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.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The new normal and new norms about guns

As promised, I decided to write about some of the things going on in the blogoshere which represent the new normal and the new norms concerning guns and gun policy. It's brutal here in the blogging world. The "gun guys" are sure they can intimidate me, cajole me, lecture me, bully me, accuse me, one-up me and be rude, obnoxious, inappropriate and just plain ridiculous. This apparently, is the way to get your way. If only I would just believe everything coming from the NRA and the gun lobby, I ( and others) would stop trying to confiscate guns. Because sure as I am writing, that is what I want to do. In fact, as part of the new normal, I think I will organize a posse and we will set out across the country to take away guns from law abiding citizens. Then, of course, only the criminals will still have their guns. And then our job would to put all of those criminals with their guns behind bars where they belong. That would surely solve all of our problems. There, anything else?

Yes, actually. Here I must interject this case of vigilantism gone totally wrong. This article about an Arizona immigrant family attacked by vigilantes is enough to make a grown man cry. "Or it should be if that grown man has any common sense or empathy at all. From the article: " Investigators said that she was originally a member of the anti-immigrant Minuteman Project but left to form a more extreme breakaway group. Members claim that it is their civil duty to protect the Mexican border with weapons as the authorities are unable to do so." Whatever. Here is a woman preying on innocent people using the excuse that they may be drug dealers and she robs them to fund her vigilante group.

My neighborhood would have heard my loud sigh after reading this article if it hadn't been for the fact that all the windows are closed tightly against the winter cold. How is it that anything like this is acceptable in our "new normal" world? Can people with guns lurk around in camouflage clothing and forcibly enter the home of a poor immigrant family? Can these people with guns then think they are justified in shooting a nine year old girl point blank? What is going on? What is it with innocent 9 year old girls in Arizona mowed down with no thought? What is it with people with guns justifying their murders with some sort of feeling of vigilante justice? I am almost speechless. But not speechless enough to forget that this happened and to make sure as many people as possible know about these kind of shootings. Knowledge is powerful and can lead to action. If the "gun guys" don't want this stuff known because it hurts their case for more guns making us safer, their cover is blown. These things are happening now so frequently that they are becoming the "new normal." One wonders what kind of country we want to have? ( More on that in another post)

But I digressed. Sorry. Under the new norm, law abiding gun owners don't make mistakes or do anything wrong. In addition, they are saying that they need their guns not only for self defense, but now in case of an insurrection against the government. For the most part, background checks are odious and inconvenient. They take too much time. Let's just get rid of them and we'll all be just fine. Those criminals and mentally ill folks who would get more guns now from licensed dealers? Never mind. A few lives lost are to be expected as long as gun owners' rights are not tampered with or changed in any way. Mass shootings? Gunmen could easily have killed those people with 10 round magazines because- well just because. 

Oh, and by the way, the new normal among the gun folks is to throw legal terminology around to try to stop the debate in it's tracks. Here is a great example of a recent commenter on my blog trying this tactic: "Again, murder is mala in se, which is morally wrong in and of itself. Even if the government had no law against murder it would still be wrong because murder is inherently wrong. Gun laws - one can assume this to be arbitrary limits on magazine capacity, cosmetic characteristics ("assault weapons"), etc - are not mala in se, they are mala prohibita - bad because they are prohibited by the state, not because they are morally wrong. Owning an 11 round mag in a state where they are banned may be illegal but it isn't morally wrong." What I think this is saying, and the commenter clarified it since it was way too confusing for little old naive me, is that since murder is inherently wrong it can't be equated with the guns and ammunition which are not inherently wrong or immoral. It's a smokescreen to make it look as if guns are innocent, inanimate objects, rather than devices which when used improperly can result in serious injury or death. So if one thinks this way, it justifies the need to have guns for self protection since they are only the "tool" or the inanimate object that doesn't do any harm. 

And don't take away any of those 30 round magazine clips. The gun guys and girls like to play with them on the shooting range. They're fun to shoot off. And in case a bunch of thugs show up at their doors, they might just need that many rounds to take them out. Moreover, why let the military and police have that many rounds if the average citizen can't? ( their words, not mine) Because, you know, those citizens so concerned about their liberty and freedom might need a whole lot of ammunition to fight against those pesky police officers (who get shot because they don't practice enough and don't follow safety procedures like the rest of the responsible gun owners- their words, not mine). And fighting the military? Why not? Don't take away the ability to buy .50 caliber rifles or other military type weapons. And those semi-automatic assault rifles? Don't mess with them. They can be turned into automatics easily and used with grips, scopes and lots of large capacity magazines in case a military unit shows up at the door. Or maybe even machine guns? They would love to have the ability to buy those more easily but dang it, you have to get a special license to buy a machine gun. Oh well.

The new norm includes something totally out of the blue. Just when you thought the NRA had introduced enough dangerous and ridiculous ideas, along comes another one. Utah is going to have a State Gun. Seriously, I think all states should add the name of a gun to the official state websites right next to the state bird and the state flower. Why not? Guns depict the culture of a state, just as birds and flowers indicate the flora and fauna. How about if we add a gun to the Bald Eagle on the official seal of the U.S.? What, you say, that's already been done? Oh yes, that is the seal that the NRA uses. Silly me. It makes a great symbol of what America is becoming. 

The new norm includes name calling intimidation and nonsense like this: " Bling... bling... bling... afraid of reasoned discourse, why not allow my comments and expose me for the mean spirited SOB that I am, It's just a blog after all.....

or you can just keep ringing that bell,
Bling... bling... bling... 
Bling... bling... bling... 
Bling... bling... bling... 
Bling... bling... bling..."
Seriously folks, how old are these people? We are playing one upsmanship and gotcha and who can provide more websites, facts, videos, new clips, and insults. One person who calls herself Gail but could actually be Thomas ( who wrote the above) has decided to take the URL closest to mine and blog under the name "Uncommon gunsense". The reason? I am moderating their comments and won't allow them all to get on my blog and do whatever they want. I don't always publish every comment and that irritates them. So Gail's blog allows all comments. I'm sure they are polite and all because everyone there will agree on what is posted. No worry about someone like me getting on and insulting the blogger or calling her(him) names. I don't do that but it is very tempting, to be sure, since some of my unpublished comments are enough to make people blush or want to yell something quite rude or inappropriate. I would dearly love to fight back. Occasionally I do use words to fight other words because I need to defend my integrity and my character from the attempts to attack them. It would be easy to get drawn into their way of doing business. It is not pleasant. It's mean, ugly and demeaning. There are many more examples which I will continue to display here.

The new normal includes reasonable and sane people who also read this blog, agree with me and are willing to consider my ideas. They have always been there. They are not threatened by me. They don't fear that I intend to take away rights or their guns. They know I am yearning for common sense. They want me to succeed. If you read my blog about reasonable gun owners and yesterday's blog about random comments, you saw what reasonable gun owners say about 30 round ammunition magazines and reasonable gun laws. Those are the people I am writing for. They are the ones who will likely support my efforts to get laws passed and educate others about safe gun use and also about what the NRA and it's minions are doing to our country by refusing to offer any solutions or compromises. 

To whit, here is a new person to my blog who thought maybe these comments would get me to back off: "Until the Brady Campaign, which sees every new gun law as an incrimental step toward registration and confiscation (and I don't care how many times you deny it, I don't believe you and have no reason to believe you) abandons that goal and recognizes that fundamental premise, there will be no compromise. None. Ever.
We will not compromise over arbitrary numbers of rounds in magazines. We will not compromise over mythical "gun show loopholes." We will not compromise over "assault" weapons. We have compromised enough; the gunbanner's idea of compromise has always been the equivalent of a robber promising to only take half of my money - this time. No more. No compromise at all. You don't have the votes, and we will not give up what you cannot take. Oh - and we will not disarm. Ever."

And now he is wondering if he hit a nerve and accuses me of not wanting to have a debate with folks on his side? Well, I rest my case. One can't debate or discuss with someone who has issued a statement like the one above. So the new normal is that the minority have become more extreme and vocal in their opinions. They have new avenues to blurt out their invectives and their sometimes dangerous rhetoric through cable news programs, blogs and tweets. We have the same but it's harder to be noticed if you are more polite and reasonable. These days, the crazier and louder you are, the more attention you get. That is the "new normal." It doesn't have to be. In my next post I will be looking at the kind of country both sides envision going forward.


  1. I want to congratulate you for the proper use of the word "vigilantism".

    It's common, among the gun-control crowd, to use the word to refer to incidents of self-defense. Self-defense isn't vigilantism, regardless of whether it turns out to have been justified or not.

    The defining aspect of vigilantism isn't the use of deadly force - which may not even be present - but the imposition of private judgment and punishment.

    That clearly seems to be the case, here. If the facts are anything like what are being reported, he should rot in jail.

  2. Both sides of the gun debate acknowledge that there are lives at stake, we disagree on how to best protect those lives; through government regulation or individual empowerment. There's a case to be made for both viewpoints.

    And so we debate on, and yes ... we all get a little out of sorts when we feel someone else is endangering us, and some of us (on both sides, who I would consider the nastiest and most vile bloggers are on either side represent your viewpoint) can come off as being rude. Ever had some jerk post personal information about you and make mocking comments about your children? I have.

    You know ... even though the ACLU sometimes represents despicable people (like white supremecists, Nazis, etc.) I still respect them for what they are; a no-sacrifice-is-to-great-to-defend-rights group that believes they are working for all of us.

    And though you may believe the goals of the NRA are despicable and wrong ... I would hope you could respect them in the same manner. They are defending a right, and if they are defending it past the limits of "common sense," as many of us believe the ACLU sometimes does with other rights, please keep in mind that we don't all agree what common sense is. And the NRA/GOA/JPF/etc. serve as worthwhile of a purpose as the Brady Campaign/VPC/etc..

    I know it's rough in the blogger world. An uncontrolled marketplace of ideas is like that. All you can do is keep throwing your ideas out there and hoping you can find like-minded people to reinforce and maybe change the minds of a few not-quite so like minded.

  3. So -- maybe we should take a deep breath, and start that bookclub?

    Chris from AK

    PS - Again, I'm serious on this proposal, as long as you are. If we have enough time to trade exchanges on the internet, then maybe that time could be spent cooling off, reading books, and trying to engage thoughtfully.

  4. "Can people with guns lurk around in camouflage clothing and forcibly enter the home of a poor immigrant family?"

    The only reason it's even a story is because it's far from normal. At least on the US side of the border. Now it is normal in some parts of Mexico. And it's no coincidence that Mexico has the same gun laws the Brady Campaign seeks for the US.

    "guns are innocent, inanimate objects,"

    They are. A gun cannot be held morally accountable for what is done with it.

    "And in case a bunch of thugs show up at their doors, they might just need that many rounds to take them out."

    I bet that "poor immigrant family" would have wanted that many rounds when Shawna Forde and her goons showed up at their door. Sadly, they were defenseless.

    "And those semi-automatic assault rifles? Don't mess with them. They can be turned into automatics easily..."


    " NRA and it's minions are doing to our country by refusing to offer any solutions or compromises. "

    Many posters here have offered compromises. We've told you what laws of yours we'd accept if you'd advocate for the repeal of certain laws in exchange. It is you who has refused to offer any compromises.

  5. I hear you, Japete. Take a deep breath. Have some warm tea. Break out the flannel sheets and have a good night's sleep.

    I get that treatment too, over at New Trajectory. Just because they don't agree with my point of view or believe the statistics I present, the pro-gun extremists regularly call me names and insult me, calling me "liar" "moron" "anti-freedom" or "anti-rights" or worse (comments I rarely publish), just because of my philosophy that guns are a tool which should be regulated better to keep them out of the hands of criminals, mentally ill, or children, and believing that their second amendment right not only applies to any weapon to anyone in any place, but that it trumps the welfare of our people. They're long on criticism of our thoughts, but short on solutions to prevent future crimes. And the justifications they have for continuing lax regulations are convoluted.

    Of course, the vast majority of gun owners and NRA members are reasonable, honest, law-abiding people who actually agree with most of the current gun control proposals, according to recent surveys, and aren't the extremists I mention above. Once in a while they leave comments at New Trajectory, and have even had good debate.

    We have to keep up the good fight to get those reasonable gun owners, as well as non-owners, to speak out and demand better regulation from our leaders, and to dispel the myths (like that we want to ban all guns for all people, or that we are against the second amendment). That's why I do this, both online and out in the streets. It's about saving innocent lives. And no goal is more honorable than that.

  6. japete, you describe the situation really well. The "new norm" is indeed a bleak picture. But don't despair, I believe the reason we see a sort of ratcheting up of the rhetoric and intensity in the gun debate is because they sense that their star has already reached its zenith.

    If Obama makes the promised speech soon, that could mark the beginning of the turnaround. But regardless of what the president does or continues not to do, I think the tide is turning and the American people are waking up to the lies and tricks.

    I find it absolutley amazing how self-serving and callous the pro-gun folks are. But that's life.

  7. Maybe a good idea, Chris. If only I had more time for books since, as I mentioned, I am in 3 book clubs already. Or maybe meeting somewhere for a beer and Halibut as you suggested. I would actually like that.

  8. To MikeB and Baldr- Thanks for your comments. As I sit with my morning cup of coffee, it's so nice not to start out the day with the ugliness of the comments on my blog. As you both have said, there are many reasonsable people who are with us on this issue. Some of them make thoughtful and sane comments on our blogs and provide us with a vehicle for some actual discussion about our differences. That's a good thing and what we are seeking. In the end, we may not agree but we will know that we have tried to have a common sense discussion so we understand where we are. I do think there is a place for common ground and I will keep seeking it as I know you both do as well. Have a nice day everybody.

  9. Joan

    I'm wondering who is reasonable on the issue.

    You've said you will continue to push for ever more restrictive laws until firearm related murders are zero.

    Baldr could not name a single current gun control law that he would support repealing.

    MikeB302000 has said his blog is anti-gun. He's words not mine. He also wants home inspections, mental health exams on all gun owners -- including you.

    So who is reasonable?

  10. I've been reading this blog for a few months now. Can you please state what you are proposing. I think I understand what your are against, but the terms common sense and reasonable leave me wanting for details. I don't want to think this is an anti blog but rather a proponent of specific ideas. Is there a statement of purpose or something similar you can direct me to? I appreciate your hard work. Jon H

  11. I have not said Ior others like me can reduce gun deaths to zero. Rather I am convinced that by passing laws that will require background checks on ALL gun sales at gun shows, at the least,we could stop some prohibited people from getting guns and thereby preventing some shootings. This may also have the effect of preventing illegal gun trafficking-not all but some. In addition I have not seen any compelling reason for anyone to have large capacity ammunition magazines. I advocate for passage of a law to ban those magazines. It is clear that being able to kill or injure fewer people in mass shootings would work to reduce the carnage. I find it appalling that some are against such reasonable public safety measures. Making sure all of the names of prohibited people are sent to the NICS would get into the system.

  12. 1. Require background checks on ALL gun sales at gun shows.
    2. Ban large capacity ammunition magazines.
    3. The names of prohibited people are sent to the NICS.

    Thanks for your positions. While I can't agree these measures would make any difference, I at least know what I'm disagreeing with. Lots of passion at your blog Ms. P. Jon H

  13. Vigilantism is the meting out of EXTRA-legal justice. Hanging a horse thief in the old West with no trial was vigilantism. That poor slob in Canada (Canuckistan now) who fired WARNING SHOTS to scare off a gang who were FIRE BOMBING his home with Molotov cocktails was NOT vigilantism although that's how it's being sold in the Socialist/LibTARD Canuckistan media.

    Double Tap 45
    NRA Life Member
    Soli Deo Gloria!!!

  14. I am all for reasonable gun control laws, if I get to determine what reasonable is.

  15. 1. Require background checks on ALL gun sales at gun shows.

    I support this but I don't see how it will make a difference because the seller can give the purchaser a business card at the gun show and complete the transfer later away from the show. The purpose of the gun show would then be to allow the purchaser to inspect the firearm. I simply don't understand the mind-set of people who obsess over gun shows because it doesn't address the root problem.

    2. Ban large capacity ammunition magazines.

    I can't support this because it is extreme, almost as extreme as banning guns, and it doesn't address the true goal: to save lives.

    The Tucson shooter used a pistol with a 30 round (or so) extended magazine. Why then should all firearms be included? A 30 round magazine is typical for an AR-15 rifle. Wouldn't common sense suggest that someone would have seen a looney with a rifle at that parking lot especially after he started aiming it? A rifle is also easier to wrest away than a pistol. Rifles don't need to be included in this bill.

    Finally, Gabrielle Giffords thankfully lives because that extended magazine held 9mm rounds. Most magazines greater than 10 rounds are for the 9mm round and smaller calibers. Most standard 10 round magazines are for the larger and heavier .45 ACP round. It is unlikely Mrs. Giffords would have survived a .45 ACP shot to the head. Force people to use smaller magazines and they will fill them with more devastating .40 S&W, .45 ACP, or 10mm rounds.

    McCarthy's bill would have had a greater chance of broader acceptance if it banned pistol magazines that extend past the bottom of the grip unless the grip is smaller than 5 inches, banned pistol magazines greater than 20 rounds, and banned pistol grips that are more than 5 inches long. This excludes most law-abiding citizens while still including the Tucson shooter. Her bill is also poorly written since it doesn't ban a device like this, which is not a feeding device, but an accessory for an existing feeding device.

    3. The names of prohibited people are sent to the NICS.

    I support this. I want to know who is prohibited from owning a firearm before I transfer a firearm.

    I hope my replies aren't frustrating you Joan.

  16. I must aplaud your well written and thoughtful article in regards to this very pressing matter in the United States of America. I must ask, however, how you can reconcile the elimination of an individual's right (as decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Heller decision). It is simply implausible that your passion for the lives of our citizens is limited only to firearms. With roughly 50,000 people perishing annually on U.S. roads, why are you railing against the production and selling of vehicles. With a death toll in the tens of thousands, using your logic as applied to firearms, that a person be limited to one vehicle and that vehicle be designed so as not to endanger any lives.

  17. Joan,
    As I'm sure others will be along to address other things.. As to the "vigilante" shooting you linked to..

    Most of what comes to mind isn't fit for presumably polite company. So, I'll simply say this. Such acts can't be condoned regardless of any justification.

    If the facts are as reported in this instance... Tree.. Rope.. (post trial, of course)


  18. To the contrary, Migo, I appreciate these very honest answers along with your reasons and your polite response. Thank you. There is some common ground here somewhere on some things.

  19. Call-I am not eliminating anyone's rights to own guns or their rights to hunt or use guns for recreation or self defense. My intent is to keep those who will not use guns responsibly from getting their hands on them in the first place. My solutions are not perfect, nor will they accomplish totally eliminating shootings. It is necessary to do something, however, and this is what my side is proposing in that regard. As to cars, guns come in a close second to car accidents as a cause of injury death according to the CDC. Many others have worked on car safety and MADD- to get people who are drunk off the roads or not to drive. I applaude those efforts and want to emulate what they have done. They were highly successful in their education campaign and law suits changed the auto industry as well as studying auto safety features. So now most would agree that seat belts are good, child safety seats are good, speed limits are necessary, air bags are good, designated drivers are good and still most who want to drive can do so. That is what I am all about concerning guns. That is my issue and why I am blogging. Others maybe blog about car safety but that is not my bag.

  20. Well Atrius- I hope you wouldn't advocate hangings here. But these folks deserve to be put away for a very long time if not for life for what they did and I hope that is what they get.

  21. Interesting article, but I have a few things I wish to disagree with.

    First, you seem to imply that the NRA is evil. They are just a gun rights organization, their job, is to advocate for all gun rights for law abiding citizens. They don't advocate for criminals or the mentally ill to own guns, but they advocate for law abiding citizens to own whatever they want. They don't advocate for many gun control measures, because that's not their job, though they have in the past, and also push gun safety programs. They are just a response to anti-gun advocates, it is like Ying and Yang.

    And vigilantes are not 'the norm', you will only find support for such terrible vigilante actions, amongst the most far right of conservatives. I certainly wouldn't call those vigilantes 'law abiding gun owners', I hope they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And as stated in another comment, I'm sure the poor immigrant family would have liked to have rifles with 30 round magazines for their self defense.

    "Common sense gun laws" doesn't really define anything. What one person thinks is common sense, is nonsense to another. You may believe banning magazines over 10 rounds is common sense, but to me it is nonsense. Now I and millions of other law abiding gun owners have to suffer this restriction, because a handful of crimes get committed with 30 round magazines? Meanwhile criminals will still manage to buy or even make them. That same exact logic would say that cars shouldn't exceed 60mph, that stereos shouldn't get louder than 85dB, and that meals shouldn't contain more than 700 calories.

    Common sense to me, is not to ban things (history has shown that banned things generally tend to persist anyway, and often lead to an increase in crime). Neither would be registration of guns, because history also shows confiscation always follows registration. Background checks are already performed at gun shows, when gun dealers sell firearms. Private sales at gun shows do not get background checks because they are not required for private sales at all. Would it be better if it was? Maybe, but then wouldn't a criminal who couldn't pass the check, just buy from a gun runner like they already mostly do?

    I think a few reasonable, common sense measures, would be to ensure that the FBI has better information in the NICS system, at least the wrong people won't be able to buy guns through normal channels of commerce. Then it should be required that if such an individual attempts a purchase, the FBI investigates. Finally, criminals should have strong mandatory sentences for gun violations. Criminals usually get off easy on gun charges, there's no deterrent. Meanwhile, if a law abiding gun owner accidentally violates one of hundreds of confusing, pointless, gun laws, they could be convicted as a felon and have their life ruined. That certainly isn't 'common sense'. These laws that are very vague, and could allow a DA to prosecute an honest citizen who had no intention of breaking the law, should not exist.

  22. So what happens at gunshows that doesn't happen anywhere else? Why restrict gunshow sales when craigslist, the startribune, Internet forums all have firearms for sale. Is that your next step?

    You will have as much luck in stopping guncrime that way as stopping the drug trade.

    How about demanding that all criminals have to stop at police stations after a burglary and register the theft of the guns they have stolen.

    How about all addicts have to report the transfer of guns to their dealers in exchange for drugs?

    Ban high capacity mags. Ok, well since they have been readily avaiable since 1935, and without paying the legal owner fair market value there is no legal method to remove them from the marketplace that won't cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Now looking at our national ability to keep drugs out of the country, one could rightly assume that those peoples interested in that sort of thing would have little trouble in getting those same banned magazines into the country using the same methods.

  23. Joan, I'll stop short of advocating such a thing here and simply say that if such a fate were to befall the offenders I don't think I'd shed any tears.

    If the facts are as reported, they are predators and there is no excuse for such actions. They have no place in civilized society.

    I think I can be satisfied if they are merely tossed in jail until the heat death of the universe.

    Migo, in principle I can see where you're going and don't have serious issue with it. However, I would say that I just don't understand the point of any magazine ban. Today we ban capacity greater than X. Tomorrow, when that has little to no impact do we ban capacity greater than X/2? Joan's goal of reducing damage is a good one, I just don't think this is the most affective way to accomplish it. You're suggestions as given would in fact exclude most law-abiding citizens, yet it would also be trivially bypassed as I'm sure you already know. Alternative "strategies" one could use to commit mayhem while living under such a ban has already been discussed ad nauseam and I won't go into them again here.

    On the subject of background checks, while I'm not sure how affective they really are and I also do have some philosophical issues with government giving or denying permission to exercise what is supposed to be a fundamental right. That said, if we are to have NICS or a system like it I do think we should do our utmost best to ensure it is accurate and has the proper and complete inputs. While doing that we should be very careful to put in place necessary protections against abuse. Historically such systems have been known to be eventually used for political abuse and we should be vigilant against such. I also could never agree to using the "terror watchlist" as an input to the system as it is far too arbitrary and secret. It would also be a virtual invitation to abuse of the NICS.

  24. Joan, I have given thought from time to time on how to implement what could be an acceptable, or at least the least troublesome, background check system.

    From a practical stand point, the main issues are these:
    Prevent the creation of a gun registry
    Integrity of the database (How accurate is it and what are we using for inputs)
    Speed (it needs to be fast as you are holding up someones rights by this process)
    Access (Believe it or not, if such a system were created I'd probably even like to use it prior to selling someone a gun)

    Philosophical issues:
    If ownership of X is a fundamental right, then does the government have the right/power to restrict ownership of X even if they are doing it for the best of reasons?
    How will the system be abused?

    So with that in mind, NICS is already fairly close to this already. I would propose to either eliminate the form 4473 (satisfies condition one listed above) or replace it with a purely local form that is never sent to the government and is destroyed on a shorter time frame than it currently is. We could just eliminate the form and just keep the bound books and remove the requirement to send the books to the government when the store closes. That would more simply satisfy the condition.
    Merely increasing the inputs won't satisfy condition two unless the inputs are also checked for quality and checked against political entries. I'm short on suggestions on how to do this.

    My ideal system would involve a phone number (or website) where you could call and give a number, probably SS number, and you would get either a yes or no. No serial numbers, no information as to what is being bought. Just "is this person legally able to own a gun?" and the information necessary to identify the person. If the answer is yes, they get it. If no, then they get a phone number and reference number to call to find out why. Done. I believe that would satisfy the greatest number of people's requirements. Provisions could also be made to cover cases where the system goes down, more information is required, and such like that.

    I say it is my near ideal system, though I'm still not convinced it would be any more affective than the current system.

  25. Some of these are good ideas, P. Thanks.

  26. Interesting thoughts, Atrius. What do we do then about the ATF needing to be able to trace crime guns in order to do the work of solving crimes and stopping criminals? Would your system work to allow that? I assume you want criminals to be found and crimes to be solved.

  27. atrius

    Here is my idea to simplify purchasing a gun.

    Require everyone to present ID when purchasing a firearm.

    Put a big red 'R' on a restricted individual's ID card.

    When a person is convicted they immediately surrender their ID and are issued a new restricted ID when they get out of jail.

    The seller knows at once if the person buying is legal or not.

    No way to form a registry of firearms, and it is simple and quick at the point of sale.

    I would love to here any comments on this.

  28. Atrius, I agree with all your points. I only claimed broader acceptance with my suggestions, not that it could actually become law. As McCarthy's extreme bill exists today, it probably won't even make it out of the Republican controlled House Judiciary Committee. My point was that common sense dictates that bills can't be extreme or poorly written, if the goal is for them to become law.

    I still believe the solution to the problem is to keep bad people away from guns and to help me identify bad people without allowing me the ability to harass an ex-convict who has already been punished for his crime, is sorry for what he did, and just wants to be left alone.

    It would also be a virtual invitation to abuse of the NICS.

    That is why you and I can't use E-Check. I really wish the national debate would get away from firearms and firearm components and focus on how we can develop a NICS system that can't be abused, with an accurate database, and a fast way to correct errors. In addition to the tragic nightmares bad people create, they also give law-abiding gun owners and the NRA a black eye.

  29. "My intent is to keep those who will not use guns responsibly from getting their hands on them in the first place."

    There is no law you will ever be able to pass that will cause that to happen. Those who are willing to violate the law will always be able to obtain firearms, no matter what regulatory regime you put in place.

    You might as well try to legislate that PI equals 3.0.

  30. " o help me identify bad people without allowing me the ability to harass an ex-convict who has already been punished for his crime, is sorry for what he did, and just wants to be left alone." Migo- can you explain what you mean by this statement? Also, if I were you, I would be more concerned about the slight inconvience caused to you and the possible abuses to NICS than to the fact that people are murdered every day with guns in this country and sometimes we have horrendous mass shootings like that in Tucson. Let's concentrate on the real problem here.

  31. Simply not true jdege. It suits your purpose to continue saying that gun laws don't work because then maybe people will believe it and stop trying to pass them. You cannot ignore the fact that 2 million people have been prohibitied from buying guns since the Brady law was enacted. That is no small thing. And don't tell me they will get their guns someplace other than a FFL because everyone knows that and there are ways we can reduce that as well if we only had the will and you guys wouldn't stand in the way of anything sensible that would stop people who shouldn't have guns from getting them.

  32. Joan, even if hypothetically, guns were 100% illegal and all existing ones were confiscated, how would that really affect the ability of motivated bad people to acquire them through underground and black market channels? I mean, this is the situation we have with drugs today—full banning and confiscation—and yet any 13 year-old can get some pot in an hour. If it hasn't worked for drugs, and it certainly didn't work with alcohol 100 years ago, how are you so certain it would work for guns?

  33. Joan,
    Finding criminals and such would be a good thing. The system I proposed would still allow tracing to the dealer, as the current system does. Once at the dealer, you could still check the bound book (or local form if that was the option implemented). Law enforcement would still have as much information as they have now, but the potential for abuse would be greatly reduced.

    Migo, I see what you mean about the potential for individuals with access to NICS to use it for harassment. However, if what I proposed were implemented, you'd probably have to have some semi-private details about the person in the first place. Also, you would only be able to find out whether or not they're a prohibited person. Not why. On the other hand, jdedge is correct. It is not possible to merely pass a law that prevents bad people from getting X, no matter what X is.

    Joan, you are correct that large numbers of people were turned away by the current system. Yet, there have been extremely few prosecutions. I'm not saying we should scrap NICS simply because it doesn't prevent 100% of "bad" people from getting arms. What I am saying is I'm not sure if it is the best method, but am willing to settle for it right now since I don't have anything better to suggest aside from repealing it. I'm not sure we really would be worse off without it. I just don't have much evidence right now to prove that point, know what I mean?

  34. Joan, the concerns Migo has about abuse of the NICS is a valid one. We're talking about a system run by the government which has the power to strip basic rights from people. We must jealously guard those rights or find them eroded away to meaninglessness. In darker times, some people would have gladly hijacked NICS to keep certain undesirables from having arms. That's one of the reasons we cannot allow the so called terror watch list to be used as an input to NICS. It's full of holes, there is no way to find out you're on the list until you run afoul of it, and it's hell getting off it. Let's face it. We've no idea whether or not anyone has been added to it for political reasons, but do you really think it's never happened?

  35. I don't believe gun owners are standing in the way of any effective legislation that would stop the wrong people from obtaining guns. We don't want criminals to be able to get guns, and we are very certain that many current and proposed laws are entirely ineffective at stopping criminals, but do a lot to interfere with our right to buy and shoot what we want, as long as we are not harming anybody else.

    What the firearms community keeps saying, that seems to be ignored quite a bit, is to be hard on the criminals. You want to keep the wrong people from getting guns, make the penalties for doing so really harsh. No ban on Earth is going to stop criminals unless the punishment is a really strong deterrent. If a felon gets caught with an illegal gun, there's a chance he may not serve any jail time at all. They're already a felon, an illegal weapons charge means nothing to them, they could rack up several and not care. That certainly isn't sensible. Now if said felon had to serve a minimum 5 mandatory years for one single charge of an illegally possessed weapon, that might start making a difference.

  36. You're right japete, what jdege says is simply not true. And he does keep repeating it.

    "There is no law you will ever be able to pass that will cause that to happen. Those who are willing to violate the law will always be able to obtain firearms, no matter what regulatory regime you put in place."

    Use your head, for crying out loud, jdege.

  37. Nate- are we not, at least, trying to stem the flow of illegal drugs to our children and teens and to adults who misuse them? It may not be working as we like it but we are talking about it and working to reduce drug use. I am not certain it would work completely. There are already so many guns in the illegal and legal market place. But we must at the least, start draining the pool of illegal guns and stop the flow into the pool. Awareness of the situation will help. That is what I am all about. Making laws to make it harder for those who are not responsible with guns can only help and will not hurt you. Right now, it's way too easy.

  38. You know guys, I have said I am with you with the prosecuting of gun crimes to the fullest extent possible and stop using plea bargains, etc. to get people off or lesser sentences. The interesting thing though, is that stiff penalities have still not stopped people from shooting others. They know full well they are going to go to prison for their deeds but they do them anyway. I just don't believe that thinking about a prison sentence is at the top of their list when they take out a gun and shoot someone in the midst of a jealous rage, a mental break down, while doing drugs, or a drug or gang related incident. When you have a gun with you on these occasions, the easiest thing is to just pull the trigger. Later you get to think about what you did. I am all about the prevention of such.

  39. "You cannot ignore the fact that 2 million people have been prohibitied from buying guns since the Brady law was enacted. That is no small thing."

    Actually, yes, it a very small thing. 2 million transactions were denied. How many people were prosecuted? A couple of dozen. How many were imprisoned? A handful. How many were prevented from obtaining a firearm elsewhere? We cannot know.

    I'll point you again to Ludig and Cook in JAMA - http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/284/5/585 The passage of the Brady Bill had no discernible effect on violent crime.

    But that's hardly a surprise. There has never been, not once in all of human history, an instance where a violent society became less violent because of the passage of laws regarding the possession of weapons. There are societies that were peaceful before, and remained peaceful after. There are societies that were violent before and remained violent after. And there are societies like England, that were peaceful before and became violent after. But there has never been a single example of a society that became peaceful after the passage of laws restricting the possession of weapons.

  40. "You know guys, I have said I am with you with the prosecuting of gun crimes to the fullest extent possible and stop using plea bargains, etc. to get people off or lesser sentences."

    Joan, folks talk about "finding middle ground" to work in. This is one of the things.

    "The interesting thing though, is that stiff penalities have still not stopped people from shooting others. . . ."

    Joan, evil is real and it exists. And I'm not talking in a religious way, because I'm atheist. I'm talking about evil that comes from a defect in or a lack of conscience. Some people are evil and penalties won't stop them, no matter how high you stack the laws and the penalties. All we can do is put these people away for good, so no further harm comes to society. You've recognized the nature of evil: penalties don't prevent it. Our next step is to recognize that penalties do have value, nonetheless, in putting evil away behind bars so it does no further harm. Our further step is to accept that we can't legislate evil away with more and more laws that evil just simply ignores, such as so-called "gun free" zones.


  41. "...to help me identify bad people without allowing me the ability to harass an ex-convict who has already been punished for his crime, is sorry for what he did, and just wants to be left alone." Migo- can you explain what you mean by this statement?

    I mean we should keep guns away from bad people, without harassing those bad people who have no intention of getting one. I am concentrating on the problem as I see it. There are over 270 million guns in the United States. That's almost one gun for every person in the country. If guns were the real problem, then most of the United States would be dead or injured. Instead, I believe the real problem is with those who would use them offensively. I also believe this problem can be addressed with a radical change in the way NICS is used similar to the way terrorism threats might be addressed at airports in the future. I describe this in more detail in this blog post.

  42. Joan,
    Yes, we're trying to stem the flow of drugs, but you and I can both see that it's not working. Decades of enforcement and crackdowns have resulted in militarized police departments and the loss of civil liberties such as privacy, sanctity of the home, search and seizure protections, etc. And when a particular drug becomes unavailable or too expensive, a new one rises to take its place (see meth and ecstasy, for example). In addition, the desired result of a drug-free America hasn't come to pass; all that's happened is that millions of nonviolent teenagers have been thrown in prison, their lives ruined because they happened to enjoy an illegal substance. It's ballooned the prison system and exacerbated the problem of people leaving prison more hardened and criminal than when they entered it.

    I believe you when you say that you don't want to ban all guns, but I just don't see how we can prevent "bad people" from getting guns when there are so many guns out there and getting one illegally is so easy for a sufficiently motivated person. You say you want to "[drain] the pool of illegal guns and stop the flow into the pool." What, fundamentally, is the difference between a "legal" gun and an "illegal" gun? Its owner. Once stolen or bought from a lawful owner, a gun doesn't somehow become evil and "illegal", it is simply used illegally. Even if 100% of all guns currently in the hands of criminals were identified, confiscated, and melted down to slag, that wouldn't do a darn thing because the "illegal" supply is so easily recharged from the "legal" supply. The criminals would simply re-steal the guns they previously had.

    Let't think from the perspective of a thug who wants a gun. So he walks into a gun store and he gets denied on the NICS check. So… now what? I'm willing to bet that he doesn't decide to question his life of crime; he's going to ask his drug dealer to get him a piece, or he's going to steal one from an unoccupied house or a vague acquaintance. The Brady law doesn't and can't stop these kinds of black market transactions. As long as there are 300 million guns in private hands (to say nothing of the millions of fully-automatic guns owned by law enforcement or in national guard armories), there is an enormous supply that can be tapped by criminals without much difficulty.

    I mean, how would YOU propose to stop street criminals from getting guns from their drug dealers or stealing them from lawful owners? Maybe I'm uncreative, but I don't really see a way that doesn't involve somehow drastically reducing the overall gun supply to as close to zero as possible. This would only be possible with the kinds of bans and confiscations that you've repeatedly said you oppose, not to mention that they would certainly be ruled unconstitutional in light of Heller and McDonald. And of course, the lessons of alcohol and drug prohibitions should teach us the likely result of trying to diminish the supply of a popular and common product.

  43. Nate- I think I have addressed this before. I have proposed background checks on all sales at gun shows and perhaps all private sales. I have proposed the mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns. I have proposed limiting the size of ammunition magazines and certain types of assault type weapons. None of this will solve the problem overnight. It will take time. We have to give it a chance and we have not even tried.

  44. Dear Gail

    I will not be publishing your comments on my blog. The only reason you write your comments and querys are to get me to respond so you can use my response on your own blog. And, by the way, I am not naive enough to believe your explanation for why you just had to start your own blog with a name almost like mine and the purchase of the url similar except for the .net. You said you were inspired by me. Do you expect me to believe that I inspired you to start your own blog and then you had to use the name of my blog in the name of yours? Insincerity as far as the eye can see. Had you been so inpsired, you would have found your own name and your own url. Such was not the case.

  45. Japete, the problems with some of the things you suggest, is that they will have an incredibly negligible long term effect on the criminal use of guns, but have a huge effect on law abiding gun owners.

    Private sales of of firearms cannot be regulated by the government, it is against commerce laws; the government cannot interfere with private sales of personal property between citizens. Plus, it is already illegal to sell a gun to an individual whom you suspect to be prohibited from owning a gun. Anybody who is willing to sell a gun without a background check can do so easily without a trace anyway.

    Reporting stolen firearms is already mandatory, and also a very good idea if you want to keep yourself out of trouble should your stolen gun turn up in a crime.

    And limiting magazine capacity and certain assault type weapons: "Assault Weapons" is a made up blanket term for supposedly evil guns. The correct term is "assault rifle", which refers to a military rifle capable of controlled burst or automatic fire. Such rifles are already regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934. A rifle with a pistol grip and folding stock is not an assault rifle, and not a popular criminal weapon either. Regulating the capacity of magazines has already been tried, in the 1994 Assault Weapon Ban. It had absolutely no discernible effect on crime, and it would not be reasonable to think that it could; criminals and madman will find ways of killing just as well with other means.

    In addition, weapons can be fabricated or bought elsewhere anyway. Plenty of Soviet era weapons can be obtained in South American nations, where do you think the cartels get automatic AK's from? They don't make or sell them here. The IRA made many of their own guns. In Pakistan, they make AK's from scratch in dirt floored shops.

    Another thought, though a bit off the topic: Even if the police and military in the US were the only ones allowed to have firearms, that wouldn't make then immune to theft. Bonnie and Clyde managed to steal Browning Automatic Rifles from armories at least twice, and that was before the NFA regulated automatic weapons. Granted that was 1933 and not 2011, but it certainly wasn't the last time military or police weapons have been stolen.


  46. DHS- Yes private sales of guns can be regulated and are regulated in some states. Nothing but failing a background check would prevent the sale of a gun in a private sale. I assume people cannot sell their private stock of marijuana or cocaine. That would violate the law. It is regulated. And no, mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns is only happening in a few states.

  47. I assume people cannot sell their private stock of marijuana or cocaine. That would violate the law. It is regulated.

    It is illegal, yes. But does that really mean it can't happen? You seem to be confusing "illegal" with "can't happen." Simply making something illegal doesn't prevent it from happening. Take a look at the drug war if you want any better proof.

  48. I'm not aware of any state that allows for private possession of cocaine, and in states that do allow private possession of marijuana, people still readily sell it illegally. Just because it's regulated, doesn't stop it. And the punishment for dealing controlled substances isn't much deterrent to a career drug dealer anyway.

    I'm also not aware of a state that regulates all private sales of firearms. Here in NY, private sales of handguns are regulated because handgun owners must be licensed (so a background check would be moot), but long arms are not regulated.

    If private citizens were required to do background checks, that doesn't mean every person will. If person X comes to me inquiring about a rifle I was selling, and I called and they didn't pass the NICS check, I'd say sorry, no sale. I wouldn't sell a gun to someone I didn't know anyway. But then person X might go ask person Y, who just takes the cash and doesn't bother to do the check. Or what if person X just goes straight to person Z, who is a drug dealer with good contacts.

    No regulation is going to stop the criminals, otherwise they wouldn't be criminals. Especially when the punishments tend to be very moderate, if they even happen at all. Only really serious punishment could have any effect.


  49. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_shows_in_the_United_States- 17 states require private sale background checks on gun sales at gun shows-7 states require mandatory reporting of lost and stolen guns and some municipalities as well- http://www.lcav.org/publications-briefs/model_laws/LCAV_Model_Loss_Theft_Reporting.pdf

    watch for new hidden camera story about Arizona gun show where private sellers sold guns even though buyers said they couldn't pass a background check- it should be out tomorrow

  50. @Joan
    watch for new hidden camera story about Arizona gun show where private sellers sold guns even though buyers said they couldn't pass a background check- it should be out tomorrow

    Sure, but if your proposed law were in place, criminals would just buy guns from illegal black market street dealers. Can you think of a law that would prevent these transactions from taking place? Obviously simply being illegal isn't enough, as these transactions are already illegal in all states and yet they keep happening. What law would prevent them from happening?

    California bans all private transfers.

  51. Nate- if we start drying up one of the markets for illegal guns, we will make it harder for those who shouldn't have guns to get them. Some of the guns trafficked on the streets come from legal buyers at gun shows who then turn around and traffic them.

  52. Nate- if we start drying up one of the markets for illegal guns, we will make it harder for those who shouldn't have guns to get them

    Like I've said, there are around 300 million legally owned guns in this country. Going after private sales at gun shows is like trying to plug a sieve by filling up one hole. If criminals can't buy their guns at gun shows, what's to prevent them from doing any of the following:

    1. Buying a gun from a lawful private party at another locale
    2. Buying a gun from an illegal street dealer
    3. Convincing a third party to do a straw purchase
    4. Borrowing a gun from a friend or acquaintance
    5. Stealing a gun from the residence of a friend, acquaintance, adversary, or lawful private citizen

    As long as those other things can take place, banning private sales at gun shows is just noise; it provides no actual impediment for anyone ill-intentioned who wants to get a gun. What's your plan for eliminating these five other easy options? I guarantee that they're going to be a lot harder to stop given that they're all already illegal.

  53. There's a lot to talk about here so these are just my key points.

    - For many of us, the purpose of prosecuting violent offenders and putting them in jail is largely not to deter would be criminals (although that may be a side benefit). The primary goal for us is to physically get violent offenders off the streets. To us, it is abhorrent that criminals who have committed multiple violent crimes with three life sentences are allowed to roam the streets and kill cops (http://www.thedailyshrewsbury.com/Articles-c-2011-01-08-73939.113122-Leahy-for-Mass-Chiefs-questions-parole-of-violent-criminal-who-killed-Woburn-cop.html).

    - NICS is of debatable usefulness. Yes, there have been nearly 2 million denials. So what? That is not a useful metric for measuring success. The relevant metric is, "How many would-be criminals were unable to acquire a firearm due to NICS?" The evidence on that point is much less certain; of the two million denials, how many were repeats of the same person trying a few stores? How many then just turned to a straw purchase, black market gun, stolen gun, or alternative (but still effective) weapon ?

    Another relevant metric might be, "How many would-be criminals were caught and imprisoned prior to committing their planned crime due to NICS checks?" The answer there is much easier to find (not many).

    So when we criticize NICS, it isn't because we want criminals to get guns. It is because we want to spend limited resources on something that is going to be effective. Which brings me to the third major point:

    We live in a world of resource scarcity. I realize that our society spends a small fraction of its total productive labor on law enforcement. The total amount of money available for law enforcement is shrinking in many places, too. It is important to spend those resources wisely. Gun control regimes are often expensive and have never demonstrated any effectiveness. I'm all in favor of trying different approaches: that's the great thing about federalism. We've had a chance to experiment and see what works. After decades of gun control, none of the measures you push has been effective in controlling violent crime. In the past we had the luxury of trying them, though. But now, when the Anchorage Police Department announces cuts, I want the remaining force to focus on effective and efficient approaches that control violent crime. Canada has realized this, which is why their national firearms registry is scoffed by the provinces who refuse to fund it. Cities in America on hard budget times are realizing it too.

  54. Perhaps, but it is a very small number of guns that go from the legal buys right to the street. The average time from when a gun is first purchased to the time it surfaces in a crime, is about ten years. And while you may try to reduce the number of guns going into the black market (trust me, I'd be very pleased if no guns purchased in the US made their way into the black market), a source will always feed the demand. You cannot crush a source where there is still a demand, Prohibition and the War on Drugs have proven this beyond all doubt. If you somehow manage to cut off all guns purchased in the US from reaching the black market, which would be wonderful, I am positive there will only be a very minimal drop, if any, in the number of guns on the street. The source will just shift elsewhere. The problem is the demand, that is what must be focused on.

    As for the states that require background checks at gunshows, that still borders on a violation of a citizen's right to sell personal property without the government's interference, and does nothing to address street dealers selling on the street.

    And hidden camera things I am always wary of, because without being personal witness to it, how do I know it's not all a set-up to make it appear that people were caught on hidden camera? And why would any person trying to buy a gun they shouldn't have, tell the person selling that they can't pass a NICS check? That would be asking to get caught, most criminals aren't the brightest, but how many are that dumb?


  55. Oh, and Nate, yes, forgot about California, but then just about everything is illegal in CA. I tend to not even think about CA when discussing gun control, since most gun control proposals are already in effect there. They did just get mail order ammo back though, that's a step.

    And one more thought japete, about the gun show buyers; if the buyers turn around and traffic the guns they buy, then they are not legal buyers, the only reason they can buy is because they haven't been caught yet. The question is, is anybody actually putting effort into catching them, and if so, are they then given any kind of real punishment for it?


  56. Nate- if we start drying up one of the markets for illegal guns, we will make it harder for those who shouldn't have guns to get them

    I think I see what you're saying here; you're saying that if we start to go after the easy ways to get guns, then some unmotivated or casual criminals won't be able to get them because they won't bother to use the harder methods. The problem is that almost all the methods by which criminals acquire guns are easy ways. "Buy it at a gun show" is about as easy as "have your girlfriend to do a straw purchase," "borrow it from a friend," or "ask your drug dealer to get you one."

    What's your plan for eliminating these other easy options?

  57. Nate- it's not just noise. Private sales at gun shows provide some crime guns. If we dry up that market, it will be harder, as I have said, for felons and others to get their guns at that venue. If the ATF is allowed to do their job and monitor gun dealers properly, we could also dry up another venue- or at least start to. When friends realized that their gun could be used in a crime and there is more awareness of such, as I am trying to do, we can begin the process of drying up that market. All guns start out as legal sales. They end up in the illegal market in several ways. One is gun shows.

  58. I know that the hidden camera videos are no set ups. Just because you don't like the results doesn't mean they aren't true. No, there is no violation of a person's rights to sell deadly weapons- people with "personal" collections often sell a lot of guns and the same guns that the ffls are selling 2 tables away.

  59. Let's make it harder, Nate. That's what I'm all about. Do you have any helpful ideas - besides just doing nothing?

  60. So -- a couple of questions after reading the story.

    1) When asked for an Arizona ID, did the people from NY produce a fake?

    2) Other than the AZ residency - were the investigators engaged in the entrapment activities prohibited from purchasing a handgun? (PS. this is a textbook case of entrapment)

    3) If not otherwise prohibited, where was the crime? The investigator stated he "thought" he "might" be prohibited...

    Just sayin'..."Man Buys A Gun" really isn't much of a headline. I bought one at a gun show this weekend too...so what?

  61. Full report coming today Pat. More later

  62. I anxiously await the details, especially the ID part! Seems like they were asked for an AZ ID -- and they were from NY. It would be a felony for them to purchase a handgun/assault weapon across state lines with a fake ID.

    It'll be interesting to see how that is resolved; on "alcohol sale under 21" stings, the informant must produce a valid photo ID.

  63. Sure, things I don't like could be true, but how do I know without being there, that the hidden gun buy video will be completely honest? Their intent is to capture examples of individuals knowingly selling to a person who is prohibited from buying firearms, so they're going to make sure that they show it. I wonder who would be dumb enough to proclaim the fact that they were prohibited, and who would be dumb enough to sell to someone they knew it was illegal to sell to, in a venue filled with law enforcement and people who do not put up with criminals. The concept of these stings assumes that a very large proportion of gun owners are immoral or even criminal, is that what they attempt to portray?

    In addition, they could pretty easily edit the footage to portray scenes in a way that is different from what really transpired. We will have to watch the videos and see if they may have been edited or not, maybe they caught some guy knowingly doing something illegal, I'd hope that guy ends up in jail. However, I'd be very upset if they got an honest person in trouble by trying to trick them.

    And someone's personal collection of firearms is their personal property, they must sell it legally, but the government has no right to control it. I am sure 99.9% of individuals selling from their collection, do not want to sell to a criminal, it's immoral and would only invite trouble. The government can't interfere with a person's sale of their kitchen cutlery collection, but those can be used as weapons. The government cannot control your sale of personally owned cars, but those can be used as dangerous weapons (and you don't need to register and pay taxes on a car that isn't being used on the street).

    I understand your point, but you can't have the government stepping in to control and regulate everything in your life that might be dangerous, and such measures still aren't going to stop criminals who will always find a new source. The only thing that could possibly have an appreciable impact, is to start focusing very hard on the demand side for illegal guns, you don't have to worry about a supply if there is no demand. And human history has told us that we will never stop the demand, though we could probably do quite a bit to clamp down on it if we really tried.


  64. I just don't see how "making it harder" will have any effect. I keep coming back to the parallels between drug and alcohol prohibition because they're real, actual examples of the effectiveness of these types of policies you support.

    In both cases, the good in question was made completely 100% illegal for everybody and existing supply was confiscated and destroyed wherever it was found, yet that coupled with increased enforcement was unable to stop people from consuming the banned products.

    And that's with products that were totally illegal! If complete and total prohibition of drugs and alcohol didn't stop people from acquiring those products, I'm just skeptical that it could work with guns, where the product in question remains legal for 99% of purchasers and the existing supply is vast and can't be diminished. Can you tell me what makes guns so different that the policies that failed for drugs and alcohol will succeed here?

  65. I just watched the three new videos on Youtube at gunshowundercover. First seller, they cut the film a few times, lack of continuity discredits the film, especially when the undercover says he probably couldn't pass and the seller steps back shaking his head, then the film cuts, why? The second, he buys from an old gentleman who we can see is hard of hearing, he may never have heard the "probably can't pass" comment. Then they go and buy a Glock and mags normally to show how easy it is to buy. Yea it was pretty easy, but for a criminal, it's probably easier, cheaper, and more discreet to go buy one from a street dealer.

    So out of that whole thing, they only got two alleged illegal sales, one where the seller may not have even heard the background check comment, and one that was edited so you don't know if what is portrayed is what actually transpired.

    Now like I said, I definitely don't want criminals to obtain these guns, but I also don't want to be treated like a potential criminal when I'm not. I bet they could have had a much greater impact, if they went and did some undercover buys from illegal dealers on the streets in NYC. Why does Bloomberg have to go all the way to AZ to videotape two sales that might have been illegal, when he could be arresting gun dealers who are without a doubt illegal, right there in NYC?


  66. jdege, mindlessly repeating one of the favorite pro-gun talking points, says, There has never been, not once in all of human history, an instance where a violent society became less violent because of the passage of laws regarding the possession of weapons."

    I've answered that question here, which I realize is just an island country, and here, which is actually an entire continent.

    japete, I hope you don't mind the links.

  67. Mikeb, that Australia example only looks at gun crime, not crime in general. It's possible for gun crime to decrease but crime in general to increase. That's what jdedge was asking. It's not interesting to us if gun crime decreases if crime itself either doesn't move or increases because we don't view crime committed with guns to be more awful than crime committed with knives, molotov cocktails, poison, or bludgeons. Crime is crime; death is death. If gun crimes drop to zero, but other crimes quadruple, would it really be a success

  68. Yes, Nate because gun deaths would be drastically reduced. And for you to always assume that crime will go up if guns are not in the mix is illogical.

  69. Nate, That's a bunch of blah, blah, blah.

    Think about this, a country has lots of guns, lots of gun crime and lots of overall crime. Laws change and the number of guns goes down, the gun crime goes down but the overall crime goes up. The obvious conclusion is that it would have gone up more if it weren't for the reduction of guns.

    Is that so difficult, really? Aren't you just trying to protect your precious guns by spinning another meaning into this?

  70. Yes, it is so difficult. Your conclusion isn't so obvious to me because it seems that you're assuming zero substitution; that every crime that would have previously been committed by a gun will vanish instead of being committed with a knife, a car, a can of gas and a match, etc. Therefore, the only way you would have left to explain a hypothetical rise in crime despite a hypothetical reduction in gun deaths is that it was going to rise even higher anyway. That's putting the cart before the horse, and it allows you to explain away every possible rise in crime following a gun ban as the natural state of affairs.

  71. mikeb, I can't follow the logic in what you just said. Are you trying to say that if crime goes up regardless of a gun ban, that it would be worse if there was no ban on guns? Because what you seem to be saying is, that if you ban guns, the overall crime rate will rise but the crimes that would have used guns never happen at all. I assume you mean to say that in an overall upward trend in crime, a gun ban would slow that upward trend.

    However, I still fail to see how the implementation of a gun ban or increased restrictions in the US, is going to take the guns out of the hands of the criminals, considering that they already are not supposed to have them. This concept would presume that guns are essentially sold directly into the hands of criminals, which we've established isn't true aside from an exceptionally small number that is continually being cracked down on.

    And Japete, regarding your last comment; well if you remove only law abiding owner's guns then crime will go up, criminals are armed but citizens are not. If you remove guns entirely 100% from a sample population, crime rates will stay about the same, you're back at square one, guns are not some magic catalyst of crime. And to say that is would be better to have fewer gun crimes but more crimes overall makes no sense. I'd take 10 shooting victims over 40 knifing victims.

    Anyways, our discussion is about keeping guns out of the wrong hands. We all agree that we want criminals to not have guns, but we disagree on what law abiding people can have. Why are we focusing on regulations and bans instead of crackdowns on the illegal gun owners themselves?


  72. "Desperately wounded, she dragged herself through the house to find her husband's gun and exchanged fire with her assailant, who police say is Jason Bush.

    He was injured and fled the scene. "

    Gosh, it sounds like maybe a gun saved her life and allowed the criminals to be caught. Nah -- I am sure it was the rapid response of the police to the 911 call.

  73. Yes, Robin. But isn't it a tragedy that that gun couldn't stop the criminal in the first place before he took 2 lives?

  74. Such is life Japete. Guns are not a magical talisman to take or save life. They just are inanimate objects that can leverage force for the user.

    Hateful defective people perptrated that crime. Two people died as a result. Without private firearms ownership there would have been a third. They came back when they realized she was still alive (according to CNN.com) and she repelled them with gunfire and wounded one.

    This is why the "if it saves just one life rule" doesnt apply to gun control laws. You can offer other arguments for gun control with validity (perhaps), but the idea that if a gun control law prevents just a few crimes it is worth it is negated if guns prevent just a few crimes. Self-defense uses dont pop in the media like mass shootings do because many dont involve shooting. Here is one clear cut case of someone who absolutely would have died without that gun.

    I do not envy the mother who has to try to put her life back together, but she is alive. Thanks to her husband and American culture that she had access to a firearm and thank providence that she was accorded the opportunity to get to it.

  75. Yes, Robin. But isn't it a tragedy that that gun couldn't stop the criminal in the first place before he took 2 lives?

    In a world where guns didn't exist, do you really think the perpetrators would have been at all impeded in their goal of murdering these poor innocent people?

  76. Robin, I use anecdotal examples every day to make my point too. I know just how you feel.

    Anonymous, You've almost grasped my logic but not quite.

    "Are you trying to say that if crime goes up regardless of a gun ban, that it would be worse if there was no ban on guns? Because what you seem to be saying is, that if you ban guns, the overall crime rate will rise but the crimes that would have used guns never happen at all."

    I answer the first question with a simple yes. The second I'd say like this, "the overall crime rate MAY rise but the crimes that would have used guns IN SOME CASES WON'T happen at all, AND IN OTHERS WILL BE LESS LETHAL."