Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Thoughts about the Zimmerman trial

Unlike in movies, in real life when someone has decided that they are going to shoot or kill somebody experiences a massive rush of adrenaline as they are winding up to actually do the deed.

Granted, there are probably Mexican drug cartel killers who don't get worked when they are about the shoot someone, but that's not how normal react to life and death.

Here is a recording of a man who observes burglars at his neighbor's house. He states early on, and throughout the call that he is willing to shoot them. As he sees them exiting the house, he decides that he needs to go and stop them. You can hear the tone of his voice change, the pitch gets higher, you can hear the stress as that adrenaline rushes in and he prepares himself for violence.

 Man shoots burglars.

Let's now listen to George Zimmerman's call to the police. His tone stays pretty calm and even the whole time, which is consistent with someone who is not ramping themselves up to go shoot somebody.

(There is some swearing.)

Zimmerman's call

Either George Zimmerman is Han Solo,  or a cold blooded mass murder, or he wasn't planning on shooting Trayvon Martin.

Just my two cents.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gun Control

Recently there has been a cry for gun control, to prevent the kind of violence perpetrated in Connecticut. One of the biggest arguments is that if a certain type of rifle was unavailable to the general public, or if there weren't 30 round magazines then less people would have died. There is also an implication that normal people shouldn't be able to have military-style weapons.

Take Piers Morgan for example. In a recent show about the Sandy Hook shooting, he was nearly hysterical as he asked why anybody would need a Semi-Automatic rifle. You can't hunt with an AR-15 after all.

By bring in hunting, he conjures up images of non-military hunting guns like muzzle loaders, lever action cowboy guns, and bolt action deer rifles. These types of guns aren't the High Capacity, Rapid Fire guns like an AK or an AR.

What these guns have in common is that they all came about as military weapons, and were cutting edge, rapid fire, high capacity weapons, at the time they were introduced.

First, let's look at muzzle loaders. By themselves, they wouldn't be a terribly effective weapon, but a team of disciplined soldiers would be a formidable force to be reckoned with.

Here is a video of training for Last of the Mohicans. These actors have been taught British Army tactics authentic to the heyday of musket warfare.

Skip to 16:00 to see them really running on all cylinders.

Muzzle loaders are still in use today by hunters who really want to test their skills. But their roots are still as the tip of the spear of British might.

The next traditional hunting gun in America is the Lever Action rifle.

Its action is operated by swinging a lever down and out, then back to eject a spent casing and load a new round.

There are a variety of different rounds that can be shot from lever guns, from 44 and 45 caliber pistol rounds, to more powerful rifle rounds like the 30-30.

A very traditional, nostalgic, 'safe' American rifle with no martial connotations, right?


This type of action was adapted by the Union army, which gave an obvious advantage in battle.

But lever guns are still slow. Slower than a semi auto, but. . .

Our next hunting rifle is the traditional bolt action deer rifle.

Low capacity, slow to shoot, 'safe', benign, hunting gun.

For a period, the British worked out a system, and a slick rifle design, that allowed their rifle to be an incredibly effective war machine.

The rifle, plus training, resulted in a tactic called the Mad Minute.

The SMLE had a ten round magazine, superior to its opponent's rifles' 5 round magazines.

That brings us to the more modern action of semi-automatic.

Semi-automatic means that one shot is fired for every trigger pull. This is different than Fully Automatic weapons, where the gun automatically cycles and fires while the trigger is held down.

Since semi automatics are more modern, I wanted to see exactly when this technology was developed.

Here is the gun.
From Wikipedia,
"The first successful design for a semi-automatic rifle is attributed to German-born gunsmith Ferdinand Ritter von Mannlicher, who unveiled the design in 1885."

 So when Piers Morgan, or anyone on television, or radio, or any media outlet starts making noise about semi-automatic rifles, and how dangerous they are, as if this is new, deadly technology, they are lying to you. Normally I would say ignorant, but a simple google search pulled up the entry about the Mannlicher 85, so journalists have no excuse. Their profession is built around finding and telling the truth, and verifying sources.

Also, the AR-15 isn't the most powerful rifle that you can get. It shoots the 5.56 millimeter round, which this article talks about.

And for those who say you can't hunt deer with an AR-15

Warning: a deer gets shot.

And for those who say you can't hunt deer with an AK 47,  the 7.62X39 MM round that the AK fires, acts very similarly to the traditional 30-30 round from a lever action rifle.

And you can hunt deer with an AK.

So keeping in mind that any 'Assault Weapon Ban' would be an attempt to outlaw 130 year old technology, some may say that we need to try it anyway. Well, one time in 1999, right in the middle of the Clinton Assault Weapon Ban, this happened.

Those guns were full auto, which have been heavily restricted since the 1930's. While the AWB ban did make magazines very expensive for civilians to buy, the law did not prevent this from happening.

In fact, laws only prevent things by punishing people who break them, after the crime is committed. The prevention is a deterrent, a fear of punishment. For those who don't fear the punishment, then it isn't much of a deterrent.

If you take into consideration that there are estimated 80-100 million gun owners in the US, owning 300+ million guns, then if this population was dangerous, then there would be millions of deaths every year from guns. However, the latest crime data put 'gun deaths' at around 30,000. That is a rate of less than 1%.

So if legal gun owners aren't a problem, then why are laws being proposed that would impose a fear of punishment on them? Wouldn't you want to deter people who are more likely to cause violence in society? And what do you think would deter violent dangerous people more, the knowledge that the populace is disarmed, or the knowledge that the woman you are about to mug might shoot you?

I think what it comes down to, is the question of self defense. If self-defense is ok, then how could you justify any controls or restrictions placed on the ability to defend yourself? Is it ok to use a gun to defend yourself, but not ok to fire 12 shots?

Lets think of it another way. Do we restrict lens length, or power, or the size of memory cards or of the digital sensors inside cameras, in order to punish child pornographers? Do we tell the public that they can own a Canon Rebel, but not a Canon 5D, because the 5D has an enormous sensor and it's only legitimate use is by people in the movie business, and it has no legitimate snapshot purpose?

"No honest man needs a lens longer than 20mm. You don't need a zoom lens to take photos at a Christmas Party."

It sounds pretty ridiculous when applied to the First Amendment, this logic shouldn't be applied to the Second Amendment.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Facebook Gun Debate

  • I've been riling up half my friends lately, poking at emotional knee-jerk reactions to prompt rational debate. But there is a lot of emotion on both sides of some issues, so in the interest of fair play:

    What degree of gun control are you hoping to get? Background checks, outright bans on assault weapons, outright bans on semiautomatics, or outright bans on all guns? Explain to me what such steps would hope to accomplish, because I'm skeptical that they'd deter mass shootings or hard crime. Delusions of tyrannical coups, being the hero that stops a bank robbery, or zombie invasions aside, why should I not be concerned that outlawing basic semiautos or shotguns would undermine our ability to protect my loved ones, especially if I lived in a higher crime neighborhood?
    Like · ·
    • Ryan Shepherd and 3 others like this.
    • Ryan Shepherd Just as with other posts I've made the last couple weeks, don't go mistaking this as advocating a position. I just like to throw wood on the fire to get past all the rhetoric. You'll know when I'm actually expressing my personal beliefs, but I try to be pragmatic, so they're usually nuanced.
    • Ryan Shepherd Well, except that squash (the food, not the sport) is gross, and saccharine teeny pop music sucks. Those are universal absolutes in my universe.
    • Justin Chase I'm indifferent. I don't own guns, but if someone wants to, more power to them.

      However, to ask you a tough but fair question, why do you believe proposed gun control would fail to prevent (deter is not the right word) mass shootings or hard crime? What actual evidence do you have? Why do you need semiautomatic weapons or handguns to rescue your family? Is your family being attacked by a crowd of 20+ people in your scenario? If so, why? How do you justify owning any guns when comparisons between states / countries (controlling for population) have less "hard" crime with fewer guns? How do you respond that 63% of gun deaths are suicides, which would be less likely to occur if guns were banned (before you say it, remember that, empirical research has long found males tend to primarily use guns for suicide exclusively as they are seen as an easy way to kill one self, and when other methods are used to commit suicide are far less lethal and usually result in a suicide attempt as opposed to committing suicide)? Why should citizens even need to rely own guns to save their family in areas of high crime? Guns, in that situation would only serve to patch a deep rooted social problem. Why attempt patch something - in a way that data suggests only make matters worse - when we should work at solving it?
    • Ryan Shepherd I'd love to live in a world where we've successfully addressed underlying social issues. But we don't. So, in the current state of things, why should a law-abiding citizen not be allowed to own what many view as an equalizer.

      As far as a deterrent goes, we can both admit that criminalizing gun ownership wouldn't magically transport all the guns, registered or otherwise, out of the country, so that an inclined individual could obtain a gun, much as illegal drugs can be obtained. So if murder's illegality won't deter a would-be killer, why would criminalizing gun ownership have a different effect?

      I'm just skeptical and don't have facts on this topic, because I'm nit passionate about it. It's your job to convince me otherwise.
    • Justin Chase We used to live in a world where people were burned for witchcraft, denied human rights based on their skin color, or dueled in a street with pistols over the smallest of disagreements. Things changed in the past, are changing now, and will continue to change. That's the world we actually live in. Society is a reflection of us, our hopes, and dreams, not a static force to control our fate and make us fear the irrational.

      Again "deter" is the incorrect word. We can both agree that what we have now does not work. The data suggests fewer guns would at least reduce crime. There is no data as to increasing guns would help because no civilized post industrial society has got to the point we are and felt more guns would help.

      It's your job to inform yourself, as opposed to admitting ignorance, and abiding by the status quo.
    • Ryan Shepherd Fair enough. So, what sort of restrictions would have the desired effect, and how do we mitigate unintended negative consequences?
    • Keith Sorensen I know this will stir the pot, but there is not actually any evidence that suggests a reduction in crime in countries that have tough(er) gun restrictions. One of the biggest problems is one of language and definition, where "violent" crime is defined differently. One example: anti-gun activists in the US define a "mass shooting" as one in which even one shot is fired in the direction of more than one person, regardless of whether or not anyone is killed or injured. In Australia (a country with maybe the toughest gun laws on the planet), a shooting incident must result in at least four deaths before it is labeled a "mass shooting." That's why Australia can claim that they've had no mass shootings since their 1996 gun ban (which, even by their own definitions, is arguably wrong). A couple of pieces of support to follow. (Ryan - sorry to hijack your post.)
    • Keith Sorensen If you don't have time to read this entire page (it's pretty lengthy), at least read the section called, "Measuring the effects of firearms laws in Australia"
      Gun politics have only become a notable issue in Australia since the 1980s. Low levels of violent crime through much of the 20th century kept levels of public concern about firearms low. However, in the last two decades of the century, following several high profile multiple murders and a media camp...
    • Justin Chase That's a great question Ryan! Keep in mind, this is purely speculative, but, much of what liberals suggest would only serve as patches. They would be more effective than what we have now, but it would not solve anything. If you truly wanted to make things better you would need to do the following:

      1) Alter prisons so that their primary purpose is reform, not punishment.
      2) Socialize services people should have access too (e.g. healthcare / education, mental health).
      3) Decrease poverty by equalizing the income gap between the rich and poor.
      4) Make government more transparent and reduce the influence of lobby groups by eliminating money from politics.
      5) Decriminalize substances such as weed / other drugs.
      6) Encourage people to educate themselves about issues.

      Once these things are done, the issue of "gun control" would likely be a moot point. Sure, some crime may still happen due to the animalistic nature of human, but that type of violent crime is extremely rare. Most people kill or are killed for illegal substances, or because they lack education or do not have enough money / access to health care to live a healthy and happy life.

      P.S. Keith, that's a cool sound bite. It's also why Youtube/Wiki are both a blessing and curse. We could go back and forth posting youtube videos or wiki articles all day but, at the end of the day you would listen to your sound bites, and anyone pro-gun control would listen to theirs. Try reading some legitimate peer reviewed articles first hand. We can talk once that is done!
    • Keith Sorensen Justin, can't you talk about the content of what I've posted? It's not "legitimate" regardless of the content/truth of what's posted? Here's another one you can ignore:
    • Justin Chase I'm not sure what you're asking me Keith? Could you rephrase your question so it is grammatically correct / clear?
    • Keith Sorensen Justin, I'll slow down. Are you saying that unless something is "peer reviewed," it is, by nature, illegitimate? Are you saying that there can be no correct logic, relevant and/or true material in a online article that is not "peer reviewed?" Also, here is one that I believe should fit your prequalification:
      Every 13 seconds an American gun owner uses a firearm in defense against a criminal.
    • Bill Branvold Keith...yes we can look at murder rates from a statistical stand point...this may be helpful....and could not agree more, this issue cannot be separated from issues of poverty and educational background....most gun deaths, most murders are committed by people who know one another and/or domestic violence events..few would argue however that it is easier to kill someone with a gun than a baseball one is suggesting that guns be taken away....the argument is who can HAVE a gun and what types of guns should they it not reasonable to ask these questions...???
    • Justin Chase I am saying that posting a youtube video or blog is cute, but it is not proof. So, if you want to discuss the issues, let's discuss them. Or we could go back and forth posting links filled with unverified information that do nothing but confirm asinine stances. As Captain Planet would say, "The power is yours!"
    • Keith Sorensen I do agree that those are reasonable questions. The problem I (and most pro-gun advocates) have is that history has shown us that this particular issue presents one of the most slippery of slopes. Most advocates of the so-called "Assault Weapons" ban will admit that, while the law actually has no negligible impact on actual gun crime, they hope that it serves as a gateway to more sweeping and comprehensive gun control. Some will admit that they simply see it as the next (easiest) step toward the ultimate goal of complete civil disarmament. That's the fear that I have. If I thought that the government could be trusted to stop at reasonable measures, I'd support them whole-heartedly.
    • Dave Sohm Legal gun owners, and especially concealed carry permit holders, are among the most law abiding people in America. Please have a look at the number of concealed carry permits issued since 1987, vs. the number of permits that have been revoked in that time. The percentage is tiny.

      Owning or carrying a gun does not change the owner's or carrier's personality from safe to dangerous.
      Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announces that Florida is likely to issue its 1 millionth concealed weapons permit next week.
    • Keith Sorensen So, are you saying that (sorry, I'm repeating myself) that if it's on YouTube or a blog, it's inherently false, and therefore of no value to the discussion? That seems a tad narrow minded. In my view, we need more information, not less. And if you'll actually make yourself available to the information, some will naturally ring true or false, and much of it will be verified or falsified as your research continues.
    • Keith Sorensen The key to this discussion is the dismissal of preconceptions, the "eyes wide open" examination of each opinion and point offered. We are NEVER going to solve the problem of violent crime by eliminating certain voices just because they happen to be on YouTube.
    • Keith Sorensen And, I apologize for the grammar and sentence structure errors. I trust you, as a thinking person, to take my meaning beyond the errors that exist.
    • Justin Chase No, opinions are fantastic, but could you at least make an effort to have your own, for the sake of this discussion anyway? I am saying that you cannot say, "gun control is bad and here is evidence" and then post a link to a blog or wiki, because it is not evidence. How about you come up with why you feel this would be bad, and then we can discuss that; although I would suggest you first re-read my first post. Once you do this, you will see that I started off posting that I do not advocate for "gun control" as "gun control" is asinine, and likely feel really foolish about your first and second comments. I am arguing that we address the reasons why these crimes happen. No one (as far as I know) has ever bought a gun and then suddenly developed an urge to kill, and if they have, there were obviously other issues that occurred that were not the result of gun ownership. Issues that would, and could, be addressed in other ways.

      All I am saying is that, I am interested in hearing what you have to say aside from the obvious, or aside from what has already been established or freely admitted. For example, it's an obvious point that the data is only good as who does the counting, as deciding what to count is a big issue. Yet, the issue, at least as far as I am concerned, is not gun control. It is how can we reduce crime? Let's talk about real issues so that we may reach solutions. That's all I am saying. Posting links about gun control (on either side) will not serve any good, because it is a moot point.
    • Keith Sorensen Ok, then. Thank you. My opinion is that gun control is a moot point. We need to address the underlying issues that contribute to violent crime. However, I don't believe that government can do anything in the form of legislation that will ever move the needle on that front. That being said, the attempts by government are misguided at best, and tyrannical at worst.
    • Justin Chase Again, no one is trying to attack your opinion. It is not "your" opinion that is moot. Opinions are nice... Gun control itself, as far as I am concerned, is a moot discussion. It would be likely arguing what color to paint a ship that is sinking. Sure, we could sit around and discuss what color looks best, but given time, it really won't matter, now will it? Wouldn't it be more productive to fix the ship instead? Sure, such changes (as you mentioned) are likely very difficult to do, but that does not mean we cannot do them. Us humans are a crafty bunch after all.
    • Keith Sorensen It's also my opinion that gun control is a nerve point for many Americans. Many pro-gun advocates would hold on to them out of principle - regardless of research or common sense - because they represent safety and security, and "the illusion of control." Once I have no gun, I have no way to protect myself, my family and my home. Likewise, many anti-gun advocates would take all guns away from everybody, simply out of principle. One of the great failings of human beings is our inability to see from the other's eyes, or to accept that someone who differs from us drastically is of equal value.
    • Keith Sorensen I agree. We need more of "us humans" in positions of power, though. Much of what I see in the government makes absolutely no sense to me - it's all politics and money.
    • Keith Sorensen Been interesting to argue (in the dictionary sense - not the combative) with you. Thank you.
    • Ryan Shepherd The need to address crime and other societal problems is not a point of widespread contention. Deciding how to fund that work, is, though, and budget priorities are a different conversation. So until we obviate the need, real or perceived, for gun restrictions, let's talk about if those steps should be taken. Guns are neither emblems of evil or talismans of liberty. They are highly effective tools for propelling a projectile at great speed towards a target, to varying degrees of accuracy, at a distance sufficient to place the user out of harm's way, provided the target doesn't have a gun or the time to react and counter.

      So, our shared societal goals aside, is there quality data to suggest that gun ownership has an effect on one's likelihood of being the victim of a crime?

      As far as the assault weapons ban, I still haven't seen any legitimate arguments for the ownership of these weapons - they have all been arguments against the ban.

      I will try again.

      Take rocket launchers. They are not legal for private use. Is this restriction good or bad for society? If it's good, might we benefit from further raising the bar? If it's bad, or gas no effect, then why does everybody seemingly approve of it?
    • Justin Chase It's actually not an issue of funding, if you read all of my bullet points

      To your question, there is quality correlation data Ryan, but take that for what it is.

      I'm not sure that type of comparison works either.
    • Chris Winstead Prologue: Until about 6 months ago, I had no opinion on gun control. I was exposed to a variety of perspectives on the topic, having been a high school debater, a one-time libertarian and also having lived for a while in Canada. I never formed a solid opinion until a few months ago when my home was threatened by fires caused by gun fire. In the dialogue resulting from that incident, I came to believe that RESPONSIBILITY is precisely the thing that gun enthusiasts shun. The pro-gun movement has lost any ability do distinguish between responsibility and recklessness.

      My response: You ask this question as though the subject of gun control has not already been studied, considered, evaluated and, in fact, tested in countries around the world for many decades. I don't have to reinvent gun control. It is already a mature subject that has done a careful, scientific job of identifying methods that work to reduce suicides, accidental shootings and homicides. There is overwhelming evidence that sheer availability of guns contributes to acts of impulse, and that these acts of impulse are not often completed by other means. The most extreme option -- a total ban on the manufacture and sale of firearms for non-military use -- will ultimately eliminate a large percentage of suicides and homicides, and will eliminate the black market for firearms in this country as well as other countries who receive arms smuggled out of the US. I don't necessarily believe in a total ban, but when comparing to the losses suffered by gun victims, I find it difficult to care about the losses suffered by gun owners who must give up a HOBBY along with a delusion of self defense.
    • Keith Sorensen Chris, I would simply suggest that there are an equal number of studies that suggest the exact opposite. A total gun ban would never, ever eliminate a black market for guns in the US - it would expand it beyond our ability to estimate. I know it's an old argument, but that doesn't make it untrue, but look at narcotics. The US spends billions every year combating the illegal sale of such. Guns would fall in line. Also, gun laws have shown to decrease the number of suicides by gun (but not the total number of suicides), but not murders and violent crime. Take a look at Australia - the toughest gun laws on the planet, and their own numbers support what I'm saying.
    • Kristen Sohm Taking rocket launchers: made for longer range targets, many agree probability of needing to hit a long range target is much less than probability of needing to hit a short range (less than 100 yards) target, but still look threatening enough to deter those who would be detered, and stop those who would not be detered. Rocket Launchers and Rifles (in any style) are not a fair comparison, they are used for completely different situations.
    • Chris Winstead Keith- Your black market argument is reminiscent of the drug debate, but guns are not like drugs. Guns are not weeds that grow in somebody's basement, or chemicals prepared in a kitchen. Guns are precision instruments that require sophisticated engineering and manufacturing that is highly expensive. They also require precise ammunition and periodic maintenance. The big market for guns is military and police, and manufacturers for those markets must accept a huge variety of regulations already. The idea that they could operate significant off-the-books production to serve a civilian black market is fairly silly.

      As for suicides and homicides, I think you are embarrassingly wrong about the numbers. As I said, my opinion is newly formed and I collected my data by collecting research articles from Google Scholar. There is now overwhelming evidence that a small number of interventions -- including gun control -- dramatically reduce the total number of suicides by constraining impulse action. Another simple example is the UK's requirement that certain pills be sold in blister packs, so that a person can't just swallow a bottle of pills. By delaying access to the instrument of suicide, in most cases the suicide does not occur.
    • Brian Chase I'd like to see some stats from countries that have mandatory military service. Btw, who says duels in the street are relegated to the past? Gang shootings have a familiar ring
    • Kristen Sohm Why do Americans need "assault" weapons?

      Attackers get to pick the time and place of engagement, regular citizens then must respond. This places responders at a disadvantage.
      Larry Correia on Mike Huckabee's show - 1/20/2013
    • Kristen Sohm "Americans have historically modeled their choices of home protection and personal defense handguns on what the cops carried...The American police establishment has also largely switched from the 12 gauge shotgun which was also the traditional American home defense weapon, to the AR15 patrol rifle with 30-round magazine…and, not surprisingly, the law-abiding citizenry has followed suit there, too."
      National firearms expert and trainer Massad Ayoob blogs about firearms, self-defense, and more.
    • William Gary Elmer 1st of all the executive order makes the CDC study the effects of the bans so they can be improved. No gun law being considered will have any impact because there are over 300 millions guns out there. There is built in incrementalism.
      Secondly, I have provided excellent arguments for semi-automatic weapons citing both people who used them and are alive, and one that would be dead if there had been two attackers. Bottom line, in actual combat, most shots miss, if you have 7 rounds and there are two attackers the police may track down your killer. I could share more examples, but if you are immune to those it would waste my time, and I am lazy.
      @ Justin - when seconds count, the police are only minutes away....
      @ Chris - In the history of the world no country has given its citizens so many freedoms for so long. Guns seem to factor in that. I could show you several times that large purchases of firearms have changed the legislative agenda. My friends used to spend a month every year in the Canadian woods. They have been attacked by bears twice. Now they can't bring guns in, so they don't go. Canadians have lost something they will never get back.
      @everyone.- The UN is seeping in more and more. Their core philosophy is that people don't have rights, states do. As applied to the small arms treaty, people do not have a right to defend themselves, states do. Look it up, it is already plain, and the UN usually puts the worse stuff in just before the vote. I guess we will see in April. If the founding fathers didn't have guns, we would still be Brittish, and they would ave been hung as traitors. Maybe that had something to do with the 2nd amendment.
    • Chris Winstead William: you seem to be a little nuts.
    • Keith Sorensen Chris, I'd be happy to read any sources you could send my way that would back up your point. I've posted a handful earlier in this thread that I'd point you to, if you're willing to be a little bit open minded. Seems one of the biggest impediments to finding a solution to violent crime (of which I'm not innocent) is that we all have our minds made up, and no amount of good sense, factual research or logical reasoning can dislodge us from the corner we've painted ourselves into. Also, name calling ("nuts") really doesn't help your case. It's what people resort to when they don't have anything else to argue with.
    • Keith Sorensen Regarding Australia's 1996 gun buyback and ban: "Immediately following the Buyback there was a fall in firearm suicides which was more than offset by a 10% increase in total suicides in 1997 and 1998." Reference here:
      Gun politics have only become a notable issue in Australia since the 1980s. Low levels of violent crime through much of the 20th century kept levels of public concern about firearms low. However, in the last two decades of the century, following several high profile multiple murders and a media camp...
    • Chris Winstead Keith- I'm more than happy to share some articles, and I'll peruse anything you send up if its legitimate research (not journalism or blogging). As for "nuts:" sometimes nuts need to be called out. When someone has slid sufficiently far down the rabbit hole, there's really no point in arguing. Maybe he'll be sufficiently red faced to go read up on the actual UN (the one we have here on Earth), in particular its human rights mission. Apart from that I don't think there is much possibility for crafting "logical" responses against someone who has embraced delusion. Plus the UN has absolutely nothing to do with the gun control discussion.
    • Keith Sorensen Chris - All I'm saying is that you're not going to get someone to listen to you by calling them names. All you're doing is reinforcing the stereotype of "Liberals" who believe they're right simply because they're not Republicans. I'm not saying you're a Liberal/Non-Republican, I'm just saying that your argument comes across as, "If you don't agree with me, then you must be crazy." Not exactly how to win friends and influence people.
    • Brian Chase Every weapon has its ideal use. Semiautomatic firearms have their place in sports shooting, hunting, and defense. Should we go back to single shot weapons? One chance, make it count! Why stop there? Black powder muskets take even longer to reload than bolt action weapons. Then again, that avenger guy with a bow did a lot of damage? Should we limit quiver capacity too...but I digress. A semiautomatic is a semiautomatic regardless of magazine size.if people can accept that then the next question regarding public safety is simply if you can hide it. The effective range of a concealable weapon is limited for a good reason.
    • Keith Sorensen Also, are you really going to universally call anything that is journalism or blogging inherently untrue and therefore of no value to the discussion? Are only researchers allowed to shed light on the discussion?
    • Keith Sorensen Ok. I'm tired of arguing with brick walls. Good night.
    • Keith Sorensen (Oops - name calling!)
    • William Gary Elmer @ Chris - Typical liberal, when confronted with solid arguments call them names. You don't have the courage to look honestly look around and see what's going on, so you bash anyone who does. For the record, I have been teaching seminars on the near future for 12 years, and I have a far superior record the the official sources. I quit 6 months ago because everyone is either pretty much aware, or immune to facts. Everything I mentioned is public record, you could look it up and point out where I am wrong, or you can say "stupid head!". See look us conservatives can be mean and shallow as well.
    • Chris Winstead Keith- As you may have noticed from my original post, I'm not a brick wall, and only recently formed an opinion on this topic. I also happen to have a high standard of factual validation, especially on subjects that are highly controversial. As great as Wikipedia is, it is not considered a credible source when the stakes are high (graduate students are generally not allowed to cite Wikipedia in their theses, for example). Here is a sample article that passes scientific muster on the subject of Australia's gun control laws:

      S Chapman, P Alpers, K Agho, M Jones, “Australia’s 1996 gun law reforms: faster falls in firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and a decade without mass shootings,” Injury Prevention, 2006

      I'm trying to post a figure from the article which shows the long-term decline in both firearm and non-firearm suicides during the period from 1997 to 2004. I'm not sure if FB will let me post it in a comment...
    • Chris Winstead William- I am not calling you names, I am offering you a diagnosis. Get in touch with real facts, not conspiracy theories.
    • Chris Winstead It looks like I can't post the image, but I think you can access the article from the NIH web site:

      Take a look at page 368 (the article's fourth page).
    • William Gary Elmer I read the small arms treaty myself, and Ryan's and I know three people who started an NGO and are at the UN more than 1/2 of the year..... Which one of these facts would you like to dispute?
    • William Gary Elmer PS I do apologize for being snotty, My new gun beat the crap out of me today and I am cranky.
    • William Gary Elmer I missed the word "aunt". You were invited last time one of them came to Jeanie's house, but I don't think you came. (Sheri BTW, the leader's name is Dayne, you may remember her mentioning him/ them - The NGO is trying to put protections in the UN laws for individuals and parents....not going well)
    • Brian Chase Fact, Someone who is not a licensed clinical professional offering diagnosis cannot claim academic integrity, especially in a debate where said has been brought into question.
    • William Gary Elmer Thanks Brian! PS if you think it would do any good, you could bring up Switzerland where everyone is required to serve time in the military and keep their weapon - almost 0 crime. (I think that changed recently due to the EU regulations)
    • Brian Chase And then contrast it with say Israel
    • Joe Chisholm According to me, an an outright ban on anything that can be automatically reloaded would be effective. Of course, appropriate laws would need to be passed. Unfortunately, it will take a lot more death to see such a policy ever enacted.
    • Jon Sheckler I guess the question that Ryan is posing, in what it turns out to be an incredible discussion, is this. Is the tool the problem. or is the person? I do not believe that doing any sort of ban on weapons will inhibit a violent person from being violent. If your goal is to take away gun fatalities, then yes, restricting gun ownership will solve the problem. However, I find that argument to be hard to accept. If you placed a ban that made it harder for people to use and own kitchen knives then the number of knife fatalities would go done. But does that solve the issue of people stabbing other people? Sighting facts that say an area with no water suffers from no drownings doesn't help a place by the ocean from helping people. It is the same thing as citing facts that say places with no guns have no gun related suicides or mass shootings or gun deaths. The issue is violence. In fact, gun rectrictions show no effect on violent crime. Actually, you could argue that on a per gun basis, the united states is one of the safest countries in the world. Per 10,000 people there are 8,800 guns and only 466 violent crimes, making each gun responsible for only 5% of the total violent crimes in the US. And I am pretty sure I am inflating the gun number. Even so compare that to britain. In britain, there is a gun ban and over 2000 violent crimes per 10000 people. If gun restriction does lead to lower violence, then wouldn't britain's violent crimes be lower than the US? I am all for tighter background checks, but that doesn't mean that people don't snap and you can't propose laws in order to stop crime that hasn't happened. The Supreme Court on several occasions has commented that laws restricting the lawful use of firearms are unconstitutional. I think a law that should be on the books is one that requires gun owners to own a gun safe. But, that won't stop people from being violent. That is a cultural change. The biggest issue with framing the subject as gun control is that it makes the issue far simpler than it actually is. The subject is the complex issue of why are people acting out in violence. It could be the cultural obsession over violence in all kinds of media, news movies and music included, or it could be the added economic pressures people are facing, or it could be a reaction to eh use of extreme rhetoric, or a combination of all three. These are complex issues that require deeper thinking than the tool of the violence.
    • Joe Chisholm I still maintain that appropriate laws, however unlikely to be passes, would make violent people much more ineffective. Automatic rifle vs. michete? Which is likely to be more effective in committing mass murder? The answer is obvious.
    • William Gary Elmer Joe, what about the other stuff then? Lee Malvo used 1 shot at a time terrorize the East coast for weeks. What anoint Fuel Air Explosives? They could level a building with stuff you can buy anywhere. It is the culture we have here.
    • Ryan Shepherd It's not beyond reason to think that the cause-effect goes the other way as well. That perhaps part of the cause of the culture, is because of the availability of weaponry?
    • Ryan Shepherd Granted, what happens in the meantime, before culture has a chance to adjust?
    • Ryan Shepherd You could correlate Israel and Switzerland with gun ownership. You can also correlate them with cultural homogeneity and wealth inequality as well, which probably holds up better across the board. Japan has extremely strict gun regulations, and also has a very low crime rate. Once again, not stating a position, just saying, let's look at the available data correctly.
    • Dave Sohm A little while ago, someone brought up Australia, how they now have lower rates of Gun murders, Gun suicides etc. . .

      However, in recent years, Australia's rape and assault rate has increased. So women are 20 percent more likely to get raped, but by golly fewer people are shooting themselves. Is that ok?
      Home » Publications » Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice » 341-360 » Trends in violent crime  »  View paper
    • Dave Sohm "Automatic rifle vs. machete? Which is likely to be more effective in committing mass murder? The answer is obvious."

      Mass murder could never happen with a machete?
      Survivors of an attack on a camp in north-western Rwanda in which 271 people were killed said Hutu rebels came at night and started chopping up their victims.
    • Dave Sohm The UK has strict gun control, but there rate of violent crime has not gone down as a result.

      Is it worse to be attacked and stabbed, then attacked and shot? Warning, these videos show violence committed without guns, and some have bad language.
      After watching these videos, is it a good thing that fewer people are shot, but overall violence is higher?
      The United Kingdom is the violent crime capital of Europe and has one of the highest rates of violence in the world, worse even than America, according to new research.
    • William Gary Elmer So Ryan, if contention is of the Devil, and you like to rile people up.... OMGosh, your mom's Sunday school teacher was right!
    • Dave Sohm Even the most conservative estimate of defensive guns uses dwarfs the number people killed with guns in a year.

      "All firearm deaths

      Number of deaths: 31,672

      Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.3"
      Those deaths from firearms include criminals killed by police, legitimate self defense shootings, suicides, gang killings, accidents, and murders with guns.

      "Data from the NCVS imply that each year there are only about 68,000 defensive uses of guns in connection with assaults and robberies,[16] or about 80,000 to 82,000 if one adds in uses linked with household burglaries."
      Sources: National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey: 2009 Summary Tables, table 12 ...See More
    • Dave Sohm My point in posting those, is that law abiding, regular people who own weapons, are not a problem, or a threat, to society at large. There are other factors that cause violence, not just the presence of guns among the general populace.
    • Joe Chisholm That is true. The problem is that to fight the other factors that cause people to use weapons in violent way is a much more difficult fight. Man has a long and documented history of violence. I don't think anybody can effectively fight a battle against violent tendencies and mental illness. It is also true that if you make guns illegal, people will attempt to make other weapons work as effectively. But at least then you are making people work a little harder to off large numbers. It makes sense to me. Personal protection with a firearm which doesn't automatically reload is possible as long as you know that firearms that do automatically reload are not everywhere in your society. Again, I realize that this is just a pipe dream given the state of the debate today.
    • Brian Chase I agree that banning semiautomatic weapons would result in a modest improvement in mass shootings IFF you could round up ALL the existing ones in the country. That's not going to happen and even if it did what would the anticipated reduction in violent crime overall be? My opinion is that there are other issues that would benefit from our attention first
    • Dave Sohm Joe, people who are determined to rack up a high body count, are DETERMINED to make it happen. It becomes their focus. The guy who massacred a summer camp in Norway was determined to create a high body count. Norway has some of the most restrictive gun laws without an actual ban on guns. It is incredibly expensive and time consuming to own guns.

      It took ten years of planning by the guy in Norway to be able to pull off this massacre, but he did it anyway. TEN YEARS.

      Keep in mind that school massacres are incredibly rare. Regular people face life threatening situations more frequently than the number of school massacres.

      This isn't a tools problem. It is a behavior problem. Joe, you live in Colorado. Concealed Carry is allowed on your publicly funded college campuses. Is there a rash of shootings on Colorado college campuses? Are people threatening professors who give bad grades, are they pointing guns at fellow students during classroom debates, or shooting other people over parking spots? No. If they were, it would be all over the news.
    • Brian Chase Joe's point is precisely why we have the second amendment; just the opposite conclusion for semiautomatic weapons.
    • Katherine E. Larson I've been avoiding this debate because I'm not sure where I stand. I see good points in both sides.

      I personally hate guns and have no desire to own them, but it's not for me to decide what someone is allowed to own - provided nobody gets hurt.

      brother owns 3 guns. He's highly responsible and safe with his guns. When people want to ban guns, I think of him. Why should he suffer because someone else is a violent thug?

      On the other hand, we as a society do draw lines. I don't think just anyone should be allowed to own nuclear warheads, rocket launchers, or nerve gas, for example.

      It seems to me, the debate should be where should we draw the line? And I don't really know the answer to that.
    • Dave Sohm And by the way, pointing out that a gun is semiautomatic would be like pointing out that a car in a car accident had an automatic transmission.

      Semi automatic means only one bullet per trigger pull, and this technology has been in existence since the late 1800's.
    • Herschel Bullen Consider the sawed off shotgun. I would be the ideal tool for self protection. It has been illegal to possess one for decades. Should it be legalized?
    • Joe Chisholm What of state's rights on the issue? I would gladly live in a state that had stricter gun laws and penalties for using them in criminal activities.
    • Brian Chase New York and New Jersey are the place for you.
    • Joe Chisholm I wish I could afford to live there.
    • Brian Chase does anybody know why switchblades are illegal and similar fixed blades are not?
    • Dave Sohm Switchblades aren't illegal in Utah.
    • Dave Sohm I'm guessing West Side Story had something to do with switchblade legislation.
    • Dave Sohm New Jersey definitely has restrictive gun laws.
      If you want to know the REAL story of how difficult and convoluted firearms owne...See More
    • Dave Sohm Herschel, short barreled shotguns aren't necessarily illegal, but they are highly regulated. You have to pay a tax and fill out a bunch of paperwork before you could cut down, or install a short barrel. There is a company called Serbu that makes really fun, small shotguns.
      Shooting and showing the shortest shotguns you'd ever want to even think about! ...See More
    • Brian Chase I think they are if in a pocket
    • Doug Nierman 43 times more likely to kill home owner or family member than criminal. Public health issue.
    • Dave Sohm Biased, debunked study.
    • Dave Sohm
      The Kellerman, et al (1993) study in the NEJM attempts to use the case-control method (CCM) to show that gun ownership increases homicide in the home. The limitations of the CCM, and serious flaws in the study methodology, result in invalidation of the study's conclusions.
    • Joe Chisholm I think that is is presumptive to assume that all mass murderers are "determined" to commit the act. The human mind is a complex thing which exists in an endless variety of singular forms. It seems to me quite likely that some of the most recent offenders were not so determined at all. They were extremely sociopathic young men to whom moral and social codes held no meaning. They got a wild hair up their ass one day because there mom was nasty to them, and said, "Oh yeah bitch, watch this". Now, if they intended to go through the trouble to build and plant a bomb at a school, would they have gone through the trouble, or just gone back to their bizarre and, I trust, miserable existence? Or, if the best they can do is to have to do the dirty work with a blade of some sort, how far do they get? How many people's lives would have been saved? Estimates?
    • Kristen Sohm Here is a message that may apply to individuals as they consider what has transpired in our communities. It doesn't directly have to do with guns, but with our fears. Take it at face value, if you will.
      Elder Russell M. Nelson shares a personal story to give encouragement for when w...See More
    • Doug Nierman Good idea to be open minded and think through it. I read the 'debunking' of the Kellerman study and didn't find it debunked so much as 'straw-man knocked down'. It says the study if flawed because it assumes causation. The Kellerman study concludes you are more likely to die from a family member, etc. which isn't claiming causation. Kellerman was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The debunking article is 'web published' by firearms and liberty. Not sold.
    • Dave Sohm "Former United States Military Academy Professor Col. Dave Grossman, author of "On Killing," and "On Combat," (which are required reading at service academies) points out that what these people want, is notoriety. They want to "strike out," at a societ...See More
      America's Most Aggressive Defender of Firearms Ownership
    • Joe Chisholm It is true that many of the recent attacks have been well planned out, but not all of them. Of course, we can only speculate on how stricter gun laws would have effected each case. But I seriously doubt that we would be tallying anywhere near the number of dead in any of the cases if the perpetrators had been forced to act with homemade bombs and hunting rifles.
    • Dave Sohm Think of it this way. Is it ok for police nationwide to be more suspicious of, and detain any black, mexican, or asian person they see, just because of the violent actions of black, mexican or asian gang members in Los Angeles?

      What you are talking ab
      out, Joe, is punishing, restricting, inconveniencing a large chunk of the adult population, that owns literally MILLIONS of AR and AK type rifles, because of these shootings that are so rare that they are statistical anomalies.

      You are willing to take rights away because of the actions of three people in the past year. In the hope that maybe the next mass killing won't be quite as bad.

      Think about this. The killer in colorado didn't travel to the theater closest to his apartment, and he didn't go to the theater that boasted the largest auditoriums in the area. He chose the theater, the only theater in the area, that had a "No Guns Allowed" sign on the door. He wanted to maximize his chance of 'success' in his twisted mind.

      He didn't want to go someplace where someone might fight back, because then he would just fade into obscurity, instead of having his face shown around the world.

      Speaking of obscurity, do you know the name of the Clackamas Mall shooter? Would you recognize his photo? Did you ever hear why he only killed two people before killing himself? Even though that mall has No Guns signs posted, somebody was carrying a concealed weapon. When the shooting started, Nick Melis got the people he was with on the ground, then he moved to cover behind a pillar and drew his pistol. He aimed at the shooter, whose gun had malfunctioned, but saw people moving behind the shooter, and decided to wait until he had a clear shot.

      However the shooter looked up, and saw Melis with a gun, then ran to a stairwell and killed himself.

      That is the kind of failure that public mass killers fear. Which is why the possibility of an armed resistance affects the planning. The guy in Oregon thought he was going to have free reign, but was thankfully mistaken.

      But again, these types of shootings are so rare, you are far more likely to encounter a home invasion, where an AR15 would be an incredible defensive weapon. And by home invasion, I mean they break into your house when they know you are home, they are after you, not just your stuff. By banning AR15's or even regulating them to be more expensive, you are forcing people to use less effective weapons, and you might even be putting them in danger.
    • Dave Sohm
      Nick Meli told a KGW reporter that he heard three gunshots, and then positioned himself behind a pillar in the mall. Meli said he saw the gunman working on his rifle, pulling a charging handle and hitting the side of the weapon.
    • Joe Chisholm Yes, that story is what it is. Part of my viewpoint is that an armed populous provides merely a false sense of security against an unknown or non-existent threat. I think that any militaristic force, either the US military, or a force powerful enough to overtake the US military, would overtake the US populous regardless of whether they were armed or unarmed. As far as protection against more small scale criminals, again I would state that a one or two shot pistol would suffice as long as you know that there is not more powerful weaponry that you might be up against. I know that the laws which I hint at seem ridiculous given the state of the debate as it exists today, but in my view, any gun that is in the hands of someone who is not hunting, target shooting (etc.), in law enforcement, or in the US military is a gun that need not exist in American society.
    • Dave Sohm But Joe, you live among an armed populace right now. All around you, everyday, are people who are legally armed. Some of them have five shot guns, some have 18 shot guns. And I bet that you've never heard a gunshot outside of a shooting range or seen a gun being carried by someone other than a police officer.

      According to this article, more than 30,000 background checks for new permits were issued last year.

      And despite the worried tone this article gives about the ease of getting a permit in colorado, the vast majority of people with permits are responsible people. That's why your objections are of your opinion and your viewpoint, but not because you've had a weapon brandished at you, or seen someone accidentally fire their gun in public.

      Keeping in mind that you encounter members of the general public on a regular basis, who are armed, and they haven't put you in danger, why would these same type of people be more dangerous or irresponsible in their home with a rifle designated for home-defense? And why punish these people for the actions of another?
      While the number of people seeking a concealed-carry permit for a gun in Colorado has skyrocketed, the ease of which some certification is done is coming under scrutiny, even by Second Amendment supporters.
    • Steve Shepherd I have looked down the short barrel of a fully loaded 38 special not knowing if the guy was going to fire or not. I've lived in an area where there was a loaded shotgun or loaded rifle in the back window of 98% of pickups. I have 3 guns myself. I consider it a basic right to own guns, not a privilege.
      It is only a very small fraction of people with guns that, for whatever reason, go off the deep end and use a gun against innocent others. We will always have loose nuts walking among us and I feel that no amount of legislation, regulations or visceral reactions to scattered and rare outrages will ever keep weapons out of the hands of those loose nuts. Guns are not the problem, it's a very small population of individuals who are the problem. Cars kill many more people than guns yet they aren't on the chopping block; rather energy, technology and legislation combine to make cars safer and more distant from the human variable. 'Gun control' is properly placed on the owners of guns and not a matter for congress which is out of control.
    • Joe Chisholm I'm not trying to claim that gun or most gun owners or guns themselves are "the problem". I just don't believe that there is a rational reason to have guns in the populace at all beyond those used to hunt. I see no benefit for society at large, only detriments.
    • Joe Chisholm Sorry, delete "gun or most".
    • Herschel Bullen What do you need a gun for except to hunt? Unless you live in a very dangerous neighborhood, I guess. But that's a moot question. We have a well established right to gun ownership in the 2nd amendment. It is our right and privilege to own guns. Period. That's not going to change. It is also, however, as with all of the rights and privileges granted under the Constitution, particularly the Bill of Rights (1st 10 amendments), a duty and responsibility of both individuals and the government to insure that the benefits of those rights are not unreasonably outweighed by the burdens. We are provided the right to freedom of speech under the first amendment. But the individual is not free to incite riot, threaten to kill public officials, yell fire in a crowded theater, etc., i.e., you can't just say anything, any time. And there are laws against defamation and so forth. We have freedom of religion. But if the religion sanctions a particular form of lifestyle which is incompatible with the mores of society, e.g., polygamy, reasonable restrictions are deemed permissible. You can only have one wife, regardless of what your religion says. We have freedom of association and to protest governmental action, but perhaps you'll have to apply for a permit to insure you're not stepping on other people's toes when you do it. There are many reasonable restrictions (and some many consider not so reasonable) on the rights and privileges we are granted under the Constitution. The examples are too numerous to recount. So the question is not whether we have the right to possess guns. We do. That is a given. But as I pointed out in an earlier post, that is not an unfettered right. Sawed off shot guns have been illegal for decades. They are not deemed reasonable or necessary to the preservation of the 2nd Amendment. And so far as I know, the 2nd amendment has not withered in the slightest in the wake of this prohibition. So my question is, why are assault rifles so uniquely precious that they shouldn't be banned? And why are background checks such a bad thing that it would be an infringement on the 2nd amendment. I simply have a hard time when anyone says, as a knee jerk reaction, that banning any particular type of weapon or ammunition, or imposing any kind of regulation on the sale of firearms, is automatically an "infringement" of 2nd amendment rights, regardless of the item sought to be regulated or the rationale behind it. As a people, we have a responsibility to ourselves to take reasonable measures to insure that the 2nd amendment is not elevated to such unfettered, unchecked supremacy, that we can no longer live with the consequences of failing to assume the burden of the rights and benefits it bestows. It seems to me we have just about reached the tipping point.
    • Todd Feeney Well said Herschel.
    • Steve Shepherd Those with loaded rifles in their pickups have them in case they spy a coyote or other varmint hassling their livestock. The guy with the 38 didn't want to be served papers. I agree: All freedoms are inextricably linked to responsibilities and situational limits. ...Ooo, this is fun, but my brain just got sprained...
    • Dave Sohm Joe, Seriously? You didn't look at the news stories that I linked of people using hand guns and a couple of AR 15s to defend their lives? Do you not think that preventing torture, rape or death is legitimate? Here is one news story, it's a minute and 39 seconds long. A fourteen year old boy protected his twelve year old sister from two men who broke into their house. He used his Dad's AR15 rifle.
      Houston, Texas, June 29, 2010 - A 15-year-old boy shoots a home invader by using...See More
    • Doug Nierman Dave, Thanks for tracking down more info on Kellerman and an informed exchange about the issue. The 2.7 times more likely to die from 'friendly fire' in the home versus outsider does seem more real world. In my mind that still calls for reducing the amount of firearms in our society. There are plenty of countries that have way less guns and way fewer deaths. Why not go in that direction? They aren't suffering from a lack of freedom. 90 deaths by firearms a day in the US? Probably a majority suicides. If you have the studies I feel they would argue my case. How do the gun owners want to reduce the death toll? Other than have armed school guards. Any other ideas they are offering The NRA doesn't seem so grass roots. It's enthusiasm for assault weapons seems driven by the $$interests$$ of gun manufacturers. They don't seem to care much for who ends up dead. They aren't working to solve the abuse of guns.
    • Dave Sohm "It's enthusiasm for assault weapons seems driven by the $$interests$$ of gun manufacturers."

      You realize that is just a propaganda talking point, and shows that you aren't willing to do your own research?

      How many guns are in the U.S.? The number fr
      om the National Institute of Justice is about 310 million. That's 310,000,000.

      How many people are killed by gunshots in a year? Like I already posted, "All firearm deaths: Number of deaths: 31,672.
      What is 31,672 divided by 310,000,000? .0001021

      That's 0.001021% of American guns killing people, and that is all deaths, police shootings, self defense, accidents, suicides and murders.

      One one-thousandth of a percent is not a problem. This number is smaller than the failure rate of the most reliable form of birth control.

      Yet you are still afraid of guns. That's fine, don't buy one. But if you are afraid of something that causes you no harm, what makes it ok to use law and government force to punish people who have done nothing wrong, but think differently than you?
    • Dave Sohm How to reduce the body count? You mean in schools? Allow CCW permit holders to be armed at school.

      Remember how this specific type of killer fears failure more than death? If there is a chance that an adult at the school will be able to stop them, the
      y will pick another location. They want their names in History books like the kids from Columbine, not obscurity like what's-his-face from the Clackamas Mall.

      Security guards are visible, the plan would simply adjust to shoot that person first. That's what the guy in Norway did. Concealed carry means that the killer would have no idea who might fight back and ruin their plans.

      And don't you dare say that teachers wouldn't be competent enough or brave enough to shoot a threat to their children. Dawn Hochsprung realized what was going on, and was brave enough to charge the shooter, even though she had nothing but her hands to fight with.

      If you say that it would be worse for school employees to be armed, then you are saying that you would rather have Dawn and those children dead, then to have to killer shot down by Mrs. Hochsprung in the first moments of the attack.

      Remember, the whole thrust of all these laws is presumably to keep children safer, not to reduce the number of guns in America, or the number of bullets they can hold.
    • William Gary Elmer Hey Doug, if you really believed that, you would call for free guns for criminals so they could accidentally shoot themselves. You know that number includes suicides, and most who are serious about that find another way. (my train in San Diego ran over an average of 1 person a month). One guy did survive, but mostly it was pretty effective. I re-state in my faulty logic, every day someone in this country is saved by a gun, and that's not even the best reason to keep them.
    • Joe Chisholm They are used as both a positive and negative force, I realize that. I still contend that by and large, society would be better off without them.
    • Dave Sohm So you'd rather live in a world where the young and strongest dominate? Where this is a more common occurrence?
      Violant Attack Stabbing Caught on Security Footage...
    • Dave Sohm Guns are a positive force much more often than they are a negative force.
    • Herschel Bullen Nonsense Dave. When 28 people die by gun violence every day in America, it's time to stop gilding the lily. Our romance with guns is turning us into a bunker mentality society. We need to get over it. Do you really insist that we be required to pry your gun from your cold dead hand?
    • Dave Sohm According to estimates by a person who thinks guns are a public health problem, guns are used 100,000 per year in self defense. So even though that number is probably low, it's still 276.24 people saved by guns every day. If guns or gun owners were as dangerous as you say they are, there would be millions of deaths from gunshots every year, not just 30,000 or so.
      In the debate about gun control, a critical question is how frequently gun owners use their weapons to protect themselves
    • Dave Sohm Do you really insist that we be required to pry your gun from your cold dead hand?

      So you'd be ok with murdering people in order to reduce the number of deaths? That doesn't make any sense.
    • William Gary Elmer Funny thing, 1000 abortions of innocent babies a day don't bother the Liberals, but 33 deaths of largely gang bangers and suicides a day do. We are literally collapsing (albeit a la "The Long Emergency" way), where if we don't dramatically cut spending and raise taxes, our banking system will fail, but if we do cut out that much GDP our economy will. All the powers that be can do is wave shiny things in front of us and hope we don't notice, while hopefully getting as many Gus out of circulation as possible. My faith is not in my guns, but it is in knowing I did what I could.
    • Doug Nierman Dave, I think it's a talking point because it's pertinent and valid. Check out the current Rolling Stone for starters. I think we should stick to guns as you pretty much do and avoid the kitchen sink, ie liberals, abortions, debt, etc. Etc. After arming schools, what if anything do you want to do to guard the 6 year old from shooting his 3 year old sister, keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill, etc.? What makes you so pro gun? Are you just a regular gun owner or active gun advocate I mean you have a collection of articles you cite, is gun advocacy a hobby? World ruled by young and strong? What about the police, court system etc.? How often have you had to use your gun in self defense? I'll check out the articles, but 'used in self defense' seems pretty squishy not 'innocent person alive because of gun'. Night.
    • Doug Nierman Dave, the business week/Bloomberg article reads like an NRA screed. The data, what counts as a use in self defense, etc. isn't even clarified, it's more in the line of 'even a Harvard liberal says....'. More a polemic than info. How about real studies. What's some of the best data that makes your case? And I'm not anti gun, but think there should be much greater liability. Back to 2004 assault weapon ban, suing liable parties, more background checks, more mental health checks. Schizophrenics owning guns? Psychotics? Those with severe depression, ie that pose an imminent risk to themselves or others? Ie have thoughts and plans of killing themselves or others?
    • Doug Nierman Dave, Guns saving lives. It is based on hypotheticals of what didn't happen. To count saved lives you would need to know that a life would have been lost w/o a gun and then know that a gun served as effective deterrent. Not really part of scientific methodology. I went to 'Guns Save Lives' website because they said they had stats categorized and tabulated. They only had three antidotes. One where a assumed prowler was shot, no info if he was armed or how they knew he would kill. Life saved? His? Death penalty for prowlers?
    • Dave Sohm "Dave, the business week/Bloomberg article reads like an NRA screed."

      Doug, you didn't read the article. The author cites three academic studies published in the journal of criminal law and criminology.

      Post again after you've read the article.