Too soon? Not this time.

Over the past decade, I have sadly observed each subsequent shooting tragedy, wondering when things would get so out bad, so out of hand that the United States would finally do something about gun violence.

I think Newton is the tragedy that puts the pro gun advocates on their heels.

I wonder: Is this the tragedy that moves US opinion away from the wild west and towards a more sane and civilized culture? Might we ever get a Supreme Court that understands a “well regulated militia” is not the same as an “heavily armed population?”

I am not sure what the solution is — what is logistically ideal or politically feasible.

I do know that if nothing is done, we can expect more Newtowns and Virginia Techs in the future . . .

Category: Current Affairs

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.

245 Responses to “What Can Gun Control Advocates Do?”

  1. chancypants says:

    The correlation between guns/capita (#1 US) and gun deaths/capita (#1 El Salvador) does not seem to be that strong.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_of_guns_per_capita_by_country
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

    It would help if we could identify the crazy people who are predisposed to shoot other people, but so far, we haven’t been very good at it.

    Where are the leading causes of death from the CDC?
    Heart disease: 599,413
    Cancer: 567,628
    Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
    Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
    Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
    Alzheimer’s disease: 79,003
    Diabetes: 68,705
    Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
    Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
    Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909

    If we had a psycho Newton shooting event every week of the year, it would add up to 0.0024% of deaths by heart disease alone.

    It was a horrible, evil, tragedy, but statistically insignificant.

  2. chancypants

    Intelligent statistical analysis NEVER makes a single comparison like you did — comparing the US with a single country.

    The valid approach is to see if there is a correlation with gun deaths and guns across the spectrum of gun ownership in countries and gun related deaths — which the data shows is the case. (The US is on the high side of violent non gun deaths as well)

    This is Stats 101 — we do not welcome this sort of junk at TBP

  3. wally says:

    Cars are dangerous, too. No debate. Rather than throw up our hands and say that nothing can be done unless it is a perfect answer, we work to make them safer.
    We:
    Require driver training, an exam, a license and renewal at regular intervals.
    Require vehicle licensing and renewal at regular intervals.
    Require public display of the vehicle license.
    Record all vehicle ownership.
    Require filing of information on all vehicle sales.
    Require carrying of liability insurance by drivers.
    Make it illegal to drive while intoxicated or impaired.
    Set and enforce rules of driving.
    Build roads to be safer and safer… as best we can
    Require in-vehicle safety measures such as seat belts and air bags.

    And on and on.
    And by doing so we have made driving hugely safe compared to what it once was. We could do many similar things for guns. We just don’t do it because… well, why? Look at the 18 murdered little children and tell me what you think outweighs their lives.

  4. TraderMD says:

    Chancy:

    As a psychiatrist, I will tell you that:
    1.) It’s extremely hard to tell when a previously normal person can snap. I mean it could literally happen over a few days (I.e. someone with a true bipolar disorder experiencing a severe manic episode with psychosis — not saying that’s what happened here)
    2.) No matter the outcome in terms of our response (Increased security/police presence, stricter gun control laws, or more legally advocated mental health treatment), we will be dealing with the question of the extent of our freedoms.

    Finally the majority of causes of death are far less tragic than a school full of children, their families and the educators being traumatized for the rest of their lives. There’s far more to this than simply looking at the number of people who died yesterday.

  5. haggis says:

    chancypants:
    Comparing murder to death by disease isn’t logical. Everyone will die which makes plucking out a murder statistic a pointless exercise. The goal should be to reduce murder rates to a level similar to other western societies not unstable latin American nations. The murder rate in the US is much higher than that of Europe or Canada.

    Wally:
    The primary purpose of a car is transportation so you could consider it a necessary evil. But you’re right, training etc. does make things safer. Not sure how that’ll work out with the guys who worship guns though.

  6. donna says:

    chancypants, you’re an idiot.

  7. marka says:

    SO chancypants nothing should be done about shooting sprees until the deaths from them become statistically significant? ARE YOU FUCKING SHITTING ME?

  8. PrudentTrader says:

    Please Barry it’s NEWTOWN, not Newton ! There is no Newton in Connecticut.

    ~~~

    BR: Fixed

  9. ByteMe says:

    300 million guns in the hands of nearly half the population.

    That’s the tide against which gun control proponents swim. That and a whole lobbying force funded by the gun industry that spreads a message of paranoia and fear concerning the government to those easily swayed by illogical nonsense.

    At least if you throw up your hands you get some exercise. Trying to fight a near majority of the population is not going to work so well just yet.

    Basically, what will change the tide is if gun manufacturers — like cigarette manufacturers — lose a court case where they become liable for the outcome of using one of their products exactly as it was designed.

  10. SemperUbi says:

    Education, rationality and critical thinking are the only weapons that matter in this debate. The majority of gun control appeals I read are based on extremely poor (or non-existing) reasoning: they’re not making an argument in any sense, they just yell “let’s get rid of/restrict/ban X” and perhaps cite one or two studies that support some of their claims. But rarely do I see anyone arguing for gun control who (a) admits the other side has some valid (or, gasp, legally valid) points, or (b) expends the intellectual effort to understand this isn’t a simple issue. Choices have unintended consequences. Even if you could magically snap your fingers and remove all legally-owned guns (not that anyone’s advocating that), do you think these individuals would have just given up? Some might have used knives, others found guns illegally, others might have figured out how to brew up some C4. The reality is it ain’t THAT simple. Treat a complex issue with the intellectual respect it deserves, and people will listen to you. Yell like an MSNBC news guest for “GUN CONTROL NOW!”, and I’ll tune you out faster than my .45 can recycle.

  11. chancypants says:

    Look, everyone is very emotional over the tragedy that is not even days old. I feel great sympathy and sadness, especially for the families. I understand it created a giant black hole of outrage, I feel it, too. Everyone wants to DO SOMETHING, anything, so this can’t happen again. Maybe Obama can announce a War on Guns or something.

    As far as I can tell, a crazy person killed his mother, stole her legally purchased and registered guns, then ignored ALL laws, gun related or not, and proceeded to shoot up a school.

    I am just trying to look at the facts and not overreact. From NPR:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98055567

    Nearly a million children worldwide die every year as a result of unintentional injuries, and the biggest killer is traffic accidents, according to a report from the World Health Organization.

    Road crashes: Kill 260,000 children a year and injure about 10 million.

  12. econimonium says:

    On Bytee’s note can you imagine what would happen if one of the following scenarios happened:

    The estate of this family was sued by the victims for the woman leaving ammunition and guns (plural) within the reach of her (obviously) mentally disturbed child such that he could use them easily in the way he did (the definition of gross negligence if you ask me). Or

    The gun manufacturer was sued under product liability because it could be used for the purposes it was and we have the technology to make electronic coded locks/finger print activation part of every gun and the manufacturer didn’t do it but should have known that any nut can pick up a gun and kill people.

    Either one of these succeeding would take a huge bite out of scenarios like this since, especially in the case of number 2, the gun would only fire for the authorized and licensed individual. Think about it.

  13. chancypants says

    “People die in auto crashes, therefore you should not do anything about gun deaths.”

    Your logic is unassailable

  14. wally says:

    Manufacturer liability would help. So would seller liability – if you are selling a product known to be dangerous, you are responsible for who you sell it to.
    Insurance liability might help, too, If home insurers were liable for damages caused by guns in the homes they insured, gun-owning costs would better reflect their cost to society.
    A majority of people used to approve of smoking cigarettes, too, and to think that drunk driving was sort of a funny caper.
    In any case, I think a corner has been turned. The burden has shifted to pro-gun advocates to make some proposals and do something or their “right” is going to disappear.
    We need action. We didn’t rely on ‘putting god in classrooms’ to stop smallpox or end slavery or fight the Nazis or make airplanes safer… we had to do stuff, just like we need to do now.

  15. jd351 says:

    @chancypant

    It is better than to be thought of as an idiot, rather than open your mouth and remove all doubt…. You just removed all doubt. Your are a fucking idiot.

  16. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Guns last far longer than cars.

    I say that liability for damage to persons or property be shared between the original purchaser/owner and the manufacturer.

    That way, if you own a gun, no matter what happens with it – even if it is stolen and used in the commission of a crime – you bear the full responsibility for it.

    If you are a gun owner, better keep your shit locked up, and locked up good (after all, if it gets stolen and used in a crime, you were not a “responsible” gun owner).

    If you are a gun manufacturer, you should plan on eventually going to prison as a result of your career choice (then again, I’m sure gun makers only sell to responsible, sane people, so they need not worry).

  17. tdotz says:

    “A Well Regulated Militia…” is the part of the Second the gun nuts choose to ignore. Regulated barely, if at all (Texas, I’m a talking to you) and certainly not, in any sense, “Well Regulated”
    Further, as the syntax of the Amendment makes clear, the right to keep and bear is only in the service of a “Well Regulated Militia”.
    How that fits the current propaganda of the NRA Gun Manufacturers Lobby escapes me.

  18. tradeking13 says:

    What Can Gun Control Advocates Do?

    Move to the UK, Australia, etc. where they don’t allow guns — instead of trying to modify the Bill of Rights.

  19. old trader says:

    I prefer a reasoned, logical argument such as posed by chancypants opposed to an emotional kneejerk response, ala “donna” and “marka”.

    ~~~

    BR: Me too, but as I noted above, he made a terribly weak argument.

  20. wmjack50 says:

    Blaming Guns for death is like blaming forks and spoons for fat people
    We are reaping the result of taking Bibles out of schools –the people have no moral compass
    As humans we must worship–When people worship themselves they make their own right and wrong
    and since humans are imperfect bad things often result

  21. TKWW says:

    What can gun control advocates do? Stop behaving like infants might be a good place to start. To think that gun control will prevent the mindless actions of a madman is a symptom of the circular thinking that justifies the majority of non-sense promulgated by the left and the right. Was this or the other disturbed shooters on SSRI drugs for depression? Or, was he or did he ever take ADD or ADHD meds? We are over medicated with mind altering drugs and we wonder why atrocities like these occur. Had their been armed guards in the school, the tragedy would have been, at the very least, minimized. If the teachers were armed, less people would have died. To think that gun control will solve this problem is blaming the car instead of the drunk driver.

    ~~~

    BR: Your solution is armed guards in kindegarten class?

  22. tdotz says:

    Chancy Pants: Try apples to apples next time, not apples to oranges.

  23. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    tdotz:

    Good point. The 2nd amendment also says nothing, specifically about guns or individuals. Only “arms” and “the People’s” right to bear them.

    On a related note, taken to its most absurd and insane level, the 2nd amendment would place no limits on citizens owning grenades, land mines, tanks, flame-throwers, or even nuclear bombs (something, BTW, that wack job extraordinaire, Antoinin Scalia, recently said he would have no problem upholding). 

  24. waiteman says:

    What is noticeably missing from most of these types of incidents is, a witness, or a bystanders testimony. What I mean is, a person who noticed something unusual prior to the event taking place. It’s hard to believe that know one had noticed an individual who was armed to the teeth entering a school, a shopping mall, or even a movie theater. Why are these eye witness accounts or testimonies absent from the story? Were these people not prepared to confront the situation as it presented itself? I’m sure they had recognized the danger to others. Why didn’t they react? Is it only the job of our policing agencies to protect citizens or is it up to each and every one of us?

  25. SteveC says:

    I have a good friend who buys and resells firearms. He buys low and when gun control talk picks up momentum, so does the price of his inventory. My solution… make the seller (distributor) of the firearms liable for the actions of the purchaser. You would be damn sure about whoever you sold the gun to.

  26. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Bibles in schools? Jesus Christ! wmjack50 needs your help.

  27. S Brennan says:

    While I agree there is a problem, gun licensing is a divisive issue for the lower 85% that will NOT be resolved quickly. If you live in an poor area where police response is extremely slow/non-existent gun control sounds a lot like a tax/confiscation by those who get immediate attention when they call the police. Thorny issues like these are historically resolved when people feel secure in their own person.

    And thanks to 40 years of impoverishment, the US population feels anything but secure…even though crime statistics are still reasonable…especially in light of the heinous financial crimes perpetrated by those now in power. After the 0.01%’s blasé decades long display of depravity, a reasonable observer would expect to see lower class folks follow the example of the ruling class with an uptick in violence…but so far the lower classes have patiently waited in their respective Democratic/Republican holding pens. Until we address the policies of tax/trade & lack of government spending on all forms of infrastructure…policies that impoverishes the vast majority of US citizens…gun control and other complex socially divisive issues will not be truly resolved.

    We overcame overt segragation in the 60′s because the majority of US citizen were comfortable with their prospects in life. If you wish to see social progress, restore to the working man his sense economic security*, because without it, a Hobsian world is what awaits us as a nation.

    *[see FDR's Four-Freedoms / New Deal]

  28. chancypants says:

    The biometric lock/coding for firearms is a pretty good idea. I don’t know reliable it is.

  29. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    waiteman:

    What if you did notice? What are you going to do? Confront them? Even if you called the police, they don’t arrive at the speed of light, and when they do, even well prepared SWAT teams don’t just rush in and disarm the shooter.

  30. wally says:

    “Were these people not prepared to confront the situation as it presented itself?”

    waiteman, that’s exactly the purpose of regulating and controlling these weapons. The situation has presented itself and we can either act or be complicit in perpetuating it. If you read the above comments, you’ll see that some persons fall on each side of that choice.

  31. M says:

    I think its revisionist to say the founders didn’t intend to have a heavily armed population. The militias at the time of the founding varied a bit from place to place but typically included at least all “first class” citizens of military age. The founders did intend to have heavily armed citizenry in the 18th century context of “heavily armed”. I don’t think there is any historical question about that.

    The thing is, the social and technological and security contexts have changed in the last couple of centuries. Militias that were critical to the security of New England and at least potentially provided some checks on tyranny foreign and domestic don’t seem to have any actual or reasonably foreseeable potential use in the modern United States. A Brown Bess is a great deal less lethal than any modern firearm. The percentage of Americans living on the frontier is vanishingly small these days. Attacks by wild animals or hostile forces are rare. The idea that the local population armed with AR’s and Glocks are going to rise up against a tyranny backed by modern firepower is risible. Mustering in the Church yard after Sunday services is not a pillar of modern society. In short, the world has changed in ways the founders could not have imagined. And, I think, in ways that make the value of 2nd Amendment mootable. Maybe its time to consider a Constitutional change.

  32. jbegan says:

    The US has a gun culture. Simple as that. Having lived in foreign countries (most of which contrary to common belief do allow possession of guns), I’ve always been amazed at American adult’s pathological attachment to guns. For the life of me, I can’t figure it out, but presume it to be tied to our Country’s very short and uneventful history. We have no real culture that has been established over Centuries, so we grasp what little history we do have and put it on a pedestal. That history is our Revolutionary War, The War Between the States and our rather late entry into the 2 Major Wars. Couple that with our short lived Cowboy period….And what do you get? A gun fetish. Unlike other countries that live with gun violence every day, we get our little snapshots of it in easy to consume doses..The Gifford shooting, Columbine and now these babies. But have no fear! This will all be forgotten on Christmas Day as the kids open their toys.

    As to what chance do we have to enact gun control? Forget it. The NRA doesn’t even have to try. Our Legal System has supported easy access to guns for decades. Recently, restricting open carry has been declared un-Constitutional, Colorado College Campuses cannot restrict guns on Campus, restricting hidden guns have been declared legal. Forget it and learn to live with it.

    Merry Christmas to the NRA and all the devout Christians that wave a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other.. Like Huckabee. After all, God would have protected those kids if we would just allow prayer (to the Christian God) in school.. Huckabee said so…. It’s what Jesus would do.

  33. sabbadoo32 says:

    Barry, I think you’re right. The arguments of pro-gunners are tired, quite refutable given time and statistics, and we’re tired of the body count. The solution isn’t taking every gun away from every person. But the the bodies are stacking up against those that think the solution is handing more guns out to anyone of age and with a pulse. There is a solution, it’s just if we want to talk it through and find one.

    Political oxes will be gored, politicians will demagogue, it will be long and ugly, and along the way more mass shootings will happen. But if legal gun owners who understand their responsibility join with gun control advocates who don’t see every gun as the enemy, we can make some progress.

  34. cmor says:

    This shooting says more about our lack of resources for mental health services than it does the availability of guns.

    For you second-amendment critics, the phrase “well-regulated” in 18th-Century usage meant “well-equipped.” The phrase had nothing to do with government rules and regulations.

    If we put severe restrictions on access to guns, determined whack jobs will use other weapons. Japan and China have very strong restrictions on firearms, so the school killers there use knives:

    http://copycateffect.blogspot.com/2008/02/asian-school-stabbings.html

    If anything, the U.S. had its time of soul-searching in the aftermath of the 1999 school shooting at Columbine. After much debate, and a few crushing election defeats of pro-gun-control politicians, the verdict was found to be that the gun-control “cure” was worse than the disease.

  35. tradeking13 says:

    By all means, let’s not debate the real issue here.

    Cuts to Mental Health Services Could Lead to More Spree Killings

    ~~~

    BR: That is a valid issue, but these two are not mutually exclusive — you can try to improve both.

  36. jb.mcmunn says:

    People are now buying guns out of fear. They are not going to give them up easily because as the saying goes, when seconds count the police are only minutes away. Look at these incidents – it’s all over well before the cops arrive. So every incident like this produces a surge in gun sales. There are millions of guns in this country and 40-45% of households have a gun.

    This means it’s going to make gun control difficult from a political standpoint. If people don’t think the police can protect them (they can’t – cops rarely show up BEFORE your door is kicked in) they will be very resistant to anything that denies them a means of self-defense.

  37. ZedLoch says:

    We’re not even talking about outright bans here. Just some simple common-sense rules.

  38. Union Agitator says:

    I wish I had a solution to give you. It’s long past time for a sober debate on gun control. The second amendment dates from a time when every man was expected to show up for a war with his own weapon. Now people say it was made so the government could not become too oppressive, but what chance would regular people have against well trained troops with modern equipment?
    I’m no stranger to guns, I used to travel the Southeast for pistol competitions. No doubt there are good people on both sides of this issue, but for me, I’m sick of the whole thing and more then willing to see all the guns hit the scrap heap.

  39. Maggie says:

    I like the biometric lock idea. A lot of gun folks would be paranoid about it though. They would think that the government can control the lock. Seriously.

    What I’ve been thinking is less technologically advanced but I figure every gun owner should be required to have a gun vault and it should be verified by a human being on a yearly basis– don’t tell me it can’t be done or it’s too costly or labor intensive. It can be done. And if gun enthusiasts love their guns and shooting so much, they should be required to attend safety classes on a yearly basis. They should be happy to attend yearly, mandatory safety certification classes to socialize with fellow gun enthusiasts – - unless they are too paranoid and crazy which could send up a red flag. I don’t think it is too much to ask. Who is going to pay for it you ask? The firearm and firearm paraphernalia manufacturers and sellers. We are a free market society, we regulate and we tax. It’s nothing new or scary.

  40. tradeking13 says:

    @Union Agitator: And, the First Amendment predates television, the Internet, Mormonism, and Scientology, so it doesn’t apply to them as well, right?

  41. waiteman says:

    Petey Wheatstraw, Yes, I’m the one who is prepared to confront the situation. In this type of situation, you cannot rely on others to prevent what you perceive as inevitable. Are we so caught up in a PC world as to not protect our own? Why would I rely on a timely response from the police force when I’m the one who could prevent a calamity of this magnitude?

  42. RW says:

    Some commenters over at Talking Points Memo have been making some good points that Josh Marshall outlines here but, as someone who came to guns young but doesn’t indulge in them much these days, this particular paragraph from someone who literally grew up with them did strike a chord with me; the “gun scene” really has changed over the past half century.

    I can’t remember seeing a semi-automatic weapon of any kind at a shooting range until the mid-1980’s. Even through the early-1990’s, I don’t remember the idea of “personal defense” being a decisive factor in gun ownership. The reverse is true today: I have college-educated friends – all of whom, interestingly, came to guns in their adult lives – for whom gun ownership is unquestionably (and irreducibly) an issue of personal defense. For whom the semi-automatic rifle or pistol – with its matte-black finish, laser site, flashlight mount, and other “tactical” accoutrements – effectively circumscribe what’s meant by the word “gun.” (SS)

    My own take is that guns and gun ownership — of powerful, rapid fire and/or large magazine capable weapons in particular — is rather grossly under-regulated and gun ownership overall too inexpensive given the social costs of massacre. Those costs are probably at least several orders of magnitude greater than a statistical head count would suggest and it would be more accurate (and wise) to de-emphasize that line of argument; i.e., it may not be easy to put a price tag on degradation of community psychology and increased fear of neighbors but there are significant actual costs associated with increases in gun ownership by people who are afraid or trigger-happy or just plain untrained — hospitalizations, imprisonment, etc — to say nothing of costs associated with the increased security in (and restricted access to) public places such as schools that the public will increasingly demand going forward.

    Those social costs need to be reflected more in the real cost of gun ownership and less in the general cost of living than they are right now. No amount of emoting or logic chopping is likely to change that fact.

    Shorter me: we have probably about reached the limit of public tolerance for privatizing the benefits and socializing the costs of just about damned everything and that includes guns.

  43. RW says:

    Man, I really seem to be having difficulty closing html tags today (sigh). Oh well, the second indent beginning with “My own take” is not part of the quote.

    ~~~

    BR: I’ll fix

  44. capitalistpig says:

    No matter what you do as far as “gun control” this will still happen. Why? You cannot control illegal firearms. Can’t buy one? No problem. The ATF and DEA will gladly sell you one. What works in England and Australia will not work here. America has always been a pretty aggressive culture. You change people and the violence will change.

    These events have always been happening. How about the Poe School Bombing? 1959 in Houston Texas.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe_Elementary_School_bombing

    You people think you can “control” the population? It has never worked in this country. I suspect it never will. You can only control those who want to go along. Look at the war on drugs. No progress on that in decades and trillions of dollars spent.

    Here are the numbers from 2009 on crime from the FBI. http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2009/data/table_29.html It is certainly a reflection of who we are as a people.

    I live in a permit to carry state. One thing I do know that if I have a problem the police are totally useless. I would be lucky if they showed up to help in hours. Given the sorry state of law enforcement who is going to protect me? I am forced to defend myself.

    The Cato Institute did a very interesting study “Tough Targets” looking at 8 years of 10 of thousands of incidents of the use of firearms used in defense from crimes.
    http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/WP-Tough-Targets.pdf

    They came to a conculsion that was statistical and not emotional.

    Given the media bias towards “gun control” it does not surprise me that there is such a reaction to any shooting. This does not seem to be about lives saved. We loose about 500,000 people a year to medical errors and no one seems to care. We are about 50 times more likely to get killed by our doctors than a gun. There is not even accurate tracking of all the medical errors.

    Frankly if I was a perp going to do a mass shooting with my ATF supplied automatic weapon I would go to a state with the most gun control, finding a “gun free zone” to assure I had the least interference.

    Have fun with this topic.

    en

  45. 10x25mm says:

    Does anyone else see the similarity of this evil deed and the typical ‘first person shooter’ videogame? Why does someone cross the line between fantasy and reality? Is it really mental illness or rather some kind of detachment from reality?

  46. solartrix says:

    I find it interesting that nearly all of these shootings are perpetrated by young men. Not old men, not middle aged men, not young women. I’m wondering if this recent spike in shootings is tied to the dismal state of this country?

    We’ve always had lots of guns in the country, but only in the last 10-20 years has it become so difficult for young men to get ahead. We’ve offshored most of the manufacturing work, busted most of the unions, stopped building roads and bridges, stopped investing much in basic R&D, frozen the minimum wage, and even scaled back on the military. What is there for young men to do that will let them live up to the so-called american dream? Work at best buy for $11/hr? Go a 80k in debt on a college gamble that may or may not pay off?

    I can see where the despair comes from. Mix that with easy access to guns, broken families, and unaffordable health care and shootings are what we seem to get. I think perhaps instead of a gun control debate, we should be having a “how do we heal our country” debate.

    I’ll bet that having a decent job is a more effective deterrent to a rampage than any background check. And that a decision to rebuild our failing infrastructure will have a much bigger impact than any gun control legislation that comes out of this tragedy.

    ~~~

    BR: Recall Columbine was in 1999, the heart of the boom — I don’t think blaming a weak economy for this works well

  47. seth1066 says:

    June 23, 2012 – A 14-year-old boy shot and nearly killed an intruder who broke into his Phoenix home and pulled a gun on him while he was watching his three younger siblings, police said Saturday.

    The teen and his siblings, ages 8, 10 and 12, were at home alone when a woman rang the doorbell on Friday. A common enough occurrence, the boy still chose not to open the door because he didn’t recognize the woman. Quickly escalating into a far more dangerous situation, the 14-year-old rushed his siblings upstairs after he heard a loud bang on the door, grabbing his father’s handgun on the way. When he got to the top of the stairs, he saw an armed man break through the front door and point a gun at him. Acting swiftly, he reportedly shot the 37-year-old man, who was taken to a hospital in extremely critical condition to undergo surgery. However, he is expected to survive and will be booked into jail within the week on counts of aggravated assault and burglary, police Officer James Holmes said. The suspect did not get a shot off, according to police. He also declined to release his name until he is booked into jail.

    October 20, 2012 — When one Oklahoma girl found herself in a tough spot, she took matters into her own hands. Police say the Calera 12-year-old used the family’s gun to shoot and injure an alleged home invader on Wednesday, KFOR reports. “And what we understand right now, he was turning the doorknob when she fired through the door,” said the Bryan County Undersheriff Ken Golden, according to News9. Police say the girl contacted her mother, who instructed her to take the weapon, hide in a closet and phone police. “I see a lot of girls on TV that get their house broken into and they turn up missing and just knowing that that could have happened to me. I was scared,” she said, according to KOCO. The suspect was taken to a hospital and then sent to the Bryan County jail, according to NewsOK.

    ~~~

    BR: Arguing by anecdote? Statistical FAIL.

  48. RW says:

    A former student who appreciates (and uses) a well designed gun made the following suggestions.

    1) One should not be able to purchase, own or carry a firearm if: a) you are taking an SSRI, or b) have had a DUI in 10 years. Should either of those conditions change, one should have 30 days to sell or transfer ownership of weapons before they become state property.
    2) To purchase a firearm with a removable magazine you must be current military or a government employee (limited to LEO and related types), and take extensive training which includes not just firearm handling but storage, impact, history and more.
    3) In areas over certain population densities, firearms with removable magazines and specific types of ammunition should not be sold or traded.
    4) Limit the number of firearms allowed per household without rigid licensing, registration and oversight required for collectors and hunters.
    5) Outlaw open and concealed carry at all schools (looking at you Colorado).
    6) Like oil, nuclear fuel, types of construction (egress laws), manufacture of new firearms should be limited. To counter impact on domestic gun industry, put heavier import laws in place.

    Note: SSRI = selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, an antidepressant

    NB: capitalistpig has a point but historical context matters and his point would have been invalid 40 years ago. What has changed since then can best be characterized as a fetishization of “tactical guns” by survivalists, libertarians and fun-seeking adolescents. I suspect most citizens would prefer society not lean in that direction any further.

  49. george lomost says:

    Barry, you of all people know what the answer must look like. Ben Franklin made it clear when our country was still being created:

    “If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect.”

    I know a number of gun owners, including relatives. Their defense of gun ownership in enveloped in fantasies of control, self-control (I’m a good citizen and would never misuse my weapons.), hunting, the economy, God and country, Obama, and a host of others.

    So how do we go about this? I haven’t the faintest idea.

    P.S. I seem to remember reading that Japan has a flourishing gun industry but because of Japan’s strict gun laws they sell almost all of their production here. I would expect that we are the number one market for German and Austrian gun manufacturers as well.

    Next time foreigners wag their fingers at us for our gun culture remind them that we are the target export market for their gun manufacturers. It really annoys them to hear that.

  50. peter9810 says:

    A comment by a concerned citizen.

    The senseless killing of 26 mostly children in a Connecticut school has us reeling in disbelief. We grieve for their families and wonder why no one saw the mental problems of the killer. Gun control advocates will blame the “tools” of this disaster rather than the mental condition of the killer who without access to guns would have found another way to complete his “mentally disturbed mission”. We are awaiting the determination as to how and why no one recognized his propensity to commit this kind of crime. There must be the implementation of security measures wherever large numbers of people are confined to specific areas. I recall specifically the case in New York of a madman Colin Ferguson, who wandered through the Long island Railroad train shooting passengers who had no way to hide or leave the moving train. Had even one person with a license and legally registered weapon been on that train, he may have stopped that madman before he was able to kill 15 defenseless people. However, in New York, it is nearly impossible for a law abiding citizen to get a concealed weapon permit making New Yorkers targets for madmen who will never have trouble obtaining a weapon and allowing them to pursue their maniacal intentions. This tragedy illustrates the necessity to recognize problem persons in your area and keep any kind of weapon from their access including but not limited to guns, knives, swords, bows and arrows, or even tools like an axe or hammer. Nothing will dissuade a maniac from trying to engage in his horrific “mission”. Personal defense is everyone’s responsibility. Do not allow such tragedies to become the “battlecry” against our second amendment.

  51. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    @BR – I think Newton is the tragedy that puts the pro gun advocates on their heels.

    The town of Newtown, Connecticut forms part of the eastern border of the town I live in, Bethel. Throughout this tragic event, I’ve been amazed how lackadaisical the various news media have been in doing the minimal research to spell properly the name of the town. For the record, Sandy Hook is a section of the town of Newtown.

    ~~~

    BR: Yes, the key issue here is typos.

  52. Ernst S says:

    In response to Seth1066:

    Sep 28, 2012
    (Reuters) – A Connecticut man responding to his sister’s call for help during an apparent burglary at her home next door, shot and killed a masked intruder who turned out to be his own teenage son, state police said on Friday.
    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-09-28/news/sns-rt-us-usa-connecticut-shootingbre88r17r-20120928_1_connecticut-man-ski-mask-shiny-object

    Dec 09, 2012
    A man shot and killed his seven-year-old son accidentally in the parking lot of a Pennsylvania gun store Saturday. Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, was carrying a 9 mm handgun as he got into his truck when it accidentally discharged, striking Craig Allen Loughrey in the chest, police said. The boy died in the lot outside Twigs Reloading Den in East Lackwannock Township. Loughrey told police he didn’t realize there still was a bullet in the chamber.
    http://www.drudge.com/news/163707/father-kills-son-7-gun-store

    Aug 15, 2012
    Police say a man accidentally shot himself in the buttocks at a Nevada movie theater during a showing of “The Bourne Legacy.” Witnesses inside the theater told officers the gun fell from the man’s pocket as he was adjusting himself in the seat, and it fired when it dropped to the floor, striking him in the buttocks.
    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/15/13296949-man-drops-gun-in-movie-theater-shooting-self-in-buttocks?lite

    The average American can’t be trusted with a gun.

  53. Master Shake says:

    Incredible sadness at what happened in Newton. My heart goes out to the families; I can’t fathom what they are feeling.

    Nothing but distaste for political opportunists who are walking over the bodies of the children to pitch their gun control agenda. For crying out loud, show some decency.

    My two handguns have never shot anyone.

  54. peter9810 says:

    We have laws which are evaded and broken every day. You can go to any bad neighborhood in any City and buy a stolen gun within minutes, and addicts don’t even haggle much. Chicago has some of the tightest restrictions on gun ownership, and perhaps the highest murder rate in the Country. Enforcement of our existing laws and vigilance are perhaps better remedies.
    Criminals rarely buy weapons at gun stores. Felons cannot purchase guns….period.
    Where’d they come from? Could that be the problem? And nobody seems to whow who sent those guns to Mexico???????????? Errrrrrrrrrrrrr…………..

    ~~~

    BR: You are arguing for national (rather than state ans local) gun laws.

  55. dr.j says:

    Gun locks, gun safes, ammunition in a separate locked location. License required and a safety class and annual refresher.

    No semi-auto pistols.

    The weapons will not be taken out of circulation. Standards for training, though, can be increased to be at least as stringent as those for selling life insurance.

    Each weapon must come with a pistol lock.

    Finally, change laws so that deranged individuals can be hospitalized against their will.

  56. Ernst S says:

    America will never get rid of its guns. It is part and parcel of the DNA, more so than pickup trucks, fast food, chain link fencing, apple pie and pit bulls. Gun culture is literally part of the language:

    Just a few examples of daily speech:

    Shoot; I missed my train
    Did you see that? He went by like a shot!
    When you pull out to pass that truck, make sure you really gun it
    Our ad agency recommended a shotgun approach with our new media campaign
    My team really messed up that new upgrade project. Tomorrow I am giving it to them with both barrels
    His answers weren’t very impressive; I think he was shooting from the hip
    This new initiative really hits the target
    Management is cutting all budgets by 15%. I guess we are really going to have to bite the bullet
    Alright guys, we’re up next: time to lock and load
    That new receptionist is hotter than a pistol
    Those five slides are your whole competitive presentation? That’s crazy; you’re bringing a knife to a gun fight
    We need a new approach. It’s time to clear the chamber
    Don’t change course now; stick to your guns
    That son of a gun shortchanged me
    I’d like to go long that stock, but I’ve got no cash. I’m out of ammo
    I’m waiting for a market dip to put some of my dry powder to work
    That was a quite a rapid-fire presentation
    The boss didn’t bring it up; I think we dodged a bullet
    I’m off to the gym tonight to work on my guns
    My ex-wife took everything; lock, stock and barrel
    I think we are going to hire candidate B; he’s a real straight shooter
    I don’t want to ride in the back seat again, I call shotgun
    I want everyone in the conference room tomorrow at 2:00; shoot out an email to the group
    I ordered my new car last night. Yeah; I finally pulled the trigger
    I understand there is another takeover in the works, apparently management already has someone in their sights
    We still haven’t got enough inventory for a good product launch, I think marketing may have jumped the gun
    I can’t tell how the interview went; but I gave it my best shot
    I don’t think they have a clear strategic plan, there latest move seemed to be a shot in the dark
    I am going all in. I spoke with the founders and their business plan seem all but bulletproof
    When we drop the sales price to $199; that will be the trigger point for huge market share gains
    Now don’t go off half-cocked

  57. ToNYC says:

    In a World of SWAT teams, Delta Forces and Navy SEALS are we supposed to believe that if people couldn’t have guns for the most part, let alone automatic human-destroyers, that the bad guys would take over? Annie Oakley meets the Clancy Brothers on the LIRR? Yee-hah!

  58. fyouell says:

    If anyone wants to read a sane, balanced discussion of this topic try “Mass Murders Are On The Rise – Single death homicides are down while mass murders are up. Why?” (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201207/mass-murders-are-the-rise)

    The article was written well before the current tragedy (but probably in response to the Aurora killings) The author makes a number of highly germane points.

    1. Overall gun violence has been declining in the U.S. for years. According to the author single-victim killings have declined 40% since 1980. Other data (http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/ficap/resourcebook/pdf/monograph.pdf) shows an ever larger decline in firearm homicides.
    2. Mass murders have risen significantly over the last 100 years. From 1 or 2 per decade until 1980 to more than 20 since 2000.
    3. The combination of drugs and alcohol and serious mental illness is strongly associated with violence.
    4. Most gun deaths are suicides, not homicides (not from the link).

    Overall, the level of gun violence has fallen dramatically over the last 30 years. The upsurge in mass murder has been far more than offset by the fall in single-victim killings. Why the rise in mass murder? Unclear, but the following quotes might be insightful.

    “So, what is fueling this spike in mass murder? What is different today versus 50 years ago that can explain 26 mass murders from 2000 to 2012, as opposed to one or two per decade from 1900 to 1980? First, there is no study I’m aware of that looks at this specifically. There are studies that look at violence and media exposure to violence, in particular The Role of Media Violence in Violent Behavior, which concludes that “Media violence poses a threat to public health inasmuch as it leads to an increase in real-world violence and aggression.” This is looking primarily at self reports and laboratory results with respect to the potential for aggression, which doesn’t necessarily translate into the real world. And again, this is a tough argument to accept in general with real world violence on the decline in the face of ever more violent TV, movies, song lyrics, internet and video games.”

    and

    “So, is there anything we can conclude from all of this? One question that needs to be addressed is whether the virtual violence that predominates our culture, while not affecting the general population, is affecting a small subset of younger individuals with a mental illness, who are not medicated or involved in any sort of treatment. Are they at a higher risk for becoming mass murderers? If so what can be done?

    The first thing not to do, is to jump to a conclusion based on politics, a knee jerk reaction, a pet theory or your views about guns and/or gun control. The only logical conclusion at this point is that the single most important preventative measure is the early recognition and treatment of severe mental illness in general, and psychosis in particular. That coupled with the importance of keeping a psychiatric patient off alcohol and drugs is all we have until further research is completed.”

  59. Old Rob says:

    Want to give up some rights? The mechanism is there. It’s called amending the Constitution.

    No arguing, our system of laws has provided for this.

  60. Rationality says:

    Sure…yes…. we can just legislate evil right out of existence. Pass a few laws here and a few there and wham-o, no more problems. Oh wait…yes, we do have thousands and thousands of laws already and evil is still present. Ok, now what? It’s guns. Guns are the problem. Ok. New law time. This time it’ll surely work.

    Does everyone understand that this is the most high profile atrocity that is being discussed? Where’s the discussion about atrocities such as is allowed be perpetrated online with sick sites devoted to debauchery, child porn, infidelity, torture, etc. Many more of which I cannot even type. I read stories each and every day on news sites that completely take my breath away. Stories I cannot even bring myself to repeat to my wife for fear of taking away optimism. Focusing upon firearms is such a myopically focused discussion that it truly enrages me. As a whole, we, as a society, have to wake up and stop having tunnel vision on subjects. We have to stop looking to government or any other entity outside ourselves, to “fix” something. It starts with each person as an individual and spreads from there. If we first address ourselves, or at least seek to do so, we then create a circle of people around us striving for a better, more moral, and more considerate life. If each person is doing that, then the circles become communities and communities become nations. Instead, right now, it seems as though we’re taking and focusing upon the next TV show, the next phone, the next tech gadget, and the next movie, instead of focusing upon the problems in our own lives. We believe that we’re due respect, instead of earning it. We take and put people like Jay Z, Jamie Foxx, Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, etc. up on a pedestal and we take kids that are out of this world smart, who may not look the most handsome or prettiest, and we make fun of them and ostracize them…. forcing them into a life of seclusion and first person shooter games…. while feeding them mind altering prescription drugs. Then we are surprised when that very same kid loses his mind, after watching all the idiotic ways of the nation. Obviously, I don’t agree that the kid who shot harmless children is right in his ways….. but I’m not going to sit here and focus upon the guns that were used, nor focus upon the individual.

  61. laurastraightup says:

    These “Gun Free Zones” are basically open season for psychos who want to create maximum damage before they break the law by even being within a certain distance of a school with a firearm. Many kill themselves in the grand finale of their twisted little brains’ evil narcissistic desire to control and harm as many on their way out. This guy killed his mother first, he was and odd type, bullied and ostracized, and he was in a state with some of the most strict gun laws in the country. Schools, as gun free zones, as well as movie theatres, malls, and other places these freaks of nature pick to get their desired devastation at it’s maximum for the coverage, and if they don’t get sharp shot into oblivion, they know their free lives are over, or better yet, OVER PERIOD.. Someone with mental issues, criminals, evil people with grudges and axes to grind are gonna get hold of a firearm; they don’t observe laws. Responsible, law abiding citizens do, which is what made them sitting ducks at the school. If even the Principle, Counselors, the gym teacher, and specific teachers, if not all were trained to use a gun and given a license to carry, this tragedy NEVER would have happened.
    Gun control advocates can let go of their twisted logic and get real. Massacres like this and others never happen at Gun Ranges or Gun Shows. Areas where high percentages of the population own guns have lower crime rates, as the gun ownership goes up, crime goes down. “An armed society is a polite society”.. If a criminal tossed a coin before deciding to break in my home, he will have LOST that toss up. Twenty five percent of females over 18 own a firearm…( it’s higher, but that’s what they have on their stats, I’d guess in TX, it’s 40 percent at least. And some of us own several and go to the range to hone up our skills, for accuracy, adept, and safe handling of several different kinds of guns. My conceal carry permit would allow me to arm myself for protection, myself and others who are in an undeniable life or death situation. Gun control is for Dictators. Criminals will ALWAYS get guns, it’s those of us who have a deep respect for the Second Amendment, the power and serious damage any fire arm can cause, the responsibility for safely carrying, storing and using any firearm, and keeping the peace. R.I.P. Sweet Angels. You live forever in our hearts and in your honor, we will push for schools to allow those there to protect you to do it quickly and effectively, by carrying firearms. Knowing teachers and other school officials are armed to protect you will eliminate these horrific slaughters of innocent young people and teachers, at the very least minimize the number of incidents as well as any damage they intend to inflict.

  62. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    The Second Amendment:

    Amendment II

    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.

    I do note the existence of the words “well-regulated” and “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” in the same sentence.

    ~~~

    BR: Nothing about semiautomatic pistols with 100 shot magazines in the 2nd A

  63. S Brennan says:

    I concur with solartrix:

    “I think perhaps instead of a gun control debate, we should be having a “how do we heal our country” debate.”

  64. Bokolis says:

    Talk about fighting the last war…

    This tragedy is but another instance of our failure as a society. So long as we expect that laws- while shirking our personal responsibility- will house-train our citizenry, we will continue to fail.

    We’ve got alot of people who don’t feel they should be subjected to discomfort and can’t handle it. My own discomfort elevates ever so slightly- which I’ve always shrugged off- with each instance of being subjected to more rules designed to counteract people who don’t know how to act. It seems that we will continue on that course.

    Just as the parents who royally fouled up in raising this jagoff, we will ignore the factors and conditions that allow for our society to produce such rejects. Those factors remain; this will keep happening,

  65. wally says:

    We can’t do anything, blah, blah, blah, you’ll never stop it blah, blah, blah, they’ll do it with knives, blah, blah, blah.

    Folks, the US has had SIXTEEN mass shootings SO FAR in 2012. Open your eyes and turn on your brains. The argument that since we cannot achieve perfection we should do nothing at all is simply pitiful. We’ve turned a corner here… there’s either going to be some ways to get control or the debate is going to move to something harsher.

  66. fyouell says:

    It turns out folks… That other scholarship claims exactly the reverse. Mass murder is not on the rise in the U.S. Quote from “No rise in mass killings, but their impact is huge” (http://www.sunherald.com/2012/12/15/4360133/no-rise-in-mass-killings-but-their.html)

    “Grant Duwe, a criminologist with the Minnesota Department of Corrections who has written a history of mass murders in America, said that while mass shootings rose between the 1960s and the 1990s, they actually dropped in the 2000s. And mass killings actually reached their peak in 1929, according to his data. He estimates that there were 32 in the 1980s, 42 in the 1990s and 26 in the first decade of the century.”

    See “Mass public killings under 1% of all murders” (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/07/21/mass-public-killings-under-1-of-all-murders/). Actually, the correct statistic is

    “But those kind of mass public shootings accounted for less than one-tenth of 1% of all murders in general, he said.”

    Should public policy be based on very rare (and very public) tragedies or commonplace events that no one typically hears about?

  67. donna says:

    Not an emotional knee jerk response. The answer to 6 year olds being slaughtered, however, is not statistical data.

  68. whskyjack says:

    I think we should recognize we have a problem. Then maybe we need to be serious about just what kind of weapon you need for defensive purposes or for that matter to keep tyrants in check.

    I think we can safely ban all large capacity clips.
    Registering all sales of self loading weapons(automatic and semi automatic)

    and I’m sure we can think of other things that don’t interfere with the second amendment.

    Jack

  69. fyouell says:

    Bob,

    Miss the part about “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”?

    What does “shall not be infringed” mean to you?

  70. whskyjack says:

    BTW, for a thoughtful essay on this subject matter google “David Brin, Jefferson rifle”

    ~~~

    BR: Here

  71. donna says:

    My dad owned guns, locked up in a guncase, hidden out of site. My husband owns guns, locked up, out of site, ammo stored separately. Neither of them felt the need to own semi-automatic weapons. There is no reason semi-automatic weapons cannot be regulated and controlled in the U.S. We did so until 1982. SInce then we’ve had 61 mass murders.

    Re-instate the controls on automatic weapons. That’s what we need to do. This is not a knee-jerk reaction. This is the logical, well thought out, sensible thing to do. Enough is enough.

  72. whskyjack says:

    “shall not be infringed” mean to you?”

    Well if you can read it certainly doesn’t mean “not regulated”

    lol

    Jack

  73. fyouell says:

    whskyjack,

    It appears at this point, that the guns used in the CT tragedy were standard handguns. Your proposed restrictions would not have had any impact as best I can tell. Note that automatic weapons are not sold to the public in the United States (with minor, very tightly regulated exceptions).

    ~~~

    BR: No, these were semiautomatic pistols, including a .10 mm Glock and a .9 mm Sig Sauer, with huge magazines.

  74. whskyjack says:

    BTW, I’ve been a gun owner for 47 years this coming Christmas. I’ve still got that gun, a single shot 22. Took many a squirrel with it in my younger days. A great first gun for a 12 yr old. It took me 2 yrs to demonstrate to my dad that I was mature enough to squirrel hunting by my self.

    jack

  75. Rationality says:

    Does everyone understand that this is the most high profile atrocity that is being discussed? Where’s the discussion about atrocities such as is allowed be perpetrated online with sick sites devoted to debauchery, child porn, infidelity, torture, etc. Many more of which I cannot even type. I read stories each and every day on news sites that completely take my breath away. Stories I cannot even bring myself to repeat to my wife for fear of taking away optimism. Focusing upon firearms is such a myopically focused discussion that it truly enrages me. As a whole, we, as a society, have to wake up and stop having tunnel vision on subjects. We have to stop looking to government or any other entity outside ourselves, to “fix” something. It starts with each person as an individual and spreads from there. If we first address ourselves, or at least seek to do so, we then create a circle of people around us striving for a better, more moral, and more considerate life. If each person is doing that, then the circles become communities and communities become nations. Instead, right now, it seems as though we’re taking and focusing upon the next TV show, the next phone, the next tech gadget, and the next movie, instead of focusing upon the problems in our own lives. We believe that we’re due respect, instead of earning it. We take and put people like Jay Z, Jamie Foxx, Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, etc. up on a pedestal and we take kids that are out of this world smart, who may not look the most handsome or prettiest, and we make fun of them and ostracize them…. forcing them into a life of seclusion and first person shooter games…. while feeding them mind altering prescription drugs. Then we are surprised when that very same kid loses his mind, after watching all the idiotic ways of the nation. Obviously, I don’t agree that the kid who shot harmless children is right in his ways….. but I’m not going to sit here and focus upon the guns that were used, nor focus upon the individual.

  76. marka says:

    What a warped set of values America now has, when to carry a deadly weapon is a right but decent health care is a privilege.

  77. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    @fyouell – What does “shall not be infringed” mean to you?

    Taken in the context of the entire sentence, and not quoted out of that context — it means to me that our Founding Fathers did not intend for unregulated proliferation of guns throughout the population.

    I’d also like to add at the point my comment yesterday about the homicide rates here in the United States.

  78. fyouell says:

    whskyjack,

    Have you ever purchased any guns? What types? What states? Gun sales are most certainly regulated in the United States. I once spent months trying (unsuccessfully) to legally import an antique weapon from Europe. Domestic weapons are easier to buy. However, it’s not a trivial process.

  79. shallow_explorer says:

    “During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and rates remain high. More than one-third of U.S. adults (35.7%) and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese.”

    Perhaps we should outlaw/regulate silverware.

  80. The NRA’s war on gun science

    In addition to fighting gun laws, the gun lobby has spent the past 20 years fighting research into gun safety

    As the tragic shooting in Colorado last week has reignited the debate over guns, one key public policy question — does gun control save lives? — is almost impossible to answer thanks to a dearth of research on the subject. That lack of research is no accident. It’s the product of a concerted campaign by the gun lobby and its allies on Capitol Hill to stymie and even explicitly outlaw scientific research into gun violence in what critics charge is an attempt to deceive the public about the dangers of guns.

    Over the past two decades, the NRA has not only been able to stop gun control laws, but even debate on the subject. The Centers for Disease Control funds research into the causes of death in the United States, including firearms — or at least it used to. In 1996, after various studies funded by the agency found that guns can be dangerous, the gun lobby mobilized to punish the agency. First, Republicans tried to eliminate entirely the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the bureau responsible for the research. When that failed, Rep. Jay Dickey, a Republican from Arkansas, successfully pushed through an amendment that stripped $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget (the amount it had spent on gun research in the previous year) and outlawed research on gun control with a provision that reads: “None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

    David Satcher, the then-director of the CDC, wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post in November of 1995 warning that the NRA’s “shotgun assault” on the CDC was dangerous both for public health and for our democracy:

    What ought to be of wider concern, is the second argument advanced by the NRA — that firearms research funded by the CDC is so biased against gun ownership that all such funding ought to cease. Here is a prescription for inaction on a major cause of death and disability. Here is a charge that not only casts doubt on the ability of scientists to conduct research involving controversial issues but also raises basic questions about the ability, fundamental to any democracy, to have honest, searching public discussions of such issues.

    Dickey’s clause, which remains in effect today, has had a chilling effect on all scientific research into gun safety, as gun rights advocates view “advocacy” as any research that notices that guns are dangerous. Stephen Teret, who co-directs the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, told Salon: “They sent a message and the message was heard loud and clear. People [at the CDC], then and now, know that if they start going down that road, their budget is going to be vulnerable. And the way public agencies work, they know how this works and they’re not going to stick their necks out.”

  81. wally says:

    “Your proposed restrictions would not have had any impact as best I can tell.”

    So, fyouell, step up to the plate here and tell us what have done the job.

  82. fyouell says:

    Bob,

    “Founding Fathers did not intend for unregulated proliferation of guns throughout the population.”

    Really? It appears that a majority of American families owned guns at the time of the Revolution. The one guy who claimed otherwise (Michael Bellesiles) was found to be a fraud and forced to resign from his position at Emory. See http://www.saf.org/journal/16/colonialfirearmregulation.pdf for a discussion of 18th century firearms regulation. The most common “regulation” back then was to make firearms ownership mandatory.

  83. whskyjack says:

    fyouell Says:

    You would be wrong, those children were killed with an AR15 loaded with hollow points. nasty things hollow points.

    Some of them shot as many as 11 time. in other words 6 yr olds turned into ground meat.

  84. wally says:

    aside: I’m seeing my last post printed three times. I have no idea why… I don’t think it is anything I did but, anyway: sorry.

  85. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    @ fyouell – Really? It appears that a majority of American families owned guns at the time of the Revolution.

    Whether that is true or false is irrelevant to the wording of the Second Amendment.

    More important, and as you implied, the statement that firearms should be regulated is noteworthy.

    Perhaps it is true that “regulated” meant, at the time of the Revolution, that the government encouraged gun ownership. That also means that government can now state (in the ability to “regulate” as you prescribe it) that gun ownership is not mandatory; indeed, the government can now state that gun ownership is illegal. By the logic you use.

  86. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    No matter how well armed you are, if someone gets the drop on you, you’re at their mercy. A mugger with a gun beats a law-abiding citizen with a gun. Certainly, in a home defense situation, if you are in another room than the intruder, you can get the drop on them, but you had better hope you don’t miss and don’t kill a family member.

    As for rushing in to stop a mass killing in public, talk is cheap. I’ll believe it when I see a civilian, or even a law enforcement agent successfully drop a spree-shooter during the attack. Ain’t gonna’ happen.

    The idea that any gun commercially available weapon could stop a tyrannical government, armed such as ours is, with weapons we probably don’t even know about (and even the ones we do), I doubt commercial grade weapons would do anything but make one an immediate target for vaporization. Guns can’t defend against tanks, bombs, missiles, or drones.

    Our government has us outgunned. OMFG! Time to buy a tank and build a bunker!

  87. stevenp says:

    I think it is important to avoid falling into the trap of ‘The Seen versus the The Unseen’. If guns were banned, we don’t know that this tragedy would not have occurred, or that the killer would not have performed some other massacre instead. Even if gun control had prevented this from happening, there could be a larger number of people who would be killed or injured elsewhere in society due to increased crime and the inability to defend oneself. It’s been pretty much shown here in the USA that those areas that have increased gun availability have reduced overall crime rates versus those areas that have more restrictions.

    I know someone will think of England, etc. I guess I could point out that England has the highest violent crime rate in Europe, and that the most armed European country (Switzerland) has the lowest, or that England’s crime rate has increased as they restricted weapons. Based upon my own experience in England, I consider it more violent than the USA. The statistics also show that they have overall a higher violent crime rate than the USA. This is despite England’s statistics being based upon convictions (3 people convicted for a crime = 1 crime; no conviction = no crime) versus the US’ statistics based upon referrals for prosection (3 people charged = 3 crimes even if there is no conviction or plea bargains to a lower crime).

    In these active shooter incidents, the killer often will commit suicide as soon as they encounter any resistance. The recent mall shooting in Oregon was a recent example of that. A CCW holder took aim at the shooter when he was having a malfunction. The CCW holder ended up not shooting because of people in the background. The bad guy retreated to a stairwell (if I remember right) and committed suicide.

    In other cases, armed civilians have stopped massacres from happening (think of the Appalachian School of Law, or that church in Colorado). Of course, no one stopped the movie theater shooting in Colorado, but keep in mind that that particular cinema had a no guns policy. There were other theaters showing midnight screenings of the same movie that were closer to the killer’s home, yet he chose that one. It could be a coincidence, but criminals are known to prefer victims that are unarmed. Once again, compare the trend of crime in those areas of the USA that passed Shall Issue CCW laws versus those areas that didn’t or have restricted firearms.

    We have social issues that need addressing to hopefully prevent people from wanting to take out their frustrations on society whether they use gasoline, knives, machetes, cars, etc. But once they attack, maybe the best defense is what Israel did when they had some school massacres. Of course, the volunteer school personnel would need to be trained, lock boxes installed, etc. See this link for a discussion of what they did…

    http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2012/12/15/against-monsters/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MassadAyoob+%28Massad+Ayoob%29

  88. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    @whskyjack – in other words 6 yr olds turned into ground meat.

    The local newsmedia reported that the state troopers, who were leading the kids who survived out of the building, told the kids to “put your hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you”. At times, as they walked down the hallway, the trooper told the kids, “OK, now let’s all shut our eyes as we walk….. OK, now we all can open our eyes again.”

  89. fyouell says:

    Donna,

    “Re-instate the controls on automatic weapons.”

    Automatic weapons are very tightly regulated in the United States. Private ownership is effectively banned (with minor and guarded exceptions). In my life, I have met exactly one person who owned (illegaly) an automatic weapon.

    The weapons used in CT were standard handguns (apparently) that were never regulated by the Federal assault weapons ban (from 1994 to 2004).

  90. wally says:

    No, fyouell, you are incorrect.
    Medical examiner: “all of the victims he had examined so far had all been shot by a Bushmaster .223 caliber assault rifle”

  91. wally says:

    Also, from Wikipedia:
    “There are no federal restrictions on the ownership of AR-15 rifles in the United States. During the period 1994–2004 variants with certain features such as collapsible stocks, flash suppressors, and bayonet lugs were prohibited for sales to civilians by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, with the included Assault Weapons Ban. Included in this was a restriction on the pistol grip that protrudes beneath the stock, which was considered an accessory feature under the ban and was subject to restrictions. Some rifles were manufactured with a grip not described under the Ban installed in its place. Those AR-15s that were manufactured with those features were stamped, “Restricted Military/Government/Law Enforcement/Export Only” as well as the accompanying full capacity magazines. The restrictions only applied to guns manufactured after the ban took effect. It was legal to own, sell, or buy any gun built before 1994. Hundreds of thousands of pre-ban ARs were sold during the ban as well as new guns redesigned to be legal.”

  92. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    “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.”
    _________________

    A well regulated militia. The National Guard. Every State has one, and, ostensibly, it belongs to the state.

    32 USC § 101 – Definitions

    (4) “Army National Guard” means that part of the organized militia of the several States and Territories, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, active and inactive, that—
    (A) is a land force;
    (B) is trained, and has its officers appointed, under the sixteenth clause of section 8, article I, of the Constitution;
    (C) is organized, armed, and equipped wholly or partly at Federal expense; and
    (D) is federally recognized.

    Section 8, article I, of the Constitution (in part):

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
    _____________________

    Well regulated militias.

    I see nothing in the 2nd amendment about the private citizenry being armed to the gills.

  93. Bob is still unemployed   says:

    Local newspaper coverage is here.

    Notably: Always smiling: Portraits of Conn. victims.

  94. fyouell says:

    Petey Wheatstraw,

    Actually home invasion is uncommon in the U.S. Why? Home invaders know that many (most?) American homes have guns.

    ” I’ll believe it when I see a civilian, or even a law enforcement agent successfully drop a spree-shooter during the attack. Ain’t gonna’ happen.”

    You need to get out more. The most astounding (but not the most deadly) mass shooting incident in American history was ended by the police. Check out the videos on the North Hollywood Shootout. Charles Whitman (Austin, TX 1966) was killed by a police officer. The public made a huge effort to kill him first (by shooting back). That didn’t work. But the intense counterfire forced him to stop killing people on the ground. James Oliver Huberty (the McDonald’s killer) was also killed by the police.

  95. fyouell says:

    Petey Wheatstraw,

    The question of whether the Second Amendment only allows firearms ownership in the context of a militia was settled by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller. The court held that a private right to own firearms exists independent of any militia. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_of_Columbia_v._Heller for a description of the case.

  96. wally says:

    fyouell,
    Your argument that guns make us safer just isn’t going to fly.
    One of the teachers in CT owned three. Just like a poster or two above, a couple of days ago she could have said, “My guns never killed anybody”.

    Pretty hollow now.

  97. wally says:

    fyouell,
    Your argument that guns make us safer just isn’t going to fly.
    One of the teachers in CT owned three. Just like a poster or two above, a couple of days ago she could have said, “My guns never killed anybody”.

    Pretty hollow now.

  98. TomL says:

    When diplomats are recalled from the US to their home countries.
    When foreign multinationals recall their expats.
    When foreign airlines refuse to fly to US aiports.
    When the IOOC informs the USIOC there will never be an Olympic Games awarded to the United States.
    Etc.

    Maybe it will take isolation from the rest of the world to compel the necessary change.