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April 16, 2007

Comments

Since not too many college students have the training to effectively stop a shooting rampage, I'd say the fantasy of one of them firing back is a bit moot,anyway.

Wow this is awful. I was seeing “1 killed” all morning. ABC has it as 29 dead as of now.

ABCNews now says at least 29 dead.

They've already got a special "THE VIRGINIA TECH MASSACRE" section up.

My first thought on reading the post is that people who's first thought about a massacre at a college dorm at 7-8 am, or in a college classroom at 10 am is that more students should have guns have marked themselves as unworthy of serious attention. I already knew this about Prof. Reynolds. I'm sorry, von, to have to put you in the category too.

When you go home tonight, look your wife and kid in the eye, and think about how your first reaction to the death of someone else's kid -- a bunch of someone else's kids -- was a video-game level fantasy.

-After 9-11, I don’t see how we can trust many of these folks with the ability to identify danger.

I’m sure the president of the Young Republicans would have killed everyone except the shooter.

When you go home tonight, look your wife and kid in the eye, and think about how your first reaction to the death of someone else's kid -- a bunch of someone else's kids -- was a video-game level fantasy.

I went to college in a state where it was legal to carry a handgun with a concealed permit, and had several friends who did. There was nothing videogamish about it.

Almost as good as the Perfesser is Ace of Spades' "Is he Asian? No that was some other guy, but he could still be Asian" coverage.

Reminds me of what Tbogg said: No one is going to get a blogging Pulitzer for being the fastest to post what they just saw and heard on the TV. Or, I would add, for festooning them with talking points.

The same occurs where guns are freely available, because someone who wants to misuse a gun is deterred by the possibility or actuality of an armed response.

Yes, like in Iraq, where we see the effectiveness of deterrence every day.

In the real world, a nut who wants to take as many people with him as possible is not going to be deterred by local gun ownership statistics.

And it's remarkable how, when the facts and circumstances of the shootings aren't even in yet, gun fanatics already "know" that more guns would have meant someone could have shot the guy sooner.

According to the early reports, you had people in such a panic that two of them leapt from a top-story window and got seriously injured. I'm not sure I'd feel more comfortable if people with that sort of bad judgment were instead returning fire at who they thought was the shooter.

If some lefty blogger had posted this morning to say that this shooting was the product of one of Bush's policies (heck, there's a lot of blogs, such an example probably exists), he would have been widely derided by von's buddies, accused of BDS, and held up as the embodiment of the unserious Left, even if no one had ever heard of him before. But the most popular conservative blogger can use this tragedy as an argument against gun control before anyone even knows what happens, and I doubt you'll hear a whisper of mainstream condemnation. Which I guess means it's OK.

Incidenatally, CharlieCarp, the question presented is whether, given the current availability of handguns -- the mix of regions of high and low availability -- what to do.

Oh, and there's also the lockdown policy to consider. Any college kid who wants to live out the Reynolds fantasy and Ramvbo out is more likely to be shot - by the cops, that is, as they hunt down the actual perp.

Yeah, I wish the Shoot Back! crowd would wait a little while before it starts spouting that Red Dawn horse hockey. But I stopped expecting adult commentary from those ranks quite some time ago.

Yes, like in Iraq, where we see the effectiveness of deterrence every day.

I think we can safely exclude places where a civil war is occuring, whether it is occuring with guns (Iraq) or largely without them (Rwanda, a few years back).

"If some lefty blogger had posted this morning to say that this shooting was the product of one of Bush's policies (heck, there's a lot of blogs, such an example probably exists), he would have been widely derided by von's buddies, accused of BDS, and held up as the embodiment of the unserious Left, even if no one had ever heard of him before."

Oh, this is absolutely going to be used by both sides of the debate, and with very little useful talk on either side.

According to the early reports, you had people in such a panic that two of them leapt from a top-story window and got seriously injured. I'm not sure I'd feel more comfortable if people with that sort of bad judgment were instead returning fire at who they thought was the shooter.

Why are you assuming it was bad judgment? Perhaps, confronting a madman, it was the best of a series of bad options.

No, to get real, US-style gun violence, you need to be messed up in precisely the way the US is: You must have regions with relatively free gun ownership bordering regions where guns are heavily restricted. It's the mix that allows guns to travel where they can do maximum harm.

That's not how the U.S. is messed up. The U.S. is messed up because it's popular culture glorifies violence at a level higher than other societies do.

Canada, with a more restrictive gun regime, borders U.S. states that have considerably less restrictions on guns, and while freedom of movement across the border isn't as free as it is between States, it's not all that hard (and in the very recent past very easy) and yet gun violence is statistically much lower in Canada. So the idea that it's the lack of uniformity across jurisdictions that is the root cause is a thesis I'd put forth.

owning a gun, carrying a gun, shooting a gun, pointing a gun at a person and shooting are very different actions. reynolds or anyone couldn't possibly predict what would happen...

"with very little useful talk on either side."

Gosh, you and I are in complete agreement on this one.

von, at least you were honest about what your thoughts were, and also trying to start a constructive debate on how to handle things. Reynolds lets it all hang out, without regard to families of the victims, much like O'Reilly did in his debate with Geraldo.

There may be a time to look at things like he wants to, but not now. This is just exploiting a tragedy to make a cheap political point, without any evidence to back up his assertions.

Why are you assuming it was bad judgment? Perhaps, confronting a madman, it was the best of a series of bad options.

Well, I'll put my $5 on panic, and you can place your own wagers as you will. Basically, in a situation where a lot of people are freaking out, I'm not all that saddened that more of them didn't have guns handy.

WTF??

you cannot be implying that a college full of kids with loaded handguns is going to be a safer place ?

That's not how the U.S. is messed up. The U.S. is messed up because it's popular culture glorifies violence at a level higher than other societies do.

exactly.

we have fncked-up ideas about responsibility and the magic of instant violence to solve our problems.

adding more guns to the mix wouldn't change anything the death penalty hasn't changed - if a killer knows his actions are going to earn him The Chair and goes through with it anyway, there's no reason to think he'll be deterred by the chance that he'll get shot by a vengeful bystander before he kills his fourth or fifth victim.

von: I went to college in a state where it was legal to carry a handgun with a concealed permit, and had several friends who did. There was nothing videogamish about it.

What is videogamish is the notion that an armed college student will be able to whip out a gun and shoot the villain dead.

You might just as well wish that one of the college students had been bitten by a radioactive spider...

I'd think you need someone w/ a concealed weapon either highly trained, or in the immediate vicinity of where the massacre starts, to do much good. I don't buy the deterrence argument at all in this context. The shooters in massacres like this tend to be pretty indifferent to their own lives; a fair number end with the gunman shooting himself.

The idea of a bunch of college students on campus w/ guns as a safety measure sounds ridiculously stupid to me. I mean, I can certainly imagine individual upperclassmen who have their own place and knows what they're doing, but guns in the freshman dorm? You've got to be kidding me.

Oh, this is absolutely going to be used by both sides of the debate, and with very little useful talk on either side.

Yeah, but are both sides going to inappropriately chime in to try and score political points before the bodies have even cooled? Because right now, the score seems to stand at Instapundit 1, Everyone Else 0. Right now conservative bloggers are scrambling to try and find some lefty with 50 pageviews so they can make the "both sides do it" argument.

Maybe the after-the-fact arguments on both sides will be completely worthless, but at least they won't be dreadfully inappropriate. I swear, until I read this post I hadn't given a thought to the political arguments that might be made regarding this tragedy, and my world was a much better place as a result.

For instance, one would not cite Switzerland, which has notoriously high gun ownership, as a land of systematic violence.

Canada, too, has a lot of household guns, but very few handguns and automatic weapons, and much less gun-related violence.

Switzerland, as I recall, also has mandatory military services which includes weapons training, and has a militia-based defense system that requires quick access to weapons. Hence the gun ownership, I believe.

Both cases are not really comparable with US handgun culture. I'm opposed to private non-hunting weapon ownership, but I find the Swiss system far more acceptable than that of the US. And the statistics should indicate why.

Just a preemptive call for comity - when I'm upset I'm more likely to say something I'll feel bad about later, and no doubt others are similar. There's also a thread above that could use some poems about grief.

It seems to me that this is an excellent time to talk policy. This is very distressing to me -- I graduated from VT in 1996, and I'm three weeks away from moving back to Blacksburg -- but even I can make the connections between public policy and people dying. Whenever something like this happens, a lot of folks insist that we *not* talk about policy at all, that we not "politicize the event." But it's usually politics and public policy that enabled the tragedy and politics and public policy that will be used to fix it. So I can't think of a better time to at least renew the discussion.

Right now conservative bloggers are scrambling to try and find some lefty with 50 pageviews so they can make the "both sides do it" argument.

Well, John Aravosis has a few more than 50 pageviews.

Not to pontificate while the bodies are still warm, but...

The same occurs where guns are freely available, because someone who wants to misuse a gun is deterred by the possibility or actuality of an armed response.

I'm fairly sure this is false, or at least needs some pretty heavy qualification. Tim Lambert pretty much demolished John Lott/Mary Rosh's arguments for more guns, less crime and I don't know of any other research claiming this correlation.

And speaking as a perennial teacher of college freshmen... no. No guns on campus. No. A thousand times no. I don't give a crap how much of a deterrent you think they might be -- they aren't -- you're massively overestimating their capacity to act as "rational agents" in a MAD context. Just, no.

Rilkefan: Just a preemptive call for comity - when I'm upset I'm more likely to say something I'll feel bad about later, and no doubt others are similar.

Let's hope that Von is, certainly.

I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Thursday March 14 1996: I remember the flag on Edinburgh Castle flying at half-mast. The Snowdrop Campaign followed: a sense of terrible national sorrow and anger for what had happened in a Dunblane primary school that Wednesday morning.

In order to better frame Von's discussion here, I'd like to note that it is generally illegal for anyone other than police or campus security to carry any deadly weapon on a college campus. It's that way at all California campuses. It was that way at the University of Colorado. I also checked, and verified that this was also the case at both the University of Wyoming and the University of Alaska.

We aren't talking about states or cities here. We are talking about campuses. And while I believe that there should be some legitimate exceptions to these weapon laws on campus -- like in faculty and graduate housing where residents are 21 or older and then only in their dwelling or secured for transport according to all applicable local laws) -- I don't think that guns belong in classrooms or on campus outside of these narrow exceptions.

And believe me, if those exceptions were legal, we would have a gun or two in our household.

"Yeah, but are both sides going to inappropriately chime in to try and score political points before the bodies have even cooled? Because right now, the score seems to stand at Instapundit 1, Everyone Else 0."

Instapundit updates just under a zillion times a day. The fact that he is one of the first major bloggers to talk about the issue (inappropriately) isn't shocking. If everyone goes through their normal updating cycle and the left (not to mention more people on the right) avoids inappropriate comments, I'd be shocked--and then you'd have a point.

My point man for fairly popular quick trigger left-wing stupidity OliverWillis is already saying: " Here's the deal - we've got screwed up people and we've got a culture that allows someone to essentially walk into a store and grab more firepower than the revolutionary army had. It's amazing this doesn't happen more, and yet people want to have our country awash in guns."

I think Katherine hit the nail on the head. If college students were allowed to have firearms in their dorm rooms then we would have 29 campus gun deaths every weekend instead of a horrible incident once every decade.

Looks like the White House has managed to strike just the right tone:

Dana Perino, a White House spokeswoman, said President Bush was horrified by the rampage and offered his prayers to the victims and the people of Virginia.

“The president believes that there is a right for people to bear arms, but that all laws must be followed,” Perino said.

I confess that it would never occur to me to offer comforting words for both the victims and the gun lobby. But perhaps I lack compassion for those whose first reaction to a tragedy like this would be "I hope no one uses this as an excuse to take my guns away."

Blue Neponset,

"If college students were allowed to have firearms in their dorm rooms then we would have 29 campus gun deaths every weekend instead of a horrible incident once every decade."

No question that. College students are notoriously poor at controlling emotions (as most of us should recall), and strongly into exploring the limits of our new freedoms without having grown into the accompanying responsiblities. I am very glad that the most lethal weapons I handled during my college years shot water and paint pellets.

I had a buddy back in the day who lived in a dorm room down the hall. He liked to fly -- inside of his head and outside of his head. So he'd drop a hit of acid and then go rent an airplane at the local airport on a sleepy Saturday afternoon.

Just for yucks he would come in over the treetops and buzz the dorm.

God, I wish he'd had a gun license, too. There's nothing like a little weekend strafing to snap a guy out of his hangover and make him head for the heavily fortified library to hit the books.

Or better, I could have procured a gun license myself and set up an anti-aircraft nest in my dorm window and shot him down. Maybe I should have taken flying lessons, too. Dogfights over the campus. Oh, baby!

Ah, the unregulated days when the FDA, the FAA, and the ATF didn't go around spoiling all the fun.

The shooter is reportedly Asian. Will Reynolds speculate on whether he might have immaculate SAT scores but got shafted in the admissions process because of affirmative action, which he is sure wouldn't exist if all Asians carried guns?

Here's a more interesting question than the stupid, stinking, blasted, effing gun issue. What is it about mass murder by lone killers in America? What is it about American culture that fosters these rogue elements with their heavy weight of grudges and dreams of vengeance?

Have these people taken to heart the cult of individual initiative and entrepreneurship even in the awful act of murder?

If Wayne LaPierre had been an armed guidance counselor at Columbine High School, there would have been six more dead. Four cheerleaders, one kid trying to stuff his trombone case into his locker, and Pierre himself, shot right through his NRA insignia. The first five bullets would have been a match for LaPierre's stupid, stinking, blasted, effing gun.

Because competent American killers don't f---around considering the competence levels are freely available everywhere you look. Cause we loves our guns and we loves our shooting ranges and we loves our gadgets with their precision moving parts clicking as they hang from our mail-order GI belts, and we loves our bandeleros, and we loves our buck knives, and we loves our grudges.

Damn, Willis beat me to it.

Von,

Your hypothesis that high gun density deters crime has no evidence. There is no reason for anyone to believe that until you cite some evidence.

You may very well be right, but the claim is far from self evident.

Are you really an attorney? Don't they cover basics like this in law school? I'm not trying to be insulting but I am really confused why someone with your training would make such unsupported statements, and then proceed to build a whole argument from them.

This is a sentiment - that what happened in Virginia happens on a larger scale in Baghdad every day - that is worth reflecting on too.

Yeah, we should be focusing on all of the good news coming out of America instead of this mass death stuff.

We had elections and painted schools for Christ’s sake!

Although I am strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, add me to the list of those who think that concealed carry by students on a college campus would be sheer insanity.

I conclude that if Phil Spector had not carried guns, he would not have gotten laid nearly as much.

If Yoko One had been carrying a gun that awful night, the lobby ceiling of the Dakota would have one extra bullet hole in it. Of course, she would have had to change those billboards to read "War Is Over, If You Carry A Gun".

On the other hand, if Saddam Hussein had been left in power in Iraq to fire that shotgun off the palace balcony, Al Qaeda would not be in Iraq now.

The data are fuzzy.

These tragedies happen in Canada, too. When I lived in Switzerland there was an incident where a guy snapped and shot his extended family (part at a house I drove by on the way to the accelerator). I would guess that as the idea slowly occurs to crazy angry people outside America that going postal is an option, we will seem less exceptional.

I would guess that as the idea slowly occurs to crazy angry people outside America that going postal is an option, we will seem less exceptional.

I would guess that so long as the Second Amendment is interpreted to mean what the NRA wants it to mean, and not what it actually seems to say, the US will continue to be, as well as seem, exceptional in the level of gun violence.

I would guess that as the idea slowly occurs to crazy angry people outside America that going postal is an option, we will seem less exceptional.

35 dead would be a lull in Iraq.

"If college students were allowed to have firearms in their dorm rooms then we would have 29 campus gun deaths every weekend instead of a horrible incident once every decade."

Should be easy enough to confirm, if that's the case, since they USED TO BE allowed to have 'em. Always amazes me what short historical memories anti-gunners often have; I'm only middle aged and I still remember when you could find surplus military arms advertised in the backs of comic books.

Canada, too, has a lot of household guns, but very few handguns and automatic weapons, and much less gun-related violence.

Ding! The *problem* with the U.S. gun culture is that the pro-gun crowd says they just want guns for hunting and home defense, but gets angry when we try to regulate any guns at all, or to restrict gun ownership to people who don't appear to be complete loons and have some modicum of training. Kind of like we do with oh, say, cars.

I grew up in a rural area of Oregon -- lots of Democrats, lots of people who love their guns. Huge parts of the Midwest are the same way. Look, we lib'ruls don't care about rifles for hunting and shotguns (maybe revolvers) for home defense. The fact is that it's just hard to perpetrate a massacre with those types of weapons. But I have yet to hear a good justification for AR-15s (which are just de facto M-16s anyway), TEC-9s, or the whole gamut of weapons that really only have use on the battlefield, in gang wars, or shooting sprees.

The *problem*, when you get right down to it, is that in lieu of a *sensible* gun policy, all we have are the "cold dead hands" folk, and they drive our national discourse. Look at the difference between the polices that the NRA pushes and the policies that NRA members actually support, and the problem becomes real clear.

I would guess that so long as the Second Amendment is interpreted to mean what the NRA wants it to mean, and not what it actually seems to say

It says what all the other amendments in the Bill of Rights say -- to wit, that the people have a right that shall not be infringed. Now let's argue about what constitutes infringement and what doesn't. That should solve the problem of violence in the world.

As long as rilkefan is pointing to non-US instances of this kind of thing, let's not forget Erfurt, Germany and Port Arthur, Australia.

(I would like to say that regardless of solving the problem of violence through arguing about the existence of guns, I find von's thread title -- both in its apparent glibness and in its apparent attempt to maintain his "I listen to punk rock and am therefore still cool and relevant" creds by referring to a Sex Pistols song about abortion -- to be rather tasteless.)

Should be easy enough to confirm, if that's the case, since they USED TO BE allowed to have 'em.

When were college students allowed to have firearms in their dorm rooms? When I went to college they really frowned upon such things.

" since they USED TO BE allowed to have 'em."

by the colleges? Is that really true?

I mean, my school thought we couldn't be trusted with a microwave oven, electric hot pot, poster or wall hanging larger than 4 feet by 4 feet, or halogen lamp. And while the codes were silly and widely flouted, there was a dorm fire a few years before me started by people who would light their couch on fire and try to put it out really quickly as a party trick.

I guess you could have concealed carry permit restrictions that ruled out idiot freshman's eligibility, but then how likely is it to prevent something like this? I know a lot of college professor types; I'm not sure any of them owns a gun. So the odds that out of 4 classrooms, one professor brings a concealed weapon to class....

cleek- 35? Jeez, what an awful day. But again, note the lack of a civil war.

Jes, note the word "less" in "less exceptional". I'm not expecting to see this happen in say Germany any time soon, but in France, or via other methods in the UK, I wouldn't be entirely shocked.

Commonsense, ignoring the ad hom, I provided evidence that high gun ownership rates are not, in and of themselves, the cause of increased violent crime. I cited Switzerland above; you can add New Zealand and Israel to the list (although Israel admittedly has quite a bit of violence independent of the what we would strictly call the crime rate).

You're quite correct that the fact that gun ownership alone does not cause increased violent crime; indeed, there may be something else at work in Switzerland and other places where gun ownership is high and violence is relatively low. (Other commentators -- more insightful than you -- have suggeted the presence of universal military service, the reliance on longarms rather than handguns, and economic reasons.) In response to these commentators, I would start with the Lott study, which cannot be so easily dismissed (and has not been demolished).

Phil: It says what all the other amendments in the Bill of Rights say -- to wit, that the people have a right that shall not be infringed.

It says "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."

Which suggests indeed something more like Switzerland, where almost every male citizen is a member of a well-regulated militia, and where virtually every adult citizen has the right to buy up to three firearms... but if you want a carrying permit, you have to still have your right to buy, you have a solid reason to want one (ie, to be able to show that you actually need to carry a gun), and you have to pass an exam to prove you know how to use a gun. (Facts from wiki, but their external link to a Swiss government website seems to say much the same.)

But what the NRA wants it to mean, and what their funders want it to mean, is that anyone shall be able to buy any guns they like without any restrictions whatsoever. Which is a substantially different thing...

"Erfurt, Germany"

Wow, totally, humiliatingly pwned. I forgot about the DDR and the lingering bad stuff in Germany. And I had absolutely no idea that high school students could get licensces for Glock 17s. I would have bet a month's salary against it.

The argument that an armed citizenry can prevent violennce is valid only if thhere is a lot of armed violence to prevent and a low rate of people doing stupid stuff with guns.


Unfortunatley for us, Americans very frequently combine guns with drugs, alcohol, temper tantrums and bad judgment, making the rate of stupid behavior with guns very high. On the other hand the rate of armed criminal violence in this country is not high overall. I live in an area where a gun for the prevention of crime is extraneous.
The chance of being shot by a nut on campus is low. On the other hand, if it became commonplace for students to carry guns, the chances of being accidentaly shot by a drunken rowdy would be uncomfortably high every Saturday.

But again, note the lack of a civil war.

and here i thought the worst acts in Iraq's civil war were being committed by "crazy angry people".

It says "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."

Gosh, thanks. I've never read it. You forgot a comma, by the way:

"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."


Which suggests indeed something more like Switzerland, where almost every male citizen is a member of a well-regulated militia,

1. "Suggest" to whom? You?
2. Who are members of the militia in the United States?
3. What did "well-regulated" mean in the context in which it was written in the US Constitution?

you have to still have your right to buy, you have a solid reason to want one (ie, to be able to show that you actually need to carry a gun)

I don't think people should have to demonstrate need to exercise their Constitutional rights, but that's just me.

IIRC, the reason we no longer have a lot of surplus guns being advertised is that there are not a lot of surplus guns being sold on the cheap by the NRA. All those surplus M1 Carbines are in the hands of collectors and we are no longer geared up for mass mobilization.

And I second Katherine's question about campus regulations and when deadly weapons (let alone firearms) were forbidden from most campuses.

"Which suggests indeed something more like Switzerland"

Indeed, the founders were great admirers of Switzerland. However, they saw no conflict between widespread private gun ownership and a militia system, instead viewing the latter as enabled by the former. The thought behind the 2nd amendment was that, even if the states got lazy, and failed to keep the militia system up, it would still be possible to raise a militia on an emergency basis if the general populace was armed.

Hence, a private right is guaranteed in order to safeguard the potential for a militia.

rilkefan, I was in Germany when Erfut happened, which is one of the reasons I remember it when it seemed not to have had much impact on the memories of most Americans. Suffice to say that it was as horrifying as you can imagine, and my German work colleagues in Frankfurt were nearly as shellshocked as many Americans were on 9/11. It hit them that hard.

According to this article, following Columbine there are new cop tactics for school/university shooting incidents.

"The first thing is to put the guy in a box," said security analyst Kelly McCann.

"You might be outnumbered," said Wittmier. "You're not taking as much time to find out more about the threat."

"You could end up in there and find there could be two or three shooters, coming at you from multiple directions," Wittmier said. "There could be booby traps set up, such as explosive devices."

Were students to be armed, how could casually-attired students, professors and/or law enforcement personnel not end up shooting each other in a panicky anarchy, given that police tactics apparently are based on killing ASAP the gunman?

Von,
You wrote The same occurs where guns are freely available, because someone who wants to misuse a gun is deterred by the possibility or actuality of an armed response.

That sentence contains two statements: 1. that areas with high gun density suffer less violence and 2. the reduced violence is caused by "the possibility or actuality of armed response."


You made a clear statement of causality in statement 2. The only evidence you hinted at was anecdotal and could only show correlation. It doesn't matter how many countries are just like switzerland: no enumeration of countries is sufficient to demonstrate causality.

Correlation does not prove causality. In any event, anecdotal enumeration does not even demonstrate causality.

Could you please show me where in your post you provide evidence for your causality claim?

Gun violence is a function of the degree of social cohesion, and the availability of guns.

The USA is never going to be as socially cohesive as Switzerland or Canada, or at least not anytime soon. With that variable beyond their control, lawmakers' only feasible policy is to restrict gun access if they genuinely want to reduce gun access.

Gun advocates' citing of Switzerland as a well-armed, peaceful country is an argument for gun owners to move to Switzerland, it is not an argument for a different country to adopt Switzerland's laws.

sorry for the italics.

detalics

While understanding it's an intensely controversial issue, I thought it was long-established constitutional doctrine broadly recognized by Democratic and Republican Justice Depts (until the current one, that is) that the 2nd Amendment does not convey a personal right to firearms.

Adam: "Look, we lib'ruls don't care about rifles for hunting and shotguns (maybe revolvers) for home defense. The fact is that it's just hard to perpetrate a massacre with those types of weapons. But I have yet to hear a good justification for AR-15s (which are just de facto M-16s anyway), TEC-9s, or the whole gamut of weapons that really only have use on the battlefield, in gang wars, or shooting sprees."

I had the impression (based on Mark Kleiman) that non-military-style weapons are in fact plenty sufficient - that automatic weapons bans don't address a real problem - I thought a shotgun would be a fearsome weapon in a crowded space.

OCSteve said something I agree with....

@brett, I would wager alot more things than simply gun ownership have changed sense that time. Both culturally and with respect to gun technology.

Guns are fundamentally tools just like a computer, or a car.

F1 cars are not street legal and I don't see anyone complaining about this, they are tools for a very specific activity. By analogy, why should high powered weapons be street legal?

Can anyone give a good reason for a civilian to own anything fancier than a bolt action rifle? (not counting hand guns because then you get the paranoid protection crowd which I just have to agree to disagree with)

(to give you some stereo types to properly pigeon hole (but lets not apply the pigeon hole principle) me i'm an east coast liberal, but I do know how to shoot and enjoy target shooting)

But again, note the lack of a civil war.

Yes, note the lack of a civil war. I think, though, the idea was to point out, as the United States enters a period of mourning and witnessing the varying emotions already occurring, what it must be like for the emotional state of people in societies where the violence is exponentially greater. It's called empathy.

"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."

"Because the sky is blue and so are gun barrels, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Who are members of the militia in the United States?

at the time of the writing of the Constitution, the militia was that which is described in Article 1, Section 8: the military bodies of the States which can be used by Congress to defend the country. today, that duty is performed by the National Guard.

3. What did "well-regulated" mean in the context in which it was written in the US Constitution?

it meant, basically, "well-organized", as Jefferson's other statements make clear.

heh. y'all can skip my "sky is blue" thing. that should've been removed in proofreading.

College freshmen of all political stripes are pretty much libertarians.

We weren't permitted to have girls (after hours) or alcohol or drugs in our dorms. No fireworks either. Certainly no weapons, though it would have been more dramatic for some wags to blow up the toilets with hand grenades, instead of cherry bombs.

Right.

I suspect I could have smuggled in Anna Nicole Smith carrying a litre bottle of Jack Daniels and a kilo of marijuana, and had her help me assemble a fully munitioned B-1 bomber in my room without much notice.

Someone probably had a gun, legal or not.

It occurs to me, bouncing off of Brett Bellmore, that Columbine High School* went for decades without someone conceiving that it might be easy pickings for heavily armed crazy people.

And I have a feeling that if the two killers had known someone had a gun, it would have enhanced their fun.

Guns or no guns for self-protection, why is this type of mass vengeance slaughter with heavy weaponry happening?

*I live three miles from the school. Great school. High test scores. High college placement.

You have my AC-130U Spooky gunship when you pry it from my cold, dead, hands.

Von

I cited Switzerland above; you can add New Zealand and Israel to the list

Strike New Zealand from that list.

gun law is covered by the Arms Act 1983 and the Arms Regulations 1992. In order to own a firearm, a person must obtain a firearms license. These are issued by the police and enable holders to own and use sporting rifles, shotguns and ammunition. In order to obtain a license, applicants must pass a test on 'safe and responsible firearms use, ownership, and storage'. They must also be a 'fit and proper person' to hold a license, based on a background check, and the license may be revoked for a variety of reasons. A special license is required by dealers, collectors, pistol club members, and owners of semi-automatics. Less than 3% of all firearms owners have such endorsements and they must comply with much more stringent conditions than sporting firearms license holders. When not in use firearms must be locked in a secure rack and cabinet.

From wikipedia

Correlation does not prove causality. In any event, anecdotal enumeration does not even demonstrate causality.

Please see the Lott study, which I reference above. (Google the Lott study on gun violence.)

While understanding it's an intensely controversial issue, I thought it was long-established constitutional doctrine broadly recognized by Democratic and Republican Justice Depts (until the current one, that is) that the 2nd Amendment does not convey a personal right to firearms.

That was the ascendant view in the 1970s and through much of the 1980s, but the trend has been reversing since the early 1990s due to the persistant (and admittedly quite good) scholarship of folks like Volokh and Reynolds.

My personal view is that there are pretty good arguments on both sides.

"It's called empathy."

It's called a variety of things. There's always a context; it's not always useful to note it.

"Please see the Lott study"

Please don't (pillar of salt warning [ack, pun unintentional]).

And, again, ignoring larger 2nd Amendment concerns, how many here believe that we should reverse the current laws forbidding deadly weapons on college campuses?

Would you also advocate for allowing deadly weapons in courthouses and airports based on the same reasoning?

it's not always useful to note it.

And sometimes it's very useful. It's a personal thing. As was your choice to belittle those who do.

Who are members of the militia in the United States?

at the time of the writing of the Constitution, the militia was that which is described in Article 1, Section 8: the military bodies of the States which can be used by Congress to defend the country. today, that duty is performed by the National Guard.

This is not entirely correct. I'm in the unorganized US militia, and so are you. (Assuming you're an able-bodied male between 18 and 45.)

In any case, I'm drearily uninterested in yet another protracted and purposeless discussion about how the Second Amendment, unlike every other Amendment in the Bill of Rights and in fact every other place in the Constitution, does not mean "the people" when it damned well says "the people."

Usual caveat: Not a gun owner, never have been.

Von: Please see the Lott study, which I reference above. (Google the Lott study on gun violence.)

I did. I found multiple references. Concealed handgun fraud: Exposing John Lott, On Double Standards, Funder of Lott 1996 CCW Study Has Links to the Gun Industry, Unintended Consequences, Pro-Handgun Experts Prove That Handguns Are a Dangerous Choice for Self-Defense, Appendix B: Bibliography of Studies Criticizing Lott and Mustard's Findings. I could go on, but if I add too many links this comment will probably be counted as spam...

How about the Mary Rosh Study?

spartikus: "And sometimes it's very useful. It's a personal thing. As was your choice to belittle those who do."

I'm sorry you've so badly failed to understand what I wrote. I don't care to engage you in this context.

Sorry for the length of this post. It is re: history of 2nd amendment, so if you are not interested, no need to read.

Issue:

We are all aware of the general debate about the 2nd Amendment: Is the right an individual right to bear arms, or is it a collective right vested in the Militia? It is beyond the scope of this article to determine the meaning of the Second Amendment today. But where did the amendment come from? What made the Founding Fathers include this amendment in the Bill of Rights.

The Law before the Amendment...

The right of the people to arms is a relatively new phenomenon. Whether the right belongs to the individual or the people as an aggregate, the arming of citizens was considered a dangerous idea for most monarchies. The idea of the militia originated in modern times in England, where it was believed that free yeomen would be more effective fighters than continental serfs and it was this idea that spawned a duty for men to bear arms.[1] All able bodied men from 16 to 60 were liable for service. [2]. This period lasted through the Cromwell revolution in England, but by 1659, the government began compiling lists of arms holders, and confiscating the weapons.[3] The British reacted to this by passing the British Bill of Rights in 1689 and stated “that the Subjects which are Protestant may have Armes for their Defence Suitable to the Condition and as Allowed by Law.”[4]

While arms were crucial to the colonies, early in the colonial period of Virginia, all weapons were “nationalized” and given to those most able to handle them.[5] In the northern colonies, it was clear that the English did not trust the settlers (who were mostly Dutch) and in every one of their colonies, the government kept firearms under its own control.[6] “The militia remained as little more than a political gesture, intended to convince settlers that they still played a role in their own defense.”[7] Colonial legislatures routinely passed laws that required Protestant men to have weapons, but restricted the right to have fire-arms from Catholics and others they considered unworthy.[8] Additionally, any person who refused to serve in the militia also forfeited his right to arms. [9] While some colonies required that each freeman own a weapon, they often required that they be stored in central locations.

As the colonies began moving toward independence, the need of the Crown to disarm the colonists became more profound. This disarming met significant resistance. The Boston Evening Post wrote in 1769 (referring to the British Bill of Rights) “ It is a natural right which the people have reserved to themselves, confirmed by the Bill of Rights, to keep arms for their defense; and as Mr. Blackstone observes, it is to be made use of when the sanctions of society and law are found insufficient to restrain the violence of oppression.”[10] The Boston Massacre in 1770 led to a trial in which John Adams (defense counsel to one of the British soldiers) stated “here every private person is authorized to arm himself, and on the strength of this authority, I do not deny the inhabitants had a right to arm themselves at that time, for their defense, not for offense...”[11] Finally, On April 18, 1775, the British Army marched on Lexington and Concord to confiscate the military equipment stored there, and this action ignited the American revolution into active combat.[12]

The American Colonists needed and believed in the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but did they intend it to be a collective right, or an individual right?

A Well Regulated Militia...

Why does the Second amendment refer to the militia? At least part of the issue was simply political. There is historical evidence showing that the Militia itself was a tool for social order, not because it was an effective policing or military force, but because compulsory membership created a military heirarchy among all of the men in society.[13] Additionally, since the new nation decried aristocratic titles, the militia ranks were used as a substitute.[14]

The experience of the Revolutionary War made it clear that at that time, a militia was not effective as a defense of a free nation, let alone a necessary defense. It was not until a standing army was formed that the British were defeated.
Here I expect we shall be told that the militia of the country is its natural bulwark, and would be at all times equal to the national defense. This doctrine, in substance, had like to have lost us our independence. It cost millions to the United States that might have been saved. The facts which, from our own experience, forbid a reliance of this kind, are too recent to permit us to be the dupes of such a suggestion. The steady operations of war against a regular and disciplined army can only be successfully conducted by a force of the same kind...[15]

It was also believed that people with something to lose, such as their property and homes, would be more effective fighters. The weight of history does not support this contention, but it was again a politically popular idea. [16] In fact, it was this very idea that Federalist Number # 24 was written in part to deny:

Previous to the Revolution, and ever since the peace, there has been a constant necessity for keeping small garrisons on our Western frontier. No person can doubt that these will continue to be indispensable, if it should only be against the ravages and depredations of the Indians. These garrisons must either be furnished by occasional detachments from the militia, or by permanent corps in the pay of the government. The first is impracticable; and if practicable, would be pernicious. The militia would not long, if at all, submit to be dragged from their occupations and families to perform that most disagreeable duty in times of profound peace. And if they could be prevailed upon or compelled to do it, the increased expense of a frequent rotation of service, and the loss of labor and disconcertion of the industrious pursuits of individuals, would form conclusive objections to the scheme. It would be as burdensome and injurious to the public as ruinous to private citizens.[17]
.
While the Federalists did not believe the people could adequately defend the borders, they did believe that they could resist a standing army of their own:

Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped; and in order to see that this be not neglected, it will be necessary to assemble them once or twice in the course of a year...
This will not only lessen the call for military establishments, but if circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people while there is a large body of citizens, little, if at all, inferior to them in discipline and the use of arms, who stand ready to defend their own rights and those of their fellow-citizens. This appears to me the only substitute that can be devised for a standing army, and the best possible security against it, if it should exist.'' [18]

Meanwhile, it was accepted that American government was special:

Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation... the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms... Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.[19]

As the Federalists show, the militia was intended to counterbalance the standing Army controlled solely by the federal government, whose power was intended to be limited by the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was a limitation of the Federal Government, not of the states. However, the Constitution had already provided for a Militia controlled by the states prior to the Bill of Rights. According to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has the right:
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Additionally, Article II, section 2 accepted the existence of the militia, and granted to the Executive:
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;

In the full context of the Constitution, then, what is the meaning of “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state?” Does “well regulated” have a different meaning than “organizing, arming, and disciplining?” Without the Second Amendment, Congress was already required to provide for and arm the militia, and reserve the authority of appointments and training to the states, while providing the militia to the Executive.

The Right of the People...

In what way, then is “ the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” modified by the preceding clause? There are several different areas for reasonable differences of opinion as to what the second clause of the amendment meant, largely because the amendment was not debated to any great extent. One problem found in looking at the Bill of Rights is that there was a group of people who felt that the enumeration of rights actually limited the people to those rights enumerated, and were therefore against all of the amendments.

I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power...[20]

This idea is particularly applicable to the debate over the right to bear arms, because the argument about what the right is centers on whether the amendment is intended to provide solely for the well-regulated militia, or did it include the personal right to defend self and property. For those who believed the Bill of Rights would limit the rights of the people, this argument would probably be a culmination of their fears. Noah Webster wrote in the American Magazine that “if a bill of rights was necessary, then it should include a provision ‘that Congress shall never restrain any inhabitant of America from eating and drinking, at seasonable times, or prevent his lying on his right side, in a long winter’s night, or even on his back, when he is fatigued by lying on his right.’” [21]
At the time of the revolution, however, the Militia included all able bodied freemen, so the issue of the People vs. the Militia is nonsensical, because they were the same according to the accepted terms of the day. This universal service requirement generally required all free males from 16 to 50 to serve.

There are numerous indications that the founding fathers were interested in disarming those individuals they did not believe should be citizens. Blacks, Native Americans, Roman Catholics, Tories, and other non-Protestants were often targeted as unworthy of arms ownership. This can be interpreted in at least two ways. One possibility is that gun ownership was not intended to be a right for individuals. The second possibility is that gun ownership was a sign of citizenship. Since other substantive rights such as freedom of religion, speech, and voting were also restricted in varying degrees for these groups, it is not surprising that gun ownership was as well, and in fact the loss of the ownership of guns made it possible for the other rights to be taken.

At about the same time as the Federal Bill of Rights was adopted, several of the states were adopting their own statements of rights. Thirty-seven states now have constitutional amendments that are similar to the Federal 2nd Amendment, although some are more limiting, and others grant a greater personal right.[22] For the purpose of this discussion, however, the states that adopted them too remote in time to the adoption of the Second Amendment do not shed light on the original framers intent. A few contemporary examples: The Pennsylvania Constitution which was adopted in 1790 states: “that the right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned.” This was a restatement of a previous document, The Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights which in 1776 stated “that the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves, and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; and that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by the civil power.” Vermont later adopted this amendment verbatim in their own Declaration of Rights.[23]

Since the Second Amendment did not include the individual right, this can be accepted as showing that the Amendment in the Bill of Rights specifically rejected the right of individuals to keep and bear arms to defend themselves. This would be somewhat disingenuous, however, because the Second Amendment also does not specifically declare that the people can defend the state. However, it can also be used as evidence that clauses were often stuck together that have little to do with each other, such as “a well regulated militia being necessary for the security of a free state,” and “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

The States are not uniform in their support of the Second Amendment, however, and while Connecticut has an amendment that specifies the right to bear arms in self defense, Massachusetts limits that right to the common defense.[24] What the state amendments do show is that personal defense is a right that was at least considered, and shows that the construction of the second amendment was not unique to the common defense. For example, Pennsylvania clearly uses the terms “bear arms” in conjunction with the people defending themselves. Some authors, such as Warren Freedman, have argued that “bear arms” is strictly a military usage, but the use of the term at the same time period in terms of self defense shows this argument to be false.

Conclusion

The current meaning of the Second Amendment remains in doubt until the Supreme Court rules definitively on the subject. What should not be in doubt is that the Founding Fathers assumed that citizens had the right to defend themselves with arms at the time that the amendment was written, and that the terms used in the amendment do not preclude the interpretation that the meaning of the amendment is for self defense. The fact that similar amendments at the state level specified an individual right to self defense but were not adopted federally can be seen to insinuate that they were rejected. Similarly, these same amendments show that individual self defense using arms was a popular idea at the time of the amendment, and the fear of some at the time that the Bill of Rights would be used to limit rights rather than ensure them may have culminated here.

Phil: This is not entirely correct. I'm in the unorganized US militia, and so are you. (Assuming you're an able-bodied male between 18 and 45.)

Heterosexual male, presumably. (I assume the same legalities apply.)

In any case, I'm drearily uninterested in yet another protracted and purposeless discussion about how the Second Amendment, unlike every other Amendment in the Bill of Rights and in fact every other place in the Constitution, does not mean "the people" when it damned well says "the people."

Are there any of "the people" who are not permitted to join the National Guard, then? (Aside from those not permitted by sexual orientation, which I'm sure we're both in agreement is really kind of stupid.) According to wiki, any of "the People" can, which would mean that if gun ownership in the US was restricted as it is in Switzerland, the rights of the People under the Second Amendment would not, in fact, be infringed.

(In fact, the gays-in-the-military campaigners would then have a solid Constitutional argument for why it's illegal to ban someone from serving for their sexual orientation...)

Von,

I'm confused. Your response to me indicates that the evidence I was asking for can be found in a Lott study. But you don't reference it in your original post. Was that an oversight? Or did you consider the question of causality to be uninteresting? It seems like I'm missing something...


As others have pointed out, Lott has some, er, um, credibility issues. Could you please suggest another academic who has not been as compromised?


Surely there exists more than one academic in the entire world who has done research that validates your causality claims. I look forward to reading their work.

Again, I thought even the Reagan and Bush pere Justice Depts did not recognize a personal right to bear arms.

I'm always amazed by how the same people who happily trade all other rights for security pitch a fit about their automatic weapons being taken away for security. They usually say it's because guns are the final defense against their rights being taken away -- to which I say, ok, so why isn't the NRA rising RIGHT NOW to free Jose Padilla? Apparently, it's only each individual gun owner's rights that his or her guns will protect. Which kinda puts paid to the whole idea that we're maintaining the potential for a militia.

Actually, I think the reason they don't care about security from guns is that most of them don't live in cities and are comfortable with the idea of city folk getting shot dead. As more and more of us come to live in suburbs/edge cities, and as more and more massacres happen in such communities, the majority may finally grasp that we latte-drinkers and welfare queens had a point about not letting loons stumble around with heavy weaponry.

Some thirty years ago, my Dad, who was a forensic pathologist and had already seen a hell of a lot more than 20-30 warm or cold bodies, tried to educate the American public to the overwhelming danger of handguns, responsible not only for incidents like this, but most of domestic homicide. Most of the time, statistically, no handgun means no homicide. Hate to sound simplistic on this one, but I really do think it is that simple. And as for deterrence arguments, just scrap them, because they do not hold up under scrutiny in these situations where no one is behaving in a rational fashion. (I'm assuming that the weapons were handguns, really there is not even the faintest excuse for letting heavy artillery float around the U.S....)

I'd like to also mention I see a serious difference between handguns and things like rifles and shotguns.

A handgun is pretty much purely a weapon. In all respects but two it is a pretty crappy weapon. It is, however, easy to carry and easy to conceal. As a weapon of war, it leaves a lot to be desired. As a hunting tool, it's virtually useless. (There are a few occasions I would prefer a handgun, but in all of them I could make do with a rifle).

I say ditch the handguns. Leave them to cops -- who have a reason and need for easily portable weapons. Leave the well-organized militia it's shotguns and rifles.

It's Constitutionality is debateable. I just happen to think it would be a good idea, and would be willing to amend the Constitution to achieve it.

'sides, if you're fighting off the government with just a handgun, you're six kinds of stupid to begin with.

"Again, I thought even the Reagan and Bush pere Justice Depts did not recognize a personal right to bear arms."

Lots of Justice Departments don't recognize lots of things. That doesn't mean they're correct in their interpretation. Would you want the Bush II Justice Department's interpretations of what rights Americans do and don't have -- over the plain language of the Constitution -- to be the final word on the matter? I sure wouldn't.

trilobite, am I correct in understanding that your argument is that if the NRA does not send a private army to free Jose Padilla, they do not really believe that guns may be necessary for self-defense at some point? That's, um, kind of silly, to be generous.

I certainly would not want to live in a country where the only persons allowed to own any weapons are the police and the military, particularly not one where the right wing trends as rightward as ours does.

It was a different time and place, but Charles Whitman's toll in 1966 was arguably reduced by having to take cover from return fire by some Texas students with hunting rifles. In that circumstance it quickly became clear that the shooter was on the observation deck of the Administration building, so there wasn't any uncertainty about who to shoot at.

I present this merely as an observation, not as endorsement for arming every college student.

"I say ditch the handguns. Leave them to cops -- who have a reason and need for easily portable weapons."

I can't agree with this at all. There are plenty of times where ordinary citizens might have a need for an easily portable and concealable weapon. A sufficient number of women over the years have successfully shot potential rapists and abusers that I wouldn't feel comfortable taking that tool away from them.

von: In response to these commentators, I would start with the Lott study, which cannot be so easily dismissed (and has not been demolished).... Please see the Lott study, which I reference above. (Google the Lott study on gun violence.)

I tried to head this off but no, don't see it. Yes, it has been demolished. Yes, it's fantastically easy to dismiss. No, you should not cite it if you want to retain your credibility; see, for example, the extensive archive at Deltoid -- well over 100 articles, last I checked, although it seems to have disappeared for the nonce -- in which Lott and his work have been dismantled, eviscerated, and generally shown to be fraudulent. Your claim could conceivably -- conceivably -- be correct, and I'd be interested to see some justification to that effect, but you've mustered precisely zero (credible) evidence for the proposition.

BTW, a quick question: wtf did happen to the Deltoid archive? I can't find the old Lott/Rosh/MGLC/guns archives any more...

"Would you want the Bush II Justice Department's interpretations of what rights Americans do and don't have -- over the plain language of the Constitution -- to be the final word on the matter? I sure wouldn't."

My point was that even people ideologically inclined to a personal-right stance historically weren't. What the Bush fils admin thinks is relevant to no argument about what's reasonable. And really, "A well-regulated militia" is plain English too. Is it your position that the 2nd Amendment would have the exact same force without the _initial_ clause?

According to Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has the right:
To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Additionally, Article II, section 2 accepted the existence of the militia, and granted to the Executive:
The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States;

In the full context of the Constitution, then, what is the meaning of “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state?” Does “well regulated” have a different meaning than “organizing, arming, and disciplining?” Without the Second Amendment, Congress was already required to provide for and arm the militia, and reserve the authority of appointments and training to the states, while providing the militia to the Executive.

"A sufficient number of women over the years have successfully shot potential rapists and abusers that I wouldn't feel comfortable taking that tool away from them."

surely someone has gone through and counted this as it is one of the standard arguments....

And who says that a hand gun is the only effective defense weapon?

Alternately more people are killed due to side effects of alcohol (at I be willing to bet it contributes to a lot more rapes than guns stop)

It seems there are over 15,000 murder a year in this country (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-06-06-crime-drop_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA<\href>, which is ~41 a day. There are something around 40,000 traffic deaths a year which is over 100 a day.

I tried to head this off but no, don't see it. Yes, it has been demolished. Yes, it's fantastically easy to dismiss. No, you should not cite it if you want to retain your credibility; see, for example, the extensive archive at Deltoid -- well over 100 articles, last I checked, although it seems to have disappeared for the nonce -- in which Lott and his work have been dismantled, eviscerated, and generally shown to be fraudulent. Your claim could conceivably -- conceivably -- be correct, and I'd be interested to see some justification to that effect, but you've mustered precisely zero (credible) evidence for the proposition.

Well, at least Von didn't say it was beyond dispute . . ./snark>

Spartikus suggests incidents like this don't happen in Canada because the culture is more peaceful, though guns cross the border so freely (and used to cross the border even more freely before 9/11) he assumes any Canadian who wants one can have a firearm. The Canadian culture is not so very different from the US culture: books, movies, broadcast tv, and radio cross the border all the time and have a strong influence.

The Montreal Massacre in 1989, where a gunman murdered 14 women at an engineering school, has been a focus of Canadian gun control controversies ever since.
http://www.guncontrol.ca/English/Home/Home.htm

Spartikus suggests incidents like this don't happen in Canada because the culture is more peaceful

Spartikus suggested that Canada has a statistically lower rate of homicide by firearms despite bordering a jurisdiction with less restrictions on gun ownership.

Phil: A sufficient number of women over the years have successfully shot potential rapists and abusers that I wouldn't feel comfortable taking that tool away from them.

That was evidently very successful advertising by the gun lobby:

A Deadly Myth: Women, Handguns, and Self-Defense:

Despite the promises of gun-industry advertising, a woman is far more likely to be the victim of a handgun homicide than to use a handgun in a justifiable homicide. In 1998, handguns were used to murder 1,209 women.8 That same year, 12 women used handguns to kill in self-defense. ..... For all of the promises made on behalf of the self-defense handgun, using a handgun to kill in self-defense is a rare event. Looking at both men and women, over the past 20 years, on average only two percent of the homicides committed with handguns in the United States were deemed justifiable or self-defense homicides by civilians. To put it in perspective, more people are struck by lightning each year than use handguns to kill in self-defense.

Jes,

Phil's point was about the number of cases in which a woman shot someone in self defense. Your cite deals with the number of cases in which a woman killed someone in self defense.

You might be able to bridge the gap by using the injury/death ratio for people shot with handguns. However, that still wouldn't account for cases where women pulled a gun and did not successfully shoot their assailant.

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