Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

" Where there is an open mind..."

I saw this posted at the place where I exercise. "Where there is an open mind, there will always be a frontier". This is pretty apropos to the "discussion" that has been going on lately on my blog. My posts have been peppered by comments, some of them quite nasty, rude and inappropriate. Many questions have been asked of me and answers demanded. Often the questions are answered by me but the answers are "unacceptable" to the commenters so they ask them again or ask in another way. So I have decided to play "20 questions."

  1. Do you believe that criminals and domestic abusers should be able to buy guns without background checks?
  2. What is your proposal for keeping guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people?
  3. Do you believe that a background check infringes on your constitutional right to "keep and bear arms"?
  4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?
  5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?
  6. What do you think are the "second amendment remedies" that the tea party GOP candidate for Senate in Nevada( Sharron Angle) has proposed?
  7. Do you believe in the notion that if you don't like what someone is doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied?
  8. Do you believe it is O.K. to call people with whom you disagree liars and demeaning names?
  9. If yes to #8, would you do it in a public place to the person's face?
  10. Do you believe that any gun law will take away your constitutional rights?
  11.  Do you believe in current gun laws? Do you think they are being enforced? If not, explain.
  12. Do you believe that all law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never shoot anybody?
  13. Do you believe that people who commit suicide with a gun should be included in the gun statistics?
  14. Do you believe that accidental gun deaths should "count" in the total numbers?
  15. Do you believe that sometimes guns, in careless use or an accident, can shoot a bullet without the owner or holder of the gun pulling the trigger?
  16. Do you believe that 30,000 gun deaths a year is too many?
  17. How will you help to prevent more shootings in this country?
  18. Do you believe the articles that I have posted about actual shootings or do you think I am making them up or that human interest stories about events that have happened should not count when I blog about gun injuries and deaths?
  19. There has been some discussion of the role of the ATF here. Do you believe the ATF wants your guns and wants to harass you personally? If so, provide examples ( some have written a few that need to be further examined).
  20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?

Since this is my blog, I will either publish them as is or put them in quotes for my readers in a response blog. Foul and demeaning language will not be published. Name calling will not be published or acknowledged either. For the most part, these are your opinions but if you can back them up with facts, fine. Please use a peer-reviewed article or actual story of a shooting ( or anecdotes, as my links to actual stories have been called here.) I am hoping to lift the level of discourse here and have some back and forth exchanges that are not unpleasant. I have provided you with lots of information and you have demanded more. I am heartened by recent "discussion" threads that have lead to a more reasonable conversation. I hope that will continue.

I'm ready for the frontier whatever that may be. I try to keep my mind open. I have been accused of the opposite by some of you. I haven't seen many of you open your minds to my ideas. If we can't make it work, so be it. I will continue blogging. This week's quote at my exercise venue is this: " An aim in life is the only fortune worth finding." I like that one. I am aiming for common sense and some coming together of minds and hearts to keep people from being shot.


  1. 1. Kind of a leading question.

    Domestic violence should not be tolerated, but should not be prosecuted differently than other violent acts Much DV should be treated as felonious assault. While I do not fully support a gun ban for all felons, I do support it for violent felons, and wife beaters usually count.

    There is some DV that does not rise to the level of a felony. That should still be prosecuted, but should not permanently lose constitutional rights.

    I believe the Lautenberg amendment is very flawed--both in removing an enumerated right for a misdemeanor, and for retroactive application.

    What other constitutional rights should be lost due to a misdemeanor conviction?

    I do not support background checks for private sales--but would not object to a simple and free system that does not impose record-keeping requirements on me.

    2. End the idiotic war on drugs, longer sentences for violent criminals--keep them away from guns (and us) instead of the other way around.

    3. For the most part yes. It might be possible to have a check system that did not, but I have not seen anything close.

    4. I do not think you are completely unified, but for the most part yes. Someone like me would not be allowed to own the guns that I do, or to have a carry license.

    5. You would use the threat of gun violence in the hands of government to convince us to turn ours in, those who did not comply would get shot.

    6. The question isn't what the remedy is, but rather what is it a solution for? I don't know the exact line, but it is when democratic processes have been substantially perverted. Not minor things like butterfly ballots, or electing someone I don't like, but suspending elections, or widespread vote tampering.

    7. No.

    8. I think it is more effective to attack the evidence rather than the person--but if "liar" is a true statement...

    9. Depends on context. I'm not likely to call names in either one--but it depends on what you consider a name. I would object to being called a liberal gun controller, but if it applies....

    10. Unclear. Some gun laws do, some do not.

    11. There are an amazing number of laws and regulations that do nothing to prevent violence, mostly impacting honest gun owners or criminalizing non-harmful behavior. A couple examples out of many--there is a dimple on the grip of several of my guns. Without that dimple, they are illegal to import. The Ruger Charger is a rifle based on the Ruger 10/22. Both are legal. If you move the Charger parts to the 10/22, an expert couldn't tell it from an original--but you have committed a felony. I can carry a concealed handgun in more than half the country--but even with background checks, I can only buy a handgun in my home state.

    12 Leading question. No, but the benefits outweigh the problems.

    13 No.

    14 Self-inflicted, no. Negligent gun homicide, yes.

    15 Given that exact wording yes, very rarely. However, a holstered gun, or a gun not being handled, no.

    16: Too many for what? To justify abandoning the constitution?

    17 I won't shoot anyone who isn't trying to harm me or others. I will follow Cooper's 4 rules. I will follow all applicable laws when selling guns, and I will keep my guns locked when not under my direct control.

    18. For the most part stories are meaningless compared to statistical evidence--I can find a few stories to justify almost any position.

    19. Me personally? No. But even though I am white, and it doesn't affect me personally, I am against racism, too. The ATF is a typical power=seeking bureaucracy. To justify their existence and budget, they must find or create violations.

    20. I'll be about as reasonable as I have been. I doubt I can convince you of much, and I'm not seeing any new evidence from you--but this isn't futile based on my goals.

  2. The first answers to my questions. Thanks.

  3. More answers may be found here:


  4. I believe the Lautenberg amendment is very flawed--both in removing an enumerated right for a misdemeanor, and for retroactive application.

    I'm more concerned about the retroactive application of Lautenberg than I am about the concept of the law itself. If it were, say, a two year bar on the RKBA, I would have pretty much no problem with it. You can remove freedoms from misdemeanants too, through due process, but a lifetime prohibition on a fundamental right seems more appropriate for a felony.

  5. 1. What kind of criminals? Only those with felony convictions should be denied any constitutional rights. Since there is no evidence that “background checks” prevent convicts from obtaining weapons, and considerable evidence to show that they interfere with the lawful transfer of firearms, I oppose them on principle.

    2. I believe that if you are not the sort of person who can be trusted with a gun, you are not the sort of person who can be trusted without a custodian. If someone is a criminal, he should be in jail. Assault, whether domestic or not, is a crime. They should be treated no differently than any other criminal. Terrorism is a crime. Convict them and jail them too. Finally, the dangerously mentally ill. There are procedures available to commit them to mental institutions. Unless you are willing to commit them to the care of medical professionals, you really don’t think that they are dangerous, do you? You will see that there is a pattern here. Instead of bothering me with gun laws, round up the dangerous people and confine them.

    3. Yes. And why the “scare quotes.” That’s the literary equivalent of saying something is “so-called.” It shows you don’t believe in them.

    4. Yes. Anyone who would with a straight face try to defend a total ban on handguns in DC cannot be believed when they piously declare that they would not favor banning all guns.

    5. Typically when the government wants you to do something that you might resist, they send police officers to force you. See also Elian Gonzalez and David Koresh.

  6. 6. The basic theory works like this. There are 4 boxes upon which your liberties rest. The first, and most commonly used, is the Soap Box. This represents your God given right to speak against things you don’t like. The second box is the Ballot Box. It is difficult to repress people who make their own laws and elect their own representatives. The third box is the Jury Box. This is when you, as a jury member, refuse to convict a person for violating laws you believe are unjust. The fourth and final box is the Cartridge Box. This is the “Second Amendment Remedies” you are asking about. The proper time to use this box is carefully laid out in the Declaration of Independence. “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    7. Saying? No. Shooting someone over mere speech is disgraceful behavior and should be punished. As for what they are doing, it really depends on what they are doing. Typically the only reasonable justification for deadly force is in self defense to prevent serious bodily injury or death. It is perfectly reasonable to tell the government that you will not comply with their unjust laws. If someone shows up prepared to use force to require you to comply, they you have a reasonable case for fighting back. The beauty of this is that those who might be tempted to oppress you will think twice about oppressing you enough to cause a violent backlash. No matter how many cops and troops, there are many more armed citizens.

    8. Sure. If someone is lying, they should be called liars. If someone is a statist, a coward, or a fool, nothing is served by failing to point it out to them. Who knows, maybe they don’t know.

    9. Sure. No sense being a coward about it. What are they going to do? Hit me? It’s not the truth that hurts, it is the realization that you believed all the lies until you were confronted with the truth.

  7. 10. This question is unclear. Do you mean do I oppose all gun laws? Or do you mean to ask a more fundamental question like does any law have to power to overturn my constitutional rights? As for the first, no. I just don’t blame the tool for the act. As for the second, no, no, never!!! Laws are based upon the consent of the governed. The Constitution is the basis for all law. A “law” that undermines the Constitution is no law at all.

    11. Much like the old saying, whether or not I believe in them, they believe in me. This is another unclear question. Do I think that the current laws are intelligent, wise, and effective? Not at all. They burden me with a lot of regulatory hassles and place me in legal jeopardy if I do not carefully follow all of them to the exact liking of the next cop I see. They do not seem to slow down the felons among us. Ask Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell how often the Philly DA has let felons in possession off without trial? Ask Kim Stouffer at Firearms Owners Against Crime, about how basically every cop killer in Pennsylvania for the last 15 years was already in violation of the law for simply possessing a firearm.

    12. I am a law-abiding citizen (I prefer Peaceable Armed Citizen) and I know for a fact that if my life or my wife’s life was in danger from criminal attack, I would shoot the attacker without hesitation. Do you mean accidents? There aren’t that many. Check out the statistics to see how even as the total number of guns goes up, the total accident numbers continue to fall. I believe in proper training. There’s no reason that the school system does not teach firearms handling. We teach civics and driver’s ed.

    13. No. People who wish to kill themselves will do so with whatever means are handy. I cannot see how it is an improvement if someone, instead of shooting himself, decides to take a pavement swan dive. Maybe we as a society need to have a serious discussion about why so many men over the age of 40 kill themselves. Rather than restrict firearms, maybe we should try to get at the root of the problem. See this graphic.
    The suicide in the white men 40 and up just jumps right out at you, doesn’t it? Why does no one seem to care? Are older white men expendable?

    14. Yes

  8. 15. No. No modern firearm will discharge without pulling the trigger. “It just went off” is basically an admission that the person pulled the trigger. Learn the “4 rules.” Violate them at your peril.

    16. Too many for what? Do you really think that putting a number on it will make me want to give up my Constitutional rights?

    17. I won’t shoot anyone who doesn’t deserve it. I also won’t get involved in crime, nor hang around with anyone who does. I also plan on seeking mental help immediately if I start to think about suicide. The problem is that counting the shootings is the wrong metric. If the shooting is justifiable, then no problem. If it is not, it is a crime. Context matters.

    18. The plural of anecdote is not data. I drive a car every day. My grandfather died in a car accident. I don’t blame the car, I blame the bad driver.

    19. I don’t know enough about the ATF to answer. I do think that there is no reason to have a police force entirely dedicated to Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. We already have several different state and local police forces and the FBI.

    20. It’s probably an exercise in futility. You will not get over your tragedy. I won’t convince you. I only labor on in the hopes that someone who is on the fence, or is persuadable, will learn my side and will join with me. The truth will set them free.

  9. I will also post these on my blog -- be interested in seeing how many comments are really approved.

    1. Let's define criminal first -- how about the people who get parking tickets or the people who are arrested peacefully protesting an injustice; they are criminals along with the people who cheat on their taxes or import crab in the wrong type of bag.
    Personally, I think that if a person can not be trusted with a firearm, they shouldn't be on the street.

    Let's turn it around Joan Peterson; do you feel people convicted of fraud should lose their right to free speech? People convicted of prostitution, solicitation of prostitution loose their right to have sex?

    Why is the Right to keep and Bear Arms treated so differently by your crowd. Can't be "public good"; you don't apply the same restrictions to those convicted of drunk driving, of drunk in public or fraud or thousands of other crimes.

    2. I propose we keep people we can't trust -- and who have either been convicted or adjudicated as 'dangerously mentally ill' away from the public, not away from firearms.

    See you are single out firearms again -- I notice you don't ask how we are going to keep them away from explosives or gasoline or knives or axes or cars. If we can't trust people to behave in society, what do you propose we do with them?

    Of course the other aspect is you and your crowds willingness to deprive people of their rights based on suspicion or what they might do.

    Our system of justice is based on what a person has done, not what you think they might do.

    Liberty is dangerous, Freedom has Risks and it should be so. I don't try to restrict your right to free speech even though you might commit fraud or make a threat -- yet you seem willing to believe any accusation

    Yet, 3.1 million reports of child abuse are filed against men each year, most of which are false accusations used as leverage in a divorce or custody case.

    In the US, there are an estimated 520,000 false rape allegations a year — 98.1% of all reported cases. (Eeva Sodhi, Debunking Domestic Violence Statistics; Rape

    Now I'm not saying there aren't real cases of abuse or domestic violence -- but should we base keeping or loosing our rights on simple allegations?

    3. Absolutely yes. Isn't it amazing that we have a 'right to privacy' regarding abortion but that same right doesn't apply to the legal products I want to buy if they are firearms.

    4. Let's see; Chicago Gun Ban -- Brady Campaign said it was reasonable, Washington D.C. Gun Ban - ditto. Name a single gun control law you've found to be "unreasonable"?

    Time and time again, I've asked the question of antis -- at what point, what number of firearm related crimes and deaths will be enough for you to say "we don't need another law". Never have gotten an answer.
    Since you haven't found a single gun control law to be 'unreasonable' what evidence is there for us to believe you aren't interested in banning firearms?

  10. 5. Multi step process -- one which you and gun control groups seem to be following (just as the U.K. and Australia did)

    A.) Mandate registration and licensing schemes

    B.) Close licensing and registration for new firearms

    C.) Legislate against the possession of 'certain dangerous' firearms; like so called 'assault weapons' or "high capacity" firearms.

    D.) Announce an Amnesty period for people to turn in their now illegal firearms.

    E.) Arrest and convict any person who has possession of an 'illegal firearm'; especially those who use them for self defense.

    F.) Announce the failure of previous gun control laws and make more firearms illegal, make use of firearms in self defense illegal.

    G.) Announce another Amnesty

    H.) Rinse and Repeat until most firearms are gone. If needed make a door to door search.

    6.First, 2nd Amendment remedies are only to be used when the government has lost legitimacy. Do you feel the current system of governance is no longer legitimate? I don't think that.

    7. Only if that action violates the Constitution and no other remedy has worked.

    8. Not for just disagreeing with me but if someone is lying, shown to be a liar -- I'll point that out. If someone is being hypocritical, shown to be hypocritical -- I'll point that out.
    I generally avoid calling names like "Gun Loon" or "Gun Nuts" or "Whacko" - oh, wait....those are all names antis have called me.

    9. Absolutely. I don't say anything on here that I wouldn't say to your face.

    10. Washington D.C. banned the possession of firearms -- that violated Constitutional Rights, yes or no?

    A poll tax was declared unconstitutional, but I have to pay a tax -- call it a license fee if you want it's still a tax -- in order to exercise my Right to Keep and Bear Arms in public - yes, many gun control laws take away our constitutional rights.

    11. Yes, I believe in gun laws. I can see them on the books, I can see them in place now. Do you deny the reality of our current gun laws?

    On a serious note, I think that some -- very few firearm related laws are necessary and appropriate -- no guns in prison, no murdering people with guns -- but hey, why not just 'no murdering people', eh?

    Gun laws are being enforced but for most criminals the consequences are not being imposed. Too many times laws are broken and the charges plea bargained away in order to gain a conviction on lesser charges.

    What good are the gun laws if they aren't being used to lock up the criminals repeatedly breaking the law?

  11. 12. Talk about your loaded biased question; I believe the vast majority -- proven with simple math are careful with their guns. 285,000,000 firearms in the country...less than 30,000 fatalities and 400,000 firearm related violent crimes. Even if you stipulate around 50,000,000 firearm owners, you are looking at incredibly low numbers of people misbehaving.

    And then we get to the "and would never shoot anybody" portion.
    Should a law abiding citizen never shoot the man raping his wife or daughter?
    Should a law abiding citizen never shoot the thugs breaking into his house, yelling they are going to kill him?
    Should a law abiding citizen let him/her self be violent beaten instead of shooting the thug attacking them?

    I say -- no, they should shoot the person attacking them. That is one of the major issues I have with most antis, an inability to separate out predatory and protectionary violence.

    13. Yes, they should be included in 'gun statistics'. Should those statistics be used to restrict my rights, NO.

    14.Yes, I think they should count in the total numbers. Especially since those numbers are decreasing despite an increasing number of firearms. Kind of counters your points about 'more guns, more deaths and injuries, eh?

    15. Yes, I believe it is possible. I also believe that it happens but happens so rarely as to be almost non-occurring. Most of the times 'a gun just went off' someone somehow pulled the trigger.

    16. Yes, I believe it is too many. Do I believe that it is too many to restrict my rights if I didn't have a part in those crimes or deaths, No.

    I also think that more than 1 abortion a year is too many but I won't outlaw abortion. I think that more than 1 person committing fraud is too many but I won't outlaw free speech.

    Why do you feel compelled to restrict the rights of people who had nothing to do with the crimes?

    17. By doing what I am currently doing, teaching gun safety, introducing more people into the shooting sports and knowing how to handle guns safely.

    What are you doing -- to reduce shootings? Not in the future, as in 'if we ever get this law' but at this moment? Are you teaching safety, are you providing safe storage for gun owners, etc?

    18. Never have questioned whether or not the stories are real; I question the solutions you derive from those stories. Hmm, criminal broke in and robbed a store, shooting the clerk -- let's make it harder for the clerks of the country to get firearms. How is that common sense?

    19. The ATF acts in accordance with the dictates of Congress for the most part; so ask yourself why the ATF is harassing stores for not filling out forms correctly if the nature of the problem is "Y" instead of "Yes".
    I don't think they want my firearms personally, I think they are supporting a gun control agenda and trying to reduce firearm ownership.

    20. You are in a better position to answer that question. I've invited you to discuss issues at my blog, you've never accepted. I've had comments not approved for no valid reason -- isn't it an exercise in futility when you and your side don't want honest and open 'thoughtful discussion'?

    Here is an example -- you called out Dave Kopel as being a 'benefactor member' of the NRA yet you fail to disclose on your blog your own membership on the Brady Campaign Board. How can we have a reasonable discussion when one party is unwilling to be open and honest?

  12. Japete,
    I see that you have been getting a pretty good response to your 20 questions. I think that this is great! In your effort to foster reasonable conversation, I am wondering if you are going to return the favor and answer 20 questions that we would ask of you?

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  15. 1 - I have no problem with prohibiting gun ownership by convicted violent criminals. Background checks are covered below.

    2 - I don't think it can be done short of a complete ban on guns, and that will only keep guns away from the less dedicated ones. All the other gun-control measures your organization advocates will fail to prevent access, just as our past century of gun control has. Background checks are childishly easy to circumvent (_everybody_ knows somebody with a clean record). As is true in most cases, the best we can do is hope to deter bad behavior by being good at reacting to it.

    3 - A background check by itself, no. But I'm not convinced they can be implemented without--as the current system does--seriously burdening the market, driving up prices and driving down accessibility, which we don't generally regard as acceptable where Constitutional rights are concerned.
    Can you imagine an advocacy group dedicated to stamping out illegal use of expression (like libel and inciting riot) by pushing for background checks on books, which required all book sales to go through licensed dealers, banned the transfer of books by mail order (so that you can only buy online by having it shipped to your local licensed bookstore and paying them a transfer fee), and outlawing the interstate purchase of political and religious books (which, of course, are responsible for the greatest percentage of book deaths)?
    This is made worse by the fact, again, that background checks don't and can't _work_. There will always, always be straw buyers.

    4 - I've only been reading your blog for a few posts, so I don't know where you stand personally. But I own handguns, some of which are even (gasp!) semiautomatic, and the Brady Campaign has supported bans on them.
    I believe that most casual gun control advocates don't want to ban _all_ guns, and are simply under the incorrect impression that guns are constantly getting deadlier, so we need to ban the new, ultra-deadly ones. But I also see (especially as a New Jersey resident) how every time the new gun control law inevitably fails to fix the problem, the proposed solution is always, always even more restrictions. Anybody who cares about a civil right would be a fool not to think about where that pattern is leading.
    Great Britain shows us how far people who don't want to ban all guns can go, and they show little sign of being done restricting.

    5 - How do we enforce any ban? Confiscation can involve passive seizure of only the contraband that comes to police attention, or midnight SWAT raids. Both are unacceptable.

    6 - I'm disturbed that so many people seem to think we've transcended history into permanent stability and freedom for all time, and that the American Revolution was a one-time deal that can never be legitimately repeated. It tends to be tied up in the equally disturbing attitude that voting is all the remedy we could ever need for any government abuse. I don't believe now is the time for revolution, and I hope that time doesn't come in my life. Revolutions are terrible, terrible affairs in which there's no guarantee of success, no guarantee that the new system will be better than the old, and however it turns out, lots of good people die. They're to be avoided whenever possible.
    But when you have a government that routinely and casually ignores the legal restrictions on its power, and is constantly entrenching more and more of its excesses in ways that are difficult to dislodge through elections... Well, again, I think a person would be a fool not to look ahead to what might be necessary in the future if we keep going down that road. There are simply things worth fighting for.

  16. 7 - That's quite a broad question. It depends on whether and to what extent that person's actions harm me. Shoot somebody in a disagreement over a parking space? Obviously not. Shoot somebody in a disagreement over whether I should get on the train to be relocated to a government farm? Obviously yes. As with so many things in life, principle is a matter of drawing lines in the gray space between the extremes.
    I can't come up with an example of a justified shooting over protected speech, but most reasonable states allow deadly force in response to credible threats of murder or serious assault.

    8 - I think it's usually preferable not to. But change the context for a moment. Let's say you're an LGBT rights advocate, and you come to yet another website about how Jesus hates teh gays. The most recent post is one more cookie-cutter attack: linking to a story about a man who molested a boy and implying that it's a black mark on gay people; pointing to statistics about a purported link between child sexual abuse and adult homosexuality; and advocating for invasive laws that interfere with gay Americans' rights to live as they please for the sake of protecting children and the family.
    Would you cut some slack to the commenters if they weren't especially kind while making their rebuttals?

    9 - It's simply a fact of participating in the internet: it tends to increase the jerk-factor a little or a lot.

    10 - The question is a bit vague. Are you asking if I can imagine an unconstitutional gun law? Of course. At the very least, we have a concrete ruling that handgun bans and "safe storage" laws are unconstitutional. Are you asking if I can imagine a Constitutional gun law? Sure. Laws that punish negligent and malicious use of guns are fine. But by their nature, laws restricting acquisition and possession--because the mild ones are ineffective and the severe ones burden lawful conduct--tend not to pass the strict scrutiny test used to evaluate restrictions on Constitutionally protected behavior.

    11 - Current gun control laws clearly don't work, because after a century of them we still have so many crimes committed with guns that you're saying we have a crucial, urgent need for more gun laws.
    Current gun laws are also often nonsensical and pointless, like our 76-year-old federal ban on short-barreled rifles that prohibits me from shortening a rifle or putting a stock on a pistol under any circumstances (except with certain handguns grandfathered by name), but allows the manufacture of rifle-caliber pistols as long as a stock never goes on them unless a longer barrel is attached first. ... This is why any discussion of "common sense" gun laws must include fixing or eliminating the insensible ones we already have.
    And living near Philadelphia definitely puts gun law enforcement in perspective. Even nonexistent gun laws are enforced against the law-abiding (Philly police don't like concealed-carry reciprocity, for example, so they have a habit of arresting and harassing out-of-state-permit holders and later dropping the charges), while actual violent criminals are very frequently released on plea bargains or early parole, or are simply left on the streets awaiting trial for months.
    (I'm sensing an undercurrent to these questions, by the way. Do you include laws against assault with a deadly weapon in your mental "gun laws" category, or is your scope limited to laws that restrict private sale and possession?)

  17. 12 - There's no such thing as "all X people always do Y". I generally trust my fellow citizens, and accept that in that atmosphere of trust some people will act irresponsibly or maliciously. It's a fundamental cost of living in a free society, and I think the proper response is to be prepared to deal with the irresponsible and malicious, not to erode the freedom and trust in hopes of restraining the problem people in advance.

    13 - I don't think it matters, as long as we're defining our terms clearly. Suicide with a gun is deadly serious, though, not a "cry for help", and I think it's very poor reasoning to talk about "gun suicides" as though eliminating the guns would have prevented those deaths. Japan is absolute proof that you don't get a low suicide rate by removing guns. You can include it all you want, but I don't see a compelling public policy interest in that half of our "gun deaths".

    14 - Again, sure. And we don't even have to worry so much about defining our terms because, as previously discussed, it's a drop in the bucket. I can understand that you want to focus on gun accidents because that's your area of interest. But it might help you to understand that the relative rarity of accidental gun deaths is why most other people aren't reacting with the same concern you are.

    15 - In very, very rare cases, always involving old gun designs and negligence. A hundred-year-old single action revolver design can go off if it's improperly loaded and then dropped on its hammer. A 1970-series or earlier Model 1911 pistol _may_ discharge if it's dropped more than ten feet and hits a hard surface barrel-first. I'm at a loss for other examples off the top of my head. The key here is that guns only "go off" through intent or negligence. A gun left properly holstered is a danger to nobody, and arguments that we need to restrict concealed carry to prevent accidental deaths hold precisely no water.

  18. 16 - I believe one car death a year is too many. But I accept the 45,000 per year that we have, because the freedom automobiles give us outweighs the cost. Guns are involved in fewer deaths, are a Constitutional right, and the idea that eliminating the guns would prevent the 30,000 annual homicides and suicides is much more tenuous, so I'm much less likely to accept restrictions on them. The universal belief that it's "too many" deaths has a very limited bearing on the discussion, and is often just brought up as a rhetorical tactic intended to put the gun-rights advocate in a difficult or embarrassing position.

    17 - I'd end the "war on drugs", stop locking people up for nonviolent procedural violations, and use the enormous resulting prison space and justice system resources to catch, convict, and lock up actual violent criminals for a long, long time in prisons remote from their criminal networks.
    Between eliminating organized crime's main source of profit and actually punishing _misuse_ of guns rather than burdening lawful possession, I expect a significantly lower rate of deadly violence in general, including shootings. It can't possibly be a worse experiment than continuing the hundred-year failure of gun control.

    18 - I don't believe you're making them up. I also understand that humans are bad at instinctively assessing actual risks, and tend to give undue weight to vivid stories, which often mislead us about where the real danger is (a semirelated example is how many people think of rape in terms of assault by strangers, when the overwhelming majority of rapes are actually committed by acquaintances; this can have terrible effects on how we teach women to protect themselves, and on how courts treat rape victims.)

    19 - Me in particular? I'm pretty sure I'm off their radar. But as with any alphabet-soup agency, I'm very concerned about how much practical power they've been delegated, and how transparent and accountable they are.

    20 - I promise I'll do my best not to stomp off in a petulant snit. But these discussions often get pointless and draining really quickly, as it becomes clear that both sides have irreconcilably different perspectives on whether and when violence is justified, on the proper relationship between government and the people, and on government's practical ability to solve problems deeply entrenched in human nature. I intend to continue discussion until it gets too frustrating to keep up, or too frustrating to keep up civilly.

  19. My responses here:


  20. I could not post my response due to the length restrictions. But I hope you do enjoy my response. I believe I was rather polite and well spoken in answering your questions. I do applaud you for making even the gesture of trying to understand those you oppose.


  21. RevDisk- thanks for your thoughtful and polite responses to my questions.To Turk Turon, I probably will not post all of your responses since they were answered in so many different posts. I have read them, however. I realize that there is a size limit to the space commenters can use. Some of you were wordier than others and some got more responses into the space allowed. To all who have responded, over the next weeks or many months since I made the mistake of asking so many questions, I will try to address your responses and my reaction. Meanwhile, I will include some of the remarks here in some of my posts as I continue to post about things of current interest or incidents that provide examples of why I think that there are ways to prevent shootings and why I think we have to start somewhere. That does not mean, as some of you will no doubt push the panic button about, a slippery slope. But we will likely disagree about that one. Cheers everyone. Where I live, we are expecting heavy rain today. I hope the weather is better where you live.

  22. One of the respondents said that japete "will never get over (her) loss". I know japete. She has never spent one minute indulging in self-pity or pointless rumination over her loss. Instead, she has, turning lemons into lemonade, worked tirelessly ever since to reduce the number of people who suffer this kind of loss.

    I suspect this was said to disparage her and her work. I also suspect it was said by one of the self-pitying white men over forty who have convinced themselves they are a persecuted majority, rather than a highly privileged one.

  23. I clicked on the links that Bob S. provided (re: child abuse and false rape accusations).

    The first included an introduction in which the authors included an f-bomb and other somewhat less strident language. This is not something that is usually included in a careful, balanced, well-supported article. The authors provided a link to their full article; one with footnotes and documentation. This link led me to a website about hotels, restaurants, and other points of interest in Naples, Fla. There was no article. The second link consisted of a listing of just the kind of anecdotes that pro-gun advocates profess to abhor.

    Following these links led me into a world that I didn’t know existed. The world where white men over forty don’t seem to realize they are a highly privileged class. White privilege is a fact of life in America, but here is a large group of the privileged who have convinced themselves that they are a persecuted majority. Their persecutors are people of color, women, liberals, and the justice system, to list just a few. I think rational people correctly see this as hogwash.

    The Declaration of Independence seems to be a favorite of the pro-gun people. While the majority of it is directed at the British crown, there is some general language about what to do if a government does not pursue the ends of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I want to say that the last people I personally would want determining when a given government was no longer pursuing those ends would be the pro-gun faction.

  24. I have to agree with Alan and this quote from Bob S. proves the point Alan was making: " The point is people's rights are being abrogated without them being guilty of anything, don't you think that is outrageous? "

  25. Sooo... Dismissing complaints about specific abuses of specific Constitutional rights based on the race, sex, and presumed economic status of the person making the complaint.

    Is this also part of the heightened discourse you desire, free from demeaning language?

    I'm a white male, but am under forty and a member of a sexual minority. Does my opinion get to count?

  26. Did I say I wanted to have complaints about specific abuses of specific Contsitutional rights based on race, sex, and presumed economic status dismissed? NO.

  27. japete,

    I have Just One Question for you:

    Can you demonstrate one time or place, throughout all history, where the average person was made safer by restricting access to handheld weapons?

    I have to get to work right now but I should have time to answer your questions tonight.

  28. 1. I believe convicted felons should not be able buy or own firearms.
    2. Long jail sentences for break above law, background checks.
    3. No.
    4. Some of them do – your European compatriots have banned most gun ownership.
    5. Pull gun sale records and send the police to search and seize (It would spark a civil war).
    6. I have no idea what you are talking about.
    7. Still no idea.
    8. Only if they are lying.
    9. Yes.
    10. Be specific please. There used to be laws requiring men to own rifles.
    11. I live in NJ. Many of our guns laws are arbitrary, retroactive and unconstitutional. They have unconvinced hunters and target shooters without accomplishing anything to stop violence in our cities.
    12. I would shoot somebody if my house was invaded.
    13. No. Does the Housing Authority include suicide jumpers when inspecting buildings?
    14. They should count somewhere – certainly should be used to indicate where training is needed.
    15. No.
    16. No opinion without details.
    17. I won’t.
    18. I read thearmedcitizen.com for shooting stories until gun controllers shut it down.
    19. Yes.
    20. This is an exercise in futility. You want me to forfeit a right I was born with in return for the false promise of safety. No thanks. I consider it my right and responsibility to protect myself and family – and to revolt if government becomes oppressive.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. hard to defend those curse words and photos of semi-nude women on websites....

  31. Joe-probably all of those domestic homicides, restricting gangs and criminals from guns would save lots of live; I could go on and on. What is your point? So you think that restricting felons, domestic abusers, dangerously mentally ill people, terrorist would not have or won't save lives? That's hard to believe.

  32. Here's my answers, also to be found on my blog:


    1. Do you believe that criminals and domestic abusers should be able to buy guns without background checks?

    This is a loaded question. Obviously we all have a desire to keep guns away from dangerous people -- dangerous people who have been through the proper legal procedures and are proven to be felons -- but how to do it without trampling on the rights of others is problematic. Felons aren't given a scarlet letter tattoo so we know who they are at a distance.

    But the real problem here is that the "100% background check" (no background check, no gun, no excuses) Brady goal is really just a means to an end, with the end being 100% gun registration. I have no problem with a background check that is performed and then the results tossed out. But then ... how do you prove it was done at all after the fact and enforce laws that require it? You have to accept that you can't.

    For me ... I think the current system of background checks for new gun purchases and civilian gun exchanges done without is the best we can do. I think there should be sufficient online and freely available resources that civilians can do background checks on potential buyers (a person's status as a convicted felon is NOT considered private and is available in various ways) as I and other gun owners have no desire to sell to criminals. And there should be a penalty for knowingly selling a firearm to a prohibited person (which there also is). Other than that ... unless we come up with some scarlet letter for dangerous felons to wear around for all to see, we've done as much as we can.

    2. What is your proposal for keeping guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people?

    Until we have powerful wizards that can cast spells on these individuals so that any gun they touch turns to dust ... this is impossible. And even if you keep guns away from them, can you keep truckloads of fertilizer, boxcutters, or heavy vehicles that can be rammed into crowds of people out of their hands? Dangerous people don't care about the law and don't mind stealing what they can't get legally.

    But people don't become "dangerous" because they are able to find a gun; people become dangerous because they're mentally tweaked, and if history proves anything it's that violent people who want to kill will find a way. Here is my post on non-gun mass murders.

    3. Do you believe that a background check infringes on your constitutional right to "keep and bear arms"?

    Kind of already answered this above ... but no. I actually don't have a problem with a background check per se. I do have a problem with the government knowing where every gun is and who owns it. That would invalidate the political protections of the 2nd amendment. Would you anti-gun types consider background checks and a promise to then destroy every record that the check took place?

    4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?

    I don't know you personally, but hell yeah I do. You absolutely want to ban some of the guns I own, some of the magazines I own, and at the very least put heavy, heavy restrictions and expenses on gun ownership. But the bottom line is ... I've never seen any anti-gun group NOT oppose the 2nd amendment as an individual right and support an anti-gun law, no matter how restrictive. i.e. the D.C. and Chicago handgun bans.

    My question to you ... if you could write all the laws and put them into effect ... what guns would you allow me to keep and under what restrictions?

  33. 6. What do you think are the "second amendment remedies" that the tea party GOP candidate for Senate in Nevada( Sharron Angle) has proposed?
    7. Do you believe in the notion that if you don't like what someone is doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied?

    The Declaration of Independence defines the conditions our founding fathers considered acceptable to rationalize an armed rebellion, and the standard is very, very high. There is nothing a legitimately elected leadership can do to make such acts acceptable, because the way to fix an elected government is in an election, not a violent rebellion. That's why we are a democracy in the first place, to settle political differences non-violently. Duh.

    But in any case ... it's not gun rights supporters who claim that some nut who murders people at a city council meeting is acting in the spirit of the 2nd amendment. We call it murder. It's anti-gun supporters like Josh Horowitz who claim we support it ... but I've never talked to a gun rights believer who does.

    8. Do you believe it is O.K. to call people with whom you disagree liars and demeaning names?
    9. If yes to #8, would you do it in a public place to the person's face?

    "Liar" is a defined term, and sometimes it applies. Demeaning names is a relative term (some consider the term "socialist" demeaning, others a badge of honor). I don't think it's ever OK to use profanity or racist terms to define others. And my question to you is ... when is your side going to stop doing these things? I'm sick of the penis jokes, calling gun rights believers supporters of violent criminals, claiming the NRA (a club I'm proudly a member of) supports terrorists, etc. And especially offensive is when the Brady Campaign tries to claim the gun debate is racially motivated, which y'all do constantly. And that practice is particularly despicable.

    10. Do you believe that any gun law will take away your constitutional rights?

    I believe gun laws can, of course. Just like improper laws could take away my freedom of religion or speech. Duh!

    11. Do you believe in current gun laws? Do you think they are being enforced? If not, explain.

    There are thousands of gun laws. If I were in charge I would repeal many and add in a handful. This is too complex to go in to in detail.

    12. Do you believe that all law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never shoot anybody?

    All law abiding gun owners? No. All humans are never that careful with anything, be it their cars or their dietary habits or how they store toxic cleaning chemicals. Most of us try our best to be responsible with everything, but of course any human can fail from time to time. So you punish people when they do wrong or hurt someone, and take away rights when you have to.

  34. 13. Do you believe that people who commit suicide with a gun should be included in the gun statistics?
    14. Do you believe that accidental gun deaths should "count" in the total numbers?

    Statistics have to include everything ... but likewise you have to analyze statistics for what they mean. In terms of suicide, for instance ... we know that guns have nothing to do with the numbers, that when people decide to kill themselves they'll sometimes use a gun if available but if not they don't just change their minds. Last I looked Japan and Norway, with virtually no civilian gun ownership, have higher suicide rates than we do. And in any case US suicide rates are NOT higher in general than other countries, they are about average. So there's nothing wrong with tracking gun suicide statistics, but they have no meaning to the pro-gun/anti-gun debate.

    Accidental gun deaths also happen. So do off-roading accidents and motorcycle accidents. People need to know about them to understand safety, but just like I don't let the danger of motorcycle riding prohibit me from enjoying that freedom or outlawing it for others, neither do gun accidents make me believe in gun bans.

    15. Do you believe that sometimes guns, in careless use or an accident, can shoot a bullet without the owner or holder of the gun pulling the trigger?

    Anything's possible, but the simple answer is "no." There are many safeguards in modern guns. I have bought ammunition in bulk in some manner for decades (back in the day only bricks of .22's, but there were 500 in each) and generally have about 2,000 rounds of ammo in some manner or another in my house. In all those years not once has a bullet gone off on its own.

    16. Do you believe that 30,000 gun deaths a year is too many?

    No. So long as we keep below 32,000 I think that's acceptable ...

    The above is a joke. This is another loaded question, but in any case I'd like to have NO gun deaths a year. But I know from statistics that the majority of those are suicides, a very few are accidents, and the majority of those remaining are crime related killings.

    17. How will you help to prevent more shootings in this country?

    By shooting bad guys to keep them from shooting others. Alright ... that's kind of a joke as well, but not completely. 1/3 of all murders in the US (and isn't it murders and violence that matter, as there's nothing special about being killed with a gun vs. a knife, right?) don't even involve a gun. And that non-gun murder rate is larger than the TOTAL murder rate of most countries.

    The US doesn't have a gun problem, it has a violence problem. And I think our cure for that is more jobs, dealing with the drug problem and the violence it promotes, and making sure all American's believe they have a chance at success without being criminals.

    That, and ruthlessly punishing violent people when they are revealed.

  35. 18. Do you believe the articles that I have posted about actual shootings or do you think I am making them up or that human interest stories about events that have happened should not count when I blog about gun injuries and deaths?

    I'm sure they're correct. In a nation of 300 million people where anyone can get a gun they are absolutely going to be involved in both accidents and murders. So are shovels. The question isn't "will people abuse" guns, but will banning them/restricting them make us overall a safer and better nation or not? I would argue not. And for details, read through the rest of my blog.

    19. There has been some discussion of the role of the ATF here. Do you believe the ATF wants your guns and wants to harass you personally? Ifso, provide examples ( some have written a few that need to be further examined).

    Me personally? No. Gun owners and gun sellers in general? Depending on how you define "harass," yes. Such as the situation in Virginia where gun purchases at a gun show were followed home and investigated.

    20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?

    As a father and gun rights proponent, I've been though a lengthy intellectual process to get where I am, but I'm always willing to educate others on what I have learned and listen to what they have to say. How about you? Is there any chance you'll ever get what we're saying and become an NRA member?

  36. We should require an IQ test for gun ownership, that way none of the current crop of gun owning whackos would qualify to even own a gun. Problem solved!

  37. Answer to whether I will ever become an NRA member is - No.

  38. Juan- this will surely cause some angry back and forth.

  39. japete,

    Please read the question and the post at the link carefully. I am asking which of those tens of thousands of laws, already in existence, restricting handheld weapons have demonstrated their effectiveness in making people safer. The CDC study concluded there is no evidence to support such a conclusion.

    I am interested in actualities not potentialities. My point is that we should, and probably can, agree on replicating laws that produce clear, measurable, results that make societies safer with no appreciable risk and low cost.

    If the goal of anti-gun activists is to improve public safety then they should agree, and would get agreement from the pro-gun side, that if a law cannot be shown to provide benefits with low risk and reasonable cost it should not be replicated and in fact should be repealed.

    Because it has been repeatedly shown that gun laws do not measurably improve public safety, and have non-zero risk and cost yet anti-gun activists do not agree to repeal ineffective laws we question the claimed motive to improve public safety. There must be some other motive for increasing restrictions on weapons.


    You want to require an I.Q. test for gun ownership? Okay, so anyone that takes the test gets to own a firearm. Then anyone capability of sitting still long enough and answering the questions, rightly or wrongly, would be eligible to exercise their specifically enumerate right to keep and bear arms. If all anti-gun activists would go silent with that concession I would concede, even though I disagreed with it on principle and spend my time on other activities. But that surely isn't what you meant. Presumably you had some minimum score which the prospective gun owner had to achieve on their I.Q. test before they could exercise their rights. Aside from the legal issue of requiring a test to exercise a fundamental right I have to wonder what you think the minimum threshold for gun ownership would be such that "none of the current gun owning whackos would qualify". And are you smart enough to properly determine that threshold?

    My I.Q. is about 150. What is yours?

  40. Actually ... you'll find a rather large number of I.T. people and engineers at the lead of the pro-gun internet movement. I fall into that category and while I don't know or care if this means anything to you ... some years ago I took a test and was approved to join Mensa. I never did follow through, but technically I can pass an IQ test at the genius level, and I guarantee you that many other pro-gun people (particularly the bloggers) can do the same.

    One reason you'll find a lot of I.T. people on the pro-gun side is that we value logic, and all logic and scientific studies support the pro-gun stance. The anti-gun side is, of factual necessity, limited to emotion and paranoia (every gun is pointed at you! EEEEK!) ;-)

  41. No bragging, Joe. Gun laws in most other industrialized countries are more strict than ours. Gun deaths per 100,000 in these countries don't even come close to the number in this country. That is proof that some restrictions lead to lower percentages of gun deaths per population.

  42. Juan's comment has been called juvenile by some posters and they are mad that their own cogent remarks are not being published. Somewhere it here, it seems to be forgotten that this is my blog, not yours. I can publish what I want- you can like it or not. Chill out. You "gun guys" have dominated this blog with your comments. When someone who doesn't agree with you gets in a comment, you immediately go on the attack. Nice. It's a way to scare off those who may agree with me and not you. It won't work but nice try,

  43. AM sent comments but said he had to edit them and I should read them on his post. He's got to be kidding. If he thinks I am going to read more of this junk: " Put on your big girl panties and deal with it.", he must think I'm really naive or crazy. This is like Christine O'Donnell telling Senator Mike Castle to put on his man pants. What is this anyway? Who needs it? Mike Castle is one of the few people in Congress brave enough to step forward to put his name on a bill to require background checks on gun sales at gun shows. That, to me, is a brave man. Word to AM- go comment on someone else's blog. You are not welcome on this one.

  44. Stephen- let's stick to the point. I could care less that you are a genius. What is that supposed to prove?

  45. I didn't actually claim to be a genius per se, but I technically did pass a Mensa test many years ago. I was responding to Juan and his bigoted attack on gun owners as stupid and unable to pass an IQ test.

    I noticed this from your own comment:

    "You "gun guys" have dominated this blog with your comments. When someone who doesn't agree with you gets in a comment, you immediately go on the attack. Nice. It's a way to scare off those who may agree with me and not you."

    If you truly have an open mind, it this about people who agree with you vs. those who agree with "us?" Or wouldn't you welcome all commentary?

    And did the gun laws passed in England or any other country change the overall murder rates for the better? Nope. Just like anti-gun laws didn't change murder rates (for the better) in Chicago or D.C.

    It's what's in the heart of a person, not in their hand, that make them a murderer. And it's this fact that makes it critical we NOT restrict gun access for the rest of us, who would only use guns for self defense.

  46. I don't agree with your conclusions, Stephen. I have published hundreds of comments in the course of several weeks. I would have to give up my life to post everything here and answer it. As I said, this is my blog. Do what you want on your blog. If you have one, do you only get comments from people who agree with you? Do you publish those who don't? I get credit by some of you for agreeing to publish you comments. Then you pepper me with comments and wonder why I am not publishing them all. Take a rest.

  47. japete,

    You are avoiding the question again. The question is whether such laws made them safer. Not whether such laws reduced the "gun deaths". This has been pointed out before here, if in response to firearms restrictions the criminal homicide using a firearm goes to zero but the total homicide and violent crime rate doubles then society has not been made safer.

    If more innocent life is taken or permanently injured I take no consolation in the fact that no firearms was involved.

    So again, where is the data that shows any restriction on person weapon ownership has made the average person safer?

  48. Gun deaths per 100,000 is not equivalent to safety. It may be a statistic that can be used to evaluate safety but it includes many deaths such as suicides and anti-criminal shooting which either don't effect or increase safety for the average person.

    Also comparisons between countries are pretty much useless unless you are able to norm for culture. Which is why the question asks about improvements within the same country reducing the influence of non-related cultural effects on the data.

    The murder rate, which I think is better metric for safety, does not correlate well to each country's gun laws. Indeed within this country there is not a positive correlation between legal access to guns and the murder rate. In fact since major cities tend to have higher murder rates and stricter gun laws those two factors can be easily presented as having a strong positive correlation if, as in the case many statistically driven arguments, the data is chosen to support that finding.

  49. I put my blog URL in my first comment:


    I allow comments without moderation and take down only obvious SPAM and things that are profane. You're welcome to post there and call me an idiot, just keep it clean. And preferably constructive, though I mostly bite my lip and leave everything rather than judge.

    But the bottom line is ... I don't get a lot of anti-gun viewers. There are a lot of very active pro-gunners out there, and even more than we read our own pro-gun stuff we love to debate with anti-gunners. i.e. any anti-gun blog to even liberal blogs, like Huffington Post.

    So whereas there is a huge pro-gun grassroots movement out there, of which the NRA is only the main figurehead ... there is not much of an anti-gun grassroots movement. Not saying no one, just saying not large compared to the pro-gun. And the ratio of comments/ratio of pro-gun to anti-gun blogs proves it.

    There's your challenge as an anti-gunner, of course. And who knows when/if that will turn around.

  50. Joe- this is a new one. So, reduced gun deaths isn't safer from the public? Please explain.

  51. See my comment to Joe, Camarath. There is a correlation to gun laws and gun deaths in states. As we all know ( or maybe you choose not to know) many of the guns in the large cities of states with strict gun laws come from other states with laxer laws.

  52. Here's another article of interest. I guess we could keep finding studies that prove our points http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2004/06/mauser.php I choose the numbers in the CDC WISQARS report. They are facts about homicide and suicide as causes of death and the fact is that guns cause the greatest percentage in this country. Since I am living in this country, I'll work on the gun laws in this country.

  53. "Joe- this is a new one. So, reduced gun deaths isn't safer from the public? Please explain."

    he already did. Let's do a thought experiment. there is a room with 100 people. in one room there is a gun, and one person will be killed with it. 1 death per hundred, 1 "gun death" per hundred. in another room there are no guns, just a knife. 2 people will be killed. 2 deaths per hundred, but 0 "gun deaths." which is "safer?"

    Using the metric "gun death" doesn't tell you the total rate.

    "They are facts about homicide and suicide as causes of death and the fact is that guns cause the greatest percentage in this country."

    Guns do not "cause" murder or suicide. They are the tools that are used. If you want to know the cause of murder or suicide you have to study the individual cases.

  54. Huh? totally missed this logic. I don't think there is any there.

  55. japete,

    I'm beginning to feel some frustration because I don't know how to explain it much more clearly. Correct, just because there are fewer criminal uses of firearms does not mean the public is safer. Violent crime may increase even though firearms are not involved. The hypothesis to explain this unexpected (by some) results is that restrictions on the access of firearms may in fact enable crime because the victims are less able to defend themselves.

    To the best of my knowledge there are zero peer reviewed studies that clearly show increasing restrictions on firearms has resulted in decreased violent crime. There are indications that criminal use of firearms has decreased but violent crime without a weapon or the substituting of different weapons increased to at least equal the benefits of the decrease in the crimes enabled by the firearms.

    Hence, a decrease in the criminal use of firearms does not result in an increase in public safety.

    I have read many books, countless peer reviewed studies without finding a satisfactory answer to my Just One Question. There are a few studies that show some hints that there were improvements but critics quickly found holes in them. If you follow the link to the CDC review of the dozens of papers on the topic you will find they conclude just what I am telling you. There is no clear evidence that any firearm restriction improves public safety. It may be that some law has improved public safety but the effect was so small that it was lost in the noise of all the other factors affecting violent crime such as poverty, changing demographic (large numbers of unemployeed young men are bad for violent crime statistics), etc. But if the effect is that small then what is the justification for the costs of enforcement, the creation of a black market, and infringing upon a specific enumerated right?

  56. I, too, am frustrated with this thread. We do know that the Brady Law has prevented about 1.7 prohibited purchasers from buying guns. I have heard every argument possible about why that doesn't prove anything. To me it proves that if we require background checks on all gun sales, we can prohibit people who shouldn't have guns from getting them. Yes, they could go to the black market but they have been stopped in the first place. Some gun deaths are spur of the moment or when someone is quite angry. This is not at all scientific, but it seems logical to me that if you can stop people from buying guns, you may stop some gun injuries and deaths. We don't know this since we have not tried it yet on a federal level. That's the only way to make it work since then people couldn't go to another state to get their gun from a private seller. So if there isn't a gun around, one could say you have prevented a death in some cases. And since guns account for the highest number of homicides, it seems logical to me. For instance, I believe that my sister would be alive today if her estranged husband hadn't had a lot of guns around his house when she stopped by to deliver some papers. He knew she was coming-she called him. He got ready with his gun and surprised her. Maybe a knife? She was more athletic than he and would have likely outrun him. A candlestick? Maybe but not likely. A hammer? Unlikely as well. Guns are more deadly- it's that simple. Facts show that.

  57. This is not at all scientific, but it seems logical to me that if you can stop people from buying guns, you may stop some gun injuries and deaths.

    But. It. Doesn't.

    Dozens of countries have adopted strict gun control at the national level, and their murder trends have not changed.

    I understand that you find the idea of gun control intuitively sensible. I find it intuitively sensible, too. But I also find it intuitively sensible that a heavy rock should fall faster than a light one.

    The twelfth time you try dropping those rocks and see that they land at the same time, it's time to acknowledge that your intuition is wrong.

  58. It's a fact that countries that have more strict laws about guns have fewer murders.

  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. Many of those countries had fewer murders than the United States before they adopted their strict gun laws. See also, Britain, Australia. The adoption of strict gun laws does not correlate with declining murder rates, either in the United States or internationally.

  61. What's your point again? I have addressed these things before- not going to keep going with it.

  62. Thanks for the support Raul.( comments not published)

  63. Bureau of Justice statistics show what has happened in the U.S. concerning homicides since the 1980s. Clearly, there has been a recent upwards trend in homicide in the U.S. Check out this link: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/homicide/weapons.cfm and a quote from the report: "Homicides are most often committed with guns, especially handguns."

  64. I have read your post and most of the comments. Both sides have some valid points. You are advocating common sense or reasonable gun laws, this is good. Now I have a question- at what point would you consider a gun law unreasonable. what line will you not cross or even fight against?

  65. good question, gene. It's too late for me to think about now but I will consider it.

  66. The rate of firearm injury to young adolescents (ages 10 to 14) is very low in most of Illinois, with numbers generally too low to compute rates.

    The rates of firearm hospitalization and death in Chicago are at least four times higher than any other region in Illinois (Figure 4).
    -Children's Memorial Research Center in Chicago


  67. There were so many comments to this thread that it's not possible to answer them in the time I have available. From what I can tell, what you are all saying is that guns are not the problem. I see it differently. I have provided facts to show that gun deaths take more lives than any other means in the U.S. I am concentrating on the U.S. and what is going on here. It is still true that gun deaths per 100,000 are higher in the U.S. than other industrialized countries. You have shown me your own graphs and your own facts. We will have to agree to disagree about this. It is futile to keep going with this thread.

  68. In India, more people are driving cars. Is it fair to point only to the increased automobile accident rate, or do we also need to consider that many of these new drivers would be riding motorcycles, having accidents, and probably sustaining more severe injuries than they would in a car?

    Eliminating guns would not eliminate all those 30,000 "gun deaths". A large majority of suicides would find another effective method. Criminals would switch to other weapons, and some would commit crimes that they would not attempt if their victims might be armed.

    It is sensible to argue the affect of various gun laws would have on the death rate--but to ignore substitution and defense--to assume that none of those deaths would happen if we could get rid of guns, and that it is impossible for a gun to ever save a life shows that you aren't really trying to be fair.

  69. I'll make one last try and where I think several of the gun-rights supporters are coming from, japete.

    Assume the world is magically changed and there is now virtually no legal firearm ownership in the US. That is, very few private citizens actually have guns. Let us also assume that guns became very very rare, so even criminals don't have them. Is the law-abiding population safer? What if criminal simply switch to knives, or bats, or fists? Will there actually be less violent crime from any source? I believe the gun-rights supporters on this thread are looking to places like DC, Chicago, the UK, and other countries and saying: 'no', there is no reduction in violent crime overall.

  70. So if I have this right, let's not do anything about gun violence since some other method will just be used. I wonder why we didn't try that with car safey or crib safety or medicine bottle safety? Let's just ignore the problem because somehow, kids will fall through crib slats and die and we can't do a darned thing about it. They might fall down the stairs instead or get hit by a car or choke on a small toy. So why bother with all of this safety stuff? Hmm- second hand smoke is known to negatively affect the health of people who breathe it in. Let's not stop smoking in public places because surely the folks breathing in the smoke will just die from something else. That is the way I am seeing this thread of thought here. It just doesn't work for me.

  71. Ms Peterson, what we're suggesting is that your involvement in gun control _is_ doing nothing to reduce violent deaths. If you want to help reduce the number of tragic and violent deaths in this country, fixating on the tools and trying to reduce "gun deaths" is a remarkably ineffective way to do it.

    Volunteer at a suicide support hotline. Teach a gun safety class. Campaign against policies that release violent criminals onto the streets in the name of efficiency.

    The approach you're currently using is as rational and effective as if you'd noticed that a higher percentage of red cars were involved in fatal accidents than any other color, and set out save lives by banning red paint.

  72. Faulty reasoning. I'm working on this issue because I am trying to prevent gun deaths from happening. People are working on the issues you have mentioned and we work with them sometimes. Teaching a gun safety class? Not my area of expertise. You can do that one if you want to. Campaigning against releasing violent criminals? Generally people don't want that to happen and there are programs and people working on those issues. Society does need to look at that issue. I'm interested but have only so much time and energy. Are you working on any of these issues, by the way?

  73. "I'm working on this issue because I am trying to prevent gun deaths from happening."

    Our point is that this is senseless. You should be working to reduce violent deaths, period. A fetishistic focus on a particular tool used in some violence will do nothing to reduce the violence itself. This point has been made in this thread with crystal clarity over and over again.

    If you still don't understand, answer me this: Why, if guns are causal agents of violence, do rural areas with virtually universal gun ownership have little or no gun violence, while urban areas like Chicago and DC with draconian gun laws have so much? Why?

  74. " Our point is that this is senseless. " That's your opinion. I will keep doing it whether you guys think it's senseless or not. Your view about that matters not to what I am doing. I happen to think what you are doing is senseless. Will that stop you?

  75. Here, by the way, is a link to an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health regarding suicide and the means of suicide: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/means-matter/ And a quote from the report which comes from a very respected and unbiased source: "Guns are more lethal than other suicide means. They're quick. And they're irreversible."
    This report supports what I have been writing about.

  76. You didn't answer CTD's question. Allow me to ask it again here:

    "Why, if guns are causal agents of violence, do rural areas with virtually universal gun ownership have little or no gun violence, while urban areas like Chicago and DC with draconian gun laws have so much? Why?"

  77. Guns contribute to more violent deaths than other causes. Concentrations of people in cities account for more chances that gun deaths can happen. That seems pretty obvious to me. There is more gang activity and drug problems in larger cities. Small cities and rural areas are not immune to gun violence Murders and suicides happen frequently in small towns and rural areas as well. As far as I know rural areas do not have virtualaly universal gun ownership. Where did you get that idea? Guns are found in fewer and fewer homes but those who have them tend to have more of them.

  78. "Guns are found in fewer and fewer homes but those who have them tend to have more of them."

    Please show me your statistics on this one. I would be interested in that data. Anecdotally I think it is just the opposite, that guns are being found in more and more homes, and on a per capita basis it is on the rise as well. But then again, statistics can be made to say just about anything you want, depending on how you choose to analyze them.

  79. http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/gunviolence/gunsinamerica#Cook- with links to statistics from other sources.

  80. Did you know that guns are used by law abiding citizen 2.4 million times a year to save lives and prevent deaths and injuries?

  81. That's the rumor. I don't happen to believe it.

  82. Did you know that most domestic violence is committed by women not men? Did you know that more children are killed by their mothers then by their fathers?

  83. "Guns are more lethal than other suicide means. They're quick. And they're irreversible."

    First of all, I'm a heartless libertarian--I do not believe that you should be restricted to keep me from doing something stupid to myself, or vice versa.

    Second--Not all suicide attempts are meant to succeed--knew a guy who took half a bottle of tylenol over a girl. I doubt he would have used a gun if available.

    People who try with a gun probably mean it. People who scratch their wrists, or take tylenol probably don't.

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  90. Anonymous ( above)- totally ridiculous response and patently false and you know it.

  91. Thanks for all the comments everyone. There are too many to which to respond. Some, however are not published. As I said, it's my blog. I can publish what I choose to publish. Some commenters are new to the blog.Others have been on it ad nauseum now for several weeks harrassing me with questions, comments, accusations, and false statements. You probably know who you are. Most of the questions have been asked and answered dozens of times in many different ways. See my previous comments and blog posts. I don't intend to keep answering the same questions asked. Novel questions or comments are good. Take a rest. I intend to,

  92. Weer'd Beard is offensive. No comments necessary.

  93. In order not to clog up the comments here with a long reply, I've posted a response to this article on my own blog. You'll find it at:


    Thanks for giving us an opportunity to respond.

  94. Let us not forget that the single, greatest mass-murder ever perpetrated within these gun-ridden United States was accomplished with box-cutters.

  95. I have tried not to become involved in this, but feel that I must try to make a point. I realize that your dislike of guns has to do with events in your life. That is both understandable and reasonable, however, your focus on the tool or means that was used in these events is irrational. It was the "man" (and i use that term grudgingly) that caused this event. A gun did not cause this. A gun is an inanimate object, incapable of doing ANY action in and of itself.

    I understand your reasoning that if guns didn't exist, it would not have happened, but that is flawed. If guns didn't exist, it wouldn't have happened with a GUN, but if the person was intent on murder, other methods are available. Men have found ways to kill each other since life began, and did do quite well before guns came along.

    What needs to be addressed is not the tool used in murder, but the person using the tool. They are the threat, not the tool. Please allow me to ask you a personal question, and if you decline to answer I understand.

    If another person with a gun had been there at the time of the tragedy, and was able to shoot him before he committed murder, would you still be so opposed to guns? If they had been used to save her life? What if SHE had one herself and was able to end the filthy animal?

    You are blaming the loss of life on the gun, instead of the violent psychopath.

    It is no different that banning cars because millions are killed with them, or because millions are killed when irresponsible people drink and drive and kill people. We don't remove CARS, we remove the people that MISUSED them.

    I understand your grief. I have lost family to violence. I felt helpless. I felt the need to do something, ANYTHING to keep this from happening again to ANYONE, ANYWHERE! If I could save just ONE life it would be worth it...

    So now I am an instructor. I teach responsible firearms ownership, and encourage safety training. I am determined to enable others to have the ability and the tools necessary to defend their lives and the lives of their loved ones against murderous psychopaths. If I can save one innocent life, just one, I have done my job, and made my dead rest easier.

    Please understand. By removing guns from honest, innocent people, you are removing their ability to properly save their lives. You are removing a chance that they might be able to fight back. You are helping to ENSURE that the psychopath with the gun will be able to murder whomever they want without fear. You are HELPING them....not the victims.

    If you could go back and be standing there with a gun when the scum took her life and take his instead, wouldn't that be a good thing?

    You can remove every dangerous thing from society you can imagine, and man would still kill with bear hands if inclined. A criminal will always ignore ANY law, by their very definition....

    I am sorry for your loss, and will pray for you and yours. God Bless, and I hope that some day you will see your error.

  96. Hello. I live in North Dakota.

    Around 50% of all households in ND have at least one firearm. Reference:

    Just over a quarter-million households in ND. Reference:

    This equates to a MINIMUM of a quarter-million firearms in ND. Personally, based on the traditions of hunting, target-shooting, and the people I know, I'd at least double that, but we can stick with 250,000 firearms for now.

    Firearm homicides in 2008: zero. Reference:

    If firearms are the "problem" that drives violent crime, how can this be? We have very lax gun laws, by most anti-gun folks' standards; if the guns that come from places with lax laws like ND cause violent crime in other states, why don't they cause violent crime here?

    Answer: guns don't cause violent crime; violent criminals do.

  97. Peter- You've certainly lived an exciting life: " I've lived through a great deal of violence; eighteen years, to be precise, in an environment of rolling civil unrest that amounted, at times, to full-blown civil war. I've personally witnessed and/or been a (reluctant) participant in well over a hundred armed encounters. I've seen people killed with guns; knives; spears; clubs; bare hands; and by wild animal attacks. (Yes, some of those deaths were caused by me, to protect myself and/or those entrusted to my care.) In every case, I can assure you that there was clearly a right and a wrong side; a criminal element and a law-abiding element." This I quoted from your own writing. It sounds like a "made for T.V. " adventure film. What in the world have you been doing in your life besides as a pastor, as you noted? I disagree with most of what you posted. My blog posts explain why. The arrogance of your comments and the contempt which you have for the Brady Campaign and people like me, who have become victims of gun violence, is, for a pastor, puzzling to me.

  98. Darius- Again- NOT- removing guns from you or your law abiding friends.

  99. DJ- your comment: " Answer: guns don't cause violent crime; violent criminals do." doesn't get to what happens in the cases of most homicides committed by people who know each other who were not criminals before they shot someone, as in my sister's case. So, my brother-in-law was not a criminal until suddenly he was when he pulled the trigger. An argument over a divorce turned into a violent crime in a matter of seconds. There have been many gun murders in North Dakota- not necessarily committed by people with criminal histories. It is, in my opinion, as stated many times in my posts and my comments, much more easy to kill someone with a gun than another weapon. CDC facts show this to be true. Sure, the person pulled the trigger. Without the gun, it's much more difficult to kill. CDC WISQARS reports of causes of death and violent death conclude the same.

  100. Dear "oldfart" ( love the name- don't know where you guys come up with your names but maybe this one is descriptive?) " Let us not forget that the single, greatest mass-murder ever perpetrated within these gun-ridden United States was accomplished with box-cutters." Agreed. I have not forgotten this. It was a terrible tragedy that has greatly affected those who lost someone in the events of September 11th and those who have lost a loved one in Iraq and Afghanistan. These deaths will never be forgotten. I will never forget that day and how I felt that day.

    I also remember that, on average, guns have taken the lives, in one way or another, of approximately 30,000 people a year- about 12,000 of these homicides for many years now. You can do the math on that one.

  101. Chicago:

    5x the murder rate of the rest of the state.
    90% of offenders have prior criminal history
    70% of victims have prior criminal history
    60%+ are directly related to gang activity
    80%+ are committed w/ firearms (higher than the rest of the state)

    Chicago has stricter laws than the rest of the state.

    Is it due more to firearms or to social problems?

  102. asked and answered on other comments and posts. What do you think? I suspect I know your answer.

  103. Dear Japete,

    I didn't intend my comments to be contemptuous or arrogant: I'm sorry you view them that way. I merely stated that unless and until the Brady Campaign and its supporters can get past their fixation on the instrument of violent crime, and focus on the crime itself, there's no possibility of dialog. I fully support your (and all) efforts to reduce violent crime, but focusing on one particular instrument used to commit such crime is a fundamentally flawed approach.

    As for the experiences I cited, they weren't in the USA, obviously: but a great many people have experienced the same, or worse. Countries which right now are going through the same sort of violence, where their citizens and residents undergo the same sort of experiences on a daily basis, include parts of Palestine, the Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Burma, several of the former states of the Soviet Union (particularly those plagued with Muslim fundamentalist terrorism), Zaire, Uganda, parts of Nigeria and several other nations on the West Coast of Africa, the Sudan . . . the list goes on and on. My experiences aren't by any means unique, or rare.

  104. 9/11 was not a tragedy. It was an atrocity, committed by Arab terrorists, but aided and abetted by those who require passengers and pilots to be unarmed. A single armed passenger or crewman could have stopped the terrorists from taking over the plane, or significantly helped in preventing continued use of the plane.

    It is important to know who are the enemies, and who set up the conditions under which those enemies can act.

  105. This is an interesting ser of questions, but is sadly incomplete. Perhaps I could offer some more:

    21. Most narcotics are banned, and yet are likely available within a mile or two of the location of every one of your readers. This is despite a "War On Drugs" that spends a thousand times more than any gun controller has ever proposed on halting the smuggling of tons of contraband. The question is: which weighs more, a ton of cocaine or a ton of Glocks? Extra credit: why do so many people think passing a law is some sort of magical talisman against the Evil Eye?

    22. The Democratic party has a long history of saying "we're not going to take your guns", while simultaneously seizing people's guns (Lockyear v. California, permanent injunction issued against New Orleans following Katrina gun confiscations). Is there any reason that an educated person, aware of current events, should take at face value any statement from a Democrat that they support the right to keep and bear arms?

    23. Aren't the Democrats sick of losing elections?

    24. When did the Left decide that the People couldn't be trusted, and if gun control laws as proposed (Assault Weapons Ban, etc) had been in force in 1946, would that not have prevented the Battle of Athens from expelling a corrupt government in Athens, TN? Extra credit: Is this not counter-revolutionary?

    25. Is this whole debate - at its heart - not about deaths, but about the balance of power between citizen and government as originally established by the Founding Fathers, and the desire of "Progressives" to shift power to an elite minority of decision makers?

  106. Peter- I don't know how else to take your comments. I find it disengenuous of you to imply that these events took place in the U.S to make the point that violence can happen by so many other ways than guns. Of course we all know that there are countries that experience more gun deaths and more general deaths and violence than the U.S. My focus and my facts are comparing the U.S. to other industrialized countries not at war. That makes us a leader in gun deaths. As for your comment about the Brady Campaign and its' supporters, I do find that to be arrogant and contempuous. So, that means that my side of the debate MUST, according to your words, above, get past their "fixation on the instrument of violent crime..." Wow- thanks for that advice. And what will "your" side do to get past your fixation on guns and trying to make it seem as if guns are not the problem? If you support my efforts, then perhaps you can meet me in the middle somewhere. But if you think only my side needs to change, then we have a problem.

  107. See anonymous above about arming airline passengers. Wow. " but aided and abetted by those who require passengers and pilots to be unarmed. A single armed passenger or crewman could have stopped the terrorists from taking over the plane, or significantly helped in preventing continued use of the plane." Are you sure you want that in writing? You have no idea if a single armed passenger could have stopped those terrorists- conjecture on your part and not fact.

  108. Point of order. You said:

    We do know that the Brady Law has prevented about 1.7 prohibited purchasers from buying guns.

    I must suggest that we know nothing of the sort. What we know is that prohibited persons attempted to purchase a gun through lawful means, and were turned down. We know nothing about the number that subsequently purchased a gun illegally.

    As statisticians describe it, this is a "dark number" which is inherently unmeasurable. As such, the 1.7 Million number is doubtful, to say the least.

    Reading your replies to the comments here, I suspect that you feel that it's still worthwhile. IMHO, this is precisely the debate. I (and many people like me) believe that the current gun laws are ultimately futile and are justified with a lot of pseudo scientific mumbo-jumbo (present company excepted, of course).

    IOW, I believe the fallacy of your twenty questions is the assumption that another gun control law (or twenty) can actually make a difference in the gun death rate. We disagree on first premises, and so it's hard to see grounds for agreement, other than accidental.

  109. Borepatch- I'm surprised someone hasn't thrown in their hatred about the Democratic party before this.

  110. Please enlighten me- do you have statistics that show different numbers than those kept by the FBI as the number of people who have been prohbited from purchasing guns from FFLs? If so, produce them.

  111. Two answers cover all twenty:
    1) What LawDog said (http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/) and
    2) Molon Labe!

    God Bless Ya'll!

    Aggie, Class of '70
    An Anglican Firearms "Enthusiast" (ie: Gun Nut)

  112. Logic: There are evil people (violent criminals) who prey on the public. These people use guns, knives, baseball bats, brass knuckles, bare hands, numerical advantage, whatever is available to them to do their evil. No matter what you do, these people will always be able to find some weapon to give them the advantage against their victims. Most of them simply don't care if they hurt you to get what they want.

    A gun is the best available tool for self defense, period. It works in all weather including rain, clothing of the target is not much of an issue, can be fired multiple times without reloading. These are all weaknesses of other technologies such as pepper spray or tazers.

    As an illustration: One little old lady with a handgun can stop a 24 year old 180 pound crook who is intent on hurting her. There was a recent event in the local news here, where this very thing happened. If that lady had had a baseball bat because she couldn't legally own a gun, it is unlikely she would have prevailed. A gun levels the playing field - superior physical ability is far less of a benefit if a gun can be brought to bear, on either side. Thus, it evens the odds.

    Good, honest people of all walks of life depend on guns for self protection every day. Removing this protection would be wrong, in my opinion. I would be interested in understanding how you justify this goal.

    By the way, you asked for statistics. Try John Lott's book More Guns, Less Crime. It is an excellent source, with verified data and statistics.


  113. Japete, it's not hatred, it's suspicion. It hasn't come from nowhere - it was the Democratic party that controlled the California legislature and governor's mansion when they passed the Assault Weapons confiscation statute overturned by Lockyear. It was Democrat Ray Nagan who sent police house to house to disarm citizens who lawfully owned guns.

    And FYI, I used to hold office in the Democratic party (county council). I'm currently registered Independent.

    To answer your question, I do not have any different statistics than those you cite. Nor do I dispute their accuracy. Rather, I disagree with your conclusion (1.7 Million prohibited persons were kept from purchasing guns). They were only stopped from buying guns legally (this is A Good Thing, IMHO).

    My point is that we have absolutely no idea how many of these were successful buying guns illegally. Neither does the FBI - the published statistics do not measure this.

    But it's unarguable that thousands of tons of narcotics are smuggled into the country every year, and are sold illegally. It's hard to see how gun control laws are any more effective in stopping the smuggling and sale of guns to prohibited persons.

    Net/net, anyone in this country who wants a gun can very likely get one - the inner cities are filled with shootings by convicted felons. It's hard to show much actual benefit from existing gun control laws.

  114. Not to beat a dead horse, but I firmly believe my comment that gun control is essentially Counter-Revolutionary. This isn't a Democrat/Republican thing (the gun control act of 1986 was signed by Reagan).

    Both parties want to increase their power. The power they gain comes at our expense. Republicans are slightly more subtle about this when it comes to guns, Democrats are slightly more subtle when it comes to drugs.

  115. To "borepatch" above- Whatever.This is beating a dead horse as you said in your subsequent post.

  116. japete, quoted "So, my brother-in-law was not a criminal until suddenly he was when he pulled the trigger. An argument over a divorce turned into a violent crime in a matter of seconds."

    Would we be having this same conversation if he had used a golf club? What about a knife, as used by 66% of the murderers in ND in 2008? A person who has decided, whether in the heat of an emotionally-charged moment or through premeditation, to take another person's life, does not respect laws of any type. Nor will they be stopped or even delayed by lack of a specific tool which happens to be statistically more effective. Criminal intent within the person is the problem, and all the well-meaning but misguided attempts to limit access to certain tools to prevent these types of crimes will never matter, except in the magical utopian constructs of emotionally tortured minds.

    My condolences on your loss.

  117. 1. Do you believe that criminals and domestic abusers should be able to buy guns without background checks?
    I hate to answer a question with another question, but to what purpose does this question serve? If I had the knowledge of all the criminals and domestic abusers in the world, and I had the ability to prevent them from getting firearms I would do so. However, I might as well wish for the ability to remove evil in the world, as many things are felonious that are quite silly indeed (for instance, smoking pot. We do not charge those of age with felonies when they drink alcohol or, say, imbibe salvia, so why should anyone who's smoked a joint and gotten caught prohibited from owning a firearm?), and many people I would prohibit from owning firearms (like those who can't keep their stinking finger off the stinking trigger) who are nonviolent nonfelons. Further, even if I could keep every person I deemed unfit (and none I deemed fit) to handle a gun from owning on legally, there is no way to keep them from owning them illegally, for further evidence of this, see Mexico and our own analog with the drug trade. Finally, I must ask, why are we letting people out of jail who we have deemed so irresponsible that we wish to prohibit them from owning high-energy yield devices? If I cannot trust a man with a gun, a car, a chainsaw, a knife, or anything else, why is he out of jail?
    2. What is your proposal for keeping guns away from criminals, domestic abusers, terrorists and dangerously mentally ill people?
    Keep them in jail.
    3. Do you believe that a background check infringes on your constitutional right to "keep and bear arms"?
    I don't think constitutional rights actually mean anything in the real world, other than being a placebo for real rights. However, the law must be consistent, or confusion results. Having the base document of your government say that the government absolutely will not infringe on the personal ability to buy, own, and bear weapons and then having it be heavily regulated in practice, as it is now, with whole swaths of different weapons being restricted or entirely prohibited, creates unacceptable confusion and friction. If I had my preference, however, I would err on the side of personal liberty, as it taxes the executive far less than the alternative, and leaves them free to do important things, like keep the borders secure and stop crimes.
    4. Do you believe that I and people with whom I work intend to ban your guns?
    That question wholly depends on you, who you work with, and what guns I own. However, in general, in the past when gun enthusiasts have tried to sate anti-gun lobbyists, they have always lost gravely, to the point of such absurdity as is seen in Britain, where there have been cases of criminals suing their victims, and their victims being thrown in jail for much of their life. This is nonsense, and such misbehavior by the executive, judicial and legal systems should not be rewarded with total complacency.
    5. If yes to #4, how do you think that could happen ( I mean the physical action)?
    I am not sure how to answer this question, as you are asking for an answer that's either so self-evident that me answering would be entirely useless, or so deep that I cannot possibly answer. However, to give you an answer, I think that were "guns" to be banned, they would be banned in the usual manner that anything is: through the legal system.

  118. First you challenge the facts in the case of my sister's murder and try to say we wouldn't be having this conversation if he had beat her to death with a golf club. That is nonsense. I have addressed this many times in my blogs. Check out my "Professor Plum..." blog. Golf clubs? Give me examples of a lot of murders by golf clubs and we can talk. You know nothing of the particulars of the case of my sister's murder. I suggest you don't say these sorts of things to victims. What's the point? It is what it is. She was killed by bullets from a gun. And I'd really like to believe that you cared about my loss, but somehow, it seems pretty disengenuous when you try to find a way that she could have been murdered differently.

  119. 6. What do you think are the "second amendment remedies" that the tea party GOP candidate for Senate in Nevada (Sharron Angle) has proposed?
    Sharron Angle is, apparently, part of the small, but growing portion of Americans who are preparing for what they see as an inevitable circumstance where violent, unprovoked (they would claim it was provoked), armed action is warranted. This is not unheard of in American history, as I am sure you're aware. We are taught from a very young age that the appropriate response to 'tyranny' in the American definition is armed resistance. It is not surprising that, when circumstances become unusually 'tyrannical' (again, by the American definition, i.e., unusual taxation, waste, and general dissatisfaction with the government), some people start thinking more and more about initiating violent action, and more people start realizing that the relative civility and calm we enjoy today might not exist in the future.
    7. Do you believe in the notion that if you don't like what someone is doing or saying, second amendment remedies should be applied?
    I believe the notion exists. I do not harbor it. The gentleman or lady should not initiate armed violence unless jeopardy, capability, and intent are present. In this way, I agree with the current legal system for determining whether armed self-defense was justified.
    8. Do you believe it is O.K. to call people with whom you disagree liars and demeaning names?
    Only if they are so. Untruths do me no service. As a qualifying statement, there are many people who disagree with me quite fundamentally who I believe to be honest human beings. There are many who I do not believe to be honest.
    9. If yes to #8, would you do it in a public place to the person's face?
    Again, if they were actually liars or bastard or what-have-you, I would generally be unafraid to do so, if I deemed it appropriate for that time and place. As a further example, I would refrain if a child or an uninvolved elder were present. Similarly, I would refrain in a restaurant or other public place. However, I would not refrain in a private location, and if I deemed the chewing out quite necessary, I would escort the individual to such a place so that I could commence. However, this precludes the "public place" part of your question, so I suppose you can consider this a long winded way or saying "no, but yes".
    10. Do you believe that any gun law will take away your constitutional rights?
    See above where I discuss constitutional rights. However, I do believe that topics such as personal possession of objects should be left out of the law; history proves it does little good. Further, most possession, etc laws infringe on my ability to own such devices, and I like to think of myself as a responsible and morally fit individual.

  120. 11. Do you believe in current gun laws? Do you think they are being enforced? If not, explain.
    I believe they exist. I do not believe they perform any task according to keeping peace and order in our nation or in any state, as I explained in several answers above. I know for a fact it's not humanly possible for some laws, like 922 (r) to be enforced at all. To what purpose do such laws serve? I see no point in an inherently unenforceable law.
    12. Do you believe that all law-abiding citizens are careful with their guns and would never shoot anybody?
    You might as well ask me if I believed that all drivers were careful and would never hit anybody. Only a Sith deals in absolutes. Oh, wait, I'M the Sith. You know very well anyone who answers this question in the affirmative is a buffoon and a moron, and this question is entirely set up so that both answers further your case, while actually proving or disproving nothing.
    13. Do you believe that people who commit suicide with a gun should be included in the gun statistics?
    You sure are interested in what I "believe".
    What I never understood is why there are "gun statistics" but not "baseball bat statistics", "rope statistics" or "lawnmower statistics" (interestingly, in Britain, there are "knife statistics"). I have never seen a logical reason for statistics like this to be connected with any particular object. To more specifically answer your question: I think that whether suicide utilizing a firearm is included with a statistic depends on the statistic; it would be just as out of place in statistics about "accidental gun deaths" as in "lawns mowed". However, it would be right at home in a statistic like "persons killed by guns within American borders per year". But more to the point, what relevance do these statistics possess?
    14. Do you believe that accidental gun deaths should "count" in the total numbers?
    More believing. I was under the impression this was a thought-based discussion, not one of "belief". For my answer, see above, and just apply it rationally to accidental gun deaths.
    15. Do you believe that sometimes guns, in careless use or an accident, can shoot a bullet without the owner or holder of the gun pulling the trigger?
    "Guns?" Do I -b-e-l-i-e-v-e- think that cars can inject gasoline into their cylinders without someone pushing the gas pedal? Well, I know Toyotas can. And I'm aware of several makes of gun (all very crude, and I would never recommend them to anyone) which will fire if dropped, roughhoused, or otherwise jostled. A quick examination of these firearms internals will show you why. Almost all modern firearms of halfway decent or better quality will almost without exception be immune to this sort of malfunction.

  121. 16. Do you believe that 30,000 gun deaths a year is too many?
    Further must I assert my beliefs. I think that question wholly depends on who is getting killed, and further, it's clearly a leading question. If I answer a simple "yes", I am rationally compelled to become anti-gun when you later reveal somesuch statistic that includes everything from guns dropping out of second-story windows onto people's heads to deaths by pirates in Somalia, and if I answer "no", you're free to typecast me as some sort of monster. What this question needs are two things: Scope, i.e., in what area/group/etc is this "hypothetical" statistic coming from? (For instance, 30,000 deaths of entirely innocent and worthy human beings by guns worldwide is an acceptable marginal loss to me, if sad.) In addition, it needs to identify who is being killed. For instance, if it was further revealed that 30,000 Nazis were being killed a year between the years of 1941 and 1944, I would say that's a good start, but come back to me when you reach 100,000. The fact is, this statistic is mostly derived from the deaths of gang members in areas like Baltimore, Detroit, Washington D.C., and the US-Mexico border. Some percentage of that statistic include accidental gun deaths, or the deaths of an innocent person, but data from the CDC, circa 2001 (I've been unable to find more recent data, due to the updated CDC site being almost impossible to navigate) shows that while accidental motor vehicle deaths account for 45% of all accidental deaths in the US, firearms account for only .8% of accidental deaths. As for that percentage of the 30,000 (actually 38,000) who were innocent and killed on purpose, there is very little doubt that if they possessed a firearm (or a more effective firearm, if they did indeed possess one) of their own, and even better, training to go with it (again, or even better training), that they would have stood a better chance of survival.
    17. How will you help to prevent more shootings in this country?
    This question, like the above question, is totally unqualified. For instance, if those shootings you talk about include paper with concentric red circles on them, then I am actively adding to shootings in this country. In fact, I am such a prolific murderer of paper with concentric circles, that tomorrow I intend to put tens of .356" holes in one or more pieces of paper with concentric circles! Also, if you speak of shootings where the target is some thug bent on injuring or killing myself or my girlfriend, I cannot help you prevent such shootings, though, thankfully, the opportunity has not met me, yet. As for all the rest of shootings, those that aren't of Coke cans, paper targets with concentric circles on them, sandbags, goblins, etc, but rather of innocent, productive individuals, what I will do to prevent the deaths, in any manner, of them is to:
    -Not shoot, or otherwise attempt to harm them myself.
    -Shoot or attempt to hinder in any way I can, those people whom I know beyond a reasonable doubt to be trying to hurt them (again, following the legal rules of ability, jeopardy, and intent).
    -Cooperate with police, so that they both may be freer to actually prevent crimes, and also, should it occur that I can assist, to directly help them prevent crimes or catch those who express intent to commit, or a history of committing crimes.
    18. Do you believe the articles that I have posted about actual shootings or do you think I am making them up or that human interest stories about events that have happened should not count when I blog about gun injuries and deaths?
    I don't know you. I can't say one way or another. However, I do detect a strong scent of agenda.

  122. 19. There has been some discussion of the role of the ATF here. Do you believe the ATF wants your guns and wants to harass you personally? If so, provide examples ( some have written a few that need to be further examined).
    Having dealt with some of them personally and knowing people (like FFLs) who deal with them on a regular basis, I know that many of them are not agreeable people, and that the agency as a whole greatly wishes it were the FBI or another three-letter agency. They likely do not wish to take my firearms because they think guns are evil, but rather they wish to make themselves look good to their superiors and to the Executive branch as a whole, and their normal modus operandi is to seize as much weaponry as they can, and claim it is illegal, whether it is or not, as that is excellent publicity for them. As for my examples, those firsthand mostly involve speaking with them at gun shows and once by chance encounter, and just generally being put-off by them, whereas the support for the rest of my assertions comes from FFLs and more notable incidents, such as Waco.
    20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?
    I will respond in question:
    Why is this question so vague? Where is 'somewhere'?

  123. " there is very little doubt that if they possessed a firearm (or a more effective firearm, if they did indeed possess one) of their own, and even better, training to go with it (again, or even better training), that they would have stood a better chance of survival" Your opinion- not based on fact. Agenda? Do I have an agenda? Do you have an agenda? My agenda is to stop the senseless shootings and prevent more gun injuries and deaths. If that's a bad agenda, please explain.

  124. My opinion is based on thousands of years of human experience. If the neutral implication - that, when faced with a party or parties whose goals conflict with the survival of an individual or other group or demand their cooperation at the expense of part or all of the life of an individual or other group, that the individual or group is question is as likely to be shot (injured, fatally or nonfatally) if they possess a firearm (or other weapon) as if they were unarmed, or the converse implication, that in fact the armed individual is at greater risk, were true, soldiers in militaries worldwide would go into battle unarmed, to allow them to walk into enemy territory unhindered. Since this is demonstrably not true, and many civic counterexamples exist, your implication, that my assertion was not based on fact, is laughably false.

    As for the evilness or righteousness of your agenda, it's impossible to discern, as your agenda is too vague to be any use to anyone. Some humans deserve to be terminated, and some deserve to be protected against termination to the extent that those who would try ought to be terminated themselves. What is senseless is your agenda: No data or information was utilized in its forming, instead some vague assertion that all humans deserve life, and that shooting an individual deprives them of life more than, say, stabbing, gassing, running over, or drowning them.

    With regard to my agenda, I have several. One is to enjoy delicious migas for dinner. Another is to make rent this month, and next month. However, the agenda that pertains most to this discussion is the triple agenda of being able to own effective tools for the defense of myself and my family against criminals and other entities that would seek to harm us, as the case may be, to use those tools for safe, lawful recreation, and to train and practice with those tools.

  125. To further examine your agenda, and to qualify, I detect a dichotomy between your stated agenda in the OP:
    "I am hoping to lift the level of discourse here and have some back and forth exchanges that are not unpleasant."
    and the distinct agenda that your questions imply, namely that you ask these questions that some gun enthusiast, Bubba, etc will come in here and say something stupid. Many of your questions are leading questions, where all simple answers serve your agenda. As evidenced by the long-windedness of my answers, in order to answer your questions in such a way that doesn't serve to make a point for you, I have to question the validity of the question, further qualify the question in several directions and then answer it, and other things. That is why I say that I smell an agenda that differs from the one your stated in the OP.

  126. That first sentence is so convoluted, that I can't ascertain what the meaning of it. But on to the last- your agenda and mine do not conflict, as it turns out. I hope you enjoyed your migas ( I don't know what those are) and I really hope you will be able to pay your rent. That's more important than a lot of other things.

  127. As to ( above)- if " Bubba" says something stupid in response to my questions, it's not my problem. You must have missed the reason I asked my questions in the first place. And, back at you- I certainly understand that you and others here are trying your hardest to get me to say something "stupid" or something you can run with in your next blog.

  128. It's kind of amazing that the gunloons won't answer your questions. Instead, they opt to either rephrase your question or use it to bang you over the head.

  129. "Someone tried to deny that men commit most of the domestic abuse against women and then turned it around to say it's the women who commit most of the abuse. Seriously! What's that all about? I am on the Board of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs. I think I know something about this"

    I was not this person, but let me throw something at you.

    When I was in college my freshman year I had a social sciences class that was a total cake-walk. One assignment was simply to get us familiar with peer reviewed journals and our library system. We were to get a journal from the stacks, read the article, and give a presentation to the class.

    I found a good journal (I don't remember which one) and grabbed a bound collection of them that was a few years old, basically a total random selection.

    The first article I found that perked ANY interest in me was one on domestic abuse. The thrust of that journal article was that men and women categorize violence in a relationship differently. Woman grouped verbal abuse and light physical abuse together (throwing soft objects like dishtowel, open handed slap) at one level and moderate to severe physical violence as separate level 2. Men tended to view verbal abuse at level 1 and ALL physical contact at level 2.

    The article went on to state this differing view causes issues when a disagreement turns into an argument, a 'level 1' confrontation where a woman slaps or throws something relatively harmless thinking she is maintianing a level 1 conflict. The man views this as an escalation to level 2. If he responds with his own minor strike back, it is rarely viewed as domestic abuse in the eyes of the other. However, if he responds back with moderate or severe physical contact, then in the woman's view the MAN is the one raising the stakes from a level 1 to a level 2.

    This is why you get many men who will tell you after the police have separated them 'She hit me first' and the woman responds with 'we were having a VERY heated argument, sure, but then he punched me in the face so hard I fell down'

    Upon hearing my recitation of the article, the teacher went to photocopy of the abstract we had to bring, read the abstract herself, and then announced to class

    "Class, this is why we can't always believe everything we read even in journals'

    And I got a zero for that assignment.

    Be very careful of your own suppositions and other's suppositions.

    I can see how the man may view the 5 times his wife slapped him with an open hand and no real force as 5 instances where SHE was the abuser...and I can see how the 1 time out of 5 where her responded with a punch that knocked her teeth out as a single instance of domestic violence and the other 4 being irrelevant to the count as the physical contact was minor.

    So is that 5 vs 1 or 0 vs 1? Which one depends on the bias of the person. I cannot say which is right or wrong because I have my own bias and have not studied it enough to overcome that bias. But I bet I know your bias, and I bet you score it as 0 vs 1, and after seeing many of that type view men as the more common abuser. I suspect the guy who brought it up sees it as 5 vs 1, and after seeing many of that type it colors his judgement and he views women as the more common abuser.

    If you are going to be having these discussions, you need to identify your bias and make extra efforts that it doesn't interfere

    Andrew akluis@gmail.com

  130. 20. Will you continue a reasonable discussion towards an end that might lead somewhere or is this an exercise in futility?

    I could, but you have already admitted it is an exercise in futility. When? When asked if you would ever join the NRA, you said "No.". Not, "only if they modified their position on X to Y", or some other such phrase that indicated that you still had an open mind. Just "No.".

    Your mind is closed, so while we can be polite with each other, YOU have admitted, via this "No", that YOUR mind is made up. You will not be swayed by reason or data, and any "compromise" on this issue must come from those who disagree with you, and NOT from you. Therefore, the futility of further discussion is of YOUR doing, not that of those who disagree with you.

    It is unfortunate that you were drawn into this issue in the manner in which you were. But I think you provide a good example of why people in your situation should not be taken seriously. You're guilty of the Anecdotal Fallacy, and are so blinded by your trauma that you will not believe it even now that you've been told. You see only the evil deed that was done to your sister, and refuse any possibility that any good could possibly come from private gun ownership. When shown data to the contrary, you say "I don't believe that", as if your lack of belief makes the data untrue. No attempt to refute the data, just a blanket "I don't believe that"; again, a sign that your mind is made up, and that further discussion with you is futile.

    Try to come up with a scenario in which you would find it acceptable to allow the law abiding to own and defend themselves with guns. If you can't, further discussion is futile. If you can, however outlandish the scenario might be (see "A Clockwork Orange", in which a violent person was conditioned to vomit uncontrollably whenever they had violent thoughts, for one such outlandish scenario), then your mind might not be fully closed, and those with nothing better to do may choose to continue the discussion.

    For myself, I see no hope, and will waste no further time with you.

    I offer this wish: May your grief eventually not be what defines you, and may joy reenter your life.

  131. Would you become a member of the Brady Campaign? And by the way, as to your advice at the end, I have plenty of joy in my life. I actually have a great life and enjoy it, thank you very much. I hope you enjoy yours too.

  132. I anticipated a response such as this, and am actually willing to respond to it.

    If you mean, would I join the Brady campaign as it currently exists, with its currently stated goals, the answer is no. But the Brady campaign has not always been exactly as it is today. It has evolved over time, and may continue to evolve.

    I would join the Brady Campaign, if, and only if, I came to believe that their attitude towards guns and non-criminal gun ownership matched that of Gun Owners of America. You see, we also deplore the use of guns by criminals against their victims. But we direct our venom in such situations at the criminal, not the tool used by the criminal. We understand that nothing evens the odds between 3 large men, regardless of how they are armed, and their potential rape victim, better than a gun. We don't ignore the 400,000 times per year in which victims of a violent crime in the USA say they believe that they saved an innocent's life by using their gun for defense.

    Even the rabidly anti-drunk driver crowd wants to get the DRUNKS off the road, not the cars.

    In one of the lower east coast states (I can't recall whether it's Virginia or one of the Carolinas) they started actually enforcing the federal law requiring a mandatory 5 year federal sentence (in a federal penitentiary) for criminals which had guns during the commission of a crime, in ADDITION to any other penalty for the crime in question. Guess what? Criminals started avoiding the use of guns! They didn't want to spend 5 EXTRA years, in a federal penitentiary far from home, making visits by friends and relatives difficult, if they got caught for a crime in which they used a gun.

    If the Brady campaign wants to drop their attempts to disarm my wife, and encourage nationwide enforcement of this long-existing federal law, they'd get my support. Instead, they're trying to prove the axiom that making good people helpless makes bad people harmless; even though it has already been thoroughly proven false.

    In any event, I won't be holding my breath while I wait for the Brady campaign to change.

  133. " If the Brady campaign wants to drop their attempts to disarm my wife, and encourage nationwide enforcement of this long-existing federal law, they'd get my support. Instead, they're trying to prove the axiom that making good people helpless makes bad people harmless; even though it has already been thoroughly proven false."

    I hadn't heard that the Brady Campaign was against the law you cited here. I know they are not trying to disarm your wife, though. I am not sure what led you to believe that. If she is a law abiding citizen, she has nothing to worry about.

  134. 1. Premise of the question is faulty. Criminals should be behind bars. This would be more than sufficient to prevent them from buying guns.

    2. Again, a leading question with a faulty premise. Since it is impossible to tell who might become a criminal, we clearly cannot preclude those without a criminal record from purchasing any legal object. Those who have committed a crime should be punished. Persons in prison are not capable of purchasing firearms… or much else for that matter.

    3. Yes. And clearly so. Background checks do not prevent criminals from getting guns, but they do make it more difficult for the law-abiding to obtain a gun.

    4. Yes. Maybe not personally, but certainly collectively.

    5. Another leading question with a faulty premise. I doubt you’d be capable of physically taking anything away from me. However, I do believe you will push for more restrictions – restrictions that do not affect the ability of the criminal to get a gun, but would prevent me (a law abiding citizen) from getting one.

    6. *I* do not speak for anyone else. This question is best posed to Sharron Angle directly.

    7. Doing? Possibly, but I pray every day that those won’t happen. I dislike being assaulted, or robbed, or killed. Same for my family. However, I would not hesitate to use a “2nd Amendment Remedy” in such cases.
    Saying? No. We have a freedom of speech (1st Amendment). Ironically, it is protected directly by the 2nd Amendment.

    8. Calling people liars? Only if the shoe fits. Names? No. I am civilized. But again, I must point out that this question is leading, and based on a faulty premise. The fact is that these tactics are more commonly employed by persons on your side of this debate.

    9. If I’ll say it, then I’ll say it online. I’ll say it to your face. I’ll go on record.

    10. Yes. Unequivocally. The 2nd states: “…shall not be infringed.”

    11. Current gun laws, beyond the 2nd, I do not believe in. The 2nd Amendment is the only one I believe in. The others are being enforced, without a doubt. Of course, this is a misleading question again, as it doesn’t talk about the fact that these laws are not preventing criminals form getting guns.

    12. No blanket statement s ever true (see what I did there?).

    13. Depends on what statistics you wish to accumulate.

    14. Again, depends on what statistics you want to accumulate.

    15. Of course. But again we have a misleading question with a faulty premise. How many people are killed because of careless driving? Or careless practice of medicine? (I could go on!)

    16. Depends. The Christian side of me says even 1 death is too many. The scientific part of me points out that there are so many other things that cause more death in our society. And for those that are not Christian, how about the possibility of this being a very small part of evolution – survival of the fittest?

    17. I do this with education. Someone who knows how to handle a gun is far less likely to have an accident. The more people I teach, the better.

    18. Again, a leading question with a faulty premise. Do I think those things happened? Yes. Do I think your leaning on what “should be done” will help? No.

    19. Personally, the ATF could care less about *me.* Again, this is a faulty premise. As a collective, the ATF does not want guns in the hands of the general public, and works fervently to make that happen within the constraints of the laws on the books.

    20. Again, a faulty premise. If by “reasonable discussion” you are wanting me to compromise… then the answer is a definite “NO.” Gun owners have compromised too much already. If, by “reasonable discussion” you mean that you are willing to learn and accept the facts as they are, then by all means yes.