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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Monday, May 9, 2011

What's good enough for Wisconsin gun owners is good enough for all of us?

Does anyone else see the total irony in states allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit? Here is an article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about several bills being considered in the Wisconsin legislature. So when people can carry their loaded guns around in public and just about every place in public at that, then one can presume that anyone can carry a loaded gun around in public places. According to the gun lobby talking heads, there is no problem with this idea. After all, those law abiding citizens who own guns never cause problems so why not let them carry in public? The problem is, they are wrong. Law abiding citizens all over the country have accidentally discharged their guns and shot and injured or killed either themselves or others. Check out the Ohh Shoot blog if you don't believe me. One of the blog entries is this one about a Wisconsin legal gun owner shooting himself in the wee hours of the morning while drinking. Really? And the Wisconsin gun lobby thinks people like this should be allowed to carry their guns around in public places? But those legal gun owners are always safe with their guns. Don't worry folks, no problems. Just believe us and everything will work out.

Also check out Violence Policy Center for the number of legal permit holders who have committed intentional murder. If this doesn't make you think twice, then you are a rabid proponent of "Constitutional carry". I love how the gun rights folks cloak everything in the Constitution as if that, alone, should convince us that their ideas are valid. And since the gun rights lobby doesn't see the numbers in the report above to be a problem, apparently they believe that a certain amount of collateral damage is necessary in order for them to carry their guns around in public places. This is a crazy way to view gun rights and public safety and needs to be challenged with the truth. These numbers don't lie. They are not manufactured to prove a point. They are the evidence of dead bodies at the hands of legal permit holders. Do we value life in this country? If so, elected leaders will not pass these extreme gun laws.

How are law enforcement or the general public to know if someone carrying is legal or not? They won't. The gun guys will get on this post and tell me that it is illegal for a felon, domestic abuser or dangerously mentally ill person to own a gun so those people will obviously not be carrying in public. Wrong. They, of course, already do and have ready places to get their guns easily. The illegal gun market sells guns to all of those prohibited folks. Where do those guns come from? They start out as legal purchases. They are stolen from private homes of gun owners. They are sold in straw purchases by bad apple gun dealers. They are sold by private sellers at gun shows and other venues where anyone can buy a gun without a background check in states that have not closed the private seller loophole.

So that being the case, what is to stop an illegal gun owner from carrying a gun and acting as if they are just another legal gun owner carrying around in public places? Now law enforcement will and does have no reason to believe that the person they may confront in a traffic stop or on the street is legal. Will the carrier shout out " Don't shoot, I'm law abiding?" Will the law abiding gun owner carrying at the Mall of America or at McDonald's shout out, "Don't worry folks, I'm law abiding?", when said person perceives something amiss and decides to take matters into his or her own hands? Or could that very same person be a felon, domestic abuser, terrorist ( yes folks, terrorists can legally buy guns in this country), repeat drug abuser, gang member, or even, God forbid, an adjudicated mentally ill person? Does anyone remember January 8th, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona? Does anyone remember that in Arizona anyone can carry a gun in public without a permit? Does anyone remember that Jared Loughner had a gun with several 30 round ammunition magazines in public? Did those around him just think that he was another law abiding gun owner when he pulled his gun out? Does anyone remember that the one guy ( Joe Zamudio)  with a legal gun he was carrying started to pull his gun out to take care of things when he realized almost too late that the person holding that gun at the scene was one of the people who had tackled Loughner to the ground and had taken his gun away? Does anyone remember what that permit holder said afterward? He thought the guy holding the gun was the shooter. He almost shot an innocent person. Does anyone think the police would have thought twice before shooting at the innocent person with the gun at the chaotic scene? Who's legal? Who's not? Will law enforcement be able to discern that quickly enough to make that all important judgment? Will people with no training who carry guns in public be able to make that all important and split second decision that they are not trained to make?

You get the picture. Unfortunately, elected leaders all over the country are not thinking through their decisions. They are acting totally and impulsively to satisfy the demands of the ever present and ever noisy NRA and its' minions who actually believe that anyone should be carrying guns in public and the rest of us should just think this is normal and perfectly O.K. Well I, for one, and the majority of Americans, disagree and have said so many times. Our voices are either not loud enough or drowned out by the powerful and well funded NRA whose members are in the minority. Only about 1/3 of households even have guns in them any more. Gun owners are not the majority of us folks. Non gun owners are the majority. So why, you must ask, do law makers listen to 33% of the public when making decisions that involve deadly weapons designed to kill people? That is the question you need to be asking your law makers. Get loud. Make some noise. Demand answers and demand accountability from people who are making decisions in a vacuum or for purely political reasons. They are not about common sense. They are about giving to those who already have and getting from those who give lots of money and lots of influence in elections. Is this a good way to run our country? Is this the way laws should be made? Is this protecting public safety? Is this reducing gun deaths and injuries? I think not.  If you agree with me, get on board and do something about it.

84 comments:

  1. If a "majority" of Americans agree with your view that guns should not be carried in public, why has not one single shall-issue law or constitutional carry law been repealed by the vote of this "majority"?

    Also a survey of 600 individuals in five states hardly proves that a majority of American favor your views.

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  2. It's already legal to open carry in Wisconsin without any sort of permit - I don't see a wild west situation happening over there. The data just does not support your allegations.

    Bryan

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  3. Is it legal to open carry without a permit? Wisconsin does not have a conceal and carry law with requirements that go with one. " Wisconsin and Illinois are the only two states that do not permit carrying of concealed weapons. But Wisconsin's statutes are silent on carrying weapons openly, such as in a clearly visible belt holster, a practice that has constitutional backing." http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/43302252.html

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  4. "After all, those law abiding citizens who own guns never cause problems so why not let them carry in public?"

    Interesting that you point this out. Check out this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSTIV2esa-k It shows a police officer giving a class a lecture on guns. He states that he is the "only one qualified to carry this gun." Then he proceeds to shoot himself in the foot. Good thing that round didn't ricochet and hit a young child in the head.

    But then, police are the only ones that should carry around guns, right? Or do you believe that even the police shouldn't carry guns?

    Certainly they are the most highly trained and qualified individuals, so why not let them carry? Nothing could go wrong.

    "Where do those guns come from? They start out as legal purchases. They are stolen from private homes of gun owners. They are sold in straw purchases by bad apple gun dealers. They are sold by private sellers at gun shows and other venues..."

    And in Mexico, where civilian gun ownership is practically forbidden, narco gangs get their sophisticated weaponry from the police and military - the only people that those on your side want to own firearms.

    Maybe thats why they have such a low murder rate. Oh, wait...

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  5. Terrorist like Ted Kennedy was or just people that are put on the list?

    Here is an interesting poll that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did recently about CCW in Wisconsin

    http://www.jsonline.com/polls/121310489.html?results=y&mr=1&oid=1&pid=121310489&cid=8500544

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  6. Bryan says it is legal. You ask if it is legal to open carry with a permit, explain that it is (because there is no law against it, then point us to an article that agrees that it is legal to carry openly in Wisconsin without a permit.

    I'm just not getting what your confusion is.

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  7. I think you just made my point for me. Thanks.

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  8. Nice try. We all know that on-line polling is not scientific polling and the ones who get the word out the fastest are the ones who win the poll. Try again.

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  9. Well, Patrick- first of all, I thought you were done commenting on my blog. Second of all, if Bryan says it's legal then it must be.

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  10. "Only about 1/3 of households even have guns in them any more."

    You've got to stop believing your own propaganda. It's one thing to gun up a fraudulent survey, it's something else entirely to plan your political strategy on the assumption that it's true.

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  11. I know you guys just hate it when I post things that are true.

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  12. "I know you guys just hate it when I post things that are true."

    We probably would, were it to happen.

    Meanwhile, Gallup has been polling on gun ownership for fifty years, and the only conclusion that one can draw from the data is that people lie to pollsters, when asked if they own a gun.

    In 1968, Gallup reported 50% of households had guns. In 1972, it reported 43%. In 1980, the number was up to 45%, in 1983 it was back down to 40%. In 1993 the number was up to 51%, in 1995 it was 35%.

    There is simply no way that 16% of the population got rid of their guns between 1993 and 1995. The only possible conclusion is that the survey results reflect little more than the comfort which people have with talking about their guns with pollsters, which tends to drop during major gun control debates.

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  13. Joan,
    My question isn't about what Bryan said. It was that *you* posted something that confirmed that it was, but still seem to act as if it isn't legal to open carry in Wisconsin. The article that YOU linked to said
    "Openly carrying a gun on the street or in a store will attract plenty of attention, particularly from police, but is perfectly legal, according to an advisory issued Monday by state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen....
    Van Hollen distributed the advisory in response to questions from district attorneys and police officials across the state. Some, Van Hollen said, mistakenly believed the mere act of wearing a handgun in a visible holster amounted to a violation of the disorderly conduct statute."

    So are you saying Bryan is wrong, not wrong.. the article is wrong. You weren't very clear in what you posted, but the article did seem to be clear..

    This isn't about hating what you post, etc... This is "what exactly are you trying to say?"

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  14. The law is silent on Open Carry in Wisconsin so by default, people can carry guns.

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  15. "The law is silent on Open Carry in Wisconsin so by default, people can carry guns."

    Not quite an accurate description.

    The Wisconsin Constitution explicitly recognizes an individual's right to keep and bear arms: "The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or any other lawful purpose." (Passed in 1998, with 74% of the voters approving.)

    Since then, Wisconsin courts have held that Wisconsin's laws against carrying concealed are constitutional _only_ because carrying openly is legal. Which is consistent with the last 150 years of precedent on this question - the government may pass laws to regulate the manner of carrying, it may not forbid it.

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  16. yep that is how laws work here in the US. Generally you make laws that forbid things not the other way around.

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  17. Joan,

    Why didn't you publish my comment about the conviction rates in Texas?

    Afraid that the facts will demolish your argument?

    Hardly the sign of someone confident of her argument.

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  18. Source for your information?

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  19. "Is it legal to open carry without a permit? Wisconsin does not have a conceal and carry law with requirements that go with one. "

    Yes, it is legal to open carry in Wisconsin without a permit.

    Bryan

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  20. Thanks, Bryan. So that means, as I wrote in my post, that just anyone could strap a gun to their hip and be legal. The "good guys" who mean no harm and are law abiding and the "bad guys". If no permit is required, who is to say that a felon isn't the guy you see walking around in a restaurant with a gun? Why wouldn't a felon take advantage of this type of gun policy to look just like anyone else carrying a gun around? Why wouldn't law enforcement arrest someone or question someone under this kind of system not knowing if the person with the gun is law abiding or a criminal, domestic abuser, gang member, drug abuser, etc? Why would law enforcement want a law that doesn't discriminate between those who are law abiding and those who are not? It puts the lives of officers at risk for sure and potentially the lives of innocent people.

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  21. "Why wouldn't a felon take advantage of this type of gun policy to look just like anyone else carrying a gun around?"

    Why would a felon take advantage? Open carry still draws attention whether it is legal or not. Like cops asking you to identify yourself or getting and running your serial number on your weapon to make sure the gun isn't stolen. If you don't want to draw attention why wouldn't you carry the gun concealed. Because it is illegal? They are felons.

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  22. "So that means, as I wrote in my post, that just anyone could strap a gun to their hip and be legal."

    No. Just anyone _can_ strap a gun to their hip and be legal.

    "Why wouldn't a felon take advantage of this type of gun policy to look just like anyone else carrying a gun around?"

    You're still talking in the subjunctive. There's no "would" about it. Open carry has been legal in Wisconsin for its entire history. The problems you've been imagining haven't happened.

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  23. "So why, you must ask, do law makers listen to 33% of the public when making decisions that involve deadly weapons designed to kill people?"

    That's an easy question to answer. It's because those folks are much more likely to vote -- and to vote based mainly upon that issue.

    Years ago, polls showed that a referendum to ban handguns in MA was likely to pass. Later, polls showed that a referendum to freeze handguns in CA was likely to pass. And after that, polls showed that a referendum to register guns in WA was likely to pass. Yet when the people of those states actually voted, all 3 measures were defeated by large margins. Assuming that the polls were accurate, it appears that opponents of the anti-gunowner measures turned out to vote much more than supporters did.

    All of which illustrates that answer to your question.

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  24. Joan,

    You continue to approve comments made long after I responded to YOUR REQUEST for the source of my information.

    Again I ask you to publish the comment(s) and let's talk about it.

    Time and time again, you ask for thoughtful discussion and when you get it, you moderate the comments out of existence.

    In Texas (see earlier Texas Department of Public Safety for conviction rates), the conviction rate for Concealed Handgun License holders has never exceeded 0.47% of all convictions.

    Given that there were 19 Million people in 1996, and the highest number of CHL convictions was 163, you can see the problem is exceedingly small.

    Not non-existent but extremely small -- so why should we continue to push restrictive laws when the data shows there isn't an overwhelming need?

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  25. Somewhere in here, anon, you seem to have forgotten that this is my blog, not yours. I will publish information if it is relevant to the discussion and has referenced facts. I guess you could call this a reference. I continue to maintain that gun permit holders have and continue to commit crimes. Even if the crime rate is not larger than that of the community as a whole, it is a fact that the folks who hold these permits are not all law abiding. The fact that permit holders have shot people to death belies what you guys always say- that permit holders are very safe and will make us safer in public places. Such has not been proven to be the case and, in fact, the opposite is true. I am not willing to have collateral damage for your perceived rights that you maintain are constitutional when they are not. People who carry guns are not necessarily more law abiding than any one else and could be less so.

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  26. "Why wouldn't law enforcement arrest someone or question someone under this kind of system not knowing if the person with the gun is law abiding or a criminal, domestic abuser, gang member, drug abuser, etc?"

    Because as a general rule the police are not empowered to stop and question people lawfully and peaceably going about their business. There needs to be some suspicion or evidence of criminal activity before a police officer can search/detain/question you without your consent. Since keeping and carrying arms is a specifically enumerated constitutional right (both federally and in Wisconsin) the act of exercising that right is no more an indication of criminal activity than the exercise of any other right.

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  27. Joan,

    No one is denying that permit holders commit crime.

    To say otherwise isn't telling the truth.

    he fact that permit holders have shot people to death belies what you guys always say- that permit holders are very safe and will make us safer in public places.

    Your viewpoint is skewed. Basically you are saying that if any permit holder commits murder than that makes the community less safe, right?

    That completely ignore the reality of defensive gun uses.

    To illustrate how off base your view is; consider this argument. If a law enforcement officer commits murder, than that makes the community less safe and there fore we should get rid of law enforcement officers.

    How does that make sense?

    Such has not been proven to be the case and, in fact, the opposite is true.

    Okay, I'll ask for citations this time. Prove that permitted carrying of firearms has made the public less safe.

    I am not willing to have collateral damage for your perceived rights that you maintain are constitutional when they are not.

    Now you are denying the constitutionality of carrying firearms in public?

    Really Joan, Thanks for being a blogger's best source of material.

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  28. You've missed my point. If someone carrying openly is deemed to be a threat in some way by law enforcement or the public who, by the way, generally don't like seeing loaded guns hanging on people's hips in public places, police would have trouble discerning by just looking whether or not the person with the gun has evil intent or just another law abiding citizen going about his business in public. In the case of the Tucson shootings, if Joe Zamudio had actually brought his gun out to use to "protect and defend" the people in the parking lot from Jared Loughner, how would police have known that he was innocent? They would have shot to kill thinking he was in on the shooting. How could they have known the difference between him and Loughner who was the actual criminal? And, of course, Loughner was not a criminal until he pulled the trigger on Jan. 8th. He was someone who should not have been allowed to carry a gun in public. But since Arizona doesn't have a permit requirement to carry, it's O.K. for people like him to carry in public. Also, laws are not requiring states to send those records of dangerous mentally ill people to NICS. We have many people carrying guns in public who shouldn't be. We have many people carrying guns in public who have actually passed the requirements to do so and are law abiding. The differences may not be obvious at first blush. It makes for potentially dangerous situations which are acted out on our streets often enough to be concerned.

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  29. japete,

    In your last post, if you were to substitute "gun permit holders" with any socio-economic or ethnic group, you'd sound like a bigot.

    Example:

    "I continue to maintain that [purple people] have and continue to commit crimes. Even if the crime rate is not larger than that of the community as a whole, it is a fact that the [purple people] are not all law abiding. The fact that [purple people] have shot people to death belies what you guys always say- that [purple people] are very safe and will make us safer in public places. "

    I've deliberately used the absurd example of [purple people], but you can see my point.

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  30. " Your viewpoint is skewed. Basically you are saying that if any permit holder commits murder than that makes the community less safe, right?"- If you think that someone like Richard Poplawski who shot and killed 3 Pittsburgh police officers makes us safer, then fine. He was a legal permit holder. If you think Jared Loughner- legal because no permit is required in Arizona, made those Tucson folks safer, then fine. There are numerous examples of permit holders in the Violence Policy Center's report who have shot people in homes and publicly. Read my post. The Ohh shoot blog has provided for some permit holders who have shot themselves or others accidentally. You guys continue to come at me with the small number and that seems O.K. to you. It's not to me. It's not to the victims. We don't live in a country that thinks that a few lives can and need to be lost to accomodate your extreme positions about the second amendment and your desire to carry your guns everywhere you go. Any life lost because a permit holder shot someone should be a wake up call that not all permit holders have good intentions or act responsibily. That is why our system should make it harder rather than easier to get a permit to carry a gun.

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  31. Actually, Sean, no, I don't see your point.

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  32. "if Joe Zamudio had actually brought his gun out to use to "protect and defend" the people in the parking lot from Jared Loughner, how would police have known that he was innocent? They would have shot to kill thinking he was in on the shooting. How could they have known the difference between him and Loughner who was the actual criminal?"

    Well, upon arrival to the scene Mr. Zamudio believed the person who had disarmed Loughner was the actual shooter. Upon further inspection he realized this was not the case and did not shoot.

    Now, why wouldn't an officer jump to the same conclusion as Zamudio? Why wouldn't an officer use his common sense to identify who was and was not the shooter - the same way Zamudio did.

    I don't understand why you believe that Zamudio's correct decision in a stressful situation would be different for a police officer. Neither citizens nor police are as trigger happy as you seem to assert.

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  33. " Any life lost because a permit holder shot someone should be a wake up call that not all permit holders have good intentions or act responsibily."

    And any life lost because someone did not have the ability to defend themselves, due to the ridiculous gun control laws, should be a wake up call that we need fewer laws.

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  34. Zamudio clearly said that he was lucky not to have shot at the person holding the gun who was not Loughner and that he didn't want to be looked at as a 2nd shooter by police. Situations like this are volatile. Too many guns around just make it more so.

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  35. Joan,

    How many times do you think the police would arrive on the scene to find a person defending themselves and a person attacking him both with firearms?

    The old saying is true -- when seconds count, the police are minutes away -- but it highlights the simple fact that for the most part-- by the time the police respond, the situation will be over.

    Too many guns around just make it more so.

    You keep saying that but you offer no evidence to support your statements. Stories are anecdotes, not evidence.

    If the situation is as volatile as you say, then you should have no problem finding evidence to support your contention the police wouldn't be able to differentiate?

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  36. These are not stories. They are very real incidents and proof for what I am saying. Yes, police don't prevent shootings. Neither do permit holders. In these cases, we need to make sure that some people are not carrying guns. Find me a real life situation where someone with a permit prevented a public shooting by shooting first or stopping the shooter. I am not talking about in the home. I am talking about a permit holder making a difference at a public place. Don't tell me that if only someone had a gun it would have been different because you can't prove that.

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  37. Joan,

    The NRA publishes such articles all the time
    http://www.nraila.org/armedcitizen/

    Jay G. at the excellent blog Stuck In Massachusetts also collects such stories
    http://stuckinmassachusetts.blogspot.com/search/label/Dead%20Goblin%20Count

    But my right to keep and bear arms does not depend on others successfully using it.

    If it will save just one live -- Mine or one of my families, that is enough.

    Anecdotes are not evidence. We can battle back and forth articles all day long.

    In 2009, there was a total of 10,639, 369 crimes (Source - FBI Uniform Crime Report), out of all those crimes less than 375,000 involved firearms. (Source (FBI UCR and Bureau of Justice Statistic Violent Crime Weapon Use).

    There are an estimated 80,000,000 firearm owners in America -- do the math Joan.

    Let's assume that each and every firearm crime was committed by a separate gun owner (not true if for no other reason multiple murders, armed robbers, etc) but let's assume to give your side the benefit.

    375,000 divided by 80,000,000 times 100 to express a percent = 0.46875%.

    Less that half a percent of all possible gun owners were involved in a crime in 2009.

    Isn't that saying something ??

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  38. I don't believe convicted terrorists can pass a NICS check.

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  39. Those on the terror watch list ( short list) can buy guns. Federal agents know they have purchased guns, but their names on not in the NICS system. That is a fact. We have not passed a law to add those names to NICS as prohibited purchasers. Even if we had, these folks can and do buy guns at gun shows without benefit of background checks as in the Sept. 10, 2001 case of Hezbollah terrorists convicted of buying guns at a Michigan gun show. They got caught and were prosecuted and jailed. But they bought their guns easily at a gun show with no background check. We have a problem that could result in a terrorist act and we are not fixing the problem.

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  40. You keep pushing the terror watch list that is obviously flawed or we had a terrorist helping run the country (Ted Kennedy) Now he had the pull to get his name removed from the list but could you have had yours removed? I dont know how you rationalize removing a right with no way to defend yourself but that is not common sense.

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  41. Japete,

    I feel compelled to address some of your comments. If you misspoke, no hard feelings. I only want to make sure I comprehend your message.

    "Those on the terror watch list ( short list) can buy guns."

    Almost anyone, for reasons not fully made public, can potentially be added to terror watch lists, no fly lists, and if Chuck Schumer gets his way, no train lists. No criminal conviction required either!

    "Federal agents know they have purchased guns, but their names on not in the NICS system. That is a fact."

    Are you saying the bad guys were under surveillance, or are the feds secretly intercepting NICS checks?

    "We have not passed a law to add those names to NICS as prohibited purchasers."

    My $0.02, but if these are terrorists, and the feds know who they are, why are they walking among us? Forget legislation, and debate, send in the cavalry and remove the threat by any means necessary.

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  42. According to the ACLU the short list is over 1,000,000 people. That is a rather LONG short list.

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  43. from the Brady Campaign- " February 2004 through February 2010, 1,225 firearm and 3 explosives background checks matched the terrorist watchlist. Of these matches, 91 percent (1,119/1,228) were allowed to proceed because the checks revealed no prohibiting information" and " The problem occurs when, even if the Brady background check reveals that the prospective purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist, federal law will not bar the sale unless the person meets one of the disqualifying factors under the 1968 Gun Control Act, such as being a convicted felon or domestic abuser." and " On May 7, 2007, federal law enforcement authorities arrested six terrorism suspects who had been planning an attack with firearms on Fort Dix in New Jersey. The men had been training with firearms and were trying to obtain AK-47s for the attack.

    Other incidents of suspected terrorists trying to buy firearms, sometimes successfully, in the United States include:

    · Ali Boumelhem and his brother Mohamed purchased an arsenal of shotguns, ammunition, and assault weapon parts from Michigan gun shows. On September 10, 2001, just one day before the devastating attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, Ali Boumelhem was convicted of weapons violations and conspiracy to ship weapons to the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon (AP, 2000).

    · Over the course of seven years, Muhammad Navid Asrar, a suspected terrorist and illegal immigrant, frequented gun shows, buying several weapons, including a Ruger Mini-14 rifle, two pistols and a hunting rifle. On October 30, 2001, he pleaded guilty in Texas to illegal possession of ammunition and other charges (Butterfield, 2001). "http://www.bradycampaign.org/legislation/backgroundchecks/terrorgap

    " A. Gun-owning NRA members support closing the Terror Gap. A recent poll found that 82 percent of NRA members think people on the terrorist watch list should be prohibited from purchasing guns (Mayors Against Illegal Guns, p. 5)." and

    " In order to close the terror gap, Senator Frank Lautenberg (NJ) and Representative Peter King (NY) have introduced the “Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act.” Based on a Bush Administration proposal, this legislation would:

    · Provide the Attorney General (AG) with discretionary authority to deny the transfer of a firearm or an explosives license or permit when a background check reveals that the purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist and the AG reasonably believes that the person may use a firearm or explosives in connection with terrorism;

    · Implement due process safeguards so an affected person would have an opportunity to challenge a denial by the AG; and

    · Protect the sensitive information providing the basis for terrorist watch lists."

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  44. So what have these terrorist been up to after getting their weapons? I do not seem to remember any terrorist groups attacking anywhere here in the US. Or is it reasonable to believe that the list is flawed and most of the 1,225 are normal people not terrorists.

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  45. I would suppose there is reason to believe that they are planning how they can use those guns in an attack. Remember Mumbai?

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  46. "Assuming that the polls were accurate, it appears that opponents of the anti-gunowner measures turned out to vote much more than supporters did."

    Actually, it appears to support the notion that gun owners are less likely to respond to pollsters than other folks.

    The elephant in the room, regarding polling, is that response rates have been going down rapidly, over the last few decades, and have been doing so in an increasingly skewed manner.

    Response rates are down under 20%.

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  47. it also looks like the NICS is flawed too

    In 2009 more than 33,000 denials were appealed (22% of denials) and more than 12,000
    appeals resulted in reversal of the denial (37% of appeals).

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  48. Actually, Japete, you are quoting some language of the “terror gap” bill that doesn’t make it sound so bad from my perspective. But it is not what you have made it out to be, or what gun controllers generally seem to be asking for (denying everyone on the terrorist watch list).

    Provide the Attorney General (AG) with discretionary authority to deny the transfer of a firearm or an explosives license or permit when a background check reveals that the purchaser is a known or suspected terrorist and the AG reasonably believes that the person may use a firearm or explosives in connection with terrorism;

    That last line is key. It adds an element of due process which has been the big complaint all along (similar to a judge granting a wire tap for a suspect). To me it looks like the Attorney General has to examine evidence on a case by case basis for adding individuals to the list, and there is an appeal process for getting removed. I am OK with that, if that is indeed the case (I haven’t read the whole bill). That being said, touting some number like 1200 terrorists have been allowed to buy guns is disingenuous because there is no way Holder would have examined all of those cases, let a lone the million or so others on the list.

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  49. "I would suppose there is reason to believe that they are planning how they can use those guns in an attack. Remember Mumbai?"

    I remember that the shooters used illegal machine guns -- and that it was illegal there for the shooters to own any guns at all without complying with Indian law.

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  50. My problem with this proposal is that it doesn't go far enough.

    Although the Supreme Court established that the RKBA is a Constitutional right, we cannot let Constitutional rights stand in the way of the war on terror. Suppose someone is on the terror suspect list (who is on the list is a secret, as is the criteria for being on it). It is not enough to deny their 2nd Amendment right to buy a gun, since they could already have some at home. So we need to also deny their 4th Amendment rights and search their homes without warrants. We also need to question them as to why they wanted a gun, without any right to remain silent. So we must also deny their 5th Amendment rights and punish them if they don't tell us what we need to know.

    This is the logical next step in the Bush war on terror policies -- in fact, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was a supporter of this very proposal on behalf of the Bush administration. The Bush administration had previously only supported the denial of Constitutional rights to those who were actually arrested for terrorism. The next step, as we are discussing here, is to deny Constitutional rights to those whom we just put on a secret list because we for some secret reason just suspect them of some sort of terrorist sympathy.

    I would not have thought that japete was a supporter of Bush/Cheney-type war on terror measures, especially such an escalation -- but welcome aboard!

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  51. TS- I doubt that Eric Holder himself has examined the records. There must be folks in his office in charge of this and when necessary, information is run past him as the guy in charge.

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  52. Right, Jay. So then Mumbai shouldn't be counted as a terrorist attack. Of course they used illegal machine guns. What difference does that make? People on the known terror list in this country are also getting guns. It's legal, however, because we haven't made it illegal. What you are saying is so incomprensible to me. If terrorists get their guns illegally, they should not be considered terrorists or what the heck are you trying to say here?

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  53. What the heck are you talking about? I support the current "terror gap" legislation. It has been under consideration since the Bush administration. Congress wouldn't hear of it because the NRA was and still is scaring the ^%$$ out of anyone who dares to whisper about a gun bill. Even Bush couldn't get this one passed.

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  54. "People on the known terror list in this country are also getting guns"

    The terror watch list is far too subjective to be used as a method to screen potential firearm purchasers.

    A rogue attorney general could easily put everyone on this list the way that it is currently structured.

    Bryan

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  55. "Find me a real life situation where someone with a permit prevented a public shooting by shooting first or stopping the shooter. I am not talking about in the home. I am talking about a permit holder making a difference at a public place"

    No problem.

    The Star-Tribune, St. Paul Minn. 02/26/09
    Susana Khalil, eight months pregnant and with her toddler in tow, went to visit her husband for dinner at his convenience store in St. Paul, Minn. After she arrived, her husband asked her to tend to the counter while he ran a quick errand. While he was gone, a woman entered the store and charged at Khalil with a remote control wrapped in a plastic bag to imitate a gun. Khalil was able to fend off the attack long enough to grab her husband’s gun and fire it at the woman, striking her in the shoulder. The assailant later pleaded guilty to attempted aggravated robbery. The incident took place in 2007, but this week St. Paul Police Chief John Harrington heard of Khalil’s heroics in early 2009, he awarded her with the Chief’s Award for Valor.

    The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis, Ind. 07/26/10
    Derek Schafer was travelling around in Indianapolis, Ind. apartment hunting in his vehicle, when Colen McDade approached him and demanded money. After Schafer handed over some money, McDade attacked him, at which point Schafer drew a gun and shot McDade in the stomach. After the incident Schafer cooperated with police; McDade was found on a nearby porch and taken to a local hospital.

    WRTV, Indianapolis, Ind. 04/19/10
    Brian Blevins and his girlfriend were helping a friend move into an apartment in Indianapolis, Ind., when Christopher Hampton approached the group and asked if anyone had change for a $5 bill. Blevins told Hampton that there was change in the apartment and invited him inside. Once inside, Hampton drew a gun and attempted to rob Blevins. Blevins, a Right-to-Carry permit holder, drew his own gun and shot and killed Hampton. Indianapolis Police Sgt. Matthew Mount made it clear that charges against Blevins are unlikely, stating, “Everything looks like it was an act of self-defense.” Hampton had been under GPS surveillance at the time of the attempted robbery, having been arrested earlier in the month for home invasion.

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  56. "People who carry guns are not necessarily more law abiding than any one else and could be less so. "

    This is untrue. The data in every state that has a shall issue law indicates, by a wide margin, that permit holders commit crime at a rate far far less than the general population.

    You can look at the data in the current Minnesota BCA annual report on the MPPA as an example of this.

    Bryan

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  57. Re: Crimes by permit holders versus those of the general population

    We can look at Florida as an example here. Based on their most recent permit report (see: http://licgweb.doacs.state.fl.us/stats/cw_monthly.html )

    Out of the 1,976,774 licenses issued since 1987, only 5,491 have been revoked due to a crime after licensing.

    Of those 5,491 revocations, only 168 were revoked for a firearms crime after licensing.

    This rate is significantly below that of the general population.

    b

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  58. "Why wouldn't law enforcement arrest someone or question someone under this kind of system not knowing if the person with the gun is law abiding or a criminal, domestic abuser, gang member, drug abuser, etc?"

    Well, for one, it's not legal to arrest someone who hasn't committed a crime.

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  59. "I would suppose there is reason to believe that they are planning how they can use those guns in an attack. Remember Mumbai? "

    The Mumbai attacks were perpetrated by individuals who brought their firearms in from the sea from offshore. Some believe, though it has never been confirmed or acknowledged, that Pakistani intelligence was involved in this situation.

    The attackers were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba.

    The fact remains that the firearms, explosives, and other weapons used in the attacks were not acquired within India through legal or illegal means.

    Bryan

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  60. Bryan- I doubt that would happen.

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  61. Thanks, Bryan, I guess I didn't make it clear that what I meant was a mass public shooting or an attempt at such. I know there are cases where people have used guns to prevent robberies or in self defense in homes. The ones you gave me are legitimate uses of guns for self defense or to prevent bodily harm to oneself or others. I have never said I didn't think those happen or are justified. Since the discussion moved to the mass shooting in Tucson and the permit holder there who decided not to use his gun, I wanted examples of a case where during a public mass shooting like Tucson, Ft. Hood, Virginia Tech, etc. a permit holder was there to prevent it or make a difference.

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  62. There is a disconnect going on here regarding terrorists and guns. To me, it doesn't matter where they get their guns, they do and can get guns and it is usually illegal. My point is that there are people who understand that terrorists with guns could wreak havoc in major cities. One could even call the D.C. Sniper shootings as home grown terrorists with guns who terrified the neighborhoods around D.C. with random shootings. I don't know what the point is that you guys are making. Are you trying to deny that terrorists can get guns in this country and would inevitably get them somewhere else and then carry out an attack here? Yes, that's possible. But it is also possible that terrorists would get their guns right here in the U.S. because their names are on a list that is monitored by federal authorities and when they buy guns from ffls, it is known that they have bought the guns. But they are not currently prohibited from doing so because we have not made it so. They are not on the prohibited purchasers list and so cannot be denied by an ffl to buy a gun. That means they are able to buy guns in this country. And they have. Wouldn't it be better and safer to stop them from buying guns at the point of sale rather than knowing they have bought them and monitor them?

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  63. japete: I support the current "terror gap" legislation. It has been under consideration since the Bush administration.

    Yes -- this was one of many curtailments of Constitutional rights proposed by the Bush/Cheney administration as part of a "war on terror." Unfortunately, there are many people who objected to all those curtailments of Constitutional rights except the one curtailing Second Amendment rights.

    japete, by supporting the current "terror gap" legislation, you show that you are willing to deny Second Amendment rights to those whom bureaucrats have placed on a secret list using secret criteria. It is thus logical to assume that you would also be willing to deny Fourth Amendment rights and Fifth Amendment rights to those whom bureaucrats have placed on a secret list using secret criteria. Those might be even more valuable weapons in the war on terror.

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  64. "Wouldn't it be better and safer to stop them from buying guns at the point of sale rather than knowing they have bought them and monitor them?"

    You're missing the point. We don't want actual terrorists to get guns any more than you do. But by using the "terror watch list" as your litmus test, you are taking all the people who are put on that list for reasons like "having a similar name to a suspected terrorist" and denying them their constitutional rights for no reason. Remember, people can get put onto that list for any reason and without any knowledge of being on the list. Using that list to deny any rights would have meant denying Senator Kennedy his rights, for example, and I think we can agree that Senator Kennedy was in no way a terrorist.

    You want terrorists to not be able to buy guns? Fine! We all think that's cool. But you have to find a way to prevent them from buying guns that does not also affect law-abiding American citizens.

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  65. If they are indeed terrorists, they should be in prison, probation or have completed their sentence and are now prohibited persons and cannot legally buy guns.

    If they haven't committed any crimes, why should they be denied any basic right?

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  66. I wanted examples of a case where during a public mass shooting like Tucson, Ft. Hood, Virginia Tech, etc. a permit holder was there to prevent it or make a difference.


    Ft hood guns were not allowed for soldiers to carry

    Virginia Tech people are not allowed guns and you oppose that right at other schools

    The majority of the mass shootings seem to happen where people are not allowed to CCW. How do you expect people to defend against criminals if the act you ask for would break the law?

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  67. You missed my point again. Even if someone had been there with a gun, it would not prevent a shooting. So having a gun in public places would not work out as you think it would. I know you don't agree with me so don't bother responding back with your reasons why someone could have stopped the shootings if only.... We will have to agree to disagree. You don't have any facts or anything that says having someone there with a gun would stop a shooting or reduce the damage since it hasn't happened yet. I realize those are gun free zones for the most part but we have had public shootings in malls, nursing homes, on our streets, and unless the right armed person is in the right place at the right time, it just will not work out according to your fantasy of how it would go. That is what I believe. You believe otherwise. I'm done going around and around about this- we've done it before. I post things that say what I believe and you comment with what you believe and we are not convincing one another. I am not writing to convince most of you but to get the people who believe as I do to be activated and join me in my cause.

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  68. The security guard, because that is who had the gun, acted correctly. She did not prevent the shooting in the first place. Why does a church even need a security guard? Because so many crazy people have guns when they shouldn't have them in the first place. That is my point. That is what I am working on.

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  69. "Why does a church even need a security guard?"

    Why does a bank?

    A retail store?

    A police station?

    A museum?

    A corporate HQ?

    Even in the UK, where firearms are almost entirely banned, heavily armed police guard many of the city's tourist attractions.

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  70. I must say, Bryan, I have never seen heavily armed police guarding tourist attractions in the UK. I see guards and police around in Washington D.C. at some of the museums but then, there was a shooting at the Holocaust Museuem by a White Supremicist and there was a guard there already, presumably armed. I would hope that you think a church is a different sort of venue from a bank, police station, museum or corporate HQ.

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  71. "She did not prevent the shooting in the first place."

    So now the bar is raised yet again so now to meet you criteria a CCW person has to stop a mass shooting BEFORE it is a mass shooting. How is that supposed to work?

    "Why does a church even need a security guard?"

    Some places might believe that if they disarm the group of people that they have a responsibility to protect the now disarmed group.

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  72. Japete: “The security guard, because that is who had the gun, acted correctly. She did not prevent the shooting in the first place.”

    And how was she supposed to stop it before it happened? No one is saying that is possible with CCW. I rarely speak for others, only myself, but in this case I am confident enough to say that no one thinks that. Since she stopped an active shooter, clearly the overall tragedy was lessened. This is what you have been pushing with the high-capacity magazine ban, that tragedies could be lessened, not prevented. Also, you seem to think that unarmed victims will have ample time to charge and tackle an active shooter in the two seconds it takes to reload- but they couldn’t possibly have time to use a firearm in self-defense.

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  73. "I must say, Bryan, I have never seen heavily armed police guarding tourist attractions in the UK"

    The Met Police are usually standing guard at Buckingham Palace, #10 Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace, St. Paul's, The Victoria & Albert Museum, etc... in police uniform, with exterior body armor, with rifles and handguns.

    I saw this on both of my recent trips to London (2006 and 2009)

    "I see guards and police around in Washington D.C. at some of the museums but then, there was a shooting at the Holocaust Museuem by a White Supremicist and there was a guard there already, presumably armed."

    Most museums have armed guards now in DC - an interesting approach in a city that until recently had a complete ban on firearms ownership by citizens.

    The Holocaust Museum shooting, by the way, resulted in a guard wounding the shooter, who later died.

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  74. In other Wisconsin news the charges against the Madison 5 you brought up a wile back have had the charges dropped. Looks like the cops should be brought up on the disorderly conduct charges.

    "The only disturbance created on that Saturday evening was by a mass of uniformed Madison police officers and squads arriving to investigate law-abiding citizens having dinner," Van Wagner


    http://host.madison.com/ct/blogs/article_8b1c6ec4-7753-11e0-8bf1-001cc4c002e0.html

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  75. Interesting. I did not see armed guards at the Victoria and Albert Museum nor at Kensington Palace. Yes, they are outside and inside the courtyard at Buckingham of course. You are wrong about the shooting at the Holocaust Museum. The guard was killed and the shooter died later. http://articles.cnn.com/2010-01-06/justice/holocaust.shooter_1_von-brunn-holocaust-memorial-museum-museum-statement?_s=PM:CRIME

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  76. I didn't bring up the charges of the Madison 5 on this posting. Someone else did. I am aware that the charges were dropped.

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  77. "You are wrong about the shooting at the Holocaust Museum."

    No, I stated that the shooter was wounded by a guard and died later. This is a correct statement.

    A guard was also killed. I didn't mention that above.

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  78. Did you not mention it because the guard was armed and still couldn't protect himself?

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  79. "the guard was armed and still couldn't protect himself?"

    Guards aren't there to protect themselves.

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  80. You'll need to explain that one jdege. It doesn't make sense. Of course they are there to protect citizens and the building they are paid to guard. But if they are armed, one would think they could protect themselves as well. Isn't that what you guys are always saying?

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  81. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31208188/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/guard-dies-after-holocaust-museum-shooting/

    An insane man with a virulent anti-semitic past brings a rifle to a crowded museum and opens fire, shooting a guard. Another guard shoots him and ends the attack with no further loss of life. I'd call that a success.

    Having a gun isn't a magical charm that wards off evil.

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  82. It all depends on your definition of a success.

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  83. Japete no CCW is able to catch criminals like in the movie Minority Report and have to respond to some action. Stopping a mass shooting before it happens is impossible. Especially considering you think that the need to retreat before using deadly force should be the standard. Remember security guards are also bound to the same law as you or I.

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  84. http://www.rense.com/general19/schd.htm

    Two of the three Virginia law students who overpowered a gunman in a fatal school shooting at Appalachian School of Law were armed and used their weapons to disarm the shooter. Yet of the 280 stories written about the shooting, a mere four mentioned the fact that the heroic students were armed and used their guns to halt the rampage.

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