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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Friday, August 24, 2012

4 mass shootings in a little over a month

Are we all getting weary with the weekly reports of mass shootings? Are we getting weary of the deadly silence about the gun issue coming from our politicians. It's happened again. Just as we thought it might and hoped it wouldn't. But here we are again, listening and watching coverage about yet another mass shooting. This time it was in New York City in the middle of the city where tourists and workers gather. Since I am traveling and unable to write too much at this moment, I will share an entire blog post from New Trajectory:


Violence Policy Center Statement On The Empire State Building Shooting

Jeffrey Johnson, 58, killed a man over a workplace dispute then got into a shootout with police. Nine people were wounded in the shootout, including two police officers, before the shooter was killed. This is at least the fourth mass shooting in the last couple months.

The following is a statement on today's mass shooting just outside the Empire State Building in New York, from the Violence Policy Center: 


Violence Policy Center Statement on Shooting Outside Empire State Building

Washington, DC--Following the fourth high-profile shooting in little over a month, this time outside the Empire State Building in New York City and reportedly involving a 45 caliber handgun, the Violence Policy Center, a national non-profit educational organization working to stop gun death and injury, issued the following statement:

“How long are we going to ignore America's gun crisis? Today’s shooting outside the Empire State building is the fourth high-profile shooting in little over a month, following the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting, the Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Sikh Temple shooting, and a shooting outside Texas A&M in College Station, Texas. One can only guess where the next shooting will occur--but we do know that it will occur. Today's shooter reportedly used a 45 caliber handgun to end the life of a former co-worker, offering yet another example of how the ready availability of semiautomatic handguns that can be equipped with high-capacity ammunition magazines destroy lives and make everyone less safe. All Americans deserve the right to feel safe in public spaces--in theaters, their places of worship, and walking city streets. The deadly mindset propounded by the gun industry and the gun lobby that guns are the ultimate problem solver is stripping away the feeling of safety that communities across the country not only expect, but deserve. It is long past time to regulate the out-of-control gun industry that makes these horrendous public shootings possible.”


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The Violence Policy Center (www.vpc.org) is a national educational organization working to stop gun death and injury. Follow the VPC on Twitter (http://twitter.com/VPCinfo) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Violence-Policy-Center/284334690298?ref=ts).



ADDENDUM: A statement from Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign Against Gun Violence, whose brother was wounded in a shooting at the top of the Empire State Building in 1997:
http://www.bradycampaign.org/media/press/view/1525/#

But I will add the entire statement here from Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign: 

For Immediate Release
Friday, August 24, 2012
Contact: Caroline Brewer, 202-289-5769, or media@bradynetwork.org

Statement from Brady Campaign President Dan Gross in response to shooting outside the Empire State Building in New York City:

“On behalf of the Brady Campaign, I extend our deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and survivors of the mass shooting outside the Empire State Building. 

Sadly, my family and I know both the immediate and lasting impact of gun violence. Fifteen years ago, my brother Matthew was shot in the head atop the Empire State Building. We are grateful that Matthew survived, but he lost his friend and band mate, and the memories of that horrible day linger for all of us.  

The memories and suffering also linger for the families of the 32 Americans murdered by guns every day in America. That toll is the unacceptable price our families and communities continue to pay for our failure to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and seriously address gun violence.

That toll is why, after the mass shooting in Aurora where 71 people were shot and 12 killed, we called on President Obama and Gov. Romney to lead us in a national conversation to prevent gun deaths and tragedies, also why we launched a campaign asking Jim Lehrer to ask the candidates about their plans to prevent gun violence at the first presidential debate. We renew that calltoday.

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of Americans have joined us atwearebetterthanthis.org demanding the candidates offer solutions.

They know that, as a nation, we are better than this, and it’s time the candidates show us they know it too.

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The mission of the Brady organization is to create a safer America for all of us that will lead to the dramatic reduction in gun deaths and injuries that we all seek.

Where oh where is common sense? We are better than this. Please sign the petition to demand a plan from our elected leaders. Enough now.

UPDATE:

The gun used by the shooter was purchased legally in Florida. New York has very strict gun laws but people intent on getting guns know they can go to states where it is easy to buy a gun. From the article:
Police say a Jeffrey Johnson, a laid-off worker who fatally shot a vice president from his former company outside the Empire State Building on Friday, purchased the weapon legally in Florida in 1991.
Pictures: Shooting near Empire State Building
Johnson legally bought the .45 caliber pistol in Sarasota, Fla., but he didn't have a required permit to possess the weapon in New York City, police said.
Wearing a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase, Johnson walked up to the vice president of Hazan Imports, Steven Ercolino, 41, put a gun to his head and fired three times without saying a word, according to authorities and witnesses.
"Jeffrey just came from behind two cars, pulled out his gun, put it up to Steve's head and shot him," said Carol Timan, whose daughter, Irene, was walking to work with Ercolino.
Johnson, 58, and Ercolino had traded accusations of harassment when Johnson worked there, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said; law enforcement officials said that Johnson had been angry that Ercolino wasn't promoting his products.

UPDATE #2

I really like this article by Sanjay Sanghoee. He has a way of getting to the real issues and does not mince words. From his article:
Tying guns to freedom is the most twisted interpretation of our fundamental right that I have ever heard of. Freedom is a state of a society and a state of mind, but it has nothing to do with guns. Guns do not protect our freedom because there will always be someone else with an even more powerful gun or more ammunition waiting around the corner to take away our freedom. What will we do then, move on to rocket launchers and grenades? It's an unwinnable battle that violates common sense. The real freedom we need is the freedom to be able to walk around without the fear of our fellow citizens shooting us by design or accident.
I can accept that excessive law-making will not necessarily solve the bigger issue of our mindset, but the irony is that the very same people who yell about how gun control would strip them of their freedom, how a communist government might show up at their door one day to suppress them, and how our declining moral values are creating the violence in society, are the ones who elevate guns and the mindless violence they represent from the inanimate tools that they are to something sacred that was handed down to us by God.
Nobody likes or wants more laws than are strictly necessary to run a peaceful and fair country, but in the absence of people reining in their irresponsible worship of guns, the government will have no choice but to apply more regulation to this arena. When it suits their purpose, gun rights advocates say that guns are no different from any other weapon such a knife or even a baseball bat, yet they continue to use guns as the pre-eminent symbol of liberty. If guns are indeed nothing special, then why are they symbols of anything except good engineering, and in that case, why are they so important to the integrity of our nation in the first place?


40 comments:

  1. I for one am glad on how ya'll cover this.

    To be fair, you have an agenda... an anto-gun agenda. But you do not pretend to hide it, you are forthcoming with said agenda, and I can respect honesty for honesty's sake, even if I realize your argument points are not based in fact, but in twisted numbers and emotional distresses.

    However, the leftist media is not the same. Murders via shooting are fairly uniform in frequency, if not necessarily in number of victims. But to hear the leftist media tell these stories is a page right out of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" - they do not bring it up nearly as much in non-election years.

    So as much as I dislike the message you spread, I can admire your uniform agenda and honesty about said agenda.

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    1. Enough of the put downs. Your agenda is causing deaths and injuries. You have nothing more to say vi would be quiet if I were you. When we have 4 mass shootings in as many weeks your side should be leaving with your tail between your legs.

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    2. 'Twas never a put down in my remark, and you are well aware of that fact.

      Speaking of facts, it is looking like this shooting in NYC was mainly cops accidentally shooting innocent bystanders.

      Legally armed citizens are, statistically speaking, much more judicious in their marksmanship than police.

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    3. Sorry Usagi. It was a put down. Yes, sir, the police shot all of the injured at the NYC scene. That absolutely does not mean you and your buddies could have done any better. That kind of fantasy on your part is unprovable and dangerous. Give me proof that armed citizens are more judicious than police. Are we talking apples to apples? Are we talking armed citizens in crime situations in large cities with people all around panicking? Where has an armed citizen done better? How can you say that given that Jared Loughner, who was aiming his gun supposedly at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords actually killed 6 innocent people and didn't kill Gabby Giffords? He was a legally armed citizen. Explain how the Aurora theater shooter didn't shoot innocent citizens. He was a legally armed citizen. He shot and people started running and panicking. They got shot when they started running. One of his bullets went through the wall of the other theater and shot someone there. That wasn't intended. Explain all of that to me please and then maybe we can talk.

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    4. usagi writeseven if I realize your argument points are not based in fact, but in twisted numbers and emotional distresses.

      Actually, the anti-gun arguments ARE based in fact, and objective, verifiable fact, not what you claim.

      It is the pro-gun side that isn't objective or fact-based.
      In point of fact there is an extensive body of scientific research that demonstrates that those who hold right wing views are more likely to engage in emotion based beliefs, no matter how much it requires them to ignore facts and clear conclusions, and to avoid critical thinking.

      That is the core premise of Chris Mooney's The Republican Brain, the science of why they deny science -- and reality. It is a continuation of his previous best seller, The Republican War on Science. His observations are confirmed in a variety of places, notably the culture cognition project at Yale Law School:
      http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2012/7/27/what-do-i-think-of-mooneys-republican-brain.html

      and very much in the work of Dan Kahan who wrote about the overlap of ignoring or twisting and distorting facts and conclusions on a variety of topics here:
      http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2012/7/23/gun-control-climate-change-motivated-cognition-of-scientific.html

      Gun control, climate change & motivated cognition of "scientific consensus"

      I wrote about a different variation of right wing fact deniers, from a project in Australia, that linked climate change deniers with those who believe the 1969 moon landing was faked, in my post about the death of Neil Armstrong.

      http://penigma.blogspot.com/2012/08/rest-in-peace-neil-armstrong-hero.html

      Rest in Peace, Neil Armstrong, Hero
      Moon landing disbelievers tend to be conservatives, free market advocates, and climate change deniers

      And here is another example of similar findings that the pro-gun / anti-gun control crowd are NOT fact-based or objective reality-oriented.

      http://talkingclimate.org/guides/beyond-climate-science-why-people-are-still-skeptical-of-climate-change/

      Social sci­ent­ists have started building up a pic­ture of the sort of people who are likely to be cli­mate scep­tics. People who are scep­tical about cli­mate change are likely to be older, male and polit­ic­ally con­ser­vative (McCright & Dunlap, 2011). The fact that more than half of the incoming Republican politi­cians in the 2010 US mid-term elec­tions dis­pute cli­mate change illus­trates this per­fectly. These people were not driven by their rejec­tion of cli­mate change sci­ence to become Republicans – their con­ser­vative views have col­oured their inter­pret­a­tion of the sci­ence, which they see as threat­ening to their ideology.

      Research by aca­demics at Cardiff University (Corner, Whitmarsh & Xenias, in press) has estab­lished that when people with opposing atti­tudes towards cli­mate change are given news reports about cli­mate change to read, they eval­uate the evid­ence in a very dif­ferent way. Those who accept the sci­ence of cli­mate change rate the pro-climate change report as con­vin­cing and reli­able, whereas cli­mate scep­tics see the very same report as uncon­vin­cing and unre­li­able. This is know as the ‘biased assim­il­a­tion’ of inform­a­tion, and sev­eral dec­ades of social psy­cho­lo­gical research have shown that on any number of topics – from cap­ital pun­ish­ment, to gun con­trol, to nan­o­tech­no­lo­gies – people squeeze new evid­ence through powerful social and cul­tural fil­ters. Pouring facts into this filter system does not neces­sarily pro­duce con­sensus – and it can even cause atti­tudes to polarise.


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  2. But guns are banned in NYC, how did this happen. This was not a mass shooting. The killer had an 8 round magazine. He fire 5 or 6 shots into his victim. That leaves him a maximum of 4 shots, probably only 3. It is fairly obvious from video that he didn't fire any other shots. The police seem to have wounded the others. Even the god of anti-rights, Michael Bloomberg is willing to admit that.
    "Mayor Michael Bloomberg said some victims may have been shot accidentally by responding police officers. The victims were either wounded or grazed and are not likely to die, he said. Police said later that most of the injuries were to the lower extremities."

    www.newsday.com/news/nation/nypd-16-bullets-fired-at-gunman-jeffrey-johnson-outside-empire-state-building-1.3924799

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    1. Does it really matter, Robin? Aren't you getting a little picky? A mass shooting is when a lot of people are killed and/or injured. It surely was a terrible shooting, mass or not, wouldn't you agree? You shouldn't be commenting and trying to make excuses any more. You guys have no standing to be complaining about anything or trying to defend more guns in more public places. There is enough evidence now, as if there wasn't before, that we have far too many shootings in this country. It is becoming a national tragedy. I suggest that you take some time off and stop saying stupid stuff on blogs. You guys are looking pretty bad right now. Have a nice week-end.

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    2. Dear Robin,

      As I suspected, the shooter bought his gun in Florida. New York has strict laws. Most of their crime guns come from other states. Sorry this is so inconvenient to your side. If we had a uniform national background check system and required background checks from all private sellers country-wide, we wouldn't have so many guns being purchased in other states or illegally trafficked through the "iron pipeline" . By the way, a mass shooting is a mass shooting is a mass shooting just like a rape is a rape is a rape.

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    3. robin writes:
      But guns are banned in NYC, how did this happen. This was not a mass shooting. The killer had an 8 round magazine.

      He got the gun from a lax gun law state - in this case, Florida.

      He had multiple magazines in his briefcase/gun pouch, and appeared from his prior threats to have intentions of shooting more than just his victim apparently. That he had so many magazines loaded ready to fire suggests he was clearly planning on shooting more than just his victim; this was clearly an interrupted mass shooting where the shooter intended to provoke the cops into killing him - suicide by cop.

      This was preventable, as Japete notes, with better regulation. That this guy intended violence was clear - there was a restraining order against him; he had tried to get into the building previously, apparently more than once.

      Given his prior statements, and his multiple magazines readily accessible, do you REALLY think he was planning on surrendering, without shooting anyone else, had the cops NOT fired on him first? Nonsense.

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  3. "Most of their crime guns come from other states." This is flat out not true. Check the BATF trace data for 2011. The largest number of guns traced by the BATF requested by New York authorities came from New York. No other state comes even close. Further, since the average time to crime of guns traced is 13.7 years and less that 20% of the guns traced had a time to crime of less than 3 years it is safe to assume that most were stolen and not trafficked in an iron pipeline.

    You can obviously call this a mass shooting if you want to. I see it as an ordinary murder made worse by the police shooting without obeying the fourth rule, "be aware of your target and what is beyond it." As Abraham Lincoln asked "How many legs does a dog have, if we called the dog's tail a leg?"

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    1. Dear Robin- please check your facts- http://www.nyc.gov/html/cjc/html/crime/guns.shtml

      " With 85% of guns recovered in crimes in New York City originally sold out of state, CJC spearheaded an undercover investigation that led to lawsuits against 27 gun dealers in five states who were among the top sources of guns recovered at crime scenes in the City. A Johns Hopkins study of dealers who settled with the City found a 75% drop in the share of guns originating from these dealers and recovered in New York City crimes. More recently, the City unveiled an investigation of seven gun shows in three states, catching 35 gun sellers breaking the law."

      There are no "ordinary" murders.

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    2. Joan, Robin's data is correct. Please see page 6 of this document. The NYC CJC lawsuits you referenced all took place between the mid-1990s and 2002. Please see this article for more details. The gun used in the shooting was also purchased in 1991 which is probably the case for many guns that current residents of NYC currently have hidden from authorities that they owned many years ago before moving to NYC.

      One thing that surprised me was that the NYC police shot all of those people that were injured in the shooting before eventually killing the murderer. This news report also says that officers are trained to fire multiple shots because only one in five generally hit the intended target.

      If I had shot that poorly when I took the basic firearms training class at the PSTC, I would have failed that class.

      What this tragedy underscores is that relying on a gun for self-defense without training is extremely dangerous. I wouldn't want to trust my safety and the safety of my family to these police officers. Would you?

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    3. We are comparing apples to oranges. On page 6 of the report, it shows the states where the guns came from that were RECOVERED in New York. Over 8500 firearms were traced (recovered ) but of those about 1500 crime guns were traced to New York sales. The sources of the gun purchases are what we are looking at. As to your shooting skills, it sounds like you are sure you would be a better shot than a police officer, That kind of fantasy world is the world you all live in. The facts are that most officers have trouble shooting their targets.I think the rate is about 30% accuracy, if that, on average. This article indicates that there will be a careful study to determine what could have been differently- http://news.bostonherald.com/news/national/northeast/view.bg?&articleid=1061155606&format=&page=2&listingType=natne#articleFull

      What's amazing to me is that you gun guys are so sure you could do better. We all know that when there is gunfire on a crowded street, in a restaurant, movie theater, church, etc. reactions run the gamut. Fear, panic, inertia, self preservation, running away, hiding, etc. It's easy to be an armchair quarterback after the fact. We have had enough crazy people with guns shooting up people in our cities lately, that police response could perhaps be considered to be over reaction. They have good reason to believe that someone like Johnson was about to start shooting up everyone in sight. Police are trained to take down the shooter. That is easier to do in a simulation than in real life. Since we can't have real life practice with real victims, it's hard to transfer skills to the real situation. But then, you should know that since you say you are trained. You are trained like an officer, however, nor should you be. This shooting highlights how difficult it is to shoot the shooter in real life without collateral damage. An investigation may find that the officers should have done something differently. I suggest that you guys not be so arrogant as to say you could have done better. You have no idea what or how you would have done it better or differently had you been there. There are enough of you permit holders who make stupid mistakes in public to call into question the skills of the average permit holder.

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    4. Well since the BATF figures don't show that, you have to decide who is more credible, the mayor who signed a dead man's name to his propaganda ads for years or the BATF who supplied the weapons used to murder at least 302 people including 2 federal agents.

      The lawsuits you mention also led to Bloomberg being warned to desist by the BATF as he was breaking federal law at the same time that the US Attorneys declined any legal action against the dealers. What you saw with the lawsuits was the classic form of using lots of money against the little guy who can't afford to waste as much money as you can on lawyers. But I guess that is the kind of thing that you do when you can't bring anything else to the table. Kind of like calling it a mass murder when the shooter shoots one person and the police shoot eight.

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    5. Do you facts to back up your assertions? Don't talk to me about the money spent by anyone on the side of gun control until you admit to the NRA's vastly outspending anyone on the side of gun control for anything. And that is a fact. The NRA yearly executive salaries combined are more than any money spent by gun control advocates and that includes on lawsuits.

      Robin, have a nice week-end.

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    6. You're right. I see my mistake. 3378 guns were traced from outside of NY, while 1595 were traced from within NY. Yes, it is apples and oranges because this BATF data is from 2011, the NYC CJC lawsuits are many years before that, and the gun used yesterday in NYC was purchased two decades ago.

      I also agree with you that fear, panic, inertia, etc. can alter a person's accuracy.

      However, I find it hypocritical that I am loathed for my decision to carry a firearm for self defense when those who loathe me abdicate their defense to officers who would probably shoot as poorly or worse than I would. I'm just an ordinary citizen assigned to only protect myself. Those two officers were assigned to protect NYC landmarks and their visitors from terrorist attacks. I think Mayor Bloomberg has some serious homework.

      One very important difference between and officer and myself is that an officer is protected from lawsuits by the city. If an officer hurts innocent bystanders he might lose his job, but he won't lose everything he owns. If I shoot an innocent bystander while defending myself, I would still be liable. I would lose everything I own in legal expenses. I would lose my job. I would lose my guns. The children of my friends might ask their parents why they are friends with a killer. I might also very well lose my freedom after being charged with involuntary manslaughter. I would be alive, but my whole life might be destroyed.

      You should understand that the decision for a responsible citizen to carry a firearm is not a decision that is made lightly. Holding officers under the same sword of Damocles that hangs over responsible permit holders might force officers to be a bit more careful.

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    7. There's a good solution for that, Migo. Don't carry your guns around in public and don't shoot anyone. Most officers never shoot anyone in their entire careers. I just had lunch with a now retired officer from my city. He told me he never had to shoot his gun while on duty. He got it out and aimed but he never shot it. He has a permit to carry. He doesn't carry. It doesn't interest him and it's inconvenient. He doesn't like the NRA and he is against Shall Issue permit laws such as we have in Minnesota. He is in favor of universal background checks and the Assault Weapons Ban. I guess he sees the world differently than you. And your criticism of law enforcement is just plain ridiculous. They are not perfect. But you agreed with me about the scene of the crime. You are still arrogantly telling me that you could do better and feeling sorry for yourself because you, as a private citizen, could be held responsible for shooting someone while an officer can't. Officers need to be held responsible for bad or irresponsible behavior. As do you. But tell me how they could have handled the situation differently. What would you have done since you seem to know so much about it?

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    8. Robin writes or the BATF who supplied the weapons used to murder at least 302 people including 2 federal agents.

      There doesn't seem to be any significant credibility to the claims that BATF supplied weapons to murder 302 people; that seems to have been a case where obviously straw purchases were not prosecuted after investigation by BATF.

      And WHAT 2 federal agents do you mean? There appears to have been one agent of which I am aware, Brian Terry. There appears no credible evidence, much less plausible motive that the BATF would have provided weapons to anyone, or contributed to weapons falling into the hands of people who would use them against those agents.

      The premise promoted that this was a stunt by Obama to justify gun confiscation ignores that this was put in place by Dubya. But then you guys do like to ignore all those pesky facts which make you look silly and which utterly destroy your arguments because of shoddy information and worse reasoning on your part.

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    9. Japete, I have to laugh out loud at the assertions of the gun nuts that they would have performed better than the officers involved in this shooting.

      I wonder how many of these guys have actually exchanged gun fire with anyone pointing a gun AT them. Or if they have ANY actual experience to justify their exaggerated claims. It's like listening to the old bald guy with the big beer gut sitting in his recliner watching football telling the uninterested room about how he could play SOOOOOOOOOOOO much better than the football players, basketball players, baseball players (fill in the blank) who are professional atheletes.

      When in fact he couldn't make it running around the block OR do the quality of shooting that cops do who tend to have actual experience on a regular basis.

      This is fantasy BS, nothing more, nothing less. As the previous quote I posted noted, these are consistently conservatives who tend to be old guys. Overwhelmingly, the classic NRA member or NRA supporter/sympathizer is an old, flabby crabby white guy who wants a gun to compensate for his incapacitation and physical (and mental response) decline.

      They all have hero delusions that don't hold up to a good scrut, unless ALL of the guys claiming this happen to be the seal team 6 guy who was in on both the bin Laden excursion AND the Somali pirate hostage rescue (hint - claim that, and I will not believe you). Had one of these gun nuts ACTUALLY opened fire, there would have been a lot more wounded, the shooter would probably be unhurt, and the wounds wouldn't have been from ricochets and bits and bobs of concrete chips flying around from bullets hitting curbs, planters, etc.

      It's far more likely this lot would involuntarily wee on themselves in this situation, than they would heroically shoot ONLY the bad guy. (http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/35207)

      However the fact they mistakenly think this way is part of why we would ALL be safer if they kept their guns locked up at home, and contented themselves with some fresh air and exercise playing paint ball instead.

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    10. Migo wrote:
      "You should understand that the decision for a responsible citizen to carry a firearm is not a decision that is made lightly. Holding officers under the same sword of Damocles that hangs over responsible permit holders might force officers to be a bit more careful."

      Um, Migo, you are wrong on all counts. 1. No one has found these officers to be careless OR bad shots or to have shot inappropriately - the evidence is all to the contrary on that so far. and 2. Officers are held responsible through internal affairs and reviews of every single shooting; while there are some statutory immunities it is not at all evident, anywhere, ever in the U.S. that there is a problem with law enforcement not being held responsible for bad or irresponsible behavior. The supposed suicide of the kid who was handcuffed behind his back is a case in point of law enforcement being held accountable, just as one instance. As to this notion that immunity is all that significant, I would point out to you that there are plenty of cases where civlians have successfully sued law enforcement for either bad and/or irresponsible behavior.

      I have yet to see where any civilians outperform law enforcement in a civilian shooting situation. But please if you think that is common, list how many situations there are where that occurs, but also provide the context of all the law enforcement shootings, both successful and unsuccessful.

      I'm confident that it is rare, if ever, that a civilian such as yourself outshoots law enforcement. I'm even less persuaded that your judgment is even remotely as valid and reliable as law enforcement.

      Spin your fantasies, but except to yourself, they are not believable. You are dreaming. You appear to suffer from that same well-documented conservative fact denial / aversion to objective reality.

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    11. How do you conclude that I'm feeling sorry for myself? I don't feel sorry for myself at all.

      What would you have done since you seem to know so much about it? I might have been shot, that's what I might have done differently, but I wasn't there, so I'm not going to second guess anyone. I might have been shot because I might have hesitated if I couldn't find a clear shot without the risk of injuring someone else. I'm trained to always be aware of the background and the bullet's trajectory. That training could have caused me to hesitate. I don't think I could live with the guilt of killing an innocent person to save my own life. Clearly, I need more training.

      You call me arrogant because I say they shot worse than I would? If my hesitation or unwillingness to shoot makes me arrogant, then, yes, I'm arrogant. It is you and your anti-gun friends who are arrogant for assuming that carrying a gun equates to a desire to shoot everything in sight. Nobody would be happier than I if my gun never found the need to be pointed at another person.

      As for your friend opposing Shall Issue laws, that says a lot about him right there. I support Shall Issue laws because I firmly believe that every person has the inalienable right to self defense.

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    12. And the fact that you support Shall Issue laws says a lot about you, Migo. What do you mean by that statement about my friend? Some people oppose those laws. Some people suppor them. What you wrote here leads me to believe that you have a superior view because you support Shall Issue. It's just different, not better. You are arrogant for saying you could do better. How else could it be perceived? Who said that I believe your carrying means you would shoot everything in sight? Did I say that or is that what you think I said? As to the guilt, you are aware that officers who shoot someone are made to take time off because it is so traumatic for them. Some officers even leave the force after shooting someone. It is an awesome responsibility to carry a gun with the idea in mind that you might take the life of another human being. The very idea that you believe you might or could is something I cannot fathom. The cavalier manner in which some of you talk about shooting people sends shivers up my spine. It's a lot of big talk by a few people but the affect of it is that some people actually do shoot people when they don't need to for any reason whatsoever. And that includes the law abiding when they get angry over cuts in line or have had too much to drink or carelessly show their gun to a friend when it discharges. You just are not into prevention of violence. Carrying a gun most often does not prevent violence but could lead to it. Police officers know that one for sure. Where do you get the inalienable right to self defense by the way? There is now an individual right to own guns for self defense as decided by the Supreme Court. It is not inalienable or unfettered. I have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Where does that fall on your rights meter?

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    13. You're friend has a permit, so he has a right to carry a gun. He also doesn't want others to have that right, because May Issue and No Issue laws do exactly that. May Issue laws leave the decision of who gets a permit up to a few people on top who arbitrarily decide if you should get one. It's a corrupt caste. I don't support castes.

      Shall Issue, on the other hand, grants the same rights to everyone under a uniform law. So black people, white people, rich people, poor people, businessmen, movie stars, and garbage collectors are all treated equally under law. The law can always be changed by the people. Everyone gets to enjoy the same right, unless there is sufficient reason to deny it as prescribed by law.

      My view, my support of Shall Issue, is not superior at all. Quite the opposite, in fact.

      You're right in that carrying a gun makes me think about what it would be like to take a human life and I don't like any of those thoughts. So I do things when I have a gun that I might not do if I didn't have a gun.

      As for your last question, all of us have an inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, unless there is sufficient reason to deny it as prescribed by law. Just like Shall Issue.

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    14. Migo writes:
      May Issue laws leave the decision of who gets a permit up to a few people on top who arbitrarily decide if you should get one.

      NO, this is a gross distortion. It is emphatically NOT true that a few people make arbitrary decisions. It is true that people who are held accountable for having a legitimate objection if someone is denied.

      The shall issue means that far too many people who should not have firearms or who should not carry have guns and carry guns and shoot people.

      You hae no inalienable right to carry lethal force; you have a right to be reasonably safe through public law enforcement. The SCOTUS has made it clear the ONLY place you have a right to a firearm - and then subject to regulation - is in your home.

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    15. I think I've finally discovered a fundamental difference between people like me and people like dog gone.

      I believe I have the inalienable right to kill someone who intends to kill me.

      If I understand dog gone correctly, I do not have that right. The person who intends to kill me is allowed by society to kill me. However, after killing me, society will then prosecute my murderer and sentence him to prison with the possibility of parole since I'm just an ordinary citizen. I have the right to be reasonably safe through public law enforcement, but how many of those killed in Virginia Tech, Columbine, Tucson, Aurora, Chicago, etc. are still alive because public law enforcement saved them? Public law enforcement certainly wasn't around either when my ex-wife was beaten, when I was assaulted, when my family in Puerto Rico was assaulted, when my friend's arm was burst with a pipe, and so on. That's all well and good sending my murderer to prison after I'm dead, but how does that help me?

      So the fundamental premise here is that by accepting to be a member of society, I must also be willing to forfeit my life? I'm already taxed excessively by society. They don't get my life as well.

      And shall issue laws only give permits to those the law allows. If any of you want more restrictive issuing of permits, then lobby your representatives to add more restrictions to the law right after the restriction that says that felons can't get permits.

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    16. I can't believe that was your "take away" from what dog gone wrote. I don't even know what to say to such ridiculous reasoning. The main difference between us is that you are so paranoid that you assume there is a villain around every corner waiting to kill you. You assume that you could shoot that person and get away with it even if there may not have been reasonable belief that the person was going to kill you. George Zimmerman is the poster boy for people like you. He was wrong to kill Trayvon Martin who was doing nothing wrong but walking in the neighborhood. He wasn't out to get Zimmerman. He didn't know Zimmerman. He would have walked home had Zimmerman not been paranoid and trigger happy. The man who shot a kid who was near his garbage can because he thought the kid was going to do something to him is another of these poster boys. The main difference is that we want to prevent shootings. You guys seem at the ready to commit a shooting at the least provocation. We did lobby for those restrictions. We lost because the NRA is way too powerful and legislators are too afraid of them to do the right thing. If people like you weren't out there with your messages of fear and paranoia we wouldn't be in this mess. Too many people are killed in America. Our gun laws are like no other country's laws. That is the difference.

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    17. dog gone writes: "NO, this is a gross distortion. It is emphatically NOT true that a few people make arbitrary decisions. It is true that people who are held accountable for having a legitimate objection if someone is denied."

      I lived in a "may issue" state (Massachusetts) for nearly a decade. Without exception, individuals who were able to obtain carry permits were politicians, public officials, and friends of the police chief and/or the local politicians. This was also the situation here in Minnesota in the pre-2003 era before this state changed to a "shall issue" law.

      The exercise of a right should not be based upon the whims of a police chief, law enforcement official, or a public official.

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    18. Yes, wouldn't it have been awful to reject people like the Aurora shooter, the Sikh shooter, Jared Loughner, etc.? That was the good thing about May Issue. Local authorities would know about people in their communities who were potentially dangerous. That's a good thing. Just because you couldn't get a permit doesn't mean those laws weren't a good idea. Look what we have now. I suggest it is not better at all.

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  4. The argument that this was somehow not a mass shooting is specious and ridiculous.

    There are many different definitions rather than a single definition for mass shooting. They invovle different numbers as the threshold for a mass shooting, and can involve one or more locations, and one or more shooters. Some use more than 2 killed or wounded, for a criteria, others five or six. Some limit a mass shooting to one person, other definitions permit more than one person to be involved.

    This would appear to be the latter; specifically it appears to be an incident where a person intent on shooting multiple people (based on the amount of ammo and number of magazines he carried) was interrupted. However it still qualifies as a mass shooting because there were more than 2 dead/wounded, and the subsequent shooting by police that resulted in more injured was a direct result of the actions of the shooter who appears to have committed a murder suicide resorting to 'suicide by cop'.

    Had the police NOT opened fire when he pulled out his gun and pointed it at them in a threatening manner, do any of you REALLY believe he wouldn't have fired if he couldn't get the cops to shoot him? I would encourage you to take a look at another recent mass shooting, the one in Tuscaloosa Alabama just prior to the Aurora Colorado shooting, where the shooter turned himself in, admitting he shot people with the intention of getting the police to kill him, because he couldn't do it himself.

    This event was NOT the actions of someone who ever intended to allow themselves to be arrested, or to surrender. This was someone taking out another person in revenge, as part of a suicide by cop, that would clearly have involved shooting other people if that was what it took to get the cops to shoot him.

    Therefore it is perfectly appropriate to call this a mass shooting; more than two people were killed or wounded. If you want to make up your own definition, call it an interrupted mass shooting that involved the shooting of multiple people. But clearly - CLEARLY - this man's actions were the cause of anyone else being wounded; the cops did not shoot without cause. And just because there was more than one person firing does NOT disqualify this from being legitimately considered a mass shooting.

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    1. Well Migo, I am done with this. Your comments are too bizarre for me and for most. Have a nice week-end.

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  5. Dear Robin, You are trying to rehash old arguments that have been argued here ad nauseum. You have provided no new information and you are just being provocative. There is no sense going where you want to go. I'm done with your arguments. Whenever Hitler is invoked, there is no sense continuing. There is no sense continuing in any case since you make little sense. By the way, who's the Heather to whom you refer in your unpublished comment?

    Have a nice day.

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  6. Bryan wrote: This was also the situation here in Minnesota in the pre-2003 era before this state changed to a "shall issue" law.

    The exercise of a right should not be based upon the whims of a police chief, law enforcement official, or a public official.


    I obtained a purchase permit and a carry permit in Minnesota prior to 2003. So I know from personal experience how Minnesota worked prior to 2003.

    One of my family members is a commercial pilot as well as holding an FFL. Because some of his clientele are also in aviation / commercial airline employees, a lot of them are not exclusive to MN.

    So that is where my anecdotal information derives, as well as personal experience. However some of my own blog compatriots have also not only owned firearms but have jumped through the hoops for a carry permit.

    I don't think you can even remotely fairly characterize public officials as acting on whim; there is always an appeal process in the case of anyone who is unfairly discriminated against.

    But the alternative of too little restriction of dangerous people who get guns - most notably domestic abusers and those who issue threats like this guy to the extent they merit restraining orders shouldn't be allowed guns. Period. ditoo former felons, drug users and drunks, and some misdemeanor criminals.

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  7. Migo wrote:I believe I have the inalienable right to kill someone who intends to kill me.

    If I understand dog gone correctly, I do not have that right.


    You make a false argument Migo.

    On the one hand, you don't want us to deny a firearm to someone who wants to shoot you, for apparently any reason.

    This means that you are seeking the right to engage in vigilante shooting, because you are doing everything possible to prevent law enforcement from actually protecting you, and from keeping criminals from having firearms.

    You conveniently leave out that your life is no more nor less valuable than the innocent bystanders you could shoot, and for whom you do no apparently carry insurance sufficient to compensate them in the way that law enforcement does.

    You are further not only unwilling to carry insurance that would enable you to be responsible for hurting innocent people, you are unwilling to pass monthly shooting skills tests, knowledge of law testing, or basic physical testing that affirms you can actually still see well enough to hit the broad side of a barn. If you go by the classic demograpic of the typical NRA member, you are old, not physically fit, and have a bad attitude -- which I usually characterize as old and white, crabby and flabby.

    I'm uncomfortable with someone who is old shooting because of simple physical disabilities; I'm uncomfortable with someone who is a conservative old white guy because so many of the people who fit that demographic hold racial and ethnic and other biases that might induce them to shoot when they should not, on the basis of preconceived but inaccurate stereotypes. And I'm uncomfortable with someone who is 'crabby' or just plain a belligerant old cuss shooting because far too often, as with the road rage convictions articles I posted earlier where a husband and wife separately pulled guns inappropriately, or as was the case in many stand yoru ground shootings, crabby old guys with guns feel empowered to pick fights and shoot where they shouldn't and don't have to do so.

    You can't claim that you have an inalienable right to shoot people, but then do everything possible to make it easy for criminals to get guns, and claim you are a poor defenseless guy just trying to protect yourself. You can't claim you are just exercising your right to self-defense, but then trash on law enforcement, including cutting their budgets, and then act surprised and threatened when that has a bad outcome.

    But most of all I object to you not being willing to take responsibility for your actions in shooting someone. You pass all those requirements that the cops do, and live up to their standards, including accepting being sued if you're wrong, and paying out whatever the damages are, even if it means you eat dog food for the rest of your life, or don't shoot.

    Because every other person's life is AS valuable and as deserving of safety as yours is, and what you propose puts your life above theirs, in a way that is not legal and not a constitutional right. I don't acknowledge you have a greater right than others, or the right to put others at that kind of risk without being responsible for your actions, buddy.

    The Constitution was the basis for a lot of other constitutions and declarations of rights. Those rights that began to be codified and conceived of in the Englightenment era that led to the founding of the U.S. did not END there. Our understanding of rights has evolved; now under the universal declaration of human rights, used as the basis for law and national constitutions everywhere -- a declaration WE HELPED DRAFT, using our own constitution as a starting point --that one now has refined what is in our 2nd amendment to you have a right to be safe, safe from violence from your own government (unlike say SYRIA), and as safe as law enforcment can make you from crime, and safe from domestic violence, safe from many things.

    continued

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  8. Civil rights/human inalienable rights no longer claims -- and most nations no longer support - the contention that we all have the right to own, much less carry, lethal force. We have in fact gone far beyond any of the roots of English common law in that regard which requires a duty to retreat (in English law, a very STRINGENT duty to retreat).

    We in the U.S. went too far in the wrong direction. You have gone even further in that wrong direction Migo. I believe I just outlined the who what why and how and where of that.

    But most of all until you are ready and willing to do more than just shoot someone to keep yourself safe, and be very safe in protecting others from your potentially lethal errors, you don't have that right unless you do everything possible to avoid the hazard in the first place. You don't.

    One of these days maybe Japete will let me post something on the moral hazard of gun carry. Moral hazard is a specific legal and financial term that applies to shoot first laws and carry laws.

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    1. A little friendly advice dog gone. It think it would be helpful if you would stop making so many assumptions. It weakens the credibility of your statements.

      Dog gone says: On the one hand, you don't want us to deny a firearm to someone who wants to shoot you, for apparently any reason.

      I support denying firearms to criminals and those that are mentally distressed. Please review my previous posts.

      Dog gone says: This means that you are seeking the right to engage in vigilante shooting...

      More wild assumptions. Self-defense is not vigilantism. I've worked with law enforcement in the past, however, it is difficult to dial 911 when there's a knife in my face and the perpetrator just stole my cell phone.

      Dog gone says: You conveniently leave out that your life is no more nor less valuable than the innocent bystanders you could shoot, and for whom you do no apparently carry insurance sufficient to compensate them in the way that law enforcement does.

      Again, read my posts. I would hesitate shooting if it's not clear to me that the background is clear of others. There are also shooting techniques that will prevent the bullet from hitting someone behind the criminal, but those wouldn't have worked in NYC.

      Dog gone says: ...you are old, not physically fit, and have a bad attitude -- which I usually characterize as old and white, crabby and flabby.

      More wild assumptions bordering on insult.

      Dog gone says: You can't claim that you have an inalienable right to shoot people, but then do everything possible to make it easy for criminals to get guns, and claim you are a poor defenseless guy just trying to protect yourself. You can't claim you are just exercising your right to self-defense, but then trash on law enforcement, including cutting their budgets, and then act surprised and threatened when that has a bad outcome.

      At this point your assumptions are exceeding the amount of CO2 I'm exhaling. I've never trashed on law enforcement, in fact, I considered becoming a LEO myself, but the pay is way too low. A good friend of mine was also in the Border Patrol. And that's inalienable right to self defense not inalienable right to shoot people. You are twisting my words to fit your agenda.

      Dog gone says: But most of all I object to you not being willing to take responsibility for your actions in shooting someone. You pass all those requirements that the cops do, and live up to their standards, including accepting being sued if you're wrong, and paying out whatever the damages are...

      My firearm training came from the same person that teaches the Oregon State Police. Police don't pay for their own damages. They are covered by the municipalities that hire them. I train regularly in the same location used by many local law enforcement. More importantly, I've never pointed my gun at anyone and I hope to keep it that way.

      Dog gone says: Because every other person's life is AS valuable and as deserving of safety as yours is...

      Finally, we agree! Yeah!

      Dog gone says: The Constitution was the basis...

      This is irrelevant to the current discussion. I have the inalienable right to prevent my life from being taken by another individual. I believe that right applies to every person on this planet, so the Constitution doesn't apply. Think about this concept before you reply. If I'm not allowed to save my own life, then I'm allowing my murderer to execute me.

      Dog gone says: ...unless you do everything possible to avoid the hazard in the first place. You don't.

      And the blind assumptions continue...

      Enough dog gone. Please talk about what you know and stop with the wild assumptions. It doesn't help your cause.

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    2. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black to me.

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    3. OK Joan. I apologize if you feel my assumptions about your former LEO friend were inappropriate.

      I simply don't understand people who are opposed to shall issue laws that treat everyone equally under the law. If ORS 166.291 were amended to include (p) is not named Migo, then I wouldn't be able to get a concealed handgun license, but so would every other Oregon resident named Migo. All you have to do is convince the Oregon Legislature, Senate, and Governor to change the law. That is the American way.

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    4. Migo, your claims about inaleinable rights are out of date, and frankly wrong.

      May issue also treats everyone equally under the law, it simply provides more discretion to law enforcement to prevent the people who are dangerously mentally ill, violent domestic abusers, those who have restraining orders against them because of making threats, violent misdemeanor offencers, etc.

      Your characterization of abitrariness or whim is frankly inaccurate. You have yet to demonstrate that may issue is abused, or that appeals processes are inadequate. Repeating something doesn't make it true. What we have under shall issue is a too lax system that lets people like Jared Loughner and James Holmes get dangerous weapons, as well as the copy cat wannabes that were arrested after the Aurora shootings. That clearly shows that it is 'shall issue' that is the problem, not may issue.

      In the case of Holmes, or Loughner, it was legal to carry openly. As I have pointed out in posts I've written on Penigma - in the case of Jared Loughner, law enforcement KNEW he was considered a danger to himself and others; two officers brought a letter to his house, notifying Loughner and his parents that he couldn't go back to campus until he had a mental health screening declaring he was safe again.

      In the case of Ian Stawicki in Seattle earlier this year, his family and others had also identified him as a person who was a danger to himself and others, but no one was able to prevent him having and carrying a firearm there either.

      The list of these cases under shall issue is horrible; clearly - CLEARLY - the problem is both a too lax carry policy under shall issue, and a waaaaaaaaaay too lax system for allowing people to buy and own and store firearms, based on the number of shootings we have.

      You have no way around the fact that our stats show the US gun culture, and the laws which support it being unrestricted, and largely undocumented, are a failure. You have no way around the fact that gun restrictions work, and that gun ownership has absolutely NO deterrence on any crime whatsoever.

      So long as it is the pro-gun laws causing the problem, and not the restrictive laws, you don't have a leg to stand on.

      Given your griping, I am starting to wonder if any law enforcement that was unwilling to have you armed might have had very good reason, and not be acting on whim.

      I've seen too many pro-gunners who spouted illogical and unsubstantiated nonsense, especially when it came to advocating shooting in situations where gun safety rules clearly prohibit doing so, to be at all persuaded that the people who have guns now are all that safe.

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    5. Migo writes:I support denying firearms to criminals and those that are mentally distressed. Please review my previous posts.

      No, in fact you don't. You don't support mental health testing or drug testing for starters, you don't support may issue which would allow law enforcement to prevent dangerous people from having firearms, unlike the more difficult standard to meet of having people be so advanced in their mental illness they are recognized by courts of law as being dangerous to themselves and others almost exclusively in the context of involuntary committment proceedings. Do you support restoring the gun rights of former felons after they have served their time, or do you believe that violent felons should permanently lose their gun rights? There is ample evidence that former criminals do not handle having their gun rights restored, and reoffend violently with firearms. You don't support closing private sales loopholes that allow criminals easy (and often cheap) access to firearms either, or registration where gun owners would be required to also document theft to law enforcement, as well as be required to have a higher level of firearm security (gun safes, etc.)

      Sorry Migo but the list of things you oppose that would HUGELY reduce the number of firearms in the hands of criminals is too darn long to post here. You in fact support far too many of the means for criminals to get guns, to resell them, to transport them, to make the claim that you oppose arming criminals. That is nonsense, it is dishonest and disingenuous, and only a fool incapable of critical thinking would accept it.

      As to your life being as valuable as others -- the crux there Migo, is you aren't taking the same steps that LEOs do to make sure YOU aren't a danger to them. There is little credible evidence in a nation where crime has been declining steadily that you are justified in carrying lethal force anywhere outside your own home, or that doing so would be useful in defending your life.

      I have no basis to believe you can hit the broadside of a barn, nor does it appear you pass regular testing of your marksmanship skills to meet a minimum standard the way law enforcment does, or that you are in suitable physical condition or that you have the judgment and legal knowledge to appropriately use a firearm --- and NO, the silly little superficial training required by states is NOT even remotely comparable to what law enforcement does. You have none of the checks and balances on performance and authority that law enforcement does - and that makes you dangerous.

      Most of all, you don't carry insurance to compensate others if and WHEN - more likely the latter - you make a mistake.

      On all counts that makes you a less suitable person to carry in public places, and a much greater danger to others than you are likely to be a defense for yourself.

      THEREFORE, NO, YOU shouldn't have the right to carry, because the danger you present to the public is greater than any probability that you will need to defend yourself in public, where we have better public safety than what you can provide yourself.

      Keep it at home Migo, or live up to the professional standards of law enforcement to carry --- ALL of them.
      Just because you say you're safe doesn't make it so. The ONLY inalienable right you have is for law enforcement to protect you, not for you to arbitrarily shoot other people because it seems like a good idea or even necessary at the time.

      The only rights we have are the ones we define and agree on -- and clearly what you claim is NOT one we agree on, and doesn't have the tradition or legal history you claim for it either. In ALL countries, but especially the UK from which our law derives, there is an emphatic duty to retreat.

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    6. Migo writes:
      My firearm training came from the same person that teaches the Oregon State Police. Police don't pay for their own damages. They are covered by the municipalities that hire them. I train regularly in the same location used by many local law enforcement. More importantly, I've never pointed my gun at anyone and I hope to keep it that way.


      I don't care if your firearms training came from J. Edgar Hoover; you are not required to meet regular performance levels or physical fitness levels (including an eye exam, which seems pertinent for shooting even more so than driving) or any mental health screening or illegal substance testing. It doesn't matter if law enforcement has to pay for their own insurance; what matters is that someone has evaluated the standards of their performance and found them INSURABLE, and an acceptable risk, and what also matters is that the person harmed IS COMPENSATED.

      And you can bet that if the deviation from policy is sufficient, not only will a bad LEO NOT be insured, he will be fired and lose his authority to carry. There is NOTHING cmoparable to that with you. You can be the biggest putz and screw up in your entire state, and it won't keep you from carrying. We have evidence of that almost daily in instances where someone does something dangerous and stupid with a firearm -- like shooting a toilet out from under their own behinds in a WalMart men's room, or shooting themselves in their various body parts accidentally under other circumstances.

      So long as YOU don't meet the standards of law enforcement YOU shouldn't be making the life and death decisions about shooting people.

      Most law enforcement organizations agree with me, overwhelmingly. You are an unsupervised amateur who doesn't have to meet any significant standards of performance on an ongoing basis whatsoever. You lack the training and the knowledge of law enforcement.

      And you oppose many of the ways in which we could prevent gun violence and criminals and other dangerous people getting their hands on guns. So, NO, there is no reason to endanger other people by having you carry in public, when there is a steadily declining crime rate for YEARS.

      You are afraid of criminals? Pay more towards law enforcement, and get yourself a good security system, maybe some non-lethal self defense devises like tasers and pepper spray.

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