Talking Gun Control At Scienceblogs

Matt Springer has written a post Against the gun control that won’t work, and he correctly points out that previous gun control efforts have been little more than shameless demagoguery, including the totally-worthless assault weapons ban. People must understand that the previous major legislation the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 was an atrociously-stupid piece of legislation. The weapons that fell under the ban were not banned because of function. As Springer points out, the ban focused on cosmetic elements of weapons so that lawmakers could put them on a table and describe how they banned scary guns, but in no way prevented the sale of similar semi-automatic weapons that could accept large capacity magazines and drop lots of rounds, only without folding stocks or flash suppressors.

However, I disagree with his summation that none of the control efforts previously tried has value, or that things like registration and other barriers to ownership won’t work. Let’s address some of these common arguments and why while they sound appealing, they’re an example of “letting the perfect destroy the good”.

Starting Gun registration: The shooting was carried out using firearms which were stolen from a person who legally purchased them, had a background check, and filed and was granted a purchase permit. The mass shooter in Norway acquired his weapons under a regulatory regime of full registration, as did the perpetrators of the two infamous school massacres in Germany in the 2000s. Registration of firearms prevents mass shootings in the same sense that automobile registration prevents DUI – they don’t, they can’t, and they’re not intended to.

Well, a highly-motivated individual may accomplish a lot, but that doesn’t suggest registration has no role whatsoever in preventing mass shootings. Yes, in these massacres in other countries, the laws were obeyed, as in Connecticut. But creating obstacles to ownership probably decreases the frequency of such incidents, as the differences in gun violence between these countries demonstrate. We have had 4 mass shootings during Obama’s presidency, not to mention, our yearly toll of some 30,000 people a year killed by guns. Our per-capita death rate is about 4 times higher than our next door neighbor, Canada, or any of these countries mentioned with death rates in the tens or hundreds, rather than the tens of thousands.

When you make it harder to get guns, it makes it harder for people who are deranged, angry or otherwise dangerous to own them, and you’re going to decrease your rates of gun violence. Just because it isn’t perfect, and doesn’t prevent a highly-motivated individual from doing all the work, doesn’t mean that you can’t deter dozens of other would-be shooters from mass violence.

Finally the DUI analogy is poor if you point out that some weapons are like giving someone a tank to commit their DUI. A DUI on a tricycle (read black-powder musket), is different from a DUI in 18 wheel tanker truck (your AR-15 might be a good example). Really significant barriers should be put in place to prevent civilian ownership of clip-fed semi-automatic weapons.

Assault weapons ban: Connecticut has one, and the weapon was legal under it. The reason is simple, and common to all versions of the assault weapons ban – “assault weapon” is an inherently meaningless concept whose legal definition is essentially cosmetic.

Agreed, assault weapons bans as they exist are totally useless. However, that doesn’t mean an intelligent ban couldn’t be designed. I think the sale or ownership of magazine-fed weapons should probably be prohibited or severely restricted for civilians. The ownership of extended magazines such as those used by the shooter in Aurora should be a federal crime. They should cease to exist outside of military use. Allowing ownership of revolvers, bolt and breech-fed rifles and shotguns, would satisfy legitimate home-safety, sporting, and hunting applications that can and should be protected by any gun control regulation. The problem is clip-fed semi-automatic rifles and handguns. These are the guns that do the most damage-per-second, with easy reloading, and the ability to bring and use hundreds or even thousands of rounds by a single person. It would be far more difficult (but still not impossible), for similar events to take place if we severely restricted weapons available to pump, bolt, an breech weapons that do not have the capacity to drop as many rounds per minute. And I would still be able to go skeet shooting, hunt deer, duck, or target shoot to my heart’s content.

Total prohibition of firearms: In a country with well over two hundred million firearms, it is logistically impossible. But if it weren’t, there is not much reason to believe it would do any good. Guns can be acquired illegally and are not required for mass murder in the first place. The worst school massacre in US history was carried out by a bomber in Michigan. The Oklahoma City bombing killed nineteen children and a hundred and fifty adults. The Columbine shooters attempted to go down in infamy as the Columbine bombers and would have killed many more people had their improvised propane bombs not mercifully failed. While bombs require a modicum of effort, more lethal than any single mass shooting was the 1990 Happy Land arson, the perpetrator of which killed 87 people with a gallon of gasoline. The most lethal mass shooting prior to the shooting in Norway was carried out by a South Korean police officer in a country where civilian possession of firearms is prohibited. Norway itself does not completely prohibit firearms ownership but the restrictions are extremely tight. Prohibition has a terrible track record at preventing dedicated psychopaths from mass murder. For that matter, is has a terrible track record at preventing violent crime of the more mundane sort.

While I agree prohibition is logistically-impossible, the reason isn’t that if we ban guns the loons will just build bombs or burn people alive. Again, a motivated, deranged human is extremely dangerous as long as anything combustible, and anyone vulnerable is in reach. That doesn’t mean that forbidding the sale of compact, high-capacity killing machines over the counter won’t have an effect. Just because there are alternatives to guns, doesn’t mean gun access should be so easy. Take the example of the crazy guy that stabbed 20 kids in China last week at about the same time. Yes, a deranged person just needs a kitchen knife to wreak havoc in a school. However, the difference in death count was significant. No one died. It’s actually quite difficult to kill people with a knife, and very difficult to kill lots of people. Just making mass violence more difficult, while not stopping mass violence, will make it less deadly.

We’re not talking about perfection here. We’re talking about progress. Making it harder, making the violence rarer, will decrease the amount of gun violence, as almost every country besides the US demonstrates every year with their gun violence deaths at a tiny fraction of our own.

Improvement of NICS: If you buy a gun, you have to fill out paperwork and undergo a background check. These checks have been very good at preventing purchase by people who are disqualified by criminal records. But while adjudication as mentally incompetent is also disqualifying, such records are only poorly integrated into the system. This flaw was the source of the Virginia Tech shooter’s weapons.

It’s dangerous to create databases of people tied to conditions like mental illness or other discriminatory conditions. The difficulty of making such databases effective will persist because of issues with individual’s privacy rights.

Repair of the catastrophically bad US mental health apparatus: There’s a dire article in Gawker making the rounds, a first person account of a mother trying to raise an extremely troubled kid. They have basically two options – prison or muddling through alone. There is almost no systematic way of helping the helpable deranged, and almost no systematic way of containing the non-helpable deranged until they commit a violent crime and get sent to prison. This must be changed, and changed immediately.

I agree, mental health parity should be a focus of this presidency and Obamacare. Mental illness should be treated, insured, paid for and taken care of just like any other illness. Our continued inability to deal with mental illness is a national shame. However, in general, the mentally ill are less likely to be violent and more likely to be victims.

Secure schools: If you’re determined to herd children into buildings with no law enforcement or other responsible armed adults (mass shootings almost exclusively happen in areas that are both 1) “gun free” and 2) don’t have law enforcement presence), at least build the buildings in a safe way.

But then won’t the criminals just pick the locks or bring bolt cutters? Interesting how in this instance the suggestion that increasing the difficulty of access works when applied to door access, but not when applied to gun access. You see the flaw there? I also think it’s sad that rather than dealing with the threat the suggestion is to continue to fortify our schools, our homes, our neighborhoods. Safety shouldn’t mean having to live behind fences and barbed wire.

The flaw in most of his reasoning is to say that because something doesn’t work perfectly, means that it has no value. Stringent registration and background checks will fail, but they create a larger obstacle for many who otherwise can just walk into a gun store and buy an incredibly dangerous gun with no questions asked. A prohibition on new sales would not do anything about the existing guns, such as used in this case, but it would, again, make it much harder for those like Cho that had to purchase their own to carry out their crime.

In particular a ban on certain functional aspects of guns could reduce mass violence. Ban extended clips such as were used in aurora, make it a federal crime to own one. Make them nonexistent. Do not allow civilian purchase of weapons that are magazine-fed. Bolt action hunting rifles, guns with a breech, revolvers, shotguns etc, are still deadly, but they have legitimate sport and personal defense uses. There is also no constitutional amendment protecting ownership of magazines or clips, so make it against the law to own one larger than 5 rounds, or to own more than a limited number. That would be completely adequate for sporting uses. Finally, place limits on ammunition purchases and stockpiling. The second amendment says we have the right to keep and bear arms, but says nothing about restrictions on industrially-produced cartridges that feed some of these more deadly weapons. Such cartridges, after all, didn’t even exist when the constitution was written, coming almost 100 years later. Make it against the law to own or carry more than 100 rounds of a given ammunition. You could still go to the range, buy and dump lots of rounds in practice, but given the bag limits for deer in any given state, do you really need to keep thousands of rounds at home? What exactly are you preparing for? I realize, bulk purchase of ammo is economically-sensible, and convenient for people who over the years will likely use that ammunition in target practice and hunting. Allow unlimited shotgun rounds of buck or birdshot, and maybe .22 caliber rifle rounds etc., but strongly consider round limitations on 9mm, .357, .223, .45, .50, 7.62mm etc. The more power, speed, and range of the bullet, as well as it’s use in clip-fed semi-automatic weapons, the more care we should take to prevent bulk ownership.

There are ways to sensibly and effectively regulate firearms and ammunition. We should engage in this debate though, with adequate information on the function of these firearms, their applications for legitimate sport, and their capacity for rapid fire and reloading. The mass violence problem is one of ready-access to semi-automatic weapons that are magazine fed. Limitations on their access, or outright restriction, while not-perfect, would make mass violence much more difficult, and more unlikely to see the death counts we have seen in recent years.

Disclaimer – I am a gun owner and enthusiast who target and skeet shoots. Weapons I own would become illegal under my suggestions, but I think that’s a reasonable sacrifice to prevent the extremes of gun violence. I would happily trade my magazine-fed weapons for a revolver and maybe an over-under shotgun I could use for target and skeet respectively.

Comments

  1. #1 jane
    December 17, 2012

    If you and a couple of family members go to a range for a single afternoon, you will go through more than 100 rounds. If you want to hunt and teach your kids to hunt, you have a moral obligation to fire hundreds or thousands of rounds at the range so that when the time comes for you to shoot an animal, you will kill it cleanly and not make it suffer. Make it against the law to buy or possess more than a handful of rounds at a time, and you will add so much cost and hassle to the challenge of becoming a skilled shooter that almost nobody will do so. If you are an urbanite, you may not realize that this would have serious cultural, economic, and even environmental repercussions.

    I also don’t think that seeing modern clip-fed weapons as magically evil is the answer. My .22 target-shooting pistol would be far less deadly to a human than a .45 revolver. Yes, it can be reloaded quickly with a clip, but revolvers can also be quickly reloaded with speed-loaders. To go through “thousands” of rounds with it, firing as fast as reasonably possible without pause, would take an hour or more – assuming an unlimited supply of loaded clips and no jams. That’s not a plausible scenario in my opinion.

    Right now, everyone is shocked enough to want to do something about this sort of violence, and to be willing to accept things that they ordinarily wouldn’t. The same was true after Sept. 11 and it was regrettable, because what we got was massive violations of civil liberties. In this case, I think there will be much more effective pushback if someone attempts to shove through the Dianne Feinstein fantasy position, of sending the SWAT teams around to round up the gun owners and confiscate their weapons. That is pretty much what you are asking for if you suggest that my possession of a .22 semiautomatic and a brick of ammo for it should be two federal felonies. Such laws will not be passed, because legislators from rural states simply will not let it happen, and those who promote them will miss the chance to pass something less extreme that might have made a meaningful difference.

    • #2 Mark
      December 17, 2012

      If you and a couple of family members go to a range for a single afternoon, you will go through more than 100 rounds. If you want to hunt and teach your kids to hunt, you have a moral obligation to fire hundreds or thousands of rounds at the range so that when the time comes for you to shoot an animal, you will kill it cleanly and not make it suffer. Make it against the law to buy or possess more than a handful of rounds at a time, and you will add so much cost and hassle to the challenge of becoming a skilled shooter that almost nobody will do so. If you are an urbanite, you may not realize that this would have serious cultural, economic, and even environmental repercussions.

      Agreed, firearms practice is important to safety. The way I worded it I was intending to convey at the range one should have unlimited access to ammo, but at home stockpiling certain kinds of ammunition is not helping public safety.

      I also don’t think that seeing modern clip-fed weapons as magically evil is the answer. My .22 target-shooting pistol would be far less deadly to a human than a .45 revolver. Yes, it can be reloaded quickly with a clip, but revolvers can also be quickly reloaded with speed-loaders. To go through “thousands” of rounds with it, firing as fast as reasonably possible without pause, would take an hour or more – assuming an unlimited supply of loaded clips and no jams. That’s not a plausible scenario in my opinion.

      As I noted, caliber should be taken into consideration when it comes to regulation of capacity or ammo. In terms of preventing mass violence, a .45 revolver is dangerous, yes, but it cannot be easily used for mass shooting.

      In this case, I think there will be much more effective pushback if someone attempts to shove through the Dianne Feinstein fantasy position, of sending the SWAT teams around to round up the gun owners and confiscate their weapons. That is pretty much what you are asking for if you suggest that my possession of a .22 semiautomatic and a brick of ammo for it should be two federal felonies.

      Historically implementation of bans grandfathers in existing possession. But still, new laws preventing further accumulation of clips and ammo may be effective. Implementation of bans on ownership of stockpiles of ammunition and clips, even banning existing stocks, does not mean SWAT teams and random searches. In this country we can still assume the majority of people will be law abiding and comply with restrictions without door-to-door searches which is just paranoid fantasy.

      I think my point stands. If we want to do something about mass shootings, we have to more effectively regulate the machines that are capable of dropping hundreds of rounds, and rapidly-reload. If we want to decrease gun violence as a whole it will require increasing barriers to ownership and large scale purchasing of guns and ammo, as well as dealers which feed criminal gun use through straw-man purchasing. Tracking the weapons from the store to the crime scene through use of technology, tracking serial numbers, shell imprints and rifling may help. Eliminating the gun show loopholes, and requiring sale of a firearm to be accompanied by transfer of a title – just as you would a car, may also prevent the transfer of legal weapons onto the street. Existing laws on non-permit concealed possession, and use of guns in commission of crimes are already pretty strict and well-enforced. That’s dealing with the end point though. Targeting the supply will be important as well.

  2. #3 Lyle
    December 17, 2012

    The government needs revenue, why not put a $1.00 tax on each bullet sold? For a hunter the $10 to $20 needed for a year would not be that much but someone who buys thousands of rounds would pay a lot more.

  3. #4 RandomCanadian
    Canada
    December 17, 2012

    It’s nice to hear the perspective of a gun-owner. I enjoy target shooting and the events in Sandy Hook have made me re-think whether or not I want firearms in the house along with my kids. However, some of the rabid commentary – http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2012/12/17/sandy-hook-their-horror-our-country-your-guns/ – adds nothing to the debate and simply alienates law abiding, moderate gun owners.

    You wrote that “our yearly toll of some 10,000 people a year killed by guns. Compare this to Canada at 52″.

    Not sure where you are getting your data but this number does not seem right. There are more than 1000 firearm suicides each year in Canada and typically over 150 firearm homicides. But I suppose your point stands – it’s still fewer than the U.S. But then we do have a much smaller population, and we’re more spread out so it’s harder to shoot each other.

    By the way, the AR-15 pattern rifle is legal here, albeit with a restricted magazine capacity, so not sure how that fits into your banning of magazine-fed weapon logic. Canada is full of semi-autos of every flavor, yet we have a fraction of the gun violence. Suggesting a national reduction in mag capacity to 10 rounds seems more likely to gain approval in the U.S. than banning all semi-autos.

    I guess this brings me to my point – namely banning semi-automatics, yet dismissing perfectly good suggestions like building more secure schools does not seem logical to me. I’m not wild about the idea of ultra-secure elementary schools, with steel doors, panic buttons and armed guards, but it seems more likely to protect children than banning some firearms and not others, while not addressing the societal issues that feed into mass shootings.

    You also diminish the correlation between mental health and mass shooting – I assume from a well-meaning attempt to avoid stigmatizing those with mental illness. However, this ignores the reality that 100% of the mass-shooters that I can recall over the last 10 years have suffered from one form or another of unresolved mental illness.

    If the U.S. identified and treated mental illness with any degree of compassion and understanding, the requirement to ban various firearms would be less urgent. As I try to make sense of Sandy Hook, it seems to me that mental health issues are of far greater significance than what type of magazine was used by the shooter.

    • #5 Mark
      December 17, 2012

      You wrote that “our yearly toll of some 10,000 people a year killed by guns. Compare this to Canada at 52″.

      Not sure where you are getting your data but this number does not seem right. There are more than 1000 firearm suicides each year in Canada and typically over 150 firearm homicides. But I suppose your point stands – it’s still fewer than the U.S. But then we do have a much smaller population, and we’re more spread out so it’s harder to shoot each other.

      That should have read handguns. It’s from HCI, I’ll fix. I think it’s a poor stat too, a better comparison may be deathrate per capita, in which we’re about 4x higher than Canada and a significant outlier overall. It also focuses only on handguns which are 10k of the 30k we have a year.

      The mentally ill might be behind more of the mass shootings, but the overwhelming majority of the 30k deaths a year are by perfectly sane people. I don’t know enough about this most recent one, but I’m not sure mental illness is going to be the culprit. We don’t know enough yet. I’ll give you the Giffords and Aurora shootings too, but Columbine? Or Jonesboro? Not so much.

  4. #6 Matt Springer
    December 17, 2012

    Fair points. A more complete discussion between the two of us might be interesting. Three things that stuck out to me:

    It’s dangerous to create databases of people tied to conditions like mental illness or other discriminatory conditions. The difficulty of making such databases effective will persist because of issues with individual’s privacy rights.

    I agree, but my suggestion is not about those with mental conditions generally. It’s specifically about those who have been adjudicated mentally incompetent by judicial proceedings. This is much different than a person who’s merely autistic or depressed.

    Interesting how in this instance the suggestion that increasing the difficulty of access works when applied to door access, but not when applied to gun access. You see the flaw there?

    It would indeed be a flaw, if gun control actually increased difficulty of access. I don’t believe it does to any significant extent. In the 9/11 analogy, gun control is the TSA’s security theater, school door locks are cockpit door locks. This need not turn schools into fortresses, even bringing security to the level of a typical house would be a real improvement.

    Finally, place limits on ammunition purchases and stockpiling.

    Pretty much nobody is any more dangerous with a million rounds of ammo than they are with about 100. Ammo is heavy, bulky, and unwieldy. Actual infantry soldiers don’t even carry much ammo.

    • #7 Mark
      December 17, 2012

      Interesting how in this instance the suggestion that increasing the difficulty of access works when applied to door access, but not when applied to gun access. You see the flaw there?

      It would indeed be a flaw, if gun control actually increased difficulty of access. I don’t believe it does to any significant extent. In the 9/11 analogy, gun control is the TSA’s security theater, school door locks are cockpit door locks. This need not turn schools into fortresses, even bringing security to the level of a typical house would be a real improvement.

      It’s a poor analogy because by the time you’ve passed the screeners you’ve already been disarmed. Whereas a nut could just shoot the locks, or even drive his car through the school doors then continue on his way. I get that the “target-hardening” approach has merit. But if I were to make an analogy, your door strategy is like suggesting we create the TSA, but refuse to go after Al Qaeda (the rapid-fire/rapid-reload weapons).

      Finally, place limits on ammunition purchases and stockpiling.

      Pretty much nobody is any more dangerous with a million rounds of ammo than they are with about 100. Ammo is heavy, bulky, and unwieldy. Actual infantry soldiers don’t even carry much ammo.

      So far, maybe. We should not only be thinking of yesterday’s errors, but tomorrow’s as well. A person, or pair of people with a stockpile and access to a high place (as seen in Texas) could lay fire for thousands of yards and shoot for days. We also have to do something about the easy access to ammunition. Making ammo more expensive, more rare, and not allowing bulk purchases may be another way to keep shootings on the street down. The old Chris Rock joke, we need bullet control, not gun control.

      In general, if people want to be serious about decreasing gun fatalities we have to see what has worked elsewhere. And it’s pretty simple. Large barriers to ownership, including things like registration (or having 2 other people have to vouch for you), requiring permits, tracking weapons, tracking retail as well as individual sales, limits on purchasing, and barriers to large purchases of ammo will make it harder to supply the demand for guns and bullets for illegal use. This is a bit separate from the mass killing issue, which will only be prevented by all of the above, plus the even larger barriers against possession of the rapid fire/reload weapons.

  5. #8 Ahcuah
    December 17, 2012

    Interesting discussion with you and Matt, and I agree it is a difficult problem. One quibble with one of your sentences, though: “There is also no constitutional amendment protecting ownership of magazines or clips, so make it against the law to own one larger than 5 rounds, or to own more than a limited number.” That’s like saying there is no constitutional amendment protecting the right to own paper, so the First Amendment could be worked around that way. I have no doubt that magazines and clips are both protected by the second Amendment (though possibly only as a time, place, and manner restriction, but I tend to doubt it).

    • #9 Mark
      December 17, 2012

      You think the first amendment protects paper from regulation? That’s interesting, I doubt it. IANAL but I don’t think that’s a valid interpretation of the first amendment, which has all sorts of restrictions, from commercial speech restriction to dangerous or threatening speech. Also, speech is entirely possible without paper. One could even envision a future where to protect trees and habitat, paper is no longer permitted but everyone has a kindle, computer, etc. I think we’re already headed that way anyway. Besides, restrictions would not prevent people from owning arms, and have already been tested with a 10-round clip limitation in the 1994 ban which was not even challenged by the NRA (because they would lose). Extended capacity clips, holding as many as 100 rounds (as used in Aurora) should not exist in civilian hands. That’s what made Aurora so deadly, and it would have been even worse if his weapon hadn’t jammed.

  6. #10 Matt Springer
    December 17, 2012

    Two more quick comments on your reply:

    A person, or pair of people with a stockpile and access to a high place (as seen in Texas) could lay fire for thousands of yards and shoot for days.

    Charles Whitman did his sniping with a bolt-action deer rifle. He fired a few dozen shots. Neither type nor quantity restrictions would have affected him.

    In general, if people want to be serious about decreasing gun fatalities we have to see what has worked elsewhere. And it’s pretty simple[…]

    We should, but this argument tends to be made under the assumption that the world consists of the US and western Europe.

    One could (and should) also compare El Paso with Ciudad Juarez. The former has extremely loose laws and low crime, the latter is the opposite. Obviously the cultures, histories, and economies of the US and Mexico are wildly different, but that suggests that gun laws in themselves are much less salient than the “England has few gun homicides” comparison would suggest. The cultures and histories of the US and England are also very different, after all.

    • #11 Mark
      December 17, 2012

      You didn’t read what I wrote at all. I’m saying we need to think about the future and potential for harm rather than just continuously react to what has been done before, and then you just remind us of what was done before.

      How about Australia? They’re culturally quite similar to us, lots of guns, had shootings, passed some of these restrictions on these types of rifles and succeeded. And comparison with us and Mexico is far more off base than a comparison of the US and England. Have you been to either? That’s just bizarre. This helplessness argument is bogus. “It’s culture, we’re screwed”. Nonsense and evasion.

  7. #12 OleanderTea
    December 17, 2012

    Where in the US can one just walk into a gun show and walk out with a weapon? I live in Massachusetts and certainly can’t do that here. Nor could I do so in Florida as far as I recall; gun show vendors had to run people through the federal database, at least. Just curious where people can walk in and then walk out with an AR-15 no questions asked.

    • #13 Mark
      December 17, 2012

      Virginia for one. I could walk into a gunstore, show an in state license, and leave 10 minutes later with an AR-15. It’s a semi-automatic rife. If you’re curious about other states see here:
      Brady scorecards by state. Most states do not require background checks with all gun sales.

  8. #14 jane
    December 17, 2012

    Lyle – A hunter who only shoots 10 bullets a year is getting very little practice, which IMHO is immoral. I know a guy who kneecapped a deer. Not a happy occasion and his friends gave him guff about it for months. You only need one bullet to commit an armed robbery (and you can re-use it repeatedly) so steep ammo taxes would place a far higher burden on law-abiding working-class sportsmen and sportswomen than on criminals.

    Mark – You spoke in favor of a law that would criminalize possession of a gun that you now own. It is not “paranoid fantasy” to suggest that federal laws might be enforced. BATF will come to your house today and break your door down if they think you have an illegal weapon, just as the DEA will raid or arrest you if they think you have illegal drugs, and so forth. Among the flaws of the proposed approach is the fact that people who are so obedient they would go through their houses looking for bullets to count and turn in, or proactively turn in valued firearms, are not the sort of people who would ever perpetrate mass shootings. [Admittedly, sometimes their kid might be.]

    We all would like to “do something” now, but it should be something that actually poses a hindrance to deranged criminals, rather than just making some currently law-abiding people into criminals. Talk of banning high-capacity magazines sounds good, but it’s not clear whether such devices made much difference in this massacre. When the victims of a shooting are small children, it may not matter exactly how often the shooter pauses for a couple of seconds to reload; they’re not in a position to take him down. A nut opening fire in a kindergarten classroom even with a 28-gauge shotgun, perhaps blocking the door with his body, would create horrific carnage, and nobody has suggested confiscating bird guns. We need mechanisms to either keep any deadly weapon whatsoever out of the hands of the nut, or keep the nut out of the school, or both. I don’t know what the best combination of actions might be, but I’ll be a lot more willing to make concessions for their sake if they don’t seem intended to define people like me – and you! – as the problem.

    • #15 Mark
      December 18, 2012

      Mark – You spoke in favor of a law that would criminalize possession of a gun that you now own. It is not “paranoid fantasy” to suggest that federal laws might be enforced. BATF will come to your house today and break your door down if they think you have an illegal weapon, just as the DEA will raid or arrest you if they think you have illegal drugs, and so forth.

      Just like with the previous assault weapons ban, existing weapons and clips were grandfathered in. We managed to ban all those scary guns without door to door searches that all the paranoids harp on about. However, I would argue extended clips should be totally banned. I’m sure a grace period , voluntary turn-in programs, etc., could take care of the 100 round drums like used in aurora without the need for all this big brother paranoia.

      We all would like to “do something” now, but it should be something that actually poses a hindrance to deranged criminals, rather than just making some currently law-abiding people into criminals.

      In all of the mass shootings so far, none was a criminal until the crime.

      . A nut opening fire in a kindergarten classroom even with a 28-gauge shotgun, perhaps blocking the door with his body, would create horrific carnage, and nobody has suggested confiscating bird guns.

      Alternative scary scenarios are not an argument for making magazine-fed automatic weapons (that have been used in almost all of these recent mass shootings ) easily available. Right now, there are few barriers, and the barriers that exist are a joke as demonstrated here in Connecticut. Just because you can imagine another scenario, just as harmful, using gasoline, or a chainsaw, or whatever, doesn’t excuse the easy availability of a machine designed specifically for rapid killing and rapid reloading.

      This is the most common recurring argument on this thread and it’s bogus. So, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, does that mean we should make it so goddamn easy? Is this an argument for deregulating dynamite and c4? Well, someone could kill a bunch of people with a butter knife, so why not let them have c4? Enough already. We’ve seen the pattern, the ready availability of these weapons is a problem. There isn’t a good reason for them to be in civilian hands. They have been repeatedly used for this pattern of violence. If, and the question has been asked, you want to stop mass violence, make the tools of mass violence more difficult to obtain. It won’t be a 100% perfect intervention – there is no such thing – but it would be an improvement.

      If on the other hand you don’t care about mass killings, or it’s more important to you to own magazine-fed semi-automatic weapons, then fine, keep at it. It’s a perfectly valid point of view, just not one most of us share.

  9. #16 Angela
    Olympia, WA
    December 17, 2012

    I appreciate the thoughtful columns from both of you and the intelligent comments. I am glad to see another woman comment. I see hardly anyone addressing the primary reason that I own a gun– I am a single woman who lives alone and need to be able to defend myself or home if necessary–or at least to feel that way. I plan on continuing to live alone and in rural areas and a gun allows me to feel/be safer. I used to have both a shotgun (clay targets, I don’t hunt) and a handgun, now just my handgun, but I would not be opposed to having more guns. I don’t shoot much anymore, but enjoyed going to the range. The media made such a big deal out of the mother enjoying guns and having several–a man would not have raised any eyebrows if he had owned those guns. I have also carried a gun when doing work in remote parts of southeast Alaska, mostly to scare off bears if they came close. Single women may be some of the people most justified in having guns for self defense. What’s sort of interesting is that all this talk of banning guns is going to result in a booming gun market. Maybe it will fix the economy.

  10. #17 Matt Springer
    December 17, 2012

    And comparison with us and Mexico is far more off base than a comparison of the US and England. Have you been to either? That’s just bizarre. This helplessness argument is bogus. “It’s culture, we’re screwed”. Nonsense and evasion.

    Perhaps I have done so incorrectly, but I interpreted your argument as “countries with tougher gun laws have lower homicide rates”. I’m just pointing out that this is not in fact true unless one cherry-picks data points. There are other, stronger variables and yes, culture is one of them.

    The Australian example is interesting, and probably the best pro-gun-control example. I have seen good data indicating that violent crime in general and gun crime in particular dropped after the post-Port Arthur regulatory regime. I have also seen the claim that there have been no subsequent mass shootings. That latter claim is incorrect, though as far as I know this is the only counterexample. But both gun crime and mass shootings rates sharply declined in the US over the same period as well, which puts the causality in doubt.

  11. #18 Vagueofgodalming
    December 17, 2012

    Slightly off-topic, but you’ll recognise some of the tactics described here: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1995/sep/21/to-keep-and-bear-arms/?page=1

  12. #19 Nicholas
    VA
    December 17, 2012

    The call to ban firearms to ensure the safety of the citizenry is hypocritical. Why not ban beers, liquors or any product containing alcohol? 75,000 Americans each year die from alcohol consumption and domestic abuse is often connected to alcohol consumption. Alcohol is addictive (AA anyone?).

    Alcohol kills 2.5 million (est. see below) each year! How many were children?

    Yet the anti-gun people would never tolerate such a ban.

    “…Alcohol abuse is killing 2.5 million people each year and governments must do more to prevent it, the World Health Organization said Friday. Some 4 per cent of all deaths worldwide are attributable to alcohol, the U.N. body said…”

    Well… no one needs assault weapons, ban them. Just because assault weapons are “more deadly”? Well… no one needs a drink with more than 2% alcohol, ban anything over 2%.

  13. #20 Mike
    December 17, 2012

    Worldview at the Washington Post had an interesting series of graphs showing how the US compares to the rest of the world in terms of private ownership of guns. The US has so many more guns in total and on a per capita basis. With this discrepancy with other countries, disarming the US of all semi automatics (mostly magazine fed) seems impossible.

    I doubt that citizens would be as compliant as the author suggests. It is one thing for a person to not buy a semi automatic gun because it is illegal. It is another to own a gun like that for decades and then be told you are no longer allowed to own it.

  14. #21 Jim
    Oklahoma
    December 17, 2012

    I just can’t believe that there is so much discussion regarding “the gun”. There is one solution, fix crazy. We can’t do that though because we may offend someone, label someone, or not be politically correct. How do you stop someone that is willing to die? These discussions of bans and stiffer penalties for offenders does nothing, lets remember, they killed themselves.

    Lets look at our penal system now. We have convicted people of violent crimes serving 2-5 years, several repeat offenders, rap sheets five feet long that we, the tax payers support daily. I thought murder was already illegal? Passing more legislation will affect law abiding citizens only! By definition, we are the group of society that follows the laws.

    We can’t keep drugs out of maximum security prisons, and a study in 2009 showed over 37,000 prescription drug related deaths in our country. Maybe we should only give patients one pill a week, keep them under lock and key to protect bystanders, or at least maintain a database to ensure who has these drugs. Lets blame Pfizer for those commercials of healthy, happy people portraying these items as safe!

    Several comments along the lines of “we don’t need” and “no one needs” are frustrating to listen too. We don’t need alcohol, tobacco, fast cars, and numerous other items that are harmful to ourselves and others. I would like to thank people for letting me know what I need and what I don’t need though. It’s comforting to know Diane Feinstein is so knowledgeable on guns how my hobbies are so unfriendly.

    Feel like I’m rambling so I’ll self edit; find a cure for crazy and quit treating inanimate objects as solutions.

  15. #22 Kevin Sanders
    December 17, 2012

    Mark

    you insanely said ” do you really need to keep thousands of rounds at home? What exactly are you preparing for? I realize, bulk purchase of ammo is economically-sensible, and convenient for people who over the years will likely use that ammunition in target practice and hunting. Allow unlimited shotgun rounds of buck or birdshot, and maybe .22 caliber rifle rounds etc., but strongly consider round limitations on 9mm, .357, .223, .45, .50, 7.62mm etc. The more power, speed, and range of the bullet, as well as it’s use in clip-fed semi-automatic weapons, the more care we should take to prevent bulk ownership. ”

    First of all there is no such thing as a semi-auto 357 magnum except for one and it only holds 7 rounds of ammo. It also weighs as much as some rifles and costs more than $2300. The Magnum Research Desert Eagle. Not a likely choice of criminals due t cost, bulk, recoil, and noise.

    Second of all, most poepledo not store thousands of rounds of ammo. It is not uncommon to have a few boxes of ammo for each caliber gun owned since different styles of ammo serve different puroposes. A bonded hollow point and a Jacketed soft point do not serve the same purpose. If I wanted to use my 357 Magnum revolver for home defense I would load it with 125 grain Speer Gold Dot bonded hollowpoints designed to explode insides for deadly one shot defense kills. If I wanted to take that same wepaon camping where Bears and Moose lurked, a bear or Moose would laugh at that same bullet. I would have to load it with a 180 grain lead hardcast round in order to penetrate tough animal muscle and bone to get penetration to vital organs. My Speer hollowpoint bullet would just piss off a bear becuase it would expand before hitting vital organs.

    Same thing goes with the 223. Some people actally hunt feral hogs with an AR-15. For that purpose, again the hollow point is useless. A special designed bonded soft point from Winchester or Buffalo Bore is needed. That same AR-15 used to defend citizens against tyranny would be loaded with hollow points or spire tips for long range accuracy and and expansion upon impact.

    So, different caliber firearms require different style ammo for various purposes. The 9mm is all but useless in most any situation besides human contact. It will kill the occassional stray dog, coyote or wolf, but anything larger and you get into trouble.

    The 45 ACP like mine does not even offer soft point bullets for naimal hunting becuase it is an Army round designed for massive impact and knockdown power. Of copurse 230 grain bonded hollow points will kill a feral hog at dangerously close ranges, but is primarily used in human to human self defense.

    My favorite rifle caliber, the 308, has been implemented as a sniper round becuase of accuracy, enormous knockdown power, and explosive terminal performance. Many white taiel deer hunters and feral hog hunters and even some Moose hunters use this caliber in the AR-15, but primarily hunters use this round in a bolt action rifle that only holds four rounds.

    Mark, telling people that the cannot have ammo at home is like telling them they cannot keep gasoline at home for their cars either.

    The little remar that you made about “what are they preparing for”. Well some insane people, druggies, and demon possessed people and Islamic terrorists may be planning a sisniter event. However, most people who buy 223 and 7.62×39 rounds in bulk do so becuase it is cheaper to buy that way and in fact the ammo that they buy in bulk is TARGET only rounds. People who own these firearms buy seperate ammo like bonded soft points, spie tips, and bonded hollow points, for actual hunting/defense use.

    I am quite surpiised a cime hass not been commited with the Taurus Judge. it is a revolver that holds five rounds of 410 shotgun shells. You can use any number bird/ squirrel shot, buckshot, or slugs in it. Of course the worst thung about it is the short range use. Outside of 15 yards it is useless even with the buckshot. The rifled barel spreads the shot too far out too quickly to be of any use other than close quarter combat situations.

    Your comment about limiting how much ammo people can buy sounds a little tyrannical to me. Mark, this is NOT 1984. Let’s please keep it that way.

    If you wish to do something about these crimes, try banning Prozac, Celexa, Welbutrim, Lexapro, Requip, and some other mind altering drugs from the market.

    Instead of infringing on the rights of the people, how about infringng on mind altering drugs and getting these drugs banned. That would be my first step in this whole thing, not infringing upon rights.

    As far as Britian and Canada goes, they are not free countries like we are. Britain used to be. The only way to be free in britian is to be Muslim, then they roll the red carpet out for you. Mark, this is NOT Britain. We are not a nation of restrictions. Our forfathers left a nation of restrictions to get away from the very types of government that you are promoting. Let’s please re-instate the Bill of Rights and not infringe them.

    • #23 Mark
      December 18, 2012

      First of all there is no such thing as a semi-auto 357 magnum except for one and it only holds 7 rounds of ammo. It also weighs as much as some rifles and costs more than $2300. The Magnum Research Desert Eagle. Not a likely choice of criminals due t cost, bulk, recoil, and noise.

      The problem only exists if you read my sentence as if requiring all said conditions for each round of ammo. Instead, each of the three factors independently should be associated with regulation for higher risk. I’m making the point, even a revolver hand-cannon should be thought of as potentially more prone to abuse than a little .22 squirrel gun.

      Mark, telling people that the cannot have ammo at home is like telling them they cannot keep gasoline at home for their cars either.

      I think having a few gas cans at home is fine. How about storing 2000 gallons of diesel fuel for no clear purpose? That might be of concern to the neighbors.\

      Your comment about limiting how much ammo people can buy sounds a little tyrannical to me. Mark, this is NOT 1984. Let’s please keep it that way.

      This is the extremity of the anti-regulation position. Any attempt, any attempt at all to regulate guns is compared to 1984. What hyperbole. I’m not even saying that there should necessarily be a ban, but if you want to prevent mass shootings, make the weapons used in mass shootings harder to obtain, and make it harder for rapid-fire/rapid reload weapons to be fed by 100 round drums. I’m not saying all arms should be taken away, I think the Taurus Judge is an awesome gun, I’ve fired it. It’s neat, and is probably the most solid home defense piece one could own.

      If you wish to do something about these crimes, try banning Prozac, Celexa, Welbutrim, Lexapro, Requip, and some other mind altering drugs from the market.

      And now here we have it. It’s the Mike Adams crowd. It’s not the guns, it’s the doctors trying to help the mentally ill! Kevin, you are no longer welcome at this blog.

  16. #24 Kevin Sanders
    December 17, 2012

    oh and one other thing …

    eft wing rights grabbers have been trying to outlaw the 50 BMG for years even though not a single crime has ever been committed with one since it has been legal to own by civilians.

    The 50 BMG is an enormous rifle. The round was made to penetrate tank armor in WW1. It is basically an anti-aircraft round. It is what some Air Force jets and chopper use to shoot down other aircraft.

    This rifle in most cases except two only holds one round. The other two cases, the massive clip holds five rounds and the rifle is still a bolt action except for one barret which is a semi-auto.

    This Barret 50 BMG weighs about 40 pounds without being loaded and without any accessories, scope, etc. With all accessories, rounds, and scope this rifle will weih in at nearly 50 pounds, is longer than some small cars, and has a recoil so massive that the shooter has to mount the firearm ona tripod and fire it from a lying down poisition in order not to get knocked down by it.

    To give you an estimation of its lethal range a marine sniper in Afghanistan killed a Taliban terrorist from over two miles away with it. The taliban person was dead before he even heard the shot.

    It is legal for civilians to own these, but beware. The cheapest version, a basic rifle with no scope or acessories cost more than $4,000. A fully loaded 50BMG from Barrett with the computer miitary scope will cost around $14,000.

    Not many people own one of these expensive brutes, but they are legal. We are beginning to see Moose hunt competitons with them. Last year a hunter killed a large moose at around 1,100 yards with his. We are also seeing African safari hunters strapping these bad biys to the top of their Jeeps to hunt Hippos, Rhonos, Elephants and hyenas. That’s right. You can almost explode a hyena with one.

    Lucky for these 50 BMG owners. When the sh-ite hits the fan and black helicopters and paramilitary DHS stormtrooprs decend on American citizens, at least some people will be able to shoot them down and defend themselves, which of course, is the entire intent of the second amendment. Hunting has nothing to do with it.

    I do not own a 50 BMG, not a .416, not even a 338 Lapua.

    You made mention of the 22 rifle. This handy little survival rifle gets overlooked. Anyone in the family down to the smallest child can shoot one at any invading threat to that family/home. Oh and if you think the 22 is something to laugh about, ask a surgeon what it’s like when a human gets shot in the gut with a 40 grain Velocitor hollow point 22 Long Rifle bullet traveling at 1850 FPS. Does more damage than some calibers three times its size. Velocity in small calibers is as deadly as size in larger calibers.

    Even here in the south fathers train their sons young as 5 to shoot the 22 rilfe and if you think that 5 year old has not been taught to kill invading UN soldiers or other forces, think again. Down here, people are prepared for whatever tyranny the left wing has in store for this country. You may find taking guns away from southerners is as hard to do as taming Iraq.

    Not saying an even like this will happen, but if tyranny like gun confiscation goes too far, do not be surpirsed to see people seek retaliation for the infringement of their rights. I am not advocating such measures, but I would not be surprised to see it happen down here in the deep south.

    • #25 Mark
      December 18, 2012

      I think, for those who haven’t seen Kevin replying here of late, he actually does believe this crap. So it’s not a poe.

      Kevin, seek professional help.

  17. #26 Anais
    Port Hope
    December 17, 2012

    I think most of you have missed the point. A stolen gun was taken from the home where it was registered. Solution? No guns sold. What are guns for? Ornaments? Hundreds of people are shot every year, thousands of animals. Killing is wrong, OK? Leftovers from a society that refuses to evolve socially. Stuck back in the days of the wild west when disagreements were settled with a shootout. Guns and gun use are empowering to people, especially those who have never accomplished much else in their lives. So I say, get a life. Help others, do volunteer work. Guns are just part of a twisted economy.

  18. #27 My Homepage
    December 17, 2012

    … [Trackback]…

    […] Informations on that Topic: scienceblogs.com/denialism/2012/12/17/talking-gun-control-at-scienceblogs/ […]…

  19. #28 John Carle
    Lewisville, Texas
    December 17, 2012

    How about just limiting size of magazines – to 3 or 4 rounds. That would solve almost all the concerns. Gun nuts could keep their AK47’s and even machine guns, but just 3 rounds at a time. This is best solution.

  20. #29 John Carle
    Lewisville, Texas
    December 17, 2012

    Ok – 4 or 5 or 6 rounds. How many is enough to kill deers or burglers.

  21. #30 bad Jim
    December 18, 2012

    The point isn’t so much to prevent the mass murders that draw the public’s attention as the daily killing that takes a far greater toll. Steps like limiting large-capacity magazines and restriction of ammunition sales might eventually help the first goal but promise less for the second.

    What might help would be providing enough funding for ATF to trace every gun used in a crime back to its source, and thus to put the straw buyers and the bad gun dealers (and perhaps even some manufacturers) out of business. This is suggested by this 1993 article from the Atlantic, recommended by James Fallows.

    How many ardent exponents of the Second Amendment are willing to say they stand foursquare behind the right of criminals to arm themselves with the very deadly weapons the law now allows?

  22. #31 Jacek Pac
    Portland, Oregon
    December 18, 2012

    Thank you for this article. I’m impressed with the thoughtfulness and intelligence of your efforts here as well as with many of the respondents contributing.
    It’s refreshing when a hot-button topic such as this is met with continuing level-headedness and intent.

    I’m no longer a gun owner simply for the fact I generally feel no need and I’ve never personally been a hunter. This does not mean I may never again own a firearm, there have been many times in the past when I’ve enjoyed the occasional target shoot or day of sporting clays. I fully understand the concept of self-defense and support it.

    Your points on the availability of existing firearms within this country is relevant. Your points on the availability of ammunition and a possible restriction on various types and amounts ammunition and weaponry makes a good deal of sense to me as well.
    I’m not averse to the introduction of new and particularly well thought out legislation controlling availability and registration of certain weapons.

    We’re living in a new world, brave or not, and I believe we’re scheduled to experience the effects of modifying societal pressures. To deny this is to deny historical president.
    I welcome it. Others may not.

    The one thing I continue to struggle with as each of these horrible incidents necessitates our collective attention is an evident lack, a compelling lack, of a search for answers beyond an understandable reflex and a call for new legislation possibly aimed at limiting a society’s prior freedoms while once again failing to successfully examine whatever underlying factors have now placed us within this worsening environment.

    It would seem it’s been long coming and would also seem, to me, to require more than a continual lessoning of the availability of whatever material aspects which represent the problem and more a look at what factors there are of causality. (I just blundered into that old rediculous saw didn’t I?)
    But we’re missing something here. We seem to be avoiding something maybe much more important.

    Yet I can’t quite say what that is.

  23. #32 Lyle
    December 18, 2012

    Perhaps make the tax depend on the kind of bullet, things like hollow points and other bullets designed primarily for law enforcement use carry a high tax, a simple bullet for hunting a lower tax, Perhaps start where Kevin suggests. Shotgun shells could also pay the lower tax of maybe .01 per bullet.

  24. #33 Art
    December 18, 2012

    I suspect hashing out reasonable limits on guns and ammunition are domed to fail simply because people are not rational about guns and ammunition. I’ve seen this tendency to fetishize objects in people around me.

    I knew a writer who would end her infrequent but stubborn writer’s block by buying expensive fountain pens, leather bound writing pads, and other equipment related to writing. Doing it made her feel more like a writer and more confident in her ability.

    I’ve seen the same thing when acquaintances suffer a knock in their romantic relationships or set back at work that shakes their confidence in themselves as competent, potent, capable men. Buying a gun, or stockpiling ammunition, or buying a really nice knife was what they did to regain a sense of control, potency, masculinity. Yes, almost to a man, they disguised this fetishism by claiming they might really need a firearm, or explain how they were investments, or part of a patriotic/civil duty as citizen to be armed.

    None of that is strictly logical. It is, however, quite real. This sort of thing is hard wired into the base operating system of the turtle brain. Magic, primitive religion, and most woo, depend on this deep wiring to maintain belief.

    Unfortunately, those connection cannot be changed through the use of logical argument. They are emotion based. Sure, nobody really needs 5000 rounds of 7.62mm if you don’t have a realistic expectation of participating in a war or some Mad Max scenario. But that isn’t how it feels to people who buy thousands of rounds at a time.

    Same thing with 100 round magazines. Nobody really needs them. Even the military doesn’t use them. But when someone says you can’t have them there is a deep down part of the brain that shouts that you just have to have them. That part of the brain isn’t subject to reason and logic. Not being able to get one feels like having a manly and wholesome civil right denied. But also like it feels when you find out that growing up means giving up on childish dreams of being a bad ass and macho hero. It feels a bit like when a mother figure told you you shouldn’t run with scissors.

    Of course few people can really articulate these feelings and there are precious few who on the anti-regulation side who will not conflate the strictures with a loss of freedom and tyranny simply because those are the terms that avoid the touchy subject of feelings and the fact that guns are not just tools. They are symbols of potency, power, and enfranchisement and deeply meaningful to the primitive brain.

  25. #34 Charlie Tall
    December 18, 2012

    Mark,
    You wrote: “our yearly toll of some 30,000 people a year killed by guns.”

    Your data is inaccurate.

    According to the FBI report on Crime in the United States, Table 20, Weapons, there were 12,664 murders in the US in 2011. That includes all weapons. Only 8583 of those were due to firearms of all kinds. Accidental firearms deaths in 2010, the last year reported, totaled about 600, for a grand total of slightly more than 9000 deaths resulting from firearms, far, far less than your figure of 30,000.

    If you combine murders and non-negligent (criminal) manslaughter, the total is still only 14,022, less than half your number, and that includes criminal vehicular homicide.

    You wrote, “Our per-capita death rate is about 4 times higher than our next door neighbor, Canada, or any of these countries mentioned with death rates in the tens or hundreds, rather than the tens of thousands.”

    The murder rate in Canada was 1.6 per 100,000; in the US it was 4.2. Canada, therefore, has a rate of about one-third the US. Mexico had a murder rate of 16.9! By any calculation, the US murder rate is not four times Canada’s, and all murders in the US are not the result of firearms.

    You wrote, “The flaw in most of [Matt Springer’s] reasoning is to say that because something doesn’t work perfectly, means that it has no value.”

    That is not what he wrote. Springer stated, “What I do oppose are laws that sacrifice freedom but don’t actually hinder people who might be inclined to commit similar atrocities. ”

    If you are going to attack a person’s argument, please try to state it accurately. Also, if you are going to cite data, cite the truth, not some fiction that better suits your purposes.

    You have overlooked the most important question that must be answered before the passage of any law, criminal or civil, and that is, “What will be the unintended consequences of this law?”

    Would you pass a law that would confiscate billions of dollars of personal property yet not be shown to produce any benefit?
    Would you pass a law that overnight turned milliions of law-abiding citizens into felons?
    Would you pass yet another victimless law, make yet another victimless circumstance a crime?
    Would you pass a law that levied punishment on people for the crimes they could possibly commit?
    Would you pass a law that would leave the citizens of the United States at the mercy of the government?
    Would you willingly pass a law that would give the government an overwhelming advantage in the use of force against its citizens?
    Would you willingly disregard the first clause of the Second Amendment, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State…”?

    Mark, remember this, governments are the worst murderers in history. During the 20th Century alone, governments killed more people than did the Crusades, the Islamic invasions, and all the other “holy” wars combined since the birth of Jesus Christ.

    Governments commonly use the laws to their own purposes, and then willfully disregard those laws if it serves them to do so. Do you wish to give yet more power to the same government that showed such contempt for the laws we already have with its “Fast and Furious” program?

    Do you want to give any government, even you own, total power over you and your life? Especially considering their record in the last few years?

    • #35 Mark
      December 18, 2012

      You’re not including suicides.

      “Would you pass a law that would confiscate billions of dollars of personal property yet not be shown to produce any benefit?”
      This assumes that decreasing gun violence is impossible. The international experience seems to contradict this.

      “Would you pass a law that overnight turned milliions of law-abiding citizens into felons?”
      This assumes no grace period, no grandfather clauses, no intelligent implementation at all, another straw man argument.

      “Would you pass yet another victimless law, make yet another victimless circumstance a crime?”
      I don’t even understand this one.

      “Would you pass a law that levied punishment on people for the crimes they could possibly commit?”
      Actually yes, it’s quite common to pass laws in which preparation for a behavior is evidence of plans for that behavior. Consider possession with intent. Or possession of explosives.

      “Would you pass a law that would leeave the citizens of the United States at the mercy of the government?”
      Bullshit. There is no evidence that armed citizenry is a requirement for democracy, or prevents tyranny. You think Canada is about to be overrun by fascists, or England? Or even Germany these days? Then look at countries that have overthrown dictators, like in Egypt. Was that an armed conflict? How many dictators have been overthrown by an armed populace as opposed to foreign or domestic military coup?

      “Would you willingly pass a law that would give the government an overwhelming advantage in the use of force against its citizens?”
      If you think they don’t already have it, you’re a fool. Red dawn fan maybe? You’re living in a fantasy if you think even your peashooter will match even light US military forces, artillery, air force etc. The answer isn’t that we should be in an arms race with our own military.

      “Would you willingly disregard the first clause of the Second Amendment, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State…”?”

      Are you part of a militia i.e. the National Guard? If you are I’m fine with that. I am arguing against civilian ownership of military hardware. There’s just no need. Also, the right to keep and bare arms doesn’t necessary mean any and all arms. How about anti-aircraft missiles? Tanks? Cannons? Where do we draw the line?

      Governments commonly use the laws to their own purposes, and then willfully disregard those laws if it serves them to do so. Do you wish to give yet more power to the same government that showed such contempt for the laws we already have with its “Fast and Furious” program?

      Do you want to give any government, even you own, total power over you and your life? Especially considering their record in the last few years?

      The idea that America is nearly in the grasp of tyrannical dictatorship is a laugh. And the idea that it’s the armed citizenry that keeps it at bay is even more ludicrous.

  26. #36 Glen
    Alexandria, VA
    December 18, 2012

    Thank you for writing this piece and giving so much information. I appreciate the effort and thought placed into such an article.

    First off for disclosure purposes, I am probably considered a left-wing crazy. I am fairly liberal in just about every issue. In particular to this issue, I truly believe that more guns do not make things safer and only create more danger and more chaos. That aside, my comment is not about arguing that point. The argument of gun control is in such a cluster of disarray that I feel nothing ever gets done. As has been stated before and in the article, the assault rifle ban was just for show. The magazine or clip ban was regardless as one could simply make their own. What I believe is that a true conversation needs to be had about how to create safety while including everyone in the conversation.

    I can also state that I am not a gun owner nor will I be and I have not had the experience of shooting a gun, unless you include my failed attempt of paint balling.

    In all my thoughts and discussions about gun control, I have always believed in ammunition control.

    “I think the sale or ownership of magazine-fed weapons should probably be prohibited or severely restricted for civilians. The ownership of extended magazines such as those used by the shooter in Aurora should be a federal crime. They should cease to exist outside of military use. Allowing ownership of revolvers, bolt and breech-fed rifles and shotguns, would satisfy legitimate home-safety, sporting, and hunting applications that can and should be protected by any gun control regulation. The problem is clip-fed semi-automatic rifles and handguns. These are the guns that do the most damage-per-second, with easy reloading, and the ability to bring and use hundreds or even thousands of rounds by a single person.”

    I believe that we can have a full system that limits the ammunition one purchases without limiting those with true intentions:

    “I would still be able to go skeet shooting, hunt deer, duck, or target shoot to my heart’s content.”

    The system could be like this, a license to purchase specific ammunition for the gun license you carry. A control over the flow of ammunition, a total limit of the amount of ammunition that you purchase. Every box of ammunition that is sold has to have the license number with it. Certain medication needs to have the ID scanned before it is sold, a similar system can be placed here. That system will then know if the threshold is meet. There is automatic reporting if there are high sales number of total ammunition.

    ” Finally, place limits on ammunition purchases and stockpiling. The second amendment says we have the right to keep and bear arms, but says nothing about restrictions on industrially-produced cartridges that feed some of these more deadly weapons. Such cartridges, after all, didn’t even exist when the constitution was written, coming almost 100 years later. Make it against the law to own or carry more than 100 rounds of a given ammunition. You could still go to the range, buy and dump lots of rounds in practice, but given the bag limits for deer in any given state, do you really need to keep thousands of rounds at home? What exactly are you preparing for? I realize, bulk purchase of ammo is economically-sensible, and convenient for people who over the years will likely use that ammunition in target practice and hunting. Allow unlimited shotgun rounds of buck or birdshot, and maybe .22 caliber rifle rounds etc., but strongly consider round limitations on 9mm, .357, .223, .45, .50, 7.62mm etc. The more power, speed, and range of the bullet, as well as it’s use in clip-fed semi-automatic weapons, the more care we should take to prevent bulk ownership.”

    So sell ammunition at the gun ranges in groupings of say 70-100 rounds. If you go through it, go and purchase more at the same range. This simply adds five extra minutes to the time spent at the range for better safety. Could a person still walk out with ammunition here? Of course but it is still without a better threshold than before. All it is, is a better control system over the flow of ammunition. Not limiting those that will to take on the sport and get good solid practice while limiting it outside of that.

    We’re not talking about perfection here. We’re talking about progress. Making it harder, making the violence rarer, will decrease the amount of gun violence, as almost every country besides the US demonstrates every year with their gun violence deaths at a tiny fraction of our own.

    This is really the gust of my thought, we need to make progress. Every discussion on gun control before gets silenced, quieted down, or forgotten. An Ammunition control debate is something that if done intelligently will have a bipartisan agreement. It will help keep the discussion moving. It will be a first step towards further gun control is desire but at least a progress. No matter what side you are on, you have to agree we need something to change, this can be a first good change. Its kinda like Tommie Lee Jones, Stevens, in Lincoln. Take the first step towards progess.

    As I do not have a platform for my opinions I placed them under the petition website, if you agree help me push for at least a response and at least the knowledge that we agree, Sign It and Share it, much appreciated:

    http://wh.gov/RJOq

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/take-first-step-bipartisan-discussion-accessibility-firearms-through-ammunition-control-bill/szq531qc?utm_source=wh.gov&utm_medium=shorturl&utm_campaign=shorturl

  27. #37 Ahcuah
    December 18, 2012

    OK, I gave a lousy example regarding the penumbras of the First Amendment. Change it to newsprint, with the specific goal of hindering the right to publish. The Supreme Court has repeated ruled that when a burden is placed on the exercise of a fundamental right that a heightened scrutiny applies. For instance, here’s a story about a (lower) court ruling regarding newspaper boxes. Applying that to the right to keep and bear arms, the exceedingly small magazine size (which also obsoletes nearly every existing semi-automatic) that you are suggesting is just such a burden. That’s not to say that there might be a magazine that the court’s would find too large (and fit under the wire), but under heightened scrutiny of some sort (either strict or intermediate), something like a limit of 5 would be very, very closely examined. As I said, I really doubt it would hold up.

    And by the way, such penumbras also already exist for 2nd Amendment law: one of the troubles DC and Chicago got into was that they also made it impossible to buy a gun in their cities. I’m pretty sure in the Chicago case such a complete ban was overturned.

  28. #38 Charlie Tall
    December 18, 2012

    Thank you for your reply, Mark.

    Concerning suicides. I discounted them intentionally based upon the experience of Japan. In Japan, the suicide rate is somewhat more than twice what we have here in the US, but private gun ownership is virtually nonexistent.

    I believe this makes a very good case that gun or no gun, someone bent on suicide will succeed. Thus, it having been established that the method is insignificant, suicide is not a valid part of this equation as it would not be affected by any gun control.

    “Would you pass a law that would confiscate billions of dollars of personal property yet not be shown to produce any benefit?”
    This assumes that decreasing gun violence is impossible. The international experience seems to contradict this.

    I believe that decreasing violence of all kinds is possible, but probably not through the method of limiting access to weapons.

    Actually, the international experience refutes your theory.

    Let’s look at Russia where private firearms ownership, as a legacy of the Soviet ban on firearms, is only 4,000 per 100,000, and most of those firearms are either rifles or shotguns. Their murder rate is about 10/100K, more than double ours.

    Luxembourg,where handguns are totally banned and ownership of any kind of gun is minimal, the murder rate was 9 per 100K the same year.

    In the US, this figure is 4.2 per 100K.

    Let’s consider Finland, Norway, Germany, and France where their gun ownership rates are all above 30,000 per 100,000. In none of these countries does the murder rate exceed 1.98 per 100k, less than half that of the US.

    The correlation between number of weapons and murder rate is negative.

    Let’s look at Japan again. Overall, the murder rate there is 0.3 per 100k. If we subtracted all the firearms related murders from the US rate, we’d still be left with a murder rate of many times that of Japan.

    So means is shown to be of minimal consequence in determining the murder rate. I think this would be true for the overall violent crime rate, as well.

    “Would you willingly disregard the first clause of the Second Amendment, “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State…”?”

    Are you part of a militia i.e. the National Guard? If you are I’m fine with that. I am arguing against civilian ownership of military hardware. There’s just no need. Also, the right to keep and bare arms doesn’t necessary mean any and all arms. How about anti-aircraft missiles?

    First and foremost, the National Guard is not a militia; it is a federal military force. Second, please cite some authority on exactly what arms are covered by the Second Amendment. In 1789 when the Bill of Rights was passed, militias composed of private citizens possessed and trained with all of the arms used by the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War: cannons, warships, rifles, muskets, bayonets, swords…everything. This state of affairs continued until 1934 when the National Firearms Act was passed into law.

    “Would you willingly pass a law that would give the government an overwhelming advantage in the use of force against its citizens?”
    If you think they don’t already have it, you’re a fool. Red dawn fan maybe? You’re living in a fantasy if you think even your peashooter will match even light US military forces, artillery, air force etc. The answer isn’t that we should be in an arms race with our own military.

    I was not referring to the US military. I was referring to the government. My thoughts were more toward the deterrence of illegal search and seizure and similar violations of our civil rights.

    I know from experience as a police officer that law enforcement personnel greatly respect the armed citizen. Strange that you assumed I meant the military when the other was so obvious.

    A victimless crime is a crime which does not conform to the common law assumption that an injury or harm be done before a crime is seen to have occurred. A victimless crime is something like violation of laws prohibiting the ownership of pornography, making homosexuality illegal, banning the possession of the Christian Bible, or making the possession of a gun with a magazine holding more than 10 rounds a felony. The first three of those examples are reality in the Muslim world today; two of them once were in the US.

    “Would you pass a law that levied punishment on people for the crimes they could possibly commit?”
    Actually yes, it’s quite common to pass laws in which preparation for a behavior is evidence of plans for that behavior. Consider possession with intent. Or possession of explosives.

    You examples here are faulty. Possession with intent requires proof of intent, not possession. There’s a big difference there. Possession of explosives is not a crime so long as the required conditions have been met, just like possession of a fire arm. With the proper training and qualifications, anyone can acquire a license to possess and use explosives.

    Here’s what I’m driving at: there are far better, more productive ways than gun control to reduce violent crime in the United States. Spending further billions of dollars on a method that so far has produced no benefit is contraindicated. There are other, more promising ways to use our limited resources.

    Promoting a more homogeneous, cooperative society immediately comes to mind since it is so obvious. The countries of the world with the lowest violent crime rate also have the most homogeneous populations. The most cooperative. The most voluntarily conforming.

    Experience has shown that gun control, so far, has not worked. How then could more of a failure suddenly produce positive results?

    The definition of insanity, it is said, is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result each time.

  29. #39 Kagehi
    December 18, 2012

    This shooting was an example of a failure of *every* argument the pro-gun people make. The first victim was the one who should have been “protected” by supposedly owning a gun. She had three, and it didn’t do her any damn good at all. Second, there *was* security at the school, from what I understand, and they waved the person through, instead of doing there damn job.

    Now, a few things – First off, the idea that banning assault weapons, and I don’t mean with a grandfather clause, unless it includes disabling the gun, and something specifying that re-enabling it, even temporarily, other than at, say, a gun range, should itself be considered, ‘Intent to commit violence”, or something like that, is only stupid because all gun laws end up being stupid, with loopholes you can drive trucks through, to pander to the small percentage of politically powerful gun nuts.

    Second – While violence happens in other countries, including mass shootings like this, hell.. especially mass shootings like this, outside of the Middle East, where terrorists are practically a nation sporting event, they are ***very rare***. Rare, as in 1-2 a decade, not 2-3 a year.

    Third – in places where gun ownership comes even *close* to what it is in the US: a) all guns *must* be registered, b) anyone owning one has to be certified, not just passing some background checks, c) certification doesn’t mean some 10 minute lecture, and then being handed a conceal carry permit, the way it is in the US, it means a “mandatory” handling and safety course, as well as verification that you don’t point the thing at the instructor, and can hit something with it, and you know and understand the consequences, and finally, d) its like a drivers license, or at least like one in places where they bother to take those bloody seriously either, and you have to renew it, by being retested. Oh, and.. bets that they even allow anyone, outside their military, to own assault weapons…

    But, in the good old US, you don’t even have to go through the background check, as long as your buddy does, and he “changes his mind” about owning them, in the parking lot (Arizona law), and hands them out to every idiot that wants one, as gifts.

    Yeah.. no idea why the hell we have a problem, and a lot of the rest of the world doesn’t. It couldn’t be, like usual, the idio… sorry, right wi…, uh.. “pro-gun” people are doing the same thing with this as they do with everything else, and cherry pick their facts, when talking about how much “like” the US some other country is, while, simultaneously, insisting that the problems we have have nothing at all to do with the differences. Unless, of course, we are talking about the differences, and then, well, that is why they are not like us, and, somehow, we are *better* for it, somehow. :head->desk:

  30. #40 jane
    December 18, 2012

    I can now argue that all Muslim Americans need to have defense guns in their homes, because some bigot like Kevin Sanders might be living nearby and mean them harm. Sheesh, quit while you’re ahead, dude, you were sounding very sensible for a while.

    Glen – The idea that we make shooters buy their ammo at the range (and then, I suppose, have their bags searched to confirm that they fired it all rather than smuggling it out) is not practical. Most shooting does not take place at indoor ranges with full-time staff onsite. Most ranges are simply pieces of rural land with wood frames for targets set up and berms behind them. If they are private, e.g., Ikes ranges, you pay your dues and get the combination to the driveway lock. Nobody is paid to stand there all day to watch anyone who might show up to shoot. Such would make shooting, again, far more difficult and expensive. Sweeping proposals made by people who don’t know much about the subject are always going to have huge unintended [?] consequences.

    Mark – Please don’t conflate automatic and semi-automatic weapons. I would be tentatively willing to support a ban on ultra-high-capacity magazines or the equivalent, such as these drums. However, it will only make a difference if the victims of a mass shooting are able and willing to attack a shooter very aggressively during the brief periods he spends reloading. You could probably get most gun owners to back that, if they were convinced it might make a difference. But when you call them “paranoid” for thinking that bans might someday be enforced, you increase concern that the real purpose is to move toward total disarmament via the salami-slice approach. If you want political success in a country where close to 50% of homes may have firearms, you need to approach law-abiding gun owners with an attitude of “How can you help to make it harder for bad guys to use guns to do harm?” and not “How can we keep stupid crazy people like you from harming us more rational folks?”

    • #41 Mark
      December 18, 2012

      Mark – Please don’t conflate automatic and semi-automatic weapons. I would be tentatively willing to support a ban on ultra-high-capacity magazines or the equivalent, such as these drums. However, it will only make a difference if the victims of a mass shooting are able and willing to attack a shooter very aggressively during the brief periods he spends reloading.

      At no point do I conflate the two. I own two semi-automatic weapons. Automatic weapons have been illegal since 1934. And it’s not about attacking the shooter during reloading, it’s about damage per second. The damage in mass killings is related to ones ability to drop rounds, fast. Rapid fire/reload weapons like semi-automatic AR-15 style rifles have the capacity to drop a lot of rounds. Combine that with a dozen 30 round clips, and your looking at the ability to drop hundreds of rounds before anyone, such as law enforcement and first responders have a chance to arrive.

      The idea that anyone, other than those trained as police or military, are realistically going to tackle someone laying about with a semi-automatic rifle is ludicrous.

      Kevin on other threads has discussed his mind control prevention helmet. It took us a few days to figure out he was serious.

  31. #42 Glen
    December 18, 2012

    Well Jane, I suppose the fact that you would purchase the ammunition on site would mean that you would have some one there. So with paying the same dues and the ammunition on site, that idea seems much safer and frankly fairly easy. And while I never mentioned checking bags since I alluded to the fact that the sales are already below thresholds, if Costco can easily do it because they are members, I would imagine this would be just as simple, but of course I am one of those
    people who don’t know much about the subject are always going to have huge unintended [?] consequences.
    I am not quite sure how this would be an huge unintended consequence in the first place? 5 extra minutes and one more job in the world? If it is a bill it would not increase the dues so don’t worry about your costs increasing.

    There are many ways to do this, and it is quite disheartening to hear a person push this under simply because one is not a gun owner. The concept is a discussion, while I may not know the inner workings of a rifle, I know for certain that limiting ammunition is an important and vital step that needs to be taken. I also know that multiple viewpoints are necessary for any progress in this nation. Even with a gun control bill, that would be proactive, the lack of an ammunition control bill would not change the current gun situation.

  32. #43 jane
    December 18, 2012

    “mind control prevention helmet” – Er, would that be a tinfoil hat? Too late to get the patent on that, I think. Heh.

    You did say in one message above that almost all of the recent mass shootings had used “magazine-fed automatic weapons” – presumably a typographical error in your case, but a mistake that’s often made by gun control advocates either deliberately or out of abysmal ignorance.

    Again, I think a case can be made for the banning of large-capacity magazines and clips – but for it to make a big difference in mass shooting events, you have to presume that untrained (unarmed) people will tackle someone laying about with a revolver or lower-capacity rifle, and I’m not sure that’s true either. The self-defense case that has been made against such bans in the past is that if you or your home were threatened by a large group, which does sometimes happen in real life, having more than 5 or 6 rounds available gives you the luxury of firing warning shots rather than immediately shooting to kill. It seems plausible that more total lives would be saved by the absence of such capacity, but I suspect that the net number would be small. Most murders using guns do not depend upon the capacity to fire 30 rounds without a reload.

    Most semi-automatic guns don’t require a 30-round magazine or clip, so a ban on large-capacity magazines wouldn’t significantly harm most gun owners and they could probably support it if they were convinced that it might help reduce the toll of random violence. But if it sounds like it’s going to sooner or later include anything that fires more rounds without reloading than a revolver or two-barreled shotgun, well, that’s my .22 target pistol and rifle, whose standard clips hold over 6 rounds, and now you’re talking about confiscation of almost every modern model of gun. This is not politically acceptable. So I encourage you to avoid demonizing the semi-automatic mechanism itself and focus on optional high-capacity magazines.

    • #44 Mark
      December 18, 2012

      ah, I see, yes I dropped the semi. But I do know the difference.

      I think we might have to accept limitations on all semi-automatics. Maybe based on caliber, but maybe also as a whole. Since it’s difficult to distinguish between the target shooting application, and the killing lots of people application based on simple criteria, we have to face that the semi-automatic function combined with magazines is the problem here. At VA tech the shooter used the gun I have after all, and just brought multiple clips, and was able to create havoc. With the glock and a walther .22 semiautomatic he shot 49 and killed 32. He committed most of the murders in Norris hall in 12 minutes. In 12 minutes an untrained civilian managed to shoot about 45 people and kill nearly 30.

      Shots per second, that’s what has accelerated the lethality of these incidents. I certainly don’t need the gun I have. I bought it because it’s a fun, well-balanced gun, and 9mm ammo is relatively cheap target ammo while still giving a little kick. But in the end, it’s a ridiculous and unsafe weapon for a civilian to own. It has no thumb safety, it holds 15 rounds, it’s really more of an appropriate gun for police or military use.

  33. #45 Joffan
    December 18, 2012

    With regard to the equating of the National Guard and the milita:
    This is correct, largely, and an indication that – in reality – the original intent of the second amendment has been silently abandoned, since the National Guard reports first to the federal government.

    Time to discard the rest of it. It is ridiculous to regard the possession of weapons as an intrinsic right on a level with other fundamental rights.

    [And yes, I know it’s not going to happen any time soon. That doesn’t change my opinion.]

  34. #46 Charlie Tall
    December 18, 2012

    Mark, this statement of yours is simply wrong.

    OleanderTea asked you,

    “Just curious where people can walk in and then walk out with an AR-15 no questions asked.”

    and you replied,

    “Virginia for one. I could walk into a gunstore, show an in state license, and leave 10 minutes later with an AR-15. It’s a semi-automatic rife.”

    You might leave in ten minutes, but you would have had to pass a NICS background check in the meantime.

    You also wrote, “Most states do not require background checks with all gun sales.”

    No, you are right, the states generally do not, but the federal government does.

    Sorry, Mark, but if this is an indication of the quality of your firearms knowledge, you get an F.

    • #47 Mark
      December 18, 2012

      The key word is all. We do not federally regulate private sale. Hence the problem with straw man purchases.

  35. #48 Matt Springer
    December 18, 2012

    The data I’ve seen indicates that the primary source of guns for felons is straw purchases at FFLs. Ie, a crook talks his girlfriend into buying a gun for him at a licensed dealer. Theft is another source. Face-to-face private party sales doesn’t seem to be that big of a source. I don’t think any of the recent infamous mass shooters have acquired their weapons that way.

    But I’d be fine with opening NICS for private party sales, provided it didn’t introduce any additional costs and had privacy safeguards in place.

    • #49 Mark
      December 19, 2012

      Hence, the straw man purchase restriction having absolutely no teeth. Yes, it’s against the law, but it’s unenforceable since there is no tracking. And “theft” is often straw man sale as well. Someone buys a gun, reports it stolen, when they’ve actually sold it to someone unreputable. It’s a common scam, and another one that would be harder to do if there were serious tracking of guns after sale from an FFL. The felon who bought it can’t complain because it was an illegal purchase. The person selling it gets paid twice for the sale – once by his insurance, and once by the felon.

  36. #50 Kevin Sanders
    December 19, 2012

    If it means anything to the constitution grabbers out there who use “hunting” as their view on the right to own firearms, Remington manufactures what is called an R-15 and an R-25 rifle. They are camo colored and are based off of an AR-15 platform, but the magazines are a DPMS style that only holds four rounds plus one in the chamber. The calibers range from the popular AR-15 5.56 NATO round all the way up to 7mm-08 and even .308 which are both potent animal stoppers – even bears and moose. These rifles are designed for hunting even though they are semi-auto. FYI most serious hunters could care less about semi-auto becuase one the trigger is pulled and the loud boom noise is made, if you miss your deer, the sound will run him off usually without getting a second shot anyway. Many hunters I know hunt with a single shot break open style rifle in 7mm-08 or 35 whelen calibers.

    Many gun grabbers and human rights destroyers do not have a problem with rifles that only hold one bullet. However, that rifle may not come in too handy if tyranny were implemented or massive invading army were headed our way. Granted that single shot rifle would do ok since you could pick off the enemy at 300 yards, but once they started pouring in, you would need a semi-auto or a pump shotgun using buckshot to be able to get two or three at a time. By the way, most shotguns used by hunters are either single shot break open, over/under barrel which only holds two shells, or a pump that uses four shells in the mag and one in the chamber. You can get the “tactical” model that adds more and you can up to eight shells plus one in the barrel in some “tactical” models. However most hunters will not buy the “tactical” model becuase they are cyliner bored which means out side of 12 yards the enemy will jsut stand there and laugh at you becuase the shot will spread out too far missing the target. However shotguns like mine have a screw in choke system that can be used to chnage the constriction of the shot. With xx full constriction I can sling 00 buckshot 12 pellets downrange to around 65 yards and still get 9 out of 12 pellets to hit center mass. If I want to hit more targets close up, change the choke to full or modified which is good for 35 yards and closer. These chokes were not designed to kill people. They were designed to hunt waterfowl and turkeys, but more and more people choose to buy pup shotguns with interchangeble chokes becuase they can use it for any type of hunting or defense purposes.

    Many people who talk about “survivor kits” often overlook a shot gun as part of the kit. It is the most versatile weapon available. You can hunt small game like rabbits, quail, pheasant, squirrel, or large game like deer. At the same time it can be used as a personal defense weapon. It is the ultimate survival gun. Poeple talk about the 22 LR. it can also be used for hunting small game, self defense, and deer sized game at reasonable close range, but whn one encounters a large pack of coyotes, wolves, or a mountain lion, the 12 gauge buckshot will end that situation quick and decisively. Not recommended for bears and moose though. You will end up running.

    Just though i would throw in the fact that AR style weapons are in fact used for some types of hunting such as for feral hogs, coyotes, varmints, pests, etc. So, there are legitimate hunters who purchased AR-15s to hunt coyote packs and hogs with becuase of the high capacity clips and long range accuracy. Most of these shooters except for one were using standard 20 or 30 round AR magazines. Most people do not even know that 90 round drums are available at most gun dealers. 75 round drums are available for AK-47s and 100 round drums are available for Tommy guns that use 45 ACP ammo. Yes they still make tommy guns. They are expensive and weigh more than 5 AR-15 rifles. They are not too popular becuase of cost, weight, and bulk. The high capacity drums are not popular eitheer for the same reason. extra weight and bulk.

    There is a weapon avaiable to the general public that not many people know about, even avid gun nuts. Most every has heard of the Ruger 10/22. It is simply a small lightweight 22 caliber rifle. Nothing fancy. However, there is one company that takes two of these and strips them down and puts the triger assemblies and barrels and two 25 round maganzines together. It is mounted on a tripod with a WW2 era style cross hair sight. The triggers are utilized by way for a rotator. You rotate a handle that then fires BOTH barrels from BOTH 25 round magazines at the same time firing it four times as fast as a human can pull the trigger. You can literlly empty 50 round in 5 seconds. It is a mini double barrel gatlin gun in 22 long rifle caliber mounted ona tripod. It costs an enormous amount, but would chase off most anything it fired upon. As I recal you may not be able to purchase one at this time due to slow sales and demand of this item. Slow sales were due to cost. it costs more than some hardcore tricked out AR-15s. The cost killed the item, but just letting you know what human ingenuity can do. http://ab9d.com/photogallery/photo00024505/rugerggl.htm

    You can still order kits to make your own.

    … I see now that they have replaced the two 25 round magazines with two 50 round drums.

    • #51 Mark
      December 19, 2012

      I’m tolerating this post Kevin because unlike your other crank piece it’s informational. I’m not about to turn this thread into a Mike Adams style crank attack on psychiatry. On topic only.

  37. #52 Charlie Tall
    December 19, 2012

    Mark,

    Come on, you didn’t write that. You stated that anyone with an ID could walk into “a gunstore [sic]” and purchase a firearm without a background check. And that applies to ALL sales in licensed gun stores.
    You cannot do that in Virginia, New Jersey, or any other state or territory of the United States.

    You are also in error about strawman purchases. Those are defined as purchases in which a third party, acting as an agent of a person prohibited from buying or possessing a firearm, intentionally purchases and takes possession of a firearm from a federally licensed firearms dealer with the intent to transfer it to the unqualified individual.

    This is entirely different than a private sale.

    Private sales are not subject to federal regulations, so long as they do not involve interstate sales, because they do not fall under the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution, and thus are not under federal jurisdiction.

    Get yourself a copy of the latest ATF Publication 5300.4 Federal Firearms Regulations Reference Guide and do a little reading. I believe you can order a copy from the BATFE website at http://www.atfonline.gov

    Also, if you’d like to discuss any particular subject, email me directly. I believe you have my address, and I’d be happy to correspond.

    Surprisingly, I think that a few (very few) of your ideas are not complete nonsense. ;>)

    • #53 Mark
      December 19, 2012

      The question asked was could you buy a gun no questions asked from a gun show (I blindly just wrote gunstore after that). And, you’re right, I’m wrong, but only at an FFL. They do ask one question. Can I see your ID? They then run the background check, and barring a criminal record you get one of these guns. To me, that’s still “no questions asked”. They don’t ask, what are you going to use this for? or not planning to climb a tower are ya?

      Transfer of firearms then between private individuals is not regulated and even though straw man purchase is illegal from an FFL, it has no teeth (not to mention the gunshow loophole). If I sell you my car in Maryland I have to engage in far more steps than for private sale of a firearm. On the car I have to transfer title, I have to perform safety inspection, the car then has to be registered under the new owner, there needs to be prooof of insurance etc.

      I could sell a gun to my next door neighbor, and no piece of paper need ever track the gun from there. Don’t believe me, read the ATF rules for private transfer of guns.

      To whom may an unlicensed person transfer firearms under the GCA?

      A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may loan or rent a firearm to a resident of any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may sell or transfer a firearm to a licensee in any State. However, a firearm other than a curio or relic may not be transferred interstate to a licensed collector.

      What record-keeping procedures should be followed when two private individuals want to engage in a firearms transaction?

      When a transaction takes place between private (unlicensed) persons who reside in the same State, the Gun Control Act (GCA) does not require any record keeping. A private person may sell a firearm to another private individual in his or her State of residence and, similarly, a private individual may buy a firearm from another private person who resides in the same State. It is not necessary under Federal law for a Federal firearms licensee (FFL) to assist in the sale or transfer when the buyer and seller are “same-State” residents. Of course, the transferor/seller may not knowingly transfer a firearm to someone who falls within any of the categories of prohibited persons contained in the GCA. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g) and (n). However, as stated above, there are no GCA-required records to be completed by either party to the transfer.

      And the key word, the only word, that is dangerous for me there is “knowingly”. After the gun is eventually used in a crime? “Well shucks officer, he seemed like a nice guy” will pretty much cover you, because there is no expectation of a private background check under the law. That’s nuts. It sure saved Robyn Anderson’s ass after Columbine for three of the weapons used by the shooters were straw man purchased by her from a gunshow – which also is legal (the guy that bought them the Tec9 from an FFL went to jail in an unusual example of the law being applied).

      From the gunshow wiki:

      Presently, 17 states regulate private firearm sales at gun shows. Seven states require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows (California, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, Illinois and Colorado). Four states (Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) require background checks on all handgun, but not long gun, purchasers at gun shows. Six states require individuals to obtain a permit to purchase handguns that involves a background check (Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Iowa, Nebraska). Certain counties in Florida require background checks on all private sales of handguns at gun shows. The remaining 33 states do not restrict private, intrastate sales of firearms at gun shows in any manner.[16][17]

      When I bought my weapons (from an FFL) originally in Virginia I was stunned at how easy it was. I went into a store, asked to see it, bought it, they ran my license, sure, but never was I asked do I know how to use this gun? Have I ever fired a handgun or rifle before? You aren’t mad at your wife or anything right now are ya?

      So you’re right, one question is asked at the gun store. I think a few more need to be. And still no questions are asked in private sale including gun shows.

  38. #54 DN
    December 19, 2012

    Mark – Straw man purchases are illegal, and we do federally regulate private sale. You may not knowingly sell a firearm to (or someone you have a reasonable suspicion of being) a felon, person conviceted of domestic violence, mentally defective, illegal alien, etc… You may not sell a handgun to a resident of a different state without transferring the weapon through a FFL holder (which triggers a form 4473).

    • #55 Mark
      December 19, 2012

      See above, the key word is “knowingly”. This is flimsy regulation, and no record of transfer need be kept, nor tracking of the firearm from person to person.

      If we were serious about keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, every state would require a title transfer – just like for a car – with each sale.

  39. #56 Charlie Tall
    December 19, 2012

    I am all for fair, equitable, and effective laws. Society must have them to function effectively.
    However, I strongly oppose open-ended, vague, or duplicitous laws that are intended either to trap the unwary citizen or provide more power to the government.

    The word “knowingly” is contained in these laws to prevent someone being punished for a crime they did not intend to commit and could not have reasonably anticipated. As such, it is a fair and necessary provision of the law.

    Let me state this right out in the open: NO, I do not trust government. Yes, I do believe that government will use whatever laws it can to further its own ends and increase its power and control over the citizen.

    • #57 Mark
      December 20, 2012

      I don’t trust government, but I trust the average citizen to carry a hand cannon around me less. What amazes me is the continued defense of the clip-fed semi-automatics as hunting weapons. I wouldn’t want to be hunting within 100 miles of some lunatic moron, dumping ammo into the woods at god knows what.

  40. #58 jane
    December 19, 2012

    It seems reasonable that to purchase some weapons, people should have to jump through as many hoops as they do to drive a car. (To drive, not to own – you actually do not need a valid driver’s license or insurance to be the legal owner of a car that is kept in your garage, comparable to a gun kept in your gun safe.) In most states you already have to jump through equivalent hoops to get a carry permit, and that too seems reasonable. As a responsible gun owner, I’d support new laws that were pitched that way.

    However, Americans will not accept a catch-22 situation in which you must have proven expertise to buy a gun, yet you have to get a gun and work with it for a long time to possess that skill. We do not require individuals to go to private driving school at great cost to their families before they can attempt to get a driver’s license. Driver’s ed is usually provided to all students free in schools. (In my home state it was a mandatory course.) Could high school PE classes perhaps include a unit on the safe handling of firearms, sufficient to allow those who eventually wish to purchase guns to pass whatever tests might be imposed? Boy Scouts and junior ROTC programs used to teach that subject as a matter of course. Some people will object to any suggestion that it’s okay to own guns or hunt, but I’d say it’s at least equally wrong for schools to encourage widespread use of private cars, when in the near future Americans will demonstrably be killing far more people with climate change than with guns.

  41. #59 Mathew
    California
    December 19, 2012

    Mark – Great blog and dialogue. I agree with most of your opinions and appreciate your thoughtful responses. I have owned a gun in the past, and generally do not want the government taking away my rights. At the same time, we all (including the victims, have the right to not get shot at school or the movie theater, …etc). If we have learned anything from what happened, it is that access to these types of guns is way too easy. Most of the people who oppose your thoughts appear to have their minds made up, and then search for ways to bolster their beliefs. Most of the time the argument is based on emotion and rarely on facts. There are bad apples out there, and we are obligated to do whatever we can to prevent (or reduce the chances of) them from doing something like this again.

  42. #60 Charlie Tall
    December 19, 2012
  43. #61 Charlie Tall
    December 19, 2012
    • #62 Mark
      December 20, 2012

      Sorry, but you’re so far off here it’s ridiculous. One, we don’t live in freaking Isreal which is basically in constant armed conflict with it’s neighbors and terrorist groups. Two, it’s a terrible analogy! In Israel, to have those weapons they have to register them all with the government, and re-register and qualify every three years! Applicants for a gun owner’s licence in Isreal (you have to be licensed just to own one), have to prove a legitimate need, have to be at least 27 unless they served in the military, and best of all, they’re only allowed to keep a limited amount of ammunition!

      Israel’s gun laws are the exact ones I’ve been advocating, and the exact ones that you people are attacking. Yes, they are under a constant external threat, they carry guns more readily in public. But their citizens have almost all served in the military. They know how to use those guns. They could probably use them effectively even while under fire – a thing the pathetic NRA fantasists think they could do but would probably just shit their pants in a real live-fire situation. They have very stringent regulation of the firearms and possession of ammunition. And finally, they actually have a legitimate reason to be so armed. We do not. We create the reason, by creating easy access to these weapons, then the gun obstructionists refuse to acknowledge any responsibility due to access.

  44. #63 Insufficient Combatant
    December 19, 2012

    Mark, Mike Adams may be your enemy, but he is right on many things includng mass shooting and drugs. MOST of the mass shhoting within the last ten years were carried out by young men who were either under supervsion of mental health professionals or were on Prozac, Zoloft, and other drugs.

    In the following exceprt we see one thing in common that is not being addressed – getting mind altering drugs out of the hands of young adults and children :

    Huntsville, Alabama – February 5, 2010: 15-year-old Hammad Memon shot and killed another Discover Middle School student Todd Brown. Memon had a history for being treated for ADHD and depression. He was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.” He had been seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist.

    2. Kauhajoki, Finland – September 23, 2008: 22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine. He was also seeing a psychologist.

    3. Dekalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system. He had been seeing a psychiatrist.

    4. Jokela, Finland – November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.

    5. Cleveland, Ohio – October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.

    6. Red Lake, Minnesota – March 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 7 students and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.

    7. Greenbush, New York – February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”. He had previously seen a psychiatrist.

    8. Wahluke, Washington – April 10, 2001: Sixteen-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. He had been taking the antidepressant Effexor.

    9. El Cajon, California – March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School. He had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.

    10. Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.

    11. Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with the stimulant Ritalin when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.

    12. Columbine, Colorado – April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. Harris had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.

    13. Notus, Idaho – April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed SSRI antidepressant and Ritalin.

    14. Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 25. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac. Kinkel had been attending “anger control classes” and was under the care of a psychologist.

    • #64 Mark
      December 20, 2012

      It’s incredibly sad that Mike Adams uses his FBI staging and mind control arguments and people like you then defend it. I think you have a correlation here between mental illness and these incidents, but the one thing that may help stop these cases is the thing you blame.

      It’s amazing. On the one hand we have the gun nuts saying, ad nauseum, nothing works, nothing works, do nothing, work on mental health never gun laws. Then on the other hand you have the doctor/pharma cranks saying it’s the psychiatrists! It’s the drugs! Pathetic.

      It’s kind of a catch 22.

      The saddest thing about this conversation and the complete unwillingness of the gun advocates to accept any regulation is that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Their worldview that the only way to deal with this problem is an arms race, where we continue to arm more and more people, and put guns in more and more places, including the classroom, ultimately will create a place where the only way to deal with the problem will be to arm everybody, including teachers. All the while their narcissistic fantasy that if they were armed and under fire, they could take out a gunman laying about with a semi-automatic. They would be the hero in the movie theater that would shoot back, with a handgun, in the dark, under fire, and not just hit more victims, but hit the gunman and save the day.

      The reality is that facing fire from a gunman is terrifying. That to adequately respond to situations like these with more armed conflict takes more that every jackass and Homer being armed but people that are trained specifically to take out people that are shooting at them, like cops and soldiers. The reality is that having guns on every idiot in the state leads to teenagers being shot for having their radios too loud, teenagers being shot for cutting through someone’s yard while wearing a hoodie, and escalation of what would be non-lethal disputes into lethal ones.

  45. #65 Dman
    nunya
    December 20, 2012

    i love how you gun control nuts like to avoid certain details of these incidences of violence in order to meet your need to scare people into believing guns, whether of a certain model, or otherwise, or the clips and magazines used in them, are evil.

    FACT: We in America have already had gun control laws. They didn’t work, which you libtards so conveniently leave out.

    FACT: almost all of the recent mass shootings in the last decade and a half, have been perpetrated in “Gun Free Zones.”

    FACT: Even all the mass shootings in the history of America’s free reign added together make only a small percentage of annual causes of death. a percentage which has been steadily shrinking without gun bans in effect.

    FACT: Our current president, his advisers, and fellow gun ban pro congress and senate buddies know, without a doubt, that a gun ban will solve nothing. The government of our nation has been advised on this many times in the last 40 years, always with the same results.

    FACT: the only reason Obama wants gun control, is so the government doesn’t need to worry about the people getting pushed too far and uprising against government tyranny.

    FACT: Big Governments have always feared an armed populace, because its not as easy to force your will upon others if they have the means to fight you.

    You said that none of these shooters weren’t criminals before their shootings?
    In Clackamas Or a man stole a friend’s ar type weapon (theft is a crime) and used it to kill two people and himself (After confronted by a law abiding citizen armed with a pistlol) in what is being erroneously called a “mass shooting.”

    In Conneticut, A 20 year old man stole his mother’s guns, (theft is still a crime) killed her, (murder is a crime) went on school grounds with weapons, (another crime) and killed 20 children and six adults, primarily with pistols. then killed self.

    I could go on, but I like to keep it short and sweet. The facts of these two cases alone invalidate all argument for gun control to prevent mass shootings. in one instant, where another citizen also posessed a gun and used it to end the situation, there were fewer deaths. In the other instant, where, and I know you’ll probably argue this one with me, only the criminal had firearms, there were substantially more deaths.

    Empirically speaking, the evidence does NOT favor gun control.

    What it actually does favor, is education about firearms, and how and when to use them.

    What it does favor, is extra screening, then training, then arming the teachers of our nation’s public schools. Since teachers, carrying concealed weapons, won’t distract students by reminding them there is an armed thug in the building and that (usually) one armed thug, is going to be able to somehow protect (NOT) all entrances into the school.

    Finally, what the evidence favors is that we as a society can no longer afford to look to the government to provide for us. We as a nation need to take responsibility, for all aspects of our lives, and get back on track to where we need to be.

    • #66 Mark
      December 20, 2012

      FACT: The gun control laws we do have are a joke, and are constantly undermined before they’re even implemented by the gun lobbby. The assault weapons ban, for instance, only bans scary looking guns, and the manufacturers only have to cosmetically-alter them before selling the exact same functional piece.

      FACT: The nonsense that it’s the second amendment that prevents tyranny is the most absurd, and unsupported argument of all. This is “the big lie”. When one looks around the world you see country after country that is free and democratic without everyone being armed. You see that when dictators are overthrown it’s not from an armed populace, but from military siding with the people over the government, conflict with armed and militarized rebels, external government intervention, or mass unarmed civilian protest. Our military so far outclasses the citizenry on arms it’s a joke. How is your AR-15 going to protect you from the robots in the sky? The answer is not an arms race with our military, or the delusion that we’re all just in the prelude to a Red Dawn scenario.

      This is the embarrassing fantasy world of the gun fundamentalist. They’re just Patrick Swayze waiting to happen, when in reality under live fire, pretty much anyone without military or police training (and arguable not even police training – I’ve seen how bad they shoot) will be next to useless and will probably just shoot more victims.

      FACT: The US government isn’t close to being a tyranny, it’s an insult to people who actually live under tyranny, and more paranoid anti-Obama conspiracy mongering that’s little more than hatred for our first black president.

      FACT: None of the shooters we had discussed so far had a criminal record. You found an example of one. Bully for you, it’s besides the point.

      FACT: Arming teachers will have no effect, as unless you’re a country like Israel, with near-universal military service, the teacher is just going to be another average citizen, and won’t be of any value under fire. All you’re doing is putting a dangerous weapon in the hands of more untrained and undertrained people. Putting dangerous machines closer and closer to the kids. All of this to feed the fantasy, and it is a total fantasy, that you, the hero of your internal Red Dawn movie, will one day be the hero and save the day. What we see instead is that having more armament is turning more non-lethal disputes lethal. People shooting at teenagers over their radio being too loud. People pulling guns in line at black friday.

      To those sane readers out there, recognize how this paranoid fantasy world the gun fundamentalist advocate is self-fulfilling. When you put guns everywhere, yes, eventually you will need them in schools, but only because of decades of tragic under-regulation of this problem.

  46. #67 jane
    December 20, 2012

    Mark – You say Israelis have a “legitimate reason” to be armed. Do Israelis (particularly Jewish Israelis, pretty much the only group who can easily bear arms) actually suffer a higher homicide rate than urban Americans? Especially, do they suffer more homicides or other violent assaults of a sort from which one might defend oneself with a gun? I recognize that Israelis (of all ethnic and religious affiliations) are at risk from terrorism and warfare, but you can’t shoot a bus bomb or a rocket. If a Detroit resident’s risk of being shot, stabbed, or stomped on the street is as high as a Tel Aviv resident’s, and the latter have a “legitimate reason” to be armed, then so do the former. The ingroup affiliations of the potential attackers and victims are utterly irrelevant.

    While we’re on the subject of Israel, what would you think of instituting universal military service or substitute national service in the U.S. – here, of course, including all ethnic/religious groups? Safe and responsible use of firearms would be included in basic training for most. Completion of some form of service could for future generations be a requirement for later purchase of firearms, as you would identify many with mental or social problems among those who couldn’t hack it. And it would help to ensure long-term national security through a “well-regulated” militia in the traditional meaning of the term. (I point out to the leftists among us that if this disintegrating empire of ours ever falls into an outright civil war, they’ll be very unhappy with the outcome if only right-wing rednecks know which end of a gun you point at a bad guy.)

    • #68 Mark
      December 20, 2012

      The amount of gun carrying in Israel is being exaggerated. Most of the weapons you see on the streets are going to be in uniform, not private individuals, even though many private individuals own weapons.

      I love the idea of military training, only compulsory military service does create constitutional issues of course. I think it would discourage all these stupid wars of opportunity. I do believe that military training should be a prerequisite for owning some of this hardware, which in the end are military weapons “adapted” for civilian use.

      One of the most offensive things that happens after these shootings are the “why didn’t someone just charge him” accusers, or the idiot who said we should train children to rush assailants, and also the people that say there should have been guns everywhere. Without military training in responding to shots while under fire, it’s a ridiculous expectation to believe that even armed civilians should realistically be able to fight back while under semi-automatic weapons fire. People have just seen to many damn movies. When I think back to the women and men that educated me in public school, the idea of any of them even wielding a .22 pistol is ludicrous. The idea that they could stand up to armed assailants? Poor old Mrs. Tucker. I doubt she could have seen through those coke bottles she wore for glasses to tell the difference between the boys and the girls in the class. You’ve got to be a mental defective to think that the people that go into teaching are signing up for paramilitary child protective service. It’s just nuts.

  47. #69 Benjamin W
    North Dakota
    December 20, 2012

    “The gun control laws we do have are a joke, and are constantly undermined before they’re even implemented by the gun lobbby. The assault weapons ban, for instance, only bans scary looking guns, and the manufacturers only have to cosmetically-alter them before selling the exact same functional piece.”

    How would a gun ban have stopped someone bent on killing as many of people as possible? I could leave work today and have a dozen pipe bombs built by the weekend. I could get a big knife, hijack a school bus of kids and drive it off a cliff. Chain the doors shut and set the building on fire. If I plan on dying in the process, there are countless means that do not rely on a gun.

    A gun ban would have done nothing but slow him down for a few weeks while he put together a far more deadly plan.

    ” Our military so far outclasses the citizenry on arms it’s a joke. How is your AR-15 going to protect you from the robots in the sky? The answer is not an arms race with our military, or the delusion that we’re all just in the prelude to a Red Dawn scenario. ”

    Then explain how the US military lost Iraq and Afghanistan? Their most advanced weapons date from 50 years ago or earlier. If a large portion of the population sees an authority as illegitimate and are willing to take the casualties necessary to fight against it then all the weapons in the world are not going to help you.

    Those “robots in the sky” are a white elephant. They cost more than far more capable manned aircraft and are far less capable. You can buy two tricked out F-16s for the price of a single Reaper drone. It is simply not possible for them to be everywhere at once. Just like with drugs on our border, you may intercept 10%, but 90% still get through.

    “The US government isn’t close to being a tyranny, it’s an insult to people who actually live under tyranny, and more paranoid anti-Obama conspiracy mongering that’s little more than hatred for our first black president”

    Try to operate a business and then say that with a straight face. I’ve looked at starting my own business, but the overbearing regulations that exist in the US today make that impossible for me. If you don’t have economic freedom, political freedom is meaningless and a lack of economic freedom is just one form of tyranny. I was saying the exact same things under George Bush, and Obama’s policies are nothing more than expanded Bush policies, so don’t think your race card is gonna get you anywhere.

    All I have time for right now, good day.

    • #70 Mark
      December 20, 2012

      How would a gun ban have stopped someone bent on killing as many of people as possible? I could leave work today and have a dozen pipe bombs built by the weekend. I could get a big knife, hijack a school bus of kids and drive it off a cliff. Chain the doors shut and set the building on fire. If I plan on dying in the process, there are countless means that do not rely on a gun.

      This is the same, tired, repetitive argument being made by the gun fundamentalist to resist any regulation. But why not ask, should C4 be available over the counter? Why not cannons? Why not anti-aircraft? Sure, those are dangerous, but a motivated person can kill with gasoline, why not make machines capable of killing freely available since they’ll do it anyway? Nonsense. Yeah someone could plan, and gather materials, and people might notice, have a chance to detect and respond to some bomber (or not as with Tim McVeigh – the true face of the Tea Party). Or you can just make a killing machine available to anyone over 18, with only a criminal background check.

      The point isn’t that motivated people can’t do terrible things. The point is, clearly it’s too easy for them to do it this way. If pipe bombs become a problem, we’ll deal with that next, but for now, it seems clear that the ability to kill dozens of people in minutes with these machines designed for killing is the problem.

      Then explain how the US military lost Iraq and Afghanistan? Their most advanced weapons date from 50 years ago or earlier. If a large portion of the population sees an authority as illegitimate and are willing to take the casualties necessary to fight against it then all the weapons in the world are not going to help you.

      Wow, the tea party really is the American Taliban.

      Our army knows our territory, outclasses us in weapons, and would wreck any civilian group thinking for a second they could stand a chance. It’s not comparable to a mountainous hellhole that has been fighting with foreign invaders for centuries.

      The second amendment doesn’t keep us free, and if you feel like you live under tyranny now, clearly it didn’t prevent anything. As far as the race card, people didn’t truly start going crazy over this stuff until we had a black president. Gun sales have gone through the roof. The reason is people have overreacted to a rather moderate democratic candidate, who has done far less to restrict liberty than say, pass the patriot act.

  48. #71 Kevin Sanders
    December 20, 2012

    Mark,

    We do accept regulation. Americans are over regulated now. We have the largest government regulation sqaud in the history of mankind. If you are speaking of regulation, why not regulate Prozac and other dangerous mind altering/personality altering drugs? A drug that can make a person become violent is as dangerous as the guns you wish to ban.

    Banning 30 round clips for supposed “assault” rifles will not stop shooting or crime at all. If the cause of the crime is still there, that is. 9/11 was carried out by radical muslims weilding boxcutters. Not a single gun was used. The Oklahoma City Bombing was carried out by homeade fertizer bombs, not a single AR-15 was used. Two quite deadly attacks I might add. This proves that people hell bent for destruction do not have to use guns to carry out mass killings.

    When you ban AR-15s, people who already own them number in the millions. When you ban high capacity clips, what’s to say the magazine manufacturer will still sell high cap clips to police and military? I say if you wsh to ban these clips, then fine, but let us ban them for cops and soldiers as well. I do not trust a gobvernment that does not trust its citizens with firearms. Too many genocides have been carried out when a government disarms its citizens.

    Let me give you an example of whta has happned and what should continue to happen in the future:

    Sometime in the late 1990s the Los Angeles police wanted their SWAT snipers to have more powerful, longr range firearms, so they placed an order for a Barret 50 BMG. They were denied. Why? This is a $10,000 doallr firearm, but Barret canceled their order. The owner, Mr. Barret got involved and assesed the situation that went something like this:

    LA Police: Sir we placed an order with your company for a 50 BMG rifle and found out that the order was cancled.

    Mr. Barrett: Yes I know. I told my staff to cancel that order.

    LA Police: Why?

    Mr. Barrett: That weapin is banned in Califirnia and Massachusetts.

    LA Police: But we are the Los Angeles Police Department, SWAT team, not civilians.

    Mr. Barrett: Then go talk to your state government. If the citizens in your state cannot own our firearms, then will not seel our firearms to any branch of government in that state. If your citizens are not good enough to own one, then neiother are you. We have enough sales in free states to make up for the loss of sales in your state.

    To make a long story short, firearms manufactuers may retaliate on government ban by not selling to police and military. And they should. Mr. Barrett done the right thing by forbiding states to own goods that are banned for everyone else. Shame on California for their crimes against the constitution as well as the Bible. It’s okay for gay people to screw each other in public, but heaven forbid someone own a firearm. That state is just backwards. It is basically a country all on its own. There are about 3 states in the USA that I and anumber of firends refuse to recognize as real states becuase of their infatuation with communism. vermont, massachussetts, california. We should just wall them off and count them as a loss.

    As far as regulation of firearms, there is already plenty of regulation. You cannot own a REAL assault weapon without a liscense from the ATF. The semi-auto AR-15 is not an assault weapon. It is not full auto and does not comply with the ability to attach a grenade launcher to it. The only reason that it is referred to as an assault weapon is becuase of its appearance. Example:

    Mark: The Corvette is a race car.

    Me: No it is not. It is a sports car.

    Mark, not it looks like a race race and goes fast, so it must be a race car.

    Same thing with guns mark. Years ago gun grabbing constitution haters decided they would employ propoganda to disarm the people. So they decided to call these rifles assault weapons becuase they looked menacing. The media, being mostly comprised of left wing democrats, caught on and the war on the constitutional human right to own a gun still goes on.

  49. #72 Nathan
    Australia
    December 21, 2012

    Hello,

    Just a few comments.

    As an outsider, from Australia, the US just looks completely mad. It seems as though the country has developed a sense of paranoia, expressed by Kevin Sanders above with this statement: “We have the largest government regulation sqaud in the history of mankind.”

    Which is obviously completely mad.

    In the Build on Facts Blog, Matt has 4 points on why he owns a gun, the first three are moderately sane, but point 4, is mad paranoia.

    So my question is where does this paranoia come from? It doesn’t exist in Australia, Great Britain, Canada or any other ‘equivalent’ culture. This is the reason that people feel they need to carry powerful weapons, because their paranoia makes them very frightened.

    Oh, and no country has become less safe because they imposed gun control.

  50. #73 jane
    December 21, 2012

    Aagh. Mr. Sanders, if you really are a gun-rights activist you jolly well should have heard of VERMONT CARRY. Vermont is the only state in the Union where any competent law-abiding adult can conceal-carry a gun without permits or hoop-jumping. Good luck walling them off.

    And please, please keep irrelevant mentions of religion out of this. It makes it look like you only care about preserving the ability of people like you to use violence against envisioned threats from people unlike you. In a multiracial, multireligious democracy, either self-defense is a right for everybody, or it will be a right for nobody. Florida’s Stand Your Ground law sounded great – but if it keeps being interpreted to cover only the use of force, however questionable, by white men, then everyone else in the state is going to get together and vote it out by ballot initiative, or vote for representatives who will vote it out. You need to decide what’s more important to you here, your group identity or your Second Amendment rights, because you cannot promote both at the same time.

  51. #74 Jib Halyard
    December 21, 2012

    The last time tyranny came to the USA, armed private citizens didn’t lift a finger to stop it. It was the Union Army that overthrew it.

  52. #75 adelady
    December 21, 2012

    Jane “We do not require individuals to go to private driving school at great cost to their families before they can attempt to get a driver’s license. Driver’s ed is usually provided to all students free in schools.”

    Well that’s not true for Australia. Most states have quite onerous conditions for getting a probationary license – 120 hours for some – but doing this with a professional driving instructor means one hour counts for 2 or 3 depending on the state. Some families do the learner driver training themselves to save money but it really is quite a commitment. And onerous conditions (like zero blood alcohol) for the whole of the probationary/provisional period.

    And for all those people worrying about their homes being invaded by officials confiscating their guns, Australia used a buy-back system for the initial implementation – we did take back the guns that were banned. Since then we’ve had several amnesties in different states at different times – but you don’t get paid for any guns you put through this process.

  53. #76 Charlie Tall
    December 21, 2012

    “Oh, and no country has become less safe because they imposed gun control.”

    Tell that to the German Jews in 1933.

    • #77 Mark
      December 22, 2012

      This tired old trope of the NRA. It was because the Jews weren’t well enough armed that the Nazis were able to steamroll over them. Classic blaming the victim.

  54. #78 Charlie Tall
    December 21, 2012

    The last time tyranny came to the USA it was the Union Army that brought it.

    • #79 Mark
      December 22, 2012

      So, freeing slaves is tyranny? The 14th amendment is tyranny? The South fired the first shots after all.

      I think we know where Charlie Tall stands now.

  55. #80 Charlie Tall
    December 21, 2012

    We are forgetting the thousands of people who are saved from death or serious harm by their firearms.

    I am one of them.

    Sandy Hook was indisputable proof that when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

    • #81 Mark
      December 22, 2012

      And again fits with the NRA fantasy of armed citizens standing up under fire against semi-automatics in the hands of madmen. It’s total nonsense. There is also precedent from previous shootings, including Columbine, that even trained, armed police have a great deal of difficulty standing up to these kinds of assaults. A Jefferson County sheriff was there, exchanged shots, and failed to hit the shooters, or stop the incident. It also speaks to the foolishness of the “I could just make bombs” argument, because the Columbine killers did make bombs, unsuccessfully. Bombs are actually quite difficult to make and trigger successfully. All of their deaths were from the weapons bought for them, illegally, by straw men from dealers and gun shows. Our current laws are ineffective.

      This is the delusional NRA fantasy. That shooting armed assailants is easy, that any citizen can do it, that what we need are just more armed civilians because in a crisis such as this they are going to be effective. Nonsense. Even the cops have a great deal of difficulty, even with arms, even with their training, when standing up to fire from a gunman. This is why that have things like S.W.A.T. teams for when situations like these arise.

      Enough fantasy. Life is not a movie. Gun wielding citizens are not going to be the future heroes stopping these school shootings after we arm schoolteachers.

  56. #82 adelady
    December 23, 2012

    “There is also precedent from previous shootings, including Columbine, that even trained, armed police have a great deal of difficulty standing up to these kinds of assaults. A Jefferson County sheriff was there, exchanged shots, and failed to hit the shooters, or stop the incident.”

    Exactly. These people are not just arguing for “guns”. If they want guns to be used to defend little children, what we really want is people qualified to the level of protective service agents or VIP bodyguards. You need extremely fast reaction times and extremely accurate shooting in chaotic, noisy environments and detailed plans for evacuating or otherwise shielding the people you want to protect.

    People who are advocating armed guards and/ or teachers in schools need to think seriously about the high level skill set needed to fend off the threat they claim to be concerned about. If they’re arguing that teachers would be better employed spending an evening a week maintaining the high fitness levels or shooting accuracy required for this sideline of their job rather than preparing or marking schoolwork for their real job, they need to rethink what they value about schools, teaching and learning.

    I also wonder if these people have any memory of just how awful they were to some of their teachers. Any of them or their friends or relatives ever know of someone who got/ tricked/ stole something from a teacher and messed about with it. Anyone ever seen or heard of shenanigans in a laboratory or cooking or shop class? Do you really want to see what happens if you add a loaded gun into this childish, irresponsible mix?

    Or how some of their 11 yr old or 15 yr old friends gleefully reported that Mr Xyz had finally lost it and shouted or thrown a pen at someone. Teachers are human and, let me assure you, some classes of kids are barely human when mob mentality takes over. Certainly not considerate of a tired adult who’s at the end of their tether at the end of a trying day/ semester. Adding the loaded gun option onto a stressed out teacher’s plate is not clever. There are 7 million teachers across the country, about half of them in middle or primary schools – and what % of them at any time are dealing with marital or health or bereavement or family or financial or other problems? Or several of these problems at once. Think about 1 or 5 or 10% of teachers in financial or other stress at any one time. Most of them keep their tears and their temper in check at school. Some of them can’t keep that up all day every day, year in, year out. Shouting and slamming doors is as bad as it should get when the eleventeenth stroppy kid of the day swears at a teacher on a hot afternoon. A gun in the classroom can be as bad an option for a stressed teacher as it is for a silly student.

  57. #83 JD2MLIS
    NY Metro
    December 24, 2012

    >The point isn’t that motivated people can’t do terrible things. The point is, clearly it’s too easy for them to do it this way. If pipe bombs become a problem, we’ll deal with that next….

    It is easy to dismiss this part of the debate, but one important part of the debate that is flying under the radar is that it is technologically feasible to 3D print a “high capacity” magazine. It is even possible to 3D print an AR or AK receiver. And with some simple machine tools, you can make barrels and other essential parts. tl;dr – anyone with a couple thousand dollars and a brain can make an assault weapon. http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/16/gun-control/

    Easily.

    This is exactly what happened with alcohol prohibition. It isn’t hard to make alcohol. All you need is a bottle, airborne yeast, and something to ferment over time.

    So, assuming that we could constitutionally ban an entire class of magazine fed weapons (which we can’t under Heller), the ban would be ineffective, since it is so easy circumvented.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/12/19/3d-printing-startup-makerbot-cracks-down-on-printable-gun-designs/

    The upshot is that once we realize that current “gun control” laws prohibit an object, rather than a technological phenomenon, we can have an effective gun control debate.

    Thus, the problem isn’t an object. It is an idea. It is impossible to stop ideas. Except with education and carefully crafted legislation. Ideas exist at the individual and societal level. You can make antisemitism illegal. You can ban swastikas and other Nazi memorabilia. But it is people’s hearts and minds that need to change. Chemical and nuclear weapons aren’t used because of the threat of MAD and the stigma attached to them. So, how do you get people to change their minds?

    There are lots of serious things wrong with the mentality that currently exist in the USA. One of them is how violent our society is. Kids are taught, through a variety of mechanisms, that tattling on others is wrong, and that fighting is an acceptable way to solve a problem. Many think that prison rape is an important part of how criminals are punished. Retribution, rather than rehabilitation or forgiveness, is a major meme in our society.

    Some people blame other technologies, like video games or TV. These are technologies too – and banning violent videogames would not only be unconstitutional, but wouldn’t even address the underlying problems.

    • #84 Mark
      December 25, 2012

      It is easy to dismiss this part of the debate, but one important part of the debate that is flying under the radar is that it is technologically feasible to 3D print a “high capacity” magazine. It is even possible to 3D print an AR or AK receiver. And with some simple machine tools, you can make barrels and other essential parts. tl;dr – anyone with a couple thousand dollars and a brain can make an assault weapon. http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/16/gun-control/

      Easily.

      I reject the notion this can be done “easily”.

      In the future if machines like this cause a ruckus because they can generate all sorts of dangerous stuff, maybe they will need regulation as well. But this is clearly not “easy”. Certainly not easy like walking into a store, or buying out of a secondary market, the complete, functional, tested, durable weapons that are available now. Further, if these machines can truly develop this capability, they will need to be tightly regulated, possibly with an FFL for possession. After all, what would stop someone with this machine from selling guns illegally, to minors, to felons etc. This isn’t an argument for doing nothing people. It’s an argument for doing more.

      This is also quite different from alcohol prohibition. There are dozens of modern, industrialized countries with virtually no guns, and I have yet to hear of any English gun speakeasies. Guns are different from drugs and alcohol this way, I feel it’s sad this even needs to be pointed out in this debate.

  58. #85 Kevin Sanders
    December 27, 2012

    @ Jane.

    Vermone is already walled off as far as I am concerned. They left this union decades ago. So did Massachustts and California. I do not accept these tyrant nations as states any longer. I will not do business with anyone who lives in those wretched places.

  59. #86 Kevin Sanders
    December 27, 2012

    Oh one more thing. I have been reading about the fake sentaor diane frankenstein and her pathetic attemp to “finger print” and “register” sovereign individuals who own guns. Ok, I give in senator. You can fingerprint me, starting with the MIDDLE finger.

    I do have a better idea of what to do about the situation though. I say we register and fingerprint a left wing constituion haters so that we will know who to deny service to and who to lock up for being mentally defective. I do hink left wingers should be registered to that we will know who to avoid when we take our kids out. They are dangerous.

    Senator Frankenstein, let me know how your registration goes. I am so looking forward to showing my papers to the authorities whenever I travel or buy something.

    http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/assault-weapons

    WARNING: Every genocide in history has occured after the disarmament of civilians. Just sayin …

    @ mark,

    Yeah. Those same swat teams you speak of also raid old ladies vegetable gardens in Michigan and vitamin stores who sells vitamin C to help with the Flu. Methinks our government has a bit too much authority these days. Take away citizen arms, and we might be looking at a new tyranny. Time to take our country back and take away some of those powers that they gave themselves.

  60. #87 Kevin Sanders
    December 27, 2012

    oh and a nice little message to the posers in government …

    Provided that you succeed in disarming America and putting patriots in your concentration/re-education camps, if i should end up in one of those camps or die at the hands of a fake cop or a fake soldier, aka those who commit treason by turning their guns on patriot citizens, rest assued mark my words. There is an afterlife. I assure you that if I die by your hands, I will be waiting for you on the other side and there difinitely will be hell to pay. Before the archangl throws you into the lake of fire, I would ask him if I could have fun with you first. Rest assured, judgement will not be avoided. I will be waiting for you on the other side. Then it’s my turn. You will not like my turn.

    Then after I am done with you, millions more will want their way wityh you too. Then we will let the arch angel throw what’s left of your sorry carcass to the demons of hell, after we torture you first. mark my world. Agents of this new world order will not go unpunished forever. Eventually, you WILL answer for your crimes, in this life or the judgement to come. If killed by a fake soldier of the new world order, you better pray that I have no great powers in the afterlife. Becuase if I do, your behind is mine and you will beg God to send you to hell before I am done with you.

    Oh and for the record, I am not afraid of your soul trapper machine in Dulce either. I have figured out a way to relase the ones you already have and you better pray they are not vengeful spirits either. Your lizards scare me not. They can fall quicker than a man if you know where the Rhodesian Teakwood spear is carefully thrusted. Can you say orgone?

  61. #88 The freedom farmer
    December 27, 2012

    Oh goody I see mark blustewred my posts. That’s ok. You advocate taking my second amendment rights away and now looks like you are after the first amendment too. That’s ok though. I know what I said.

    Oh and the remark about “the south fired the first shots”. … Well, they sort of had to, they were being invaded by illegal armed men – northern forces. It was a warning shot to keep out of their business and thanks to our no guts generals we lost the war. If the general had not surrendered after gettysburg, Lincoln would have eventually been killed and the north would have eventually given in due to the excessive cost of the war and the excessive loss of union soldiers. If our generals had not been so quick to surrender, we might have won.

    Guns are not evil. Some people are. Guns are inanimate objects incapabile of committing crimes. Oh and people facing heavy gunfire with just a handgun is nothing out of the ordinary. Soldiers do it for a living. Usually they hide out until the armed man gos past and shoots the bastard in the back. There are tactical ways of facing an enemy that is better armed and defeating that enemy.

    Gideaon faced over 10,000 men and only had 300 to fight with. Yet, his forces prevailed. It was wit, wisdom, experience, and the will to defeat the enemy at all costs and the fact that God was on his side.

    Then again, God was not present at Sandy Hook. Liberals kicked Him out years ago, then had the gall to pray to Him after this incident happened.

    Yes 3d and 4d printings of weapons are becomeing popular and of course your answer is to regulate it. I bet you regulate how much air we breathe if you could.

    I am proud of one moment this week. A bloggr retaliated against the Journal News turds who named gun owners in their report. The blogger retaliated by giving out the personal addresses of the eidtor and the reporter responsible. That was the proper move to make. Now every time a reporter takes it upon their left wing selves to do these things, they run the risk of having the favor returned.

    Mark do you think congress should ban tomahawks? knives? spears? swords? sheilds< body armor (medeivial)?

    If so you might know that someone can kill another person with a banana. Freeze it, sharpern it, stab with it. bam. instsant weapon. Let's get all banana eaters to register in a federal regsitry! You can also use golf balls as ammunition in homeade potato guns that fire by CO2 cartridge. Golf ball will travel over 100 yards with lethal force. Let's ban golf balls.

    • #89 Mark
      December 29, 2012

      Kevin, now you’re starting to sockpuppet. This is a ban-worthy behavior. The first amendment does not give you the right to bluster all over my forum. You clearly don’t understand what that amendment means either. I own this forum, I control it, and sockpuppeting on it is completely unacceptable. Granted, considering how it’s obvious the same person is getting progressively more unhinged in each comment, I doubt anyone was fooled.

      Also, in general, I’m busy. I don’t moderate comments every hour. As always people, chill out. Every time a crank has to wait an hour for a comment I’m accused of censorship. It’s tiresome.

      Finally, I think there’s no better evidence that there is simply no arguing with the gun nuts when they get this extreme. It’s amazing, the total illogic of “bans on assault weapons” = “ban on bananas”. This is, again, the exact same argument, ad nauseum, that none of us accept. It’s basically that because there is more than one way to kill somebody, you can’t regulate any weapon ever. However, then one must ask, why not legalize dynamite? C4? Nuclear weapons? After all, if you can kill people with frozen bananas, why regulate civilian ownership of biological weapons, and homegrown nuclear arsenals?

      It makes no sense. No matter how many times you repeat this argument Kevin, it doesn’t get any better. I think you’ve also lost everyone with half a brain with the secession talk anyway. Not to mention, it’s a good thing the south lost, unless you really like slavery, which I guess Kevin must.

      Then after I am done with you, millions more will want their way wityh you too. Then we will let the arch angel throw what’s left of your sorry carcass to the demons of hell, after we torture you first. mark my world. Agents of this new world order will not go unpunished forever. Eventually, you WILL answer for your crimes, in this life or the judgement to come. If killed by a fake soldier of the new world order, you better pray that I have no great powers in the afterlife. Becuase if I do, your behind is mine and you will beg God to send you to hell before I am done with you.

      Oh and for the record, I am not afraid of your soul trapper machine in Dulce either. I have figured out a way to relase the ones you already have and you better pray they are not vengeful spirits either. Your lizards scare me not. They can fall quicker than a man if you know where the Rhodesian Teakwood spear is carefully thrusted. Can you say orgone?

      I think Kevin might just be the single best argument for gun control ever. This guy is the one who clearly wants a lot of guns. Seriously. This guy. I think we just witnessed a psychotic break mid-comment. Kevin, you remind me of these crazed shooters, or at least Mel Gibson. It’s freaking scary.

      Anyway, this thread has served it’s purpose, it’s closed.

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