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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bang Bang Crazy, Part Four

The first three parts of this essay are here:
Bang Bang Crazy, Part One
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Two
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Three

 


 

Wayne LaPierre and the NRA, the gift that just keeps on giving.

The NRA claims that new laws won’t prevent gun violence.

NRA logic being that laws don’t stop crime because criminals break laws anyway.

That’s right, criminals break laws, so according to the NRA there’s no point in passing any new ones.

So what’s the NRA’s solution?

A new law.

 

What?  Sure, I’ll pause for a moment so that you can make the facepalm.  Go on, get it out of your system. You’ll probably want to take a couple of aspirin while you’re at it, since you’ll be smacking yourself in the forehead a few more times before America gets to the end of this mess.

 

Sunday, on Meet The Press, National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre doubled down on comments he made last week when he announced the NRA’s proposal to pass a new federal law mandating more guns in schools (See Part Three of this essay series).

“If it’s crazy to call for putting police in and securing our schools to protect our children, then call me crazy. I think the American people think it’s crazy not to do it.”

I don’t think that’s what the American people are thinking.

And, come to think of it, I’m pretty sure that’s not exactly what Wayne LaPierre himself said originally either.

Originally what LaPierre called for was “armed security” in each and every school – if fact what LaPierre originally called for was armed security trained under some NRA program to be announced later. Not cops.

Which is what started all the hoopla in the first place.

LaPierre should have kept his mouth shut, but he didn’t. And now he’s changing his story and hoping nobody will notice.

And for the record, as one of those “American people” LaPierre thinks he’s talking for, allow me to say that the very last thing I want is for an armed gun nut like Wayne LaPierre or his NRA friends anywhere within ballistic range of any school, let alone the one my kid attends.  Cops, maybe, but then we’ve got that already and so Wayne LaPierre’s newly modified plan is just so much hot air.

The NRA isn’t offering an actual solution, and in fact they are actively campaigning to prevent development or even examination of any  gun control option of any kind.

During the interview, host David Gregory repeatedly pressed LaPierre on the NRA’s position, to which LaPierre responded with sound bites and stonewalling. Finally in exasperation, Gregory asked point blank, “Is there no new gun regulation you would support?”  LaPierre refused to answer.

LaPierre refused to respond on the air, but his position and that of the NRA’s is well known and has been repeated on every news site, in every gun related forum, and in every public Second Amendment discussion since Columbine. Hell, before the blood was even dry in Aurora, Sarah Palin dutifully trotted out the standard NRA canard as noted in Part One of this series, to wit: criminals break laws, therefore new gun regulations won’t work.

Criminals don’t respect the law.

Criminals violate the law, that’s what some wit on writer David Gerrold’s Facebook page said in response to a comment I made there.

Criminals violate the law.

No kidding, right?

Thanks for pointing that out, Captain Obvious. And thanks for completely missing the obvious while you’re at it.

Criminals violate the law.

That’s why we call them criminals in the first place – because, see, if there wasn’t a law proscribing the activity in question, then we’d just have to put up with everybody’s antisocial behavior, wouldn’t we?

Pointing out that criminals violate the law isn’t an argument. It’s not a particularly penetrating observation either.  It’s a non sequitur.  Stating something that is so bleeding obvious as some kind of supposed profound insight is simply another form of moving the goal posts. The statement is a logical fallacy, a tautology, the kind used when you won’t, or can’t, address the real issue. 

Pointing out that criminals violate the law isn’t an argument, it’s a sound bite.

It’s a sound bite, and not a particularly accurate one either.  Laws, in fact, often do prevent certain behavior.  Laws mandating severe penalties for, say, drinking and driving have had a marked effect on drunken driving.  Do those laws prevent drinking and driving completely? No, of course not, but those laws are gradually changing the culture of the United States and reducing the number of alcohol related vehicle deaths and accidents as a result. It’s a long and painful process, but it is changing our culture for the better.

The primary function of law isn’t to prevent crime. 

It would be nice if it did, but that’s not what laws are for.

And that’s where the NRA and LaPierre go off the rails with their proposal. The foundation of the NRA position to put guns into every school is that, according to them, laws such as Gun Free Zones have failed, therefore any new laws will likewise fail.

That’s incorrect.

First, one doesn’t necessarily follow the other.

And second, to say that gun free zones have failed shows a profound lack of understanding of what those laws, indeed laws in general, were supposed to do in the first place.  Nobody (OK, almost nobody) expected gun free zones to completely prevent gun violence.  We expected those laws to give us options and legal recourse in the case of certain events. And they have done exactly that. But nobody (OK, almost nobody) expected them to stop gun violence completely.

Just as the law doesn’t stop crime.

That’s not the law’s primary function.

The primary function of the law is to provide society with legal recourse in the face of antisocial behavior, i.e. behavior that infringes on the rights and property of others or upon the security of the society and its people.

If you don’t have a law that makes a school a gun free zone, then when a kid brings a gun to school with the (maybe) intention of threatening his classmates, even if you catch him before he can use it, law enforcement’s options are limited.  The school can (maybe) kick him out for violating a school policy, but the law can’t touch him, not really, unless he violated some local gun ordinance or specifically transmitted a threat.  And so he goes home, gets the rest of his mommy’s guns and comes back.  But if you have a gun free zone, then by law the cops can arrest him the first time and have him evaluated for potential violence and maybe save your kid’s life.  And that has happened hundreds of times since implementation of the Gun Free Zones, something the NRA conveniently ignores.

Implemented correctly, laws gradually change our culture and society and make certain behaviors less likely. Laws proscribing discrimination are an example. Anti-smoking ordinances are another. So are laws regarding drinking and driving.  Before there were severe penalties for drinking and driving, if you were caught behind the wheel while intoxicated, the cops could give you ticket for violation of the vehicle code (if you were, in fact driving recklessly or speeding or failing to signal and so on) or maybe for public intoxication (if your local and state laws proscribed such things) or for whatever they could dream up – but not for the real problem.  They might haul you in and dump you in the drunk tank until you sobered up. Then in the morning, you’d pay your fine (if there was one) and they’d hand you your keys back.  Society had no legal method of keeping you from drinking and driving or punishing you for doing so until you killed somebody.  That’s why we passed all those laws.  Now we’ve got a battery of legal options that we, as a society, can apply.  In many cases, the threat of those laws do make the casual drinker think twice about getting behind the wheel.  Certainly drunk driving laws don’t prevent people from drinking and driving, obviously not, but those laws give society the option of seizing privileges, property, and liberty from those who just don’t get the message and they do provide us with a standardized framework for mandatory sentencing and penalties for those who willingly break the law. 

If a law does prevent crime, so much the better, but that’s not the law’s primary function.

In the United States, an equally important function of the law is to limit the power of government, business, special interests, and the majority over individual liberty.

Ah Hah!

See? That’s what we’re talking about right there, said a friend of mine when this topic came up.  The law is supposed to protect us from government overreach, it’s supposed to protect individual liberty.  Gun control laws infringe on my individual liberty, my Constitutional right as an American to keep and bear arms. Driving is a privilege, owning a gun is a right. That’s the difference right there.  Thanks, Jim, looks like you just made my argument for me.

Yeah, not so fast, Pistol Pete.

See, the law also says that individual liberty, i.e. rights, come with responsibility.

The most common example of which (so common that it’s almost a cliché) is that you can’t yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater. That’s not technically correct.  You can, in fact, yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater, and there are times when you should  (for example, if there’s a fire), but you are responsible, by law, for what comes after. And nowadays, I’d be less worried about somebody shouting “fire” than somebody shouting “Gun! Gun!” and starting a panicked stampede accompanied by a firefight – see, because we’ve got laws that mandate fire detectors and sprinkler systems in public buildings and the example that led to the cliché of “Fire! Fire!” is mostly gone now.

If you incite a panic, then you’re accountable – and you don’t get to claim the First Amendment as your-get-out-of-jail-free card.

The law places limits on individual freedom in America, those limits have existed right from the beginning of the country. Those limits were pretty broad back when our rights were first conceived and incorporated into the Constitution, and they are still fairly wide today compared to elsewhere in the world, but those limits do exist both in principle and in law and always have.

All of our rights, our individual liberties, come with limits.

We don’t like to admit it, but it’s true. Our rights have limits. Freedom of speech has limits. You can worship as you like in America, but we aren’t going to allow you to burn witches at the stake, stone adulterers to death, mutilate your female child’s genitals, or sacrifice your firstborn on a stone altar to appease your deity.  Your freedom of religion has limits. So does your right of free association, especially if your gathering disturbs the neighbors (which is notable since your right to assembly is in the Bill of Rights, your neighbor’s right to peace and quiet isn’t) or overwhelms the local services and so on. In fact, in a lot of cases, we make you buy a permit in order to exercise your right to assembly. Your right to petition the government for redress of wrongs is limited, there’s a specific methodology and a specific body of laws that you have to adhere to.  Freedom of the press is limited, granted those limits are pretty broad, but they are there nonetheless. And so on, every single right you have as an American is limited. Including the right to keep and bear arms.

That’s why the entire amendment doesn’t just say “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

That’s why the amendment begins with the qualifier “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state…”

And that is, of course, why the NRA only acknowledges the last part and not the first, because The NRA wants the rights but not the responsibilities.

The Framers never intended that the right to keep and bear arms should be without limits or without responsibilities.

The commenter I mentioned up above, the one on David Gerrold’s Facebook page, initially said to me, “I assume that you’re a responsible gun owner and that any weapons you have aren’t going to cause me harm.”

Why would you assume that?

You don’t know me. You don’t know anything about me. Why would you make that assumption?

Hell, even a cursory examination of the information publically available about me shows that I’m a war veteran.  How do you know that I’m not all eaten up with the PTSD and fighting the Vietcong in the jungles of my mind? How do you know?

Why would you assume that I’m a responsible gun owner? Why, because I write well?  Yeah, so did Hunter S. Thompson and seriously, you really wouldn’t want to be in the same room with him and his pistol. Or, well, a lot of writers come to think of it. I’m just saying.

Why would you assume that I’m a responsible gun owner?

What assurances does current law provide you that I am, in fact, a responsible gun owner and that my weapons don’t indeed pose a threat to others? And if not a guarantee, then at least a reasonable assurance?

How do you know that I don’t just leave my arsenal of assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols lying around, fully loaded, where anybody, including my teenage son and his friends, can get at them? How do you know that I’m not mentally unstable? How do you know that I’ve had any training or education in firearms or firearm safety whatsoever? Because I was in the military? I could have been a nurse for all you know, or in the Air Force (Heh heh, sorry Zoomies, I couldn’t resist).

Why would you make that assumption?

What legal assurances does current law provide you?

Right.

None, actually.

And that’s the very crux of the matter, right there.

Let’s say I decide to raise dangerous animals. Lions and tigers and grizzly bears and baboons.  You people are my neighbors, what reasonable assurances are you offered that one night my clawed and toothed menagerie isn’t going to get loose and eat your kids?   Are you willing to just take my word for it? Are you willing to take my word that I know what I’m doing? Are you willing to assume that my homemade cages are strong enough? Are you willing to take the risk? Are you willing to just hope that I have insurance? Are you willing to just put up with the smell and the noise and have no options but to assume that I’ll be responsible?

Or do you want some laws giving you legal recourse should things go bad between us?

Who should be responsible? Me or you? Should I be responsible for giving you a reasonable assurance of safety under penalty of law?  Or should you be forced into responsibility for my irresponsibility through a lack of appropriate law?

Of course you could always give up and move, or buy a gun to defend yourself, but should you be forced to relocate or become a gun owner because there are no other legal options?

Same thing.

If you own a car, you're responsible for certain things. We make you meet certain minimal requirements, we make you pass a test, we make you buy a license. We penalize you if you don’t use your car correctly, or if you operate it in an unsafe manner, or if you don’t maintain it with the minimum required safety features (or if you don’t use them), or if you modify it beyond acceptable limits.  We make you buy insurance. If you drink and drive, you get to go to jail even if you don’t kill anybody.  If a kid steals your car because you left it sitting at the curb with the engine running and the doors unlocked and they use your car to commit a crime, you may not be held criminally liable for their actions directly, but your insurance company is going to penalize you - and is allowed to do so BY LAW – and you can be held liable for civil penalties.

Laws don’t stop vehicular crimes, but they for damned sure give us, society, at least some assurance that the majority of people operating vehicles on our roads meet some minimal qualifications and that there are legal penalties for those that fail to live up to their responsibilities – and those laws give us, society, legal recourse when all else fails.

We don't even do that much for gun ownership.

There is absolutely no reason for me to assume that you’re a responsible gun owner. 

And that’s the problem.

Because far, far too many Americans aren’t.

If Adam Lanza’s Mother had secured her guns properly, if she had been required under penalty of law to secure her guns properly, we might not be having this conversation.

As a gun owner myself, I don’t think that it’s unreasonable or unconstitutional that you should have to legally accept responsibility before you’re allowed to own a gun.

I don’t think that it’s unconstitutional that you should have to give the rest of us some reasonable assurance that:
- You’re a responsible adult. That you’re not insane or a mental defective, not a felon, and not a child.
- That you actually know what you’re doing, you’ve had some minimal training and a basic understanding of how guns work, where bullets go when you fire them, and how the safety equipment works.
- That you have a basic understanding of the gun laws that pertain to you and your legal obligations.
- That you’re not going to shoot up my kid’s school.
- That you’re not going to allow somebody else to take your weapon and shoot up my kid’s school, or wipe out a movie theater, or shoot my congressman in the head.

And

- That the law provides me, society, with legal recourse if you fail to live up to those obligations in any way. Period.

Or you just don’t get to own and operate a dangerous machine. 

We're not talking about any unreasonable stuff here, we’re barely even talking about the level of legal responsibility required to operate a car in this country.

If you want to own a gun then here’s where the hammer meets the firing pin: the burden of responsibility should be on you.

It’s as simple as that.

If you want to own guns, if you want to sell guns, if you want to make guns, then you and the NRA and the gun industry need to give the rest of us a reasonable legal framework where we can assume that you’re a responsible gun owner.

Don’t stand in the blood of our dead children and tell us that the laws don’t work.

If the laws we currently have don't work, then stop fighting us, roll up your sleeves and help us.  Let's get rid of laws that don’t work and make ones that do.

I refuse to accept that twenty dead kids are just the price we pay for freedom.

And you damned well shouldn’t either.

 


The first three parts of this essay are here:
Bang Bang Crazy, Part One
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Two
Bang Bang Crazy, Part Three

Related Essay written after the Aurora Massacre :

The Seven Stages of Gun Violence

 


And again, the standard warning applies:   if you’re a first time reader and you don’t know me and you came here all ready to school my liberal America hatin’ tree hugging ass about guns, stop. Read Part One, read it all of the way through, especially that last paragraph, the part where I explain my background when it comes to guns. It’s very likely that I know far more about guns and their usage under combat condition than you will ever know.  It’s quite likely that I own more guns than you do. Read the commenting rules, heed and obey. If you feel that you can’t adhere to the admonishments set forth in this paragraph, then leave. Don’t comment, don’t email me with your NRA bullshit, just leave. This will be your one and only warning.

143 comments:

  1. "If Adam Lanza’s Mother had secured her guns properly, if she had be required under penalty of law to secure her guns properly, we might not be having this conversation."

    WHOA! WHAT?!? I have been reading that Conn. has strict guns laws. Securing guns isn't a basic requirement in any state? :: Mouth hangs open in shock::

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    1. Conn. only requires guns to be secured if there are children in the house. A 20 year old adult male is not a child in the eyes of the law, regardless of his developmental delays, thus Adam Lanza's mother was not legally required to secure her guns in any manner.

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    2. And that she was a batshit crazy prepper.

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    3. Could you please define exactly what you mean by "batshit crazy prepped"? Because that's seems a remarkably derogatory way to refer to someone who, by all accounts, was a quiet, law-abiding citizen who got along well with her neighbors, did not create a public nuisance, and struggled to deal with a son who had poorly-understood mental health issues.

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    4. If an adult relative living in your house decides to kill you, having all your guns locked in a safe and the key around your neck won't make any difference. Adam Lanza could have stabbed or beaten his mother to death, or killed her in her sleep if he thought she'd put up too much fight, and taken the key. OTOH, a gun has no protective value in such cases, because nobody who hasn't already been the victim of severe domestic violence is going to carry around the house just in case they have to defend themselves from their own family. In hindsight, obviously, she should have either moved all her guns out of her house - it might not have saved her, but probably would have saved others - or kicked the kid out. But what mother imagines that her own beloved son might kill her? She was tragically wrong, but I can't blame her too much for it.
      Dewey

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    5. I've read to reports that she had her guns "secured" in a room in the basement. The same basement where Adam lived. I have not heard just how "secured" they were. It's certainly possible they were in a Gun-Safe, that Adam knew the combination to, or knew where the keys were.
      From some reports it appears she knew Adam was seriously unbalanced and was seeking aid, this aid (some reports) included placing him in an institution, possibly in Washington State.

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    6. rvanrens; No problem. Do you honestly not know anything about the Doomsday prepper crowd?

      These people honestly believe that the apocalypse is coming. They're stockpiling food and weapons for this mythical event. Ms. Lanza had an M16 clone with a 100 round drum. When they go to the range, Mrs Lanza and her metally impaired son, they don't train to shoot small game for food. Thats NOT what a .223 Bushmaster and a 100 rnd drum is for. They're training to shoot, and kill, the millions of hungry city people they've been told (By a bunch of other batshit crazy people manipulating them for profit) are going to flee the cities and decend on people like the Lanzas and devour their stockpiled food stores. If thats not batshit crazy, what is?

      Let me say this again. Every time the Lanzas went to the range, they were training to kill innocent, hungry civilians. She TAUGHT her son, knowing he had mental issues, to treat other people as targets.

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    7. Cthulhu - wow. I'm not sure you're right in this particular case, but that's the clearest, most succinct statement of that side of the argument I've heard yet. And the most chilling. Thank you.

      Ann C.

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    8. Yes, there's an ugly racist survivalist movement of people who seem to look forward to shooting imagined "hordes" of urbanites. The vast majority of people who have stored food do not fall into this category - check out Sharon Astyk's website for a counterweight. They are concerned not about the mythical Christian (or Mayan) apocalypse but about natural disasters, job loss, or unaffordable food price increases arising from climate change crises and stupid federal decisions such as the ethanol mandate. FEMA tells us to have two weeks of stored food - after Katrina, that sounds like a minimum - and I do, so that I won't someday have to stand in line waiting to collect food aid that could better go to someone who really can't provide for herself. And I remain certain that political deadlock will continue as long as there are substantial population blocks that insist on demonizing and dehumanizing each other.
      Dewey

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    9. Anon, you're probably not stockpiling an arsenal of arms and ammunition, nor spending hours at some half assed impromptue gun range practicing shooting at city dwellers either, so you're not part of the problem.

      I'm a native Floridian, who has survived some of the worst hurricanes in history, so I'm all for emergency preparedness. I've had to live off my stocks and stores before.

      Whats the issue here is the willingness and apparent glee these types of preppers have with the thought of slaughtering their fellow citizens. They actually think that shooting a bunch of hungry city dwellers will teach them a lesson somehow.

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  2. I'm new to the station, but I've been reading your older posts, and you say so eloquently what I think. Your writing style reminds me of Harlan Ellison's essays of the 60s and 70s, a wonderful command of language and passion and facts.
    Unfortunately many of the people who need to read this and think about your points, won't, because they are the ones who believe (I won't say think, because they don't) that the second part of the second amendment eclipses the rest of the constitution, and that Leviticus is the most important book in the bible.
    Keep up the good fight.
    Nalugirl

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    1. Yes, it's a rare pleasure to read opinions that are consistently based on facts and reason, and on what used to be called "common sense" except that sadly it's not too common anymore. The comparison between gun-free zones and drunk-driving laws is particularly good and thought-provoking.
      Dewey

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  3. Damn, Jim - 10X, again

    Thank you.

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  4. Actually, Mom Lanza was apparently a survivalist prepper wackaloon. In a sane country, one not completely overcome with conspiracy theories and hard-right propaganda, a proper regulatory system would have found her not mentally competent to own firearms in the first place.

    Of course it's precisely the pro-gun screaming wackaloon crowd in the US who would protest that sort of regulation.

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    1. ? This is a new one to me. Do you have any links to news stories about this?

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    2. News story that shares Lanza was a whacko "prepper." http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2248983/Connecticut-school-shooting-Adam-Lanzas-survivalist-mother-obsessed-guns.html

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    3. I second that request for more info on mom. She's rather a puzzle to me, a divorcee with a good payoff package who was a bit of a barfly perhaps...ex-hubby has been real quiet too.

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    4. Terri, here's one: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9749217/Connecticut-school-shooting-Adam-Lanzas-mother-was-preparing-for-disaster.html

      TPM also had mention (which referred to a Boston tv station) - all the stories point to the mother's sister as providing the comments

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    5. Yeah...I'm not seeing how stockpiling food and supplies in preparation for an economic collapse qualifies a "whackaloon". Eccentric, maybe.

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    6. Based on the articles I had read she seemed to have imbibed too much of the paranoid chatter that's out there about the impending collapse of the world order, whatever-whenever that's supposed to be and was therefore a 'prepper'. I just don't get that paranoia. I live in a county where young people get shot all too often and bad things happen, but this woman lived in an upper, upper middle income area, in what looked like a mcmansion, and yet she felt she needed all those guns, while we do not feel such a need at all. I guess that's proof that fear is a poison of the mind.

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    7. I'd be very careful labeling Mrs. Lanza as a crazy prepper -- that's based solely on her sister-in-law's comment, not verified, and thus far not supported by any evidence that they (Mrs. Lanza and son) actually went to any firing ranges. The local papers -- local to Newtown -- have reported that no one can find any evidence that she went to firing ranges with her Bushmaster. As other people pointed out, all that has been reported indicates that she was a divorcee with an amicable agreement and decent alimony, a son with issues but no history of any violence, indeed no criminal record at all, a passion for guns, and a social history of hanging out at her local brew pub.

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  5. doggone Jim excellent clarification. With your permission I would like to share this.

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    1. Please share. In accordance with the sharing rules.

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  6. Stellar, as always. Thanks.
    Happy New Year.
    Martha

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  7. Thanks Jim. I feel this last part completes the nailing down of the headstone to mark the place where the carcass of the NRA lies...

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  8. one teeny, tiny typo: altar.....not alter.....we sacrifice kids on an altar if we are unsuccessful in our attempts to alter their behavior.....

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    1. Several typos, including my standard affect/effect flub, I missed this one. Thanks, it's fixed.

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  9. It is too bad that the trail of the unlawful death suits cannot lead back to the NRA. There is no getting their attention unless it's through their pockets. Very well said Jim, I thought you had stated eloquently in the first 3 posts a very plain and thorough argument as to why change is needed, but part 4 is the icing on the cake.

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    1. Depends on how the investigation into the Webster assassinations goes. That one might indeed come back on them.

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  10. Well reasoned and expressed. Thank you. But -

    "that I’m not ate up" - eaten, not ate
    "assault rifles and semi-automatic pistols laying around" - lying around not laying

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    1. "If Adam Lanza’s Mother had secured her guns properly, if she had be required under penalty of law to secure her guns properly, we might not be having this conversation."

      ...if she had BEEN required...

      (Nuke's only half a word...)

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    2. Never mind that your posts are exceptionally prescient and your writing flows like a brisk river raft ride . . .

      That you can do all that AND accept corrections from your legion of loyal (proof)readers with such grace and gratitude is what really gives me hope for the future of America.

      Long may you wave, Jim.

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    3. Completely agreed Grrrr!, and well said yourself. These posts contain brilliant writing, eloquent responses to editing feedback and content, and very important messages. Long may you wave indeed Jim!

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    4. 'all ate up' is a colloquialism, not necessarily bad grammar. In these parts, it's pretty common.

      That said, this whole series has been fabulous again, Jim. Thanks.

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  11. Jim, I sure wish you'd get going on that conquering the universe business. Then you could outlaw the NRA ... ;)

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  12. There is a saying, "your right to throw your fist ends at the tip of my nose."

    Your right to own guns ends at the point where it makes my own life objectively less safe.

    Unfortunately the NRA has banned research here in the USA on how to keep your guns from making my life less safe. Is it any wonder that people are now talking about outright bans on entire classes of guns? If gun fondlers weren't so busy trying to make sure that nobody could take their metallic penile enhancements away from them that they outlawed objective research on the subject of how to keep your guns from threatening the lives of me and mine, there wouldn't be this outcry calling for bans on entire classes of guns, there'd instead be scientific research on the subject of what's needed to protect me and mine from your guns. But because gun fondlers are so busy stroking their metallic penile enhancements that they sneer at little things like, well, science and public safety... well. Seems to me gun fondlers are just getting what they deserve with all this ban talk.

    You have a right to keep and bear arms... up until the time that it makes me and mine less safe. Period. End of story.

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  13. Another great post. Why is it a new parent is required to have a car seat before leaving the hospital with a newborn, but a new gun owner doesn't have to show proof that the weapon can be secured?

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    1. As parents we do many many things to keep our kids safe. We secure them in car seats, we monitor their sleeping, we get them vaccinated against disease, we teach them road safety, we don't smoke in their presence, we provide (most of the time) healthy food, we dress them for the climate in which they live - we nurture them, we protect them, we love them with every part of our body and soul - and then some idiot with a gun wanders in and blasts them from our world.

      And some folks say the way to change this is to allow more idiots to have more guns. It took 40 years for cigarettes to move from being compulsory in polite society to being banned from most areas where people gather. It could take much less time for guns to be treated in the same way.

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  14. Yep !! Sure looks like those words "well regulated" are conveniently overlooked.
    As usual, we Americans are looking for another instant fix for the problem. The "long" view in this country is pretty short-term.
    And lighten up on the Air Force, eh ?

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    1. Sorry. I wouldn't want the Air Force to start crying.

      :)

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    2. Oh, Mr. Wright. You were "this" close to being perfect.
      But I still love you and your writings. In fact, I have emailed links this series to family members to bone up for when they get into discussions with gun-owning friends. (It is the the most discussed topic these days, isn't it?

      Thanks, again.

      bd, proud member of a multi-zoomie family :)

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    3. Only cried while on alert !!!
      Keep up the great thinking (even tho you are a bit "salty."
      Bear

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  15. One more thing: By the NRA's logic, laws against murder did not stop Jeffery Dahmer from murdering, thus are useless. Of course, Dahmer spent the rest of his life in prison therefore me and mine are protected from his threat, but hey, by NRA logic, we should never had had a law against murder 'cause it didn't stop Jeffery Dahmer. The stupid, it burns, it burns!

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    1. Really, to use the "logic" of the NRA correctly, the NRA is saying that just because Dahmer murdered INNOCENT people, why should I be prohibited from excercising my right to murder those who have it coming.

      Delete
    2. Yes, by the same logic:
      People still catch colds; let's stop medical research.
      People still swerve off roads; ditch the guardrails.
      People still get food poisoning; can the Health Dept.
      People still shoot other people...oh, sorry, this is where we started.

      Bruce

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  16. Once again ~ powerful stuff, Jim. Thank you so much for expressing so eloquently the questions and feelings of so many of us...
    Hoping you won't have to continue adding 'parts' to this stream. We need to take action and stop this carnage.

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  17. Fantastic. Just spectacularly worded. This blog post absolutely needs to go viral, be read verbatim on a national news broadcast or really just any public forum. I have been trying in vain to make these arguments for years, but have never thought to use automobile ownership as what I think is a perfect comparison. I'm from the south, growing up in an environment where loaded guns were just lying around everywhere and anywhere. I'm all for gun ownership, have some myself, and I have absolutely no problems with any laws like the ones you mention. Turning 16 doesn't give you carte blanche to just tear off down the road legally in a car, and no one balks at following the laws required to obtain a license. Apologies, I'm rambling. This is just simply one of the best stated, logic minded arguments I have read on the issue of gun control. Thank you!

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  18. And again, THANK YOU!! I have had this argument so many times already and you do it so much better! The "Laws don't work" line makes me crazy! With that logic then why have ANY laws?
    Thank You again!

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  19. Jim, you might know by now that with me, you're preaching to the choir. Thank you for grabbing that loathesome soundbyte by the collar and tossing it out in the trash. I wish i had studied debate earlier in life. Too right-brained for analytical anything. But then there is you, and others like you who can break it down. Woot!

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  20. The people we need to convince are not the NRA and its leadership. It is the legislatures. They need to hear we have more active and focused voters than the NRA can muster.

    Danny

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome to forward this essay to your legislators.

      Delete
  21. Is "Caption Obvious" supposed to be "Captain Obvious"?

    This is a wonderful essay, and I will, per your suggestion, forward it to my legislators. The automobile analogy is outstanding.

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  22. I'm nitpicking, but I think you may have been looking for the word tautology instead of non sequitor. In logic, a tautology is a statement devoid of content, it can be reduced to 'A implies A'. As in yeah, duh, no shit, and who let you in anyway? It is like saying 'It's sunny because the sun is out' - it's a definition, not an argument.

    Bruce

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    1. Tautology. I'm going to leave it the way it is for now, but agreed, tautology is is a better fit.

      Delete
    2. Changed my mind, added Tautology. Thanks for the advice

      Delete
    3. Was going to make a separate comment, but it seems better here. The NRA also has the tautology of 'If we make owning guns a crime, only criminals will own guns." To which I normally reply, "Hey, thanks for playing, here's your sign. Now go away, adults are talking."

      Delete
    4. "Only Criminals will own guns". Good. Makes 'em easier to identify.

      "Guns don't kill people. People kill people". Right. That's why I don't want people with guns near me.

      Both are facetious statements, since I don't advocate a total gun ban, but thay are fun rejoinders to those non-arguments.

      Bruce

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  23. And this post is a superbly argued response to that idiotic statement. Meant to say that in my first comment. Thanks.

    Bruce

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  24. Jim, my favorite paragraph: Pointing out that criminals violate the law isn’t an argument. It’s not a particularly penetrating observation either. It’s a non sequitur. Stating something that is so bleeding obvious as some kind of supposed profound insight is simply another form of moving the goal posts. The statement is a logical fallacy, the kind used when you won’t, or can’t, address the real issue.

    Pointing out that criminals violate the law isn’t an argument, it’s a sound bite.

    Second one begins with "Not so fast, Pistol Pete." Sharing with my special ops friend Danny L Prichard, PhD...Hope he is a subscriber...will be interesting to see what he posts in response...

    Marilyn Lee

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  25. "If you want to own a gun then here’s where the hammer meets the firing pin: the burden of responsibility should be on you." YES! YES! YES!
    Love it! Thank you Jim!

    Jody

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  26. So, this makes me feel terrifically inadequate. I cannot frame any argument dealing with firearm legislation (or many other things, actually) half as eloquently as you can, so I've just started repeating the arguments that you lay out. Of course, I never forget to give you credit. =)

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    Replies
    1. Same. I don't even try to be original anymore. Copy, paste, link. Copy, paste, link. Ad nauseum.

      Delete
  27. Actually Jim, I'd assume you're a responsible gun owner because you also have an FFL. You don't keep those long if you're not responsible. (And for the rest of you, I'm not the person who he was responding to.)

    Part of the bugaboo about gun laws to the NRA is the idea that there will be a list in a government office somewhere of who owns what guns. So that when "the day comes" and the government starts to gather up all the guns they'll know exactly who to go to for what weapon. The idiots at a newspaper in New York that printed the name and address of every person who was licensed to have a gun in their town didn't help any.

    Perhaps your idea of a license to own a fire arm (one that doesn't specify what type or what you have) would work. After all, you don't have to own a car to have a driver's license.

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    1. Personally, I find that argument about the "list of gun owners" silly. Let's face facts, if the Gov wants a list of a good number of gun owners, they just need to get the membership rolls of the NRA. If you don't want your name on rolls of gun owners, don't have anything to do with the NRA.

      As for your suggestion about a license to own and operate "a gun", this seems reasonable to me at first blush (I can think of some arguments, but not sure if they are actually valid without more thought).

      Delete
    2. There are 80 to 100 million gun owners, and only what, 3 or 4 million NRA members? They'd get a far greater number of gun owners from the records of commercial transactions.

      The state of Illinois, where we have relatives, has a Firearm Owners ID (FOID) card, which you must obtain before you may either purchase any gun or legally possess one even on your own property. I do not know whether they track private purchases so that it amounts to registration, but if not, it might be pretty much the model that Lucas M proposes. I guess that I could not object to that as a responsible gun owner, if the requirements are readily attainable by working-class people.

      However, I would insist that it should be federal. Yeah, I know, black helicopters. But consider. If we wanted to move to Illinois, we'd have to smuggle our guns into the state (being illegally in possession for several hours) and give them to the mother-in-law with the FOID to keep until one of us had obtained an FOID. If we didn't have the MIL, we'd have to either hide them in our new home while we applied for FOIDS, remaining technically felons for who knows how long, or sell them all before moving at a huge loss (hope none were family heirlooms!) and purchase what replacements we could afford in Illinois. What we'd do instead, I think, is just refuse to consider moving to Illinois. Let there be nationally applicable standards and a national database so that people who own guns are free to move as the job market or their family needs demand.
      Dewey

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. 50lb. sledgehammer…check, 10-penny nail…check, BAM! Right on target again!

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  30. There is no reason whatever, and no constitutional bar, to stop any STATE passing a law tomorrow that says if you reside in this state and you own a gun then you are from this morning going to be considered a member of the state militia. And it is our job to regulate you. Well. Which means: we want proof that you are of sound mind, and responsible; we want proof that you know everything you need to know about gun safety; we want proof that you have a secure lock-box for your weapons when you are not using them; and, most importantly, as part of our regulating you well, there are only some kinds of guns which members of our state militia are allowed to own and keep at home. And here is the list.

    Any state that really wanted to go the whole hog could require gun owners to take out insurance against any damage or harm that their guns might cause to any other person, no matter whose finger was on the trigger. And then you'd have the insurance companies concerns about profit working to weed out the irresponsible and the insane. Howsabout that for an ally, for once?

    This could be done next week without a look-in from Congress or anyone in the federal government saying boo hiss or hurry up.

    Of course the federal government could pass a law that said any state which so chooses to regulate its 'militia' in this way, and meets certain requirements, such as those stated above and which only allows hunting firearms and handguns with magazines of a certain size or under, etc, will get X funds for policing.

    Same as they did with the highway money when they raised the drinking age to 21 across the country by withholding highways money from states which did not raise the drinking age.

    A federal law along those lines would not violate any part of the 2nd Amendment.

    And I will bet anyone dollars to doughnuts that even under the holy 2nd Amendment, and even in the eyes of the conservative 5 on the SCOTUS presently, a state is allowed to regulate its militia as it sees fit, and that includes banning some types of arms.

    We don't need to repeal the 2nd Amendment, or amend the 2nd Amendment, to solve this problem. We just need, as a country, to find the collective will to stand up to the crowd that is drunk on rimfire and paranoia and say we have had enough and we aren't going to live like this anymore.

    All this could be done next week. Literally. And the country would get behind anyone with the balls to get the thing rolling, in at least half the states anyway. States like, say... Connecticut? To start with?

    Let's do this, and let's start in the saner states and work on from there. There is nothing stopping us but laziness and irrational fear.

    BB

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    Replies
    1. This would solve some problems.

      You own, or want to own an assault rifle? Fine, you're in the Army now.

      Delete
    2. This just sounds way too brilliant to be true. Gotta be a whole in the logic somewhere, but damned if I can see it. (Of course, I'm just a scientist ... I do logic well, but what do I know from Constitutional law?)

      Pretty sure Connecticut, New York and Illinois would jump on this in a New York minute!

      Delete
    3. Hazy, the only hole in the argument is will any state legislators have the guts and the gumption to stand up and do it. Whenever groups in national public life has approached gun control, in my lifetime at least which is getting on for a bit now- they have always approached it as a problem the feds should address. As a whole-country problem looking for a whole country solution. Everyone has tried to argue away the militia context as well, because of associations with that word, and because it is such an archaic notion in many ways. But once you see it from the other side, the problem gets easy as hell to solve, it just has to be solved on a state-by-state basis. The laboratory of the Republic! Let the blue states require gun lock-ups and ban Bushmasters and the like, and watch the rates of massacres go down in those states over time. And then watch the pressure for sanity build in the less red states. In Texas probably never, but... that's a question for Texans to decide. BB

      Delete
  31. Two things:

    One- The Law of the Land: Heller (2008)
    The Supreme Court held:
    (1) The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.
    (2) Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.

    Perhaps where the first choice of weapons for crazed, or crazy persons interested in mass murder these days seems to be assault type weapons, specifically the Bushmaster 22, it does not seem much of a reach to qualify said weapon and the like of proving to be dangerous in an unlawful manner. A worthy enterprise, in my mind therefore, would be to follow this recent interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and work to make those weapons and their large ammo clips unusual again.

    Two- What is wrong with a list of people who own guns? Is there a law that prohibits this? Call me an idiot, or whatever, but I don't get the paranoia there.

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    Replies
    1. as for your point 1. above, yes the court did hold that, but remember that was in the context of a federal law (all D.C. laws are federal laws). I firmly believe that if they were presented with a purely state law, they would approach the amendment differently. BB

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    2. Actually, I sort of think of the list of owners of firearms as akin to the list of sexual predators....I sort of like the idea of knowing where the danger lies.

      Delete
    3. I don't think there is a precedent for a list of people who are law abiding but have chosen to own a certain item. The only thing I know of where there is a list of names, addresses and ownerships is a phone book, which isn't really comparable. I think there is still an expectation of privacy as to what you legally own that would not be good to intrude upon. Heck, why not people's IQs and mental health status as well?

      It's also not going to be effective because the list will be outdated the day it is published. With 300 million guns in the U.S., you could probably just list the houses without a gun more easily. But in either case, as mobile as our society is, this kind of listing will only cause mistrust and confusion.

      Such a list is also pretty much an invitation to criminals as to where to go to steal a gun.

      And you have to be kidding to compare a gun owner to a convicted felon. Seriously?

      Delete
    4. You make good points Darcie. Though, if pret' near every house has a gun, one can see where the few us who choose to remain steadfast in our disarmament may now actually be down to only having strawman arguments to use as a defense.

      And Anonymous; I believe the ruling in Heller case is now with "no doubt" considered a "binding precedent" in regard to gun law. At least that is what Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said, quote, unquote, as she braced her position on guns against the expected NRA onslaught back when she was a nominee for the appointment.

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    5. Darcie,

      There is actually plenty of precedent for maintaining lists of people who own certain items.

      Every county in America maintains lists of every person who owns every parcel of land within their jurisdiction. (You can go to your county clerk and look through it any time you like, or, here in NYC, I can just go online and check every parcel.)

      You can find lists of who is licensed to operate a business in your city -- to sell food, booze, shoes...whatever. You're free to "own" the business without government intervention, but you're required to have a license to "operate" the business.

      Every state maintains lists of who owns every single motor vehicle (the ones that require license plates), and although you may not have access to those lists, law enforcement certainly does. It's worth noting that legal ownership of the vehicle doesn't necessarily confer the right to operate the vehicle; that requires a separate license. The 2nd Amendment confers the right to "bear arms" (to carry or transport them), it doesn't say a damned thing about operating them.

      Your argument doesn't hold a lot of water -- having a sign on your store saying you sell jewelery is pretty much an invitation to criminals as to where to go to steal jewels. Or maybe jewelery shops should go incognito.



      Delete
    6. Frank: My brother being one of those "take-my-gun-from-my-dead-hands" type, I can tell you the (unreasonable, IMO) fear of these NRA types against a list of owners boils down to "if the government (read: democrats) has a list, it will only make it easier for them to come and take my weapons. Then only the criminals will have weapons, because they would never register theirs." Yes, they are that paranoid...

      Delete
    7. Frank, it's a 'no doubt' when applied to a federal statue. Which was the context in which Kagan was speaking. A state law specifically designed to regulate state militia would, legally, be a different ball game.

      And as for how many households have guns, I've seen good data very recently that suggests the number of households that keep a gun has dropped significantly in the last ten or fifteen years, from something like 3 out of 5 to only 1 out of 5 now. This happened of course at the same time that the number of guns has increased dramatically. Which makes sense: a fanatical minority is arming itself to the teeth in a country that is as a general matter turning away from gun ownership. It's not the story the NRA wants you to believe, of course.

      Delete
    8. Nathan: I'm not arguing against having a list, just the publishing of it in a public forum.

      Regardless of what SCOTUS says, corporations (i.e. businesses) are not the same as individuals. A jewelry store is created to get customers; a private citizen does not invite random people to his house. And you can keep your name off the real property rolls by forming a dummy corporation and purchasing your home/land through it (judges sometimes do this so they guy who they just sentenced to life in prison doesn't know where they live).

      Also, if you purchase a gun as a form of protection because you have a restraining order against someone and you have moved to get away from them, it seems to be a bad idea to publish your address.

      Delete
    9. Do you recall where you got that "1 out of 5" figure? For this to be the case, rural and small-town families would have to be giving up gun ownership in droves. My statistically insignificant sample of redneck relatives and friends suggests that gun ownership and hunting are about as common as they were 15 years ago. (And good for them, 'cause otherwise Bambi and his friends would overpopulate catastrophically.)
      Dewey

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    10. Dewey,
      It was a poll published possibly in the New York Times, but maybe somewhere else, though somewhere respectable that I can promise. I read it after the recent slaughter in Connecticut. Sorry not to be more specific. If I find it I'll come back and post a link. And of course the households without out guns are mainly suburban and urban. No one is suggesting that rural households are getting rid of their hunting firearms. And no one sensible is suggesting that they should. BB

      Delete
    11. Greg - ETC(SW) USN - RetiredDecember 27, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      Dewey/BB - please see the attached link from Washington Post (Ezra Klein's Wonkblog). #7 shows a series of surveys carried out by several groups on gun ownership, showing a general decline over the years (w/peaks and valleys in between).
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/

      Again, this is polling data, not necessarily actual registrations/ownership.

      Delete
    12. Also...just FYI:

      http://gothamist.com/2012/12/27/monday_morning_westchester_newspape.php

      Delete
    13. @anonymous: Actually, the Supreme Court was presented with a purely state (actually municipal) law in *McDonald v. City of Chicago,* 130 S.Ct. 3020, 177 L.Ed.2nd 894 (2010), in which a challenge was brought to Chicago's handgun ban. The opinion of the Court held that under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, the 2nd Amendment (as interpreted in *Heller*) applied to state and local governments as well, and held Chicago's handgun ban to be unconstitutional. The *McDonald* Court, as with the *Heller* Court, noted that its decision did not invalidate various restrictions on gun ownership, e.g., bans on ownership by convicted felons or people adjudicated mentally ill; restrictions on possession in government buildings; etc.

      Delete
    14. Regarding the likelihood of state-level restrictions being upheld, consider what the 7th Circuit Court declared on Dec. 11 in Moore v. Madigan regarding Illinois' bans on open & concealed carry.

      http://www.saf.org/viewpr-new.asp?id=415

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_Illinois#Concealed_and_open_carry

      (I have to wonder if that ruling would've been the same if it had been issued three days *after* the Newtown shooting rather than three days *before*.)

      That ruling _could_ get appealed to the SCOTUS, but given the nature of the current Justices, I suspect that's unlikely.

      And sure, this ruling allows IL to try to pass a new law to replace the old, but given the wording in the decision (as far as I can tell, that the 2nd Amendment basically *requires* states to allow the general public to carry guns darn near everywhere they go), it's hard to think of a wording the state could use that would both satisfy the 7th Circuit and maintain any form of broad-scale ban. Since the personal right to carry has been completely divorced from the concept of organized state militia, I believe just about any other broad-scale state-implemented limitation on 2nd Amendment rights (even something "simple" like certain types of ammunition or certain types of guns) is now, unfortunately, likely to be quickly struck down using Moore v. Madigan as a precedent. (Broad-scale registration/licensing & insurance requirements might pass muster, but I suspect that's about all that would.)

      I also suspect the "Gun-Free School Zone Act" will be next to be struck down or abolished, because it operates as a de facto concealed carry ban across many urban areas, due to the large number/density of schools. (Oh, look. Ron Paul introduced a bill last year that would do just that.)

      Delete
    15. But again, a new all singing all dancing militia law that dealt with qualifications for gun ownership, and requirements for lock-ups at home, and restrictions on assault-type weapons, is a completely distinguishable case from a carry ban on guns legally owned, or an all-out ban on handguns. BB

      Delete
  32. Thanks for the post, Jim; it was great!

    Before the election (that apparently didn't happen) I overheard an argument against new gun laws: "The only thing new laws do is increase the crime rate." I didn't know them, so, I didn't get involved. This blindness is tragic.

    I love all of the analogies about the effectiveness of laws for directly affecting (I've accepted that I'll NEVER, consciously, be able to use the words affect and effect correctly) the crimes they proscribe. I use stop signs to illustrate the point, myself: I've never seen a stop sign or paint on a road prevent a car from blowing through an intersection, so, let's just get rid of them since they're so ineffective (thank goodness "inaffective" isn't a word)!

    Here's to good sense prevailing over the common kind and inroads being made in preventing this type of atrocity from happening, again, and again, and...

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  33. >See, the law also says that individual liberty, i.e. rights, come with responsibility.
    >All of our rights, our individual liberties, come with limits.
    >If you want to own a gun then here’s where the hammer meets the firing pin: the burden of responsibility should be on you.

    This is absolutely it in a nutshell. Brilliant!
    Thank you again, Mr. Wright.

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  34. Greg - ETC(SW) USN - RetiredDecember 27, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Jim,
    Thanks for this latest entry to your series. Your usual quality standards achieved or exceeded. Already shared, especially with a particular teacher friend of mine who is concerned (to put it mildly) with the NRA proposal.

    As always, thanks for all you do.
    Greg

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  35. I've been reading your blog for quite a while; a "lurker" rather than a "commenter." Today's post was so breathtakingly good that I just had to chime in. Every word perfect. Congratulations.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Another thing responsible gun owners should have - liability insurance. Much like homeowners with pools tend to pay more and must meet certain requirements to be protected- like fence and security locks on gates limiting access to the pool. Much like automobile insurance with people who own high performance vehicles or are under 35 yo tend to pay more for coverage. So should gun owners be required to carry liability insurance with require coverage limits based on the types and number of weapons in the household.

    I lost all respect for the NRA when they opposed laws restricting armor piercing bullets. A thousand children could be gunned down in one horrible event and the NRA would continue to oppose any gun law. Instead the NRA would blame the murdered for being killed - it is all their fault they were gunned down.

    Thanks for another well written commentary - sadly the people who need to read this are too busy buying more guns.

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    1. How would the cost of the insurance to be a gun owner be set? When a hunter or legal CCL holder shoots an innocent person, the liability would be large, just as when an at-fault driver seriously injures or kills someone, but such cases are much rarer than deaths in vehicle accidents. If a person is only keeping guns in the house, accidental death of a visitor is even rarer (assuming that it is not already covered by homeowners' insurance). The insurance company wouldn't have to pay out for the far more numerous injuries caused by armed robbers and gang members, who wouldn't get insurance. The annual cost per law-abiding gun owner therefore would be small, far smaller than the annual cost of auto insurance per driver.

      But insurance companies' goal is always to extract as much money as possible over the payout amount. If you have a captive market who must buy insurance or-else, and very few companies to choose from (as is the case for health insurance in many states), the companies will set whatever price will maximize total profit, even if that means that people with modest or fixed incomes find it unaffordable. And if you're then charged more for owning a bird gun as well as a deer gun, etc. etc., some of the rural folks who use their guns as tools on a regular basis really will be priced out of the market. It will not be easy to sell the idea that tens of millions of Americans who already purchase all the insurances they think they need and can afford should have to start paying a brand new tribute to the insurance companies in order to keep doing what they've been doing all their lives.

      Dewey

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    2. Dewey,

      Won't the market solve the worry you envisage? Insurance companies after all are not allowed to set prices in concert. That would set them up for huge penalties and payouts and fines. For solid rural hunters who were willing to prove they had good safe-keeping arrangements, years of accident-free experience, good safety knowledge, no on-going history of mental illness, and no desire to keep assault rifles or quasi-military non-hunting semi-automatics only designed to kill human beings, a competitive firm could easily keep their rates to a reasonable minimum.

      Rates would of course go up according to risk. If a person really enjoys target shooting with weapons that have nothing to do with hunting, then if those weapons were kept in safe lock-up at a firing range, the premium would probably be much lower than if they insisted on taking them home. And prohibitive if they did not have safe lock up facilities at home. And unobtainable if they have ongoing mental illness, etc.

      This is one of those instances when a free-market really could set a reasonable price. And people who use guns only as legitimate hunting tools could continue to do so.

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    3. You'd think that, but the market did not stop health insurance companies, until recently, from telling people that they could not get coverage, or would have to pay $24,000 a year, because they had had the smallest, most harmless imperfection or had unwisely submitted to an expensive test recently. For a long time, it did not stop racial and sexual discrimination or redlining in home insurance. It did not stop companies from refusing to insure atypical economic activity at any price - see Joel Salatin's travails in getting his home and farm business insured - or forcing low-risk individual starter businesses to go without insurance because the premiums would have more than eaten up the profits. If gun ownership is a right for those who are mature enough to deserve it, rather than a privilege for those who are rich enough, any mandatory insurance has to be affordable by the $8000-a-year Kentucky squirrel hunter or the Social Security-dependent widow living in a bad neighborhood.

      If greed, risk-aversion and/or cultural hostility make private insurance too expensive for the working class, I can predict with fair certainty what would happen. The NRA, as the only gun organization with the size to do it, would start offering its own insurance pool. They'd charge only enough to cover expected payouts plus a modest profit, which would go right into lobbying efforts. They could even offer "free membership" with insurance. If you loathe the NRA, just picture them going from 4 million members to 50 or 60 million in a couple of years' time.

      Dewey

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    4. Dewey,

      Well the NRA could set up an insurance wing that would promise not to gouge (good luck with that, though, given the people who are running it now). But I don't think it makes sense at all to use health insurance as a guide. Everyone gets sick at some point. All humans need health care at some point. Which is why private health care insurance is such a terrible racket. Really health insurance works best when everyone in the population chips in every year and those who get hit with illness get treatment when they need it. And there shouldn't be the huge amount of profit in it that there is in the U.S. Which is gouging of the worst kind. It would be entirely possible to have not for profit health insurance companies. They exist in other countries in the west and work very well, and at very reasonable rates.

      Car insurance is a much better comparison. Most car drivers do not have catastrophic accidents. But everyone chips in to a pool, in case they do, and rates in most states are pretty reasonable, especially considering most claims are for dents and bashes.

      Guns won't have many dent and bash payouts. With guns it's probably either going to be something catastrophic (and extremely rare) or nothing at all. So it would be possible to keep rates very low and STILL make a respectable profit. So there is bound to be plenty of competition and so price elasticity.

      And as a I said, the NRA could always write insurance and take no profit at all.

      BB

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    5. Yes, if insurance was a wholly rational business and involved no cultural biases or gouging, gun insurance ought to be far cheaper than car insurance. I'm not confident that any of those conditions are true, though. (Also, some people seem to think that gun insurance would cover things that I doubt the insurance companies would expect it to cover. For example, if someone steals my car and he or his buddy then runs over someone with it - something that happens relatively often around here - I am not legally liable for the victim's injuries, and therefore my car insurance company would not pay for the damages.)
      Dewey

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    6. Dewey, It's easy enough to include in a law that requires gun-holders to have insurance exactly what that insurance is required to cover, and what it is not required to cover. So that problem is easily solved. And it would be just as possible to make it clear that if a gun-holder takes reasonable precautions to keep his guns locked up safe, and they are stolen even so, then they would not be held liable, but if they leave them lying around or in a sock-drawer and they are taken, then they are not off the hook.

      There are lots of effective laws that prevent insurance gouging in areas in which a for-profit free market in insurance makes sense. Setting up such an efficient and reasonable market in gun insurance is hardly beyond the wit of man. People could have raised, and probably did, all the same objections you are raising about gun insurance about car insurance, before it was required. And car insurance is a far more complex endeavor.

      There is no convincing reason whatever against gun insurance. BB

      Delete
  37. It would be a huge cash cow for the gun manufacturers and suppliers if such a law were enacted, not to mention the boost in NRA membership. What's not to like?

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  38. There are four armed cops in my school (and very possibly several armed students), but if they are not standing right where the crazy person breaks in - what good is it really ?

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    1. How many bank robbers break into a bank when there is an armed guard there? Not many. They go hit the banks without guards. Same thing with shooters who want a high body count. They'd likely go somewhere else. (And yes I know about the armed guard at Columbine.)

      Also, anyone remember the mall shooting in Oregon a couple of days before the Newtown shooting? He had a whole mall full of holiday shoppers and an AK-47 type rifle with several high capacity magazines. Yet he only killed two. One thing that DID happen there is a CCW holder took aim at the perp and stood behind a pillar pointing his weapon at him. The perp saw him clearly and reloaded. But then he walked into the stair well and shot himself. Seems to me the guy with the gun let the perp know his fun was over. And the guy with the CCW didn't have to fire a shot. (He had a clear line of fire, but he knew that if he fired and missed he could have hit people in the store behind the perp.) I think that's a good answer as to what good an armed response would do, yes?

      Delete
    2. Magical thinking there, Lucas. It projects a desire to believe that CCW helps onto the event where a CCW did nothing except show up. Yes, the shooter went and shot himself--you're *assuming* causation, but any junior high science student can tell you that correlation does NOT equate to causation.

      The shooter didn't run away from the CCW and THEN reload and commit suicide. The facts would tend to suggest that the shooter wasn't actually impressed--someone pointed a gun (and the CCW is convinced that the shooter clearly saw him AND recognized the CCW's gun--which is making several assumptions about the shooter's observation and mental processes)--and then the shooter went ahead and reloaded... the CCW with the gun wasn't apparently a threat. Didn't shoot.

      The simple truth is that a very large fraction of shooters commit suicide. This one did, too. The presumption that the appearance of a weapon that wasn't used, at all, drove the shooter to go and kill himself (instead of engaging in a firefight... why?) is literally projecting motives onto someone whose motives we don't know, at all. Maybe he was done with "his fun" when he had to reload, and the CCW was utterly insignificant to his actions. After all, the shooter went ahead and reloaded, right there. It would seem more logical to say that the'd already decided to commit suicide--and when the CCW didn't accommodate him by doing it for him, he walked away and shot himself.

      Delete
  39. Not to mention that right up until the time he started shooting Lanza ( and probably others) was NOT a "criminal".

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  40. LaPierre blew it. He should have announced that the NRA was committed to making sure that everyone who buys and owns a gun gets proper training, licensing, and insurance. Then they should lobby that we reclassify types of guns to restrict access to assault weapons and large ammo magazines. We don't have to ban guns to treat them like that other deadly machine, the automobile. Anyone who can afford one can own it, but only licensed operators can drive, and if you want to drive a bus, or a semi, you need a special license, and everyone who drives needs insurance. Same thing should apply to some classes of guns. A buy back to remove some of the inventory off the street won't hurt, and will boost the economy.

    We should do something about the broken mental health system in our country, but a national database sounds more like an opportunity for government abuse than treatment for ill people.

    I had a great conversation with a couple friends who are lifetime members of the NRA, and they assured me that LaPierre does not represent their views. Once we got past the inflammatory language both sides use, we agreed that the above ideas are things we can do without damaging any rights.

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  41. Laws are the price we pay for living in social groups. Building codes, vehicle licensing/insurance, not taking/damaging stuff that is public or isn't yours, not assaulting/killing one another, acting, basically, like a "reasonably prudent person" are all necessary to help our social groups maintain order.

    I enjoyed the earlier conversation about the strengthening of DUII laws. Just a few years before I was sworn as a Deputy Sheriff, DUII was a class "A" traffic violation; punishable by fine only. If you hurt or killed someone while DUII, the worst culpable mental state that could be assigned was "criminal negligence" (failure to recognize that the conduct was detrimental). In my 27+ years in law enforcement, I have seen the "acceptable" BAC for impairment fall to .08% (in those early years, many states set .15%, although Oregon's was .10%), DUII becom a misdemeanor and I have seen the third DUII conviction in a 10 year period jump to a C felony. An alcohol involved fatality for hit and run has increased to a B felony, and there are mandatory driver's license suspension for failure of a breath/blood test, and separate suspensions for DUII convictions.

    We haven't eliminated DUII, DUII crashes/fatalities, but we have cut them substantially. I know that attitudes about social drinking have changed, and it is less acceptable to drink and drive, but we are not there yet.

    I think drawing the parallel with firearms licensing, registration, and insurance is a good one, although as noted above, there needs to be an element of cost control to it as well. I don't think that we have nearly the level of illegal gun use that we have of DUII driving, nor the social acceptance of such, although there is the low frequency/high risk for firearms incidents component.

    I don't really have the eloquence of Jim, or many of the posters here; you all say many of the things that I think in a much more persuasive way than I could ever hope to.

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  42. Somewhere back in the long ago, I was a kid living in a semi-rural area. I didn't have a gun, but a number of my friends did. We shot .22's at tin cans and bottles. A couple of them had single-shot 20 gauges that they used for squirrels, quail, and rabbits. In our world, the NRA was a source of safety instruction and organized competitive shooting opportunities, which was about our only reasons for dealing with them at all. Open carry (unloaded, breech open) was not uncommon (how else do you get from your house to the old gravel pit?) There wasn't all this fevered RKBA stuff and how they were "true patriots." Guess things have changed.

    Jim, you wrote --
    "And for the record, as one of those “American people” LaPierre thinks he’s talking for, allow me to say that the very last thing I want is for an armed gun nut like Wayne LaPierre or his NRA friends anywhere within ballistic range of any school, let alone the one my kid attends."

    Me either. Considering that even trained professionals hit their intended targets with maybe 20-30% of their shots in a crisis, I don't even want these guys in my town if they're armed.

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  43. Anyone else notice that LaPierre backed off his "volunteer armed guard" comments and switched to a cop in every school?

    Personally, I don't care to have the armed equivalent of the TSA around my kids.

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    1. That was noted in the text. Just saying

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    2. Ehh, I'm slow to keep up sometimes, Jim. Thanks.

      Delete
  44. Here’s a personal aside regarding arming teachers. My wife was the elementary school teacher that everyone would want to have had in class. Thirty of her thirty-five years were teaching grade one, the grade that she maintained has the capacity to forever influence one’s view of education. She was absolutely devastated by the events in Newtown CT because she could never knowingly bring harm to any living creature and the thought of so many babies being slaughtered is not within her wildest nightmares. That’s her nature and I’ve never seen any reason why she should change. But the thought of her having a gun in the classroom was so out of character that I finally asked her what she would have done given similar circumstances. Her response was that she would have done whatever was required of her to defend her children according to the community’s standards and practices for dealing with the threat.

    When I asked her if she would have felt safer by having a handgun in her purse or strapped to her body she was horrified at the idea. It was her contention that displaying a weapon, under circumstances like those at Newtown, by someone like her reluctant to pull the trigger, would be signing her own death warrant and most of the teachers she associated with during her long career would fall in the same category. But her major concern was the capacity for a gun accident in the classroom with so many amateurs carrying the weapons. She’d never be able to maintain her sanity if something went so wrong.

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    1. I taught in an elementary school 20 years ago (though I was in a separate unit that was on-site rather than teaching regular K-6). Your wife and her fellow teachers were typical of the elementary school teachers I met then. They were by and large gentle people who could never pull the trigger on a gun, and who would be aghast at the very notion of carrying a gun or anything more dangerous than a book advocating tolerance and decency (which if you listen to the haters is more dangerous than a massacre in an elementary school, but so it goes). Saying "arm the teachers with guns!" simply is fail when talking about elementary school teachers... the kind of people who can actually kill or even *fantasize* about killing simply are not the kind of people that I want around my small children, and are not the kind of people attracted to elementary school teaching in the first place.

      Delete
    2. "The kind of people who can actually kill or even *fantasize* about killing simply are not the kind of peole that I want around my small children,"

      :head-desk:
      Hey BadTux, thanks for insulting every combat soldier who's also a parent. Really great thinking there. I'm assuming you realize that the author of the blog you're reading here also qualifies as someone you don't want around your kids.

      Delete
    3. I should have qualified that with "kill without training" because we have a name for such people who kill without being trained to kill: Sociopaths. Police officers and soldiers have been trained to kill in certain circumstances, but if you find me a soldier who fantasizes about killing, I will show you someone who I want nowhere near my small child because that person is stone ax crazy.

      Delete
    4. Amen Anon@11:58. I am a teacher and I cannot imagine having a gun in a classroom with 40 teenagers. Just thinking about "what could go wrong" and imagining the scenarios of accidents, mistakes, malintentions etc. would be just another burden of worry on my already overloaded job description. Currently and in addition to simply teaching, I can include counseling, acting en loco parentis, lesson planning, grading, intervening, advising,taking classes to improve in my profession, defending my meager salary to the public, "dealing" with administration, conferring with parents and to top it off..how all of this would affect test scores and evaluations of my effectiveness as a teacher. With all this pressure to accomplish in a data driven environment, there are a few folks out there including several in administration I would NEVER trust with a gun on campus. I too, live with the constant thought of how I could cope if something ever happened to my students. Actually, I've been there already a few times, with the worst being when three of mine were shot back in '95 on their way to school by a crazed boyfriend of their mom. I had a year of therapy and dealing with depression that has never entirely gone away. I just cope and try to focus on the positive each and every day. I don't own anything bigger than an air rifle, nor would I ever want to. I don't want to live my life in the fear of the unknown.I just want to live and try to focus on the good in people, which is quite difficult in an increasing number of cases. If there is ANY difference that I can make or to be able to effect change, that is what I will do. Helping others..that is my only job. Personally, I don't want a firearm in my class as part of that equation.

      Delete
    5. And if a lunatic with an assault rifle entered the classroom, she'd be dead before she remembered which drawer she keeps the gun locked up in.

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  45. Well said Jim, MSD

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  46. One of the best columns on the subject I've seen, Jim.

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  47. BadTux wrote: "Your right to own guns ends at the point where it makes my own life objectively less safe."

    Does the same apply to your right to own a car? How about your right not to shovel the snow from your sidewalk every 15 minutes during a snowfall? What if someone's ownership made his life objectively more safe, to a much greater degree than it made your objectively less safe? Are you that much more important than anybody else?

    Jim, in most states (I understand AK is different), a kid bringing a gun to school would violate a lot of laws in addition to the "gun-free zone" ones; in particular, kids can't get carry permits, so a kid bringing a gun anywhere is likely a violation of law.

    On the other hand, a friend of mine had a carry permit when a judge was convinced that he and his family were threatened by a stalker. Who was made safer by a law preventing him from picking his daughter up at school while able to protect himself and her?

    I will also note that, despite the huge numbers of people killed by cars each year, car owners are not under any requirements at all. (If they want to drive on public roads, then there are requirements. If the car is never driven on public roads, there aren't. And the penalties for driving an unregistered/uninsured car are quite low.)

    That said, the NRA has completely gone nutso (that's a technical term) and, I hope, removed itself and its suggestions from any serious policy discussion.

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    Replies
    1. I am baffled. The State says I must purchase insurance to own a car, and must have a license to actually operate the car in any manner that might harm a person other than myself. That license requires me to pass both written and practical exams and regularly prove that I still have the eyesight and physical proficiency (once I reach age 60) to safely operate the car.

      Since any operation of a firearm outside of a shooting range has the potential to harm a person other than myself (bullets can go through windows and walls after all even if you use the firearm inside your home for self defense), you just made the argument that firearms used outside of shooting ranges should require a license to operate them. Is that really the argument you wished to make?

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  48. You need insurance to own a car that you intend to drive on public roads. Do you think a junkyard has insurance on every car in it? It owns them, and some of them might even be in (poorly) running condition. Similarly, you need a license to drive a car on public roads, not on a private ranch (even if you have passengers) or on a racetrack.

    I never claimed that a license must be required for any action which has the potential to harm anybody else; that would make no sense. Me waving at my brother across the street might distract someone who trips and breaks his ankle; should I need a license to wave my arms?

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    1. Um, bear with me, it's been 27 years since grad school and my critical reading skills may be a tad rusty, but I think what Jim is saying (eloquently) is that if you claim rights, those rights have limits, and they have concurrent responsibilities that you must assume so long as you claim and exercise a certain right, like the right to keep and bear arms. I also think that Jim is saying (and I agree 1000% if this is indeed what he's saying) is that currently, given the state-by-state legal patchwork, we do not at present have a system of laws in place within which we can seek and obtain legal remedies against people who do not exercise their rights responsibly, and that one single private entity, which claims as its mandate the "right" to speak for gun owners everywhere, has succeeded in shirking its concurrent responsibility to insure that its members in particular (or gun owners in general) understand both their rights and their responsibilities when it comes to owing and using firearms. They have refused to police themselves, they have resisted being policed, and now they WILL be policed, like it or not, some stiff, stiff controls (and a much finer "mesh" of laws and remedies) are coming their way. They have nobody to blame for this situation but themselves.

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  49. Well, 2012 is just about gone. I thank you Jim, for all the wisdom, you so lively deliver. It is my sincere prayer, that 2013 will somehow be a year, where there are less things that need correcting, that people will somehow become wiser, kinder, more considerate. That we will honor the goodness and forget to be greedy.

    I only hope, that Washington, will do something sensible, instead of just catering to the wealthy. It does not look like it, but let us hope.

    Your passion, informs and inspires, Thank-you for all of that.

    To you and your family I wish a peaceful, prosperous, kindness filled year to come. You give us all much to think about and I hope we all find ways to actualize the goodness you are fighting for. We are all connected, by the air we breathe, by the water we drink... it flows in all of us. We are all united in the fact that we laugh, we cry and we dream. One can only hope, that we begin to see each other with empathy and compassion, as we attempt to become more fully human.

    This nation is not kind to those who are born poor or disabled. We must learn to do better. I hope we will insist on better care for our veterans, our homeless, our suffering fellows. Maybe we can even educate those in prison, so they have something to begin again, with. There is so much that needs our concern.

    You point out to us, many truths and I bless you for it. We have work to do... maybe if we each found a couple of ways, to just share, instead of judge, love instead of hate, let go of fear and love more... this nation could reach its potential.

    WE know you are doing your part... so ...many good thoughts and gratitude to you and blessings on your family. A new year, a new opportunity to make a change...make a difference.

    Thank-you!

    CairnMommy

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  50. Hi Jim, another long time lurker, first time commentor.

    Before reading all 4 segments of this series I completely read another writer's l o n g essay "An Opinion on Gun Control" by Larry Correia. ( http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/ )

    He seems to have a similar gun history to your own, and, since his posture seems almost completely opposite from your own, I wonder if the two of you have ever done philosophical battle, either verbally, or in writing? ( Any blog skirmishes to link?)

    I am FAR closer aligned to your point of view, than his, but wanted to know if you disagree with most of his thinking, as much as I think you might.

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  51. Hi Jim, another long time lurker, first time commentor.

    Before reading all 4 segments of this series I completely read another writer's l o n g essay "An Opinion on Gun Control" by Larry Correia. ( http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/ )

    He seems to have a similar gun history to your own, and, since his posture seems almost completely opposite from your own, I wonder if the two of you have ever done philosophical battle, either verbally, or in writing? ( Any blog skirmishes to link?)

    I am FAR closer aligned to your point of view, than his, but wanted to know if you disagree with most of his thinking, as much as I think you might.

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  52. An acquaintance of mine was venting about any gun regulations were a violation of his rights and saying how many guns he had had. All I kept thinking was how much he needed someone like you to feed him some sense, but people like that really do cling to their guns to the point that you feel they could use some kind of intervention. He's had more guns than I've had pairs of shoes in my entire adult life, although I've never been one of those women with a shoe fetish in the first place. Still...I gotta wonder about that bloody minded mindset. It's pathetic and tragic all at once. A little sensible gun regulation never hurt a soul.

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  53. Thanks for doing what you do. I have been sharing your blog with all my friends (both of them). I have become quite the pariah because of it. Turns out that people in the south have a somewhat nuanced view when it comes to the topics you so ably write/rant about and since they can't bitch at you I get the bitching by proxy. However, being an argumentative sob, I love the fight and appreciate you providing the theater.

    As for the current topic:

    Until Americans stop thinking that the ultimate protection of our constitutional freedoms is a concealed 9mm instead of rational debate; and until they recognize that we are way the fuck beyond armed revolt being a good solution to almost any problem we face, we will be doomed to stage 7 - deja vu.

    Thanks again for your hard work and big mouth. We need more smart-asses with ethics in this country.

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  54. Almost all the mass shooters were on SSRIs at the time they snapped. As of late, those same video games, originally developed for the military to prepare young men to kill without conscience, are regularly played by many on psychotropic drugs. That combination of drugs and first person shooter video games produces killing machines, effective in war and at home as excuses to bring about the disarmament of the American people. Authoritarians like Dianne Feinstein, who rule instead of serve, relish mass shootings to push an agenda. They imagine a United States where a boot stamps on a human face forever. Keep anyone who is on SSRIs from owning a gun, including anyone in the military. That's a start.

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    1. Most people I know who make statements like this are, quite frankly, talking out their behinds. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to cite your sources for this.

      Delete
    2. For a change, Lucas M, I agree with you. I've been on this Earth for half a century thus far. In that time, the only real conspiracy I've encountered is human greed and stupidity, of which there appears to be an almost limitless supply. BTW, you may not know it, but World Nut Daily is the source of the conspiracy theory that Anonymous is pushing. I get their news blasts just to laugh at the crazy.

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  55. Interesting start for information regarding SSRIs and mass shootings:
    http://breggin.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=191
    I'm always amazed at how some people disregard the possibility that conspiracies theories are sometimes true. It's as ridiculous as believing that all conspiracy theories are true. Regarding the theory behind mass shootings and their possible connection with antidepressants, there is much information out there to research. You know how to use Google. The subject is fascinating, and, surprisingly, you'll find people actually talking out of their mouths instead of their behinds regarding the dangers of SSRIs.

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    1. Correlation is not causation. Human beings (mostly males) have been going crazy and engaging in acts of mass random violence since.... there have been human beings. Try looking up, say, the derivation of "running amuck". In the stone age they did it with stones. In the bronze and iron ages they did it with blades. Now they do it with guns. And who does it? People (mostly males) whose minds are disturbed.

      Hmmm.... I wonder what the chances are that a person living in the U.S. these days whose mind is disturbed might be prescribed SSRIs in an attempt to damp down her or his disturbance? Pretty high, I'd say. Does that mean there is any connection whatever between the SSRIs and the incidents of violent running amuck? No, absolutely not. It proves nothing whatever beyond mere correlation.

      In fact, it is just as likely that if people with disturbed minds were NOT prescribed SSRI's there would be even MORE incidents of running amuck. So would cutting back on SSRIs cut down the number of deaths caused by people (mostly males) running amuck? We have zero evidence that it would.

      What WOULD cut down on the deaths is cutting down on the ease with with people (mostly males) with disturbed minds can get their hands on weapons designed to kill large numbers of humans in a very short period of time. It won't stop them running amuck, but it sure as hell is likely to reduce the death toll. Because the relationship between numbers of innocent victims killed in each one of these tragic incidents and the killing efficiency of the weapons used is NOT mere correlation. It is stone solid causation, with a capital C.

      BB

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  56. Actually, correlation does not imply causation. You seem to state an absolute that leaves out the possibility of a causal relationship. That is why there needs to be more research into the subject, rather than dismiss it out of hand.

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    1. By all means we need FAR more research into SSRI's. For all kinds of reasons, most of the woefully overlooked. But I hardly intended to leave out the possibility of a causal relationship, and can't actually find anywhere that I did so. All I said is that so far we have no evidence either way. I'm not dismissing the subject, I'm just saying that the notion that there is some conspiracy to cover up the root cause of these massacres is, at the moment, a fantasy.

      I'm also saying that there is a much more obvious, and more directly provable CAUSE of the massacres. Which is, quite plainly, that under the current regime of gun (non) regulation, it is far too easy for persons of disturbed minds to get their hands on terrifyingly powerful weaponry. And there are many many things we could do tomorrow to solve that.

      Solid research into SSRI's will and would take many years in the best of times, and would still be pretty well inconclusive and debated for years after that. The country can't wait. And there is no good reason why we should wait. Sane Gun Control Now.

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    2. The reason that SSRI's are so popular is that they are very difficult to kill yourself with, in contrast to the tricyclics of bygone years, which were (after firearms, of course) the leading means of committing suicide in the USA.

      For most people, SSRI's are pretty effective antidepressants. They are frequently NOT recommended for people with psychosis (which they may exacerbate) or for adolescents (in whom they sometimes increase suicidal ideation).

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  57. 1) If there were no laws at all, there would be no criminals, right? Problem solved. Well, maybe not.
    2) (And less absurdly) Suppose (as I recently heard someone suggest)we require gun owners to carry liability insurance when they buy a gun, as we do with cars. Then we put the matter in the hands of the insurance companies, and they can demand whatever the hell they want of their policy holders in terms of training, securing, and using firearms.

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  58. Just getting this out there -

    Americans for Responsible Solutions


    Gabby Giffords & Mark Kelly


    Dear fellow American,

    Two years ago, a mentally ill young man shot me in the head, killed six of my constituents, and wounded 12 others. Since that terrible day, America has seen 11 more mass shootings – but no response from Congress to prevent gun violence. After the massacre of 20 children and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary though, it’s clear: This time must be different.

    Americans for Responsible Solutions will encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.

    Join us today, and tell your elected leaders that Americans are demanding responsible solutions to reduce gun violence.


    ********************************************


    NRA membership is what, $35? Just sayin'

    Either way, leave your name & address - 'Voting' isn't the only, nor even best, way to be counted.

    enjoy
    bobby

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  59. Hard to argue with the wackadoodles' statement "Guns don't kill people".
    The truth is "Bullets kill people"!
    Just enact a "Cartridge tax" so each bullet costs $100. Use the revenue for related safety training, reparations for victims.
    Also new law: Shoot another human, loose all fingers. If mayhem continues, loose right to bear arms-both of them.

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  60. "...when a kid brings a gun to school with the (maybe) intention of threatening his classmates...the law can’t touch him..."

    That's incorrect, sir. In Ohio, at least, not only is it illegal for a minor to possess a firearm, it's illegal for anyone to furnish a person under the age of 18 with a long gun, or a person under 21 with a handgun. I was under the impression that such restrictions were in place nationwide, but I readily admit I may be mistaken about that.

    "That you’re not insane or a mental defective, not a felon, and not a child. "

    We still need a solution for the mental defective part. The other two are already covered by existing law.

    "Laws don’t stop vehicular crimes, but they for damned sure give us, society, at least some assurance that...there are legal penalties for those that fail to live up to their responsibilities...We don't even do that much for gun ownership."

    Except in certain cases of self-defense, it is illegal to shoot people, to threaten to shoot people, and to brandish firearms menacingly. More can certainly be done, but much of your argument here appears to rest on the presumption that many existing laws don't presently exist. Given your background, it seems unlikely that you actually didn't know that these laws exist. Why present your case in this way, then?

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