@TBPInvictus here:

I’ve got no charts, graphs, tables or economic analysis to offer with this post, so please forgive me and move along if that’s what you were looking for.

I’ve been simmering as I absorbed some of the commentary proffered by the right on the recent Newtown shooting. The self-exoneration speech by the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre has brought me to a boil. So, herewith a look at what passes for the right’s “leadership.” Note: None of this is from The Onion.

First up, Mike Huckabee, who claimed that the shooting was the result of our having taken God out of our schools which, of course, begs the question as to how pedophiles have had free run of churches for the past few centuries. What’s up with that, Mike?

Let’s move on to Megan McArdle, who proposed that “if we drilled it into young people that the correct thing to do is for everyone to instantly run at the guy with the gun, these sorts of mass shootings would be less deadly, because even a guy with a very powerful weapon can be brought down by 8-12 unarmed bodies piling on him at once.” Yes! Now there’s a strategy – 20 six-year-olds giving the bum’s rush to a guy who’s not in his right mind and armed to the teeth. Let me know how that works out for you, Megan. Oh, and if we’re ever (regrettably for me) in the same place together and a shooting erupts, I’ll be right behind you rushing the shooter, because I just know you’d go first.

Right behind McArdle (not in rushing the shooter, but just in sheer idiocy) is Charlotte Allen, who would have 12-year-olds (like my son) rush the shooter: “Think of what Sandy Hook might have been like if a couple of male teachers who had played high-school football, or even some of the huskier 12-year-old boys, had converged on Lanza.” Yup, Charlotte, put a couple of “husky 12-year-olds” up against a semi-automatic weapon and it’s pretty much game over, eh?

The guys over at Powerline came up with a variant of LaPierre’s strategy before Wayne did: Schools should be more like “biker bars”: “Within the realm of constitutional options, the most practical remedy I can think of would be to require that a certain number of teachers or administrators in each school be trained in the use of firearms and armed at all times. That would probably deter most school shooters. It is curious, but true, that even those killers who do not intend to survive their crimes never seem to open fire in the presence of another armed person. No one tries to shoot up a biker bar.” Maybe we could also give the kids jello shots to sedate them a bit before rest period.

The arm-teachers-and-administrators argument has, I think, a couple of problems, not the least of which is this: Teachers are the exact same people that conservative folks (like those at Powerline) generally think are incompetent and overpaid (AEI: “Overall, public-school-teacher compensation exceeds private levels by approximately 52 percent, for a total of more than $120 billion annually in excessive labor costs.” Heritage: “Public-school teachers receive significantly higher salaries than private-school teachers, even more than private teachers at secular general-education schools.”) Yet now we should arm them and give charge them with putting their lives on the line. Good luck with that; it seems just a tad twisted, contradictory and conflicted to me. It’s been all but forgotten that there was at least one armed officer at Columbine at the time of the attack. It should also be noted that when police took down a shooter at NY’s Empire State Building, 9 people were wounded – all of them directly or indirectly (shrapnel) by police bullets. How is the “arm everyone” strategy going to play out in a crowded theater, mall, arena, or stadium, with potentially dozens of armed citizens pulling/firing weapons?

Let’s discuss a couple of other issues: Bloomberg estimated that it would cost $7.9 billion to put an armed guard in every school. How is that going to fly with the Tea Party? Are they going to stand behind that? And that’s apparently one guard per school. My daughter’s high school is massive facility with at least a dozen entry points. It accommodates about 1,600 students. So we’ll have one guard at a huge (and I mean huge) physical plant protecting 1,600 students and dozens of teachers and administrators. Color me skeptical.

And, of course, no tragedy is complete without someone implying that it was a government conspiracy, this time as a catalyst to allow Obama to shred the second amendment and confiscate every gun in the country.

All that said – and that’s a whole lotta crazy – LaPierre trumps them all. His speech [PDF] was about as tone deaf as anything I’ve ever heard; it was nauseating for me to listen to it. He blamed Hollywood (arguably the folks from whom he lifted his plan, seeing as it leans heavily on the plot of the 1990 comedy Kindergarten Cop), the media, video games. The NRA waited a week to speak up – out of respect for the victims, they said – which should have given them time to collect their thoughts and come up with their best “meaningful contribution” to this discussion. Then LaPierre came out and shit the bed like I’ve never seen anyone do before. (NY Times editorial: “Still, we were stunned by Mr. LaPierre’s mendacious, delusional, almost deranged rant. Mr. LaPierre looked wild-eyed at times as he said the killing was the fault of the media, songwriters and singers and the people who listen to them, movie and TV scriptwriters and the people who watch their work, advocates of gun control, video game makers and video game players.”) To my knowledge, no one has yet come out in support of Mr. LaPierre’s rant, or his “plan.”

Finally, it should go without saying that LaPierre’s refusal to take any questions at his presser – which was announced right up front – was beyond cowardly.

So, that’s what the past week has brought us – nothing even remotely in the ballpark of any meaningful change. Just useless rhetoric by folks who have been giving us nothing but for 45 years.

When we experience meaningful events in our society – like Newtown – I often browse archival databases to see what’s happened in the past when similar events (assuming there have been similar events) have occurred. What I found in this case was a headline that’s stood the test of time: “Gun Control Bill Lags,” or something very close to it (“Gun Control Debate Revived After Shooting”). The only thing that ever changes is the date.

Above right is a clip from the NY Times in 1966, when a piece of gun control legislation was passed in New Jersey. It includes what might possibly be the first use of the phrase “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Here’s one from 1967, which will almost certainly be duplicated, word-for-word, in 2013:

Here’s 1968:

Fast forward to 1976:

I could go on, but you get the point. Anyone see a pattern emerging?

It’s 45 years later – is there any doubt we could see the exact same headlines today? Oh, wait, we already are (WSJ):

We desperately need to make some progress – the status quo is simply not acceptable. Enough is enough. We should all be enraged by what happened last week in Newtown. We should be enraged at how corporate and special interests have bought a government that is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

I’ll get back to economics when my blood pressure normalizes. Actually, there’s not much to even report on that front – the economy appears to continue chugging along despite the best efforts of our “leaders” in DC to prevent it from doing so.

Further reading:

Wonkblog: Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States

Harvard School of Public Health

Global Socialogy (one of the best recent pieces, in my humble opinion)

NRA: Willing to Make Concessions on Gun Control

Category: Current Affairs, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

88 Responses to “Guns in America: 45 Years on the Treadmill”

  1. changja says:

    I always thought it was funny that the right is so for allowing anyone who wants guns to have guns but then when soverign countries like China and Iran wants to build up their military, that’s a definite no no…

  2. perpetual_neophyte says:

    I don’t know about the other editorial commentary writers you mentioned, but did you actually read the NRA Press Conference transcript? I didn’t see the event live, so I can’t comment on LaPierre’s screen presence, but I’m not seeing a lot in the dialogue that seems so outrageous.

    http://home.nra.org/pdf/Transcript_PDF.pdf

    Note that LaPierre and the NRA, at least in that speech, do _not_ advocate for having armed teachers, but do advocate for having armed security personnel (like police) at schools.

    If the President and Congress want to make a meaningful impact on firearm-related deaths, a repeat of the Clinton-era “assault weapon ban” is about the worst way. If they want to score political points with the uninformed, that might be a different story.

    There were more people killed in LA drive-by shootings in the past 5 years (approximately 277 homicides) than there were in mass shootings in the past 13 years (approximately 235, including Columbine). .223 and 5.56 rounds are the least common rounds used in homicides. The 9mm and .22 are the most common and they are predominately fired from handguns.

    Addressing the idea of mental health, there are more than twice as many firearm related suicides each year as there are firearm related homicides. Of homicides, fists, feet and pushing are more likely to be identified as a rifle – any rifle.

    I fail to see how prohibition without confiscation will do anything positive and if you really want to make an impact in firearm homicides, handguns should be the first target for said confiscation.

  3. waiteman says:

    “Let’s discuss a couple of other issues: Bloomberg estimated that it would cost $7.9 billion to put an armed guard in every school. How is that going to fly with the Tea Party? Are they going to stand behind that? And that’s apparently one guard per school. My daughter’s high school is massive facility with at least a dozen entry points. It accommodates about 1,600 students. So we’ll have one guard at a huge (and I mean huge) physical plant protecting 1,600 students and dozens of teachers and administrators. Color me skeptical.”

    Are you daft? Should we just run with an 8 Bil. number from Bloomberg and not question the math? Do we assume that a person needs to be hired for that specific purpose? Why not allow current personnel to be armed? If a person was contemplating a similar scenario as that of Newtown, and was considering an armed resistance, do you actually believe that person would have have continued with the plot?

  4. slowkarma says:

    Excellent commentary. I don’t think you were harsh enough about LaPierre. The guy is a heartless villain.

    I don’t think the Constitution says that some arms can’t be banned — it just says the people have the right to bear some (undefined) arms, which is why the Constitution uses the phrase “well-regulated militia.” I think Congress ought to get busy regulating the militia by getting rid of all high-capacity magazines and high-rate-of-fire weapons. I think the importation of all semi-automatic weapons, and weapons with more than three-shot magazines (including bold action and pump guns) should be outlawed. I think we should ban public person-to-person sales of weapons (as at gun shows), and I think private sales of guns without background checks should leave the seller open to unlimited liability. I don’t think any of those measures would violate the Second Amendment.

    If you tend to be anti-gun, and want a little giggle, here’s one:

    http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2012/12/22/news/nm-concealed-carry-law-in-danger.html

  5. capitalistic says:

    Barry, please, don’t ever quote Megan McArdle ever again.

    Now, regarding this gun issue, I don’t think American’s understand that it’s actually a cultural issue. I was born in the US, but grew up in West Africa. We all watched the same violent Hollywood movies. We all grew up playing violent video games. We never had to worry about school shootings or completely random shootings. Why is that? Like my college professor said, “US was built on a cowboy and outlaw mentality.”

  6. raholco says:

    And the Hamster Wheel over gun control takes another few spins until something else pushes the Newtown Tragedy off the pages.

    Now let me be the first to lob that good old USA double-standard that’s so ingrained in the populace-20+ US children and teachers die via gunfire in a single incident-total outrage. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, US Predator and Reaper drones unload their killing payloads on many people who are just as innocent as the Newtown victims-and all you get (outside of the conspiracy-fueled and funded folks like Alex Jones, who like a stuck clock is right twice a day)…nothing short of absolute silence. Uh, whoops….

    Now, combine this with a Justice and Treasury Department who now appear to not be even capable of indicting a ham sandwich, let alone supranational firms who enabled the movement in blood money with firms clearly on the OFAC and SDN/SDI’s list, and they get the equivalent of a wet-noodle slap-well, perhaps we actually deserve the fact that the Mayan’s were wrong after all, and we now get to live in the dystopia we have inflicted on ourselves.

    When do we, as Americans stand against the injustices we face as Elie Weisel once said about the Holocaust: “No More”?

  7. A says:

    In America, there is a very fine line that is crossed on a daily basis: from sanity to lunacy.

  8. Invictus..

    “…please, don’t ever quote Megan McArdle ever again…”

    Exactly.

    That ‘individual’ is, little more than, a Mind Virus. A True waste of cognitive Bandwidth..

    http://www.memecentral.com/

    http://search.yippy.com/search?query=Mind+Virus&tb=sitesearch-all&v%3Aproject=clusty

    by Quoting her, you become the Vector.. (is that what You want?)

  9. That wasnt me quoting her

    I cannot say I have been a fan of hers — she is way way too ideological for my tastes — and others have been far harsher than I. In my line of work, objectivity is much more important than ideology.

    Perhaps I should have Bloomberg set up a debate.

  10. Neil C Denver says:

    As a RINO a am against individuals owning assault weapons. But your diatribe against the “Right” is pathetic.

    Specifically, how do you define the Right? Fiscal conservatives (e.g. Blue Dog Democrats)? People who believe in American Exceptionalism? (Both Democrats and Republicans do) Americans who hate Catholics and Jews? (Many liberals actually do) People who support a strong military? (Like Secretary of Defense Panetta). Americans who believe in the inevitability of social inequality? Those who believe in tradition? And what about those who believe in the Constitution?

    If the 47.3% of those American voters who preferred Romney over Obama are “Right wing”, then America is in deep doodoo.

    It’s all too easy to throw stones at any moving target. But what are your specific recommendations, how much would they cost, and what is their implementation timeline?

  11. GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

    Invictus- an Oklahoma Superintendent of Schools wants an armed police officer in every school (est. cost $15 MM) while an Oklahoma state legislator says the state can’t afford that cost, so teachers will be armed after taking a 6-week course, presumably on their own time so it doesn’t cost the state. I note that we don’t send police academy graduates out on their own with a gun and no one around to help them learn all the things you don’t learn in the academy, but apparently teachers will somehow not have that problem.

    Waiteman- “If a person was contemplating a similar scenario as that of Newtown, and was considering an armed resistance, do you actually believe that person would have have continued with the plot?” Please refer to Columbine, where they didn’t seem to care that there was a visible armed guard in the school they had attended. People who are planning to kill themselves at the end aren’t afraid of dying, by definition.
    In addition, most K-6 schools have few if any adult males on staff. Few teachers have either a law enforcement or military combat background to begin with, and even fewer women would have those skills. Taking a course which has you shooting at paper cutouts doesn’t prepare you to shoot at people who are trying to shoot back.

  12. evelyn says:

    As a teacher in a public elementary school, I can attest that for at least 5 years we have been told it is our job to take out a shooter. Yesterday, our principal told us every classroom door will be kept locked, and the school will develop a team (that doesn’t include teachers) that will have the job of locating and stopping any shooter in the school. It simply is our job to act before the police arrive. We are fortunate to live in a concealed carry state, and I am considering getting a permit and learning to shoot a pistol myself. Doesn’t the recent shooting seem like an incident of domestic terrorism? People are certainly terrified.

  13. b_thunder says:

    I’ve read somewhere today that over 10000 homicides are committed every year with firearms (in addition to over 20000 suicides.) That’s almost 300 murders daily. The people murdered in the school were 10% of the “daily murder average.” Ok, you ban AR-15s, semi-auto Glocks, and 30-round clips. Most of the 10k murders will be done with a 6-shooter, a shotgun or a hunting rifle. The school shooting is a major tragedy, but what about other 200+ victims that killed on the same and every other day?

    what’s the solution? ok, if we legislate all firearms out of existence, i suppose out of 300+ million firearms the feds may repossess a third… maybe… Remember WHO has most of the guns – people who, using Tea Party lingo, “don’t trust the government.” Tens of millions of guns will be “in circulation” for generations. What are you proposing between now and then? Because right now we have an interesting situation:

    the USA isn’t Japan, isn’t Western Europe, isn’t Canada. Be honest and admit that there’s a lot more “bad neighborhoods” in this country than in those that I’ve mentioned. Not even every one-percenter lives in a gated community or in a building with a doorman. Most residents of the United States don’t live in large apartment buildings in the cities, where there are people and traffic and cops on the streets 24/7.

    Here most live in suburbia. I don’t have metal bars on my windows, my patio door is made of glass, my front door can be knocked out by a kid. When I was in Dominican Republic, the houses in the barrios (the hood) were practically open – but there was nothing of value inside. But once you get to more affluent neighborhoods – every single-family house looks like a mini-fortress. In UK roughly 2/3 of all burglaries and break-ins occur at night, when the owners are asleep. In the USA – 80% occur when there’s nobody home. Why? According to the surveys of actual criminals, they don’t want to take a chance of being shot. So, as long as i live in suburbia, and do not have 1″ thick steel bars on my windows, i’m not surrendering my firearm.

    Let’s stop dreaming – there’s no short term solution, there’s no 100% solution, there’s no foolproof solution. We’re not changing our way of life in a year, or 2 or 5. The NRA completely lost their mind (with Tea Party close 2nd), the pharma keeps peddling psychotropic drugs with “black labels” to kids of all ages, and an ex-teacher mother takes her unstable son to the shooting range. You can’t legislate stupidity. I will gladly vote to license guns as we license drivers – after demonstrating that you can use firearms safely and that you’re not crazy. And let keep a close on mentally unstable people who seem to be responsible for mass shootings.

    ~~~

    BR: We will never get a perfect solution, but we can certainly have an improved situation versus what is going on now

  14. RC says:

    It is so depressing to see that all sensible people are left hang wringing and unable to do anything in front of the completely idiotic and dangerous arguments of the Gun-nuts. It gives one a feeling of helplessness that the Gun-nuts are so powerful that nothing can be done to change the pervasiveness of guns in the society.

    The best way to go about making a meaningful progress in getting the military style guns removed from the society is to appeal to people to not invest in gun making companies. Just like CALPERS and Cerberus did. Financial boycott is the only effective way.

    BTW, I am not against people owning guns, I am only against having access to military style weapons of mass killings be allowed to be bought by people. If automatic weapons are a “right” then why not a tank or a fighter jet.

  15. subscriptionblocker says:

    OK.

    Been having an argument with a good Canadian friend all week over this. Believe his premise essentially boils down to this: http://tinyurl.com/d3jvk58

    In other words – this is just another “religion” we poor dumb knuckle dragging yanks need to get over.

    My response:

    Perhaps the wisdom of amendment 2 transcends his arguments? Will any Brit or Canadian at least admit to this possibility?

    We do change it! But it’s not to be changed on whim – or due to passions of the moment.

    For the record. I *am* a life member, but do not subscribe to the extreme interpretations now circulating within the NRA. And I’ve done what I can through congressional reps *and* NRA letters requesting “they stop”.

    Magazine capacity limits are *necessary* if victims are to have any chance to fight back. If the second amendment is truly absolute – why not private missiles or suitcase bombs? Reasonable limits are never the enemy….

    Lapierre is like that CEO of BOA… if you’re a shareholder – what can you *really* do to curb his excess? No matter how much humor he inflicts on you :(

    That said, two things are abundantly clear:

    1. The second amendment was no accident. It was a reasoned choice between evils.

    2. Killers apparently enjoy killing kids. It’s happened too often. So this probably won’t be the last school shooting.

    In this light, having “crazy extinguishers” in schools seems a reasonable precaution. That first “bite back” will have a chilling effect – even on crazies. Especially if the moms get to him before the police.

    Does anyone worry about hijackers any more? Only the TSA – so they can keep their BS jobs. Both passengers and terrorists know that score – history won’t repeat.

  16. Jojo says:

    I have the perfect solution.

    Allow the gun crazed owners to have any guns they want. Just don’t allow bullets to be made or sold.

  17. theexpertisin says:

    I agree with BR that something must be done to address the massive amount of weaponry floating about in this country. Going a step further, I find it perplexing that some forms of killing (actually, murder) in our society are condoned and codified by law. I’ll be taken to task for this thought, but…..

    Perhaps the current Catholic Church and some other principled organizations are on to something when they come down on the side of gun control and against legalized abortion. Hard as it is to equate, taking a life in any form should not be sanctioned by the government. There is no “right” to take a human out. Rationalizing the termination of a human’s existence is a slippery slope. Maybe the Constitution and “settled law” should be revisited.

  18. wmjack50 says:

    A gun is an equilizer the powerful must always consider before they act against the weak.

  19. kaleberg says:

    It’s strange how so many politicians and members of the general public seem not to have learned the lessons of World War I, or most of the wars of the late 19th century for that matter. Charging a rapidly repeating rifle, be it a Gatling gun, a Browning or something more modern, on foot is simply suicide. Charging en masse is mass suicide. This is true for trained, armed soldiers. It is true for school kids, teachers, security guards or anyone else made of flesh and bone. Allowing that type of weapon to be sold to members of the general public without rigorous controls is as naive and dangerous as selling enriched uranium at the local hardware store.

  20. cheese says:

    As always……….a liberal’s solution to anything is limit the right’s of individuals. One thing we have hard time understanding is just how power INFAMY is an incentive to these boys. The sports media figured this out, but it took some time. When you deny them the attention they so desperately seek, it makes it all a moot point. Another aside……… I noticed that the author didn’t mention the Mall shooting in Portland Oregon…………guess what, Wayne LaPierre is right.
    http://www.kgw.com/news/Clackamas-man-armed-confronts-mall-shooter-183593571.html

    ~~~

    BR: You are laboring under the misconception that you have an unrestricted constitutional right to any gun in any configuration at any time without limit. That is not wht the 2nd Amend states,

    How about the individual rights of a 6 year old girl to go to school without being shot to death? What about her rights?

  21. Joe Friday says:

    perpetual_neophyte,

    I didn’t see the event live, so I can’t comment on LaPierre’s screen presence, but I’m not seeing a lot in the dialogue that seems so outrageous.

    Pepe Le Pew was a stark raving loon spouting phantasmagorical nonsense.

    The overwhelming majority of his own membership doesn’t even agree with him.

    If the President and Congress want to make a meaningful impact on firearm-related deaths, a repeat of the Clinton-era ‘assault weapon ban’ is about the worst way.

    A) As I previously delineated, the assault weapons ban (which included a ban on large-capacity clips) was VERY effective, and it’s reinstatement would be an excellent first step.

    B) The gun that the shooter utilized to murder 20 first graders and 6 adults would not have even been available to him (or his mother) if the Republicans had not blocked the renewal of the assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 through 2004.

  22. ThatsNotAll says:

    Alcohol contributes to death, marital discord, unemployment, violence, rioting and general social discord. Someone ought to ban it. Oh, that experiment was tried and failed. Hmmm.

    How about banning drugs? That experiment has also failed. How about banning non-Americans from pretending to be American? That experiment has failed.

    Anyone want to go out on a limb and predict how a prohibition on guns will go?

    ~~~

    BR: You still have to be 21 to buy alcohol, need a prescription to buy drugs.

    Why not treat guns like cars? License, register, insure.

  23. jaymaster says:

    In case you didn’t know Invictus, in response to the Columbine shooting, President Clinton actually came up with the same idea the NRA is recommending now.

    He even convinced congress to fund it. Oh for leaders like that today…

    ~~~

    BR: Clinton was as wrong then as LaPierre is today.

  24. Joe Friday says:

    * Five states with lowest death rates by gun have the toughest gun laws and the lowest gun ownership:

    HAWAII
    RHODE ISLAND
    MASSACHUSETTS
    CONNECTICUT
    NEW YORK

    ~

    * Five states with highest death rates by gun have the laxest gun laws and the highest gun ownership:

    LOUISIANA
    MISSISSIPPI
    ALASKA
    NEVADA
    ALABAMA

    Do I have to add a “DUH !” ?

  25. ThatsNotAll says:

    Apparently, the gun ownership in Connecticut is not low enough.

    Serious question for Joe Friday & Invictus:

    How low must gun ownership be to eliminate the risk of a mass shooting?

  26. CB says:

    It is terrible but of course the NRA promotes more guns for the “good guys.” The US provides almost 75% of all arms in the world and probably also a similar percentage of violence as entertainment in various forms. The US also has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the world (even though exempting most of the financial outlaws.) If anything the tragedy will likely just lead to an expansion of the militarized police state  - sadly.                 

  27. JohnathanStein says:

    There certainly is a rush-to-judgement, before all facts are in. One side wants to issue machine-guns to schools, the other wants to take away everybody’s toys.

    Where is the balance? What is NOT on the table are:
    – How many crimes (assault, murder, theft) are thwarted by gun users?
    – How often psychiatric drugs are involved — the best I could find (so far) is http://www.ssristories.com/index.php; it seems well documented, with sources.

    ~~~

    BR: Get some more data on that — there must be tons of academic studies.

  28. jb.mcmunn says:

    I keep hearing this “school prayer” explanation too. I guess it’s the FOX viewers.

    I guess church prayer and home prayer are insufficient.

    And where, exactly, was God when the children were being murdered? He works in mysterious ways indeed. As a boy in grade school I was forced to participate in school prayer. So far I haven’t murdered anyone. That school prayer thing really works.

  29. haggis says:

    The vast difference between firearm murder rates between the US and every other OECD country pretty much answer the question of whether tooling up with more firearms makes society safer. More guns might make people that can’t parse data feel safer but they are statistically at much higher risk. The data is in and it’s beyond doubt that controlling firearms is a great way to reduce the murder rate.

    The notion that madmen will just turn from firearms to other means to wreak havoc also doesn’t hold water. The comprehensive murder rates for the OECD are far lower than in the US. Non-US maniacs just aren’t getting the same results without access to guns. Guns amplify the damage which can be caused by a would-be killer and simply enable more mayhem.

    The only possible defense of current US gun policy is the 2nd Amendment. But I’m pretty sure that the interpretation that the NRA chooses to spout is self serving BS. It specifically uses the words “well regulated” and I don’t think anything about the way guns can be bought and sold by all sorts of dodgy characters meets that condition.

    I find the NRA agenda to be quite sinister. Only a cold hearted bastard or a complete fool would have reacted to this tragedy as they have. And in either case, who wants a knave or a fool driving the debate?

  30. Julia Chestnut says:

    The other problem, and it is likewise getting some remarkably stupid press or otherwise being ignored, is mental health in this country. Since we got rid of ALL the State Homes for the insane, which admittedly were hell holes, there are essentially no options for committal of an adult who is a threat to himself or others – unless you can PROVE that. Then they want to put him in prison. Because it costs society less in our for profit world. Try finding a psychiatrist who takes medicaid anywhere in this country – heck, many of them don’t even take insurance. You have to file on your own, and then the insurance company pays half of what it thinks that should have cost, which turns out to be what – 20%? – of what it actually costs. People cannot afford treatment for any problem that does not have a physical, documented cause. Period. People with any other kind of problem fester untreated because otherwise the entire family starves.

    In the old “system,” the looney bin was used to abuse, punish, and hide anyone who got on the wrong side of those who had power over them. Plenty of normal women who refused to follow instructions were put away for life. So many lives of non-neurotypicals thrown away that could have been productive had those people received care and training instead of being warehoused.

    Now we’ve gone the other direction. If you have a child who is schizophrenic, there is no amount of medical insurance that can possibly cover what it will cost. Once they are 18, not old enough to drink, apparently, but old enough to stop taking their meds, you can’t do anything to protect them as they veer into homelessness, delusion, paranoia, death. Now, when a parent struggles to get an adult child involuntarily committed, you practically cannot convince the authorities that the kid is dangerous until and unless they actually try to kill someone (often themselves).

    When we let the medical and psychological establishment become entirely profit driven. When we decided to let all hospitals of any kind operate not as charities, but as corporations bent on squeezing those unfortunate enough to come within their clutches. When we built a for-profit prison apparatus that yawns like the open maw of hell always hungry. We created a world where the asylum is out here with us.

    There just has to be a better way.

  31. Moss says:

    Financial boycotts, and other means is much better than relying on the corrupt politicians to do anything meaningful. I imagine what will happen now is that the gun states will do their thing and arm everybody, while the non gun states will do the opposite.

    Lets all be honest however and realize that the Gun Manufactures are the ones who control the NRA and subsequently the politicians both local and national. The effect on the politicians is no different then the Grover Norquist pledge.

    Just like porn, guns are ubiquitous in the ‘culture’.

  32. mathman says:

    The Mayan message was misinterpreted – it wasn’t the end, it was the beginning of the end.

    In the coming year, maybe two, we’ll see all the problems we’ve ignored come back to wreak havoc, pain and death (climate change, resource depletion, and economic chaos being the big 3, but there are more). Climate change is drying out the breadbasket of the country (causing too much rain in other areas, or at the wrong time, or the weather is too chaotic) and farmers can’t grow enough. Food shortages have already begun (all over the world), disease and die-off of essential species (like bees, bats, and plankton) will get worse, and as Gerald Celente said “people will lose it” is happening way too often to be just aberration.

    The fabric of civilization is tearing, the safety nets are being dismantled, wages are being held down (how are American workers supposed to compete with the $3/day labor rate of the Chinese?), healthcare is unaffordable, and the nation is awash in guns. Expect a rise in suicides and the same crazy gun incidents we’ve witnessed all over the country.

    How the banks get from one quarter to the next is through complete disregard of accounting standards and the law. More jobs will be lost and the only ones available for most of the populace will be those of minimum wage or lower, if they’re lucky enough to get one at all. It’s hard to have a profitable business when no one has any money to spend. Crime will probably skyrocket as will homelessness.

    It’s like the nation has become a vast sinkhole, slowly swallowing up more and more every day.

    Happy holidays.

  33. For those of you who are new here, all new comments are moderated. The process takes less than 24 hours. If anyone wants to see the terms of behavior for comments, go here: Terms of Use & Disclosures, section 5

    ~~~

    By creating comments of value, using good data, having respect for this forum, and appropriate understanding of the rules of debate and courtesy, is how you graduate to unmoderated status

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  34. jp1110107 says:

    The Bill of Rights is the collective name for the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These limitations serve to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. While originally the amendments applied only to the federal government, most of their provisions have since been held to apply to the states by way of the Fourteenth Amendment.

    In no particular order, early American settlers viewed the right to arms and/or the right to bear arms and/or state militias as important for one or more of these purposes:[26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33]
    deterring tyrannical government;[34]
    repelling invasion;
    suppressing insurrection;
    facilitating a natural right of self-defense;
    participating in law enforcement;
    enabling the people to organize a militia system.

    Which of these considerations they thought were most important, which of these considerations they were most alarmed about, and the extent to which each of these considerations ultimately found expression in the Second Amendment is disputed. Some of these purposes were explicitly mentioned in early state constitutions; for example, the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 asserted that, “the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state”.[35]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

    When the right a socialist-leaning nanny-state government usurps citizens natural right to bear arms for self defense the results are predictable. Witness Australia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGaDAThOHhA

    ~~~

    BR: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

    Why do 2nd amendment types seem to only like half of that amendment . . . ?

  35. bocon007 says:

    At a period in history when much of the world is in conflict with one form of extremism or another, extremism that seems determined to express its world view in terms of violence , I don’t think it’s hyperbole to wonder, “Does LaPierre and others like him represent America’s brand of violent extremism?”

    Extremism seeks to impose its world view on society at large, regardless of whether or not it represents the majority. Extremism seeks to paralyze political process. Extremism voices its explanation of cause-and-effect in terms that defy rationalism. Extremism often promotes a world view that society must return to a former way of life that was more perfectly “moral,” “just,” or “righteous.”

    We need to start defying this extremism at every turn, and call it out for what it is. And I don’t mean only in our elections and media coverage but also in our day-to-day conversation with our friends, family, and colleagues. Force them to justify in rational terms their vision of the world, and when they can’t or offer some argument rooted in paranoia or a distorted vision of history, call them out. Put them on the defensive and make them look like that ignoramuses they actually are.

  36. sureseam says:

    Have followed this American debate for most of my adult life. Most of it has seemed to be a catch22 with ideology and dogma in the driving seat.

    “Subscriptionblocker” (above) mentions an article in the Guardian by Jonathan Friedland.

    For those that don’t know him; Friedland presents a regular documentary radio programme for the BBC called “the long view”. Each episode analyses a modern dilemma; using a comparison with the way that dilemma was handled in a previous era. In depth analysis of current situations combined with history brought to life; it is an interesting mix – a good listen.

    Friedland says, in conclusion, that the “2nd amendment” will have to be challenged before America breaks it’s pattern of gun madness. I suspect his analysis is broadly correct.

  37. dad29 says:

    Barry, your editorial acknowledges–almost explicitly–the reality of evil, just as your posts on certain banks and bankers do.

    Since no amount of regulation or legislation has kiboshed bank malfeasance, what makes you think that more regs/legs will kibosh gun crimes?

    The 2A was written (we’re told) by J. Madison; it is there to keep Government at bay, just like the 1A, 4A, (etc.) We do not observe a rollback of Governmental ‘mission creep,’ either, whether good, bad, or indifferent.

    Actual Conservatives, like Burke, Madison, and Kirk, understand that democracy is wholly dependent on a moral people who practice virtue regularly. Without that underpinning, democracy will fail. It is inevitable. So LaPierre’s “more Government” solution will fail, just as “no guns” solutions will.

    It is not a question of the instruments of evil. It is a question of evil’s existence. I don’t think that you’re going to succeed in eliminating evil.

    ~~~

    BR: The flaw in your thinking is that you do not seem to understand vectors.

    The bank malfeasance was preceded by 3 decades of deregulation.

    Similarly, we have had a similar decrease in gun ownership background checks (gun show exemption) new semi automatic and attack weapons exempt from rules, etc. from

  38. ilsm says:

    “the rights of the individual…………”

    Corporatist libertarian dogma: any government is “jack booted thuggery”, revealed truth of the tehadists. Government gets in the way!!

    Assault rifles are needed to defend American values and their stuff from the government and all “those people”.

    “Those people” are Romney’s moochers, plus about 50% more.

    “Government is not the answer” to making the .1% more wealthy at the expense of the rest, “government is the problem”, government might keep the US from becoming Honduras.

    NRA is a wholey owned subsidiary of the revolting tehadist insurgency.

    The “right to bear arms” is the right to secede and replace the government, see 1865 and how that went.

    “Rights of the individual”, tehadist malarky.

    @dad29;

    Government exists to blunt the evils in society, it is when the tehadists’ version of evil might be blunted that gridlock occurs.

  39. Jim67545 says:

    It seems as if most topics these days is reduced to a choice between doing (A) right now or (B) right now. Maybe we should do (A) AND (B). Maybe we should do (A) first followed by (B). In this case let’s consider (A) the NRA’s idea as an immediate response which will have an immediate effect AND (B) institute gun control ala Australia AND (C) psychological measures knowing that the effect of (B) and (C) will be gradual and take time to develop. Does it make sense to discard (B) or (C) because they do not meet American’s requirement for instantaneous solutions? Incidentally, the Australia program also bought back and destroyed forbidden guns thereby removing them from the realm of private sale.

    As for the NRA’s proposal though, two thoughts. I wonder how a rent-a-cop would fare wielding his 6 shot revolver against an assault weapon. Second, if we arm schools TSA-like might not the nutcase shoot up a mall or train station or any other concentration of humans? Certainly we’ve had a number of these over the years. At best it might displace the problem, not solve it.

  40. Neil C Denver says:

    In District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. In dicta, the Court listed many longstanding prohibitions and restrictions on firearms possession as being consistent with the Second Amendment.

    In McDonald v. Chicago, 561 U.S. 3025 (2010), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.

    I’d personally like to seen the Constitution changed so that firearms in homes be limited to Americans who are actually in a registered state militia. This would provide at least some protection from civil disobedience that many on the Left and Right promote. However, we still have to address our national problems, e.g. the mentally ill and the violence promoted by the entertainment industry.

  41. danm says:

    I was a student coming out of a Université de Montréal math class on the fateful night of the Polytechnique shooting. One of the women gunned down was a classmate of mine during my years of high school. Since then, I have been trying to understand why this keeps on happening.

    These episodes are endemic to an American way of life that is fore sure, in my mind anyway. We do not have a gun culture here in Canada, yet they are still occurring. Is if the income disparity? Is it immigration and the ensuing clashing cultures? Is it a lack of opportunities? Is it untreated mental health? Is it the resulting invisibility born out of a culture of individualism? Is it the effect of living in perpetual fear amid huge material wealth? The list is long and they all seem to merge into one.

    In my mind the missing link is community. Many are suffering from a generalized lack of community brought upon us by the glorification of materialism and individualism. For many, life is empty. Exacerbating the situation is centralization and size. In the name of economies of scale, everything is getting bigger. And we are all witnessing a huge correlation between complexity and corruption.

    I know more guns won’t help but I also believe that we are in the hockey stick phase of this cycle of bigger is better… when I heard that this elementary school had more than 650 students enrolled, it confirmed my bias once again.

    The question that keeps popping up in my head is how many people out there feel like a nobody and have no real community to help them through the hard times?

  42. perpetual_neophyte says:

    Joe Friday wrote:
    “A) As I previously delineated, the assault weapons ban (which included a ban on large-capacity clips) was VERY effective, and it’s reinstatement would be an excellent first step.

    B) The gun that the shooter utilized to murder 20 first graders and 6 adults would not have even been available to him (or his mother) if the Republicans had not blocked the renewal of the assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 through 2004.”

    A) By what measures are you considering the Clinton AWB a success? By what measures was the expiration a failure? With the seeming increase in firearm and semiautomatic rifles since Obama was elected, for fear of a ban, there were fewer firearm related homicides in 2011 than there were in 2007 (
    (8583 vs 10,129) and – of those in which the firearm was identified – rifles were the least commonly used.

    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-8

    B) This is the fallacy I pointed out above. Depending on when it was purchased, that is not necessarily true. The Clinton-era AWB did not eliminate/remove/confiscate or otherwise cause 30-round magazines or semi-automatic rifles that looked scary enough to cease to exist. That legislation only stopped new sales of those items.

    Firearms retailers have just sold a few years’ worth of magazine inventory. You want to review bubble and market hysteria behavior, check out the price of Magpul Pmags over the past 2 weeks.

    So, if you are serious in your belief that firearm-related murder needs to be reduced and that a real reduction in the legal access to firearms is the best measure, then you should support a ban on – AND LEGAL CONFISCATION OF – handguns, shotguns and those high-capacity magazines.

    That’s the reality no one wants to admit. Banning the sale of new Corvettes does not cause all Corvettes sold since 1953 to cease to exist.

  43. ThatsNotAll says:

    Here is what many fail to appreciate about the 2nd amendment.

    #1: The freedom of citizens to be armed was crucial in the ability of the Patriots to fight the British and gain their independence

    #2: The right of citizens to be armed preceded the creation of the Federal government

    #3: The 2nd amendment codifies the understanding that the new Federal government would not strip the right of the people to be armed.

    By strict interpretation the federal government is not empowered to regulate any individual ownership of arms. All of this would fall under the auspices of states. A liberal reading would only allow for the federal government to restrict what is meant by the term “arms”.

    What is most interesting is that while liberals over-interpret the phrase “well regulated militia” they blissfully ignore the clearly stated understanding of why personal ownership of arms is needed:

    “Being necessary to the security of a free state”

    If you do not like the 2nd amendment there is one possibly remedy: Add a new amendment. Otherwise, understand that personal ownership of guns is a fundamental right and aspect of American citizenry.

    ~~~

    BR: 1.Are the Brits (or anyone else) invading soon?
    2. Whatever predated the constitution is no longer operative. Its called RULE OF LAW — look into it.
    3. There is a difference between owning handguns and owning military grade semi automatic weapons with 100 bullet clips

  44. beaufou says:

    I would also like to point out that there was an armed police officer present at Columbine and a swat team was 8 minutes away (an eternity when the shooter is spraying 5 bullets a second) at Virginia Tech.
    The issue here isn’t about judging gun owners but make them realize that war weaponry is for war, not fun or sports. While most will never use their semi-automatics on innocent people, it is now obvious that the ones who do so have the ability to be more and more destructive.
    Nuclear weapons are restricted the World over for a reason; some nutcases are more likely to use them and no-one can afford the damage.
    No one can afford the death of a 6 year old child, semi-automatic weapons have no place or use in society, what is so hard to understand?

  45. DrungoHazewood says:

    So a cartoon camel can encourage children to smoke, but violent movies and games have no effect? Oakie dokie. The vast majority won’t go out and mow a bunch of people down, but what effect on an already disturbed mind? Equally ridiculous are guns don’t kill people-people do. Or that they’d just kill with a knife.

    There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground on anything. Government is bad-well not always, but neither is more government always good. Like a lot of things, it can be really good, or very bad like the Nazis. Now that was some big government. And I guess Geobbels had no effect: after all films and radio encouraging violence are just entertainment.

    My mother and sister were psych nurses and mental health is a tricky area. Many mentally disturbed are taking other drugs (mostly alcohol) trying to mask the pain. Then they are prescribed psychotropic drugs, and they get worse-within hours of their first dose. The main problem is suicide ideation, and it lasts for days. Once that ends, many patients find themselves in a zombie world were there are no highs or lows, just flatness as they pack on the pounds, and their sexual function goes south . Then they need another drug to keep from sleeping too long, to just wake up, eat a pound of bacon, and go back to sleep. Its all a big mess.

  46. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    Why Does the NRA Fear the Truth About Gun Violence?

    Faced with government-funded research that contradicts NRA claims on gun safety, the gun lobby moved to defund the research and silence the researchers. When news reporters tried to learn which gun shops repeatedly supply violent criminals with firearms, the NRA lobbied to have gun-trace data exempted from the Freedom of Information Act. When advocates of transparency in campaign finance proposed the Disclose Act in Congress to require disclosure of top donors to political advertising campaigns, the NRA once again marched to the beat of its own 100-round drum: The organization obtained an exemption to keep its information secret.

    The list goes on. The NRA-backed Tiahrt Amendment requires the Justice Department to destroy records after gun-purchase background checks, making it harder to identify and catch straw buyers who work for criminals. As part of its war on information, the gun lobby has blocked efforts to put sales records into an integrated database, making the data more difficult for law enforcement officers to retrieve and organize, and complicating efforts to analyze gun trafficking patterns. After visiting the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ National Tracing Center in West Virginia, which is the nation’s sole facility tracing guns used in crimes, Washington Post reporter James Grimaldi described the place as “something like out of the movie ‘Brazil,’ where you could literally see boxes and boxes of documents that pile up.” …

    Why is the NRA so frightened of having an informed discussion about guns and gun violence? Why does the NRA lobby to silence those researchers who disagree with them?

    Why is the NRA so afraid of the truth?

  47. Joe Friday says:

    perpetual_neophyte,

    By what measures are you considering the Clinton AWB a success?

    The United States Department of Justice, as I previously delineated here:

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/12/what-can-gun-control-advocates-do/

    The Clinton-era AWB did not eliminate/remove/confiscate or otherwise cause 30-round magazines or semi-automatic rifles that looked scary enough to cease to exist. That legislation only stopped new sales of those items.

    Except the shooters mother purchased the gun new. He was not old enough to purchase either.

    Once again, the gun that the shooter utilized to murder 20 first graders and 6 adults would not have even been available to him if the Republicans had not blocked the renewal of the assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 through 2004.

  48. ToNYC says:

    PDF readers did not suffer fools in real time breaking news format:
    “Note that LaPierre and the NRA, at least in that speech, do _not_ advocate for having armed teachers, but do advocate for having armed security personnel (like police) at schools.”

    The NRA spokesperson managed to defraud every cable network into donating 30 minutes for a non-press conference. The NRA policy presentation was an obscene abomination of unchallenged fiscal insanity delivered relentlessly. Is there equal time for Pacifists, who believe high-capacity instruments of mass destruction should not be ever sold to the public-at-large, to point out the psychosis of Mr. LaPierre in ignoring the most salient point in his grand media rip-off?

  49. Theravadin says:

    Just want to second Julia Chestnut’s comments on mental health care. The under-investment in caring for those with (often temporary, treatable) mental health issues, addiction problems, etc., is tragic. However, this is no less true in Canada, where I live, yet with reasonable gun laws we have way fewer homicides. And note that I say “Reasonable gun laws” – it’s not a problem to own guns here – I’m a gun owner myself. It’s just exceedingly difficult to own a handgun, and essentially impossible to own an assault rifle.

    As to the issue of protecting your home with a gun… sometimes it clearly works. But equally often it will only escalate a confrontation into a deadly confrontation. After a lot of thought about that, I keep my guns stored in ssuch a way that they would be impossible to access and re-assemble in anything under about an hour… which takes them entirely out of consideration for home protection… and, to be truthful, makes me feel safer.

  50. JB7456 says:

    One must consider that any legislation for stricter gun regulation (which I approve of) must have a corresponding amount of increased regulation on the consumption of alcohol and any activity that results in anyone’s death. 1st drunk driving offense should be 30 days in jail. The school tragedy and any deaths from alcohol missiles are equally senseless.

  51. Search Terms..

    “SSRI-induced Psychosis”

    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&q=SSRI-induced+Psychosis&oq=SSRI-induced+Psychosis&gs_l=hp.3..0i30.12305.15996.1.16933.8.7.0.0.0.2.550.1721.0j5j0j1j0j1.7.0.les%3B..0.0…1c.1.4Mod6k7y8uo&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.dmQ&fp=a7e118819f5e1e5b&bpcl=40096503&biw=1024&bih=638

    “SSRI-induced Mania”

    http://www.google.com/#hl=en&tbo=d&sclient=psy-ab&q=SSRI-induced+Mania&oq=SSRI-induced+Mania&gs_l=hp.3..0j0i30l3.91946.100280.2.101072.14.14.0.0.0.6.827.4763.0j7j2j0j2j1j2.14.0.les%3B..0.0…1c.1.wFVGM3xWp7M&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.1355534169,d.dmQ&fp=a7e118819f5e1e5b&bpcl=40096503&biw=1024&bih=638

    “SSRI-induced Psychosis” from GOOG Scholar

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=SSRI-induced+Psychosis&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C39&as_sdtp=

    you know, We may do well to wonder, Which? ‘Magazine”s “Capacity” is ‘too large’?? and, What?, the dangerous “Ammunition”, actually, is?

    very well could be the M.D.’s ”Scrip Pad’, and the ‘Meds’ that it releases..

  52. sellstop says:

    I sent this to the local paper…. Maybe they will print it…..

    A few days ago the leader of the National Rifle Association spoke on national television. The NRA had been silent for some days in the aftermath of the recent tragedy in New England. Mr. Wayne LaPierre took the occaision to cast the blame for the recent incident in Connecticut on a wide variety of culprits in modern American society including violent video games, movies and even the president of the United States, who he accused of cutting funding for school safety. I was astounded at his hubris.

    Mr Lapierre went on to state that the tragedy could have been averted if only there had been “one good guy with a gun” at the school. Perhaps it could have. Mr Lapierre lamented the fact that “monsters… walk among us” perpetrating these crimes against civil society and he wondered why we find guns good when they do good things like protecting the President or protecting the country, but bad otherwise. And then the head of the NRA went on to extol the expertise of the NRA in training the police forces of the country and to remind us of the good work they have done for many decades in providing training and education to new gun owners and juvenile hunters.

    The main idea presented by Mr. Lapierre on behalf of the NRA was a proposition to provide training to armed guards who would be stationed in schools across the country to deter wouldbe assassins and mass murderers. He stated the the NRA would provide this training free of charge. I believe this is a noble effort by the National Rifle Association and it would probably work in the short term to reduce incidents like this recent one.

    However, I do not think that it goes far enough to prevent and reduce the violence that is regularly visited upon innocent people in this country. In fact I think that putting armed guards in schools will only precede putting armed guards in churches and synogogues and is just another escalation of the problem with gun violence.
    The American people should take it upon ourselves to ban the private sale of firearms. Close the gunshow loophole that allows the transfer of guns without a background check. And then ban the sale of high capacity magazines. The only purpose for high capacity magazines is to enable the killing of people in war. They were an escalation of the ability of soldiers to kill the enemy. They were made for war. The same sentiment holds true for assault weapons. They were meant to kill people in time of war. We know what they look like, now we need to come up with a legal definition that works. These are the first things that need to be done.

    Then we need to figure out a way to have all new gun purchasers get screened for mental illness. And the idea that came to me was to use the expertise of the law enforcement and military in weeding out those who are not to be trusted with a weapon. The NRA has close ties to these types of organizations so they should work together to come up with a mental health screening exam that will catch the “monsters”.

    And finally, the National Rifle Association, after providing prospective new gun owners with training in the safe use of the weapon and after a mental health screen administered by the National Rifle Association (to keep the government out of the process!), Wayne LaPierre will sign the permit to buy the weapon. The NRA can then be responsible for the permits issued. They will actually have some “skin in the game” and will not just be another rightwing lobby in Washington, D.C. What do you think?

    gh

  53. wally says:

    My right to life exceeds the “gun owning right” of every person in this country.

  54. Jojo says:

    I am going to save the URL for this stream of consciousness and repost it after the next mass shooting (and yes, there will be more). It will save everyone a lot of time arguing the same points over and over.

    My personal opinion is that the 2nd amendment needs to be repealed in total. As written, it served a valid purpose back in 1776. That time is long past and the purpose is long gone. If the government ever wanted to impose something on its citizens, say martial law, the puny weaponry (even assault rifles) owned by the gun nuts would be next useless against the firepower that the government could bring to bear.

    But of course, a repeal of the 2nd amendment is unlikely at best unless/until/if say, a truly massive massacre of a group of politically powerful, wealthy, high profile people were to occur all at once.

  55. dad29 says:

    @ Joe Friday, Wiki begs to disagree with Barry’s editorial:

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the “assault weapon” ban and other gun control attempts, and found “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence,” noting “that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.”[7] A 2004 critical review of research on firearms by a National Research Council panel also noted that academic studies of the assault weapon ban “did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence” and noted “due to the fact that the relative rarity with which the banned guns were used in crime before the ban … the maximum potential effect of the ban on gun violence outcomes would be very small….”[8]

    In 2004, a research report submitted to the United States Department of Justice and the National Institute of Justice found that should the ban be renewed, its effects on gun violence would likely be small, and perhaps too small for reliable measurement, because rifles in general, including rifles referred to as “assault rifles” or “assault weapons”, are rarely used in gun crimes.[9]

  56. dad29 says:

    And 59 House Democrats voted non-renewal of the AWB, as did 14 Senate Democrats (Feinstein did not vote on the matter.)

  57. beaufou says:

    @Jojo
    “As written, it served a valid purpose back in 1776″
    It was written in 1791, 10 years after Yorktown.

  58. Seaton says:

    All well and good, BR, the points you make. I suppose I support your position that seems similar to the President’s articulation. We can’t let the difficult—or perceived impossible—be the reason we don’t attempt yet- again to do something. A tired cliche is that we didn’t ban Porsches from sale, we just insist they drive the same speed as everyone else—or pay the fine. That which gets rewarded gets done, so what is “it” in this situation?
    Or is there a “punishment” that can dissuade those so inclined in this current culture? Hmmm.

    Worse, perhaps all sorts of previous commenters enjoy addressing their salient point, but I just can’t accept that a very difficult, multi-faceted problem in this country “can’t-be-done.” Is it really beyond our Congress (I’m beginning to believe it whole-heartedly) to come together, and consider what various bills could be implemented towards the increased safety routinely encountered by school children (or shoppers in malls, etc. Anyone remember “going-postal”?), as well as address the problems of mental illness not considered “diagnosed schizophrenic, give meds”? Seems intriguing to me that England, Australia—more like our culture—as well as other countries that aren’t similar to our country’s culture that similarly don’t have our massive gun ownership problem (of AR-15 sorts of weapons, multi-3o+-round-clip killing devices) and mass-killings as well are succesfull…. Could we at least attempt to resolve or “pick-option-&-execute-tactics-&-strategy-for 5 years”?

  59. GuinnessFan says:

    OK, I’ll go along with the call to expand security to our schools with armed guards. However, to fund this increase in security I’d propose a fee that would be charged on every firearm and ammunition purchase and gun license. The magnitude of the fees would be such that the security costs were neutral to the general public. They would be adjusted as the cost to security increased to include school buses, day care centers, hospitals, senior living centers, etc. This would allow the NRA to express their Second Amendment rights to their heart’s content.

  60. bart says:

    “BR: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”

    Why do 2nd amendment types seem to only like half of that amendment . . . ?”

    And why do anti 2nd amendment types not put it in full historical context of the times, and read the many comments about it in the Federalist papers which help to clarify it, and then read the individual comments from the signers about it, and then bring the full context forward?
    It does change the picture very substantially.

  61. bart says:

    Invictus: “when my blood pressure normalizes.”

    It really really helps the discussions when very high emotion enters the arena. /sarcasm

    And yes, I could probably come up with another dozen things wrong in the gun area, but how about just one or two positive suggestions? I could list some, but considering the tenor of much of the thread, it doesn’t matter what’s proposed – it’s WRONG.

    So both sad and fascinating how history rhymes, especially about how high emotion always solves problems. /sarcasm

    Invictus: Did you watch LaPierre’s news conference? If so, how did you feel about it? If not, could you do so and report back? Seriously.

  62. toddie.g says:

    Let’s just dispense with the propaganda that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Guns are the conduit that allow people to kill people. People with guns kill people, and especially people with assault weapons kill many people in seconds. People without guns have a much harder time killing people, and certainly can’t do it in en masse.

    Don’t believe me? Same day as the horrific Newtown massacre, a Chinese version of Adam Lanza attacked dozens of Chinese schoolchildren with a knife. While there were many serious injuries, there was not one death.
    How much blood of dead schoolchildren does the NRA need on it’s hands to finally learn they are conduits of death.

  63. cheese says:

    BR: You are laboring under the misconception that you have an unrestricted constitutional right to any gun in any configuration at any time without limit. That is not wht the 2nd Amend states,

    How about the individual rights of a 6 year old girl to go to school without being shot to death? What about her rights?

    Do not put words in my mouth, thank you. If you had read my comment, you would’ve found I never made that assertion. Simply wanting to maintain the liberties we ALREADY enjoy isn’t UNRESTRICTED. And, yet, every time someone stands up for those diminishing liberties a cute trick is played…..which is, the fact that we even have those liberties is CONSIDERED UNRESTRICTED!

    Secondly, you’re better than a straw-man argument, Barry. And, besides, at least mine had a link to an actual news account. But, I’ll throw ya one anyway! How about the 6-yr. old that woulda been shot in that mall if it weren’t for our concealed carry hero? She’s sleeping soundly tonight.

    That really where you want to take this, Barry?

  64. bart says:

    “Let’s just dispense with the propaganda that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” ”

    Calling it propaganda doesn’t make it so, unless of course you’ve seen a gun kill a person all by itself.

  65. bart says:

    “Invictus: Did you watch LaPierre’s news conference? If so, how did you feel about it? If not, could you do so and report back? Seriously.”

    Yes I saw it and was unimpressed about the majority of it.
    And I hope this doesn’t degrade into a personal attack on me.

    My other comments, especially about the very high emotional content of the post and the obvious lack of anything positive in the way of solutions or suggestions, still stand.

    Requoted from previous post:
    “And yes, I could probably come up with another dozen things wrong in the gun area, but how about just one or two positive suggestions? I could list some, but considering the tenor of much of the thread, it doesn’t matter what’s proposed – it’s WRONG.”

  66. Joe Friday says:

    dad29,

    “Wiki” is opinion.

  67. toddie.g says:

    @Bart.

    Other than Timothy McVeigh’s bombing in Oklahoma City, I can’t recall the last time I heard of a mass murder without the use of a gun. Without the gun, people can’t kill many people in a matter of seconds. This is fact, not propaganda.

    Will someone please explain to me why anyone in this country needs an assault weapon to defend themselves, and why on earth they should be legal?

  68. Jojo says:

    711 comments attached to this column!
    ————
    NY Times
    December 22, 2012
    From Apocalypse to Dystopia
    By MAUREEN DOWD

    WE’RE a little overwrought now.

    The N.R.A. understands that. It’s as patient with us as a husband with a tremulous pregnant wife prone to crying jags.

    This is just a passing meltdown. We’ll get ourselves back under control soon and things will return to normal.

    For decades, when the public has grown more sympathetic to gun control after an attempted assassination or a spike in gun murders or a harrowing school shooting, Wayne LaPierre and his fellow N.R.A. officials have hunkered down to wait for the “emotional period” or “hysteria,” as they call it, to pass.

    They rule in the back rooms on Capitol Hill and rein in panicked senators and congressmen who fret that they should support some measly legislation to pretend they are not pawns of the gun lobby.

    They defend anyone owning anything with a trigger, reiterating that military-style semiautomatics are just uglier hunting guns.

    President Obama, who should have been alarmed that his re-election inspired a boom in gun sales, seems daunted at the prospect of taking on gun lovers [Jojo-Isn't Obama like a deer in the headlights with most important matters?], having handed the matter off to Joe Biden to study. The president seems to be setting the table for defeat. If only he had the visceral outrage of a Bloomberg [Jojo-If only Bloomberg had run for president, I would have voted for him]. Who knows what could happen?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/opinion/sunday/dowd-from-apocalypse-to-dystopia.html

  69. perpetual_neophyte says:

    perpetual_neophyte wrote:
    “If the President and Congress want to make a meaningful impact on firearm-related deaths, a repeat of the Clinton-era ‘assault weapon ban’ is about the worst way.”

    Joe Friday responded:
    “A) As I previously delineated, the assault weapons ban (which included a ban on large-capacity clips) was VERY effective, and it’s reinstatement would be an excellent first step.”

    I’m assuming you are referencing a comment made on another post. I found it here:
    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/12/what-can-gun-control-advocates-do/#comment-648739

    In it, you quote from and reference a report put out by the National Institute of Justice. Unfortunately, some of your quotes appear intentionally selective and potentially misleading. Here is that report, since you did not cite it previously:
    https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/173405.pdf

    In that same comment on the other post, you referenced a drop in violent crime rates per the Bureau of Justice Statistics following the implemenation of the Clinton-era assault weapon ban. What you failed to mention was that, following the expiration of the Clinton AWB, the rates continued to drop. Here is a link to those statistics:
    http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/tables/viortrdtab.cfm

    Joe Friday also wrote:
    “B) The gun that the shooter utilized to murder 20 first graders and 6 adults would not have even been available to him (or his mother) if the Republicans had not blocked the renewal of the assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 through 2004.”

    This is _possibly_ true, but not a definite. First, the mother could have purchased a grandfathered example. Second, most of the provisions of the Clinton-era AWB were adopted by Connecticut in its own assault weapon ban:
    http://www.jud.ct.gov/ji/criminal/glossary/assaultweapon.htm

    Note that the Bushmaster that Lanza’s mother owned was legal for sale in that state because most of the ban provisions do not affect the primary function of a firearm. Therefore, the manufacturer can make a few simple changes (like a fixed stock, no bayonet lug and no threaded barrel or flash suppresor) and still sell a rifle that is just as functional.

    On the other hand, the _30-round magazine_ would have been available only if manufactured pre-ban. Still available if the Clinton-era AWB had never expired. Connecticut did try to pass a law to CONFISCATE legally owned “high capacity” magazines but it failed to garner enough support to pass.

    This goes back to my major point that, unless you CONFISCATE all legally owned “assault weapons” and high capacity magazines – especially given the number sold in the last 5 years – you will not remove them from legal circulation.

  70. bart says:

    @toddie.g

    That’s not the point. Guns can not kill by themselves. That was my *entire* point.
    “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” is true, not propaganda.

    As far as mass murders without the use of a gun, look up what happened in Bath Michigan in 1927 ( http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2012/12/18/bath_school_bombing_remembering_the_deadliest_school_massacre_in_american.html ) . There are many others, like 9/11.

    ~~~

    BR: 1) WERE THERE SEMI AUTOMATICS IN 1927 WITH 100 BULLET CLIPS?

    2) WHY DO YOU ARGUE THE TWO ARE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE?

  71. Joe Friday says:

    perpetual_neophyte,

    you referenced a drop in violent crime rates per the Bureau of Justice Statistics following the implemenation of the Clinton-era assault weapon ban. What you failed to mention was that, following the expiration of the Clinton AWB, the rates continued to drop.

    You’re conflating “crime rates” with murder by assault weapon and gun violence by assault weapon.

    This is _possibly_ true, but not a definite.

    It’s definite reality.

    the mother could have purchased a grandfathered example.

    But she didn’t.

    No matter how you keep attempting to move the goal post around, the gun the shooter utilized would have NOT been unavailable to him if the Republicans had not intentionally blocked the renewal of the assault weapons ban that was in effect from 1994 through 2004.

  72. hankest says:

    1) The 2nd amendment allows the right to bear arms.
    2) Tactical nuclear missiles are, by definition, arms.
    3) The 2nd amendment prevents the gov’t from restricting the purchase of nukes by US citizens.
    QED

    No sane person, not even the NRA leadership, agrees with that conclusion. So the argument isn’t whether the the second amendment prevents the gov’t from placing restrictions on arms purchases (again, everyone agrees it doesn’t). The argument is to what extent the gov’t should use it’s power to restrict arms purchases.

    Therefore, those of you who feel the right to purchase semi-auto assault rifles with large clips should remain effectively unrestricted need a better argument than “the 2nd amendment allows it.”

    I’m all ears (well eyes).

  73. hankest says:

    Nukes don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Stupid.

  74. bart says:

    Requoting:

    The differences between a semi-automatic assault rifle and a semi-automatic hunting rifle, both with normal sized magazines, are tiny in practice. The implication is that you & others want to ban them too.

    I’m also disturbed by the massive concentration on just assault rifles, given that Lanza also had two handguns.

  75. bart says:

    Per the FBI ( http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-20 ) there were about 12,600 murders last year. Of those, 323 were by rifle and 356 by shotguns… and 1694 were by knife… and 728 were by hands, feet, fists, etc.

    Where’s the calls to ban shotguns, since more murders were committed by them than by rifles?

    Last year, there were around 35,000 deaths from auto accidents and over 120,000 iatrogenic (doctor or hospital caused) deaths.

    Autos – 100x deaths from rifles.
    Iatrogenic – 360x deaths from rifles

    Where’s the HUGE outrage and high emotion and non stop media coverage from those deaths and similar causes???

  76. bart says:

    How about some outrage, high emotion and massive media coverage about this??

    Psych Meds ‘Cause’ Violence, Lanza Record Awaited
    http://digitaljournal.com/article/339600#ixzz2Fp3hkcn9

  77. hankest says:

    Bart – “Apparently you’re completely unaware of the many other gun laws that were passed after the 2nd amendment that prevent US private ownership of things like nukes. FAIL.”

    Actually, my exact point was that like everyone else, i’m very aware there are laws to prevent ownership of certain arms. And like everyone else (who is sane) i don’t think it’s a problem constitution-wise. So, the argument that arms like assault weapons cannot constitutionally be banned FAILS (to use the hackneyed meme of last few years).

    So, you agree there it’s not unconstitutional to control arms purchases.

    “Guns can not kill by themselves. That was my *entire* point.”

    Nukes cannot kill by themselves. That was my *entire* counterpoint.

    Shall we continue?

  78. contrabandista13 says:

    The good news is, that “mothers”, are organizing and mobilizing on the gun control issue. That’s good news for advocates of gun control like me… If anyone can get this job done right, it’s our mothers… :-)

    Dear Mr. La Pierre: Trust me, when I tell you, that you don’t want to go up against our mothers…. Don’t do it bro…

  79. bart says:

    @hankest:

    Guns can not kill by themselves. That was my *entire* point.
    “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” is true, not propaganda – and is still 100% true.

    The differences between a semi-automatic assault rifle and a semi-automatic hunting rifle, both with normal sized magazines, are tiny in practice. The implication is that you & others want to ban them too.

    I’m also disturbed by the massive concentration on just assault rifles, given that Lanza also had two handguns.

    Continue your points as much as you like, but they have little if anything to do with mine – much like the rest of the emotion laden thread.

  80. contrabandista13 says:

    @bart

    Yeah, that too…… However, that’s not in the scope of this conversation, that’s another matter all together… Nice try…. :-)

  81. bart says:

    @contrabandista13

    Fascinating that you would exclude the only other commonality in all the various multiple murders besides assault rifles… and ignore what the evidence (the link above, plus the actual DSM) shows how psych meds have a very large part in actually causing the kind of psychoses that scum like Lanza evidenced.

    Rifles (not just assault rifles) represented only 323 of 12,664 murders in 2011 per the FBI link above.
    Ban huge clips – fine with me. But two or three handguns with 7 or 10 shot clips, plus additional clips, is more than enough to do what Lanza did.

    MADD did have an impact on drunk driving deaths but failed on eliminating much of them, and they’ll have the same problem with rifles, and more.

    “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” is true, not propaganda.
    Mothers are 100% unable to counteract that, and I hope at least some will see that and at least partially redirect their efforts. They’ll be *way* more successful at addressing the real problem.

  82. beaufou says:

    “Rifles (not just assault rifles) represented only 323 of 12,664 murders in 2011 per the FBI link above.
    Ban huge clips – fine with me. But two or three handguns with 7 or 10 shot clips, plus additional clips, is more than enough to do what Lanza did.”

    Good argument to ban all firearms, isn’t it.

  83. bart says:

    Ban all cars and doctors and hospitals too, they kill over 13 times the amount of people that guns do.
    No more alcohol for anyone either, because it kills so very many.
    Eliminate all high performance cars too, there’s no need for anyone to go above the speed limit. They kill people too.

    Ban all knives, other weapons and hands, feet and fists too – that’ll eliminate about 1/3 of all murders.
    Knives are particularly dangerous – probably 1000s of people every day shed blood caused by eeeevil knives!

    /sarcasm

  84. perpetual_neophyte says:

    Joe Friday – if you can find me some stats on assault weapon usage in crime, I am open to reading it. As for the idea that the rifle used by Lanza would be unavailable if the Clinton-era AWB had never expired, please help me understand how that law differed from the Connecticut law currently on the books which would back up your assessment. My interpretation is that the Connecticut law is pretty much the same as the Clinton-era law and that did not prevent the lawful acquisition and ownership of the rifle used in this terrible crime.

    ~~~

    BR: You seem to be focused on irrelevancies; Here are some stats for you:

    • Harvard Injury Control Research Center says results are clear: more guns = more homicide.
    12 Facts About Guns in the U.S.
    A Land Without Guns: How Japan Has Virtually Eliminated Shooting Deaths
    Six facts about guns, violence, and gun control
    Battleground America: The United States of Guns
    The Geography of U.S. Gun Violence: Gun deaths correlate to per capita gun ownership
    The money behind the Newtown massacre
    Fifteen things to know about Australia’s incredibly effective gun clampdown
    The gun control that works: no guns
    Gun homicides and gun ownership listed by country
    • Pro Publica also reviews The Best Reporting on Guns in America

  85. Jim67545 says:

    Seems we’re well off into the weeds on this one. Car accidents, medical mistakes, etc. may take more lives but do so accidentally, for the greatest part. Contrasted with firearms where, hunting or dropped-gun-discharging type accidents, the use is intentional for the greatest part.

    I found the Canadian’s contribution above interesting where he pointed out that the focus there was on handguns and assault rifles. I suppose our “well regulated militia (?)” could defend their liberties with ordinary rifles. No?

    ~~~

    BR: The car argument is interesting — we have required seat belts, Air bags, crumple zones, and other safety devices as mandatory on cars, plus the licensing, registration and insuring of all vehicles.

    Why dont we just treat cars and guns the same?

  86. perpetual_neophyte says:

    Let me try phrasing this in another way that will maybe get the point across more clearly. Imagine that a portion of the Federal government has decided, along with portion of state and local government leaders, that in order to make a real meaningful impact on pollution levels and global warming, they want to greatly reduce the private ownership of all automobiles, cars, trucks and SUVs and instead want citizens to primarily rely on government-controlled transportation such as high-speed rail, subways, trolleys, AmTrak, etc, and private ownership of non-motor vehicles like non-powered scooters, bicycles, etc.

    However, rather than come out and aknowledge this as the end goal, these government officials and the private citizens that support their end goal decide they are going to start by saying they need to eliminate the most heinous offenders such as large trucks like the Ford Ram 3500 and Ford F-350. “I mean, really, what civilian needs access to 20,000 pounds of towing capacity? And have you seen those trucks spewing the black clouds of pollution?!”

    So, they get a bunch of people that received all of their automotive knowledge through TV (Knight Rider) and movies (Fast and Furious) to write legislation restricting the new sale of vehicles with things like five or more wheels, vertical exhaust pipes (aka “smoke stacks”), more than 7 cylinders and radar-based cruise control. “I mean, what civilian needs RADAR in their car?!”

    However, they don’t consfiscate those vehicles already in existence, they don’t make it illegal to own those vehicles if they were bought prior to the date of the new legislation and they don’t do anything to eliminate diesel-powered pickups because manufacturers just start eliminating the dual-rear axles, offer horizontal exhaust pipes only and use turbo-charged 6-cylinder engines. That is to say nothing about the fact that 99% of the privately owned vehicles on the road producing the pollution these legislators are worried about are unaffected by this kind of legislation.

    People should either recognize the cognitive dissonance involved in the Clinton-era and present Connecticut assault weapons bans OR should be more honest and acknowledge that yes, a Federal assault weapons ban IS the what they hope to be the first step that eventually leads to confiscation of currently owned firearms and severe restriction of civilian ownership.

    Post Script – For those that celebrate, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and we can look forward to a brighter New Year.

    ~~~

    BR: Your reasoning is muddled, your logic is not at all persuasive.

  87. perpetual_neophyte says:

    BR – I don’t understand where you are coming from. If the goal is the removal or near-removal of firearms from private citizen ownership, wouldn’t that necessitate confiscation of existing legally owned firearms? The same would be said for “high capacity” magazines.

    Alternatively, limiting it strictly to the idea of an assault weapons ban being useful for reduction in firearms homicides, do you _not_ acknowledge that the rifle used in the Newtown mass shooting was legal under the Connecticut AWB which very, very closely mirrored the Clinton-era Federal AWB?

    ~~~

    BR: Here’s a crazy idea: READ WHAT I WROTE BEFORE COMMENTING.

    1) There was an attempt to make the gun used in Newtown illegal years ago, but it was defeated by local gun mfrs and the NRA.

    2) I have no interest in removing all firearms from private citizen ownership, and have stated that right up front.

    3) I don’t appreciate Your straw argument or trolling. You are apparently not a very serious person on this issue.