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December 14, 2012

Comments

" It was a nightmare as Sapient droned on and on. "

Pun intended?

Having other people decide what you need was more the point.

That ship sailed long ago. My permits for building a real gun (150 mm shells baby), a grenade launcher, and a small nuclear facility in my back yard have all been denied. Somehow, I manage to live life without constantly throwing tantrums screaming 'how dare you decide what I need?!'.

(Outsider's perspective, again.)
I was wondering why there isn't a proliferation of class action suits against the merchants of death (the Bushmaster stuff in particular reminds me of what big tobacco marketing used to be) - and I find that your congress recently legally exempted them from litigation:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SN397:

Astonishing.

Yep, that's me: kicking and screaming. People around me are staring.

Having other people decide what you need was more the point.

Maybe this needed clarification.

I am not referring to the law of the land, here. I am referring to participants here, in this particular conversation, who behave as if their opinion somehow translates to what should be, and trumps mine.

So: that's what I am referring to. If Congress passes some law or another constraining what firearms I may and may not own, I will of course have to comply. That's the reality of it.

Until Congress does that, though, I can do as I choose. As I choose, independent of what you people think is right.

This debate, much sharper than any prior exchange I can recall on this subject here at ObWi, is not without irony or inconsistency.

Sapient, my personal experience is relevant only because it informs my reaction to the death of children.

Deaths on the highway due to substance abuse is relevant because these deaths outweigh spree killing deaths by orders of magnitude, and while cars/trucks are necessary, alcohol is not.

Yet, you would amend the constitution and confiscate what I assume is any semi automatic rifle and pistol from every citizen no matter how law abiding that citizen is. At the same time, you and many others would end the senseless war on drugs, which if ended, would have the known consequence (unintended, but still entirely predictable) of adding to the death toll on highways by a new class of impaired driver. Also at the same time, while the death toll in column A rises, you would declare a war on firearms, a war directed mainly at otherwise law-abiding citizens. Their crime would be possessory in nature, i.e. there is no actual criminal act and no victim to point to, simply the previously legal act of ownership.

And you would do this on account of statistically isolated, albeit horrific events. If a bus driver, impaired by marijuana, drove a bus full of children into a river or over a mountain side, would you do the same for marijuana as you would for guns?

Is it the end or the means that has you so engaged?

Duff, yes, you are correct, driving big rigs is heavily regulated and the penalties for noncompliance are fierce, as they should be. Driving a car is barely regulated, and similar to the disorderd Lanza, not having a license in no way prevents someone from getting behind the wheel. We do have stout penalties for drinking and driving. Some are deterred, others not.

But--I should capitalize 'but'--all of the penalties you point to are after the fact. There is no prophylactic/preventative regime in place to reduce or eliminate impaired driving. The analogy to committing a gun crime is fairly direct--our direst penalties are reserved for those who commit murder. Like I said, some are deterred, others are not.

The USDOT regime for qualifying drivers, for limiting their driving hours, for alcohol and drug testing are unnecessary for responsible drivers and are simply obstacles to be overcome for the irresponsible. Necessary, but they leak like a sieve.

Russell, all of your proposals fall on those who already obey the law. None of them would have prevented what happened in Newtown. Ms. Lanza couldn't be sent to prison for letting her weapons fall into her son's hands because he'd already killed her.

Some other issues: I'd like to agree that it's whacky to own a big pile of guns. The problem is, back when I avidly hunted and did a lot of target shooting, I owned at least 40 different rifles, shotguns and pistols. As seemingly insane as that might first appear, there was an underlying method to my madness: my son and I hunted together. You never go on a deer hunt with just one rifle each because if the scope gets knocked out of line, you need a backup, ergo 4 deer rifles. Sometimes, I would hunt deer by stalking--scoped rifles don't work for that purpose, so I had two unscoped, lever action rifles. Pig hunting--environmentally, anything you can do to reduce the feral hog population is a good thing. Because pigs run in groups (sounders, I think they are called), I had two .223 semi automatics, to shoot as many as my son and I could without having to stop and reload or to work a bolt. I hunted deer with both a .44 mag pistol and a .357 and rabbits with a .22 pistol. Shotguns, even more complex. If you're avid about something, it can get out of hand.

Now, it is whacky to stock up on guns, ammo, food etc in prep for the coming breakdown of society? Opinions vary on this point. Personally, I think it's a bit much, but if you are a regular here at ObWi and the discussion turns to, say, income inequality, you might begin to worry about when, not if, but when the bottom 99% is going to take to the streets. Otherwise calm and reasoned voices here at ObWi have predicted this very phenomena. So, some folks out there are prepping for the day that some of our more reasoned commenters and even a headliner or two have predicted.

Now, whether someone stockpiles in fear of income-inequality-induced societal breakdown or for fear of the black helicopters swooping in or because, like me, they keep coming up with different angles to justify buying a new toy, none of these folks have been shown to commit spree killings.

In every instance, the spree killer is demonstrably and profoundly disordered. You aren't going to reach that cohort with any kind of prophylactic measure, much less a threat of after-the-fact consequences, although you will surely make the lives of many others more difficult and expose otherwise law abiding citizens to federal prosecution.

As for regulating/outlawing certain classes of firearm, I get the sentiment. However, the sentiment demonstrably makes the situation worse, in several ways. First, to pick up on the bloody shirt sub-thread, it is THE bloody shirt of the NRA. Sapient et al's demands to repeal the 2nd Am and confiscate all but certain types of 'hunting rifles' are the NRA's Ex. A in fundraising. Those same demands fuel firearms and ammunition sales like nothing else in the real world ever could. Second, if you want to give credence to that slice of Americana who believes the feds are coming for your guns, keep talking--you're making their point. Third, and this is a fact, in the run up to the assault weapon ban under Clinton, firearms sales boomed. I represented a firearms importer with a modest market share--its profits were 4 times what they had ever been in the company's history.

I dislike the cosmetics of semi auto pistols and the military style rifles for the same reason I have reservations about some of these video games that people seem to play so much. I don't worry about the reasonably well adjusted who own guns like that or who play video games, but I do worry about the severely unbalanced, marginalized young male who cannot reconcile his situation with the world he sees around him, the world that he'd like to be a part of but which wants no part of him.

War games, pornography and sexy looking weapons, IMO, are all visual cues that stew in this young man's mind along will all of his other resentments, anger and isolation. In the very rare instance where the stew well and truly boils over, you get Newtown, or something perhaps less dramatic but just as tragic for the smaller number of people involved.

Final notes

1. Duff and Sapient seem to have a low regard for gun aficionados. D&S impute, it appears, some kind of shared guilt/responsibility to the broad range of non-hunting gun owners for events like Newtown. Any regulatory regime, no matter how oppressive, is ok because these are just not good folks and guns are bad. Very bad. This paradigm is transferable. It's a knife that cuts both ways and probably not the best underpinning for policy making.

2. Let's just assume there is an even larger number of gun stockpilers out there than we, in our worst moments, believe. Let's further assume these folks are holed up in their survival camps, terrified of the outside world. Like the Branch Davidians. The underlying mentality is defensive, not offensive. They are not a threat, at least not the kind that Lanza was. Worrying about people who hide behind locked doors in a house full of guns is misplaced. Worrying that the next Lanza will get his gun from that house is only mildly less misplaced--there are too many other, much easier ways to get a gun.

And that isn't going to change. Just like, as sure as anything, someone will die in Houston this weekend at the hands of an impaired driver. But, it will be only one or two people, and we're used to that. Desensitized, as it were.

This debate, much sharper than any prior exchange I can recall on this subject here at ObWi, is not without irony or inconsistency.

Sapient, my personal experience is relevant only because it informs my reaction to the death of children.

Deaths on the highway due to substance abuse is relevant because these deaths outweigh spree killing deaths by orders of magnitude, and while cars/trucks are necessary, alcohol is not.

Yet, you would amend the constitution and confiscate what I assume is any semi automatic rifle and pistol from every citizen no matter how law abiding that citizen is. At the same time, you and many others would end the senseless war on drugs, which if ended, would have the known consequence (unintended, but still entirely predictable) of adding to the death toll on highways by a new class of impaired driver. Also at the same time, while the death toll in column A rises, you would declare a war on firearms, a war directed mainly at otherwise law-abiding citizens. Their crime would be possessory in nature, i.e. there is no actual criminal act and no victim to point to, simply the previously legal act of ownership.

And you would do this on account of statistically isolated, albeit horrific events. If a bus driver, impaired by marijuana, drove a bus full of children into a river or over a mountain side, would you do the same for marijuana as you would for guns?

Is it the end or the means that has you so engaged?

Duff, yes, you are correct, driving big rigs is heavily regulated and the penalties for noncompliance are fierce, as they should be. Driving a car is barely regulated, and similar to the disorderd Lanza, not having a license in no way prevents someone from getting behind the wheel. We do have stout penalties for drinking and driving. Some are deterred, others not.

But--I should capitalize 'but'--all of the penalties you point to are after the fact. There is no prophylactic/preventative regime in place to reduce or eliminate impaired driving. The analogy to committing a gun crime is fairly direct--our direst penalties are reserved for those who commit murder. Like I said, some are deterred, others are not.

The USDOT regime for qualifying drivers, for limiting their driving hours, for alcohol and drug testing are unnecessary for responsible drivers and are simply obstacles to be overcome for the irresponsible. Necessary, but they leak like a sieve.

Russell, all of your proposals fall on those who already obey the law. None of them would have prevented what happened in Newtown. Ms. Lanza couldn't be sent to prison for letting her weapons fall into her son's hands because he'd already killed her.

Some other issues: I'd like to agree that it's whacky to own a big pile of guns. The problem is, back when I avidly hunted and did a lot of target shooting, I owned at least 40 different rifles, shotguns and pistols. As seemingly insane as that might first appear, there was an underlying method to my madness: my son and I hunted together. You never go on a deer hunt with just one rifle each because if the scope gets knocked out of line, you need a backup, ergo 4 deer rifles. Sometimes, I would hunt deer by stalking--scoped rifles don't work for that purpose, so I had two unscoped, lever action rifles. Pig hunting--environmentally, anything you can do to reduce the feral hog population is a good thing. Because pigs run in groups (sounders, I think they are called), I had two .223 semi automatics, to shoot as many as my son and I could without having to stop and reload or to work a bolt. I hunted deer with both a .44 mag pistol and a .357 and rabbits with a .22 pistol. Shotguns, even more complex. If you're avid about something, it can get out of hand.

Now, it is whacky to stock up on guns, ammo, food etc in prep for the coming breakdown of society? Opinions vary on this point. Personally, I think it's a bit much, but if you are a regular here at ObWi and the discussion turns to, say, income inequality, you might begin to worry about when, not if, but when the bottom 99% is going to take to the streets. Otherwise calm and reasoned voices here at ObWi have predicted this very phenomena. So, some folks out there are prepping for the day that some of our more reasoned commenters and even a headliner or two have predicted.

Now, whether someone stockpiles in fear of income-inequality-induced societal breakdown or for fear of the black helicopters swooping in or because, like me, they keep coming up with different angles to justify buying a new toy, none of these folks have been shown to commit spree killings.

In every instance, the spree killer is demonstrably and profoundly disordered. You aren't going to reach that cohort with any kind of prophylactic measure, much less a threat of after-the-fact consequences, although you will surely make the lives of many others more difficult and expose otherwise law abiding citizens to federal prosecution.

As for regulating/outlawing certain classes of firearm, I get the sentiment. However, the sentiment demonstrably makes the situation worse, in several ways. First, to pick up on the bloody shirt sub-thread, it is THE bloody shirt of the NRA. Sapient et al's demands to repeal the 2nd Am and confiscate all but certain types of 'hunting rifles' are the NRA's Ex. A in fundraising. Those same demands fuel firearms and ammunition sales like nothing else in the real world ever could. Second, if you want to give credence to that slice of Americana who believes the feds are coming for your guns, keep talking--you're making their point. Third, and this is a fact, in the run up to the assault weapon ban under Clinton, firearms sales boomed. I represented a firearms importer with a modest market share--its profits were 4 times what they had ever been in the company's history.

I dislike the cosmetics of semi auto pistols and the military style rifles for the same reason I have reservations about some of these video games that people seem to play so much. I don't worry about the reasonably well adjusted who own guns like that or who play video games, but I do worry about the severely unbalanced, marginalized young male who cannot reconcile his situation with the world he sees around him, the world that he'd like to be a part of but which wants no part of him.

War games, pornography and sexy looking weapons, IMO, are all visual cues that stew in this young man's mind along will all of his other resentments, anger and isolation. In the very rare instance where the stew well and truly boils over, you get Newtown, or something perhaps less dramatic but just as tragic for the smaller number of people involved.

Final notes

1. Duff and Sapient seem to have a low regard for gun aficionados. D&S impute, it appears, some kind of shared guilt/responsibility to the broad range of non-hunting gun owners for events like Newtown. Any regulatory regime, no matter how oppressive, is ok because these are just not good folks and guns are bad. Very bad. This paradigm is transferable. It's a knife that cuts both ways and probably not the best underpinning for policy making.

2. Let's just assume there is an even larger number of gun stockpilers out there than we, in our worst moments, believe. Let's further assume these folks are holed up in their survival camps, terrified of the outside world. Like the Branch Davidians. The underlying mentality is defensive, not offensive. They are not a threat, at least not the kind that Lanza was. Worrying about people who hide behind locked doors in a house full of guns is misplaced. Worrying that the next Lanza will get his gun from that house is only mildly less misplaced--there are too many other, much easier ways to get a gun.

And that isn't going to change. Just like, as sure as anything, someone will die in Houston this weekend at the hands of an impaired driver. But, it will be only one or two people, and we're used to that. Desensitized, as it were.

(I've tried to post this twice. It's too long, so I'm breaking it up)

This debate, much sharper than any prior exchange I can recall on this subject here at ObWi, is not without irony or inconsistency.

Sapient, my personal experience is relevant only because it informs my reaction to the death of children.

Deaths on the highway due to substance abuse is relevant because these deaths outweigh spree killing deaths by orders of magnitude, and while cars/trucks are necessary, alcohol is not.

Yet, you would amend the constitution and confiscate what I assume is any semi automatic rifle and pistol from every citizen no matter how law abiding that citizen is. At the same time, you and many others would end the senseless war on drugs, which if ended, would have the known consequence (unintended, but still entirely predictable) of adding to the death toll on highways by a new class of impaired driver. Also at the same time, while the death toll in column A rises, you would declare a war on firearms, a war directed mainly at otherwise law-abiding citizens. Their crime would be possessory in nature, i.e. there is no actual criminal act and no victim to point to, simply the previously legal act of ownership.

And you would do this on account of statistically isolated, albeit horrific events. If a bus driver, impaired by marijuana, drove a bus full of children into a river or over a mountain side, would you do the same for marijuana as you would for guns?

Is it the end or the means that has you so engaged?

Duff, yes, you are correct, driving big rigs is heavily regulated and the penalties for noncompliance are fierce, as they should be. Driving a car is barely regulated, and similar to the disorderd Lanza, not having a license in no way prevents someone from getting behind the wheel. We do have stout penalties for drinking and driving. Some are deterred, others not.

But--I should capitalize 'but'--all of the penalties you point to are after the fact. There is no prophylactic/preventative regime in place to reduce or eliminate impaired driving. The analogy to committing a gun crime is fairly direct--our direst penalties are reserved for those who commit murder. Like I said, some are deterred, others are not.

The USDOT regime for qualifying drivers, for limiting their driving hours, for alcohol and drug testing are unnecessary for responsible drivers and are simply obstacles to be overcome for the irresponsible. Necessary, but they leak like a sieve.

Part Two:

Russell, all of your proposals fall on those who already obey the law. None of them would have prevented what happened in Newtown. Ms. Lanza couldn't be sent to prison for letting her weapons fall into her son's hands because he'd already killed her.

Some other issues: I'd like to agree that it's whacky to own a big pile of guns. The problem is, back when I avidly hunted and did a lot of target shooting, I owned at least 40 different rifles, shotguns and pistols. As seemingly insane as that might first appear, there was an underlying method to my madness: my son and I hunted together. You never go on a deer hunt with just one rifle each because if the scope gets knocked out of line, you need a backup, ergo 4 deer rifles. Sometimes, I would hunt deer by stalking--scoped rifles don't work for that purpose, so I had two unscoped, lever action rifles. Pig hunting--environmentally, anything you can do to reduce the feral hog population is a good thing. Because pigs run in groups (sounders, I think they are called), I had two .223 semi automatics, to shoot as many as my son and I could without having to stop and reload or to work a bolt. I hunted deer with both a .44 mag pistol and a .357 and rabbits with a .22 pistol. Shotguns, even more complex. If you're avid about something, it can get out of hand.

Now, it is whacky to stock up on guns, ammo, food etc in prep for the coming breakdown of society? Opinions vary on this point. Personally, I think it's a bit much, but if you are a regular here at ObWi and the discussion turns to, say, income inequality, you might begin to worry about when, not if, but when the bottom 99% is going to take to the streets. Otherwise calm and reasoned voices here at ObWi have predicted this very phenomena. So, some folks out there are prepping for the day that some of our more reasoned commenters and even a headliner or two have predicted.

Now, whether someone stockpiles in fear of income-inequality-induced societal breakdown or for fear of the black helicopters swooping in or because, like me, they keep coming up with different angles to justify buying a new toy, none of these folks have been shown to commit spree killings.

In every instance, the spree killer is demonstrably and profoundly disordered. You aren't going to reach that cohort with any kind of prophylactic measure, much less a threat of after-the-fact consequences, although you will surely make the lives of many others more difficult and expose otherwise law abiding citizens to federal prosecution.

As for regulating/outlawing certain classes of firearm, I get the sentiment. However, the sentiment demonstrably makes the situation worse, in several ways. First, to pick up on the bloody shirt sub-thread, it is THE bloody shirt of the NRA. Sapient et al's demands to repeal the 2nd Am and confiscate all but certain types of 'hunting rifles' are the NRA's Ex. A in fundraising. Those same demands fuel firearms and ammunition sales like nothing else in the real world ever could. Second, if you want to give credence to that slice of Americana who believes the feds are coming for your guns, keep talking--you're making their point. Third, and this is a fact, in the run up to the assault weapon ban under Clinton, firearms sales boomed. I represented a firearms importer with a modest market share--its profits were 4 times what they had ever been in the company's history.

I dislike the cosmetics of semi auto pistols and the military style rifles for the same reason I have reservations about some of these video games that people seem to play so much. I don't worry about the reasonably well adjusted who own guns like that or who play video games, but I do worry about the severely unbalanced, marginalized young male who cannot reconcile his situation with the world he sees around him, the world that he'd like to be a part of but which wants no part of him.

War games, pornography and sexy looking weapons, IMO, are all visual cues that stew in this young man's mind along will all of his other resentments, anger and isolation. In the very rare instance where the stew well and truly boils over, you get Newtown, or something perhaps less dramatic but just as tragic for the smaller number of people involved.

Final notes

1. Duff and Sapient seem to have a low regard for gun aficionados. D&S impute, it appears, some kind of shared guilt/responsibility to the broad range of non-hunting gun owners for events like Newtown. Any regulatory regime, no matter how oppressive, is ok because these are just not good folks and guns are bad. Very bad. This paradigm is transferable. It's a knife that cuts both ways and probably not the best underpinning for policy making.

2. Let's just assume there is an even larger number of gun stockpilers out there than we, in our worst moments, believe. Let's further assume these folks are holed up in their survival camps, terrified of the outside world. Like the Branch Davidians. The underlying mentality is defensive, not offensive. They are not a threat, at least not the kind that Lanza was. Worrying about people who hide behind locked doors in a house full of guns is misplaced. Worrying that the next Lanza will get his gun from that house is only mildly less misplaced--there are too many other, much easier ways to get a gun.

And that isn't going to change. Just like, as sure as anything, someone will die in Houston this weekend at the hands of an impaired driver. But, it will be only one or two people, and we're used to that. Desensitized, as it were.

Or a drone pilot could kill some more civilians, and we would hear sapient stridently defending the President's right to do that.

Which is one reason why I don't really take sapient's criticism in this matter all that seriously.

The underlying mentality is defensive, not offensive.

Right up until the county tax bill comes due. Or until the local sheriff shows up with a warrant. Or until someone on the inside sneaks a message to the cops complaining about being married at 13. Then they become quite offensive.

some kind of shared guilt/responsibility to the broad range of non-hunting gun owners for events like Newtown.

Getting sensible gun regulation laws passed would be a lot easier if gun owners would support them. But they don't. So there's your shared guilt right there.

To answer an earlier request about international gun-control frameworks:

In Finland, we have a very gun-heavy country. This is mostly due to the prevalence of hunting. However, until recently, government tacitly encouraged persons active in (legally regulated) national defence organisations to procure military-type semi-automatic rifles. In addition, our gun registrations were old-style paper card files. Both measures were, very likely, taken to increase the success probability of a guerrilla movement in case of a Soviet/Russian occupation, although this has never been an official political position. In addition to the 1.5 million legal guns, it is estimated that there are about 50,000 illegal weapons.

At present, you need a legal reason to get a gun license. It can be profession, collection, sport or hunting. If you apply for hunting or sport, the gun must be feasible for the purpose. For gun collecting, you need a clear plan detailing the types of weapons you are specializing on, and you cannot procure ammunition for the collection.

All new gun licenses require (I just got a gun for hunting, so I know):
* a police background check, including the check of the military service records
* a computerised "sanity check" (about 200 multiple choice questions). If you fail, you will be sent to get a medical certificate prior proceeding.
* an interview with a senior policeman, usually a criminal investigations person or a command-level police officer. There, your personal situation and the future uses and suitability of the weapon are discussed.

A few weeks after the interview, you can fetch your license from the police station. Then, you go to the gun shop (or a private individual) and buy the gun. The gun shop takes two copies of your license and sends one of them to the police. You go back to the police station with your gun and present the weapon there to the duty officer, who registers it and checks whether it matches the license. After a couple more weeks, you get a final license. (The whole process takes at least four visits to the police stations and costs some 70 euros in processing fees.)

If you are buying a "long" weapon, the license is indefinite, as a rule. For handguns, the first license is five years after which you must prove "active hobby", meaning at least a one range visit per two months. If your hobby is still "active", you are then issued subsequent ten-year licenses.

Personal defence is not a reason for issuance of a gun-license. In fact, even mentioning it as a reason to procure a weapon may be a disqualifier. It shows unsuitability to own a gun to even consider using it for self-defence.

Second, if you want to give credence to that slice of Americana who believes the feds are coming for your guns

Americana, they are coming for your guns. It's not the feds, it's the elementary school moms. You done pissed off the wrong crowd.

Yet, you would amend the constitution and confiscate what I assume is any semi automatic rifle and pistol from every citizen no matter how law abiding that citizen is

You're not allowed to drive drunk no matter how well you think you drive when you are drunk. Blame those elementary school moms again. They must hate freedom.

Getting sensible gun regulation laws passed would be a lot easier if gun owners would support them.

This has been bouncing around a bit, the link is thinkprogress, but I first saw it somewhere else.

According to a poll conducted in May by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for the group Mayors against Illegal Guns, gun-owning Americans, including National Rifle Association (NRA) members, overwhelmingly support a raft of common-sense measures typically described as “gun control:”

From here

As I have said there would be lots of ways to reduce casualties from drunk or unlicenced driving that would not be overly inconvenient to the average person* and those measures are seriously considered by some countries. The fact that not more is done there cannot serve as a valid argument to demand the same inaction on the topic of guns, only as an argument to put pressure on deciders on both topics.

*none would involve substance prohibition. A minor side benefit could even be increased protection against car theft.

Cerebus venture capital is selling">http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20121218/BUSINESS-US-CERBERUS-FREEDOMGROUP/">selling off Freedom Group, the makers of the Bushmaster, under pressure from CALPERS.

The NRA's statement on the events in Newtown: silence.">http://xfinity.comcast.net/articles/news-national/20121218/US.NRA.Silence/">silence.

According to a poll conducted in May by Republican pollster Frank Luntz for the group Mayors against Illegal Guns, gun-owning Americans, including National Rifle Association (NRA) members, overwhelmingly support a raft of common-sense measures typically described as “gun control:

This is the same Frank Luntz who predicted Romney's victory, right? Maybe we shouldn't take his work seriously given his demonstrated inability to perform basic addition.

More to the point, NRA members who support common sense gun control measures are either ignorant or dishonest. If they really supported those measures, they'd withdraw from the NRA and write a letter to their congressman explaining why. But they don't do that: instead, they keep sending money to the NRA every year, knowing that the NRA will fight tooth and nail against sensible gun control measures that they ostensibly support.

Well, as I said, it has been bouncing around the net but the fact that it is a Republican pollster makes more rather than less likely, doesn't it?

I'd like to think that this, coupled with the silence by Republican 'pro-gun rights senators' might be an indication that some tiny measure of sense is seeping into them.

That Salon piece was from me trying to find the David Gregory quote about trying to get gun rights spokesman to some on Meet the Press. This Salon piece is also interesting:

The polls have shifted since the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings — 54 percent of respondents in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll favor stricter gun control laws, a five-year high; 59 percent back a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips — and several big names in "pro-gun" politics, most of them Democrats, have stepped forward to say they've changed their minds. Here, five of them, and what they have to say:

Turb, please draw a line between any sensible gun reg currently on the table and preventing what happened in Newtown.

Duff , your non-responsive, non-substantive responses are less than compelling. If the idea is snark, well done. Otherwise, your case is simply 'because you say so.'

LJ, those requirements are pretty much the law in Texas; however, regulating who can carry a concealed weapon wouldn't affect people like Lanza. People who feel empowered to take others' lives don't worry a whole lot about process.

Which is not to say that regs like this don't make a difference. They do, but it's hard to measure. Some bad guys don't get the CCW and that puts them on the wrong side of the law when they do pack.

Lurker, I'm liking that 200 question test. Cumbersome as hell in a country our size, but, at last, an actual proposal that speaks to the Lanza's of this world. My proposal, just to begin the conversation: require the test to get a driver's license, for any gov't position, for a CCW, and who knows what else. This will require some thought.

More to the point, NRA members who support common sense gun control measures are either ignorant or dishonest.

Nothing like a self-righteous broad brush to thoroughly alienate those you might want to persuade. Well done. After all, who wants to see an organization change from within? It's a lot easier to just degrade your opposition. In much the way Turb, Sapient and others welcome and respond favorably to people who degrade them.

restricting gun access to those with clean bills of mental health is one thing. i'd also make it impossible for anyone living with a mentally-disturbed person to get a gun. hell, i'd make a gun a household responsibility and require that everyone in the household (older than, say, 4) be required to take gun safety classes as submit to mental health screenings, annually. and, make the household liable for damages caused by someone using their gun.

or, just ban the things.

A decreasing number of American gun owners own two-thirds of the nation's guns and as many as one-third of the guns on the planet

russell,
This is what makes nonsense of the suggestion that others have made that we would then have the sort of massive black market in guns that we have in drugs.

Guns (at least ones which work reliably) are a whole lot harder to produce than marijuana or cocaine. And to have a black market in guns, first somebody has to produce them. At the moment, that somebody is mass producing for the American market. No big American market, and suddenly you are reduced to much smaller scale production. And production which needs machine tools and skill at using them. Not just the sort of kitchen chemistry that you need to cook up meth, real skill. Certainly it's more complicated than raising some pot plants.

Second, the black market in drugs is driven by lots and lots of people who use them recreationally. At home. The number of people who live in a rural enough setting where they can do the same is real small. So the market is reduced to those who are paranoid enough to want to buy guns that they can rarely use.

Third, you can buy drugs and use them -- and then they are gone. If you don't get caught between the time you buy them and the time you use them, you're OK. But with a gun, use doesn't use it up. So once you have it, you are at risk of arrest on an on-going basis. Even though you can't use on an on-going basis without moving to the country, and buying a large enough property that the neighbors can't hear you shoot.

Black market? Sure, one will exist. But it will be a tiny one. I'm guessing about the size of the black market we already have in hand grenades (currently illegal). What, you've never heard of the black market in hand grenades???? But it's so enormous....

More to the point, NRA members who support common sense gun control measures are either ignorant or dishonest.

And never any third or fourth thing.

Otherwise: what McKTx said.

Turb, please draw a line between any sensible gun reg currently on the table and preventing what happened in Newtown.

OK. In a world where extended magazines weren't available, the Newtown killer wouldn't have been able to kill as many kids before the cops showed up.

My preferred solution where firearm possession is illegal without insurance would have also helped. It would have raised the marginal cost for the killer's mother to have accumulated so many semi-automatic weapons in one place. Moreover, someone would have noticed that she had a disturbed individual living with her and her gun trove and they probably would have called an insurance tip line at which point the insurance company could tell her 'either get your weapons out of your house or get our psychiatrist to sign off on your kid's emotional state or we're going to revoke your insurance and you won't be legally able to keep your weapons'. That would have worked too.

Nothing like a self-righteous broad brush to thoroughly alienate those you might want to persuade.

If 20 dead kids aren't enough to persuade you, I doubt anything I could say ever will.

Well done. After all, who wants to see an organization change from within? It's a lot easier to just degrade your opposition.

Organizations start to change from within once people start abandoning them. If no one abandons them, they don't have much incentive to change from within, now do they?

I tell you what: explain to me the efforts that NRA members are making to change the organization from within. Tell me what the metrics are for success, what their timetables are, how much support they have in making those changes, and what they'll do if they haven't made any progress. If you can do, then I'll concede that there's a serious effort underway. But if you can't, we need to face up to the fact that NRA members aren't interested in changing anything; that they like the status quo.

McT, I wasn't suggesting that those 5 proposals were going to be the end point and fix everything, just pointing out the Luntz polling and suggesting that there is movement. And I think the argument that 'hey we already have those things in Texas' doesn't really buy as much as you think it does. If those 5 points were nationwide and enforced across the country, it would make the public aware of a range of other possibilities along the lines of what lurker suggests. Of course, some gun rights advocates might complain of slippery slopes and propose things like Volokh's arm the teachers or McArdle's teach kids to rush shooters. (I won't dignify those suggestions with any links, but you can find them if you look)

What took place in Sandy Hook was in some ways a perfect storm, a mother who seemed to be a prepper and also seemed to use guns and shooting as a way of keeping her son engaged, a son whose mental issues came to a head at this time for reasons that we don't know, and the relative proximity of an elementary school, which was targeted for even more reasons we don't know. But the way to stop a perfect storm is to make sure that at least one of the conditions that makes it happen is removed. In this case, some sort of requirement for gun storage in a gun safe that is only accessible by the owner may have slowed up or even stopped him may have been enough.

And I don't mean to dump on the people of Sandy Hook, but this NYTimes story does bring another possible component of that perfect storm to light

As far as other points, Brett mentioned that he felt that dealing with the mental health aspect was something he had no problem with, and I agree and also think that the president should take this opportunity to address some of the mental health issues, and the pretty wretched state of the US mental health system. I could imagine a speech where he brings together mental health experts to propose a national system of mental health laws that would help deal with the thorny problems of dealing with adults who need to be hospitalized. I'm sure you've read the piece about the woman who describes her situation with her son (it is here) and it seems like reaching a point where rethinking of the laws related to these matters are necessary.

I will accept that there won't be a law, or even a combination of rules that will automatically make things all right. But there has to be some first steps, and some of these things seem like likely candidates.

Turb, please draw a line between any sensible gun reg currently on the table and preventing what happened in Newtown.

The line I would draw would be:

10 bullet clip means Lanza has to reload. That means when Hochsprung rushes him, she succeeds instead of ending up dead.

Instead of 20 dead kids, we get 10, or 5, or 0.

It's not an unreasonable request.

Turb--ok, those are proposals. Smaller magazines means more reloading. Not preventative, perhaps a convenience factor. Charles Whitman used bolt action rifles when he killed 18 or so and wounded many more in Austin in the late 60's. I'm guessing you aren't very familiar with guns. Or magazines, which can be fabricated without much difficulty.

But, it is a proposal that's on the table.

As for insurance as a prerequisite to firearms ownership, that is new to me. Insurance tip lines? They are useful in preventing crime? Seems like a reach to me. I do see a lot of impaired driving in my business. Many impaired drivers have insurance. Hasn't seemed to have stopped them.

The ubiquity of firearms in the US coupled with deranged shooters' complete lack of regard for process makes pretty much every proposal, except Lurker's, just so much 'feel good' busy work that, in the end, like defensive driving classes, accomplishes less than nothing.

In a world where extended magazines weren't available, the Newtown killer wouldn't have been able to kill as many kids before the cops showed up.

A Glock 9mm carries 10 in the regular, non-extended magazine. A pair of autoloading pistols with spare magazines and there would be no question of being able to kill 20 or more people.

He didn't need the Bushmaster to kill a lot of people. He was shooting those kids and teachers inside the classrooms, at close range. You don't need a long gun for that.

Charles Whitman used bolt action rifles when he killed 18 or so and wounded many more in Austin in the late 60's.

Not for nothing, but Charles Whitman was also behind a self-made barricade in a tower 27 stories above the goddamned ground, not standing in a classroom full of people. Meaningful comparisons, please.

The ubiquity of firearms in the US coupled with deranged shooters' complete lack of regard for process makes pretty much every proposal, except Lurker's, just so much 'feel good' busy work

The flip side of your reaction to Turbulence's broad brush is my reaction to your insistence that the status quo is what we have to settle for, and there's nothing else we can do about it.

20 little kids shot to bits by a maniac whose mother was building a private arsenal to prepare for some freaking imaginary Armageddon concentrates the mind quite a bit.

I am NOT anti-gun, for a lefty I am a borderline 2nd Amendment hawk. I'm more of a 2nd Amendment advocate than, frex, Brett, because I want the whole nine yards, not just the "leave my guns alone" part.

But I am, personally, outraged that folks think they can build private arsenals of weapons that are milspec in every regard other than being fully automatic, for the express purpose of killing their neighbors in the event of some social or economic calamity, and the rest of us have nothing whatsoever to say about it.

F***k that.

People who want guns need to demonstrate that they are sufficiently responsible to own, handle, and use them. If they can't, they shouldn't get them.

And the bar should be high, because guns are f***ing dangerous.

If you want a soldier's weapon, you should go be a soldier. Don't want to be a soldier, don't want to submit to the discipline that comes with being a soldier, you don't get a soldier's weapon.

And to be perfectly honest I'm not interested in hearing about how personal gun ownership is the guardian of our liberty, because when the sh*t hits the fan regarding any civil liberty other than gun ownership, the citizen patriots are nowhere to be seen.

Newtown was an aberration and a statistical blip in exactly the way that 9/11 was an aberration and a statistical blip.

Some shit simply will not stand.

Thanks.

Added: Charles Whitman had nearly an uninterrupted hour and a half to re-load that rifle repeatedly. Lanza was in and done in less than 10 minutes.

One thing is clear, any measure will take significant time to show results. Gun 'desaturation' would likely take decades and any break could in essence nullify the efforts (cf. the failure of the polio eradication program because religious nuts and demagogues in a single African state broke the cycle and caused the disease to spread again to several neighbouring countries ruining the work of many years). Gun manufacturers are ready to flood the market immediately after there is an opening (and again when a restrictive law is rumoured to be on its way).

A Glock 9mm carries 10 in the regular, non-extended magazine. A pair of autoloading pistols with spare magazines and there would be no question of being able to kill 20 or more people.

Note that he had to shoot the door repeatedly to gain entrance to the school.


As for insurance as a prerequisite to firearms ownership, that is new to me.

I've brought up in the past. The idea is that possessing a weapon without insurance is an extremely serious crime.

I'm sure gun folk would reject this proposal, so there's a sweetener: as part of the deal, we eliminate a lot of existing gun regulations. You want to take a gun into a bar: great. But your insurance contract probably prohibits you from doing that unless you're willing to spend $2K/month on the waiver that lets you carry while plastered and people will be reporting to you to the tip line in hopes of getting a sweet payout....

Insurance tip lines? They are useful in preventing crime? Seems like a reach to me. I do see a lot of impaired driving in my business. Many impaired drivers have insurance. Hasn't seemed to have stopped them.

That's because the costs of drunk driving are relatively low. We could raise the costs by statute if we wanted to reduce drunk driving, at which point, yeah, insurance companies would be offering free money to anyone who reported a tip that allowed them to stop a drunk driver from getting on the road.

I mean, this is just basic economics: people respond to financial incentives and the free market can effectively perform risk management. If you don't buy those ideas, you shouldn't be arguing with me about my free market approach to reducing gun violence: you should be arguing against the existence of the FIRE sector in general.


I don't see how further regulatory efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental health issues are going to be successful. There are a lot of people with mental health issues who have no business owning a gun but who have never been adjudicated as such. Probably including the Sandy Hook shooter. As long as we insist on thinking of gun control as a purely government regulatory system, we're not going to keep such people from buying guns because gun ownership is a right.

The solution is private insurance risk management. Insurance companies would have the financial interest in keeping unstable people from getting guns and they could base their decisions on a lot more than information than a government regulator process does. They'd start with the set of people who were adjudicated as mentally unfit but they could then send investigators to talk with family, teachers, friends. Finally, insurance companies are less likely to be captured by gun-nuts the way that some state governments have.

The one proviso is that I'm assuming we're talking about high functioning state governments like CT. In places like MI where politicians have decided that they're just not going to follow the CCW laws because keeping records is too hard, none of that applies. Just enforcing common sense laws in those places would make a difference.

I like all of the procedures that Lurker mentions. I would add one more thing: guns shouldn't be stored at people's homes where non-licensed people can get to them.

People can keep their guns at a local armory, and check them out for hunting (or for whatever purpose their intended). Another benefit of that is that other people would know who is using a gun at any given time.

He didn't need the Bushmaster to kill a lot of people

He shot some of those kids 10 or more times. At that rate, he would have gotten two before having to reload.

So, there's that.

At a certain point it's kind of obscene to compare the tactical advantages of assault rifles vs. a handgun when shooting up a kindergarten.

Mass killings are facilitated by weapons with large magazines. You can shoot a lot more people before you have to reload. It's a tactical advantage. That's why they exist.

Seriously, any debate about that?

Turbulence, your idea is an interesting one, and would be politically feasible. Have you ever seen it discussed by policy makers?

In today's news, four shot dead in Colorado.

For those who keep insisting on comparing shooting to driving: "According to a May report by the Washington, D.C.-based Violence Policy Center, Colorado was one of 10 states where gun deaths outpaced motor vehicle deaths in 2009.' (That statistic appears to be all motor vehicle deaths, not just DUI related deaths.)

The ubiquity of firearms in the US coupled with deranged shooters' complete lack of regard for process makes pretty much every proposal, except Lurker's, just so much 'feel good' busy work that, in the end, like defensive driving classes, accomplishes less than nothing.

50,000+ intentional, non-fatal shootings every goddamned year. 10,000 intentional fatal shootings (aka homicide). tens of thousands of suicides. another 20,000+ non-intentional, non-fatal shootings.

insisting we catch everyone or it's not worth doing is idiocy. anything that can be done to reduce those numbers is worth doing, even if we don't stop all the lunatics.

In this case, some sort of requirement for gun storage in a gun safe that is only accessible by the owner may have slowed up or even stopped him may have been enough.

I keep a 9mm Glock in my bed stand drawer. Why? Our neighborhood experiences occasional 'kick bandits'. A small, armed gang kicks in the door and holds the family at gun point, robbing, assaulting, etc. Statistically, the odds of our home being selected are fairly remote, maybe 1 in 1000, maybe even less. But, they are far, far greater than being involved in a killing spree. Because at least one incident occurred on our street, I like having a pistol handy.

Another issue is: who is the owner? Just me? My wife? I have several guns at the house that belong to my son, who is married and Texas is a community property state. Does our daughter-in-law have equal access? Should we impose the same limitations on car ownership and access to alcohol?

More generally, the common features of every proposal--other than Lurker's--short of an outright ban and confiscation across the board involve speculative, wishful 'maybe this/maybe that' or address problems other than severely disordered individuals who go on spree killings.

That is the problem: people, in the aftermath of a horror, grabbing at after the fact straws. This is emotion cloaked in superficial logic. Anyone who hasn't asked "what can we do?" has their own set of issues. Wanting to find a way, a fix, is the natural, correct reaction. That doesn't make it right or good policy.

But there has to be some first steps, and some of these things seem like likely candidates.

The notion of first steps raises the fair question of 'what is the end game?'

10 bullet clip means Lanza has to reload. That means when Hochsprung rushes him, she succeeds instead of ending up dead.

Russell, maybe, but probably not. You can swap magazines in seconds, less than five seconds. I used to shoot birds on high volume hunts in Argentina (yes, I went way overboard). I could and did fire at an average rate of well more than 6 aimed shots a minute with a semi-automatic shotgun plugged to limit magazine capacity to two rounds plus one in the chamber. Actually, the rate of aimed fire was much higher. I would typically fire off 1100-1200 shells in a 2.5 to 3 hour shoot. There would be some down time in between flights, and most of the shooting was in bursts of 10 or so shells in 30 seconds give or take. What I'm saying here is that shooting and reloading a relatively cumbersome long gun to achieve a high rate of fire isn't any big deal. Which is still way slower than hitting a button, letting a clip fall to the ground and sticking another clip in. In my case, each shell is individually grabbed by my right hand from inside a shell bag hanging on my belt while my left holds the shotgun and then slid into a magazine on the underside of the gun. Then, I have to lift, aim and hit a bird moving at 40 or more MPH and jinking all the while. Just to round out the picture, after about a morning of shooting, I could shoot, aim, reload, shoot, etc and hit 75-80% of fast moving dove in flight.

Now, think how much easier it would be to hit a much larger, slower target. What Lanza did that morning could be done with a three shot capacity, perfectly ordinary gas-operated semi-automatic shotgun. If anything, he would have fired less and hit more because it's harder to miss with a shotgun.

From the outside, ideas like limits on magazine size seem to be just plain old common sense. For my part, I don't need a high capacity magazine for any shooting I am ever likely to do again and 10 shots is more than ample if something changes and I revert to helping out with the feral hog population.

But, magazine limits won't do much to slow a shooter down.

If the goal is to slow a shooter--a goal prompted solely by the statistically rare and remote spree killing--then you do that only by an outright ban plus confiscation of all semi-automatic weapons: rifles, pistols and shotguns.

I don't think that is going to happen. The more likely legislative result would be a prospective ban with a grandfather clause that would send gun sales through the roof. Just what we need.

Newtown was an aberration and a statistical blip in exactly the way that 9/11 was an aberration and a statistical blip.

Well, not really. There is no domestic al queda sending the Lanza's of this world out to do their bidding; AQ had attacked Americans and American interests before 9/11 and continued to do so afterward as well as conducting attacks in London and Spain. So, not comparable.

I don't like the Lanza situation either, but implicit in your proposal is that everyone who currently owns a gun and can't meet your standard is subject to confiscation. As a practical matter, who is going to qualify 40,000,000 people in anything less than several decades?

Lanza outrages me too. The process, and it will be gradual, is to institutionalize something like the MMPI, which BTW, is fraught with its own set of issues. Semi-mandatory mental health screening is right out of 1984. But, it's the only proposal on the table that has actual, practical application.

I used to shoot birds on high volume hunts in Argentina (yes, I went way overboard). Horrible, inhumane, disgusting.

I think I'm going back to my thought that people should keep their licensed guns in a neighborhood arsenal, checking them out for licensed hunting. I like to think of hunters as being in it for sustainable food, but obviously that's not the usual motivation.

That is the problem: people, in the aftermath of a horror, grabbing at after the fact straws.

My insurance proposal long predates this massacre.



There is no domestic al queda sending the Lanza's of this world out to do their bidding;

Note that Al Queda blew up their best strategists and operators on 9/11; that significantly reduced the potency of any threat they posed.

The solution is private insurance risk management. Insurance companies would have the financial interest in keeping unstable people from getting guns and they could base their decisions on a lot more than information than a government regulator process does.

It's an idea, but not one that will ever get off the ground. No insurer is going to underwrite weapons ownership. Even if some insurer were to issue some kind of policy, the cost would be prohibitive and riddled with exclusions. Among other things, every auto/GL policy in the US excludes harm caused by intentional acts and harm as the result of committing a crime. Because the cost of a hypothetical policy would be so ridiculously high, the effect would be an outright ban on any firearms ownership. So, interesting concept, but it won't happen.

I'd be pleased as punch if we could institute the types of things Lurker mentioned on a national scale in this country. It would probably be better than anything I could realistically hope for. So I find McKinney's support for such measures to be reasonable. I also suspect that such support would prove extremely rare among American gun enthusiasts.

But all the talk about how one might kill a given number of people with this or that arsenal, I could do without. Like russell said, big magazines exist for a reason.

That is the problem: people, in the aftermath of a horror, grabbing at after the fact straws.

when is the appropriate time to talk about it? how many days do we need to go since the last gun-related murder before we can talk about this? because, statistically, we can't even go a single fncking hour, on average, without a gun murder in this country. if things continue as they have, there will never be a day without a couple dozen gun-related murders every fncking day in this country.

Horrible, inhumane, disgusting.

Does it get lonely on your moral high ground? We still ate what we killed and in Argentina, where the dove hatch 4 times a year, they over populate and need to be thinned out. Plus there is the boost to the local economy. But, don't let any of that stop you from leaping to conclusions. It's what you do best.

I keep a 9mm Glock in my bed stand drawer.

Yes, but should someone keep a semi-automatic next to their bed? Wouldn't legally mandated gun storage for weapons like that have been one way to at least reduce the death toll?

Also, (and this is speculative, but I don't think I'm too off) someone who is shooting victims multiple times is not going to change his target selection and shoot each victim one time. You seem to assume that people who go on these rampages are going to have full control of their senses, and be able to handle a gun like a military trained soldier. One probable reason that Charles Whitman was able to shoot so many people was that he was perched on the 28th floor. Isn't it a bit of a stretch to imagine that someone who is shooting kindergarten students multiple times would have been able to control that rage (and note that he killed himself as soon as he heard police coming)

I have a sinking feeling that the next thing you are going to be telling us is that what Lanza did could have been done with a baseball bat. I suppose one could, so it is a short step to the protagonist in Trevenian's Shibumi, who masters the 'Naked/Kill' martial art where he can take any ordinary household item and kill with it. However, that book is a satire...

I do see a lot of impaired driving in my business. Many impaired drivers have insurance. Hasn't seemed to have stopped them.

Your sample is exclusively from whatever percentage of people haven't been stopped, if I'm understanding you correctly.

I know people who lost their licenses after DUIs, didn't drive for long periods after that because they couldn't get a license or insurance, and no longer are willing to risk driving drunk now that they are able to drive legally again.

As seemingly insane as that might first appear, there was an underlying method to my madness:

While what you described after the above might not sound insane, it does sound like a fairly esoteric pursuit of a hobby, not something so fundamental to your personal liberty that it should inform a discussion of policy involving the safety of the general public.

So, yes, I would be willing to sacrifice your rarified hunting experiences if I thought limiting the number of weapons an individual might own would make the world, or at least America, a safer place.

You can swap magazines in seconds, less than five seconds

Five seconds is better than zero seconds.

You tell me: somebody's in your house with a gun. Is it better from your point of view if their gun has a 10 round magazine, or a 100 round magazine?

There's a reason those things exist.

you do that only by an outright ban plus confiscation of all semi-automatic weapons

The Australians, a nation with a history and culture similar to ours, did it. They did it because they were horrified by a mass killing.

It's neither unthinkable, nor unreasonable.

I doubt we'll do it, which says as much about us as a people as it does anything else.

There is no domestic al queda sending the Lanza's of this world out to do their bidding

No, there is a domestic Al Qaeda stockpiling as close to a military arsenal as they can get, so that they can kill their neighbors when the "SHTF".

No insurer is going to underwrite weapons ownership.

They will if it is profitable. That's how the free market works.

Even if some insurer were to issue some kind of policy, the cost would be prohibitive and riddled with exclusions.

Stop being so negative. I look at it this way: the cost of getting blanket no-questions-asked coverage for an arbitrary arsenal would be prohibitive. That's the point. But the cost for getting coverage for a single gun or two of reasonable size for healthy people would be moderate. And if premiums were excessive, you could always trade off some privacy for lower premiums.

Just like people today can get cheaper car insurance if they drive very little or if they're willing to let the insurance company put a device in their car that monitors how well they drive, you could get substantial discounts on your gun insurance if you were willing to submit to an interview with an insurance company psychologist every few months and maybe accept surprise home visits.

Among other things, every auto/GL policy in the US excludes harm caused by intentional acts and harm as the result of committing a crime.

This is a different type of insurance, so limitations on existing policies would not apply.

Because the cost of a hypothetical policy would be so ridiculously high

You don't know that. You're not an actuary.

the effect would be an outright ban on any firearms ownership.

I think premiums could be totally manageable for most people. After all, what is the risk that a 72 year old grandfather with no criminal history who lives in a rural area and owns a single 30 year old hunting rifle will commit a crime with it? Pretty damn low. Isn't that your exact argument? So the premiums will be low too.


I keep a 9mm Glock in my bed stand drawer. Why? Our neighborhood experiences occasional 'kick bandits'. A small, armed gang kicks in the door and holds the family at gun point, robbing, assaulting, etc.

Have you considered a reinforced door? Or is that something that the local hoodlums have already figured out how to deal with?

But all the talk about how one might kill a given number of people with this or that arsenal, I could do without. Like russell said, big magazines exist for a reason.

Yes, it is grim. It is also the answer--the practical answer--to magazine caps. You can do it, but it won't matter much, if at all.

Yes, but should someone keep a semi-automatic next to their bed? Wouldn't legally mandated gun storage for weapons like that have been one way to at least reduce the death toll?

Well, a Glock is a semi-automatic pistol and wouldn't do me much good if it was somewhere else. Now, if you are suggesting that keeping long barreled, clip-fed, high capacity rifles at a separate location might mitigate spree killing: maybe. There's a ton of subsidiary questions (how long can I check my gun out for before I get fined, punished, what have you?)

One probable reason that Charles Whitman was able to shoot so many people was that he was perched on the 28th floor. Isn't it a bit of a stretch to imagine that someone who is shooting kindergarten students multiple times would have been able to control that rage (and note that he killed himself as soon as he heard police coming)

Whitman is a variation on the same theme: spree killing. The details vary in degree as does the shooter's profile (Whitman had a brain tumor, IIRC).

This is a grim topic and I'm worn down for the time being. Final thought: 1-5 years in prison for any adult who intentionally or negligently permits a person who the adult knows, or by the exercise or ordinary care, should know know is, by reason of mental incompetency, a potential danger to him/herself or others if that person kills or injures him/herself or another with the firearm.

McKinney out.

I apologize to McKinney for not being aware of the details of Argentinian dove hunting. You're right, McKinney, I was uninformed, and do have a knee jerk disgust for the idea of killing hundreds of doves in a day (which, though my apology is sincere, I doubt you ate - from what I've read, the birds are often left to feed various "carnivorous animals"). In this case, it was apparently unfounded.

All I have to say at this point is that the counter-arguments from the gun owner side of the house are convincing me that the ban on automatics should be extended to semi-autos.

And, that extended or high capacity magazines should absolutely be out of private hands.

Too much trouble to work a bolt-action? A revolver won't get another bullet in the chamber fast enough for you to protect yourself or your home?

I'm just not seeing the need. All I'm seeing is the risk, for all of the rest of us who live here.

Folks who don't own guns and aren't interested in guns have an interest in this issue, not just gun owners.

Mama Lanza exercised what is currently construed to be her right to build up a fairly substantial personal arsenal. Now she's dead, but more to the point, 20 kids and six adults who had nothing to do with, and who had no interest in, her weird obsessions, are also dead.

And not just because her kid was disturbed. Because her kid was disturbed, and had access to her arsenal, and was trained, by her, in its use.

Absent that, he'd just be a weird kid.

It's not just about what you get to do or not do. It's about the consequences of what you do or don't do, for the rest of us.

Yeah, I’m all for gun restrictions and believe the 2nd amendment has been abused by right-wing “hobbyists” and paranoid lunatics. However, my son is becoming a “gun enthusiast” (more specifically, weapons enthusiasts; he likes knives, swords in addition to guns) and is learning to be responsible, with other relatives with the same interests, so I think “losing respect” for people who owns guns is a bit naïve.

The above statement was in response to the bottom post. I didn't realize there was a whole third page of comments!

To be honest, I even respect you a bit less than I otherwise would because you own guns. I'm less tolerant than Russell. I don't respect every hobby people indulge in. Some people collect guns; other people collect kiddie porn. Both are hobbies. Both put me off. So far, to different degrees. But give it time -- and the inevitable, predictable, body count -- and that may change.

--TP

Posted by: Tony P. | December 18, 2012 at 01:18 AM

" However, my son is becoming a “gun enthusiast” "

I think that's pretty common. I've mostly stayed out of this thread--Russell probably comes closest to my views. But I've always found weapons and military history interesting to some degree. When I read about the Atzecs as a child I found the macuahuitl fascinating for some reason and have always wanted to see one, not just depictions in some Atzec drawing--I guess it was the human ingenuity in creating something like a sword with just wood and obsidian. Anyway, the point being that for whatever reason, a lot of people (mostly men, I'm guessing , though this might be sexist) are interested in weapons.

So I don't blame people for finding them interesting--same here. But all the same, when there's a public health problem then sensible regulations might be part of the solution. I find man-eating saltwater crocodiles pretty fascinating too, probably for the same boyish reasons, but I don't think people should be allowed to keep them as pets in their swimming pools.

Lurker and Turbulence have given some of the best suggestions I've read, making it more expensive and more regulated. I don't know about the whole armory suggestion, though.

Lurker, I am curious to know what regulations if any apply in Finland for large magazines.

Define "large" any way you like, I'm just curious to know what you all do on that topic.

I generally like the insurance idea, and I think gun owners have a duty to secure weapons.

Like with cars, owners should be responsible for the actions of those who they allow access to the car/weapon.

If a gun owners' "risk analysis" makes them decide to have a Glock in the drawer next to the bed, that should be legal, but the owner should be responsible for the harm that gun does if used by someone unauthorized to use it (as well as those authorized). The "risk analysis" the owner takes should take that into account. If, on the other hand, the gun was stored in a locked safe and stolen anyway, they should not have responsibility.

I think this is pretty similar to cars: If your car is locked and stolen, you are not responsible for the damage caused by the thief. Leave the keys in the ignition and the doors unlocked, you have some responsibility because you were negligent (especially if the thief had diminished capacity).

And just like auto insurance, gun insurance only has to create the concern that failure to comply will cause financial havoc.

People without car insurance who have no assets are "judgement proof." People with no assets and no "gun insurance" would similarly be "judgement proof."

But it would be reckless, and public use of the car/weapon can be fined, harm caused by negligence can cause imprisonment.

And since most guns and cars are owned by those with some assets they care about, most don't think they are judgement proof.

I also think that the subset of people who own both guns and cars are much more likely to harm someone with their cars than by their guns, so the insurance for guns should generally be less than cars. I base this on there being roughly the same number of cars as guns in America, and cars killing far more.

Many gun owners would either choose to secure thier weapons, get rid of them, or risk financial ruin if they had their guns stolen. But those who perceive a true need for protection have the right to choose to protect themselves.

I would expect that those worried about the zombie apocalypse will choose to secure their guns (expecting time to unlock the door if economic collapse occurs), and those with a real risk of daily home invasion will still keep it under the pillow. Having lived through the drug seeking door knockers at 2 am (because the previous resident apparently sold drugs) I like having options. Currently living in as safe a place as possible, I worry more about my kids finding a gun than I do about someone harming my family.

But I accept responsibility for my choices if I fail to secure both cars and guns.

Plus get rid of high capacity magazines/weapons. If you can't defend yourself/family with 10 rounds or less, you are already screwed.

I can see the issue from both sides. I learned to shoot from my father as a child hunted with him. It was a significant rite of passage when I was given my first rifle, a .22 bolt action, on my fourteenth birth day. My father had taken seriously the task of teaching not only what is traditionally called gun safety but also that having a gun meant accepting immense responsibility. I was very proud, not of the gun, but that my parents had demonstrated such confidence that I would exercise adult judgement and self control. I have tried hard to live up to that judgement.

On the other hand, I realize my experience makes me statistical fluke. My only experience with the military was two years of Army ROTC during my college years. But I have been shot at twice. During my teen age years in California I had the experience of hiding behind a boulder during a sniper incident. I've hard the crack of supersonic bullet passing my head before the sound of the gun arrives. A few years later, on the way to go hunting, I arrived at a friends home for the planned early start. No lights, no answer to a knock on the door. I knew where he kept a spare key so I let myself in and headed for the bedroom loudly saying thing along the lines of "Hey sleepy head! We were supposed to be on the road half an hour ago! Up and at em!" Awakend from what was apparently a deep sleep and realizing there was an unexpected person in his house, he grabbed his bedside self defense pistol and fired one shot before realizing what was actually going on. Fortunately he missed by a good two feet.
Something to think about before keeping a gun for self defense.

But speaking of self defense, and defense of others, over the nearly fifty years since getting that first gun I have twice pulled a gun to interrupt criminal activity. The first time was while I was living in what was known as the student ghetto just off the UF campus. I was awakened by the sound of screaming that left no doubt that something terrible was happening. I grabbed the pistol I kept for self defence and ran to the sound. What I found was my neighbor being raped with a knife to her neck. I waved the gun and the rapist ran. I had time to take the gun home before the police arrived and my neighbor was kind enough to leave it out of her account. The second incident occured during that time when I was going armed all the time. I was approached by a (to my eyes) imposing young man who demanded my money. He did not display any weapon. Instead of producing a wallet, I produced a Firestar 9mm. He quickly backed away then turned and ran. End of incedent. A word about my years of going armed. In the eighties I wasn't very policially active, and perhaps a bit out of touch. A coworker, who was a big shot in the local NOW asked if I would volunteer to help out by escorting women through the picket lines in front of the planned parenthood clinic. My wife had been to planned parenthood both for birth control and for cancer screening in our days before good jobs with good insurance, so I said "Sure". A few lessons on how to get the patients though the lines without escalating the encounter or getting charged with assualt later I started escorting scared patients. These were the heydays of Operation Rescue. Of course they noted the license numbers of the staff and volunteers, looked them up, so the telephone death threats against myself and my wife stated. We took those threats seriously. Other staff and volunteers had shots fired into their homes while they were inside them. The Planned Parenthood clinic in a neighboring town was firebombed three times during the time I was a volunteer. So my wife and I applied for concealed weapons permits and started going armed all the time. It developed into a habit that lasted years after any real need. To this day I find the threat of Christian terrorism greater than that of Islamic terrorism.

Somewhere along the way I developed a sense of empathy with animals and lost my taste for hunting. I live on 88 acres and I watch deer, squirrels, rabbits, racoons, and possums daily. Last spring a pair of foxes raised cubs in a den just outside the close horse pasture. I'm probably guilty of applying human standards where they don't work, but mostly they all look like they're enjoying life. I just can't see getting any enjoyment out of ending that.

So my guns are used as fantisticly expensive paper punches. But I still enjoy having them. Despite statistics, I feel safer having one handy for self defense.

I would support a ban on large capacity magazines on semiauto guns. Better, I would support banning semiauto weapons with interchangable magazines. As a work around for the millions of interchangable magazine weapons already in circulation, it seems they could be retrofitted with a tab added to one clip that would match a grove in the magazine holder that would allow only the one magazine matched to that gun to be inserted.

so much for this rambling and somewhat incoherent comment. Probably confused because my thoughts on the subject are still confused.

Actually Bassabo I thought your comment was thought proviking.

I think the approach to the issue of gun safety needs to be to identify first of all the reasons why a civilian might nnedd a gun (and I want one! isn't a need), then list out all the types avaialbe plus atypes of ammo and sort them out from the least deadly to the most.

Then draw a line at some point in the area where the gun's capacity or the capacity of the ammo exceeds what a civilian would need for a legitmate purpose.

I know that people could fuss over that a legitamate purpose is but it ihard to find an intellectually honsest justification fo the kinds of weapons Ms Lanza except that she wanted them and, as John COle pointed out, her right to wone what she wants does not exceed the right of a child to live.

Baskaborr, thank you for that.

My huge mistake with McKinney (and, frankly, I like being his adversary, so I hate having been knee-jerk wrong) is that I really have a gut distaste for hunting, but kind of an attraction to it too, because I realize that it can be a sustainable way to kill animals for food. I, too, see animals in my yard, respect them, respect my companion animals. And my early experience with people who hunted was that they were very careless about the lives and suffering of the animals they killed. I don't think I'm wrong to believe that, although many hunters are good people and humane, many are sadistic. I knew people who approached it that way, and that's where I got my disdain for hunting. The phenomenon of "hunting" for animals who are tame, of hunting for animals who were recently caged, of hunting by remote control - these are not respectful practices, and I was conflating those things with what McKinney was describing.

But let's put aside hunting. Guns are dangerous and need to be regulated, at least as much as cars, which may be deadly, but their purpose isn't deadliness. I think that it's appropriate to allow, but regulate, hunting, and to disallow gun ownership for most other purposes.

Self-defense? Lock the doors!

Of course, some gun rights advocates might complain of slippery slopes and propose things like Volokh's arm the teachers or McArdle's teach kids to rush shooters

My favorite is the gun nuts who approvingly cite William S Burroughs' anti-gun control quote.

William S Burroughs, the junky who got drunk and shot his wife's brains out while playing a game of William Tell, trying to shoot a whiskey glass off her head from 6 feet away.

That's who we are supposed to listen to on gun control now?

I keep a 9mm Glock in my bed stand drawer

The statistics say that by doing so you greatly increase the risk of your death, the risk of death for your family members and friends, and other people in your community.

You can swap magazines in seconds, less than five seconds

That's less time than it took for people to subdue Jared Lee Loughner in Tucson when he stopped shooting to change magazines. Cops responded to the Aurora attack in 90 seconds, the first response to the shopping mall attack in Oregon was in a minute. A few seconds save lives. If it doesn't make that much difference to you, why are you so dead set against it?

Of course the simpler answer is to ban guns.

Or here's a better idea, we can pass Right To Own Guns laws. Gun manufacturers will still be allowed to manufacture guns, but they will no longer be allowed to require that anyone pay for one.

Conservatives will be all for it, the same as they are for Right To Work laws. It doesn't outlaw gun ownership and it increases everybody's freedom, right?

As a pure public policy matter (as opposed to the prism of 'what is reasonable, given the politics') it struck me that nobody here was forcefully advocating a total gun ownership ban. Allow me to recklessly jump in. Make it a capital offence. Let the Tree of Liberty be well watered. Gun ownership would go down. Fewer guns > fewer gun deaths. Social costs go down. Elementary stuff.

Now many conservatives would likely argue that a ban would not be effective. Why, look at Prohibition! Did in not fail miserably? Astonishingly, this assertion is MIA when it comes to the use of (some) drugs, and abortions, much less like sexes exchanging marital vows. Aren't they the ones who oft declaim, "There ought to be a law?" Such a view also elides nicely the oft observed social oppression found in, let us say less populous areas where, OMG!, the social consensus is well neigh universal and "shunning" in one form or another, is quite effective as a means of insuring a stultifying conformity of behavior and opinion.

Ah, Liberty!

As for the politics, yes there is the comma ridden 2nd Amendment and the gowdawfulness of the Heller and like minded decisions recently rendered by the self styled "originalists" majority of the Supreme Court.

Nonetheless, we may have reached a watershed moment. Adults getting randomly slaughtered is one thing, but 5 year olds? The times may be a changin'. And if everybody is for it, how can it not succeed? (please, no mention of the 2003 war hysteria). The question is how far should the needle move?
So I'm willing to climb down to something akin to the policies they have in Finland, or Australia. Eminently sensible stuff, Lurker. My hat's off to you. I think I've come a long ways here toward a reasonable compromise.

See you at the center of the road.

McT, I realize you bowed out, and I just wanted to say thanks for stating your case. Honestly, if I ever needed a lawyer, I would want you, or someone like you, who was going to make the opposition fight for every inch and every concession. I do realize that ability is a gift and is probably why you are a successful lawyer. However, I do think that in discussions of public policy, that 'defend every inch of ground' can be counter-productive, especially when people are speaking out when they are hurt or feel fragile. I don't want to speak for others, but I certainly feel that way, an ocean away, and I imagine others do to.

At any rate, a thank you for participating, even if I disagree.

I can appreciate Baskaborr's position. I think his situation would not be very different even under very tight regulations. E.g. the case of the work for PP would be a textbook example for legitimate 'need', something that gun laws in many countries require.
---
I share spaient's thoughts on hunting. I respect hunters that follow the code of honour (that is also law in many countries) but I know that many are in it for (imo) despicable reasons. I also know that there are few things 'true' hunters despise more than those 'shootists'. Since I know that I would fall into the latter category, I would not go hunting even if I had the opportunity. I did fish on occasion but only with someone who would do the gutting afterwards since I am too lefthanded and squeamish for that. The last time we were a bit too successful and had great difficulty to eat all of it (it was the last day of the holidays and there was no way to take it the 1000 miles home). But throwing fully edible stuff away was not something I wanted to have on my conscience either. It became a very fishy day diet-wise. It has been some years ago and my memory partially fails me but we may have left the remaining fishes with the landlord.
Imnvho pool fishers belong drowned or drawn with their own hooks (then drowned).

"I think the approach to the issue of gun safety needs to be to identify first of all the reasons why a civilian might nnedd a gun (and I want one! isn't a need),"

Laura, it is a right. Not a privilege. The very definition of a "right" is that you don't have to demonstrate need to do it.

You folks keep saying you don't want to abolish the 2nd amendment. (Except, of course, for those of you who say the opposite.) But you keep demonstrating you mean to convert a constitutional right into a privilege. And converting a right into a privilege IS abolishing the right.

We've just come off about 80 years where there was a concerted effort to abolish this right. At times open, mostly covert. Very seldom as honest as repealing it, mostly pursued by "interpreting" it into a mere privilege, which privilege could then be denied without cause.

For all that (some of) you deny this intent, everything you folks say demonstrates it's still what motivates you.

No. Just no.

We've just been through a rare atrocity, and are in the middle of the ensuing media effort to whip up public hysteria to the point where legislators will have the cover to do something stupid. It won't last, the media can't sustain this sort of onslaught forever. In a couple of weeks people will be thinking rationally again.

Says a lot about your positions here, that your only hope of enacting them is to act while people are still hysterical and not thinking clearly. This is not the mark of a rational cause.

So, again I say, no. Maybe we can revisit this topic in a couple of weeks, when there's at least the potential you folks are thinking clearly, and you've had to give up on trying to exploit the grief. I think there's not much more to say right now.

Maybe we can revisit this topic in a couple of weeks, when there's at least the potential you folks are thinking clearly, and you've had to give up on trying to exploit the grief.

DNFTT please

In a few weeks there could well be the next event of this kind. Police had already to stop at least one copycat. And the 'normal' background of murder by firearm has not disappeared either. The 'now is not the time' has essentially become code for 'we do not ever wish to discuss it'. Let's put the cards on the table and see where they fall. My bet is still that enough congressbeings will fear the lobbyists more than their constituents (apart from the 'we have to oppose everything' GOP strategy).

Aww, lj, I was kinda hoping he'd present us with his surely detailed plan to "examine the mental health system" while we awaited his permission to speak again. Or maybe he'll preemptively rise up against the government before they come for his guns. Who knows?

Heh.

I'm in a weird place in this debate. I'm a nascent gun enthusiast, looking at getting into the world of competitive shooting for the fun of it. I understand Brett's position on "privilege vs. right"; but I also disagree with the USSC's reading of the Second Amendment to ignore the "well regulated militia" portion of the amendment, which means as the law of the land, Brett's view has a stronger legal basis.

The assault weapons ban is stupid for the most part - regulating cosmetics. I fully hold with the notion of regulating magazine size, as yes, a trained, unstressed shooter CAN reload quickly and efficiently; however, most folks who can pull this off are not the sort who would go on a spree shooting. Hell, my driving has gotten more conservative since I've received my conceal permit (most for ease of transport in my car, since I don't have a locking trunk for storage) since I don't want to deal with the issues if a cop pulls me over.

Honestly, keeping the maximum number of rounds to approximately 10-15 or so wouldn't phase me, and would probably be the single most effective thing you could do combined with an effusive buyback program for the now "oversized" magazines to prevent the spree shooting. Background checks, waiting periods are both okay, though those are mostly aimed at prevent other issues.

As far as ammo purchases go? Well, I don't shoot often, I don't shoot a lot, and I burn 200-300 rounds easily in an hour or two. So yeah, bulk buys happen. Would I care if it got flagged for extra special investigation? Personally? No. However, I see the same sort of complaints we have for national security theater, "If you have nothing to fear, then you have nothing to hide."

And I think that's my biggest issue. I'm seeing the same sort of shock reaction now that I saw in 2001/2002. Which is understandable, just frustrating, cause I was against the over reaction then (invading Iraq? Really? You want us to do WHAT at the airport?), that I'm seeing now in the name of feeling safe against statistically unlikely things from occurring.

I think the statistical likelihood thing was an argument we saw on this very blog, as criticism of the Right for overreacting to terrorism.

And now we seem to be going the other way. Russell actually said something to this effect a few days back, and this was my immediate response, but I kept it to myself.

So. Weirdness. That's really all I have to say about it, right now.

"but I also disagree with the USSC's reading of the Second Amendment to ignore the "well regulated militia" portion of the amendment, which means as the law of the land, Brett's view has a stronger legal basis."

Eh, so do I. Lousy decision, Heller. The minority would have perpetrated a worse one, though, rendering the amendment totally empty.

The right is a right of the people, which means an individual right, just as it does in the other amendments speaking of a "right of the people". It is a right meant to advance a "well regulated" militia. "Well regulated" meant, in the parlance of a time before the regulatory state, "well trained/equipped".

Secondary sources make clear that the intent was that, by securing a right of citizens to own militia style weapons, a population owning them and familiar with their use would be guaranteed, allowing a militia to be expediently raised even if the government didn't bother maintaining a militia system. Like guaranteeing a right to own firefighting equipment, because you worry that arsonists might get hold of the government, and disband the fire department.

So, I agree the Heller court blew the preface; The right is actually a right of the people, not the militia, to own and carry weapons suitable for militia service. Assault rifles, in short. It had nothing to do with hunting, and only secondarily anything to do with self defense.

But the intent of the founding generation is too explosive for today's political class to stomach, it evinces too much trust of the people, and too little trust of the government. So the majority replaced the right to military arms with a right to whatever civilian arms the government hadn't gotten around to banning during 80 years of Court neglect.

Better than the minority, which would have simply rendered the amendment a dead letter, but still not a very good ruling.

DNFTT please

Just a brief note, here: I don't see that Brett is a troll. Brett actually believes the things he says, and isn't necessarily arguing for the sake of stirring shit up.

I don't think Brett always make good, well-substantiated arguments, but the same could be said of me.

And if I've been trolling you all these years, that makes me the Troll King, or something.

I've never met you, Slarti, but based on the fact that you seem to keep in pretty good shape I'm pretty sure you don't look like this.

Anyway, if anyone wants to do something constructive with his/her time, Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns & Money has been made the latest loony-right Two-Minute Hate victim for using the bog-standard metaphor "head on a stick" in reference to Wayne LaPierre. (Start here, then go here and here.) Loomis is a tenure-track professor at URI, and the administration already shows worrisome signs of doing the wrong thing and caving to the likes of Malkin, Trevino, Godlstein, et al.

Sorry Slart, got to disagree on this. Here is the trolling parts bolded

Says a lot about your positions here, that of enacting them is to act while people are still hysterical and not thinking clearly. This is not the mark of a rational cause.

So, again I say, no. Maybe we can revisit this topic in a couple of weeks, when there's at least the potential you folks are thinking clearly, and you've had to give up on trying to exploit the grief.

The deployment of 'you' in Brett's comment makes it clear that he isn't interested it what various people have to say, he is just trying to provoke a reaction. What do proposals for insurance, bullet taxes, calls for upgrading the mental health system, bans on automatic and semi automatic weapons, and required gun safes have in common? Oh, 'exploiting grief', I guess. That's trolling and a person who does it is a troll. Maybe there will be another subject where he won't be a troll, but he hasn't let the mask slip, he's pulled it off along with the rest of his wardrobe. I hope that folks just ignore him as it is not worth responding to.

Sapient--enough said, we're good and I too enjoy banging heads, or keystrokes, or whatever.

LJ--I do not regret my views, but I do regret and apologize for any and all hurt or discomfort caused by the means and manner of how I express them. I prize civility, which is why I've been here so long and it is incumbent on me to err on the side of over-extending that and not the other way around. Again, my apologies to everyone.

The fact that rights are not absolute never ceases to not sway Brett on this matter, and the way that Tenthers tend to mysteriously disappear when it comes to their pet social control policies never ceases to amaze.

As for our decrepit mental health system....Ronnie Reagan initiated its dismantlement.

"Well regulated" meant, in the parlance of a time before the regulatory state, "well trained/equipped".

"Well regulated" could equally likely mean "under the command of the governor and complying with the rules set by Congress".

Perhaps even more likely, my language, unlike yours, is actually in the Constitution.

I'm not sure we need to speculate, what the founders thought a "well regulated militia" meant was implemented by them, almost immediately, in law.

Everybody has to have a gun, everybody is in the militia, everybody shows up to train, everybody serves when called into service.

If you want to know what a well regulated militia looks like in the context of citizens rising up against a tyrannical state, I refer you to Shays Rebellion and the Whiskey Rebellion.

As an aside, Jefferson's famous comment about "watering the tree of liberty" apparently was a response to Shays Rebellion, which apparently didn't bug him at all. He was in France at the time.

Jefferson: beautiful words, deeds not so much.

The response of the other founders, the ones who were not in Paris, was to call out the militia and rain grape shot on the heads of the "patriot citizen" rebels. Using ordnance built and stored, under guard, in the Springfield Armory. Which is where the Shaysites were headed, because all they had were their rifles and pitchforks.

And it's not like the Shaysites and the western farmers involved in the Whiskey Rebellion didn't have legitimate gripes. They did.

And the militia, authorized and organized and called into service as specified by the language of the 2nd Amendment and the law, crushed them like bugs.

So, there's all of that to account for in your reading of the text and the history.

If you want to argue that it's good for people to own guns so that they can take up arms against their own government if they feel the need, that's an interesting point. If you want to argue that that is what the 2nd is all about, that's less clear, to me, from either the history or the text.

If you want to know what the founders' idea looks like in the modern context, I refer you to the Swiss.

I don't see that Brett is a troll.

Nor I.

I would be hard pressed to name a single point of public life or policy where Brett and I agree, but he's never doing anything but arguing for what he thinks is right.

We all make bad arguments, that's the value of the discussion.

I think the statistical likelihood thing was an argument we saw on this very blog, as criticism of the Right for overreacting to terrorism.

I'm not sure the two situations, or the responses to them, are really good analogues.

I imagine if a case could be made for reducing the risk of terrorism by regulating access to bombs, most folks on the left would be fine with it. In fact, if I'm not mistaken we already do more or less that.

Likewise, if someone argued for addressing domestic acts of mass murder by wiretapping the phones of anyone who owned a gun, or knew someone who owned a gun, or initiating a secret investigation of anyone who checked a book about guns out of the library, or starting a war against Norway because OMG Norwegians own a lot of guns per capita, there might be some objection from the left.

Maybe we can revisit this topic in a couple of weeks

Sounds good to me.

If folks lose interest before then, then I agree that it's fair to say most of the current argument is due to the heat of the moment.

Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns & Money has been made the latest loony-right Two-Minute Hate victim

Hate speech is hate speech, right?

Except when it isn't.

Who gets to decide? I do. Because I say so.

As an open manic depressive, I am appalled by the conflating of violence and mass murder with mental illness. People are shockingly ignorant about the US mental health system and the nature of mental illness.

All we know about the SH killer is that he isolated himself, loved guns, played video games, was a geek, had mother issues. He possibly had a developmental disability. Since he destroyed his computer and has no online presence, we might never know more.

The first reaction of people who know mass murderers usually is "I can't believe it." Too often the second reaction is "I saw the warning signs all along."

Can even a brilliant psychiatrist know whether a geeky 15 year old will become a mass murderer or start Facebook?

A young child gets it. "Bad men can't have guns." We could outlaw guns that kill 20 first graders in 15 minutes this year. The human race has never eradicated violence and evil and never will. Concentrating on mental illness is falling into the NRA idiocy that guns don't kill people; people kill people.

I blog on mental illness as Cassandra Woolf. I am Mary Joan Koch, Katherine Hawkins's mother.

Lisa Long (I Am Adam Lanza's Mother) needs to stop trashing her son's reputation for his entire life and submit herself to intensive family therapy and individual psychiatric care. If I were her son, I would hate her and fantasize about killing her. She has ruthlessly exploited her son and a national tragedy to win worldwide fame and sympathy. Some of her other posts are chilling.

I am a therapist. I don't believe in treating children without family therapy. Parents should not be reassured their child's emotional problems are entirely caused by a broken brain.

Regarding the parallels to 9/11:

First, the comparison doesn't really work because all the gun control improvments we're discussing would reduce gun deaths beyond the rare mass shooters.

As cleek ably explained (repeatedly), we have a lot of gun deaths and seriously addressing that could save a lot of lives. That just wasn't true of 9/11; we were not losing thousands of lives every year to air-safety or terrorism deaths pre-9/11 in a way that could be helped by post-9/11 security improvements.

Secondly, there's evidence that the incidence of mass shootings has increased substantially over the last decade or so. We're not talking about one freak accident; we're talking about a pattern of horrific events that is escalating.

Third, people expect their government to respond to threats, but the NRA has systematically undermined our government's responses. For example, the NRA worked like mad to make sure that violent mentally ill criminals could get access to guns. They are committed to an ideology of gun ownership without limits.

Hate speech is hate speech, right?

You know, I only ever hear aggrieved conservatives talking about hate speech.

Liberals talk about hate crimes, which, you know, require an actual assault. But by all means, keep talking in code about bizarre things that make no sense to anyone outside the conservative bubble.

I don't mind bad arguments, I got a million of them. I do mind when someone fails to note the range of opinions generated by a group of people, regardless how they are classified. It's lazy and it pisses me off to no end and Brett has been around here long enough to know that it's not part of the culture here. Brett doesn't get a no-troll card because he doesn't always behave like a troll, a thief doesn't steal all the time, and a liar doesn't always lie. It wasn't a 'well, we aren't getting anywhere so I'm stepping back' it was 'you folks' this and 'you folks' that. Yes, I saw the parenthetical insertion for his first invocation of the 2nd person, but if he doesn't have the ability to identify specific arguments and address them rather than wielding a rather large brush (something you've complained about from time to time, Slart?) I strongly recommend that folks ignore him until he learns how to identify individuals and their arguments and address them.

Turbulence,

To be fair - "Liberals" have complained about hate speech to - discussing the use of "targeted" in the wake (or lead up) of the Gifford's shooting for example, or other similar symbolically violent language used in what I would consider the same way the "Head on a pike" was used.

I pray for the SH killer's mother and hope she wasn't awake when her son murdered her. From all accounts she had devoted her life to him.
I cannot understand why anyone would encourage their son to learn to shoot guns. She is quoted as saying she wanted to encourage him to be responsible. He had no police record whatsoever.

His father seems to have been missing in action after the divorce, and his brother hadn't seen him for several years. How easy it is to blame his mother who was always there for him.

I would be very curious if the killer was taking antipsychotics, commonly prescribed for autism. Their side effects can be worse than the symptoms they were treating.

I think the statistical likelihood thing was an argument we saw on this very blog, as criticism of the Right for overreacting to terrorism.

overreacting??

WTF?

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

In 2009, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, 66.9% of all homicides in the United States were perpetrated using a firearm.[4] There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000.[5] The majority of gun-related deaths in the United States are suicides,[6] with 17,352 (55.6%) of the total 31,224 firearm-related deaths in 2007 due to suicide, while 12,632 (40.5%) were homicide deaths

there are a few orders of magnitude of difference in the numbers killed by guns and the numbers killed by terrorism. even using the broadest possible definition of "terrorism" (which means any situation in which a brown non-American who kills or hurts an American) it's not even close.

Every one of your eight predictions came true. Scary but brilliant.

If folks lose interest before then, then I agree that it's fair to say most of the current argument is due to the heat of the moment.

The heat of the moment might explain why we're arguing about this, but it hasn't changed my thinking and, from what I can tell, that of most others here. It's not like we haven't gone through this discussion before, and I don't recall many different arguments in the past.

Yes, we're making reference to a recent incident that had yet to occur when we've dicussed this before. And, yes, this incident has raised people's passions on the subject, but it's not a problem of clear thinking. What happened was the very worst sort of thing I and others always would have liked to have avoided before it ever happened.

But it happened.

Hate speech is hate speech, right?

Except when it isn't.

Who gets to decide? I do. Because I say so.

Using the phrase "head on a stick" is not "calling for someone's assassination" or "making threats," which is what someone called first the FBI then the Rhode Island State Police on Loomis for. But nice try.

But don't be shy, Slarti. If you think Loomis deserves to lose his job, feel free to say so. Make an argument of some kind. Don't be coy.

And, of course, for this whole kerfuffle against Loomis to have been started by Glenn Reynolds, who a) has, literally, publicly called for the CIA to assassinate Iranian scientists, and b) within the last month has asked whether or not he would get to see Susan Rice's and others' "heads roll" over Benghazi is simply par for the course.

From what I got from the latest Rachel Maddow (18th Dec) there were and still are organized efforts to prevent the state from even assembling and publishing data concerning gun violence. Preemptive suppression of invonvenient data is not the hallmark of good faith or winning arguments (not just on this topic).

Redstocking Gran, always nice to see you. There was a heartbreaking article in the NYTimes, I think about the steps a son had to take to be able to have his father receive needed psychological help. While I see your point about Lisa Long's piece, but it seems that the notion that the courts can only take action when a person is a danger to themselves or others is at the root of some perceptions of mental illness and violence. I realize that there are really difficult problems in requiring treatment, but it seems that something needs to be done. Is that impression mistaken?

To be fair - "Liberals" have complained about hate speech to - discussing the use of "targeted" in the wake (or lead up) of the Gifford's shooting for example, or other similar symbolically violent language used in what I would consider the same way the "Head on a pike" was used.

I don't think this is true at all. Liberals criticized Palin because they thought her ad was stupid. But "hate speech" is about making some forms of speech illegal -- this is not compatible with the 1st amendment and is not supported by American liberals.

Now, there are tens of millions of American liberals so I'm sure a few of them believe any absurd notion you can think of, but the idea that American liberals, as a group, strongly endorse "hate speech" laws is just silly. They don't.

Liberals thought Palin stupid because they disagreed with her, and have a severe problem with the notion somebody might do so and not be stupid. And yes, Reynolds is not entirely serious about the "Head on a pike" line being hate speach, he's just throwing a very common liberal complaint right back at you. He does that quite a bit.

I mean, liberals have gone so far as to identify the use of bullet points as violent, when other people employ them.

But don't be shy, Slarti. If you think Loomis deserves to lose his job, feel free to say so. Make an argument of some kind. Don't be coy.

I haven't said anything like that, Phil. I'm not sure why you'd even bring that up.

Words matter, or they don't matter so much. Pick one, and stick with it. That's my only point.

I only ever hear aggrieved conservatives talking about hate speech.

Once upon a time, I didn't know who Grover Norquist was. Time to come up to speed, man.

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