The man who entered an LA Fitness aerobics class and killed three women and shot many others legally purchased the two Glock 9 mm guns that he used. This makes him the current poster child for banning the sales of handguns in the US. Now. Not just one gun a month max, not just guns to people who are not known to be nutjobs. I’m talking about stopping all handgun sales now, without exceptions.

The National Rifle Association disagrees with me. But who cares? The National Rifle Association also told Congress to not allow Sonia Sotomayor to be appointed to the supreme court, but it looks like Congress is going to more or less ignore the NRA. So, the rest of us can start ignoring those thugs as well. Anybody got a problem with this? Good. Let’s make it happen.

Comments

  1. #1 MC
    August 5, 2009

    not long ago there was a guy who drove his legaly purchased car into a parade.
    is that reason enough to ban cars?

    i also remember reading a story about a guy who killed his wife with a kitchen knife. should we ban those?

    if anything the story should be about mental illness, not about making guns illegal.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    August 5, 2009

    MC, you are quite wrong. Cars have multiple uses. Handguns have no uses other than to a) kill and b) be the object of hobbyists collecting fetish. We can ban the handguns without any ill effects and only good effects.

    No, sorry, that old canard is inadmissible. Handguns are made for killing and are much better at killing than cars or kitchen knives.

  3. #3 Stephanie Z
    August 5, 2009

    Is bringing up cars on a gun control post anything other than the moral equivalent of “First!”?

  4. #4 CybrgnX
    August 5, 2009

    Ya guns don’t kill…..! ya got that. But why are all those guns legal in this country??? The constitution gives us the right to own and bear arms. I still have both of mine firmly attached and don’t expect to have them taken from me. :-).
    If we outlaw all hand guns that will not stop me from having shootguns or rifles so the constitution is still OK and hunters are still OK. BUT try carrying a consealed 30-06!! The shooter would have been seen well before the gym.
    But I do not advocate this because it would FAIL!! Why? Try stopping me from getting cocaine or any other ‘illegal’ drug. Thats how easy it would be to get an ‘illegal’ hand gun.
    Personally if ALL drugs were legal and allowed to be taken in any dose, the gym shooter would probably be dead by now by overdose as he could have taken drugs to help him feel better and the women would not have been shot.
    So don’t waste our time and money making guns illegal, make powerfull drugs fully available so insane stupid peolple can end it all before harming others.

  5. #5 Enoch
    August 5, 2009

    Now we’re talking.

  6. #6 Russell
    August 5, 2009

    Are you proposing to amend the Constitution to repeal the 2nd amendment? The Supreme Court made quite clear in Heller that the outright ban you want is unconstitutional. That was precisely what DC had implemented, and precisely what was overturned. Other kinds of regulation are likely to pass muster, such as laws requiring handgun owners to be licensed.

  7. #7 Trakar
    August 5, 2009

    How many handguns are legally sold each year in the US? How many are used to commit violent crimes? How many people who do not use handguns to commit crimes would be affected by banning handguns. Will the banning of handguns stop violent crimes?

  8. #8 Liz
    August 5, 2009

    Isn’t it obvious that the second amendment no longer applies at all to modern society? If it requires getting rid of the amendment than so be it.

  9. #9 Enoch
    August 5, 2009

    Trakar, I think the point being made here is that NO ONE will be negatively affected by banning all handguns. Name some way in which people will be negatively affected?

  10. #10 Russell
    August 5, 2009

    Enoch’s “no one” sounds like political exaggeration to my ears. That means, for example, that there has never been a single instance of successful self-defense by someone carrying a handgun, against would-be robber or rapist. It doesn’t take much research to knock that down. I understand the argument about aggregate benefit versus aggregate costs. That’s a rational kind of argument. But pretending that the benefit is universally zero is, well, absurd.

  11. #11 Lee Daniel Crocker
    August 5, 2009

    It always bothers me how many people who are otherwise fans of technological progress are so quick to want to ban one particular technology they don’t like. Any technology can be misused, and many are crazy dangerous. We generally handle that by making sure that the people who use them are properly educated about those dangers, and holding them responsible for misuse. Sometimes it’s difficult. But to think we can get rid of the dangers by banning the technology is hopelessly naive.

  12. #12 Irene
    August 5, 2009

    Lee, what you are suggesting “we do” we don’t do. The average hand gun toter has no clue how to shoot the damn thing, and has absolutely no social or psychological training or conditioning to know when to NOT shoot the damn thing. The self defense argument is utterly, insidiously, bogus.

  13. #13 cindy
    August 5, 2009

    Do not ban handguns. So when sociopathic criminals like this one (and he is not unique) try to harm me, I can at least defend myself.

    http://sheriffleefl.org/about/jaildetention/arrestbk.aspx?id=118806&bk=598513

  14. #14 Enoch
    August 5, 2009

    So, cindy, is this a picture of some guy you plan on shooting, you sick fuck?

  15. #15 MadScientist
    August 5, 2009

    If you look at gun ownership and the crime statistics (and anything involving a gun is classified as ‘violent’ even if the gun is never fired) you will see that, as the NRA claim, guns really aren’t the problem. What happens when you take away guns? Criminals still get them anyway. It *might* (but not guaranteed) be more difficult for murderous nuts like that one to get his guns but I do not agree that there will only be good effects and no bad effects from banning handguns. Suicides are high on the list of most popular gun related deaths so perhaps people who want to buy a gun should take the MMPIT at most 1 year prior to purchase (so they need to take the MMPIT almost every year if they go through that many guns). Yes, far more people kill themselves than go out murdering strangers for god.

  16. #16 Irene
    August 5, 2009

    There is no evidence whatsoever that banning guns would not work. If handguns could not be sold in the US, manufactured in the US, or imported in the US, there would be fewer handguns. This is not especially difficult to figure out.

  17. #17 Ben Zvan
    August 5, 2009

    Personally, I think he’d have been just as successful with a gym bag full of shotguns.

  18. #18 R. Barber
    August 5, 2009

    It is not true that he could have walked in there with a shotgun. Maybe a sawed off one, but really, the whole point of handguns is to conceal, and that seems to work.

  19. #19 C.T.
    August 5, 2009

    Great. Now we are going to have to go through metal detection at the freakin’ gym.

  20. #20 MadScientist
    August 5, 2009

    @Liz: Why do you say the 2nd amendment is no longer applicable? The ownership of guns is there so that the people have a check on their potentially abusive government, or as Penn and Teller tell is: the violent overthrow of the USA. (Well, OK, they say ‘America’ but somehow I don’t imagine them marching into Caracas with their guns.) The authors of the Bill of Rights understood that a good government is likely not to last forever and the masses should have the ultimate power to change government if the government no longer serves the people.

  21. #21 Jared
    August 5, 2009

    As someone who has had friends (in the same neighborhood) robbed at gunpoint, and had a handgun pointed at myself, one would think I would give a knee-jerk “yes!” reaction, however, I think we need to evaluate this further, as the handguns themselves are not the issue; I enlisted in the U.S. military and was once an avid hunter (no longer), and as such, I don’t really fear firearms (unless the barrel is pointed in my direction). Being a herpetologist by education and enjoying my time in the swamps of Louisiana more than should be considered sane, I often take a handgun with me due to the chance of encountering animals which don’t really like me being there (feral pigs come to mind). I purchased this firearm through a major firearms dealer who performed a background check (which should have been more stringent) and obtained my fingerprints to be given to the police if that firearm is determined to be used in a crime. This, I think, is fairly decent regulation, but more can be done. We need a method to help people with issues such as his without infringing too much upon the rights of those who do not and will not engage in activities such as this. Handguns are also not the only weapons used in crimes; shotguns come to mind, but also rifles (a .22 long rifle round is actually one of the more lethal weapons when used by someone familiar with ballistics). Additionally, firearms are easily made by someone with familiarity with basic properties of physics and chemistry. I won’t discuss how to make them, but I have seen them, a homemade shotgun, actually, gas-powered and semi-automatic. Anyone as intelligent and psychologically disturbed as this individual (he even knew he was mentally disturbed) will be capable of carrying out such a plan if he or she wishes.

    The guy was mentally ill and needed help, having a firearm only allowed him to proceed with what he would have done otherwise via a different method. (strapping explosives to his chest comes to mind)

    In summary, I own a handgun, but I won’t shoot you with it, if I wanted to shoot someone and get away with it, I wouldn’t use a legally purchased firearm anyway, I’d make one. Additionally, anyone using a legally purchased firearm for a crime is on a suicidal murdering spree, stopping firearm sales will not prevent this. He or she will find a way to kill others when they finally decide to decorate a wall with their body parts; it may even be far more colorful than with a firearm.

    Write up a ban on knives, hydrogen peroxide, clorox bleach, hairspray, ball bearings, nails, sheet metal, sodium hydroxide based drain cleaner, baking soda, baseball bats, long pointed sticks, and firearms, then we can talk about it.

  22. #22 Russell
    August 5, 2009

    Irene, it won’t work for the simple reason that you’ll never get 38 states to sign on to repealing the 2nd amendment. My own view is that Heller makes it more reasonable to push for mandatory handgun licensing, because Heller guarantees that that isn’t a first step to an outright ban. The right has been quite successful at painting any regulation as a step toward prohibition. A clear Constitutional protection against prohibition provides some space — not much, but some — to start building support for regulation that never will become an outright ban. The political mistake is for those who want regulation to become moral absolutists. That will put them in the same position vis-a-vis guns as pro-lifers vis-a-vis abortion. The pro-lifers really are moral absolutists, so there’s no changing the shape of that fight. I suspect most people concerned about gun violence would be satisfied with practical measures that still allow non-criminals a way to possess guns. Which measures they are more likely to get by not pressing a holy war.

    Just my two cents.

  23. #23 Colin
    August 5, 2009

    Hmm, odd. My calendar says Aug 5 but I’d swear it was Apr 1. :)

    Banning something does not stop evil. It never has, never can, and never will.

    Sodini was clearly messed up so do you *HONESTLY* believe that if he had *NOT* legally purchased a few handguns that he would *NOT* have found a way to kill some women? I don’t care about the purposes of guns, cars, knives, or sharp sticks: Sodini would have eventually killed.

    You cannot ban evil. You cannot rid evil.

    I also reject your position that banning guns would have a net positive effect. The War on Drugs I think is sufficient body of evidence to not warrant explanation.

  24. #24 Jared
    August 5, 2009

    Additionally, UK gun-related crime rates can be cited…

  25. #25 Doug
    August 5, 2009

    This debate was killed for good many years ago in the UK. No one’s ever looked back.

  26. #26 Bill James
    August 5, 2009

    Greg Laden says: “Anybody got a problem with this? Good. Let’s make it happen.

    Given it was a rather small group that started the first revolution here in the colonies, I’d say good luck to you sir. As for me and my pistols, we’ll be found standing with the resistance.

  27. #27 Andrew
    August 5, 2009

    We’re taking your guns, Bill. Get ready.

  28. #28 Lorenzo
    August 5, 2009

    @26
    Semi threatening comments aren’t exactly going to help you win a debate on guns, it just makes you look a bit loony.

  29. #29 Kevin Sooley
    August 5, 2009

    But Greg, if people don’t have guns, the king of england could just waltz on in and start telling them what to do!

  30. #30 Charles Miller
    August 5, 2009

    I won’t try to argue with those that think that banning handguns or all firearms will solve this problem because most of those people ignore any facts that do not support their position but for reasonable thinking people, think about this: DC had a complete ban on handguns and severe restrictions on all other firearms for over 30 years and during that time DC had one of the highest violent crime rates in the country. In every state that has passed shall issue legislation for concealed carry permits, the violent crime rate has fallen. As far as people carrying handguns and not knowing how to shoot them, almost every state that issues concealed carry permits requires the applicant to first take a training course covering the laws in that state and demonstrate firearms knowledge and the ability to hit the target by live fire on a range. Also consider that almost all of these crazy shootings have taken place at locations where firearms are prohibited or very unlikely to be encountered. Have you ever heard of one of these shootings taking place at a gun store or at a shooting range?

  31. #31 Russell
    August 5, 2009

    Doug, the UK never developed the degree of gun culture that did the US. That likely is why our 2nd amendment is less qualified than the corresponding phrase in the English Bill of Rights, on which it is modeled. The fact that our Constitution is foundational makes our Bill of Rights less open to future legislative revision than the English one. Congress can’t just pass a law banning handguns. Even were there the votes to do so. The Supreme Court would throw it out, and that would be that.

  32. #32 the real Giant Australian cuttlefish
    August 5, 2009

    “Sodini was clearly messed up so do you *HONESTLY* believe that if he had *NOT* legally purchased a few handguns that he would *NOT* have found a way to kill some women?”

    Nope. Perpetrators are perpetrators, and sadly, who knows? This guy probably had some good reason to hat women stemming from childhood abuse directed at him BY women…

    Now if we could only stop women from ganging up and gluing our penises to our stomachs…
    http://www.twincities.com/ci_12997688?nclick_check=1

  33. #33 Roman
    August 5, 2009

    Great Britain proves that you can almost completely remove guns from the society. In the UK, not even all policemen carry guns. Even in London, which is supposed to be oh-so-very-dangerous place (it isn’t, IMHO). Granted, the problem shifted down to knives, but still…

    My workmate was a victim of an uninvited violent attack by a gang of hoodies in Hackney. They stabbed him in his arm without any warning. If this was USA, the gangsters would probably carry guns, and my workmate would probably be dead or spend time in a hospital.

  34. #34 Colin
    August 5, 2009

    I think the comparisons between US & UK cultures ended roughly 225 years ago.

  35. #35 Kitty'sBitch
    August 5, 2009

    We has a MUSLIN! socialist illegal alien president, and you want to take my guns away?! These guns are like my children. My three hundred forty two beautiful children.

    Seriously though, I have my issues with guns. Frankly, I’m scared shitless of them, but a ban? I just don’t know.
    I would very much like to reinstate the assault rifle bans from the Clinton years. Outside of that, I really need to delve in to the info. I’m afraid that I don’t know enough to make an informed decision.

  36. #36 Dan
    August 5, 2009

    @Roman: But if your workmate were carrying a legal concealed weapon, he might not have been attacked, given that his attackers would know that he might have a weapon. And if he were attached, at least he would have a chance of saving his life or that of someone else.

  37. #37 Gwenny
    August 5, 2009

    Whew, I’m glad to see so many resisting this. I was horrified when I read Greg’s comments. Banning something because you don’t like a group who supports it is just plain foolish.

    @Doug who said, “This debate was killed for good many years ago in the UK. No one’s ever looked back.”

    Well, the UK doesn’t have a Bill of Rights so it’s a lot easier for that government to violate the human rights of its citizens and it’s doing it nicely. And while they may have outlawed guns, violence continues practically unabated. A couple years back a couple of doctors produced statistics they felt supported the outlawing of pointy kitchen knives. A variety of bladed items are no illegal and, yet, violence continues. Guns are illegal in Aus, as well. And a year or so back when there was that huge race riot on the beach, men just stopped at the sporting goods stores for bats to beat the Lebanese boys with.

    The problem is not guns, knives, bats, bombs, etc, etc. The problem is living in a culture that considers violence an answer for anything.

  38. #38 Roman
    August 5, 2009

    @Dan

    He is a programmer, not a spec-ops commando.

  39. #39 Roman
    August 5, 2009

    @Gwenny

    “And while they may have outlawed guns, violence continues practically unabated.”

    Well I feel safe living in London, despite its reputation for crime. And I didn’t choose some top-notch neighbourhood to live in. Violence still happens, but it almost never involves guns — a big difference IMHO.

  40. #40 Roman
    August 5, 2009

    @Guardian of the Poll

    AFAIR the British rule is that anything which you carry with the intention of using it as a weapon is illegal. You can carry a knife if you need it for cutting shrubbery, but you can’t carry a screwdriver if you want to poke someone’s eyes with it.

  41. #41 Jared
    August 5, 2009

    Dan, the “protection” granted by firearms is one which can go both ways; the chance of an individual having a concealed weapon means the criminals are more likely to kill or seriously injure the individual prior to that person being able to use the weapon in self-defense. Additionally, I would like to point out that crime rates per country are not really correlated with the weapons available; Sweden, for example, has pretty much always had a low crime rate since becoming a country, the UK has had problems when various religious factions (read “Catholics and protestants”) decide to start killing each other. Australia has a fairly nice model of firearm regulation, as well.

  42. #42 Nathan Myers
    August 5, 2009

    I’m not going to defend private gun ownership, but I will directly contradict “Handguns have no uses other than to a) .. b) …”.

    The overwhelming majority of instances of use of guns, and the reason the cops and rent-a-cops (likewise gangstas) carry them, is deterrence. For such a use, they have to work (or seem like they would), but they aren’t usually taken from the holster. The bearer usually doesn’t even know of the event; only the person deterred knows. Just about any time a handgun is taken from its holster represents a failure of its purpose for being carried in the first place.

    If deterrence isn’t foremost in your mind, you have no understanding of the way handguns are used in America.

  43. #43 Jared
    August 5, 2009

    Uh oh, you’ve got a troll, I’ll get the net, you scare him this way!

    He does make the point of “what do laws in other countries have to do with America?!?!” and I would like to quickly address that issue, though:

    They show us what works and what does not. We can at least learn from the mistakes of other countries and learn from their successes.

    Addendum 1: I do not live in the UK nor said it was a nice place to live; southern Sweden would be nice if it had more reptiles.

    Addendum 2: Violence or imposing beliefs upon others resulting from religion is the threat, religion itself, be it Islamic, Christian, or Buddhist makes me no difference.

    Addendum 3: I love* how he uses the word “liberal” as if it is offensive.

    *This from an outspoken, atheistic, liberal, and gun-owning biologist.

  44. #44 NewEnglandBob
    August 5, 2009

    I’m with you Greg. Handguns should be banned. If they want guns, make them walk around with rifles and shotguns.

  45. #45 Jared
    August 5, 2009

    This goes to everyone, those wanting to ban handguns and those not; what are your motivations for wanting/not wanting handguns banned? What do you think it would accomplish, and why do you want to own a handgun or not want anyone to own a handgun?

  46. #46 Brandon
    August 5, 2009

    So if a man breaks into my house and attacks my family, should I politely ask him to stop?

  47. #47 becca
    August 5, 2009

    You can carry a knife if you need it for cutting shrubbery, but you can’t carry a screwdriver if you want to poke someone’s eyes with it.

    Exactly. What we really need to ban is shrubbery. Vicious, vicious shrubbery.

  48. #48 jake
    August 5, 2009

    I’m with Greg. Handguns make it way too easy for loons and children to kill people. Ban them.

  49. #49 Jared
    August 5, 2009

    So from now on, I am Roger the Shrubber, got it.

  50. #50 Prof. Bleen
    August 5, 2009

    But how can rednecks sublimate their homosexual tendencies if we don’t have guns, guns, guns?

  51. #51 Kevin Sooley
    August 5, 2009

    Greg, We have plenty of room for you in Canada where none of this (^) foolishness happens. You should consider it.

  52. #52 Kitty'sBitch
    August 5, 2009

    Why do trolls always have to be such lame caricatures?

  53. #53 Russell
    August 5, 2009

    Guardian of the Poll writes:

    Why do you think that we conservatives are stocking up on ammo and buying guns like crazy right now?

    For the same reason one-third of you think Obama was born in Kenya. It’s part of the current ideological noise that echoes in your heads. Here’s a clue, as applicable to you as it is to Liz and Irene: the probability of the US enacting any substantial ban on guns lies somewhere between nil and zip. You might consider that an important demographic in that regard is the millions of gun owning liberals. We’re the reason that politicians like Kerry and Obama tread lightly on the gun issue. The wingnuts aren’t voting for them regardless. We’re the ones who might swing.

    Even were that not the case, the Supreme Court spoke in Heller. As a general proposition, banning guns is not Constitutional. No one is coming for yours. The revolution that you fantasize is an adolescent wet dream. The most that will happen is a few of you going even further around the bend with craziness such as this:

    http://www.nypost.com/seven/08012009/news/regionalnews/gun_nut_busted_at_base_182423.htm

    A renewal of an “assault weapon” ban would be every bit as limited and as meaningless as it was in the 90s. Nonetheless, every wingnut in the nation thinks that now is the time to acquire their own arsenal, including many who have no idea how to safely handle a gun, who haven’t practiced enough to be comfortable shooting much less have any accuracy, and who wouldn’t be able to break down their gun and clean it if you gave them video instructions. The only effect of all this has been to drive up the price of guns, which doesn’t bother me because I’m not in the market for more, and to drive up the price of ammo, which I notice every time I go to the range.

    There is a real civil liberties issue regarding guns right now. The city of New Orleans has the policy of not returning guns seized by police, even when there was no crime and they are legally owned. Fortunately, that wrong-headed policy is being challenged by America’s premier civil liberties organization. The ACLU.

    NewEnglandBob, I suspect you have never spent several hours carrying a rifle or shotgun, on top of whatever other kit you have for being in the wild. Get yourself up to the backwoods of Maine, and you’ll find quite a few people doing much what Jared does, though more concerned with black bears than with razor-backs or ‘gators.

  54. #54 José
    August 5, 2009

    @MadScientist
    The authors of the Bill of Rights understood that a good government is likely not to last forever and the masses should have the ultimate power to change government if the government no longer serves the people.

    I think it’s a huge stretch to say that the authors of the Bill of Rights were planning for the day that their own government would need to be overthrown. Many people have made the argument, but I don’t think it’s particularly convincing. Especially when the passage starts with “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”. Well regulated by whom? Someone other than the government? Considering the specific language they used, I think it’s likely that the authors were more concerned with suppressing internal insurrection against the government, than the were with the prospect the government they were creating would one day evolve into a corrupt state that needed to be overthrown.

  55. #55 DB
    August 5, 2009

    You conservatives are always so cute when you talk about fighting and war. It’s like you all really believe you wouldn’t immediately go fetal position and piss yourselves when bullets started flying. Who’s a brave little Patriot? You are! Yes you are!

  56. #56 george.w
    August 5, 2009

    In England they did a pretty good job of getting rid of guns, only now you can’t even carry a pocket knife – my 1,001-uses tool of choice. The BBC carries stories about “knife crime”.

    I just grabbed up my pocket constitution and re-read the second amendment. It doesn’t say anything about gub-mint tyrrany; it says well-regulated militia. No, I don’t really know what that means either but it probably didn’t mean forming Maginot lines against health care.

    Ultimately I just can’t get excited about any kind of gun ban, though, because in this country you could trade every progressive cause there is for one, and still not achieve it.

  57. #57 Russell
    August 5, 2009

    What do Sikhs do in England? Is an exception made for the kirpan?

  58. #58 Stephanie Z
    August 5, 2009

    DB, even if they manage to stand up with their guns in their hands, they’re totally unprepared for what comes next.

  59. #59 Stephanie Z
    August 5, 2009

    No, Guardian. Idiocy is thinking that criminality is an inherent quality of some people and not others, such that crime stops when “the criminals” are “gotten rid of.”

  60. #60 Tex
    August 5, 2009

    Since it is obvious from the discussion above that it will be very diffucult to outlaw guns in the USA, I propose that we adopt Chris Rock’s solution. He believes that we should tax bullets so that they cost about $5,000, each. That way, when you hear about someone getting shot you gotta think “He must have done something to deserve it.”

  61. #61 NoGurus
    August 6, 2009

    I would like to see one of these crazed gunmen walk into a school with a knife and take out 20 to 30 people. Wouldn’t happen. The gunmen might take out one or two, but that’s it. If the gunmen had the guts to even try. Taking out someone with a knife is a dirty, messy business, and gives the other person a fighting chance.

    Going into a school with a loaded sub-machine gun or hand gun makes it easy. Just a little pressure on the finger and twenty people gone. If we are going to make guns legal, without regulation, without licensing, then
    we ought to make TNT, hand grenades, and nuclear bombs legal. It’s just a matter of degree.

    We need to license you folks, make sure you are trained and know how to use a gun, make sure your guns and crimes are traceable, and that you folks are held responsible for your destruction. As with cars.

    Imagine letting a kid drive a car at any age, without a license, without registration, without any way to trace an accident and hold the child responsible for his destruction. Other countries apply the same logic and humanity to guns.

    The English, the Japanese, and the rest of the civilized world do not have a better, more self-controlled populace than the U.S. Those countries simply have the wisdom to understand human nature, from thousands of years of bitter experience and war, to keep their citizens from blowing each other to pieces. That day will come in the U.S. as well, and there is nothing that you gun toters can do to stop it.

  62. #62 ChicagoMolly
    August 6, 2009

    #36, @Dan

    “But if your workmate were carrying a legal concealed weapon, he might not have been attacked, given that his attackers would know that he might have a weapon.”

    Nope, that bird don’t fly. These days here in America’s Heartland, what happens over and over are pitched battles between the local Insane Teenage Mutant Gangsta Thugs and the Mutant Insane Thug Gangsta Teenagers, who are most certainly not deterred by the thought that their attackers might have a weapon; in fact it’s an incentive for them to shoot first because hey, you never know, it’s them or us. Unfortunately, their aim is as bad as their judgment, because they don’t kill each other as often as they kill innocent bystanders (if the word ‘bystander’ even applies to a 3-year old playing in the living room of her own apartment four doors down the street from the battlefield).

  63. #63 Enoch
    August 6, 2009

    Exactly. The belief that others are armed is the excuse to shoot first. Yet another reason to stop the sale of handguns.

  64. #64 sil-chan
    August 6, 2009

    I think the point that is being missed is this:

    To ban handguns would be to ban a certain class of weapons. To do this would require either emending the constitution to change the second amendment or amending the constitution to nullify the second amendment.

    Doing either of these mean that next time a neoconservative administration decides that the 1st amendment is a pesky contrivance, there would be precedence for doing so. All one would need is a convenient flash point to prove that freedom of speech (someone yelled bomb in a theater!), freedom of religion (if Muslims weren’t allowed in this country there would be no 9/11!), or freedom of assembly (riots are technically assemblies) is a danger to our society to push through the legislation.

    This kind of thought sets a dangerous precedence. And as always, remember that k×s=C, that is the cross product of freedom and security is a constant.

  65. #65 MadScientist
    August 6, 2009

    @Jared #52: I have been trained to use a fairly wide array of weapons. I used to have two rifles and a handgun. I could handle my weapons very well and don’t tolerate any bullshit when armed; too many people are hurt or killed doing stupid things with weapons (including other than guns).

    Since I moved to Australia years ago I never bothered to buy any firearms; gun proliferation is low enough that there is no apparent advantage to having one as a deterrent or in defense. In Australia you’re far more likely to be shot by accident by gangsters than accosted by someone with a gun, although in Sydney gun crime is pretty high – and virtually none of those guns are lawfully acquired. I also tell people that arming all police with guns is not sensible; if you’re going to give someone a firearm you’d better make sure they’ve got the aptitude to use it on another human or else the firearm is more trouble than it’s worth.

    Now in the USA guns are already everywhere and I don’t believe anything will be gained by taking the weapons away from law-abiding citizens. The action would be disproportionate; the aim would be to deprive *all* law-abiding citizens of handguns because a miniscule fraction of them are somehow tied to a murder involving a firearm. Why punish 99.9999% of gun owners for the crimes of the 0.0001%? Well, OK, I pull that number out of the air – but you can get real figures from the DoJ reports on gun crime and gun ownership.

    If the USA banned handguns, then like Sydney Australia the common criminal will still have guns. If there is any reduction in gun crime it will be the odd crime by loons. Worse still, criminal gangs will thrive on the illegal gun market; in fact, the drug cartels will probably supply the guns since they’re already doing so well with the drug trade.

    If we look at other nations which bar civilians from owning firearms, most of them still have high rates of gun related crimes. The UK is one of very few exceptions – and even there you can get a licence for a firearm for sports purposes, just not a licence to port arms in public.

  66. #66 MadScientist
    August 6, 2009

    @Kevin Sooley: Oh, there are nuts in Canada too – just not as many. Gun ownership is also higher in Canada than in the USA, so Greg wouldn’t really be getting away from the gun problem.

  67. #67 travc
    August 6, 2009

    I hate to break it to you, but the NRA belatedly decided to oppose Sotomayor because a Republican Senator (can’t remember which one) asked them to (probably to provide said Senator with political cover or even gain with the “pro-gun” crowd when he voted against her). The NRA didn’t actually have a problem with her position on gun rights/control, and said so at first.

    I’m personally for registration (like a car is registered) which provides a track of all legal sales and forensic data to match guns used in crimes. That would pretty much solve the significant (in a statistical sort of sense) problem of illegal guns being readily available in urban areas.

    As for the occasional psycho with a gun, that is a much harder problem where the solution is arguably not worth it. Sounds cold and heartless to say so… but being rational has a lot going for it.

  68. #68 Veltyen
    August 6, 2009

    Some days it helps if people look up actual numbers.

    There is a difference between the perception of crime and crime.

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir_percap-crime-murders-firearms-per-capita

    The USA – at about 0.03/1000 is ten times worse the Australia at 0.003/1000

    In absolute terms that would be 60/year in Australia – and 9000 per year in the USA. Both are dwarfed by the massive crime ridden UK – which has a firearm murder rate of 0.001/1000.

    Compared to the murder rates of USA-0.042, Au-0.015, UK-0.014. Yes, people are murdered in the USA at three times the rate of either the UK or Australia. Assuming there was no such thing as a firearm in the USA then the murder rate would still be 0.014 – the same as the UK – and I would assume that the remaining 0.028 who had used guns might in some cases might resort to an alterior method.

    At the present time 1 person is murdered by a non firearm method for every two that are shot dead in the USA. 4 people are murdered by a non firearm method for every one shot dead in Australia. 13 are murdered without a gun for each one shot in the UK.

  69. #69 A
    August 6, 2009

    Charles Miller 6:52 PM writes:”DC had a complete ban on handguns and severe restrictions on all other firearms for over 30 years and during that time DC had one of the highest violent crime rates in the country.” There’s a simple explanation for that: You can just take the Metro from D.C. to Northern Virginia, buy a gun there at a gun shop located close to the station, and be back within an hour in D.C., fully armed. Same applies to other places in the U.S. who have local gun control: it is not effectively enforced as long as other nearby jurisdictions don’t have it. (And the Mexican drug cartels get their guns where? Of course, in the U.S. Even Al Queda noted somewhere that it’s easier to get guns here.)

    MadScientist 5:59 PM “The ownership of guns is there so that the people have a check on their potentially abusive government, or as Penn and Teller tell is: the violent overthrow of the USA.” WOW! Are you advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. Government? (And if you’d want to try, do you think you could ever succeed?) /Lunacy

    Guardian of the (Troll) 8:43 PM:”You think Iraq milit[i]as were bad?” Now that you mention it, Iraq must be the NRA’s dream country, with lots of people with arms, presumably safeguarding their freedom. They had also a well-armed populace under Saddam Hussein, and they didn’t succeed in getting rid of him. Perhaps they do better with fending off foreign invaders, and will be lauded by the NRA for that. I understand that Afghanistan is also popular with the NRA for the same reason. /snark

    Now my own comment: Strictly enforced gun laws reduce the overall crime rate. If you are a punk with a gun, holding up a Seven-Eleven at 3 a.m. seems easy, and you might have some success with it and similar muggings, and be set for a life of crime. But now try this with a knife: The Seven Eleven cashier might try, with good chance of success, to hit you with the baseball bat he had under his counter; the guy you tried to mug just runs away. So you’ll learn fast that crime doesn’t pay and try another line of business [pick-pocketing?].– If there is gun control, and you do use a gun in a crime, then the police have an easier time to convict you if they catch you with the gun (which you won’t so easily throw away, as – due to gun control – it is very, very expensive). And then, of course, with gun control, you’ll have less incidents with deranged people shooting up kindergartens, and need not be afraid of what any obvious nutcase is hiding in his pocket.

  70. #70 José
    August 6, 2009

    @sil-chan
    To ban handguns would be to ban a certain class of weapons. To do this would require either emending the constitution to change the second amendment or amending the constitution to nullify the second amendment.

    No it wouldn’t. We already ban or restrict many classes of weapons. You can’t own a cruise missile, or waltz into court with a Glock. Do these violate the Second Amendment? No. The Second Amendment simply says you have the right to keep and bear arms. It doesn’t say you have the right to bear any type of arms in any situation. And the Second Amendment isn’t an all or nothing deal. If handguns were banned, it doesn’t mean you have to turn in your hunting rifle and baseball bat as well.

  71. #71 Richard Eis
    August 6, 2009

    It constantly amazes me how many people in America will fight tooth and nail to keep something that other countries don’t want. Or to keep their government from doing something which other countries would riot over if the governemtn got rid of it.
    You are a seriously stupid nation sometimes. However i don’t think you should remove guns from the culture because america isn’t ready to give up it’s fear of violence and government control.

  72. #72 MadScientist
    August 6, 2009

    @Jose #64: Yes, the founders did have the overthrow of their own government in mind, possibly by state-controlled militias and yet they willingly gave that right to the people. While they couldn’t imagine what would happen in over 200 years and probably didn’t think of what would happen when you have a large crowded and armed populace, they certainly were aware of the possibility of a civil war or foreign aggression and the demise of the government they had established. Now while that may be one of many reasons for the wording of the second amendment, the fact remains that the amendment is there and many people want the status quo to remain. So from a realistic perspective it is not likely that handguns will be banned. For me the strongest reason for not banning handguns is simply that the extremely small perceived benefit is simply not worth the tradeoff. People go hysterical over shootings and despite the large gun ownership rate, guess what – most violent attacks do not involve guns.

    Since Greg opined on another site about info being gathered for every weapon fired etc, the truth is that law enforcement groups do gather all that information. Here’s a small part you can see from the DoJ, and they cite other sources which for the most part can be easily checked:

    http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/guns.htm

  73. #73 MadScientist
    August 6, 2009

    @Veltyen:

    “At the present time 1 person is murdered by a non firearm method for every two that are shot dead in the USA.”

    Where do you get those numbers? As far as number of kills go, the last figures I’d seen indicate that hanguns = rifles + other weapons, so if you add handguns + other guns, gun deaths are ~20% above all other murders.

  74. #74 MadScientist
    August 6, 2009

    @travc: I’m all for mandatory registration and ballistics tests before a firearm is handed over to a buyer. However, I still think the most important thing is to restrict ownership to people who are not believed to be likely to go apeshit and shoot people. So people with a bad ‘tude can learn to go without a gun. Owners also need much better training and need to learn to restrict access to their weapons. For example, “I never thought my son would do that” is just lame – if your son didn’t go through rigorous checks, why let him get at the key to the gun cabinet? Oh, that’s another thing – what gun cabinet? Basically, if someone isn’t certified to handle the weapon (and in my opinion also demonstrate that it’s not reasonable to believe they won’t go whacky), they shouldn’t be able to get at the gun without supervision. I think that would have a greater effect on reducing gun deaths than banning guns. Most people leave their handgun lying about the house so that casual thieves can pick it up; that’s just sloppy and stupid.

  75. #75 José
    August 6, 2009

    @MadScientist
    Yes, the founders did have the overthrow of their own government in mind, possibly by state-controlled militias and yet they willingly gave that right to the people.

    How can you pretend this is a fact? Just because you say it’s true, doesn’t make it true. Some of the anti-federalists had that in mind, but certainly not all of the founders. One of the first calls for a right to bear arms was from New Hampshire, and they actually allowed for the disarming of rebellious citizens. The language they used was “Congress shall never disarm any citizen except such as are or have been in actual rebellion.” If the consensus was that citizens should be armed for the purpose of overthrowing their government, the Second Amendment would clearly say so.

  76. #76 Veltyen
    August 6, 2009

    @Madscientist@84

    The numbers are from the site quoted. There is another list of stats for total murder rate not mentioned. I’ve taken some minor freedoms with rounding. :)

    Firearm related murder rate 0.028 (quoted as 0.03 above)
    Total murder rate 0.042
    Total murder rate minus Firearm murder rate 0.014

    From the same year I believe. No breakdown to specific type of gun (for most places a gun is a gun is a gun), so any quibble about handgun/rifle/pistol/assault weapon/anti-tank gun isn’t really shown in the stats.

  77. #77 Veltyen
    August 6, 2009

    Jose@86

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    — Thomas Jefferson

  78. #78 José
    August 6, 2009

    @MadScientist
    And one of the first militia armies to be raised was to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Just as the language of the Second Amendment dictates.

  79. #79 Eddie Janssen
    August 6, 2009

    Mad Scientist (84)
    At 79 he/she links to a site where you can see the figures.
    Total murders in the USA: 0.042802 per 1000 inhabitants. Murders with firearms involved: 0.0279271 per 1000 inhabitants. Meaning ofcourse that 65% of murders in the USA have firearma involved. So his/her arithmatic is correct
    I have no idea though how reliable these statistics are.

  80. #80 José
    August 6, 2009

    @Veltyen
    Yes. As I said, some Anti-Federalists felt that way. Their language didn’t get in. And you left off the best part of that quote which is, “It is its natural manure.”

  81. #81 GBM
    August 6, 2009

    I think it is worth mentioning that are roughly as many guns as there are people, so any proposed set of new restrictions that depended upon compliance from the point of sale is unlikely to be effective for a very long time. After all, if I were a nutjob intent on mayhem, I would simply purchase my weapon from a private citizen who would be unlikely to have the time or inclination to follow through with whatever regulations we would impose. So really what we are talking about here would have to be house-to-house gun collection if we’d want the policy to be effective within a reasonable amount of time.

    Also worth mentioning, whatever your feelings are about the original intent of the second amendment vis-a-vis protection from tyranny, it would seem to be a potential function, moreover one that would have been useful in a number of cases this century (African Americans, possibly LGBT, etc) But that doesn’t actually require handguns per-se; giving protection to rifles and shotguns while denying it to handguns would seem to give us the best of both worlds here. Given that handguns are not AFAIK practical combat weapons, but are mostly designed to be concealed until you get to close range (i.e. more useful to a criminal than a real fighter.)

  82. #82 MadScientist
    August 6, 2009

    @Jose:

    “If the consensus was that citizens should be armed for the purpose of overthrowing their government, the Second Amendment would clearly say so.”

    Nonsense. Like many laws of the day, the language was kept simple rather than being overly prescriptive. Citizens were given a right to bear arms, for any number of reasons which may have been discussed at the time or imagined in the future. It would be silly to have written “right to keep and bear arms in order to overthrow the current government” because then people will ask the obvious question: what about defending against foreign invaders? And so we see the wording is about a right to keep and bear arms and then some rather slim comment about a well-regulated militia. At any rate we can’t ask the long-dead founders to clarify anything; all we have are a few letters which they had written. They were certainly not idiots living in an imagined world; the threat of war was very real and the states were reluctant to cede any power whatsoever to the federal government. It is clear that they thought long and hard about how a government might last and be of benefit to the people (and thus avoid war as much as possible), and given the times they lived in it takes some measure of credulity to believe that they did not consider that the government could be overthrown by an armed populace. Going forward almost a century, after the Civil War did the federal government ban firearms in the pro-slavery states? Hell no, and that’s despite the fact that a number of states had actually gone to war against the republic. Citizens have a right to bear arms – so what’s the problem with that?

    Personally I find all the “ban handguns” arguments to be extremely simplistic and unrealistic. If only someone would care to explain how they expect the ban would make things better and how much they expect things to be made better (and of course, what they mean by making things better). Even looking back at “Bowling for Columbine” I find Mike Moore’s framing of the pro-gun vs. anti-gun lobby to be very comical and nothing more than an appeal to emotion. I think better gun control laws and better education and training should improve things a bit and without costing as much as policing a ban. In fact I believe a ban will only make things worse by fuelling illegal trade in arms. In many of the countries with high gun fatality rates civilians are in fact prohibited from owning or porting arms, so the favorite “ban them and they’ll go away” is obviously a lie.

  83. #83 sailor1031
    August 6, 2009

    Ladies & Gentlemen; I draw your attention to Guardianofthepoll @37: I’m not giving up MY guns while there are loonies like him running around these southern states, so there!!

  84. #84 skeet
    August 6, 2009

    Ridiculous post is ridiculous. What is this doing on scienceblogs?

  85. #85 Russell
    August 6, 2009

    José writes:

    The Second Amendment simply says you have the right to keep and bear arms. It doesn’t say you have the right to bear any type of arms in any situation. .. If handguns were banned..

    While it’s true in that the 2nd amendment allows banning some classes of weapons, it does not allow a ban on handguns. Heller decided precisely that issue. DC had a law that banned handguns. The Supreme Court ruled it a violation of the 2nd amendment. Read the decision.

    Even if their desires didn’t bump against constitutional limits, those who would outright prohibit handguns are swimming against the political current. The Senate barely failed to pass a law requiring states with concealed carry permits to respect out of state permits. 58 senators voted for that. That’s 58 pro-handgun votes. The senate has 60 democrats. Do the math. That is a lot of Democrats supporting not just handgun ownership, but expanding handgun rights nationwide. There is a large wedge of liberals who are pro-gun.

    Those who expect to see handguns banned in this nation are not facing reality. That is equally true of those who would cheer it as of those who fear it.

  86. #86 Greg Laden
    August 6, 2009

    The founders had in mind the idea of overthrown of an oppressive regime returning to take over their tenaciously held control, i.e., the King. Following the ware of 1812, when that actually happened, this became less of a concern, and handguns are utterly irrelevant in this regard anyway. If Queen Elizabeth sends over her navy, your handguns are not going to help.

    Regarding the possession handguns to keep yourself safe from crazy people, that may well be a valid issue worth considering, but that is not a protection that the second ammendment supplies. Heller is wrong and that will eventually be demonstrated.

    Regarding the SCOTUS decisions, the ‘logic’ expressed in the collection of related SCOTUS decisions is absurd and idiotic compared to almost all of the other streams of decisoins SCOTUS has made, unless one interprets this in light of pressures and payoffs, and appeasements, by the right wing and the NRA, as well as a sense that “gun ownership” is a thing Americans have as part of the fabric of their being and should not be messed with. Well, so was Slavery in several states, folks. No, the Supreme Court has not done us any favors in this one, and it has been bullied.

    I, for one, am tired of the bullies stoping their feet and screaming red faced that they will give up their guns when they are pried from their old dead fingers.

    You don’t need those hand guns and we are going to take them from you. Not just no more sales, but everyone must turn them in, and yes, we’ll search your house if we have to. I, for one have had enough.

    We will negotiate on the rifles and shotguns.

  87. #87 Matt
    August 6, 2009

    Greg Laden you are a scary dude. Step into someones house and try and take their legal guns and you wont be around long. Somehow i bet you aint that brave, naw. But maybe you can convince Obama to save you.

    As a tyrant, You no longer believe in the constitution. Its lessons apply here, though. The 2nd amendment was written so people could defend themselves from the whims of tyrants, making up the rules as they went along, defend themselves FROM people like you, Greg.

    Science is your bag, politics, not so much. Put your head down and get back in the lab.

  88. #88 Richard Eis
    August 6, 2009

    I think this is a case of people not wanting to give back something they never needed in the first place…but it’s theirs…and the government would make them do it, so it’s obviously bad.
    The excuses are merely to cover up this reason. Handguns in a civilised society implies that the society isn’t as civilised as it likes to pretend.

  89. #89 David Marjanović, OM
    August 6, 2009

    What little I have to add to comment 80:

    As far as I can see from the outside, the biggest problem is that the black market for illegal guns is so huge and so incredibly easily accessible in the USA. That’s hard to grasp for foreigners. Where I come from, for example, even illegal guns are so hard to get that most bank robberies are committed with fakes (toys and the like).

    (However, it’s not like legal and illegal guns form completely separate pools either. Many illegal guns ended up on the black market after they were stolen from owners who had bought them legally.)

    The next problem is… over here, if you call the police, they arrive in 5 minutes. In the USA, I’m told, they come in 30 minutes if it’s a good neighborhood and never at all if it’s a bad neighborhood. This is why the argument “I need a gun to defend myself” is so widespread even though it’s irrational.

    Irrational attitudes are a distant third. Examples are: “my friends and I can take our guns and fight, for more than 3 seconds, against a modern army”; “I have any realistic chance at deterring a burglar who comes in when I sleep and carries a gun in his hand precisely because he expects me to be armed”; “the mafia won’t outgun me”; and so on.

    ——————-

    Quoth comment 36:

    But if your workmate were carrying a legal concealed weapon, he might not have been attacked, given that his attackers would know that he might have a weapon. And if he were attached, at least he would have a chance of saving his life or that of someone else.

    Didn’t you read how they stabbed him without warning?

    If they had had guns, and they had feared that he could be carrying a concealed weapon, they’d have made sure to shoot him dead on the spot so he couldn’t draw. They would not have been so stupid as to wait for finding out whether he really did carry a concealed weapon or not.

    You see, moron, it isn’t guaranteed that the good guy draws faster than the bad guy. How old are we today?

    If you’re paranoid, buy a bulletproof vest. Buying a gun is a waste of money.

    ——————-

    The 2nd Amendment is a problem of its own: The very fact that it’s not immediately blindingly obvious what it says proves that it must be amended. Get together, Americans, and agree on something — the current state of affairs, with lawyers and Supreme Court justices agonizing over 18-century punctuation practices to defend a wide variety of interpretations, is not only ridiculous, it’s dangerous. That’s completely regardless of what you want to do or not do about handguns.

    —————–

    Since it is obvious from the discussion above that it will be very diffucult to outlaw guns in the USA, I propose that we adopt Chris Rock’s solution. He believes that we should tax bullets so that they cost about $5,000, each. That way, when you hear about someone getting shot you gotta think “He must have done something to deserve it.”

    Great idea, except — probably — for the black market.

    —————–

    Wow. I haven’t seen such obvious troll as Guardian of the Poll in a long time. Should become a textbook example.

  90. #90 JohnV
    August 6, 2009

    You must be new here skeet :P

    Anyhow,nogurus (72), you’re right. There are never mass stabbing anywhere. Leaving out links to avoid the spam filter, but: look up Akihabara massacre, Osaka school massacre or Richard Speck.

    Obviously more mass murders are committed with guns, and I’m sure someone will invoke the “fallacy of the universal” to excuse inaccurate statements, but I thought I’d share.

  91. #91 Greg Laden
    August 6, 2009

    Greg Laden you are a scary dude. Step into someones house and try and take their legal guns and you wont be around long. Somehow i bet you aint that brave, naw. But maybe you can convince Obama to save you.

    This is the attitude that proves my point. You have defined me as a tyrant and threatened my life because we disagree, and you’ve also told me to shut up. Don’t expect any favors from me, Matt. When the time comes your guns go into the melting pot with the other. We will use the metal to make windmills.

  92. #92 David Marjanović
    August 6, 2009

    As a tyrant, You no longer believe in the constitution. Its lessons apply here, though. The 2nd amendment was written so people could defend themselves from the whims of tyrants, making up the rules as they went along, defend themselves FROM people like you, Greg.

    So you wrote comment 98 without having read comment 80.

    Shame on you.

  93. #93 Russell
    August 6, 2009

    Greg Laden:

    Regarding the possession handguns to keep yourself safe from crazy people, that may well be a valid issue worth considering, but that is not a protection that the second amendment supplies.

    As a civil libertarian, I’ll confess I tend toward expansive readings of the Bill of Rights. It seems to me that the purpose of the 9th amendment is to direct the court to such readings. If anything, Heller is cautious compared to court decisions on the 1st amendment and 4th amendment. Laurence Tribe,

    For the past century, the court has stood by individual liberties it has defined, even when controversial. My prediction is that Heller will stand. That is even more likely if Obama appoints a civil libertarian to the court, something Sotomayor unfortunately is not. To the question whether there is a right to self-defense in the Constitution, the right answer is, “yes, just as there is a right to travel and a right to abortion, and all of those require some Constitutional jurisprudence to understand.” Laurence Tribe would be a great appointment, were he younger.

    Reasonable regulation of handguns is feasible given constitutional and political limits. An outright ban? I have to ask what you’re smoking. And comparing this to slavery demonstrates only extremism. On either side.

  94. #94 Doug
    August 6, 2009

    I understand where you’re coming from here, but I think it’s far too late to ban handguns in America. There are already so many guns available that banning them would simply force the trade underground. Controlling ammunition might work, but it would be tough to pull that one off, as well. I might add, by the way, that I own a handgun (also a rifle and a shotgun). I use it mostly as a form of recreation. I never carry it for self-defense. When I am at home, all the guns remain unloaded and locked up. In my experience, the vast majority people who carry for defense are either; 1) guys with penis issues, 2) easily frightened weenies, or 3) people who don’t understand statistics very well. Still, I believe they should be allowed to carry if they obtain a suitable license to do so. Also, I will never accept the idea that the 2d amendment provides a special protection for guns. It’s obvious to me that it’s really about militias, despite what the right-wing eejits on the Supreme Court think. I have no respect whatsoever for the NRA or any other right-wing wackaloon organization. I like guns — I dislike the gun culture.

  95. #95 José
    August 6, 2009

    @Russell
    While it’s true in that the 2nd amendment allows banning some classes of weapons, it does not allow a ban on handguns. Heller decided precisely that issue.

    Yes. And it’s not unprecedented for Supreme Court rulings to change. It was a 5 to 4 decision for god’s sake. The Second Amendment itself says nothing about the banning of handguns.

  96. #96 José
    August 6, 2009

    @MadScientist
    Nonsense. Like many laws of the day, the language was kept simple rather than being overly prescriptive.

    Not nonsense. There were people who wanted precisely that language. It wasn’t included because it didn’t have a chance in hell of passing if it was included.

    It would be silly to have written “right to keep and bear arms in order to overthrow the current government” because then people will ask the obvious question: what about defending against foreign invaders?

    How about “It is the right of the people to keep and bear Arms that they may protect themselves from tyranny and protect the state from foreign powers.” That’s not too cumbersome is it?

    Going forward almost a century, after the Civil War did the federal government ban firearms in the pro-slavery states? Hell no, and that’s despite the fact that a number of states had actually gone to war against the republic.

    So what?

    Citizens have a right to bear arms – so what’s the problem with that?

    All I’m saying is that the intentions of the Second Amendment aren’t as cut and dry as you want to make them.

  97. #97 José
    August 6, 2009

    @Doug
    I use it mostly as a form of recreation. I never carry it for self-defense.

    Mostly as a form of recreation, and never for self defense? What does that leave? I’m calling the cops!

  98. #98 Doug
    August 6, 2009

    Um…putting holes in paper? Yeah, that’s it…paper!

  99. #99 Russell
    August 6, 2009

    Jose comments on Heller:

    …it’s not unprecedented for Supreme Court rulings to change.

    True. But almost never quickly, or without significant cultural and legal changes that point out a conflict between that past decision and more recent jurisprudence. It won’t change just because new justices are appointed, even ones who would have decided it differently. The court doesn’t operate that way. Those of you who point to slavery as what the Constitution once allowed should note that that was not changed by the Supreme Court altering its views of the Constitution. It took a civil war, and then the Constitution was amended. That won’t happen over this issue. Those who view the issue of handguns as important as slavery need their moral yardstick recalibrated.

    Heller leaves plenty of room for various kinds of reasonable regulation. For those whose pragmatic concern is violent crime, there simply is no need to play the moral absolutist or to develop rhetoric as extreme as the NRA’s, but in opposition. Accept the fact that America has a gun culture, that that is embedded in our laws, that handguns won’t be banned, and that that will result in some violent crimes that might not occur otherwise. Then ask what kind of regulation and other changes can reduce violent crime, without requiring a social and legal transformation that just isn’t going ot happen.

    Reducing violent crime is your motive, right?

  100. #100 Mu
    August 6, 2009

    Having grown up in Europe in a “no guns in the hand of civilians is best” state, and comparing it to my current home in the US, yes, there is more firearm violence in the US. But, in my opinion, it is attributable to certain inner-city segments of society in the US that disproportionally contributes to the often quoted crime statistics on fire arm death. And this sub-culture is simply missing in most European cities. If you exclude the heavy (inner city) on (inner city) violence, the statistics become comparable. It might still be a little shifted because jealous husband (US) might use his readily available gun to blow his rival away while jealous wife (UK) will have to stab her unfaithful husband in the sleep due to lack of the same, but that’s not contributing significantly to the murder rate.
    A ban on hand gun sales will not deter the inner city type violence, since most of their guns are already illegal for the perpetrators. And nothing but a total confiscation, with house to house searches, will remove enough guns from the black market to make a difference. And THAT, as trite as that sounds, would truly be unconstitutional and un-American.
    You could use existing laws to crack down on the inner city violence with a massive effort to get the illegal guns of the street, but that would be immediately decried as “racially motivated” by the same people who ask for a gun ban. Without the crackdown, you’d truly end up with the “only the outlaws will have gun” situation, and in a country where the supreme court has determined the police has no obligation to protect the individual, that would leave the law abiding citizen screwed.

  101. #101 Enoch
    August 6, 2009

    The argument that there are too many guns, or that it is too late, or that “they will get the guns anyway” is illogical. That argument can be applied to every single law that exists. Why selectively apply it to hand guns? No, it is a post hoc irrelevant excuse.

  102. #102 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2009

    Mu, would you care to elaborate on how “certain inner-city segments of society in the US” differ from those found elsewhere?

  103. #103 Russell
    August 6, 2009

    Enoch writes:

    That argument can be applied to every single law that exists.

    Not really. It’s rather rare that new law bans a durable good owned by millions of citizens. I cannot recall that happening in my lifetime. The closest historical example that comes to mind is Prohibition. Except liquor is a consumable, and after you drink your last drop, it’s gone.

    Regulations on durable items typically impose restrictions on new production, while grandfathering existing stock. New cars must have airbags. An outright ban of handguns would do something that new law very rarely does. Even if the 2nd amendment weren’t an issue, the 5th amendment would require the government to compensate people for this taking. I don’t know the value of all handguns in the US, but suspect it would be measured in the tens of billions of dollars.

  104. #104 Mu
    August 6, 2009

    SZ, I intentionally didn’t specify, since I don’t want to derail the thread with the “racial vs poverty vs discrimination” argument which always comes up on Sciblog once you start discussing these aspects. But one typical example is the drive-by shooting of rival gang members or drug dealer with associated collateral damage, something unheard off in most of Europe (to my knowledge, while I keep an eye on international news I might be missing out on the little “local” incidents).

  105. #105 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2009

    Mu, that would make the biggest difference between the two groups the easy availability of guns, then, wouldn’t it?

  106. #106 sil-chan
    August 6, 2009

    @José
    The second amendment does essentially say you have the right to keep and bear arms that a militia would be expected to have. Missiles and automatic weapons should not be banned but instead heavily regulated. I’m not against regulation, I am against outright banning.

    Also note that you say the government bans a certain class of weapon but note that corporations have no trouble getting their hands on them (Black Water anyone?). How safe do you feel knowing you do not have the right to have a weapon but Microsoft potentially could? Not to mention that banning handguns wouldn’t remove the black market since handguns would still be produced for the police (what, you think police will give them up?) and the military (yea, no corruption there).

    “Tyranny is when the law allows the government to do something that the private citizen cannot.” While I believe we are already there, let us not move even further towards tyranny because of nutters. Also, “Those that would give up essential liberty for a little security deserve neither, freedom nor security.”

    As an aside I do NOT own a handgun or any other form of gun. I just think that if we’re gonna throw out the constitution we may as well toss the whole thing out.

  107. #107 Enoch
    August 6, 2009

    I just think that if we’re gonna throw out the constitution we may as well toss the whole thing out.

    Well, that’s a nice, mature, thoughtful attitude!

  108. #108 Mandrake
    August 6, 2009

    I’m still trying to figure out what “poll fornication” is. Sounds kinky and uncomfortable.

  109. #109 hoots_mon
    August 6, 2009

    The guns aren’t the problem, Switzerland is a gun loving country and their murder rate is tiny compared with USA. I don’t think there is any evidence correlating gun ownership with violent crimes is there? There are other far better indicators, poverty, education, health etc. Is the point here to find the best way of reducing violent crime, or just targetting the easiest thing that comes to mind without any actual evidence or hypothesis of how this will really affect crime statistics?

    I am actually against guns, I see no point to them except to kill things. Which I happen to be against :p

  110. #110 Mu
    August 6, 2009

    SZ, at least in continental Europe, illegal guns are as available as they are in the US. It might take a bit harder looking for the uninitiated, but for hardcore criminals the supply is there. There’s just a much stronger enforcement aspect in regards to the gun laws, so simply carrying an illegal gun is much more likely to get the criminal in jail than in the US, and no bail either. So gun crime is reduced NOT by the unavailability of the gun, but by the higher risk of carrying or possessing it illegally.
    What goes back to my point, the hypothesis that less legal guns automatically mean less illegal guns and therefor less gun crime is unproven, at least for countries with open borders (easier to control if you live on an island like Japan or, to some extend, the UK).

  111. #111 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2009

    Mu, sixteen-year-old gangbangers aren’t hardcore criminals. The fact that they can still easily get guns suggests the guns are much easier to get in the U.S. Do you have a good reason for thinking they’re similarly available in Europe?

  112. #112 Jim
    August 6, 2009

    @ Charles Miller way up there yesterday at about 6 pm: yep right here in the heart of good old boy land, central Missouri, we had a loser ambush and murder the other folks at the firing range; maybe about 10-15 years back.

  113. #113 Jim (again)
    August 6, 2009

    oh yeah now i see those faint numbers, Charles is #30

  114. #114 Onkel Bob
    August 6, 2009

    This is the attitude that proves my point. You have defined me as a tyrant and threatened my life because we disagree, and you’ve also told me to shut up.

    And your response does what? Matt neither threatened you nor did he tell you to shut up. He called you on your bravado and pointed out the futility of your proposition. This hyperbole and theater of the absurd is no longer entertaining nor is it informative: it is a waste of magnetic ink.

  115. #115 frank
    August 6, 2009

    Aside from the constitutional protections, which are quite in tact, thank you very mucy, the random ban of handguns is a violation of privacy and the 9th ammendment. It would just keep guns in the hands of the bad guys and make it harder for the good guys. The good guys will find their ways to have the guns anyway. What a waiste of time.

  116. #116 Mitch M.
    August 6, 2009

    Bob, actually, he did tell him to shut up and he did threaten him. He did, indeed, prove the point. Monkeys with guns is not a good idea. Have you learned nothing from apocalyptic science fiction?

  117. #117 Carlyle
    August 6, 2009

    What an interesting idea. It would appear that black = inner city = hardened criminal = very good at getting guns. Mu’s deal is that he sees America as a deeply en-blackened society and is rather glad that Europe as avoided that deploring situation.

  118. #118 Cannonball Jones
    August 6, 2009

    Well, the UK doesn’t have a Bill of Rights so it’s a lot easier for that government to violate the human rights of its citizens and it’s doing it nicely.

    Man, I laughed hard at that. My government’s violating my civil rights by making me demonstrably safer and less likely to die? Oh mercy, someone please save us from such evil. There’s a reason people in the UK aren’t crying out for the right to bear guns, and that’s because guns only exist to cause harm. It is their sole purpose and they are utterly useless for anything else except as paperweights. What next, are you going to start demanding the right to own suitcase nukes?

  119. #119 Mu
    August 6, 2009

    See, that’s why I didn’t want to even start this, there’s always someone like Carlyle who needs to make it a “you’re just a racist” argument. Btw as stated above, I live in the US, in a city with 50% Hispanics and 1% blacks. But feel free to keep guessing.
    Regards SZ’s point, 16 year old gangbangers have no way of acquiring guns legally in the US either. And when I left Europe after the collapse of the eastern block, AK 47 were offered in the local pub for $200, and Makarovs for $80. Of course, possession of an AK 47 was 5 years mandatory at the time, so we admired but said “no thanks”.

  120. #120 Onkel Bob
    August 6, 2009

    Umm, Mitch what threat did he issue? He stated that if he attempted enter “someones [sic] house… you wont [sic] be around long.” That is not a threat, it is a prediction that the owner of said house would have Mr. Laden arrested for breaking and entering and placed in a correctional facility. As for

    Science is your bag, politics, not so much. Put your head down and get back in the lab.

    That is an observation that Mr. Laden is not as skilled at politics as science. He chided him to stick to a profession he excels. As for science fiction, I do not read it. Apparently that’s a good thing because it appears to me it produces paranoid schizophrenics judging from the posters here.

  121. #121 Lee Daniel Crocker
    August 6, 2009

    Seems to me we have an opportunity here. Mr. Laden is a scientist and skilled at research. The question of how laws against handguns affect crime is a scientific one. Even though he has clearly expressed a bias here on which answer to the question he would prefer, he is nonetheless a man of scientific integrity who would evaluate the evidence–all the evidence, not just the small carefully-chosen bits that partisans bring up–without such bias and report it honestly. I, for one, would love to hear Mr. Laden’s views on what the evidence really shows. If this is an issue of importance to him, why shouldn’t he spend some time researching it and reporting his findings?

  122. #122 Mitch M.
    August 6, 2009

    That is an observation that Mr. Laden is not as skilled at politics as science. He chided him to stick to a profession he excels

    That makes you both look rather stupid. Dr. Laden is a social scientist, biologist, and paleontologist. Sending him back into the lab is not only a bald faced way of saying “I don’t agree with what you are saying so shut up” it also exposes considerable ignorance of the subject at hand.

  123. #123 Mitch M.
    August 6, 2009

    LD Crock: Interesting that you say that at this particular moment in time. That is just another way of saying “shut up” you realize.

  124. #124 Matt
    August 6, 2009

    I issued no threat, hell I dont even own a gun. Just pointed out the likely, and legal, and perhaps even deserved, outcome of what would happen if you, Greg, got on your righteous highhorse and tried to disarm people.

    Whats more important to me is the integrity of the constitution. It is eviscerated daily by people of all political stripes, but I still hold to the shreds of it and think we ought to preserve what we can.

    Your emotional, hysterical state after this grisly murder is not a decent foundation for law making or, more accurately in your suggestion, law breaking, even if you *think* it will be for the greater good.

  125. #125 Mitch M.
    August 6, 2009

    Matt, did you miss the implication that “we” is the prevailing society and law, after a transition from a gun-loving to a gun-loathing society, which is bound to happen incrementally every time some misogynist walks into a room full of unarmed women and tries to kill them all with his legally obtained handguns? You could not possibly be more on the wrong side of this one.

  126. #126 Martin R
    August 6, 2009

    In Sweden, we find it really, really scary to consider a society where people not in uniform walk around armed with anything more lethal than a pint-sized plastic water bottle.

  127. #127 Matt
    August 6, 2009

    Mitch, did you miss the 2nd amendment. The founding of a country is not transitional. Sure, countries change over time, as can our constitution. If the country decides to recognize this transition you insist is occurring, through the democratic mechanisms of amending our constitution, id be happy to abide by it, though I may not agree with it.

    You are expected to abide by the same in the meantime.

    Hey, this is a science blog. Why dont we look around at some other horrible things that were banned, see how that went. Try and draw some sort of ‘conclusion’

    why dont we ban illegal drugs — bound to work great.
    why dont we ban illegal immigrants — another victory
    why dont we ban traveling to Cuba — Yep, no American has set foot in Cuba in decades
    why dont we ban guns on the Virgina Tech Campus — Murder free since the ban was enacted.

    Well I just talked myself out of it. Banning guns nationwide should work just fine.

  128. #128 Stretch
    August 6, 2009

    Given it was a rather small group that started the first revolution here in the colonies, I’d say good luck to you sir. As for me and my pistols, we’ll be found standing with the resistance.

    Are you willing and ready to kill local police officers or federal employees who enforce a law you find personally distateful?

    (seriously, ain’t gonna happen. If we learned anything over the last eight years, it’s that you don’t need to take the guns from people to control their lives.)

  129. #129 kyo
    August 6, 2009

    If there was a way to make every gun disappear, I’d be all for it. In the meantime, if they do exist, criminals will gain access to them regardless of current laws. Therefore, we have the right to have them too.

    Criminals, the military and police shouldn’t be the only groups that can have guns. This leaves law-abiding citizens at a huge disadvantage.

  130. #130 Mitch M.
    August 6, 2009

    Yes, but Martin, what is IN that water bottle???

  131. #131 Greg Laden
    August 6, 2009

    kyo: That (your first phrase) is essentially how I feel … handguns should just dry up and blow away, but they are not any time soon. However, I grow increasingly weary of the argument that since they are there they must be there. It is a fallacious argument.

    As for needing to have handguns to protect ourselves from the military, police, and paramilitary, please gag me… and go read this:

    http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2009/04/tin-revolutionaries.html

  132. #132 Brendon Brewer
    August 6, 2009

    I agree. Hardly anyone has any legitimate use for a gun.

  133. #133 NoGurus
    August 6, 2009

    When the Brady Bill passed in the early nineties, violent crime went down in the U.S. for eight straight years, to levels not seen since the early sixties. Since the Brady Bill lapsed under the Bush administration, violent crime has begun to increase again and is now at levels of the early seventies. The bill outlawed assault rifles, required background checks and waiting periods before buying a gun, among other things. So evidence shows that gun control does work, even in the U.S. Happily, many cities which saw a steep decline in gun violence, like New York City, have remained safe. Others, like Chicago, are becoming incresingly dangerous. By the way, for Bush bashers, Bush was willing to extend the assault rifle ban, if Congress sent him a bill. But the Republicans blocked it. The evidence is strong that gun control does work ,and it’s only a matter of time before reasonable gun control legislation becomes law again in the U.S.

  134. #134 sg
    August 6, 2009

    I need a gun to defend myself. Luckily the constitution affirms citizens’ right to defend themselves. Unfortunately, stories of nuts killing innocents get more coverage than stories of regular people legitimately defending themselves, so it is easy to understand that public perception leans away from people’s actual self interest. What if a policeman had been able to shoot the killer before he killed those innocent people? Wouldn’t that have been okay? What if a citizen had killed the guy before he had killed them? Wouldn’t that have been okay as well?

  135. #135 sg
    August 6, 2009

    Isn’t it obvious that the second amendment no longer applies at all to modern society? If it requires getting rid of the amendment than so be it.
    Posted by: Liz | August 5, 2009 5:15 PM

    No, it is not obvious. I am sure criminals would be thrilled if we were all unarmed, just makes their job easier.

    Also, I don’t think you really want to start repealing The Bill of Rights. The Constitution was originally approved largely because a Bill of Rights would basically be part of the deal. Do you really want to be that helpless, without even the acknowledgment by society of your right to defend your own life? Be careful what you wish for. Criminals and the gov’t will still have their guns.

  136. #136 SimonG
    August 6, 2009

    NoGurus, #72:

    The English, the Japanese, and the rest of the civilized world do not have a better, more self-controlled populace than the U.S.

    Yes we bloody well do! :-)

    I hesitate to tell citizens of another democracy what to do. However, I do think that you folk need to exercise much stricter control over firearms; all sorts, not just handguns. A fair number of weapons find their way from the USA to criminal organisations elsewhere. Frankly, we could do without it.

    I don’t really recall firearms being an accepted part of British society. That seems to be the general attitude. I do think that the ban on (nearly) all handguns following the Dunbland massacre in 1996 went a bit far, but mostly because it seemed like a knee-jerk reaction and I think laws should be based on reason, not emotion.

    I can recall, at various times, gun amnesties, (also for other weapons), where people could drop off illegal weapons at their local police station, no questions asked. Some of these produced quite a lot of guns, usually old stuff which had been lying around for ages. (I also remember finding a gun at home when I was a kid – a Browning automatic, or something similar. I don’t think I was supposed to know it was there, and it vanished shortly afterwards. I think it had been my uncle’s sidearm when he was in the navy.)
    If there’s a desire in society to get rid of guns, it can be done. But it doesn’t seem like that desire exists in the USA.

    Mu, #115:

    But one typical example is the drive-by shooting of rival gang members or drug dealer with associated collateral damage, something unheard off in most of Europe (to my knowledge…).

    Not entirely unknown, but uncommon.

  137. #137 Matt
    August 6, 2009

    Simon, isnt Britain considering ‘knife control’?

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/05/AR2008060503482.html

    And so what does that tell you? Tells me that murderers will find a way to murder. I’d like to be legally, evenly matched against my potential assailant.

    Perhaps you’re on to something. Ive got a great idea, a real hot brain-wave, why dont we just make murder illegal? If we ban murder with any kind of weapon, or even, without a weapon we’ll bring and end to all murders, gun related, knife related, and any other kind of weapon we havent thought of.

    Who’s with me?

  138. #138 NoGurus
    August 6, 2009

    #147 Simon G.
    Sorry, you folks are just as nasty as Americans. Human nature trumps country borders. I lived over there in Britain, and worked there, and if anything, you folks are more sour and pessimistic by nature than Americans. But your government protects you folks from yourselves, which is wise, and I hope our government will do the same someday.

    Doubtless we probably will not completely ban guns, America being the land of freedom for good and bad, but reasonable gun control will reduce crime and allow the hunters and homeowners to keep some registered, licensed firearms. Most importantly, children will be taught the serious responsibility of owning a firearm.

    I also want add to my previous post that since the Brady bill passed, background checks are still in effect, although they are instant, and even the NRA supports mental health checks for gun buyers. So even though the bill lapsed, some provisions have remained, and this has probably helped keep the violent crime rate lower.

  139. #139 Jud
    August 6, 2009

    Societies with near-complete gun bans have far, far lower rates of homicide, for example, than the USA does. I remember reading a Vancouver paper about their “crime wave” of 28 homicides in a year for a greater metro area of around 2 million people, which wouldn’t even make an extraordinary month for some U.S. cities with much lower populations.

    So I’d love to go ahead and ban ‘em if I thought it was workable. But (ignoring for the moment the likely insuperable problem of getting support for a 2nd Amendment repeal or a Supreme Court in the next couple of decades willing to reverse Heller) I just don’t see how this wouldn’t turn into another organized-crime-engendering fiasco along the lines of Prohibition or the War on Drugs. I think the only chance is a ramping up of safe gun education programs by the NRA rather than a government-imposed ban, though why the NRA should do this, beyond the extra course fees they might collect, is unfortunately beyond me.

  140. #140 Stephanie Z
    August 6, 2009

    Do note that you can’t easily grow or distill handguns in your basement. There are certain differences between banning handguns and Prohibition.

  141. #141 Lee Daniel Crocker
    August 6, 2009

    Mitch, I would appreciate you keeping your speculations about my motives to yourself. I meant every word I said, exactly as I said it, no more, no less. I honestly am interested in an unbiased scientific assessment of the question, and I do thin Mr. Laden would be competent to do it. And it’s an issue he obviously cares about.

  142. #142 george.w
    August 6, 2009

    @Russell 67; England’s knife dealie is worse than an outright ban; as I understand it the cop can use “discretion”. In other words, if they don’t like the cut of your jib…

    So Sikhs are probably OK, as long as they are deferential to the cop, who had better like your explanation for why you are carrying a knife which is technically a crime. Luckily cops never arrest on insult in the US.

    General comment: Admittedly even though I really don’t care about guns I just want to hold on to my pocketknife anyway I can. It has thousands of legitimate uses, and it makes a lousy weapon. Some dude comes after you with a knife, you pick up a chair, you can put a stop to it right quick.

    ZOMG, ban chairs! You could really mess somebody up with a chair!

  143. #143 Enoch
    August 6, 2009

    Concealed chairs are already illegal in most states.

  144. #144 Viking
    August 6, 2009

    @Greg- “The NRA disagrees with me, but who cares?”
    Good luck fighting the NRA, we have about 4 million members and have one of the most effective lobbying forces on the hill. The Sotomayer issue is a red herring, and I think you are smart enough to know that. I also take serious issue with being referred to as a “thug”, the NRA members I know are some of the nicest, most peaceful people you could imagine. I don’t think you have a good understanding of the culture in rural America when you refer to the collection of handguns as a “fetish”. Yes, handguns can be used to kill people but the reality is that a very small minority of them are used for that purpose.

  145. #145 Onkel Bob
    August 6, 2009

    The violence over prohibition did not occur because of moonshine and bathtub distilleries, the violence occurred for the control of distribution of imported alcohol. The Mexicans have a problem with US weaponry being imported there. Do you think the Chinese and Russians might, just might, really enjoy if the USA decided to attempt an unpopular ban of handguns? I am not speaking of the political forces (although I can see Putin being pleased as punch if it happened) I am speaking of the various crime syndicates. They would love a new market to open, especially a lucrative one such as firearms.
    What is truly baffling is you and your chorus latch on to this relatively minor situation and declare banning weapons to be a panacea. Handguns support the lone criminal, remove them and gangs will become the norm. No solution, just a shift in the characters involved. The insane may not have the ability to lash out as they currently do but they are not an especially common problem. Guns are not the problem and the use of guns are the symptom. The underlying problem is the society that believes it is entitled, and when not given their allotment, decides violence is a reasonable response to obtain it. Given that is the entire history of the USA, it is a tough nut to crack. What can you say about a country that celebrates a genocidal maniac on its currency?
    I am with Michael Moore, the problem is not guns, it is this atmosphere of fear that is propagated by the mass media. I cannot honestly say that you are providing a solution to that problem, and can see where you are part of it. I’m sure your chorus will quote mine and strawman that argument to death, it is what they do best.

  146. #146 george.w
    August 6, 2009

    @enoch154; LOL – watch professional wrestling and you’ll see that even a folding chair can be a dangerous weapon. I guess you could conceal one under a coat…

    OK there is something I worry about. Which is; if anyone with even a modest knowledge of organic chemistry decided to become a mass murderer.

  147. #147 Webs
    August 6, 2009

    Name some way in which people will be negatively affected?

    The way I see it is this: if all handguns are made illegal, imports are made illegal, production, etc… you will create a blackmarket. People will do everything they can to hold onto their guns and many will likely defend them to the death. It will be very dangerous for cops as the price and value of guns will sky rocket and anyone carrying one will be in danger for their life. Anyone holding guns will have a ton of power to use as they see fit.

    With the black market that is created there will be a high demand just like their is for drugs. But I think many folks here arguing against guns would never argue for the “WAR ON DRUGS!!!” Likely most of us remember or have learned about the prohibition and what happened there. Only instead of fighting over a liquid we will be fighting over a weapon.

    Seriously I am a card carrying social liberal. But I don’t understand how taking guns out of the hands of innocent people and putting them into the hands of criminals is a good idea. I have seen interviews with criminals who laugh at gun laws because they understand that it only empowers them and makes things for innocent civilians more dangerous.

    Greg, you would seriously trust politicians enacting authority for police or agents to search homes for weapons? Who decides what is and isn’t a weapon? Is a Civil War firearm someone has as a collectors item a weapon? Is a bow and arrow used for hunting a weapon? What’s to stop police conducting these searches from also looking for other items? Who decides what the line is for what they can and cannot look for? Maybe I am a professional photographer and have some nude photos in a developement room, can they arrest me for having indecent photos when searching for guns? The questions go on and on and never stop…

    Or how about a simpler question, would you be okay if the gov searched our homes for drugs on the grounds of the War on Drugs?

    I would be all for a ban on guns if there was a way to get rid of all the guns in the world. I have yet to see any plan put forth that would accomplish such a feat and because of this I think it would be very dangerous to take the guns out of the hands of those using them properly.

  148. #148 Mark
    August 7, 2009

    Tax ‘m. Put a $10,000 tax on each gun. Make each bullet cost$1,000.

    There’s nothing in the constitution that says you can’t tax guns.

  149. #149 Gunowner
    August 7, 2009

    Guns are a ‘godsend’ for the common citizen, because now I don’t have to waste time/materials in the defense of my home. Ban/super-tax guns? Fine. I’ll just take some tools, some wood, some nails and springs, and kitchen knives – and make some self-defense traps.

    I refuse to give up my right to protect myself and my property as I see fit. As much as I hate right wingers, I have to side with them on this ‘issue’.. Take away our guns, you might as well take away the rest of our rights and allow us the “freedom” of living in a dictatorship.

  150. #150 Robert Bruce Thompson
    August 7, 2009

    You know, Greg, I think your position on handguns is misogynist. A certain percentage of men (100%, if we believe your “all men are rapists” post) regard women as prey. Women, regardless of martial arts training, cannot fight off an attack by a man, so if women are to protect themselves their only option is to arm themselves.

    Pepper spray, Tasers, and other non-lethal defensive weapons simply do not work. Women who attempt to use them against an attacker are often killed or seriously injured. That leaves handguns as the only realistic defense weapon.

    And note what has happened over and over again when a municipality liberalizes awarding carry permits, and most particularly if they publicize the fact that they are encouraging women to arm themselves. Rapes and other violent assaults plummet, and not just those against armed women. Attackers think twice when their formerly-defenseless victims are now perceived as being able to defend themselves with lethal force.

    That’s just one of the reasons why I oppose all gun control laws, without exception. Any of us should be able to call up 1-800-HANDGUN, give them a credit card number, and have FedEx show up at our door the next day with our new Glock. There shouldn’t be any registration and no permit should be required to carry concealed.

    There are wolves out there, and always will be. You would have us all be defenseless sheep. That’s not just misogynist. It’s contemptible.

  151. #151 Stephanie Z
    August 7, 2009

    You know, Greg, I think your position on handguns is misogynist…. Women, regardless of martial arts training, cannot fight off an attack by a man….

    Robert, I think you’re projecting.

  152. #152 Robert Bruce Thompson
    August 7, 2009

    Robert, I think you’re projecting.

    Thanks for the cheap pop psychology.

  153. #153 DuWayne
    August 7, 2009

    Oh for fucks sake, how about instead of talking about something that is pretty much an absolute impossibility, like banning handguns, we talk about something that is possible, like gun control laws with fucking balls? Because while this may be cathartic for those who fetishize guns and those fetishize selfrighteous indignation, it is fucking useless – worse than useless, because it convinces the folks who can’t get it up, without a pistol under their pillow that those of us who believe in the responsible ownership of handguns and who also believe in serious gun control laws are really out to steal everyone’s fucking guns.

    It doesn’t have to be an either or, but when people get all hyperbolic and polarize the issue, it makes it less likely we can find a reasonable solution that will actually happen. Fuck all of you all – lets have a sensible conversation, instead of a rhetorical circle jerk.

  154. #154 Mandrake
    August 7, 2009

    Once again, we must turn to the ultimate source of reason and analysis in order to fully understand the issues:

    http://www.simpsoncrazy.com/scripts/cartridge-family

    (Sorry, I don’t know how to make it a link.)

  155. #155 Mandrake
    August 7, 2009

    Oh look! It makes itself into a link!

  156. #156 mdb
    August 7, 2009

    1 handgun a month?

    How long was this guy planning the attack?

    Brilliant idea, that would have definitely stopped him.

    You should stop wasting your talents on simple problems and solve world peace.

  157. #157 Nick Vahalik
    August 7, 2009

    Greg,

    To steal from a bumper sticker — guns kill people like pencils misspell words. Guns, like knives, flash lights, and other items are tools. People will be able to get guns whether they are banned or not. Remember the Clinton gun ban? It stopped the production and sale of *new* guns, but not of the old ones. Unless you plan to stop by everyone’s house and take their guns away, a gun ban carries no merit.

    Think about this: if North Korea nuked South Korea, do you think this would make people think, “oh no, we need to ban Nuclear weapons?” No. They would be stupid to do so (although this administration makes me wonder). If everyone owned a gun, people would consider their actions a little more closely.

    How about you man up and do something to protect yourself instead of whining about how guns kill people?

  158. #158 Greg Laden
    August 7, 2009

    Guns are tools designed to kill. Hand guns are tools designed to secretly or conveniently carry around to kill people. They can be banned because of what they are.

  159. #159 Greg Laden
    August 7, 2009

    @161: Robert, I’m fine with women being allowed to carry handguns. That’s actually a good idea.

  160. #160 Nick Vahalik
    August 7, 2009

    Greg, why not men?

  161. #161 Nick Vahalik
    August 7, 2009

    Guns are also used to protect, and you must understand this. If you concede that Women carrying guns is a good idea, you need to put into perspective that there are women that murder as well… and we are all equal under the law. Every law abiding citizen should own a gun, IMO.

    Take a conceal carry class. You would definitely learn a lot — I know I did. They even instruct you on when to use and not to use a gun. You might think they are these blunt weapons of destruction, but they are useful training tools to learn respect and safety.

    Check out this site: http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/ Plenty of stories of people *defending* themselves, their property, and their families with guns, both concealed and unconcealed.

  162. #162 Mu
    August 7, 2009

    Sorry Greg, you just shot yourself not only in the foot but into both legs with a .50 BMG. A handgun ban for men only is not only unconstitutional (you didn’t think just killing the second amendment is enough, you also had to take out equal protection and gender equity), it’s as effective as the ban on selling liquor to underage kids is effective in stopping them from drinking.

  163. #163 Greg Laden
    August 7, 2009

    I think if the women were given guns they would keep them away from the men. Crimes are primarily committed by men. This would probably solve the whole crime problem.

    Mu, your knee jerk reaction to this proposal makes me worry about you.

  164. #164 Robert Bruce Thompson
    August 7, 2009

    @170
    @161: Robert, I’m fine with women being allowed to carry handguns. That’s actually a good idea.

    Good. You’re halfway there.

    Concealed weapons in responsible civilian hands, male or female, are a good thing. We need to make it easier, not harder, for responsible citizens to carry concealed. Anywhere they go, including places where concealed carry is currently banned even to permit holders.

    Consider Columbine, VA Tech, LA Fitness, or any of the other mass murders or spree killings and consider what would have happened had even one of the good guys been carrying concealed. Instead of dozens of innocent dead, the body count would probably have been limited to the bad guys and maybe one or two innocent victims.

    And here’s a simple fact. Bad guys are rotten shots, because they almost never practice. Cops are almost as rotten, because most of them get very little practice, unless they happen to be shooting hobbyists. Civilians who carry concealed are much, much more likely to hit what they’re aiming at, and not innocent bystanders.

    Most civilians who carry practice regularly until they’ve achieved competence far higher than an average cop. I know which I’d prefer backing me up in a shootout.

  165. #165 Andrew
    August 7, 2009

    Consider Columbine, VA Tech, LA Fitness, or any of the other mass murders or spree killings and consider what would have happened had even one of the good guys been carrying concealed.

    The good guys would have been jumping up and down in an aerobics class. The gun would slip out of the sports-holster and bounced on the floor. The gun would have gone off and the bullet would go through the wall into the childcare center killing a baby.

  166. #166 NoGurus
    August 7, 2009

    John Wayne, George Bush 2, Dick Cheney, Charlton Heston, Paul Wolfowitz — all strong gun control supporters, all war avoiders who took as many deferrments as they could, under any pretext, to avoid facing battle and showing courage under fire. Colin Powell, Jimmy Stewart, George Bush 1, Eisenhower, John Kerry, all war heroes, all who faced life and death decisions head on and showed true courage under fire, all who favor reduced arms aggression abroad and at home. Who am I going to listen to? The cowards or the courageous? I’ll take the courageous, and I pity you folks who can’t find the courage to defend yourselves without violence.

  167. #167 mediajackal
    August 8, 2009

    OK — all the anti-gunners go to a gun show. Don’t posture, don’t bring attitude. Just go, and TALK to the people.

    Spoons are tools. Handguns are tools. I can kill you with a spoon; it’s just more personal, and more work.

    There are sheepdogs, and there are sheeple. We have an extreme shortage of sheepdogs, and far too many sheeple. Why is it that people who manage to survive by cowering under a desk are considered heroes? Is it not more morally responsible to risk your life to attack the attacker, than to hide?

    An armed citizen, properly trained, could have at least mitigated many of the multiple-victim shootings.

    Why carry a firearm? Go to http://www.americanhandgunner.com, and click on the “Little Lizzie” link. John Connor says it better than can I.

    Andrew: Either you were being sarcastic, or your ignorance of concealed-carry rigs is pathetic.

    Cops will acknowledge that a law-abiding citizen who happens to be armed is going to reduce crime. Think not? Ask your local police agency the estimated response time to a 9-1-1 call to your office or home. Then consider that, with training, virtually anyone can be taught to draw and fire two shots into an assailant’s center mass in less than two seconds.

    Firearms are an aspect of personal self-defense; they aren’t always the appropriate response. The firearms instructors I know stress the importance of avoiding a possibly deadly situation, accepting the consequences of pulling the trigger, and knowing when and which options to use when lethal force is not appropriate.

  168. #168 BZ
    August 8, 2009

    So… I’m armed and liberal. Does that make all you right-wingers and libertarians feel safer?

  169. #169 NoGurus
    August 8, 2009

    Freudian slip or just careless — #77 — of course I meant Heston, Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz and Wayne are gun rights supporters, not gun control supporters. Duh!

  170. #170 NoGurus
    August 8, 2009

    I mean #177 not #77. Duh, Duh. Time for bed.

  171. #171 Enoch
    August 8, 2009

    Spoons are tools. Handguns are tools. I can kill you with a spoon; it’s just more personal, and more work.

    If spoons and guns are the same, then gun owners will be happy to collecting spoons.

    In the mean time, you and me. A show down. We start at fifty paces. You have three spoons, I have three glock 9mm’s like our friend mass murder had. The one left at the end will be determined the one with the deadly weapons.

    The surviver can go to a gun show and talk, asshole.

  172. #172 george.w
    August 8, 2009

    I knew the fantasy of “armed citizens stopping Columbine” would come up.

    If you have a lot of people carrying guns, occasionally one of them will shoot another person – just one killing at a time. Seems like a small price to pay, for the value of stopping that mass shooter, no?

    But think of the mass shooting as a plane crash; sensational but rare. Most transportation deaths occur in automobiles, one or two at a time, so we don’t add them up and compare them to the plane crashes. Having mass numbers of individuals packing heat to stop the sensational, but rare mass shooting would be the equivalent of grounding all the planes and having everyone drive everywhere. More total people would die, but we’d be congratulating ourselves; “See! No more plane crashes!”

  173. #173 J-MO
    August 13, 2009

    The ignorance in this blog is seriously frightening. The libtards always portray Pro-Gunners as disturbed toothless bible waving, degenerates. Taking away the peoples right
    to bear arms is simply un-American. Control is their agenda,
    simple as that. Banning firearms in any shape or form will
    NOT reduce violent crime. This world was violent and cruel long before guns arrived on scene. Its not just about personal defense at the atm people! I have read numerous references in this blog about the 2nd amendment being useless because ”the times have changed” what has changed? These liberal drones are too concerned with their blackberrys and their appointments at the day spa to relize the world is no less of a violent place. If guns were outlawed it would be just like prohibition with alcohol, any idiot with a couple of brian cells, a micrometer and a few basic metal working machines could make weapons. They would still fall into the hands of criminals. It would be just like the illegal drug trade, they would be coming in by the crateload from columbia. (no offense Columbians)
    Listen people, the US posses documents that were obtained from the KGB after the cold war with the USSR, the damn russians concidered an invasion on US soil. Do you know what the motivating factor was for them never carrying it out? THE CITIZENS WERE ARMED!!! They did not want to face the opposition from armed civilians. What if uncle sam or any other for that matter showed up at your front door, demanded your blackberry, told you how many bags of rice your gonna get for the month, told you where to work ect ect. And if you resisted, yep you guessed it. Bullet through the head. Liberals please find a hobby, stop chipping away at the founding priciples of this country!

  174. #174 Stephanie Z
    August 13, 2009

    J-MO, if you’re so big on reading, try following a link or two. This is what’s changed:

    http://almostdiamonds.blogspot.com/2009/04/tin-revolutionaries.html

    And how about leaving a link yourself, to document that the Soviets were more concerned about an armed U.S. populace than they were about the difficulties of fighting a land war on the opposite side of the ocean from their supplies.

  175. #175 barry
    August 30, 2009

    i don’t see how better safety training/responsibility of ownership standards and criminal/mental record check would
    circumvent the concept of civilian firearm ownership as a power balance against central government.(i need to stress the fact that governments have killed more of their own citizens within this last century-usually either islamic theocractic(ottoman turkey,revolutionary iran,etc) or state national-socialistic(soviet union to present day north korea,zimbabwe,myanmar and china) where only the police/military possess firearms.
    Need i point out that iran’s religious police invade people’s home at will to inspect for alcohol and other banned personal items/practices?-jerry falwell is free to be foolish on tv, but he never home invaded gay couples.
    Or how about in a chinese province were recently 50,000 dogs that were dragged from family’s homes and beaten to death by cops because of a rabies scare? any you lefties pet lovers? think maybe you’d want a gun for goons then? oops, too late, you said we shouldn’t have guns- only cops.
    disarmed england is becoming a third world/leftist hellhole, they now have the highest murder rate in europe.
    do you know that mostly due to communist era industrial pollution, russia has a infant mortality rate and average life expectancy approaching that of the average african?
    imperial japan and germany had the most modern of societies
    a century ago-but no real democracy-ie; checks and balances to prevent despots from bringing holocaust/ruin to their own people.so don’t believe the current leftards claiming we can trust them with the increased powers/money that gwb so hypocritically bestowed on central government.
    ALL politicians exist for their own gains and their backers have secret agendas, which makes surrendering power(whether thru civil disarmament, income redistribution(coercive theft), affirmative action(political favoritism/reverse discrimination)),war on drugs(militarization of police/massive incarceration),bank bailouts-is all bullshit wrapped up in a do-gooder flag.
    we do need SOME government to regulate against unethical business practices -like not hiring the most qualified , writing of insane mortgages, energy cartels hegemony, importation of slave labor goods,etc.
    sorry, i know this column is about gun bans, but the issue really is about government, the source of many problems.

  176. #176 barry
    August 30, 2009

    btw, going into ww2, japan studied the pacific coast of the u.s. to determine the feasibility of invasion-they determined
    that armed citizens would make japanese governance impossible.
    enraged with swiss airforce shooting down luftwaffe pilots chasing allied planes into swiss airspace, hitler ordered OKW
    to study switzerland for invasion-every mature swiss male is trained and sent home armed with military issue firearms and all transportation networks throughout the mountainous country
    is designed to work against foreign invaders-so hitler’s little wish list ended up in a trash can.
    in the ’30′s invasion of finland, the red army was fought to a standstill at a cost of a half million soviets by a small number of finnish volunteers(many were hunters)on skis.
    only through the interning of the boer population in concentration camps was the british empire able to defeat a small number of boer farmers/resistance volunteers.
    i emphasize that england’s gun registration started when the english public learned of these government organized atrocities (all done so few wealthy rail magnates could put rails across boers farms and give most the mining jobs to english fellow expatriates).
    the firearm registration was also implemented due to union strikes/bolshevik agitation -so how do you leftards like gun registration (which leads to bans/confiscation) now?
    of course you will ignore this just like how you’ll ignore hitler’s gun registration(and subsequent ban/confiscation)before rounding up jews/gays/undesireables for a little camping trip.
    but what the heck, we can trust our government with gun registration and unlimited taxation anyway-they would never lie to us! besides even if this all leads to a police state,
    at least it will only be people in uniform we’ll fear, not a few crazed criminals.

  177. #177 Andrew
    August 30, 2009

    We could trust a government that had no Republicans or Libertarians in it.

  178. #178 carl
    August 31, 2009

    why would u want to ban “legal” ownership of guns. all that means is that law-abiding citizens will have their rights stripped from them and that the dangerous criminals will have the firearms that were made illegal

  179. #179 justin
    September 14, 2009

    i think that we should band guns b/c now all people want to do is kill people b/c of there skin and that not right

  180. #180 pl
    September 16, 2009

    Research shows that there are seventy-nine people were killed by firearms in America every day due to accident, rival or suicidal. Many people in the U.S. having firearms to protect their families and their kids; and some having guns for hobby. However, not many of us know that there are five children were killed every day in gun accidents and suicides committed. Do we really protecting our families or we killing each other and our children? twenty-two times more likely to be used in unintentional shootings, than to be used in self-defense. Teenagers are the most gun-related accidents that needed to be aware. In America, for children under the age of 15, the rate of suicides involving firearms was almost eleven times the rate of other countries combine. Fifty-one percent guns used in crimes by juveniles and people 18 to 24 were acquired by “straw purchasers,” people who buy several guns legally through licensed dealers, then sell them to criminals, violent offenders, and kids

  181. #181 NRA_member
    September 18, 2009

    I am an NRA Endowment member and you may consider me one of the “thugs” if you wish.

    I will not repeat the points already made that I have read, since my fellow libertarians/constitutionalists have already done a great job at deconstructing the anti-gun arguments.

    What I will say is that even if you were correct, there are so many guns in this country (and guns and ammo properly stored can last longer than a century) we cannot go back. Criminals will always have their guns, as they do in the UK which has had some of the most extreme and long lasting gun bans I can think of.

  182. #182 Stephanie Z
    September 18, 2009

    Guns breed once they reach critical mass? Who knew?

  183. #183 NRA_member
    September 18, 2009

    A LITTLE GUN HISTORY
    In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953,
    about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded
    up and
    exterminated.

    *******************
    In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million
    Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and
    exterminated.

    *******************

    Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total
    of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were
    rounded up
    and exterminated.

    *******************
    China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million
    political dissidents, unable to defend themselves,they were rounded up
    and exterminated

    *******************
    Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000
    Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and
    exterminated.

    *******************

    Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000
    Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and
    exterminated

    *******************
    Cambodia established gun control in 1956. From 1975 to 1977, one million
    educated people, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and
    exterminated.

    *******************
    Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century
    because of gun control: 56 million.

    *******************
    It has now been 12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by
    new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their
    own Government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500
    million dollars. The first year results are now in:

    List of 7 items:

    Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.
    Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.
    Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!
    In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300
    percent. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the
    criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!
    While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in
    armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the
    past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is
    unarmed.
    There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the
    ELDERLY.
    Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public safety has
    decreased, after such monumental effort, and expense was expended in
    successfully ridding Australian society of guns.
    The Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

    You won’t see this data on the US evening news, or hear politicians
    disseminating this information. That is why some people here are saying that there is not legitimate use for citizens to have guns.

    We (the pro-self defense crowd) will never give up, we will never let up. I am a single-issue voter and this is my issue.I email, mail, and call my congressman and those of other districts all the time. I doubt you can compete with this.

    The founders put the 2nd Amendment in for a reason, and I don’t think it was so we could hunt.

  184. #184 Dan J
    September 18, 2009

    Oddly enough, though I have a rather liberal stance on most issues, I’ve always been loath to give in to gun control of most types.

    Much of the time, I’ve been frustrated by the lack of knowledge on the part of our elected representatives. A fancy plastic stock on a rifle does not an assault weapon make—unless you listen to Congress. To be honest, most of our representatives get information from extremely poor sources (i.e. lobbyists of any stripe).

    As time passes, and I read more from people like Greg, and more from people vehemently opposed to any type of gun control, I realize that I have no valid reason to think that anyone (not an off-duty cop, not a bounty hunter, not a repo-man, not a pawn-shop owner, etc.) should have the right to own a handgun, period.

  185. #185 Dan J
    September 18, 2009

    Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

    Nice try. I’m sure that less intelligent people would fall for that, but the rest of us see through your logic like the tissue-paper it represents.

  186. #186 Stephanie Z
    September 18, 2009

    Huh, Australia’s law was passed in the mid-1990s. It’s been somewhat more than 12 months. Why does this not give me confidence in the accuracy of any of these claims?

  187. #187 Dan J
    September 18, 2009

    There were 282 victims of homicide in 2007: a 12 percent decrease from 2006 and the lowest number recorded in the past 12 years.

    Source: Australian Institute of Criminology

    To be fair, violent crime in general has been on the increase, but this is not relevant to gin control:

    Assaults continue to represent the majority of recorded violent crimes. The overall trend since 1996 has been upward, with an increase of 55 percent between 1996 and 2007.

  188. #188 Greg Laden
    September 18, 2009

    Gin control!?!!?? I won’t stand for it!!!!

  189. #189 Stephanie Z
    September 18, 2009

    It’s okay, Greg. It’s just quality control.

  190. #190 Dan J
    September 18, 2009

    I must have had the decade wrong on that one.. Gin was outlawed in the 20′s, give or take a few years, both here and in Australia.

  191. #191 José
    September 18, 2009

    Defenseless people rounded up and exterminated in the 20th Century because of gun control: 56 million.

    The number of people killed EVERY DAY due to fabricated, misused, irrelevant statistics: 3.4 Billion!

  192. #192 Mike H
    September 18, 2009

    Gun control is a settled issue. The SCOTUS has even weighed in, and its official: STOP FUCKING WITH OUR RIGHTS.

    With 80 million Americans owning over 200 million firearms, the idea that anyone even could confiscate all these guns is laughable. Gun owners are just a movement, we’re an army.

    And if any of think that either the police (local or federal) or God forbid the military would uniformly and willingly assist with any kind of draconian gun control scheme, you are in for a rude awakening.

  193. #193 Knockgoats
    September 18, 2009

    “disarmed england is becoming a third world/leftist hellhole, they now have the highest murder rate in europe.” – Barry

    Quite false, of course:
    http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/why/evidence/violence. Pretty typical of the gun lobby’s attitude to facts. The graph linked to indicates that income inequality is the major determinant of differences in rich country homicide rates – but the USA and Finland (highly permissive on gun ownership) have anomalously high levels and Singapore (extremely low gun ownership) an anomalously low one.

    As for the “we need our guns to protect our freedom” line – well, that worked just great in preventing the passing of the “Patriot Act”, Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition, etc., didn’t it?

  194. #194 Dan J
    September 18, 2009

    With 80 million Americans owning over 200 million firearms, the idea that anyone even could confiscate all these guns is laughable. Gun owners are just a movement, we’re an army.

    The post title is quite specifically about handguns. Even if a total gun ban were proposed, I would stand up for the rights of hunters to retain rifles and shotguns. Handguns, while used by many hunters, are really a different issue.

  195. #195 anonymous
    September 24, 2009

    Banning handgun only takes it away from the law-abiding citizens. Criminals will still have guns. That’s like announcing OPEN SEASON on the innocents.

    Do we want this?

  196. #196 Greg Laden
    September 24, 2009

    What hunters use handguns, normally?

  197. #197 José
    September 24, 2009

    Yes,
    We want a wholesale slaughter of the innocent. Once all of the innocent are out of the way, only the guilty will remain, and we won’t have a guilty conscience when we send them to Guantanamo. Then we Chipmunks will finally be in control of the most powerful nation the world has ever seen!

  198. #198 anonymous
    September 25, 2009

    Can you not read? That was a figure of speech. Without handguns, the innocents will be left with nothing to defend against crazy maniacs like that fitness guy, ergo, “hunting season.”

  199. #199 rick
    November 4, 2009

    In the times that we live in this fool tries to tell us to ban guns he is either stupid a woman or a gay boy….my grandfather died in a war so arse-ole’s like this could live,I just hope his kind are limited in numbers,when we go to war again which we will please send this prick to the front,but dont give him a gun,give him a water pistol

  200. #200 Stephanie Z
    November 4, 2009

    rick, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but we’re at war right now and have been for years. You enlisted yet?

  201. #201 Greg Laden
    November 5, 2009

    Stephanie, Rick hails from Queensland, Australia.

  202. #202 n005
    November 5, 2009

    Innocent hobbyist gun collectors are a perfectly sufficient reason NOT to ban handguns. This is how things work in a free country. “Innocent until proven guilty” is the law in a free country, and does not cease to apply just because a gun is involved.

    It doesn’t matter how many statistics you rake up to show how many people get killed where guns are allowed/prohibited. It’s still “innocent until proven guilty” in this country, and once you start breaking the law in order to lay down the law, then there is no law, and then nobody’s rights, be they gun rights, or any other kind of rights, are safe.

    And no, you can’t make someone guilty with a paper decree. That’s what our constitutional prohibition against bills of attainder is all about.

  203. #203 Greg Laden
    November 5, 2009

    n005, we are not talking about “innocent” or “guilty” … we are talking about the proposition that our society does not raise up most of its people to be trusted with owning hand guns, and there are certain weapons that are simply not appropriate for private ownership. Between these two easily demonstrable facts that most people will agree with, restriction on owners hip of guns is reasonable. This does not make people who want to collect automatic weapons or who want to walk around with two hand guns strapped to them just to make a point criminals. Wanting to do that is not a criminal act.

    But it should be the case that actually doing it is a criminal act.

    Yes, there will be a period of adjustment, but you’ll be fine. You can keep the long guns under a certain caliber that are not automatic. K?

  204. #204 micheleinmichigan
    November 5, 2009

    A call to arms (or de-arms as it were) with no link to the news article and no link to a gun control fund-raising site?

    I can only assume that Greg posted this to draw in all the militia nutcases so that he can plant viruses on their hard drives that track their movements and send out subliminal liberal brainwashing messages. That is, before they are dragged away to the internment camps.

    For those of you who think this is a mental health issue. Here’s the link to National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. Put your money where your mouth is. http://www.nami.org

    From what I’ve read, the guy could communicate rationally, not hallucinating, he knew right from wrong, he was functional at a job. He is not someone who could ever be picked out by a law that excludes the mentally ill from purchasing guns. (Unless you want to subject all single guys who don’t talk to their neighbors to random search and seizure.)

    For those of you who want to contribute to gun control. Here’s a link. http://www.bradycampaign.org I’m not part of either of these organizations.

    or write your senator or representative.

  205. #205 kiramatali shah
    December 30, 2009

    How many handguns are legally sold each year in the US? How many are used to commit violent crimes? How many people who do not use handguns to commit crimes would be affected by banning handguns. Will the banning of handguns stop violent crimes?

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  206. #206 kiramatali shah
    December 30, 2009

    How many handguns are legally sold each year in the US? How many are used to commit violent crimes? How many people who do not use handguns to commit crimes would be affected by banning handguns. Will the banning of handguns stop violent crimes?

    http://www.onlineuniversalwork.com

  207. #207 Jens Nyborg
    April 1, 2011

    Does America want to be a civilised country?
    I’m not American, but I love America for a lot of very good reasons. The right to bear firearms is NOT one of them.
    I’ve just watched the 2003 movie ‘The jury’, and that made me look out for how many sane voices about US guns you could find.

    I’m amazed it seems everybody with a penchant for guns are talking about violent crime, deterrence an so forth.

    Nobody seems to have touched on the point that most of the people killed by guns in the US are killed/hurt by unpremediated killing by a gun used in affect.

    This would to my mind include all the high scool killings as parents’ guns are used in most cases. I wonder, but do definetely not want to know how a parent feels in that case.

    By banning guns, that sort of crime could be removed. Is that not desirable? And civilised ?

    Love, Jens

  208. #208 Bob O'Bob
    April 1, 2011

    “The media insist that crime is the major concern of the American public today. In this connection they generally push the point that a disarmed society would be a crime-free society. They will not accept the truth that if you take all the guns off the street you still will have a crime problem, whereas if you take the criminals off the street you cannot have a gun problem.”

    -Jeff Cooper