Statistics and various studies show that yes, it might, but they also show that having a gun in the home is also potentially very dangerous, so the net aggregate outcome (and economists have strong armed us into thinking that net aggregate outcomes are the only criteria that are acceptable, bless their pointy heads) of having a gun in the home is that someone in your home is more likely to be shot and possibly killed than that the gun will be used to thwart a home invasion.

But enough about facts, let’s look at two very current anecdotal cases and argue about them for a while:

Thwarting a home invasion with a gun:

Sixth Judicial District Judge Shawn Floerke, of Duluth Minnesota used a firearm to “subdue” a man breaking into his house.

…a man who had broken a window at his house in Duluth about 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Floerke grabbed a .45 caliber pistol from his safe in the home. … Floerke detained the 26-year-old Duluth man, who police say was highly intoxicated.

source

Guns in the home can kill you:

In Ohio, a ten year old boy is being charged with the murder of his mother. He shot her to death then told a neighbor about it. Deborah McVay dies of one shot to the head with a .22 caliber rifle. When police investigated, they found the rifle as well as a 12-guage shotgun. Both had been given to the boy by grandpa, who is now deceased.

source source

I think these stories nicely prove the point I’ve made a number of times. By and large guns in the home are dangerous, By and large, people who mess with guns are morons, even though they don’t want to hear this. By and large people who mess with guns are so uptight about regulation that they actually ant-regulate themselves. These two cases show how the situation in this gun-happy context. A law abiding presumably reasonably smart guy who happens to be a judge and is thus familiar with the law and so on keeps his gun in a safe. Frankly, it sounds to me like he probably didn’t need the gun in this case, but he didn’t shoot anyone with it and he kept i locked up. Meanwhile some moron in Ohio gives a little kid two long guns and the kid uses one of them to kill mom dead. By accident or on purpose hardly matters: Had those guns been kept away from the child and locked up, that gun death would not have happened.

Comments

  1. #1 Lorax
    January 5, 2011

    But the little kid could have killed his mom with a baseball bat argument in 3, 2, 1…

  2. #2 Lorax
    January 5, 2011

    You will note that my original comment arrived before you actually posted clearly demonstrating by god-like awesomeness. Please send your tithes via PayPal.

  3. #3 Bjoern Brembs
    January 5, 2011

    I just had this discussion with a friend of mine. Do you have a source for the aggregate outcome statistics?

  4. #4 Tom Hayes
    January 5, 2011

    So no guns in the home. In todays times this does not work. In the event of a home invader (there are thousands monthly that are media blacked out by law enforcement to prevent panic in communities)the Police cannot protect you instantly when you call 911. In over 90% of these cases, they are there to draw a line around the body or take a DNA sample from the raped or beaten person. In my home town there have been 1200 home invasions in the past two years and only 14 reported by local media. The county next to me has had over 2600 in the past two years with less then 20 reported. Law enforcement stopped none of these and there have been less then 100 arrests. This is a national problem. Ideas?

  5. #5 Joel
    January 5, 2011

    But the little kid could have killed his mom with a baseball bat argument in 3, 2, 1…

    The argument works best when you present a seemingly harmless object. I vote for butter knife, better yet, a spoon.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    January 5, 2011

    Tom: So no guns in the home.

    I am pretty sure no one has suggested that.

    In the event of a home invader (there are thousands monthly that are media blacked out by law enforcement to prevent panic in communities)

    No they don’t. In any event, crime stats are not based on the media.

  7. #7 dean
    January 5, 2011

    “(there are thousands monthly that are media blacked out by law enforcement to prevent panic in communities)”

    Conspiracy theorist alert at #4 – notice there is no evidence to back the above assertion or others tom makes.

  8. #8 Who Cares
    January 5, 2011

    As a non gun owner (kind of hard to get in the EU) but having some functional medieval weaponry around the first thing I thought about the kid was why didn’t the kid also get a safety course about handling the weapons.

  9. #9 AC
    January 5, 2011

    The statistics look bad for gun owners in general, but I bet the statistics look much better if you eliminate the bad common sense owners (the ones who keep it loaded, by the bedside, on the mantle, etc.). I wonder what the stats say for safety-trained gun owners who use a gun safe and don’t keep their guns loaded, as well as those who use gun locks?

    There’s probably no way to tell.

  10. #10 Nemo
    January 5, 2011

    So no guns in the home. In todays times this does not work.

    Works fine for me. Here I am, no guns. No home invasions, either.

    Ideas?

    Um… try to be less paranoid?

    Failing that, you could get an alarm system. And if that doesn’t calm you down, there’s always bars on the windows, etc. Not the most attractive look, but it’ll be safer and more effective.

  11. #11 Stephanie Z
    January 5, 2011

    Tom, where did you get those statistics or the idea that they were typical? If we had a national problem of the scale you describe, we’d have had about 3 million robberies in the home in 2009 instead of the 69,000 the FBI reports. And that assumes that all robberies in the home are home invasions, which simply isn’t true. Many of them are the result of other criminal activity, which makes your average law abiding citizen really very safe indeed in the home.

    Bjorn, I ran the best-case scenario here: http://quichemoraine.com/2010/06/gun-protection-best-case-scenario/

  12. #12 Deen
    January 5, 2011

    The first case shows another weak point of the “defense against a home invasion”: in the really dangerous home invasions, does a responsible gun owner really have the time to go to their safe, get tje gun, go to wherever they stored their ammo (not stored in the same place as the gun, if they are a responsible gun owner, right?), load it, and only then point it at the invader?

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    January 5, 2011

    Deen, yes. Unless one does not lock the door and windows and does not have any kind of early warning system like an alarm or a dog. In which case it is hard to be sympthatic.

    The instant response “kill the intruder with the gun on the night stand” method is the one that ends up killing innocents, and is not recommended.

    Not that you should be killing home invaders willy nilly. I mean, unless the assumption is that a break is a death-penalty crime.

  14. #14 Ash
    January 5, 2011

    Very few home invasions lead to someone getting killed or even injured, particularly the “random” break-ins related to robbery. While I don’t live in the US, any time I hear about someone being killed in a home invasion (that I can recall) the victim was involved in drugs/gangs/crime and was specifically targeted. And if someone was breaking into your house with the intent to kill, if you store your guns safely would you actually have time to get them out and ready?

  15. #15 NoAstronomer
    January 5, 2011

    Tom,

    Nicely trolled sir! Excellent use of unverifiable statistics, subtle understatement and a hint of conspiracy. Could use some more invective and possibly an anecdote pulled out of your arse.

    Well done.

    A-

    Michael.

  16. #16 Eric Lund
    January 5, 2011

    The instant response “kill the intruder with the gun on the night stand” method is the one that ends up killing innocents, and is not recommended.

    Not to mention that if you happen to not be in the room where your unsecured gun is, said gun would be on the list of high priority items to steal, so the intruder might end up shooting *you* with your own gun. Or he might get out of there with your gun in his possession. One of the most common ways that guns get into the hands of criminals is when the guns are stolen in burglaries–at least that was true in south Florida in the 1980s, and I assume that’s still the case in areas where both property crime rates and gun ownership rates are high.

  17. #17 rturpin
    January 5, 2011

    “Not that you should be killing home invaders willy nilly. I mean, unless the assumption is that a break-in is a death-penalty crime.”

    You shouldn’t be killing anyone willy-nilly. That home invader might be your drunk neighbor entering the wrong house by mistake.

    That said, I have absolutely no moral qualm about using deadly force against a robber. There is an important difference between taking property in a fashion that doesn’t threaten anyone’s person (burglary or simple larceny), and theft that does threaten an innocent (robbery). Any thief who doesn’t want to risk being shot should make damn sure the house they are targeting is empty. Shooting a robber or mugger or rapist while the crime is in progress is an act of defense.

    Which doesn’t mean any of those crimes merits capital punishment after the fact, when the criminal has been arrested and convicted and is in custody. Surely you recognize the different contexts of judicial punishment and defense during the crime?

  18. #18 Rorschach
    January 5, 2011

    @8 and 17, what does safe handling have to do with anything in this case? The kid didn’t accidentally shoot his mother. Unless he’s mentally challenged, he understood what he was doing and chose to do it knowing full well what the outcome would be. The problem here is not the ability to use a weapon correctly; it’s the accessibility of deadly hardware to someone without the emotional/moral maturity to justify it.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    January 5, 2011

    What about living alone as a hermit and waking up in the middle of the night, seeing a shadow, and instantly grabbing the shotgun you sleep with (loaded) and blasting away the shadow to find out later it was a teenager (now dead) who honestly thought the house was abandoned and entered it on a dare from his stupid-ass friends. That would be a good test case for procedure.

    In other words, is it OK to not have a clue what you are shooting at? Is that good gun practice? It seems to be one of the preferred methods used by people in the home invasion situation.

    Indeed, you are probably more likely to successful kill an innocent than a robber, the innocent thinking “oh, damn, dad’s awake, now I have to come up with some excuse for sneaking out at ni—BAM” … instead of trying to avoid being shot.

  20. #20 Rob Jase
    January 5, 2011

    “By and large guns in the home are dangerous, By and large, people…are morons”

    Fixed it.

  21. #21 L.Long
    January 5, 2011

    Just remember when statistics are present without back up evidence of how they are gathered—they LIE!!

    When someone says you are more likely to be shot by your own gun, or someone used it incorrectly, I would like to know if these are TRAINED or just morons.
    Cuz most morons can hurt themselves and others with a butter knife.

    Don’t own a gun and don’t have break ins. But I do own an 80lb cross bow with darts and can use it very well. Of coarse I can never use the excuse that I did not know it was loaded.
    Also have 2 swords, 4 throwing knives, 6 stars, 2 slings and a spear and a yoyo(think about it). Have never assaulted anyone…yet.

  22. #22 Stephanie Z
    January 5, 2011

    L., what evidence do you have that trained and moron are exclusive categories?

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    January 5, 2011

    Killing someone with a butter knife is possible but only if it is wielded by a trained Ninja.

  24. #24 Warren
    January 5, 2011

    The case of the kid who shot his mom is instructive. Ten-year-olds are not known for high degrees of self-control, intellectual maturity, foresight, empathy, or reliability in linking consequences to actions. This is why they continually do very, very stupid things.

    Allowing a ten-year-old unrestricted access to firearms is the height of folly. It really doesn’t matter how well-behaved Little Johnny might be most of the time. All he needs to do is throw a tantrum once. And at the age of ten, that’s a proximal certainty.

    A part of responsible gun ownership includes taking every reasonable precaution necessary to ensure that a loaded, deadly weapon does not fall into the possession of an untrained person, an unreliable person, or a dangerous person. In most home-protection cases, this at least means keeping the gun in a safe.

    There are electronic gun safes that can be opened with one hand in the dark, provided you know the combination. Had Little Johny’s parents invested in one – or had they simply kept Little Johnny’s guns locked away without giving him access to the key/combination – Little Johnny’s mother would probably still be alive today.

    At least he didn’t take the damned thing to school with him as well.

  25. #25 Brian
    January 5, 2011

    It’s 2011. When do we get the guns from Judge Dredd?

  26. #26 Domestigoth
    January 5, 2011

    This whole comparison seems kind of ridiculous to me, since I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that the judge in the first story could have “subdued” the window-breaking drunk with a baseball bat or other makeshift weapon. No gun required. And while the kid in the second story could *probably* have killed dear mommy with a makeshift weapon, he’d have had a much harder go of it. Although really, I think mommy might have deserved it — who lets a 10 year old have unrestricted access to a deadly weapon?

  27. #27 mehmet
    January 5, 2011

    silaha hayır barışa evet

  28. #28 Tom
    January 5, 2011

    L., what evidence do you have that trained and moron are exclusive categories?

    Agreed! I can tell you that I am one of these gun-owning morons. I have no kids in the house, but still keep trigger locks on. I’ve taken and passed safety courses for my 9 mm and my long gun. But you know what? While I am a self-admitted moron, I do like to think I am at least careful with my firearms. And I am ready for the zombie apocalypse.

  29. #29 feralboy12
    January 5, 2011

    @Tom Hayes:

    I think I see the problem. Those 3800 victims of home invasion were obviously reporting the break-ins to you instead of the proper authorities. I would suggest you take down the “police station” sign in front of your house, and stop wearing the badge you got in your breakfast cereal.

  30. #30 Joel
    January 5, 2011

    Tom,

    How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

    You’ve found out how to take down 500-foot monsters, and learned the secret to terminating Terminators. Now it’s time for the ultimate challenge. How you should arm yourself to survive a zombie apocalypse?

    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2008/04/how-to-battle-z/

  31. #31 Joel
    January 5, 2011

    This, from a link in the Zombie article. The armed professionals don’t do too well in gun fights. Why do civilians think they’ll do better?

    Hit Potential In Gun Fights

    The police officer’s potential for hitting his adversary during armed
    confrontation has increased over the years and stands at slightly over 25% of
    the rounds fired. An assailant’s skill was 11% in 1979.

    In 1990 the overall police hit potential was 19%. Where distances could be
    determined, the hit percentages at distances under 15 yards were:

    Less than 3 yards ….. 38%
    3 yards to 7 yards .. 11.5%
    7 yards to 15 yards .. 9.4%

    In 1992 the overall police hit potential was 17%. Where distances could be
    determined, the hit percentages at distances under 15 yards were:

    Less than 3 yards ….. 28%
    3 yards to 7 yards …. 11%
    7 yards to 15 yards . 4.2%

    http://www.virginiacops.org/Articles/Shooting/Combat.htm

  32. #32 L.Long
    January 5, 2011

    L., what evidence do you have that trained and moron are exclusive categories?

    Well ME!
    I handled guns from age 7. Was TRAINED on how to hold and shoot and made fully aware of what they can do. And that a gun is NOT a toy or to be taken lightly.
    My wife was also raised with them and was shooting in competitions at 5yr along with her sisters when they were old enough. No trigger locks, no locked cabinets, no moronic ‘accidents’.
    May be we were just more mature then most…Ya I like being special and better then most!!! But I don’t think so! Every story I’ve read about morons and guns always involved MORONS!!!

    O gee! I kept my guns hidden from little johnny–how could this happen???

    That’s why it happens! because you(moron) have something dangerous in the home and not everyone(more morons) are TRAINED and instructed and taught, etc.

    Don’t hide dangerous stuff in the home –it will be found!

  33. #33 L.Long
    January 5, 2011

    Joel-31….
    That may be true but are they ‘professionals’.
    Remember cops may go to the range and all but they are NOT trained to shot then ask questions. When they do shoot, they are near persecuted by the IA folks. So that tends to make them hesitate and throw off their aim.
    Also they are usually entering an unknown situation and there may be innocent people involved another hesitation. and going up against others who will shoot 1st, a 3rd hesitation. Not a good environment to accurate shooting.

  34. #34 DRK
    January 5, 2011

    Certainly people who have guns should be required to demonstrate some degree of proficiency in them, said proficiency including not keeping them, unlocked, in the ten year old’s room. Kinda Darwin award-ish, I’m afraid.

    But this could be done. And then people who like to hunt or target shoot could safely have guns in their houses. As my family does, and always has. Some of us have grown up in cultures that have guns around. Banning all guns because some people are idiots or criminals is draconian. Couldn’t we deal with guns’ dangers by education and licensing instead? Like we do with cars, which have killed many, many people, but which mostly don’t, except in the hands of idiots.

    This is a pipe dream though….

  35. #35 Lettuce
    January 5, 2011

    My communist utopia.

    I’d love it. On the other hand, I don’t *think* the constitution is your license, much as you will fetishize it to be.

    You can’t have a nuclear warhead, or a tank.

  36. #36 Rorschach
    January 5, 2011

    Anybody else feel like Sportsmen was probably WAY too excited when he typed all that? Like, the kind of excited that involves fast breathing, a red face, and only one hand on the keyboard?

    If somebody comes into your home and wants to hurt you, then by all means, stop him any way you can. But most mentally healthy individuals don’t get a hard-on over the possibility of murderin’ folk, you sick fucker.

  37. #37 Azkyroth
    January 6, 2011

    Shorter Sportsmen:

    OF COURSE having a gun will help in the case of a home invasion! My GUN will not only make my dick grow enough to be seen by an invader with the naked eye, but make it big enough to scare him shitless! ALL HAIL MY GUN-SWOLLEN DICK!

  38. #38 Alan
    January 6, 2011

    What on earth made you think that data would change anyone’s opinion?

  39. #39 Alan
    January 6, 2011

    Thanks, Sportsman. I love me a good homoerotic fantasy now and then.

  40. #40 Drivebyposter
    January 6, 2011

    This is a national problem. Ideas?

    How about some preventive measures? You know…better locks, alarms, motion sensor lighting around the house.

    I bet any one of these would cut down on the problem.

    Sportsman:
    You are fucking pathetic. You take pride in the fact that you may some day (over)kill someone. How messed up in the head are you?

    And this is coming from someone who owns guns . YOU are the reason gun laws need to exist. The constitution says you have the right to bear arms, not fucking blow away everything in your neighborhood.

    You don’t (neither does Tom) seem smart enough to handle guns safely and frankly you seem like a fucking psychopath. Get some fucking help.

  41. #41 Deen
    January 6, 2011

    @L. Long:

    Remember cops may go to the range and all but they are NOT trained to shot then ask questions. (…) Not a good environment to accurate shooting.

    But isn’t this is even more true for an average person trying to defend themselves during a home invasion?

  42. #42 AC
    January 6, 2011

    @18,

    My point was that the statistics don’t show whether guns in the home CAN be safe STATISTICALLY SPEAKING if certain precautions are taken. Unfortunately, statistics about gun owners who utilize various safety practices probably can’t be found.

  43. #44 Greg Laden
    January 6, 2011

    AC: My point was that the statistics don’t show whether guns in the home CAN be safe STATISTICALLY SPEAKING if certain precautions are taken.

    That is true, but the reason for it is important. Pro-gun people and institutions balk at anyone looking closely at gun ownership or gun safety. The Gun Lobby stands in the way of the science. I would imagine that such statistics would show that better behavior and care in handling leads to a much safer situation, but the average NRA supporter does not want to be told that it is wrong to have his pistol loaded and on his nightstand. Furthermore, if it became generally known that there was a very safe way to handle guns in the home and a very unsafe way, there might be regulation. Gun owners by and large would rather have the carnage of thousands of accidental gun deaths a year than to have a regulation.

    Which is why, for me the starting point of earning my personal respect as a gun owner, is zero. To me, gun owners come to the conversation as presumed irrational, because that has been my experience. Sorry, but true. Despite this there are many heavily armed citizens who are quite rational gun owners commenting on this discussion here or blogging about it elsewhere, Stephanie and Warren being two of them.

  44. #45 Warren
    January 6, 2011

    Gosh, thanks for the mention, Greg; I appreciate it. :)

    Sportsman @35 seems to be a drive-by troll. Stopped long enough to fire his gun-centric bukkake, spew (!) a lot of misunderstanding about the Constitution*, then vamoose.

    Too bad. It’s always amusing to see living proof of just how nutty NRA members** can actually be, and it’s even more fun to pick on them.

    ==

    * It’s the Bill of Rights that contains Amendment II, not the Constitution, and it’s amazing how few gun owners pay attention to that “well-regulated” part.

    ** An assumption, but probably a valid one – unless Sportsman thinks the NRA isn’t extreme enough.

  45. #48 mikeb302000
    January 8, 2011

    Thanks for a wonderful post and a great comment thread.

    I agree with the original idea expressed. It’s far more likely for most people with a gun to have that gun misused than to one day use it to save the day.

    It’s a no-brainer, which is why the pro-gun crowd have such a hard time with it.

  46. #49 bcoppola
    January 8, 2011

    @WhoCares #8

    As a non gun owner (kind of hard to get in the EU) but having some functional medieval weaponry around…

    …they can have my mace and halberd when they pry them from my cold, dead hands! :)

  47. #50 hvn4bid
    February 7, 2011

    No matter what, gun owners are screwed. Media does not do anything but report the negativity of owning a firearm. Thy report all the bad because thats what sells. You never read or hear the media report that an armed citizen foiled a robbery or had saved a life of an officer in distress!! This happen lots of times but no one knows about it.

  48. #51 Greg Laden
    February 7, 2011

    hvn4bidf, do you honestly believe that? Can you provide evidence that this happens “all the time”?

  49. #52 Tommykey
    February 7, 2011

    You never read or hear the media report that an armed citizen foiled a robbery or had saved a life of an officer in distress!! This happen lots of times but no one knows about it.

    Really? I read stories like that quite often. Maybe it’s a New York thing.

  50. #53 Heriberto
    September 26, 2011

    If we have guns in the house is a good thing to keep watch during a robbery at the house. But we also must keep the weapon very well so it can not harm anyone else. Therefore you should keep your arms from your child.

  51. #54 Raging Bee
    September 26, 2011

    You haven’t cured cancer yet.

    And you haven’t made the public safer yet either. Your point…?

  52. #55 Kevin
    September 16, 2012

    Exactly what, in the event of someone breaking into a house in the middle of the night, does having a unloaded gun locked in a safe do for you? How many bleary eyed people can say that, with any speed or efficiency can open and load a gun before said home invader gets to you? I mean, by no means do I consider my gun nut, but I keep it loaded. Now, on the contrary to this, when I have kids, I already have a wall safe in the closet to put it in. I’m just saying that it’s unlikely that an unloaded, locked up gun is going to do a lick of good in the event of someone breaking into your house with the intent to harm.

  53. #56 Greg Laden
    September 16, 2012

    Keyword: bleary eyed.

    Case closed

  54. #57 RedScourge
    December 15, 2012

    Firearm related deaths in the US occur at about the same frequency as drowning deaths, and pools and public beaches are required by law to have constant supervision. There aren’t even annual mental health assessments for firearm owners, which would seem like a prudent measure, yet despite that, they do pretty well all things considering. I hear very little talk about banning swimming pools, but very much of banning firearms.

  55. #58 Bill McGonigle
    New Hampshire
    December 17, 2012

    What’s missing from this is that you’re comparing gun accidents at home with protecting the home while completely ignoring that the guns kept at home are taken outside the home and crimes are prevented there.

    If we consider the CDC’s counting of 600 accidental deaths per year and the FBI’s numbers that 1 in 100 violent crimes result in a homicide, and also the FBI’s number that 108,000 gun uses per year are used to stop violent crimes, then it’s already above break-even on risk: 1080 vs ~600.

    But if you realize that the FBI’s survey requires people to admit to a Federal Agent that they may have committed a crime to answer in the positive, and look at other studies, the number of averted crimes climbs to 1.5M (in the DoJ study) or up to 2.4 million in other studies (though their methods of questioning only ‘victims’ has been questioned as to its accuracy).

    If we look at the DoJ number and the FBI ratio, it’s possible that 15,000 homicides a year are prevented by gun owners. Who keep those guns in the home (at least when they’re at home.)

  56. #59 Greg Laden
    December 17, 2012

    Bill, I think you should stop reading the World Nut daily.

  57. #60 William
    Texas
    December 18, 2012

    I am an avid gun collector. I was raised with guns in the home (Father was in law enforcement for 32 years) and on how to handle/use them properly. As I was taught, you NEVER point a gun at something, unless you intend to shoot it but if I do point a gun at something I DO intend to shoot it. I would have no qualms about pulling the trigger on someone that broke into my house and tried to hurt my family or my person.

    I have no problem with laws that prevent people from purchasing guns unless they are able to to PROVE that they can safely handle, use and store them as well as pass proficiently testing. You should not HIDE the guns in your house but teach those in your household what they are and what they are/are not used for. The best way to get a child interested in something is to tell them “no” and hide it.

    That said, I find it quite ridiculous that I can go to any gun store, Walmart or pawn shop and purchase a rifle or shotgun with little more than cash in hand but have to go through a background check and waiting period to purchase a handgun.

    I see no problem with mandatory background checks on EVERY firearm purchase and not just a flimsy check. A serious, in-depth look at the person. Seriously, a person can go buy a shotgun but cannot get a passport , cannot get a CHL, can have their driver’s license revoked, etc all for having child support in arrears. I just don’t see how that’s possible; it doesn’t make sense, to me, at least.

    People need to store guns in the home properly. The one I keep for personal protection is on my side of the bed, bolted to the floor in a finger scan lock box. The rest are locked away in a combination gun safe with gunlocks (I have more gun locks than I have guns). I’m sure someone could eventually get at them but I feel that I have taken every precaution to make sure there are no accidental shootings in my house, that no visitor or visitor’s child could randomly come across or actively search out my firearms to use for any reason.

    Sorry for the long rant but i am so tired of hearing people that are so far to one side or the other. It’s either “guns are the problem and should be banned completely” or “Guns are the only way to protect ourselves and no one can tell us what kind of gun I can own”.

    There are a lot of responsible gun owners out there but there seems to be just as many idiots that own guns. Personally, I’d rather have my gun and NEVER need it than to need it and NOT have it.

  58. #61 Doug Smith
    Ohi
    December 25, 2012

    Defence is 100 times harder than offence! You can have 20 guns laying around your house for easy acess and I can come to your front door with apackage or notebook looking perfectly innocent and the second you open the door I put gun in your face and say let me in or die! You could have a concealed weapon and I walk up and stick a gun in your back and say let’s go to the ATM and you get me some money. Unless I am a stupid criminal after robbing you I would make sure that you would not immeadiately call the police or get a gun and shoot me. My options are tying you up, knocking you out or shooting you. But knowing that if I shoot you they look real hard. So if I don’t hurt you they just write a police report and let the insurance cover it. Guns are very effective at making you feel protected but in reality He who shoots first nearly always wins and you never know if the other guy is going first!

  59. #62 Pete
    Kalamazoo, MI
    January 7, 2013

    “I think these stories nicely prove the point I’ve made a number of times. By and large guns in the home are dangerous” What a stupid statement. Clearly, at best, it’s a fifty fifty split. The incident with the judge, proves NOTHING of your point. The second one is the irresponible actions of the mother, for not securing the guns.

  60. #63 Greg Laden
    January 7, 2013

    Pete: You’re right, the stories don’t prove the point, they demonstrated it, exemplify it, illustrate it, underscore it. The studies prove it.

  61. #64 Ramon Heard jr
    Georgia
    January 16, 2013

    So, some people think that banning assault weapons or trading in your guns in a buy back program is the best way to keep innocent people from getting hurt. Great idea, now all you have to do is try and explain that to the criminal who is in your home or business, the robber who is about to rob you or your family, the rapist who is gang rapping you wife, daughter or child, the mentally ill person who’s 4 feet in front of you with a bog knife.

    Please share with me your idea on how to get out of hat situation and ill be very happy to turn in my guns. In the meanwhile, you defend your life your way and ill defend my life my way. I don’t want anyone having a conversation on my behalf on how to protect me when I or some other person has only a split second to stay alive.

  62. #65 Greg Laden
    January 16, 2013

    Ramon, the argument that because there are criminals laws against crimes should not exist is no longer valid in this debate. We’ve moved on.

  63. #66 Phill McDonald
    New Jersey
    April 2, 2013

    2600 people die each year. Needlessly, I must add, are practically murdered because of the carelessness of others, and all attributed to something that would so easily safe these nearly 3000 innocent victims of a senseless national tradgety. Yet Americans are too stupid to realize that to give up a little personal freedom would save so many lives. And to think, all we have to do is give up cell phones while driving. Yup, 2600 people died last year in automobile accidents attributed to cell phones. Cell phone use while driving is not a constitutional right, not somehting that you use to protect your family (while driving!) or help deter aggressive anti-liberty totolitarian governments. But yet the media doesn’t report this. I guess it would be too unpopular to have the president surrounded by the grieving families of 2600 dead people on TV and declare executive action to curb cell phone use by driver by eliminating all cell phones across the nation. Oh well.

  64. #67 Phill McDonald
    New Jersey
    April 2, 2013

    2600 people die each year. Needlessly, I must add, are practically murdered because of the carelessness of others, and all attributed to something that would so easily save these nearly 3000 innocent victims of a senseless national tragedy. Yet Americans are too stupid to realize that to give up a little personal freedom would save so many lives. And to think, all we have to do is give up cell phones while driving. Yup, 2600 people died last year in automobile accidents attributed to cell phones. Cell phone use while driving is not a constitutional right, not something that you use to protect your family (while driving!) or help deter aggressive anti-liberty totalitarian governments. But yet the media doesn’t report this. I guess it would be too unpopular to have the president surrounded by the grieving families of 2600 dead people on TV and declare executive action to curb cell phone use by driver by eliminating all cell phones across the nation. Oh well.

  65. #68 Greg Laden
    April 3, 2013

    Phil, if some tough guy came over to you with a baseball bat and hit you in the head 20 times, causing brain damage and permenant disfigurement, that would be OK. Or at least, that would be OK according to your logic, because there is surely some other thing out there, some other category of injurious event, that has more.

    But anyway, you are wrong if you are trying to make an order of magnitude argument. It takes only a few months of guns going off in the US to kill the total number killed in cars each year.

    You are wrong if you are making a “don’t don nothin” argument because the number of people killed in car accidents relative to guns has gone down BECAUSE WE MADE CAR OWNERSHIP A SAFETY ISSUE and we have not made gun ownership a safety issue. But we are now, so that will change. Get used to it.

    You are also wrong in another way that makes me laught (at, not with, you). Cell phones actually DO function to reduce the effects of a repressive government. Guns don’t.

  66. #69 John
    St. Louis, MO
    May 7, 2013

    Here are two more stories about so called uptight morons.

    They are both shortened, but you can find both by doing a search using the names of the victims.
    1. Bob Lohman, 64, and his wife, Charlene, 57, were in the living room, watching television shortly after 9 p.m. Wednesday. Bob Lohman glanced over at French-style doors, which lead to the yard, and saw a man looking at them. Then a brick flew through the glass, and the doors swung open. Carlton grabbed Charlene Lohman, dragged her to the floor, and began beating her. Lohman tried to get Carlton off his wife, but couldn’t so he went upstairs, grabbed a .38 caliber revolver and warned Carlton several times to get off his wife. When Carlton didn’t, Lohman shot him once in the upper torso and called police.
    2. The sisters are identified as Donna Carlyle, 47, and Debbie Keeney, 55. Keeney had gone out for an overnight cigarette when the suspect forced his way in. She was struck. When the suspect began to choke Carlyle, Keeney got her gun and warned the man to get out of the apartment. When he did not stop his attack, she fired several shots at him. A small caliber derringer was recovered at the scene.
    Both incidents happened in less than six months less than 25 miles form me.
    Yep guns bad.

  67. #70 Greg Laden
    May 8, 2013

    A few years back one of my neighbors shot a teenager dead. The teenager was convinced by his friend that a certain house was abandoned and dared him to go in, which he did. The old guy who lived there kept his doors unlocked and a firearm loaded by his bed. He heard the kid walking down the hallway and fired into the dark.

    A few more miles away, last Thanksgiving, there was a series of breakins, teenagers looking for pharmaceuticals. A guy who lived in that neighborhood set up a trap and killed the two teenagers ,even though they had given up and were unarmed. (He admitted this to the police a few days later when he finally called them to tell him about the bodies in his basement.)

    Here’s the interesting thing: The first guy was lauded as a hero by his gun-nut neighbors, no charges were filed and there were no serious questions asked. The second guy, much more recently, is being charged with homicide.

    The world is changing. Many of us, a majority of Americans perhaps, are tired of your shit.

    Yep guns bad. Indeed.

  68. #71 John
    May 8, 2013

    While I will admit that the first shooting mentioned in the above story was questionable and the second one was defiantly unjustified and should be prosecuted, I have to ask what the two people in the stories I noted should have done differently? These kinds of attacks are not rare. In fact one of the local papers recently did a story on the increase in home invasions. An elderly person can’t run and can’t fight. What should they do?

    Do we ban SUVs because some nut used on to mow down a bunch of kids on a college campus? Do we ban cars and alcohol because hundreds of people get drunk and kill innocent people on the road? No we don’t, but we do, sometimes prosecute the ones that are responsible.

  69. #72 Greg Laden
    May 8, 2013

    Those kinds of attacks are rare and you are cherry picking.

  70. #73 John
    St. Louis
    May 9, 2013

    Actually they are not as rare as you may think. On a website I frequent I have been posting one incident a day where someone uses a gun to defend themselves. I have been at it for just under two months. I almost never have to look very hard and most days I can have my choice of stories. The reason you don’t hear about it is because if no one is killed you don’t see it in the press. In most cases of self-defense with a gun the victim never has to pull the trigger. Even if someone is killed you only hear about it in the local media. As for home invasions there are no good numbers. Only about five states have a crime listed as “home invasion” in the other states it is logged as assault, burglary, robbery, vandalism or trespassing. Even the FBI doesn’t track home invasion as an individual crime.

    If you want to find how common self-defense is there are places on the net that collect stories about self-defense. Obviously they are pro second amendment sights.

    Here are two incidents for you to look up.

    The first is from July of 2007. Understand I have a wife and five kids including three daughters. I can’t even imagine what Mr. Petit went through. “Dr. William Petit”

    Second is form may of 2012 being a paratrooper this one also hit me hard. “Bob and Nancy Strait”.

    Both of these crimes made the national news for a split second. Just Google the names I have in quotations. Both should turn your stomach.

    I hunt and my in-laws have livestock and hunt. They use fire arms to provide food for their families and to defend the livestock. I don’t know where you are from but they live in rural Missouri and we have bobcats, raccoons, opossums and fox, all of which will take chickens and ducks. We also have a problem with coyotes and they will take a goat. In the last five years cougars have also made something of a comeback. In fact one was seen less than 30 miles from down town St. Louis.

    I only kill what I plan to eat. Last year I only got one deer. That deer put close to 200lbs of meat on the table. My wife stays home and cares for my mom and our kids. That 200lbs of meat was no small thing. My wife’s brother doesn’t buy any meat. He hunts and fishes for all of their meat.

    The two stories I mentioned in my earlier post happened less than 30 minutes from me in under six months. So that isnt realy cheary picking. It’s more like a ripe apple that fall into your hands. In the last year there have been others here in St. Louis that were not as sensational or as well covered. So yes I also have a gun for self-defense. Do I think something like this will happen to me? NO. But I’m not going to say it won’t or can’t happen either, and I am prepared.

  71. #74 Evan R
    whiting in
    June 11, 2013

    im a victim of a home invasion that occured on dec,19 2012. i walked into my apt i was staying at the time and usualy allways lock my door behind me… unfortunatly i did not lock my door this day i sat down in my living room to watch t.v and yes i had a fire arm in my home a 20 gauge shotgun which was kept in my closet due to the fact alot of my family members told me to keep it away and out of sight… anyways back to the subject i sat down not 5 mins after i look up and i notice my door slowly opening. i instantly was shocked dident understand why my door was opening untill boom… i see it 2 guy first one is inside before i can stand up the second follows into my one bedroom apt hold an ak-47 at shoulder level. i had no time to react let alone go to grab my gun so i did what most people would never do and would believe a crazy move but i ran at the invaders and attacked with all of my will. i could not overpower the 2 men and was beaten on the back of neck with the rifle untill i hear the guy scream to the other just shoot him and the cock of the rifle sound in my ears and feeling the barrel jamed into my lower back on the spine. the gun did not go off but i was agian beaten on and handcuffed. the most dramtic situation ive even been through and i wouldent wish it upon anyone people are crazy nowadays keep your doors lock plz dubble check so u never have to experince something this shocking i am only 19 years old and my life has been changed by this

  72. #75 Evan R
    whiting in
    June 11, 2013

    also to add to a previous commet ive read yes the police do keep thing such as this on the “hush hush” they do not want people to be scared and freaked out but people need to knwo what is out there and what could happen to any of us at any moment gangs and crime in this country are an issue to all ages young and old we need to join together to prevent these damn gangs and the violence they bring upon the innocent people of our communitys once agian im 19 years old and i am a victim of a home invasion and gun violence

  73. #76 John
    St. Louis, M.O.
    June 25, 2013

    Greg you may want to check your claim that “It takes only a few months of guns going off in the US to kill the total number killed in cars each year.”
    Here are the 2010 numbers from the CDC.
    Killed with a firearm 31,672 of that number 19,392 were suicides. That’s about 61%.
    That leaves 12,280 that were accidental or homicide. This number also includes criminals killed by the police or the intended victim of a crime.
    Killed in auto accidents 35,498. To be fair only 114 of those were suicide leaving 35,384.

  74. #77 Greg Laden
    June 25, 2013

    You’re right: The number of deaths currently by gunfire and auto are about the same from year to year. So, the number of months is 12!

  75. #78 Eric
    ND
    September 21, 2013

    I’m glad that Greg is in a position where’s he is able to be ignorant and completely believe in what he’s saying. No one believes in small children having access to guns. Yet, I’m also going to assume that Greg doesn’t believe that anyone has every been raped, beaten, or otherwise victimized in his home. For his sake, I hope he is able to stay in his ignorant state. If something happens so that he can’t, he may never be heard from again. There’s a strange disconnect from personal responsibility in this country. Greg has it. Maybe he can overcome it.

  76. #79 Greg Laden
    September 21, 2013

    Eric, small children often have access to guns whether anyone believes they should or not. The owner of a gun that a child gains access to is responsible for whatever happens after that.

    So let’s take an example. You. I’m thinking you’v got at least one firearm in your home that is loaded and not locked in a safe of some kind. Right?

  77. #80 Artor
    September 21, 2013

    It’s tremendously annoying that the pro-gun crowd cannot hear anything from the responsible faction other than, “We’re coming to take ALL the guns!!!” Nobody is pushing for a complete gun ban, and yes, the 2nd Amendment does indeed guarantee that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. However, despite our rights to travel freely, we are required to undertake driver’s training, and maintain a license, insurance & registration to operate a car. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to require gun owners to undergo safety training, licensing, registration and yes, insurance. Your gun is a dangerous and deadly tool; that’s the entire reason people own them. You can have all the guns you want, so long as you can show that you can handle them responsibly. Can’t do that? Then you are exactly the person who should not have a gun.

  78. #81 Greg Laden
    September 21, 2013

    I never did before, but I’ve changed my position: Complete ban on all guns and repeal the 2nd amendment. Then, from there, we negotiate. I’m tired of negotiating from our current position. Several decades of trying to be reasonable has not worked.

    What’s that thing about the definition of insanity?

  79. #82 dsmccoy
    United States
    September 22, 2013

    If you look at the history, the impetus for the 2nd was for states to be able to keep a “well regulated militia” so they could stop the federal government from doing something crazy like sending the US army down to force them to free their slaves.
    We already fought that war. The slave owners lost. The second amendment has outlived its original purpose.

  80. #83 jc
    March 20, 2014

    When I first met my neighbor 10 years ago I would occasionally notice he had a holstered pistol sticking out of his waistband. Nice guy, but not a cop, so I asked him about it. He told me he would show me and fetched an old scrapbook. Inside was a news clipping about how two armed thugs kicked his front door down one night. He killed one and wounded the other before they could do anything. He lamented his gun instructor told him the best to way to keep a gun safe and a family safe…keep it strapped to your hip at home. I followed suit and did the same….when seconds count, the last thing you want to do during a home invasion is have to go fetch and load a gun. Granted, you have to sleep sometime but still, the gun is close and ready.

  81. #84 Wessen Smith
    July 27, 2014

    Morons live in the now (what happens now is all their tiny brain can process).
    The fact it throughout history the governments that the people put in place – disarmed the people and then killed them. This occurred a lot.
    In todays society, those towns and cities that allow conceal carry have greatly reduced crime and reduced murder rates because many can defend themselves.

  82. #85 Greg Laden
    July 27, 2014

    Higher prevalence of guns is associated with higher rates of crime and higher rates of injury and death assocaited with guns, so no, you’ve got that wrong.