Why Not Renew the “Assault Weapons” Ban? Well, I’ll Tell You…

[EDIT: Since this article was published, the Democratic party has officially added support of the assault weapon ban renewal to their party platform and Senator Feinstein has vowed to introduce it again in the upcoming session, hoping the Newtown massacre will help it push through. This bill WILL be debated and voted on, and I hope you can learn something about it here.]

Between Two Worlds

It’s not easy being a leftist who loves guns. It’s like being a Republican who listens to NPR or supports single payer health care. But being a leftist, I get exposed to all the liberal publications and media that invariably call for gun control every time someone does something stupid with one. Being a gun enthusiast, I also get exposed to the political Right’s oversimplification of those liberals as somehow lacking moral fiber or true appreciation of freedom. Rather than agreeing with both, I tend to end up arguing with both. It’s exhausting to always feel like I’m apologizing for the other “side”.

This article takes a point of view, but aims to do so in a way that members of both sides of the political spectrum can understand. I’ll try to give some idea as to why we on the political left roll our eyes at the rhetoric of the NRA, and how we in the “gun culture” can possibly defend something called “assault weapons”.

We all know the cycle by now: Tragic incident occurs, both sides attempt to use it for their political gain, both sides act shocked that the other would attempt to use it for political gain, insults are flung, statistics are cherry-picked, rinse, repeat.

I began writing this some time after the Aurora massacre, but it was just this morning that news started coming in of the mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. I knew the wave of cries for a renewal of the “assault weapon” and “high capacity” magazine bans hadn’t yet faded from Aurora, and that they would be reinforced by this next event, regardless of how relevant either of the topics were to the incident.

So in order to get around to why the assault weapons ban was an utter and absolute failure in its attempt to deter violent crime, I have to start with mass shootings.

Misleading Vividness

I’m just going to submit this uncomfortable truth to both camps up front, with the vain hope that it will not sound callous:

Mass shootings are a tiny, tiny problem. Which isn’t to say that they aren’t utterly horrifying in more than one way. People’s lives are destroyed, both literally and figuratively. What I mean to say is that if we were to prioritize our political attention to topics according to how many lives were at stake, mass shootings wouldn’t even be on the radar.

Factoring in the rate of death caused by mass shootings from Columbine to the present (about 210 people in 13 years), it will be more than 300 years until we reach the number of casualties that occur from accidental drownings every single year in this country. In a little more than 150 years from now, we’ll approach the number of people who are poisoned to death every single year in this country. Sometime in 2014 we might surpass the number of people struck by lightning every single year in this country.

Which is to say that mass shootings are incredibly rare and don’t kill a lot of people when they do happen.

It is tempting to ask why accidental drowning is not 340 times more important a social issue than gun control. Or why poisoning isn’t 150 times as pressing a political issue. (If the number of people dying is truly what’s important, almost anything would be more pressing.) The problem is not hard to understand though, and rests in a psychological concept known as the “logical fallacy of misleading vividness”.

The fallacy of misleading vividness is when the thought, imagery or reality of something is so emotionally potent – positively or negatively – that you begin to overestimate the likelihood and frequency of its occurrence. This is why many people are afraid to fly. They can understand intellectually that crashes almost never happen, and that airplanes are statistically the safest way to travel, but the idea of being torn apart mid-air, or knowing that they’re about to die for a full two minutes in freefall, or being dragged under the ocean while stuck inside the cabin is so vivid and disturbing, that they actually experience intense fear about a process that is safer than their drive to the airport.

This is what happens to us collectively as a nation when mass shootings occur. Yes, it is terrible, for both the person who was so disturbed and all the people they harmed. It puts on graphic display the absolute worst aspects of our culture, which is painful to watch.

However, it is also an incredible statistical deviation from the norm, objectively inflicting far less suffering and death than many other ways that people are far more likely to die. This is an important point. When our policy becomes based on emotional content rather than facts, we are heading in the wrong direction.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at how things are in the world of guns and how they got to be that way.

Obama & the NRA: Frenemies of the State

It is a running joke in gun-interest circles that Obama is the “gun salesman of the year”[1]. From the moment he won the Democratic nomination, gun sales in the US surged dramatically. If the joke were more honest, he might be called “gun salesman of the decade”. According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the economic impact of the firearm industry grew more than 50% (from $19 billion to $31 billion) between 2008 and 2011[2] In 2010, a record was set for the number of background checks filed for firearm purchases. That record was broken again in 2011.

All of this was largely the result of a campaign by gun rights advocates like the NRA to convince the country that Obama would be a gun control activist. To be sure, their concerns weren’t entirely baseless. In a 2004 NPR interview, then-senator Obama clearly stated that he not only supported the Federal Assault Weapons ban, but that he would “continue to support a ban on concealed carry laws” altogether.[3] The administration reaffirmed its support of the assault weapons ban in 2009.[4]

But, lacking political capital, Obama made no such push for gun control legislation. In fact, quite the opposite. During his first term he signed laws making it legal for people to carry concealed weapons in National Parks and in their checked luggage on Amtrak trains, provided they met their state’s requirements to do so. As a result, the Brady Campaign, the leading gun control lobbying group, gave Obama an “F” rating. When the administration was asked about how it would respond to the Aurora shooting, the first words out of spokesman Jay Carney’s mouth were, “We plan to uphold the second amendment.” When the Sikh shooting happened, his press conference informed people that the President “will continue to instruct his administration to take action towards common-sense measures that protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens but make it harder and harder for those who should not have weapons under existing law to obtain them”.

Despite this conspicuously moderate viewpoint, the NRA continues to stoke the flames of fear, promising that once Obama is reelected to a second term, he’ll have no reason to hold back on the gun control legislation he’s been wanting to implement since 2004. In fact, at a recent CPAC conference in Florida, NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre went so far as to suggest, without offering any evidence, that Obama’s failure to act on gun control has been a “massive Obama conspiracy” to postpone his attack on the second amendment until his second term.[5] While I appreciate the NRA’s vigilance on an issue I feel strongly about, I can’t help but think that it is rants like this that make much of the populace totally unable to identify with the organization.

Meanwhile, the Aurora shooting, like all shootings, has revived the cries for gun control from the political Left. At a loss for somewhere to direct their grief, outrage and sense of justice after such a senseless tragedy, they are again calling for renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994. If a second Obama administration will have the political capital to promote any gun control legislation at all, it will be the renewal of this ban. It will therefore benefit anyone interested in gun politics to review what the assault weapons ban was, what it was not, and how it affected (or failed to affect) the nation.

Creating the Category
or
How Do I Look?

The most important question, of course, is: “What exactly is an assault weapon?”

The term was specifically designed to conjure images of military machine guns, but for those totally unfamiliar with firearms, it should be made clear that automatic weapons (those that fire more than one bullet with each pull of the trigger) are already illegal for the average citizen to own. They are heavily regulated by the federal government, registered with the ATF and very difficult to obtain licenses for. Almost no crime is ever committed with them.

So in 1994, legislators were forced to ask themselves, “What exactly will this ban do away with?” The category of “assault weapon” didn’t actually exist, and this was an opportunity for gun control advocates to create it, to say exactly what they wanted off the streets.

As it turns out, they were mostly opposed to things they saw in movies. Which is to say that most of the features that now defined “assault weapons” had to do with form and not function, totally sidestepping the issue of violent crime altogether. Three quick examples:

1) Stock Manipulation

This is the Ruger 10/22. It has been in production since 1964 and is one of the most popular rifles in the country.

It is an ideal first rifle, small and manageable, which is why my parents bought one for me in my mid teens. It is well-made, inexpensive and easy to maintain. Its small caliber (.22) means that it is cheap to shoot and has almost no recoil. It can be used for very small game hunting (foxes, rabbits, etc) or varmint control, but is generally a sport (target shooting) gun.

What you see is also an assault weapon.

Not because of anything it actually does, but because of the stock. You might be able to tell that it is hinged, allowing it to fold up against the rest of the gun. This was one feature of an “assault weapon”, according to the new law. Another was the grip, which is vertical like a pistol rather than horizontal. A non-“assault” Ruger 10/22 looks like this:

There is not a single difference in the functioning of these two firearms. All the moving parts that make up the actual firing mechanisms are identical. The diminutive size of the ammunition means that it isn’t even recommended for self defense purposes. But the ban was far more concerned with the way guns looked than their ability to actually assault anything.

2) Suppressing

Can you tell the difference between these two guns?

The gun on the bottom has a slightly longer barrel, which is threaded to allow a suppressor or other accessory to screw on. This too was now illegal. Suppressors are usually called “silencers” by the general public, though they do no such thing. (That little *ptew* sound you hear in the movies whenever a gun with a “silencer” is fired? It was dreamed up entirely by the film industry.)

As an acquaintance of mine wrote:

    In the early 20th century, before guns lost social acceptability and marksmanship was publicly encouraged, people with enough space were known to practice in their back yards. No one wants to annoy their neighbor with fussilades of afternoon gunfire, so the Maxim Silencer found success being marketed as a relatively inoffensive and civilized way to increase shooting proficiency.

In addition to being polite, home defense uses also prevent the temporary and permanent loss of hearing that is sure to occur when firing a pistol indoors, while also reducing recoil and eliminating muzzle flash, which can be temporarily blinding or disorienting.

Modern criminals have never really used suppressors, and its hard to understand where the gun control crowd were getting their ideas about the world if not from bad movies. Did they really think that assassins were creeping around executing people with suppressed pistols? Surely not. Nonetheless, one of the pistols you see above is an “assault weapon”, while the other is not.

3) Shrouds
As it turns out, even the most vociferous and high-ranking gun control advocates didn’t actually know what was being legislated. After the Virginia Tech massacre, Democratic House representative Carolyn McCarthy went on MSNBC to explain why she had introduced legislation even more extensive than the elapsed Federal Assault Weapons Ban. After some discussion, Tucker Carlson picked a banned feature from the list – a barrel shroud – and asked her to explain what it was and why it should be regulated.

After some hemming and hawing she admitted that she had no idea what her own legislation was referring to, but made a wild guess anyway, and thus another gun-culture joke was born:

For those interested, a barrel shroud is simply a metal cover that prevents the operator of a firearm from burning their hands on a hot barrel.

It would have been interesting to me if Carlson had explained the barrel shroud, and then asked again how cooler barrels contributed to violent crime. It is hard to imagine what her response could possibly have been. But it looks mean, and this was apparently what mattered to whoever actually wrote the legislation.

These are some examples of what the ban in question covered. Perhaps most tellingly, semi-automatic (legal) versions of automatic firearms were banned just because they looked like illegal guns.

When the category of “assault weapon” had finally been conjured into being, all of its included firearms together accounted for less than 2% of violent crime.[6] None of them had any more functionality than a hunting rifle. It couldn’t have been clearer that this was a war founded on image rather than reality.

The foreshadowing of just how much it wouldn’t accomplish was clear. Years later, a study of the ban’s effectiveness by the National Institute of Justice seemed to scratch its head out loud that “[a]lthough the weapons banned by this legislation were used only rarely in gun crimes before the ban, supporters felt that these weapons posed a threat to public safety…”

There was only one banned feature that had anything to do with practical function.

“High Capacity” Magazines

The ban on “large capacity ammunition feeding devices” was the most far reaching aspect of the legislation, as it applied to magazines for all guns, not just guns that were illegal due to other cosmetic features. Again, the question became: “What exactly is a high capacity magazine?” No such thing had been defined, and an arbitrary number of rounds would have to be selected.

Legislators settled on the number 10 for rifles and pistols, while 5 shells would be the maximum for a shotgun.

The strongest focus by gun control advocates in the wake of various shootings has been a return to these limits on magazine size.[7] (During Carol McCarthy’s question-avoidance in the above video, notice that her stump speech is an assertion of the importance of banning high capacity magazines. This has been duplicated on countless news and talk programs, blogs and websites, especially those that lean politically to the Left[8].) The idea is that if mass shooters have larger magazines, they will be able to kill more people before police or an armed citizen can intervene.

Keeping in mind the statistical rarity and relatively tiny death toll of mass shootings to begin with, is this true? Will high capacity bans lower the number of people killed in mass shootings? All we have to do is look at one of the deadliest shootings in the world: the Virginia Tech massacre.

With one pistol of 10-round capacity and one pistol of 15-round capacity, Cho killed more people than anyone has ever killed in a single U.S. shooting incident. He didn’t need any massive magazines or custom weapons. The embarrassingly simple reason that magazine size restrictions can’t lessen the lethality of mass shooters is that it doesn’t matter how many rounds fit in a magazine if a shooter has multiple magazines. When one runs out, they can simply drop it and pop another in, a process which takes five seconds at most. (Less than half a second, if you happen to be this guy.) Cho was able to carry out this massacre because he carried a backpack containing 19 magazines, a fact not well-publicized.

Of course, most semiautomatic pistols hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. In preparation for this article I asked a gun dealer to guess what percentage of new pistols came standard with magazines of more than 10 round capacity. His estimate was 70-75%, and he took model after model out of the display case to illustrate. The most popular (best selling) handgun in the world, the Glock 17, holds 17 rounds of 9mm ammunition. In fact, after looking at all available Glock models, I found that less than half them even had magazines smaller than 10 rounds available at all.

This is the model I own, a Ruger P95. It’s a standard sized pistol, small enough for me to regularly carry concealed. It was made to hold 16 rounds, more than either of the standard-sized magazines used by Cho.

My point here is that “high capacity” magazines are not some specialty aftermarket part that criminals obtain shadily over the internet. They were defined arbitrarily into existence, and before the ban were considered standard production to give consumers a decent product. (If you’ve made the decision to be an armed citizen to defend your self, home or family to begin with, why would you want less capacity than you could practically fit into one mag?)

Bottom line: Whether you have two magazines that hold 15 rounds or three mags that hold 10 rounds, you’ll be able to shoot all 30 bullets in less than 45 seconds. This fact, combined with the statistical rarity and low death rate of mass shootings and the statistical prominence of guns used in self defense (2 million times every year) make it difficult for me to justify the criminalization of what has, throughout American history, been considered a perfectly normal capacity – that is, however many rounds fit comfortably inside the firearm.

Remember, the only sensible reason for a capacity ban of any kind is the specific class of crime whose degree of success depends on the 5-10 second difference between having to reload and not having to reload. Mass shootings, it turns out, are the only time this is the case, and only to an incredibly slight degree, as demonstrated by Cho. I have already discussed why I do not believe that mass shootings should guide our policy to begin with.

And yet, I can almost hear the voices I have heard before, asking whether it is realistic to think that people actually defend their homes with “assault rifles” that have “high capacity” magazines…

(The gun used to defend both of these homes was an AR-15, the same gun Holmes used in Auarora, banned for production because there existed models of it elsewhere that were automatic.)

Grandfathering

This ban presented gun control legislators with another huge problem, which can’t be overstated.

There were about 1.5 million of these “assault weapons” already owned by Americans, and far more high-capacity magazines. In order to actually ban them, the government had to do one of two things:

1) Turn many thousands of law-abiding citizens into felons overnight, even though the guns were legal at the time of purchase or receipt.

2) Demand that the whole country surrender 1.5 million guns and millions of magazines.

Both options were practically and politically impossible, especially the latter. Images of the federal government confiscating and destroying the firearms of veterans, families and law-abiding Americans would not sell to most of the nation, and in some areas, might result in open revolt or civil unrest. It would also ignore a fundamental flaw with gun control legislation in general – that people willing to abide by laws aren’t the ones we should be concerned about.

The predicament resulted in what is generally referred to as the “grandfather clause”. It essentially meant that all “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines manufactured before the ban remained legal to own, sell and use.

To reiterate, millions of these banned firearms and high capacity magazines were legal to own and sell during the ban.

This meant that prices for these firearms and magazines shot up along with demand. Manufacturers had churned out as many soon-to-be-banned items as they could before it went into effect, then sold them at nearly twice what they had originally cost. Individual dealers who had already stocked up made small fortunes. You might even say that the Federal Assault Weapons Ban was the gun salesman of that particular decade.

10 Years Later
When the ban expired in 2004, everyone was anxious to study the results. Had it reduced crime?

How could it have?

The National Institute of Justice found that the ban hadn’t reduced gun crime or crime involving “high capacity” magazines, and that the effects of renewing the ban were “likely to be small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement.” It then added: “Assault weapons were rarely used in gun crimes even before the ban.”[9]

The Center for Disease Control released a study of gun control legislation, including the assault weapons ban and found “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.”[10]

The National Research Council noted that all of the studies they had looked at “did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence” and noted “due to the fact that the relative rarity with which the banned guns were used in crime before the ban … the maximum potential effect of the ban on gun violence outcomes would be very small…”[11]

Slippery Slope

If there was ever a single quotation that summarized the fears of the gun rights crowd surrounding the “assault weapon” ban, it is this one:

    “No one should have any illusions about what was accomplished [by the ban]. Assault weapons play a part in only a small percentage of crime. The provision is mainly symbolic; its virtue will be if it turns out to be, as hoped, a stepping stone to broader gun control.”
    – Washington Post editorial, September 15, 1994

As we have seen, the battles of gun control have been fought, won and lost with definitions. Categories are created, connotations ascribed with the stroke of a pen. The Brady Campaign, the strongest advocate for these bans, has taken this particular work one step farther since Aurora. They have now redefined “mass shootings” to include all drive-bys involving a shot fired toward three or more people, regardless of whether anyone was even actually hurt, leading them to assert that there are “20 mass shootings every year”. People who follow the news with some regularity may sense that there is something wrong with this statement, but this sort of redefinition does influence many people who don’t have the time or will to investigate such a claim.

It is intentional deceptions like this that have peaceful, gun-loving folks like myself looking over our political shoulders all the time. Add to this the fact that the Brady Campaign strategically changed its name from the more honest designation of “Handgun Control, Inc”, and perhaps it’s easier for the Left to understand why those of us who believe in the importance of ALL of the items in the Bill of Rights (including firearm ownership) are worried about the progressive nature of these bills.

With intentionally dishonest lobbying groups pushing already-failed legislation while calling it a “stepping stone”, we can see the slippery slope right in front of our feet.

Summary
If gun control advocates want to actually have meaningful discussion and debate about the “assault weapon” and “high capacity” ban, they MUST address these questions:
– Why ban cosmetic features?
– Why ban guns used in a mere 2% of crime?
– Why base gun control legislation on rare and statistically insignificant mass shootings to begin with?
– Why ban magazines that have been consistently sized since their invention?
– How would banning these magazines have saved lives, given that all a shooter needs is multiple magazines and 3 seconds of time (i.e. Cho)?
– How will a ban on either these weapons or magazines reduce crime, since there are many millions of them legal and available anyway, especially since production has ramped up after the ban’s expiration?

And most importantly:

After a decade of failure, why assume that the bans will reduce violent crime THIS time around?

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629 Responses to “Why Not Renew the “Assault Weapons” Ban? Well, I’ll Tell You…”

  1. Excellent article. Very well written. Thanks!

  2. Excellent article. Do you have a reference for the Brady Bunch’s redefinition of “mass shootings?”

    • You can find citation of each incident on their site. Included in their list are incidents such as two people shooting at each other and accidentally hitting other people, incidents in which only one or two people were injured at all, one bike-by shooting in which someone opened fire at 3 people, a boy who killed his family in their home, etc.

      They have essentially transferred all gun violence into the category of mass shootings to further their specific political aims, though you have to do your own searches to figure this out, because they intentionally omit the circumstances surrounding each incident.

      You can see the entire list for yourself at their site:

      http://www.bradycampaign.org/xshare/pdf/major-shootings.pdf

  3. Well thought out and written article article.

  4. Mitch Kauffman Says:

    What a great article. The anti-gun component has been complaining about the lack of meaningful debate over the issue of gun-control for some time now. Well here you go. A wee thought out, pro-gun position articulated without any name calling or hate mongering whatsoever. Here is your golden opportunity. Let’s see if someone out there can give an articulate, well thought out fact based response.

  5. I just wanted to say I’ve read a few of your blogs/articles including this one and I find your thought process and how you lay it out to be a breath of fresh air.

    Little context. I laughed to myself when you described yourself to be alike to a conservative who listens to NPR. I am conservative and I listen to NPR every day on the way to work in the morning.

    All that to say is I thoroughly enjoyed reading the very conversational tone and overall open-minded attitude consistently displayed in your various, professional grade writings. I get the feeling that you and I could have an amiable discussion about politics without the risk of the interchange becoming an overwrought alienated mess. This gives me hope for the future of our great nation. Much thanks!

  6. jacob conner Says:

    who wrote this? trying to cite it as a source

  7. All I can say is this needs to be in every news paper and evening news station in the country. May I read it to my local TEA party? I can’t say how much I loved the read, I’ve been bringing these points up for some time now.

  8. wow best article ive read on gun control/assault weapons ban, very well put together, i wish everyone would read this.

  9. As someone who, using your definition, may be described as
    a ” gun loving leftist” , and as someone who previously agreed
    with the ban on assault rifles, I’d like to
    thank you very much for this article.
    I’d like to think my opinions are based on facts, not emotionalism.
    With the evidence you present, I now realize that a
    ban on assault rifles is not the way to go.

  10. Best post about the Assault Rifle Ban Ever. Just curious, do you write for a newspaper? This article’s content is very informative and well explained.

    • No, unfortunately, I’m not actually paid to write! I have been doing so for years anyway though. :)

      • Well you should be. :D You are very talented

      • yes you should actually send this the the Wall Street Journal. Or the NY Times. You may be surprised that they do pick up stories like this. It certainly cannot hurt to send off the email and ask. All they can say is No Thank you

      • Not enough spelling and grammar errors for Kontra to be a “profesional” writer.

        Loved this article.

    • It’s obvious he doesn’t write for a newspaper since he presents truthful, factual information, not half-truths, distortions and outright lies found in most/all newspapers.

  11. If there is ever a time we need your article, this is it.

  12. This article is champion mate !

  13. It seems to me that the only sure characteristic of leftism is egalitarianism. How is is egalitarian for so many leftists to advocate creation of an entity that has the power to choose who is armed? Is this egalitarian?

    • I would be willing to bet that the same legislators who pass useless bans that are supposed to lull us into a sense that we will suddenly be safe, will NOT feel safe enough to give up THEIR armed security and gates on their communities.

  14. Kontra – thanks again for your thoughtful and thought-provoking article. I learned a lot! As a gun enthusiast, what would you suggest to be appropriate legislation, if any, to address the problem of gun violence? I realize that gun violence is a symptom of the true evils in our society, but do you think there is some sort of controls or regulations that can be effective? I am at a loss.

    • cameronbenz Says:

      I’ve been giving this some thought personally as I’d love to think I had the answers or at least some good ideas. I really think we need to focus on mental health and threat identification. We could pass all the gun legislation in the world but legal owners are a fraction of the fraction of a percent of school shootings . Which then brings us back to mental health and threat identification.

      • You have hit the nail on the head…
        It is ALL about threat identification and mental health…
        Too many times there were warnings, and people ignored them.

  15. As a (fiscal) conservative, (social) liberal, NPR-listening, former-gun-owning, Christian father, I thank you for using FACTS and REASON to triumph over emotional rhetoric. I can use this article to show so many skills to my children.

  16. Interesting thoughts. I’ll agree with you that banning guns is not an answer, but there has to be some way to regulate the procurement and ownership of weapons. Self defense results in 3 percent of all shootings per year, on average. Why does someone need 5 AR15 rifles, 5 pistols, 4 shotguns and 5000 rounds in there closet? Why can I walk into Wal Mart and walk out with a 12 gauge shotgun 5 minutes later, without a license showing proficiency in how to operate it or understanding of the laws regulating it’s use? I have to do the same to drive a car. It’s too easy to buy guns in the US and something needs to be done about it.

    • See, we have a little thing called The Second Amendment that plainly states the government shall not infringe on our right to keep and bear arms. Owning guns is a RIGHT bestowed upon us by a Creator (or, for the atheists out there, by virtue of our birth). Our Constitution says the government SHALL NOT INFRINGE on this very basic Right.

      Driving a car is a PRIVILEGE bestowed by the government, so they can license you to death with an automobile, or even revoke your drivers license. But the government CANNOT prevent American citizens from keeping and bearing arms, under the Constitution.

      There’s a very good reason for that.

      The TRUTH of the Second Amendment is that it protects for American citizens the RIGHT to use firepower to bring down their own government, when that government becomes tyrannical and oppressive. The whole REASON for the Second Amendment is quite clear: To Secure a Free State.

      That’s the part of the amendment that very much distinguishes gun ownership as a DUTY…not merely a form of personal self defense or sporting entertainment. The Founders INTENDED for Americans to ALWAYS wield at LEAST as much firepower as the government. To Secure a Free State.

      Governments, you see, can NEVER be trusted to secure our Liberty. Armed Americans must ALWAYS be able to remove a tyrannical government by force of arms, when all other methods are exhausted.

      • Excellent article and well put regarding the Second Amendment. Sometimes people get confused between rights and privileges. We need more people like you to articulate the facts to a wider audience. In 1994 I didn’t care about the passing of the ban. I didn’t realize that the ban was purely cosmetic. I started becoming a gun enthusiast a few years back and am appalled at the disinformation the anti-gun crowd is putting out and am glad the ban is expired. It does nothing to curb gun violence. Thank you!

      • Actually, unless I’m missing something here, the right to own guns was bestowed upon the American people by the CONSTITUTION, which I seem to remember having been written by PEOPLE–specifically, the Deist founders of this country–not God.

      • I get so tired of 2nd amendment absolutists. Look Chucky, there are all kinds of restrictions and limitations on other constitutional rights (yelling fire in a theater, being searched w/o cause coming into the country, etc.). Hell, there are already scores of limitations of keeping and bearing arms already present (automatic weapons, concealed carry regulations, trigger locks). Pretending we can’t choose reasonable and prudent “regulation” ignores the first part of the ammendment.

      • DK, as you correctly observe, you’re missing something. The Declaration of Independence lays out, in a general fashion, the source of our Rights:

        “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”

        Certain unalienable [sic] rights, that AMONG THESE are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness… You will notice that the Declaration does not specify ALL of the basic Rights with which we are endowed, but it alludes to MANY Rights.

        The Constitution and Bill of Rights (the original ten Amendments) later elucidated upon the Rights granted us by the “Creator” — again, for the atheists out there, this means the Rights with which we are endowed by virtue of our birth. These are our BASIC rights.

        The Constitution did NOT “bestow” any rights upon. From the outset, the Constitution ASSUMES that we ALREADY HAVE these Rights, and it goes to great lengths to PROHIBIT the government from infringing upon those Rights.

        When the government “becomes destructive of these ends” — seeking to infringe upon our Rights and deprive us our Liberty — it is our RIGHT to alter or abolish that government. This means by ballot or by bullet.

        THAT is why the Right of citizens to keep and bear arms is protected immediately in the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Gun ownership wasn’t far down on the list; rather, it was addressed IMMEDIATELY after freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

        You do understand why these Rights were at the TOP of the list, don’t you? It’s because these are the Rights that are FIRST to come under attack by an oppressive and destructive government.

        Take a look around you today… What Rights are under attack, every day, in the headlines? Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, and Freedom to Keep & Bear Arms. That’s because these Rights are, by far, the most dangerous to any form of government seeking to oppress its people.

        The Founders knew EXACTLY what they were doing, and their foresight was and is timeless.

      • well regulated militia means,…. me,….I was well regulated,…..i was in the army for 25 years. If you think over a few beers that the idea of seizing the US was never discussed you would be wrong. (not a serious discussion, just some soldiers saying what if)

        but the one item that keeps popping up is that the US is an armed populace. We knew that one gun can lead to more, lead to machine guns, then RPGs, etc,…it is a matter of getting that first gun, and Americans already had millions. We could very well have a real fight on our hands.

        We were well regulated as a result of that concept as it usually ended the conversation.

      • austin lowery Says:

        Based on your assessment of the second amendment, i see you think private citizens should be able to purchase air craft and rockets, possibly a nuclear weapon? How could the founding fathers have made such an important decision for our future so long ago? This is almost as ridiculous as “One Nation Under God”.

      • Someday we will recognize that arming everybody isn’t a deterrent, but an excuse for the status quo, not an improvement to society.

    • The regulation you suggest would have government controlling private gun ownership. America’s heritage of private gun ownership exists to control government.

      • Bruce Donals Says:

        Have to disagree. To me, the notion that a heritage of private gun ownership has exerted 1 oz. of control over govt. is absurd.

      • “he notion that a heritage of private gun ownership has exerted 1 oz. of control over govt. is absurd”

        You may wish to read up on the battle of Athens

        http://constitution.org/mil/tn/batathen.htm

        Private firearms ownership is exactly what stopped a corrupt government from rigging an election.

      • Very few people are asking to ban firearms. Many people don’t want to own instruments of death. Also, nobody will disagree with the fact that guns most likely do save some lives. But the absolute FACT is that guns TAKE lives and many of those lives are innocent. There is also a direct correlation in this country between the number of guns and the number of innocent deaths. If the gun lovers want to take the tact of responsible gun ownership, than they should be FOR licensing and registration. It is exactly like car ownership. We require the same of any driver.

        The FACT is that there is ONLY one issue underlying all of the smoke by the gun lobby: creating fear over the possible disarming of the American public. The rest of it is pure bullshit meant to create a smokescreen and divert attention. The NRA is disingenuous when it comes to safety of the public. They receive 74% (many millions of dollars annually) of their corporate donations from gun manufacturers and other companies that stand to lose big if in fact we require licensing and registration of all firearms, given teeth by severe criminal prosecution of offenders.

        Until the gun lobby gets their act together and helps draw up a SOLID, PROTECTED, plan to do exactly that, training and licensing users and registration of their firearms, the acrimony with this debate means the disarmament risk will always be a possibility.

      • charlesamiller Says:

        Most gun-related deaths in America are suicides. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, a little over half of all gun-related deaths in this country are suicides. Banning semi-automatic firearms and high-capacity magazines isn’t going to affect the rate of suicide, especially among women, over 60% of whom seem to prefer poisoning, hanging and suffocation.

        Nobody is going to legislate away suicide, just as nobody is going to legislate away homicide, and disarming the public isn’t going to save anyone, given the rate of population growth and the predominance of mental illness. Humans merely resort to another means of accomplishing the same ends.

      • “licensing and registration. It is exactly like car ownership. We require the same of any driver”

        And as I’ve stated earlier, we DON’T require the same of every car OWNER. You only need a license to operate a car on PUBLIC roads. There are already licensing provisions for concealed carry. But if you’d like to try and play the automobile licensing/registration straw man argument, how about this proposal:

        If I hold a CCW permit in any state, all other states/municipalities must recognize it. That includes NY/NYC DC CA HI IL/Chicago NJ who only issue permits to retired police/celebrities/politicians.

        Further, I am now allowed to BUY a firearm from ANYONE in ANY state. Free of paperwork. Cash and carry, just like a car.

        I’m allowed to modify and “hot rod” any firearm in any fashion I wish, to be used on private property.

        “The NRA…receive 74% of their CORPORATE donations from gun manufacturers”

        First, I’d like to see a verified cite of that number. Secondly, you clearly state “CORPORATE” donations. Do you think they’d receive “corporate” donations from McDonalds? It would make sense that the majority of corporations donating money are from the firearms industry, but that doesn’t mean that the majority of their income is from corporations. People often like to throw around numbers of what the NRA spends on lobbying, never once looking at in in context of their total spending. They maintain countless shooting ranges, spend a small fortune on wildlife conservation, provide hunter safety training, LE training and more. The NRA-ILA, the branch that deals with legal matters is minuscule.

        “severe criminal prosecution of offenders”

        That is the only point you made that makes a difference. Stopping revolving door incarceration stops recidivism. Allowing people to actually/effectively defend themselves goes further, as a dead/wheelchair bound criminal CAN’T go right back to business as usual.

    • “walk out with a 12 gauge shotgun 5 minutes later, without a license showing proficiency in how to operate it or understanding of the laws regulating it’s use? I have to do the same to drive a car”

      But you don’t have to show anything to own a car. You can buy all the cars you want, drive them at breakneck speed on your own property, crash them into anything you want that you also own and is on your property. You can park them all out in a private field and have yourself a one man demolition derby if you like. Then you can get drunk and jump in one to make a liquor run, mowing down pedestrians on the way. It’s not until you leave your property, unlicensed/uninsured/drunk that it becomes a crime. My firearms are no more a danger to you or anyone else than my neighbors unregistered and uninsured race car that his wife tows to the track for him because of his DUI.

    • Look at the reasons behind the majority of firearm-related incidents (assaults, murders, etc). The vast majority are drug or alcohol related or crime-related (robbery, home invasion, burglary), followed by “crimes of passion” (domestic violence). Despite what TV crime shows like CSI depict, the “average” murderer doesn’t put much planning or forethought into his/her actions.

      A person who owns multiple firearms is, in my opinion, not unlike someone who owns a toolbox containing multiple tools. One wouldn’t use a screwdriver to pound nails, right? Well, a gun owner (for the sake of argument, let’s say this gun owner is also a hunter) wouldn’t use a .22 to shoot an elk, a shotgun loaded with birdshot for target shooting, or a 30-06 to shoot squirrels.

      The truth is, it doesn’t matter if a person owns a single firearm or an entire Class III arsenal, as the vast majority of people who own multiple firearms do NOT commit crimes with them. Guns are relatively expensive, for one thing; the purchase, care & feeding of a firearm can run well into the thousands of dollars. Guns also represent quite a liability for the uninformed, unprepared or downright ignorant owner; how many people have been injured or killed cleaning an “unloaded” gun?

      This isn’t to say that people who have no business owning or handling firearms actually do so- otherwise, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The trick is how to respect and preserve the rights of law-abiding citizens, while at the same time preventing criminals from obtaining access to firearms.

    • As a police officer I ask similar questions. Why can a person jump in an unliscensed or uninsured vehicle and speed away? Why do the bad guys get weapons by sending their girlfriends into a store to buy them? Why do un-registered aliens get to come into this country and enjoy the benefits of our social programs? Why do we question the ability for law abiding people to exercise their rights when they have to jump through all kinds of hoops but the un-lawful don’t? The gentleman that wrote this well reasoned article understands the basic truth, that until people hold themselves accountable for their actions and believe within themselves that they must do what is right and just, we will continue to suffer at the hands of the un-just.

      • I will pass on Kontra’s outstanding article . I respect a man with intellectual honesty. Sarge, your observations are amazing. Those questions are going to bounce around in my mind for a long time.

    • Sir,

      Some people choose to collect guns or enjoy hunting or target shooting. One thing to point out is that we all only have two hands and thus could only fire two guns at a time (although that is extremely inaccurate) so why does it matter if they have 5? Many guns of the same “type” are meant for different activities as well. Even though the article did not state it as it was not its intent, we need to focus on the reason why people commit crimes of this nature not what medium they use to intact their malice.

      There are some loopholes that should probably be filled like gun sales at gun shows not requiring a background check that would both allow people continue to exercise their 2nd Amendment right as well as add a little more protection to the public.

      I think sighting how many guns a person owns has nothing to do with logic but is a matter of perception possibly from one who both does not enjoy the different activities of shooting nor possibly was not raised with guns. If that is the case that is an unfair reference point from which to make such a judgement.

      To give you a practical example. I have been in the Army for over 23 years. I am very used to the AR platform and have loads of experience using it. However, if I want to hunt mule deer I need a .308. If I want to hunt whitetail deer, maybe a .223. This would require different weapons chambered in the requisite caliber. There are more examples but I just wanted to provide a real life example of just one reason why I person would want to own more than one gun. I do not discount any other reasons or even the “just because I want to/like them.”

      I appreciate peoples’ concern and sympathize with any anxiety. I don’t want to make anyone have a gun nor do I want to take them away. I prefer the right to choose and hopefully choose wisely.

    • Why does someone need a mercedes with 20 inch rims, or a monster truck, or anything else. The main point is we can make our assumptions about those folks, but in order to dictate what they buy, we must first dictate. Self defense also includes when a firearm is used, yet no one is shot, nor is a shot even fired. Thats one of the reasons for the 3% ratio. The gun stops the robbery, or the threat of assault, or the rape, shortly after the assailant makes their intention clear.

    • @agsa6079, let’s look at each of your concerns from a purely logical standpoint. First, having 14 weapons and 5000 rounds in your closet make you no more deadly than someone with ONE AR15, ONE pistol, and ONE shotgun, with 100 rounds of ammunition. Furthermore, you can only use one at a time. From a purely practical point of view, limiting the number of guns that law abiding citizen can own would not make you one iota safer.

      Secondly, it is counter-productive to your own argument to want to ensure proficiency in the use of a weapon to own it. If someone uses a weapon against you illegally, pray they are not proficient. It’s a blessing that many criminals are not well trained in the use of weapons.

      Lastly, there is no evidence that gun crime comes from a lack of “understanding of the laws regulating [the gun’s] use”. I know you don’t honestly believe criminals shove guns in people’s faces or commit mass murder simply because they didn’t have proper legal training before they got their gun.

      Nothing you suggested would limit gun crime, and I think you can see that now. Frankly, you are probably understood these things before I explained them to you. I suspect that people not familiar with guns grasp at straws to protect themselves, often from imaginary, overblown threats. Again, this is counter-productive because it ignores real solutions, and gives a false sense of security by enacting laws that simply don’t work. It’s up to you to either act in ways to actually be safer, or to allow anti-gun pundits to lull you into a false sense of feeling safer.

      • “Secondly, it is counter-productive to your own argument to want to ensure proficiency in the use of a weapon to own it. If someone uses a weapon against you illegally, pray they are not proficient.”

        I thought that the vast majority of gun owners were responsible, law-abiding citizens, and only a tiny minority weren’t? Also, I’ve been told many times that I’m much more likely to be saved in time by a law-abiding gun owner than by a cop, if concealed carry is allowed, since the gun owners will be there quicker. I’ve been told so many times by gun owners; do you disagree?

        Otherwise, if the vast majority of gun-owners are law-abiding people who will come to the rescue, we should want all gun owners to be proficient. The only ones who won’t be, then, will be criminals, who we’re also repeatedly told will just skirt the requirements (including lessons in gun handling) they don’t like. So win-win.

    • I think the push for gun control is actually making it more dangerous. People are no longer exposed to guns in a safe and instructive manner.

      I think if you teach gun safety and encourage the law abiding to carry you will be moving in the right direction.

  17. Well put! I wish more of my liberal friends could see it this way…

  18. wow an intelligent well spoke liberal, its almost refreshing. Very well written! I wish there were more liberals like you! BTW I’m a far right extreamist)

  19. Quite a bit difference between “accidental drowning” and assassin-type killing of 18 children.

    • Why is there quite a bit of difference? The reason it’s bad to die is you miss out on your ability to live and enjoy life, and society doesn’t get to benefit from any of the good things you do. As some would put it, those kids had their whole life ahead of them. You still lose exactly the same thing from accidental poisoning, falling, or drowning, all of which affect innocent little kids to.

    • Lawrence Destefano Says:

      I think Kontra’s article is focused on data collection undertaken in a way that allows valid conclusions to be drawn versus data used to advance special interests and hidden agendas. Yours was covered under the fallacy of misleading vividness.

      • While I understand the misleading vividness argument, it isn’t perfect. There is a reason we as a society have chosen to punish murder more harshly than the negligent individual who left the gate to their pool unlocked. There is a reason we punish premeditated murder more harshly than other murder. Despite what the author is arguing, the fact that less people die from mass shootings does not mean they are less deserving of deterrent action. Society does not and will not ever work that way.

      • Lawrence Destefano Says:

        You get no argument from me Charlie. The best “deterrent action” against active shooters is the AR-15 SBR platform in the hands of vetted, volunteer civilian, school marshals trained for Immediate Action Rapid Deployment.

  20. dontdomilk Says:

    Wow, thank you for this. I admittedly have very little knowledge about guns, but this article has broken down some assumptions I’ve made about gun control legislation. I’ll alert our other leftists. Well done!

    • Excellent! Share the news, and more.

      Here’s a challenge. You and your liberal friends, go to a local gun shop and go to a range. Take a basic firearms safety course from an NRA approved instructor.

      Fill out the paperwork required to legally purchase a pistol (more restrictive than rules for rifles) in your state. Ask yourself “could I pass a background check?” Find out if your state agrees.

      (You need not actually buy a gun. But KNOW what the rules are, before clamoring for a change in rules you know nothing about.)

  21. The Assault Weapons Ban of the 1990s was a travesty, a joke, aimed not at the kill-potential of any given firearm, but at the FEARSOME APPEARANCE of many diverse firearms. Under the 1990s ban, in fact, many elements of my tactical 12 gauge pump shotgun were deemed illegal. Today, the anti-gun fanatics out there are intent on characterizing ALL semi-automatic firearms as “assault weapons,” going so far as to intentionally misidentify them as AUTOMATIC, throwing the fear of god into the uneducated and cowardly.

    • Obviously, I agree with your claims about the legislation. I do think we should make attempts to educate folks who don’t understand rather than ridicule or characterize as some sort of vast conspiracy. People are understandably saddened and angered by violence, and they don’t know what to do about it exactly. Guns are the easiest target. It’s not okay, but I understand it. We have to find ways of helping people who genuinely want the world to be a better place understand why bans like this are not only ineffective, but take our time and energy away from things that *could* help change our culture for the better.

      • It’s absurd, but do you realize that, under the defunct assault weapons ban, my 18″ pump shotgun was rightly NOT considered an assault weapon…unless I fitted it with a bayonet bolt. A bayonet bolt turned my pump shotgun into an “assault weapon” and was therefore illegal. Think about that. If I’m close enough to use a bayonet against another human being, I’m close enough to cut that individual IN-HALF with a single 12-guage round, bayonet or no. LOL

        But that silly bayonet bolt was illegal.

        Now imagine, in the heat of this anti-gun furor today, what sort of preposterous specifications they’re going to demand.

  22. What a fantastic article! I could not agree more with you in all aspects of your article. As a semi left leaning gun owner (including 2 “assault weapons”) I am glad to see someone sensibly articulating the small numbers that are attributed to gun deaths from mass shootings compared to the huge number of cases of self defense. The same day of the horrible Newton shootings I knew people would be quick to blame guns as opposed to the horrible and sick individual that actually perpetrated the crime. If we look at the facts the majority of these terrible crimes take place I can areas that people know will be gun free areas (schools, theaters, malls, etc) because they will have no opposition from legally armed members of society and thus will have no fear of retaliation from anyone. China has had a spate of knife attacks in schools where killers go on a rampage with the only weapon they have access to. Our focus needs to be on security and protection of innocent people through education and briefing all teachers, students, and employees of areas that contain large numbers of defenseless people. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families of this terrible tragedy.

  23. Very well written article!!!

  24. Anti gun forces are completely shameless and are not worth of any dignity. As the parents, friends, families, and people cry over the 27 lives that perished in the Sandy Hook Shootings. Antigun forces are climbing on the backs of the dead just to get to a camera and try to promote the ideas of banning firearms. They exploit and look for circumstances like this so they can push through with thier campaigns of banning assault weapons. It is truly shameless and I think they have no heart. Let me ask the anti gun people out there.
    Do you think, a man set out to kill would be stopped by a firearms ban? Do you truly believe Adam Lanza, who killed his mother just to get a gun, be stopped by any ban?
    People kill people, guns don’t kill people.
    If you don’t believe me, look at China. China has one of the strictest firearm laws in a country, but does that stop a crazed man whos out for blood from killing? No. In the last year over 200 students were killed and 50 injured, in school, by a person with a knife, axe, or any blade.
    My condolences go out to the families and friends greiving up in Newtown, Connecticut.

    • phillybob1776 Says:

      And the pro-gun crowd continues with their usual rhetoric regarding gun laws, their specious argument regarding the 2nd amendment, their newly found concern about helping the mentally ill, and one person who stated that the right to have a gun is granted by the Creator. So why have any laws or restrictions against murder, rape, robbery, drugs after all, people will continue to commit these laws regardless of the number of statutes on the books. Is there any gun restriction that you would support? Should machine guns be banned?

      • Philly Bob,

        With all due respect, while this article contains no second amendment argument, that whole question has been pretty effectively settled by the Supreme Court. It’s not quite fair to characterize folks who are interested in gun issues as having “new found concern” for the mentally ill, as there are those of us who have done whatever mental health work we can outside of the need for a degree. Frankly, it’s not the place of gun rights advocates as a group to work on mental health issues. Mental health is the most important topic relating to mass shootings, and we’d all (EVERYONE would) like to see people as healthy as possible in all ways.

        I’m personally an atheist, and the God argument has no sway with me.

        I’m not sure if you read the article or not, or if you know anything at all about guns, but your ending questions are a bit confusing. What do you mean by “machine guns”? As the article says,

        “The most important question, of course, is: “What exactly is an assault weapon?”

        The term was specifically designed to conjure images of military machine guns, but for those totally unfamiliar with firearms, it should be made clear that automatic weapons (those that fire more than one bullet with each pull of the trigger) are already illegal for the average citizen to own. They are heavily regulated by the federal government, registered with the ATF and very difficult to obtain licenses for. Almost no crime is ever committed with them.

        The rest of the rifles are just rifles, as the article points out.

        I would support working on making sure existing laws and background checks are carried out properly and efficiently – including those designed to identify people with mental health issues – and I support more training for a concealed carry permit. (Though there is almost never a problem with people who take the time to acquire one, I think it would make people who don’t know about guns feel safer and probably isn’t a bad idea anyway.)

      • Specious arguments regarding the Second Amendment? The Second Amendment is not ambiguous, it is among the most straightforward and concise of all the Amendments to the Constitution.

        The only people making “specious arguments” regarding the Second Amendment are anti-gunners, who consistently attempt to reinterpret and redefine the intent of the Founders.

        You cannot MAKE an anti-gun argument out of the Second Amendment, no matter how much you may try. Ultimately, the Second Amendment is what it is… It’s a prohibition against the GOVERNMENT infringing upon the Right of Americans to keep and bear arms.

      • Reading through some posts as a follow up to my post…came accross the guy who believes the 2nd amendment is as straight forward as it could be. Have you ever read the 2nd amendment? Are you familiar with the 5-4 supreme court votes on gun control? Do I need to post it here?

        A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

        I believe there are many valid arguments for private gun ownership, but to suggest the amendment protects unlimited private ownership of all weaponry is absurd. If you interpret the amendment as an absolute, you are blinded by your own bias. As far as offering “protection” from the government…go get em tough guy, hope it ends better for you than for the branch davidians.

      • I would like to add, one does not “commit laws”.

        phillybob’s post provides strong evidence that the poster did not read the article at all but is just responding to the comments.

    • The author here… I don’t think it’s productive to call people who are acting out of misplaced (but understandable) grief and anger shameless or unworthy of dignity. If we are going to make rational, informed decisions about anything in this world, including guns, we need to respect each other’s voice. Not respect everyone’s opinions, necessarily, but be open to having our minds changed by evidence and reason. Angry characterizations of people immediately shut down that reasoning process and leave us on two sides of the proverbial aisle, unwilling to even understand where the other is coming from.

      I want to believe it’s possible to change minds. Civilization depends on it. And we can never do that if we don’t respect people enough to engage with them where they are.

      Thanks for informing me about the school deaths in China! I’ll have to research that more.

      • charlesamiller Says:

        Well, knife and sword massacres are fairly common in China and Japan, where civilian gun ownership is banned. School children are COMMONLY targeted in China, and Japan’s second-worst mass murder EVER was a knife attack on a daycare center.

      • charlesamiller Says:

        Actually, knife and sword violence in China and Japan SURPASS gun violence in the USA. In China, knife attackers COMMONLY target schoolchildren. In Japan, the second worst mass-murder EVER was a lone knife attacker in a children’s daycare center.

      • “As far as offering “protection” from the government…go get em tough guy, hope it ends better for you than for the branch davidians.”
        This country was founded on standing up against a tyrannical government that was in every way more superior than the small militia that fought for freedom. Small militias have been a turning point in many wars. I’m not saying that we have a tyrannical government at this point, but if that ever became an issue than the second amendment gives us the right to bear arms to stand up and free this country once again.
        Aside from protecting our country against our own government, personal gun ownership is what deters other countries from invading. The threat of not only having to fight against the most advanced military in the world is not always enough, but having to fight through millions of gun owners would be impossible.
        I served in the military so I support the viewpoints of pro-gun supporters, but I also respect the opinions of the anti-gun activists. I believe that everyone has a right to their opinion, and has every right to express it, because it is yet another Constitutional right.

      • Robbie, the claim that “personal gun ownership is what keeps other countries from invading” is propaganda that has been debunked many times. What keeps other countries from invading is the fact that the two most mammoth oceans on earth stand between us and any other country, except for Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico, who have no more than 300,000 troops, and that it’s prohibitively expensive to mount such an invasion, and so punishingly difficult for one’s troops that it’s better for every country not to do so (see under “D-Day” and the later “Battle of the Bulge”–we did those 68 years ago, in self-defense, but no one has attempted such a thing since).

        The unsourced quote (“unsourced quote” meaning “the quote that someone just invented to pretend their side is right, because not one person who repeats it can produce ANY document that proves that the person ever said it”), attributed to various World War II-era Japanese military officers, that this was the reason they never invaded, is nonsense. Not only because it was phonied up, but because Japan never INTENDED to invade America. During the whole war (which lasted years longer in Asia than the 1939-45 war in Europe did), they never managed to occupy even 1/3 of China–and the Chinese mainland was among the first things they tried to conquer. What makes ANYONE think that they had any intention of invading America? Documented sources will be welcome, but don’t be taken in by your own side’s propaganda.

      • Well said: open minds are rare and hard to find in these United States.

        As you (we) consider other violent crimes that occur without firearms, remember cases like the Manson killings, OJ Simpson and his alleged crimes with a knife, and other cases where no bullet was fired but people died.

        Violence as a means of last resort is the common thread, regardless of whether Man kills with a bullet, blade, poison, a rope, a baseball bat or a rock.

    • I agree with Kontra. But you kinda have a point. And by the way its 20 not 200 killed.

      • Also, Charlesmiller saying

        “Actually, knife and sword violence in China and Japan SURPASS gun violence in the USA. ”

        is a moot point. The population of China and Japan also SURPASSES the US so, without an actual, relative percentage of the population, that argument is invalid.

        Kontra, thanks for writing this. I was raised around guns for hunting purposes and shared a .22 with my siblings for target shooting growing up. However, over the last few years I had found myself siding with the gun-control leftists as I saw anything but my dad’s hunting rifle as a “gang/ crime” weapon. I’m fairly certain movies & TV had something to do with this.

        Lately, I have been struggling with how to process this issue and understanding more on what you wrote helps me sort fact from fiction.

    • What’s even worse about the ordeal in China, is the fact that many people (many speaking through supposed “fact-based” media outlets) are able to say that the children suffered minor injuries…how can people be so desensitized and blind???
      We have soldiers who come home everyday suffering from PTSD (SHELL SHOCK!, rip G.C.), a disorder triggered by traumatic experience(s), which will be a cloud in their sunny skies for the rest of their days. The children in China will will most surely face the same fate, and it doesn’t matter how well they continue on it will still haunt their dreams until their last slumber.
      Our soldiers bravely choose to take on that risk to protect our freedoms regardless of what agendas are carried out in the course of their military career that our so-called “fearless”(*b.s.*) leaders in the big G send them to complete/perpetuate….and i thank and appreciate every one of them for it (Bump to my best buds brother, Stevie). But the innocent do not make that choice, whether as law abiding/ moral adults who choose a different path, or because they haven’t reached the age in which it is required to make the choice.
      And ANY and EVERY CITIZEN deserves not only the liberty of having (by way of their hard earned taxed dollars, i might add) officials to detain, persecute and hand down punishment to the perpetrators of said crimes when convicted by a jury of peers…. BUT ALSO to trust that ANY and EVERY CITIZEN has the right to protect their self and any other CITIZEN(S) from ANY and ALL ENEMIES FOREIGN and DOMESTIC….and that isn’t an oath restricted to the military. It is a moral seed that was planted by our founding fathers with the 2nd amendment, and should be one of the tallest trees in the forest of our ideologies, for it is one of the few principles that every american can and should stand by regardless of race or creed.
      Violent criminals to the jihad, there is no scale…. violence is all the same…it is a negative-only contamination to our society in part and as a whole. The innocent children and adults who survived each of these traumatic events and any others like it face a wound that will never fully heal and it is disgusting to portray it as anything less.
      There is no law that will stop “crazy”…..but a slight bulge in the waistbands of well-trained citizens and the range stickers that stamp a carrier’s vehicle will deter far more violence than any police or military presence ever could. We the People,…let us not forget…it is our responsibility to protect our own and each others’ freedom to be alive.
      It is our duties to be the true first repsonders. “The only thing worse than evil men, is the indifference of good men”

  25. Thanks for this article. Sometimes I feel like the only leftist that isn’t in favor of banning everything right down to air pistols.

  26. Hi there, I liked your post enough to write a response back on my own blog. Take a look if you’re interested. http://danriggins.blogspot.com/2012/12/gun-control.html

  27. RangeRatClass3 Says:

    Very well put, Thank You

  28. RobDotInfo Says:

    This article is very specific and points out quite convincingly that banning assault rifles would probably not reduce the number of mass killings, which in themselves represent a “minute” proportion of those killed by guns in the US.

    But it doesn’t address the issue of the huge number of gun deaths in the US.

    Pro-gun spin doctors quote statistics that show that other countries have a higher per capita gun death rate than the US. What they don’t normally point out is that without exception those countries are third world countries, that are radically less developed than the US and have far fewer resources.

    The probability of being shot in the US is some 40 x that in Canada, the UK or Germany.

    Why would the US be happy to compare themselves with some of the poorest countries in the world? Can’t they do better than that?

    • I think you might appreciate taking a look at this short video clip that Al Jazeera aired after the Oakland school shooting. In it, a gun policy expert attempts to explain why gun availability (even across national borders) is not the primary indicator of violence.

      Also, you might take a look at this chart of rates of intentional homicide. I think you’ll find that there are not only “third world” (which comprises most of the earth by population, by the way) countries ahead of us in this ignoble category.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

      • I agree that there are not only “third world” countries ahead of the U.S. in intentional homicide, but none that I really would feel comfortable comparing our country to. The closest country that I could compare to the U.S. (4.0 per 100,000) with a higher rate is Russia (10.0) and I still don’t like that comparison. Any others I would compare to us (UK, Germany, France, Australia, Spain, Japan, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada, Italy) have significantly lower homicide rates. In fact all of those have rates under 2.0 (half of the U.S.). And even China is Significantly lower at 1.0 (one fourth of the U.S.). I just don’t see the information in the link that you provided supports your point. The majority of the countries with a higher rate than the U.S. are primarily those from Central and South America or Africa. Those countries are a far cry from the level of development and industrialization of the U.S.

        I do like the video, though, especially the comparison to UK homicide rates. The fact that their rate has always been lower, even before strict gun control laws, suggests that the difference may be more of a social issue.

        I thoroughly enjoyed your article and wish more people were aware of what this legislature actually says. However, I do feel that homicide rates in the U.S. are much higher than they should be and many of those do come from guns. Something needs to be done about it. Does that mean reasonable gun control? Social issues? I personally don’t know. We need to search for a solution, but a viable one can’t be found if people don’t put aside their personal agendas and work together.

      • Part of your problem is your reliance on ‘statistics’ from countries where there is no free press, where governments pick and choose what facts are allowed to be known in country or internationally. Mexico, China, Brazil, Russia, Nigeria? None of these countries have free press, and none have independent court systems or effective police agencies at local or national levels. Crimes are rarely reported to the police, because the people in most countries have more fear of the police/government than they have of the criminals in society. In fact, in these five nations alone, most of the homicides/disappearances are committed BY the State, committed by local or national “police” forces.

        Crime rates in Saddam’s Iraq were officially very, very low: but every family in the nation had brothers or cousins, sisters or daughters who were murdered or ‘vaporized’ by the State security apparatus. The same is true in Iran today.

    • You can’t validly compare homicide rates between nations, let alone gun-homicide rates. There are a huge number of factors that go into the reality in each nation.
      Switzerland has tons of guns but a lower rate than the US. Other nations have fewer guns but a higher rate. The UK had a lower rate before they got rid of guns.
      Here’s a good article summarizing some of the confounding issues: http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcgvinco.html

    • You have a good point that both sides love to spout statistics that fit their agenda more than the situation being debated. But your comment begs the question of “what constitutes a huge number of gun deaths”.

      In 2011, the FBI states there were about 8,500 gun deaths. There were about 4,000 murders by knives, fists, and other means. Should we rejoice that in our nation stomping, cutting, or poisoning people only kills 4,000? What would be the proper amount of gun deaths to tolerate? Stompings? Clubbings?

      If we eliminated all gun deaths, I would expect that stompings, stabbings, and clubbings would go up–maybe to 5,000-6,000 or more? Should we now figure we solved the problem?

      This blog has given me a whole new view about gun deaths (or vilent death in general). As emotional as gun crimes are, the reality is that it’s only 1/4 of the deaths by vehicles. It’s EXACTLY the same amount as alcohol related car accidents. It is hypocritical not to cry for banning booze. We don’t because there are no mass-drunk-driving incidents. We can accept death in small amounts, but when it becomes spectacular, it is suddenly a national tragedy.

      So, what amount of gun deaths, are “huge”? Drunk driving deaths? Car deaths? Why the disproportional attention to gun deaths that threatens to form our national policies?

      • Actually, to correct my previous post, gun deaths are FAR LESS than alcohol related deaths (8500 vs 11,500), not “exactly the same”. All the more reason to ask why we show a disproportional amount of concern for gun death vs. other means.

      • This argument always seems disingenuous to me, for several reasons. First, come on, man, you’ve seen this argument before: we regulate the HECK out of cars (and I’m glad we do), and have increased our regulation of them over the years. This includes , for example, that after so many people were needlessly killed through leaded gas, we banned it. Also, we have roadblocks to check for sobriety, which we didn’t always have, to cut down the very alcohol-related deaths you mention.

        If anything, the difference is that the alcohol lobby has the decency, though perhaps lawsuit-driven, to say “please drink responsibly and don’t drive”–they don’t go saying “for God’s sake, don’t regulate anything more! The LAST thing we want is for the cops to go making new policies to stop people from drunk driving! Booze doesn’t kill people, people who drink and drive do!”

        Cars are regulated WAY more than firearms are; I have to be examined personally by someone who checks my physical and mental ability to use the thing safely, before I can be granted a license; and when I buy or sell a car, there’s a strict monitoring system in place, to track the VIN number of that car, with regular updates on the state of that particular car, and a check for public safety (smog checks) must be performed every year or two. So the question is, why are things made specifically TO be dangerous, violent and deadly, and for no other use but target shooting, so much LESS regulated?

        Second, it’s totally fallacious to say “well, since we can’t stop every death, so let’s not have any new regulation at all.” If so, then since there are still murders, and we can’t stop all of them, this argument states that we should have no justice system at all. If that’s NOT what you’re saying, then why do you say “some regulations are great and necessary, but others aren’t”?

      • Chuck: interesting comments, well thought out, in part.

        In 2011, drowning was the 2nd greatest cause of deaths in children in the USA. Where is the outrage in either political party? Where is the National Drownproofing Act? Why isn’t there a federal requirement to teach all children how to swim before they reach age 3? Why don’t we mandate that all parents pass background checks for sanity and criminal history before allowing conception?

        Data from USA Swimming indicates that 70 percent of African American children and 62 percent of Hispanic children cannot swim, making them especially vulnerable populations. Where is the community outrage? How is that possible in 21st century America?

        Pools don’t kill children. Non-swimming parents kill children.

        ———————

      • Andrew: You need to get a better grip on history.

        Leaded gas didn’t kill a single driver or pedestrian. Leaded gas was banned because it polluted the air and water, creating lead poisoning for all fish, mammals, plants, and yes… people.

        As for your argument on regulating cars and trucks beyond the gas, we do a horrible job there. Think about it.

        People ask “Why do we need automatic / assault weapons?”

        Well, consider the same question about vehicles. Why do people need V6, V8, or (how obscene) V12 engines? We let manufacturers (Ford, GM, etc) build millions of cars every day capable of sustained speeds well in excess of 100 mph.

        Why? Other than for a fire engine, ambulance, or police emergency, who NEEDS to drive faster than 25 MPH? Imagine how much safer everyone would be if all cars were built with speed restrictions that kept all cars and trucks at 25 MPH or less, 100% of the time? We would burn less than 20% of the gasoline used daily, we would have very, very few deaths in car crashes, and far fewer pedestrian injuries.

        If the Federal government regulated vehicles the way some would restrict gun manufacture and ownership, no car could be built with a fuel tank larger than 5 gallons, and nobody would be allowed to buy or own a 4 ton SUV like the Escalade or the HUMMER.

        —————————

        On the firearm issue: you seem to have no idea how heavily regulated the firearm industry is. Car dealers do not have to be specially licensed, car salesmen do not undergo background investigations or annual inspection by the Federal Dept of Transportation. Cars and trucks are not registered with the Feds in DC, only with local county and states.

        Nobody who wants to buy a car must submit to fingerprinting and a background check. You can’t be denied the purchase of a car based on your criminal record. If you are convicted of any crime (even DWI Homicide) you cannot be forced to relinquish your car, it cannot be seized by the feds based on your future behavior.

        If you get into a domestic argument with your girlfriend or spouse, the courts will not order you ti surrender your car/truck to the local police within 24 hours. If caught in a car (yours or anybody else s) you will not go directly to jail for violating a domestic protection order.

        If you are arrested and convicted for a felony, you are not banned from owning or driving a car for the rest of your life. (People with one felony conviction are banned from owning a firearm forever.)

        if you use a car in the commission of a crime, there is no extra ‘multiplier’ used in sentencing. (Use a handgun or firearm in a felony, and you will see your sentence tripled in many states. Afterwards, you face a MANDATORY five year prison term in Federal prison for using a gun, with no parole. Be prepared to pay a fine of $250,000 to the US Court system when you get out.)

        Gee, it seems that the limits on car ownership and use are rather mild, compared to lifetime bans for criminals and mandatory fines and prison terms.

      • *Boggling*

        Michael Burke, are you kidding me? “If you are convicted of any crime… you can’t be forced to relinquish your car”? Are you the only person on earth who is unaware that people busted for drugs have their cars seized and sold, because of the crime? Anyone who wants to check the accuracy of Michael Burke’s grasp on history, vs. mine, just look up “vehicle auctions” and enter your city name; you’ll find HUNDREDS of vehicles, in your city alone, that have been seized because of a crime the owner committed.

        And are you pretending that car dealers (new car dealers, at least) aren’t VERY closely scrutinized, for very close and precise tracking of every single car they sell, as to its history, and when it’s sold, where that VIN numbered car (with a unique ID number for each one sold) went to?

        On leaded gas, I will accept the correction: I had been told in the past that leaded gas was banned because of deaths from lead in the environment. However, the deaths from tetraethyllead (the lead that they banned from gasoline), at least the ones I’ve been able to confirm, came to the workers at the tetraethyllead factory, and that it was merely lead poisoning to the environment that caused it to be banned. However, that only proves my point: that the car industry is MORE closely regulated than the gun industry is, and that we do so out of care for public health.

        “needed”–I don’t ask whether guns with 30-round magazines are “needed” by ordinary citizens–I ask whether it’s even _useful,_ and ALSO whether having them for sale leads to greater killing efficiency. The answer is no (since they are NEVER used to prevent mass killings, and a 10-round gun or a shotgun can prevent any violent crime you’ll be faced with, since packs of murderers just ain’t coming at anyone more than 10 at a time) and yes (since pauses to reload magazines inconvenience mass shooters, and lead to being able to overpower them more easily, as Jared Lee Loughner’s case shows). If it’s useless to anyone but gun salesmen, their marks, and, at best, target shooters, and it’ll save the lives–“oh, only a few lives, who cares”–of a Loughner victim, then I think the gun salesmen and target shooters need to just get over it. Sorry to cut into your bread and butter, but you don’t even need to use them for anything, because there IS no use for them. If you want to propose a 25mph speed limit, because you think it’s consistent, then be my guest–you’re free to do so.

      • “Are you the only person on earth who is unaware that people busted for drugs have their cars seized and sold”
        Vehicles used in the commission of a crime, and those purchased with the proceeds of criminal activity are seized. Being busted for a 1/2oz of weed in your pocket while walking down the street will not cause the police to send a tow truck to your house for seizure. Neither will arrest for a bar fight. The automobile must be in some form connected to the crime for seizure to occur.
        “are you pretending that car dealers aren’t VERY closely scrutinized, for very close and precise tracking of every single car they sell, as to its history, and when it’s sold, where that VIN numbered car went to”
        Yes, they keep track of that info, not the government. Because they want to sell you another car in the future. More than a few race teams frequently buy brand new cars cash and carry to build race cars. There is no scrutinizing their usage, and the transfer of title is simply to allow the NEW owner to prove ownership. The government doesn’t care where that car goes, so long as they collect their tax. That car may be sold to other teams or individuals 5x over, and never once are the purchasers asked for their “qualifications” other than financial.
        “that the car industry is MORE closely regulated than the gun industry is”
        The auto industry, or more correctly auto dealers, do not suffer constant spot checks by DOT as Mr. Burke stated. The IRS and state revenue departments? Sure. But they are also not fined by DOT for using a checkmark as opposed to an X while completing forms. They aren’t threatened with loss of their dealers license(which is nothing more than a standard business license used for the purpose of tax collection), or seizure of their inventory if they can’t find one invoice. Firearms dealers are.
        Auto manufacturers aren’t subject to “ITAR” regulations. The government doesn’t require them to track every part they manufacture. Proving beyond doubt that “out of spec” parts that were not used are destroyed or sold to a different licensed manufacturer or seller.
        “30-round magazines…I ask whether it’s even useful…The answer is no since they are NEVER used to prevent mass killings”
        And again, I ask you, why do police who show up at “mass shooting” use them. They should have zero need to reload, as they are more often than not traveling in groups. How are 5 guys with 10 round magazines any different than 1 guy with a single 30? Why do 5 or more officers show up carrying 90-120 rounds EACH?
        “10-round gun or a shotgun can prevent any violent crime you’ll be faced with”
        No it wont. I posted elsewhere(i believe in response to you), that it is not the number of rounds, but the effectiveness of those rounds. In that post I made mention of my ex and her diminutive .380acp pistol. I went into detail of why she can’t operate a larger caliber firearm, nor why I am capable of using something such as a shotgun. No two people are the same, and expecting them to be able to use some “standardized” firearm is impossible. My mother has neither the grip strength to operate a pistol, nor the stature to operate a shotgun. A mild recoiling carbine, firing EFFECTIVE rounds or firing a higher quantity of less effective(but even lower recoiling) rounds is a different story.
        “but you don’t even need to use them for anything, because there IS no use for them”
        YOU see no use for them. That is your opinion which you are entitled to. But you have shown no basis for that opinion. Your only argument is that “bad people use them too”. The vast majority of times they are used to prevent a crime it is done by an armed CIVILIAN. In case you didn’t know, and contrary to what the news and TV shows portray, cops ARE civilians.

  29. Great article. As a fellow liberal gun owner I have been trying to tell my friends on both liberal and conservative sides the same things.

  30. Reblogged this on Wendy S. Russo and commented:
    I am reblogging this for several reasons. First, my own personal horror at the massacre in CT, and at the bickering back and forth between the pro/anti-gun crowds before children were even identified to the public. I think that lawmakers’ focus on “assault weapons” is misdirected and a waste of time and money. But mostly, I am reblogging because this article is really all about storytelling. He discusses fallacy, symbolism, imagery, human nature, and lessons we’ve learned from history but are choosing to ignore. It’s good research, conveniently compiled all in one place, and if the titles to other recent posts are any indication, there might be a whole lot more great information on this blog.

    Wendy

  31. Great article. Well written and I could not agree with you more on the ban on assault weapons… Here is my suggestion:

    A full and complete ban on all guns used outside of authorized and regulated gun clubs. (Membership of which requires strict testing)

    A 12 month gun amnesty to have all guns turned in and melted down.

    Failure to comply will result in jail time. 1 Gun related death is a year is too many. 1 Gun related accident is too many. Yes people drown and cars crash… and we do what we can to avoid this…. drink driving never killed that many people but now it is illegal. Now we can end the death and destruction of lives through guns. And I know you like to go hunting but you can purchase all the meat you need at the local supermarket.

    Life isn’t fair sometimes and as a law abiding gun owner this is going to suck for you… but tough because my child’s life is more important than you hobby.

    It is over for guns, they are evil and have no place in a modern society. This is not the wild wild west.

    Yes I am suggesting that those that do not comply become criminals…. outlaws…. Yes the bad guys will not all comply but over time things will improve. This will take years but maybe one day we will enjoy gun related deaths in the 100’s a year not the 1000’s like the rest of the world.

    Isn’t it sad that we live in such a violent world…. I am not a religious person but I think that if there is a God he must be very disappointed in his creation.

    • Sorry Ronnie, you can’t have my guns. Period.

    • Well I’m certainly glad you aren’t in charge of anything but your ability to type on the internet.

    • Wow! And when you can do away with all the guns as you describe, everyone will love each other, there will be no mental illness, crime will evaporate, and the sugarplum fairies will visit every good boy and girl every day! Man, what a concept. I agree that people shooting other people is a bad thing. Well, mostly. When gangbangers or drug dealers kill each other, I cheer. BTW, did you know that about 40 times more people die each year in the US from the effects of smoking, than by gun homicides? Maybe you can devote some of your superior problem-solving skills to that matter, (if you can get a day off from performing brain surgery or quantum physics).

    • I Hate Ronnie Says:

      It’s sad that there are people out there that think like you. That think that guns cause crime. It’s the person behind the gun that causes crime and there are other socioeconomic contributing factors that are far more to blame than an inanimate object. Do you think the rest of the world will comply?

    • Ronnie, you’re describing an ex post facto law. Making something illegal after the fact, then charging people accordingly. That’s unconstitutional as per Article 1, Section 9.

      • Ronnie, you acknowledge that the bad guys won’t turn in their guns when the good guys are ordered to, so let me ask: if your child were at the school where the next Lanza decides to strike, and I pray he or she is not, would you rather a law-abiding gun owner with a gun be there to stop him before your child is shot or that all the good guys have no guns and your child just gets shot?

      • That’s actually not true. Congress could not make a law that would make your past act of buying a firearm illegal, but making possession of a firearm a status offense going forward would at least not violate the ex post facto clause.

    • “Guns turned in and melted down.” Really? I fight for this nation. I protect your right to say what you just did… But I also fight to protect the Constitution of the United States of America. The only people that your idea would affect would be the law abiding citizens of this country. It is doubtful that the criminal element would turn in their weapons. So, who would have the weapons? Law Enforcemet and the criminals.

      Hmmmm… I’m sorry, your plan wouldn’t work because the criminals WOULD have the weapons and eventually our nation would fall.

      As the next person, I am saddened by the loss of life that happened in Newtown, CT. I used to live right down the road in Naugatuck. So yes, this hit a little close to home.

      You say one gun related death is too many… What about teen pregnancy or teen suicide? What about drug use? Alcohol? DUIs? CANCER? Would you make alcohol illegal? Smoking? All these lead to deaths too… And on a much grander scale than the mass shootings the the media is holding on to…

      Ronnie, you’re basing your arguements on emtion. Not logic. The 2nd Amendment is clear on the issue and SCOTUS has upheld the 2nd Amendment and a citizen’s right to own firearms.

      ——–

      OH, and if the Government attempted to force me to turn in my weapons, they would take them from me after I died.

    • “this is going to suck for you… but tough because my child’s life is more important than you hobby ”

      This has nothing to do with my “hobby”. I’m not a hunter, I don’t shoot competitively, I don’t sit at a bench and try to produce the smallest groups for bragging rights. I own guns to defend myself. I own guns because, after the psycho who lived down the hall from me kicked in my door with a butcher knife, I couldn’t convince the local PD to let me keep a patrolman on my nightstand. I own guns because the feral dog who attacked my niece could probably care less about a stern talking to or a reasoned debate. So what makes your child’s life MORE valuable than mine or my niece’s?

    • I think we should allow the police to just randomly search homes at will. They can come in and look around to make sure you are not doing anything illegal. They can search your computer and then read any journals/diary you might have. The reason is because this is where you would detail the plans of your crimes and it might save one life.

      No, I don’t think that way. But is similar to your claim on the 2nd.

      It seems to me you think that disarming citizens will stop fun violence. A rational view will show that is not true.

      Most violence is criminal in criminal, but studies have shown that defensive gun uses are 800k to 2.5M a year.

      Finally, read history. What was the act that started the Revolutionary war? I’ll give you a hint, look up Lexington and Concorde.

    • I would dare say that my children’s lives are just as important as yours. You propose I leave myself with no way to protect them. You do not provide anything useful to the discussion

    • Ronnie, you miss one important idea. Please consider that for every gun related death related to civilian gun ownership, there are perhaps 10,000 related to arms wielded by governments. How many in the last 100 years? 100 million? 200 million? Civilians can be trusted with arms, Sir, governments cannot. So I’ll agree to give up my arms when the authorities surrender theirs.

    • It doesn’t sound like you actually read the article. Troll alert?!?
      Chuck

    • Ronnie: Yes, how wonderful it would be after all guns were banned, because criminals couldn’t possibly get guns then, just like high school kids today can’t possibly get marijuana, cocaine, and meth any time they want it in the face of decades-old bans on drugs and billions of enforcement dollars spent trying to eradicate them…

      Oh, wait. Never mind.

      Dude, both Australia and Great Britain did pretty much exactly what you prescribe, and you know what happened? Violent crime rates went *way* up, and gun crime is now surging higher than ever. You know why? Because criminals don’t follow laws, and in fact are even more emboldened once their prospective victims have been disarmed.

      Oops.

      • Yes, that’s right–because criminals will always break laws, therefore we should never have any laws. Right?

        Also, the NRA’s claim that “Violent crime rates went *way* up” has been contested by Australia’s attorney general, and no increase in Australian violent crime has been shown to be caused by their gun bans.

        By your logic, though, we should stop making it illegal for pharmacies to sell meth-manufacturing chemicals, right? Just throw the doors wide open?

        No thanks. Doing nothing is not a good suggestion. Any positive suggestions for solutions are welcome.

  32. Well written and well thought out. Too bad that reactionary legislation, is what is being forwarded. Many on the far left state that the 2nd amendment needs to change, because the framers of the constitution, never envisioned the weapons of today. Perhaps the 1st needs changing because they certainly did not envision, texting, mass information transmittal at light speed, nor the inter-net. :) Thank you again for the blog to push the thinking process.

  33. Excellent!

  34. If the AR Semi-Auto Rifle is an assault rifle, then every Semi-Auto Pistol is an assault pistol. An assault rifle is one that has the ability to select fully automatic fire, via a selector switch, and shoot multiple rounds-in bursts, with one pull of the trigger.
    A ban of all semi-auto firearms is what these anti-freedom individuals really want when they say assault weapons need to be banned.
    Only revolvers, lever, pump and bolt action firearms “might” be allowed to be owned….until some insane person kills people with an “assault revolver” who also had speed loaders in his possession to reload his revolver. Dozens could be killed with a revolver and speed loaders by someone who goes to a “gun free” zone and attacks his or her victims.
    Also, it’s time Americans awoke to the fact that these senseless murders would not happen to the extent that they do, as in Newtown, if more people exercised their 2nd Amendment Rights. Why is there a fear of allowing school principles, staff and teachers to be armed??
    If we, as people of courage, stand up against evil and crazy people, these events can be far less severe. Willing teachers who want to be armed and trained should be allowed in every school……
    Every American who loves freedom should stand against those who are trying to blame our right to possess firearms as the cause of the tragedy in Newtown. Let’s also not let them get away in using false statements about firearms to scare the public who may not know one type of firearm from another and thereby divide Americans in the process.

    • There is no such thing as an “assault rifle”. Assault is an action, committed with free will. I have yet to see any weapon with free will.

    • A question that maybe someone can clear up. The mainstream definition for “semi-automatic” is that each pull of the trigger causes one bullet to be fired. Does this mean that revolvers are “semi-automatic”?

  35. I was frankly surprised by both parties’ policy reactions to the tragedy. Liberal talking heads jumped on the idea to renew the ’94 ban while failing to point out that it was essentially ineffective. They also ignored the fact that CT is one of the strictest gun law states. For the Republicans, we’ve had Rick Perry, and other less notable talking heads, profess the idea that teachers should have access to weapons in schools. While Perry’s statement was less specific than a demand for an already well understood law, I was surprised that other conservatives jumped on the teacher-firearms-bandwagon without truly thinking that through and actually coming up with a more specific idea, even if it were some sort of permissible policy towards access to weapons in school, e.g. allowing just the principal to have a firearm or permitting teachers to carry mace or stun guns.

    For right now, the issue is far less about gun control and more about preventing school shootings. Get the brightest of all sides in a room and say, “let’s work together to develop a policy that will greatly diminish school shootings and casualties in K-12 school shootings.” This is something that everyone can get behind without violating the 2nd Amendment.

    How about immediate solutions: (1) parking police cars at entrances to schools for two hours, every morning and afternoon; (2) implement random pat downs; (3) train each and every staff member and student, from janitor to school board member; (4) require schools to have a strict and revocable guest policy that will permit secretaries at the front line to have their finger on the alert button if someone is seen via cameras walking up to or parking near the school without an appointment; and (5) PSAs for recognizing and reporting suspicious behavior.

    How about longer term solutions: (1) CCTV, remote video surveillance and school-wide and sequestered intercoms that will enable remote security companies or agencies to immediately respond with local authority force and hostage negotiators (via the intercom), while equipping trained operators to remotely communicate with classrooms to alert teachers of what to do, where the perpetrator is, etc.; (2) remote or in-house ability to barricade areas of the building with electronic or manual walls – I should note that these walls could house noise and/or chemical destabilizers (think mace or knockout gas); (3) portable metal detectors; and (4) give teachers walkie-talkies with adequate training on how to communicate over segregated frequencies (e.g. a calm chatter frequency, an emergency frequency, and a frequency with the police and fire rescue).

    Just think of the possibilities of a remote intercom where the authorities could communicate to a specific classroom or quadrant, “the shooter(s) is on the far end of the school, so I want you to break the window and put your students through the window one-by-one and instruct them to run south”. Or, “the barricade between Mr. Johnson’s room and Stein’s room is up, noise destabilizers have been activated, you can safely exit through the rear south entrance of the school immediately.

    And surprisingly, with just a little funding, most of these implementations would take a year or less to implement. Deliberation over a better assault weapons ban could take years.

    • Mike, everything you’re suggesting that does NOT include putting weapons on the scene of the incident has a time delay associated with it, from cameras to panic buttons and police stationed outside the school. You can kill a lot of kids in a minute, even with a knife.

      Millions of people all over the US carry firearms including teachers, doctors, and other people that you come into contact on a daily basis, and no one ever knows about it. All gun rights advocates are asking for is that the teachers not go to jail if they have to use a firearm to defend their students.

  36. Julie McKee Says:

    Thank you for the balanced and well written article. I am also a “leftist” who owns and uses handguns. I, too, am often in the position of being asked to justify what I think and what I do. This article is much appreciated. Thank you!

  37. Thank you for a very informative article – I had no idea of the arbitrariness of the definition of assault weapons. I am very interested in ALL aspects of violence and accidental harm reduction. Accidental shootings, weapons misfiring, criminals using an owners weapon against them, etc. As well as, as you say, the tiny percentage of people injured in mass shootings. What ARE logical steps that can be taken to reduce gun violence and accidental harm, while preserving the rights of law abiding, safety conscious citizens?

  38. Oh, and before I forget, this is the best opinion piece I’ve yet read on the gun control debate. Well thought out, well researched, and very clearly stated. Kudos.

  39. I’m very happy that I came accross this article. What you have said makes a lot of sense. I have read a handful of the responses…I have also seen plenty of facebook posts and the like from other gun enthusiasts. I do not own a gun. I have considered owning one, but only for defense purposes. I could never see myself hunting for “sport.”

    That being said, I’d like to hear some additional rationale. The 2nd amendment has been debated on a number of different occassions and it’s original intent is far from clear. There have been dissenting opinions from supreme court judges that are thorough, factually accurate, and completely logical. If the second amendment true intent was not only to arm militia’s in lieu of a centralized military, but to provide all individuals the right to bear arms, including the more advanced arms of today…then doesn’t the 2nd amendment protect an individual’s right to ALL weaponry? From tanks, to bombs, to missles, and even nuclear weapons? If the concept of banning something based on the theoritical and potential destruction doesn’t apply, then a similiar argument can be made for an individuals right to own nuclear weapons…correct? The bombs that were dropped in WWII killed what would be equal to .00006 percent of the current US population. Pretty small drop in the bucket.

    I will assume that everyone agrees that the nuclear bomb rationale is completely insane. Then we all believe in gun control…it’s to what extent that divides us. Since we all now agree that the 2nd amendment has limitations…what is the argument against turning gun ownership into a privilege and not a right? Driving a car isn’t a right, it is a privilege…it is heavily regulated, licensed, monitored. I would need to have a CDL to drive a semi. Why not require the same advanced training and clearance to own an assault rifle? Why not require the secondary transfer of guns to be reported…why not have license “plates” on guns and bullets so that they are attached to the individual who is responsible for safe keeping?

    I would think that such measures would benefit everyone, accept of course criminals and the manufacturers of firearms. I’m interested in understanding the argument against it. Please don’t consider this an argument for it…I just want to try and understand.

    • I think the resistance is primarily due to the distrust of the people implementing the controls. See the authors point on a slippery slope and this being a stepping stone. There is no argument that there is a contingent who believe in a complete prohibition of firearms. Giving them this sort of registration would enable an eventual gun grab to go much more smoothly. And gun ownership remains a right as defined in the 2nd amendment. By your logic, what is wrong with turning free speech into a privilege? After all certain types of speech are banned such as threats or yelling fire in a theater. Once we begin to sacrifice our basic freedoms we are sunk as a free society.

    • Honestly? That’s exactly what the 2nd ensures. In fact, the Supreme Court in US V Miller essentially said just that. They stated that only weapons that are in use by the military are protected. They also ruled that it is an individual right (as they have in every single case touching on the 2nd Amendment).

      You should be able to own any weapon the military uses. Now the use of those weapons could be regulated.

      In regards to your car example, you are right, *driving* is not a right. But you can own any car you like and not have it licensed or monitored. As long as it never leaves your property, you can have whatever you want. It is only when you drive it on public roads that government regulations come into play.

      In practice, the point of the 2nd Amendment is to ensure that the citizens of this country are able to resist an oppressive government. Licensing and registration of privately owned guns runs counter to that purpose.

      • Hoo boy… I’d amend your last paragraph to say “in THEORY, the point of the 2nd Amendment is to ensure that the citizens of this country are able to resist an oppressive government.” In practice, this is ridiculous and rather juvenile fantasizing which is NEVER going to happen, and I mean never, the way they keep convincing themselves it will.

        Even if you could buy fully-armed tanks or attack helicopters, do you know ANY friends who could afford one? No. Since the Industrial Revolution, the technology gap has rendered these things beyond the reach of anyone but a tiny corporate or government elite.

        Besides which, try an experiment: choose the gun-totin’est, rootin’-tootin’-ted-the-loud-nugentiest friends you can find, all the guys who claim they’re totally going to overthrow any tyranny. Then ask them–ask ALL of them, and tell me if one single mother’s child of them has any answer–since the attack helicopters are all in the hands of the authorities, how will your insurrection deal with their total control of the skies? This will translate, too, in concert with the government’s tanks, into control of the roads; how will you deal with the fact that every road will be blocked? How about communication? The electricity will only be repaired with the consent of the authorities; how will you phone or email (bearing in mind, too, that these will all be monitored)? WHO will you communicate with? The National Guard and police have automatic, secured communication with thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of uniformed personnel, with relatively clear chain of command. You have a few friends, maybe 100 or 200, with no idea who’s got a good idea, or who will obey whom, even if you COULD get to a battlefield. How do you get gas, food, or water, when the government will control the road approaches to all cities? And on and on.

        If ANYONE, even one single person, ever answers you with anything but sticking his finger up his rear end and going “derr??”, then appoint that guy general, because not ONE person I’ve ever asked has had any answer to one of those questions. The 2nd Amendment as a check on government power is an anachronism, and as mentioned below, not one of the would-be George Washingtons talking 24/7 about “overthrowing tyranny” will ever so much as overthrow his mailman. It’s ridiculous.

      • @Andrew,

        There is a huge difference between “resist an oppressive government” and “destroy the armed forces of an oppressive government”. Tanks, helicopters, and battleships don’t matter.

        A helicopter cannot stand on a street corner to prevent people from assembling. A helicopter cannot knock down your door at 3am to search your house for anti-government propaganda.

        Helicopters, Tanks, and other weapons like that are useless for maintaining a police state — you need police for that. Police are always outnumbered by the people, which is why for a police state to work you need the police to be armed and the citizenry to be disarmed — when every door you knock down might have a guy with a gun behind it, kicking them down becomes a lot riskier.

      • @Tom, I didn’t do so in the post you’re responding to, but I made clear the difference myself in other posts. The “dictatorship” and “police state” memes, I’ve debunked elsewhere on this page, but:

        Contrary to another fantasy that’s going around, when the Nazis came to power, there were HUGE numbers of armed leftists, who he NEVER disarmed–Hitler simply had his police arrest them, and that was that. (His gun laws of 1938 RELAXED gun ownership, except for a grand total of about 200,000 Jews that were left in the country–most of his 6 million Jewish victims came from Poland, Russia, and other occupied countries, who the gun laws didn’t apply to anyway; so those confiscations affected a TINY proportion of the population, probably 2% of Germans.)

        This nonsense that “oh, the police are SO scared to come to the houses of gun owners” is NONSENSE. If a policeman comes to a gun owner’s house, and has grounds to arrest them, they’ll arrest them, whether those grounds are mostly good, as here, or bad, as under Hitler. The millions of armed leftists in the early Nazi days didn’t meet the police by yelling “you’ll never take me alive, copper!” and shooting it out with them in front of their families; and neither will ANY Americans of any large number, and every policeman knows that.

        You guys have to snap out of it, my friend. It makes a good movie, but it’s delusional. You’re not going to shoot it out with the cops, and you’re not intimidating them into thinking you might.

        Plus, you ignored completely the examples of Canada, Australia, Britain, and DOZENS of countries that don’t have people with AR-15s behind the door. They are not tyrannies; therefore, the fact that there are guns here is simply not an issue as a deterrent to tyranny.

      • Shorter: if the police want to kick in the door, they’ll kick in the door, whether the law is bad (under Hitler) or good. Hitler never bothered taking people’s guns away until YEARS after he’d kicked in the door on all his political rivals, the Social Democrats, Communists, trade unions, and the rivals among the stormtrooper leaders. America has more guns than ANYONE among its citizens, and our police freely arrest more of our people than any nation on earth, either in absolute numbers or per capita. So where’s all this “the police will be afraid of a population with guns” stuff?

        Can one single gun advocate admit that that’s true? On a page hosted by a leftist who has admitted so many things that are inconveniently true?

      • @Andrew,

        @Andrew I’m not sure who brought up the Nazi Germany bit, but it wasn’t me. You are correct on your synopsis of what the 1938 law did.

        If I assume your 200K Jews in Germany in 1938 number is correct and divide that by the population of germany in 1938 (78M), I get 0.5% of the population as being Jewish. Furthermore, by 1938, the German propaganda machine had been operating at full speed for a half of a decade plus — constantly spewing that the Jews were both inferior and subhuman. Furthermore, from my understanding, *active* resistance Naziism but native Germans was also extremely low — less than 100K. In short, the Jews left in Germany did not have a chance. There were too few of them, and there was too little support in the general populace to even put up a fight if they had been armed. It is not my belief that what works against 0.5% of a population can work against even 5%, let alone 25%+.

        Furthermore, obviously the police are not troubled to come to my house to try to arrest in this day and age — there are plenty of police to do so and no real reason for any armed resistance. If the police knocked on my door today to arrest me for some ridiculous charge I would go without fuss — because it is my belief that in this country, today, the rule of law still holds. As you pointed out, the rule of law still holds in most other first-world countries as well, despite a lack of the possibility for armed resistance.

        Using these cases as counterexamples however is fallacious insofar as it requires one to assume that because the rule of law is alive and well in these countries day, it will continue to be in the future. I believe that any government can go bad, and who knows what disasters might take place down the road to drive otherwise good governments to tyranny.

        Of course, tyranny is in the eye of the beholder, and if only a few hundred friends think that the government has become tyrannical, they will be swept aside (as they should be). If a few million people think the government has become corrupt, that is another issue entirely — and I guarantee you in that case, the police would be significantly more worried about breaking down doors than they are today.

        Cheers,

        Tom

      • Thanks Tom, that was a thoughtful reply. I bring up Hitler because that is a common misconception, and because aside from Stalin and North Korea, few other regimes better represent the “police state,” which you mention.

        I was being generous in the 2% estimate (since I believe that there were a few other groups such as the Roma (what were called “gypsies”) that were also excluded from owning firearms.

        However, what’s important to note is that, as mentioned, the Jews were not Hitler’s only political opponents. Along with the minuscule number of Jews prohibited from owning firearms, there was a _massive_ number of communists, left socialists, and mainstream socialists, who were political opponents of Hitler, but who WERE armed. These represented between 1/3 and over 1/2 of the German electorate, in the years leading up to when Hitler suppressed them. They were armed–millions of them.

        I’m not saying that the rule of law will obtain here forever, just because it does now. But when the rule of law was made farcical by Hitler, it was done just the way it will be in America–legally, by a vote in the Reichstag (parliament, or in America it will be by Congress). The millions of armed Germans didn’t resist with their guns. Not because they liked the laws that were being passed to make their political parties illegal, or persecute people, but again, for the same reason no one here will ever do anything: because they don’t want to be criminals.

        A small minority of radical leftists attempted violent overthrows of the government, beginning in 1918, and for years afterwards; however, most Germans thought of them as criminal terrorists. And so the millions of armed Socialist paramilitaries went quietly when the police came for them, because the police were only obeying the new laws, passed by duly democratically-elected leaders. Exactly the same will be true of America, on all counts, when tyrannical laws (which will not be consonant with human rights) are ever passed here. America’s gun owners are not going to stage some mass, last-ditch, suicidal shoot-out with police, if most of the heavily-armed (and more to the point, heavily-trained Germans never did.

      • @Andrew,

        There is a large difference between voting for another political party, and actually believing that the political process has failed. Despite the fact that the Nazi party never got votes in excess of 40% or so before the Reichstag Fire, Hitler himself was still wildly popular. Furthermore, Hitler’s initial wave of popularity (before his propaganda machine had sole control of the media) was fueled by actual economic success — the lives of all Germans were improving. While he had “political opposition”, outside of a core group of leaders/”extremists” (which he certainly took care of), I don’t believe there was a lot of serious opposition. Even after the Reichstag Fire Decree (essentially suspending civil liberties) and the Enabling Act, Hitler remained a wildly popular figure.

        Or, for a slight analogy, while I would consider myself politically opposed to Barack Obama because of many of his policies, I certainly would not shoot him given the chance. Not because I “don’t want to be a criminal”, but because I believe he is a good (or good enough) guy that I simply disagree with.

        In short, I think the millions of armed Germans didn’t resist Hitler because they liked him, or at least were happy enough with him.

        Furthermore, you later mention the various paramilitaries in operation in Germany — the largest of them, the SA, was part of the Nazi party, as were several others. In many of these cases, Hitler simply killed the leaders of the opposing factions within his own party — it’s not like the memberships of all of these organizations were fundamentally opposed to Hitler himself.

        In any event, the crux of your post (IMO) was this:

        “Exactly the same will be true of America, on all counts, when tyrannical laws (which will not be consonant with human rights) are ever passed here. America’s gun owners are not going to stage some mass, last-ditch, suicidal shoot-out with police, if most of the heavily-armed (and more to the point, heavily-trained Germans never did.”

        I would love to have your crystal ball, Friday’s Mega-Millions numbers would be quite useful to me ;). In all seriousness though, this might be exactly how America goes down the tubes. It also might not be. There are a myriad possible ways a nation can fail, and I suspect that in some of them (e.g., the Hitler scenario) private gun ownership MAY be of limited utility, and in others (massive ecological disaster and total breakdown of government at multiple levels) it MAY be of very high utility. I don’t know; I’m pretty sure you don’t either.

        Furthermore, I think that armed resistance as an idea is far more palatable to Americans than it was to Germans in the 30s. If you grew up in America, did you/do you not hold the revolutionaries that founded this country in high esteem? We were raised on the idea oppressive government can and should be overthrown by their people. While plenty of people (such as yourself) think this is no longer possible, I suspect there are still plenty who believe it is — and are willing to die trying. I could very well be wrong, but neither of us can know for sure without such a scenario actually coming to fruition.

        Also, you seem to assume that for any given failure scenario, it would be an “armed citizens” vs “agents of the government” situation. I think that for any (heh, successful) resistance, it would have to be “armed citizens + former agents of a fractured government” vs. “agents of a fractured government”. In other words, I suspect that the utility of an armed citizenry might scale with the level of chaos. The level of chaos is, of course, dependent upon how the country fails, which neither of us knows.

        Cheers / Hope you are having a good holiday,

        Tom

      • Tom, thanks for your reply. Yes, I’m having a _perfect_ holiday, and I hope you are too.

        As to the paramilitaries of the Weimar Republic, which still existed when Hitler came to power, and the rank and file of the major leftist parties, it is completely untrue to say that these people wildly supported Hitler. Even by 1933, you are correct in saying that less than 40% of German voters voted for Hitler; however, this vote was not split. By 1933, the Nazis had NO major political parties rivalling them among the right wing. So there wasn’t a huge number of people thinking “I like the Nazis, but I’m not voting for them.” The supporters of the Nazis were the ones who voted for them; the rest of Germany was just going along with the election results. Also, note that Hitler and the Nazis had been campaigning throughout most of the 1920s, for a solid decade before he took power, and that throughout all the ups and downs of the Social Democratic, USPD Socialists, and Communist parties, even though those first two parties lost _tremendous_ numbers of votes after their first few elections, those votes _never_ went to the Nazis, and they knew perfectly well who Hitler was after 1923, 10 years before he took power So rank-and-file leftist voters were _not_ great fans of Hitler.

        Also, although I only spell this out elsewhere on this page, and not in my reply to you above, when I say “there were millions of paramilitaries on the left, right, and center-left,” those paramilitaries that were on the left (such as the Communist Hundreds) or center-left (such as the 3,000,000 members of the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, which supported the Social Democrats) were NOT in support of Hitler; they couldn’t stand him. Note that for YEARS after Hitler took power, the Social Democrats maintained an extensive network of spies and informants throughout Germany and abroad–and mark you, this was at a time when the Gestapo was amputating fingernails and doing other things that would raise your goosebumps if I even discussed them, for such activity. They just hadn’t been ordered to march.

        As far as how Germans responded to Hitler’s policies, well, his economic policies were only “successful” inasmuch as government stimulus and money-printing is successful–if you embark on a program of wild military deficit-spending, you’ll have the illusion of success, until inflation catches up to you. But Hitler’s popular policies came only AFTER he had suppressed the Social Democratic and Communist leadership. Hitler raided the Communists’ offices, and arrested all their representatives, within a single MONTH after coming to power.

        And good lord–“no serious opposition” to Hitler? The leftist and centrist parties got 42.8 million votes in 1933! (The Nazis and their coalition partner, the DNVP, got 51.9 million.) Two leftist parties alone, the Social Democrats and the Communists, got 30.6 million votes. The Democrats beat the Republicans in Congress by bigger margins, in recent years–would you say the Republicans constitute “no serious opposition” to the Democrats? I wouldn’t.

        As to whether armed revolution and the assassination of political leaders is more “palatable” to Americans than to Germans, I don’t know–the Germans between the World Wars had _several_ attempts at armed coups d’etat, with hundreds of people left dead among the Communists and other leftists, and among the Nazis’ Freikorps and the other right-wing non-Nazi Freikorps. The 1918 mutiny. The Christmas 1918 Communist attempt at revolution, taking over the Berliner Schloss (Berlin Palace). The 1920 Kapp Putsch. The 1920-1923 putsches by Communists, Nazis, AND other rightists. When on earth has America even tried anything like all those attempts at revolution, since 1776?

        The era also saw several political assassinations. Google Erzberger and Walther Rathenau, for two, and there were more attempts than that. We just don’t see that sort of thing here. We NEVER have seen a serious attempt at revolution here (unless you count the Civil War) for centuries, nor political assassination for a broad, popular revolutionary movement, for generations. We are far LESS martial than inter-war Germany, who killed HUNDREDS of their fellow countrymen in those putsch attempts.

      • Now, as to the “disaffected soldiers or police from our authorities will join the rebels” argument, I agree completely–and that is the ONLY way such a revolution will ever succeed.

        It seems clear, too, that due to their pitiful lack of awareness of military or policing tactics I mention (and complete unwillingness to focus one iota of attention on it, and away from whatever braying, white-trash Honey Boo Boo reality show du jour people are fascinated with this week), the “citizens’ militia” in this case are going to be about as useful in such a fight AS Honey Boo Boo would be.

        Our American Revolution only succeeded because a foreign power (France) helped us. If one is counting on such assistance again, I have to wonder who from? But on the other hand, if it depends, as your post (and many other pro-2nd Amendment posts I’ve read elsewhere) suggest, on mass defections to the rebels from the very police and soldiers you’ll be fighting (and I agree, it won’t happen without that, and it WILL happen if that DOES happen), then that renders the “citizens’ militia’s” claim a joke:

        “We have to keep the ordinary citizen armed! Because we can totally overthrow the soldiers of a tyrannical authority one day…

        …as long as the soldiers of the tyrannical authority say it’s okay!”

      • @Andrew,

        Thanks, I’ve been having a great holiday as well.

        “And good lord–”no serious opposition” to Hitler? The leftist and centrist parties got 42.8 million votes in 1933!”

        Sorry — I wasn’t clear on what I meant by “serious opposition”. In this case, I meant that while plenty of people were voting against him, they weren’t taking to the streets to kill him either. Certainly there were several assassination attempts, but no real uprisings either of any significant portion of that 42.8M.

        From “The German Resistance to Hitler”:

        “In assessing the importance of the German Resistance we have to remember that – in contrast to the resistance in the German-occupied countries – it never reached mass proportions. The large majority of Germans, until the bitter end, remained loyal to Hitler and willing to cooperate with the state and its organs.”

        As you pointed out, the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold was the largest such organization that opposed Hitler — and once it was banned, its 3M members in mostly dispersed. There were a few that joined other organizations, and many of those were slaughtered, but most simply did not try to revolt.

        As for the putschs, from my understanding, these never had widespread support; in some cases it was a small group of people trying to take power and getting opposed by the populace in general.

        “When on earth has America even tried anything like all those attempts at revolution, since 1776?”

        I would argue that we have never needed to. Some people’s feelings about GWB aside, we’ve never had anyone even close to Hitler have nearly as much power as Hitler did.

        “We NEVER have seen a serious attempt at revolution here (unless you count the Civil War) for centuries”

        Heh, well, it has only been centuries since we had the successful one ;). And, the civil war is a fine example — the North had more men and better infrastructure and it was still a very difficult road to victory.

        “It seems clear, too, that due to their pitiful lack of awareness of military or policing tactics…
        the “citizens’ militia” in this case are going to be about as useful in such a fight AS Honey Boo Boo would be.”

        That’s just the thing though — people in their homes need neither military or policing tactics — the military and police need those tactics. Even honey-boo-boo can sit in a second-story bedroom and shoot a police officer or soldier stepping out of a vehicle.

        You seem to be equating violent resistance with actively attacking and beating government forces — these are two very different things. A group of 100 people with assault rifles working in their own town will very likely be able to ambush and kill a significant number of invading soldiers, especially if they are organized by a handful of well-trained sympathizers. That same group would be slaughtered if they actually tried to mount an assault on a position held by professional soldiers.

        “…as long as the soldiers of the tyrannical authority say it’s okay!””

        You imply you’d need most of the soldiers to be on your side — as I said above, I don’t think this is the case. A small number of military sympathizers could effectively help a large number of fighters in a guerrilla-style resistance.

      • Thanks Tom–

        “As for the putschs, from my understanding, these never had widespread support; in some cases it was a small group of people trying to take power and getting opposed by the populace in general.”

        Well it depends upon what you mean by “widespread support”–it’s been argued that the Weimar democracy itself didn’t have “widespread support.” It was roundly disdained, and indeed historians have pointed out that by the time the Nazis were elected, most of the deputies (equivalent to our congressmen) in the Reichstag (parliament) were from parties explicitly dedicated to the overthrow of that democracy, such as the Nazis or the Communists, though that had been arrived at by popular vote.

        And the democracy itself was formed by a revolution, a mutiny of sailors, which was then put down by the newly-formed Freikorps. In fact, the politicians who took advantage of that situation to announce the new republic’s founding neither had backing of the “red sailors'” revolution that brought them to power by forcing the Kaiser to abdicate, nor the complete backing of the Freikorps, who put those sailors down (the Freikorps wanted a dictatorship, as shown when they backed the Kapp Putsch).

        The Weimar Republic was fragmented–they had 9 or more different political parties, all jockeying for power, and NOBODY could have claimed “oh, all the people are behind us,” and that includes Hitler.

        And after Hitler crushed his political opposition, yes, there was nothing for it but for the opposition to make clandestine assassination attempts. The paramilitaries disbanded–because their leadership never ordered them to fire. This was precisely because none of the earlier revolutionaries, the putschists on right OR left, could claim complete popular support–they all looked like terrorists (and I do think I’m quite right, and don’t need a crystal ball, to think that Americans would look at a new revolutionary movement here in the same way, unless it was REALLY clear that it was tyranny here. But people’s hysterical tendency to bray that Bush or Obama are Hitler and Stalin works against that, in a “Chicken Little says the sky is falling/Boy Who Cried Wolf is crying wolf again” way–no one will believe them when it’s really true, finally. People will finally say: “Didn’t you guys scream “they’re Hitler, coming for our guns!” in 1994? And again in 2012? And all that happened was the Assault Weapons Ban. Oo, I’m scared–Hitler is back again! Or maybe you’re just jerking me around”).

      • (Note that AFTER Hitler had already put down his political opponents, who were too late to call their paramilitary supporters to arms, the general public did look for the silver linings. Many, even those such as the Abwehr officers who planned bomb plots to kill Hitler, were in favor of taking back the old East Prussian territory that had gone to Poland; and the “economic miracle” military deficit-spending scam worked for a while.

        But people also jeered Hitler, who was quite sensitive to the public mood turning against him. Note that, after he was elected, he was very alarmed to see the public mood turn against him on occasion, when some rallies that Hitler called didn’t draw many people. Note too that his regime made it a crime, drawing a concentration camp sentence, to make jokes about the regime. They had to make that law, and therefore, we can safely say that the entire German public was NOT in favor of Hitler, and MANY people had made just such sneering jokes. See Richard Evans’ Third Reich trilogy for many examples of these.)

      • Actually, Tom, please forgive me–I just gave you WAY too many words, and only answered your question obliquely. In plainer language:

        The millions of leftist paramilitaries in Weimar were split. There was a minority who were willing to take up arms against the right wing paramilitaries–but they already HAD been doing so, for over 10 years straight, when Hitler came to power in 1933, and the public thought of them as terrorists. But the far-left Communists and the far-right paramilitaries had killed HUNDREDS of each other’s number, in street fights, in the years leading to Hitler’s election. As mentioned, they were suppressed within one single month, with the Enabling Act that you mentioned.

        On the other hand, the mainstream Social Democratic Party didn’t fire a shot, for two reasons. First, their supporters wanted to be law-abiding, and not terrorists. Second, many of them thought that Hitler and the Nazis would be in and out of power, just as all the other Chancellors and parties in power had been, within six months or so. My own grandmother (who, as a Jew, LOATHED everything Hitler stood for) thought he’d be gone in six months; so Hitler simply struck while people still thought so. And the tens of millions of leftist voters, just like my grandmother, did NOT support Hitler, wildly or otherwise–they simply went along with the results of a democratic election, as the law-abiding people they were, until it was too late.

        Tens of millions voted for Hitler, but there was a good one-third or half of Germany who hated him always, and merely wanted to hold their noses and abide by the law, and the results of a democratic election.

    • theloonymonk Says:

      The 2nd amendment is clear enough. There is only 1 right spoke of, the right of the people to keep & bear arms. It’s importance can be construed from “shall not be infringed”… concerning the part,”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State”, this is a reason the right should be codified. It’s not meant to be the only reason, it’s listed because there was fear of a standing army & the militias were a check on the power of standing armies. Certain states were refusing to ratify the constitution & bill of rights unless it was made clear the militias would NOT be disbanded. That’s why it’s included.

      Justice Breyer’s interpretation is incorrect when the 2nd amendment is viewed in its historical context.

      • Justice Breyer’s interpretation is incorrect, I agree. But not because you or I agree or disagree. It is because 5 other highly qualified and educated justices disagreed and only 3 agreed. Supreme court decisions upheld abortion rights and universal health care and there are plenty of people who don’t agree with the legality of either ruling. Those who offered dissents are incorrect? For now, yes. But that doesn’t mean they were illogical or invalid. The supreme court has ruled in favor of slave owners and against individual voting rights as well, only to have those rulings overturned by future courts.

        My point is, I can agree with one opinion and at the same time agree that that the opposing view is valid. If just one supreme court justice agrees with you (me), than the opinion itself has some validation. The argument I make about nuclear weapons is as Scalia would say, “reduction to the absurd.”

        I also agree with those who support the 2nd amendment as a right of the people to defend themselves against government. At the time, the right was necessary because of an infant government. The declaration of independence was directed towards British rule, and thus included a declaration of rights in opposition to British Law. I have to seriously question the stability of anyone who supports gun rights for armed opposition to the US military.

  40. I just love how the people that write gun ban legislation will change definitions of things and come up with new definitions for the same thing to fit their gun legislation agendas. I am all for the second amendment allowing private citizens to own weapons i.e. (pistols & rifles) for target shooting, hunting and home defense but realistically does anyone really “need” an AK-47, M-16, or even an M-60 for that matter. Leave those types of guns for places like museums where they can be displayed behind glass where everyone can appreciate them for what they are but they are not on the street doing any damage. Also stop persecuting the average pistol and rifle owner that lawfully uses their guns to hunt with, target shoot, and defend their family and property with.

    • The three weapons you specifically mentioned are not typically legal for civilians to own, as it is. They are fully automatic or have burst-auto, and are heavily restricted pursuant to the 1934 National Firearms Act. Typically, you have to have a Class III license to possess one, and those are incredibly difficult (and expensive) to obtain.

      The AR-15, otoh, is a semi-automatic, with NO burst selector, civilian version of the M-16. You have no right to tell me that I ‘need’, or do not ‘need’ a specific weapon – your rights ended where my nose began (and vice versa).

      Of course, the M-16 and M-60 are still actively in use by the US Military (and others), which is partially why the AR-15 is so popular – you have millions of people who received proper training with the weapon who want to have one in their civilian lives. It is the weapon they are most comfortable with, aside from any hunting or other weapons they may have grown up with.

  41. Well written. Still don’t agree. I don’t mind if you own a gun but, I think you need to be psychologically cleared to own and that must be maintained for a checkup every six months. It doesn’t solve everything but it does make me feel safer that someone sane is owning a deadly weapon.

    • David,
      There are still so many problems with that idea that it’s hard to begin. I’ll start with what I would like to see instead. Right now many states do not report people who have been in the medical system for mental illness. We would need to define what types of mental illness we flag for, and require reporting. Basically if you go see a mental health professional, they are required to report if they think there is a potential for violence. (Even this would be tricky, as it could be a matter of opinion vs reality).
      Now for what wrong with requiring all to be “Psychologically cleared.”
      1.) So we are assuming everyone is mentally unfit until we clear them. I don’t like the presumption of instability, but could see it argued either way.
      2.) So now we have gun psychologists that become the gateway. Come pay your $250 to get your sanity gun card pass. “Guaranteed in and out in 15 min!”
      3.) How does this even address the current hot button of Sandy Hook? Mom probably would have passed, so no change in outcome…
      In closing, I’d be for a more universal control on person to person sales. Those should still go through an FFA, and require a check. Perhaps a limitation on frequency of purchase(1 per month, 3 per year?) Love to know your thoughts on those ideas.

      • “2.) So now we have gun psychologists that become the gateway. Come pay your $250 to get your sanity gun card pass. “Guaranteed in and out in 15 min!””

        As mentioned below, motor vehicles departments appraise both the physical AND mental fitness of an applicant for driving. Do we have any serious problem with those licensing authorities being bribed for licenses?

      • @Andrew – really? I don’t recall receiving any sort of a mental health checkup by any DMV agent in the 20 years I’ve had a license, in any of the 3 states that I’ve been licensed to drive.

      • JG: really? Your DMV agent didn’t appraise your mental fitness?

        The person who inspected your driving skills before you got your license didn’t ask “OK, now back up; OK, now brake; OK, now reduce your speed to x,” or if they did, paid no attention to whether you were too mentally detached from reality to operate the vehicle safely? Wow… which state was that in?

      • Andrew, you’re talking about mental fitness, when really what you’ve all been talking about is psychological fitness. You can do a masterful job of controlling a vehicle while, say for example, running down a crowd of schoolchildren in Northern China.

      • Andrew,
        I would say no, that the DMV did not really appraise my mental and physical fitnes. It’s been 24 years since I did a behind the wheel drivers test, and my licenses from both PA and FL have been pretty painless and easy to get. Also, i have a relative who is mentally ill (Clinically diagnosed and receiveing treetment) who has never had an issue getting her license. Even after leading the state police on a chase that caused them to use spike strips to stop her. She was baker acted on judges orders after this, but never lost her license.

        And if we want to make stupid car analogies, why not ban any vehicle that can go over 70-80mph (Or mandate governors)? Cars account for many more deaths than mass shootings; read documentation from any insurance company or DMV and they will detail how speed kills. Would this not be a better use of our legislative efforts?

    • Do you feel that way about offensive speech too? Should I get a psych clearance to make sure I don’t say something about religion or people I don’t like and might get offended and may want to act on what I said.

      Please identify in the US Constitution and common law the enumeration of your “right to feel safe” and how we go about safeguarding that right? How will we know we are dealing with that right appropriately? Will you tell us that you feel safe now?

      Do you also feel that way about hatchets, cars, baseball bats, slingshots, knives, sharpened sticks, broken CDs and so on? All can be deadly weapons in the hands of one intent on mayhem. How do we deal with those weapons and your right to feel safe?

      • “cars”

        Yes, actually, and so does the state–If you’re clearly mentally or physically unfit to drive properly, the licensing authority doesn’t grant you a license.

      • But to follow up on my comment above, what they do not do is assess you for psychological or emotional stability. No such determination is made by the DMV. Your ability to use the vehicle has nothing to do with how you will use it.

  42. Matthew Reed Says:

    Kontra,
    Thanks for the article & the amount of time you put into research & thoughtful writing. This is the first pro article I’ve been willing to post on social media, because everything else I ran across has been cases of preaching-to-the-choir and/or emotion-driven, as is often attributed to the control camp. I think we’re at a time of very important national dialog, but sadly I haven’t seen much like this that I’d classify as productive discussion.

    To that end, I bit the bullet it and posted a link to your article soliciting civil discourse. In the course of this a friend inquired, “I’m curious–does the writer still hold this opinion? He wrote this after the Wisconsin shooting, and I’m just wondering if he still thinks that ‘mass shootings are a tiny, tiny problem.'” My reply was that I’d happily post here to see what your response was; but that, only going on the logical arguments you’ve presented here, I think you’d say that the argument of the scarcity of the events hasn’t changed.

    But, I’d rather have your opinion to provide her than my conjecture, when you have the time.

    Thanks.

  43. Kudos to you for perhaps the clearest and best-laid-out explanation of this issue that I have yet seen.

    Datum:

    You said, speaking of true automatic weapons, “Almost no crime is ever committed with them.”

    Let me put one number to that “almost”. Since the National Firearms Act of 1934 opened the registry for selective-fire and full-automatic weapons (that’s “machine guns”, to the less informed), only one murder has ever been committed in the United States with a *legally owned and registered* “machine gun”. That crime was committed by a police officer who murdered his wife using the Thompson submachinegun that he had purchased for police duty.

    A good friend of mine has what he calls the Pirate Test. It works like this: Virtually nobody these days realistically thinks of piracy on the high seas as a problem. [I should point out that he formulated the Pirate Test before the recent surge of piracy off the Horn of Africa.] So, if anything is responsible for less deaths evey year than piracy on the high seas, then that thing is clearly not really a problem.

    REAL “assault weapons” — which is to say, machineguns, real assault rifles, and other full-automatic and selective-fire weapons — within the US fail the Pirate Test. Badly.

    (Mexico, now, is a different story. But despite what any of us may have heard on the news, none of the automatic weapons — and very few of the weapons, period — in the hands of Mexican drug cartels came from the United States. That’s another lie. In fact, a lot of them came from the Mexican Army.)

    • Your last paragraph would be completely true if it weren’t for Operation Fast and Furious, where the ATF allowed straw purchasers to walk out of gun shops (to the vigorous objection of both gun shop owners and ATF agents, one of whom went public later) and down into Mexico with ARs and AKs, where two of these weapons killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and ICE agent Jaime Zapata in seperate incidents.

      Also, many of the weapons “from the Mexican Army” are given to Mexico by the Pentagon, which is why M-16s and US M-67 grenades have been recovered at crime scenes in Mexico. Of course that fits the “gun show loophole”/dirty gun store owner narrative quite nicely among an American populous so completely ignorant of how ridiculous such a notion is. After all, you can buy “machine guns” and “grenades” at gun shows, right? Well, I don’t know, but that’s what they said on TV.

      So although in one way that paragraph was entirely right, it was also entirely wrong.

      http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/bill-conroy/2011/02/pentagon-fingered-source-narco-firepower-mexico

  44. I’d also like to commend the author for a well-written piece. While I agree with you that the death toll from mass killings from guns in America is quite small in comparison to other causes of death, the shock and alarm that results from this many 1st graders being murdered with a semi-automatic weapon is exponentially higher.

    I’m not a gun owner, but have considered one on occasion for defense. In looking at different firearms, it seems that (as you pointed out in this piece) that quite a few different firearms are capable of doing as much damage as this gunman’s AR-15 did on Friday. A Walther PPK and 10 magazines would’ve done this much damage, and I can’t see the legislative traction for attempting to ban guns like that.

    What gets me though is that a great majority (if not all) of the 62 mass killings using guns in the past 30 years seem to have a few aspects in common – one (with the exception of Hasan and Cho), they were all done by white males – and two, they all seemed to be precluded by a fair amount of planning. I’m not attempting to make a racial case, but most good scientific methods try to eliminate as many variables as possible, and it seems we should be paying closer attention to the mental health of that demographic.

    What also is evident is that all of these 62 mass killings were committed with some form of semi-automatic weapon – none of them used fully automatic weapons or grenades, because those items are illegal to most Americans and are much more difficult to obtain. I think that’s the main argument from those on the left side of a potential gun ban, that making an item illegal will make that item more difficult to get – and there is a data set that shows that 75% of these guns were purchased legally. Not saying that these shooters wouldn’t have gone to the black market if the guns weren’t available to them legally, but in the case of these 62 sprees, 75% of them didn’t.

    I think though that rounding up guns here would be both legislatively and logistically impossible, Australia tried that and if we bought back 40 million guns (the same aggregate percentage they bought back), that still leaves us with 260 million. For a gun ban to be statistically worthwhile, it would have to include everything that could shoot more than 6 rounds, and things like rapid pistol loaders would have to be included. I honestly fear that mass killings like the one in CT are a natural condition of the culture we’ve created, and there is really very little that can be done to stop them.

  45. I know someone who in the past owned firearms he has never used on for anything other than hunting but doesn’t have them at all anymore. He however still drives. During drinking binges he has crashed at last count 7 cars in under 20 years. So far only two people have been hurt and not seriously. You don’t need a gun to take a life.

    Also someone mentioned assault revolvers. The massacre in Scotland that caused the pistol ban in the UK was carried out with 2 revolvers and a semi automatic pistol that only held 13 rds per magazine. The AWB only changed that to 10.

  46. Well thought out and articulated article. I’m neither a gun activist nor anti gun, but your article makes a lot of good points that I hadn’t considered. It’s refreshing to see someone approach the subject from common sense and a non antagonistic approach.

    It’s a shame that it takes a nationwide tragedy such as Newtown to have these issues resurface. Children are murdered daily from all sort of weapons, but because it wasn’t a mass killing and didn’t make national news, they hardly are a blip on the radar. Turn on your local news and it is the daily crime report, but does that get politicians all lathered up? Does the NFL keep a moment of silence every week for victims from other deaths that didn’t make the national news? No, it is the spectacle of the event and the horror of it as well as the media that captures our attention.

    Can you say the media is to blame too? Sure you can. The media glorifies these murderers. A common profile is a shy and/or mentally unstable male that never fit in, was an outsider their whole life rejected by their peers. They have reached a point where life is not worth living and they want to be remembered the same way those boys from Columbine were remembered or that guy in Aurora. The media gives them that platform. You see this all the time. Kids throw tantrums, act out, get attention even if their actions are negative (adults do it too). Imagine if the whole world stopped to see your “tantrum”… you, the kid everyone ignored your whole life. The news will cover it 24/7. You will be remembered forever. At sporting events, TV broadcasts decided it was wise to stop filming those fans who run across the field of play drawing attention to themselves. I’ll bet if we stopped filming those mass murderers in the same way, a lot of these horrible events could be avoided.

    I think that there is a mentality and association with a weapon that some people forge. Adam Lanza took the gun out to the range and regularly trained with it. I’m sure during those moments, he had ideas swirling in his head about what he might do with this gun. The gun was an escape for him, a way out of his current situation and a way to glorify himself. Could you say the same about a knife? I would argue that yes, you could, but knives are not as efficient. They are not as detached from the killing as guns are. They take alot more effort and time to produce the same death toll that a mass murderer may want to attain. They are up close and personal. Does that mean get rid of guns (and knives)? I think this points more to a mental health issue and how to detect the warning signs. How our healthcare system should not put up obstacles to getting families the help they need or the stigma our society would place on the family that needs help.

    After we dropped the atomic bomb in WWII, there was no putting a cap back on that bottle. There was no going back and saying ok, no more atomic bombs after this. We knew that was going to change the world for the worse. A nuclear arms race was inevitable. The only option we had was to work with other nations to regulate and cross our fingers that some maniac with enough power would never get hold of it. Guns are the same way. There’s no recorking that bottle. If we were a nation that never had guns, then sure we would have a much easier time controlling them, but that is not our past culture. To take away guns is folly as you have made clear in alot of your arguments. How do you cut down on the deaths caused by guns? Is the answer to arm everyone and just hope we shoot the right ones?

    I still find myself on the fence in this whole debate. Gun control is just a small part of the whole picture from the atrocities that came out of Newtown. Gun control is a knee jerk reaction because it is the raw element in this whole mess and has the most direct impact, but there are much larger issues and much larger institutions in our society we need to look at.

  47. This should be forwarded to every representative out there. Thank you.

  48. PArdon me – but damm fine writting – I will be attempting to get every friend i have on the internet to read this – without reguar to their stand on these issues – this has been the most sensible piece of work i have seen in some time. Thank you!

  49. I would be willing to start a fund that would send you to DC for a few days just to have you read this to Congress. Brilliant.

  50. charlesamiller-

    Although I agree with your defense of “God-given” rights, to explain this to the general public I would suggest replacing that wall of text with the following-

    “All people have rights. The constitution does not grant them, it merely protects them”.

    This is an approach that not enough conservatives use, which is surprising because it appeals to liberal sensibilities. All people inherently have rights. Who or what grants those rights, while a fantastic topic to be argued over good beer, is irrelevant

  51. Thank you so much for this. It encapsulates all the points I have been trying to make with people all along. I also fear the worst side effect may be that we miss an opportunity to actually make our schools safer and instead focus the entire discussion on a useless and arbitrary gun ban. We are so dysfunctional right now as a country. It is sad.

  52. Not much more to add than the kudos already left for you. As a moderate who wants to find the best solution (not the quickest or most emotionally satisfying) and had reached similar conclusions over the statistics, yet who knows little practical information about this type of firearm or prior ban legislation, your essay here was very helpful to me. Thanks for putting yourself out there and keep a clear, balanced head.

  53. And one more thing, a semi-auto .223 AR-15 is by far not the most bang-for-the-buck, damaging weapon this Lanza could have used in this tragic incident. But, the persons who know zero about firearms, have heard the scary term “assault rifle” used endlessly in the media reports. OMG! We have to get rid of those! Without even knowing what they are. As if banning a gun, or the size of the magazine, could somehow magically stop a crazy person from doing something like this. Think about it. It’s like saying the government can limit gasoline consumption by mandating that the size of the gas tank on cars can’t be larger than 10 gallons. Not. Knee-jerk reactions won’t fix the basic problem. But they are the simplest. So that is what your president grasps onto.

  54. Your article is informative, but it really exemplifies to me at least why we need much more strict gun control laws. As someone above posted, we need full testing and licensing, mental health screening on all family and people living in the same residence, limits on quantities, mandatory safes with home inspection, waiting periods, gun show loopholes closed and gun safety taught through schools.

    Before someone decries this as “infringing” on your rights, how about not leaving out the “well regulated” portion of the second amendment. The constitution expressly states that regulation is necessary. Regulation is beyond constitutional, it is demanded by the constitution.

    • “The constitution expressly states that regulation is necessary”

      And what “regulated” means in context, is well trained and equipped. To make regular, as the commerce clause allows the federal government to “regulate” interstate commerce. That clause was also never meant to give them “control” of commerce, but to prevent states from blocking interstate commerce.

      Every man between certain ages were expected to own a rifle/powder/ball and be proficient in their use in the event the “militia” was called upon. That is why they would gather after church on Sunday and drill. Towns would have “regular” shooting matches to promote efficiency of arms.

      But enough history lessons. In itself, the amendment gives a reason(A well regulated militia being necessary) for “The right of THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms”(not the militia) to not be infringed. It’s written in simple English.

    • I like it!

      We need to first create massive bureaucracies to develop extensive regulations and make sure guns are safe. Next we assume that everyone is a killer until our expensive and extensive screening process has positively eliminated anyone who might be. Those who pass can then exercise their 2A right to lock up in an approved safe a few approved guns that they have been given a permit to have after having paid and passed an approved training course and suffered the appropriate waiting period. The law should be enforced by conducting unannounced kick-down-the-door searches with ‘well-regulated’ and heavily armed gestapo squads to make sure that nobody possesses nasty assault weapons or other unapproved guns, then we’ll all be safe.

      Yeah… that’s the ticket.

  55. andrewgilkison Says:

    We’ve had two large mass shootings this year (Aurora and Sandy Cook) barely six months apart from each other. These things seem to be happening more and more frequently. We can’t just brush it off with “well, it happens so rarely” or “it’s a small problem”.

    If the ease of getting guns is not part of the problem, then tell me what is and how we could address it?

    • The ease of getting guns is part of the problem. The author didn’t say otherwise. He said that to arbitrarily make illegalfirearms for cosmetic reasons, etc. is pointless. He didn’t say a word about background checks, waiting periods, or the like.

      I do think you skipped the entire part of the article about misleading vividness. if you had read that, you may understand that just because something “seems” to be a critical problem doens’t make it so.

  56. You are piece of shit for writing the dumbest article I have ever read.
    Bottom line – mass shootings can be prevented, and its upto the government to step up gun control! You cited “Accidental drownings” – did you forget to the see the word “accident?” Accidents happen – they can’t be prevented. Mass shootings can be prevented with gun control.

    • How very typical. Well reasoned argument.

      Accidents CAN be prevented. Tell me how a child will drown when we ban swimming pools and bathtubs. Mandate chain link and barbed wire around every body of water. Random inspections by CPS to make sure you’re not filling a 5 gallon bucket and letting your kid sit in it to reminisce about the good ol’ days. It is, after all, for the children.

      And tell that “mass shootings can be prevented by gun control” nonsense to the Brits, who had a mass shooting just two years ago, after over a CENTURY of increasingly strict gun laws. Do you honestly believe that outlawing guns would keep Mexican drug cartels from running guns into the country and becoming even more wealthy, violent, and influential? Or did you not think that far ahead?

    • Hitler used the guise of public safety in registering guns and later confiscating them. All of your dictators have confiscated weapons for one reason. A unarmed population is a controllable population. If you love the idea of living in a country where guns are banned you have plenty of choices around the world. Well except for Switzerland where you would be required to have a weapon. I have guns for shooting and for self defense of my family. If someone had bad intentions, it would take the Sherrif’s department at least 15 minutes to respond. I for one have no intention of hoping the police arrive before my wife and daughter are possibly raped and killed when I have the Right to have weapons to protect them. My wife and my daughter both are learning gun safety and the proper use of all the weapons I own. Btw both I and my wife are legal gun owners meaning we have passed the requirements for owning a gun. For those who want more mental examinations before a person can own a gun, think about what you are wanting. It is likely that any new mental health exams will be overseen by the government. Do you really want some mental Pygmy determining who gets a gun? Look at the TSA for a glimpse of how such a process would work. For those who do not want guns that is your right, but do not take away my right to defend my self and my family from the criminals and thugs who feel entitled to do and take whatever the want. Laws do not matter to these people and wishing for it to be so will not make society safer.

      • This is the truth. You can argue all day long on whether guns have a place in a civilized society and in the USA specifically. What is going to happen at some point is that the ridiculously antiquated 2nd Amendment is going to be thrown out and some government is going to take ALL of the weapons away from non-military citizens. The NRA and any of those who support the safe and responsible use of firearms need to work on rewriting the 2nd Amendment or simply allowing it to be repealed and replaced at the same time to reflect licensing of RESPONSIBLE people and registration of ALL firearms… Firearm ownership should not be a Constitutional “right” and should not in any way be tied to a well regulated militia. It should be a privilege like a drivers license, available to all but only when those desiring that privilege meet certain criteria.

      • @John D
        There is a difference between a Right and a privilege. A Right is something that cannot be taken away unless that person does something that society considers illegal such as committing a crime. In order to change the Constitution it would require ratification by 2/3 of the states. A government cannot arbitrality remove an Amendment. To do so would likely result in some form of civil outbreak. A privilege is something that can be taken from you on the whims of a government. What you consider to be antiquated is one of the main reasons we remain as free as we have as a country. So what other parts of the antiquated Constitution would you like to see repealed? As long as I do not do anything illegal I have a Right to own guns, just as you have the Right to not own any. It is naive to think that increasing regulations on guns will in anyway reduce crime as criminals will not obey laws. Also you will create a large black market where individuals will purchase guns to protect themselves and their families from the criminlas that will take over society. If you try and ban guns, it will have the same effects as the war on drugs which has been an abysmal and costly failure. However if you are that opposed to guns, please wear some form of identification so that a legal gun owner will not use their guns to protect you or your family in the event of a criminal attack. After all we would not want to offend you.

      • The Hitler thing is NOT the truth. The truth is that:

        1) Hitler’s 1938 gun law RELAXED gun ownership regulations, with the sole exception of German Jews–who numbered, by that time, only 200,000 (the rest of the 450,000 Jews in Germany had emigrated by that time; most of Hitler’s 6 million Jewish victims were from occupied countries like Poland or Russia). Even if every adult of them had been armed, and even if every one of THOSE (perhaps 100,000 when you remove children from the equation) had made a stand (which they wouldn’t have, since it would have been suicide, especially if your kids were around), it would have been a mere speedbump. That is why Hitler didn’t bother to do it until 1938, five years AFTER he took power, and four years AFTER he had already eliminated all of his opposition. His gun confiscations were thus limited to less than 2% of Germany’s population.

        2) When Hitler took power, there were several _million_ armed paramilitaries, of left-wing, right-wing, and center-left persuasion (the Social Democrats, the center-left mainstream socialist party, had the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold paramilitary, with 3 million members, according to their count). The reason they didn’t act against the Nazis (obviously, since the Social Democrats were suppressed YEARS before the 1938 gun law, which only confiscated Jews’ guns anyway) had nothing to do with any “confiscation” of guns. Rather, it was for the same reason no second American Revolution will ever get off the ground: because the leftists didn’t want to be seen as terrorists by assassinating democratically-elected leaders. In the same way, anyone claiming they’ll “overthrow a tyrannical government” in the United States would be very lonely, since that means assassination, which means (to most Americans) looking like the nut who shot Congresswoman Giffords. Since most 2nd Amendment advocates, I believe, advocate AGAINST criminal behavior, most will not support this behavior.

  57. Wow…I know exactly where you’re coming from. It’s tough being a pro-gun left leaning independent, as you have people from both sides yelling at you. Thank you for very articulately stating my opinion for me, I agree completely.

  58. Well written – I have only one element of contention with your article. I have not seen anyone on ‘the right’ attempting to use any tragedy for political purposes. There is NO GAIN being sought, only the retention of our 2nd amendment rights that the federal government HAS NO RIGHT to infringe – they have the power (guns and power) to force their whims upon the people, but they have no legal right to do so – the constitution clearly forbids it. Just as banning abortion would require a constitutional amendment at this point – so arguments about it by an given politician pro or con are rather pointless – banning firearms, including fully automatic weapons is not legal. What the fed did to control machine guns was to simply put a $10,000 tax / license fee on them. At the time the law was enacted that was a lot more than it is today, maybe the equal of $50,000 or so. Machine guns are perfectly legal – just have to pay the tax.

  59. Wow, completely dismantled the gun control argument. Funny that I stumbled upon this…I wrote a blog two days ago that made almost identical points throughout except without being as much of a gun expert. You might enjoy reading a mirror image of your piece that’s based on the Newton shooting.

  60. I enjoyed your piece, much like yourself I am a leftist that is quite enthusiastic about firearms. I often find myself apologizing for both sides, so much so that it made me chuckle to hear you mention it also. Guns are part of our history and character and its impossible to put a price on ones ability to defend oneself. I have been impacted by gun violence living in Oakland, CA, quite a few of my friends fell victim to it yet I cannot bring myself to blame the guns because they were stolen and used by criminals. I love your argument and the way you propose it, textbook logical layout, using facts and analyzing real information instead of letting your emotions guide you. If I was to argue this point (which I often do), your layout is the exact one I would use. Great points, keep up the great work.

  61. Jason Campbell Says:

    Better than excellent. This is a perfect argument! Thank you!

  62. Incredibly correct article. Now if we could have the president read it and comment he could be stuttering like Mc Carthy

  63. “What the fed did to control machine guns was to simply put a $10,000 tax / license fee on them. At the time the law was enacted that was a lot more than it is today, maybe the equal of $50,000 or so”

    Actually it was a $200 tax and federal background check. Going by gold prices then vs now, it would be the equivalent of roughly $12-15K now(though it’s still a $200 tax). What really drove the costs up was the Hughs amendment that was snuck onto the ’86 FOPA bill. Part of the amendment was “interpreted” by ATF bureaucrats as stopping further “machine guns” from being added to the registry. This in effect cut off supply and drove those “transferable” firearms into collector status. A registered M16 costs $15k and up.

  64. First of all while I understand you can’t foresee the future it’s fairly obvious that the NRA has been right about Obama all along. It appears he was simply waiting for a good, solid mass shooting to call for gun bans. The Oregon mall shooting got stopped by a CHL holder but the coverage sparked a nutcase in Conn so here we go. Amazing how things change after the election is won eh?

    Second point, how can you call yourself a “liberal”? The fundamental bedrock of the liberal/progressive party is more government power. You cannot possibly support the 2nd Amendment which was specifically written to limit government power by armed rebellion if necessary and still call yourself a “liberal”. You either support limited government power or you don’t.

    Other than that you certainly made some excellent points. Too bad the real liberals won’t be swayed by common sense or logic.

  65. Very well written with just minor errors. Machine guns are not banned. Only machine guns made after 1986 are banned for civilians. And there is no license to own one, and it is not necessarily difficult to own one. They are expensive and there is paperwork, but it they are not banned for ownership, and there is no ‘license’.

  66. Full disclosure – center Left gun owning NPR Member here. I read the article, pretty awesome from a logical viewpoint. Too bad the hysteria generated by “misleading vividness” practically guarantees ineffective legislation and exploitation by political operatives on both sides of the debate. My position as always is some of this and some of that irrespective of dogma. Gun show loophole…close it. Doc sign off on temperament and medical fitness (with tort shield for the doc, and redress for a weapons down check). And sign off on 1.usage proficiency 2.storage instruction 3. and liability insurance all by a licensed firearms instructor/Gun Range before final sale. But to ban classes of firearms I agree would be useless as a way to reduce gun violence. Make gun ownership the acceptance of a responsibility and trust with our fellow citizens for the protection of everyone in the community, as well as survival/sporting tool. That’s how I think we should approach this. Change the child like fixation and wonderment to a clear eyed realization that these “tools” have a purpose in our society and it is up to the community of “tool users” to police our own.

    • “Gun show loophole…close it. Doc sign off on temperament and medical fitness (with tort shield for the doc, and redress for a weapons down check). And sign off on 1.usage proficiency 2.storage instruction 3. and liability insurance all by a licensed firearms instructor/Gun Range before final sale”

      First, there is no “gun show loophole”. What they use it to describe is private sales. Some states have, as the federal government proposed, required all sales that take place at gun shows to require a background check. It makes no difference as the VAST majority of people selling guns at shows are licensed dealers and are bound by law to conduct a check or lose their license. Those very few other guns sold at shows almost always go TO one of the dealers. Outside of shows, it is rare for privately sold guns to be used in crime, as with CT most are stolen(and he did steal them).

      Doctors: The same people who are often shopped for prescription narcotics? And what is medical fitness? Would a person in a wheel chair or disabled in some other fashion not be in greater need of an equalizer than a 300# former football player? But that is neither here nor there as you are requiring what amounts to a “poll tax” to exercise a right. Not simply an enumerated right(2a), but the basic human right of being able to defend your life.

      Usage proficiency: Who decides to what level? I can assure you that the requirements for every local PD are seriously lacking. What is to prevent politicians/bureaucrats from simply ratcheting up those requirements as time goes by. We’re right back to that slippery slope again.

      Storage instruction: Again, who determines “proper” storage? Obviously those with children in their homes should use, out of simple responsibility not government mandate, different storage solutions than someone such as I who live alone. Who determines what a “required” safe should be? You’ll see in many european countries that a safe meeting certain specifications are required. Again we can go back to repeatedly increasing the requirements until one is required to have a $3k safe to simply store their $500 deer rifle. There’s that poll tax/slippery slope again.

      Liability insurance: I feel like I’m repeating myself. What level of insurance is to be required? Are those of lower income not deserving of their rights? Are their lives not also precious? Should they be left to the mercy of rapists and murderers simply because they can’t afford insurance? Living in lower income areas, are they not at GREATER risk of becoming victims?

      I know that you’ll simply answer the last statement with a comparison to automobiles. The key difference, besides one being a right, is that automobiles already have inherent costs associated with them. Fuel and maintenance cost money. Without those two items a car is simply a lawn ornament. As I’ve also stated in my earlier comment, you can own all the uninsured cars you wish. Driving them on public roads is a different matter.

    • Pretty much ‘No’ to all of the above. SCOTUS has ruled that ‘to keep’ (in the home) is an individual fundamental right, but has yet to rule on whether ‘to bear’ (in public) is also (several states consider it to be). Citizens need not submit themself for evaluation or otherwise obtain permission (e.g. proficiency, insurance, storage, etc.) to exercise any fundamental rights, which may only be removed or restricted by due process, and only in explicitly defined circumstances.

      Laws of any sort, no matter how well-intentioned, restrict liberty and freedom, and virtually every law will have ripple effects and unintended consequences; we must not be cavalier about enacting them. Liberty must be restricted only with a clear, compelling, and constitutional justification for doing so, so laws should be passed only when absolutely necessary, and only then after being carefully crafted to achieve the desired objective with the least infringement of liberty. At best, there is little empirical evidence to support gun control laws, and several studies have shown them to be ineffective or even counterproductive. Regardless, there is hardly a clear and compelling case that would trump liberty for imposing any further restrictions.

      • “At best, there is little empirical evidence to support gun control laws, and several studies have shown them to be ineffective or even counterproductive.”

        Several studies have also shown them to be effective and productive.

      • I would be sincerely interested to know which ones, and urge you to keep in mind this excerpt from the CDC post-ban study-

        http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5214a2.htm

        “In conclusion, the application of imperfect methods to imperfect data has commonly resulted in inconsistent and otherwise insufficient evidence with which to determine the effectiveness of firearms laws in modifying violent outcomes.”

      • But that quote tells us that Conformational bias is alive and well in the pro gun movement. What a surprise.

      • John, if you’d read the thing for yourself you’d know that seven out of the eight laws that they’re talking about are the very laws that you guys are arguing for- waiting periods, registration/licensing, bans, gun free zones, and child access laws.

        There is not enough evidence to show that any of those have any real effect. So I will ask you to take some time to think again where the real bias lies.

  67. Thorough & excellent!

  68. Great read. Thank you.

  69. Drewskie37 Says:

    I agree with you on just about everything. My gun-loving best friend sent me this article thinking I’m way to the left. On the contrary, I’m extremely moderate, but also progressive. I personally don’t care for guns, and a 200 year-old document could use some adjusting, but I understand others do care, so I just want some middle of the road solutions. I agree with you that it’s all horrifying, and we shouldn’t make policy based on fear and emotion. But isn’t that exactly what we did with 9/11? More than just one amendment got completely ignored, laws have changed everywhere. Hell, at least one war was certainly started by it. I know mass shootings are rare, but it’s just like terrorist attacks are rare. I’ve always said nothing would happen, but I’ve heard too many moderates think of this as a game-changer.

    • Lots of us “conservative” (I’m really best described as a libertarian) types aren’t big fans of the patriot act either. That said, I went to Iraq. The bleeding heart in me can’t oppose our intervention after seeing the conditions those folks live their daily lives in, no matter what the intel says.

      The 200 year old document has a clearly defined method of alteration and it has been done before. So feel free to give it a shot. However at least one supreme court decision indicated that at least the original rights in the BOR were not GRANTED by the USCON but simply verified by it. They were considered preexisting. They’re your birthright.

      • Well the part about not being required to quarter soldiers in your home? It’s obsolete.

        The idea of a citizens’ militia (apart from the National Guard) is obsolete as well, both because of the post-Industrial Revolution expense (not one of us can afford a single attack helicopter, let alone a fleet of them), and because no significant population of Americans EVER trains in a militia apart from the National Guard (I think there are less than 100,000 Americans who do).

        The Bill of Rights may have been _viewed_ by the Founding Fathers as preexisting and basic human rights, but in the end, it was a collection of statements that issued from their brains, some good and permanent, and some ephemeral and their brains were rooted in their time. We are no longer in their time. Besides, their brains, though fine, were as fallible as ours even FOR their time, so again, their ideas weren’t God incarnate.

        The idea of just hurling guns at several million gun buyers, even if they’re taught to shoot and care for the guns, and thinking you’ll accidentally grow some sort of fighting force as naturally as tossing appleseeds, is ridiculous. It makes a great sales tactic to say so, for those who make money selling guns, but America’s gun owners are not some kind of effective fighting force against ANY trained military or police force. It’s delusional to think they are.

    • But citing mistakes of the past is not an excuse to repeat them in the present. I for one am/was against those violations as well and if anything we should learn from past knee jerk over-reactions.

  70. I wish there were more like you, my friend. Suggestion, you should update to include the numbers for the CT shooting, but my guess is it won’t affect the stats for the drowning and poisoning comparison. Keep up the good work, sir.

  71. “These are a certain class of weapons – they are designed to kill, large numbers of people, in close combat.” -Diane Feinstein

    Can someone please explain to me why most police departments issue them then?

    • Because police departments have them means YOU should have them? I’m not getting the link here.

      • ““they are designed to kill, large numbers of people.” -Diane Feinstein
        “I’m not getting the link here”
        If they are ONLY designed for killing large numbers of people, what purpose do they serve for the police, or more importantly HER secret service detail.

      • @JimmyCZ6: again, for killing large numbers of people.

        Criminal people, in that case, by peace officers constantly trained and drilled to recognize who are the criminals, and in which situations they actually need such deadly force, and in which they can subdue them without it. At best, maiming large numbers of such people.

      • “Criminal people, in that case, by peace officers constantly trained and drilled to recognize who are the criminals, and in which situations they actually need such deadly force”

        See my post near the bottom. If you honestly believe “peace officers” are in any way different than the population at large, you’re sadly mistaken.

        To “peace officers” EVERYONE is a potential criminal. To someone at home, the person kicking in the door isn’t a “potential” criminal they ARE a criminal. I think I’m far more qualified to determine if my life is in danger RIGHT HERE/RIGHT NOW than someone who shows up 5-15 minutes later.

        Police are trained to find illegal activity, enforce laws and investigate crimes. They are not jedi masters who can see the intent in peoples hearts. Yet they are given a pass to carry true military hardware for the purpose of “defending” the likes of Feinstein/Boxer/Bloomberg and others who would strip me of that same capability.

        Further, it has been shown that sometimes the criminals far outnumber the victims and “hi-cap” semi-auto’s would be advantageous.

        But those instances are rare, about as rare as a mass shooting.

      • Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people _claiming_ “sure, my house was stormed by 18 violent murderers at once! No foolin’!” “Oh yeah? Well MY house was stormed by 53 murderers! With 48 sawed-off shotguns, 18 pistols, and a side of ham!” since this debate started. I find it about as convincing as claiming that gun owners are better able to appraise situations soberly when deciding when to fire than police officers are, and I’m willing to bet about $5000 that you and everyone reading this are NEVER going to face more than 10 violent criminals, who you will need to shoot, in one sitting. Hysterical propaganda. I lived in LA during the LA riots, and I certainly never did. (Shop owners USED such weapons against looters then, but absolutely none that I observed, either personally or on TV, had to use more than 10 rounds continuously.)

        Peace officers are trained and drilled for split-second judgment of situations that are VERY hard to judge. They make mistakes sometimes, but I trust their actual experience any day over the fantasies that gun owners (and the lobby from the very lucrative gun sellers, who nurture those fantasies) have about themselves. Statistics should rule decisions about legislation, in the end, not someone’s anecdotal claims.

      • “I’ve seen a lot of people _claiming”
        Who’s claiming anything? Those were both run on national news networks. A simple google search of “home invaders pretend swat” or “home invasion team” will pull up many more similar news stories. By definition “home INVASIONS” occurs when the resident is home. Criminals that emboldened don’t care about police responses or 911. They know they can subdue residents or be gone before police respond.

        “and I’m willing to bet about $5000 that you and everyone reading this are NEVER going to face more than 10 violent criminals, who you will need to shoot”

        And I pray I will never have to. The fact remains, that were someone trying to forcibly enter my home(such as my former drug addict neighbor) I have no idea if it is one person or 10.

        The other issue you seem to not understand is the ballistic effects of firearms. PISTOLS SUCK. It matters not whether it is a 9mm or a .45, pistol rounds are a horrible compromise. Pistols are only carried because a slung rifle tends to get in the way of your daily activities. Barring perfect, or more realistically lucky, bullet placement pistols are not proven to STOP an attacker. That is the sole purpose of a defensive firearm, to STOP an attacker. If he bleeds out after slicing your coratid artery does you no good. Intermediate rifle cartridges(such as 5.56 from an AR or 7.62×39 from an AK or clone) have much better track records, that is why police have been transitioning to them over the less effective pistol caliber carbines/sub-guns some department previously issued. The rounds these rifles fire is also far less likely to over penetrate both bad guys and barriers reducing the possibility of collateral damage.

        My ex-girlfriend can not handle a 9mm sized pistol due to small hands, and therefor owns what is commonly referred to as “sub caliber” .380. For that reason, higher capacity is in fact an advantage. It doesn’t matter if it is only one attacker, .380’s will always require more rounds. Her only other choice is an intermediate rifle cartridge carbine such as an AR. All those “evil” features often touted by politicians are what make an AR an effective defensive arm. They are light recoiling, adjustable stocks allow it to be fit to more than one member of a household and unlike pistols the rounds ARE effective stoppers.

        I own an AR for my home, in part because pistol rounds suck, and because shoulder injuries prevent me from practicing with a much harder recoiling option such as a shotgun. Are you opposed to someone being proficient with a defensive arm? Were you not one to demand training?

        “I lived in LA during the LA riots, and I certainly never did”
        And my father lived in Newark during those riots and watched a large portion of the city burn. That has no bearing on the matter, and is as you said anecdotal. The business owners you cited, on their roofs with(mostly) Mini-14’s, fired almost no rounds. The image of them protecting their property with “high” capacity magazines and effective firearms was the largest deterrent. Having the means to affect that defense strengthened it.

        “Statistics should rule decisions about legislation” and the statistics show that the previous AWB had zero effect on crime. Since it’s introduction, during, and after it’s sunset ALL violent crime has dropped across the country. Only recently, due mostly to a poor economy, has it spiked.

      • Andrew, you think far too much of police firearms and judgemental training. If you can earn the trust of your local police department’s training officer, buy him a beer and ask him what percentage of his officers are good high stress shooters. You will be shocked and appalled at the number.

        Jimmy’s absolutely right about one thing, police are used to just showing up afterwards. I’ve talked to experienced officers who’ve gone their entire careers and never stopped a crime, only shown up afterwards. Sometimes the home invasion is a group of guys going to a drug dealers house to take his money or cash. Rushing into that situation would be a poor choice. Their response will be way too slow for your liking, and with very good reason.

        The only person who will know exactly what needs to be done is you.

      • Eric, the one thing I can tell you with relative certainty (who knows, because I have handled _some_ situations that would make people nervous, without getting nervous or without letting it take me over) is that I would _probably_ be much less calm than 99% of any police officer with more than a few years of experience on the job, in a firefight or a looming firefight.

        But this is a situation where (though I don’t doubt your honesty) we can’t rely on who you may have spoken to, or my having a beer with a police officer. I hope that the studies the President is commissioning involve in-depth looks at how civilians (that is, neither soldiers, nor trained police officers, in my understanding of the term) actually handle these situations, and whether higher capacity magazines are useful at all as they are advertised to be by the industry; or whether they’re only useful to mass shooters. We need that.

        Essentially, just saying “everybody go back to sleep and let’s do nothing about it and don’t even look at that” isn’t on the cards, and it shouldn’t be.

      • “I can tell you with relative certainty…is that I would _probably_ be much less calm than 99% of any police officer”
        You’re projecting “your” fears of your ability to handle the situation on everyone.

        “I hope that the studies the President is commissioning involve in-depth looks at how civilians…actually handle these situations”
        They have NO intention of studying such information. CCW statistics have nothing to do with it. The “commission” he’s putting together is to determine how they can get a law passed. It’s a strategy group, to determine the best way of passing Feinstein’s
        AWB that she’s been trying to pass for 10 years. They are studying how to minimize fall-out. It is impossible for them to do any form of statistical analysis and still have a bill to present by the time the senate and house reconvene, as the president has demanded.

        That is, again, neither here nor there however. This is not about concealed carry. It is about keeping me from owning certain firearms and magazines to even use in my own home. It is emotion driven, feel good legislation, that as shown by the previous AWB will do nothing to prevent crime.

      • It may be feel good legislation. It won’t save every AW death, but it keeps the issue in the public’s mind. I would just be happy with banning the large magazines and mandating full licensing and registration for all firearms. The gun lobby has proven that responsible gun ownership isn’t something that can simply be assumed, it needs to be proven, like driving a car.

      • The first half of your response is simply because of the last half. It would be extremely unlikely to prevent ANY “Assault Weapon” death. The CDC and NIJ have both said so. The very fact that you admit it to be a “feel good measure” and roll on anyway is disturbing.

        If you should be upset with anyone, you should be angry with people who would say such things as these-

        “Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal.”
        U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, December 1993

        “Gun registration is not enough.”
        U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno on “Good Morning America” 12/10/93

        “We’re going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily, given political
        realities, going to be very modest. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns in the United
        States, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered, and the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns, and all handgun ammunition illegal.”
        Nelson T. Shields of Hangun Control, Inc. as quoted in `New Yorker’ magazine July
        26, 1976. Page 53

        “Our goal is to not allow anybody to buy a handgun. In the meantime, we think there ought to be strict licensing and regulation. Ultimately, that may mean it would require court approval to buy a handgun.”
        President of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Michael K. Beard, Washington Times
        12/6/93 p.A1

        I don’t care about crime, I just want to get the guns.”
        Senator Howard Metzenbaum, 1994

        “We’re here to tell the NRA their nightmare is true…”
        U.S. Representative Charles Schumer, quoted on NBC, 11/30/93

        “My bill … establishes a 6-month grace period for the turning in of all handguns.”
        U.S. Representative Major Owens, Congressional Record, 11/10/93

        “I don’t believe gun owners have rights.”
        Sarah Brady, Hearst Newspapers Special Report “Handguns in America”, October
        1997

        “We must get rid of all the guns.”
        Sarah Brady, speaking on behalf of HCI with Sheriff Jay Printz & others on “The Phil
        Donahue Show” September 1994

        “The House passage of our bill is a victory for this country! Common sense wins out. I’m just so thrilled and excited. The sale of guns must stop. Halfway measures are not enough.”
        Sarah Brady 7/1/88

        “The Brady Bill is the minimum step Congress should take…we need much stricter gun
        control, and eventually should bar the ownership of handguns, except in a few cases.”
        U.S. Representative William Clay, quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on May 6,
        1991.

        “I feel very strongly about it [the Brady Bill]. I think – I also associate myself with the other
        remarks of the Attorney General. I think it’s the beginning. It’s not the end of the process by any means.”
        William J. Clinton, 8/11/93

        How are gun owners SUPPOSED to respond to “reasonable restrictions” after all of that?

      • What I would PERSONALLY do is create a law, or rewrite the 2nd Amendment, that is cogent to today instead of needing expensive and time consuming interpretation to validate the needs of 200 years PLUS later. The people you quote are those that are adamant about getting rid of all guns. Those people will exist along with the people who think everyone should be armed or are holding their weapons as a hedge against a government they don’t like. They are our fringe and the 1st Amendment gives them their voice, but they are NOT the majority and it is highly unlikely that either will get much more than a nod in the lawMAKING process. The exception would be if the gun violence problem gets significantly WORSE than it already is, and then all bets are off.

        The bottom line is that this issue can be viewed on a scale from ZERO regulation to NONE allowed and we will always be somewhere in the middle. What we, as intelligent Americans need to do, is find the place on that scale where we have the right to own firearms for our personal use yet still protect all from the irresponsible use of them. Before I hear the anti arguments about this situation or that, the GOAL needs to be that. Amazing things have been done here, including our being a country, so this is NOT impossible. If you don’t think it is possible, you obviously don’t have much faith in what this country stands for.

      • “It is impossible for them to do any form of statistical analysis and still have a bill to present by the time the senate and house reconvene, as the president has demanded.”

        Jimmy, you and Eric make a lot of assertions like this, stating them as if they’re God-given facts straight from the scriptures, but with no evidence for them. Strangely, the statements you make with no evidence always bolster your own pre-conceived notions, and what you wish were true. You’re putting your case a bit hysterically.

        Jimmy, I mentioned that I would have a nervous reaction because I’m being realistic; and because Eric (I think it was) pointed out, correctly, that nervous reactions, high blood pressure leading to tunnel vision, etc., were natural reactions among anyone shooting in a life-or-death situation. You can claim, if you want, that “that’s just you, and you’re projecting;” but then why did your fellow gun enthusiast state that fact?

        You definitely don’t want us to start listing the numbers of wrongful deaths inflicted using guns that were supposedly bought for “self-protection.” That would show an awful lot of deaths from those who were sure that they were going to be the hero who handles the firearm with perfect calmness.

        Also, your claim that you need an AR-15 or similar, because “pistols suck” and its kick is less than a shotgun’s, says nothing at ALL to the fact that you do not need a 30-round magazine, and won’t even be using it, as even the shopkeepers defending against looters in the LA riots didn’t have cause to shoot 30 rounds in a sitting.

        Jimmy, if you’re claiming that you would be the exemplar of calm dispatch in a shootout, you haven’t sold me on that. You sound very agitated, even just in an online debate; more agitated than anyone on here. I do NOT think that you have any use, let alone need, for a 30-round magazine, nor does anyone but someone who ever intends to shoot more than 10 people in a sitting, which I hope is no one but a cop or a soldier. Whatever your agenda is, you haven’t made your case for needing to shoot 11 people at a time, but I have made a good case that only a lunatic shooter will. Your house ain’t getting rushed by 11 people at a time, dude. Come on, already.

      • Billamemnon Says:

        Anyone who claims they can be calm when in any kind of shooting battle is either completely inexperienced AND ignorant, or just completely making a totally inaccurate assumption. The effects of adrenaline and epinephrine on the body reduce blood flow to the extremities, making fine motor skills go to pot, increase heart rate, often physiologically decrease hearing acuity, reduce periperal vision to as little as 5 degrees, and change one’s sense of time. Those are facts proven over and over, and they are part of the reason why more people aren’t killed by shooters who attack: They are feeling the same effects as a defender does. Check the stats on how many police shots miss in emergency situations.

      • “you and Eric make a lot of assertions like this, stating them as if they’re God-given facts straight from the scriptures, but with no evidence for them”

        Explain to me then, how Feinstein had a bill to put forward in 1 week. The bills are written. They have been for quite a long time. It was simply a matter of hoping for “a crisis that couldn’t be wasted”(Rahm Emanuel) to try and pass them. There is ZERO study being done on firearms, laws or anything but how to pass the laws they’ve been hoping for.

        “You can claim, if you want, that “that’s just you, and you’re projecting”

        You are projecting your fears of not being capable of dealing with the situation or aftermath on everyone. Do you know how many retired military personnel walk the streets every day? Do you know how many people HAVE been in life and death situations? I’m not denying what happens to people under stress, it’s very well documented. I’m stating that not everyone will turn into a whimpering blob in such scenarios.

        “your claim that you need an AR-15 or similar…says nothing at ALL to the fact that you do not need a 30-round magazine”

        And If you re-read that post, and do a little actual research, you will see that a single .223 round doesn’t magically turn bad guys into a puff of smoke. As I stated concerning my ex, a single .380 may not STOP a threat. It can kill, it can injure but barring a purely lucky shot it may not STOP a threat. Stopping a threat is the purpose of defensive firearms. Add in the tunnel vision and adrenaline rush, as you were correct happen in such situations, and those rounds you do fire may not find their target. The police, who you seem to assume are paragons of weapons handling skills and wrongly assume spend countless hours on shooting ranges, rarely score more than 10-15% of hits in actual fire fights. So 1 round of 10 from a .380 hits its target and he still may have the ability to hurt/maim/kill before running away and POSSIBLY bleeding out. 1 round of 10 from the all mighty .45 strikes an attacker in a non vital area and you still have the same situation.

        “if you’re claiming that you would be the exemplar of calm dispatch in a shootout, you haven’t sold me on that”

        I’ve never made such claims. Though, this being the internet, you have no idea who you are possibly arguing with. Again, how many returning military personnel are walking the streets right now. How many of them have seen and lived FAR worse than “Barny Fife Mayberry PD”(your much vaunted police/betters)?

        “I do NOT think that you have any use, let alone need, for a 30-round magazine, nor does anyone but someone who ever intends to shoot more than 10 people in a sitting, which I hope is no one but a cop or a soldier”

        Correct, YOU DON’T THINK anyone has a need or use for a standard capacity magazine. It is your opinion. Yet you still haven’t answered me as to why a cop has any need for them either. And that is the scariest part of your assertions. Why in the world, barring a zombie Apocalypse, would Barney Fife MBPD need to shoot more than 10 people at a time? Is lethal force OK in your world if used for crowd control? Is an officer firing indiscriminately into a crowd fine with you, remembering that they typically score no better than 15%? NYPD+SELECT FIRE(three round burst) M4+crowded subway platform=5 rounds on target and 25 into the crowd. But that’s different, right? I’m not even talking “swat teams” here, but simple patrolmen have AR/M4s in their trunks. Their pistols range from 15-17 round capacity.

        “You sound very agitated, even just in an online debate… Whatever your agenda is”

        Firstly, yes I am agitated. Not by you or anyone else here, but by the repeated lies spewed by media talking heads. By the utter lack of any intelligent research by a large part of our population which allows them to be led around like sheep. I’m agitated by Hollywood “celebrities”, who’s entire skill set is playing make believe, thinking that their opinion is some how more important. I am agitated by the thought that I will once again have to expend time and resources fighting a new threat to my GOD GIVEN right to effectively defend myself, all in the name of “safety”. I’m agitated by our supposed “representatives” who could care less about representing and more about pushing a party agenda.

        Which segues nicely into my last topic. My agenda is quite clear. I have NO intentions of being disarmed and left to the devices of criminals or madmen. As a member of the species which not only scaled to the top of the food chain through the use of TOOLS, but also planted a big ass flag up there, I will not give up those tools nor will I “compromise” under the false pretense of safety.

      • Andrew,

        With regard to any statistical analysis being ready in time for Congress, read the CDC study that Kontra referenced in the article. It details exactly why studies into the effectiveness of gun control legislation (or lack thereof) fall short. It is an extremely complex subject, and the assumption that quality research will not be ready in time is a pretty safe one.

        As for how individuals respond to high stress situations, while training can reduce the symptoms, it is a universal experience. However, criminals choose not only to initiate an encounter, but also the time and place of the encounter, and thus experience lower levels of stress. They will be more in control, where the victim is recovering from surprise while dealing with mortal fear, something that normal law abiding people rarely experience.

        Into this situation, introduce the physical symptoms- blood shunted from extremities, complete loss of fine motor skills, tunnel vision, and auditory exclusion. You can now barely see, possibly not hear at all, and you might as well be wearing oven mitts. This is an awful time to have to perform a magazine change.

        In your haste to disregard the need for a 30 round magazine, you casually dismissed parts of Jimmy’s argument that explain WHY one might need a 30 round magazine. The AR15 is ideal for women and younger shooters. It is adjustable, and has little recoil.

        Many of us who own them are very good with them, using up a thousand rounds at a time in training classes. Not many of us are women. If a Korean shopkeeper is on his roof with only two guns and his wife, who he has only badgered into coming to the range once or twice, he will want to hand her a weapon that will perform reliably for long periods in between reloads. If he’s on the opposite side of the roof, the time it takes him to run across the roof and reload his wife’s rifle is more than enough time for someone to run up and pitch a molotov cocktail into the building. They will now likely burn to death because they didn’t NEED 30 round magazines.

        So I brought it up because as you yourself describe it, the physical symptoms associated with life threatening situations will even make knowledgeable shooters fumble a reload. People who are emergently picking up the rifle for the first time will likely be completely incapable of reloading under stress.

      • “In your haste to disregard the need for a 30 round magazine, you casually dismissed parts of Jimmy’s argument that explain WHY one might need a 30 round magazine. The AR15 is ideal for women and younger shooters. It is adjustable, and has little recoil.”

        Uh… no, I _explicitly stated_ that the reason I was dismissing Jimmy’s argument was that absolutely nowhere did he state any reason, even if he or his partner “need” an AR-15, why these cannot be made, and be exactly as useful, with only a 10-round capacity. I have no “haste to disregard” anything; it’s simply that no one, not one person here, has addressed that very simple question, for all the sound and fury and words. Jimmy CZ makes no case that says “the magazines must be yea big.”

        Your own response DOES make that case; however, it is a horrible attempt on your part, as I’ve shown already (but will repeat, since you ducked it). As far as “haste to disregard” anything, that’s all yours; you fail to address my main refutation of what you just repeated. That is, that you yourself admit the physical fumbling, due to stress-induced ineptitude, that will attend any armed response. And that therefore, you want someone who is prone to such fumbling NOT to be placed in charge of a deadly weapon, let alone increasing the number of bullets (which such clumsiness will ensure will shoot wildly). It borders on farcical (though unfortunately, remains tragic) that you advocate strenuously to put deadly weapons in the hands of people that you yourself admit will shoot clumsily.

        If you’re going to duck these questions, and then claim that I have “haste to disregard” opposing points, I have to question your honesty, versus your own haste to force conclusions without proving them.

      • There are a few arguments here that relate to the “supposition” of how people might perform in an emergency situation. Until an individual is actually in said emergency there is no real way of knowing how they will act. You might say you would dive into a raging torrent to rescue someone but until put in that position this will never be tested.

        The Empire State Shooter apparently wanted to shoot one person and then commit suicide by police. He, (untrained), managed to succeed in that mission. On the other hand the (trained) police who shot him, managed, in the heat of the moment, to wound 9 other innocent bystanders.

        There are many examples throughout history of untrained civilians stepping up to heroism in the moment. Equally there are plenty of examples of trained professionals who have failed miserably when they have been called upon.

        There is no reason to limit magazine capacity for law-abiding citizens. Banning them will have no more effect than than the ban you already have for felons to be in possession of weapons. On the other hand allowing upstanding citizens to have whatever they like for their own defence can only be discouraging to criminals who know that they will be on the losing side of the argument. Honestly, if you were a criminal (not intent on committing suicide), would you choose to rob someone at gunpoint in Vermont or Illinois?

      • There are examples on both sides, but that doesn’t necessarily make either right. Many crimes are made worse by someone with a weapon, not knowing how to use it or freezing with it. There are also instances of people stealing firearms from otherwise responsible owners. Anecdotal evidence is not necessarily relevant. The one FACT is that many people die and are injured by firearms every year in this country. The other FACT is that the majority of Americans with guns are NOT professionally trained and because of the NRA’s insistence that full licensing is a violation of one’s “rights,” they essentially guarantee that many of these people will never be trained. What they are advocating for is the wild west where everyone has guns and nobody is trained to use them.

        There are many instances of people suing someone for something they did and also suing the manufacturer of the product and going further on with suits until everybody in anyway remotely involved gets a summons or call. Many of the very “responsible” people that support gun rights also say that their responsibility only extends to when the gun is in their very hands. At best their argument is specious, and at worst is the ultimate in irresponsibility.

      • I DID answer the question about why police need high-capacity magazines–because, like soldiers, they are uniquely (meaning that the ordinary citizen NEVER is) in a position where they may need to shoot large numbers of people one day. I’m not sure why you’re claiming that I didn’t answer that question.

        You keep glossing over the simple fact that not one example can be found of ordinary citizens EVER stopping a murder by shooting more than 10 rounds from a high-capacity magazine. Period.

        “I’m stating that not everyone will turn into a whimpering blob in such scenarios.”

        Yeah, and nor did I state any such thing. What I DID state was that Eric, your fellow gun enthusiast, was correct in stating that bodily reactions that tend to make people far worse shots are universal in human beings. I also stated that the police and soldiery train and drill far more than almost any ordinary gun owners EVER do, to overcome these tendencies (meaning not just going to shooting ranges, which as I said is not the sum total of police training; but also including drilling on different violence scenarios, and most often, in all the places I’ve lived in, actual experience with facing down threatening people with weapons. If I mention their drilling and experience, and all you think of is that I mean they “spend countless hours on shooting ranges,” then I’m pretty sure you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about when it comes to law enforcement).

        I also stated very clearly that police make mistakes–yet you claim that I assert the very opposite of that. Since you repeatedly make claims that anyone can look one post north and see are false, you’re not really a good voice to speak for your own movement. Your agitation does not convince me that you’re to bully me into giving up my own decision-making, when you’ve used falsehood, and otherwise failed to provide convincing evidence for your point of view.

        “I will not give up those tools nor will I ‘compromise’ under the false pretense of safety.”

        Yes, well you seem to have forgotten that this is a democracy, friend. That means that my vote counts exactly as much as yours does, and you don’t get an extra voice for bellowing louder. And that means yes you WILL compromise, just like I compromise every time a politician or policy that _I_ oppose is selected. If you don’t like it, go find a dictatorship to live in.

        And your agitation has REALLY gotten the better of you, JimmyCZ; I don’t know what on earth you’re talking about when you say I’m “all right” with police shooting indiscriminately for crowd control. Are you insane? I never said anything LIKE that. I said that I assume the reason that they carry them is for the RARE occasion when they’ll need to face down a large number of criminals, because they deal with mafiosi, biker gangs, and a lot of people like that who you wouldn’t shoot even if you DID have a 30-round magazine.

        You claim:

        “I am agitated by the thought that I will once again have to expend time and resources fighting a new threat to my GOD GIVEN right to effectively defend myself,”

        but you have ZERO reply when I ask: “when has ANY citizen EVER used more than 10 rounds from a high-capacity magazine to stop a murder?” Therefore, you know perfectly well that your 10-round guns (and the minute a ban is in place, there will be a Bushmaster 10-round created) will serve that “GOD GIVEN right to effectively defend” yourself perfectly well. You are pretending you can’t, but you offer NO evidence that such high-capacity magazines give you ANY advantage. Not one word of evidence. So your agitation is irrational. I do not advise making public policy based on an irrationally agitated person, so I will advise my representative to ban this unneeded, and lethal, product.

        Not one example can be found of ordinary citizens EVER stopping a murder by shooting more than 10 rounds from a high-capacity magazine. Period. That means that you’re pretending that you need them, or will even EVER have any use for them, because that shows you don’t. Yell and be agitated about that all you want, but that is a simple fact.

      • “I DID answer the question about why police need high-capacity magazines–because, like soldiers, they are uniquely…in a position where they may need to shoot large numbers of people one day…because they deal with mafiosi, biker gangs, and a lot of people like that”

        Exactly how many times have police used their AR’s and such to fight it out with biker gangs and mafioso on subway platforms? When was the last “biker gang/mafioso” assault on the statue of liberty? When was the last time the bloods and crips had it out in the middle of time square ala “gangs of new york”? SWAT teams serve high risk warrants and make round ups of criminal organizations. Barny Fife MBPD doesn’t. Yet he is issued a rifle and standard capacity magazines to stand around in front of the UN and city hall. What other purpose could it serve other than crowd control.

        Yes this is mostly hyperbole(in case you didn’t get that), I know full well why they are issued such items. They are issued them because they are the most EFFECTIVE tools available. But even under the worst case scenario, a suicide bomber, by your logic a patrolman should need no more than 10 rounds as well. They carry standard capacity firearms for the same reason I own them, you never know what may happen.

        “well you seem to have forgotten that this is a democracy…And that means yes you WILL compromise”

        No, this is a “constitutional republic”. Designed specifically to prevent either a vocal minority or majority from voting away the rights of others. Your gripes over policies you disagree with are completely different than rights.

      • Briefer:

        Since it’s been ruled constitutional to regulate firearms democratically in this way, changing that is also addressed by persuading people democratically, and abiding by the results if the vote is against you, not saying “I won’t compromise with anyone,” which implies “I order all of you and our representatives to obey only me and those who agree with me.” We each get one vote.

        NO self-defense use for high-capacity magazines has been shown (you mention the efficiency of the AR-15 gun itself, but that makes no argument that you will EVER use more than 10 rounds in a firefight to stop crime, since no other citizen ever has).

        OTOH, it has been demonstrated (especially through the Jared Loughner case) that the pause while changing magazines, contrary to what Kontra implies on this page, can be and has been used to thwart murderers. Therefore, increasing the number of times this occurs, by limiting magazine size, makes sense.

        And the reason it DOESN’T make sense for some police officers to be banned from them is that they have training and often experience in thwarting criminals, and may (unlike common citizens, who have never shot more than 10 rounds from a high-capacity magazine to stop a murder) need to face down more violent criminals in one sitting than a 10-round magazine can handle.

      • “They are issued them because they are the most EFFECTIVE tools available.”

        Hahaha!! I like how you strip out the part about “for shooting large numbers of people,” and the plain fact that if you’re not going to do that, then one with a 10-round magazine is PRECISELY just as effective. Ranks with the way you keep ducking–and at this point, that means “BSing about”–the fact that no civilian. Has ever. Used more than 10 rounds. In a high-capacity magazine. To stop a murderer. Period.

        Which means that you not only don’t need them, but won’t even use them. I would respect you more if you would just be honest and admit that, but instead you just keep on screaming about how horrible it would be to be deprived of the thing that you’re never going to use, because that no armed citizen ever has. You are irrational, JimmyCZ. Why should I listen to your prescription for policy, when you ignore those inconvenient facts and try to sweep them under the carpet, and then assert some horrible injury because of being deprived of something you will never use, but which deprives our murdered fellow citizens of the very life, liberty and property that the Constitution was written to protect?

        I’m quite aware that our system of government was designed to keep a minority from being stripped of their rights by a majority. However, since the Supreme Court has already ruled, repeatedly, that it is NOT an abrogation of your rights to _regulate_ your 2nd Amendment rights this way, what exactly are you still whining about that for? What are you trying to say: “the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the right to decide what’s constitutional–but I don’t like that! They decided something I don’t like! Therefore, I, Jimmy, will decide what’s constitutional!”? Sorry, buddy, but nobody died and elected you God.

      • The obvious answer again is that the somewhat hidden argument is the one that states that if you give away even the smallest thing, you will ultimately have it ALL taken away. For some reason, the pro gun crowd has totally given up basic logic for old rhetoric. The very reason we have gridlock in Congress is the very reason that our government will NEVER take away everyone’s guns. God, are we incapable of being intelligent in this country or does passion have to rule everything????

      • you can have beer, and a car, you can even consider drinking and driving, but if you dont drink and drive, you do not get punsihed for drinking and driving. If you do drink and drive,…no one comes to my house to take my beer, or my car. and there is no right to drive, or right to drink.
        If you called each other stupid, its your right to do so. If you both were to take it to a physical confrontation then you both would be arrested and charged.
        No one would take away my right to call someone stupid.

        To think that punishing millions of law abiding citizens for the actions of a coward(s) is chilling indeed.

      • John D, I think you are correct: the only explanation for the dozens of plainly irrational arguments, that ignore the clear facts being discussed, is that people are worried “well if we allow this, then soon EVERYTHING will be illegal!”

        And I’m not even as skeptical as you are about that. I don’t happen to believe that anyone in our government cares a good crap about the entire Bill of Rights, or they wouldn’t have done so much to destroy every last one of them, most notably the 1st (see Occupy), 4th, 5th, and 8th. There is no reason that they would stick at the 2nd. That is of far bigger concern than the Assault Weapons Ban, which is NOT such a case (because it was found by the Supreme Court, the duly appointed constitutional authority, to be constitutional). But, again, 2nd Amendment advocates have been quite clear: they do not care about defending the other amendments, if they disagree politically with the people asserting those rights, such as Occupy. So they have chosen to sacrifice those rights in their political war, unfortunately, and therefore, gun enthusiasts will not care to solve this problem either legally or illegally. Therefore, the gun enthusiasts themselves have chosen to make constitutional issues a moot point, even before they get to voicing outrage that the Supreme Court is, er, the arbiter of constitutional issues and has ruled in favor of gun control.

        However that may be: unless someone is a gun salesman (or IS irrational), it’s plain that 1) America’s gun owners are NEVER going to mount any armed resistance against their own government, unless and until there is a schism WITHIN that government, with two or more factions fighting each OTHER for power, not the ordinary citizens rising up. The ordinary gun enthusiast’s disinterest in even thinking about the practicalities of HOW they would achieve such a thing proves that; and 2) as shown, if the objective is merely self-defense against murderous criminals, and not against their own government, then this ban is a red herring, because these guns have never once been USED for that. Hello?

      • Andrew-

        You do like to go on about people changing the subject, but I have yet to hear you answer Jimmy’s question-

        When do police officers need to shoot large numbers of people? I have never heard of such a thing, and by your criteria, such thing must not exist.

        Please provide examples of one police officer with a rifle “shooting large numbers of people”. Citation needed.

        The truth is not that police officers will ever mow down “large numbers of people” (good lord, what a world you must live in), but that the rifle is the best tool for stopping a PERSON. Handguns are weak by comparison, and an AR is an easy to control weapon with a light bullet that fragments and prevents overpenetration, something which I think you’ll agree is important in the urban environment.

        If this is the case, then one can argue that it would do an equally good job for a civilian, say a woman at home alone in a rural area, or someone with a physical handicap. Continuing to claim based on no evidence whatsoever that no one ever shoots more than ten times means absolutely nothing.

        I have never even used my fire extinguisher, let alone discharged it completely. Perhaps I should get rid of it, or get a tiny little one to replace my normal sized one, since it is clear that even having one at all is unnecessary.

      • I repeatedly answered Jimmy’s question. I answered it by saying that they sometimes need to raid the premises of mafiosi, biker gangs, or other places where they may need to shoot such large numbers of people. I did answer that, and answered it repeatedly. You lie. Again.

        If you had never once heard any credible report of anyone using a fire extinguisher to protect themselves from a fire, and couldn’t find even one example in history of anyone doing so, then yes, I would say that you should get rid of it.

        If the only use you had any evidence of, besides by people either selling fire extinguishers or using them for target practice, was by people using them to murder your fellow Americans (including 20 schoolchildren in the last month alone), I’d think you should have your head examined for buying one, or spending weeks insisting on your right to own one. Why would you? Answer: if you’re the sleaziest fire extinguisher salesmen in America.

        You have lied often enough that I don’t think there’s much point in continuing to talk to you. Have a good new year.

      • No you didn’t. He and I both asked for you to provide an example of an officer needing to kill large numbers of people. Since you insisted that we provide you with statistics that don’t even exist, I will do you the favor of merely asking for a simple anecdote.

        The fact is, police don’t carry rifles because they might need to kill lots of people, they carry rifles because they are good at stopping people, they can get through body armor, and they can do so at distance if need be. Killing lots of people is generally not in the interest of a department, or even within the protocols of a department.

        Perhaps I COULD find a couple instances of someone using a fire extinguishher but you would continue to insist that no such examples exist. Tom provided you with the examples you’ve been stomping your feet about since the beginning, and your response is complete silence.

        You can continue to hurl insults and unfounded accusations rather than debate based on the facts. That you completely ignore any facts that are presented which challenge your particular version of reality reveals you for what you are. You’re not here to learn or to exchange ideas in honest debate. You’re here to smear the opposition with adjectives like “sleazy”.

        But that’s fine, don’t talk to me. I will continue to correct you when you offer opinions that make it sound like you learned everything you know about law enforcement from Miami Vice.

      • “Tom provided you with the examples you’ve been stomping your feet about since the beginning, and your response is complete silence.”

        You lie. Quote these “examples” for me, if he did. He never even quoted one of the things you pretended were “news reports,” but mysteriously only ever show up on gun blogs. Like the ones you claimed about the Gary Fadden myth supposedly being reported in the Free Lance-Star (but somehow, it’s not anywhere to be found on the Free Lance-Star’s website), or the Brown-Dancler story supposedly being reported in the Indianapolis Star, as the gun blogs claim (but somehow, it’s not anywhere to be found on the Indianapolis Star’s website). Then you lie and claim they CAN be found in news reports.

        But Jimmy never ONCE even made any such claim, though–he merely provided a dead link that he CLAIMED was to a post of his that did so. Go to Congress and show them that dead link, and see if you impress anyone. Or, quote me exactly where he showed that more than 10 rounds have ever been fired in one sitting, by a civilian stopping a murder. I’ll wait.

        You lie. Your words are worthless.

      • Sorry, my bad–you said “Tom,” not “JimmyCZ.” Tom’s links where he says he dumped the links are giving me “dangerous site” warnings, but please feel free to post his links here, if you’re seeing them.

        But you ARE lying out your rear end when you claim proof that either the Brown-Dancler story, OR the Beckwith/Fadden story, were reported on the news websites that the gun blogs claim they were from. Neither the Indianapolis Star (for the Brown-Dancler story) nor the Free Lance-Star (for the Beckwith/Fadden myth) have ANY reference on them to those stories.

        If you’re saying Tom’s links show something that’s NOT merely claimed by a bunch of gun blogs quoting each other, then please post the link here, from a REPUTABLE GOVERNMENT OR NEWS SOURCE. If Tom’s, Greggatshack’s, and JimmyCZ’s links are all mysteriously disappearing, though mine never do, then you can surely post quotes. But don’t post “some gun blog claimed that there was a news story,” where when we check, the newspaper itself has no record of it, like you tried to pull with the Brown-Dancler and Beckwith/Fadden scams. Post a link or a quote and a newspaper name at least, from a government or news source, not some gun blog.

      • Link to archived Free Lance Star article on the acquittal of Gary Fadden.

        http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19840918&id=eeJLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=x4sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5238,2685423

        If it does not take you directly to the article, it is on page 11, on the left side in between “Hospital adding more black doctors” and “Hospital Notes”.

        Also, the pizza hut delivery story is EASILY verifiable. Search for Ronald B. Honeycutt instead. The two last names is throwing you off.

        Pizza Hut Fires Driver For Carrying Gun; Driver Said He Killed Armed Robber
        (INDIANAPOLIS, May 18th, 2004, 3:30 p.m.) — A pizza delivery driver who fatally shot a man he said brandished a gun and tried to rob him was fired from his job and could face criminal charges.
        Ronald B. Honeycutt shot Jerome Brown, 20, who was pronounced dead a short time after the late Monday shooting.

  72. thank you. your post that expresses my conflict as liberal leaning, registered Republican, San Francisco dwelling, gun enthusiast.

  73. Reblogged this on Thorhere2012 and commented:
    Something to think about before making decisions based on emotions.

  74. I just have a couple problems with this. You compare mass shootings as a death toll with other causes of death such as “accidental drownings,” poisonings, and lightning strikes. Now since you only said accidental drownings, and since not all poisonings are deliberate, and since no one is able to control lightning, then you compared very intentional and deliberate, murderous COD with a set of by far unintentional, accidental COD. That just isn’t a fair comparison at all. Yes, it is sad that so many people drown accidentally every year, but no one drowned them intentionally. You miss the point (and others make the same mistake in their arguments) that gun violence and acts of god are not the same thing.

    Second point – you rail against the Assault Weapons Ban of ’94 and make excellent points on why it was essentially useless, but what many will see is simply an excellent case on why the new gun control people want should NOT be that ban. If anything, they’ll want to get it right this time. I certainly don’t blame them. Still, I totally agree that the ban was a less-than-stellar example of legislation. Sadly, such examples are fairly typical in our democracy.

    And finally, you are right to say that we should not let mass shootings guide our policy. After all, that isn’t the only gun violence that happens – it’s just noticed more. Mass shootings should, if anything, serve as catalysts for debate, and action should be taken not for the dead, who cannot be returned to us, but for the living. Who knows? One day my child (or yours) could be in a school just like Sandy Hook, or Columbine, or Virginia Tech. But far more likely could they be struck down by the gun violence that occurs every day in America. Every day, just like the drownings and the poisonings. I don’t want that to happen, obviously. Don’t let the mass shootings be the only reason to control guns. Let all of the violence that has happened or that could happen again be that reason.

    Now I don’t see a problem with gun ownership. I certainly don’t see a problem with self-defense. But the argument that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” is far too oversimplified. While true, it should be noted that people with guns are much better at killing than people without guns. And as a gun owner yourself you should know that the trigger is far easier than the knife or the lead pipe to use on an aggressor… or a victim. Why else would so many people resort to a gun for defense, rather than the Louisville Slugger under my bed? People kill people, but less people would kill if killing were physically harder to do.

    At least that’s what I think.

    • Good comment. AND true.

    • Kale: First, neither the cause nor manner of death is relevant, so the point was not missed. The only real difference is that intentional acts are much more difficult to defend against, as a conscious effort is made to circumvent our defenses (ban guns, use a bomb?).. The important question is; what, if anything, can be done to prevent similar deaths in the future? In fact, we do effectively minimize death and destruction from lightning by installing lightning rods. We significantly reduce accidental drowning by erecting fences around swimming pools. On the other hand, the AWB did nothing to prevent mass shootings. As long as guns exist people will have them in their possession, either legally or illegally, and a very few of them will go on to commit murder with them. At the same time, other murders will be committed by other people by other means. While it can be argued that guns are a likely tool for mass killings, they are certainly not the only ones.

      The question in this case becomes; what can we do to prevent the murder of our schoolchildren? We already know what doesn’t work. Who really thinks that another AWB or any gun ban is really the answer? Even if a draconian gun ban was 100% effective and nobody had guns, would there never be another school mass murder? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1277724/Seven-children-hacked-death-school-China.html

      Somehow we need to stop the murderer, regardless of their chosen method. Can we physically prevent them from gaining access to school property and the children? Probably not without turning schools into virtual prisons (what if the perpetrator is a school employee?). If not, then they can be stopped only after they are on the school grounds and made their intention clear.

      Regardless, focusing on guns is going to accomplish nothing when they are not the real culprit. Bickering dodges the real issues and creates animosity which will make it even more difficult to find solutions. It’s time we started focusing on the real problems, then maybe we can find real solutions.

  75. I despise guns but after reading this entry I think I despise the media more. I thought this was a very insightful article and think it should be shared by everyone on both sides of the gun debate.

  76. Excellent post! New Sub here!

  77. Interesting article which clarified quite a bit for me as a liberal NPR-listener with little idea about various kinds of firearms.
    What I personally was missing at the end of this article are suggestions of how a clear-thinking person like yourself who apparently sees through a lot of the BS concerning this debate would go about dealing with the issue of deaths due to irresponsible use of firearms. It may be true that mass shootings are very rare, but far less rare are deaths due to accident, suicide and homicide using firearms.

    The 2nd Amendment is an essential part of our American culture. It is part of our national identity. If not for the 2nd Amendment, we would not have defeated the “Redcoats” and would not be where we are today. I get that. This issue is much more complex than whether or not to ban “assault weapons”.

    Far too often, guns get into the hands of the wrong people. And although as gun enthusiasts often say “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, guns make it a very fast and efficient way to do large-scale damage in a short amount of time. Sure, one could argue that bombs, poisonous gas or what have you can do the same. The fact is, guns are just too accessible to the population of unstable people willing to do such damage.

    I am worried not about what type of weapon is used to kill others, I am worried mostly about how to deal with people who act rashly when they feel provoked, threatened, or angry. I’m concerned about how people are storing their weapons. I’m concerned that the threshold of when it is considered appropriate to use a weapon is too low. I’m concerned that unstable people (it seems in many cases teen and young adult males) don’t see any other options for dealing with their pain, frustration and anger than by taking it out on others. And I’m concerned that weapons are glorified in our everyday culture.

    Your article was for me a breath of fresh air compared to what I’ve been reading from the gun enthusiast community so far. I don’t think as many people considered to be “pro gun-control” see the situation as black and white as the other side paints us to be. I hope that in the coming months we will be able to have a productive national discussion on how to really deal with this issue.

  78. Tacopsdaddy Says:

    It’s amazing to me…look at the massacres in China….with knives. Are we going to ban cutlery next. Evil is is in the heart not inanimate object. It’s sick people we need to control. Leave my guns alone so that I can protect the innocent from the crazies.

    • The argument about knives and cars is bullshit. Both of these items have serious purpose besides killing or injuring. Most of the crazies out there have guns. Register ALL weapons, including yours, and we will eventually drop those numbers. If someone is stealing YOUR weapons than obviously, you are not a responsible gun owner. (rhetorical)

      • I respectfully submit that registering weapons is BS. Can you cite any evidence, even anecdotal evidence, where registering weapons would reduce crime? Just because some authority has a piece of paper stating that I have a gun, does not prevent me from going on a killing spree. If you ask for useless solutions like this from your legislatiors, you will unfortunately get what you ask for. It’s easy to do, makes people feel good, gets votes, and DOESN’T WORK.

        I agree that people are irresponsible for not properly securing their guns. There is some evidence that securing weapons might have made a crime more inconvenient, but not necessarily prevented it. However, the point of the original author is well made. Such rare, insignificant instances should not guide where we go with this as a national policy.

  79. I just want to say thank you for writing this!

  80. You make excellent arguments for the need to ban firearms of all types and remove firearms from the general citizenry. Let us pray for Obama to make it so.

  81. nancylebovitz Says:

    Thank you very much for the essay. It’s literally the first time I’ve been able to focus on a discussion of the assault weapon ban, and it’s because you laid it out so clearly without insults. The pictures helped, too.

  82. Very well written!!!

  83. Lee Lawrence Says:

    Let me preface what I am about to say by stating up front that I haven’t read any other comments so what I am about to say may have been said previously, and I don’t believe that gun legislation will stem the tide of gun related violence, I agree with the author.

    While I agree with you, and find your arguments intelligent and well thought out, I disagree with the premise that people are basing their ideas on a logical fallacy of misleading vividness. The basis for your argument is that people are misled into thinking that there are lots of these mass killings and so therefor the sheer volume becomes an issue for them. You then go on to use examples of how lightning strikes and drowning are statistically far more significant so therefor if we as a society were concerned about volume we should be more concerned about these things. This is you using a counter fallacy called the Straw Man, which is an argument based on the misrepresentation of the opponents position.

    The reason why people are very concerned about mass shootings and not so much about lightning strikes and drowning is because the latter two are accidental and almost 100% outside of the realm of legislation. On the other hand, these mass shootings are pretty predictable in that they involve the same type of off balance individual, who goes through approximately the same steps in coming to the point where he then goes on a rampage, the final step of which is using these “assault weapons” to complete the cycle. If people thought there was something they could do about drowning or lightning strikes, they would, but as we all know, lightning is extremely random and unpredictable.

    Why the gun control advocates think that gun control is the solution is because there is a tendency to think simplistically about cause and effect, and also, in many things, not just gun control, people will form an opinion based on the ideas of others that is skewed in one direction and may have “data” attached which is misleading. Otherwise known as “how to lie with statistics”. For example, I read an article which said that some country, I forget which, enacted very strict laws after a mass shooting, and that gun violence dropped drastically, once again, I forget how much, but how much isn’t the point. The point is, saying gun violence dropped drastically after enacting stricter laws is meaningless. Ofcourse gun violence decreased. A meaningful statistic would account for the overall rate of violence, guns and otherwise, which probably remained the same, or dropped an insignificant amount. Saying gun violence decreased is cherry picking, the act of selectively choosing to point out things that support your argument while ignoring a significant amount of data that contradicts your argument. So in essence, people see that guns are killing people, think guns are the problem, then they go on to read things by other people who think guns are the problem, which just bolsters their own position that……..guns are the problem.

    • Guns BY THEMSELVES, and NOT attached to a human are NOT the problem. It is the fact that humans are emotional and some are really messed up. That is the problem, and nobody on the right has the slightest clue how to get them out of the wrong hands except by adding more guns which just exacerbates the problem.

      • …and nobody on the right has the slightest clue how to get them out of the wrong hands except by adding more guns which just exacerbates the problem.

        Why do you assume that allowing the good guys greater access to weapons (or just NOT attempting to make it harder) is going to “exacerbate the problem?”

        Either you’re criminally-minded or you aren’t. If you are, then gun laws aren’t going to stop you from arming yourself – if not with a gun, then with some other weapon.

        If you aren’t, then no access to firearms is going to turn you into a raging murderer.

        You need to get past this foolish thinking that there’s something inherently evil about the tool or that it turns decent people into psychopaths.

        Furthermore, there’s ample evidence to show that good guys with guns actually does reduce crime. So, wrong again:

        http://marquettetribune.org/2012/02/14/news/concealed-carry-prevents-more-crime-than-it-creates-study-says/

  84. Thank you, very well written.

  85. Excellent, Factual and well-thought out article

  86. Drawing a comparison between accidental deaths, be it drownings or car accidents is not pertinent. The fact is that only mass shootings re kids get public outcry. Here is what happened so far in 2012:
    12/14 Newtown,ct 27 dead
    12/11 Oregon 3 dead
    9/27 Minneapolis, minn 6 dead
    8/31 Old Bridge,NJ 3dead my town
    8/5 Oak Creek, Wi. 7 dead
    7/20 Aurora co. 12 dead
    5/29Seattle 6 dead
    4/6Tulsa 3 dead
    4/2Oakland,Ca 7 dead
    2/27Chardon,Oh 3 dead
    57 so far
    never mind the gang or indivdual shootings or the over 500 accidental ones this year.

    It is an epedemic in this country. People, all of us are immune to hearing it on the news if it doesn’t pertain to kids. We are acclimated to the fact that killing with firearms is a way of life accepted in this country.
    I believe we are a leader in the world. I believe we r the greatest country in the world.

    The rest of the world views us as the leaders in unnecessary firearm deaths.

    Read up on the Gun Ownership Requirements in Japan, Canada or Great Britain. They require mental exams, interviews with neighbors and police inspection of how the guns are stored.

    I sincerely believe we, as Americans, have to set the standard, be the innovators, of a quality of life that is good for all, with or without guns.

    By the way, I own & enjoy shooting .

  87. Spencer Zwaschka Says:

    I didn’t follow your sources to check them out for myself, but based on the first read through, this, in my opinion, is an amazing article. I deeply appreciate the detailed information, the structure and order of topics, and the overall tone I feel it sends, allowing it to reach both sides of the political spectrum. I will definitely be bookmarking this article and using it as a reference in the future. Thank you.

  88. Lookingforfacts Says:

    This is a geat article and very well written. It presents logical arguments from both sides and uses facts not emotions to draw conclusions. I am very pro-2nd ammendment but do agree things could be better. I have read many different articles and studies over the last few weeks and still find both sides stating facts that only help there side, I think this article presents both sides well, thanks. It woudl be great if this author wrote a similar piece on gun violance. The question is do we have more violnce in our country becase of guns, the Assult weapons ban is ineffective but it’s a knee jerk reaction and makes people (especially politicians) feel good that they are doing something even if it accomplishes nothing.

  89. I would propose that the first thing that may have benefit, is to eradicate any signs that give a shooter any information that they are entering a Gun Free Zone. They should basically toss a coin and then trust that they chose the right place. I mean why give the bad guy that information? It hurts no one to simply not advertise.

  90. Your article is extrememly well written. People still live by bears and mountain lions and drug runners near the boarder with fully auto 50 cals. We continue to funnel profits to organized crime and weapons of really mass killing (cluster bomb), double tap drone strikes, it’s no wonder are mentally unstable and young people follow the examples of our culture and leaders. Real solutions to this problem seem limited: move primary schooling to the internet or mutally assured destruction through guns on everyones hip, or building schools with security in mind. http://www.policeone.com/active-shooter/articles/2058168-Active-shooters-in-schools-The-enemy-is-denial/

  91. I just read this, and have to say this is one of (if not the) the most fantastic presentations on the topic I’ve read to date. The only tragedy here is that the other side is not willing to listen to the facts, since their argument is based solely on emotion. And when faced with facts such as these they resort to name calling, or saying “You like dead children then?” Because if it saves just one life…..then gun rights are nothing in comparison. Again, ignoring the facts that guns saves thousands of lives per year, while gun laws do not.

    • Serious gun restrictions save lives in virtually every country (like ours) that enacts them. Look at Scotland or Australia or Canada for solid examples. They only place that is irrelevant is in your mind and those of other “Guns are more important than Kids” people.

    • Cylar, when you have a confirmation bias you are only looking for data that supports your view. That is EXACTLY what both sides of this argument do. They create reams of data and “surveys” which support their specific argument. If you take it down a notch you will find that countries similar to ours which restrict weapon ownership also have MUCH lower firearms crime rates and lower murder rates per capita. Canada is a third of ours (1.6 – 4.2); Australia is less than a fourth of ours (1 – 4.2). These are two countries with a national timeline and history of gun ownership very similar to ours and are probably the best examples. In BLACK and WHITE… we are killing ourselves and YOU don’t care.

  92. EXCELLENT article! Calm, rational, fact checked and non-judgemental. Everything the mainstream press is not these days.

  93. NRA press conference….the most striking thing that I heard was the NRA endorsement of having armed guards in our school. Agreed!!

    The ironic part is, the NRA would assist in the recruitment and training of law abiding citizens, that have passed thorough background checks, have received extensive training, and have no history of mental problems. So, the NRA is on board for gun control/ regulation for those who protect our children…but continue to support universal access for everyone, those who can’t qualify for the “school sheild program” and those who may have criminal intent.

    If you can’t pass the NRA’s screening process for school security, you should have limited or no access to guns. In a supreme court ruling, Scalia himself argued that the protection under the 2nd amendment is not limitless. These qualified gun owners should not be held hostage by the NRA’s marriage to corporate profits.

    • You do have to pass a background check to purchase a gun. It is a fallacy that you do not. It is a Federal requirement. They are suggesting that they would require additional training in dealing with things like hostage situations. There is no reason an average citizen should be required to take such training simply to own a firearm.

    • “The ironic part is, the NRA would assist in the recruitment and training of law abiding citizens, that have passed thorough background checks, have received extensive training, and have no history of mental problems”

      Having worked under the rules of department of education, background checks and screening are part of any school job. Also, every security job requires training. Mostly it has nothing to do with firearms, but rather procedure and limits/extent of authority.

      “If you can’t pass the NRA’s screening process for school security, you should have limited or no access to guns.”

      And who exactly named the NRA as the sole arbiter of my rights? Really, I’d love to know.

      • Well Jimmy, it’s the NRA’s program and the NRA’s money that’s going to fund it. I would say that makes it their right to choose who may or may not participate.

        As far as your rights go – you have the right to choose not to participate in their program thereby avoiding their choice of allowing you to participate.

        If you don’t like or agree with that, then maybe you should come up with the money to fund a voluntary program of your own? Then it would be up to you to make the rules for recruitment.

    • would not be ‘the NRA’s’ screening process, but probably established by the state or school district. However a stringent screening process should be in place for anyone employed to work with or around children, particularly if they are going to be armed.

      The NRA suggested that people who volunteer to participate in the program should receive training and pass a background investigation; I fail to see how that can in any way be construed as gun-control for those who participate since they are already allowed to keep and bear arms. And yes, anyone who can’t pass a background check shouldn’t be in possession of guns, but it is probably already illegal.

      I have never heard the NRA ever endorse universal access for prohibited persons (i.e. those who can’t pass a background check) or those who may have criminal intent (not really sure how you screen for that).

      And how does this proposal in any way suggest a ‘marriage to corporate profits’?

      • Randy, just like any political campaign…the biggest donations come from the people or entities that have the most profit to gain. There are few “purists” who believe the 2nd amendment protects an individuals right to unlimited access to ALL weaponry…as I stated above, all sane people agree that nuclear weapon access should be limited and so we all believe in gun control, it’s to what extent that divides us. The argument is, as Scalia would say, the “reduction to the absurd.”

        I don’t believe there is anything close to a majority of citizens or politicians, who are interested in anything but common sense legislation that makes this a safer country. If I believe this, and I believe that everyone on this board wants to limit access to those with criminal intent, then I have to believe the only logical explanation for yesterday’s “more guns” argument is more guns equal more profit, less guns equal less profit.

      • robets14: First, I never heard anyone call for more guns; I also read the transcript (http://home.nra.org/pdf/Transcript_PDF.pdf) and saw not one word about more guns. I heard the NRA call for putting armed guards in our schools (existing cops, and trained volunteers), and I heard the NRA volunteering to train them. This is not a new concept; as the NRA pointed out, many schools have begun employing armed guards already and, so far, there have been no shootings at any of them.

        Regardless, I disagree that profit is the only logical motive for ‘more guns’. Further, the NRA has no direct profit motive for ‘more guns’. While I have absolutely no financial stake in the gun industry (other than a consumer), I have always argued that crime increased as the prevalence of guns decreased, as the risk to a criminal of encountering and armed victim also decreased. If that is true, then if guns became more prevalent, it would stand to reason that crime would decrease.

        Your reply strongly suggests that you didn’t really listen to the message.

    • Cameron Clark Says:

      You have a valid point. I’m not necessarily agreeing that the NRA or the Dept. of Education should be the arbiter for gun rights, as there is much to be considered in such a decision, but you do have a point. Unfortunately, even mental midgets have gun rights.

      • “As far as your rights go – you have the right to choose not to participate in their program thereby avoiding their choice of allowing you to participate”

        What I was referring to was Robets14’s statement
        “If you can’t pass the NRA’s screening process for school security, you should have limited or no access to guns”

        What he’s saying is, not only school security but anyone who wishes to own guns should have to go through it.

        I have no problem with the NRA donating time and resources to districts seeking trained security. They do this with regular police, in part by offering discounted range time at affiliated ranges for LEO’s, and PD’s for training purposes. There is also an NRA LE instructors certification that allows NON LE to sign off on LE yearly qualifications. Not all states/municipalities accept it, but others do. This saves resources of smaller departments, as officers can go to a range and re-qualify on their own time.

        My point in my earlier statement was that the NRA has no more say in my right to own guns than the NAACP. I know full well that any of this would be a state/DOE/local matter and that the NRA is simply offering it’s resources. They would in no way be setting the standards and only brought it up as no school would allow untrained security. They are in effect offering assistance with “job training”. Robets14 doesn’t understand the difference.

      • JimmyCZ6…

        I was simply speaking to the irony of the comment. Why not just put regular Joe’s inside of school to protect out children? Because it’s not safe. It’s not safe unless they are screened and trained. It’s irresponsible unless regualtions are in place that qualify, and disqualify individuals.

        If you knew your neighbor was disqualified to serve in the school program, would you want him to have a house full of assault rifles? Not me. If you knew your neighbor was a part of such a program, would you want him to have a house full of assault rifles? I would.

        The whole ban assualt rifles and high capacity ammo talk is absurd. However, the let’s allow unlimited secondary market access to everyone without any consequences for the distributor in a another level of absurd. If you force reasonable people to decide one or the other, there will continue to be overwhelming support for the ban.

      • Robets, the high capacity ammo talk is NOT absurd–I’ve twice asked why, since Jared Loughner was only overpowered when changing magazines, why we say “mere seconds” are needed to change out magazines, when those “mere seconds” could (and did, in that case) save lives? (Loughner’s magazine was 31 rounds, so if he had only been able to find 10-round ones, there would have been that many less shots fired before he was delayed.)

        Particularly when there’s no corresponding USEFULNESS for these AR-15s, except for target shooting, which can live without them, in exchange for those lives being saved.

        Not one person has answered those posts; the single person who did, ducked the question and changed the subject to “well 10 rounds is an arbitrary number” (of COURSE, ANY number is an arbitrary number–21 is an arbitrary number for the drinking age, but that doesn’t argue that we should let children drink). If banning magazines greater than 10 rounds delays mass shooters and saves lives, and not banning them doesn’t cost lives, then what’s “absurd” about banning them? Not one answer.

      • Andrew…

        In my opinion, the absurdity lies in the refusal to regulate, register, and require mandatory background checks and mandatory training on the use and safe keeping of such weapons.

        Responsible, law abiding, properly trained people should be able to own such weapons, even if for recreation. People own and fly airplanes for no other reason than thrill and enjoyment. All of the material used in the OKC bombing is still used today for the purpose of agriculture and other personal/business uses. Airplanes and homemade bombs were responsible for the two largest mass murders in the history of the country, we didn’t ban them…we heavily regulated them. As Cameron puts it, “mental midgets have gun rights” but those rights should be limited to muskets and small caliber hand guns.

        There are already millions of these types of weapons on the street. Let’s encourage those folks who have earned the right to enjoy them (trained, law abiding, mentally stable) to protect us from those who should not have access to such weapons. People can qualify for the police academy, or for their pilots license, or they are cleared to be an elementary school teacher…I am personally more concerned with the aforementioned access, then to access of assualt rifles or magazine clips.

      • Andrew, Loughner wasn’t tackled just because he was reloading, he was tackled because during the reload the gun malfunctioned. The only article I’ve ever seen that mentioned it quoted Sheriff Dupnik as saying “the spring failed” in the aftermarket magazine.

        If Loughner had chosen standard 17 round magazines instead he would have only had to do a magazine change, not a malfunction clearance. The fact that he used that stupid magazine and didn’t actually test it out first saved lives.

        Of course if he had been able to continue shooting, Joe Zamudio would have shot him.

    • There was an armed guard at Columbine…that didn’t work out too well. If these shooters are planning these attacks with the precision the media is reporting, you think an AR-15 lying in wait for the guard to patrol his school is a real problem for a guy like Adam Lanza? Not really.

      • The NRA receives millions of dollars a year from corporate interests. This money isn’t given to them as a Christmas present because these companies feel benevolent. They are in business to make money and the fewer regulations on who can buy their products, the more they sell, and the more profit they make. If you can’t even make THAT connection, then you probably shouldn’t own a gun.

      • John, it is extremely disingenuous to say that “armed guards didn’t work out too well. Do you know exactly when it was that Klebold and Harris chose to put their plan into motion?

        WHEN THE ARMED GUARD WENT TO LUNCH.

        This proves that armed guards ARE a deterrent. What doesn’t work is allowing them to leave for lunch.

  94. […] just read a great blog today that describes the concept of “vividness” and how it is impacting so many people in how they view this topic, as well as other topics. […]

  95. Drowning and poisoning are terrible comparisons to gun violence. Drowning and poisoning are mostly, if not completely accidental and without malice, and don’t require a tool to facilitate. Even with some decent points, you lost me at the beginning with those awful comparisons

  96. Excellent!

  97. So, have you checked out http://www.bluesteeldemocrats.org yet? As a Liberal and RKBA (Right to Keep and Bear Arms) activist, I will be sending a LOT of folks who are in agreement with the proponents of ‘the shoulder thing that goes up’ to this blog. Well done!

    Also, for any fellow Liberals who enjoy shooting or want to find out more (and Conservatives that can be exposed to different points of view without imploding) please check out The Liberal Gun Club for an NRA alternative. http://www.theliberalgunclub.org

  98. This is perhaps the most level-headed and logical analysis of the problem with gun laws I have come across over the years. Thank you!

  99. The bottom line is that these mass tragedies shape the public’s perception. NO article, regardless of its eloquence or depth, will change that. Until the gun lobby recognizes and works to find a way to license gun (any kind) owners and register all firearms in a way that protects FUTURE gun owners to continue their hobby, there will never be a solution that the vast majority will endorse.

  100. Robert Quick Says:

    Well written article , all people concerned should read this thank you so much !

  101. Silence Dogood Says:

    There is a little problem with having a “right” vs. a privilege. The court says the 2nd Amendment is not limitless. They also said very plainly that you cannot categorically ban/ regulate ownership of “common and accepted” firearms.

    But now that the 2nd Amendment is affirmed as an individual right, and as such consider that several previous Supreme Court Sessions have ruled, on many occasions, about other individual rights in general, that the natural exercise of a right cannot be taxed; Poll Taxes being the primary rulings. But think about it: Background checks, permits and fees essentially Tax the right to bear them. And the court said on several occasions, that cannot be done without infringing on the right itself. This is an issue that, once litigated, will likely doom many guns laws already on the books.

    The Open and Honest debate on gun ownership, if it takes a truly open path, if it is truly honest, will be this: there is no law that will prevent someone from committing any crime who is determined to do so.

  102. May I send your article to my congressman?

  103. Very nice. I only have one thing to add. Near the beginning, you write – referring to mass shootings: “It puts on graphic display the absolute worst aspects of our culture, which is painful to watch.”

    I would disagree; it puts on display the worst aspects of human nature. There is nothing uniquely American about murder or even the murder of many by one. It is simply human nature run amok (literally – google “amok”).

  104. Excellent. And I thought all liberals were dumb idiots. I’ve been proven wrong.

  105. eposognatus Says:

    I was directed to and enjoyed immensely this well composed piece, having written something borne out of similar frustrations around about the same time (http://scodpub.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/if-you-never-change-your-mind-why-have-one/)

  106. ChrisBHandy Says:

    Great article, I certainly know how you feel in the beginning also, arguing both ends can be exhausting.

  107. Extremely well reasoned, supported, and articulated. This was of much higher journalistic integrity than much of what is being churned on CNN currently. As a tree hugging, granola eating gun lover I find myself in some of the same ethical quandaries. The instrument of the crime is an easy target, and it scores quick political points for politicians to demonstrate that they’re “doing something”. Treating the source of gun violence is much murkier, and there is no easy fix. Lowering unemployment, easily accessible mental healthcare, holding video game producers accountable, holding gun owners accountable to keep their weapons secure and inaccessible to children and the mentally ill, these are multi-dimensional problems to which there are no simple answers.
    Thanks for providing a reasonable voice from the center, it’s refreshing.

  108. Thank you so much for your logical and fact-based article.

    Another concept that deserves further examination is that of “worthy victims.”
    A worthy victim is someone who somehow (by race, looks, financial status, nationality and so on) somehow deserves public mourning and massive media coverage. Unworthy victims (such as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children who starved to death as a result of US sanctions 1990-2000) are not worthy of a peep of coverage and warrant little more than a blink, if considered at all.

    Combine worthy victims with a massive shooting using an “assault weapon”,and you’ve got yourself a situation.

  109. Very informative article. My husband said the kid used a 22 rifle in the CT shooting, so didn’t understand why all the talk about an assault rifle. Basically your article confirmed what I had suspected–the media and most people making laws need to study this issue further before creating more restrictive laws that do nothing to solve the problem at hand.

    • Your husband was wrong.

      • Actually, her husband is correct. The AR-15 is little more than a hot .22. The round is three times heavier, only .003 inchers larger than the .22LR and moving at 2.5 times the velocity. But it is still a .22. You can fire .22LR out of an AR-15 for practice.

        The .223 was chosen as a compromise to allow a soldier to carry more ammunition for the same weight as .308 or .30-06.

        It should be noted that the .223 is too small to be used for deer in most states. It lacks the power to reliably stop a deer in its tracks in a single shot. I’m not going to get into the terminal ballistics of the .223 but the woman’s husband is correct.

        The fact is it is coming out of an AR-15 versus a Mini-14 doesn’t matter.

      • Most people do not know the technical details. To them a 22 is a rifle someone would shoot squirrels with. Just the fact that it shoots a projectile 2.5 X faster takes it out of that class. You wouldn’t arm our soldiers with a squirrel gun.

  110. […] this, simple facts and truth's. Why Not Renew the “Assault Weapons” Ban? Well, I’ll Tell You… Kontradictions __________________ Mista Bone […]

  111. Cameron Clark Says:

    Wow, this was a breath of fresh air that I could really relate to as a gun-rights supporting liberal. This is really well written. It’s so refreshing to read something that was written intelligently, using proper grammar and spelling. So often the crap that people pass off as writing makes my damn eyes bleed.

  112. Richard Hammond Says:

    Out of the dozens of articles I’ve read on gun control over the past weeks, this is the finest. I will be liberally reposting it as often as I can.

  113. […] Larry Correia and Kontra – thank you.  You have put rational discussion, logic, and facts back on the […]

  114. Well written article. I can understand some of your points.
    Not being from the US, it is a little difficult to relate to your so-called “constitutional rights” although I somehow noticed that your government has a less than stellar record in respecting them.

    I am not a liberal or some leftie, so please don’t get my comment wrong – I write it as a human being living on this planet, not as anything else. So here it is: even though I can understand you like guns and you have a case for owning them, I still find it difficult to believe that our destiny as a species is to be all armed to the teeth.

    • The only true natural any of us really has is the right to defend ourselves and survive to the best of our abilities. All of the rights we define for ourselves on paper and parchment are variations and subtleties on the basic concept.

      Our species are tool users. The ones who armed themselves in the past for food and to keep others from stealing it survived, got smarter and their children carried on.

      The “not armed to teeth” part will last right up until another group or species wanders along who doesn’t believe in it. Our own history is replete with such examples of those unarmed who are enslaved by those who weren’t as “enlightened”.

      • Matt, if you really imagine us being “enslaved” by some invading force, you’re aware that this would require several million soldiers and several TRILLION dollars, correct? And that absolutely no countries on earth, even among the very few that might have the inclination to do so, have the monetary, human, OR natural (as in, for instance, the huge amount of fuel alone that moving such a force across the world’s biggest ocean would require) resources to do so?

        And that of the likeliest adversaries we’re ever going to face (say, Russia or China or another Asian power), they’re one and all occupied with so many heavily armed neighbors (China borders 19 countries), with million-man armies (China, India, the Koreas, Russia) or nukes (China, Russia, North Korea, probably Kazakhstan, India, and Pakistan)–several of whom China, for instance has gone to war with in recent decades–that ANY of those people taking time out from those constant security concerns and frolicking off to invade America is about as likely as the Saudis becoming nudists? And that therefore, ever using or having any need of this “citizen’s militia” is someone’s movie fantasy?

        Movies like Red Dawn are fun. But they’re not only implausible because they’re predicated on the local bellowing jockstrap-snappers grabbing a clue and suddenly turning into the most astute warriors since Sun Tzu. They’re implausible because nobody’s f—ing invaded us for centuries, and it’s become virtually impossible for anyone to afford the men and materiel to do so.

      • Andrew-
        You seem to have picked one aspect of Matt’s statement and taken it to the extreme. I do not believe that Matt was saying that there is a political entity somewhere in the world that he needs his guns to fight off, he was saying “we need to be able to defend ourselves”, whether it’s from common criminals, foreign invasion, or the government labeling all prior military gun owning conservatives as dangerous radicals.

        I don’t labor under the illusion that what is now shall always be. Maybe someday an armed populace will come in handy. We all hope that is not the case, and the number of people who fantasize about holding an AK over their heads and shouting “Wolverines!” is pretty small.

        That detachment from reality is more common among people who DON’T carefully examine the outcomes of violence the way gun owners who believe in self defense do. Gun owners who have been through self defense shootings often tell their stories online, and they are awful affairs. Anyone who claims that all gun owners think otherwise is either transferring their own Hollywood formed beliefs and attitudes about violence or is deliberately being slanderous.

        One might compare this attitude to those who have become more vocal in the last few weeks. I will do Kontra the favor of not posting the numerous death threats against NRA members and even random gun bloggers, as they are vile, profane, and quite frankly terrifying. I have prepared to confront violence for most of my life, and the last week was the first time that people in general scare the hell out of me.

        If there is any reason for the populous to be armed, it is our very human tendency to gang up on a minority group we don’t agree with and beat them into submission. Guns even that playing field quickly. Ten Koreans on a rooftop can make an entire city block safe. Ten Koreans in a fistfight with an angry mob….

      • Eric,

        “the number of people who fantasize about holding an AK over their heads and shouting “Wolverines!” is pretty small.

        That detachment from reality is more common among people who DON’T carefully examine the outcomes of violence the way gun owners who believe in self defense do.”

        All of these are completely unsupported assertions, which I’m sure you wish were true, but which you have absolutely no basis for saying, other than that wish. There are quite clearly many Americans, many on this page alone, who fantasize about armed, undrilled (that is, well trained perhaps in how to clean or hold a gun, but not drilled at ALL in military tactics, even guerrilla tactics) citizens overthrowing a government.

        And they are plainly fantasizing, since, when asked about the most basic challenges any such , they have ZERO idea how to answer. Not one, not a single one, of the dozens (perhaps over a hundred by now) I’ve asked online have ventured ANY reply, even a “make stuff up as you go along” reply, when I’ve asked: “with the government owning all the attack helicopters, tanks, heavy weaponry, etc., and all but a few hundred or thousand private citizens unable ever to afford even one such piece, how will you deal with the complete roadblock and no-fly zone, when coordinating a battle? How will you get gas and food through such lockdown, when they will control those too? How will you communicate, and with whom, when they have established networks of communication and can shut your electricity and networks down at will, and you only have a few hundred Facebook friends? Who picks what rank each guerrilla citizen shall be?” Et cetera. If they were not fantasizing, they would have SOME idea of how to meet such challenges; but they have neither thought in any depth at all about them, nor do they–even after I ask them.

        There are PLENTY of 2nd Amendment advocates fantasizing they’ll overthrow a tyranny, either a domestic one or a foreign invader (though, again, that is fantasy–who is spending trillions of dollars and using millions of soldiers to cross the Atlantic or Pacific and invade us? Again, no answer), and the reason it’s fantasy is that they’re imagining this, but they’d have no idea what they’re doing, none at all.

      • Billamemnon Says:

        Yes, you have made a perfect point. As one who will fight for the 2nd Amendment poliically and in every other non-shooting way, I recognize that any battle is certainly going to result in guns being taken from “cold dead fingers.” We can’t win if such an event occurs, and that is one reason why we are so jealously protective of the FULL meaning of the 2nd Amendment.

        I would expect the American Press, slovenly as they are these days, to feel the same way if these assaults were being made on the Free-speech clause of the First Amendment.

      • And I have to say you’re arguments are becoming really disingenuous, to use your own word. You talk about “profane” and “vile” posters on Youtube? I posted on this very page that I’ve seen 2nd Amendment advocates talk about “taking out 300 or 400 congressbozos is all you’d need, to overthrow a government.” And I’ve seen _huge_ numbers of gun owners, claiming to be the source of all reason and sense, but who sound so angry and unbalanced online that I sure don’t want them owning a gun. Am I throwing those, the worst of your number, in your face and pretending that only your side has such murderous people? No, I’m not. That was cheesy of you.

        It’s also cheesy to try to pretend that the people fantasizing about “overthrowing foreign invaders or domestic tyranny” are the same people who own weapons for self-defense against violent criminals. That neatly evades the question of whether the guys claiming “yeah, really, you guys! 30 armed invaders stormed my house! Good thing I had a 30-round magazine!” are full of nonsense or not. I know MANY people who have bought guns for self-defense; not one of them ever had any use for a 30-round magazine. There is a reason why I address hunters, target shooters, and those who buy small-capacity guns for self-defense against criminals separately from those who fantasize about overthrowing tyranny. It’s because the first three types I’ve known aren’t detached from reality at all, but the latter type clearly are, and will, if God forbid given the chance, flail so mightily that it’s going to rank as one of the greatest tragedies in American history. Don’t pretend that all four types are one and the same.

      • The tyrannical government people are just parroting what the NRA is implying, but even THEY are not so stupid as to actually think it would happen. What they DO think is that putting this out will result in more sales for their corporate donors, and hence, more donations. It is all about the money and the rest is collateral damage.

      • John D, exactly; usually, it’s the people who are parroting talking points (again, the following does NOT apply to ALL 2nd Amendment advocates, but to those who pretend to be about to overthrow a tyranny) who, when pressed with the simplest followup questions, have absolutely no idea how to answer. Not one of these people have any clue how they’d overthrow a tyranny.

        Our car manufacturers worked people the same way: years ago, they started making cars look aggressive (according to car industry consultant Clotaire Rapaille, under his and other consultants’ advice, the Camaro hood was made to look like a gorilla’s flaring nostrils, the Dodge Ram trucks’ grills to look like the clenched jaw of an angry, burly man, to appeal to people’s sense of aggression). This well-funded sales lobby acts on the same impulses. Of course it does; what’s more aggressive than a gun? And, if some people might not want to be an aggressive dick, what better way to work them than to claim “one day you’ll have to use it in heroic self-defense”? But using guns in self-defense against violent crime makes sense, while claiming you’ll use it against your government one day approaches lunacy.

        It is a cheap sales tactic that flatters people’s wish to Make a Big Stand; but it’s empty. They’re never doing anything about it, and I’m glad, because they’ve put zero thought into the practical questions about it, which means they’d flail ridiculously, and cause misery, but without any result.

      • Thanks, billmemnon (my earlier comments were directed against Eric). Yes, I think that if it came to such a violent pass, it would be completely different from what everyone imagines. I think that most Americans, if they consider these things at all, have Hollywood visions in their heads, whether they’re concerned with the 2nd Amendment or the 1st (funny how those concerned with one are always unconcerned with the other, whichever side you’re on).

      • Kevin Matthews Says:

        Yes Andrew, I’d noticed that too. I thought it funny that people were up in arms over the plans by that horrid Westboro Baptist Church to go along and spout their nonsense at the funerals because if you embrace the second amendment and make it so all-encompassing then surely the first amendment includes free speech for all, even if they’re voicing opinions loathed by 99% of the population.
        I was very happy to see the WBC didn’t get there but the hypocrisy seemed apparent regarding the defence of one amendment and the ignoring of another.

      • Thanks, Kevin Matthews–regarding the Westboro Baptist Church (who, I agree, are loathsome), we were wondering what on earth their problem was.

        Finally, someone online did a little digging and found out that they were all lawyers, who apparently do this protesting (and this is interesting regarding the 1st Amendment connection) in the hopes that local authorities, the city and county, will forbid them from protesting, thus offering grounds for a lucrative civil lawsuit, on grounds that the local authority has denied them their civil right to protest. My girlfriend said: “that… almost makes them MORE disgusting!”

        I have known several lawyers who have done a lot of good for the world, but those Westboro Baptist Church folks are some of the awful ones.

      • Kevin Matthews Says:

        Aha. Yeah, gotta agree with you and your girlfriend there. They really are wretched scumbags.

      • Kevin Matthews Says:

        Judging by this, unless I ammistaken, it would seem that the 1st Amendment has already been “made flexible”, to put it politely, on a number of instances.

        “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

        Doesn’t that mean that there shouldn’t be any laws against slander, for one thing, if it’s free speech? That the whole Occupy Wall Street moviement should never have been so heavily policed and broken up? That the Hays code, and MPAA, should never have to advise censorship?

        I’m picking random examples and being deliberately ridiculous but isn’t that what people are doing when they keep insisting that the 2nd Amendment allows them to have any guns they might want to keep in their closet?

        It’s fair to see that some people HAVE/DO have an agenda to get disarm everyone but gun owners going to the other extreme just leaves us in this mess of two polar opposites arguing with each other when there are numerous, relatively painless, compromises that could be made.

      • Thanks Kevin, great discussion.

        “this mess of two polar opposites arguing with each other when there are numerous, relatively painless, compromises that could be made.”

        If that doesn’t sound like American politics–or our society as a whole–in a nutshell.

        Well, to give the other side its due, they are correct in wishing (for this, for our Supreme Court, one of the central tenets of constitutional law) that the Constitution is always to be interpreted liberally in favor of individual liberty, as far as possible and absent certain strictly defined standards of damage.

        In the case of Occupy Wall Street, I do find that freedom of political speech was properly pissed upon, for no other reason than that the people doing the pissing disliked the particular speech being offered. A few pathetic pretexts for it were offered, but the action was plainly to quash exactly the sort of petitioning for a redress of grievances that the amendment was written for.

        Thurgood Marshall had dissented (see link), in the 1980s, from a First Amendment decision made by the Warren Burger Supreme Court. This decision banned a protest on the grounds that the protesters were staying overnight. Justice Marshall found that although, on the face of it, sleeping overnight is a strange thing to consider “constitutionally protected speech,” he found a clear parallel with black Americans sitting in at lunch counters to protest at the racism of their segregation, though sitting was not speech either. I think he was right, and I think this was awful precedent that made it harder for Occupy.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clark_v._Community_for_Creative_Non-Violence

        On the other hand, of course, there ARE cases where both the 1st and 2nd Amendments’ freedoms are curtailed, in ways that I (and who cares what I think, but) also the Court, don’t find objectionable.

      • Well Andrew, you’ve certainly chosen your position well, and I salute you for it. Either we detail our conspiracy to commit treason online, or we have no interest in actually following through and just need an excuse. Well played sir. The average American skimming through this in between reality TV segments will swallow that argument whole.

        However, if they read the entire comments section they’ll note where you admitted that police and military members would likely join in opposition against a tyrannical government. This admission alone should suffice to answer all future questions about where rebels would learn small unit infantry tactics and asymmetrical warfare, though I admit that I am not optimistic.

        As for making plans, I do not believe there are more than a few nutters making them. This is because, as Tom pointed out above, we still believe in the rule of law. And I think you’re right about something else- some people would just hand them over rather than shoot police officers or military personnel. Most people will likely do what everyone else in the world has done. Hide them.

        http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/files/sas/publications/year_b_pdf/2003/2003SASCh2_full_en.pdf

        Contrary to widely-accepted national myths, public gun ownership is commonplace in most European states. It may appear to some outside observers—especially Americans—that Europeans have blindly surrendered their gun rights (Heston, 2002).

        The reality is that the citizens of most European countries are better armed than they realize. Regulations tightly control gun ownership in only a few European countries like the Netherlands, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

        In much of the rest of the continent, public officials readily admit that unlicensed owners and unregistered guns greatly outnumber legal ones.

      • “they’ll note where you admitted that police and military members would likely join in opposition against a tyrannical government.”

        No, to be precise, I believe I said that it would _only work_ if that happened, not that that was necessarily _going_ to happen. I don’t believe I ever “admitted” that they’d “likely” join such an opposition. However, even if that’s the plan, it’s well worthy of mockery. For, as I also mentioned, if your entire plan depends upon mass defections FROM the very authorities that you’re fighting, then it means:

        “we need our guns because they’ll enable us to overthrow the tyrannical authorities! Er, as long as those authorities give us permission by joining our side!” Risible.

        And no, if you’re implying “why, we have LOADS of well thought out plans! We just don’t choose to TELL you about our treason online,” uh, yeah–BS, dude. There’s always a big, fat mouth online SOMEWHERE who will blow hard about their plans, even if it IS treason–if they’ve _got_ a plan. Since not one person I’ve ever asked has had any answer to _any_ of the simple questions I’ve posed about logistics, provisioning, communication, drilling, or any other such thing, it’s obvious that every single person (minus the maybe 100,000 Americans who drill in survivalist militias and stuff like that, which ARE often nutters) is just blowing smoke because it looks cool (or sells their gun products).

        However, arguendo, if somebody somewhere besides the 1200-odd militia nuts DOES have such well thought out plans, but they are such a closely guarded secret, then guess what–that means exactly the same damn thing, which is that the vast majority of gun-owning Americans, since they’ll never hear about those plans, will never HAVE a plan.

      • Edit: besides the 1200-odd *groups* of militia nuts

      • You actually said both, and you agreed completely with the word “will”-

        “Now, as to the ‘disaffected soldiers or police from our authorities will join the rebels’ argument, I agree completely–and that is the ONLY way such a revolution will ever succeed.”

        -And again, why you think that the mere existence of an option of last resort requires that we all be ready to carry it out at a moments notice with our uniforms sewn and ranks picked out is quite beyond me.

      • Excuse me, you’re right, I did say that. Of course, nothing of the sort is assured at all–we have zero idea if significant numbers among the authorities will ever join in in a popular rebellion.

        In answer to your last paragraph’s question, though: Because if you have neither any idea what you’re doing, nor any interest in even thinking about it, then you will flail, and fail, ridiculously, leading not only to your own humiliation, but to the deaths of any innocent people unlucky enough to get in the way of your bumbling.

      • Andrew-

        Do you have children? Do you know exactly what you’ll do if they’re ever kidnapped? If you don’t, then clearly you don’t care if your kids are kidnapped.

        Perhaps you don’t have kids. Parents? What will you do if they are in a horrible accident and are both in a vegetative state? Will you keep them alive or pull the plug? What will you do with their finances? Will you discuss this with siblings? If you haven’t planned this all out to the letter, then clearly you don’t intend to step up and take care of them when they need you.

        Or is it possible that most rational people simply take a few precautions and then figure they’ll deal with it if it comes up, and this doesn’t indicate some grandiose conspiracy of willful ignorance?

  115. Well written, cogent analysis.

  116. […] Why Not Renew the Assault Weapons Ban?  Written by a political leftist for leftists, this older article provides a very fair and very clear argument against renewing the expired assault weapons ban. It explains what various gun features are and how they work, and also explains why progressives should not encourage this type of legislation. An excerpt: […]

  117. Thank you!!!

    What a brilliantly refreshing view on this subject.

    This needs to be the model for how this is discussed. Based on facts with all emotions checked at the door.

  118. Thanks for the extremely informative and well-written post. You have convinced me that the Assault weapons ban is a useless piece of legislation and, as such, should not be renewed. However, I would like to point out that although mass shootings may be “statistically insignificant and rare” this by no means implies that they are insignificant in a more general sense. I could go on and on about whatI mean by this and why I think guns should be next to impossible to own in America (and elsewhere) but in the interest of time (mine and yours) instead I’d like to post a fantastic article I recently read on the second amendment.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/07/gun-rights

    Happy Holidays!

  119. Kennnnnnnny Says:

    Hey “Kontra”, now all you have to do is apply this wonderful logic to your other beliefs. Guess what?, you won’t be a liberal anymore!!!!!!

  120. This is really useful stuff, and I have reposted it for my readers. Many Americans are challenging the gun lobby – correctly – for some of their logical inconsistencies around expecting more guns to reduce crime and/or fatality rates. But they often do this with ample inconsistencies of their own around which gun technologies are implicated, what will be involved with the implementation of new laws, and likely outcomes.

    I like that this article did not blast the reader with a desired outcome and simply elucidated the complex nature of a nation awash in firearms. Bravo.

    Now we need to ask why 8700 Americans are murdered every year with firearms. That’s a deeper question, and I think the bickering over the relative usefulness of a barrel sheath is obscuring it.

  121. A very well-written article based on documented fact rather than twisted logic or emotion.

    That said, I take issue with a couple of peripheral points:

    1) I disagree with the denial of Obama’s anti-gun agenda. Obama has long record as a staunch supporter of gun-control. Until he began actively pursuing the presidency, he never met a gun-control proposal that he could not enthusiastically endorse. He pays lip service to the Second Amendment while continuing to call for ‘sensible’ gun laws, including renewing the AWB and prohibiting concealed carry. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he would sign any gun-control legislation that came before him.
    2) I disagree that the pro-gun side attempts to exploit horrific tragedies for political gain; that is solely the domain of anti-gun activists. When tragedies occur, the pro-gunners grieve like everyone else, and I have never, not once, heard them exploit a tragedy to call for any political action; they are forced to enter the political arena only to defend against attacks by anti-gunners who attempt to exploit it themselves.

    • One could only wish that there will be a significant gun bill put before him. The vast majority of Americans would support it. The ONLY demographic group that wouldn’t (and not by much) is white males. Even though I am one, I would support any bill that does any or all of the following: bans clips bigger than 6 rounds, bans military style weapons, mandates licensing with training and psychological profiles and registration of all firearms, ends all private sales of firearms, ends all internet sales of ammo and firearms, mandates ammo purchases only for personally registered firearms, bans certain ammunition, bans ALL silencing devices that reduce the sound of a gunshot to below 150 db, mandates a 10 year MINIMUM sentence for any firearm/ammunition violation, beyond any crime perpetrated with one. I have been the victim of a gun crime that could not have been stopped if I was carrying. I am a veteran and am proficient with a firearm. There are too many firearms and too many irresponsible people. If we all have to suffer personally a bit for that, so be it. This entire country is suffering for the crimes these people commit and we have to do everything we can to reduce that number. More and better guns will never be the answer for MOST of us.

      • Thankfully you don’t speak for me. And I thought the anti-gun people who were clueless hated gun owners. That laundry list of “reasonable regulation” makes them seem tame at times.

        1) Ban clips over 6 rounds? What about magazines? Even the useless 1994 “ban” set the limit at 10 rounds. Why 6? What makes that number so special? You hate the M1 Garand too since it has a proper 8 round clip?
        2) Any other rights you want apply psych profiles to? How about free speech?
        3) Likewise for licensing. I think you need a license and a test before you speak on subjects you don’t have knowledge about.
        4) Registration. Fine, work on repealing 18 USC 926(a). Federal registration and licensing of firearms and firearms owners is presently illegal under current Federal law.
        5) What ammunition do you want to ban and why?
        6) Suppressors (silencer is a Hollywood term) are already heavily regulated under the NFA of 1934. They are not used in crimes and are actually a safety device. Using one doesn’t destroy your hearing and is friendly to your neighbors. Clearly you don’t like safety devices on firearms.
        7) Anything other victimless crime of possession you care to make millions of Americans into instant felons over?
        8) Better start working on repealing the 2nd Amendment while you’re at it. That’s the only way you’re getting even half of that laundry list. So much for for the oath you took.

        You know what? I’ll take the liberals rather than authoritarians like you.

      • Obviously MY laundry list is just that, MY opinion that I will share… Yep… I would LOVE to repeal the 2nd Amendment or rewrite it,, or at least go back to the weapons that we used when it was written. If only muzzle loaders were legal, we wouldn’t have a lot of gun crime! Ultimately, that will happen eventually, I believe. I, frankly don’t give really care about what some obstinate, my way or no way, gun owner thinks (understanding that not all gun owners are that way). If 1 child dies from a gun accident or a crime, that is 1 too many, and the number is THOUSANDS over the last few years. On your laundry list: Bullets that are armor piercing or explosive in nature should be banned. Maybe my number on magazines can be tweaked, but I personally don’t think they should be in the public realm at all. If you want one, keep it in the armory where you do your target practice. It makes it too easy to do a Newtown or Columbine. If one has to reload after every shot or 2 or 3, that gives MORE time to apprehend the perp. 300 or so rounds in 2 minutes? You have got to be kidding. Either you are a cold blooded sociopath or simply don’t care or understand logistics. If a gun is loud, everybody in the neighborhood can hear it. For one who is target shooting or hunting, you can wear ear plugs, big deal… And it is logical that if you cannot buy ammunition for a gun that you don’t own, then nobody will get shot by that gun. There is no other way to achieve that except by registration. I get that to big business a few deaths is collateral damage to them making money but I don’t have to agree. Every voting demographic except white men is in favor of serious gun control and getting guns (illegal) off of the street. Not BANNING them, but regulating ownership and sales of weapons. And THOSE are not my polls. I have LITTLE problem with the 1st Amendment, but I do have some problem with it when you can have groups like Westboro Baptist attending the funerals of our dead children and soldiers. I don’t have an answer but I think we could tweak it a little bit. But at the end of the day; more guns will only translate into more people being hurt and killed. Is talking about tampering with the Constitution and Bill of Rights sacrilegious? No, it was meant to be flexible and change with the times.

      • “The vast majority of Americans would support it”

        Yes, of course they would. That explains exactly why guns have been flying off the shelf for the last 5 years. It explains why I can’t find any “clips” for sale or why every large ammo manufacturer is running double time to keep up with demand.

        With a population of roughly 300M people, 100M of them being gun owners, and 100M being children, exactly what vast majority are you talking about. Polling those around you who have the same opinion isn’t quality data. If that were the case, KKK members could argue that the vast majority of people think blacks shouldn’t be allowed to vote. You might want to get out of that echo chamber.

      • You repeatedly ignore two key points:

        1) Registering weapons doesn’t stop someone from committing a crime with one.

        2) All registration has ever been, is a prelude to confiscation.

        http://www.keepandbeararms.com/information/xcibviewitem.asp?id=195

        In dozens of countries, once the political winds had shifted far enough to the left….the authorities simply dusted off those lists of registered weapons, then went around and picked them all up. In many cases, those who were subsequently left defenseless were then executed:

        http://www.republicmagazine.com/news/gun-grabbing-and-genocide-obama-prepares-to-sign-un-small-arms-treaty.html

        Sorry, but a lot of us simply don’t trust our rulers to handle that information responsibly, and it doesn’t matter which party is in power.

  122. By far the best article written on the issue.

    • You are the most sensible “left-winger” that I’ve ever read. Are you sure you’re not just spicing things up with that claim? Your concern for statistical relevance is rare on either side of politics. Thanks for this awesome article!

      • BTW, you could have also mentioned that lower capacity magazines mean that the firearm is easier to conceal. The 5 seconds they may save in reloading could be completely negated by the lower likelihood of the weapon being identified sooner.

      • “easier to conceal”

        Not in the case of long rifles, though.

      • Also, even in the case of smaller arms–if banning higher capacity magazines had that effect, then surely the 1994-2004 Assault Weapons Ban would have seen that occurring.

        Is there any record at all of ANY mass shooter’s success during the 1994-2004 ban being attributed to “well it was the smaller magazines he was forced to use by the Ban–the smaller capacity allowed him to secret his guns in more effectively”? Is there even one such instance?

        Otherwise, I have to go with “those seconds it takes to change out lower-capacity magazines will save lives.”

      • Thanks for the response, but there’s no example of that either Andrew. I meant that as a point about arbitrary logic, in agreement with you. If I were to add an extended mag to my glock it would no longer be suitable to conceal. I do not believe this to be significant other than as a form of mockery of the other arbitrary claims. They want to chip away at the 2nd amendment, nothing else. That is why they make the indefensible argument that officers in schools makes children afraid, and serves no other purpose. They point to Columbine, where the SRO hid behind his car and came under intense scrutiny for not doing more. So much that the Sheriff changed their policies about waiting for backup. All of this must be ignored because agreeing that SROs are a good idea, takes pressure off for banning more arbitrary things.

        Thx again.

      • Thanks Ms. Esquire–I do hope that the statistics you mention carry the day in the legislation, no matter what else happens. And I hope that you, and everyone else reading this, has a peaceful and perfect Christmas. Thanks for your responses.

      • If anything, the fact that Harris and Klebold waited for the guard to leave proves that armed guards DO work. What did NOT work was leaving the school unguarded to go to lunch.

      • Disregard, you covered it better than I did. You are…impressive, madam.

  123. Dean Cornell Says:

    Excellent article and very factual. The only thing that’s it doesn’t address is how poorly the gun control issue went in Australia.

    • Dean, but the Australian experiment went well, didn’t it?

      http://www.factcheck.org/2009/05/gun-control-in-australia/

      “Actually, Australian crime statistics show a marked decrease in homicides since the gun law change. According to the Australian Institute of Criminology, a government agency, the number of homicides in Australia did increase slightly in 1997 and peaked in 1999, but has since declined to the lowest number on record in 2007, the most recent year for which official figures are available.”

      Do you have data that contradicts this? I am interested to read it.

      • US stats have been on the decline as well. If we could select about a dozen cities to remove from the stats they would be drastically reduced. New Orleans is 2nd only to Honduras for homicide rates. Don’t blame Nebraska, for that 3rd world city.

      • Ms. Esquire, well that gets into cherry-picking, then; if you removed this city or that city from Australia’s or any other countries’ stats, then they, too, could suddenly look far better than America once again.

      • Australia is 1/15th of the population of America spread across virtually the same landmass. It’s not cherry-picking, it’s a fact. Their homicide rate WAS NEVER as high as ours gun laws or not. The entire sovereign state of Iowa has a lower homicide rate than them and didn’t ban guns to accomplish it. Iowa’s population density is still higher than Australia’s. Australia’s most “dangerous” neighbor is a 9 on the homicide per 100000 and there is ocean between them, ours is a 17 (and rising) and we’ve got chain-link. Blacks are 10x more likely to commit homicides, and Hispanics are 5x more likely. If we remove those two races from the stats we can divide our homicide rate by 6! That’s not racist, race is just the only filter option we have. Can remove 10% just for illegal immigrants, and more than 90% for repeat violent offenders! If it were possible to isolate crime/gang culture related homicides it would be even lower. Australia has NOTHING remotely similar to New Orleans. 4x more people are poisoned per year than killed by guns, and guess what, most of those are poisoned by already illegal drugs.

      • The violent crime rate is much higher than the US though. To live as a victim and just to be victimized is not really much of a life wouldn’t you agree?

      • Virtually all crime rates have been decreasing in Australia since the gun ban. i’m not sure how much of that is economy driven, but it is fact. http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/reporting-crime-drop-just-doesnt-pay-it-seems-20120306-1ui95.html

    • Also, kontra’s article is regarding the Assault Weapons Ban, which is very different from what Australia put in place.

      • And what Ms. Esquire is saying, when you read between the lines, is that we need guns to fend off the bad minorities… Isn’t that nice.

      • Or even when you just READ the lines ;) Yes, I can’t get behind what seems to be a racist message either…

      • I confess I would have made the point differently, but there is still a very legitimate point. The majority of violent crime is in the inner cities, or among a population that used to be in the inner cities, as described in the Atlantic article I posted elsewhere.

        Young kids with illegal guns are responsible for most of our violent crime. Gun control in any form will do absolutely nothing to intervene in the lives of at- risk youth using guns which are already illegal.

        Of course, this will not stop gun control advocates from loudly proclaiming that it’s time to DO SOMETHING about violence by banning a firearm that’s involved in less than 1% of violent crime.

        I’d rather they explain why it took a classroom full of white kids getting killed to suddenly deem gun control worth 24/7 news coverage and marches on Washington.

        What a shame that the record levels of violence in Chicago among black youth is met with the refrain “We are all Sandy Hook”.

        Racism indeed.

        U.S. Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, “Teenage Victims: A National Crime Survey Report,” NCJ128129 (May 1991)

        Leland Ropp, Paul Visintainer, Jame Uman, & David Treloar, “Death in the City: An American Childhood Tragedy,” JAMA 267 (June 3, 1992): 2905-10.

        Fox Butterfield, “Seeds of Murder Epidemic: Teen-Age Boys with Guns,” New York Times, Oct. 19, 1992, (Reporting study by James A Fox, dean of Northeastern University’s College of Criminal Justice, by National Crime Analysis Project at Northeastern).

  124. This is another great article I will use to counter the uninformed gun-control freaks that I encounter on a regular basis. One in particular is bound to have something to say in response, and when that happens – I’ll try to remember to post it here. Great article… thanks!

  125. Assault Weapon Panic – 1991-10-10 – Josh Sugarmann Quote

    http://www.firearmsandliberty.com/assault.weapon.html

    In the fall of 1988, Josh Sugarmann, formerly of the National Coalition to Ban Handguns, and presently head of his own organization, the Violence Policy Center, authored a strategy memo for the gun prohibition movement. One of the most technically knowledgeable persons in the gun prohibition movement, Sugarmann had earlier earned distinction as the father of the “plastic gun” controversy.

    In the 1988 memo, Sugarmann observed that the handgun-ban issue was considered old news by the media, and there was little realistic possibility of enacting handgun bans in the immediate future. In contrast, suggested Sugarmann, the “assault weapon” issue could allow the gun prohibition movement to open a massive attack on a new front. Sugarmann noted that public misunderstanding over the nature of semiautomatics would play directly into the hands of the gun prohibition movement:

    The semiautomatic weapons” menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semiautomatic assault weapons — anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun — can only increase that chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.

  126. […] Not Renew the “Assault Weapons” Ban? Well, I’ll Tell You… http://kontradictions.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/why-not-renew-the-assault-weapons-ban-well-ill-tell-y…__________________Liberals think conservatism is stagnation; Conservatives think liberalism is chaos […]

  127. One of the facts that seems to be glossed over in this “fact based article” is that both columbine and Va Tech had armed guards. Tech in fact had a 33 officer police department.

    No the author doesn’t seem to want to address this issue. I guess it isn’t one of the “facts” that the author cares much about. Choose your “facts” wisely, otherwise they may change your beliefs.

    • At Columbine they had a resource officer, which is not the same as a security guard, since security guards work for the school. SROs work for the Sheriff. The security guard at Columbine was NOT armed, the SRO was armed, however sheriff procedures had him remain in cover until “overwhelming” backup arrives. That procedure was since changed in the wake of the shooting. However, I guess those aren’t “facts” that you care about are they? On top of that, the 2 shooters waited for the SRO’s lunch break to attack the school. The SRO was in his car eating lunch when the shooting began. Did they choose that timing because they feared the resistance? Just all the more reason to have 2 SROs instead of just one.

    • More facts that you probably don’t care about: http://www.tricities.com/news/article_1b3eeed1-ff31-56ca-bc3f-edf773e926c9.html … kinda breaks your claim does it not? Also it’s 11 years more current!

  128. Phil Osborne Says:

    I must say this is indeed the most informative piece I have seen regarding so-called assault weapons and fire arms in general. As a poster suggested much earlier in this section, this should be required reading for both left and right, both anti-gun, and pro-gun individuals and groups. Further, it should posted in various places where fire-arms are purchased, and where they are prohibited. As a retired police officer, and a concealed carry weapons advocate, I applaud your well written, well supported, well reasoned view, written in a manner that anyone with any degree of common sense can appreciate. I have always felt “gun free zones” are nothing more than an invitation to become “kill free zones.”
    I am spreading this amongst my fb friends, and indeed, unless you have some objection, sending this to Hannity and O’rily…I would not be surprised if they contacted you for an appearance.

  129. Hi Kontra, great blog. I can understand your dilemma regarding having to pitch for both sides. I hesitate to label myself, but I too, find myself having to argue with fellow gun enthusiasts about appropriate ways to deal with the disadvantaged in our society, as well as argue with the caring people about the logic of sensible people owning firearms. Keep up the good work traveller!

    • I hear that–there are probably a lot of people who have to argue with both sides (and indeed, anyone on EITHER side who says “well the other side are just completely wrong! About EVERYTHING!” is a child, not to mention wrong).

  130. Very, very well done. I laughed my a** off with the predator picture regarding barrel shrouds. Bravo.

  131. […] Go here to read a great article about the Assault Rifle Ban and its effectiveness. […]

    • The essence of it for me is banning weapons that take magazines of a higher capacity than 10 rounds (see my post below). The article does well to debunk other things targeted by the bill (suppressors, etc.), that I consider immaterial anyway.

  132. As a staunch conservative i want to thank you for an amazing defense of our second amendement rights.

  133. Sorry Jimmy… Your 100 million is a fantasy unless you are guessing illegal weapons. Since there is no real national registration or licensing, you just pulled that number out of a dark place. In the most recent polling 52% of white males favor the status quo. White women it is in the 30’s, African Americans in the 20’s, Asians and Hispanics low as well…

    • http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx

      That’s between 47-50% of households. That doesn’t take into account those who answered falsely, out of privacy concerns or for other reasons. I have yet to see a poll which shows “a vast majority” of people would stand behind a gun ban or even more legislation on the matter. Simple voting histories have shown it to not be the case. Or did Clinton/dems not lose the legislature after the ’94 ban? And elections are the most reliable poll your gonna get to determine peoples positions on politics.

      Add in the fact that since ’94 more and more states have elected local legislators/governors who have enacted “shall issue” CCW laws and your argument loses all merit. All but 5 states are “shall issue” and even in some of those(NY/CA) it differs by county. Meaning that even in such “anti-gun” states, people are electing pro-CCW sheriffs and judges locally.

      But it’s just us evil white guys and the NRA…

    • JimmyCZ, well note that even among _NRA members,_ support is very high (despite the NRA’s leadership, which consistently ignores these feelings among their membership) for various restrictions on guns:

      http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2012/07/poll-most-nra-members-support-criminal-background-checks-of-gun-buyers/

      Now, I’m sure they WOULDN’T like some of the restrictions mentioned above, but they are far from being free-for-all advocates. And those are NRA members, not even the general public.

      Also, this implication that the Assault Weapons Ban was somehow the reason for the Democrats losing Congress in 1994? Please–show me ANY documentation, polling, etc., that shows that. I’ve NEVER heard that attributed to the Assault Weapons Ban by any study. Hillary Clinton’s health care initiative, maybe; the House banking scandal, maybe. But your claim is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone try to lay that at the door of gun owners turning out in droves to vote down those who voted for the Assault Weapons Ban. Evidence, please.

      • IN HIS BOOK, BILL CLINTON DETAILS IMPACT OF ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN ON THE 1994 ELECTIONS

        http://www.gunshopfinder.com/legislativenews/clinton8_1_04.html

        8/1/2004–For ten years, it has been conventional political wisdom that the 1994 Assault Weapons ban cost the Democrats control of Congress. In his recently-released book “My Life,” President Clinton provides an interesting behind the scenes narrative about what took place, and the political fallout afterwards. Here are some excerpts:

        “Just before the House vote (on the crime bill), Speaker Tom Foley and majority leader Dick Gephardt had made a last-ditch appeal to me to remove the assault weapons ban from the bill. They argued that many Democrats who represented closely divided districts had already…defied the NRA once on the Brady bill vote. They said that if we made them walk the plank again on the assault weapons ban, the overall bill might not pass, and that if it did, many Democrats who voted for it would not survive the election in November. Jack Brooks, the House Judiciary Committee chairman from Texas, told me the same thing…Jack was convinced that if we didn’t drop the ban, the NRA would beat a lot of Democrats by terrifying gun owners….Foley, Gephardt, and Brooks were right and I was wrong. The price…would be heavy casualties among its defenders.” (Pages 611-612)

        “On November 8, we got the living daylights beat out of us, losing eight Senate races and fifty-four House seats, the largest defeat for our party since 1946….The NRA had a great night. They beat both Speaker Tom Foley and Jack Brooks, two of the ablest members of Congress, who had warned me this would happen. Foley was the first Speaker to be defeated in more than a century. Jack Brooks had supported the NRA for years and had led the fight against the assault weapons ban in the House, but as chairman of the Judiciary Committee he had voted for the overall crime bill even after the ban was put into it. The NRA was an unforgiving master: one strike and you’re out. The gun lobby claimed to have defeated nineteen of the twenty-four members on its hit list. They did at least that much damage….” (Pages 629-630)

        “One Saturday morning, I went to a diner in Manchester full of men who were deer hunters and NRA members. In impromptu remarks, I told them that I knew they had defeated their Democratic congressman, Dick Swett, in 1994 because he voted for the Brady bill and the assault weapons ban. Several of them nodded in agreement.” (Page 699)

        With the ban due to sunset on September 14th of this year, and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) continuing to push for an extension of the ban, one wonders whether other members of the Democratic party will be anxious to repeat history.

      • Hm, interesting–well, you know what, I stand corrected on that point, then. Looks as if NRA clout was brought to bear on those 1994 elections, because of the ban. A leftist source also says the same thing:

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/dec/17/gun-control-newtown-shootings-congress

        As far as whether this will be repeated, I think it can’t be denied that it’s a far, far different political climate now. So many years of mass murders since then; and really, the fact that (per the part of my last post that I still stand by) the NRA leadership is so loud, but so out of touch, tone-deaf and offensive, not just to ordinary Americans, but even to its own membership, will have an effect.

        Our politics aren’t changeless. In Reagan’s day, all you had to do was say the word “taxes!” and people spooked like a dog at a vacuum cleaner. “Oh my God! Tax equals bad!” Today, people (not to get into ANOTHER, off-topic, political can of worms, but just for the example) saw the difference between taxing $250,000s and up, and taxing the middle class or poor, in the presidential election, and didn’t buy the scare. Similarly, we can point today to the very 1994-2004 ban as an example, and say “well they freaked out to the skies back then, too, but the sky didn’t fall.”

  134. […] Following up on my essay from yesterday about why the Democrats are wasting resources pushing for more gun control, here’s an analysis from a liberal gun expert about why the first assault weapons ban wasn’t effective… […]

  135. Very well written. Thank you for putting it all out there.

  136. In addition to my comment of the 21st:

    “Bystanders got to Loughner and subdued him only after he emptied one 31-round magazine and was trying to load another.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-burns-assault-weapons-ban-20121220,0,6774314.story

    There’s another thing. Isn’t saying “oh, you only save a few seconds if you make someone change 10-round magazines instead of 30-round ones” inconsistent? Isn’t it a mantra (and one that makes a great deal of sense to me, by the way) among 2nd Amendment advocates that “well the police get to you in 15 minutes max, but a citizen with a gun shaves x minutes off of that when they save you”?

    So why, all of a sudden, is it “mere seconds” to change a magazine–given, as the article (and common sense) shows, these seconds from frequent change-outs can save exactly the same lives that the “policemen take more minutes” guys want to save? If it’s saving the same life as the policeman’s minutes, isn’t that exactly as important?

    It would be different if 30-round magazines were useful in STOPPING crimes like that, but they’re not–no one has ever stopped a mass shooter with one, to my knowledge. And mass shooters and other murderers come in ones and twos, not 30 at a time, and therefore you don’t need more than 10 rounds to stop them. I need an answer to this, because while the article is useful in debunking many rumors, this is my whole rationale for supporting the Assault Weapons Ban, and I’m not getting any straight answers from gun advocates.

    • The point is that if , say, a certain pistol is produced with a 15 round magazine, then that is the standard capacity magazine for that particular pistol. It is not a ‘high capacity’ magazine just because some politician says so. The 10 round (clintonian) magazines that gunmakers were forced to accept in 94′ were nothing more than a feel good measure designed to make the American public think that Washington was actually doing something about fighting violent crime.

      • Thanks AJ–I understand that, however, it doesn’t address my question. You’re saying, “Hey, if a pistol is made for 15 rounds, then that’s not ‘high-capacity’–it’s STANDARD capacity for that gun.” OK, then–so we change the wording of the measure, and say “only magazines less than 10 rounds are acceptable” instead of “high-capacity.” So? So we’re not offending you by saying the dirty word “high-capacity.” Big deal. Semantics.

        But I asked: since the time it takes to swap out several 10-round magazines offers more opportunities to stop the lunatic shooter and save lives (and since higher-capacity magazines in the hands of the law-abiding are ZERO help in saving lives, for reasons mentioned above), doesn’t it mean it’s a net savings of life?

        Same thing–more lives will be lost from a mass shooter using a 30-round magazine, if there is someone who will try to stop them, than will be lost by someone using 3 10-round magazines, who will be delayed three times as long and three times as often. No one has any answer to that question.

        Sure, 10 rounds is an arbitrary number, but so is choosing 21 as the drinking age–some places choose 18, some 21, but all agree that some limit is necessary. All you’ve done is say “well saying 10 rounds instead of 12 is arbitrary,” you haven’t demonstrated that the principle behind limiting it is wrong.

      • There have been at least four instances* where civilians stopped a mass killing without firing a shot. The most recent was a young man with a Glock 22 which I believe has a 15 round magazine.

        The fact that many of these incidents don’t require the responding civilian to fire does not mean that they should not prepare to fire, in fact quite the opposite. An active shooter with a backpack full of ten round magazines may require a high volume of ammunition to contain while waiting for law enforcement, especially in a rural location with a long response time.

        Having a 15 round magazine gives someone a third more capacity to hold a position, keeping the gunman from advancing further and taking more lives. Many permit holders carry a spare magazine. Reducing each magazine by anywhere from 33-45% will just make civilians less able to adequately respond to someone who has chosen the time and place for mass murder, and has stocked up on ammunition accordingly.

        They can carry a backpack full of magazines. We cannot. Or we can, but at that point we could rightly be accused of taking things too far. Two standard capacity magazines allow the average person to engage an active shooter with one magazine if need be, and to secure their own retreat with the second magazine.

        So your claim that standard capacity magazines are of no use to stopping mass shootings is quite wrong. I only know basic details about what guns were used in each case, no thanks to the media, who rarely even mentions that a gun in civilian hands was used at all.

        Anyone who plans to go into harm’s way wants more capacity, not less.

        *
        Cold Spring, MN
        Pearl MS
        Grundy, VA
        Clackamas OR

        As I pointed out elsewhere, Loughner was stopped by a malfunction in an aftermarket magazine, not the fact that he was reloading.

        Give me a Glock 19 with Simunitions in 10 round magazines. I will be the shooter, and you try to stop me. All I have to do is to keep about twenty feet of distance while I’m reloading, and you will grow tired of the game very quickly.

        That Loughner did not know any better than to keep his distance is luck, nothing more. It does not represent all mass shootings, and it would be foolish for our solution to be “let’s hope someone is within tackling range when he reloads”.

        And I’m not sure why you’re saying that AR15s have never been used to stop a mass shooting, except of course, by the police, who find the AR15 with its 30 round magazine quite useful. Mass shootings are extremely rare, and if we were to go down the list of things that have never been used to stop an active shooter we would have a very long list indeed.

        Finally, continuing to imply that gun owners are all compensating for something is nothing but a childish ad hominem. You are one of the more articulate gun control advocates I have encountered. Even I think you’re better than that.

      • Eric,

        1) Wait a holy second. So… you have examples of cases where no one fired a shot, but stopped shootings, right? So magazine size was no issue.

        But… do you have ANY examples, and I’d like to see links, please, that show ANY ordinary civilian fending off a murderer in the way that you describe, by using a larger magazine to hold him or her off until the police arrive? There should by now have been at least ONE such example, with the thousands of Americans that are murdered each year, and the 3 million AR-15s Americans have bought. I await your example eagerly. If it’s still a hypothetical that you think might happen one day, then I’d say that’s a unicorn fantasy.

        2) “childish ad hominem”

        ?? What quote from me are you referring to, please? I’m pretty sure that all I’ve said in regard to people “compensating for something” had to do with the fact–and it is a plain fact, you don’t deny this, do you?–that gun manufacturers sell their product by appealing to buyers’ wish to appear manly. What other explanation do you have for the Bushmaster’s “consider your man card reinstated” ad campaign? I really want to know?

        I’d like straight answers, please, if you have one, to all the above questions.

      • “And I’m not sure why you’re saying that AR15s have never been used to stop a mass shooting, except of course, by the police, who find the AR15 with its 30 round magazine quite useful. Mass shootings are extremely rare, and if we were to go down the list of things that have never been used to stop an active shooter we would have a very long list indeed.”

        They may be STATISTICALLY rare, but of course they happen monthly in the USA, so in absolute terms, we have a pretty large number of many dozens of them to choose from. Also, _I_ didn’t bring it up–many, many 2nd Amendment advocates have been insisting online that we somehow, for some reason, have an urgent, howling need for more and more AR-15s, to stop such tragedies as the recent mass shootings, and that by God, it’d be some horrible, awful thing if we banned them (in fact, for many posters above, it is what this whole webpage is about).

        However, if you have a single example of ANY murderer being held at bay by a gun with a large magazine using up all its shots, until the police arrive, in the way that you just asserted, I’d be very happy to see those examples.

        If it’s never happened, then given the huge number of such rifles being sold, I’d have to wonder why you brought up the fantasy scenario that never happened. But perhaps you do have examples, I’m eager to read about them.

      • Andrew-

        1) I’ll ask you to reread the following, with an open mind.

        “The fact that many of these incidents don’t require the responding civilian to fire does not mean that they should not prepare to fire, in fact quite the opposite. An active shooter with a backpack full of ten round magazines may require a high volume of ammunition to contain while waiting for law enforcement, especially in a rural location with a long response time.”

        Many police officers go their whole careers without firing their weapon. Should we then have our officers carry around empty guns, as they clearly don’t need them? By your logic we should, because preparation for the worst case scenario is for suckas.

        The fact that there aren’t many cases of civilians getting into gunfights with active shooters just proves everything we’ve been saying.

        -Mass murderers are cowards looking for places where they have an advantage.
        -Armed citizens are generally law abiding and don’t carry where they’re not supposed to.

        In addition, to write all of our laws based on one type of mass shooter is a mistake. There are also those who do NOT give up, such as David Hernandez Arroyo, a deadbeat who killed his wife and attempted to kill his son. He was shot twice by a civilian with a concealed carry permit, the act of which saved the son’s life. The bullet struck body armor, and failed to penetrate, and Arroyo moved in and killed the civilian, who incidentally had a gun with an eight round magazine.

        As for the AR-

        Are you asking for examples of AR platform rifles being used to stop mass shootings? Most places frown on carrying a rifle to the mall, school, or church. It would be unfair to say ARs are never used to stop shootings in public when law abiding citizens aren’t allowed to carry them in public.

        If you’re asking for examples of ARs being used in defensive shootings, there are two examples in the above article. There are others, but here’s how it would go- I’ll post that, say for example, a gun shop owner in SC used an AR after hearing one of three armed robbers say “shoot the [MF]er”. You will then ask how many rounds were fired. As that information was part of an ongoing investigation at the time the article was written, that information will not be available, and you will declare victory by default.

        So let’s just cut to the chase. Someone with a 30 round magazine is not more immoral or reckless than someone with a 10 round magazine. Passing laws to restrict access to high capacity magazines will at very best just make psychopaths plan better and carry more magazines, or simply transition to bombs and fire, and it will make law abiding citizens in life and death situations more likely to have to change magazines. That will make them more likely to get killed, which you seem to be fine with.

        And no one’s saying we need “more and more AR-15s to stop…mass shootings”. If they say that people carrying ARs would deter these types of events, it is merely to illustrate that the Adam Lanzas of the world are cowards. Citizens armed with handguns will suffice, provided that they are not hampered by well meaning but ineffectual legislation.

        2) I’m referring to the claim that standard capacity magazines are only useful for making a man feel more like a man. You very conveniently omit gun companies that advertise specifically to women, including Bushmaster, who not only makes a women’s version of their rifle but advertises it as such.

        Saying that many (nowhere near all) gun manufacturers appeal to some retarded version of masculinity and therefore all gun owners buy guns to “feel like a man” is like saying beer companies use sex to sell beer and so all beer drinkers are buying beer because they wish oh so badly that they could play sand volleyball with bikini clad models. Some people honestly just like beer.

        I would wager that the half million police officers in the US who do carry normal capacity magazines would disagree with your assertion that those magazines have no usefulness other than to make all of them feel more manly. The same goes for carrying a patrol rifle, a point you failed to address.

        If magazines that hold more than ten rounds are of no use, why do police officers carry them?

        If AR15s with 30 round magazines are only good for killing lots of people, why do the police carry them? Why do USSS protective details, even Diane Feinstein’s, carry them?

      • “As for the AR-

        Are you asking for examples of AR platform rifles being used to stop mass shootings? Most places frown on carrying a rifle to the mall, school, or church. It would be unfair to say ARs are never used to stop shootings in public when law abiding citizens aren’t allowed to carry them in public.”

        No–I WAS asking for that, but you were clear enough in saying that there were no such examples. So I said “all right, then–are there ANY examples, any at all, of someone using such a rifle _AND SHOOTING MORE THAN 10 ROUNDS OF HIS OR HER MAGAZINE IN ONE SITTING,_ to stop ANY murderer? (Emphasis added to ensure that the most important part of the question is clear.)

        Are there any such examples?

      • As to “why do policemen use 30-round magazines, then?”, I have already answered that.

      • Harry Beckwith and Gary Fadden both used automatic weapons in legal self defense shootings. Note, FULLY AUTOMATIC weapons. Harry Beckwith used two different full auto weapons to stop a car full of armed robbers.

        Their stories were researched and published by Massad Ayoob, a police officer and well known expert witness regarding self defense shootings. I’m going to let you Google them, as I have at least two comments with links that are “pending moderation”, and these stories are all over the internet.

        These two cases were important enough that eventually the shootings were written about in the level of detail that you’re demanding. The average newspaper article is not privy to those details, as it is written immediately following the incident.

        Newspapers typically don’t say “Hey, remember that shooting from three years ago? Let’s do a lengthy and highly detailed article about it.”

        But let me once again summarize the advantages of the AR as a defensive platform.

        -Light, and easily manageable under stress conditions.
        -.223/5.56 fragments easily to prevent overpenetration.
        -Very little recoil, so that women and younger shooters can manage the weapon.

        You clearly want to live in a world where only men can manage to effectively defend themselves, as you would have women, the elderly, the sick, and the crippled all using shotguns and rifles that would kick hard enough to knock them over, dislocate their shoulder, or at least make them hesitate to shoot again while facing a violent home invader.

        We think that if a ninety pound woman has to defend herself against a violent attacker, she should be able to pick up a manageable, effective weapon that can even be suppressed to prevent hearing damage, something not possible with shotguns and impractical with rifles.

        And she shouldn’t have to try to remember to count how many times she’s fired or worry that she’s going to have to try to find another ten round magazine in the dark and reload while her hands are shaking and sweaty and she’s afraid for her life.

      • Eric. Do you. Or do you not. Have ANY evidence. That Harry Beckwith, Gary Fadden, or ANY other civilian fired more than 10 rounds to fend off a murderer or attempted murderer?

        If so, would you please post it? If not, would you and the other desperate tap-dancers stop wasting our time, and admit that you aren’t using the extra rounds above 10 (which, incidentally, means that your frail 90-pound woman doesn’t NEED to count her rounds, since you have ZERO evidence that ANYONE has ever even shot as many as 10 from a high-capacity magazine)?

        Just quit BSing and be honest about it, if you have no evidence.

      • As to the other advantages to the AR-15 that you list, JimmyCZ listed similar advantages too. Well said, I’m sure that’s true.

        NONE of which makes it in ANY way impossible to have the same exact advantages, in a model that can only accept a 10-round magazine.

        Most of you people, unless you’re gun salesmen (which I strongly suspect is true in many of your cases), exhibit classic hoarding behavior. I say “I have no problem with you owning a semi-automatic rifle; but I see no evidence that ANYONE but mass murderers have any USE for the extra capacity. Is anyone using them, besides mass murderers, who can’t substitute a 10-round magazine and be just as happy?”

        The response has been classic hoarding behavior: “agitated, threatened response (from JimmyCZ)! Defensive, implausible protestations that the item (the extra shots in the high-capacity magazine) MIGHT be used one day, even though they never have been before, in YEARS of owning them! Irrational, inconsistent or otherwise false responses when this is pointed out!”

      • (By the way, that Harry Beckwith/Gary [sometimes rendered as “Garry”] Fadden tale is a complete fabrication. There isn’t just no “detailed” news story about it–there are NO news stories, anywhere, corroborating that it ever happened. This is an urban legend that gun blogs printed, and then other gun blogs saw it on another gun blog and reprinted it and reprinted it. It never happened.

        In addition to the absence of ANY news story whatsoever recording that incident, you can search JStor, which has complete scans of every one of the top 97 law journals, along with the top several hundred history journals, from the 1600s through 5 years ago. A search from 1980 (the Beckwith/Fadden incident purports to have happened in 1984) reveals NO mention of the incident in ANY law or history journal. Or pick any other academic or legal record. No mention of it.

        A guy fires 105 rounds, supposedly, from an automatic weapon, to stop an attacker–who supposedly takes several shots and then keeps coming, screaming that he’s going to kill the guy shooting at him, and NO mention appears in ANY news source, nor ANY legal journal? In ALL the news stories about the Assault Weapons Ban, or mass murders, or gun control, not one of them found Mr. Beckwith’s Heroic Stand worthy of mentioning, eh? Uh… yeah.)

      • Before you go slandering a respected law enforcement professional whose entire livelihood depends on his integrity, you should really make sure you know what you’re talking about.

        A simple Google search for “Gary Fadden Fairfax” gives you this link to the September 18 1984 edition of the Free Lance Star.

        Weapons Salesman Acquitted In Death .
        A Fairfax County Circuit Court jury deliberated less than four hours Monday before finding Gary Fadden innocent of first-degree murder charges. Fadden shot …

        The Harry Beckwith incident occurred in a part of Florida that even TODAY is isolated, and was certainly more so twenty years ago. Up until his death in 2006, there were still numerous bullet holes in the outside of the building. Harry was extremely well liked by local law enforcement, and had an informal “pay what you can” program for LEOs wanting back-up guns.

        I find it not at all surprising that there seems to be no mention of it in online articles, as there is no mention of the Fadden incident in online articles. Both happened in the middle of nowhere, but one happened in snooty Fairfax county and one happened in “Old Florida”.

      • Um, no, Eric–it _doesn’t_ return a news article from the Free Lance Star. Searching on Google for Gary Fadden Fairfax gives you nothing but a bunch of gun blog entries promoting the myth, but not one newspaper article.

        If you go to the Free Lance-Star’s website, and search Garry Fadden, it gives you zero results; if you go to their website and search Gary Fadden, it links to one single result, a story about a VANESSA Fadden, which is completely unrelated.

        You are lying. And you’re flailing. Thanks for playing.

      • Link to archived Free Lance Star article on the acquittal of Gary Fadden.

        http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19840918&id=eeJLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=x4sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5238,2685423

        If it does not take you directly to the article, it is on page 11, on the left side in between “Hospital adding more black doctors” and “Hospital Notes”.

    • So you’re using this one instance of heroism and yet your side consistently scoffs at the notion that a good guy with a gun saving the day is mere fantasy? So let me get this straight, you’re saying that in the event a mass shooting occurs, and the shooter is only armed with 10 round magazines, the victims will be afforded the time to rush the assailant?

      I guess this is where Liberals and Conservatives differ.

      In the face of an active shooter, the Conservative believes an armed sheepdog stands a better chance than one who is unarmed and that when shot at, the shooter himself will draw his attention at the bullets coming his direction.

      In the face of an active shooter, the Liberal waits for a reprieve.

      Looks like the right has a Rambo fantasy while the left has a Rainbow fantasy.

      • “yet your side consistently scoffs at the notion that a good guy with a gun saving the day is mere fantasy?”

        Would you please confine yourself to things that I, Andrew, DID say? If we’re talking about “what your side says,” I’ve seen many gun advocates talk about “taking out several hundred congresspeople is all you need to do to overthrow a repressive tyranny,” but you don’t see me tarring you with your side’s people that you (I hope) don’t agree with.

        Yes, a shooter CAN be disarmed during those seconds (and those seconds also make it easier for an ARMED person to stop them, though that armed person will NOT need a 30-round magazine, since those shooters are only one person or two–and NOT just because of the one instance I mentioned in which that actually happened. But also If the shooter is delayed and can’t shoot, it merely stands to reason that they can’t shoot someone during that time.

      • Andrew,

        The Va Tech shooter killed more college students with his pistol than the Newtown shooter killed elementary school kids with his AR-15. How did so many college kids die at the hands of a pistol wielding nut job?

        A reload rarely leaves the shooter vulnerable for a substantial period of time. In those mere seconds you speak of, someone would have had to have been planning to take him down, waiting for a pause. The instance of such a person existing is likely rare. The instance of a trained law abiding gun owner who has played out such scenarios in his head is quite common. And it spite of the media’s desire to portray nothing but tragedy, law abiding citizens have thwarted criminal acts, in many cases by merely brandishing the weapon.

        And even the most inexperienced first time shooter can become quite adept at changing a pistol magazine. An experienced shooter can do it in less than the few seconds you think it might take.

        I’m sorry but the notion that a 10round mag will afford someone the luxury of charging them is a foolish notion. If that is the logic being used for the limitation of mag capacity then I’d have to say you (and your side) are arguing an even more fantastical act of heroism that rarely happens.

      • not to mention an armed law abiding citizen does not need a reprieve to take action. in fact the odds of the shooter singling out the sheep dog in a crowd would not be likel;y until he is fired upon himself.

      • JamesK, I don’t care if the instance I cite above is rare; the fact is that I asked a simple question:

        Seconds can be saved by forcing someone to pause to reload 3 times, for 3 10-round magazines, instead of keeping on shooting with one 30-round magazine, correct? You do not deny that those seconds can save lives, if someone is waiting to rush the person; I have provided an example of that having happened. Talk all you want; lives were saved.

        Are you saying that if you could have made sure that Jared Lee Loughner could be forced to use 3 10-round magazines, because 31-round ones had become too rare with the ban, then you WOULDN’T have wanted him to? You’re telling me that, even if you were brandishing a gun to stop him, you would rather he had a 31-round magazine with continuous fire, rather than having to pause three times? Come on.

        You also have not denied the other fact, which is that on the other side of the fence, the murderers come in ones and twos, they do not come charging at you in groups of 15 or 20; and that an AR-15 with a 30-round magazine has NEVER been used to STOP a mass shooting, only to perpetrate one.

        Very simple question; and you can deny neither of those facts. It’s “useful” only to a mass shooter (except for 1) some mild inconvenience at the shooting range to reload, 2) making guys think they’re more of a man, and 3) making money for guys who can convince guys they’re more of a man with one. I mean, come on, already, JamesK–which of those three are you? Because you just ain’t selling me this snake oil that you’re EVER going to use a 30-round magazine to charge a criminal, nor are you selling me that you wouldn’t be REAL relieved if you or your loved ones were getting a pause for every 10-round magazine getting changed, if you were getting shot at. Could you _please_ be honest about that?).

      • I mean, Jesus _Christ._ You read a concrete example of:

        –a mass murder spree being stopped by a delay caused by switching out magazines. You also do not deny that life-saving seconds will be saved by limiting magazine size, since pauses like the one you just read about will be multiplied.

        You FAIL to provide ANY examples of:

        –any mass murder being stopped by USING higher-than-10-round magazines; nor of ANY usefulness that 30-round magazines provide in stopping murders, for the ordinary citizen.

        Yet… you conclude that it’s essential to keep providing the public with guns that take higher-than-10-round magazines.

        A simple question. I asked for an honest answer. There has been none. This makes me conclude that this is a danger, with no concomitant benefit; so I remain in favor of the Assault Weapons Ban, until someone ventures a straight answer.

    • Billamemnon Says:

      Like everyone else, I am impressed by the tone and reasoning in the article. As an NRA certified instructrctor, concealed carry licensee, multiple gun owner, and author on firearms subjects, I found absolutely no faultible reasoning or views anywhere in the article. It seems you’ve addressed all of the points that most people want to debate, and done it well.

      As an answer to the reply just above (Andrew), a main reason why nobody carries 30-round magazines inserted in rifles or handguns is that they stick out too far. Sounds silly, but a standard magazine for a Glock 17 or a Ruger SR-9, both of which carry 17 rounds in the mag, fitz completely in the grip; it’s designed to be carried with that size magazine. The higher capacity mags stick out of the grip and can’t be carried. Ditto with a rifle, though nobody really tries to conceal a rifle if they are preparing to use it immediately.

      Your question is not exactly clear, but it seems that you are equating the minutes it takes police to arrive afer the shooting starts with the seconds it takes for a shooter to change mags. They can’t be equated. Loughner was stopped by bystanders when he began to change mags, and no more shots were fired. That fact stands alone. There were police on the scene, but because of the crowd, they couldn’t even reach Loughner, and certainly couldn’t fire their guns. The whole argument against high-capacity magazines is worthless, and those who make it are as blithely free of facts as Rep. McCarthy was about the barrel shroud. If a person walks into a mall with a Colt .45 single-action revolver and starts firing, he’ll be out of ammo in six shots. Most people will be running from him at that point, giving him ample time to reload.

      However, the best idea I have heard to date regarding what to do in an active shooter situation, is the “swarm.” this is basicaly what happened to Loughner, and it worked. It can even work while the shooter is still firing, though it requires a certain heroic bent on the part of those who do it.

      But, as the article stated, there is no way to predict where these random events will occur, and therefore no effective means of stopping them.

      I would encourage anyone interested in what motivates an attacker, though, to peruse the website:
      http:// http://www.SSRIstories.com ,
      where the psychological effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors are examined and linked to almost 5,000 various nonsensical violent events. Possibly, this is the area lawmakers should investigate.

      • Thanks for the reply, billmemnon. I thought my question was clear:

        You are facing a mass shooter. You know that he’ll have to pause when he needs to change magazines. Therefore, whether you’re charging him with a gun or just with yourself, would you rather he had 9 10-round magazines, and had to pause 9 times? Or would you rather he had 3 30-round magazines, and only had to stop shooting at people 3 times?

        The question is simple: Are you saying you’d rather he didn’t have to stop shooting as often?

        As far as the SSRIs or other psychiatric drugs (many of which have mania, violence and homicidal ideation as side-effects) being culpable in many of the shootings, I fully agree that they may be.

    • The real problem with the magazine capacity argument is that an active shooter dominates his environment. Cho, for example, had an entire building full of people cowering in corners and behind doors, and seems to have had no problem changing magazines.

      Because Loughner started shooting with so many people around, someone was bound to “go hands on” with him. Contrast that with someone who’s at home when three armed men break in. You’re going to want at least three rounds each for those guys, and a magazine change when you’re fighting to even breathe and see straight* while there are multiple people trying to kill you is disastrous.

      *That’s not hyperbole, that’s sympathetic nervous response. Often people have trouble seeing the phone to dial 911 because changes in BP and heart rate will create a tunnel vision effect

      Anyway, the point is that magazine capacity hurts the law abiding more than it does criminals and sociopaths.

      http://www.news10.net/news/article/222195/2/1-dead-in-Sacramento-home-invasion

      • Thanks Eric,

        You’re right, that doesn’t seem like hyperbole, and nothing that you describe is unrealistic (that a shooting at a public speech by a politician might draw different, perhaps more heroic, responses than one in a less focused and structured, and more confused environment).

        However, what concerns me about your scenarios is my other point: that if someone needs more than two or three shots per criminal, then they’re too lousy a shot to be using a gun in that situation.

        (Of course, I don’t mean that as a knock on someone who suffers the physical effects, “fighting to breathe and see straight,” that you mention, or the change in blood pressure and heart rate, or the tunnel vision effect you mention–you’d better believe that I’d probably be shaking with adrenaline, I can well imagine, myself. But nonetheless, even though the reason for becoming a bad shot in that situation is understandable, it still leaves the ordinary citizen a bad shot.

        This is why I prefer trained emergency workers, trained to overcome those physical effects, to be the only people carrying higher-capacity magazines; because if someone’s able to handle such a situation without letting the adrenaline mess up their shooting skills so badly, then 10 rounds (or 2 guns with 10 each) is enough; if they’re not, then I don’t want them spraying the walls or the people around them.)

      • Reposted without the link-
        Andrew-

        That is an understandable concern. I ask that you read the following law enforcement articles and bear in mind that violent suspects frequently require numerous gunshots to be incapacitated, and those who are either on drugs or suffer from certain psychological conditions will REQUIRE a head or spine shot to stop them, as even stopping the heart completely still results in about ten seconds of brain function.

        Putting holes in the heart (an impossibly small target on a moving suspect) does not stop blood flow completely. It reduces stroke volume and blood pressure, so you’re left with two choices. You can try to hit these tiny moving targets with your three allotted rounds, or you can inflict massive damage by aiming at center mass and squeezing the trigger until they stop moving.

        Just like the police do.

        While reading, take notice of how often multiple officers are involved, how many rounds they fire, and how seldom the person shot dies.

        And don’t think that the quoted hit percentages represent unusually low marksmanship skills. That is on the contrary quite average for police officers.

        —————————

        There is a strong relationship between the volume of shots by police and the probability of killing the suspect. In 17 incidents in which police fired three times or less, only two persons died. In 12 incidents in which four or more shots were fired, nine persons died.

        Most of the deaths resulted in “bunch shootings” involving two or more officers. There were seven of these, five of them ending in death.

        Of 11 persons fatally shot by Portland police during the past four years, the average number of bullet strikes was 9.3.

        – Portland police fired a total of 186 shots and scored 112 hits – missing 40 percent of their shots.

        http://www.theppsc.org/Archives/DF_Articles/Files/Oregon/92-Oregonian_Study.htm

        —————————–

        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%

        It has been assumed that if a man can hit a target at 50 yards he can certainly do the same at three feet. That assumption is not borne out by the reports.

  137. Kevin Matthews Says:

    Hmmm, it seems I am either blind or my previous comment didn’t appear, which I’ll assume was an accident/mistake on my part and not anything else, haha.

    I commented previously (apologies if it’s visible to anyone and I just repeat myself) that the start of this piece is based on a serious flaw in the logic. Any man, woman and child of any age can access water and anyone can be exposed to toxins, either in a natural state or chemically made, so the fact that deaths from those things outnumber guns is kind of expected. In fact, they should outnumber deaths by guns by an even greater margin.

    The people rushing here to say what an impressively FACTUAL and even piece this is compared to other mainstream news outlets are missing some major points like that one, which shows a bias (and a bias is fair enough, I have no problem with that – my problem is with the responding folks trying to say that this is a completely unbiased and level-headed piece).

    The replies have seen mention of everything from the almighty creator, for those who believe in him, to Hitler. Which is unsurprising. People cling on to the second amendment like it’s etched in stone and gives everyone the right to walk around their own home dressed up like Rambo. It shouldn’t, let’s be honest there. We know that prohibition didn’t work all that well but remember when that was added as an amendment? And then removed?

    Then we have that response from the NRA just the other day, seeming to forget that Columbine and one of the other shooting spree locations (sorry, I forget which one and am typing this quickly) HAD security/armed guards.

    If we had less water-filled areas in the world and less toxins there would, guaranteed, be less drownings and less deaths by poisoning. Less guns will never eradicate the problem but it will go some way towards helping the situation. I said LESS guns, I didn’t say NO guns.

    People ask about protection from drug-fuelled maniacs? Spend the money you saved for a gun on a really strong front door, get more police back on the streets, starts dealing with the drugs issue as a health problem instead of just a criminal one (though it does, of course, tear lives apart through crime) and that’s a different way forward. Protection for livestock, time on the range, proper hunting and probably one or two others I can’t think of right now are situations in which guns and people can work well together. In all other cases, I can usually think of a number of other ways in which progress can start to be made before the guns come out.

    Mental health is also an issue as is the increasing divide between the rich and the poorest of the poor. People shouldn’t be saying that the problem is JUST a gun problem and, despite how they put their foot in their mouth at the conference, I actually feel a bit sorry for the NRA because if they worked harder to compromise then their many members, surely, make the right people to advise on checks, training, etc.

    And before someone plays the “who decides if/when/how I can have and use a gun and who takes away my civil rights?”. Well . . . . . . you go through checks in many areas of life – driving, travelling abroad, job applications – so if those extra checks can be tolerated in those areas then being further checked to get a gun shouldn’t be a problem. It MIGHT even be a good thing.

    We’re not immune here in the UK. Nowhere in the world has eradicated death and murder by guns, we are not in the world of Minority Report. But, as flawed as the system may be, many other countries have tried their best to improve the lifespan potential of their citizens.

    • As to the Hitler thing, there is a lie that goes around the Internet that “the first thing Hitler did, he took the guns,” and that’s why he took power.

      The facts are that MILLIONS of people belonged to paramilitary outfits–not just right-wing, but right, left, and center–when Hitler was elected. They did nothing for the same reason that Americans have not, and will not, effect a second American Revolution: because they didn’t want to break the law and start assassinating democratically-elected leaders.

      Secondly, Hitler’s 1938 gun law RELAXED gun ownership laws, it didn’t make them more strict. The exception was for Jews, but there were only about 200,000 Jews LEFT in Germany by this time, because they’d emigrated (most of the Nazis’ 6 million Jewish victims came from countries, like Poland or Russia, that they later invaded and occupied, so German gun laws didn’t apply there in the first place). Even if every ONE of the 200,000 (including babies) had been armed, it would have made no difference at _all_ to the many millions of soldiers and policemen under arms in Nazi Germany. It would have been a speed bump, even if a few of them had been crazy enough to ensure their own families’ deaths (though sadly, those were assured anyway) by making a stand against Hitler’s policemen.

      Thirdly, it took Hitler five YEARS, after his accession to power, before he made that law. Five years, during which Hitler had ALREADY suppressed his political opposition entirely, without enacting any gun ban.

      • Kevin Matthews Says:

        Thanks for the info, Andrew. It really is more and more important, in every conversation and debate nowadays, to question every statement and look for the recorded facts. If I wasn’t so sceptical nowadays then I’d believe that all of the best ideas for the future of mankind came from either Morgan Freeman or Will Smith.

    • Heh! Truly…

    • Your comment is easily as solid as any comment, or the article, on this blog. Confirmation bias is to be expected from most gun owners who take the time to reply to articles online about their hobby, as well as people like me who have been the victim of a gun crime.

      • Ah. That explains the hatred for the tool rather than the man wielding it.

        I would suggest you read about “weapon focus”, and then consider the more long term implications of such a phenomenon.

  138. Craig Ridge Says:

    Great article! But white text on black is murder! (To my ancient eyes.)

  139. I would like to buy the author a beer.

  140. Betty Arnold Says:

    I thought your artcle was well written, but flawed. Most of of the article deals with definitions of “assualt” weapons. What is the point? You later wrote that any type of gun can get the job done, which is true. The problem of gun control is not with how many guns, or what types of guns, and how much ammo is available to citizens, but to whom these weapons are available. If my wish came true, guns would not exist in this world. My stomach turned when you stated that the mass shootings that have occured in the last two decades were “statistically insignificant”. You probably would not use those words if one of your family or friends were victims of gun violence. I believe the original purpose of the second amendment was to insure a ready militia if our new country needed one in the future. (being that government then did not provide guns to citizens or have a conscripted army). I also believe we have to live in the present and deal with our present problems. We can’t do that if we continue to make arguments based on what this country was like in the past. I don’t think anything will be accomplished as long as we continue to identify ourselves as “liberal” or “conservative”.

    • “My stomach turned when you stated that the mass shootings that have occured in the last two decades were ‘statistically insignificant’. You probably would not use those words if one of your family or friends were victims of gun violence.”

      Thank you–this is similar to my objection to the “mere seconds” it takes to change out lower-capacity magazines rather than higher-capacity ones, above–the extra lives are saved during that time, because of the delay, are “insignificant”?

      And this nonsense from the people saying they’re going to “overthrow a tyrannical government,” or be a check on one, is ridiculous–Canada and Australia have no Second Amendment, and people don’t haul 30-round magazines around or buy them to look more manly. Are they tyrannies? Their citizens don’t think so. And “overthrowing the government” means shooting congressmen, which means being seen by the public and police alike as just like the nut who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords–don’t people realize that? So that will never be a popular pastime.

      100% of these people claiming they’re going to “overthrow a tyrannical government” will (I hope and am certain) live out their whole lives without so much as overthrowing their mailman.

      • The bottom line is that the rhetoric thrown around by the gun lobby is just that, rhetoric. It has very little validity to reducing the amount of gun crime. A good gun stops a bad one? Please… the more good guns out there, the more bad ones. To FIX the problem, we have to reduce the bad ones and in order to do that we have to have a system which tells us which is a good one. That is licensing and registering each and every weapon. What will ultimately happen is that if the gun lobby continues to act like little cry babies who want their bottle, the rest of us are going to repeal the 2nd Amendment and they may just have to get rid of all of the guns. I am totally sick of this inane argument. The collateral damage from the NRA and their guns for everyone (and that is exactly what it is without bona fide licensing and registration) is KILLING our children. Me, and many people I know will do everything we can to create a SOLID licensing and registration program that ultimately makes it very difficult to acquire an illegal weapon and virtually impossible to get ammunition for a gun you do not own.

      • “If someone is so fearful that they are going to start using their weapons to protect their rights, it makes me very nervous that these people have weapons at all.”
        U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman

        And that’s exactly the point.

        —————-

        That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

        Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

        But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

        —————–

        Belittle it all you want, but there it is.

      • Good luck with that. Elections should solve that problem. The idea that a few people with firearms would overthrow the govt. of the US is not only ludicrous, it it certifiably crazy and those people that believe it absolutely should not have guns.

  141. Anna Garrison Says:

    Thanks for the great article! I too am a left-side gun enthusiast and I too get tired of the rabid chaos from both sides. What I think we need is more education about guns. We need more people with concealed carry licenses that actually practice and train.

  142. Published on Saturday, December 22, 2012 by Consortiumnews.com
    The Right’s Second Amendment Lies
    A big obstacle to commonsense gun control is the Right’s false historical narrative that the Founders wanted an armed American public that could fight its own government. The truth is that George Washington looked to citizens militias to put down revolts and maintain order

    by Robert Parry
    Right-wing resistance to meaningful gun control is driven, in part, by a false notion that America’s Founders adopted the Second Amendment because they wanted an armed population that could battle the U.S. government. The opposite is the truth, but many Americans seem to have embraced this absurd, anti-historical narrative.

    President George Washington, as Commander-in-Chief, leading a combined force of state militias against the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.
    The reality was that the Framers wrote the Constitution and added the Second Amendment with the goal of creating a strong central government with a citizens-based military force capable of putting down insurrections, not to enable or encourage uprisings. The key Framers, after all, were mostly men of means with a huge stake in an orderly society, the likes of George Washington and James Madison.

    The men who gathered in Philadelphia in 1787 weren’t precursors to France’s Robespierre or Russia’s Leon Trotsky, believers in perpetual revolutions. In fact, their work on the Constitution was influenced by the experience of Shays’ Rebellion in western Massachusetts in 1786, a populist uprising that the weak federal government, under the Articles of Confederation, lacked an army to defeat.

    Daniel Shays, the leader of the revolt, was a former Continental Army captain who joined with other veterans and farmers to take up arms against the government for failing to address their economic grievances.

    The rebellion alarmed retired Gen. George Washington who received reports on the developments from old Revolutionary War associates in Massachusetts, such as Gen. Henry Knox and Gen. Benjamin Lincoln. Washington was particularly concerned that the disorder might serve the interests of the British, who had only recently accepted the existence of the United States.

    On Oct. 22, 1786, in a letter seeking more information from a friend in Connecticut, Washington wrote: “I am mortified beyond expression that in the moment of our acknowledged independence we should by our conduct verify the predictions of our transatlantic foe, and render ourselves ridiculous and contemptible in the eyes of all Europe.”

    In another letter on Nov. 7, 1786, Washington questioned Gen. Lincoln about the spreading unrest. “What is the cause of all these commotions? When and how will they end?” Lincoln responded: “Many of them appear to be absolutely so [mad] if an attempt to annihilate our present constitution and dissolve the present government can be considered as evidence of insanity.”

    However, the U.S. government lacked the means to restore order, so wealthy Bostonians financed their own force under Gen. Lincoln to crush the uprising in February 1787. Afterwards, Washington expressed satisfaction at the outcome but remained concerned the rebellion might be a sign that European predictions about American chaos were coming true.

    “If three years ago [at the end of the American Revolution] any person had told me that at this day, I should see such a formidable rebellion against the laws & constitutions of our own making as now appears I should have thought him a bedlamite – a fit subject for a mad house,” Washington wrote to Knox on Feb. 3, 1787, adding that if the government “shrinks, or is unable to enforce its laws … anarchy & confusion must prevail.”

    Washington’s alarm about Shays’ Rebellion was a key factor in his decision to take part in – and preside over – the Constitutional Convention, which was supposed to offer revisions to the Articles of Confederation but instead threw out the old structure entirely and replaced it with the U.S. Constitution, which shifted national sovereignty from the 13 states to “We the People” and dramatically enhanced the power of the central government.

    A central point of the Constitution was to create a peaceful means for the United States to implement policies favored by the people but within a structure of checks and balances to prevent radical changes deemed too disruptive to the established society. For instance, the two-year terms of the House of Representatives were meant to reflect the popular will but the six-year terms of the Senate were designed to temper the passions of the moment.

    Within this framework of a democratic Republic, the Framers criminalized taking up arms against the government. Article IV, Section 4 committed the federal government to protect each state from not only invasion but “domestic Violence,” and treason is one of the few crimes defined in the Constitution as “levying war against” the United States as well as giving “Aid and Comfort” to the enemy (Article III, Section 3).

    But it was the Constitution’s drastic expansion of federal power that prompted strong opposition from some Revolutionary War figures, such as Virginia’s Patrick Henry who denounced the Constitution and rallied a movement known as the Anti-Federalists. Prospects for the Constitution’s ratification were in such doubt that its principal architect James Madison joined in a sales campaign known as the Federalist Papers in which he tried to play down how radical his changes actually were.

    To win over other skeptics, Madison agreed to support a Bill of Rights, which would be proposed as the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Madison’s political maneuvering succeeded as the Constitution narrowly won approval in key states, such as Virginia, New York and Massachusetts. The First Congress then approved the Bill of Rights which were ratified in 1791. [For details, see Robert Parry’s America’s Stolen Narrative.]

    Behind the Second Amendment

    The Second Amendment dealt with concerns about “security” and the need for trained militias to ensure what the Constitution called “domestic Tranquility.” There was also hesitancy among many Framers about the costs and risks from a large standing army, thus making militias composed of citizens an attractive alternative.

    So, the Second Amendment read: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Contrary to some current right-wing fantasies about the Framers wanting to encourage popular uprisings over grievances, the language of the amendment is clearly aimed at maintaining order within the country.

    That point was driven home by the actions of the Second Congress amid another uprising which erupted in 1791 in western Pennsylvania. This anti-tax revolt, known as the Whiskey Rebellion, prompted Congress in 1792 to expand on the idea of “a well-regulated militia” by passing the Militia Acts which required all military-age white males to obtain their own muskets and equipment for service in militias.

    In 1794, President Washington, who was determined to demonstrate the young government’s resolve, led a combined force of state militias against the Whiskey rebels. Their revolt soon collapsed and order was restored, demonstrating how the Second Amendment helped serve the government in maintaining “security,” as the Amendment says.

    Beyond this clear historical record – that the Framers’ intent was to create security for the new Republic, not promote armed rebellions – there is also the simple logic that the Framers represented the young nation’s aristocracy. Many, like Washington, owned vast tracts of land. They recognized that a strong central government and domestic tranquility were in their economic interests.

    So, it would be counterintuitive – as well as anti-historical – to believe that Madison and Washington wanted to arm the population so the discontented could resist the constitutionally elected government. In reality, the Framers wanted to arm the people – at least the white males – so uprisings, whether economic clashes like Shays’ Rebellion, anti-tax protests like the Whiskey Rebellion, attacks by Native Americans or slave revolts, could be repulsed.

    However, the Right has invested heavily during the last several decades in fabricating a different national narrative, one that ignores both logic and the historical record. In this right-wing fantasy, the Framers wanted everyone to have a gun so they could violently resist their own government. To that end, a few incendiary quotes are cherry-picked or taken out of context.

    This “history” has then been amplified through the Right’s powerful propaganda apparatus – Fox News, talk radio, the Internet and ideological publications – to persuade millions of Americans that their possession of semi-automatic assault rifles and other powerful firearms is what the Framers intended, that today’s gun-owners are fulfilling some centuries-old American duty.

    The mythology about the Framers and the Second Amendment is, of course, only part of the fake history that the Right has created to persuade ill-informed Tea Partiers that they should dress up in Revolutionary War costumes and channel the spirits of men like Washington and Madison.

    But this gun fable is particularly insidious because it obstructs efforts by today’s government to enact commonsense gun-control laws and thus the false narrative makes possible the kinds of slaughters that erupt periodically across the United States, most recently in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 schoolchildren and six teachers were murdered in minutes by an unstable young man with a civilian version of the M-16 combat rifle.

    While it’s absurd to think that the Founders could have even contemplated such an act – in their 18th Century world of single-fire muskets that required time-consuming reloading – right-wing gun advocates have evaded that obvious reality by postulating that Washington, Madison and other Framers would have wanted a highly armed population to commit what the Constitution defined as treason against the United States.

    Today’s American Right is drunk on some very bad history, which is as dangerous as it is false.

    © 2012 Consortiumnews

    Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat. His two previous books are Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’.

    • Thank you, John D. Yes, it is complete nonsense to imagine that the Founding Fathers intended the 2nd Amendment for people who neither train militarily, nor are the slightest bit aware of HOW to train militarily, to accidentally become a fighting force whose primary mission is to check the military power of the government by threatening rebellion at whiles.

      Washington’s and the Founders’ (meh, Washington–who’s that?) action was to use these citizens’ militias AGAINST rebellions, both in the Whiskey and Shays’ Rebellions.

    • TrooperJohn Says:

      I suppose that if we choose to ignore history, the Federalist and anti-Federalist Papers, copious other quotes of the period, the context of the Constitution and the BoR, SCOTUS and appeals courts’ rulings, and even logic, Mr. Perry’s agenda-driven and less-than-scholarly rant against the Second Amendment might seem credible. Fortunately, few are gullible enough to swallow this Kool-Aid (but, as John D so ably illustrates, they do exist).

  143. Benjamin Franklin noted that the 2nd Amendment was particularly important that in the worst case situation to be able for the citizens to be able to protect themselves against their own government. Right or wrong in their opinions it is very obvious why the 2nd amendment is included and what the founding fathers meant by it.

    • The premise that Franklin believed the reason for the 2nd Amendment was to overthrow OUR government is ridiculous. Perhaps he thought that if some alien country attempted to take over the USA it would be beneficial if some/most of the populace was armed, but the fictional “Red Dawn” excluded, the idea is the pathetic meanderings of a few people who think their firearms make them feel important. If our government lost this hypothetical war, a few guys with guns will do nothing except get themselves killed.

  144. Reblogged this on specialsignal and commented:
    A vey well written explanation on the ’94 Assault Weapons Ban and why it didn’t do anything

  145. Very well written article.

  146. Sir you have done an excellent job on this article and I forsee many facebook shares in the near future for this article, because rather than basing it on emotions and feelings, you have taken the time done the homework and presented us with facts and statistics. Kudos sir.

  147. Reblogged this on YouViewed/Editorial and commented:
    Read the finest essay on the history of the gun-banners , their thought-processes , their methods and their dishonesty in pursuit of their political agenda . Despite being repeatedly rebuffed by the facts , they continue to strive for the total elimination of privately held firearms . This piece , written by a self-avowed ” leftist gun enthusiast ” is one of the most cogent , balanced , succinct , yet thorough essays ever put forth on the subject of the ” assault ” weapons ban and the endless toying with the English language required to make it all come about it the first place . Remember , as a man of some note in recent times once said ” it depends on what your definition of “is” is ” . This piece should be read by EVERYONE …

    • So in other words you… lied?

      “they continue to strive for the total elimination of privately held firearms.”

    • Because you saw that

      1) what is being discussed is the same Assault Weapons Ban that we had from 1994 to 2004;

      2) NO other bill being discussed with any seriousness by our lawmakers has ANY intention of “the total elimination of privately held firearms”; and

      3) the most liberal voices (aside from whatever lunatics you find on Youtube or something, and I can find lunatics there on the pro-gun side too, but I don’t throw them in your face as representing your side) I can possibly name, like Nina Totenberg of NPR, say that, far from banning ALL privately held weapons, she knows that the Assault Weapons Ban won’t even remove only the weapons covered by the Assault Weapons Ban–“ain’t gonna happen,” were her words, whether anyone wanted it or not; and

      4) knowing that we’ve had privately held firearms for 2 and 1/3 centuries, and that no one has the slightest illusion that it would be POSSIBLE to eliminate them all, let alone the fact that significant portions even of the liberal community don’t even WANT to do so;

      you still just claimed that “they continue to strive for the total elimination of privately held firearms.” That is either a lie, or a delusion that you wish so fervently were true, so as to demonize your debating opponents, that your opponents could say “the sky is blue and I like the Beatles” and you’d claim that it was evidence that they wanted a total ban on all guns.

    • I mean, sorry–I know it’s harsh to hear “you lied,” but what you’re saying bears NO correspondence to the reality of the legislation we’re discussing here, nor to anything that any serious authority has planned, nor (and this last claim will be only my opinion) to anything that most Americans, left or right, would WANT. I’m not a gun owner, and I don’t want to ban all privately held weapons.

      • You may not , but the Brady group does , as do many other factions on the Left , such as the VPC , SPLC and the UN . Wishing doesn’t make it so , nor does the fact that YOU don’t want to ban them .

      • I appreciate your honest debate and would love to continue this discussion further at a more convenient , the holidays have me a bit “under the gun” as they say , but I’ll leave you with these quickly found quotes

        ” The [American Academy of Pediatrics] believes handguns, deadly air guns and assault weapons should be banned.

        American Assocation of Pediatrics, Where We Stand, available at http://www.aap.org/advocacy/wwestand.htm (visited Jan. 21, 1999) (boldface added).

        * * *
        A gun-control movement worthy of the name would insist that President Clinton move beyond his proposals for controls — such as expanding background checks at gun shows and stopping the import of high-capacity magazines — and immediately call on Congress to pass far-reaching industry regulation like the Firearms Safety and Consumer Protection Act introduced by Senator Robert Torricelli, Democrat of New Jersey, and Representative Patrick Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island. Their measure would give the Treasury Department health and safety authority over the gun industry, and any rational regulator with that authority would ban handguns.

        Josh Sugarmann (executive director of the Violence Policy Center, Dispense With the Half Steps and Ban Killing Machines, Houston Chronicle, Nov. 5, 1999, at 45 (boldface added).

        * * *
        We’re going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily — given the political realities — going to be very modest. . . . [W]e’ll have to start working again to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen the next law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, we’d be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. . . . The first problem is to slow down the number of handguns being produced and sold in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered. The final problem is to make possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition-except for the military, police, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors-totally illegal.

        Richard Harris, A Reporter at Large: Handguns, New Yorker, July 26, 1976, at 53, 58 (quoting Pete Shields, founder of Handgun Control, Inc.) (boldface added, italics in original).

        * * *
        We will never fully solve our nation’s horrific problem of gun violence unless we ban the manufacture and sale of handguns and semiautomatic assault weapons.

        Jeff Muchnick, Legislative Director, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Better Yet, Ban All Handguns, USA Today, Dec. 29, 1993, at 11A (boldface added).

        The best way to prevent gun violence is to ban handguns.

        Michael K. Beard, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Letters to the Editor, Wall. St. J., July 23, 1997, at A19 (boldface added).

        The goal of CSGV is the orderly elimination of the private sale of handguns and assault weapons in the United States.

        Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, http://www.csgv.org/content/coalition/coal_intro.html (visited June 20, 2000) (boldface added) (“The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence is composed of 44 civic, professional and religious organizations and 120,000 individual members that advocate for a ban on the sale and possession of handguns and assault weapons.”).

        * * *
        There is little sense in gun registration. What we need to significantly enhance public safety is domestic disarmament . . . . Domestic disarmament entails the removal of arms from private hands . . . . Given the proper political support by the people who oppose the pro-gun lobby, legislation to remove the guns from private hands, acts like the legislation drafted by Senator John Chafee [to ban handguns], can be passed in short order.

        Communitarian Network, The Case for Domestic Disarmament, endorsed by 75 signatories, mostly academics. 

      • “Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal.”
        U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, December 1993

        “Gun registration is not enough.”
        U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno on “Good Morning America” 12/10/93

        “We’re going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily, given political
        realities, going to be very modest. Our ultimate goal, total control of handguns in the United
        States, is going to take time. The first problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns in this country. The second problem is to get handguns registered, and the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns, and all handgun ammunition illegal.”
        Nelson T. Shields of Hangun Control, Inc. as quoted in `New Yorker’ magazine July
        26, 1976. Page 53

        “Our goal is to not allow anybody to buy a handgun. In the meantime, we think there ought to be strict licensing and regulation. Ultimately, that may mean it would require court approval to buy a handgun.”
        President of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Michael K. Beard, Washington Times
        12/6/93 p.A1

        I don’t care about crime, I just want to get the guns.”
        Senator Howard Metzenbaum, 1994

        “We’re here to tell the NRA their nightmare is true…”
        U.S. Representative Charles Schumer, quoted on NBC, 11/30/93

        “My bill … establishes a 6-month grace period for the turning in of all handguns.”
        U.S. Representative Major Owens, Congressional Record, 11/10/93

        “I don’t believe gun owners have rights.”
        Sarah Brady, Hearst Newspapers Special Report “Handguns in America”, October
        1997

        “We must get rid of all the guns.”
        Sarah Brady, speaking on behalf of HCI with Sheriff Jay Printz & others on “The Phil
        Donahue Show” September 1994

        “The House passage of our bill is a victory for this country! Common sense wins out. I’m just so thrilled and excited. The sale of guns must stop. Halfway measures are not enough.”
        Sarah Brady 7/1/88

        “The Brady Bill is the minimum step Congress should take…we need much stricter gun
        control, and eventually should bar the ownership of handguns, except in a few cases.”
        U.S. Representative William Clay, quoted in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on May 6,
        1991.

        “I feel very strongly about it [the Brady Bill]. I think – I also associate myself with the other
        remarks of the Attorney General. I think it’s the beginning. It’s not the end of the process by any means.”
        William J. Clinton, 8/11/93

    • Thanks, johngalt–so for me, it is still an overblown fear, since it is simply practically (not to mention politically, though that may be the same thing) impossible to ban all firearms. However, your links at least help me to understand what makes you worry about it. I need to apologize, sorry for throwing around “you lied,” I think that in this case I was wrongly jumping down your throat. I hope your holidays are great.

      • You are very gracious sir . It is a pleasure engaging you in this conversation . You are absolutely correct as to the impracticality of the wholesale banning of firearms in the US . However I am not concerned with the practicality but with the intentions . You must admit that the progressive left have and continue to attempt things of a vastly impractical nature and one would be foolish to ignore their own words . I wish you and yours a most pleasant holiday season and hope to see you here on my pages in the future . All my best to you , JG

      • You are very gracious sir . it is a pleasure engaging in this conversation with you . You are absolutely correct as to the impracticability of a wholesale ban on firearms in the US , yet however impractical it might be one must admit that the progressive left has been and continues to attempt the impractical in all manner of ways . One might go so far , depending on your worldview , as to say that their core beliefs are even defined by a kind of ” pipedream ” impracticality . Be that as it may , my concern lies not with the practicality of their desires but their intentions . Whether we think their ultimate success likely or not we would be foolish to disregard their own stated goals . I wish you and your loved ones a very happy holiday season and hope to see you here again in the future . All the best , JG

    • Thanks johngalt–allow me simply to return the compliment, you may well deserve it more than I do. You are gracious as well. I have had a perfect Christmas, and hope you did as well.

  148. John D this is the latest liberal argument against the right to bear arms, because every other argument used has been disputed and failed, now the liberal consensus is that the founders had no desire for the people to actually bear arms at all (luckily for us The Supreme Court completely disagrees with your assessment and the authors :) ) The right to keep and bear arms for “self defense” was also part of the PA Constitution that predated the US Consitiution and was partially where that amendment came from. Just do a little research on the PA Constitution and how that amendment is almost word for word our 2nd amendment, then go back and read some of the early iterations of the 2nd amendment. You can clearly see just from that the Author is completley wrong. The Constitution is a living document and it was written with the future in mind. What other amendments in the bill of rights should we interprut to mean exactly the opposite of what they say? Free Speach? Unlawful Search and Seizure? Bails Fines and Punishment? I mean George Washington could have never invisioned the internet either so therefor search and seizure shouldn’t apply to email! George Washington couldn’t have forseen Terrorists with nuclear bombs, so lets suspend the 8th amendment and torture that SOB until he squeals and gives up the information!!

    Give me a break John. Quit trying to re-write history when all of your other arguments have already failed.

  149. The Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia. So write all the books you want, the case law has been made at the Supreme Court level, guns are here to stay

    • Read the amendment again…carefully and slowly. Having a militia to support a free state is a prerequisite to the right to bear arms. And we see the need for state and federal governments to utilize militias in numerous instances at the Founding. Yes, the pro-gun group have judicial activism to thank this time…something they normally despite.

      • “Title 10 U.S.C. 311. Militia: composition and classes
        The militia of the United States consists of ALL ABLE BODIED MALES at least 17 years of age…except as provided in section 313 of title 32(politicians,military officers and members of the regular army),…and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
        The classes of the militia are
        (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
        (2) THE UNORGANIZED MILITIA, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia”

        Senate Judiciary Committee Sub-committee on the Constitution stated in Senate Document 2807:
        “the National Guard is not the ‘Militia’ referred to in the Second Amendment”

        So yes, being a member is a prerequisite. Unfortunately for your argument ALL ABLE BODIED MALES at least 17 years of age ARE members of the militia. Since further amendments have guaranteed women full and equal rights, that membership is also extended to them.

        Judicial activism? No. Legal precedent dating back to the ratification of the constitution.

    • So where the ___ does the “well regulated” part come in? Is that your Driver’s license or birth certificate? Social Security card? NRA Membership card? Convenient that you ignore that, as if it isn’t important.

      Like it or not, the FACT is that the only reason SCOTUS has come down the way they have is the current political makeup of the court. Get a left wing SC and the results will be different. The entire Amendment is GRAY area. Call me whatever you want, I really don’t care. The bottom line is that we are losing thousands of children every year to firearms in OUR country and your belief that trust is the only regulation we need to insure responsible gun ownership and handling is simply the mad ravings of lunatics who are either afraid or incapable of getting your minds around compromise and intelligent, protective regulation.

      Fear drives this entire argument and fear is visceral. It creates passion and we have to get beyond the emotion to get anything.

      • You sir are exactly right. Fear has driven this discussion since those tragic events on December 15th.

        Of course, the daily tragedies in Chicago and around the country where inner city kids are killing each other any way they can manage simply doesn’t generate the same fear potential as a classroom full of rich white kids.

        And similarly, talking about banning the crappy little handguns those kids are killing each other with on a daily basis just doesn’t have the same emotional reward potential as talking about a scary looking firearm that’s used in less than 1% of firearm crime.

        We really do have to get beyond emotion, and I thank you for your commitment to it.

  150. Also did you not even read this article the fallacy of somehow this country is on the brink of collapse due to gun violence is alive and well in your mind I suppose. News flash: More people die from drunk driving than violent gun crime. Not my stat its the FBI uniform crime report and the CDC stats or are they all horribly biased too? Your kid under 10 has more chance to drown in a bathtub than get shot at school. Can we table gun control until we get the fisical cliff under control please because that deadline is only 7 days away do we really need this distraction in the media of 24/7 gun violence is destroying America when in reality, it is absolutely not. We are not even in the top 40 countries in the world for murder rates. Despite what MSNBC says America is actually pretty damn safe.

    • Sorry David. I believe that more guns equates to more innocent deaths. Just like more drugs equates to lower productivity of society. While I am happy to find the middle, which is full registration and only banning magazines and certain ammo, you believe that we should do nothing because the gun isn’t the problem. It is the PHYSICAL problem and I would be ecstatic to ban ALL of them and shut the idiots up, but I recognize that we are a somewhat free country. I OWN a freaking gun and have owned them in the past but would give them up if it saved lives. You on the other hand, do not give a shit. I would also vote for a repeal of the 2nd Amendment which is only a smoke screen. This issue will not die until we have a solution which saves lives, not when every American is armed.

      • I fully disagree with you, those who would trade in their freedom for a little protection deserve neither. Why not trade in your free speech while your at it, I’m sure we could save lives by eliminating some of that pesky out of tourch hateful free speech that goes around this country. Why not get rid of the 8th amendment too and bring back torture, ill bet we can save a life or two by making the criminals squeel until they give up the confession. The supreme court has put the ‘militia being a pre requisite’ to gun ownership to bed. The supreme court has doubly set the precident that the 2nd amendment equates to the right to self-defense. I will not give up my right to self-defense even it would save a life because maybe the life that gets taken in the process if in my family. The way the anti gun movement works is to chip away at our freedom a little at a time. They say things like ‘we will never fully ban guns in this country’ out one side of their mouth while absolutely working toward that goal. But you can’t take guns away overnight. It starts with feel good legislation that doesn’t work. Things like Assault weapon bans, things like gun free zones, things like violence taxes, and microstamping. The ulitmate goals of these ultra leftists groups is nothing less than full gun registration or buyback/confiscation. When they came for the gypsies, I did not speak, for I am not a gypsy. When they came for the Jews, I did not speak, because I wasn’t a Jew. When they came for the Catholics, I did not speak, for I am not a Catholic. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak.” -On the Wall at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, replace the minorities in the statement with AR15s, Handguns, Deer Rifles. It starts the so called Satanic death dealing Assault Rifles, then deer rifles become military sniper rifles (because the M24 Sniper Rifle is just a remington 700 thats been pimped out), then we get handguns, and then their work is done.

      • David R, I personally don’t think that limiting ordinary citizens to 10-round guns equals “trading in their freedom” or their 2nd Amendment rights.

        But since you bring up 1st Amendment rights: you know that the TINY minority of violent criminals among the Occupy Wall Street protestors was more or less about as small as the number of criminals among America’s gun owners. Therefore, you know that the vast majority of them were simply exercising their right “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances,” per the Bill of Rights.

        Did gun owners in America stand up en masse to protest with them, or even object in any way, when they were corraled, maced, beaten into the hospital, pepper-sprayed, and forcibly prevented from doing so? Did you?

      • Most of us had jobs to go to.

      • HAR HAR HAR! Good one, Eric.

        Mocking Occupy, and dismissing the entire question of their First Amendment rights. Love it. So your answer is No-you HATED the Occupy people, then, you mocked them then as you just mocked them again just now, and you lapped it up and loved it when their First Amendment rights were stepped on by beatings, mace, tear gas, etc., for no reason at all except that you didn’t like their particular KIND of free speech. You hypocrites.

        Briefly: you took the one or two reports of violent criminality, which represented less than 1% of the 1st Amendment protesters, and pretended that it represented 100% of their movement, and therefore, you allowed their 1st Amendment rights to be thrown in the toilet.

        Just substitute the words “2nd Amendment” for “1st Amendment,” above, and hey presto, all of a sudden, your mocking “we had jobs to go to instead of defending that constitutional right” turns into instant, florid outrage that someone would blithely sacrifice a constitutional right that our Founding Fathers fought and died for. Eric, I can no longer take seriously ANY claim of yours to be some big defender of constitutional rights against encroachment by a tyrannical government–you just cheered the tyranny. Just another hypocritical gun salesman.

      • I’m not sure why you’re assuming all of that from what I said. Did you take time off of work?

        I had numerous problems with OWS. Protest all you want, but if you block sidewalks, trash public property, and break the law, you should expect some ill treatment.

        That said, freedom to assemble has been severely restricted by politicians in Washington. The Secret Service can now declare an area as a “no 4th amendment zone”. This should provide you evidence that our rights our slowly being chipped away. Sometimes they’re the ones you like, and sometimes they’re the ones I like. They are all important, even the ones you don’t like.

        You assume an awful lot from one answer to one question. How did you put it? Something like “how about we stick to the things I DID say”. I never said anything about violent protesters, in fact I never said anything other than most people were too busy making a living to go take time off of work to protest.

        My problem with the Occupy Wall Street movement was the unbelievable hypocrisy of painting all corporations as evil and then blogging about it on their MacBook and sleeping in camping gear donated by corporations and eating food donated by restaurants.

        If you have a half million in the bank and you’re still advertising a “urgent need for donations” while your organizers are holding meetings inside Deutsche bank, then I’d say you should rethink your motives.

        But they’re right that there are some serious problems associated with the interaction between big businesses and government. Our solution is to trim back government, simplify the tax code, and limit the ways corporations can use government to affect the rest of us. Corporations shouldn’t be too big too fail if the rest of us aren’t.

        The OWS solution is for a bigger government to more tightly regulate business, which just means that fewer corporations will produce cool products like MacBooks, they’ll create fewer jobs, and all those who hate evil corporations can sleep soundly at night knowing that the economy sucks and no one buys American anymore, but at least no one’s making any money.

        So no, I didn’t go stand arm in arm with people I don’t at all agree with. I don’t doubt that in some instances their rights were infringed. That is wrong, whether I agree with them or not.

      • Well what I had asked was whether you or the other gun owners of America had objected in any way to those infringements of their rights. Sounded, and sounds, like you didn’t. Therefore, although some parts of my response might be assuming too much, it sure doesn’t seem as if I’m wrong in assuming that you didn’t protest to protect the First Amendment. You didn’t care.

        You are in fact responding with the same canned, factually incorrect talking points that the Karl Roves, Fox Newses, Newt Gingriches, and Bill O’Reillys of the world ordered you to parrot, when they wished you to ignore such First Amendment infringements (most Occupy protesters did NOT say that “all corporations are evil”–their ire was primarily directed at 1) the bank executives’ sales of bad loans, leaving them and the US taxpayer liable for billions; 2) the deregulation which allowed this to occur, following the repeal of Glass-Steagall; and 3) undue influence by rich corporate leaders over our political process).

        I didn’t take time off work to attend Occupy protests, because you didn’t need to; I did attend one or two, and visited the camps several other times. More to the point of my question, though, I certainly wrote to my representatives to protest this infringement of First Amendment rights. Since I asked “did you protest in favor of the First Amendment?”, and you answered in the negative, you plainly couldn’t even be bothered to provide this weak response. Therefore, your concern is plainly only for part of the Bill of Rights, and you raised NO protest as it was thrown in the toilet, when peaceful protesters were beaten or maced. Therefore, your credibility as some kind of heroic Defender of the Faith who’s going to come in with his guns and Save the Day by Defending the Constitution is shot. You’re never protecting anything. If Fox News tells you to think “those protesters are hypocritical scum,” you’ll repeat it and blow off digging any deeper, or responding to any constitutional infringements you might see. How can I possibly take your commitment to the Bill of Rights seriously? You just sound like another gun salesman or lawyer, or someone else making money from the gun industry.

      • (That is to say, you didn’t HAVE to take time off work to protest with Occupy; I was perfectly able to protest with them several times without doing so; and you could have written your representative to protest their treatment under the First Amendment. You didn’t. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume you didn’t care about that amendment, or because of WHOSE constitutional rights were being revoked. What a joke.)

      • I know there was a contingent of protesters who were apolitical and just wanted to get the people’s influence back. If that had been the dominant message, there would have been libertarians right along side them. Instead, it became this-

        #F29 Shut Down The Corporations: Leap Into Action! Reclaim Our Future!

        http://occupywallst.org/article/f29-shut-down-corporations-leap-action-reclaim-our/

        ——————

        Per the NYCGA-

        We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

        They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
        They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

        ——————

        It goes on for a while, but I’m sure you know that. Instead of looking for a broad base of allies, OWS looked to people who wanted to remake America into a socialist utopia by telling kids that the sweat of someone else’s brow is their “human right”.

        And while I have no doubt that someone, somewhere had their rights violated, I don’t think it was as widespread as you’re implying. We’d have to get into a whole discussion on what constitutes “reasonable regulation” of the 1st Amendment, since turnabout is fair play.

        If you can agree that one crazed gunman isn’t cause to infringe the rights of the law abiding gun owners, then I think gun owners would be quite happy to allow OWS to keep on keeping on even though one guy pooped on a police car.

        Quit trying to stereotype gun owners. We are, after all, in the comments section of an article written by a leftist. I’m certainly no Republican, and don’t even own a TV let alone form my opinions from any of the swill coming out of the mouths of the sock puppets in the mainstream media.

  151. A balanced, logical, and forceful reply. I know there is danger in generalizing, but…on the whole, my anti-gun friends would not even be interested in reading this. As you pointed out, the argument is purely emotional. As such, facts and reason don’t really have any bearing on sustaining or reversing their position. Nevertheless, an excellent read — thank you!

  152. Very interesting article.

    While I agree with her conclusion, I must question her first assertion. She tries to compare mass shootings to drownings, poisonings, or being struck by lightning. These mass shootings have more in common with terrorism “where terrorists use infrequent random mass killings to rain down terror on a people” rather than gun violence in general, or drownings etc. 9200 people die from gun crimes in the U.S. every year, most from robbery, family disputes, and vengeance……, but the random meaningless mass shootings conjures up terror by it’s very senselessness.

    What I gathered from her essay, and which I agree with, is that the assault weapons ban was flawed, written by ignorant uneducated people, who were unwilling to take the time to understand the problem. Her assertion should scare the hell out of all of us, since what makes us think that our government has any more knowledge about any other problems that they may try to solve?
    Pelosi: We have to pass it so we can read whats in it.

    In researching the last 6 mass shootings, she is correct, four of them were carried out by gunmen with automatic handguns, not assault rifles. Three of the six were carried out by people with intent on their mind, not mental illness.

    The other thing missed in all of the current rush to judgement is that overall gun deaths are down over the past ten years.

    So, a new misguided assault weapons bill will not stop these crimes, especially if we can’t eliminate the grandfathered weapons.
    This is a complicated issue, but by arming and training willing citizens, eliminating gun free zones, and providing armed guards at elementary schools, like we do at our malls, airports, high-schools, and colleges, we could prevent more of these mass “terrorist like” shootings.

  153. Three words: “Fast and Furious.” 200 dead Mexicans, including teens at a high school party that left lakes of blood in the streets, all with the uber-gun runner, Obama, to…not blame. No investigation. Just poor people, after all. Let’s outlaw sociopaths and start by screening politicos. God bless America and save us from our pseudo-saviors.

  154. Absolutely outstanding article!

    While everything here is well written, researched and rational, the “Misleading Vividness” is possibly the best point of all. Both sides of this issue are guilty of ignoring this reality.

  155. […] Reblogged from Kontradictions: […]

  156. Reblogged this on Firearm User Network and commented:
    While we gear up for another series of pointless, wasteful debates concerning legislation doomed to be ineffective, it’s refreshing to find somebody capable of unflinching, rational thought.

    Read this now!

    http://kontradictions.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/why-not-renew-the-assault-weapons-ban-well-ill-tell-you/

    Then get all your friends to read it.

    Interesting that a self-described “leftist who loves guns” makes more logical sense than both the NRA leadership and anti-gun promoters.

  157. I like the article. I agree with some commenters that I was curious what, if any, additional regulation the author would support. For instance, closing the “gun show” loophole seems like a sensible place to start. I wonder if there’s any scholarship that shows what percentage of gun crimes are committed with guns purchased without registration from a private citizen or at a gun show. Obviously, in the most recent Newtown shooting, the guns appear to have been purchased with background checks.

  158. Wonderfully written, thank you.

  159. […] on gun control One of the better reads I've had recently… Why Not Renew the “Assault Weapons” Ban? Well, I’ll Tell You… Kontradictions __________________ Mustang GT w/ Roush TVS2300 – For sale […]

  160. Darryl A. Armstrong Says:

    A friend of mine pointed me to this article on Facebook and asked for my thoughts. I will share them here as well:

    On the subject of “Misleading Vividness,” yes mass shootings are ultimately rare – but I do believe their regularity has been increasing since the ’80s. But even that misses the point, methinks. It’s the everyday gun violence that is commonplace in the US that should make us take pause: individual shootings, attempted shootings, armed robbery, suicide. Throw those numbers into the mix and suddenly the US is approaching statistics comparable to third-world nations and much further behind the rest of the developed world.

    On the term “assault weapon,” well it would appear the term is a bit misleading. And a ban on them would be a mostly toothless gesture. Although I will raise one point: aesthetics have some meaning. I would assume when designing the fully automatic versions for military use, gun manufacturers gave some thought into making them look intimidating. I can guarantee that when marketing the semi-automatic versions to the public the idea was to make them look formidable. And if you’ve seen the latest ad campaign for the Bushmaster that was used in Newtown (essentially: regain your “man card” by owning one), the clear conclusion is that gun manufacturers are encouraging a form of gun glorification.

    On high-capacity magazines: we shouldn’t let relatively rare mass-shootings guide our policy on their restriction. Fair enough, as long as you provide a good reason why the common individual would need them. If the answer is to protect oneself from “bad guys” with them – doesn’t that argument cancel itself out?

    On grandfathering: I don’t expect there to be a rounding up of all guns currently in circulation. I think that would be a bad idea on a few levels. But enacting practical regulations will start moving us in a better direction over time (again, not that regulation will eliminate all the issues here, but they will help limit damage and maybe over time help lesson our collective gun obsession).

    On broader gun control: well, I just plain don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you’re a “good guy” you might have to jump through a few more hoops, but if that means even decreasing overall gun violence by a few percentage points, isn’t that a reasonable compromise?

    • On the subject of “Misleading Vividness,” yes mass shootings are ultimately rare – but I do believe their regularity has been increasing since the ’80s.

      No, they aren’t…there is just more sensationalist media coverage of them now.

      Throw those numbers into the mix and suddenly the US is approaching statistics comparable to third-world nations and much further behind the rest of the developed world.

      Wrong again. http://theacru.org/acru/harvard_study_gun_control_is_counterproductive/

      I would assume when designing the fully automatic versions for military use, gun manufacturers gave some thought into making them look intimidating.

      So? The point has been made that that is irrelevant to ballistic performance.


      On high-capacity magazines: we shouldn’t let relatively rare mass-shootings guide our policy on their restriction. Fair enough, as long as you provide a good reason why the common individual would need them.

      Why is it always assumed that those who purchase and own “high capacity magazines” are the ones on whom the burden rests? I think it’s about time that the other side started explaining why there’s any justification for restricting them. Andy up there keeps trying to make the point that Jared Loughner paused to reload between mags (and that’s when he was “tackled”) but that was ONE mass shooting…and it wouldn’t have mattered if he’d had a 1000-round magazine if one good guy in that crowd had simply drawn and shot him.

      If the answer is to protect oneself from “bad guys” with them – doesn’t that argument cancel itself out?

      Uh….no. If you’re a good guy in that situation, are you really going to wish you had a smaller magazine or fewer rounds?

      But enacting practical regulations will start moving us in a better direction over time (again, not that regulation will eliminate all the issues here, but they will help limit damage and maybe over time help lesson our collective gun obsession).

      The point has been made that attempting to tighten regulation further will not only be futile, but actually counterproductive. The proposal currently on the table is a revival of the federal assault weapons ban, and our blogger here has already demonstrated why that won’t help.


      On broader gun control: well, I just plain don’t think that’s a bad thing. If you’re a “good guy” you might have to jump through a few more hoops, but if that means even decreasing overall gun violence by a few percentage points, isn’t that a reasonable compromise?

      Post hoc, ergo propter hoc / non sequitor. You’re assuming that more gun control is going to lessen gun violence. That’s far from proven and all available evidence actually points in the opposite direction.

      Besides…at what point do we get to say “enough is enough” on the gun control? We already have 30,000 federal, state, and local laws on the books. At what point does the pro-gun-control side concede, “Okay…the NRA is right. This isn’t working or having the effect we’d hoped for. It’s time to try something other than cracking down on guns.” That point never seems to arrive. The gun-grabbers are never satisfied.

      The minute we give an inch, they take a mile. That’s why the NRA has adopted the “this far, and no further” philosophy on gun control…the same one that gets it criticized for its unwillingness to compromise.

      Here in California we already have registration of handguns, a handgun roster of weapons we can buy, long gun registration in 2014, prohibition on high-cap mags, prohibition on all the same cosmetic features banned by the FAWB, a 10-day wait for all gun purchases, handgun safety certificates, storage requirements, and hundreds of other regulations….with more being written and implemented each year. (Nine additional bills were proposed in our legislature last year and four of them made it into law.) Eventually it gets to the point where owning a weapon in California is more trouble than it’s worth…which I think was the plan all along.

      • Darryl A. Armstrong Says:

        I’ll just respond to where you say I have the facts wrong. Let’s count mass shootings (defined as resulting in 4 or more deaths, not counting the shooter): during the 20th century there were about one to two mass murders per decade until 1980. Then at least nine during the ’80s and 11 in the ’90s. From 2000 there have been at least 28.

        As for the rate of gun violence, the actual study from the link you posted cherry picked comparing the US against Russia and Eastern European countries. Come back with a study comparing the US against England, Australia, Canada, Japan, France, Germany, Italy and Spain and then we can move on.

    • “why the common individual would need them. If the answer is to protect oneself from “bad guys” with them – doesn’t that argument cancel itself out?”

      I agree with this, though you’ve just walked into a “gotcha,” albeit an illogical one–the “no legislating anything, though the heavens fall” crowd likes to say “well who needs [common item whose sole purpose is not mass murder, or at best target shooting that can be accomplished with about 1000 other guns with a mild, added inconvenience]? Why don’t we ban those too?”

      The question is, is a gun with 30-round magazines even USEFUL at all, to balance out the increased efficiency of its death-dealing? So far, we have seen not one poster here citing any mass murder that’s been stopped by one; but several examples of mass murders that have been made more efficient by one. Let the water-muddying continue, but no one has refuted that.

      • People don’t stop mass murders with weapons loaded with 30 round magazines because they didn’t wake up and take a rifle to school with them. They were abiding by the law, and that will always make it more difficult to stop someone who isn’t. If even 10% of the adult population was properly trained and carried an AR or AK style weapon slung over their shoulder throughout the day, criminals would think twice before they did something stupid, and then probably not do it. I am in no way advocating a society where we go to school and work with rifles over our shoulder, I’m merely pointing out why you don’t hear about a shooter in a school being stopped by a responsible citizen with a rifle with a 30 round magazine loaded in it.

  161. Very helpful and informative article. I’m not a gun owner and have known almost nothing about gun control bills and the components of guns, themselves. I’ve tended to be the fearful, uninformed, ban supporter. This has given me much to think about and has changed my opinion considerably.

    One thing that has been on my mind since Sandy Hook is that the way to measure the safety of our children is not in the number of guns, and what kinds, in private ownership, but to what extent we rid our lives of violence; in entertainment, in glorification, in grudges, in selfishness, in self-loathing. Our culture is saturated with negativity and with violent messages. If we purge our individual lives of it, our nation will instantly be safer, kinder, and gentler.

  162. Very nice article! I wanted to comment on soemthing you said, though. You said, “Despite this conspicuously moderate viewpoint, the NRA continues to stoke the flames of fear, promising that once Obama is reelected to a second term, he’ll have no reason to hold back on the gun control legislation he’s been wanting to implement since 2004. In fact, at a recent CPAC conference in Florida, NRA vice president Wayne LaPierre went so far as to suggest, without offering any evidence, that Obama’s failure to act on gun control has been a “massive Obama conspiracy” to postpone his attack on the second amendment until his second term.”

    You went on to say–with slightly different wording–it’s rants like this that cause people to be unable to relate to the NRA. I’m not a NRA member, but I agree with them, and you can call it “fear stoking” if you like, but I was also warning members of my family–before the Presidential debates–that Obama and the democrats would seek another assault weapons ban. It was no shock to me, as I’m sure it wasn’t to the NRA, when Obama announced during the second debate that he had plans to “see the assault weapons ban reinstated.” They were planning this all along, and certainly way before Aurora or Newtown!

  163. Thank you very much for your article. While I believe that in the long run, one would find that leftist/statist policies will always produce a severe limitation on citizen use of firearms, I’m willing to listen to other arguments. My problems with leftist/statist policies mainly focus elsewhere.
    In any event, thank you for your well-written essay. I have recommended it to friends of the leftist persuasion — and even think that many of us conservative/libertarians can learn from it.
    Thank you again.

  164. Well said. I shared this from a friend on FB, and several more are also sharing. You really hit the nail on the head, and I think that your being a leftist and still being able to advocate for weapons rights, and classifications (what they are vs what they are not) really has reached a broader scope of people who can’t side with either party or who maybe needed more information to finally make a decision on their stances as well. Thank you for taking the time to write something so thought provoking and easy to understand. You did a great justice to the people of this country in more ways than you realize.

    -A Libertarian friend

    Also, Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  165. This is one of the BEST, reasonable, well researched articles I’ve read in the last two weeks. It should be sent to every senator and congressman/woman in Washington. Excellent job. And thank you.

  166. Outstanding! I’ve discovered some of that same information myself, some of it from the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, a very good source of hard to refute data. I am going to send this everywhere I can, thank you so much for explaining what I’ve made an effort to but so much better.

  167. “Remember, the only sensible reason for a capacity ban of any kind is the specific class of crime whose degree of success depends on the 5-10 second difference between having to reload and not having to reload. Mass shootings, it turns out, are the only time this is the case, and only to an incredibly slight degree, as demonstrated by Cho. I have already discussed why I do not believe that mass shootings should guide our policy to begin with.”

    Translation, essentially: “aahhh… big deal. So a few more people will get maimed and killed, in that 5-10 second pause [during which, as shown above in the threads, people can and have taken advantage of the pause to overpower mass shooters]. As long as it’s not me or my loved ones, my annoyance and the inconvenience to gun manufacturers outweighs that bone-crushing, lifelong grief for a few more victims per mass shooting. It’ll happen rarely, so I can just blow it off.”

    • Once again…you continue to state this, ignoring that 2% (at best) of all crimes involved high cap mags.

      Once again….you continue to assume, with no evidence whatsoever, that limiting magazine capacity (and therefore will justify that “annoyance and the inconvenience to gun manufacturers” (actually, the gun owners).

      Once again…you continue to assert that your solution is going to solve the problem. Why don’t you quote me some evidence that the 1994-04 assault weapons ban did a bit of good, especially the part where it regulated mag size?

      Once again…you continue to assert that it’s incumbent upon us to prove you wrong, when it’s the other way around.

      • One thing that I’m certain of is that violent crime statistics plummeted at a faster rate during the 1994-2004 ban than they have since (google it). Now, I don’t think the drop happened solely BECAUSE of the ban; but I’m also pretty certain that, given that the drop was steeper during the ban than at other times in the last couple of decades, the ban certainly didn’t hurt anything. The sky didn’t fall.

        I ignored nothing of the sort, and in fact, stated clearly and repeatedly that these are statistically rare crimes; however, given that no evidence was given to show that 1) a ban would do anything but hinder a mass shooter, 2) without harming any law-abiding person, I find it one solution (though only to part of the problem).

        I don’t get why EITHER of us has any more burden of proof than the other–BOTH sides making any case must prove that their case has merit. I have NEVER asserted that my “solution is going to solve the problem”–there are still major problems to be solved, such as the grandfather problem the author mentions. However, as far as whether it will do _something_ about it, I’m satisfied.

      • Andrew, if you’re going to attribute the AWB with the drop in crime in the 90s (which really started in 1992 by the way) then you’ll also have to explain what happened in 1982 to cause an equally sharp, if temporary drop in crime.

        So a temporary ban that did nothing to the existing supply of firearms and magazines other than make them more valuable, and which the CDC and NIJ both said had a negligible effect on violent crime…I’m sorry. It didn’t have anything to do with the drop in crime. The fact that it continued to drop for a decade afterward despite record gun sales practically every year since proves that there is no correlation.

        Something as simple as simple as fluctuations in the availability of illegal drugs (legalize them, by the way) could explain these fluctuations of violent crime. But more likely it is a combination of factors to at least include the economy, the drug trade, availability of abortion, and what variety of crap kids are filling their heads with from a variety of media.

        Nothing we’ve ever done legislatively has done a damn bit of good to keep a kid from using a stolen revolver to ruin his and someone else’s life, and that is nowhere better demonstrated than Chicago, where 28 years of handgun ban have culminated in 2012 being a record year for homicides.

        (lean in closer, the following is to be read in hushed tones, whispered even)

        Most violent crime is in the inner cities, and among a population that used to be in the inner cities but was pushed out into middle sized cities less well equipped to deal with their associated criminal element*. This is where the bulk of American violent crimes comes from.

        This has only been acknowledged once by gun control advocates, and that’s when they went after cheap handguns. But of course you can’t say that cheap handguns are more dangerous than expensive ones without sounding like you’re saying poor people are more dangerous than rich people, so they let the matter drop.

        The fact is, solving the real issues is far more uncomfortable and politically messy than passing what has been described on this very page BY AN ADVOCATE as “feel good legislation”.

        *http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/american-murder-mystery/306872/#

      • In reference to abortion, and I am staying out of THAT hornet’s nest, if anything the legal availability of abortion has reduced crime significantly since the passage of R v W… But what does that have to do with AW and magazines? BTW… I think legalizing drugs WOULD actually be a major lifesaver (not to mention budget saver). None of this though, solves the employment issue… And on and on we go…

      • Eric, you have a reading fail; I clearly said:

        “Now, I don’t think the drop happened solely BECAUSE of the ban; but I’m also pretty certain that, given that the drop was steeper during the ban than at other times in the last couple of decades, the ban certainly didn’t hurt anything.”

        Reading skills. Read that again, please, and tell me what it says.

        This chart shows clearly that this steep drop started in the two years just before the ban took effect, so that is the reason I say the drop didn’t happen solely BECAUSE of the ban (the part that Eric glossed over); however, the fact that violent crime dropped steeply during the ban, and only started rising again AFTER the ban ended, supports the statement that “the ban certainly didn’t hurt anything,” unless someone wants to pull the old “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Violent_Crime_Rates_in_the_United_States.svg

    • “Bottom line: Whether you have two magazines that hold 15 rounds or three mags that hold 10 rounds, you’ll be able to shoot all 30 bullets in less than 45 seconds. This fact, combined with the statistical rarity and low death rate of mass shootings and the statistical prominence of guns used in self defense (2 million times every year) make it difficult for me to justify the criminalization of what has, throughout American history, been considered a perfectly normal capacity – that is, however many rounds fit comfortably inside the firearm.”

      Focusing solely on the statistics, you’ll notice that the number of times weapons are used in self defense each year is astronomical compared to how many well aimed shots a shooter can put downrange in a 5-10 second time frame. That time frame is also an exaggeration of how long it takes to change magazines in just about any firearm. Any able-bodied individual can practice changing magazines for 15 or 20 minutes per day and become very proficient at it in a relatively short period of time. A better estimate would be 3 seconds or less, a period of time in which a shooter would be able to effectively engage maybe 3 or 4 more targets. When you mention the “lifelong grief for a few more victims per mass shooting,” how would that compare to the suffering that the would-be victims and their families would have endured had those 2 million armed citizens not been able to defend themselves this year?

      I don’t know the exact numbers on how many of those 2 million were using handguns compared to long guns, but I’d be willing to bet that at least half of them were, probably 75% or more. We’ll call it 1 million. As Kontra mentioned in the section on high-capacity magazines, “Of course, most semiautomatic pistols hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. In preparation for this article I asked a gun dealer to guess what percentage of new pistols came standard with magazines of more than 10 round capacity. His estimate was 70-75%, and he took model after model out of the display case to illustrate. The most popular (best selling) handgun in the world, the Glock 17, holds 17 rounds of 9mm ammunition. In fact, after looking at all available Glock models, I found that less than half them even had magazines smaller than 10 rounds available at all.”

      If we take the dealer’s estimate, that gives us a total of 700,000 handguns used in instances of self-defense that would be considered “assault weapons.” We can drop the number of potential victims down even more if we assume that the wounds sustained by even half of these potential victims would have been in an area of the body that would allow a full recovery. Maybe some of them would have managed to get away without having to defend themselves. Let’s drop that 700,000 down to 200,000. So 200,000 law-abiding citizens of the United States would have been killed or permanently disabled had they not been carrying their firearm for self-defense. Compare that to the number of victims in mass shootings that would have been spared had the shooter not had to stop and reload his firearm. This time, I’ll overestimate the number. Let’s say that 20% of the victims in mass shootings over the last 12 years would have survived had the shooter paused for a few seconds to reload. That’s a total of about 42 people according to Kontra’s statistics in the article. The numbers don’t even compare.

      While this breakdown of numbers may not seem very compassionate, I think that it’s necessary to illustrate for you that guns do save lives. I feel deeply for the victims and their families and empathize with them. A close family member of mine was murdered by a former psychiatric patient that was placing bombs outside churches in eastern Illinois a few days after Christmas in 1997, so I understand how it feels when someone you love is mercilessly ripped from your life. Do not mistake cold calculations for a lack of emotion. Human life is precious and should be treated as such, which is why I own and am proficient with several firearms that would be considered “assault weapons.”

      The issue isn’t the legality of certain firearms based on ridiculous regulations that politicians don’t even thoroughly understand. Anyone that has decided to murder people doesn’t need an AR-15 with a 30 round magazine to commit the crime. Timothy McVeigh used a truck full of fertilizer and diesel fuel. Muslims with a deep hatred for our way of life used box cutters and jumbo jets. There have been massacres throughout history, and a majority of history took place before the invention of firearms. At the root of all of this is what makes us human. Human emotion can be blamed for any kind of violence, whether it is justified or not. There’s no cure, and if there was one I wouldn’t have it. I accept losses as part of life, but I’m prepared and ready to prevent them if I need to. I’ll keep my ability to feel love and compassion even if it means that someday someone might try to take my life or a loved one’s life.

      I would like to suggest that you invest in a firearm for self-defense. Treat them with respect, learn to use them properly and they can save your life.

      “An armed man is a citizen, an unarmed man is a subject.”

      • Thank you Andrew S, that, then, is the honest response that I asked for. I remain convinced that any self-defense needs can be accomplished by a gun with 10 rounds. However, you’ve put your case well, so I will leave you with the last word, except to say that I’m very sorry about your family member, and I hope that your Christmas and the rest of your and your family’s lives are full of nothing but fulfillment and Love. Thanks for weighing in, and hang in there.

      • Reposted with links removed

        Andrew-
        My apologies. That was more of an articulation fail than a reading fail. That should have said “if you’re going to give the AWB any credit at all…” versus giving it all of the credit. This is why I later said “it didn’t have anything to do with it”, emphasis on the anything. I think we can all agree that it is a multifactorial problem.

        (link to policeone article entitled “A Proactive Approach to Counter Mass Shootings” removed)

        I would disagree with the characterization that crime went down the moment the ban was in place and up after the ban was lifted. As you’ll notice, crime was trending downward in 1992. The uptick in 2004 was tiny and temporary.

        It is also important to note that in 2010 crime was at a low not seen since 1972. Saying that crime increased after the ban and then not mentioning that it continued steadily downwards for five years in a row is quite misleading.

        U.S. violent crime down for fifth straight year
        By Terry Frieden, CNN Justice Producer
        updated 2:13 PM EDT, Mon October 29, 2012

      • Thanks Eric, no foul on the articulation fail, then. And no, I don’t give it ALL the credit; and my point when I mentioned that the drop in crime only slowed _outside_ of the years of the ban was not so much to give it credit, as that the drop in crime certainly does NOT indicate that the Assault Weapons Ban harms the crime rate.

        Many people these days are claiming, fantastically, that the Ban had a BAD effect on violent crime; if crime dropped FASTER while the Ban was in place than during the times before and after it, then it seems pretty obvious that the Ban had a GOOD effect on violent crime, if it had any at all. I’m open to the argument that the steeper drop during those years was COMPLETELY for other reasons, but I would cough if someone claimed “oh, it would have dropped even FASTER without the Ban!”

  168. All I can do is echo the many compimentary comments above. Easily the best, most articulate article on the subject of gun control I have read to date. If we elected politicians on both sides of the aisle who had such well thought-out, logical, data-driven approaches to the issues we face our country would be so much better off.

    The same type of lunacy and ignorance (or ignoring) of facts is similarly crippling our ability to deal with so many more issues which are easily more important than the things our elected leaders are spending their time on.

    You should run for office. As a conservative, libertarian-leaning, gun-owning, Christian (who sometimes listens to NPR) I would vote for you.

  169. […] I encourage you to read this blog post from someone who spent more time with facts then I have: Why Not Renew the “Assault Weapons” Ban? Well, I’ll Tell You… Kontradictions I would be for SENSIBLE additions to the laws already on the books… hell if you want to do a […]

  170. Sorry for more questions:
    1. Why do you have a gun when the probability of being the victim of a violent crime is so low?
    2. Why are most mass murders committed with black guns?
    3. Why did the NRA cast Obama as being severely anti-gun when he wasn’t?

    • “Why do you have a gun when the probability of being the victim of a violent crime is so low?”
      Why do politicians have armed security when the number of political assassinations in this country can be counted on 1 hand?
      Why do police carry guns when they are far more likely to be injured and killed in a motor vehicle accident?
      Why do they carry them if statistics show that many can go their entire career without using it in the line of duty?
      Why do I have auto insurance after 20 years, when Ive never been in an accident?
      Why do I have a fire extinguisher and first aid kit in my home? I’ve never needed to use them yet.

      “Why are most mass murders committed with black guns?”
      Does the color really matter?
      Aren’t plastics and composites the future of most technology?
      If someone were to use a “pink” AK/AR(and they do exist) would it be less of a problem?

      “Why did the NRA cast Obama as being severely anti-gun when he wasn’t?”
      Maybe because of various statements he’d made while a Senator.
      Maybe because he was caught telling members of the Brady campaign that they needed to work on things “under the radar”.
      Maybe because voting “present” is not the same as voting against legislation.

  171. SikorskyH-53 Says:

    I read the article and about half of the comments (which is just as important as reading the article). I also agree with others that this was a well written piece worthy of discussion, which is why I think the comments are just as important.

    Another aspect (in my opinion) is to recognize is the fact that technology today has brought us instant and extremely far reaching access to media. I believe this has had more influence than ever before because in the past, all we had was the nightly (or breaking) news on the three major networks, or the print media, which we had to wait until the next morning to read. This influence can/has/will be used to promote a biased point of view in the majority of (my opinion) so called media outlets. All of them (yes, Fox News included) inform the public of news THEY deem worthy of “reporting” and in the manner in which they choose to “report” it. The quotes are because there is almost no such news being reported without even a hint of bias, be it in verbal or non-verbal expression.

    As has been pointed out, to draw out a reasonable, better yet, factual conclusions is to research and support your opinion with just that, facts. Only then can you base your argument or have a true debate. If you only provide emotional statements and conjectures, and labeling (name calling in some cases) of others, then your opinion because less valued.

    Kontra made the second best point (next to the original article):
    “If we are going to make rational, informed decisions about anything in this world, including guns, we need to respect each other’s voice. Not respect everyone’s opinions, necessarily, but be open to having our minds changed by evidence and reason. Angry characterizations of people immediately shut down that reasoning process and leave us on two sides of the proverbial aisle, unwilling to even understand where the other is coming from.

    I want to believe it’s possible to change minds. Civilization depends on it. And we can never do that if we don’t respect people enough to engage with them where they are.”

    Again, a very well written article by someone who obviously has an open mind to both sides of the argument. Something we could only hope for in our lawmakers.

  172. Excellent!! Although I’m left to wonder because your so knowledgeable on firearms what areas do you lean left? Most left wingers have no common sense at all but you have plenty of it. Thank you

  173. Some will never understand for they live in denial. They rely on the government to protect them in many matters.

    Here is an article some of you might enjoy while others may find only contempt as it doesnt fit into their view of morality and perhaps others find nothing more than admiration restrained by the understanding, they dont have the mindset or the preparation to act.

    Rest assured sheep dogs, there are many such stories unpublicized. These killers are cowards who want nothing more than a complete absence of a fight.

    It took place at a university in Virginia. A student with a grudge, an immigrant, pulled a gun and went on a shooting spree. It wasn’t Virginia Tech at all. It was the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, not far away. You can easily drive from the one school to the other, just take a trip down Route 460 through Tazewell.

    It was January 16, 2002 when Peter Odighizuwa came to campus. He had been suspended due to failing grades. Odighizuwa was angry and waving a gun calling on students to “come get me”. The students, seeing the gun, ran. A shooting spree started almost immediately. In seconds Odighizuwa had killed the school dean, a professor and one student. Three other students were shot as well, one in the chest, one in the stomach and one in the throat.

    Many students heard the shots. Two who did were Mikael Gross and Tracy Bridges. Mikael was outside the school having just returned to campus from lunch when he heard the shots. Tracy was inside attending class. Both immediately ran to their cars. Each had a handgun locked in the vehicle.

    Bridges pulled a .357 Magnum pistol and he later said he was prepared to shoot to kill if necessary. He and Gross both approached Odighizuwa at the same time from different directions. Both were pointing their weapons at him. Bridges yelled for Odighizuwa to drop his weapon. When the shooter realized they had the drop on him he threw his weapon down. A third student, unarmed, Ted Besen, approached the killer and was physically attacked.
    But Odighizuwa was now disarmed. The three students were able to restrain him and held him for the police. Odighizuwa is now in prison for the murders he committed. His killing spree ended when he faced two students with weapons. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

    You wouldn’t know much about that though. Do you wonder why? The media, though it widely reported the attack left out the fact that Bridges and Gross were armed. Most simply reported that the gunman was jumped and subdued by other students. That two of those students were now armed didn’t get a mention.

    James Eaves-Johnson wrote about this fact one week later in The Daily Iowan. He wrote: “A Lexus-Nexis search revealed 88 stories on the topic, of which only two mentioned that either Bridges or Gross was armed.” This 2002 article noted “This was a very public shooting with a lot of media coverage.” But the media left out information showing how two students with firearms ended the killing spree.

    He also mentioned a second incident. And while I had read many articles on this shooting for an article I wrote about school bullying not a single one mentioned the role that a firearm played in stopping it. Until today I didn’t know the full story.

    Luke Woodham was a troubled teen. He felt no one really liked him. In 1997 he murdered his mother and put on a trench coat. He filled the pockets with ammunition and took a handgun to the Pearl High School in Pearl, Mississippi. In rapid succession killed two students and wounded seven others.

    He had the incident planned out. He would start shooting students and continue until he heard police sirens in the distance. That would allow him time to get in his car and leave campus. From there he intended to go to the nearby Pearl Junior High School and start shooting again. How it would end was not clear. Perhaps he would kill himself or perhaps the police would finally catch up with him and kill him. Either way a lot more people were going to get shot and die.

    What Woodham hadn’t planned for was the actions of Assistant Principal Joel Myrick. Myrick heard the gun shots. He couldn’t have a handgun in the school. But he did keep one locked in his vehicle in the parking lot. He ran outside and retrieved the gun.

    As Myrick headed back toward the school Woodham was in his vehicle headed for his next intended target. Myrick aimed his gun at the shooter. The teen crashed his car when he saw the gun. Myrick approached the car and held a gun to the killer who surrendered immediately. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

    So you didn’t know about that. Neither did I until today. Eaves-Johnson wrote that there were “687 articles on the school shooting in Pearl, Miss. Of those, only 19 mentioned that” Myrick had used a gun to stop Woodham “four-and-a-half minutes before police arrived.”

    Many people probably forgot about the shooting in Edinboro, Pennsylvania. It was a school graduation dance that Andrew Wurst entered to take out his anger on the school. First he shot teacher John Gillette outside. He started shooting randomly inside the restaurant where the 240 students had gathered.

    It was restaurant owner James Strand, armed with a shot gun, who captured the shooter and held him for police. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

    It was February 12th of this year that a young man entered the Trolley Square Shopping Mall, in Salt Lake City. The mall was a self-declared “gun free zone” forbidding patrons from carrying weapons. He wasn’t worried. In fact he appreciated knowing that his victims couldn’t defend themselves.

    He opened fire even before he got inside killing his first victims immediately outside the front door. As he walked down the mall hallway he fired in all directions. Several more people were shot inside a card store immediately inside the mall. The shooter moved on to the Pottery Barns Kids store.

    What he didn’t know is that one patron of the mall, Kenneth Hammond, had ignored the signs informing patrons they must be unarmed to enter. He was a police officer but he was not on duty and he was not a police officer for Salt Lake City. By all standards he was a civilian that day and probably should have left his firearm in his vehicle.

    It’s a good thing he didn’t. He was sitting in the mall with his wife having dinner when he heard the shots. He told her to hide and to call 911 emergency services. He went to confront the gunman. The killer found himself under gun fire much sooner than he anticipated. From this point on all his effort was to protect himself from Hammond, he had no time to kill anyone else. Hammond was able to pin down the shooter until police finally arrived and one of them shot the man to death. There would be no further victims that day, thanks to armed resistance.

    In each of these cases a killer is stopped the moment he faces armed resistance. It is clear that in three of these cases the shooter intended to continue his killing spree. In the fourth case, Andrew Wurst, it is not immediately apparent whether he intended to keep shooting or not since he was apprehended by the restaurant owner leaving the scene.

    Three of these cases involved armed resistance by students, faculty or civilians. In one case the armed resistance was from an off-duty police officer in a city where he had no legal authority and where he was carrying his weapon in violation of the mall’s gun free policy.

    What would have happened if these people waited for the police? In three cases the shooters were apprehended before the police arrived because of armed civilians. At Trolley Square the shooter was kept busy by Hammond until the police arrived. In all four cases the local police were the Johnny-come-latelys.

    Consider the horrific events at Virginia Tech. Again an armed man enters a “gun free zone”. He kills two victims and walks away long before the police arrive. He spends two hours on campus, doing what is unknown. He then enters another building on campus and begins shooting. He never encounters a police officer during this. And all the students and faculty present had apparently complied with the “no gun” policy of the university. So no one stopped him. NO ONE STOPPED HIM! And when he finished his shooting spree 32 people were dead. It was the killer who ended the spree. He took his own life and when the police arrived all they dealt with were the dead.

    There were many further victims that day. The shooter never met with armed resistance.

  174. Billamemnon Says:

    In reply to Eric above — in the Loughner incident, The shooter (Laughner) pausd, for whatever reason, allowing bystanders to control him and take his gun. When Joe Zamudio came on the scene from inside a nearby drugstore, he found an old guy holding the gun. Despite the fact that Zamudio was armed with his own concealed handgun, he did not draw the gun, but tackled the man holding Loughner’s gun. It was a wise move on Zamudio’s part, as the man holding the gun was one of the intervening bystanders. Zamudio never actually saw any of the firing; he heard it from inside the drugstore and ran to help.

    • Correct except for the tackling part. According to his interview with Ed Schultz immediately following the incident Joe grabbed the man’s wrist, at which point bystanders began yelling that the shooter was the man on the ground. Joe then jumped into what was still a wrestling match and held Loughner down.

      It was an unfortunate incident of “loose talk” that Joe said he “almost” shot the guy with the gun. Those with an agenda obviously seized on that and printed it in big block letters while ignoring the part which you accurately pointed out- he never even drew the gun.

      Years from now, someone will say “I almost bought a pack of 10 windowed Pmags before the ban”. This is unlikely to mean that they were standing at the cash register when CNN announced the ban on TV. It is far more likely to mean “I had the impulse, but for a variety of reasons didn’t follow through”.

      But I also want to balance my loose talk criticism with an overabundance of praise for every other thing Joe said. He presented a man who was everything that gun control advocates vociferously deny exists- a man who carries a gun everywhere, is angry at the mere thought that someone would victimize another human being in HIS town, and someone who rather than uselessly railing against “evil” instead makes a passionate appeal for those lost and lonely souls who feel outcast from society.

      I hope to buy Joe a beer someday.

  175. Kevin Matthews Says:

    The other thing I must wonder about is just when that second amendment right will be fully used. People are using it as a defence and going on about fighting against corrupt governments but in the past decade or so we have seen the US government conduct illegal wars, detain and torture people in Guantanamo, refuse and abuse the rights of peaceful protestors and invade personal private space in 101 different ways (with the first that comes to mind being the new problems with TWA). That’s alongside the constant enriching of the rich, of course.
    I wish we had such an amendment here in the UK as our government has been getting just as bad, and in many ways a lot worse, so I’m not saying that this is specifically a sole American problem.
    I’m just wondering how bad things have to get before the folks with those right to bear arms actually stand up and bear them against corrupt and abusive authority figures?!?!

    • Kevin Matthews, well said. It’s well said because of a problem I’ve elsewhere called out:

      – someone who “stands up and bears arms against corrupt and abusive authority figures” without first ensuring that most people agree that they’re abusive enough to do so, will act too soon, and will be isolated and imprisoned (rightly so, in my opinion–if the government works well enough for most people’s tastes that they don’t want a revolution, then who is the lone guy to order us to want one? They would thus be tyrants themselves, not the government). However,

      – someone who waits long enough to be sure of that consensus will have waited too long.

      Observe Nazi Germany: there were MILLIONS of armed paramilitaries in Germany, on the left AND the right, when Hitler took power (contrary to myth, Hitler didn’t pass any gun laws until several years after he’d already suppressed his German opposition). However, the leftist paramilitaries didn’t act. Why? Because Hitler was the duly, democratically elected Chancellor, and the Nazis making laws were doing so in a parliamentary vote, and so people didn’t want to break the law. It will be no different in any democracy if, God forbid, England or America ever become true tyrannies like the Nazis had. That is why the idea of armed insurrection is lunacy (along with most citizens’ complete inattention to any practical questions attending it).

  176. Those who keep arms to keep alive a fantasy of violently overthrowing the US government, note that nonviolent insurgencies have been found to succeed at over twice the rate of violent ones (over 50% of nonviolent insurgencies succeeded in the following study, compared to 25% for violent insurgencies).

    http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/isec.2008.33.1.7

    This leaves out the fact that several recent violent insurgencies, such as Libya’s, have depended on:

    1) help from foreign military superpowers; and

    2) American communications tools, such as Youtube, for coordination and publicizing of their movements. (If such a thing occurred here, one could of course hardly count for one’s communications on Youtube, which is owned by Google, which–like most major American high tech companies I can think of–has strong ties to the American intelligence and military establishment.)

    Add this to the above comments, to the effect that no such 2nd Amendment advocate I’ve ever asked has had ANY idea about the practicalities of such an insurgency, nor can be bothered even to consider them; and the fact that most of those I’ve asked have said nothing more than “it’ll work if there are massive defections from our police and military,” which is essentially saying “our arms will enable us to overthrow the authorities, as long as the authorities give us permission.”

  177. I asked someone above these questions, and I seem to have stumped him:

    30-round magazines, it seems, are worse than useless (to anyone but a police officer or soldier, who may–though VERY rarely–NEED to shoot that many people). Worse, because they do “benefit” mass murderers. Useless, because there is NO example of any citizen out of uniform ever using more than 10 rounds to subdue a mass shooter.

    But forget mass shooters. Does anyone here have ANY example, any at all, of anyone ever shooting more than 10 rounds from his or her magazine or clip, in fending off ANY murderer (or even a person convicted of attempted murderer)?

    Personally, I’m fine with JimmyCZ and his girlfriend, above, owning an AR-15–if they start making them to handle only 10 rounds (which they will, if that’s what it takes to sell them).

    But as far as the magazine size, if you can’t even point to ONE example of magazines of over 10 rounds proving their usefulness, then unless you’re making money from their sale, it’s time to give the higher-capacity magazines up.

    • Just a question, and I appologize if you have answered elsewhere. Do you suggest a ban/turn in of all existing magazines over 10 rounds? I would think you have to as it’s pretty pointless otherwise. (The former ban was in effect for 20 years and only made getting them pricier.) This would be a boon for firearm and magazine manufacturers as everyone with higher cap. mags would not need to buy new legal ones. Not to mention that we would see a whole new round of hand guns targeting maximum concealability using 10-round mags. I like this idea. It will make me feel safer, just like everytime I have to throw away a 4oz saline solution bottle that’s half full when I fly.

      • Yyyyeah, somehow I don’t think that the NRA, and the gun salesmen and manufacturers they represent, would be screaming to the high heavens about this ban if it were really going to be a “boon” to them, do you really?

        I suggest a ban of all magazines over 10 rounds. As with any other law, such as the ones against letting five-year-olds drink alcohol or drive, it won’t be perfect–five-year-olds still manage to do so sometimes–but it will drastically cut down on the instance of it. This is especially true because guns don’t last forever. An old gun can’t be fired, and if the ban is left in place, the old guns and magazines will degrade.

        Now then–got an answer to my simple question, or not?

      • They’re screaming to the high heavens because it’s an infringement of the rights of the law abiding at the expense of doing nothing to violent crime, as the first AWB proved. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be unintended consequences of your magazine ban.

        What Jas is describing is exactly what happened during the last ban. Gun manufacturers naturally started putting out smaller handguns in larger calibers that would naturally only have about ten rounds anyway. This does nothing but hinder weaker shooters from effectively using a firearm, primarily women.

        Your assertion that “old guns can’t be fired and old guns and magazines will degrade” is a demonstration of breathtaking ignorance of the subject matter. Many gun owners have firearms from before WWII that weren’t even taken very good care of and are still functional. There have been guns unearthed in Vietnam that were still functional after being buried in dirt for three decades, despite being manufactured from cheap 1960s materials.

        Modern firearms and magazines if properly oiled, bagged up, and hidden away somewhere will still be functional centuries later. The only limitation would be the degradation of certain plastic pieces, and a 1911 has none, and ironically an 8 round magazine.

        I’m going to need to see where you got your statistic that there are thousands of murders or attempted murders with standard capacity magazines.

        But my biggest objection to this line of argument is what I’ve already posted above. News articles are written soon after the event, and those details are never made available to reporters.

        Here’s an example-

        http://standardspeaker.com/news/home-invasion-intruder-killed-1.1102011

        Three home invaders break into a house at least one of whom is an Outlaws gang member, and one single woman is home. There is “an exchange of gunfire”. She is shot in the process, and kills one, the only person identified. If you are unfamiliar with motorcycle gang members, let me tell you this- they are violent, hardened criminals, and do not scare off at a warning shot. As much ammunition as she used, I promise you she wanted more.

        There are instances of five or more armed men kicking down a door and storming into a house. The Billings murder was perpetrated by a crew of ten men. Saying that no one needs more than ten rounds because you’ve never heard of an example is the exact equivalent of saying “I don’t know ALL black people, but I know enough…” which is not only intellectually and ethically reprehensible, your cavalier attitude can cost people’s lives because you don’t want to do the work to look for information that would disprove your theory.

        To me, allowing women to have more capability to defend themselves is more important than the occasional misuse by the mentally ill.

        Five charged in violent home invasion
        By Daryl Bjoraas
        Story Created: Dec 28, 2012 at 3:02 PM EST

        7 arrested for Winsted home invasion
        Updated: Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012, 11:41 AM EDT
        Published : Tuesday, 18 Sep 2012, 8:54 PM EDT
        Story Updated: Dec 31, 2012 at 7:45 AM EST

      • Eric, you’ve gotta be kidding:

        “I’m going to need to see where you got your statistic that there are thousands of murders or attempted murders with standard capacity magazines.”

        I claimed that the United States has thousands of murders each year. You’re truly unaware that the United States has thousands of murders each year? And you need proof of it? You’re telling me that? I’m happy to do so, but that’s… wild…

        “They’re screaming to the high heavens because it’s an infringement of the rights of the law abiding”

        (boggle) The “rights” of the law abiding–to own high-capacity magazines containing shots that they have never ONCE used, not a single one of them, ever, to stop a murder? But that only mass murderers ever use? That’s NUTS!

        (And you claim with a straight face that “just because there’s absolutely no record of it ever happening, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened”? You’re telling me without laughing that with a multi-BILLION dollar industry pumping out propaganda night and day, to make sure these things remain legal, that if there had ever been even ONE example of this really happening, we wouldn’t be hearing about it 24/7? Please. You take us for gullible fools. Go into the pumpkin patch and wait for the Great Pumpkin, too. If that were the case, then they wouldn’t have had to make up that story about Beckwith and Fadden; they’d actually HAVE a news story about it actually happening.)

        Since the only things they’re being used for can be accomplished perfectly well with 10 rounds, I’m not willing to make the mass murders more efficient, just because gun salesmen are peddling 30-round magazines as security blankets to the irrational and credulous. That just makes no sense.

      • Andrew, you’ve littered this page with the assertion that magazines of greater than ten round capacity are “NEVER” used to prevent crime. You have no data to support this, as none exists.

        You’ve also said that these magazines are used to commit crimes, even going so far as to say “only mass murderers ever use”. You have yet to cite any data to support this, perhaps because although it does exist it doesn’t do a very good job of supporting your argument.

        And yes, just because you can’t find it online doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I got a parking ticket last month, that doesn’t mean you’ll find it on JSTOR, just like you couldn’t find anything related to Gary Fadden. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

        September 18 1984 edition of the Free Lance Star.
        Weapons Salesman Acquitted In Death
        A Fairfax County Circuit Court jury deliberated less than four hours Monday before finding Gary Fadden innocent of first-degree murder charges. Fadden shot …

        And what is with all the negativity? Your posts are full of namecalling and condescension lately. It reflects poorly on you as well as your cause if you can’t have your beliefs challenged without reverting to big-fat-doodoo-head mode.

      • Your claim that the Free Lance-Star published an article about the Gary (in some versions, Garry) Fadden myth is a lie. There is NO evidence for this claim anywhere on the Free Lance-Star’s website; any searches on that website for Gary or Garry Fadden returned a mere single hit, relating to a story about VANESSA Fadden, not Gary or Garry Fadden. Therefore, your only sources for the myth are gun blogs, which are not news sources.

        You lie. As mentioned, it looks as if you are not worth talking to; but I hope that, when our congresspeople ask “people are getting murdered by mass murderers who love high-capacity magazines; but does anyone have evidence that a single life was ever SAVED by a civilian wielding one?”, I hope that the answers they get are exactly like your Gary Fadden legend-peddling. Thanks for supporting my side. Good day.

      • Wait, are you telling me that the Free Lance Star doesn’t have an article from 1984 on their website?
        Astonishing.

        Try this, in case you seriously don’t see it.

        http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1298&dat=19840918&id=eeJLAAAAIBAJ&sjid=x4sDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5238,2685423

      • I’m not sure what you’ve got there, or where you got it from, but I’m looking at the official website for the Free Lance-Star.

        This is the official website for the Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, VA, and surrounding areas (including Fairfax, which you cite):

        http://fredericksburg.com/

        Go there and list any of the search terms (beckwith, gary fadden, or garry fadden) for the Beckwith-Fadden story, and you will find nothing. Not one thing pertaining to that “news story.”

        Anyone reading this can check any such story, by finding the news source’s official website online, and then entering search terms for that story in the paper’s search box. If anyone’s too lazy to do that, then that’s okay with me–some such people will be fooled by propaganda, but our representatives don’t take them as seriously as they do expert witnesses. Anyone who DOES do that can check any and every tale you tell for themselves. Just google the paper’s official website (wikipedia lists them, if you’re lazy), and you find it in two minutes. I invite everyone reading this to do so.

      • What he has are PDF’s of scanned newspapers(the real ink and paper kind) in google’s archives. Newspapers don’t keep every story on their server forever. Server space is expensive.

        Wait, maybe the industries billion dollar propaganda machine hacked google….

      • Andrew, newspapers are not going to keep thirty years of archived newspapers on their website. Instead, I’ve provided a link to Google news, which DOES keep thirty years of newspapers on their site, since that’s their job and they can afford it.

        If it does not take you directly to the article, it is on page 11, on the left side in between “Hospital adding more black doctors” and “Hospital Notes”.

    • Again: very simple question. These 30-round magazines that people keep screaming “my life will not be worth living if I can’t buy one! Horreur!”?

      I’ve asked repeatedly: do you have ANY example of ANYONE not in uniform, a regular citizen, shooting more than 10 rounds to fend off a murderer? ANY example, one single one?

      Since no one has any example, from the THOUSANDS of murders or attempted murders here each year, it’s obvious that far from “needing” 30-round magazines, not one ordinary armed citizen except a mass murderer has ever even USED more than 10 bullets in one. The only thing you’re using it for is target practice, and you can use a 10-round magazine for those perfectly well. The only person being seriously inconvenienced, then, will be the mass murderer, who doesn’t want to pause to change magazines.

      So unless you’re all just freaking out because you sell them, what the heck are you screaming about it for? You’re not even using them!

      • Well, I for one, compete in 3 Gun shoots. My magazines are only 20 round capacity for my FN FAL that I use and I’m at a disadvantage when up against other competitors that are using ARs with 30 round mags. If I could afford an AR it would save me money for the less expensive cartridge as well as make me more competitive. On top of that the standard mags for the pistols I use are 15+1 or 13+1 depending on whether I use my .40 cal or .45. If standard magazine capacity for the manufactured rifle happens to be 30 then why restrict law abiding citizens from using that just because they may have been used in a statistically negligible mass murder scenario? There is a far greater argument for getting rid of gun free zones than there is for inconveniencing people like me.

        By the way, I live in New Zealand where we don’t use firearms for self-defence so all that rubbish about needing more or less than 10 rounds to stop someone on a shooting spree is totally irrelevant to me. I am purely interested in the sport of shooting. I am only interested in the logic of the arguments being presented on this forum. It is totally illogical (to me), to be debating the red-herrings of magazine capacity and whether the firearm has a pistol grip, shroud, bayonet lug, flash suppressor or folding stock – when a far more relevant question would be why are states with least firearm control statistically safer to live in than those with the greatest control? Perhaps you would be so good as to address this anomally?

      • greggatshack,

        I can address your claim of an “anomaly” quite easily: you are some guy on the Internet who claimed a bunch of stuff without providing any links to prove it. If you want me to take your claim seriously, please provide evidence.

        As to whether gun laws cause violent crime to go up or down, I’ve already mentioned, above, the fact that violent crime in the United States went down dramatically during the previous Assault Weapons Ban. I don’t happen to believe that this was CAUSED by the Assault Weapons Ban; however, it is obvious that it certainly wasn’t HURT by the Assault Weapons Ban (especially since it went down LESS dramatically after the ban was ended).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Violent_Crime_Rates_in_the_United_States.svg

        As to your claims for why you “need” a higher-capacity magazine than 10 rounds, it’s completely illogical nonsense–if it’s against the law for _anyone_ to own a gun with more than 10 rounds, then no one will have an advantage over anyone else! The very problem that you say you have would be erased by this ban.

        And as to why we should restrict law-abiding citizens from owning such magazines, the answer is plain: 1) they aren’t even USING those extra bullets, except in target shooting, and they can get over that minor inconvenience, especially because: 2) the only people besides soldiers and police who DO use up those bullets are those “statistically insignificant” mass murderers that you would suddenly care about, if you were facing one. Now please stop cluttering up this thread with nonsense, if you have no answer but bulls— to my question:

        Has anyone got ANY example of any murderer or attempted murder being stopped by shooting over 10 rounds in a magazine? With every bulls—er who tries to change the subject, it becomes more obvious: no, there HASN’T ever been one. So you do not need guns with greater than 10 round magazines. Is there ONE person on this thread who is honest enough to just say that?

      • While people are thinking up another sleazy way to duck the question, instead of just standing up like a man and admitting that I’m right (that no one in America but a soldier or policeman has EVER shot over 10 rounds to stop a murder), chew on this:

        If a drug was on the market that killed a bunch of people each year, but without having ANY redeeming effects in saving people except under strict use under controlled conditions when administered by a doctor, and there was a pill that DID work better for people’s personal use (like a 10-round gun works, quite well, for personal self-defense), then you’d better believe we’d ban the one that wasn’t necessary for anyone.

        You people have ZERO need, or even use, for a magazine greater than 10 rounds. Your shrieking against anyone banning them is nothing more than hoarding behavior. You’re not using them for anything a 10-round magazine can’t work just as well for; and the only people who ARE using them and need their efficiency, besides soldiers and cops, are mass murderers. So for the sake of the victims of the mass murderers, I wish you target shooters, and even gun salesmen, would TRY to do the decent thing instead of what you’re doing now.

      • Besides the austin tower shooter i cant think of one with civilians. Basically because the austin tower job lasted long enough for civilians with rifles to get there. As it is people dont typically walk around with rifles. I guess your victory dance is kinda immaterial. But i do have one answer for you. At the end of the day its none of your business. Not in a rude way. But in a common sense way. No more than why do i jave a million dollar life policy when i aint worth that much. Or why i wear boxers instead of breiefs. It just isnt your place to dictate.

        Excuse the iphone typos.

      • Mike, well damn–thank God, someone FINALLY admitted that it was true.

        I want to be clear, though: you’re claiming that one or more of the citizens who came to stop the Austin tower shooter shot more than 10 rounds per magazine? Otherwise, yes, it is very clear that there is no use for a magazine of more than 10 rounds for an ordinary citizen.

      • And please–Mike, where on EARTH you get the idea that “it’s none of your business,” I don’t know, but that’s complete garbage. My point is not only to demonstrate that no ordinary citizen will ever even use more than 10 rounds in one sitting, in self-defense (although that seems clear). That is merely to demonstrate that it does no harm, besides a mild inconvenience to target shooters, to ban such magazines.

        The point is that ALONG with that, there IS a lot of harm–murderous harm–coming from keeping them available to ordinary citizens. And that sure as hell IS my business. You’re making the decision for me that I have to face a 30-round magazine instead of a 10-round one? That when I go to the movies and meet some lunatic shooter, and want to overpower him, you want to force me to meet a guy with a 30-round magazine, instead of a guy who could only find 3 10-round magazines, and had to stop 3 times as often? Get back. You don’t make that decision for me and then pretend I’m invading your privacy. One and a half dozen schoolkids get killed with one of these things, and you pretend they never leave your living room.

      • Mike: The only news articles I’m finding about the Austin Tower shooting indicate that the civilian responders brought deer-hunting rifles, but none of those articles says anything about them discharging more than 10 bullets from a magazine, or needing more than a 10-bullet magazine, or even having one.

        For all I know so far, no civilian even carried such a gun on that day, but I’m eager to read it if you have any source that shows this. If you cannot provide this, it seems clear: there is no evidence that ANY murder has been stopped by someone shooting more than 10 rounds from a magazine of higher capacity. Therefore, those who are claiming they’re needed for self-defense are claiming something false, unless someone has a source for an example.

      • I was trying to give you an example of a real world (my own experience), use for higher capacity magazines. You are demanding proof that people have used high capacity mags in stopping crimes as if the absence of such proof will justify your opinion that there is no need for any magazine capacity higher than 10.

        You are trying to appeal to fear when you suggest that people will be helpless in the face of a spree-killer using 30 round mags as opposed to 10 round mags. The ONLY way to tackle such a situation adequately would be for that person to meet armed resistance. If that killer is a competent shooter he will always drop the mag at 9 shots (or 29) and have one up the spout ready to deal immediately to the unarmed hero (such as yourself).

        In a movie theatre which places no restriction on carrying firearms and has say 200 patrons, there will be 2-8 (statistically – http://www.rkba.org/research/cramer/shall-issue.html )who will be carrying. These people will likely be spread out around the theatre and it is likely that one of them will be able to stop the killer. Only one shot would be required by a competent person (but in reality he would most likely use 3 or 4).

        Regardless of how many times you have played this sort of scenario out in your head the chances of you finding yourself in this position would be lower than you winning your national lottery.

        In my earlier post, rather than pander to your silly fixation about 10 round mags in a 30 round reality, I tried to turn the topic to an actual solution-based discussion – eg. relaxing firearms laws so that more honest citizens would have them in day-to-day situations, obviating the risk of spree-killers.

        I hesitate to post this because I sense that I am only feeding a troll but here it goes anyway…

      • Seems the troll is you. Are you serious about US relaxing laws? That will save lives? Your New Zealand story misses the point. You require firearm owners to be licensed, we do not. You require a license to purchase ammo; we do not. You require a safe place to store firearms in the house prior to licensing; we do not. It would be a good start here, to follow NZ licensing laws.

      • “only one shot would be required by a competent person”

        Hello–YES, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M SAYING. Which is why nobody but a mass murderer has any use for higher-capacity magazines, since murderers not in a military force (in which case we need soldiers, not the local 7/11 clerk, to face them) don’t show up in packs of 11 or more.

        “rather than pander to your silly fixation”

        Earth to greggatshack–if you don’t want to discuss the point that I’m making, then start your own post, then. Don’t change the subject on mine, just because you can’t stand up like a man and be honest about it.

        “You are demanding proof that people have used high capacity mags in stopping crimes as if the absence of such proof will justify your opinion that there is no need for any magazine capacity higher than 10.”

        “As if” it proves that. Of COURSE it proves that. If high-capacity magazines help mass murderers slaughter 20 schoolchildren–oh, uh, added to the Aurora shooter’s victims, and MANY more, by the way, and thank you *so much* for generously caring so much about their slaughter (but sorry to “appeal to fear,” otherwise known as “listing what’s actually happened but that you are uncomfortable with admitting since it interferes with your target-shooting or gun-selling goals”).

        You people. Not one of you will be honest enough to admit it: high-capacity magazines are useful for slaughtering large numbers of people; they are NOT useful, and have NEVER been used by citizens, to STOP a murder; and (aside from police or soldiers, who occasionally MAY need to shoot large numbers of people) the only use you’ve identified for one has been to further your target shooting. That is not a good enough reason to balance out the kids that just got slaughtered. Have a nice day, greggatshack.

      • Anyway, to the question: “do you have ANY example of ANYONE not in uniform, a regular citizen, shooting more than 10 rounds of a high-capacity magazine, to fend off a murderer?”

        The answer is “no, there is no such example.” (Mike claimed he only had one example, that of the Austin Tower shooter’s civilian opponents; however, all news reports I can find say that ordinary deer rifles were used by them. I find no evidence that magazines of larger than 10 rounds were used by those civilians.)

        Since high-capacity magazines make things more efficient for mass murderers, such as the Newtown murderer, but without any benefit to balance them out but a trivial lessening of target shooters’ inconvenience, they should be banned.

      • John D, I am not saying that the laws of my country are necessarily the best. I’m also not saying that licencing shooters is not a good idea. Actually I’m in favour of that – just not registering firearms (which would be a tedious and costly affair that (like Canada) would cost the taxpayer billions – and to no useful end). In my country self-defence is not a valid reason to own a firearm. As violence escalates I’m thinking that perhaps it should be. Our own police are considering having them and I support that idea, (although I don’t think that they should be allowed to use them in confrontation situations until they have been able to demonstrate greater competence with them than they have up until now.) Essentially the people are defenceless and therefore become victims too easily. The criminals already have firearms, while our citizens do not. That is an imbalance that will have to be addressed as the criminals gain confidence.

        Andrew, you originally posited that “the only person being seriously inconvenienced, then, will be the mass murderer, who doesn’t want to pause to change magazines.”
        The mass murderer can quite happily operate with 10 round magazines and will be just as lethal. The only things that will inconvenience this shooter will be running out of ammo, running out of victims or being met by lethal force before he has used up either of the former.

        Both of you, for one side to have superior force will lead to catastrophe for the other.
        Q. What stopped America from dropping nuclear weapons on Japan? A. Nothing.
        Q. What stopped them from dropping them on other places since then? A. The fact that other people have them.

        It is pointless and ineffectual to ban law-abiding citizens from owning this gun or that, this magazine or that. In order to stop these sorts of shootings in the future you will have to simply make sure that potential perpetrators will be met by resistance.

        This is the last time I will post to “your” rant about high capacity mags. If you haven’t got it by now you will never get it.

      • greggatshack, well thank God for that–your completely baseless assertions clutter up the place with unsupported, illogical nonsense, such as:

        “Andrew, you originally posited that “the only person being seriously inconvenienced, then, will be the mass murderer, who doesn’t want to pause to change magazines.”
        The mass murderer can quite happily operate with 10 round magazines and will be just as lethal.”

        Obvious rubbish–otherwise, they would USE 10 round magazines and be quite happy. And I like how you start out claiming greater efficiency for high-capacity magazines when you’re using them, and then switch to claiming no difference in efficiency, when murderers use them and are “just as lethal.” Nice try at the hoary game of Making Stuff Up as You Go Along, but I’m confident that this ban will inconvenience mass shooters nicely. Thanks for playing.

        “The only things that will inconvenience this shooter will be running out of ammo, running out of victims or being met by lethal force before he has used up either of the former.”

        Complete rubbish. The Jared Loughner case, which I linked to repeatedly above, shows that he was overcome because he had to pause to switch out his magazine. You lie.

      • And I’ve already mentioned above that your interpretation of the data is in error. 2010 was a record low for violent crime, in the midst of a long run of year after year of record setting gun sales . The AWB “didn’t hurt” because guns and violent crime have nothing to do with each other.

        I’m fascinated by your belief that outlawing magazines with more than 10 round capacity will suddenly make them all disappear. That’s not how it works, again, as demonstrated during the last ban. The magazines were still there, they were just more expensive. You’re arrogantly dismissing someone (an outsider, even) who has a valid point, I assume merely because you don’t like the point. Making the standard capacity magazines more expensive will simply benefit those able to pay for them. It seems you don’t care about women OR poor people.

        As for how many times civilians fire their weapons, there is ZERO reliable data on civilian self defense shootings to support any assertion either way. You’re making the claim, so let’s see the data. I’m not changing the subject, I want you to back up your assertion that the determination can even be made. It can’t. Argument from ignorance.

        Not only are you making an argument out of complete ignorance, but I’ve posted the story of Mark Wilson, a man with a carry permit who confronted a rifle wielding mass shooter with a 1911 handgun, which at most has an eight round magazine. You can bet Mr. Wilson would have liked to have had more ammunition that day, as he was the only person killed.

        Your pharmaceutical analogy, like so many overly simplistic studies of medicine, fails to account for human behavior. Pharmaceutical agents in the body have a demonstrable, physiological effect. No one chooses for the drug to cross the blood brain barrier or to be processed by the liver, it just does. There is no such relationship with a 15 round magazine. Mine have certainly never caused me to behave erratically or lash out at the world. Millions of people choose to be law abiding, non-violent people despite having these magazines in their possession.

        Mike is no more the arbiter of truth with regards to every single act of firearm related crime in the history of these United States than you are. And he didn’t claim to be, he said he couldn’t remember any. It’s quite arrogant and presumptuous of you to claim to have the monopoly on the truth. Even George Soros says so.

        And it really isn’t any of your business. Don’t like drugs and alcohol? Don’t ingest them. Don’t like abortions? Don’t get one. Don’t like porn? Don’t look at it. Our magazines aren’t hurting anyone. Psychopaths are, and psychopaths have proven to be even more deadly when they’re forced to turn to methods like explosives and fire.

        As for lunatics in theaters, you’re ignoring the real problem. Every mass shooting is carried out because the perpetrator knows he or she can get away with it. Gun free zones are the problem. The assumption that if you put a sign up that says “no guns” that criminals and psychopaths will take their carnage elsewhere is madness. Clinton had it absolutely right- put armed guards in schools. If the media would focus on the civilian or armed guard who stops the killer more than they do the killer, these shootings would stop.

        And again Andrew, there is a night and day difference between a mass shooter and a civilian defending themselves. The civilian feels their life is in danger, and is at a disadvantage. The mass murderer has chosen the time and place, and chooses willingly to kill people. They choose places where they know they won’t meet any resistance, and then give up or kill themselves when the resistance finally shows up. They have lots of time to change magazines, we don’t

        The mass murderer dominates their environment. No one wants to get shot, and almost everyone stays far away if they have the chance. Those around Loughner didn’t have the chance, and it was NOT the reload that gave people the time to tackle him, it was a failed aftermarket magazine, per Sheriff Dupnik.

        It’s REALLY hypocritical for you to attack someone for “cluttering up the place” with their opinion.

      • I have NO problem with someone making posts even longer than mine, if they’re being honest. I said as much to Andrew S, whose post (at that time) was longer than mine, but wasn’t lying. I have a HUGE problem with people making up stuff that’s false, like:

        “I’m fascinated by your belief that outlawing magazines with more than 10 round capacity will suddenly make them all disappear.”

        which is NEVER something I’ve EVER claimed, and is the opposite of what I’ve said, which is that it WON’T stop every crime, nor remove all the high-capacity magazines from the US. I said it would make it HARDER to get them, and remove SOME of them from the hands of murderers. (An