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.
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Good guys with guns Part 2

Today's blog is about how "good guys" with guns have made mistakes. In actuality, as this article from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center points out, " The opportunity for a law-abiding gun owner to use a gun in a socially desirable manner--against a criminal during the commission of a crime--will occur, for the average gun owner, perhaps once or never in a lifetime. It is a rare event. Other than self-defense, the use of a gun against another human is socially undesirable." Now I did not read this article before I wrote my post so it was interesting to find out that the folks who did this study agree with me: "Regular citizens with guns, who are sometimes tired, angry, drunk, or afraid, and who are not trained in dispute resolution, have lots of opportunities for inappropriate gun uses. People engage in innumerable annoying and somewhat hostile interactions with each other in the course of a lifetime. It should not be surprising that inappropriate, socially undesirable "self-defense" gun uses by people who believe they are law-abiding citizens outnumber the appropriate and socially beneficial use of guns." 

Before all of you gun guys get your undies in a bundle about the source of this article, I will acknowledge right here and now that the study was sponsored by the Joyce Foundation, known to fund gun control groups. " The Foundation believes that better public policies can help reduce gun violence. It supports the efforts of law enforcement officials, legislators, municipal leaders, the medical and public health communities, advocacy groups, and others in pushing for measures to stop gun trafficking, keep guns out of the hands of criminals, prevent children from getting access to firearms, and other measures that offer promise of combating gun violence." Such nefarious goals should simply not be taken seriously! 

The author is David Hemenway, also hated by the pro gun guys. Hmmm. Here's a guy to watch out for. He must be crazy to accept grants from the Joyce Foundation. After all, he is a Professor of Health Policy at Harvard. But never mind. His works are dismissed by the NRA and pro gun crowd most of whom could not match up to the qualifications and integrity of Hemenway. 

So now that I got that off my chest since I know the attacks will come, let's get on with this idea I have that even good guys with guns make mistakes leading to injury or death. I already provided some examples in my last post. But in responding to the comments on that post, I found others. Here then, ladies and gentlemen, are some more examples of law abiding gun owners shooting others in the guise of self defense or carrying in public for "self defense and public safety."

1. This recent tragic incident resulted in the senseless shooting death of a 7 year old girl when her Dad's gun fell out of his coat pocket and discharged. Seriously folks. When will parents who simply must pack heat understand that their guns bought for self defense are more dangerous for themselves and their families than they are against a perceived threat? The question that comes to mind here is why this father has to have a gun in his pocket everywhere he goes? I am betting that he will stop carrying that gun around now. If you decide to carry a gun around for self defense, think many times over about the responsibilities that come with that decision. Weigh the risks versus the benefits. You might come to the conclusion that it is not worth it to carry that gun around in your clothing after all.


2. New law allowing Iowans to carry guns in bars- one man arrested for threatening folks at a bar with his gun after having too much to drink. Yes, it's true. The laws say that people cannot drink and carry. But, as I have said before, does the bartender know you have a loaded concealed gun when you order your beer? Do you have to show your gun so you can't be allowed to drink while carrying? We know the answers to these questions. Lawmakers are not apparently concerned about these things. Once a gun comes out in a bar with people drinking, it's too late if shots are taken and someone dies as a result.


3. This case is absolutely tragic given that a 12 year old boy shot his family in Colorado. Of course the child is not a felon. Where did the guns come from? The obvious guess is that they were guns owned by the family and most likely legally owned. But that is not mentioned in the article.


4. Why is it that parents cannot get that their loaded guns should not be sitting around in easy places for kids to gain access to them? This sad story from California is a prime example of kids finding guns by accident and shooting them because that is what curious kids will do. And bullets do go far and wide once shot from the gun. In this case, the bullet went through a closet wall, into a couch where a neighbor was sitting and through his neck into another closet. Senseless. I know, I know, the parents were stupid. The problem is, these things happen very often. I have numerous examples of these sent to me on at least a weekly basis. Guns are dangerous. If you have children, you had better think twice about where you store them. Or better yet, maybe decide not to have them around while children are in the home. 


5. This Omaha, Nebraska man reported that he had been shot. Yes, indeed, he was- but likely by his own gun! Drinking and guns don't go together. It must be hard to admit that you shot yourself with your own gun so why not make something up? Luckily for the man, he shot himself instead of someone else.


6. And once more, a gun permit holder kills someone. This guy tried to get away with murder but he ended up confessing that he shot his wife in the back of the head while they were target shooting. And then, if you can believe this, he threw the gun into the river? Nice try. They were both permit holders.


A few days ago, while attending a Domestic Abuse Intervention Program meeting, a staff member asked to talk to me. She wanted me to know that after her husband died unexpectedly last fall ( in his early 50s- very sad), she decided to dispose of his guns. Friends told her she didn't have to rush since the guns were locked in a safe. It suddenly occurred to her that she did not know where the key was. It took her teen-aged son only a few minutes to procure the key!! The reason she wanted the guns out of the house was because her son was dealing with the death of his father, never easy for a teen-ager, and she knew he was vulnerable. But she was totally taken aback that he knew right where the key to the gun safe was. Given that, she knew she has made the right decision. If he wants to hunt with this father's guns, they are safely stored at the home of his uncle for him to use if he chooses. This woman showed a lot of common sense.


I could actually provide a lot more incidents or cases about "good guys" with guns. One is very personal to me. My now deceased and former brother-in-law was not a bad guy. He was quirky and having a lot of problems with the contentious divorce from my sister. It happens that he was a gun guy, unbeknownst to me. He loved guns and had a lot of them, which I never saw while visiting their home. No one talked about it but the kids were aware. They never thought about those guns becoming weapons of murder.  Of course, the weapons of choice in domestic murders are guns. We've gone over this before. And most homicides are people who know the victim, many of them closely. A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to shoot you or someone you know and love than to be used in self defense. Listen to Glenn Beck and Wayne LaPierre talk about guns for self defense in this video. Glenn must have grown up in an interesting neighborhood since he claims that when a neighbor was having a problem, everyone ran home and got their guns. But I digress. LaPierre claims on this video and in many other places, as does Gary Kleck who he mentions in the video, that guns are used 2.5 million times in self defense in one year! Sometimes credulity is strained.


Since I used Wayne LaPierre and Glenn Beck to provide the argument for guns in self defense, I will now use David Hemenway, again, for the argument that guns are more often used in criminal action or illegal shootings than by the "good guys" in self defense. This study, again from the Harvard Injury Control Research Center comes to a different conclusion than LaPierre and Beck. The article opens with this:" It has been claimed that in the United States, “guns are used for defensive purposes about five times as often as they are used for crimes”. This claim is made even though the criminal chooses both the time and place of the crime, most households don’t have guns, and very few of the individuals who own guns are carrying at any time. So what data support the claim?" The article examines where the numbers come from and concludes thusly: "The opportunity for a law-abiding gun owner to use a gun in a socially desirable manner--against a criminal during the commission of a crime--will occur, for the average gun owner, perhaps once or never in a lifetime. It is a rare event. Other than self-defense, the use of a gun against another human is socially undesirable. Regular citizens with guns, who are sometimes tired, angry, drunk, or afraid, and who are not trained in dispute resolution, have lots of opportunities for inappropriate gun uses. People engage in innumerable annoying and somewhat hostile interactions with each other in the course of a lifetime. It should not be surprising that inappropriate, socially undesirable "self-defense" gun uses by people who believe they are law-abiding citizens outnumber the appropriate and socially beneficial use of guns.6" 





And, to end this, I really love this article from Neil Steinberg, an Illinois man speaking out about releasing of the names of gun permit holders to the public (now under consideration in Illinois). He's right, it's not a cake walk to discuss the gun issue. In fact, for many, it is to be avoided at all costs because of the anger it can evoke. But the author here gives his reason why he is willing to reveal his own name as a renter of guns but not an owner:" But I don’t own firearms because — and I know I risk drawing the wrath of the National Rifle Association by saying this — guns are dangerous". Steinberg then goes on to talk about how emotion gets in the way on both sides of reasonably discussing the risks and benefits of guns. So he asks an insurance company which specifically insures merchant ships. We all know that some of our merchant ships are in danger of hijacking by pirates in certain parts of the world. Here is their reason for not insuring the companies if they choose to allow guns aboard their ships: "“Underwriters perceive ship crews having guns as an unacceptable hazard for a number of reasons,” said Jim Craig, president of the American Institute of Marine Underwriters in New York. “One is injuries to themselves, because they’re not properly trained. Giving them weapons causes more problems than it’s worth.”" And Steinberg ends with this:" If having a MAC-10 makes you feel better, by all means and God Bless America. But does it really upset your world if the magazine in that weapon holds 10 bullets instead of 30? Really? That I can’t understand. Maybe if you explain it in an angry tirade, with lots of personal insults and capital letters, it will begin to make sense. Or maybe not."

So Steinberg, along with many in our country, have chosen not to have guns around the home because they either are not interested or they feel the risk outweighs the benefits. And when these very same people, me for example, write about these things, along with how easy it is for even a "good guy" to get shot or shoot someone, or accidentally provide a gun for someone else to shoot themselves or another person, we get angry tirades from those who are on the other side. As Steinberg notes, it may or not make more sense to fight against us with personal insults and angry words.



Further, I absolutely love this blog about the predictable response to the accidental gun discharge at an Illinois gun show, injuring 2 people. I blogged about this a few weeks ago. The NRA and its' followers have a hard time admitting that law abiding gun owners shoot others by accident or purposely. Now that there are more loaded guns around and the gun laws are actually being weakened in this country and in many states, the stakes have changed. More lives are actually at risk. We have only begun to see the effects of feckless behavior by the "good guys".  As the last sentences of this blog opine: "I don’t know why you humans let the NRA supporters win arguments, it’s not like they are holding a gun to your head while they are arguing with you. One thing I do know–the gun people on your planet make it hard to live long or prosper." Amen. Where is common sense? And more to the question, where does this leave us? Most likely with the same chasm that may never be bridged. Sadly, common ground is hard to find. 

41 comments:

  1. 1. Seriously folks. When will parents who simply must pack heat understand that their guns BELONG IN HOLSTERS? Education, not laws.

    2. "Warner was charged with intimidation with a dangerous weapon, a felony."

    Now he'll never own guns again, legally, anyway. Sounds like a win to me.

    3. J. Jones is a lawyer in the juvenile court system...In his experience violence to this degree is triggered by something a child has seen or experienced.

    "It is very rare for a child to have what you would call the 'Daemon factor.' The bad seed that you see in the movies is generally not what we see in the juvenile court system. Generally we see kids who are reacting to their environment," Jones said.

    He also used a knife, so magically vanishing all guns from America wouldn't have stopped this particular case completely. Once again, mental illness rears its ugly head.

    4. California Safe Storage Laws
    Summary of Safe Storage Laws Regarding Children

    You may be guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony if you keep a loaded firearm within any premises that are under your custody or control and a child under 18 years of age obtains and uses it, resulting in injury or death, or carries it to a public place, unless you stored the firearm in a locked container or locked the firearm with a locking device to temporarily keep it from functioning.

    A law didn't stop this from happening. Education, not laws.

    5. I have no problem with this one, as long as drunks don't accidentally shoot anyone else. I have no sympathy.

    6. #289 out of 6 million. Statistical outlier.


    "But she was totally taken aback that he knew right where the key to the gun safe was."

    And yet he didn't go on an interstate killing spree. He was probably taught about guns by a dad who trusted him with the key. There are a lot of families like that.

    "Glenn must have grown up in an interesting neighborhood since he claims that when a neighbor was having a problem, everyone ran home and got their guns."

    I have a cousin who came home late from work one night and was assaulted by a home invader. He dragged her into the back yard (rural area), tied her up, and said "I'll be back for you" and then went into the house. She got loose and ran to a neighbor's house. The man was apprehended not by law enforcement but by neighbors with guns. Don't disparage neighbors with guns or they may not be there when you need them.

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  2. "Why is it that parents cannot get that their loaded guns should not be sitting around in easy places for kids to gain access to them? This sad story ..."

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/poe/poe1.html

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  3. There was an anti-gun researcher who didn't believe Kleck's numbers, so he did his own study and came up with 4 million. He then said "but the real number is probably closer to the government estimates of (> 100,000)".

    Dr. Marvin Wolfgang made the following remarks at the Guns and Violence Symposium.

    Let me read the first and last paragraphs of the commentary that I originally made, titled A Tribute to a View I Have Opposed.

    The first paragraph reads:

    I am as strong a gun-control advocate as can be found among the criminologists in this country. If I were Mustapha Mond of The Brave New World, I would eliminate all guns from the civilian population and maybe from the police. I hate guns--ugly, nasty instruments designed to kill people...

    The Kleck and Gertz study impresses me for the caution the authors exercise and the elaborate nuances they examine methodologically. I do not like their conclusions that having a gun can be useful, but I cannot fault their methodology. They have tried earnestly to meet all objections in advance and have done exceedingly well.
    ---------------------------------------------



    "Regular citizens with guns, who are sometimes tired, angry, drunk, or afraid, and who are not trained in dispute resolution, have lots of opportunities for inappropriate gun uses. People engage in innumerable annoying and somewhat hostile interactions with each other in the course of a lifetime."

    I find this sort of talk extremely disturbing. It is as if the people who say this are seething cauldrons of rage that can't get through the day without thoughts of killing someone for the most trivial of slights, and are only prevented from doing so by lack of opportunity.

    "It should not be surprising that inappropriate, socially undesirable "self-defense" gun uses by people who believe they are law-abiding citizens outnumber the appropriate and socially beneficial use of guns.6"

    Data to support this allegation?

    "Underwriters perceive ship crews having guns as an unacceptable hazard for a number of reasons"

    International law and piracy on the high seas is a completely different scenario from a civilian defensive shooting. It's a lot easier for an insurance company to require a company to instruct their crews to hide in the engine room and hope the piracy Task Force gets there in time. Mr Steinberg's cavalier attitude would change if he found himself on the bow of a freighter taking automatic weapons and RPG fire from a boatload of Somali pirates. It sure is easy to tell other people what to do without being in their shoes first.

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  4. Re Piracy:

    I saw this article on my lunch break the other day.
    http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2011/03/07/survive-pirate-attack/

    There doesn't seem to be a consensus on the issue. Some experts apparently believe that firearms are effective for defense against piracy. For some reason it seems to work out alright for the world's navies most of the time, and it worked out well for Great Britain's maritime web for centuries too.

    The merchant ship issue is more complicated than you make it out to be (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/13/world/13shipping.html).

    Note that many ports of call are in countries with strict gun bans. For example, a ship that sailed through the strait of Malacca and called in, say, Australia couldn't arm its crew. The owner cares about one thing: PROFIT. He cares a heck of a lot more about not being able to make port calls in Australia (or China, or South Korea, or many other countries) than he does about the safety of a few crewmen. It is cheaper for them to just pay the occasional ransoms than to give up trade with a majority of countries in the world.

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  5. japete, You are absolutely right to cite Hemenway. He is a great champion of gun control as an effective tool for injury prevention. He works at one of the most respected institutes of higher learning in the world. Only those with axes to grind and something to lose would disparage his qualifications.

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  6. "Regular citizens with guns, who are sometimes tired, angry, drunk, or afraid, and who are not trained in dispute resolution, have lots of opportunities for inappropriate gun uses. People engage in innumerable annoying and somewhat hostile interactions with each other in the course of a lifetime. It should not be surprising that inappropriate, socially undesirable "self-defense" gun uses by people who believe they are law-abiding citizens outnumber the appropriate and socially beneficial use of guns."

    Sigh. Another version of the "blood will run in the streets" claim. Apparantly you guys think that average citizens are time bombs, ready to explode. Project much, japete?

    Of course, the reality is that . . . . it hasn't happened. Anywhere. Soon to be 50 states permit legal CC, and yet crime rates go down. That must be very frustrating for you japete; perhaps you want violence to increase to make you point? That would let you dance in a little more blood, but that's a sad commentary.

    Yes, in a nation of 300 million+, you can pick and choose anecdotes. But the plural of anecdotes is still not "data."

    On real facts, you still lose.

    Steinburg's choice is fine - for Steinburg. If you'd quit trying to impose his, and your, choice on me, we'll both be happier.

    Kleck's conclusion is based on actual DATA; and what makes Kleck's study particularly relevant is that he's not one of "us;" he's not a gun guy. What I see from Hemenway is conclusion, not data. Is there actual data to support this allegation? What is the basis of that data? And who's money supported the study? (it's that last question that usually tells determines the results).

    And BTW - a crew on a ship in Somali waters that is NOT armed are fools. Period. In the face of armed threats (and there is no doubt that there are significant armed threats there) only a fool does not prepare to defend himself. I'd rather not go there at all, but those crews may have no real choice.

    The insurance company, however, isn't there. It's concerned about financial losses, not loss of life. Lets put the underwriters on the decks of the ships, and see how they see the situation then, huh?

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  7. Your "great champion of gun control" says that there are 55,000 defensive gun uses per year.

    Maybe those 55,000 lives don't mean anything to you because you lack respect for life.

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  8. "Only those with axes to grind and something to lose would disparage his qualifications."

    Except, of course, for those who actually read his papers, instead of the press releases.

    This, for example:

    http://www.poli-sci.utah.edu/~rhuef/courses/Notes5321-6321/trauma_article.pdf

    demonstrates that he is engaged in intentional fraud. Pay attention to how he explains how Cook's Index can be used as a proxy for estimating how many guns are present in a region. And then note what he is pretending to measure.

    His finding: that areas of the country that have high rates of firearms ownership have higher levels of homicide and suicide involving firearms. How does he define an area as having a high rate of firearms ownership? Simple. It's an area that has a higher level of homicide and suicide involving firearms. (That's what Cook's Index is).

    In other case, he's "proved" that areas with a large proportion of firearms violence have a lot of firearms violence - it's an entirely circular conclusion. Entirely meaningless.

    And he knows it. He didn't care, so long as he could publish something that generated the proper headlines.

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  9. This recent tragic incident resulted in the senseless shooting death of a 7 year old girl when her Dad's gun fell out of his coat pocket and discharged.

    Something here is not right. Modern pistols (made in the last 60 years or so) in good repair do not fire when dropped. There are several varieties of mechanisms to prevent that. In our litigious society no manufacturer wishing to stay in business would put a gun out on the market that didn't have them. Either the gun was broken or altered, in which case I would say the questionable decision was to carry an unsafe gun, or things didn't happen quite the way they are described. As it stands, the article is thin on details.

    New law allowing Iowans to carry guns in bars- one man arrested for threatening folks at a bar with his gun after having too much to drink. Yes, it's true. The laws say that people cannot drink and carry.

    He broke the law, he was arrested. Seems to me the system is working as designed. Where is the problem?

    Incidentally, since he did break the law, why do you count him amongst the "good guys"?

    This case is absolutely tragic given that a 12 year old boy shot his family in Colorado.
    That's not what your link says. It says he shot and stabbed his family. If the there was no gun he would have just stabbed them. Would that have been better?

    Why is it that parents cannot get that their loaded guns should not be sitting around in easy places for kids to gain access to them? This sad story from California is a prime example of kids finding guns by accident and shooting them because that is what curious kids will do. And bullets do go far and wide once shot from the gun. In this case, the bullet went through a closet wall, into a couch where a neighbor was sitting and through his neck into another closet. Senseless. I know, I know, the parents were stupid.

    What leads you to believe these were "good guys"?

    This Omaha, Nebraska man reported that he had been shot. Yes, indeed, he was- but likely by his own gun! Drinking and guns don't go together. Drunk with a shotgun is a bad combination. However, doesn't the "good guy with a gun" refer to a permit holder with a pistol? What makes this drunk one of the "good guys"?

    And once more, a gun permit holder kills someone. This guy tried to get away with murder but he ended up confessing that he shot his wife in the back of the head while they were target shooting. No system is perfect and it looks like one slipped through. However, what part did the permit play in this, given that there is no requirement for one to go target shooting? Would you say that his not having a permit, or even not having a gun would have prevented this intentional murder? How?

    My now deceased and former brother-in-law was not a bad guy. He was quirky and having a lot of problems with the contentious divorce from my sister.
    What is your definition of a "good guy", anyway? From reading your posts I don't see a consistent one, so it's somewhat difficult to see the point you are trying to make beyond "guns are bad", which seems a little simplistic, as well as contradictory to other things you have said.

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  10. My definition of a good guy is someone who procured their gun(s) legally because they could pass a background check. That would make them a law abiding gun owner, right? Those whose names appear as prohibited purchasers are those who should not have guns. It is assumed that if you pass a background check when you buy your gun at an ffl, then you must be a good guy, right? At the least, you aren't a bad guy. So then, my point, which you seem to have missed here, is that guns are inherently dangerous. Even "good guys"- law abiding gun owners, can have accidents with guns or shoot someone when they are angry, drunk, or depressed. People with permits to carry are assumed to be law abiding since they have passed a background check and received their training except of course, in states where absolutely nothing is required to get a permit like Alaska and Arizona. So you guys always argue on this blog that permit holders won't do anything wrong. Neither, do you all say, will law abiding citizens. In the cases above, the people were law abiding until suddenly they weren't when they pulled the trigger. People with guns leave them around loaded, presumably for self defense, in their houses. Children find the guns and shoot people accidentally or on purpose. You tried to explain away the boy who shot and stabbed his family by saying he would have stabbed them all anyway if he didn't have a gun. Perhaps, perhaps not. There is no way to tell. What we do know is that he did shoot some of them. Those are considered under the category of gun murders. As you know, bar tenders don't usually ask people for their gun permits before serving them. Once they have had too much to drink, it's too late. Of course it's against the law. Why not just not have guns allowed where alcohol is served. That would solve the problem. I have reported here on numerous occasions guns firing accidentally when dropped. You guys keep telling me it can't or shouldn't happen but yet, it continues to happen.

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  11. "Why not just not have guns allowed where alcohol is served. That would solve the problem."

    Why do you think that if you pass a law or put a sign up, that everyone will be compelled to obey?

    Guess what? The guy broke the law. He was willing to do so. He proved it. He would break another one.

    We describe "good guys" as people who are only interested in earning an honest living and being able to prevent the violent victimization of themselves or others.

    You describe "good guys" as someone without a criminal record, which could very well just be someone who hasn't been caught yet.

    I know you'd prefer that anyone carrying a gun receive a four year degree in its use, a Top Secret clearance, a polygraph, psychiatric exam, and a functional MRI.

    And the thing is, if I passed all of that, you would still balk at me teaching a high school class or giving a annual physical with a concealed handgun.

    I can only come to the conclusion that you are trying to pass the first of many incremental measures.

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  12. Yes, anon. Haven't you heard? I am going to organize a posse and we'll be coming for all of your guns soon. Be afraid.

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  13. My definition of a good guy is someone who procured their gun(s) legally because they could pass a background check. That would make them a law abiding gun owner, right? Those whose names appear as prohibited purchasers are those who should not have guns. It is assumed that if you pass a background check when you buy your gun at an ffl, then you must be a good guy, right? At the least, you aren't a bad guy. Fair enough. What was confusing is that the expression "good guy with a gun" is generally brought up in the context of a permit holder in public. Most of these are rather different.

    So then, my point, which you seem to have missed here, is that guns are inherently dangerous. I did miss it and said so.

    People with permits to carry are assumed to be law abiding since they have passed a background check and received their training except of course, in states where absolutely nothing is required to get a permit like Alaska and Arizona. Not quite. You state that in absolute terms, but nothing in this world is absolute. I would say that a better way to put it would be that they are more law abiding on average than people who have not. Nothing can give you 100% assurance and no system is foolproof.

    Incidentally, if it's the inherent danger of guns that is the problem, training and licensing requirements won't change that. You aren't making them any less dangerous. Training and licensing can only affect people.

    Now that you have clarified your point, I am confused by something else. You state that guns are inherently dangerous. You also seem to be stating that a background check is insufficient to guarantee "good guy" status because good guys occasionally go bad. Yet, you were at the Minneapolis City Hall advocating for more background checks. If they are ineffective, why do you propose more of them?

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  14. So you guys always argue on this blog that permit holders won't do anything wrong. Neither, do you all say, will law abiding citizens. In the cases above, the people were law abiding until suddenly they weren't when they pulled the trigger.
    If there are guys arguing this here I have not seen it. Perhaps I have not been reading long enough. Again, nobody on this Earth can give you an absolute guarantee. I would, however, say that permit holders are a lot less likely to commit a crime than the general population. For every PH gone bad there are thousands of non-PHs that did the same or worse.

    People with guns leave them around loaded, presumably for self defense, in their houses. Children find the guns and shoot people accidentally or on purpose.I think I originally heard this when I was a kid as "it's all fun until someone loses an eye". There is no way to predict negligence. Fortunately, it's relatively rare. Personally, I don't understand why it happens as often as it does. I knew enough to leave a gun or anything gun-related alone should I happen to find it by the time I was five. My parents and my grandparents saw to it, it really isn't that complex a concept. Of course, where I grew up there were all sorts of war "souvenirs" to be found in the local woods.

    You tried to explain away the boy who shot and stabbed his family by saying he would have stabbed them all anyway if he didn't have a gun. Perhaps, perhaps not. There is no way to tell. What we do know is that he did shoot some of them. We do know he stabbed them. Is that not at all significant?

    As you know, bar tenders don't usually ask people for their gun permits before serving them. Once they have had too much to drink, it's too late. Of course it's against the law. Why not just not have guns allowed where alcohol is served. That would solve the problem.
    I have never been to Iowa, I have no idea what bartenders ask for down there. Does your proposal include searching people at the entrance to the bar? If they don't (and, given the Fourth Amendment I don't see how they could), there is nothing stopping that one man from ignoring this additional prohibition same as he ignored the prohibition to drink while carrying. I don't see how that is an improvement.

    I have reported here on numerous occasions guns firing accidentally when dropped. You guys keep telling me it can't or shouldn't happen but yet, it continues to happen.
    You quote news stories, and they may not have the entire truth. I think it's something that people use as a cover-up for negligence. I am aware of maybe two genuine incidents where a handgun fired on it's own, both times involved guns breaking after being modified by ignorant amateurs. It is always possible that the man was carrying some sort of an antique pistol, or a badly malfunctioning one, but I can't imagine why he would do that.

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  15. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (Northwestern) 87 (1997): 1462.

    A CALL FOR A TRUCE IN THE DGU WAR
    Tom W. Smith *

    Copyright © 1997 Northwestern University School of Law & Tom W. Smith

    "For almost a decade scholars have been debating about how many defensive gun uses (DGUs) occur annually. Gary Kleck and colleagues, [1] citing a series of polls culminating in the 1993 Kleck-Gertz survey, argue that at least 2.55 million people use a firearm for protection against criminals each year. Hemenway and others, [2] relying on the National Crime Victimization Surveys (NCVSs), contend that only about 55,000 to 80,000 victims use guns against offenders in a given year."

    "Neither side seems to be willing to give ground or see their opponents' point of view. This is unfortunate since there is good reason to believe that both sides are off-the-mark."

    "If we factor in some of the probable over- and underestimates affecting the NCVS and K-G 1993 survey, the widely divergent figures on DGUs draw much closer together. The latest figures from the NCVS indicate 108,000 DGUs per annum. [40] If this is adjusted for a 50% under-reporting due to not directly asking for DGUs, this increases the estimate to 216,000. Next, research by Cook and Ludwig suggests that perhaps 16-42% of DGUs involve crimes not covered by the NCVS. [41] Adding in these would raise DGUs to 256,500-373,000."

    "Similarly, using the average of the K-G one-year lower (B) estimate and the NSPOF figure gives a starting estimate of 1,810,000. Assuming a net cognitive over-reporting (telescoping-forgetting) of 50%, [42] reduces the figure to 1,210,000. [43]"

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  16. " they are more law abiding on average than people who have not. Nothing can give you 100% assurance and no system is foolproof. " not too reassuring. I have never said that background checks are the "magic bullet". I don't believe I said they were ineffective, however. I know that realistically, there will be people who will still get guns. As you know there are almost as many guns as people in this country. We will never stop all the shootings. My goal is to reduce and prevent and any measure that will do that is better than what we have now.

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  17. not too reassuring.

    I know. I wish I could reassure you, but I didn't make the world the way it is.

    I have never said that background checks are the "magic bullet". I don't believe I said they were ineffective, however. I know that realistically, there will be people who will still get guns. As you know there are almost as many guns as people in this country. We will never stop all the shootings. My goal is to reduce and prevent and any measure that will do that is better than what we have now. Fair enough.

    How would additional background checks, were they in place, have prevented the six incidents you mentioned?

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  18. Nobody here has claimed that CCW holders are perfect, and immune to human failings.

    However, what we CAN claim, with the numbers to back it up, is that statistically a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns is more likely to commit a felony than a CCW holder.

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  19. I don't know that closing the private seller loophole would have prevented those incidents. I am not saying, nor every have, that extending Brady background checks would prevent all shootings. But it makes a lot of good sense to require everyone to have a background check. It would be consistent- everyone does the same thing.

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  20. Such nonsese is hardly worthy of publishing the comment but I want to call attention to the fact that you guys make statements like this as if they could be true knowing that they are ridiculous. I have seen these before and they just don't pass muster, anon. Think about it. Think about what you are repeating.

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  21. Pat- your comment was not published. I found it offensive and ridiculous.- "borderline insanity." " During your little display on Friday, I noticed no one calling for mandatory 20 year sentences for gun crimes...why was that? " Our "little display"- very demeaning. We weren't there to talk about sentences of criminals, as you know, Pat. Why ask the question?

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  22. "We weren't there to talk about sentences of criminals, as you know, Pat. Why ask the question?"

    Hey, I said "borderline". Your censorship speaks volumes Joan.

    Since you called for, and trotted out for the cameras, the victims of criminals and criminal acts, asking the sentencing question would just be "common sense". Alas, your logic again eludes...

    I'll ask you again, why do you not support mandatory 20 year sentences for criminals whenever a firearm is involved?

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  23. Dear Pat- I'm sure the victims would love to talk to you about why they were "trotted out". Have you ever had a personal conversation with one of these victims you love to demean? You might find that it is a moving thing to hear their stories. How about the one in the article- the family whose litte girl was shot and is now paralyzed for life? How about those in the Somali community who have rarely come to any event and finally decided to stand up and memorialize the victims in their own community, which has suffered from a lot of violence? That community as a whole wants to do something about the violence amidst their own. They are saddened by those who are violent and now radicalized. To say we are trotted out says more about you than them. Why do you all want to harass me with questions that you have decided I simply must answer to your satisfaction? That is a great tactic. You want me on record saying something you can use somehow. For the record, I don't believe I have ever said I am against 20 year sentences for criminals. Have you heard me say that? I don't think so. The legal system doesn't always work the way it should. People plea bargain which I hate. I don't know enough about the legal system to get into this. It is an issue but not the issue we are working on right now,. I am working on preventing gun crimes in teh first place. My main focus is on the front end of the issue. I know that you and the pro gun folks think that what we do on the other end, once the shooting has taken place and people have died, is more important and I'm aware that you believe that would stop people from shooting each other. The problem is, it doesn't work to stop the shootings. When people are bent on shooting someone, in the heat of passion, anger, depression, drug abuse, too much alcohol, etc. it is likely that the first thing on their mind is not how many years they will serve for their crime. And for some, knowing it will mean life senteces or a long time sitting in a cell, they also kill themselves. That has been the case in many of the mass shootings and many of the domestic shootings.

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  24. "I know that you and the pro gun folks think that what we do on the other end, once the shooting has taken place and people have died, is more important and I'm aware that you believe that would stop people from shooting each other."

    1. It is as important to work to prevent violence as it is to punish it severely afterward.

    2. Passing more laws that only stable law abiding people will follow does nothing to prevent violence.

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  25. "not too reassuring"

    Only justice, and not safety, is consistent with liberty, because safety can be secured only by prior restraint and punishment of the innocent, while justice begins with liberty and the concomitant presumption of innocence and imposes punishment only after the fact.
    - Jeffrey Snyder

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  26. This anonymous said, "2. Passing more laws that only stable law abiding people will follow does nothing to prevent violence."

    This is just repeating the NRA mantra that we're all sick of hearing, even the pro-gun guys so they rephrase it.

    The reality works like this: Criminals don't obey laws. Law abiding folks do. Criminals get their guns, all of them, from the law abiding. Laws aimed at the law-abiding directly affect gun availability to the criminals.

    The other Anonymous up thread, the one who mentioned Tom Smith's 15-year-old paper on DGUs is trying to pull a fast one on us. Kleck blatantly exaggerated. Hemenway made a pretty good attempt at reaching a real number. Smith, after tremendous detailed explanations, basically averaged the two. Naturally, pro gun folks like it.

    It's enough to make you wonder if Tom Smith was really a pro-gun shill just doing his job.

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  27. When people are bent on [injuring] someone, in the heat of passion, anger, depression, drug abuse, too much alcohol, etc. it is likely that the first thing on their mind is not how many years they will serve for their crime.

    Exactly, after changing one word to capture the true nature of the problem.

    Nor will the first thing on their mind be the number of laws that will be violated in continuing with the injury. A woman is in a coma in NY because she was pushed in the heat of anger.

    These issues are social and cultural in nature and they increase as we pack more people into tighter and tighter urban areas. If you found the magic solution that would make all American urbanites behave nicely with each other, then the number of gun deaths would plummet beyond your wildest dreams.

    So it makes no common sense at all to create even more laws that affect the overwhelming number of law-abiding citizens that are not a part of this problem and never will be.

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  28. " My definition of a good guy is someone who procured their gun(s) legally because they could pass a background check. "

    Ah. So Cho and Loughner were good guys? WTF? Is jumping through a paperwork hoop really qualify a person as a "good guy"? I've bought all my guns without a background check...never shot anyone and hopefully never will and most certainly won't go on a mass murder spree...but I'm a bad guy and those nuts were "good guys"? Seriously, WTF?

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  29. Anon. You missed a point here. Can you pass a background check? If Cho's name had been properly sent to NICS he could not have passed a background check. He could of course legally bought guns without background check which is a major problem. Since Loughner's name was not on the prohibited buyers list he passed the check even though the clerk at the gun shop had some reservations. Whether our system could have stopped him I'd up for debate. Do remember that he also had an Arizona CCW which requires no background check or training. If the Arizona CCW law required check could he have passed it? This is why I like May Issue CCW permits.

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  30. I don't know that closing the private seller loophole would have prevented those incidents. I am not saying, nor every have, that extending Brady background checks would prevent all shootings. I did not say you said that. However, background checks seem the be the change you are proposing at this time, both on this blog and elsewhere, so I wondered how these examples fit with your proposed solutions.

    Given that background checks are not relevant to these instances, what would you propose that could have been effective in preventing those six shootings?

    Have you ever had a personal conversation with one of these victims you love to demean? You might find that it is a moving thing to hear their stories.
    Some of us have stories of our own and experiences more personal than a conversation. It's just that not everyone draws the same conclusion from the same experience.

    Why do you all want to harass me with questions that you have decided I simply must answer to your satisfaction? The subtitle of your blog is "thoughtful discussion". Isn't posing and answering questions what a discussion consists of? I don't think you are obligated to answer, but without answers to questions it really is more of a monologue.

    I know that you and the pro gun folks think that what we do on the other end, once the shooting has taken place and people have died, is more important and I'm aware that you believe that would stop people from shooting each other.I think you are mistaken in your generalization. It's not that doing things after the shooting is more important, it's that many of the things you propose as prevention are not really effective in the way you think they are. Mostly, this is due to your focus on only a subset of violent acts. I would wager that people working on violence prevention from the social standpoint focusing on types of violence (family, gang, etc) get a lot less direct opposition than people focusing on a single instrument used for violence do. I know I don't have a problem with what they do. I may even help them, should I have the resources.

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  31. Writing about these instances of good people with guns using them incorrectly or purposely to shoot someone is to point out the obvious. Guns are dangerous weapons. Even "good people" make mistakes. You guys are the ones who tell me that you don't. But you do ( I mean the collective "you" here) Some of you on this blog are carelessly, in my opinion, saying that nothing can go wrong with a gun in the right hands. That is simply not true. I will continue writing about these because I am suggesting that too many guns carried in too many places will eventually result in accidents or killings.

    As to the questions, here is the deal. When a question is asked like this:" I'll ask you again, why do you not support mandatory 20 year sentences for criminals whenever a firearm is involved?", I can almost hear the snide vocal tone. It sounds like a parent scolding a child. I will ask you one more time, what did do with my keys. It would be a good idea to just ask the question and not preface it with some qualifying statement that rubs people the wrong way. That is much more conducive to civil discourse.

    And then there is the constant comment about maybe I should focus on violence in general and I would get further. People tend to focus their efforts in one area when lobbying and trying to affect change. Thus- we have MADD, we have the NRA which is not focused on violence in general, by the way, Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, PAVSA- for sexual abuse, PTA, environmental groups, etc. My group is focusing on gun violence. I work with the other groups when it is a good idea to do so. Meanwhile, they rely on my group to do the word about gun violence and I rely on theirs to do the research and the work in the other areas. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it?

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  32. "Guns are dangerous weapons."

    We know that, they wouldn't serve their purpose otherwise. I don't think anyone pretends that a gun is less dangerous in one person's hands or another. It is up to the individual wielding it.

    "I will continue writing about these because I am suggesting that too many guns carried in too many places will eventually result in accidents or killings."

    We're well aware of this as well. There will always be accidents and even malicious individuals. What we object to is how you use these incidents to paint us as a whole. What one person does with their guns has nothing to do with the next. We're not responsible for what others do. The vast majority of gun owners aren't violent criminals, and never will be. The incidents of 'law abiding gun owners going bad' is barely more than statistical noise.

    Even if only the police and military had guns, some incidents would still happen, officers have made mistakes or committed crimes before. Would you continue to post stories about police misconduct with guns if citizens no longer had them?

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  33. Pyrotek- I think there is room for agreement here. I am really not trying to paint you all as one group and all as "bad" people are going bad. I know that you guys understand that safety is of the utmost importance. And though the statistical noise you suggest may be small, to those who were shot and killed, it is very loud. If we all agree that some people are more dangerous than others with guns, what can we do together to make everyone who owns a gun (legally) more safe with those guns. I think that some laws would help. You guys don't see laws involved at all. So we may agree on the problem but the solution is the place where we break down. Also, I am truly not into taking away your guns or your rights. I wonder how many times I need to say that. But you all perceive that the laws proposed would do that and I don't see it that way. Keep talking. Maybe some day we can come together for the good of all of us.

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  34. Last point on your topic here Joan - and you don't get to paint me as a heartless person.

    As Anonymous pointed out 3/13 at 8:09am: "It is as important to work to prevent violence as it is to punish it severely afterward."

    Your focus solely on prevention can't work by itself to stop firearms violence and crime. By "weeding" out the firearm criminals with a mandatory 20yr sentence (no plea bargin, no negotiation), parents such as those at Friday's demonstration, won't have as many tragic losses to contend with.

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  35. mikeb302000 said...

    "This is just repeating the NRA mantra that we're all sick of hearing, even the pro-gun guys so they rephrase it."

    We keep hoping you'll finally get it. Criminals don't care what laws you pass. Seriously.

    "The reality works like this: Criminals don't obey laws. Law abiding folks do."

    Now we're getting somewhere.

    "Criminals get their guns, all of them, from the law abiding. Laws aimed at the law-abiding directly affect gun availability to the criminals."

    That's funny, I thought they got them through straw purchases and at gun shows. And once again, when you clamp down hard on one source of supply, another one will fill its place. Supply and demand. Don't think Mexican smugglers can't work both ways, in fact they routinely demonstrate that they do. And they can get way better guns than we can.

    "The other Anonymous up thread, the one who mentioned Tom Smith's 15-year-old paper on DGUs is trying to pull a fast one on us. Kleck blatantly exaggerated. Hemenway made a pretty good attempt at reaching a real number."

    And I told you- even Hemenway says that there are 55,000 DGUs every year.

    "34 gun murders a day" = 12,410 per year.

    Let's throw some more numbers in there- let's use that "78 per day" figure that allegedly includes suicides and police involved shootings.

    28,470 per year.

    So those 26,530 lives aren't worth suspending your moral outrage that Americans have guns?

    It's enough to make me wonder if you've even thought this through at all.

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  36. Whoo, all my substantive comments on this subject except for the piracy note got Reason Discoursed. I bet you really don't like that National Academy of Sciences lit review. Censorship for the win!

    I still don't know how you justify having firearms in your home if you actually believe the stuff you write here. It seems either criminally negligent ("I genuinely believe that firearms in the home dramatically increase the risk to my family's safety but I'm willing to accept putting my children into harm's way for my husband's hobby"), incredibly arrogant ("I'm special and the averages don't apply to my household--only to those people"), or incredibly cynical ("I don't actually believe that research--probably safe given that the Nat'l Academy of Sciences doesn't either--but I'll cite it to push my political agenda").

    Cheers,
    Chris from AK

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  37. Chris- did I miss some of your comments?

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  38. I am suggesting that too many guns carried in too many places will eventually result in accidents or killings. It seems that there is no explicit solution you would propose. Or is the solution to just not have guns? That seems a bit simplistic.

    It would be a good idea to just ask the question and not preface it with some qualifying statement that rubs people the wrong way. I will remember that.

    People tend to focus their efforts in one area when lobbying and trying to affect change. Thus- we have MADD, we have the NRA which is not focused on violence in general, by the way, Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, PAVSA- for sexual abuse, PTA, environmental groups, etc. My group is focusing on gun violence. I work with the other groups when it is a good idea to do so. Meanwhile, they rely on my group to do the word about gun violence and I rely on theirs to do the research and the work in the other areas. Makes a lot of sense doesn't it? Not quite. This is not quite an apples to apples comparison. These groups you mention are not working on a single aspect of a problem, they are working on different problems. MADD is about drunk driving in general, not drunk driving only station wagons. Domestic Abuse programs treat all domestic abuse, not just domestic abuse involving fists. PAVSA does not focus strictly one one type of sex act. In fact, they specifically state "All are welcome." with regard to victims. There isn't an underlying issue for them that would address their concerns better.

    NRA is not focused on violence at all, whether in general or in particular. Then again, neither is the AAA. No reason for them to be, they were not created to work on any aspect of violence.

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  39. Those groups I mentioned are focusing on their issue(s) but not necessarily focusing on someone else's issue. Thus domestic abuse intervention works on that and considers guns as weapons but works with us for expertise on that as we do rely on them for the same. You guys just don't want us working on guns. You would love to have us go away and work on some other issue which is what you keep telling me. It's not going to happen so I don't know why you keep bringing it up. It makes no sense at all.

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  40. Those groups I mentioned are focusing on their issue(s) but not necessarily focusing on someone else's issue. So violence is not your issue. Fair enough.

    It's not going to happen so I don't know why you keep bringing it up.Well, it was really a matter of clarification of your goals. Now that I know you are not actually interested in reducing violence and gun control is an end unto itself I will not mention it again.

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  41. Snarky- you are newer to this blog and we have had this go-around many many times. Frankly it is a stupid discussion. I don't intend to pursue it other than to say I care about all kinds of violence. For you to make that into something else is dishonest and disingenuous. I am working on gun violence specifically. I won't go into my tirade about how I care about other kinds of violence but am putting my efforts into preventing GUN violence. You actually know that- you are trying to get me to say something else or say something you can "get me" for. Thanks for not bringing it up again. What I am doing speaks for itself.

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