Matt Springer is LIVID with my commentary on gun control. Go read his post here and say something nice in the comment section to make him feel better.

Mike Dunford has further comments on this issue as well, and as has been happening all along (since the Ft. Hood news broke) Mike is adding important information regarding the setting of this catastrophe, bringing his military base experience to the table. Have a look at his post.

And, I’m going to take this moment to make my key points once more because the gun nuts, I mean gun “enthusiasts” continue to get it all wrong:

1) The NRA/Gun Lobby pressure resulted in there being limitation on the federal gun check procedure that caused the situation to emerge that one part of the FBI was a bit worried about Nidal Hasan, and another part of the FBI knew he was buying a “cop killer” gun, but they could not share the information (by law). This brings the gun lobby into the picture as partly responsible for the Ft. Hood massacre.

2) According to the manufacturers of this gun, and to information generally available on the internet, this gun is specifically designed to kill lots of people in close quarters owing to the large number of bullets it holds, the fact that it carries an effective bullet (no, not the biggest in the world, but effective) and is designed to squeeze off many many rounds accurately because of the way the recoil is limited. In other words, this gun was designed to do exactly what Hasan did quite effectively with it.

It is wrong that this gun is available in gun shops generally in the US. It is wrong that the FBI can’t share info about gun checks with itself and other security agencies.

If you view this as a terrorist attack (and whether or not that is true remains to be seen) then one could say that the NRA was tacitly complicit in it.

Comments

  1. #1 Azkyroth
    November 12, 2009

    If you view this as a terrorist attack (and whether or not that is true remains to be seen) then one could say that the NRA was tacitly complicit in it.

    I would drop the “tacitly.” Anyone mentally competent to get themselves dressed can figure out that the policies the NRA advocates are going to increase the odds of this kind of attack.

  2. #2 symball
    November 12, 2009

    an abbreviated cross post from mikes blog- there are more than 20 times as many homicides involving guns in the US compared to the UK- who says gun control doesn’t work!

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    November 12, 2009

    symball, yes, but now I understand there are just as many senseless killing in the UK but thy are now all done with serving spoons. Is that true?

    (or at least that is what the gun nuts, I mean enthusiasts, predicted would happen)

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    Greg, I have to object to the term “gun enthusiast.” It lumps me in with the nuts.

  5. #5 Rose Colored Glasses
    November 12, 2009

    The FN Five-Seven we owe to our cops who, after the 1997 North Hollywood Shootout, demanded a sidearm they could use to kill suspects wearing body armor.

    It didn’t help to point out that once such a handgun existed, it could be used to take out a SWAT team, or a large number of unarmored cops quickly.

  6. #6 Matt Springer
    November 12, 2009

    Nah, I’m not livid. Quite the opposite, I am downright phlegmatic. Life’s way too short to get mad about disagreements on teh intarweb.

  7. #7 Greg Laden
    November 12, 2009

    Matt: Oh, good! I thought all the #$%$# was you spitting. I guess it was just you drooling phlegmatically…

    Stephanie: Greg, I have to object to the term “gun enthusiast.” It lumps me in with the nuts.

    I can never win with this topic…

  8. #8 Andrew
    November 12, 2009

    symball, yes, but now I understand there are just as many senseless killing in the UK but thy are now all done with serving spoons. Is that true?

    (or at least that is what the gun nuts, I mean enthusiasts, predicted would happen)

    The murder rate here in England and Wales is over four times lower per-capita than in the US (1.37 vs. 5.8 per 100,000). Six times as many people (per-capita) are murdered during the commission of a robbery in the US as compared to England.

  9. #9 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    Sorry, Greg. Part of that was snark. Part of it was teeth-grinding frustration with the never-ending supply of idiots who don’t have the one iota of imagination required to think anything except that a familiarity with guns leads to libertarian views on the topic, as you put it elsewhere.

  10. #11 Jorg
    November 12, 2009

    Keep in mind, though, that the murder rate in Scotland is ridiculously high, and gun control laws there are no laxer than in England proper…

    Of course, at a risk of being flamed, I can explain it by appealing to the general…um…Scottishness of the country in question…:)

  11. #12 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    And Scotland’s rate appears to still be less than half that of the U.S.

  12. #13 Andrew
    November 12, 2009

    Even Northern Ireland, which has a higher murder rate than Scotland, has less than half the rate of the US.

  13. #14 Darren
    November 12, 2009

    The FN Five-Seven was not an outgrowth of the Hollywood shootout. The standard AR-15 rifles the LA SWAT uses (and every Sergeant in the LAPD carries in their car, after North Hollywood) will penetrate all soft body armor. The LAPD did not adopt the 5.7x28mm because as a handgun round, it’s a poor choice.

    The 5.7x28mm round was developed along with the P90 Personal Defense Weapon that FN Herstal created to meet the NATO PDW requirement. The PDW was an idea floated in the mid-1980s for a weapon usable by soldiers other than infantry to defend themselves, and NATO wanted both a two-handed weapon (the SMG-like P90 and H&K MP7) and a pistol that used rounds of the same caliber.

    The round was designed to punch through body armor with the appropriate ammo, and the appropriate ammo is *absolutely illegal* for civilians to own in the United States. The rounds available for civilian use WILL NOT defeat body armor, and are inferior to the 9x19mm expanding (hollowpoint) rounds you can buy at Wal-Mart in terms of creating wounds, according to Dr. Martin Fackler, a pathologist and President of the International Wound Ballistics Association. In terms of “power”, the 5.7x28mm is about 10% more powerful than the .22 Winchester Magnum Rimfire, which is generally considered adequate for small game but insufficient (and in many places illegal) for game the size of deer.

    Considering that Hasan could have as easily used a 9x19mm handgun with far more effective ammo, the people who survived his attack are fortunate that he used a pistol and ammo combination so ill-suited for the job he chose to perform. The .357 Magnum revolver he also carried is a far more deadly weapon than the FN Five-Seven.

    The FN Five-Seven is not a “cop killer” pistol, unless you a) write copy for Brady, b) ignore its many shortcomings and c) overlook and the virtually complete unavailability of the ammo that allows it to penetrate soft body armor.

  14. #15 Greg Laden
    November 12, 2009

    Darren: “he used a pistol and ammo combination so ill-suited for the job he chose to perform. ”

    He fired one hundred bullets. He hit 43 people. 13 of them died. The idea that this pistol was not adequate for this “job” is absurd.

    The gun worked as intended, and as advertized by the manufacturer

  15. #16 guthrie
    November 12, 2009

    Jorg #10 – and the high murder rate is mostly due to teenage boys stabbing each other late at night, often without actually meaning to kill. Using easily available knives such as are found in any kitchen and toolbox.
    So I really don’t think it is the example you wish to bring to this discussion.

  16. #17 ErikaF
    November 12, 2009

    Greg, I have to object to the term “gun enthusiast.” It lumps me in with the nuts.

    Since gun enthusiast is a valid term for non-extreme (aka, non-nutty) folks, here are some suggestions to describe the nutty gun enthusiast:
    gun enthusinut, gunnut enthusiast, gun nuthusiast, gun moron (getting a bit blatant).

    BTW, I agree with your position. Because of the laws that tne NRA have pushed, the FBI can’t share information to do its job effectively. If we have guns in our society that are accepted for use for sports and self-defense, then the guns should be able to be tracked and monitored.

    And, to forestall the inevitable “but a knife kills too” remarks, you can’t shoot out 100 knives, hitting 43 people, in the space of a few seconds, while you’re safe at a distance.

  17. #18 Jorg
    November 12, 2009

    guthrie: It’s a bit too late for that, eh? It has been brought here already.:) And I am not sure that the intent isn’t there, in any case. According to Interpol statistics for 2001 (the last year I saw them online; apparently they no longer give them to “unauthorized” people), the murder rate in Scotland actually was close to that of USA, and Russia was about 4 times higher (then, of course, Interpol was involved in a minor statistical scandal for apparently claiming that Sweden had a higher crime rate than the USA, so those numbers may have to be taken with a grain of salt).

    None of this is meant to undermine the idea of the necessity for gun control. Russia and Scotland have their own issues and mores that affect the outcomes.

  18. #19 Jason Thibeault
    November 12, 2009

    And, to forestall the inevitable “but a knife kills too” remarks, you can’t shoot out 100 knives, hitting 43 people, in the space of a few seconds, while you’re safe at a distance.

    But… what if you made a device that could automatically launch a hundred knives in a few seconds? Like, a machine-fed knife-throwing machine? Something that could spit hot knifey death at a distance without having to get all up in someone’s face before murderizing them?

  19. #20 John McKay
    November 12, 2009

    Let’s see, I think this is where the terminology discussion has us:

    The genus gun owners contains the following known species:
    Hunters
    Police
    Paranoid Libertarians and Militia
    Unaffiliated nuts with guns
    Non-shooting collectors
    Terrorists
    The Scots

    There is considerable hybridization between the species.

    Have I missed anyone?

  20. #21 Darren
    November 12, 2009

    Greg,

    The question is not whether the Five-Seven was deadly, the question is whether it is more deadly than other firearms already available. The answer pre-shooting would be no, based not on my opinion or on marketing materials from FN (who is selling to military and police, the SS190 round is illegal for civilians), but from a wound ballistics professional who has probably done posts on more people than you or I have ever met.

    The answer post-shooting is also likely to be no. Do you know how many people were shot with the 5.7×28, or with the .357 Magnum? I don’t believe that information has been released. And BTW, ‘Magnum’ in this case means ‘one-tenth of an inch longer than a .38 Special, with higher pressure’, it’s not a ‘miniature cannon’.

    I would imagine that you also do not know how many people he walked up to and shot in the head, or hit in the head with aimed fire. Any firearm would be lethal in that instance, the Five-Seven is not more so. Anyone who was shot in the torso and didn’t die is still alive because the 5.7x28mm with light varmint bullets didn’t penetrate deep enough to cause a lethal wound. Had Hasan used almost any other centerfire pistol, those people would have had a much lower chance of survival.

    You’re repeating the same marketing BS that Hasan bought when he selected the Five-Seven. I’m telling you the opinion of someone who is widely-respected in the narrow field of what bullets do to bodies, a consultant to both the Army and the FBI — and HE says that the 5.7x28mm is inferior to the 9x19mm. If Hasan had used a 9×19 or any caliber larger, the likelihood is much greater that there would be more wounded and fewer killed.

    This is not absurd, it’s physics and anatomy and statistics. Isn’t this supposed to be a science blog? But I digress, pray continue with blaming the NRA for the actions of a lone individual and misunderstanding marketing hype as ‘research’.

  21. #22 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    John, you’ve left out “You can have my guns when we decide as a society that they don’t add to our security or freedom in any meaningful way. In the meantime, let’s do what we can to make sure they don’t diminish our security and freedom.”

  22. #23 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    Darren, Greg understands marketing hype. He also understands that someone buying a gun with a particular type of marketing hype is information that the FBI could have used in determining Major Hasan’s intent. The fact that they didn’t have access to that information is the responsibility of the NRA in no small part. This is not a difficult argument unless you don’t want to hear it.

  23. #24 John McKay
    November 12, 2009

    Stephanie:
    “Additionally, until that time I will embrace this means of security in my warm, life-filled limbs and do not care to relinquish them until I am rendered otherwise.”

  24. #25 John McKay
    November 12, 2009

    Jason:

    But… what if you made a device that could automatically launch a hundred knives in a few seconds? Like, a machine-fed knife-throwing machine? Something that could spit hot knifey death at a distance without having to get all up in someone’s face before murderizing them?

    Such a device would need a power source to propel the knives. I suggest having the power attached to each knife instead of to the throwing device. Suppose we put a highly volatile powder into a tube. We then fit the knife tightly into one end and close off the other end. When the powder is ignited, the rapidly expanding gases would thrust each knife forward. If the powder threw the knives with enough force, it wouldn’t even matter if the knives were sharp or not. I’ll bet the military would be interested in purchasing such a device.

  25. #26 Greg Laden
    November 12, 2009

    Darren: Yes, I am repeating the same marketing bullshit that Hasan was sold by.

    Which. Is. The. Point.

    Jeesh….

    And no, this is not about the relative value of the pistols, though that is an excellent question. think about that for a second. and you will discover that you’ve got it wrong.

    You are close to your intended victims. Most are unarmed but there are armed cops nearby. There are a lot of them all in one place. Almost no one is more than a few tens of feet away, many are, to start, a few feet away.

    You can use a .357 (and do see the prior discussion about what a “magnum” is and whether or not I know that… and do be really careful about telling me what you think I don’t know because that rarely works) or you can use the FN, which is said to be (but not confirmed) the only pistol Hasan actually used.

    Your .357 holds fewer bullets and, being a FIGURATIVE miniature cannon (as pistols go) has a nice kick. The FN has piles of bullets and can be reloaded very quickly, and because of its design you can squeeze off the rounds accurately pretty much as fast as you can move your point from the head or body of the person you just shot to the next intended victim.

    So it’s a matter of:

    BANG ….. BANG ….. BANG ….. BANG …. reload

    vs.

    bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang bang banng bang bang bang bang reload

    (I’ve left out some bangs)

    I don’t know which will kill more people, but Nigal Hasan is telling us that the second of the two choices …. the one he chose … does a better job than has yet to be accomplished in the history of shootings of this type in the US military over the last two hundred years.

  26. #27 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    John, I don’t expect them to be any kind of security. The hunting guns are tools on the order of danger of many of the power tools in our basement, with the additional responsibility of making sure they’re not easily portable (i.e., stolen). The non-hunting guns are indulgent toys that would be given up if I didn’t have the means to make them very, very difficult to take away, or if I had children, or if someone in the house experienced a major depressive episode. None of them are accessible in the case of something like a home invasion, because then they would all be accessible to anyone robbing our house as well.

  27. #28 Darren
    November 12, 2009

    A surgeon friend of mine owns a Five-Seven. He says he feels well-armed should he be attacked by a horde of squirrels. There are other magazine-fed .22 WMR pistols, should the FBI be notified if someone tries to buy one of those?

    I certainly agree that the FBI should be notified if anyone tries to buy the ammo that makes the Five-Seven capable of penetrating soft body armor, seeing as that is most likely a federal felony if it occurs. Fundamentally, though — this is not a ‘cop-killer’ pistol in the eyes of anyone except the people who deemed it so — the Brady Campaign. It has literally never killed a police officer in the United States. No police force carries the Five-Seven because to do so would put their officers at inordinate risk if they ever had to use their weapons. It is a crappy pistol, period.

    I understand your complaint with the FBI/NRA nexus but the ball was dropped well before Major Hasan purchased a firearm. Buying a Five-Seven is no more of a red flag than buying any other pistol, but the truth is that but for political correctness Major Hasan would have been out of the Army and possibly in jail.

    There is no evidence that the NICS check was not performed. Whatever part of the FBI that was concerned about Major Hasan was not concerned enough about him to flag the NICS system, because the purchase went through. Most probably, the FBI had already dismissed concerns about Major Hasan before he bought the firearm, which puts whatever blame to be assigned on the FBI for dismissing the concerns in the first place, along with the Army.

    My point is that pretty much any other centerfire pistol would have been MORE deadly in the same circumstances. I read one report of a soldier with a bullet wound in the center of his chest, with fragments stopped by his sternum. That is exactly the kind of superficial wound I would expect from a 31gr varmint bullet from a 5″ barrel, but that is a lethal shot with a 9mm or greater handgun. People shot in the head are in a lot of trouble with any firearm. People shot in the chest have a chance, and their chance is much better when the shooter uses a round that does not penetrate as deeply as others. The rounds available to Major Hasan will not penetrate even as well as the 9x19mm.

    The difference between Major Hasan using a Five-Seven with 20-round magazines and a Glock 17 with 17-round magazines is more wounded and fewer killed with the Five-Seven than the Glock. And one extra magazine change over the course of 100 rounds fired. There’s no telling whether he would have made more hits with the Glock (the 9mm is not any harder to shoot), but the hits he made would have created more trauma and been more dangerous than the same hit with the Five-Seven.

    Fundamentally, the Five-Seven is not the problem. The problem, like virtually every other firearm-related violent incident, is the nut behind the grip. I don’t believe you will find an NRA member who will support the sale of firearms to terrorism suspects, unfortunately by the time he purchased a firearm he was inappropriately categorized as not a terrorism suspect.

  28. #29 Darren
    November 12, 2009

    Stephanie,

    I understand what you are saying. Nevertheless, that marketing is to police and military units who can buy the ammunition that makes the Five-Seven capable of penetrating a vest. Major Hasan cannot buy that ammunition, therefore, it is not a ‘cop-killer’ pistol in his hands unless he walks up to the cop and shoots them square in the head. Of course, you could do the same thing with any pistol, or a hammer from Home Depot.

    The Five-Seven does not have the largest magazines available, Glock makes and sells 33-round magazines for the 9x19mm Glocks, and 27-round magazines for .40 S&W and .357 SIG Glocks.

    Are you saying that the FBI should be able to track every Five-Seven purchase? Every AR-15-type purchase? Those are often marketed as ‘mil-spec’ or ‘as used by X Special Forces unit’. Is the FBI supposed to have its priorities set by the marketing departments of firearms manufacturers? That’s preposterous.

    The NICS is perfectly capable of refusing a firearms purchase. The problem is not that the FBI didn’t know about a given firearm purchase, the problem is that the FBI had stopped looking for Major Hasan to make a firearms purchase. That decision was made at the beginning of the year, well before Major Hasan was posted to Fort Hood. Blame all you want, but that’s what happened.

  29. #30 José
    November 12, 2009

    I don’t believe you will find an NRA member who will support the sale of firearms to terrorism suspects,

    If you phrase it that way, then no. But you will find plenty who are against regulations which might help determine if firearms are being sold to “terrorists” or other high risk individuals, whether or not that happened in this case or not.

  30. #31 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    Darren, the first two paragraphs of your reply to me, as well as just about everything you’ve said about the guns on this blog, is irrelevant. The third is absurd and the fourth is confused as to which direction the information needed to flow.

    Are you saying that the FBI shouldn’t be able to see any gun purchases and decide for themselves whether the purchase, in all its particulars, including public misapprehensions, constitutes new information that makes it worth taking a fresh look at someone they’ve previously investigated? Because that’s what happened here.

  31. #32 Greg Laden
    November 12, 2009

    But you will find plenty who are against regulations which might help determine if firearms are being sold to “terrorists” or other high risk individuals

    Which is why the NRA continues blindly to march towards irrelevance in this world.

  32. #33 Darren
    November 12, 2009

    What I am saying is that the firearm is not the interesting thing here, the interesting thing is the person making the purchase. If Major Hasan had still been a person of interest, the purchase of a single-shot .22 rifle might have been interesting, but the FBI had already considered and dismissed Major Hasan for reasons that will likely come out in a Congressional hearing. The FBI was no longer interested in him, period. The NICS does not check firearms, it checks people. Felons attempting to purchase firearms have been arrested at the store, within minutes after a NICS flag had been raised. This did not happen because the FBI had already decided that Major Hasan was uninteresting.

    Linking this to the FN Five-Seven specifically is silly, because it uses marketing hype from FN — marketing hype not even intended for civilian purchasers — to paint the Five-Seven as a death ray, or the ideal tool for a mass public shooting.

    Objectively, the Five-Seven is a marginal firearm that fires a relatively ineffective round, the ammo is much more expensive than the .22 Long Rifle it is closest to in terms of velocity and bullet weight — it’s basically a very expensive plinker. There are pistols available at half the cost that would have been as easy to reload, as easy to shoot, as easy to conceal, hold more rounds in the magazine and much more dangerous to be shot by than the Five-Seven. Every argument that makes the Five-Seven out to be a weapon more dangerous than others and therefore more deserving of FBI scrutiny, is patently false.

    To people who know about firearms, Hasan’s purchase is, frankly, stupid. The FBI knows about firearms, and the fact that Hasan bought a Five-Seven implies only that he is willing to pay way too much to put little-bitty holes in cans and paper.

    The argument that the FBI should have been made aware of this purchase ignores the fact that the FBI had far more damning evidence of communication with terror-supporting imams and statements from the man himself that he didn’t support the military, and decided that it didn’t mean anything. He already owned a firearm and had a concealed carry permit in Virginia since 1996, something that Gawker.com discovered, I’m reasonably sure that the FBI figured this out as well in the course of their investigation. They already knew he was a gun owner, and all the Islamist stuff, and still decided he was not a threat.

    In the face of all this, do you still think that the FBI would have done anything different if they had found out about a more recent gun purchase? I most assuredly do not. Once dismissed as a threat, there is likely great bureaucratic inertia at going back over a case, particularly one closed just a few months earlier. The fact that a CCW holder bought yet another firearm is too minor of a detail to change the course of events.

  33. #34 Darren
    November 12, 2009

    Which is why the NRA continues blindly to march towards irrelevance in this world.

    You must not look at polling data very often. The enthusiasm for gun control legislation is at the lowest point in years. If the NRA becomes irrelevant in the near future it will be because it has achieved its goals, not because 2A rights have been rejected.

    But hey, KFTC.

  34. #35 Greg Laden
    November 12, 2009

    The FBI was no longer interested in him, period. The NICS does not check firearms, it checks people. Felons attempting to purchase firearms have been arrested at the store, within minutes after a NICS flag had been raised. This did not happen because the FBI had already decided that Major Hasan was uninteresting.

    Are you actually claiming that a system of cross checking (rather than firewall) would necessarily not involve further action or consideration? Maybe. But only in some made up world in your head. The whole point of information like this is to use it, and the whole point of investigative bodies is to investigate. Your assertion is absurd.

    To people who know about firearms, Hasan’s purchase is, frankly, stupid. The FBI knows about firearms, and the fact that Hasan bought a Five-Seven implies only that he is willing to pay way too much to put little-bitty holes in cans and paper.

    Darren, do you know the meaning of the word “meta”? I think maybe not. In your world, the FBI looks at some guy they think might be dangerious who has been communicating with a radical Iman in Yemen (Yemen is more of a base station for anti-US terrorism than any other location, or equal at least) … they see that the guy buys a gun HYPED UP MARKETED OVER THE TOP NOT REALLY TRUE THE FBI KNOWS THIS AND DARREN KNOWS IT TOO pistol. This is the meta part. Ready? In your world, the FBI looks at this and they have no theory of mind. They have no concept that any one else’s mind could have a thought that they (the FBI) are not having themselves. The FBI looks, in your world, at this purchase notice on someone they are investigating and they go (in your world) “Oh, this gun would be a suboptimal terrorist tool. So this is not an issue, because of course Major Hasan and everybody knows that and thinks just like we …. and Darren … think.”

    But in the ACTUAL world, they look at this and they think: “Oh look, our possible crazy terrorist guy … he jut bought one of those hyped up over marketed pistols…. we better check what is going on there.”

    And, besides, this pistol is actually the perfect tool for the job. 42 people shot, 13 of them dead, is hard to argue against. This, Darren, was a RECORD BREAKING KILL for this sort of thing. Never been done before. If you think he was not using the right tool, you are wrong.

    I’m sorry, Darren, but we have to look at this gun control thing and no amount of bullshit spewing out of the gun nut lobby is going to make that less urgent.

    And yes, this might mean taking some of your guns away from you. Like it or not.

  35. #36 Former Agent
    November 12, 2009

    The FBI was no longer interested in him, period.

    That is the stupidest thing I read all day, and I work for the gummit.

  36. #37 guthrie
    November 12, 2009

    Jorg – what I find on the internet suggests that your INterpol appeal to authority has no validity at all.
    Eg. http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/sep/26/ukcrime.scotland
    a rate of 2.33 per 100,000, and an admission that is is mostly between feuding gangsters and teenagers on drink. Mind you the USA has similar concentrations, however the ease of access to firearms improves the chances of people killing lots of other people.

    Wikipedia suggests Scotlands rate is around 2-2.5 per 100,000 versus the USA of 5.7 per 100,000. Their stats allegedly come from UN crime reports.
    So I don’t see that you have any basis for your claim whatsoever.

  37. #38 Veltyen
    November 12, 2009

    Murder rates
    UK: 0.014
    Australia: 0.015
    Canada: 0.015
    USA: 0.043

    Firearm Murder rates
    UK: 0.001
    Australia: 0.003
    Canada: 0.005
    USA: 0.028

    Non firearm Murder rates
    UK: 0.013
    Australia: 0.012
    Canada: 0.010
    USA: 0.015

    So….. Even if the USA had NO GUNS whatsoever, the murder rate would still be higher then comparable countries, even if there was no shift to using other tools for the task.

    What you have is a “likes killing people” problem, not a firearm issue. The simple fact that with the easy availability of firearms, the murder rate without them is the same or higher then the total murder rate of the UK, Australia and Canada points out that there is a problem there.

    Stats pulled from http://www.nationmaster.com/ sources and citations available from there.

  38. #39 Get a Brain
    November 12, 2009

    So, the firearm murder rate in the US is double what the non-firearm murder rate is, therefore firearms are of no consequence.

    Give me an “M”

    M!!!

    Give me an “O”

    O!!!!!!!

    Give me an “R”

    ARRRRRRRR!!!!

    Give me an A!!!!!!

    EHHHHHHHH!!!!!

    What do we got!!!!

    MORAN!!!!!!!!!!

    http://www.thundersquee.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/moran.jpg

  39. #40 Darren
    November 12, 2009

    And, besides, this pistol is actually the perfect tool for the job. 42 people shot, 13 of them dead, is hard to argue against. This, Darren, was a RECORD BREAKING KILL for this sort of thing.

    Only if you draw the line at shootings on military bases. This isn’t even the deadliest mass public shooting in Killeen, Texas.

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/first100/1001214.html

    That guy killed 23 and wounded 20, using a pair of 9mm pistols, in almost exactly the same situation — unarmed people packed tightly into an enclosed space, though there were more people in the SRC and they were packed even tighter together than people typically sit in restaurants.

    The Virginia Tech shooter used a 9mm handgun on, again, unarmed people in confined spaces, and killed 32, wounding 15.

    I’m sure you can do the math and tell which events had more killed, and which had more wounded, both proportionately and in total. From these three examples of horrific incidents with very similar circumstances, the 9mm is considerably deadlier than the 5.7x28mm. Which brings me back to my point — he brought a gun to a place where there were unarmed people and started shooting them. This generally implies that people were going to get wounded and possibly killed. If he had chosen a different pistol, it’s far more likely there would be fewer survivors. There were fewer survivors at both of the prior and similar shooting incidents where the assassin brought a 9mm handgun.

    We both appear to be having issues with meta, Greg, because you can’t get past the hype around the Five-Seven and assume the FBI can’t either. There is no evidence that the FBI ever considered him a violent threat, so the purchase of a firearm, any firearm, would not have set off alarm bells.

    What if he had purchased a 9mm Beretta 92F, the civilian version of the military M9? Should that have been interesting to the FBI? I would argue no, he’s going to a war zone and might want to practice with his service pistol. But if he had shown up with a Beretta 92F there would have been more dead and fewer wounded survivors, if prior incidents are any standard of comparison.

    “In my world”, the FBI had more information than has been released publicly, considered it, and dismissed the Major as a threat. They even knew he had contacted the imam in Yemen who was regarded as an Al Qaeda recruiter “late last year and this year”:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/09/AR2009110902061.html?hpid=topnews

    They undoubtedly already knew he was a gun owner, and had a concealed carry permit in Virginia. They had every piece of the puzzle already – a disaffected Army officer who owned firearms and communicated with Islamist imams. They didn’t consider the email communications important enough to even inform the Pentagon:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125788890000142139.html

    Apparently, the FBI background check was cursory, and the communication dismissed as being academic and social in nature, rather than something more malevolent.

    In other words, he was dismissed as a threat. There was no ongoing investigation, they looked at the emails, which stopped, found out the guy was an Army officer researching radical Islam and moved on to what at the time assuredly seemed like more important matters.

    I think you believe that last Friday there were an bunch of FBI agents crowded around a picture of Major Hasan on a bulletin board somewhere, saying, “DAMN! If we had just known about that pistol purchase!” I think this is a huge leap based on nothing other than your own biases and some technical ignorance, as well as liberal use of the retrospectoscope.

  40. #41 JasonTD
    November 12, 2009

    And, besides, this pistol is actually the perfect tool for the job. 42 people shot, 13 of them dead, is hard to argue against. This, Darren, was a RECORD BREAKING KILL for this sort of thing. Never been done before. If you think he was not using the right tool, you are wrong.

    All I had to do was spend 5 minutes looking up two of the most infamous mass shootings in U.S. history, Columbine and West Virginia, to prove you wrong. Columbine: 13 dead, 21 wounded. This is a much higher kill/wounded ratio than what happened at Ft. Hood. They used shotguns, a 9mm rifle, and a TEC-9 9mm pistol. It’s a lower total people shot with less ammo it seems, so maybe you still have something of a point there. On the other hand, in the West Virginia incident, 33 were killed and 17 were injured by gunfire. Seung-Hui Cho carred a 9mm pistol with hollow point ammunition and a .22 pistol.

    In any case, whatever weapon someone chooses to use for such a rampage, the difference is going to be how many people die, not whether the events happen. Even if someone used a deer rifle, they could likely still kill multiple people, especially in a sniper situation.

    I don’t know how to square a person’s right to self-defense with a need to reduce gun violence. But your fixation on the weapon(s) Hasan used is a distraction, at best.

  41. #42 Greg Laden
    November 12, 2009

    Ah, Jason, Colimbine is a high school, not a military base.

    Seung-Hui Cho did not kill a single student in West Virginia. That was in Virginia Different state, and it was at a college, not a military institute.

    But your fixation on the weapon(s) Hasan used is a distraction, at best.

    I am not fixated on it. I made a simple point about the weapon, which was correct, and I find myself being “corrected” by a dozen gun nuts who really have no clue what I said because they can’t read actual words. They just see what might be an anti-gun argument being made and produce the standard reaction.

    Which is what worries me about gun nuts. They are dumb as bricks.

  42. #43 havoc
    November 12, 2009

    I find the argument over the Five-Seven to be pretty boring. I do want to comment on this part, though:

    1) The NRA/Gun Lobby pressure resulted in there being limitation on the federal gun check procedure that caused the situation to emerge that one part of the FBI was a bit worried about Nidal Hasan, and another part of the FBI knew he was buying a “cop killer” gun, but they could not share the information (by law). This brings the gun lobby into the picture as partly responsible for the Ft. Hood massacre.

    The FBI was investigating his contact with a cleric that is suspected of having ties to al-Qaeda. This article* from Time sums up their conclusions here:

    the Hasan-al-Awlaki exchanges were “explainable by [Hasan’s] research and nothing else derogatory was found, [investigators] concluded that Major Hasan was not involved in terrorist activities or terrorist planning.” (Hasan had been conducting research into the attitudes of Muslim soldiers at war with other Muslims.)

    I can’t see how legally buying a gun would have in any way changed their conclusions. If he was considered any sort of a threat, why was he allowed to remain an officer in the Army (beyond that, he was PROMOTED to Major in May of this year)? It would take a very strong argument to convince me that his legal purchase of a firearm would change the FBI’s investigation in any way whatsoever.

    *link: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1937574,00.html

  43. #44 Captain Patriot
    November 12, 2009

    Gun control? Don’t you mean government enslavment/ population control?

    When the America haters take away our most important freedom, this nation will surely be a dictatorship.

    Gun control nuts and environuts have one thing in common – both are total fruitcake fascists who have no respect ofr freedom. Total control is their goal. Fear these freaks, or loose your freedom.

    Power to the USA! Borders, language, culture, freedom. Love it or leave it, but keep your pathetic worthless perverted sick twisted demented marxist facist “change” to yourself.

  44. #45 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    Captain Patriot, the current, duly-elected-by-a-significant-majority administration is also part of the U.S. If you don’t love that, you may also leave–if you can find anyone willing to take you.

  45. #46 JasonTD
    November 12, 2009

    I stand corrected. It was Virginia Tech, not West Virginia Note: I actually saw an article that said that Hasan was a graduate of Virginia Tech. Weird coincidence). But what does one being a military base and the other two being schools have to do with your argument? In all three cases the victims were unarmed and just going about their daily business. You said that Ft. Hood was a “RECORD BREAKING KILL for this sort of thing”, and I pointed out that there were other events of similar or greater carnage. It would be simpler and more honest to just admit that you engaged in a little hyperbole when you said that.

    As for you description of the gun itself, your argument is centered on it being a more effective killing machine than other standard handguns. I’m not a handgun expert, nor do I think that you are, either, since you refer to information available on the net about the gun. My inexpert evaluation of articles about the gun and commenters’ arguments make me think that it is probably a wash as to whether the Five-seven itself had any effect on deaths and injuries in this case, given the pros (less recoil) and cons (less tissue damage per round). High capacity magazines are available for most semi-auto handguns, so that’s not specific to this weapon.

    Since you did include the armor piercing capabilities of the round not legal for commercial use in your original post, I think that at least some of the ‘gun nuts’ criticisms are valid and based on actual words they read.

    My point, which you didn’t comment on, is that nut jobs like Hasan, Cho, Harris and Klebold, etc. need to be identified and dealt with before they act. Limiting what kinds of weapons they have access to may reduce the numbers of dead and injured, but that’s all. So, bringing up the ability of the FBI to see that he was purchasing a handgun (of any type) if they were already concerned about him is a good point. Then again, there has been some clarification on the part of the FBI on what their ‘concerns’ were here. In any case, I’m hoping that you can see that this diversion into the details of the weapon used hasn’t added anything to your position on gun control (except maybe with the people that already agree with you).

  46. #47 Douglas McClean
    November 12, 2009

    On the broader issue of gun violence in America, I honestly have no idea where people get the idea that the second amendment protects their right to own their choice of arms. It seems to me that a total ban on handguns would be well within the letter and spirit of the second amendment. Especially if you adopt the (supported by the resolving clause) construction that its primary purpose is militia service, presumably with a just-in-case-the-people-can-overthrow-a-tyrant purpose. The second amendment does provide a right to gun ownership, but to get in a righteous snit about the second amendment every time anyone talks about regulation is absurd (made doubly so by the fact that the amendment itself explicitly mentions the need for good regulation).

    How about these rules: everybody (subject to existing limitations on age/convictions/etc) can own many guns as they want, of any kind that they want including machine guns, and keep them at a licensed shooting range or have them moved between licensed shooting ranges by a licensed armored car company. Everybody can own 0 or 1 assault rifles, and up to 2 boxes of ammo for same, but must keep their rifle at home under lock and seal (for tyrant-overthrowing and invasion defense purposes); using such a weapon for any purpose other than home defense, or removing it from your house for any reason, or failing to expeditiously report having opened the seal for purposes of responding to a suspected home invasion would be harshly penalized. Everybody can own up to two (three? four?) rifles or shotguns for hunting and at-home target practice under a streamlined version of existing carry rules; these weapons would be limited to kinds that require manual reloading after each shot.

    I fail to see a constitutional problem with such a scheme. It may or may not be better public policy than our current scheme, and I’m open to all kinds of arguments on that or alternative proposals.

  47. #48 Stephanie Z
    November 12, 2009

    JasonTD, your concern is noted.

    Seriously, who said the information about the gun was even supposed to be supporting gun control? If you read the original post, all it says is that there were questions about the type of guns, so Greg was posting details. All the people arguing that because the manufacturer’s description as provided by Greg was wrong, he couldn’t possibly have any valid point about gun control are inserting the link themselves. Interestingly, he wrote a post about this arguing strategy a few days ago.

  48. #49 Greg Laden
    November 12, 2009

    My point, which you didn’t comment on, is that nut jobs like Hasan, Cho, Harris and Klebold, etc. need to be identified and dealt with before they act.

    That is my main point as well, which is why I said what I said about the inappropriateness of the NRA/Gun lobby’s push for limited distribution and lifespan of gun check information. Had that provision not have been in place this event likely would have happened.

    The comparison I was making before was meant to be, though I probably was not clear, among army bases, This was said to be the largest shooting death-wise on any US military facility ever. That is saying something.

    We can argue forever about whether this gun is very deadly or not very deadly. But out of respect for the dead I am no longer going to engage in that argument. Others may feel free to continue to do so.

  49. #50 MadScientist
    November 13, 2009

    @symball: When in history did the UK ever have the free access to firearms which the USA has enjoyed since the declaration of independence? Did the lords really ever allow the serfs to amass such weapons? It’s quite a bit more difficult to control firearms when they are already so widespread. I’m all for more control over guns in so far as helping to keep them out of the hands of irresponsible or funny-headed people, but I do not imagine that would have a significant effect on gun related crimes in general (although I would hope for a significant effect on some gun related crimes). People have got to keep in mind that we’re dealing with low probability events here and it really is not sensible to generalize to the entire gun-owning population. I do not agree at all with the NRA’s attitude to resist all gun control measures; in fact I would advocate far more stringent control than the government has ever proposed in the past 40 years (aside from attempts at outright bans). There is nothing unconstitutional with introducing more requirements before guns can be obtained as long as law-abiding citizens are not unduly burdened by the requirements and there is no unlawful discrimination (for example: rich folks can own guns but poor folks can’t).

  50. #51 MadScientist
    November 13, 2009

    Any of the range of G-Locks would allow me to fire and reload very rapidly and I needn’t even concern myself too much with trying to keep some distance between myself and the victims (not that any information has been put out about where Hasan stood in relation to his victims). But forget about the choice of weapon. If the murderer had taken the time to hone his close range pistol skills, there’d be a hell of a lot more dead – that would be a far greater effect than the choice of handgun and ammo.

  51. #52 symball
    November 13, 2009

    I’d just like to clarify a few points:

    As many of the posters (I assume at least some are fellow limeys) the murder statistics show that the US is a much more dangerous place- I suspect it might have more to do with higher levels of inequality than a tendency for Americans to be unhinged (I will assume FOX news is just an anomaly).

    Regarding madscientists point- I know it is a little too late to close pandora’s box, but my original comment had more to do with the absurdity of the secondary argument here about whether the gun used was more lethal than another gun with a slightly different bullet. Having such cold, in-depth discussions on the optimum ways to kill another human being is rather disturbing to me, hence my simplistic point- what does it matter which gun he used- he had easy access to guns. If he couldn’t easily buy a gun he wouldn’t have killed lots of people. Arguing whether it could have been 6 or ten dead if he had done more research into shooting people is kind of missing the point.

  52. #53 Cato
    November 20, 2009

    I am greatly amused at the usual collection of strawmen raised by those who wish to restrict the rights of honest and peaceable citizens as a means to combat the irrational behavior of some, and, per usual, while ignoring or circumventing data which prejudices their specious arguments.

    There are a variety of outpoints associated with this shooting rampage by an unstable individual.

    1. He was/is a Psychiatrist and was under watch for his unstable behavior.

    1.a. Given his profession, and easy access, arises the question: Was he on some form of Psychotropic Medication. I raise that because in virtually all of the berserker killing sprees of recent years (Columbine – Eric Harris was on Luvoz and Zolofft, Kip Kinkle in Oregon – Prozac, Virginia Tech – Prozac, Joseph Westbecker K.C. Post Office – Prozac, the kid on the Indian Reservation – Prozac – and the list goes on) the shooter was on one or more Psychotopic drugs. One of the known, and labeled, side effects of these drugs is that they can increase psychoses. So, you give someone already tending toward psychoses a drug which which is known to cause psychoses and …

    2. As per usual ignored is that the areas with the highest gun murder rates in the U.S. are generally cities with stringent gun control. The statistics are further fudged by counting gang members, and others, shot by police. Yes it was gun death alright. And that the majority of killings are among criminals killing each other.

    3. The rate of home invasion attacks in Australia WENT UP following the introduction of their draconian gun control laws.

    The majority of killings, and virtually all of the recent killing sprees, fall into one of two categories:

    They were criminals offing each other (thank you War on SOME drugs).

    OR

    They were on one of more Psychotropic Drugs.

    For the record I don’t own a gun, have no burning desire to own one, and don’t hunt. However, I do believe in finding the correct cause to problem and not just latching onto the first superficial “quick fix” which is NOT the cause of the problem.

    The old, almost trite at this point, but still applicable “Guns don’t kill people, People kill people”, is still as true as ever. Honest and rational people don’t go around shooting other people simply because they have a gun, and guns don’t jump off the shelf and shoot someone by themselves. Gun control ultimately is about blaming the tool not examining what caused the tool to be misused.

  53. #54 Greg Laden
    November 20, 2009

    1. He was/is a Psychiatrist and was under watch for his unstable behavior

    Living in a society that does not have the legal or social capacity to disarm such an individual, owing to the lobbying of the NRA. Such a shame.

    So, you give someone already tending toward psychoses a drug which which is known to cause psychoses and …

    and what? What? Take away their firearms? I’d go along with that. Good idea.

    As per usual ignored is that the areas with the highest gun murder rates in the U.S. are generally cities with stringent gun control.

    gun control, yes, maybe most stringent, but not stringent enough, and the gun control did not cause the high murder rates, but instead arose as an inadequate response to the murder rates.

    That this is often criminals killing each other does not bring my neighbor Taisha, who took a bullet while doing her homework inside her house, back to life, and it does not speak to the flow of guns in an essentially gun-happy society.

    I do believe in finding the correct cause to problem and not just latching onto the first superficial “quick fix” which is NOT the cause of the problem.

    If you’ve actually read the extensive discussion on this blog about this issue, you would not be saying something so utterly wrong.

    Read all of this and get back to us:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/politics/gun_ownership/

    Gun control ultimately is about blaming the tool not examining what caused the tool to be misused.

    Actually, it is about who gets to have what guns and under what conditions.

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