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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Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's the silly season about gun policy

So recently on this very blog, some of the gun rights extremists tried to claim that their own training surpassed that of law enforcement to carry their loaded guns around in public. I didn't believe them. I still don't. I provided a video of Lilly Habtu, Virginia Tech survivor, getting her permit by doing the Internet course for the Virginia license. She cheated. She got her permit within weeks. Stupid and dangerous. The rise in out of state residents getting Virginia permit to carry has increased. Why? Well, maybe it's that a third grader could answer the 15 true/false questions on the other end of the computer screen. If we want to know why so many people who shouldn't be carrying guns around in public do so anyway, look no further than Virginia. From the article:
One of at least two Internet sites that offer the training, http://www.onlinegunclass.com , highlights on its home page the eight states that allow residents to carry a concealed weapon if they get a permit from Virginia.
"You heard me right - Virginia," a pitchman says in an online promotional video outlining the process for potential customers.
Their home states may impose more stringent requirements, he tells prospects, but they can get a Virginia permit simply by paying $39.99, reading five chapters about firearms and correctly answering 15 of 20 true-or-false questions on a quiz. The customer receives a certificate to be mailed along with other application materials to the Virginia State Police. After passing a criminal background check, the applicant receives a permit to carry a concealed weapon in his or her home state and 26 others that have reciprocity agreements with Virginia.
Customers can take the test up to four times if they have trouble passing, the man in the video says, adding: "I don't think it's going to be a problem."
Here are a few of the sample questions that, if answered correctly, will allow anyone who can answer them to carry a loaded gun around in public:
"The first step in cleaning your firearm is to make sure it is unloaded," says one true-false offering.
"Always keep firearms pointed in a safe direction," says another.
Tough questions, those. Could you pass the test? Could a felon pass the test? Could a domestic abuser pass the test? Could a mentally ill person pass the test? Raise your hand if you think this is a good idea. And then remember that the U.S House passed a bill recently to allow permit holders from any state to carry loaded guns around in any other state, no matter the requirements. Where is common sense? I remind my readers that permit holders do kill people and have killed people. The Violence Policy Center is keeping track of them. The blogs mentioned above are tracking incidents of permit holders and/or law abiding gun owners doing stupid and dangerous things with their guns.

Several blogs are also keeping track of what's going on in the world of law abiding gun owners/gun permit holders. I suggest you read them. The Kid Shootings blog, to which I contribute, posts articles about actual shootings of and by kids and teens. It's startling to read what is posted there. Here is just the latest tragic incident from the state of Virginia:
An 11-year old boy in Loudon County, Virginia, found a loaded handgun that his father had hidden in the slats of the boy's bunk bed.  While he and his parents were together in the boy's room, the boy put the gun to the back of his mother's head and pulled the trigger, thinking the gun wasn't real.  The gun fired and hit her point-blank.  She is now in serious condition.
Stupid and dangerous. The Ohh Shoot blog posts about accidental shootings by law abiding gun owners/permit holders. Here is from a recent article posted:
49-year-old Bing Michael Yee, of Cedar Park, Texas was out walking his dog when a neighbor's dog came out of a house and ran towards him. According to police, Hayes pulled out a handgun "and just starts shooting the dog. I don't know how many rounds he fired, but the dog was killed. People were either in a yard near Yee or across the street from him."
One of the women standing nearby was injured by shrapnel or debris kicked up by the shots. She was taken to the hospital, treated and released.
According to witnesses, when the people outside reacted to Yee shooting the dog he aimed the gun at them and continued to point the gun at another neighbor who stepped outside when he heard the shots. Several people told him, "You need to put your weapon down."
The dog's owner, Amber, told reporters, "Shock, horror, disbelief. I was probably 20 feet from the guy when he unloaded his gun into my dog."
"I've met him. I've been in his house," said Billy, Amber's husband. "His dog has played with my dog. I don't understand why there was so much aggression and violence and the outcome."
Yee, who has a concealed weapons permit, lives on a corner lot with an NRA sticker on his front door. He has told neighbors that he owns dozens of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition. 
Yee was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and deadly conduct discharging a firearm. 
Yup. Those permit holders with their loaded guns fear their own shadows around every corner and are so sure their guns are going to come in handy in a dangerous situation. Yet, this is what is happening instead. They are endangering the lives of other people. Where is common sense? We are better than this.

Where are our politicians when it comes to protecting the public from incidents like these? Nowhere. They are afraid to mention the word gun when out talking to constituents or at national party conventions. The Democrats, in particular, at least have a tepid position on gun policy. They refuse to mention it for fear that the gun rights extremists will come unglued and say ridiculous and false things about them. I will write more about this in a coming post. From the article:
Most of the gun language in the Democrats' draft platform mirrors what was in the 2008 document, but the call for an "open conversation" about gun control — something that's been all but absent for years on Capitol Hill — is a new addition. 
The provision marks a subtle shift in messaging for Democratic leaders who have been reluctant to press for tighter gun control — or even hold hearings on the subject — for fear of a political backlash.
But the issue has been tough to ignore this Congress in the face of a long series of headline-grabbing shooting sprees stretching back to the very first days of the 112th, when then-Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) was critically injured during a rampage that killed six people in her district.
Indeed, the draft platform's call for a public debate on guns is pulled almost directly from President Obama's reaction to the Giffords shooting.
"Clearly, there's more we can do to prevent gun violence," Obama wrote in a March 2011 op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star. "But I want this to at least be the beginning of a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people."
Does anyone remember this moving moment at the Democratic National Convention?





Does anyone remember how Representative Gabrielle Giffords got to be in this tragic position? Jared Loughner was a law abiding Arizona gun permit holder. He shouldn't have been but he was anyway. 6 people were shot dead in one shooting at a Tucson shopping mall because of our loose gun laws and Gabby Giffords led the Democratic National Convention in the Pledge of Allegiance in her halting speech, leaving everyone in tears. Here was an opportunity to discuss common sense gun regulations. But the chance was not taken. We are better than this.

The Republican positions on gun policy are in concert with the NRA:
For Republicans, the Second Amendment is not limited to the holdings of the Supreme Court decisions District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. City of Chicago, where 5-4 majorities only held that armed self-defense in the home, with a hand gun, is a fundamental right of law-abiding citizens. Allegedly, the right to keep and bear arms also "includes the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration," a right to self-defense "wherever a law-abiding citizen has a legal right to be," the ability to purchase and maintain unlimited ammo clips, and the ability to purchase and maintain assault rifles. All and all, Republicans see the Second Amendment as a means to enable "Americans to defend their homes and communities."
The writer of this article ends with the truth about the two versions of the world espoused by the gun rights extremists and those who are more interested in protecting public safety:
The point here is not that public gun prohibitions are the definitive answer to solving or ending gun violence. There may be some truth to the argument that more guns in the hands of properly trained, law-abiding citizens deter crime. Instead, the point is that public gun regulations to preserve order and prevent public injury are part of our Anglo-American tradition, and it is a subject that has always been regulated by the legislatures in the interest of the common good. It is for this reason that the Republican's laissez-faire interpretation of the Second Amendment is worrisome. Not only does it seemingly foreclose an open and honest discussion on the dangers of gun violence, but it implies an armed society facilitates law and order, not government order. And if this is the Republican platform on guns, the Founding Fathers are shaking their heads at the Republicans and nodding in support of the Democrats push for "an honest, open national conversation about firearms." 
Look no further than this to understand the differences- Mitt Romney was endorsed by none other than NRA Board member Ted Nugent. Nugent's extreme positions are frightening and yet embraced by the far right extremists and now a candidate for the President of the United States. It is the silly season. But it's not silly when 32 Americans a day die from gun homicides. Check out the positions of candidates on the gun issue and ask them to tell you how they will protect citizens from senseless gun violence. Since the American public is in favor of a serious national discussion and common sense, ask they if they are willing to do what the public wants. If not, they should not be elected.



32 comments:

  1. Is there statistical evidence that shows that states w/ a "lesser" or "weaker" training requirement (Virginia, for example) have more incidents with permit holders than states w/ "stronger" training requirements (like Minnesota, for example)?

    By statistical evidence, I don't mean individual incidents - I mean a valid statistical analysis that shows this to be the issue that you are claiming it to be?

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    1. Sure, Bryan. Here it is- http://www.vpc.org/fadeathchart11.htm

      Virginia is about in the middle in this chart. Wyoming and Alaska, in the "top 5" in the above chart, are constitutional carry states http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2693104/posts

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    2. You can't just compare one variable to the other - this needs to be done using a regression analysis to determine whether or not there is a correlation - and then if that correlation is statistically significant - and then ensure that other forms of causation are eliminated.

      All this chart shows is state firearm death rates without any type of correlation or other analysis. What's the point you're trying to make with this chart?

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    3. Are you serious? We don't need any regression analyzes here, Bryan. People are dying. Their families could care less about how you compare the data. It is what it is. In states with looser gun laws and more guns, things are worse as far as deaths. When some states don't even require a permit to carry it goes without saying that that will result in people who shouldn't carry guns to carry them anyway. This is a no brainer, Bryan.You are trying way too hard to make excuses for your side of the argument. It isn't working very well. People are dying every day on our streets. The public understands that part without having a regression analysis.

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    4. Yes, I'm serious. You can't make an assertion like that without facts to support your argument - otherwise it's totally baseless.

      Your argument is that states where permit holders have "less" training are less safe - and that those permit holders are therefore more dangerous, correct? I'm asking you to prove that argument to be true.

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    5. What didn't you understand in the VPC report, Bryan?

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  2. Do you really believe, Bryan that people are AS safe with less training?

    Florida and Virginia have cashed in on the state reciprocity deal, selling out real safety for a quick buck to the gun nuts.

    Minnesota tried to scrap an excellent screening and training program, claiming it was a duplicate of the NICS. That was untrue; we're one of those states which has NOT supplied all of the appropriate names to the NICS, per the BCA, including the names of people found to be dangerously crazy.

    If you want an anecdotal example of the danger inherent in states that do poor checks - like Florida, where they are very slack in giving permits to people they shouldn't - being equally lax in handing out permits to out of state people who would be denied in their home states, Laci has a few he could share here from personal knowledge.

    I'm especially amazed at the number of people who are most dangerous and least appropriate to have them who end up with assault-style weapons. These are NOT the people who should be having ANY kind of permit, OR guns for that matte.

    A perfect example of the kind of person I mean would be the guy shooting up the Quebecois rally.

    http://penigma.blogspot.com/2012/09/update-on-apparently-political.html

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    1. dog gone writes: "Do you really believe, Bryan that people are AS safe with less training?"

      I don't know. Do you? Do you have data that proves the argument one way or the other?

      I'm talking specifically about permit holders by the way - not firearms ownership in general.

      "Minnesota tried to scrap an excellent screening and training program, claiming it was a duplicate of the NICS. That was untrue; we're one of those states which has NOT supplied all of the appropriate names to the NICS, per the BCA, including the names of people found to be dangerously crazy."

      No, that's not what happened.

      Minnesota has an additional screening requirement to buy a handgun or an "Assault Weapon" under state law. That screening requires a person purchasing a handgun or an "assault weapon" from a licensed dealer to present either a permit to purchase or a permit to carry.

      The permit to purchase has no training requirement. There's not one bit of training involved.

      Obviously with a permit to carry, there is the state required training in Minnesota.

      One of the proposals before the legislature in the last session was to remove the permit to purchase requirement - which did not pass.

      "If you want an anecdotal example of the danger inherent in states that do poor checks - like Florida, where they are very slack in giving permits to people they shouldn't - being equally lax in handing out permits to out of state people who would be denied in their home states, Laci has a few he could share here from personal knowledge."

      But we're talking about training, not the background check process. Florida has a fairly broad training requirement in that all NRA courses qualify, for example, rather than Minnesota's approach of having a state specific curriculum that has required elements that an instructor must cover.

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    2. " One of the proposals before the legislature in the last session was to remove the permit to purchase requirement - which did not pass. "

      And you supported that. Nice.

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    3. japete writes: "And you supported that. Nice."

      Considering it's a duplicative check of an existing process. Yes.

      It's also a process that is routinely stalled by agencies - even though the state statute clearly states the permit must be issued or denied within 7 days. There's no recourse for the citizen and no accountability for the agency - completely different than MN 624.714 which has a due process requirement, an escalation / appeals path, and accountability for the agency.

      This law should either be dropped or modified.

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    4. Obviously we disagree Bryan. Law enforcement does not agree with your position. There is no sense continuing this discussion. Have a good night.

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  3. Multnomah County, Oregon also has a weak training requirement. The irony is that Oregon has no reciprocity, when other states clearly have better or equal training requirements. I've written to my representatives and senators with an improved training solution, but my requests have fallen on deaf anti-gun ears. So we continue with the status quo.

    My proposal is to require that national reciprocity require a federal permit with federal training standards, perhaps similar to training given to Border Patrol, Air Marshals, or US Marshals but modified for civilian self-defense. Many quality courses offered by excellent instructors with sustainable businesses already exist in several states that are deeply immersive, multi-day, instructions exceeding the training standards of most, if not, every state. Some of these fine instructors will even fly out and teach their classes anywhere in the country.

    This proposal doesn't infringe on state rights too much (a favorite argument of Senator Merkley) because states could still maintain their existing permit, instruction, and reciprocity structures with the exception that all states and territories would have to honor the Federal Permit with its more rigid training standards. State rights arguments break down anyway with LEOSA.

    The reason I believe this would work is because many gun-owners would covet a permit with Federal reciprocity so this would encourage higher quality training than any other existing state program resulting in a more highly trained concealed carry population.

    BTW, I've taken two other concealed carry classes in addition to other firearm training classes to supplement the weak Multnomah County class. I felt I had to.

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  4. Your chart reflects total gun deaths. The majority of those deaths -- at least in Alaska, which tops the chart (72% in AK) -- are due to suicides. I cannot see the linkage between "Constitutional Carry" and suicides. THe problem is that Alaska's suicide rate (by all means!) is WAY higher than the rest of the US.

    A peer reviewed study from UAA found that a disproportionate number of suicides in Alaska are of Alaskan Natives; of the natives that use firearms to end their lives, most of the firearms are long guns. How does constitutional carry of handguns increase suicide with shotguns in remote native villages? There seems to be no obvious or proven linkage.

    Alaskan households own firearms (60%) at a rate nearly double that of the rest of the US (30-40%). Yet firearms are used in Alaskan suicides only slightly more often than in the rest-of-US (63% vs. 54%). By focusing on the firearm rather than the problem (suicide), we waste resources that should be spent on addressing root causes identified by UAA such as lack of mental health care in remote villages, the severe disruption of native culture, poor economic conditions in remote areas, high rates of domestic violence, and substance abuse.

    I think that to answer Bryan's question, you need to provide evidence demonstrating that mandatory training requirements decrease the rate of accidents and/or violent crime among permit holders. I have never seen such evidence. I have seen evidence (Lott) that increased training requirements and costs tend to decrease the total number of permits issued (which makes sense), but that doesn't mean that there is any impact on permit revocation rates due to crime or injuries due to accidents. Even if you could demonstrate a correlation between increased training requirements and decreased firearms accidents/crimes by permit holders (which I doubt), it would not demonstrate causality. That's why there is no peer reviewed research which backs up your assertions.

    On the VA out of state permit front -- do you seriously believe that the VA State Highway Patrol will issue permits to felons? You do realize that once someone takes the online test and submits their application to the issuing authority, VA runs a background check, right? You could ask one of the prohibited persons who supports your organization like Plaxico Burris to test it out by applying for a VA permit. I suspect he will be denied.

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    1. Again, Chris, why would you let people on the streets with loaded guns an no training requirement? Come on. You are just trying to make excuses. There should be no tolerance for lack of training and loaded guns carried on our streets. Whether you equate that with suicides ( many permit holders given in the examples at the VPC committed suicide after they killed a bunch of people), crimes committed or homicides. there is ample proof that permit holders are not the upstanding law abiding citizens that you guys claimed they would be. That is a fact. Why not admit it and try to work with me and others to make things better rather than providing lame excuses? If we don't have adequate records in the NICS data base of mentally ill people and sometimes even felons, running a background check after someone has taken a 20 question multiple choice test, the questions of which are so simple as to be ridiculous, may not turn up dangerous people. The standards need to be much more stringent. I'm pretty sure you know that but you can't admit that the VA permit internet training is a sham.

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    2. Again, Chris, why would you let people on the streets with loaded guns an no training requirement? Come on. You are just trying to make excuses. There should be no tolerance for lack of training and loaded guns carried on our streets.

      Why do you suggest requiring a substantial burden (extensive training requirements) be placed on a specifically enumerated right which will likely prevent lower income people and minorities from exercising that right without any evidence to suggest that it will increase individual or public safety?

      Would you support expensive and time consuming mandatory Voter Education Classes before allowing people to cast a ballot at the polls? Voting for the wrong candidate could have dire consequences for our Republic, right, so voters should have to prove they've been trained on the basic issues, shouldn't they?

      Would you support expensive and time consuming mandatory Writer's Education Classes before allowing people to publish materials? If someone published or sold the wrong kind of hateful literature it could twist and poison many, many minds and inspire hate crimes, right?

      The statistics you displayed in the VPC table are total gun deaths from WISQARS. Of the 120 firearms related deaths in Alaska in 2007, 94 of them (about 80%) were suicides. 0 were reported as "unintentional." Most of the remaining incidents are criminal, with prohibited persons who are not legally allowed to touch a firearm killing other prohibited persons, usually in gang or drug related activity.

      The idea that changing the training requirements to issue a concealed weapons permit or carry a handgun in public places somehow affects the rate of suicide doesn't even pass the rational basis smell test, much less meet intermediate scrutiny. We wouldn't accept the idea of a government imposed poll tax or expensive/time consuming "training" requirement to do something as important as voting or writing a book, so why would it be acceptable for another specifically enumerated right?

      I care about reducing all suicides. It is a pipe dream to think that any sort of effective disarmament could occur in a place like Alaska, and it is unclear that such disarmament would have any effect on suicides or criminal activity. So why not focus efforts on solutions that DO work, like increasing access to mental health services, increasing economic and education opportunities for rural communities, addressing the systematic destruction of native cultures, and reducing domestic violence?

      I'd be much more interested in evidence that compared these two variables:
      1) # of hours of mandatory training and cost to obtain permit
      2) # of permit holders who have negligent discharges, suffer or inflict unintentional injuries, or have their permits revoked for committing violent crimes

      That would be evidence that might support your position and justify extraordinary burdens which disproportionally affect lower income and minority citizens.

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    3. Aren't gun deaths gun deaths? Isn't someone dead from a bullet if a bullet is used to kill them? We've gone over this one before Chris.

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    4. Chris- Torturing the facts and turning black into white and white into black does not change the fact that guns are designed to kill people and people with guns should have to have training. Voting does not kill people and people should not be charged a fee to vote as current voter suppression laws are attempting to do. There should be a burden on people who carry guns. There should not be on voters. Voting should be easier. Shooting people should be harder. Trying to distract with all of your other "logic" doesn't work. Who, again, is talking about disarmament? Not me.

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  5. japete writes: "Chris- Torturing the facts and turning black into white and white into black does not change the fact that guns are designed to kill people and people with guns should have to have training."

    You've presented zero facts whatsoever to support this point of view. Do you have any facts that hold up your opinion that training should be required for gun ownership?

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    1. Can you honestly tell me that you think there should be no training for people to shoot and carry loaded guns? Where are your facts?

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    2. japete writes: "Can you honestly tell me that you think there should be no training for people to shoot and carry loaded guns? Where are your facts?"

      I haven't claimed that. I've stated clearly that I've not seen any research that says one way or the other.

      You are the one claiming that training should be required for permit holders - and that there is danger in a federal law requiring states to honor each other's permits because of the differences in training. You've also stated in another comment that training should be required to own a gun.

      I would argue that training that has no impact is an inappropriate burden on a constitutional right.

      I'd like you to back up your claims with facts. Do you have research or appropriately verified statistics that indicates that training has any impact on permit holder's negligence, crime rate, etc... as you claim that it would. Or any research that indicates that requiring training to even own or possess a firearm has any impact on such rates?

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    3. Conversely Bryan, you have shown no facts or evidence that show that people with no training are more safe with their guns than people with training. It's pretty much a no brainer that anyone who carries a gun around in public should know how to use it. Haven't you been reading about all the idiots who shoot themselves or others with loaded guns? When I post them, you and your friends just shrug them off as another careless gun owner who is not properly trained. You can't have it both ways. Rights have nothing to do with training. Your right to own and carry a gun is not unfettered. With rights come responsibilities. You are irresponsible if you don't believe people should be trained to carry loaded guns. Aren't you an instructor? I sure as heck hope you do a good job of training your students. Lives may depend upon it.

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    4. I often wonder if lives could be saved in an unexpected way if the self-defense gun owner were better trained. In one of my training exercises within a police laser simulation range, I walked into a burglary in progress with an armed hostile aggressor. The weapon wasn't pointed at me as I walked into the room. At that point a highly trained and experienced ex-LEO police instructor replaced the armed aggressor projected on the screen. My weapon (a real gun modified to shoot a laser) was presented properly and strong, my body bladed, and my verbal commands to get down on the ground, cross your legs, etc. were extremely loud and strong exactly as I was trained. The instructor complied with my commands without a single shot being fired possibly realizing that under those simulated conditions, even with his background as an undercover officer experienced with live fire-fights, I would have shot him. The simulation was real enough that my heart was racing throughout the exercise.

      Other students in my class who presented their weapons incorrectly, didn't appear assertive, issue commands assertively enough, or otherwise handled the situation in a weaker way, were shot by the skilled instructor, who like a trapped predator, was looking for weaknesses in the students and an opportunity to kill and escape.

      There are other training exercises like re-holstering your weapon so you don't drill your own leg, presenting your weapon so you don't shoot your weak hand, and so on, that I learned through other classes that were not part of my initial CHL training that seem invaluable for anyone using a gun for self-defense.

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    5. Wonder away. Training is crucial. I don't understand all of your language but sounds like you think of yourself as totally prepared even though in a real life situation it doesn't work that way. Good luck with that. At least you agree that training is a good idea. Some of the gun guys on this blog disagree.

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    6. I agree. The reason I said I wonder is because I believe simulations, training, and real life are very different. There was another simulation where a hostage and I were both killed. As real as the simulation felt, I still walked out of the simulator. All I know for certain is that I want and need more training, and even if I had all the training in the world, I doubt it would prepare me for the first time I would have to kill someone.

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  6. Dear Chris,
    As you can see, several of your comments were published by me. Some were not. Your paranoia is showing. I don't publish comments that attack me and lecture me. Have a nice day.

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  7. It is not paranoid, nor is it extreme, to suggest that ALL Americans have certain rights regardless of their income or zip code. I genuinely don't see how you can be deeply offended at Voter ID laws ("voter suppression") but totally ok with high costs imposed on the exercise of other rights that freeze out low income people merely because they are poor, unless you believe that voting is just "no big deal." I guess I buy into that whole civil rights movement extremism from the 1960s.

    I also don't see how it is paranoid, extreme or offensive to suggest subsidized safety education to the problem of accidents involving firearms. If you take total civilian disarmament off the table then there will be some firearms in society. If that's the case, then why not make safety training accessible and affordable to everyone regardless of income?

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    1. I have no idea what you are ranting about. This makes no sense, Chris.

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    2. If I understand Chris correctly, the issue is that requiring training would disenfranchise the poor who can't afford training, yet still have the inalienable right to self defense like every other person. I agree that if a state law mandates training, then training should either be affordable, or subsidized by the state. Perhaps this is why my county’s training is so poor.

      The training I suggested could easily exceed $2000 which the poor can't afford, in addition to inherent scheduling issues that could postpone training by over a year — both clearly barriers to anyone needing timely access to self-defense. This is why the training I proposed was optional, because a federal permit is optional, and shouldn’t replace existing state laws regarding permits, training, and reciprocity.

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    3. This nonsense about requiring training disenfranchising the poor is ridiculous and specious. If you want to eliminate training using that as an excuse, you are using a very poor and dangerous argument. If poor people can afford guns, they can afford the training. Don't have a gun if you can't be trained to use it properly. We are talking about human lives. Don't drive a car if you don't know how to drive. Don't practice law or medicine if you haven't been properly trained. Don't practice any profession if you haven't been trained. We are talking about deadly weapons here. They kill people. Come on. This is enough of this thread. I've gone over this one before. You seem to be saying that we should just give guns to low income people and then not provide training for them to use the guns. What kind of program is that? I thought you guys didn't like any programs that helped low income people- you know, like welfare and food stamps. But when it suits your purpose, things change.

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    4. You said you're done with this thread, but you also made many assumptions that demand clarification.

      I never said that we should give guns to low income people and that gun owners should have zero training. Clearly, owning a gun requires some fundamental firearm training that is actually incorporated in some states' permit training. Nevada is one such state. Oregon is not.

      Again, I'm not advocating eliminating all training. Untrained gun owners are dangerous and give the rest of us a bad name. However, the kind of training that I proposed for a federal permit, and that's been implied by others on this forum that are more in line with your thinking, is very expensive. It far exceeds the basic level of training offered by any state for its permits. A private citizen is basically paying out of pocket for training that a government would normally cover for its law enforcement officers. This kind of training can easily be 10 to 50 times the cost of a gun, so it's inaccurate to say that if someone can afford a gun they can afford this kind of training. I also never advocated that this type of training should be handed out like welfare. That's why it should be optional because it's clearly only available to those with extra cash.

      Self defense is not a profession. It's an inalienable right that every person possesses. You're not asking someone to simply learn to drive a car, you're asking them to learn to drive an emergency vehicle, downtown in rush hour at 80 mph without hitting a single pedestrian. They don't teach that kind of driving in any high school.

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    5. Migo- explain to me how self defense is an inalienable right. What are you talking about driving an emergency vehicle? Police officers? So what does that have to do with the rest of us. What are you getting at? Citizens need training. You guys try to tell me you are better trained than officers which is simply not true. I didn't say you should be trained like an officer. I said you should have training to carry a gun around with you in public places. Just like you have to be trained to drive a car. You can't get a license without training. How did the police training get in here? You are not making sense,

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