For starters, I’ve put a bunch of videos including a must see by Jon Steward and another must see by Melissa Harris-Perry HERE. Following is a veritable carnival of topical and timely posts, stories, and sites:

Warning shot: Gun violence lands US lowest life expectancy among rich nations

Widespread gun ownership and lax firearms controls were deemed major reasons for the US topping a list of violent deaths in wealthy nations. The study comes amid a fiery gun control debate, triggered by the fatal school shooting at Sandy Elementary.

The 378-page survey by a panel of experts from the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council, listed unintentional injuries, quite often caused by guns, among reasons why people in America die young more often than in other countries.

The Hitler gun control lie: Gun rights activists who cite the dictator as a reason against gun control have their history dangerously wrong

This week, people were shocked when the Drudge Report posted a giant picture of Hitler over a headline speculating that the White House will proceed with executive orders to limit access to firearms. The proposed orders are exceedingly tame, but Drudge’s reaction is actually a common conservative response to any invocation of gun control.

The NRA, Fox News, Fox News (again), Alex Jones, email chains, Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, Gun Owners of America, etc., all agree that gun control was critical to Hitler’s rise to power. Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (“America’s most aggressive defender of firearms ownership”) is built almost exclusively around this notion, popularizing posters of Hitler giving the Nazi salute next to the text: “All in favor of ‘gun control’ raise your right hand.”

In his 1994 book, NRA head Wayne LaPierre dwelled on the Hitler meme at length, writing: “In Germany, Jewish extermination began with the Nazi Weapon Law of 1938, signed by Adolf Hitler.”

Nine Media Myths About Proposals To Strengthen Gun Laws

Is any attempt to regulate firearms a violation of the Second Amendment?

Is it true that weaker gun laws lead to lower crime rates?

Does the public support gun violence prevention measures?

Does the NRA have the ability to remove from office politicians who support stronger gun laws?

Have any proposals been put forward which would result in federal gun confiscation?

Are guns that are commonly called assault weapons more dangerous than other firearms?

Are sellers at gun shows required to perform a background check on buyers?

Would closing the private sales loophole prevent private citizens from selling firearms?

Has the Obama administration proposed using an executive order to outlaw certain firearms?

EXCLUSIVE: Unmasking the NRA’s Inner Circle

The resurgent debate over gun control has put a spotlight on the hardline leaders of the National Rifle Association. In the wake of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre delivered a full-throated rejection of gun control and called for more firearms in schools, while David Keene, the group’s president, predicted the failure of any new assault weapons ban introduced in Congress. The two NRA figureheads purported to speak for more than 4 million American gun owners, though the group’s membership may in fact be smaller.

Local Gun Control Advocate Talks About Meeting At White House

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The National Rifle Association and Wal-Mart, the largest gun retailer in the country, are set to meet with Vice President Biden today at the White House; all part of his gun violence task force. This comes a day after the Vice President met with gun control advocates.

Shira Goodman, Executive Director of CeasefirePA, along with the others from around the country brought some common ideas and hopes at the White House.

“There was a focus not just on the general idea of background checks on all guns, but making sure all states share their mental health records with the federal database.”

Where Congress Stands on Guns

In the aftermath of the Newtown tragedy, President Obama on Wednesday announced new national gun control measures. He has already urged members of Congress to do the same. Here is our comprehensive look at where lawmakers stand on guns, as well as political spending and voting history. Explore and share what you think Congress should do about guns in this country.

A message to the Republicans about gun background checks

The message to Republicans and some Democrats who are still walking the walk and talking the talk of the gun rights extremists came from an unlikely source today. Frank Luntz, Republican pollster, wrote in the Washington Post today about how wrong the Republicans have been about their messaging and their extreme language. Here is what Luntz had to say about the language regarding guns and gun policy:

“Beyond fiscal policy, Republicans need to revamp their messaging on other issues. For example, the tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., offered Republicans a chance to discuss public safety — a more personal issue than “crime” — on a human level. That hasn’t happened, but it still can. Most people agree that there is a middle ground between gun-control hard-liners, who see every crime as an excuse to enact new laws, and the National Rifle Association, which sees every crime as an excuse to sell more guns. The Second Amendment deserves defending, but do Republicans truly believe that anyone should be able to buy any gun, anywhere, at any time? If yes, they’re on the side of less than 10 percent of America. If not, they need to say so.”

Luntz’s question is an important one and one raised on my blog often….

Letter to Eric Cantor. Gun-Related Deaths in US Children: Government Complicity

Dear Representative Cantor:

I direct this correspondence to you due to your leadership position in the House, your record on ‘gun rights’ legislation that has earned you an A rating by the National Rifle Association (NRA), and because your party this past election cycle received 89% of the political contributions issued by the NRA – this nation’s leading ‘gun rights’ lobbying organization. You are listed as the 4th leading recipient of such contributions in the House.

I write you not only as a concerned citizen and parent regarding the issue of gun violence in America, but as an individual whose career involved responsibility for assessing and reporting product safety in a federally regulated industry (pharmaceuticals). I have held senior executive positions, consulted for corporations, and have been before government regulators on numerous occasions. Unlike most (if not all) consumer products, guns remain unregulated for health and safety. In the industry where I worked, federal law required us to not only assure the safety of our products, but that we take steps to reduce risk, finding an optimal balance between benefit and risk….

Newtown-Based Gun Industry Trade Association Begins Celebration of Guns This Week in Vegas

While America continues to grieve over the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School and begins looking for answers, for Newtown-based National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the gun industry’s multi-million dollar trade association, it’s back to business as usual.

Faced, in its own hometown, with the real-world horror that can be inflicted with the military-style weapons it helps market and has tried to euphemistically “rebrand” as “modern sporting rifles,” NSSF took a page out of the National Rifle Association’s post-tragedy playbook. It issued a short notice of sympathy and then refused to talk to the press, hoping, as has happened all too many times before, that public anguish and anger would fade as time passed.

In Wake of Newtown, It’s Time for America to Meet the NRA

This week, America has been taken aback by the National Rifle Association’s ad politicizing President Obama’s daughters. With this latest episode, it’s become patently obvious that unhinged attacks are the NRA leadership’s calling card. As pundits cover the obstructionism and handwringing of high-profile NRA executives like David Keene, it’s important to take a look at lesser-known NRA leaders and understand just how far to the fringe the organization has moved in recent decades.

New investigative reporting by Frank Smyth in Mother Jones — that complements my organization’s Meet the NRA website — reveals the NRA’s eerie connection to the Newtown tragedy. Smyth discovered that the NRA nominating committee that plays a key role in deciding who is on the NRA’s board is run by Newtown resident Patricia Clark, and also includes George K. Kollitides II, the chief executive of the company that made the AR-15 used in the shooting.

Gun Appreciation Day Isn’t Shared By The Victims Of Around 370 Thousand Gun Crimes A Year

Sunday, our President, Barack Obama, gave the oath of office of President of the United States in the Oval Office, officially beginning his second term in that role, by the will of the American people.

Today, Monday the 21st of January, he gives his inaugural speech, on the same day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

But back on Saturday, when the rest of America was gearing up for this momentous occasion, the gun lobbies had a different agenda. They, instead, chose to make up a new day, which they called “Gun Appreciation Day.” A day made up by a White Supremacist Group. From the article:

Comments

  1. #1 richard benton
    illinois
    January 23, 2013

    hitler:are you kidding-hitler ARMED his nation to the teeth with guns.this arbitrary distinction between private guns and military guns is insane.we need to disarm EVERYBODY.military and civilian.hunting.ok-right now our closest relatives in the wild(apes)are facing extinction-bushmeat trade-facilitated by guns.dont insult me by reminding me that getting rid of guns wont end violence.DUHHH.it will however make it that much harder to execute(pun intended

  2. #2 Charlie Tall
    United States
    January 24, 2013

    So far this year in Tennessee, large truck violence has been responsible for 12 deaths. Drug violence (a.k.a. OD) has claimed at least four more lives, while abortion violence resulted in the death of one mother and over 120 babies.

  3. #3 Michael Brown
    Australia
    January 24, 2013

    Some readers may be interested in an article I wrote for The Conversation (Australia) which discusses how the gun lobby misuses Australian crime stats in an attempt to (falsely) show gun laws increase crime. Many pseudo-science techniques come into play including cherry picking and inventing numbers. The article is online at http://theconversation.edu.au/faking-waves-how-the-nra-and-pro-gun-americans-abuse-australian-crime-stats-11678

  4. #4 Mark
    January 25, 2013

    So far this year in Tennessee, large truck violence has been responsible for 12 deaths. Drug violence (a.k.a. OD) has claimed at least four more lives, while abortion violence resulted in the death of one mother and over 120 babies.

    Classic troll. Nothing can be done about one problem until x, y, and z are fixed, and by the way ABORTION!!!11!!

    Anyway, you should remember Greg that repetition of the myth reinforces the myth. Instead try a positive restatement of the actual fact. Hitler was against gun control, and armed everybody. Didn’t stop tyranny.

    I also have to say, the second amendment hasn’t exactly been pulling it’s weight around here either. What’s with the steady erosion of our civil rights? Guns are like dreamcatchers, but for crazy wingers rather than hippies, they’re mystic totem to keep back the bad juju. Why didn’t they stop the patriot act? Extreme rendition? The loss of habeus corpus? Drone use in the US for crime? Traffic cameras (they might actually work for that)? NSA wiretapping?

    Guns are actually very poor at keeping us safe from government intrusion (or anything else for that matter – every study shows your own gun is more likely to kill you). We need more civil rights and privacy lawyers, not more guns. It’s citizen pushback against intrusive laws, representative government that serves the people, and an independent judiciary that keeps us free. The second amendment? Worthless.

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    January 25, 2013

    I like comment #4

  6. #6 Charlie Tall
    January 26, 2013

    @Mark

    I was not trying to pick a fight or muddy the water, but rather to offer a comment to start you thinking along a different, more promising lines. Obviously, this escaped you as have several other concepts.

    My point was two-fold. First, there are many forms of violence in our society, but, upon analysis, only one: human violence.

    I know that’s somewhat Confucian; no pun intended.

    Second, that blaming the tool is totally asinine.

    The fact of violence in our society is not attributable to guns, eighteen-wheeler trucks, abortions, drugs, or all of these combined. They are only symptoms. The real source of the disease is human nature. A.k.a., the human being.

    Unfortunately, human beings and society are synonymous, so we’re stuck with violence. It’s going to happen. The only way we can REDUCE it is by changing human beings, i.e., human nature, and that ain’t easy.

    The entirety of human experience demonstrates one simple fact: if a person really wants to commit evil, he or she will find a way. So the obvious conclusion is that we must reduce the desire to commit evil rather than the method or means.

    Taking guns away from people is not likely to reduce violence. The real facts show this to be true, not Mark’s incomplete, erroneous, and simplistic claims.

    Contrary to Mark’s sophomoric idea of what “every study shows,” guns are far more likely to save their owners than to kill them. You see, Mark, a homicide does not have to result every time a gun is successfully used to defend oneself.

    Over ninety percent of the time a gun is drawn in defense, the situation is ended without a shot being fired. Over ninety percent of the time when a shot is fired, the threat is eliminated without anyone being killed. Indeed, sixty percent of the time a shot is fired, no one is even wounded.

    In the overwhelming majority of situations the mere presence of a gun is sufficient to end the threat; no shot need ever be fired, no one harmed, and no deaths resulting.

    But no figures are kept on exactly how many times a gun is used to save someone. The percentages I cited are the result of several surveys, not government-required and maintained databases.

    And because of the obvious bias of the media, even the anecdotal data is never heard.

    My personal experience has been that I had to drawn my assigned weapon on somewhat less than a dozen occasions (that I recall), but I did not discharge (fire) it. The one time I did fire it, off-duty, in a personal situation, and in self-defense, I stopped a violent crime that was about to be committed upon me and my wife.

    Guns, therefore, are a means of effecting change in human nature. I.e., they scare the hell out of miscreants, violent criminals, and human predators. Guns modify the behavior of sociopaths by FORCING them to behave or by hurting them if they do not.

    Both outcomes are eminently beneficial to society.

    Police carry guns to protect themselves. If that is valid and justified for them, why is it not for the common citizen?

    Justifiable homicides by civilians number almost as many as those done by police. In 2010, law enforcement officers in the US justifiably killed 387 felons; private citizens justifiably killed 278 people during the commission of a crime, most of these were with firearms.

    In Russia where they have strict gun control and virtually no civilian firearms other than shotguns and hunting rifles, the murder rate is over twice what we have in the US (10.2 vs 4.8). In Japan where private gun ownership is almost forbidden, we find a suicide rate nearly twice ours (21.9 vs 12.0). In Switzerland where every adult male under 60 years is required to maintain a fully automatic assault rifle in his household, the murder rate is 1/9-th ours (0.7 vs 4.8), but the suicide rate is almost the same as ours (11.1 vs 12.0). In Iraq where every adult male is permitted to own a real AK47 assault rifle, non-political murder (those that are not assassination/warfare) is almost unknown (0.8 per 100k est).

    By the way, the murder rate in the UK is only 1/4-th that in the US, but their total violent crime rate is way more than double ours (103 vs 38) In Australia where the murder rate is 1/5-th ours, the incident of rape is nearly four times that in the US (92 vs 29).

    Could it be that the difference, the advantage in these rates for the US is due to the many times guns are used in defense when a shot is not fired? When someone is not killed? When the mere presence of a firearm is sufficient to end the threat? When you, Mark, do not hear of it?

    So the one thing, the one simple fact demonstrated by these figures is that availability of guns, conversely gun control, is not going to get you much, if anything.

    Better you spend your time, effort, and resources on modifying human nature by instilling in our people the concepts of a supreme being, absolute right and wrong, and the virtues of kindness, generosity, and brotherly love.

  7. #7 Mark
    January 26, 2013

    I was not trying to pick a fight or muddy the water, but rather to offer a comment to start you thinking along a different, more promising lines. Obviously, this escaped you as have several other concepts.

    Very unlikely.

    My point was two-fold. First, there are many forms of violence in our society, but, upon analysis, only one: human violence.

    And all kinds of death to, but in the end, only equilibrium.

    I know that’s somewhat Confucian; no pun intended.

    Mine is more clever

    Second, that blaming the tool is totally asinine.

    Except when that tool makes something very, very, easy. This is the frozen-banana argument as I’ve come to call it, after one of my commenters suggested you might as well ban frozen foods because hey, bludgeoning with a frozen banana right? Wrong. Weapons designed for mass violence make mass violence easier. And how about the converse of the frozen banana? Why not make C4 legal? Grenades? Hey, they’re just inanimate objects (like we don’t regulate tons of inanimate objects) it’s people that they kill. I should be able to own weaponized anthrax for defense against tyranny! Nonsense.

    The fact of violence in our society is not attributable to guns, eighteen-wheeler trucks, abortions, drugs, or all of these combined. They are only symptoms. The real source of the disease is human nature. A.k.a., the human being.

    This must be why the Japanese had 12 gun deaths last year. They’re not human! And why Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting in 17 years after passing assault weapons restrictions? Not to mention a decrease in their homicide and suicide rates?

    Unfortunately, human beings and society are synonymous, so we’re stuck with violence. It’s going to happen. The only way we can REDUCE it is by changing human beings, i.e., human nature, and that ain’t easy.

    Except for those damn non-human japanese. They consume incredibly violent media, movies, etc., yet without guns their homicide rate is nill.

    The entirety of human experience demonstrates one simple fact: if a person really wants to commit evil, he or she will find a way. So the obvious conclusion is that we must reduce the desire to commit evil rather than the method or means.

    This is actually not true. Making things easier actually makes people more likely to do them. It’s particularly striking with gun suicide, as a gun in the home is an independent risk factor. Even in the absence of mental illness, the mere presence of the weapon increases your probability of suicide.

    Taking guns away from people is not likely to reduce violence. The real facts show this to be true, not Mark’s incomplete, erroneous, and simplistic claims.

    Provide data please. I provided plenty, and I didn’t even suggest taking away guns. Shock! Gun control without gun bans. Yes it exists. It’s possible.

    Contrary to Mark’s sophomoric idea of what “every study shows,” guns are far more likely to save their owners than to kill them. You see, Mark, a homicide does not have to result every time a gun is successfully used to defend oneself.

    Are you referring to that study by that guy, you know, the one whose dog ate his homework? And he was never able to find his national survey data? Or a graduate student to confirm he ever did what he said he did? Hmmm. If not, please cite. For those interested, here’s a free, in-depth review that discusses the evidence that guns make you less safe. This, of course, is not an argument for gun control. We do all sorts of stuff that increases our risk of death, and that’s part of being free etc. I just won’t sit back while people bullshit about the existence of an extensive literature which consistently shows that guns are more likely to be used for homicide (accidental or intentional) or suicide than self-protection. The very small amount of data that the pro-gun side usually brings is by Kleck, who when subjected to scrutiny his extreme claims fall to pieces.

    Sorry, the science is not on your side there. But that’s ok! It doesn’t need to be. You’re just wrong about a weak claim.

    Over ninety percent of the time a gun is drawn in defense, the situation is ended without a shot being fired. Over ninety percent of the time when a shot is fired, the threat is eliminated without anyone being killed. Indeed, sixty percent of the time a shot is fired, no one is even wounded.

    It’s interesting that when these “self defense” instance have been examined more thoroughly you see that far more people have been threatened by guns than have defended themselves with them. One man’s self defense is another’s assault with a deadly weapon. And the results from these long-debunked and never dying survey studies are of questionable significance even if accurate.

    In the overwhelming majority of situations the mere presence of a gun is sufficient to end the threat; no shot need ever be fired, no one harmed, and no deaths resulting.

    I have to see data for this one.

    But no figures are kept on exactly how many times a gun is used to save someone. The percentages I cited are the result of several surveys, not government-required and maintained databases.

    See the citations above. The data from actual cold dead bodies belies these BS surveys, that do not reflect even a small minority of criminologists view of the literature.

    My personal experience has been that I had to drawn my assigned weapon on somewhat less than a dozen occasions (that I recall), but I did not discharge (fire) it. The one time I did fire it, off-duty, in a personal situation, and in self-defense, I stopped a violent crime that was about to be committed upon me and my wife.

    I’m fine with trained police officers having weapons. I, however, have too little faith in the average moron (like some of my commenters talking about how good assault weapons are for home defense) to believe this is a good idea. I have anecdotal experience too, like the moron acquaintance of mine who shot his roomate’s dog while cleaning his gun. Or the patient I had who shot himself in the ass. Or the many, many patient’s I’ve had who have been shot for little more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being paralyzed from the neck down for catching a stray at 5pm in your local neighborhood? That sucks.

    Guns, therefore, are a means of effecting change in human nature. I.e., they scare the hell out of miscreants, violent criminals, and human predators. Guns modify the behavior of sociopaths by FORCING them to behave or by hurting them if they do not.

    Nonsense. Total nonsense. If true, the US would have the lowest rate of violent crime on earth, we’ve got more guns than anywhere else right? You think the problem in Atlanta or Baltimore is there aren’t enough guns? That’s what’s keeping all the sociopaths so active? It’s insane.

    Police carry guns to protect themselves. If that is valid and justified for them, why is it not for the common citizen?

    Because, without stringent controls to keep dangerous equipment out of the hands of untrained morons, people get shot. Did you like how the new guard hired in Sandy Hook left his gun in the restroom? Common citizens also aren’t routinely interacting with violent criminals, drug addled lunatics and other fun people the police engage in their daily work. Arming them is just going to unnecessarily increase accidents and escalate violence when it does happen from assault to assault with a deadly weapon. Just ask Trayvon Martin.

    Justifiable homicides by civilians number almost as many as those done by police. In 2010, law enforcement officers in the US justifiably killed 387 felons; private citizens justifiably killed 278 people during the commission of a crime, most of these were with firearms.

    So for 278 justifiable homicides we have 12,000 nonjustifiable ones. That ratio seems poor to me.

    In Russia where they have strict gun control and virtually no civilian firearms other than shotguns and hunting rifles, the murder rate is over twice what we have in the US (10.2 vs 4.8). In Japan where private gun ownership is almost forbidden, we find a suicide rate nearly twice ours (21.9 vs 12.0).

    I love how people jump to Russia, Mexico, anywhere but the comparable 19 OECD countries used by actual scientists to reasonably compare the US to the first world. And while Japan has a higher suicide rate, that have a nil gun homicide rate, and a very low homicide rate. Somehow, when guns are actually outlawed, even the criminals don’t seem to have guns.

    By the way, the murder rate in the UK is only 1/4-th that in the US, but their total violent crime rate is way more than double ours (103 vs 38) In Australia where the murder rate is 1/5-th ours, the incident of rape is nearly four times that in the US (92 vs 29).

    Seems like an argument for gun control, even with more violent crime, it’s less deadly.

    Could it be that the difference, the advantage in these rates for the US is due to the many times guns are used in defense when a shot is not fired? When someone is not killed? When the mere presence of a firearm is sufficient to end the threat? When you, Mark, do not hear of it?

    This has actually been studied (see above). You are more likely to be threatened with a weapon, than defend yourself with one.

    So the one thing, the one simple fact demonstrated by these figures is that availability of guns, conversely gun control, is not going to get you much, if anything.

    Unless you ignore everything but the cherry-picks among crazy countries like Mexico, or Iraq, or Russia, or just have your facts plain wrong such as that in Switzerland possession of that weapon is highly regulated, requires military service, requires a gun locker, there is regular inspection by police, they are not fully automatic, but rendered semi-automatic for civilian storage, and in order to posses one you must be licensed by the state. Next cite Israel. Same damn thing, highly regulated even for the vets.

    I’d be fine with the Swiss gun laws. That would mean you could own a semi-automatic weapon, after you’ve served in the military, been trained with it, with a gun permit, with limited ammunition (checked for tampering at intervals) if it’s stored correctly, and it will be inspected regularly as part of your membership in a “well-regulated” militia. Where have I heard that language before?

  8. #8 Mark
    January 26, 2013

    That should read “post Sandy Hook”, not in Sandy Hook.

  9. #9 Charlie Tall
    January 26, 2013

    Trying to display html.
    This should be italic
    This bold

  10. #10 Charlie Tall
    January 27, 2013

    @Mark:
    I thought your opening comments were cute. Unfortunately, they only served to underscore the depth of your misunderstanding.

    In my previous post, I remarked,

    First, there are many forms of violence in our society, but, upon analysis, only one: human violence.

    You ignored that. I guess you didn’t understand it.

    Second, that blaming the tool is totally asinine.

    You replied, “Except when that tool makes something very, very, easy.” Then you continued with some nonsense about bananas.

    Once again you miss the point. The tool is not responsible for its misuse, but you argue that it is. It is not. The human misusing the tool bears all the blame and all the responsibility all of the time.

    To think otherwise is to believe in anthropomorphism, i.e., the assignment of human characteristics to non-living things. That might make for a great fairy tale, but it sucks when it comes to dealing with reality.

    We are already regulating guns, but it has not done any good. In 1913, NYC passed the Sullivan Act requiring a mandatory one-year sentence for anyone caught carrying a gun. Violent crime continued to rise. In 1934, the US passed the National Firearms Act placing rigid controls on (real) automatic weapons, silencers, and certain other “gangster weapons.” Crime rates continued to rise. In 1968, the Gun Control Law was enacted. Crime continued to increase. In 1985, the Assault Weapons Ban was passed. It had no discernible effect on violent crime. In 1995, the ban expired. It was not even missed; there was no discernible effect on crime.

    Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result each time.

    That describes gun control and its disciples.

    The fact of violence in our society is not attributable to guns, eighteen-wheeler trucks, abortions, drugs, or all of these combined. They are only symptoms. The real source of the disease is human nature. A.k.a., the human being.

    This must be why the Japanese had 12 gun deaths last year. They’re not human! And why Australia hasn’t had a mass shooting in 17 years after passing assault weapons restrictions?

    Wrong. You have omitted the Monash University shooting in October 2002, where Huan Yun Xiang, a student, shot his classmates and teacher, killing two and injuring five. So the Australian laws have in fact not worked.

    Not to mention a decrease in their homicide and suicide rates?

    But increases in all other violent crime rates? How do you explain that? I guess you don’t think rape and aggravated assault are all that significant.

    Now let’s consider Japan. You are quick to use Japan as an example of a country that enjoys a low homicide rate and equally quick to attribute that to their lack of firearms.

    Yet when I use Japan as an example of how gun control has failed to reduce suicide rates, you ignore the fact and return to your mantra about their low homicide rate.

    Come on, Mark. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If the Japanese dearth of firearms contributes to their low homicide rates, then it should also serve to lower their suicide rates.

    But it doesn’t.

    The entirety of human experience demonstrates one simple fact: if a person really wants to commit evil, he or she will find a way. So the obvious conclusion is that we must reduce the desire to commit evil rather than the method or means.

    This is actually not true. Making things easier actually makes people more likely to do them. It’s particularly striking with gun suicide, as a gun in the home is an independent risk factor. Even in the absence of mental illness, the mere presence of the weapon increases your probability of suicide.

    No, Mark, it increases your probability of successful suicide. The incidence of attempted suicide remains the same. The only difference is that guns, being far more lethal and immediate than sleeping pills or razor blades, are more likely to result in a successful (?) outcome during a suicide attempt.

    Therefore, the gun is a dependent factor, not independent.

    However, the experience of the Japanese shows us beyond a doubt that suicide rates can be very effectively increased without guns.

    It has nothing to do with the gun making you do it, as you seem to believe, but rather with the increased probability of success associated with using a more effective tool. It’s still your decision to suicide. The same goes for violent crimes committed with guns.

    Taking guns away from people is not likely to reduce violence. The real facts show this to be true, not Mark’s incomplete, erroneous, and simplistic claims.

    Provide data please. I provided plenty, and I didn’t even suggest taking away guns. Shock! Gun control without gun bans. Yes it exists. It’s possible.

    Mark, making it harder for law abiding citizens to get guns is the same thing as taking guns away from them.

    Contrary to Mark’s sophomoric idea of what “every study shows,” guns are far more likely to save their owners than to kill them. You see, Mark, a homicide does not have to result every time a gun is successfully used to defend oneself.

    Are you referring to that study by that guy, you know, the one whose dog ate his homework? And he was never able to find his national survey data? Or a graduate student to confirm he ever did what he said he did? Hmmm. If not, please cite.

    Please be specific. I don’t know any guy “whose dog ate his homework.” Hmmm.

    For those interested, here’s a free, in-depth review that discusses the evidence that guns make you less safe. This, of course, is not an argument for gun control. We do all sorts of stuff that increases our risk of death, and that’s part of being free etc. I just won’t sit back while people bullshit about the existence of an extensive literature which consistently shows that guns are more likely to be used for homicide (accidental or intentional) or suicide than self-protection. The very small amount of data that the pro-gun side usually brings is by Kleck, who when subjected to scrutiny his extreme claims fall to pieces.

    Your Medscape report was informative, but it did not consider any of the many times when a gun is used to prevent violence without a shot being fired.

    Sorry, the science is not on your side there. But that’s ok! It doesn’t need to be. You’re just wrong about a weak claim.

    Over ninety percent of the time a gun is drawn in defense, the situation is ended without a shot being fired. Over ninety percent of the time when a shot is fired, the threat is eliminated without anyone being killed. Indeed, sixty percent of the time a shot is fired, no one is even wounded.

    It’s interesting that when these “self defense” instance have been examined more thoroughly you see that far more people have been threatened by guns than have defended themselves with them. One man’s self defense is another’s assault with a deadly weapon. And the results from these long-debunked and never dying survey studies are of questionable significance even if accurate.

    Yes, at present the criminals misusing guns far outnumber the law abiding citizens defending themselves with guns. So does it make sense to further disarm the law abiding citizens?

    It makes no sense at all.

    In the overwhelming majority of situations the mere presence of a gun is sufficient to end the threat; no shot need ever be fired, no one harmed, and no deaths resulting.

    I have to see data for this one.

    Try using your common sense and don’t expect someone else to do your thinking for you. You can also refer to The Bias Against Guns, John R. Lott, pp 257-260. Lott writes that, “Overall the survey results here are similar to one I conducted primarily during January 1997 which identified 2.1 million defensive gun uses, and that in 98 percent of them, the gun was simply brandished.” He goes on to acknowledge the survey takes by name.

    But no figures are kept on exactly how many times a gun is used to save someone. The percentages I cited are the result of several surveys, not government-required and maintained databases.

    See the citations above. The data from actual cold dead bodies belies these BS surveys, that do not reflect even a small minority of criminologists view of the literature.

    Your Medscape report admits that data is not available, because non-events are not reported. As you say, only the cold, dead bodies are reported, thus your report is biased and cannot be otherwise so long as you refuse to consider contradictory information.

    My personal experience has been that I had to drawn my assigned weapon on somewhat less than a dozen occasions (that I recall), but I did not discharge (fire) it. The one time I did fire it, off-duty, in a personal situation, and in self-defense, I stopped a violent crime that was about to be committed upon me and my wife.

    I’m fine with trained police officers having weapons. I, however, have too little faith in the average moron (like some of my commenters talking about how good assault weapons are for home defense) to believe this is a good idea. I have anecdotal experience too, like the moron acquaintance of mine who shot his roomate’s dog while cleaning his gun. Or the patient I had who shot himself in the ass. Or the many, many patient’s I’ve had who have been shot for little more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Being paralyzed from the neck down for catching a stray at 5pm in your local neighborhood? That sucks.

    The examples you cite hardly seem average. Do you consider yourself average or are you somehow superior?

    How about trained civilians? Are they morons or average? Does a badge or military rank somehow make a human being infallible when it comes to using deadly force to protect himself or his family?

    What do you know about rural life? Can you speak authoritatively about living in a single-family dwelling that is literally out of sight of any other occupied building? What qualifies you to determine what the occupants of that home should be allowed to have to protect themselves?

    Your remarks lead me to believe that you are a supercilious, pompous elitist, but that’s only an uneducated deduction by an average citizen.

    Guns, therefore, are a means of effecting change in human nature. I.e., they scare the hell out of miscreants, violent criminals, and human predators. Guns modify the behavior of sociopaths by FORCING them to behave or by hurting them if they do not.

    Nonsense. Total nonsense. If true, the US would have the lowest rate of violent crime on earth, we’ve got more guns than anywhere else right? You think the problem in Atlanta or Baltimore is there aren’t enough guns? That’s what’s keeping all the sociopaths so active? It’s insane.

    Which is stronger? Which has the most effect on human behavior, the evil actions of guns by themselves (which you believe in) or the power of the human nature that motivates the shooter himself?

    You want to know what’s keeping the sociopaths active? That’s easy. It’s the fact that they are sociopaths.

    Police carry guns to protect themselves. If that is valid and justified for them, why is it not for the common citizen?

    Because, without stringent controls to keep dangerous equipment out of the hands of untrained morons, people get shot.Yes, but maybe they needed being shot. Did you like how the new guard hired in Sandy Hook left his gun in the restroom?But, but, but, he was one of your “trained police officers.”

    Alas, just another example of human nature.

    Common citizens also aren’t routinely interacting with violent criminals, drug addled lunatics and other fun people the police engage in their daily work. Arming them is just going to unnecessarily increase accidents and escalate violence when it does happen from assault to assault with a deadly weapon. Just ask Trayvon Martin.

    Trayvon Martin may have gotten exactly what he deserved. The jury is literally still out on that one, and at present it appears that exculpatory evidence in favor of Zimmerman was suppressed from the very beginning, perhaps at the direction of the federal government.

    However, it is indeed the average citizen who has to interact with “violent criminals, drug addled lunatics and other fun people…” Surely, you don’t for a moment believe that these criminals prey on armed police officers. They prey on the average citizen the guy you want to disarm.

    Justifiable homicides by civilians number almost as many as those done by police. In 2010, law enforcement officers in the US justifiably killed 387 felons; private citizens justifiably killed 278 people during the commission of a crime, most of these were with firearms.

    So for 278 justifiable homicides we have 12,000 nonjustifiable ones. That ratio seems poor to me.

    Again, you miss the point which is that firearms in the hands of civilians (who you claim do not routinely deal with criminals) accounted for the removal of almost as many violent felons as did those in the hands of police. That’s a good thing, don’t you agree?

    In Russia where they have strict gun control and virtually no civilian firearms other than shotguns and hunting rifles, the murder rate is over twice what we have in the US (10.2 vs 4.8). In Japan where private gun ownership is almost forbidden, we find a suicide rate nearly twice ours (21.9 vs 12.0).

    I love how people jump to Russia, Mexico, anywhere but the comparable 19 OECD countries used by actual scientists to reasonably compare the US to the first world.

    I did not mention Mexico. You did.

    Once again, you miss the point. Both Russia and Japan are glaring exceptions to your theory that gun availability is directly related to homicide and suicide.

    I cited Russia as an indication that gun control does not necessarily mean less violent crime, fewer homicides. The comparison was gun control to crime rate, not Russia to the US.

    And while Japan has a higher suicide rate, that have a nil gun homicide rate, and a very low homicide rate. Somehow, when guns are actually outlawed, even the criminals don’t seem to have guns.

    There are no guns in Japan, therefore even the criminals don’t have guns or knives or baseball bats or motorcycle chains or swords or hammers or fists or karate kicks or… Gimme a break, huh?

    There are virtually no guns in Japan, and there is virtually no homicide. Your claim is that this proves gun availability is directly proportional to homicide.

    You know what it actually proves? Only that Japan has virtually no guns and that Japan has a very low homicide rate.

    There are virtually no guns in Russia, but the homicide rate there is over twice that in the US. This indicates that gun availability is inversely proportional to homicide, just the opposite of what you claim.

    There are virtually no guns in Japan, yet the suicide rate is higher than the US where there are lots of guns. This indicates that gun availability is inversely proportional to suicide, once more just the opposite of what you have claimed.

    By the way, the murder rate in the UK is only 1/4-th that in the US, but their total violent crime rate is way more than double ours (103 vs 38) In Australia where the murder rate is 1/5-th ours, the incident of rape is nearly four times that in the US (92 vs 29).

    Seems like an argument for gun control, even with more violent crime, it’s less deadly.

    If you do not consider rape, assault, and other violent crimes to be really important you might have a valid argument. However, considering Russia and Japan, there is not the vaguest proof that gun control is responsible for the lower homicide rates in the UK.

    Could it be that the difference, the advantage in these rates for the US is due to the many times guns are used in defense when a shot is not fired? When someone is not killed? When the mere presence of a firearm is sufficient to end the threat? When you, Mark, do not hear of it?

    This has actually been studied (see above). You are more likely to be threatened with a weapon, than defend yourself with one.

    Which in and of itself makes a damn good argument for lowering the barriers of gun ownership for law abiding citizens.

    But, Mark, even the average, moronic soldier that you so despise knows that the attacker has the initiative over the defender. The same is true for criminals. They pick the time and place to attack, and thus have the initial advantage over the victim. That still does not make the argument that the victim should simply give up and make no attempt to defend himself.

    So the one thing, the one simple fact demonstrated by these figures is that availability of guns, conversely gun control, is not going to get you much, if anything.

    Unless you ignore everything but the cherry-picks among crazy countries like Mexico, or Iraq, or Russia, or just have your facts plain wrong such as that in Switzerland possession of that weapon is highly regulated, requires military service, requires a gun locker, there is regular inspection by police, they are not fully automatic, but rendered semi-automatic for civilian storage, and in order to posses one you must be licensed by the state.

    Almost everything you wrote about Switzerland is incorrect and disagrees with your Wiki citation.

    Gun ownership in Switzerland does not require military service; even foreigners can legally buy and possess guns there. A gun locker is not required for most guns, only for personally-owned, fully automatic weapons, just as it is here in the US. Civilian firearms are NOT regularly inspected by police, only military firearms may be inspected by military police. Automatic weapons are kept by active members of the military; upon retirement they are converted to semiautomatic and GIVEN to the soldier. There is no requirement that a person be licensed by the state to own a weapon. In fact, just the opposite is true. The article states, “After turning 18, any individual can buy singleshot or semiautomatic long arms (breech-loading or muzzle-loading) without a permit (so-called “free arms”). Likewise, members of a recognized rifle association do not need a buying permit for purchasing antique repeaters, and hunters do not need one for buying typical hunting rifles.”

    I’d be fine with the Swiss gun laws. That would mean you could own a semi-automatic weapon, after you’ve served in the military, been trained with it, with a gun permit, with limited ammunition (checked for tampering at intervals) if it’s stored correctly, and it will be inspected regularly as part of your membership in a “well-regulated” militia. Where have I heard that language before?

    Mark, just about everything you think you know about Switzerland is wrong. There is no requirement for serving in the military before owning a weapon. Same as here. There is no requirement for military training before owning a weapon. Same as here. There is not requirement for limiting ammunition. Same as here. There is no requirement for inspecting privately-owned ammunition. Same as here. There is no mention of a “well regulated militia.” You’re simply wrong about that. There is no requirement for a background check every time a weapon is purchased. Swiss purchase permits are good for three weapons each. We have the requirement that every purchase requires a background check in the US.

    So since you “would be fine with Swiss laws,” and our laws are actually more rigid than their’s, what is it exactly that you want?

    Do you even know?

  11. #11 Michael Brown
    January 28, 2013

    While the shooting at Monash University in 2002 was a tragedy, it doesn’t match the normal definitions of mass murder. Definitions for mass shooting/muder often have 4 or more deaths.

    For example, on wikipedia “According to the FBI, mass murder is defined as four or more murders occurring during a particular event with no cooling-off period between the murders.”

    This being the case, Charlie Tall’s comment regarding the Monash University shooting is not correct. Even if you were to include the Monash University shooting, there has been a spectacular decline in the number of people killed in mass shootings in Australia.

  12. #12 Charlie Tall
    January 28, 2013

    @Michael Brown

    Alas, I am wrong.

    The Australian laws have worked.

    I am sure the families of the victims will take great consolation from your information.

    I shall immediately notify the Australian authorities that they have buried them in error, and that they must immediately disinter them and return them to society.

    God save us from our beloved educated fools!

  13. #13 Pax Interra
    Taos, NM
    January 28, 2013

    The current effort to control nasty firearms in the US has a goal of – at a minimum – going back and reinstating the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 as amended Section 921(a) of title 18 of the United States Code to define semiautomatic assault weapons. The intent was and is to get rid of weapons like these two:

    =================================

    =================================
    However, the legal definition of what exactly to ban is a little more difficult. The 1994 ban used a minimum set of cosmetic features from the following list :

    Semi-automatic rifles able to accept detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
    Folding or telescoping stock
    Pistol grip
    Bayonet mount
    Flash suppressor, or threaded barrel designed to accommodate one
    Grenade launcher (more precisely, a muzzle device that enables launching or firing rifle grenades, though this applies only to muzzle mounted grenade launchers and not those mounted externally).

    Semi-automatic pistols with detachable magazines and two or more of the following:
    Magazine that attaches outside the pistol grip
    Threaded barrel to attach barrel extender, flash suppressor, handgrip, or suppressor
    Barrel shroud that can be used as a hand-hold
    Unloaded weight of 50 oz (1.4 kg) or more
    A semi-automatic version of a fully automatic firearm.

    Semi-automatic shotguns with two or more of the following:
    Folding or telescoping stock
    Pistol grip
    Fixed capacity of more than 5 rounds
    Detachable magazine.
    =================================================================================

    The Congressional politicians are getting a lot of advice on how to proceed with this ban and they have essentially abandoned the attempt to try to name specific features – like those above – that are to be banned and have instead adopted the approach of banning the undesirable capabilities and performance that they do not want.

    This approach is based on the current trend in government contracting called “performance based outcome”. In other words, they define what they want to get out of the ban without naming specific guns or features. So here is the logic they are using:

    To begin their congressional review, the covert committee that is reviewing the options and will come up with the final bill were told that new gun designs have gone to extremes in speed, power and size and shooters are getting better all the time. (You should know that all of the Republicans that were invited or assigned to this committee refused to attend so it is run entirely by Democrats). The committee was shown these videos:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBAMNJZ8OVo&list=PLE59F4128BECA4DCD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9AJzv8gb2A&list=PLE59F4128BECA4DCD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vve1RDEUWc&list=PLE59F4128BECA4DCD
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOoUVeyaY_8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_1PfqGVSg0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QjZY3WiO9s

    (1) The number one performance feature they want to ban is the ability to shoot a large number of bullets quickly. Large and Quickly are not defined but the idea of banning clips or magazines over 5 rounds was the initial plan until they were shown the following video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raGgNe0MgLM

    Since even five round clips can be reloaded in less than 2 seconds, it was decided that only bolt action rifles and single shot pistols would fit the criteria of reducing the ability to “shoot a large number of bullets quickly”. To keep the bolt action rifles from being fired too fast or for too many shots, all tube fed and clips over three shots will be banned.

    The congressional committee acknowledged that there is a difference between pistols and revolvers and that revolvers were inherently slower, however after seeing these two videos, they changed their minds:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTHc4H_i8DY

    The concept of a slow shooting revolver was dismissed however, handguns are so popular that it was decided to make an effort to find some way that sportsmen could continue to buy and use revolver handguns. To do so, it was decided, the revolver must have a minimum weight of 6 pounds and must be a minimum of .45 caliber with a minimum of 40,000 PSI muzzle pressure. All revolvers must be single action and be able to load no more than three shots at a time. The reason for the minimum size being a large and powerful caliber is that it was noted that many people would not chose to shoot such a powerful handgun, many others would not be able to handle such a weapon with any degree of accuracy and even those that could, would not be able to shoot it in a rapid fire mode – as confirmed by this an many other videos:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pmOpdZZ1F2U

    (2) The second greatest fear is the ability to conceal weapons as a result of both size and composition. A small weapon can be easily hidden in clothes or handbags. a weapon that is largely made out of composite materials can more easily evade x-ray and metal detectors in airports and by other entry screening measures. At first the direction of the ban was to outlaw handguns smaller than the standard military issue pistol and all guns with folding stocks but then the congressional committee was shown this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ade7dO8dmd4

    Since it is obvious that even relatively large long guns with a pistol grip or folding stock can be hidden, these will be banned. To keep the entire gun from being made small, the design limits of a minimum 32 inch barrel and a minimum 9 pound weight was adopted for all long guns. All will be bolt action with a maximum three shot magazine built into the action. This prevents the use of rapidly replaced clips to achieve faster shooting.

    Finally, they looked at what they had banned and allowed and decided that it was still not enough.

    All gun owners must take a shooter safety course before ever shooting a weapon again – regardless of skill level. This course cost is $100 and must be repeated every 5 years. After completing the course, the gun owner is given a registration card that must be used for all future purchases of guns or ammo and all accessories. Shooting any gun without a registration card is a federal felony. The card is good for 5 years.

    To encourage people to buy single shot long guns and single shot handguns, there is a progressive tax on guns that can shoot more than one shot before reloading. A two shot capability will carry a $175 surcharge and a three shot weapon will carry a $350 surcharge.

    To keep people from building large arsenals of weapons, there is a progressive tax on buying more than one gun. If you buy a second gun within 12 months of the first one, there is a $850 surcharge. This surcharge gradually decreases over a period of three years. At the end of the third year after a purchase, you can again buy a gun without a surcharge. Buying any gun during that 36 months requires that you obtain an FBI permit and register the weapon under a law that governs “civilian weapon arsenal” limitations.

    For all guns, there is a lifetime limit on the purchase of ammo for all your weapons of 20 rounds per caliber per month. All sales of ammo reloading equipment and gunpowder will require a special license and will be grated only to those that can show sufficient need for more than 20 rounds per month. The license costs $350 per year but the gun owner must also pay for an “enhanced” background check of $1,500 with an update every 5 years which will cost $750. To discourage reloading further, all reloading equipment and gunpowder will carry a federal tax surcharge of $350 per purchase and will be limited to one such purchase within each six month period.

    All imported weapons must meet all these new design standards but to make sure that US makers have an advantage, there is a $750 import tax on all guns. No foreign made ammo can be sold in the US.

    Any violation of any of these laws, regulations and limitations is considered a federal felony and carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

    So, to summarize, the ban currently being considered by Congress will be on all handguns less than .45 caliber, under 6 pounds firing a cartridge that has less than 40,000 PSI and capable of shooting more than three shots without reloading. The ban is on rifles with under a 32 inch barrel and over a three shot magazine. All rifles must be bolt action and cannot have a folding stock. Taxes, surcharges and import fees will be applied to all guns and ammo. The Democrats in congress that support this ban plan to wait until the majority of the Republicans are on their recess to bring this bill before Congress and pass it with a minimum of opposition –probably by calling for a vote in the very early morning hours on a Sunday night – as has happened on dozens of other bills that they do not want a lot of publicity about.

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  14. #14 Pamela S
    Lakewood, CO
    February 19, 2013

    great article in here about gun control….one thing it covers…is the root cause of violence…..not just a band-aide….http://issuu.com/urbanplanninganddevelopment/docs/issue_five

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