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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Is there logic to the gun lobby's questionable claims?

What is the logic in laws that allow people who shouldn't get guns to get them anyway? What is the logic in making assault weapons seem like just any old gun used by hunters and recreational shooters? What kind of logic is it when laws are passed to let someone with a gun shoot someone when "feeling threatened" without being held responsible for the shooting? Do the rights of gun owners trump the rights of the public to be safe from senseless shootings? Shouldn't laws be passed to protect the public instead of protecting the gun industry, the gun lobby and gun carriers?

The NRA and its' minions care a lot about their perceived second amendment rights to own any kind of gun known to mankind and carry it wherever they go. They turn every sensible gun proposal into a fight over the second amendment which does not, by the way, say there should be unrestricted rights for anyone to own and carry any kind of gun desired. Where is the concern over victims and public health and safety? Why don't we hear ideas from the gun lobby about what can be done to prevent and reduce gun violence?

Let's take conceal and carry laws for an example of the reasoning of the NRA. If we just but let anyone who doesn't have a felony record get a gun permit, we will all be better off and safer and people will be able to protect themselves in public from some mythical threat. The facts don't show anything of the kind. The facts, in fact, show the opposite. The Violence Policy Center is keeping track of conceal and carry permit holders who have killed people. The numbers are increasing and should be of concern. I refer often to the Ohh Shoot blog that highlights the number of accidental discharges of guns by law abiding gun owners all over America. It is not a pretty picture. Facts also show that there are few instances of permit holders using guns in public places to defend themselves against an actual threat. What we have seen instead are the increasingly numerous instances of permit holders purposely shooting people in public places.

And then there are the stories that hit the media almost every day such as the one I last posted about the "alleged self defense" shooting in Minnesota. Or this case of a young Iowa man who only had his permit to carry for a week before he brandished his gun in public and ended up dead as a result. From the article:
A Waterloo resident who was shot and killed by police after allegedly pointing a gun at a crowd Sunday morning had obtained a permit to carry a gun days earlier, according to authorities.
Records at the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office show Derrick Ambrose Jr. received his permit on Nov. 13, following a delay to adjudicate a drug charge.
Less than a week after he received the permit, Ambrose, 22, was dead after an incident outside a nightclub and fleeing from Officer Kyle Law.
Derrick Johnson, a friend of Ambrose, said Ambrose didn't carry a gun because he had been threatened but obtained his license because other acquaintances had theirs.
"A lot of people our age are getting one," Johnson said.
Sheriff Tony Thompson, who issued Ambrose's permit to carry a weapon, said Ambrose was within Iowa law to obtain the permit. A change in state law in 2011 took discretion out of the permit process and required county sheriffs to issue permits if applicants are free of felony convictions and mental health committals and undergo training.
Thompson said Ambrose wouldn't have received a permit under the old discretionary process.
Thompson said Ambrose originally was turned down for the permit in June 2012 because of a pending misdemeanor marijuana possession charge that stemmed from a December 2011 traffic stop where police found a burned cigar that smelled like marijuana in an acquaintance's car Ambrose was driving.
On Oct. 27, he pleaded guilty to an amended charge of possession of drug paraphernalia and was sentenced to two days in jail.
With the case over, Ambrose was issued a permit to purchase on Nov. 1 and then received his permit to carry on Nov. 13.
Courier archives also show that police tasered Ambrose in April 2010 during a disturbance where people allegedly were blocking traffic and then pelted a responding squad car with rocks. Ambrose was arrested for interference and assault on an officer, but the case later was expunged.
This bears repeating: " Thompson said Ambrose wouldn't have received a permit under the old discretionary process." Indeed. That is a problem with the laws that took discretion out of the process of  granting gun permits to people. Clearly this was a man who should not have been able to get a gun permit but he got one anyway thanks to the NRA and its push for "shall issue" conceal and carry laws  in almost every state. Before this young man was shot to death by law enforcement, he endangered the lives of the public by brandishing his gun. Another tragedy was avoided. But what other young men who get their permits because everyone is doing it will cause the next public shooting? Who knows?

In Alabama, a mother tried to warn people about her son's increasing mental problems but he got a gun anyway and shot and killed one sheriff's deputy and injured another. From the article:
Baldwin County Sheriff's officials say Jansen killed Deputy Scott Ward and wounded Deputy Curtis Summerlin on Friday afternoon before the officers returned fire and killed Jansen. A third deputy was unhurt.
The man's mother had called for medical help because Jansen was distraught, and medics called for backup when they could not subdue Jansen. The three deputies talked to the man for some time inside his mobile home in south Alabama's rural Fairhope before the shooting.
"When they were talking to him inside, his weapon was invisible," said Lt. Judson Beedy, an investigator assigned to the case. Jansen started shooting at the deputies at close range, Beedy said.
After Jansen fired, the four men were engaged in "close-range combat, he said.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is trying to determine who owned the gun and how it was obtained, said District Attorney Hallie Dixon. Federal law prohibits people from owning guns if they have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
Dixon said Jansen would have had to undergo a background check that could have uncovered his history of mental health problems if he bought the weapon at a store. But the man could have legally purchased the gun from another individual without a check, she said.
Probate records don't show that Jansen had been confined for mental treatment since his release in July 2010. They also do not indicate anything about his mental state from then until the shooting.
There are several things to consider here. First, of course, is the obvious. When someone is prohibited from buying a gun from a licensed dealer, he/she can easily obtain a gun without a background check from a private seller. Consider this editorial by Madison, WI Mayor Paul Soglin about the rationale for background checks on all gun sales. His logic is sound:
Unfortunately, in Wisconsin, criminals such as Radcliffe Haughton know that private dealers can sell guns with no paperwork and no questions asked. Thanks to this private sale loophole, Haughton had no problem buying a .40-caliber handgun.
Haughton went online to a website called Armslist.com, where he connected with a private, unlicensed seller. The next day, Haughton went on the tragic shooting rampage that claimed three innocent lives.
This loophole is not just lethal, it is completely illogical. It’s akin to having optional security at the airport — one line for those who are willing to be screened, another for those who are not.
We would never let people avoid metal detectors and bag checks before boarding a plane, so why do we allow gun buyers to choose whether or not they undergo something as basic as a background check?
Indeed. The private sale loophole in our gun laws is illogical. Traveling Americans expect that they will be safer because everyone is treated the same when going through airport security. There are very good reasons for the security that has tightened since the attacks of 9-11. Everyone is treated the same at airport security lines. There are also very good reasons for requiring background checks on all gun sales. All gun sales should require the same background checks as are required by federally license firearms dealers. The incident linked above is proof positive.

Second, why don't the records show that Jansen ( above) had been confined for mental treatment? Laws have been passed to make sure those records get to the FBI's NICS system. If the people who are responsible for sending those names don't do it, we have a serious problem. Lives depend on getting this right.

Other illogical thinking by the NRA has made us all less safe. There is a constant attempt to make assault weapons seem like any other gun and people should be allowed to buy them just like any other gun. This article from Media Matters disputes that old argument:
In fact, the lower pictured weapon, a Mossberg 500 Tactical Persuader, has a number of features that increase its lethality compared to the top pictured shotgun. Contrary to what the graphic suggests, the only difference between the two weapons is not just the pistol grip featured on the Tactical Persuader. The Tactical Persuader also has an adjustable stock that can be removed from the firearm completely, which allows the gun length to be shortened for increased concealability. Furthermore, when combined with a pistol grip, the firearm can be more easily maneuvered, allowing the shooter to fire from the hip and more easily use the weapon from vehicles and in other close quarters situations.
An almost identical configuration was sought out by Suleman Talovic, a teenager who used a Mossberg-derivative pistol grip shotgun during a rampage that killed five and wounded four at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 12, 2007. A recent report issued by the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that firearms with assault weapon features are disproportionally used in mass shootings and that when used result in higher numbers of casualties.
The claim that assault weapons only have cosmetic differences from other firearms is trumpeted by the National Rifle Association, an opponent of assault weapons bans, but has little basis in reality. Unsurprisingly, features that make a firearm an assault weapon are deliberately designed.
You can see the picture of the guns referred to in the linked article. Laws matter. Failing to renew the Assault Weapons Ban in 2004 was a terrible idea. We know that many deaths have been caused as a result of the easy access to these kinds of guns, now legal to purchase again. But never mind. If the gun industry can make more money by selling assault type guns with the features mentioned above, then it's all good for the NRA and the gun industry.

Another illogical claim by the gun rights extremists is that  when shooting someone in claimed self defense, one should not be held responsible in a court of law for the shooting. Here is another one in Florida involving a teen-ager being shot, again. From the article:
The father of a 17-year-old shot and killed at a Florida gas station in an argument over loud music wants justice.
Police say 45-year-old Michael Dunn shot the high school senior Friday near Jacksonville ... firing seven or eight shots into Jordan Davis' SUV. Dunn claims several teens in the car were making threats after he told them to turn the music down, and he says he saw the barrel of a gun through a window.
Officers arrested Dunn the next day at his home in Satellite Beach.
He later told detectives he fired the gun because he felt threatened.
Robin Lemonidis, Michael Dunn's attorney: "What we know is that once all the facts come out, what really happened is made known, that it will be very clear that Mr. Dunn acted responsibly and as any responsible firearms owner would have acted under these same circumstances."
Dunn faces murder and attempted murder charges.
Police say Dunn and his girlfriend were in Jacksonville for his son's wedding and had stopped at the gas station on their way back to their hotel. 
Another article reveals more information about the shooter, who was a gun collector:
"He was a collector of guns. Supposedly information obtained from Brevard County that he was a collector," Schoonover said. "He shot at local gun ranges down there."
Police said there was no surveillance video of the shooting.
"They were listening to music. It was loud. They admitted that," Schoonover said. "But that's not a reason for someone to open fire on them and take action."
After Dunn made a first appearance before a Brevard County judge Monday afternoon, his attorney, Robin Lemonidis, said what really happened is very different that what has been reported. 
I, for one, can't wait to hear what really happened. There had better be a good explanation for the actions taken by this "law abiding" gun collector. In Florida, of course, there is a Stand Your Ground Law now made famous by the Trayvon Martin shooting where George Zimmerman killed an unarmed teen ager over his fear that Martin was doing something wrong by walking around in a gated community. The tragic flaw in these bills, pushed by the NRA, is that all the shooter has to say is that he/she felt threatened and they can potentially get away with murder. It's the word of the shooter against the word of a dead person. Prosecutors will provide more information as to whether there was, indeed, a gun in the car of the teens in the incident above. Many questions will be asked and answered in the course of the investigation. I have a few. Did the man's paranoia lead him to think that a teen-ager must be doing something wrong while playing loud music so firing shots into the car was justified? Without the gun, what would the man have done? Did he provoke the kids in the car by yelling at them knowing that he had his gun at the ready? If the kids yelled back, is that enough cause to shoot at them, killing one? Carrying a gun may make you bolder and you just might use it when you don't have to. Stand Your Ground Laws allow people to shoot others when it's not necessary or right. The laws turn some gun owners into vigilantes. Using the word responsible in the same sentence about a man who had just killed a teen ager over loud music is ludicrous.There is nothing responsible about killing someone when you just think you are threatened. These are the laws foisted on us by the NRA in state after state. They are bad laws and dangerous laws. More and more victims are piling up as a result. I believe we will see many more of these cases and there will be many more questions about whether shooting someone first and asking questions later is good for public safety. I wonder how many will have to die before the laws are changed or repealed?

It's time to pass some common sense laws that will send a message that shooting another human being is an awesome "responsibility" that should not be taken lightly or done without very good reason. The American gun culture, promoted by the gun lobby's illogical views, has allowed for too many people to own and carry too many guns in too many places. We know that there are "bad folks" with guns who shoot people. They should and usually do pay the price for their crimes. We are not doing enough to stop the "bad people" from getting guns in the first place.

But many shootings are committed by people who were law abiding until they pulled the trigger. What to do about these shootings? Will laws change the minds of people who decide to shoot someone in anger, depression, during a domestic dispute, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or severely mentally ill? Will laws prevent these shootings? Treating the underlying cause is one way to reduce or prevent people like this from shooting someone. But what about dealing with our gun culture and challenging the NRA's logic that encourages more people to have guns, appealing to their fears? Gun owners should stop believing what they are fed from NRA leaders like Executive Wayne LaPierre or NRA Board member Ted Nugent. When a gun is available, lives can and are lost over things like loud music, home break-ins, parking spots in shopping malls, domestic disputes, and other petty incidents that should not lead to the taking of a life. We need to think again about the results of conceal and carry laws, Stand Your Ground laws, easy access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition and other such laws that encourage rather than discourage shootings. Americans have amassed an inconceivable number of guns- more than any country in the world. Americans are also dying from gun violence at higher rates than most other countries not at war. This is not acceptable. As long as the man in the linked article above thought he was justified in shooting a teen-ager over a dispute over loud music, we have a problem that requires a solution. It's time to challenge the "logic" that supports this dangerous behavior. There are too many victims of gun violence. 32 Americans a day are killed in gun homicides. That's 32 too many. We are better than this.


It looks like the Florida man who shot a teen-ager over loud music may try to use the Florida Stand Your Ground Law to get away with murder:
His lawyer said Dunn, who is white, thought he saw a gun and felt threatened during the incident, indicating that he may seek protection under the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground Law, according to local reports.
"Self defense applies because Mr. Dunn was threatened," attorney Robin Lemonidis told CNN.
"We can't say what the defense will be at this stage … but Stand Your Ground is a possibility."


Oops. It looks like another "law abiding" gun owner has been stupid and dangerous. A Pennsylvania man got himself into trouble when he fired off his gun in a gas station parking lot. From the article:
A Bristol Township man has been charged after police said he fired a .40 caliber handgun near bystanders at a busy Sunoco station.
Bias Robinson, 22, of Ford Road, allegedly fired a .40 caliber Ruger numerous times at someone at about 8:40 p.m. Monday at the Sunoco on Route 413 near Interstate 95, court records show. The intended target, who wasn't hit, hasn't been identified, Lt. Terry Hughes said.
Hughes said charges of terroristic threats, simple assault, disorderly conduct and recklessly endangering another person were lodged against Robinson for putting innocent people in harm's way.
"We have not charged him yet for firing at the intended target," he said. "We are going to amend the criminal complaint to reflect that."
Bristol Township police, who had a description of Robinson's gold car, stopped him almost immediately after the shooting at routes 413 and 13. Robinson told police he had a permit for the gun and was defending himself.
As I wrote above, it's time to reconsider our conceal and carry laws before more people are left for dead because a pro gun guy claims to be defending himself when he wasn't.


Here are some comments from the mother of Jordan Davis, the teen who was shot by the Florida permit holder over loud music:
The shooting took place on Black Friday, when Davis and a group of teens stopped at a station in Jacksonville. Dunn pulled up to their car to ask them to turn their music down. Words were exchanged and Dunn pulled out a firearm from his glove department and shot the vehicle eight to nine times, fatally killing Davis.  
Dunn claims that he felt "threatened" and that he shot out of "self defense," though no weapons were found in the Davis' car.
McBath struggled to contain her composure while speaking with FCN about the incident. She raised Davis throughout his childhood, but allowed him to live with his father in Jacksonville two years ago. She claims that just the day before on Thanksgiving, Jordan led the family prayer thanking God for his family, friends and new job.
There is a video contained in this article that should be watched by all. First of all, this man's lawyer is disputing the claims of police who found no weapons in the teens' car. Whatever. We can see where this is going but more will come out. How could this man not think he would have injured someone when he shot off 8 rounds? How can we believe that he drove home because he didn't want to be in a place where was no lawyer? Really? Come on. Here is the video:

Decide for yourself if this was a necessary shooting.


I am going to share this article from Think Progress about the shooting of the Florida teen by the permit holder because I want my readers to read the comments on the article that almost all agree that this shooting was totally senseless and not a Stand Your Ground case or self defense. Here are a few of the comments at the end of the article:

  • "How hard is it to realize that the (unintended?) consequence of the Stand Your Ground law is to create an open season on any and all "others". Time to call an end to this demented social experiment."
  • "I bet if he didn't have a gun he would not have asked them to turn down the music. Carrying a concealed weapon gives some people false bravado that they wouldn't have if they were weaponless. This guy was on the street. It was not like music was from the neighbors while he was trying to sleep for cryin out loud! grrrrrrrr"
  • "The problem is that this law puts the burden of proof on the victim - who is now dead. And in the case of Trayvon Martin, there are apparently no real witnesses. So the shooter says "I felt threatened" - and it's good enough. How are we to measure "reasonably believes it is necessary"?"
  • "Donald Mihokovich you have to take into account the vague wording of the law ('reasonably', 'necessary', 'great bodily harm'); the subjectivity of the language allows for just about anything to fall within the law. For example, I might reasonably believe that someone chewing gum loudly necessitates my beating them to near death with a hammer to prevent the great bodily injury of progressive hearing loss. It's a long shot, but the terms are ill-defined, which is why the law is nonsense."
And there are more.


  1. These laws are not conservative, they are regressive. They remove the concept of justice, let alone a legal system from society. All one needs to do is to claim that they were in fear, or that there was a possible crime occurring.

    Additionally, they take the concept of "self-defence" to an extreme which is beyond what has been an accepted legal definition of only the amount of force reasonably needed to stop the threat, with the reasonableness of the action being decided by a jury or judge.

    But, ultimately, what is happening is that a new bloody code is being created. Property is more important than human life or even the concept of justice.

    That was part of precisely what the founders were protesting when they wanted independence from Britain.

    There is a reason that this system of vendetta justice was abolished over a millenium ago, and there is no reason to return to the period known as the dark ages.

  2. Laci- vendetta justice? While there certainly are cases where licensed people commit murder, castle and syg lawd were never meant to be applied that way. I don't carry a gun to dispense justice, i carry a gun to protect my life- self defence is a basic human right recognized even by the un.

    Joan that mossberg us not an assault weapon. Its merely a turkey gun with tactical furniture. It has legitimate uses in yhe home for self defense because of its maneuverability- i have the same one, its stock folds and it can be equipped with flashlights and other accessories- if its good enough at 6 shots for the police and military for defense, its good enough for the home.

    1. Really Pitbull? Find me a definition of self defense that doesn't come from a gun blog, gun website or Libertarian site that says self defense is a basic human right. Here is a definition from Dictionary.com- "self-de·fense [self-di-fens, self-] Show IPA
      the act of defending one's person when physically attacked, as by countering blows or overcoming an assailant: the art of self-defense.
      a claim or plea that the use of force or injuring or killing another was necessary in defending one's own person from physical attack: He shot the man who was trying to stab him and pleaded self-defense at the murder trial.
      an act or instance of defending or protecting one's own interests, property, ideas, etc., as by argument or strategy."

      Here is the origin of the word-" self-defense
      1651, "act of defending oneself," first attested in Hobbes, from self + defense (q.v.). In sports sense, first with ref. to fencing (1728), then boxing (1820s)."

      Don't see any reference to it being a basic human right. But you gun rights extremists have made this up to justify your views about guns.

      As to the weapon- read the article. You just confirmed what it said about the things the gun lobby claims about assault weapons.

    2. "The Tactical Persuader also has an adjustable stock that can be removed from the firearm completely"

      First of all, you have the ability to remove the stock completely from ANY Mossberg 500 with just an allen wrench. However, you'd be left with a shotgun very difficult to fire, as you'd have nothing to hold onto. The pistol grip on the Persuader is attached to the adjustable stock—it's one piece—so if you remove it to "conceal it" you're left with an essentially unfireable weapon.

      There are literally hundreds of aftermarket stocks, pistol grips and foregrips available for the Mossberg 500 platform—that's part of what makes it such a popular shotgun, it's easily customizable. I bought mine with standard wooden stock and foregrip, but I have since replaced them and my shotgun is even more "tactical" loking than the Persuader. But the actual gun—the part that shoots—remains 100% unchanged. It doesn't shoot faster, it doesn't shoot "harder", I'm not suddenly capable of killing more people.

      And only someone uninterested in hitting their target "shoots from the hip."

    3. You, too, have just proven what the article I linked to said. "Shooting from the hip" allows people to shoot a lot of people at once. Didn't you read the article? It's your word against what's in the article. I choose to believe what's in the article. That's why I posted it.

  3. So you're saying i have no right to defend myself. At least you admit as much.

    Shotguns are the main defense tool of cops and military security- you being from a hunting state should know that these are cosmetic features that in no logical way make the weapon more lethal.

    1. I didn't say that. Sorry, what I meant to say is that there is not a definition for self defense that says it not a basic human right. In law, people have a right to self defense. But to call it a basic human right is just not true.

    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_life

    3. What's your point, Robin? This is "right to life" which is not the same thing as self defense as a basic human right. I have a right to life as well- not to be shot by anyone. Whose right's are more important? And, by the way, I am not going to get into any discussions here about abortion since that is what "right to life" is used to defend.

    4. I should say that is what "right to life" is used to oppose.

  4. Right to life applies to more than abortion. It is the concept that one has a right to be alive and to remain alive. Having that right they have a right to protect that life or to self defense. You asked for something that said self defense was a basic human right. You got it.

    1. You have not provided anything that says self defense is a basic human life.

    2. Robin,
      I looked at what the UN considers human rights and while it does acknowlege the right to "life, liberty,and security", it makes no mention to the right of self defense. Many countries talk big about human rights, but dont want individuals protecting their own, especially with a weapon. They prefer to have a monopoly when it comes to the use of deadly force.
      For example, this fall in England, four burglars, (I prefer calling it a robbery) broke into a rural home occupied by a married couple. Two of the assailants were shot by the homeowners,driving them off. The couple was arrested and for three days were looking at being charged with the British equivilant of aggravated assault. They were only released on bail after a public outcry and intervention by their elected representitive. If fact, one of the assailants called the police to report the shooting.


    3. Mark, you're using flawed logic again. The reason the UN doesn't mention self defense as a basic human right is because it isn't one, not because they don't want people protecting themselves. This is the flawed logic coming from the pro gun side. You are making things up to fit your illogical thinking.

    4. You have a life. I have a life. We each have a right to live. We also have the right to take actions to keep ourselves alive under adverse circumstances. That's referred to as "self-defense" or "self-preservation".

      Saying that there's no right to self-defense is saying that anyone who wants to harm you has the right to do so, and there's nothing you can do about it. That's not the society we live in. The fact is, if someone else is trying to harm you, you have the right to keep them from doing it. Simple as that. The "how" is up to you. You could try to avoid anyone who might mean you harm, or try to de-escalate and reason with them, or try to run away. All are valid options, but if none are possible - for example, a wheelchair-bound or elderly individual being harassed by a young, able-bodied thug (or group of thugs) - you also have the right to use a reasonable amount of forcible resistance to stop them (the definition of "reasonable" is a discussion for another time).

      For another example, your original post mentioned George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin. Saying there is no right to self-defense means that George had to lie back and just accept whatever level of brain-damage - up to and including death - Trayvon chose to inflict, at Trayvon's sole discretion. That's the logical equivalent of saying Trayvon had the right to harm George as much or as little as he wanted, and had the right to do so without opposition or resistance. Is that really the world you want to live in? (As an aside, personally I think the whole situation was the culmination of multiple logic failures on both sides that ended in tragedy, but that's also another discussion.)
      In response to your 11/28, 6:26 PM reply: Nothing in the Dictionary.com entry for "safety" (as in "safety from being shot", in your words) defines it as a right, either.

    5. Good grief, Archer. Get it right. I didn't say you didn't have a right to self defense. I have a right to defend myself. I won't be using a gun to do so, however. What I said is that self defense is not, by definition, a basic human right.

      George Zimmerman had other options. He could have stayed in his car because from all that we know at this point, Trayvon Martin was doing nothing wrong other than walking through the neighborhood. Zimmerman decided that he was some sort of threat to public safety, allegedly, and took action he could have avoided. He had already called police. He should have stayed in his car. He shouldn't have had his gun out. When a gun is involved, it gets used in these cases. The whole thing could have ended very differently. This was not a case of self defense. Zimmerman wasn't in danger until he got out of his car and allegedly started confronting Martin. Martin did not attack him or do anything to him until he got out of the car and put himself in this position. If you think that's self defense, you have a warped view of what self defense is.

    6. I believe I said that the Zimmerman/Trayvon was the result of multiple failures on both sides. I agree, George should have stayed in his car, but also point out that, if sworn accounts are to be believed, he was headed back there when Trayvon attacked him. Gun or no gun, Trayvon shouldn't have attacked. But again, that's a discussion for another time.

      I'm trying to get clarification on your views of self-defense, and whether it's a basic right, or merely a legal one. Of course you and I have the right - it's codified into law in every State in the nation, and I didn't claim that you didn't say we don't have the right - but philosophically, what about people who don't have the benefit of just laws or strong legal systems?

      Do the people of Cuidad Juarez in Mexico have the right to resist the violence of criminal cartels, or do the cartels have the right to torture and murder the people by the hundred? They don't have the means, but do they have the right?

      Or the people in war-torn Central African nations, which typically have flimsy, powerless governments and legal systems. If self-defense isn't coded into the laws there, does that mean the people don't have the right to defend themselves from the warlords and gangs?

      A legal right is one codified into law, and subject to change as laws and politics change. A basic (or "fundamental", if you prefer) right exists regardless of laws (or lack thereof), and supersedes any written law. My question for you is simple (but not easy): Where does "self-defense" lie? Does it rely on written law for its existence, or does it still exist in the absence of law?

    7. Did Trayvon attack Zimmerman? I have already given my views on self defense. Read my comments. No need to belabor it. Your questions are esoteric.

    8. "Did Trayvon attack Zimmerman?"
      That will be one of the many questions the jury will have to decide. I havent really paid much attention to the case since Zimmerman's attorney decided to forego the Stand Your Ground hearing and just have the case decided as a simple justifiable use of force defense.
      No matter what happened leading up to and causing the physical portion of the encounter, if in fact, Zimmerman was on his back and getting his head repeatedly whacked on the sidewalk, then it would seem to have progressed beyond the "couple of bloody noses" stage.
      So then the question is, even if Zimmerman had started the physical fight, does that obligate him to suffer serious injury and/or death when it appears that Martin isnt going to stop?

    9. I don't know, Mark. I've never started a fight. Have you? If you start a fight, how do you think you expect it to end?

  5. "What is the logic in laws that allow people who shouldn't get guns to get them anyway?"
    I am unaware of anybody in the pro-gun world asking for this.

    "What is the logic in making assault weapons seem like just any old gun used by hunters and recreational shooters?"
    Why is it not logical? It is all in the nomenclature. I have one particular rifle that I use to hunt deer and coyote. This same rifle, when I take the scope off, I use in NRA match competition. This same rifle is the one I use for recreational shooting at local ranges.
    Liberals would gladly call this same rifle an "assault rifle" because it is an AR15, and has many of the so-called "evil features" that were incorporated in the horrendous "AWB" of 1994.
    It is all nomenclature.

    1. Nomenclature or not, you don't need that gun for hunting. The wrong people use those guns to mow down 6 or more people at one time. You can hunt with any number of other guns. These guns are just plain not needed for hunting or much of anything else. You guys just want them. And because you want them, a whole bunch of people who shouldn't have them get their hands on them and then we have another mass shooting. What is the logic in that?

    2. I forgot to answer your first question. Yes, the pro gun world is asking for this because they resist all attempts to require background checks on private sales of guns at gun shows and other venues. 40% of guns are sold in the private market. That means that there is no way of knowing who is buying those guns because there are no background checks on them.