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, December 14, 2010

What's natural about gun rights?

Sometimes I think I've heard it all since being involved in the movement to prevent gun injuries and deaths. I should know better. There are some pretty inane arguments offered by the gun guys on my blog. Elected officials are not immune from inane comments either. Here is one such example from the Fargo, N.D. City Council. So now gun rights are "natural"? What exactly does that mean? Trees, grass, flowers, clouds, etc. are natural and part of nature. That's where the word comes from. But guns? Why not? It's just natural to want to shoot someone when you don't agree with them or have a beef or you're drunk and can't quite think straight. It's just natural to allow 30,000 victims of gun violence to occur every year in the U.S. We should just accept the natural order of things then. We should just accept that it's natural to carry guns around in public places. And naturally, having a fake gun is O.K. because it's not natural, it's fake. And the general public, kids, police, etc. will just naturally know the difference and let it pass.

And then there is this provision to the proposal: " This ordinance shall not restrict the use of a facsimile firearm for self defense of a person’s residence or place of business." Whatever. Here is the North Dakota law concerning carrying a gun in public. It's pretty interesting to me that there are 2 classes of permit holders. One class must pass a written test as well as a proficiency test if that person wants reciprocity with neighboring states. Another class, not wanting reciprocity, needs only to pass a written test. Yikes!! And the gun lobby wants all states to honor other states permit to carry laws. This highlights the obvious problems with that idea. Further, notice that there are quite a few restrictions as to where loaded concealed guns are allowed in North Dakota as compared to Minnesota where just about everywhere is O.K.- another problem with that proposal to nationalize permit to carry laws. 

Of course, it would be natural for someone with a legal permit to carry to think that that fake gun is a REAL gun and decide to take their own natural action by defending themselves against this fake weapon. Or, say a kid brings a fake gun to school. He/she didn't mean anything by it. It's just fake. Really? Would anyone know the difference? Or say a police officer notices someone lurking in public with a fake gun. Would that officer just say, " Oh, it's a fake gun so I won't do anything about it." That would be natural, right? And, by the way, it is legal to carry a real gun around in public. Go figure.

Such nonsensical arguments are what should be eye opening to the public and thinking elected officials who actually care about public safety. That would be the natural order of things. But, of course, I know that that is not the way it works. Common sense takes a back seat to reality. When we come to think of guns and the carrying of them in all public places by anyone who wants to do so, as natural, then we have a serious problem. When we start thinking that someone can tell the difference between a fake and real gun we are in trouble. When we regulate the carrying of fake guns more than we regulate the carrying of real guns, what gives? When we think that gun rights are "natural" rather than something written by our Founding Fathers in the writing of the Constitution, we have been fooled. When some on the side of gun rights start using the words "natural" and "God given", don't believe them. Those are fake arguments and should not be acceptable in the name of common sense.


  1. Unless you're advocating that a person offered violence by a criminal just passively accept their beating/rape/murder as they wait for the police to show up and save the day, then you understand that human beings have a natural right to defend themselves. You must also realize that we don't have armored carapaces, vicious fangs or rending talons for defense, but only our brains. As such, we have become tool users, and the gun is a tool for self defense that more than levels the playing field between a 250 lb, 19 y.o. thug and his would-be 100 lb, 80 y.o. female victim. If the old woman has a gun, there's a decent possibility that she can prevail (I don't want to quote any odds, but they are certainly better than her just using her hands). If both have a gun, then it might just be a "fair fight" (with a slight edge to the younger thug as he has sharper eyes and a firmer grip). However, if you remove the guns entirely from that equation, that little old lady stands little to no chance whatsoever. You are advocating for a society where "might makes right," and the young and strong (and generally male) will run roughshod over the older and weaker (and generally women). How does THAT make common sense?

  2. It's about the gundorks belief that the Constitution *recognizes* rights. Such a notion is outdated, and should be put to rest. The Progressive Judge Sotomeyer has it right, during her confirmation hearing, she proudly stated that the Government *grants* rights. And that's what we need to tell our elected officials when dealing with public safety. Your safety. Our communities, and children's safety depends on it.

  3. The second amendment guarantees the right to self defense and the tools necessary for it. It is self defense in itself that we believe to be a natural or god given right. Humans are tool users, we can't hunt or defend very well with our bare hands. If this were in another age, we might be using swords, clubs, or bows. In the modern age, the weapon of choice is firearms.

    The founding fathers were living in an time where they saw significant technological advancements and knew that the guns they had might not always be used. It's why they used a broad term and didn't specify 'musket' or anything. Years from now we might be using ray guns or some other futuristic weapon, who knows. They would still be considered arms, though.

  4. Our government doesn't "grant" us anything, BantheNRA. Our government derives its power from the consent of the governed, that is to say "we the people."

  5. Charcoal is natural.
    Saltpeter is natural.
    Sulfur is natural.
    Iron ore is natural.
    Carbon is natural.
    Wood for the grips is natural.

    Humankind's ability to think is natural.
    Humankind's ability to overcome obstacles is natural.

    How is anything about the right to keep and bear arms for self-defense not natural?

  6. This is a stretch but go for it anyway. See if anyone thinks it makes sense other than you guys who comment here.

  7. Anon @ 2:22 -

    Sorry. Justice Sotomeyer has been on the bench, for how long?? I think someone with her experience know alot more than a so-called keyboard constitutionalist......

  8. Joan,

    You want conversation but when a question is asked, you don't answer.

    You duck the issue.

    You wanted to know "What's natural about gun rights", I answered.

    How is anything about the right to keep and bear arms not natural?

  9. Japete-
    I think the point is that every human has a natural right to self defense, to forcefully stop an imminent, grave threat.

    The handgun is the great equalizer for the potential victims out there. To deprive anyone - but especially women, people who live in bad neighborhoods, the elderly - of the right to self defense is wrong.

  10. I think you're talking about the fact that our forefathers believed that our basic human rights (as identified in the first 10 amendments, the bill of rights) came from nature/God, and that it would be an abomination not to honor them. I agree with that, but in terms of the only subject you care about -- guns -- I think the right is more of self defense than ownership of a particular weapon. Although I believe that ownership of about any personal, modern firearm is protected by the 2nd amendment ... even I agree there are some limitations (far less than you would support, but some, and no more than we already have for sure).

  11. What I really like is how much you all are twisting yourselves into pretzels to figure out why owning guns or gun rights are "natural". Go for it. Keep it coming. It is amusing to me.

  12. Feel free to be 'amused'. It is, however, the established precedent of the courts for the last 200+ years.

  13. Probably not so much about *guns* per say, as it is the concept of *arms*. *Guns* are considered *arms*, and so are *knives*, *bows and arrows*, *pitchforks* (depending on usage). The point people are probably trying to make is that the use of *arms* for defense, hunting, or any other legal means would be a natural right.

  14. Natural rights is a legal theory, a construct if you will for looking at rights. Under natural rights theory, people have certain rights as a condition of nature, or that are endowed by their creator (whichever you prefer).

    For instance, absent government I have a right to speak freely, a right to defend life, liberty and property, a right to associate freely, etc. These are not rights granted by government. They are rights I enjoy by my nature as a human being. We surrender some of our rights to government, but retain others. For instance, in natural law theory one would argue that property is a right, and defense of property is a right too, but we largely surrender defense of property to the government. We also surrender the natural right to retribution to government.

    The people retain the right to defend life and liberty, however, and that's reflected in the near universal justification in systems based on English law that a person is not guilty of murder for killing a robber or kidnapper. The people retain the right to self-defense, and in our system of government they retain the right to have the most effective tools available to exercise that right, namely weapons. It is not a grant from the government.

    But it's important to point out that natural law is a legal theory. It's an academic exercise to understand how man relates to the law and thus to his government.

  15. " For instance, absent government I have a right to speak freely, a right to defend life, liberty and property, a right to associate freely, etc. " Hmmm. I am not sure that is what the City Councilor meant by his statement. I just don't see it that way.

  16. "It's about the gundorks belief that the Constitution *recognizes* rights. Such a notion is outdated, and should be put to rest. The Progressive Judge Sotomeyer has it right, during her confirmation hearing, she proudly stated that the Government *grants* rights."

    So...we owe our continued existence to the whim of Government? (right to life)

    If one accepts that the right to life is inherent (natural), and NOT dependent upon the good graces of a governing body (granted), then one must accept the right to secure and defend that life as a necessary extension of that natural right.

    Man does not have a thick hide, spines, scales, sharp teeth or claws, or any other 'natural' defenses other than that which we evolved...our brain. With our intellect we are able to utilize the natural resources around us to create and utilize things to substitute for such physical attributes: clothes for defense and tools for offense.

    To deny one the most effective of these tools is to deny one's right to life by preventing them from utilizing the most effective tools to secure and defend said life. Taken to the extreme, it would be like pitching one into a pit with a hungry lion, and telling him he has a right to live, BUT he can only defend himself with a steak knife.

    Ergo... The right to own firearms IS a natural right as it is part and parcel of the unarguably natural right to life.

  17. I don't agree with your logic.

  18. So what is your theoretical construct for rights then? Where do rights come from? If they come from the Government, then the right to life comes from the Government, and where does that leave God? If you believe the right to life comes from God, then you believe, at least to some degree, in natural rights theory.

  19. Ms. Peterson,

    Perhaps you should educate yourself about natural rights theory. The word "natural" in the context of rights is a specific term referring to a specific philosophy. It is not synonymous with "part of the wilderness."

    I see a few broad options:
    1) You can reject natural rights theory altogether. In this case, the only rights people have are those given to them by some other entity. Before natural rights, a popular theory was Divine Right. That is, you had only the rights that God's representative on earth -- the king -- chose to bestow upon you. If the king didn't like what you had to say, then you had no freedom of speech. You could modify that a bit for a modern elected government and say that if the elected president doesn't like what you have to say, then you have no right to free speech.
    2) You can accept natural rights theory in principle, but deny that the right to keep and bear arms is a legitimate natural right. Because the right to keep and bear arms is based on the right to defend life and property, then you'll likely be forced to reject this item from the portfolio of natural rights as well. It could be a "social right" (enjoyed only by virtue of the social contract) or a legal right but not a natural right. The problem with this interpretation is that it requires you to throw out centuries of English common law tradition, as well as the clear philosophy underpinning key American documents such as the Declaration of Independence. The Right of Revolution referenced by the Declaration is closely linked to the idea of lawful self defense.


    Of course, it would be natural for someone with a legal permit to carry to think that that fake gun is a REAL gun and decide to take their own natural action by defending themselves against this fake weapon

    Possibly. The general legal principle for using lethal force in self defense is ability, opportunity, and jeopardy. If a reasonable person would feel -- knowing only what was known at the time of the incident -- that the aggressor possessed a lethal weapon (ability), intended to use it to assail an innocent party (jeopardy), and was in a position to do so (opportunity), then yes, lethal force in self defense might be justified. It doesn't matter that the aggressor's weapon was later found to be a toy or a replica, because a reasonable person could not have known that at the time. In the context of our previous discussion, it could be viewed as a legitimate exercise of the natural right to protect innocent life.

    This is a well established principle of common law and the basic fundamental legal principles hold in most states. This is a concept that is taught to most police officers and even military people now that we're doing COIN operations commonly.

    Chris from AK

  20. You're absolutely right, japete, the claim that owning a gun is a natural right is absurd. It's simple to see how they get there, if defending yourself is a natural right then you need the right tool to do that. One odd thing about this reasoning is when it suits their argument they tell us the gun is only a tool, now it's something more, the "great equalizer" as Sebastian called it.

    I think you touched on something I've noticed quite frequently. These guys who are twisting pretzels about this natural rights business simply like guns. They have various reasons, some are insecure and fearful men, others really need protection, but the Constitutional justification comes after. They just like guns but considering all the collateral damage this activity causes, they couldn't just admit that. They need the Constitution or the Bible or Mother Nature herself to justify it.

  21. Whoa there everybody. This blog is not going to get into right to life issues.

  22. Not speaking of right to life in the modern issue of the day context, which is abortion. That is debatable in an overall right to life context. We're speaking here of the overall issue. That's a right to continue living, and as a corollary to that, to preserve one's own life.

  23. And I choose the right to be safe from gun violence by not wanting criminals, domestic abusers, etc. to legally have their guns and wanting gun owners to store their guns safely so they are not stolen and education so that children do not gain access to loaded guns and for everyone to admit that guns are lethal weapons that get used in every day incidents to kill innocent people more often than they get used in self defense.--Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to me means a life free of gun violence as much as possible.

  24. Sometimes it seems like the Japete who writes the post and the Japete who writes the comments are two different people. The post is well-written and contains clear questions. However, when the commenters respond, a new Japete emerges, saying things like "See if anyone thinks it makes sense other than you guys who comment here." and "I don't agree with your logic."

    I mean, do you want a debate or not? I feel like you're leading us all on by asking these broad and significant questions but then shutting down debate by not engaging any of our points. So far, several people have offered good explanations of the natural rights legal theory and asked you interesting philosophical questions relating to life, liberty and property, and the origins of their protected status. Do you want to have this debate or do you just want to heckle us?

  25. Joan,

    It great that is what life liberty and the pursuit of happiness means to you but the problem lies with the old Will Rogers saying.

    The right to swing your fist stops at the end of my nose

    Your right to be safe doesn't trump my right to be safe by keeping and bearing arms.

    Your right to pursue happiness does not trump my right to protect my family while we are in public.

    The issue is how much what you advocate thumps my nose.

    Already I have to pay hundreds of dollars to exercise my right to carry in public. You want to prohibit that or make it more costly.

    Stop trying to thump my nose.

    Already, I have to have my privacy invaded so that you can have the illusion of safety that regarding how is buying firearms.
    Adding time, costs and lose of freedom to the exercise of my right.

    All your efforts are going to do is make it more difficult for the law abiding to exercise that right.

    Stop trying to thump my nose.

    If you want to advocate for common sense laws, why not advocate for reforming the legal system.

    Change the drug laws so possession doesn't get jail time, free those in jail and open up the space for the truly violent offenders.

    Keeping them in jail will do more to reduce 'gun deaths' that background checks, don't you agree?

  26. I am not intending to "thump your nose". I differ on your interpretation. We have 2 opposing views which does not make yours right and mine wrong.

  27. Nate- I am not intending to be 2 different people on my blog. My posts are meant for a wide audience, which is what I have. I am trying to point out the problems and trying to offer some suggestions for solutions. And then you guys get on and want more specifics than I can actually give or maybe it's that I don't choose to because then you will use my comments in some sort of nefarious way. That has been my experience anyway, so far. I am perfectly aware that my comments get spread around on the gun guy blogosphere. It makes me more cautious about offering any specifics for fear that they will be used in some way. I cannot speak and do not speak for my organizations as a whole. I am speaking for myself. I don't want specific ideas to be attributed to the Brady Campaign or the other organizations of which I am a part. I do value some of the input here. Yours is sincere as is that of some others. I am taking it into account and I even pass some of it along to others who are interested in making policy and decisions about these things. I appreciate your efforts to get me to be more specific. I will be if I can. I state my opinions. I am hoping for ideas to percolate and I offer some of my own in my blog. It is more of a broad question. When specific legislation is before us, I can be more specific. You have heard my positions on the gun show background check bills which are in Congress right now. There is a bill to close the "terror gap" in Congress right now. All will change with the new Congress and there is no telling what will happen then. Keep asking the questions and know that some I choose to answer and some I choose not to for the reasons I have given here.

  28. If rights are granted by government, they can be removed by government. In which they are no different that government-granted privileges.

    In other words, to say that government "grants" rights, is to say that there are no rights at all.

    The point of confusion is that people seem to think that rights are a legal construct. They are not. They are a meta-legal construct. They aren't part of the law, they are what motivates the law - or resistance to it.

    "The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for among old parchment or musty records. They are written as with a sunbeam, in the whole volume of human nature, by the hand of divinity itself; and can never be erased or obscured by moral power." — Alexander Hamilton

    Every individual has the right to life, liberty, and property. And, as a corollary, the right to act to defend is life, his liberty, and his property - which includes the right to the tools necessary to do so.

    This is true of every individual, everywhere, regardless or in spite of any laws to the contrary. These rights are fundamental. They weren't granted by government, and they cannot be repealed by government.

    "This, therefore, is a law, O judges, not written, but born with us, which we have not learnt or received by tradition, or read, but which we have taken and sucked in and imbibed from nature herself; a law which we were not taught but to which we were made, which we were not trained in, but which is ingrained in us, namely, that if our life be in danger from plots, or from open violence, or from the weapons of robbers or enemies, every means of securing our safety is honourable. For laws are silent when arms are raised, and do not expect themselves to be waited for, when he who waits will have to suffer an undeserved penalty before he can exact a merited punishment." — M. Tullius Cicero

  29. Crotalus (Dont Tread on Me)December 15, 2010 at 2:48 PM

    Whether gun rights are natural or not, the Second Amendment is written in such a way as to tell government that it has no authority over gun rights. This is supposed to be a nation of laws; not of men. But now we have justices who "interpret" the Constitution so wildly, that we must assume that they're reinventing it, a President who just declared he has the authority to kill any American he he thinks is an "enemy" without due process, and a Congress that has many members on record saying that they don't care about the Constitution. We have a "nation of men".

    Justice Sotomayor, that "wise Latina" (How racist is that, by the way?), and Justice Breyer have said that the government grants rights. They are mistaken and so are you if you agree with them. If a government can grant rights, that government can take them away. This means that they aren't rights. They are nothing more than government-granted privileges.

    Is that what you want in this country? I sure as hell don't! As is pointed out in a previous paragraph, that is the road to tyranny. History shows that it has.

    One thing you keep saying is that you want to keep criminals and certain others from getting guns they shouldn't have. But you do that by preaching 2A infringements and outright bans on the rest of us. I therefore must assume that you think we're ALL criminals, or nutjobs (a lot of your commentators have said as much and you have agreed) We aren't.

    The Founders wrote the Constitution not with the "changing times" in mind, but with human nature in mind. And human nature has not changed, except, perhaps, to get worse.

    Now, I fully expect to get your infamous one-word retort "Nonsense" (Or be deleted altogether). Either case will show you to be a sterling example of my last statement.

  30. " meta-legal construct" Impressive. I still can't agree with your finding that bearing arms is the natural way or in natural law or that somehow carrying guns is natural.

  31. "I still can't agree with your finding that bearing arms is the natural way or in natural law or that somehow carrying guns is natural. "

    While I'll admit that Hollywood and scientific accuracy tend to be mutually exclusive I would refer you to the early scenes of 2001: A Space Odyssey.


    As man evolved, so did his tools. The firearms technology genie is out of the bottle, and there is no way to put him back. Those who are determined to posses a gun, WILL, in one form or another...even if they have to cobble it together from scratch. Even the most jury rigged single shot zip-gun (or simple bone-club) can give someone an overwhelming advantage in a situation where all other parties are defenseless.

    In the land of the blind, the one eyed man will be king.

  32. "Right to life" = owning a gun. The pro-gun folks are more fun than a barrel full o' monkeys.

  33. Mikeb, have you ever shot a gun? Played a game or trap or skeet? Plinked tin cans or fired a precision .22 at distant targets? Guns are loads of fun! Every person I've taken to the range has had a total blast. It's very hard to understand the culture of gun ownership and recreational shooting in this country if you're looking from the outside in. I know, because I was on your side for years. Deep in the bowels of my subconscious mind I saw gun owners as various permutations of dumb racist cousin-humping violence-obsessed southern rednecks. Who would want someone like that to own a gun?!

    But as Bob Dylan once said, "don't criticize what you can't understand." Take the time to understand our culture before insulting us. You might learn something.

  34. Nate, My experience with guns has been touched upon quite a bit on my blog and elsewhere. Suffice it to say, I've made the opposite transition than you have.

    Your comment presumes certain things about me that aren't true, looking from the outside and criticizing what I don't understand, etc. Just like you claim to not be a "dumb racist cousin-humping violence-obsessed redneck," so I claim to not be an ignorant, fear-driven, government-loving, anti-rights bigot.

    Maybe we can meet somewhere in the middle, like japete is always saying.

  35. "Right to life" = "right to defend life." This leads us to the right to use the most effective tools to defend that life. That tool is the firearm.

    (I do not think a barrel of monkeys would be any fun. They're going to be very unhappy with being stuffed in a barrel, and will probably take that out on who ever opens the barrel.)

  36. First of all, I’m not going to try to respond to every statement in this entry.

    The whole situation cited in the article is stupid. The city councilman's statements, the new ordinance itself, all of it. The ordinance is addressing a problem that I wonder about the existence of. Has there been a rash of people threatening other people with fake guns? If there hasn't, then why are they making laws to prevent something that's not a problem? It seems fishy, and I think that's what the councilman objected to. Obviously, he doesn’t feel a natural right to own a fake gun.

    It seems overly restrictive, and makes no sense, so he wonders what is the real reason for an ordinance like this. He might assume that it's an incremental step that will eventually end with a more blatant form of gun control. I think he might be justified in this assumption, since no other obvious reason is given. Committing crime while drunk is still an offense, so is threatening another person’s life (it’s called assault.)

    You said, “When we regulate the carrying of fake guns more than we regulate the carrying of real guns, what gives?” I totally agree, I think this is a case where the city council had way too much time on its hands, and started regulating things that are not a problem.

    As far as gun ownership being a natural right, that idea stems from a natural right of self-defense. I believe that it is widely accepted that a person has the right to defend themselves from an attacker. There is no law that I know of that punishes a person for fighting against a violent attack. Nor would anyone condemn a woman who used a baseball bat to beat up a man who was attempting to rape her. Most people agree that self defense is natural and acceptable.

  37. I had to split my response in two parts.

    Looking from a victim’s point of view, if a man with a knife was about to start stabbing you, and you see him coming, would you rather grab a baseball bat, or your handgun? If you grab a baseball bat, it’s effectiveness depends on how much damage you can cause to the incoming murderer. Your ability to cause damage is dependent on how hard you can swing the bat, and where you hit the bad guy. The bad guy also must be within five feet of you, other wise you are just swinging at empty air.

    So they get close enough, and you take a swing. If you are really lucky, your swing hits him hard enough in the head, neck or leg to put him on the ground, and you can run away. But realistically, you won’t get a hard direct hit, because the bad guy is watching your bat, and moves as soon as you start your swing, so the swing doesn’t stop him. In the time it takes you to reset your swing, he can close the last couple feet and stab you twice in the gut.

    If you manage to get the bat untangled and up over your head again, your swing is going to be pretty weak because you aren’t going to get it moving fast enough to be effective. You are going to have to fight through the pain and shock, as well as the blood loss which will be getting worse as seconds pass. So you will be injured, loosing blood, trying to jab at your attacker, all while they are continually stabbing you, causing more damage and blood loss. If they intend to kill you, they will just keep going until you are dead.

    So any weapon that requires you to be within touching distance with your attacker, is bad for the victim, and basically insures that they will sustain major injuries.

    If you grabbed your handgun as the guy rushed you, he might still get close enough to cut you, but you will have the opportunity to punch three or four or five holes in him before he gets to you. And the gun can still be fired from a close-in position, so you might be able to get a few hits on them while you are grappling with them. You may still get cut, but the holes in the bad guy will likely shorten the attack. It greatly increases your chances of surviving the attack, which is what you want.

    Those hits on the bad guy, may also put him down on the ground before he gets to you, thereby ending the attack. So if we accept that self defense is natural, why would you want to deny the victim the means of defense that keeps them the safest, namely a firearm?

    So my point is that it’s natural to be able to effectively defend yourself, and a firearm is the most effective single tool for self defense.

  38. Also if the right to life does not equate the right to defend life, then you are saying that anyone has the right to take your life, and you don't have the right to stop them.

    That doesn't make any sense to me.

  39. http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=13696013

    Should the girl in this story not have been allowed to have a gun to stop the attack against her aunt?

  40. That's quite a story, Dave. If you want your gun for self defense, go for it.

  41. No, that is not what I am saying, Dave. You just twisted what I said and it doesn't make sense to me.

  42. I don't think, Dave, that its a matter of the girl being allowed to have that gun. She was only 17 and not able to own her own gun. But in this case, it appears that she saved the life of her aunt. She and her aunt were lucky that she was able to stop the attack. It doesn't always turn out the way this story did.

  43. "That's quite a story, Dave. If you want your gun for self defense, go for it."

    So it's ok for me, presumably any law abiding citizen to own guns for self defense.

    "So now gun rights are "natural"? What exactly does that mean?"

    So it's ok for me to own and carry a handgun, but you aren't sure it's a natural right? My argument is that the natural right to self defense means a natural right to own a gun for self defense, since a gun is the most effective tool to make an attacker stop their attack.

  44. "It doesn't always turn out the way this story did."
    True, but it doesn't always end with the bad guy prevailing, either.

  45. “And I choose the right to be safe from gun violence by not wanting criminals, domestic abusers, etc. to legally have their guns “

    It’s already illegal for people like this to get guns. Aggressive enforcement might put a dent in this happening, but passing more laws alone won’t make it any more illegal.

    “and wanting gun owners to store their guns safely so they are not stolen”

    No one wants their stuff stolen, let alone a gun. But would you go so far as to make a law that requires every gun owner to buy a $1,000 to $2,000 safe before they buy a gun? A law like that would be shown to be such a financial burden, that it would effectively prevent a number of people from buying guns, using law to deny people the right to keep and bear arms.

    “and education so that children do not gain access to loaded guns”

    I don’t think education would prevent access to loaded guns, but it could prevent the children from fiddling around with a gun that they may find. Children need to taught how to safe around a number of objects like kitchen knives, cleaning supplies, fire, traffic, electrical sockets, and guns. Also gun owners need to keep their guns unloaded when not in use. The legal mechanisms are in place to punish people who are dangerous and negligent with their guns, if a child got a hold of one and caused a tragedy.

    “and for everyone to admit that guns are lethal weapons that get used in every day incidents to kill innocent people more often than they get used in self defense.”

    This is up for debate. Do you have any evidence that shows this? From what I’ve heard, many incidents where a gun is used in self defense are not reported to the police because no shots were fired, no one was injured. I know at least weekly there are news reports of people using guns to fend off attackers.

  46. Really? I rarely hear about cases of people using guns to defend themselves. I know you guys say it. Meanwhile there are daily incidents of people being shot to death from all over the country.

  47. Here are a few incidents covered by TV news, I'm sure if you wanted to, you could find incidents reported in print media.























  48. Thanks, Dave. I have not had a chance to look at them all. A few appear to be actual cases of self defense. In one case, a man claimed to have shot someone who attacked him with a taser but police did not find anyone who had been injured in checking with local hospitals. Some of these are cases of intruders who were not armed so it's hard to say whether they are actual self defense. Some are also claims by people but no one was ever found. I will try to look at all of them when I have time.

  49. Theres a certain slant to the media in various parts of the country (intentional or not). Don't believe it?

    Why does the Washington Post consistently post stories of violence and "badness"? If this was true journalism, wouldn't all newspapers/Internet news pick up on this?

    Whether its a deliberate media bias, or simply appealing to their target audience, I don't know -- but its annoying to be considered a gun-toting redneck by people who follow the popular media.

  50. Why is it a stretch to conclude that the right to life includes the right to defend it with the best available tools?

    What good is our right to life if we are sent to jail for exercising it in the face of violent opposition?

  51. "In one case, a man claimed to have shot someone who attacked him with a taser but police did not find anyone who had been injured in checking with local hospitals."

    No offense intended, but you've never seen a taser wound have you? there over sized pin pricks, its the 30,000+ volts coursing through their central system that does the stopping, and before you say '30,000 volts would kill some one!' Wattage kills and Amperage, voltage hurts, I've been bit by MUCH higher voltages.

  52. Joan,

    First, you said, "And I choose the right to be safe from gun violence by not wanting criminals, domestic abusers, etc. to legally have their guns..."

    They already CANNOT legally own guns. Criminals DO NOT CARE about gun laws. Enacting more gun control laws only prevents the law abiding citizens from matching force with force to defend him- or herself. I can learn every martial art under the sun, but that will not protect me from an assailant armed with a firearm. If gun control is effective, a) why do the counties surrounding Washington D.C. have a much lower violent crime rate than Washington D.C.?(1) And b) why, after the Heller ruling did violent crime rate drop DRAMATICALLY? I will certainly concede that the drop is not soley due to the Heller ruling, however to say that there is no correlation would be a huge leap.

    Joan, I am asking you to specifically answer the points above. "I disagree" is not really an answer. I would genuinely like to hear WHY you disagree...preferably with FACTS.

    You also said, "...everyone to admit that guns are lethal weapons that get used in every day incidents to kill innocent people more often than they get used in self defense"

    Furthermore, in your initial post you said, "It's just natural to allow 30,000 victims of gun violence to occur every year in the U.S."

    Your argument is flawed. I am going to assume that it was simply an error not an intential manipulation of the numbers. Of the 30,000-ish gun related deaths each year, over one-half of them are suicide related. They must be dismissed due to the fact that Japan has a suicide rate over TWO TIMES greater than here in the United States, yet they have some of the most strict gun control in the world. While suicide, by ANY means, is a tragedy, the fact remains that if someone truly wants to do it, they will find a way, whether they own a gun or not.

    Now, on to the REAL number: in 2005, 11,346 people were killed by gun violence.(2) Of that number, 77% (8,732) occurred during the commission of a felony...by a CRIMINAL. And remember, criminals DO NOT CARE ABOUT THE LAW, thus gun control laws WILL NOT keep a gun out of their hands. Additionally, 70% of crime is committed by 30% of the offenders.(3) Maybe you should be focusing your hate towards the violent criminals.

    Joan, instead of trying to tie the hands of the law abiding citizens, might I suggest you research ways to keep guns ONLY out of the hands of criminals?

    - Alex

    (2) http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/topics/crime/gun-violence/
    (3) http://sa18.state.fl.us/prosecute/felrot.htm

  53. Alex- you have the facts wrong. Here is what the OJP report actually says: " but the percentage of homicides caused by firearms during the commission of a felony rose from about 60 percent to 77 percent from 1976 to 2005." That does not mean that 77% of gun homicides occur during the commission of a felony, as you have said. What it actually means is that the number of firearms homicides which ARE committed by a criminal during a felony crime rose to 77%. These are not the same thing at all., Thanks for providing me with this link. Now I know where you guys are getting your flawed argument.

  54. Alex,- I'm not sure why you included the Wash Post article. Crime has gone down over the country. In Mpls, in fact, overall crime is down but homicides are up. But this one stuck out at the end of the article: " In Maryland in April, Frederick police said Christopher A. Wood, 34, killed his family: Francie Billotti-Wood, 33, a Sunday school teacher, and their three children, ages 5, 4 and 2, before killing himself." I am assuming that this guy was not a criminal but don't know that for sure. And your last article about Florida crime was interesting and I applaud them for what they have done to reduce repeat offenders. Oh and to cavalierly say that the gun suicides, which account for more than half of gun deaths, can be dismissed is just plain irresponsible and unfeeling. Have you ever spoken with someone who has lost a child or relative to a gun suicide? It is devestating and many times the gun came from the home of the parent of the child or person related. Also included in those suicides are the many homicide/suicides which account for a good number of the suicides.

  55. You're right, I actually did read that statistic wrong, and I apologize for the misinformation; thank you for pointing it out to me. You, however, have still not apologized for misstating that there are 30,000 victims of gun violence each year. This is simply not true. I may have incorrectly read the data, but at least I was brave enough to post my sources so that others (including yourself) could verify it...where are your sources?

    I included the Washington Post article to demonstrate that a) gun control DOES NOT keep guns out of the hands of criminals and b) there is a potential connection between the Heller ruling, which removed the handgun ban (from law abiding citizens) and the lowest homicide total is 45 YEARS...which also happens to be DOUBLE the drop seen around the rest of the country. Maybe lifting the ban is the beginning of what will hopefully bring our state capital in line with the rest of the country.

    Regarding the Christopher Wood piece, do you think that their life would've simply remained peachy if there hadn't been a gun in the house? Or maybe he would've beat them to death with a baseball bat, stabbed them with a knife in their sleep, or tied them up and burned down the house. I've seen all three. Newsflash: Murder/Suicide is NOT exclusive to just gun owners. And since we'll assume that prior to the tragedy, he was a law abiding citizen, what do you propose we do? Only give weapons to the police and military? Tragedies happen within those communities as well. Or should we instead just ban ALL firearms around the world? Because war and killing NEVER happened before there were guns.

    Lastly, do not twist my words, I said that ANY form of suicide is a tragedy. And I DO feel for the family of the deceased. As someone in the law enforcement field, I have had to personally tell the family of someone who just committed suicide that their son/daughter/husband took their own life. I have seen the results first hand. And it IS devastating. My issue with your post is that you are ONCE AGAIN skewing the facts to match your agenda; instead of addressing the point, you attempted to deflect the question instead of answering it. My point was that those suicides should be excluded from your data because the statistics around the world tell us that, even without the gun, they would have found another way to take their own life. As sad and unfortunate as that is...it is still the truth.

    - Alex

  56. O.K.- there are 30,000 gun deaths a year in our country-suicides, homicides and accidental shootings. I call most of them victims. Suicide deaths are victims and their families grieve them no matter how they died. I know that since my husband's brother committed suicide- though not with a gun. I am dealing with the gun suicides. I am well aware that other countries have higher rates of suicide than ours but we have the highest rate of suicide by firearm and it is one of the leading causes of injury death in many age categories if you check the CDC WISQARS reports which I have referred to many many times. I don't think we can stop ALL gun deaths. I am trying to reduce the numbers and prevent if it is possible. That is what injury and disease prevention is all about. We look at the problem, study the causes and then try to prevent it from happening. We do it with auto accidents; breast cancer, colon cancer, drownings, etc. We are trying, as a country, to stop people from dying. If you don't agree with that, then we can't talk.I didn't say that murder suicide was just in relation to gun deaths but it sure as heck is easier to kill someone and then yourself with a gun than with a baseball bat or by beating. You don't hear of too many people who beat someone to death and then beat themselves to death.

  57. Joan,

    I commend you and wholeheartedly agree that we need to reduce the number of gun-related deaths in this country. My question for you though is, what is your answer for allowing law abiding citizens to protect themselves from violent attackers inside and outside of the home if they do not have the opportunity to care a firearm for self-defense? I believe that we can concede that in even those locations with the most stringent gun control laws, the criminals still have guns. Furthermore, even if we were able to eliminate 100% of the guns in the world, how do you propose those who are more slight in stature or are physically handicapped defend themselves in the event of a violent attack?

    The average violent attack is over in LESS THAN ONE MINUTE, yet in Honolulu, HI, for example, the average response time to Priority 1 (life threatening) emergency calls is 5.96 minutes.(1) This seems to be on par, or slightly faster than, the national average. If you do not feel that a law abiding citizen should be allowed to carry a firearm for the purpose of self defense, then what do you propose we do to keep people safe from these violent encounters?

    - Alex

    (1) http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=15&ved=0CDQQFjAEOAo&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.honolulupd.org%2Fdownload%2FHPD2009annualreport.pdf&rct=j&q=average%20police%20response%20time%20honolulu&ei=3ogaTY6bI4j2tgPwuu2ZCg&usg=AFQjCNG3yqJeBZDXLQN0iMfIrAJOR6KyYQ&cad=rja

  58. Alex- I don't recall ever saying that a law abiding citizen should not be able to have a gun to defend themselves if they so choose. As to this one: " how do you propose those who are more slight in stature or are physically handicapped defend themselves in the event of a violent attack? "- if they choose, they should have their guns. I have worked with enough people with disabilities to know that a gun would not be something they would choose or be able to use. But whatever. I am slight in stature and yet have not felt like I need a gun wherever I go. But if you want to carry, go ahead. I am saying that there are enough incidents, however, among law abiding citizens and permit holders that you guys should be a bit more reluctant to assume that law abiding citizens don't shoot people or commit crimes with guns. Also, guns can be more dangerous in the home than they are useful in defending oneself. There are plenty of facts to show how often guns are used in people's homes to kill someone in the home by accident, due to suicide or to kill a family member or friend. I know you will come back with your stat that is impossible to prove that there are over a million self defense uses of guns a year or whatever that number is. The problem with it is, it is self reported and we just don't hear or read about many of these type of incidents compared to the incidents of shootings.

    Oh- and there are places where I don't think guns are necessary such as churches, government buildings, public parks where families go together, sporting events, bars and restaurants where alcohol is served, and a few others.