The latest gun news has started a dialogue on the subject, and hopefully it will have a healthy resolution.

I have been having discussions with numerous friends, including a large number of (lawful) gun owners. My view is that having a firearm in your home is both a right and a privilege. Personally, I would treat all guns like cars and all owners like drivers — we should register every gun like an automobile, and license and insure each owner like we do drivers.

There are other issues worth discussing — what to do about all of the illegal guns in the US, how to deal with automatic weapons with high bullet count clips. There is also an issue with how poorly we seem to be coping with mental health problems in America.

That seems to be is a rational place to begin the conversation.

But a few things perplex me about this: Why are gun-related death rates in the US so much higher than in similar countries — i.e.,  economically successful democracies?

When we look at fire-arm related deaths per capita, the US is far ahead of other, similar nations. The United States has 10.2 gun deaths per 100,000 people. That is about 8X the death rate of comparable countries (list after the jump) — and please do not compare the USA to El Salvador, Swaziland or Mexico. We rank 9th overall, and are the 1st modern or weatern nation on the list.

I know the USA is culturally different, and a much younger nation versus most of Europe or Japan.

Still, the difference is perplexing . . .




Economically successful nations, gun related per capita deaths per 100,000 population


Japan 0.07
South Korea 0.13
Hong Kong 0.19
Singapore 0.24
UK 0.25
Taiwan 0.42
Spain 0.63
India 0.93
Ireland 1.03
Australia 1.05
Germany 1.10
Greece 1.50
Italy 1.28
Norway 1.78
Israel 1.86
New Zealand 2.66
Austria 2.94
France 3.00
Switzerland 3.50
Finland 3.64
Canada 4.78


Sources: CDC, UN, Wikipedia

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.

181 Responses to “What Perplexes Me About Gun Deaths in the USA . . .”

  1. dbrodess says:

    … oh… and BTW. Arming teachers and administrators in all schools. Really??? That’s the best thing you can come up with NRA? REALLY?

  2. ShakyShot says:

    If one Amendment is dispensable, why not another, and another?

    Barry said “You 2nd amendment types seem to care very little for the one that precedes . . .”

    How large and objective was your sample? My biased observation of 50 years of media “news” and “opinions” indicates the reverse is more prevalent. And for that 50 years I have been astounded that those who owe their livelihood to the First Amendment are often proactive in attempting to throw the 2nd Amendment under the bus, using their journalistic art to blatantly, purposely, deceive the public.

    But abuse of the First Amendment is THEIR right, and besides, its abuse causes no bodily harm, you might argue??? Think deeper.

    “The pen is more powerful than the sword” was observed by a wise man of long ago. With today’s mass media, the “pen” is surely more powerful than the gun. For only one example, abuse of the First Amendment (and fraud) helped enable the financial bubble, whose crash ruined the lives of millions of innocent folks. (How many gun suicides, gun crimes, heartbreaks, etc. resulted from that crash?) Therefore, a long list of controls (laws) are perhaps warranted to deter needless damage inflicted by unscrupulous, irresponsible abuse of the First Amendment. Why are no such controls even remotely considered? (Hint: Who controls the Assault Pens?)

  3. Ny Stock Guy says:

    No matter how you feel about guns, there is no way to get them out of American society at this point.

    I’m amazed that no one seems to take the “regulation of the ammunition” concept seriously.

    Nothing in the 2nd amendment about bullets, and a gun with no bullets is a stick.

    To paraphrase Chris Rock, if a bullet cost $1000, there would be a lot less shooting.

  4. alexanderdelarge says:

    Barry R ; can you expand on why you stated that gun ownership is a ‘privilege’ please ?
    Or, if BR has moved on from this topic, anyone else who holds a similar view, can you share why ?


    BR: Because its not an absolute right, like Freedom and voting and assembly and free speech.

  5. AtlasRocked says:

    The same people that want to round up guns are the ones telling us Social security was fine for the next 20 years (They had a $47B deficit this year.), angry about deregulation under Bush (but not suspension of Mark-to-market under Obama, nor bondholder seniority regulation violations for GM bailout), call Bush a tax cutter (but total tax revenue went up 8% /yr under Bush 2%/yr under obama, Tax revenue/GDP has been higher every year under Bush than obama), complained about MBS fraud under Bush (but not US Bonds being fraudulently rated), say stimulus takes years to have an effect (but won’t acknowledge Clinton era growth was probably due to 12 years of huge Bush-reagan “stimulus” deficits )…..

    I’m sorry – it’s just impossible to argue facts and numbers with the anti-gun crowd, nor any other topic. They’ll twist the numbers and data to win every time. Or cite you as having bad intentions.

    Debate is worthless, I discovered. Their beliefs trump data, law, and history.


    BR: Why don’t you ever use sources? Much of what you write appears to be misleading to me — As an example, the SS deficit is due to the payroll tax cut — which costs anywhere from $100-120 billion per year.

    Then there is the question why, in the midst of a debate on Guns, you feel compelled to derail the conversation into a diatribe on Social Security? That junk behavior is what moderation was invented for.

  6. BITFU Search Engine says:

    In addressing this issue, consider the inventor’s paradox: A phenomenon that occurs in seeking a solution to a given problem. Instead of solving a specific type of problem (ie Why are gun deaths higher in the US?)—which would seem intuitively easier—sometimes its easier and more effective to solve a more general problem, which covers the specifics of the sought after solution. A specific analysis often creates awkward parameters. Look, instead for a simpler algorithm…

    Instead of only restricting the analysis to US gun deaths…consider other examples where the US is acts differently from advanced Western societies.

    After laying them out maybe there will be some other pattern. I suspect you’ll see differences already highlighted in this thread on healthcare, immigration, religion, as well as regional disparities without borders (ie the US Southeast vs Northeast is probably farther apart than France/Belgium or Germany/Austria)….and in the end, you’ll probably come to the obvious: The other countries lean further to the left as to the role of government.

    And then, you’ll come to the crux of the matter: In order to address gun violence in the US, there will need to be a significant shift to the Left (or, another way of looking at…a shift towards the Us Northeast and away from the Southeast/Middle West on a wide range of social/governance issues). In order to be effective, the shift cannot be limited to gun ownership. It will need to be large-scale.

    This “debate” really is not about guns. And well all know this. I have no idea as to whether this shift Left would be a good thing, but that’s what we’re talking about….

    The shift, as applies to gun deaths will be simpler and cleaner than simply making assault weapons more difficult to own. It’s also a tougher sell and maybe not worth it to those who idealize the US as a place for rugged individuality.

  7. constantnormal says:

    Ny Stock Guy –

    I agree that there is no effective way to remove the vast sea of guns from Bananamerica at thus point, that point is long, long gone.

    But it’s even worse than that, as technology and 3-D printing are on the verge of making it possible to construct weapons of all kinds, probably also to construct machines to make gunpowder from innocuous ingredients, given the ready availibility of electricity, time, and sufficient raw msterials, using high-energy lasers focused to a tiny pinpoint, slowly building up whatever structures one might desire.

    And it’s not any specific technology that is a threat, nor anything subject to revulation or control. The rapid pace of advancing technology virtually guarantees that individuals will, in the decades ahead, be able to fabricate pretty much anything they want, given the money to purchase the “plans” (which are likely to be freely available, if you know where to ask), and the construction of 3-D printers is not particularly difficult, one can even bootstrap the process, using modified inkjet printers to construct more robust devices that are capable of sintering fine metallic powders into all manner of devices.

    The advance of technology is neither able to be contained nor controlled. The best we can hope for is that we can identify and deal with the conditions and situations that give rise to individuals’ perceived need to kill each other. I don’t believe that anyone thinks that people who use guns to kill other people have any other intention in mind. Guns merely make that task frighteningly easy to accomplish. And people determined to murder others will use the availible technology to do so in the easiest manner possible. The Unabomber used explosives and the package delivery system to target specific individuals. He could as easily have targeted groups of people. Personal drone technology is already here, awaiting the right/wrong twisted minds to weaponize it.

    While it’s a good idea to attempt to regulate/license the ability to mass murder, that is, at thus point, an effective impossibility, and something that will be even more difficult in the years and decades ahead. Many (most?) of the recent mass murderers were identified as troubled individals prior to their acting out. I know there will be cries and concerns about totalitarian states (a very real threat), but controlling the individuals is likely to prove to be the most effective way to reduce mass murder.

  8. rubber_factory says:


    Longtime reader, rare commenter, here;

    I can’t help but notice you live in a different world than I do, on Long Island, flying around the country to some of our wealthiest cities and enclaves.

    I’m confident that if you were to spend more time in rural areas of Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, Texas, and the intermountain west, you would not be so perplexed by this topic, nor would you be so quick to dismiss a comparison between the United States and the third world.

    In other words: You cannot compare the rural south, with its history of black slaves and frontier-whites, and its harsh wilderness, to somewhere like Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand, Germany, et cetera. You’re a tremendous blogger but I think this is indicative of a narrow, urban, wealthy view of the United States.


    BR: Fair point about the circles I travel in — but we still license, register and insure cars in those areas; why should guns not be similarly managed?

  9. ozinasia says:

    Granted that the US is a relatively young country. However one thing that’s ignored is that Australia is younger than the US, founded in 1788 in response to independence initiatives in the US, is very culturally diverse, was a former penal colony of England ( where one would suppose that violence and gun carrying would be an accepted practice), yet had no problem as a modern society saying, hey, this mass killing is unacceptable, let’s stop the practice of ordinary people having military grade weapons. Australia dealt effectively and simply with a similar problem a decade ago. Why all this debate.

  10. UncleJetski says:

    I fail to see why we need to look to society for an explanation of why there are so many gun deaths in the US. It seems to me, a clear non-expert, that everyone occasionally gets angry or irrational. If, at that moment, you have easy access to a gun, there is a non-zero probability that you’re going to use it to solve your problem.

  11. ShakyShot says:

    competitionguy said: “a few generations have passed since this (2nd Amendment) had any relevance”

    Are you also confident that gun ownership will not become relevant sometime in the (perhaps distant) future of my country or yours? A very wise Thomas Jefferson would surely disagree with you, saying that it is now, has been, and will continue to be relevant.

  12. perpetual_neophyte says:

    My attempt at a Succinct Summation with citations:

    * The CDC’s latest numbers for 2011 show almost twice as many firearms-related suicides as homicides (19,766 or 6.3 rate vs 11,101 or 3.6 rate) [See Table 2 on page 42]

    * I think it’s important to look at all violent and property crime rates when discussing firearms-related homicides. The story is mixed, as others have noted.
    - UNODC Global Study on Homicide:
    - UN Surveys on Crime Trends: HREF=”;%20filename=Hakapaino_final_07042010.pdf&SSURIsscontext=Satellite%20Server&blobwhere=1266335656647&blobheadername1=Content-Disposition&ssbinary=true&blobheader=application/pdf”>Link to PDF (hopefully the hyperlink HTML works as it’s a long URL)

    * The vast majority of firearms-related homicides in the USA are committed with handguns. In 2011, there were more homicides associated with hands, fists, feet and pushing (728) than there were with any kind of rifle (323). There were 6,220 homicides associated with handguns. All of those numbers were lower in 2011 than in 2007.

    * If you want to emulate the Australian or Japanese standard, you cannot address only the sale of new firearms. You must address the millions in current legal circulation via buyback, outlawing or confiscation. You also need people familiar with firearms to write the laws, otherwise you have wildly flawed regulations like the Clinton-era Federal/California/Connecticut “assault weapon bans” that do not prevent the sale or ownership of semi-automatic rifles that accept high capacity magazines like the AR-15 based rifle that was used in Newtown.

    I do think looking at the violence on a narrower geographic scale is also helpful. I think you can find cultural issues tied up with socio-economic issues and the topic of the USA’s “war on drugs” plus our high incarceration rate are all related.

    This is a complicated topic and the better educated and informed everyone on both sides of the spectrum are, the better the dialogue can be.

  13. Disinfectant says:

    The U.S. is MUCH higher in religiosity than comparable economic powers. Religion breeds fear, fear leads to violence.

  14. ancientone says:

    Hey, I can’t wait for the next step; anyone who wants to can have their own RPG launcher!

  15. wally says:

    “I’m sorry – it’s just impossible to argue facts and numbers with the anti-gun crowd, nor any other topic…Debate is worthless, I discovered. Their beliefs trump data, law, and history.”

    But not life. “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness” came first.

  16. Jim67545 says:

    Fatal gunshot wounds are so neat and clean! The guy gets shot, drops motionlessly and silently and the movie or video game moves on.

    There are no cries of pain or dispair, no wife or children overwhelmed with grief over the loss, no mother or sister arriving to hold their dying love until life ends, no one talking about what virtues the person had or endearing anecdotes. I’ve read that in the Civil War soldiers gut-shot and knowing they would die (given the primitive medical care) would sometimes lie and cry and moan for hours before they finally became silent. There is nothing pretty or conveniently neat about death.

    Newtown has caused us to confront the human grief and impact and we are moved because those killed were young children. But how much angst has there been for the 6 adults killed? What about a drive-by in the ghetto? Who cares? Who is there to commiserate? What about so-called “collateral damage” inflicted by our drones or military. What about the 3,000 or so “heroes” who have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan? Do we as a society care much about the grief these events brought? I don’t think so.

    Elsewhere it was pointed out that we are not as homogeneous a society as the other countries to which we were being compared. I believe that there is a definite majority “every man for himself” theme in our society which manifests itself in many ways, among them being indifference to incarceration and gun violence and the various financial shenanigans we decry in this blog. Until we truly value human life for the unique, precious thing it is we as a society will continue to overlook the issue of preventable homicide and, at a lesser level, human misery in general.

  17. MojaveMax says:

    The US has a lower violent crime rate than the UK, Canada and France.

    “The most violent country in Europe: Britain is also worse than South Africa and U.S.”

  18. DeDude says:

    The question probably has a lot of different contributing answers that involve both issues of access and “culture”. But if you want a real simplistic answer then I would suggest that it is because there are more sociopaths in the US than in most other industrialized countries. As a matter of fact asocial people who cannot conform to or accept the restrictions of civilized society have for centuries been “self-deporting” to the great United States, where individuals can do whatever they want (at least that is what they say); and where there is minimal government restrictions and taxation (at least in comparison to the rest of the world).

    In a wealthy civilized country only a very small extreme minority would accept that some of the people go without food, shelter or health care. But a sociopath does not see these suffering people as “part of my group and responsibility” because they have little ability to feel empathy for or connection with others. They see others as potential “prey” or at least as someone who can “sink or swim”, “what do I care”. So excessive sociopathy in the US population show itself in the form of a social and health care system that is much below the standard that US wealth could easily cover.

    But sociopathy also show itself in the excessive gun violence. If you “feel other people pain”, you do not shot them – nor do you shot your “brothers and sisters”, “fellow citizens of a great community where we all care about each other”. The excess of cold sociopathic individuals who have little or no empathy, and see other people as prey, is part of why the US has such a high rate of gun deaths. It is a lot easier to pull the trigger on someone else if you are a stone cold sociopath than if you are a normal human being.

  19. ShakyShot says:

    Ny Stock Guy Said:
    December 27th, 2012 at 8:46 am
    “No matter how you feel about guns, there is no way to get them out of American society at this point.

    I’m amazed that no one seems to take the “regulation of the ammunition” concept seriously.

    Nothing in the 2nd amendment about bullets, and a gun with no bullets is a stick.

    To paraphrase Chris Rock, if a bullet cost $1000, there would be a lot less shooting.”

    In turn, I am amazed you apparently don’t understand this type of “end run” threat to effectively neutralize the 2nd Amendment is exactly what has led reasonable gun owners to reject reasonable as well as unreasonable gun controls. Also, if a gun with no bullets is a stick, then it is no longer an “arm” and CLEAR infringement of the right to bear arms is the result.

  20. WFTA says:

    Personal anecdote: Fairly early in our marriage, my late wife felt unsafe and wanted a pistol. I told her we would get a dog because if she got angry with me, she couldn’t shoot me with a dog. It worked just great.

    My point here is that if hand guns were not so easily AND immediately available, a person who is angry, depressed, or entertaining inappropriate thoughts might have a chance to walk it back from the cliff of suicide, homicide or rampage shooting.

    I don’t think a 10 day or 2 week “cooling-off” background check would offend the constitution; nor would mandatory safety training.

    Per Harvard School of Public Health suicide is much more efficient in homes with firearms.

  21. WhipTail says:

    How many hundreds of times a year does gun-owning give a false sense of security? How many gun owners are actually endangered by this delusional fantasy? That will never show up in the data but I know it exists. I knew two such gun owners in the 80′s, both products of Texas gun culture, both of whom kept guns for protection, both of whom were murdered with guns. In one case the woman kept a gun and she was trained by her police officer husband to use it. Unfortunately she was working on her Master’s degree in another city and was having an affair with someone who ended up murdering her. The other case involved my ex-husband’s best friend, our best man at the wedding. He was the manager of a cattle operation near Huntsville TX. A neighbor called to tell him there was a prowler on the property. He took his gun, loaded it and set out with his brother-in-law to check it out. A while later the neighbor saw him arrive. A while after that he heard the gunshots and when it was all over the two law abiding citizens who kept guns for protection were dead. He was killed by a man who used to work for him. Going back and reading accounts of this event, I see nothing about him taking a gun out there in the paper or court records. One might think “oh if he’d only had a gun.” Or why didn’t he call the sheriff instead of going out to confront criminals? It looks to me like owning a gun and the rugged individualist mentality led to directly to his death.

  22. Joe Friday says:


    The same people that want to round up guns

    Please provide a list of federally elected officials that have proposed such and detail their proposals.

    are the ones telling us Social security was fine for the next 20 years (They had a $47B deficit this year.)

    According to the actuaries, Social Security is “fine” through 2085 and they only do 75-year forecasts, and in 14 of the past 75 years, Social Security paid out more in benefits than was collected in payroll taxes.

    That’s how the system was built to work.

    call Bush a tax cutter


    According to the U.S. Treasury as reported by the Congressional Budget Office, after numerous rounds of tax cuts starting in 2001 that overwhelmingly benefited the Rich & Corporate, by 2004:

    Receipts… As a share of GDP, they accounted for the smallest proportion since 1959

    (but total tax revenue went up 8% /yr under Bush 2%/yr under obama, Tax revenue/GDP has been higher every year under Bush than obama)

    You’re conflating “total tax revenue” with federal income tax revenue, and ignoring that it only increased after a corporate tax cut expired in the middle of the Chimpy Bush terms.

    As always, when you cut federal income tax rates, federal income tax revenue DECLINES, and when you raise federal income tax rates, federal income tax revenue INCREASES.

    say stimulus takes years to have an effect

    Says WHO ?

    According to the independent non-partisan Congressional Budget Office:


    That was merely months after the stimulus was enacted and the impact grew exponentially from there forward.

    (but won’t acknowledge Clinton era growth was probably due to 12 years of huge Bush-reagan ‘stimulus’ deficits )

    As it wasn’t.

    Debate is worthless, I discovered.

    Because you’re consistently attempting to argue your unsubstantiated BELIEFS instead of facts and reality.

  23. meteoro777 says:

    I’ve been thinking about this for a while too. The only facts I find that help explain the level of gun violence in the US is INCOME INEQUALITY and DEMOGRAPHICS. However, if you think about it, the difference in gun violence among races is a result of INCOME INEQUALITY. The ratio of income inequality and crime stats is very compelling. I’ve seen a number of different charts over the year, some showing a better correlation than others. Here are some links I found in a quick search:

    I’ve also been think for decades now that people who commit crimes are simply doing the same cost-benefit analysis we all do. However, what is hard for most of us to understand is that their cost is low to zero (i.e. there lives are so miserable, they’ve got nothing to lose). I started thinking about this watching the endless parade of car chases in Los Angeles where I felt that the fugitives had no chance of success.

  24. Seasoning says:

    I think the more important question is ‘why are tons of people buying guns just to have guns?”
    I don’t think we’d even have these problems if not for the politicalization of gun owernship.

    Barry posted a link awhile back to the this great article in the New Yorker about the evolution of the NRA.

    Over the last 20 years every part of our society has become so politically polarized. Every single issue is framed as two extremes. It’s become part of being American to NOT agree with ‘the other side’, much less talk to them. We’ve become a nation of ‘Me against Them’. More and More people will die until we can finally agree that our best hope of survival is coming together instead of standing apart.
    Until then…You can’t trust anyone!! Defend yourself at all costs!!!

  25. Fred C Dobbs says:

    BR says: “Because its not an absolute right, like Freedom and voting and assembly and free speech.” Where do you find Freedom, voting, assembly, and free speech are absolute, and gun ownership is not? I can’t find any. Also what over rights are ‘absolute’?

  26. AtlasRocked says:

    This shows we are right in the middle of the UN murder stats:

    Melting pot nation, melting pot of crime.

  27. Horatio44 says:

    Just a couple of comments about firearm deaths in other countries, as indicative of what we should do about the problem in this country:

    1. Barry’s list of “Economically successful nations, gun related per capita deaths per 100,000 population” appears to have at least one significant omission – Brazil. According to, Brazil is the 12th most economically important country in the world, ahead of such countries as Taiwan, Switzerland and Austria that are included on Barry’s list. However, according to the University of Pennsylvania site cited by several commenters ( as of 2000 Brazil had a firearm death rate almost 2.5 times higher than the US. Therefore, one would have to conclude that, contrary to the implication of Barry’s incomplete list, the US’s gun-related death rate is not anomalous among economically successful nations.

    2. Sat9, and Nyet have repeated the meme that Australia’s stringent gun control laws enacted in 1996 are responsible for a reduction in gun-related homicides in that country since then. In fact, an examination of the relevant date demonstrates that the two are merely coincidental. The Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cause of Death collection contains a chart of firearm homicides per 100,000 and non-firearm homicides per 100,000 since 1968. That chart shows that firearm homicides made the second top of a double top formation in 1985 and have declined sharply since then, even taking into account the blip higher in 1996 that gave rise to the referenced legislation. Interestingly, non-firearm homicides have also declined sharply since their peak in 1990, demonstrating that what’s really at work in the decline in firearm homicides is merely one aspect of a wider Australian swing toward non-violence. “Good on yer!” as the Aussies would say.

    3. The merely coincident nature of the referenced legislation is further demonstrated something the gun control folks carefully avoid mentioning, namely, that in (relatively) near-by New Zealand, following a mass killing in 1997 but no Australian-style restrictions on gun ownership, there have been no further mass killings. This comparison is particularly compelling in light of the great cultural similarity of the two countries – both are parts of the British Commonwealth, the soldiers of both countries fought side by side in two world wars, the two compete constantly in sports such as rugby and sailing, etc. Once again, changing culture, rather than restrictive legislation, appears to be the difference-maker. See the study by The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice at Abstract: “The development of legislation aimed at reducing the incidence of firearm-related death is an ongoing interest within the spheres of criminology, public policy and criminal justice. Although a body of research has examined the impacts of significant epochs of regulatory reform upon firearm-relate suicides and homicides in countries like Australia, where strict nationwide firearms regulations were introduced in 1966, relatively little research has considered the occurrence of a specific type of homicide: mass shooting events. The current paper examines the incidence of mass shootings in Australia and New Zealand (a country that is socioeconomically similar to Australia, but with a different approach to firearms regulation) over a 30 year period. It does not find support for the hypothesis that Australia’s prohibition of certain types of firearms has prevented mass shootings, with New Zealand not experiencing a mass shooting since 1997 despite the availability in that country of firearms banned in Australia. These finding are discussed in the context of social and economic trends.”


    BR: Thats not an omission — Brazil is much more like other BRIC countries (India / China) than the Japan or Germany

  28. AtlasRocked says:

    I have all my data sourced, Friday, I sent it to Barry.

    What I wanted to point out by listing all the other points, was that the gun-haters don’t really care about statistics, there is strong correlation between hating guns, believing in gov’t, and disregarding all data that indicates strong federal gov’t and liberal policies are just failing obviously all over the world.

    The Federalist notion: a minimal federal gov’t that can’t print money and endlessly borrow to hide its failure, with 50 states trying 50 solutions, would be serving us all much better right now.

    Not “my” idea or “your” idea, but 50 states of citizens each trying out “their” ideas, is what we lack now.

    50 experiments are always going to be better at finding solutions that 1 giant, blue-state dominated single idea.

    a single federal gun law will serve us just as poorly as the federal gov’t following a single health care and retirement law that has pushed their prior emphasis on REGULATING BANKS AND BUSINESS into a low priority background job that serves benefits needs more than it serves commerce needs.

  29. Yroc says:

    When speaking of Canada, one must consider the impact the US boarder has. In Toronto, which is the worst city for gun crime in Canada, one sees articles that often cite the weapons used came from the US. Something that might explain our inflated numbers.

    There is not all that much difference between Canada and the US in my opinion from a cultural point of view. Same types of family, same video games, same TV programs, etc…. There is a clear difference in the wanting to own a fire arm.

  30. Disinfectant says:


    Most people can’t comprehend the real risks. They can imagine a specific scenario in which they heroically use a gun to shoot a bad guy, but they cannot imagine any scenarios in which having that gun will turn out to be a bad thing. Anyone in the investment industry who has read up on behavioral finance an Taleb-type stuff can easily see parallels in bad thinking.

    Nancy Lanza was an extraordinary example of this bad thinking and other than me, I haven’t seen anyone pick up the crucial cognitive error that she made (I have obviously only read a tiny fraction of what’s been written, of course). Nancy’s sister said that Nancy had all of those guns because she “prepared for the worst”. In other words, she was able to imagine some scenario wherein she would use her guns to defend herself. But she obviously had no idea what the worse case scenario was. If she had done a cost/benefit analysis of whether or not to own a gun, what are the odds that she listed as a potential cost “son might kill me and a couple dozen schoolchildren and teachers”?

    This is where the trouble lies with the notion that the more “good guys with guns” we have, the better off we’d be. We can readily imagine all of the crooks that are stopped in their tracks, but we have a hard time imagining what could go wrong, even though things go wrong all the time.

  31. perpetual_neophyte says:

    “WFTA Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 11:30 am

    My point here is that if hand guns were not so easily AND immediately available, a person who is angry, depressed, or entertaining inappropriate thoughts might have a chance to walk it back from the cliff of suicide, homicide or rampage shooting.”

    So, I went looking for some data to refute this notion that a reduction in access to firearms is correlated to a reduction in suicides. What I came up with did surprise me a bit. Australia passed its sweeping firearms confiscation and ban in 1996. The age-standardized suicide rate for all persons was on an increasing trend from 1994 (12.8) until its peak in 1997 (14.7). While the number of people using hanging and carbon monoxide poisoning has increased, in 2010, the total number was 10.5.

    As we all know, correlation does not equal causation. There was some information about a high concentration of suicides in young men and of those incarcerated. It still seems to make some sense.


  32. AtlasRocked says:

    Given the preponderance of homicides among African Americans, and drug dealing in those communities, Patrick Moynihan may be giving us some key guidance here:

    “From the wild Irish slums of the 19th century Eastern seaboard to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future – that community asks for and gets chaos.”

    – Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Family and Nation, 1965

  33. Frilton Miedman says:

    To those who refer to Jefferson & other founders on guns, please, quote his thoughts on the right to own a truck mounted 50 cal fully automatic with armor piercing shells, or at the very least, cite Jefferson’s thoughts on 90 round mags for semi-automatic muskets.

    To the comments on gun suicides, less than 400 people kill themselves per year with a gun, even fewer use a gun to save themselves during a crime – however, 12,000 are killed with them.

    It’s ridiculous to cite the 2nd amendment to justify no gun regulation at all, background checks, ammo/mag capacity limitation, at least give some consideration to the meaning of “A well regulated militia..”,.

    Last, for those who use the word “emotional” to discount the opinions of those who want regulations.

    Get real, Pearl harbor aroused an “emotional” response, as did 9/11, the holocaust, and a small angry group of men who once dressed up as Indians and dumped Tea into Boston harbor.

    20 small children are dead, we couldn’t have stopped that lunatic from attacking, but we could have mitigated the number of children he killed if his mother hadn’t owned an assault weapon with a 90 round drum mag.

    That’s emotional – SO WHAT?

  34. courageandmoney says:


    Diane Feinstein are not solving the problem. Lord knows, I feel for the families of the victims. But this is another bullshit liberal attempt of control. People are crazy, maybe we should address that issue…..But as usually thats not the goal. The goal is to take the guns…>Don’t kid yourself.

    “Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds”.

  35. James Kostohryz says:


    This may have already been covered in the thread, but I researched this a while back and the vast majority in the disparity between gun homicides in the US and gun homicides in other OECD nations can be explained by the extremely high homicide rates amongst a particular subcultural group in the US. I say subcultural, because I do not believe the problem is a racial one. You can look up firearm homicides by race (googld) and you will see that the rate of firearm homicides by whites is elevated, but not that far from many European countries. The number for blacks is extremely high and skews the US average strongly upward.

    This depressing result happens to coincide with similar results with respects to other issues such as health outcomes and a variety of other issues.

    Statistically speaking, mass murder is not a real problem in the US; it is statistically insignificant in terms of the premature death rate. Homicide and other issues ARE major problems. And Americans would do well to focus on the subcultural issues that are driving these tragic results that are disproportionately affecting part of the citizenry.

  36. Joe Friday says:


    I have all my data sourced, Friday, I sent it to Barry.

    Sorry, but BR isn’t about to fall for your Heritage and other fake RightWing sources either.

  37. Frilton Miedman says:

    James Kostohryz Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 5:45 pm
    “….. the vast majority in the disparity between gun homicides in the US and gun homicides in other OECD nations can be explained by the extremely high homicide rates amongst a particular subcultural group in the US. I say subcultural, because I do not believe the problem is a racial one. ”


    Let me kill two birds, the relationship of guns and illegal drugs, with one stone -

    Others have suggested legalizing drugs would remedy this problem.

    It won’t,

    Low income area’s procure drug dealers because it’s lucrative, in turn they resort to gun ownership to secure their market share, their “turf”, and protect their product.

    If drugs were legalized, they wouldn’t yield so high a return as supply increased, low income area’s would then wield greater numbers of theft, home invasions, muggings, or other means to offset the loss.

    It’s a given, the greater the economic disparity, the greater the criminal activity.

    This doesn’t negate the problem of the ease at which criminals & gangs can attain guns through straw buyers & private purchases without background checks, but it’s worthy to note.

  38. ancientone says:

    I feel very sorry for AtlasRocked—–he will always be an angry, bitter fellow who will never discover that he lives in looney land, spewing his wrong nonsense to anyone he can buttonhole long enough to regurgitate something he saw or heard from some conservative propaganda source.

  39. Unsympathetic says:


    You need to back out suicide from the rate you’re using to compare death rates.. that’s not a comparable statistic because people who truly want to kill themselves will – gun, CO2, etc. I very much agree we need to have the mental health discussion as a nation, but let’s keep self-inflicted death out of the discussion.

    6.1 of those 10.2 are suicide.

    Granted, the US is still high up [even wikipedia doesn't have data on all nations] but let’s make sure we’re using the dataset which reflects what we’re attempting to confront.

  40. CurrencySpider says:

    One observation I have made:

    The knee-JERKS reactions from the Left “we must remove all guns” crowd, is moving quickly to the Right. Many LI districts are considering full-time school officers as part of their budget. Teachers are flocking to gun training courses even though they are not permitted to bring guns to school. Further, the rhetoric across the country is increasingly becoming more “we must protect ourselves from these psychotic introverts”.

    You don’t treat a mosquito bite by removing the patient’s fingernails. You use mosquito repellant.

    Consider this: the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the early 1980′s that the police do not have a duty to protect you as an individual, but to protect society as a whole.


    BR: Thats a straw man argument here — I put forth a very modest proposal (Treat guns like cars — license, register, insure).

    Why no response to that?

  41. JohnathanStein says:

    BARRY — Your UN link is the same as the CDC one; please fix.


    BR: Good catch — fixed

  42. rshrader says:


    With 1.4 million gang members in the US who are out committing crimes, I am surprised the gun death rate is so low. These gang members are criminals!! Unless the US is willing to put a stop to this, the killings will go on. Also gang members are not out buying guns at the local gun store, they are stealing them.

    Why is there so much agitation against the law abiding gun owner in the US by our law makers and the media? Yet we allow over one million ARMED gang members to walk our street.

    Read this about gangs in the US.

  43. oblom says:

    142 responses and only 6 mention “inequality” or “poverty” — the highest correlation factor with violent crime, as pointed out in several studies linked in the posts. And considering that Barry’s readers are a generally thoughtful bunch… Any surprises that the general public is focused on other solutions to the problem?

    Yes, we could try to work around the edges of this issue by improving mental health, registering and licensing firearms like we do with cars, prohibiting guns (not going to happen); or by having everybody carry a gun (wacko), eliminating violent video games or movies (useless, but good luck); and lamenting about the general decline of society.

    How about we address the #1 reason instead? Oh right, because reducing stratification between the rich and the poor is socialism and Un-American.

  44. neelyll says:

    12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by
    new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their
    own Government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500
    million dollars. The first year results are now in:

    List of 7 items:

    Australia-wide, homicides are up 3.2 percent.
    Australia-wide, assaults are up 8.6 percent.
    Australia-wide, armed robberies are up 44 percent (yes, 44 percent)!

    In the state of Victoria alone, homicides with firearms are now up 300
    percent.. Note that while the law-abiding citizens turned them in, the
    criminals did not, and criminals still possess their guns!

    While figures over the previous 25 years showed a steady decrease in
    armed robbery with firearms, this has changed drastically upward in the
    past 12 months, since criminals now are guaranteed that their prey is

    There has also been a dramatic increase in break-ins and assaults of the
    ELDERLY. Australian politicians are at a loss to explain how public
    safety has decreased, after such monumental effort, and expense was
    expended in successfully ridding Australian society of guns. The
    Australian experience and the other historical facts above prove it.

  45. Frilton Miedman says:

    oblom Says:
    December 28th, 2012 at 11:57 am
    “142 responses and only 6 mention “inequality” or “poverty” ..”


    Frilton Miedman Says:
    December 27th, 2012 at 6:29 pm
    “It’s a given, the greater the economic disparity, the greater the criminal activity.”

  46. Frilton Miedman says:

    neelyll Says:
    December 28th, 2012 at 12:43 pm
    “12 months since gun owners in Australia were forced by
    new law to surrender 640,381 personal firearms to be destroyed by their
    own Government, a program costing Australia taxpayers more than $500
    million dollars. The first year results are now in: …”


    Where gun violence and deaths became almost non-existent after the 1996 gun regulation in Australia, if a given year’s homicide’s was 1 incident, the next year’s 4 would be an “astronomical” 400% surge. (This is why small & micro caps are so volatile)

    You also failed to provide a link, let us see these “astronomical” stats.

  47. AtlasRocked says:

    Joe Friday – my sources are click “fiscal year” then “go”

    Can’t get any better than that.

    Like my post said – it’s waste of time debating with the gun confiscators, they are the same people that try to confuse the clear language of the constitution, and refuse to raise concern that Obama let “trillions of dollars” of crime go unprosecuted after his own party’s meltdown crime investigation (

    The gun removers are the law confusers. A dangerous combination, a recipe for gov’t slaughter.

    Any group of people that claim to be enraged about the Bush-era deregulation, but sanguine about Obama DECRIMINALIZING trillions of dollars of crime, and the ongoing FINE-N-RELEASE behavior, is being deceptive. No one should trust them, especially when it comes to letting them have all the guns.

    Plato describes what we are seeing now:
    “[The sailors] throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard, and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug, they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores, thus eating and drinking. They proceed on their voyage in such a manner as can be expected of them.

    >>>>Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their <<>>>plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into <<>>>their own whether by force or persuasion, they <<>>>compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, <<<

    and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the good pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like it or not—the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling."


  48. mmcnelly says:

    I just did a little homework. It’s interesting that you suggest not comparing the US to Mexico. Have a look at the Mexican guns laws. They look quite a bit like the Feinstein proposal. Nothing to see here folks…. you know the rest.


    BR: GROUP 1: Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Brazil
    GROUP 2: England, Germany, Japan, Switzerland

    Which group do you associate the United States with?

  49. CurrencySpider says:

    In NYC, one is required to pay $140 at each 3 year renewal for long arms. In NYC, good luck trying to get a pistol permit. NYS requires a background check and registration of every purchased firearm. If you win or purchase a firearm at a trade show or raffle, you undergo the same registration and background check and you must wait a few days before taking possession of the firearm. Automatic weapons are prohibited in NYC and NYS. Semi autos (5 rounds or less) are legal. All firearms must have an open chamber lock or face imprisonment. In NYC, all firearms must be out of view (not hung on a wall). The law even describes the proper use of window blinds. If you are a Long Island resident and you are traversing the city (transportation to your hunting cabin upstate), you are in violation and may be imprisoned. In NYS, All bullets must be locked in the glove box and the firearms MUST be in the trunk (not the cabin of the vehicle).

    Is this modest enough?

  50. grywlfbg says:

    Glad to see this thread is still alive and the dialog is still civil. To answer Barry’s proposal about what is in effect regulation, it violates the Constitution as the right to keep and bear arms is to allow us to protect ourselves from the government. If the government knows exactly who has what then they can target those folks and the deterrent will be useless. As to the parallel w/ cars, there is not a constitutional right to drive a car. There is however such a right to keep and bear arms. So it places the right to keep and bear arms in the exact same realm as free speech and all the others in the bill of rights.

    Stumbled across an interesting article on Forbes:


    BR: I am wary of such an expansive reading of 2nd Amendment . . .

    “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.”

  51. JohnathanStein says:

    BR: I am wary of such an expansive reading of 2nd Amendment . . .

    “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.”

    The right person to ask for context is a historian, not a lawyer; have you spoken with any on the subject?

    The Bill of Rights is a set of limitations on govt, not a grant of priviledges to citizens.

    “Lettres de cachet” went out with the “Storming of the Bastille”; I never thought to see the day we would reinstitute them via NDAA, extraordinary rendition, etc.

    Anyway, in case you don’t get to talk to that historian, you might check out the Biography section in the library, and consult the Original Authors. Here are a few quotes you might find there:

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government” — Thomas Jefferson

    Americans have the right and advantage of being armed. -James Madison

    The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able may have a gun. -Patrick Henry

    All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party – Mao Tse Tung

    “Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.” — Noah Webster


    BR: You are quoting Mao as an interpretation of the US Constitution? I could have saved time and money going to law school and just bought the Chairman’s Little Red book !

  52. JohnathanStein says:

    BR: Thats a straw man argument here — I put forth a very modest proposal (Treat guns like cars — license, register, insure).

    Why no response to that?
    1. Guns are not valuable enough to be classed as titled property. Any fees or insurance would impose an undue burden — if your next car cost $40,000, would you like to pay $50,000/year in fees & insurance? What do you think the insurance cost, registration fees and license fees would be for a $200 handgun, a $400 shotgun or $600 rifle?

    2. Any registration scheme is a precursor to confiscation. Common sense and historical fact.

    3. Many people are rapidly getting tired of nanny-state micro-managed interference in private matters; certainly they don’t need yet more unneccessary expenses forced upon them.

    What would you be insuring, anyway? Medical treatment, life, what? Don’t you already have such insurance?

    While on the subject of cars — laws requiring car insurance are bought from legislators by insurers, for their benefit, not that of society — any insurance agent will be happy to sell you uninsured/underinsured coverage; this negates argument for mandatory insurance, yet we still have it.

    Too many liberties have ALREADY been perverted by government to the point that they have been converted into “priviledges” by sanctimonious busybodies. Example: Freedom to travel has become a “priviledge” to drive.


    BR: 1. They get registered not because of their value but due to the potential damage they can cause. Indeed, their entire design is the projection of force from one person to another. That is registration/license/insurance worthy

    2. Paranoid delusions not withstanding, it is neither common sense nor historical fact

    3. What do you call the desire to avoid having classrooms of children executed by a loon? Is that micromanaging?

    4. Mandatory insurance simply makes gun ownership more expensive. The compensation to injured is secondary.

  53. WhipTail says:

    BR and Fred C. Dobbs,

    Gun ownership, like voting, assembly and free speech is a constitutional right, not a privilege. However, there are NO absolute rights in the U.S. None. There are thousands of laws regulating voting and 1st Am. rights. Can you assemble in the middle of the street without a permit? NO. Can you yell obscenities at the top of your lungs in public? NO. Can you walk around naked because it is part of your religious belief? NO. All our rights are subject to common sense regulation in the service of the common good. That’s what BR is advocating. That is what the vast majority of people are calling for in the wake of Newtown, not a banning of all guns.

    Atlasrocked refers to “the same people who want to take away your gun…” Well, the same people who defend absolute gun rights are the same people who think flag burning should be banned, voter fraud is a problem, prayers should be in the public school to prevent violence. Many gun owners think they should have an absolute right to be judge, jury and executioner if someone is in their home, on their property, or even threatens them on the street (!!!) but they want to take that right away from a woman who feels a fetus in her womb is a threat. The list of their irrationality goes on and on. This thread amply demonstrates that.

    Disinfectant, you are absolutely right. I talked to a professor in an Alaska (obvious gun culture state) university after the VA Tech shooting who said she’d like to take a gun into her classroom. But after I talked her through the scenario of getting her gun out and attempting to shoot the gunman, she agreed it was a scenario with a low probability of success. In the late 70′s I was a Criminal Justice major and none of the cops, lawyers, or criminologists I studied under recommended an armed public to reduce crime. Most of them don’t now, either. We have allowed a loud minority to dictate gun policy. It’s past time to stop it.

  54. Some studies on Gun Safety

    1. Arthur Kellermann et. al., “Gun Ownership as a Risk Factor for Homicide in the Home,” The New England Journal of Medicine, October 7, 1993, pp. 1084-1091.

    2. Federal Bureau of Investigations, Crime in the United States, annual.

    3. Linda Saltzman, et. al., “Weapon Involvement and Injury Outcomes in Family and Intimate Assaults,” Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992;267, pp. 3043-7.

    4. A.J. Reiss, Jr. and J.A. Roth, eds., Understanding and Preventing Violence: Panel on the Understanding and Control of Violent Behavior (Washington D.C.: National Academy Press, 1993), pp. 42-97; P.J. Cook, “The Effect of Gun Availability on Robbery and Robber Murder: A Cross Section Study of Fifty Cities,” Policy Stud Rev Annu 1979;3, pp. 743-81; J.H. Sloan, A.L. Kellermann, D.T. Reay, et. al., “Handgun Regulations, Crime, Assaults, and Homicide: a Tale of Two Cities,” New England Journal of Medicine, 1988;319, pp. 1256-62; C. Loftin, et. al., “Effects of Restrictive Licensing of Handguns on Homicide and Suicide in the District of Columbia,” New England Journal of Medicine, 1991;325, pp. 1615-20.

    5. I am deeply indebted to Tim Lambert of the University of New South Wales for providing many of these objections and rebuttals, which came from his archived postings to the Internet newsgroup talk.politics.guns. Many of the responses here are based on his answers.

    6. J.D. Wright, P. Rossi, K. Daly, E. Weber-Burdin, “Weapons, crime and violence in America: a literature review and research agenda,” (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1983), pp. 212-60, 361-411; P.J. Cook, “The effect of gun availability on robbery and robber murder: a cross section study of fifty cities,” Policy Stud Rev Annu 1979; 3, pp. 743-81.

  55. grywlfbg says:

    BR: You are quoting Mao as an interpretation of the US Constitution? I could have saved time and money going to law school and just bought the Chairman’s Little Red book !
    BR, you’re being disingenuous. JohanthanStein’s point is that the Founding Fathers absolutely believed that the populace should be armed w/ the most effective weapons of the day. Sure, they probably couldn’t imagine machine guns but their point was that the citizenry should be able to mount a defense against a tyrannical government. You’re not going to do that w/o weapons that are at least in the same league as the military.

    The point of the Mao quote was that disarming the citizenry is par for the course for all the great despots – Stalin, Hitler, Mao. Once that has been done the government is free to do whatever it wants to its citizens. The evidence is right there.

    Others have posted that while gun crimes are higher in the US, overall violent crimes are roughly the same as the UK so people will find a way to kill themselves or others. We need to treat the cause of violence, not the symptom. Laws restricting gun ownership only affect those who abide the law. Criminals by definition do not.


    BR: most effective weapons of the day? RPG? Mortars? uranium depleted rounds? Can I put Sparrows air-to-air missiles on my car?

    Bio warfare or nukes? Which would the founding fathers think was more effective ?

  56. Joe Friday says:

    To provide some context to those that keep bringing up the Second Amendment, here is George Mason’s original draft of the Second Amendment:

    That the People have a Right to keep and to bear Arms; that a well regulated Militia, composed of the Body of the People, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe Defence of a free State; that Standing Armies in Time of Peace are dangerous to Liberty, and therefore ought to be avoided as far as the Circumstances and Protection of the Community will admit; and that in all Cases, the military should be under strict Subordination to, and governed by the Civil Power.

    So, these arms that the people had the right to bear, were in the context of a well-regulated militia in lieu of a standing army, which not to mention, we have a wee bit of a standing army.

    The purpose of allowing people to bear these arms was to DEFEND the state, NOT to defend oneself against the state.

    Given one would be substituting for a standing army, the required training referenced would be far more extensive than the ridiculous puppet shows that states currently utilize for handing out concealed carry permits.

  57. JohnathanStein says:

    BR: You are quoting Mao as an interpretation of the US Constitution? I could have saved time and money going to law school and just bought the Chairman’s Little Red book !
    oops. It was in the same file as the others I’d saved…Well, I just LIKED it.

    But, a brownie point to you, for successfully dodging the historian issue!

    How about I add this: When written, a citizen had the same basic firepower as any soldier; it is blindingly obvious that the original intent of the 2nd Amendment was for an armed citizenry to outnumber any possible government army.

    Do get back to me when you check with that historian or biographer…I’d also be curious if he thinks the Supreme Law of the Land was written for Lawyers, or Laymen.

    P.S. You certainly have provoked a lot of discussion; I’ve added quite a few bookmarks and dragged out Excel to play Etch-A-Sketch with the numbers…

  58. JohnathanStein says:


    I really, REALLY, should know better than to argue with a lawyer, but:

    1. Weapons cause damange, by definition. Your suggestion imposes undeserved burden and penalty, in time and money, against an overwhelming majority of the law-abiding, as a consequence for the felony actions of the very, very few.

    2. FIRST: It’s a neccessary, but not sufficient, condition, and you bloody well know it. SECOND: Connecticut already had such a law:
    THIRD: Australia, Nazi Germany and the United Kingdom are well documented; I’m sure you can google the details, as well as other examples in Bermuda, California, Canada, Chicago, Connecticut, Cuba, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, New Orleans, New Zealand, Poland, Russia and Turkey.

    Pelosi & her ilk have been after registration for YEARS. It’s no great mental leap to see that confiscation will eventually follow.

    Sometimes, the paranoids ARE after you…

    3. Yes, compared to practical, immediate actions. You clearly ignore that there is MORE than enough empirical evidence to suspect Rx drug-induced violence as a cause, implicitly excusing government (FDA, et al) from its failure to suspend approval, ie:

    In addition, as police cannot prevent crime (and have no duty to protect), and since neither loony nor criminal respects law, establishing “gun-free zones” is not only non-sequitur, but creates attractive nuisance — both the “Batman” and Newtown murders were “gun-free” zones. Why not eliminate them, so any Principal or PhysEd teacher choosing to carry a Derringer has a chance? As things are, practical defense is a criminal act; that makes NO sense.

    4. Excuse me, but why must one pay for the priviledge to exercise the right to defend home & family? Your “pay-to-play” idea penalizes the prudent — ie: A husband may prefer a familar sidearm, a wife is better off with a semi-auto shotgun; their fees are double just for self-defense. That doesn’t count household firearms for hunting, pest control, or practice shooting.

    If Pelosi or Feinstein want to try their grandiose ideas, we have 50 states to use as test areas, leaving plenty of room for variations, data collection, statistical & empiracal proof. They certainly haven’t proven diddly-squat with past efforts; I’m still waiting for them to win the War on Crime, War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Terror, War on whatever.

    There is ZERO need for a NATIONWIDE effort for unproven programs of dubious value. Where such “victim disarmament” has been tried, like England or Australia, major crime such as assault, rape and robbery have increased — which anyone with common sense would expect; innocent citizens then get to bring a knife to a criminal’s gunfight.

  59. Dispatches says:

    I’m Australian. Also a historian, a scientist, a close observer of U.S. politics/culture and married to an American police officer. (Yeah, no, not kidding.)

    It’s a complicated, but SOLUBLE problem, with 3 main threads.

    1. Watch “Bowling for Columbine” again. A stark difference between the U.S. and other nations you’re relating to, is the lack of security in a social safety net. Think of it as a culture of “every man for himself,” which is really fundamentally different from other social democracies.

    2. Read “Dispatches” by Michael Herr again. The Vietnam war is critical in the recent history of gun culture. Yes, it’s a longer history than that; but proximal events have the greatest impact. There are still more than 7 million Vietnam veterans in the U.S. and they are smack in the middle of the Republican demographic. Consider this together with the evolution of the gun lobby since the days of the Black Panthers.

    3. Profuse access to guns. There seems to be a fundamental mis-characterization of human nature when this issue is raised: assuming that responsibility and emotional stability are static traits. This is so out of step with known reality I do have trouble understanding how it’s been allowed to become a pervasive belief.

    That last may be partly a result of one other, less important factor – the NRA’s aggressive opportunism and manipulation of public “debate” (which is a very poor description for what’s reflected in the media).

    It’s soluble, because culture can be changed by conscious communal decision and sustained effort.

    Unfortunately the federal government is very much restricted – for another two years at least probably – because ideally, the process of getting the excess guns out of circulation as rapidly as possible would be the first priority. With the numbers and the lack of records, that’s going to take years even with the right legislation. Not to mention the question of funding for new legislative proposals, licensing and registration schemes, and for mental health and public education.

    Grassroots and NGO activity – and funding – will be critical over the next 2 years, and ultimately will decide how long it takes. But if it’s 10 years or 20 or 50, it’s got to be done.

  60. Frilton Miedman says:


    This entire debate is staging itself exactly the same as the healthcare debate did.

    Regardless how overwhelming empirical facts and statistical data are, those opposed to change will split every possible hair & deny what’s completely obvious.

    It’s not complicated,

    No one needs an assault weapon with 90 round drum mags to protect their home & property or to hunt with.

    There is no reason, whatsoever, we shouldn’t be requiring background checks on all firearms transactions.

  61. whskyjack says:


    The good news is that the absolutist are in a minority and stuck with one political party so that they end up in as echo chamber of their own making. Then like the recent election with abortion, you keep hearing them make dumb statements that loses them moderate gun owners. The NRA and allies are starting to sound a lot like Todd Akins here in MO, it was not that McCaskill is such a great candidate but that Akin was stuck in his right wing nut echo chamber and created a big ick factor among the moderate/conservatives.

    I think it is time we started treating the NRA like the bozos they are.


  62. JohnathanStein says:

    >>BR: Some studies on Gun Safety

    Barry, how about some studies on Gun Protection?

    Y’know, what some folks have to do, ’cause the gov’t hasn’t managed to win the War on Crime yet, its police has no duty to protect, etc.?


    BR: Go find ‘em!

  63. I find it interesting that the pro-Gun folks really have not addressed the idea of “treating all guns like cars and all owners like drivers — we should register every gun like an automobile, and license and insure each owner like we do drivers.”

    Anyone care to weigh in on that?

  64. Frilton Miedman says:

    I completely agree with BR’s registration point.

    On topic -

    I’m pro 2nd amendment, but if I state that I don’t want convicts, known mentally ill individuals to buy guns, or that unregulated gun sales is a problem, folks like JohnathanStein infer I’m ant-2nd amendment.

    I see no reason for the allowed proliferation of unregistered assault weapons & unregulated gun sales.

    As for crimes prevented by private gun owners, Cato Institute estimates it in “tens of thousands per year”.

    What’s not mentioned here, the crimes being perpetrated against these gun owners are perpetrated by unregistered gun owners, and owning an AR15 with a 90 round mag would not matter, a simple .22 revolver would do the trick.

  65. Campfool says:

    Yeah, I’ll “weigh in on that”, Barry; We already do what you are saying, registering every gun and licensing every owner.

    On the broader aspect of treating guns like cars, though; The reason we, we as in the United States, do not treat guns like cars is we Americans have a Constitutional Right to own a gun. Period. There is no such Right to drive a vehicle, which is a privilege. Period.
    Unlike privileges, we American’s do not have to earn a Right, we are not required to pass a test or prove we are worthy, we are born with it.

    You state “My view is that having a firearm… is both a right and a privilege” and “Personally, I would treat all guns like cars”. Frankly, your opinion doesn’t matter. Nor does mine, and thank God for that! I think we should treat voting like we do graduating college, if you can’t pass all the tests you don’t get to vote.


    BR: We hardly register every gun, as so many of your colleagues have pointed out — we have a huge number of illegal unregistered gun in the USA>

    Second, the gun show loophole means that 40% of buyers do not go through a standard process.

    Last: No, you do not have “Constitutional Right to own a gun” — that is a wild overstatement of the second amendment: “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.”

  66. JasRas says:

    Please pardon me if this thought/question has been address, but one can find long term statistics on gun related injury/death/homicide/suicide in the United Stated–meaning going back to about 1970–fairly easily. Probably with some credentials or time, one could go back further. Without being able to look at what the long term rates are in other countries, *especially the ones that have adopted stringent gun control rules in the recent past*, it is very hard to say anything at all about our statistics versus anyone else’s.

    There are a lot of other factors that make the U.S. different than a lot of other countries that we are being compared to with regard to gun control. In many cases, we have many more personal freedoms, less restrictive governments, less homogenous populations, more cultures, higher disparities between “haves” and “have nots”, more gang activity, more drug issues, lower ratios of law enforcement per 100k… Not to mention we are the world’s peacekeepers, which means we have a large contingent of our population that has been involved in war, conflict, police missions, and have been trained to kill, then “retired” and expected to assimilated into normal civilization as though they’ve never been to Afghanistan, Iraq, or any other hotspot in the world. We have fewer social safety nets than most developed nations to which we compare. We stripped much of our mental health support $$ several presidents ago. We value educating “the village” less than others. As I’ve aged, I’ve felt we’ve taken an “each on his own” attitude as a society. Pensions migrate to 401k’s, Great healthcare transforms to High deduct plans and HSA’s, public schools migrate to charter and magnet schools, and so is there any surprise that there is a growth on self reliance for protection? So to simply point at guns as the cause and gun control as the solution is poor logic. If that were the case, why isn’t our gun related crimes MUCH higher than it is, because unlike most populations, we have nearly one gun for every member of our society!

    I have defensive handguns. I have competition handguns, skeet shotguns, and recreational .22 rifles. All registered. And I carry a license for concealed carry, although I rarely carry. I have a gun safe. I use trigger locks. I do not glorify or advertise the presence of weapons to my kids. I choose to live in a city. It’s a decent neighborhood, but has a lot of traffic from worse surrounding areas that passes through. Our crime rates have risen in this last economic downturn. In that time, I’ve gotten an alarm (broken into twice), and defensive handguns in the last 18months after having a friend carjacked, a friend robbed in garage, three rapes of girls under the age of 20 in/near our business district this summer… It is simply naive to think the police will be here on time, but instead will arrive after the fact. They do not doggedly pursue crimes save rapes and homicides. My friend who was carjacked spotted the carjacker, followed him to his residence, reported it to the cops, who did nothing.

    We are the most free country in the world with the least safety nets and a self determinist attitude in a lot of areas. We carry much of the load of protecting the world by sacrificing the innocence of many of our youth, yet we are perplexed by the violent notions that float in our society. Those countries have been given the gift of not HAVING to teach violence to their population because we subsidize that with our population and $$.

    There is a fable about a lion and a lamb being friends, then one day the lion ate the lamb. The other animals asked the lion how he could do such a thing and he replied, “well, I AM a lion”…. Let us not be so surprised at our country’s culture of guns and violence as it is pervasive in our history.

  67. Dispatches says:

    Frilton -

    That’s a good comparison with the healthcare debate.

    I was actually going back to Barry’s original question – Why does the U.S. have this apparently unique problem? – which I don’t believe has a simple answer.

    For Barry’s question, I’d like to add that it might be helpful sometimes to separate out two separate issues: Random shootings of absolute strangers (including the famous mass shootings), and the much more common incidents of crime/family/arguments etc, where a motive is more easily identified. Just a thought.

    JasRas -

    It’s interesting that you mention keeping your weapons away from your kids. I’d be interested to know why? Would you have anything to say about people who are introducing kids to guns at a very early age, (as here)?

  68. Andy1212 says:

    I would not compare the US to any other country. First off we are granted the right to keep and bare arms. Our culture is much less homogenous than any country that comes to mind. Japan is so far from us culturally that I wouldn’t even mention them in comparison. However, I do not see a problem with comparing our gun death rate to Mexico, El Salvador etc because I imagine where most of the gun deaths in the US happen the unemployment rate is very high, the standard of living is low, education is low, crime is high. If gun deaths were flat across the board then in the city that I live in (65,000 population w/many gun owners/hunters) I should experience over 6 gun deaths a year but for some reason there hasn’t been one in the 10 years I’ve lived here. I do not worry about gun violence in my personal life. The tragedies like Newtown are rare occurrences that get blown up by the media to the point where people think it’s going to happen to them next week.
    We have inner cities that other countries simply do not. Their problems go far beyond gun control. Would a ban stop illegal firearm possession and use?
    Perhaps our individualism, consumerism/impulse indulgence, and entertainment choices contribute to unbalanced people emotionally boiling over to violence but it may just be the price we pay for being individuals.
    Getting these people help is not a cut and dry answer. Many times in my life I’ve heard people threaten violence but nothing happened. Were these people unbalanced? Most were not. But whose to say they haven’t been pushed to that point? I wouldn’t recommend hauling people off in straight jackets. And how long can they be held on a suspicion? Who’s to say that after counseling the person is fine?
    Certainly, we all want to avoid another tragedy but is there really an effective answer? I would support a ban on assault weapons but I know it’s just a feel good measure. All this talk is fueling sales of these weapons so that there are even more out there.
    I am for gun ownership. I think the law abiding portion of our society handles firearms responsibly. If I were concerned for my safety I would just get a conceal/carry permit. Is more guns the answer? I don’t know but if you plant it in the mind of the criminal/mass shooter that he’s going into a situation where someone may be armed then he may not want to proceed as planned.

  69. Frilton Miedman says:

    Andy1212 Says:
    December 30th, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    “I would not compare the US to any other country. ”


    I’m sick of hearing this line.

    It’s often complimented with terms like “rugged individualism”, “American exceptionalism”, “money is speech”, “Tyranny of the majority”.

  70. Joe Friday says:


    I would not compare the US to any other country. First off we are granted the right to keep and bare arms.

    You’re only reading half the sentence.

    Our culture is much less homogenous than any country that comes to mind.

    Canada is much more like the U.S. than any other country is like the U.S.

    Would a ban stop illegal firearm possession and use?

    Straw Man.

    If the renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban had not been blocked, both the gun used at Newtown and the gun just used to murder the firefighters would not have been available.

    Perhaps our individualism, consumerism/impulse indulgence, and entertainment choices contribute to unbalanced people emotionally boiling over to violence but it may just be the price we pay for being individuals.

    Canada has the same TV, video games, films, and music.

    Certainly, we all want to avoid another tragedy but is there really an effective answer?

    In Canada, ordinary rifles and shotguns are non-restricted, whereas semi-auto handguns and rifles have restrictions. Contrast the difference in murder rates by gun.

    I would support a ban on assault weapons but I know it’s just a feel good measure.

    As I’ve previously delineated in a previous thread, that’s bullshit.

    Is more guns the answer? I don’t know but if you plant it in the mind of the criminal/mass shooter that he’s going into a situation where someone may be armed then he may not want to proceed as planned.

    More likely they would shoot you first and check whether you had a gun later.

  71. culhnd says:

    Register, license, and insure is an interesting concept, but suffer from the same basic failure of all gun controls measures – criminals either 1) wont’t comply and will obtain weapons illegally (Newtown, NY firefighters) 2) will comply but don’t care about the implications (Aurora, obtained weapons legally) or 3) we will mess up implementation (VT, mental health data not in system). Practically, this implies it is a “slow burn” solution, slowly lowering levels of ownership and the availability of such weapons. In fairness, I believe all this is true of all measures including full on bans and confiscation – relatively few gun owners would submit.
    A couple of ideas that I would love to see discussed broadly: 1) let our law enforcement set an example, go back to the days of .38 specials as the sidearm of our police. Until the north Hollywood shoot out, this was considered adequate for beat cops. Bloomberg has the opportunity to lead by example here. How often does a LEO actually need firepower in excess of a 6 shot revolver? 2) this will never happen -move in the direction of the original intent of the 2nd amendment – a militia that was intended to defend (not overthrow) our government. Mandate a year of military service. Israel and Switzerland both have similar mandates and in the case of Switzerland, also mandate assault weapon ownership for adult men. Completion of the year of service could become a prerequisite to firearm ownership. It may also serve as a filter for those that are unsuited for ownership. Most importantly, it could provide some of the cultural “glue” that is the true foundation of these issues.

    I predict what we will end up getting is at most a limit on high capacity magazines, nothing more.

  72. JasRas says:

    Gun and kids… My son has a merit badge in gun safety, has been to an NRA safety course, and has used guns of various calibers, not just bb and pellet guns. That said, I keep the guns in a safe, I do not try and glorify or make them “cool”. I guess as a parent I think of them in the same tone as alcohol. My kids know about it, have seen it consumed, have tried a sip to satiate curiosity, but have also been told it is an adult beverage.

    I have no problems with parents hunting with their children. But I also have no problem with farmers allowing their kids to operate farm implements in the fields if they’ve been trained and are supervised. That said, I’d likely freak if I saw a 12 year old driving a car on the freeway. So I think there are some natural conditional and situational things applied to guns, like many other devices that adults use. Does that make sense?

  73. Joe Friday says:


    Register, license, and insure is an interesting concept, but suffer from the same basic failure of all gun controls measures – criminals either 1) wont’t comply and will obtain weapons illegally (Newtown, NY firefighters)

    Both were purchased new and legally.



    Gun and kids… My son has a merit badge in gun safety, has been to an NRA safety course

    Michael Carneal, who shot and killed three of his schoolmates and injured another five in Paducah, Kentucky, had previously taken the NRA gun safety course.

    What did he learn from that safety course ? He inserted earplugs in his ears just prior to commencing his shooting spree, just as was demonstrated during the NRA safety course.


    Gotta run.

  74. culhnd says:

    Murder and use of a straw purchaser who is now appropriately facing criminal charges – quite clearly illegal in both cases.

    Factually, the purchase of all new firearms will be legal, as they will be going to a federally licensed dealer that will be running background checks (even at guns shows). The only exception should be flawed implementation of the background check, where the root cause is primarily flawed or incomplete data in the databases used for screening.

  75. JasRas says:

    @Joe Friday… I’m not sure what your point is in posting your snipe. You seem a bit incendiary.

    The guns were not gotten by the shooter legally. The mother had gotten them legally. He shot her in the head multiple times and took (stole) the weapons. If we were be exact and all lawyer like about it, the fact is he did not own the guns he used, therefore he obtained them illegally (via homicide)


    BR: I am not so sure about that — He was an adult living in that home, and had previously had access to and used those guns.

    You are conflating the illegal shooting with his access to them

  76. Joe Friday says:


    Murder and use of a straw purchaser who is now appropriately facing criminal charges – quite clearly illegal in both cases

    And quite clearly after the fact.

    If the Assault Weapons Ban remained in effect, neither gun would have been available for purchase new, therefore unavailable by murder or straw purchase.

    Lemme know when you put down that goal post you keep moving around.

  77. culhnd says:

    Barry’s proposal as I read it placed no restrictions on guns but advocated registration, licensing, and insurance. I did not realize we had whipped out the way back machine to create a new history where the 94 ban didn’t expire. Even in that reality, guns with only cosmetic differences and high capacity magazines remained available for legal purchase. Any magazine manufactured prior to the ban was exempt and could be bought or sold freely and used in those cosmetically different rifles. The newly proposed legislation by Senator Feinstein hopes to address those weaknesses.

    My broader point was that these guns exist, and short of a full on ban and confiscation, the cowards that perpetrate these acts are likely to find a way to procure them.

    Part of why I proposed moving the police force back to revolvers is that they (and the military) are effectively the leading edge for guns. Many people base their purchase decisions on what those groups use – adoption of the Glock and 9mm by police forces had a lot to do with both becoming so popular with civilians across the country. By moving back to revolvers, there is the opportunity to send a clear signal that 6 shots is more than adequate for “self defense” meme of ownership. Even the secret service used revolvers into the 90s. It’s not like gun technology has made some radical advance in the ensuing years that demands more firepower.

  78. JasRas says:

    I defer to you Barry, as you have the degree. And thank you for the editing.

    I think it is interesting we are fixating on a case that is not the norm. Yes, it tugs at our heartstrings even moreso than any other mass shooting so it is highly charged. But let us consider that MOST gun violence is not of this nature. If looked at en masse, we are looking at a horrific outlier and then flagrantly using it to move an agenda.

    I proposed a few reasons why homicides, including gun related, is higher than anywhere else. They may not be right, but there are many things there worth considering that are more likely ingredients of our violent nature as a country. I questioned whether the flagship countries that are held in such esteem about their gun control are valid compares. No one has seemed to want to chase any of that with vigor. I have tried to be a constructive thought poster, save for my last edited one, which was simply an annoyed response to Joe Friday who seems to have no additive thoughts throughout the threads, but is sniping, dodging and jabbing. Please reign that in.

    Seems the core of the problem is this:

    There is a constitutional element–other countries likely didn’t have that issue
    There is a cultural element–many factors here, all emotionally rigged
    There is a culture now of wanting the government to do less– less safety nets=less safety
    There is a lack of acknowledgement that horse is out of the barn
    There is no acknowledgement that laws are only followed by those who are law-abiding
    There is a lot of “coulda, woulda, shoulda” when in fact, we really do not know

    In this particular case:

    Connecticut is a very restrictive state with an impressively low gun death rate
    Yet, this tragedy still occurred in Connecticut, in a quiet, tranquil suburbia with nary a bad element
    The only thing that makes sense is to go after the guns, because it is so senseless, how could it be anything else?

  79. Joe Friday says:


    Barry’s proposal as I read it placed no restrictions on guns but advocated registration, licensing, and insurance. I did not realize we had whipped out the way back machine to create a new history where the 94 ban didn’t expire.

    You obviously haven’t been reading my posts.

    Reality bites. The guns utilized at Newtown and to murder the firefighters would not have existed if the Republicans had not blocked renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban.

    My broader point was that these guns exist, and short of a full on ban and confiscation, the cowards that perpetrate these acts are likely to find a way to procure them.

    That was the argument for not enacting the ban in 1994 and for not renewing it in 2004 (that it was not worth enacting). It has been documented as wrong.

  80. Frilton Miedman says:

    JasRas Says:
    January 2nd, 2013 at 6:53 am

    “Connecticut is a very restrictive state with an impressively low gun death rate
    Yet, this tragedy still occurred in Connecticut ..”


    The specific gun Lanza used was exempted from CT’s assault weapons ban.

  81. acbrown2013 says:

    Barry, I hope you realize that the statistics you are using include suicides. And they’re 3 years old. Suicides account for more than 2/3 of the gun related deaths in the US every year, primarily because if someone owns a gun and wants to commit suicide, they are significantly more likely to use the gun because it’s quicker and significantly less painful than other methods. Accidents account for less than 1% of the firearm deaths in the US. More people commit suicide by suffocation (hanging, bag over the head, etc) than were killed from being shot by other people in 2011. You’re twice as likely to die of Parkinson’s disease in the US than you are to be murdered with a gun.

    The latest statistics from the FBI show that firearm homicides have dropped about 20% since the federal “Assault Weapons” ban disappeared. There were fewer than 9000 firearm related homicides in 2011. The gun bans of other nations (The UK, Australia, etc.) had very little real impact on the number of firearm deaths that occurred in those nations. There were significantly more deaths in the years just after the UK’s ban than before it.

    In addition, the US is very different from other “Developed” nations (you know, except for Russia, which has 3-4 times the homicide rates of the US) in that we have a very diverse set of governing laws and a wide range of cultural, economic, climate, and racial issues affecting various places. If you wanted a true comparison of crime rates, you should check the rates for *all* of Europe, including the non-EU states, because that’s the only situation that comes close to mirroring the US in its levels of diversity. You would see some very significantly different results if you did that, since most of the baltic states and former USSR nations have higher homicide rates than the US. These nations would be comparable to the poverty stricken and violent states in the US like Mississippi and Louisiana.


    BR: I appreciate your comments, but you are not really addressing the issues I raised in the original posting