… would not have helped at Sandy Hook … the armed guards would have been the fist to be killed … or at any of the other places where there have been mass shootings with armed guards present or very near by. Also, many, many schools already have a “school resource officer” on duty. In Minnesota there seems to be one at every school, and that may be good, but we’ve had our share of school gun play. The call by the NRA to put an armed guard in every school is little more than a marketing scheme to sell a few hundred thousand guns. MacDonalds would also like to put a Big Mac in every school.

But do look at this video and in particular NRA dupe Asa Hutchinson’s response to Judy Woodruff’s questions, starting at 4:00. At 7:30 he admits that he and/or the NRA feel that there are no viable restrictions or other legislative remedies that can address gun violence. But here is my favorite part: At just after 7:50 he is asked a very simple question about background checks, and then disagrees with 90% of all Americans with the most mealy mouthed answer ever given.

Watch NRA Group Offers Proposal for Armed Security at U.S. School on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

Comments

  1. #1 ron
    April 3, 2013

    On “legislative remedies”: either the current laws have failed or they are successful. If you claim success, you need no more laws. If you claim failure, why would more laws work? There simply is no logical way to argue for more gun control.

    Anonymously armed adults would be first responders. If nothing else, changing the target has value to allow unarmed people the opportunity of escape.

  2. #2 Drivebyposter
    April 3, 2013

    uh…ron?
    Where did you come up with that false dichotomy?

    Either they work completely or they don’t at all?
    Really? REALLY?
    Seriously. If that’s the best you can do, then just stay in the sandbox.

    Current laws may be partially successful, in which refining them or creating more would have an effect. It isn’t that hard.

    And most gun restrictions aren’t awful, terrible things for gun owners, no matter how much they may cry.

  3. #3 ron
    April 3, 2013

    uh…#2…can you demonstrate the partial success? That is hard. Furthermore, how does this partial success exceed the failures at Newtown, Columbine, Aurora, etc…

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    April 3, 2013

    Anonymously armed adults would be first responders.

    Let’s do a thought experiment here. If we lived in the sort of country the NRA wants us to live in, there would be several people in the crowd who could respond. Let’s assume that one of them does so first. Now consider the situation from the point of view of the second person to respond. Who’s the bad guy, and who’s the responder? Can you be sure that the latter isn’t in cahoots with the bad guy? Same thing when the cops show up (I would expect somebody in the crowd to call 911 when the shooting starts). How do they know who the bad guy is, and which of the other shooters (if any) is just returning fire? I haven’t seen anyone explain why somebody who isn’t specifically trained for this scenario (that would include almost all civilians and many cops) should be expected to do better than random chance at picking out the bad guy. Not to mention that most people are not expert marksmen even under the idealized conditions of the firing range, let alone in the stress of the moment, so even if you are shooting at the first shooter you have a substantial risk of hitting an innocent bystander. (There was an incident in Manhattan a few months ago where cops responded to a shooter; it was later found that most of the people who were hit in that incident were hit by the cops’ stray bullets–and remember that cops usually do get some marksmanship training.)

    Aside from that problem, you are basically asserting that some armed dude is going to volunteer to make himself a target. There is a term for people who do that: cannon fodder.

  5. #5 mike
    April 3, 2013

    Anyone notice that all of these mass killings happen where guns are forbidden? It’s either because the killer is scared off knowing that he/she won’t be the only one there with a gun, or because someone with a gun stopped the mass killing before it happened.
    More laws won’t help. There are pre-existing laws against murder, that didn’t stop any of the incidents. Tougher penalties won’t help for the same reason, kind of hard to get tougher than the death penalty for murder.
    I don’t own a gun, and don’t intend to get one. I do believe that the 2nd amendment is being targetted and I’m supporting the NRA only because if the 2nd falls, the 1st is next.

  6. #6 ron
    April 3, 2013

    #4…let’s conduct another thought experiment here. Staff member A arrives on scene to see someone with a weapon, would the Staffer know if he himself was a good guy? So the first responder would know his role.

    The second responder, be they civilian or police, may know that the first responding Staffer was beside them in the training course (one would assume Police would recognize the weapon being used, a photograph of the staffer or some other identifying marker). Perhaps the Staffer could be trained to use a unique word or command to identify himself.

    While hitting an innocent bystander is a risk, the greater risk it to let the assailant continue unabated to more and more targets.

    As to “some armed dude” volunteering to become “cannon fodder”…http://tinyurl.com/d5e6jxu…men and women have trained to neutralize the threats and serve as deterrents to future criminals. Judge them if you must, but they are volunteering to stand between the innocent and the assailant.

  7. #7 ron
    April 3, 2013

    uh…#2…CNN ( http://tinyurl.com/c2y76yq ) says “ONLY about 1 percent of federal background checks are rejected”. How many is “about”? That aside, how many background checks are done, you may ax. In the 4+ years of Obama, there have been 70.2 million background checks done ( http://tinyurl.com/bphr7kc ).
    So there have been ABOUT 63 million background checks that were wasteful or unnecessary? Of course we’re certain the other 7 million would have certainly used these weapons in a criminal manner.

  8. #8 ron
    April 3, 2013

    Silly me…I assumed 10%. No. Here are stats on federal denials via NICS ( http://tinyurl.com/d6uomtr ). From Nov 30,1998 to March 31, 2013 there were 1.02 (rounded) million denials. So how many background checks were there? That would be ( http://tinyurl.com/caacson ) 167.5 million (rounded). That would roughly be .61% and make 166.5 million background checks immaterial. ( So the “about” is somewhere near 40%) More immaterial checks seems an interesting cause to take up.

  9. #9 Jim Thomerson
    April 3, 2013

    There are several small school districts in Texas which have armed teachers, or are in the process. It is a carefully thought out decision of the local school board.. As said, an armed guard is a trarget. However, knowing that some teacher(s) is armed and trained might slow an attacker down. In this situation, the teacher would be known to other responders, and not taken as the armed intruder.

  10. #10 Greg Laden
    April 3, 2013

    Mike, several of the mass killings happened where there were armed police on the scene. In the case of the Minnesota Red Lake Massacre, the local police guy was killed and his squad car taken by the killer who drove it to the school and right away killed one of two (unarmed) security guards. I’m pretty sure that if there were armed guards there, the killer would have dispatched them.

    Arming against this kind of attack may well be a reasonably good idea, but I would not expect it to be widely effective and there is no doubt that it should be the ONLY strategy. That’s just plain bone-headed.

  11. #11 makeinu
    April 3, 2013

    Mutually Assured Destruction.

    Yeah, I’m glad I don’t have kids. ‘Cause you “arm the schools, more guns everywhere make everyone more safer” people are nucking futs.

  12. #12 Drivebyposter
    April 3, 2013

    So there have been ABOUT 63 million background checks that were wasteful or unnecessary? Of course we’re certain the other 7 million would have certainly used these weapons in a criminal manner.

    Really? You’re THAT broken? Holy shit. That is impressive

  13. #13 bd2999
    April 5, 2013

    Ron, I find some of your logic to be faulty. The all or nothing success of any law is bad. And then you proceed to say something that may work. Remember that the places some of the mass shootings happened, had guards. Did not detur or stop the person doing it. And having random adult do something might not be a great idea in a situation like that.

    Remember, most of these mass shoots occur very quickly. I think Sandy was all done in minutes. And the police had an amazing response time. so who is to say he would not just have blasted the door open, started killing kids and then security. Or that security would do the smart thing, call the cops and then see what he could do. Not even police or security is going to want to risk a gun fight in a school unless they are right by the guy. More people dying from the “good guy” shooting is making it worse.

    Any success of any gun regulation is hard because of various laws passed to prevent data from being retained and collected and studied. Most the data looked at is old or at best trying to correlate. The GOP worked hard to make things impossible for the government to know what policy may be the best for making a reasonable impact.

    Bkgd checks are successful, although still a partial success as it is not a total win. Part of the problem with the current system is that states and other agencies are slow about getting the proper data uploaded. Or they mess up. considering how important that sort of thing is the things that go in should probably be increased and have to go in same day the yare found.

    Would that have stopped the mass shootings? In the most recent the guy got the guns from his mom, so they were already there. But if she knew that her son had problems and just had guns out she is being an irresponsible gun owner. Perhaps people around others with high risk issues should have restricted gun access. That may have stopped it.

    It is true that no law will ever be 100% effective. But nor will arming folks and turning them loose. I do not see why everyone should have to live in fear about who may have a gun. Remember, this just lets the villans legally run around with their weapons to in order to use at the last second.

    There is not good evidence that having guns actually even stops crime, yes there is the famous book, but there have been a half dozen studies showing that the model used is wrong and overally interconnected (removed middle age African American women and the whole thing collapses, why is that?). Main problem is more guns will always equate to more crime. Simply because of the numbers. Yes, people will break these laws, but inconviencing a gun buyer a tad to make it harder and more expensive for the bad guy to get them is ideal.

    Should really start worrying about prevention as opposed to going cowboy. There have been some recent studies that the states with the harshest laws still have people getting guns through the cracks but they are typically gathered from states with more lax laws and brig them in. Getting them otherwise is to costly and problematic. You say that delaying can save lives. Sometimes delaying outright and making something pretty hard is enough to get someone not to do something either.

  14. #14 ron
    April 5, 2013

    #13…armed anonymous adults is not a legislative remedy.

    Yes, some of these places had guards and there is the element of surprise when the shooting/crime begins. This is all the more reason to have someone already in the building to challenge the criminal.

    We should recognize the failure of any “policy” to entirely stop criminals from committing crimes (“It is true that no law will ever be 100% effective.). You’ve conceded that point.

    So how shall we protect people? Shall we allow non-criminals to defend themselves against these criminals since armed State/local officials cannot be everywhere and stop everything (see budget cuts that are sorely needed)? This seems to be the point that the pro and anti gun side cannot reconcile. The anti-gunners trust the power of the State so much that they throw all the civil liberty concerns out the window to grow the State in order to fulfill the mandate. And yet, criminal activities abound. The anti-gunners recognize that separate Sovereign States have different laws and that the “patchwork approach” negates the power of the State to enforce this mandate. Yet they persist in this belief of State power.

    As to “arming folks and turning them loose”. Isn’t this the concept of self-governance? That we are able to restrain ourselves for the most part and agree on the definition of crimes (drawing bright red lines where lethal force is needed)?

    “Remember, this just lets the villans legally run around with their weapons to in order to use at the last second. ” Are we suggesting arresting people on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime? Remember that conspiracy can be hatched in 5 minutes. Again, the element of surprise is on the side of the criminal originally. The deterrent is to reclaim the element of surprise quickly with anonymously armed adults (or at least the threat thereof).

    “Yes, people will break these laws, but inconveniencing a gun buyer a tad to make it harder and more expensive for the bad guy to get them is ideal.” A) your concept of “ideal” is skewed (but debating this on an atheist website is absurd). B) This is not the mindset that gave us the Bill of Rights. Freedom from State intrusion was a pillar of our founding ( http://tinyurl.com/cobdecy ). C) it is good that you recognize that “the law abiding gun owners” are burdened by these laws. If not in this group, who are you to say how great the burden is and when it is too much?

    You’ve already conceded that full prevention is impossible. There does come a point, then, where we are simply discussing how much State intrusion we want in our lives. .61% of NICS checks result in rejection. To a scientist, this is an inconsequential number. To consider point six one percent a “success” is folly. 163 NICS checks out of 164 are a waste of time. Only in a governmental mindset is this a worthwhile task.

    On a personal note…I commend you for your honest and sincere approach to the debate. I look forward to your response.

  15. #15 Justin
    Canada
    April 11, 2013

    Any restrictions on gun ownership must take into consideration the long term implications of a disarmed citizenry. What allowed the horrific genocides of the past two centuries (Ottoman Turker 1915-17; Soviet Union 1929-1953; Nazi Germany 1933-1945; China 1949-1976; Guatemala 1960-1981; Uganda 1971-1979; Cambodia 1975-1979) to occur, was a populace that was disarmed by their government.

    I have no doubt that the majority of gun control supporters have only good intentions in their hearts. But many Americans take for granted the freedoms they have, not because they are bad people, but because that’s all they have ever known.

    Inevitably, with these types of controls, guns are taken away from one group (citizens) and given to another group (government). [Does government really have your best interests in mind? Whose interests does it serve? Government may be composed of good people at an individual level, but at the macro level can evolve into something much more insidious!]

    When one group is armed and the other isn’t, what is stopping the armed group from forcefully imposing its will on the disarmed group? Trust? Faith in human goodness? Such centralization of power is very dangerous as trust is something that can very easily be broken. After all, it only takes one apple to spoil the bunch.

    This is what the founding fathers had in mind when composing the second amendment of the constitution. This is the seemingly irrational fear that drives those “crazy gun nuts” to grip their guns so tightly. But is it really irrational when you look at the track record of the governments of the world? If it could happen in Germany, arguably a pinnacle of “civilized” society, what would prevent it from happening in the U.S.?

    These things MUST be taken into consideration when dealing with the issue of public safety.

    “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” – B. Franklin

    “The world is filled with violence. Because criminals carry guns, we decent law-abiding citizens should also have guns. Otherwise they will win and the decent people will lose.” – James Earl Jones

    “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “One man with a gun can control 100 without one.” – V Lenin

    “A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.”- V Lenin

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    April 11, 2013

    One of the main arguments against gun control is that you really can’t get rid of the guns because there are so many out there and so many people have them. So, when you write “…. a populace that was disarmed by their government.” you contradict that. Interesting to see that you agree that it is possible to actually curtail gun ownership.

    No one is asking for a curtailing of freedom to own guns. We are strongly insisting, however, on gun owners being responsible people. I’m not sure why the gun lobby is so against that.

    The last decade or so has seen only a modest decline in gun ownership, entirely fueled by an increasing lack of interest in guns, and not any sort of restriction on ownership. But, with a relatively stable rate of gun ownership and decreasing restrictions (i.e., assault weapons ban expiring, etc.) we’ve seen steady increases in the control by the government on the activities of private citizens. Gun ownership did nothing to stop the enactment of draconian and oppressive laws like the Patriot Act. So, the argument that gun ownership, as opposed to progressive political activism, works agains government oppression is not supported.

    Right now in the United States we have an epidemic of death due to gun violence, and a good portion of that … youth suicide and the mass killings (as opposed to criminal activity) are facilitated by irresponsible gun ownership which amounts to little more than protecting boys with their toys. This has to end. The tide is turning. Nearly every single citizen in this country supports universal background checks yet the gun lobby opposes them and is forcing their bought and paid for representatives to oppose it.

    Right now a big industry is controlling political action, and the hapless “gun nuts” are cheering them on. Many of us would appreciate it if you would stop doing that.

  17. #17 Chris Winter
    April 18, 2013

    RE: #16 — Well said, Greg.

    Indeed, the NRA’s opposition to background checks makes no sense to me unless their aim is to maximize the number of firearms in circulation in hopes that more of these “armed citizen stops massacre” scenarios unfold.

  18. #18 Chris Winter
    April 18, 2013

    Ron (#14): “There does come a point, then, where we are simply discussing how much State intrusion we want in our lives. .61% of NICS checks result in rejection. To a scientist, this is an inconsequential number. To consider point six one percent a “success” is folly. 163 NICS checks out of 164 are a waste of time. Only in a governmental mindset is this a worthwhile task.”

    Your logic is faulty. That 0.61 percent would not have been found without doing the huge numbers of checks you cite.

    Also, I hope you can explain to me how such checks infringe the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns. The word “infringe” doesn’t mean to limit or to regulate; it means to break, to defeat, to frustrate, to invalidate.

  19. #19 Chris Winter
    April 18, 2013

    Jim Thomerson: “There are several small school districts in Texas which have armed teachers, or are in the process. It is a carefully thought out decision of the local school board.. As said, an armed guard is a target. However, knowing that some teacher(s) [are] armed and trained might slow an attacker down. In this situation, the teacher would be known to other responders, and not taken as the armed intruder.”

    More power to them. But I have to worry that if the shooter is a student, he will know who the armed teachers are and either target them first or avoid them long enough to kill quite a few innocents.

    In such a situation, the presence of an armed teacher would possibly reduce the number of deaths. Fewer deaths would be a good thing; but achieving it still depends on a good deal of luck.

  20. #20 Greg Laden
    April 18, 2013

    Well, the NRA is a lobbying group for the GUN INDUSTRY. They want more guns out there because the only way to do that is to BUY them!

    There is nothing funnier than gun nuts whining about how anti-gun people are irrational and illogical and so on and so forth. The gun nuts are patsies, every one.

  21. #21 ron
    April 19, 2013

    @#18…the faulty logic is yours. The State is incapable of protecting us. More regulations will not make you safer. Freedom will provide more security than the proposed regulations. On the macro scale of society, a greater dependence on a centralized power is negative for society, where if each individual / family is diligently responsible for their own security and other needs (see food / shelter / medical), the society benefits greatly.

    I am happy to explain that the NICS system infringes, frustrates and obstructs the free exercise of ones Right to Keep and Bear Arms. First, and very simply, if we’re opposed to a poll tax, we should be apposed to any arms tax, which occurs when people must pay to have a background check preformed. Second, there have been repeated instances where the NICS system was unavailable for a period of time. (http://tinyurl.com/cjqejrq) If one cannot access the NICS system, the sale is delayed, thereby frustrating the Right.

    The real nut of this debate is getting permission from State officials to own weapons. State-ists believe there should be less and less permission given, where liberty minded folk believe permission is not necessary and that the State should not be involved in such transactions.

    How does society benefit in a “big brother” scenario?

  22. #22 ron
    April 19, 2013

    @ #18 the burden is not on me to prove that background checks are a burden…it is to you to prove that they “work”. JAMA August 2000 says they’re a failure: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10918704

  23. #23 Chris Winter
    April 20, 2013

    A poll tax has the effect of preventing poor people from voting. What you call an “arms tax” looks more like a fee to support the system of background checks. I agree that it would be better to have no fee, but I very much doubt the fees are so exorbitant as to prevent anyone who can afford a gun from paying for the check.

    And any Internet site can have service interruptions. You sound like you think they’re targeted at you.

    Many duties imposed by society are burdensome. It’s a burden to get and keep a driver’s license. How come you’re not complaining about that?

  24. #24 Chris Winter
    April 20, 2013

    RE: The JAMA study, you’ve overstated the case. It has this qualifier: “However, the pattern of implementation of the Brady Act does not permit a reliable analysis of a potential effect of reductions in the flow of guns from treatment-state gun dealers into secondary markets.”

    Also, it does document a reduction in firearm suicides for people 55 or older. That’s the effect of a waiting period.

    Seems you’re arguing against yourself. If those background checks are so burdensome that they prevent law-abiding people from getting guns, how could there not be a reduction in gun violence over time?

  25. #25 Chris Winter
    April 20, 2013

    Someone in a closed thread linked to an article in Collegiate Times that listed 17 cases where someone other than police on duty stopped a gun crime with their own gun. Since I took the trouble to analyze those cases, I’ll discuss them here.

    I disallow one of the 17 cases because the armed civilian died without stopping the perp, who wore body armor.

    Four interventions were by off-duty police officers permitted to carry weapons.

    Two were by store owners or employees who had weapons for protection, as many convenience store employees already do. Such stores are frequent targets and have been for a long time. I don’t think those cases are germane to the larger problem.

    One was at a shooting range, so plenty of people other than the disgruntled perp were carrying.

    That leaves us with 8 cases where a random citizen either shot or intimidated someone in the course of perpetrating armed violence — and one of them was a former police officer.

    These stories are heartening, but IMO they are not very persuasive statistics. In most situations, the criminals will prevail simply because they have their guns out and ready to fire, while the law-abiding citizens do not.

    Perhaps it would be different if America had a culture in which almost everyone treated gun ownership as a right with attendant responsibilities instead of a privilege that must not be limited in any way. But that’s not the country we live in today, is it?

  26. #26 Chris Winter
    April 21, 2013

    Correction: That leaves us with 8 cases 9 cases…

  27. #27 Greg Laden
    April 21, 2013

    Ya, one is not really carrying a weapon at a shooting range. That’s like saying “no eating in the library” then pointing out all the people in the library’s cafe eating.

    It isn’t the country we live in today, but out west (i.e., here in Minnesota) it was at one time. When the James Gang and friends tried to rob the bank in Northfield, the bank was full of customers who happened to be armed, and there were plenty on the street. One of the reasons they may have felt the need to be armed was because the post Civil War period in this area saw a lot of post war insurgents and such, plus the “Indian Wars” were still fresh in memory. It might have made a lot of sense to carry a gun around then. But presumably that was either a long gun in your horse drawn wagon or attached to your horse, or a six shooter on a belt holster, matching your cowboy hat and chaps.

  28. #28 ron
    April 22, 2013

    JAMA: “implementation of the Brady Act appears to have been associated with reductions in the firearm suicide rate for persons aged 55 years or older but not with reductions in homicide rates or overall suicide rates.” – failed laws which reject .61% of the applicants. A waste of time and resources by any objective standard.

    When a pistol costs from $300-$1100, holsters can run up around a hundred, a box of ammo is very costly, yes, $150 background check fee (like DC charges), can be the difference in exercising one’s Right.

    Why should one have to apply to exercise one’s Rights?
    Shall we insist on a federal background check before buying a cell phone or computer (to exercise some 1st amendment speech rights)? How about clearing a federal database before buying a car from a non-dealer?

  29. #29 Chris Winter
    April 22, 2013

    Ron, your arguments are absurd. I’m not going to waste any more time on them.

  30. #30 Me
    USA
    May 27, 2013

    No one is asking for a curtailing of freedom to own guns.

    Sure. My gawd, a “science” blog full of unqualified idiots who spout long refuted claims opposing inanimate objects while ignoring history involving firearms legislation worldwide.

    Most of you do NOT own guns, do not understand them and do not know the difference between an AR-15 or an AK-47. How many of you have ever sold a gun, witnessed a sale, or have had a BG check performed on you for one?

    Do you use Piers Morgan for your information on guns?

  31. #31 Greg Laden
    May 27, 2013

    Me: We are gonna take away your guns, without knowing that much about them. That’s OK, though.

  32. #32 Politicalguineapig
    May 28, 2013

    Gun ownership did nothing to stop the enactment of draconian and oppressive laws like the Patriot Act.

    I’d just like to point out that the same people who are whining about gun laws today supported Bush and the Patriot Act. Odd.