handguns and be of no threat; I assume most are. But “most” does not equal “all.” There are many cases where e.g. road rage has resulted in a murder committed by the gun owner; I don’t trust human nature enough to think it’s a good thing for many people to be walking around armed.”

    First of all, most people who drive cars are of no threat. They don’t drive drunk, they don’t intentionally run people down etc. But, there are a few out there who do, and, statistically, those people cause more death, injury, and property damage every year than people who carry guns. Why single out guns as the dangerous instruments with which people can’t be trusted? Why not cars too? Why not kitchen knives? Why not baseball bats? Get my point?

    I don’t think your position is irrational in asmuch as you are concerned about the small minority of people who can’t be trusted with guns; I think your position is irrational inasmuch as you single out guns over other statistically more dangerous instruments. That’s “the bias against guns” that us gun owners complain about.

    Second, I don’t trust human nature either. That’s why I choose to own and carry a gun.

    Liberal wrote:

    “No; not all do, and not all have the competence to carry out the sense of responsibility appropriately.
    One policy alternative would be (contrary to my position stated above) to allow personal possession and carrying of handguns, but required periodic skill assessments, as well as assessments as to whether the person understood their legal responsibilities, and of their mindset (e.g. whether they’d be able to keep their cool and not draw unless necessary).”

    You and I agree on this point. I think people who want to carry guns should be trained and monitored at least to the extent police are. Police are not only trained in gun safety and competence, but also trained in the legal aspects of justifiable use of force, tactics, situational awareness, ending conflict without the use of deadly force etc. I would have no problem submitting to and requiring other to submit to a higher level of training and monitoring in order to carry a gun. I train a lot anyway, and gun owners are not immune from the concern of untrained people running around with loaded guns.

  54. #54 Tomahawk
    January 8, 2005

    Watching this debate…I agree with the Rangemaster. Seems pretty clear to me as a trained legal professional that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right. Whether exercising that right has consequences is irrelevant. Free speech has consequences…idiots like John Kerry and Mark Latham get to speak don’t they?

  55. #55 production line 12
    January 8, 2005

    The difference between a handgun and a car, kitchen knife, and baseball bat is that the former is designed to seriously wound or kill, and the latter are respectively designed to transport payloads, prepare food, and have a bit of communal fun. It is no great revelation to point out that virtually anything can be a lethal weapon. Contrary to the tiresomely predictable line of argument you regurgitate here, the logical extraction of an objection to handguns is not that we should ban everything. My own concern regarding handguns, as I tried to demonstrate earlier, is based upon the danger inherent in the mindset of someone who believes carrying around technology designed to seriously wound or kill is essential to their survival.

    I would like to emphasise that it is possible to happily live one’s life WITHOUT handguns. I believe that, contrary to the position you appear to hold, rarely is there a correlation between possessing a gun and having an increased chance of survival. There are many hundreds of thousands of people currently living in warzones who do not have guns, yet will survive. There are also many people in the same warzones who do have guns, and will not survive.

    There is a simple way of determining who is correct here, rangemaster: at the end of your life, count the number of people who would have killed you (or those you are trying to protect), had you not incapacitated them first with your handgun. If the number is more than zero, you win. But remember, they must have posed a LEGITIMATE threat, not a threat you have concocted or exaggerated in your mind. And how are you going to work that one out? Easier just not to carry a handgun and move somewhere safer, if you ask me. I’ve never been to Florida, but if the threat posed by criminals and wildlife during a brief trip to the store is such that one must carry around a loaded (and, in a move which increasingly seems bizarre, concealed) handgun, well, I heard St. Petersburg recently dropped off the top of the list of cities with high murder-rates…

  56. #56 liberal
    January 8, 2005

    Tomahawk wrote, Seems pretty clear to me as a trained legal professional that the 2nd Amendment is an individual right.

    You’re going to have to do better than that if you want brownie points for a good parody of pro-gun arguments.

  57. #57 rangemaster
    January 9, 2005

    production line 12,

    Well you’ve given me a whole lot of nothing but smug, smart assed variations of you’re only arguement: “I don’t think people should have guns, and therefore you’re wrong.”

    Maybe things are great over in gun free Australia. Thank God you don’t vote in my Country. As far as I’m concerned, unless you can give me a better reason that your personal bias against guns and gun owners, this conversation if over, mate.

  58. #58 production line 12
    January 9, 2005

    Too clever by half, was I? Well, perhaps you’re right… I’m sorry I pissed you off, not least cos the quality of your posts have consequently declined quite dramatically. The ‘thank God you don’t vote in my country’ line is a pretty bad one, tiger. It gets trundled out from time to time, and is really just a polite way of sayin’ ‘I don’t like you’. I hope you feel better for having voiced such a sentiment, cos I’d like to talk about concealed handguns.

    If you can find your way to get over the fact that I’m a smug smartarse (for which I surely deserve pity, not vitriol), you will see that at no point have I argued that “I don’t think people should have guns, and therefore you’re wrong”. I would not argue this, for I do not believe it to be the case. My posts strictly addressed the possession of concealed handguns, not gun ownership in general. As it seems I haven’t made this clear, permit me to state that I do not believe all guns should be banned. That you seem unable to distinguish between my position and a blanket ban on guns only reinforces my concern over the mental capacity of people who think it’s a good idea to possess concealed handguns. That you are threatenin’ to crack the shits and storm off simply because you haven’t taken the time to read my posts with enough self-possession to understand my position speaks volumes for your ostensibly unshakeable ability to manage your anger.

    As you found the phrasin’ of my line of inquiry so objectionable (or should that be ‘confusing’?), allow me to make a simple request, unfettered by smartarsery: can you please quantify the nature of the threat confronting you which demands that you carry a concealed handgun? This threat seemed to form the basis of your justification, but I found your quantification of this threat to be very unconvincing. Believe it or not, I am interested in what you have to say. But if you’re going to persist in misrepresentin’ my position, I’m going to persist in settin’ you straight.

    So, if you please, can you explain the precise nature of this threat?

    By the by, everyone knows Australians hold clear dominion over use of the word ‘mate’. Please refrain from using this word again.

    (now that’s hunnert percent piss-takin’)

  59. #59 rangemaster
    January 10, 2005

    Production Line 12:

    Quantify the threat? Well, I can’t see how I am expected to quantify the likelihood of getting attacked. I guess I could look at crime statistics in my area, and come up with a figure that would indicate what my chances of getting attacked AGAIN will be. I’m sure that numbers out there exist to determine what one’s chances of getting hit by lightning would be etc.

    But, whatever number I come up with, I can tell you that statistically, my chances are not zero, and thus, I carry a gun.

    As for the precise nature of the threat, here goes:

    Law student in St. Petersburg, picks up some groceries on the way home from a late-night study session. Has his hands full when he enters his second floor apartment. Goes to put down the groceries in the kitchen and then plans to go back and lock the door. However, before this student can get back to the door, it opens, and in barges a hooded surly looking guy who’s pointing a gun at law student’s face and pinning him against the wall. Law student doesn’t attempt to fight off the intruder because he, as far as he knows, he’s staring down the muzzle of a handgun. However, when intruder gets close enough, law student realizes that it’s not a gun, but a large screwdriver.

    Law student is at an extreme disadvantage because, although there’s not a gun involved in the situation, he’s now got an attacker right up on him poking him with a large screwdriver. Law student considers resisting, but realizes that hand-to-hand combat would leave him at a distinct disadvantage as 1) the intruder has had the jump on him from the beginning, and 2) the intruder has a weapon.

    Law student, fortunately, called down the attacker by giving up his wallet and enticing him with promises of cash and jewelry if he just ventured into the back bedrooms (giving law student time to get to the door.

    All in all, this whole affair took a good 10 minutes. 10 minutes of knowing your life is in serious peril. 10 minutes of contemplating options that no one should ever have to contemplate: give him what he wants and hope he decides not to kill me. I mean, he knows you’ve seen his face, and he knows that he’s already in a world of trouble for the crimes he’s already committed. Why would he not just kill me? Or, fight. Well, you could fight, but he’s got a weapon. What do I have . . . hmmm there’s a lamp over there, no way I’ll get to a kitchen drawer for a knife without taking that screwdriver in the gut. hand-to-hand? That could work, but for the fact that you’ve got to get a good shot and it has to end the situation fast. Otherwise, yup, it’s probably a screwdriver in the gut . . .

    Of course, this is my story. And, well. it ended alright (no thanks to the cops who showed up well after it was all over). But, I could have gotten killed. Someone else in my home (I was the only one there at the time) could have gotten killed, hurt etc. . . Had this guy been a little more jumpy, had things gone a bit differently, this situation could have turned out worse.

    Now, I guess, statistically, this shouldn’t have happened to me. But, statistics don’t matter much when it’s you fighting for your life.

    After that, I swore that no human being would ever exercise that kind of fear and control over me or my family. No two-bit thug is going to threaten my life, or at least, I’ll never get caught without the effective means of dealing with one if he ever tries again.

    A handgun is an effective way to deal with such a threat. If I had been carrying my gun that night, I would have still been wearing it when that guy came into my house. Armed with more than my fists, I could have reacted and dealt with the problem in an effective manner that ensured that I was not the one who was going to get killed that night.

    The way it went down, it was the intruder who got to decide whether I lived or died. Next time, I will be in control. And, it’s the gun that turns the tables.

    To answer your ultimate question: “what’s the real danger” I’d say that my story shows it can happen. As long as there’s a chance it can happen, I’m not going to gamble with my life.

    And, “what’s the need to carry concealed?” Well first off, Florida law only allows concealed carry. So, with the proper license (which I have) that’s my only option.

    Second, in just the past two months, these events have happened in my town.

    1) A gunman randomly decides to take out his aggression on some poor bastards at a St. Petersburg Radio Shack. He goes into the store, and shoots the place up, killing two employees and a customer before he kills himself.

    Could I have been shopping in that store when this jerk decided to do his thing? Sure. Could I have saved my own life and possibly the lives of those poor people who died? Absolutely. Were those people sitting ducks? Yes. Would I have at least had a fighting chance? Yep.

    2) Few weeks later, on my way home from work, road’s blocked off, cops are everywhere. Sit in traffic for a while, get passed the mess and get home. Turn on news, turns out what I came across was a registered sexual predator who got in a fender-bender and ended up waiving a gun a passing motorists.

    The dude tried to walk away from an accident when he was confronted by an off-duty police officer whereupon he put a revolver in the officer’s face and tried to make his escape. Problem is, he tried to make his escape in someone else’s car. He tried to carjack (at gunpoint) at least four people before he was confronted by another off-duty police officer. This time, the officer had a gun and when the guy turned a fired, the officer returned fire and ended to situation.

    The kicker? All this happened five minutes before I got to the intersection. Could have easily been me with a gun in my face. And, what if the officer wasn’t there at the time? Who would have stopped this guy before he killed someone? What’s worse, this guy fled into a parking lot before after he was confronted by the officer. My girlfriend does the bulk of her shopping in that shopping center and could have very easily been there when this madman was running around.

    3) Few weeks ago, gunman carjacks two women in the parking lot of a restaurant right around the corner from my office. I probably eat there several times a month. Could have easily been me.

    Of course, I tell you these stories to point out: 1) that I’ve already been a crime victim and thus the stakes are real for me. 2) Violent crime happens all around me and, if I’m ever in the wrong place at the wrong time again, I will have the means to deal with them.

    A victim once, shame on my attacker. A victim twice, shame on me.

    Is that enough quantification?

  60. #60 production line 12
    January 13, 2005

    Well, no, to be honest, but I think we both knew that was always going to be the case. If the threat in your neighbourhood were so obviously manifest, then you wouldn’t have to carry your handguns around concealed-like, would ya? If the threat was really real, every dang fool would be wanderin around laden with firepower, clutchin spare ammo between their teeth, receivin copious praise from grateful townsfolk. But the dang fools are not laden, the townsfolk aren’t grateful, they’d probably run screaming if they saw you wandering around with handguns. That’s why I was rude enough to query the nature of your ‘threat’ in the first place.

    See, I don’t think you’re being straight with us here, rangemaster. I don’t believe you despise the weapon you hide away on your bodice. I don’t believe you carry it as a reluctant preventative against imminent death. I don’t even think your home intrusion experience is the reason you carry concealed handguns. Can I tell a story now? It’s not half as long as yours, but it’s much better written. A certain red-headed young chap fortunate enough to call himself a friend of production line 12 worked at a service station during his student years. One day, a junkie gone erratic and violent with desperation showed up at the counter, jammed a gun up his nostril, and demanded cash – lots of it. Take note this was a real gun, not a screwdriver that looked like a gun. When all was said and done, death threats made, cash frantically stuffed into a bag, junkie fled into the waiting arms of the police and so forth, said friend showed up at my place in a Bad Way. Traumatic experience, as you very well know, but over the course of several weeks councilling, the support of his friends and family, and admirable determination not to let some pissant little junkie fuck his life up by making him jump at shadows for the rest of his days, said friend returned to his job at the servo. Formerly a man who loved his huntin and shootin, he has now forsaken guns in favour of restoring waterways (incidental to the point of this whole thread, I know, but it’s kinda poignant, don’t you think?).

    So, what’s my point? That my friend’s better at dealing with this kinda shit than you? No. Rather, that running out and loading up on concealed handguns is neither the only nor the logical response to such an experience. And I reckon you know that. Though your past experience with home invasion may have had some catalytic effect in your decision to carry concealed handguns, I reckon you STILL carry ‘em for another reason. I reckon you carry concealed handguns, cos you fucken love ‘em. I reckon you are a gun fanatic. I reckon you love the smell of gunpowder. Temporarily vulnerable to a psycho with a screwdriver, I reckon you now get off on the feeling of empowerment that comes with knowing you’re packing heat in a crowded street.

    I make these assumptions based on your ostensible and decidedly paltry justification for carrying a concealed handgun (that is, a threat that can’t be quantified). I make them based on your reliance upon hypothetical situations in which every factor favours you (‘IF I hadda been there at the time, and IF I hadda known he was a bad guy, and IF the cops weren’t there to arrest him, and IF I coulda pulled my gun and fired faster than him, and IF my gun worked, and IF I fired accurately, and IF I didn’t also blow away the innocent bystander behind him, and IF it could be decisively shown I was acting in self-defence so I wouldn’t have to go to gaol. well, I woulda been a HERO). But mostly I make them based on your website.

    Now here’s the bit I don’t understand. Given the stridency of gun-totin seppos when it comes to carryin firearms, why would you try to justify it through an unquantifiable threat, instead of just sayin ‘I carry a concealed handgun cos I like concealed handguns, so stick that in your pipe, and then stick your pipe up your ass’?

  61. #61 Toby
    January 13, 2005

    Toby:
    Rangemaster – assume the law student you describe has a handgun in a shoulder holster. At what point during the confrontation would he have been able to put his hand inside his clothing, draw out the gun, take off the safety and fire?

    The way you describe the situation, up until the point the student realized his attacker had a screwdriver, the student belived that the attacker had a loaded gun pointed at his body at a very short range. Once the student realized the attacker had a screwdriver, said screwdriver was a very short distance to his body. Had the student attempted to draw a weapon, the attacker would have in all likelihood stabbed him with the screwdriver before the student could have drawn their weapon. Through the entire situation, it appears that there is no point at which the student could have drawn a weapon and fired without being attacked in a way that could have seriously harmed or killed him.

    The only way a student armed with a gun could have avoided the situation was if he had the gun in his hands when the attacker entered – and even then, if the attacker had the (apparent) gun pointed towards him at that point, attempting to bring up the gun to fire at that point would be suicidal. If the gun was real, the student would then be dead, rather than just robbed.

  62. #62 Ian Gould
    January 13, 2005

    Rangmaster: “Of course, I tell you these stories to point out: 1) that I’ve already been a crime victim and thus the stakes are real for me. 2) Violent crime happens all around me and, if I’m ever in the wrong place at the wrong time again, I will have the means to deal with them. A victim once, shame on my attacker. A victim twice, shame on me.”

    I’ve been a victim of crime too. Join the club.

    If you honestly believe you’re incapable of defending yourself or avoiding trouble without an artificial crutch then you’re still a victim.

  63. #63 rangemaster
    January 15, 2005

    Production Line 12 Wrote:

    “Well, no, to be honest, but I think we both knew that was always going to be the case. If the threat in your neighbourhood were so obviously manifest, then you wouldn’t have to carry your handguns around concealed-like, would ya? If the threat was really real, every dang fool would be wanderin around laden with firepower, clutchin spare ammo between their teeth, receivin copious praise from grateful townsfolk. But the dang fools are not laden, the townsfolk aren’t grateful, they’d probably run screaming if they saw you wandering around with handguns. That’s why I was rude enough to query the nature of your ‘threat’ in the first place.”

    Didn’t think that you’d be swayed. However, you also imply, if I understand you correctly, that, if the threat were as pronounced as I say, most of my neighbors would be packing heat. First off, I don’t know how many of my neighbors carry concealed. If they do, they are smarter than I because they don’t tell others about it and therefore don’t have to justify themselves. However, I do know that there are approx. 200,000 concealed carry permits issued in Florida, and countless others who carry their guns in their cars (which does not require a permit of any kind). So, while I doubt that “every dang fool [is]wanderin around laden with firepower,” I am certain that others in my community do carry guns. I can tell you that much just by the numbers of regulars who frequent my favorite shooting ranges. Third, just because people don’t carry guns doesn’t mean the threat isn’t real. You seem like a smart guy, so I assume you understand that people are equally capable of UNDER-estimating a threat as they are capable of OVER-estimating a threat. My general experience is that crime is “out of sight, out of mind” to most people because they haven’t experienced it. It is just something they see on the news that “won’t happen here” etc. Most people are too absorbed with their daily lives to think about the “what ifs.” Most people drive a little too fast, hell, some people in California even build their houses in known mudslide areas. But, just because people don’t respond to threat doesn’t mean that the threats aren’t real. It just mean they don’t worry about them as much.

    Production Line 12 Wrote:

    “See, I don’t think you’re being straight with us here, rangemaster. I don’t believe you despise the weapon you hide away on your bodice. I don’t believe you carry it as a reluctant preventative against imminent death. I don’t even think your home intrusion experience is the reason you carry concealed handguns.”

    Since you’ve been reading my website I’m not going to give you any reasoning points for concluding that I “don’t despise the weapon I carry.” Ya got me. I love guns, especially my carry gun. So let’s just get that out of the way right now. Nor do I “carry it [ONLY]as a reluctant preventative against imminent death.” Ya got me again. You asked me to quantify the threat, you never asked me why I carry.

    Truth be told I carry for two reasons: 1) for self-defense, 2) because I believe in exercising my right to keep and bear arms. With respect self-defense, I carry not because I feel under constant threat of imminent death, but rather because I enjoy knowing that I have the means to handle a violent attack if it happens. With the gun, my Girlfriend and I can park a few blocks away from the theatre (rather than not going because there’s no parking any closer). I don’t worry about it as much. With the gun, I can run over to the convenient store at midnight when we need milk. I don’t worry about it as much etc. . .

    Let me ask you this, Production Line, do you carry auto insurance? Assuming that you do, does it give you peace of mind when you drive? What are the chances that you’ll get in an accident? Bet you’d even carry insurance if you weren’t forced to carry it as a condition of driving.

    With respect to exercising my right to keep and bear arms, I appreciate that I live in a state where my right to carry a gun is respected. But all rights need to be exercised it they are to be preserved. So, besides carrying a gun for the above-mentioned peace of mind, I also carry my gun simply because I can. So you’re partly right when you say “I don’t even think your home intrusion experience is the reason you carry concealed handguns.” It’s not the ONLY reason I carry a gun. Ya got me again.

    Production Line 12 wrote:

    “Though your past experience with home invasion may have had some catalytic effect in your decision to carry concealed handguns, I reckon you STILL carry ‘em for another reason. ” See above.

    Production Line 12 Wrote:

    “I reckon you STILL carry ‘em for another reason. I reckon you carry concealed handguns, cos you fucken love ‘em. I reckon you are a gun fanatic. I reckon you love the smell of gunpowder. Temporarily vulnerable to a psycho with a screwdriver, I reckon you now get off on the feeling of empowerment that comes with knowing you’re packing heat in a crowded street.”

    Wow, that’s a big leap in logic and those are some very value-laden terms. We’ve already established that indeed, I “fucken love” guns in general and my handgun in particular. Truth be told, my interest in guns was marginal until I got robbed. And, indeed, the impetus to buy my first handgun was my robbery experience. What you haven’t quite figured out is that thinking seriously about owning a handgun as a means of self-defense got me to the gun range. Once I started shooting for practice, I realized that I also enjoyed the SPORT of shooting. In fact, it LOVED the SPORT of shooting. And, along with enjoying the sport of shooting, came an enjoyment of gun ownership. Along with the joy of gun ownership came the awareness of the debate raging over private gun ownership in the United States. Along with this awareness came a deep concern for the long-term viability of private gun ownership in America. That concern led to a blog etc. . .

    So, I would say that you are correct in saying that I am a “gun fanatic.” That is, I’m a gun fanatic the same way a avid golfer is a “golf fanatic” or an avid fisherman is a “fishing fanatic.” Many of my weekends are spent at the gun range. I like to hunt. I enjoy owning guns and sharing my love of the sport with other like-minded folks.

    As far as me getting off “on the feeling of empowerment that comes with knowing [I'm] packing heat in a crowded street,” see the above discussion on peace-of-mind.

    Production Line 12:

    “I make them based on your reliance upon hypothetical situations in which every factor favours you (‘IF I hadda been there at the time, and IF I hadda known he was a bad guy, and IF the cops weren’t there to arrest him, and IF I coulda pulled my gun and fired faster than him, and IF my gun worked, and IF I fired accurately, and IF I didn’t also blow away the innocent bystander behind him, and IF it could be decisively shown I was acting in self-defence so I wouldn’t have to go to gaol. well, I woulda been a HERO).”

    That’s your interpretation. Trust me, anyone with a career, a family, or anything to lose for that matter, would not relish shooting someone just to be a “hero.” Assuming you don’t get charged with murder (which is not a given even in clear-cut justifiable use of force), you still risk the civil suit that probably will follow. Moreover, even if no legal ramifications ensue, you still have to deal with fact that you killed another person. That’s a lifetime of guilt, “what ifs,” sadness for the criminal’s family etc. You imply that I am a homicidal maniac who seeks to exploit the nuances of the law to sate my homicidal urges. I have to reject that implication. However, my desire stand up to criminals and to exercise my right to keep and bear arms stands.

    Production Line 12 Wrote:

    “Given the stridency of gun-totin seppos when it comes to carryin firearms, why would you try to justify it through an unquantifiable threat, instead of just sayin ‘I carry a concealed handgun cos I like concealed handguns, so stick that in your pipe, and then stick your pipe up your ass’?”

    I could just say that. It is certainly my right to carry a gun and I don’t have to justify it to you or anyone else. But, I’m willing to engage you in a substantive debate because there are good points to be made besides “stick that in your pipe, and then stick your pipe up your ass’?” Perhaps that’s a better response to someone who is hell bent of debunking any justification for carrying a gun. But, it certainly doesn’t lead to a debate of any sort.

  64. #64 rangemaster
    January 15, 2005

    Toby,

    You make some good points. First, let me point out that I don’t carry in a shoulder holster. I carry my gun on a belt holster. It only requires one movement to present the gun. I practice this and it takes about a second to get the gun out and to get into a firing position. Second, my carry gun does not have a safety (purposely) so that is one less step to worry about.

    So, the scenario would actually have been like this: since I had just gotten home, my gun would still have been in my hip holster. And, I would have easily been able to present and fire the gun in about a second.

    Now, when the guy first came in the house, I thought he had a gun. The house was still dark and he had his hands covered by the sleeves of his shirt. All I saw was a piece of metal that was held like a gun and pointed at my face. In that instance, drawing my gun would have been pure suicide. But, after he got up on me, and I realized it was a screwdriver, At that point, I had some choices to make. Not quite sure what this guy was planning to do with me, I waited to see. However, the option to fight with whatever I had available (fists, lamp etc.) was my “last resort” if and when I decided that he was going to try to hurt me.

    That’s when the gun would have helped. I was able to get enough separation to draw and fire. Of course it would have been a risk, but remember, I had already resolved to use force only if I thought it was my only means of survival. In that instance, a gun would have been better than my fists or anything around the house I could have picked up.

    You’re right in pointing out that a gun is not a cure all for crime. But, it gives a crime victim a fighting chance.

  65. #65 rangemaster
    January 15, 2005

    Ian Gould wrote:

    “I’ve been a victim of crime too. Join the club.

    If you honestly believe you’re incapable of defending yourself or avoiding trouble without an artificial crutch then you’re still a victim.”

    Ian, you’re free to react to your experience however you choose. However 1) guns are not an “artificial crutch” and 2) I am not a victim because I have chosen to take responsibility for my own safety.

    Guns are tools. If you use a hammer to drive a nail, then I guess you are using an “artificial crutch.” I don’t see your point, really. Moreover, victims are people who have no control over what happens to them. I have decided to take control over what happens to me when it comes to violent crime.

    If I were paranoid, always looking over my shoulder, then yes, you could say that my attacker continues to victimize me. But that’s not the case. my attacker simply made me aware of the need to take responsibility for me own safety. This includes, but is not limited to, carrying a gun. Situational awareness, dogs, body language: all these things help to prevent violent attack. The gun is only one piece of the puzzle.

  66. #66 production line 12
    January 16, 2005

    You know, I really should be charging you for this.

    In order to move into the much-vaunted sphere of ‘substantive debate’, you’re gonna have to inject a dose of consistency and stop quibbling over semantics and irrelevant details. The reason I asked you to quantify the threat is not because I have some morbid fascination with the range of grisly deaths confrontin Floridians. I have no personal interest in the degree of threat posed to those living in Florida. I asked you to quantify the threat because it was the dominant feature of the justification you presented to Liberal. We clear on this? I didn’t need to explicitly ask why you carry a handgun, because you and Liberal had already launched into that debate before I came along. That’s why I got involved in the first place – your justification seemed false, and hence I figured there must be some other reason why you carry a concealed handgun. In case you’ve forgotten, you carry a concealed handgun cos you love ‘em.

    Now, here’s a recipe for a delicious Inconsistent Trifle: 1) argue that you carry a concealed handgun for self-defence against threats; 2) admit that you actually carry a concealed handgun cos you love ‘em; 3) in the very next paragraph, argue once again that you carry a concealed handgun for self-defence, and also in order to exercise the right to carry a concealed handgun.

    Then ask production line 12 to eat it and smile.

    Remember our earlier discussion? The ‘self-defence’ argument is not one that you can win. That’s why you abandoned it in the first place. It gives you two options: attempt to quantify an unquantifiable threat; or admit that the threat is purely a concoction of your own mind.

    The ‘right to bear arms’ argument is circular. You’re arguin that you carry a concealed handgun because you have a right to carry a concealed handgun. This is not a reason.

    I think your comment about ‘value-laden terms’ is the most important point you’ve made yet. Clearly the attraction in blogging lies in being exposed to people with values different to yer own. But I think you’re making a serious mistake in pre-empting my own attitude toward certain terms, ideas, and desires. I implied nothin negative in the term ‘gun fanatic’, but you still felt the need to tackle the negative connotations associated with the term. It was you who gave it these connotations. Your explanation of a ‘gun fanatic’ through comparison with golf and fishin fanatics is precisely the sense in which I used the term. Why would you think otherwise? If you have firmly held beliefs about firearms, why not rely upon these beliefs instead of constructing bogus arguments which you think will placate people like myself and Liberal? Why bother attempting to quantify the unquantafiable? If you are a gun fanatic, if you love the smell of gunpowder, if you carry a concealed handgun simply because you like concealed handguns – why not say so with pride? I do not think there is anything inherently negative in any of these, which is why, given your interest in firearms, I cannot understand why you behave as if there is.

    Finally, I would like to encourage you to avoid using outraged hyperbole. I did not imply that you are a homicidal maniac and it is ridiculous to suggest that I did. Believe me, rangemaster, if I thought you were a homicidal maniac, you’d know about it by now. Hyperbole for amusement purposes I can handle, but I strongly urge you to abandon this tactic of creating non-existent arguments in order to assume some kind of moral high ground.

  67. #67 Jadegold
    January 16, 2005

    Moreover, victims are people who have no control over what happens to them. I have decided to take control over what happens to me when it comes to violent crime.

    A huge strawman. Anyone can become a victim–the police officer, the elderly woman, the gun-laden paranoid.

    A firearm simply doesn’t afford you any more protection against victimization than, say, situational awareness and a bit of common sense. Moreover, the fact is you’re more likely to be a victim of violent crime perpetrated by someone you know and probably know quite well.

  68. #68 Nabakov
    January 17, 2005

    I give this thread to Production Line 12 by a TKO.

    Especially’cos rangemaster’s too much of a wimp to take a long gun into a resturant.

  69. #69 Toby
    January 18, 2005

    Thanks for your reply, rangemaster.

    From your description of the situation, you admit that the only time you could have used the gun is when: (a) you were certain the attacker was not carrying a handgun, (b) when the attacker had moved sufficiently far away that you could draw and fire before he attacked.

    I do have to take issue with your view that the gun is always the most effective defence in these circumstances. While hands, or physical weapons, do not have the power of a gun, they allow a victim to block a physical attack. The only way a gun can stop an attack is to injure or threaten the attacker. An expert in one of the ‘soft’ martial arts, such as akido or judo, could disarm an attacker quicker than you could draw your gun. Such martial arts would be useless against an attacker with a gun, but as demonstrated in this case, any weapon is useless against an attacker if the attacker draws first.

    For situations such as the example you give, I can’t see the advantage to carrying a gun. You face the risk associated with carrying a loaded weapon with no safety, and the gun is useless against an attacker who can threaten you before you react.

  70. #70 rangemaster
    January 19, 2005

    Toby,

    I agree with what you say about certain martial arts being better than guns in certain situations. A gun is not a cure-all for violent attack. It’s but one tool available. Other tools include situational awareness, martial arts, effective body language, dogs, door locks, alarm systems etc. However, a gun is quite effective when employed in an appropriate manner.

    I still believe it would have helped that night. But, you make some good points and I’m not going to argue.

    The only thing I take issue with is this:

    “You face the risk associated with carrying a loaded weapon with no safety . . .”

    Certain handguns don’t have external safeties (meaning that they don’t have a lever to disengage). But they still have multiple safety systems built into the gun. As such, there is no heightened risk of carrying a “loaded weapon with no safety.” My gun is a revolver. Revolvers have never had external safeties. But, with very heavy double action triggers, internal safeties to prevent accidental discharge etc., they are just as safe as a pistol with an external safety. Neither type of gun will fire unless the operator intends to fire. If revolvers and other guns without external safeties were much more dangerous than guns with external safeties, they would not be the most common sidearms used by police all over the world.

  71. #71 Toby
    January 19, 2005

    On the point regarding unsafetied weapons – Fair enough.

  72. #72 Adrian
    January 7, 2006

    The committee actually said:

    “We also report the results of our own analyses of the data. We conclude that, in light of (a) the sensitivity of the empirical results to seemingly minor changes in model specification, (b) a lack of robustness of the results to the inclusion of more recent years of data (during which there are many more law changes than in the earlier period), and (c) the imprecision of some results, it is impossible to draw strong conclusions from the existing literature on the causal impact of these laws.”

    “…the committee is not sanguine about the prospects for measuring the effect of right-to-carry laws on crime. Note that this is distinct from whether such laws affect crime. Rather, in our view, any effect they have on crime is not likely to be detected in a convincing and robust fashion.”

    They just don’t specifically side with Lott. That’s a long way from indicting him on his methodology or making some sort of positive assertion that he is wrong or is guilty of what would be consider some sort of severe misconduct. They do not criticize his methodology as being particularly flawed and they can qualitatively reproduce his results. It is merely the fact that they can produce conflicting results with what they think are other equally valid methodologies that they do not simply accept Lott’s conclusions.

    Ultimately, this article actually really does vindicate Lott. The NAS scrutinized virtually everything he did heavily and found that his data is accurate and his methods are legitimate. Just because they have done other analyses that make them doubt his ultimate conclusions doesn’t diminish that fact one bit. In the end, you have that some researchers are on Lott’s side while others are opposed, and the NAS has taken a neutral position. But, in the meantime, of all the researchers out there, Lott has really withstood an enormous amount of scrutiny by the NAS.

  73. #73 Adrian
    January 8, 2006

    Toby and Rangemaster:

    If I was fighting my clone and my clone had a screwdriver and was in pretty good shape with a blackbelt in judo, I am pretty sure that I would still win more often of the time against my clone if I was armed with a gun and we started out with him holding his screwdriver at my stomach. He doesn’t get to just stab me. We struggle and he tries to take me down. I am by no means a black belt in judo but I have played against some before and I have also rolled with some BJJ guys and so on. Even if you are highly trained, you still don’t just get to automatically take someone down either.

    My entire goal is simply to keep from getting stabbed and to put distance between us. All I have to do is accomplish this goal for a few seconds to pull my weapon and start shooting. So, as a lot of gun enthusiasts know, there is this 20 ft rule about how someone can engage you within that range before you can draw your weapon. But, that’s if you’re standing still and even then it isn’t as if he played “the 20-ft rule card” and now you lose.

    My advice. If you are carrying and a man with a hood barges in like that. Draw your weapon and put him down immediately and otherwise resist at all times. The longer you are compliant the more he can just further press his advantage. It isn’t at all suicide and it is unlikely he will see in time that you are pulling your gun to simply shoot you uncontested. It is much more likely that such a thing would result in a gun fight or him just getting shot uncontested because you actually have the jump on him — he doesn’t know you have a gun or what you are doing. Only if he has a gun and it is an assination does he really have the jump on you because he is moving directly to shoot you without hesitation anyway. Otherwise, by the time he sees that it was indeed a gun that you were actually drawing, you will probably have your gun in a better position than he does his.

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