Ramona's picture

    Killers aim to kill, Guns do the killing, the NRA protects the guns, Lawmakers protect the NRA, Killers aim to kill.

    Suspected Colorado movie theater gunman James Holmes purchased four guns at local shops and more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition on the Internet in the past 60 days, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates told a news conference this evening.
    "All the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally, all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally, all the clips he possessed, he possessed legally," an emotional Oates said.
    The chief declined to say whether the weapons were automatic or semi-automatic, but "he could have gotten off 50 to 60 rounds, even if it was semi-automatic, within one minute," Oates said.
    Good Morning America, July 20,2012

    In the wake of the latest mass murder in America, the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting spree, the usual talk about how insanely easy it is to acquire assault weapons and heavy ammo seems to fill every inch of air and space.  In the wake of the Columbine shooting--talk, talk, talk.  In the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting--talk, talk, talk. In the wake of the Fort Hood shooting--talk, talk, talk.  In the wake of the Tucson shooting--talk, talk, talk.  The analysis of the dozens of mass shootings in the past 30 years--talk, talk, talk. The consensus is that it's too easy to stockpile the kind of weaponry crazy people use to massacre innocent human beings whose only deficiency is that they manage to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Immediately upon hearing the outcry, the National Rifle Association goes into defensive mode, taking their usual stance that guns don't kill people, gunmen kill people, so you can't blame the guns and you can't blame the easy acquisition of those guns. because only a few gunmen are nuts enough to go out and shoot up a bunch of people.  (The second most popular NRA stance is that if everyone was armed and ready, things like this couldn't happen.)

    Crazy, isn't it?  But here's the craziest part:  The NRA gets away with it.  Every single time.  All of America--or at least those in a position to do something about a runaway gun association--seems to be terrified of a powerful lobby whose only public position is advocating widespread use of all types of guns and ammo, including repeaters, military-type assault weapons, "cop-killer" bullets, the whole shebang.

    So here's more talk--not that it'll do any more good than the talk before it, but it has become obligatory now.  We use it in place of actually doing something about the legality of assault weapons, the obligations of gun owners (and their associations), and the rights of those who fall victim to this irresponsible nuttiness:

    Bill Moyers on Living under the Gun

    Adam Gopnik on One More Massacre

    Russ Baker:  Did you Hear about the Shooting?

    Michael Tomasky on the Country the NRA Wants to See

    Michael Daly on whether the NRA is Also Culpable

    E.J Dionne on The Gag Rule on Guns

    Daren Samuelsohn on Why Gun Lovers still fear Obama

    Digby on The Horror at Talking about Shooting

    Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence


    The website for the NRA's lobbying arm, The Institute for Legislative Action, is here.  If you can figure out a way to get them to pay attention to you without having to join the NRA, go for it.

    And if you can figure out a way to get our politicians to pay attention this time, here is where you can reach them:

    James Holmes bought four guns and 6,000 rounds of ammunition and went into a movie theater with the sole purpose of mowing people down.  He might have had those same thoughts even if he hadn't had access to guns capable of mowing people down as swiftly or efficiently as these did, but a madman with a single-shot rifle or even a six-gun couldn't kill 13 and wound 70 people within a few minutes. 

    That's what has to stop.  That's what the talk is all about.


    (Cross-posted at Ramona's Voices)


    What has to stop is clowns like you spewing nonsense.

    A vast percentage of killings have been caused by illegal gun ownership. 

    Take a nice stroll around the south side of Chicago. That dump has the the most restrictive gun laws in the country; however, suffers the highest % of gun crime and homicides. 

    If you think that restricting gun ownership from law abiding citizens, you are a fool. 1 man carrying a 9mm could have stopped that clown dead cold. Additionally, greater restrictions on gun ownership would have not stopped this goon from acquiring his weapons: he was dead set on killing people and would have found any way to get what he needed to execute that demented desire.

    So in a dark, smoke-filled room, you expect to win against a man with night vision goggles, body armor and an AR-15 with 100 rounds in the drum? Not to mention three backup weapons? Talk about nonsense.

    Yes, Anonymous, I want HEAVY restrictions on gun ownership.  Heavy.  I want every gun owner to be able to prove he or she is responsible, and I don't want any gun owner owning weapons and ammo more suited to the military. 

    Give me one good reason any law-abiding citizen needs an assault rifle.  No fair saying, "Second Amendment" or "God-given right".  No truth in either of them.

    Maybe you didn't read any of the links I provided.  Almost all of them anticipated what you and yours would be saying about this.  Aren't you glad you didn't disappoint them?



    As opposed to what? Throwing peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks? One armed citizen in that theater with one well placed round would have dropped him immediately: the human brain being hit by bullet won’t know the difference between an AR-15 bullet coming from a 100 round drum and a 9mm coming from a 10 round magazine. If anything, they would have had a fighting chance than being sitting ducks hiding till authorities arrived.


    I don’t know. Maybe the owner collects assault weapons? Maybe they hunt with an assault rifle? Maybe they take it to the range every so often? How about we have every cell phone purchaser prove to the government, that you will never use it while driving? How about you prove to me before you drink, you won’t drive a vehicle afterword.  We lose more people to swimming pool drowning and distracted drivers than to deaths cause by assault weapons. So let’s ban cell phones and swimming pools!

    No I did not read your loaded links: just by looking at your “map” with “statistics” could I tell it was a waste of my time. It is funny how states/cities with the strictest gun controls were conveniently “omitted” from your stats. If you are willing to pull your head out of your #@#, take a look at the stats on those states/cities and how well their “gun control “laws are working.

    Here is a fact: Guns have been in American history since 1776. For some reason, previous generations young people did not have the same propensity to indiscriminately kill other human beings. Guns were much more plentiful in the early 19th and mid 20th century with a lot less gun control. For some reason, only after the 1960’s when baby boomers tried raising kids did we have the mass killings by teens/young people. 

     Drop him with one round? The guy had body armor on and a loaded gun pointing at you.

    No, it is the fault of the hippies from the 60's! Of course it is!

    That's when it all started! When we lost the must win Vietnam War to stop the commies, the hippies didn't want to go, and there was doubt on the home front!

    Limbaugh says it all the time! Rush knows whose fault it is, whether it's Vietnam or Iraq, or Abu Ghraib, Afghanistan, economic collapse, or the deficit...it's not the Republicans and right wingnuts fault, it never is!

    Everything that is wrong with the country the last 50 years is the hippies fault, even though the Republicans have had the Presidency for 28 years!

    Narcissist gun crackpots lack one iota of empathy for their fellow citizens being made into cannon fodder by psychopaths with military weaponry. The gun lovers feel giving up 100 round drum magazines, which most of them will never own or use, is an intolerable blow to their freedom guaranteed to them by a group of distinguished white men from the 18th century, when the most advanced gun shot one lead ball at a time.

    Restricting massacre magazines might even save a life, or ten lives or more in the next few years, but the gun nuts could care less! WW2 GI's facing banzai attacks had an 8 round clip for their M1 carbines, but now we absolutely need 100 round drums of ammo to be safe. We can't walk in and buy 3000 Sudafed, but we can buy 3000 armor piercing bullets.

    Even talking about it is a waste of time! Guns don't kill people, people kill people! Yet the right wing doesn't want to do anything for people either, health care or mental health, or better history checks before gun purchase.

    In Arizona every time one of them accidentally shoots themselves, or two pull on one another and one goes down, or with that Zimmerman guy, I  think, how did that gun thing work out for you? Make your life better?

    "Here is a fact: Guns have been in American history since 1776."

    Don't be an idiot. We're not talking about guns but fully and semi-automatic assault rifles. Most of the rifles in 1776 were muzzle loaders. How many people do you think Holmes could have killed with a black powder muzzle loader?

    Assault rifles like the AR-15/M16 Holmes had weren't invented until the 60's. Modern assault rifles with the speed, portablity, and accuracy we have today didn't exist much before then. Previous versions of  fully and semi-automatic assault rifles were so bulky and finiky that they were considered specialty weapons by the military. Not carried by the ordinary soldier. The M16 was introduced to the US army in 64.

    I hunt and I think military style semi and fully automatic assault weapons and clips over 10 bullets should not be sold on the civilian market.

    you are the one being an idiot!

    According to the BATFE muzleloaders and cap and ball revolvers are not even considered as  firearms.

    AR-15's SKS, AKS are classified as modern sporting rifles not assult rifles

    assult rifles like  M-16's and AK 47's Thompson sub machine guns and Browning Automatic rifles are highly restricted and almost Impossible to obtain but if a law abiding citizen has enough money and is willing to pay the tax stamp and can pass a criminal background check then it is perfectly legal for them to obtain one that is transferrable and that is how it should be

    if you think this guy could not have done the same amount of damage with multiple ten round magazines ,  a pump shotgun or a bolt action .30-06 or a couple of cap and ball revolver's with multiple loaded drop in cylinders or a compound bow with a quiver full of broadhead tipped arrows or a samurai sword for that matter then you are just as ignorant as the rest of the antis.

    if someone has their mind set on killing people then they could just as easily pull it off by other means besides using an MSR or hand gun.

    there will always be mentally disturbed people in this nation but you cannot stomp all over other peoples constitutional second amendment right to own and bare arms that they may protect their family and property or for the sole reason they just simply like guns.

    get on one side of the fence or the other and stop straddling it!

    by the way they are not clips they are magazines 

    So the guy's wearing protection, so now you not only need a well-placed 9mm round, it has to be the right type to penetrate Keflar or whatever, or find a gap in the protection. While not hitting a bystander.

    And if that works, the next massacre will pick a Saturday matinee where it's unlikely a 5-year-old will be packing enough heat to provide a proper cinema vigilante scenario.

    Guns have been in American history since 1776. For some reason, previous generations young people did not have the same propensity to indiscriminately kill other human beings. Guns were much more plentiful in the early 19th and mid 20th century with a lot less gun control. For some reason, only after the 1960’s when baby boomers tried raising kids did we have the mass killings by teens/young people. 

    Well, yes, we had massacres, including of Indians, blacks, Mexicans, more Indians, Southerners/Northerners, and a variety of internecine range wars and such - how about all them cowboy movies with duels and gangs and what-not? Ammo was more expensive, and you couldn't get 100 rounds out of a Confederate rifle easily, and TNT wasn't invented until later, so the carnage of one's neighbors had to take smaller slower forms. (Hatfields and McCoys just turned it into a drawn-out serial event like watching The Matrix in slow-mo). And of course in the west, sometimes people just disappeared and were never heard of again. Someone just et 'em. 

    How about you prove to me before you drink, you won’t drive a vehicle afterword. We lose more people to swimming pool drowning and distracted drivers than to deaths cause by assault weapons. So let’s ban cell phones and swimming pools!

    Ludicrous attempts to divert and distract.  Now you advise how many swimming pools and cell phones were the weapons of choice for any to commit mass murders!  Of course drinking and driving is horrific, but again apples to oranges comparison. 

    Maybe they hunt with an assault rifle?

    What animal could any hunt with an assault rifle unless it was just to needlessly kill an animal and not for the food value? Ridiculous.

    Your pathetic struggle to defend or deliver any type of sustainable rationale for the need of any non military or law enforcement entity to possess and utilize these types of automatic assault weapons is sick and wrong - just like those who possess and use these weapons to kill innocent victims.


    Not all "assault rifles" are automatic. Most of the "assault rifles" purchased legally in the U.S.A. are semi-automatic. Depending on your local hunting laws and the caliber of the "assault rifle" they are great for hunting.

    GEZ I wish people would educate themselves before they comment about crap they evidently have no clue what they are talking about.

    assult rifles are full auto capable firearms that have select fire capabilities or 3 round burst

    expressley manufactured for military and are not available for private ownership

    the AR-15 is NOT a Assult rifle it is a modern sporting rifle that is made on the same platform as the M-16 which only shoots semi automatic mode.

    AK 47 is a militairy assult rifle thatis select fire capable and is not readily available to the open market.

    AKS AK74 is a imported semi auto MSR that is made on the same platform as the AK47 but only capable to fire in semi auto mode

    although these rifles can be used to hunt with they are somewhat inferrior to a rifle designed for the express purpose of hunting due to the lack of their knock down power and limited accurate range.

    what people fail to realize before the militairy had M-16 they had the BAR Browning automatic rifle which chambered the .30-06 round which has 3 times the lethality and twice the range than any one of the above mentioned rifles.

    please stop giving the antis fuel for the fire by calling MSR's assult rifles!


    are you so ignorant to think that most thugs/criminals obtain firearms legally?

    the average citizen cannot afford assult rifles as I stated earlier AR-15's are not assult rifles they are classified as modern sporting rifles which are perfectly legal to hunt with provided that they are equipped with the proper magazine used for the expressed purpose for hunting law hunters do not go out into the woods to needlessly kill innocent anilals only criminal poachers do that. Hunters do more for the preservation and conservation of wildlife than any other group or Orginization in this nation.

    an AR-15 uses a 5.56 or .223 round which is much less lethal and has less range than a Remington 7077 carbine that shoots the 30-06 Springfield cartridge which is designated as a sport rifle for the purpose of hunting big game if this guy would have went into that theater with one of these rifles instead of the MSR he used there would have been a lot more casulties due to the fact that most of the suvivors could not have survived the blunt force trauma the round would have inflicted on the victim.

    I will bring back the old quote that went around when Columbine happened...

    guns kill people like spoons made Rosie Odonell fat.

    people who think gun control is the solution to lowering the crime rate in this nation are blinded by the darkness.

    if guns were to ever be outlawed in this country which I pray to Almighty God that never happens only outlaws will posess them.

    that is a scary thought.

    it might do you some good to do some research before expressing your ignorant opinions 

    Anon, your arguments are so nonsensical I don't know why I bother, but I really have to comment on this:

    Guns were much more plentiful in the early 19th and mid 20th century with a lot less gun control. For some reason, only after the 1960’s when baby boomers tried raising kids did we have the mass killings by teens/young people.

    Are you kidding? How many U.S citizens do you think were allowed to own military-style heavy weaponry, even before 1968?  How many of us could have filled our houses with these kinds of weapons and ammunition without someone taking notice and coming down on us?  We would have had an FBI file a mile long.

    But the whole baby boomers argument is a new one.  Congratulations.  You actually might have come up with something new.

    Likely a Gatling Gun could barely fire as efficiently as an AR-15, and too big to carry quickly up to the box seats in Ford's Theater.

    As for "guns more plentiful", there were 8 million free American citizens in 1820, while today there are roughly 270 million guns. Do the math. And again, I'd take a Glock or an AR-15 over a standard 1820's issue - single shot, hope you hit squirrel gun.

    Guns in the home is down to 40% - only 25% in the Northeast, more in the south/east coast area. About 44 million total gun owners in the US. (~1/7 population).

    McDowall's 1990 study showed guns being used for self-defense about 65,000 times a year - or 2 out of 1000 crimes. Gun homicides were up to 10,000/year during the early 1990s.

    1934 congress approved the national firearms act regulating sub machine guns

    in order that it would be nearly impossible for average joe blow to own a machine gun

    which at that time included the Thompson sub machine gun and Browning automatic rifle

    folks like the Dillinger gang and Bonny and Clyde are to thank for the passing of this bill

    these type of weapons were designed and manufactured for the express purpose of militairy use in combat situations.

    this documented proof kind of throws the arguement out the window

    The Gun Control Act of 1968 - "...was enacted for the purpose of keeping firearms out of the hands of those not legally entitled to possess them because of age, criminal background, or incompetence." -- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms The Act regulates imported guns, expands the gun-dealer licensing and record keeping requirements, and places specific limitations on the sale of handguns. The list of persons banned from buying guns is expanded to include persons convicted of any non-business related felony, persons found to be mentally incompetent, and users of illegal drugs.

    " 1 man carrying a 9mm could have stopped that clown dead cold."

    This is nonsense. You clearly don't know what you're talking about. A hand gun would not have penetrated the body armor. You'd have to go for a head shot which may have been deflected by the helmet. The vast majority of gun owners are simply not good enough to make that shot.

    I hunted all my life with a 22 with a scope with all the time in the world to focus with no distractions and I still miss that head shot on the deer sometimes. A jack rabbit is bigger than a man's head and I sure don't kill everyone I shoot at.

    A handgun is just not that easy to aim.  There's a sharpshooter or two that can pull a gun and hit any target. The average gun owner would be lucky to make that head shot at a shooting range let alone while bullets are flying towards you with people screaming, running, bleeding, and dying. Truth is the average gun owner would be lucky to make a body shot in that situation.

    While you're looking through that sight trying to get a bead on the head and trying to steady your hand, which is not all that easy under the best of conditions, you're making yourself a target. Holmes could probably get off 20 rounds to your one so its much more likely you'd be the clown stopped dead cold. Especially since you need to make a head shot and he can hit you anywhere. Are were you wearing body armor too?

    Why assume one man with a gun. What if there are several people with concealed carry permits? You stand up in row 30 and whip out your gun.You see someone with a gun off to the right in row 24, another off to the left in row 17, someone down near the front in row 12. Who's the killer? By the time you decide who you need to off to be a hero Holmes has gotten off another 50 rounds.

    Its just clueless to think you could go up against a semi automatic with a 100 round clip with a handgun.

    I hope you have night-vision goggles in that dark movie theater scenario.

    I'm thinking of a 2012-style Mexican firing squad, maybe pulled partly from Reservoir Dogs. If the guy's smart, he just sets them up in a circle and leaves.

    One notices that you're not brave enough to put your name on your post.   Hmm.


    I'll tell you this, as a  former LEO, and Soldier (Military Police Investigator).  Theres no way, unless your hypothetical shooter was at contact range, that one 9mm shot was going to drop the killer.

    Even with all my practice and training, I probably couldn't have done it, not with one shot, and maybe not even with 3-4 shots, and I guarantee I'm a better shot than you under pressure.  Because I've actually had to pull the trigger, unlike thousands of people like you who have never had to, but can't wait for the chance.


    You actually think you can make a one to two inch shot, (The available space you'd actually have as a target wearing head to toe Kevlar, the space between the rim of his helmet and his chin.) in the dark, eyes streaming from the tear gas, coughing your lungs out, being jostled by fleeing movie goers, in the dark, lights flashing, people screaming, while trying to shield your family?


    Because the shooter WAS wearing head to toe Kevlar (That means a helmet too) in a dark theater, full of smoke, flashing lights, screaming and running people, flooded with the smell of blood and cordite, and possibly trying to shield his family at the same time.

    And your mythical hero  had BETTER be aware of where his rounds are going if they miss, because those bullets are going into the people, not disappearing magically.  And he's going to end up paying for every one that strikes flesh.


    In short, you don't know WTF you're talking about.   It's gun owners like you who make it bad for the rest of us, with your Deathwish fantasies and "I'ma gunna fight off teh government" nonsense.


    It is PAST time we as a nation have an adult conversation about guns and gun ownership.  It's the mature, responsible and grown up thing to do, and we cannot do it talking to people like you.  Nobody honestly believes that we can ban guns in this country, and anyone who thinks we can is as much an idiot as you are.  What we CAN do is come to a compromise and a consensus to radically limit the possibility of this happening again.

    Think about this for a second.  The Aurora shooter was smart and dedicated enough to create complex chemical  boobytraps.  So why did he use guns?  Because getting them and using them,  was EASY.

    And it should never be that damn easy.

    Thank you so much, Jeff.  The problem is not the responsible gun owners, it's the hot shots who think anything can be settled by carrying a gun and using it, if necessary.  They get to decide what's necessary.  Unfortunately, we don't get to decide who carries and who doesn't.

     We have to fight crime without depriving people of their rights. There would be less crime if we rescinded other parts of the Bill of Rights besides the Second Amendment.

      It isn't clear if gun control even works. A University of Chicago study says that it doesn't.

    Gun control is subject to similar supply, demand, cost constraints as anything else.

    If it costs me $1 million to buy an Uzi, I'm not buying it. If it costs me $3, I'd buy one for the hell of it. Between these extremes lies our market.

    Someone selling guns legally needs simply to make a profit. If that legal gun business is limited by legal checks on purchasers, and not doing those checks has real prison and/or financial repercussions, then gun dealers will evaluate the costs of not complying.

    If one state can ignore background checks, dealers there will thrive with impunity.

    If there are enough controls that ridiculous weaponry has to come from Mexico, most people won't have easy access.

    If most people don't have easy access to 100-round clips or armor-piercing bullets, the chance that someone who has a bad day will come back that afternoon and go postal is slim. If they have to plan for months, most people won't make the effort.

    Some case the other day, where a kid "borrowed" dad's handgun and shot a friend at school - if there aren't guns at home, well hey, this just won't happen, will it? My brother accidentally shot a hole through a pillow with my dad's pistol thinking it was unloaded or something - if it had been aimed at me, I wouldn't be writing this.

    So yes, gun control works, gun containment works. We just haven't been trying, because some jackasses at the NRA have equated owning guns with personal freedom and ignored all the downsides, and because they've been effective lobbyists, the public as a whole loses. But because we as a people are jackasses, we keep letting them lead us around by the noses.

    Who wins in this scenario except for gun dealers? It's not like we're waging revolution against intrusive government anyway (anyone stop Sprint and Verizon from turning over all your phone records? anyone stop mortage companies from stealing millions of homes?). Anyone remember a succesful vigilante gun incident, where a legal carrier stopped or slowed down a crime or atrocity? Care to match up the numbers, vs. dumbshit getting hold of a gun and going out and doing something murderous and stupid?  (one guy during the Giffords incident *almost* shot the wrong person, coming around the corner and seeing a protector with the killer's gun, but fortunately held off for 2 secs)

    Which scenario is more likely - robber tries to enter my house and I stop him, or my kid finds my gun and does something stupid with it? What would make us safer, and do we actually care, or we just want to protect "principles", not real people?

    Update: TBogg basically wrote my comment, including an off-duty officer who killed his "intruder" son early Saturday morn by mistake. Boys will be boys, mistakes will be made. But the 2nd Amendment rawks on, dudes!!!

     It hasn't been proven that gun control works. For the rest, I think I can stand on what I said(fight crime without depriving people of their rights).

    There are amazingly few shootings in prison. The UK has what, 47 homicides per year?

    Here you can see figures of high gun ownership and high homicides. The US gets beaten out by well known poverty+narco states like Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, followed closely by South Africa & Phillipines.

    But guns alone don't kill people, as exhibited by Germany, Switzerland, France, Turkey, Canada - some countries are sane. But that shouldn't deter us.

    Still, the concept of whether "gun control works" depends on whether you're actually trying to even detect a problem. Certainly gun accidents from children goes down with less access. Guns used in crimes of passion decrease the harder it is to grab a gun on the spot. The extent of damage from shootings depends of course on the destructiveness of the weapon, so limiting the availability of more militarized weapons limits the chance of dangerous shooting. But if we flood the US with 270 million guns, it kinda says we're not even trying. Just another politicized question, with only hardened reactions no matter what the problems are.



    Well, I'll have to see the evidence that gun violence decreases when you ban guns; the University of Chicago says it doesn't. Canada has both a lot of guns and a low murder rate. Outside of terrorism, Israel has a fairly low murder rate, and people there walk around with machine guns slung over their shoulders.

    If outlawing guns does reduce gun violence, I still couldn't support it. It's the individual rights thing. If detention without trial(which, to it's shame, the United States has just instituted) reduced crime, I couldn't go along with it.

    Individual rights to kill innocent people? Rawk on, you're a tiger. And whether that's what you mean, we have a problem. And all this theoretical rights for up-with-people leaves a lot of people gunned down. Plus I really can't see where anyone with any sense is effectively challenging government overreach, with weapons, with legislation, with anything. So I'm frankly sick of the chest-pumping bullshit. It's worthless shtick. They're sorting through every single communications we send across the internet, all phone calls, anything they want - but we're going to get together in a back room and defend liberty for all with a few guns, while they have $600 billion+ to spend on weaponry each year? Get real.

    (PS - you shifted quickly from "gun control" to "ban guns"/"outlaw guns" - any reason?)

    Detention without trial, confiscation of property by banks with gov support, extra-judicial targeted assassinations of US citizens - just our steady progression to forming a more perfect union.

    Canada has both a lot of guns and a low murder rate.

    No. Canada does have a low murder rate but one-third the number of guns per capita that the U.S. has. There's also a big difference in the kind of guns possessed. Hunters and farmers can own rifles and shotguns. But handguns are all "prohibited" weapons, as are machineguns like the AR-15. If you aren't in law enforcement, good luck getting a license.

    Anyway, what's the point of discussing this with you, since you wouldn't support gun control even if it were proved to save lives? Which most Canadians can see it does.

    Thanks for the info on Canada. I was misled by Michael Moore.

     I will support reasonable regulations, but not the banning of handguns.

    There is some data on Canadian gun control here:


    This guy says that in 2003 Canada had a higher violent crime rate than the U.S., but I presume the murder rate was lower.

    In 2003 it was 22.6 per 1000 in the US - , only 9.6 in Canada

    By coincidence, crime statistics for 2011 were released today:


    Homicides jumped last year, but are still about half the U.S. rate.

    Politicians are freaking out right now over deadly gunplay at a recent Toronto block party, but the latest stats show that city is the third-safest in Canada.

    Oops, make that one-third the U.S. rate. The Canadian figure is for ALL homicides, not just firearms-related ones. That 3:1 ratio is pretty constant: homicides per capita, gun homicides per capita, guns per capita. Almost like there's cause-and-effect at work.

    Shhh..... Don't tell 'em about the commumism. They'll want some too.

    Thanks, PP.  Excellent points.

    That TBogg piece is really one excellent blog post (some might know how I feel about blogging in general, well, I think that is a rare example of how blogging can be used to excellent effect.) It gets at a lot of the real issues on this topic in a casual, surreptitious way.

    But I think he doesn't go far enough (surprising for someone writing at FDL, where I usually find posts going all the way in one direction, heh!)  He should have added that there are reasons most police officers, trained in use of firearms to the best of our current knowledge about their use, never use their firearms. And there are reasons so many of our soldiers, trained in use of firearms to the best of our current knowledge about their use, suffer from "shell shock," now called PTSD--those reasons are called "fog of war" and "friendly fire" and things like that.

    As to Ramona's main point, I think the reason "nothing ever gets done" is that this society only gets to talking about the gun and ammunition control issues when there are big juicy spree killings by the disturbed, which brings up illogical knee-jerk reactions from across the spectrum of opinions. This leads to a lot of red herrings, and other kinds of nonsensical arguments that go nowhere. The discussions don't address that which really needs addressing on this topic.

    Public-health-wise, getting real on the numbers--
    how many lives saved if a nut or rage killer killer with a target like an Olympics event or fairground or politican-meet-and-great or movie theater or IRS building
    couldn't use legal guns and ammunition
    but could still use stockpiled illegal guns and ammunition, pipe bombs, fertilizer bombs, automobile bombs, IED's, airplanes, etc?

    The real reason sane and logical people want better limits on firearms like we have on automobiles is not the effect they will have on spree killings, because, people, get real, they will also happen where there is gun control, for one of many examples:


    The real reason is to partly better control firearms deaths during moments of passion by idjits like those TBogg is talking about!

    Our system of automobile control actually does not prevent drunks and bad drivers going on 125 mph sprees, it just puts fear in the general population that they will be punished for doing the same thing, so everyone is not doing it but most are being responsible driving automobiles.

    The idea is public health, the greatest number of deaths prevented.

    And here's an ugly truth about the mentally ill: the human race still doesn't have ability to help most of the severely mentally ill, at this stage we only have the option of locking them up or taking drugs that may not help them or make them worse. There are also civil liberties issues of forcing them to take drugs that many of them feel make them more miserable or submit to inpatient care they don't want even if someone like taxpayers paid for it.

    If they are not controlled in this manner, and want to cause mass mayhem, enough of those few of them who do want to do that will figure out some other way to do it with illegal weapons or by other means. The number of lives saved by gun control with this particular problem would really not be that significant! The deaths from this problem with or without gun control are really not that significant! They are merely very touching and dramatic, and evoke fears about our illusions about what is safe and what is not, hence the knee-jerk reactions.

    I believe we won't get better gun control conversation until pro-gun-control people get honest about this:

    the target is making guns harder to use for

    1) crimes of passion-the nature of firearms makes them exceptionally useful in causing death here
    2) use by idiots who think they know how to handle firearms but really haven't even the basics, think they know how to police a mentally ill person shooting at random, have gun ownership tied up with manhood issues, think they know how to protect their neighborhood from black teens wearing hoodies, always wanted to be Captain America or Batman or Bruce Willis, always know better what the police should have done in that hostage crisis, etc.

    That's where the real public health problem lies, not in rage and spree killings by the temporarily-gone-insane or the seriously mentally ill, who will find other ways to cause their mayhem.

    "We have to fight crime without depriving people of their rights. There would be less crime if we rescinded other parts of the Bill of Rights besides the Second Amendment."

    This is irrational hyperbole. No one is talking about rescinding the 2nd amendment. And there is no Court decision that construes the 2nd amendment to mean a citizen's right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.

    Let's take a serious look at the most recent Supreme Court ruling that the NRA claimed was validation of an unrestricted right to bear arms. It was nothing of the kind. While striking down the extreme handgun prohibition in DC it affirmed the government's right to control the sale of arms, right to carry, ect.

    In the conservative Supreme Court opinion written by Alito (correction Scalia), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER


     2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:  For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.


    It seems to me that military assault weapons with 100 round clips would not be considered "in common use at the time" and would quite easily fit in with the " historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons."

    I don't think it's true that no one wants to rescind the 2nd Amendment. There are people who want to ban private ownership of guns(I've heard them on C-Span).

    I don't have a problem with background checks, waiting periods, and bans on carrying weapons into schools and government buildings. I'm okay with conditions on the commercial sale of arms, provided that these conditions aren't meant to prevent people(other than ex-cons, the mentally ill and such) from obtaining firearms. The 2nd Amendment speaks of a "well regulated militia" so reasonable regulations--not punitive regulations-- are okay. There is still dispute as to whether gun control works, though.

    Of course there are people who want to ban private ownership of guns - in a nation of 310 million people you're going to hear a lot of stuff that's impassioned but unrealistic or a bad idea. C-Span isn't very selective either.

    Background checks, waiting periods are fine. As for government buildings or schools, why do I care? I'm worried about movie theaters, Starbucks, places I hang out - plus, someone shoots 50 people, what do they care if they have an extra charge of carrying a weapon in a school?

    I'd be more impressed if gun advocates actually set up well regulated militias - not loony tunes survivalist units, but actual trained squadrons who understood the constitution, issues of rights and personal liberties and peaceful protest and limits & realistic uses of force and control in times of need. 

    I'd be more impressed if gun advocates actually set up well regulated militias - not loony tunes survivalist units, but actual trained squadrons who understood the constitution, issues of rights and personal liberties and peaceful protest and limits & realistic uses of force and control in times of need.

    Christ man, can't you read?


    (Ixnay on the ideasay.)

    Yes, I'm sure you can find some extremely tiny minority that advocate rescinding the 2nd amendment. I wasn't as clear as I try to be. When I said no one is talking about rescinding the 2nd amendment I meant no one *in this discussion* is talking about rescinding the 2nd amendment. If someone did I would be posting against that idea.

    Its inevitable that the moment there is any discussion of some limited gun control someone will bring up this strawman, I don't agree with or you're trying to rescind the 2nd amendment, ban guns, outlaw fire arms. Rescind, ban, outlaw, incendiary terms with a high emotional indice, strawmen all. No one *here* is suggesting anything of the sort. It doesn't counter or address anyone's *who is posting here* point of view. So why bring it up except to avoid this discussion of some form of limited gun control and to fraudulently portray this as a debate over outlawing and banning guns and rescinding the 2nd amendment.

    You still have not addressed the issue people are discussing here, whether there is some class or type of weapon that should not be allowed on the civilian market. If by saying that you are against banning guns and rescinding the 2nd amendment, which I am also against, you mean that you are against removing any one weapon no matter how "dangerous and unusual"  from the civilian market, which I disagree with, be aware that you are far to the right of even this most conservative Supreme Court.

    Of course there is dispute over the efficacy of gun control laws. We could find "experts" from both sides to present their point of view.  Its extremely difficult to analyse the effect of gun control laws when most are state based or require some state involvement. If people in state A can drive over the border to state B to legally buy a proscribed gun or criminals can easily transport them for sale across state lines state A's law will not be very effective. If  state B  declines to join forces or to invest resources in enforcement of federal gun control laws it will dilute the effect of federal laws. If dispute over the efficacy of a law was a valid reason to not enact it there would be almost no laws as there is dispute over the efficacy of most laws.

    I don't know if any type of firearm should be banned, but if one should be, it shouldn't be handguns. The right to bear arms becomes meaningless if you can only bear arms for hunting, not for defense. If people here had said explicitly that they didn't favor banning firearms, I probably wouldn't have brought it up, but they didn't say that.

    It hasn't been settled whether gun control works--there are many possible factors involved in the crime rate--but here is an article based on the University of Chicago study.  There is evidence on the other side, of course. The efficacy of the laws is one thing to be considered, but it is difficult to prove how effective the laws are.



    Obviously concealed weapons will have some deterrent effect (as well as cause some gun-related crime or accidents) - probably over-hyped, but real.

    The Constitution doesn't quite say "gun purchases won't be tracked or accounted for", but that's the kind of deadenders zone we've ended up in. So legally concealed weapons are probably the small part of the problem - stolen or unregistered weapons spread across the country create unaccountability for whoever's on the wrong side of the law.

    There are often additional penalties for using a gun in a crime, but a lot of people doing crimes don't calculate prison time into their behavior anyway, though many of those are just smart enough to realize that a gun tied to your drivers license may not be the smartest thing to use in a robbery or murder.

    Now if the Aurora killer thought he was going out in a blaze of glory, no sentencing deterrents would change that except keeping the easier most deadly weapons out of his hands. 

    That we probably can't track the source of his weapons signifies one of the problems in this scenario - it's just extremely easy to be deadly with a weapon, while we would never let someone act like an electrician, pilot or professional driver without some kind of certification and oversight. But some guy in a powdered wig with a musket said different 240 years ago, and that's what we're sticking with.

    Well, I'm not against certification and oversight, Peracles. 

    Hmmm, somehow from your statements about outlawing firearms, banning guns, and rescinding the 2nd amendment we're supposed to divine that you're against banning handguns and explicitly address your unspoken concern.

    OK, I don't support banning handguns.

    I've been pretty clear about the types of weapons I believe should be removed from the civilian market. There seems to be a consensus here on at least this point. Military style automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles and clips larger than 10 rounds should be removed from the civilian market. As for handguns, there are handguns that are little more than hand held machine guns with clips that can hold up to 50 rounds. I would include them.

    I would go farther. I would close the gun show loophole and extend the waiting period to 7 days. This may surprise you and I'm guessing some here will disagree, but I do support concealed carry permits. Though only if there are clear standards for the use of a gun in public and severe penalties for misuse. Carrying a gun is an awesome responsibility and accidents and mistakes are unacceptable. You don't get to say, "oops" and walk away scot free. Only after an extremely detailed and comprehensive course explaining those responsibilities and punishments should a person get a concealed carry permit.

    Gun ownership is not just a right but also a responsibility. Guns are not toys. The 2nd amendment does not say, "Cause you want to have fun, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." If someone misuses that right punishment should be severe. Then people might make a serious choice rather than a frivolous one and we might see less "dick waving" by gun owners.

    I took a quick look at The Truth About Guns last night, and yes, people there have convinced themselves that a concealed carrier with a pistol would have had a good chance to stop Holmes. They think he would have had impaired vision due to his gas mask, and been the only one standing. I have to admit, in my own mind I ran through the fantasy of having a .357 and taking down the shooter. But faced with all the obstacles, I couldn't even keep the fantasy going.

    And that's not even the point. If everyone carries, it isn't just the mass shooters that are the threat, it becomes the average guy whose road rage turns into more than just giving another driver the finger and whose barfight results in more than just a bloody nose.

    In my Walter Mitty dreams, I ripped out his heart and showed it to him before he died. And also gave him "the touch" Uma Thurman style.

    People in America are obsessed with guns, absolutely obsessed. Thing is, very few citizens seem to want any sort of gun control, they are horrified by the events of the recent past and the not-so-recent past, but completely unwilling to pressure their representatives to do anything.  Congressfolks won't do anything without an extreme amount of pressure.

    We feel for people who've lost their children, their spouses, we cry with them, but as a nation we truly refuse to take corrective action.

    Part of the reason we have so many of these problems that other parts of the world don't have, stems from the lack of access to lifelong adequate medical care. But since the 1960's we've pretty much left mentally ill people on their own.  It is often very expensive to get treatment for those with mental illness, and treatment cannot be forced on any adult, which also hurts our efforts to curb these kinds of horrific events. And although we don't know anything in particular about this man's mental state, we can assume all is not right with his mind. The complexity of the gun problem is wrapped up in our severely lacking system of welfare and healthcare. And of course we've allowed our politicians to demonize helping our fellow Americans.

    A little report to read about the mentally ill and murder.

    Thanks for the excellent blog Ramona.

    The National Rifle Association was founded in 1871 by two men, a lawyer and a former reporter from the New York Times. For most of its history, the N.R.A. was chiefly a sporting and hunting association. To the extent that the N.R.A. had a political arm, it opposed some gun-control measures and supported many others, lobbying for new state laws in the nineteen-twenties and thirties, which introduced waiting periods for handgun buyers and required permits for anyone wishing to carry a concealed weapon. It also supported the 1934 National Firearms Act—the first major federal gun-control legislation—and the 1938 Federal Firearms Act, which together created a licensing system for dealers and prohibitively taxed the private ownership of automatic weapons (“machine guns”). The constitutionality of the 1934 act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1939, in U.S. v. Miller, in which Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s solicitor general, Robert H. Jackson, argued that the Second Amendment is “restricted to the keeping and bearing of arms by the people collectively for their common defense and security.” Furthermore, Jackson said, the language of the amendment makes clear that the right “is not one which may be utilized for private purposes but only one which exists where the arms are borne in the militia or some other military organization provided for by law and intended for the protection of the state.” The Court agreed, unanimously. In 1957, when the N.R.A. moved into new headquarters, its motto, at the building’s entrance, read, “Firearms Safety Education, Marksmanship Training, Shooting for Recreation.” It didn’t say anything about freedom, or self-defense, or rights.

    Malcolm X might have been among the first to propose a new meaning to the Second Amendment:

    Gun-rights arguments have their origins not in eighteenth-century Anti-Federalism but in twentieth-century liberalism. They are the product of what the Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet has called the “rights revolution,” the pursuit of rights, especially civil rights, through the courts. In the nineteen-sixties, gun ownership as a constitutional right was less the agenda of the N.R.A. than of black nationalists. In a 1964 speech, Malcolm X said, “Article number two of the constitutional amendments provides you and me the right to own a rifle or a shotgun.” Establishing a constitutional right to carry a gun for the purpose of self-defense was part of the mission of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which was founded in 1966. “Black People can develop Self-Defense Power by arming themselves from house to house, block to block, community to community throughout the nation,” Huey Newton said.

    But it wasn't until a more conservative/libertarian group took over the NRA in the 1970s that the organization went full-force into "a citizen's right to bear arms."

    In the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. began advancing the argument that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to carry a gun, rather than the people’s right to form armed militias to provide for the common defense. Fights over rights are effective at getting out the vote. Describing gun-safety legislation as an attack on a constitutional right gave conservatives a power at the polls that, at the time, the movement lacked. Opposing gun control was also consistent with a larger anti-regulation, libertarian, and anti-government conservative agenda. In 1975, the N.R.A. created a lobbying arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, headed by Harlon Bronson Carter, an award-winning marksman and a former chief of the U.S. Border Control. But then the N.R.A.’s leadership decided to back out of politics and move the organization’s headquarters to Colorado Springs, where a new recreational-shooting facility was to be built. Eighty members of the N.R.A.’s staff, including Carter, were ousted. In 1977, the N.R.A.’s annual meeting, usually held in Washington, was moved to Cincinnati, in protest of the city’s recent gun-control laws. Conservatives within the organization, led by Carter, staged what has come to be called the Cincinnati Revolt. The bylaws were rewritten and the old guard was pushed out. Instead of moving to Colorado, the N.R.A. stayed in D.C., where a new motto was displayed: “The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not Be Infringed.


    From a lengthy article by Jill Lepore, published in the New Yorker in April.  She explores the origins of the second amendment and how it came to be used (wrongly) by the Big Guns for Citizens advocates.  Well worth reading.

    (H/T to Nan, who passed along the link at my blog.)

    Ramona, Jill Lepore did a  new "Daily Comment" post today over at the New Yorker, going over related points about the history of the NRA, gun regulation, court rulings, and cultural attitudes, but more compact and specific as to your own points:

    Batman’s Gun

    by Jill Lepore, July 24

    Why was the superhero disarmed in 1939?


    There is another facet about strict laws on guns like assault and automatic weapons: when violent criminals are arrested in possession of these weapons, they are more likely able to be sentenced to jail time, whereas if they had some other charges, like drug dealing, they can get off with little or no time. 

    Those who see the freedom to purchase very deadly weapons as a bulwark against the threat of a police state need to get into more trouble.  I have had too many encounters with police in my life who assumed I was packing, validating their authority to act harshly and without regard to anything I had to say until they were safe.

    The more dangerous you make it to be a cop, the more likely the cop will be an asshole.

    Not just cops. If you're armed, the perceived likelihood that "the other guy" is also packing can turn a minor confrontation deadly. And lax laws increase that likelihood.

    " All of America--or at least those in a position to do something about a runaway gun association--seems to be terrified of a powerful lobby"

    Your false assumption is that the only reason people are pro-gun is because of the NRA and it's lobbying power.  This is silly.  The NRA lobbies just like the Unions, Chamber of Commerce, ACLU, Greenpeace, AARP, etc, etc, etc.  It is not the biggest nor does it spend the most.  Leaders are not "terrified" of it.  They vote with their constituents.  And like it or not, hundreds of millions of Americans believe that gun ownership is, on balance, a good thing.  Our country was founded on the understanding that law-abiding citizens can handle owning deadly weapons to protect themselves.  The reason it is always "talk talk talk talk" is because there is nothing you can DO about it, unless you want to amend our Constitution.  Good luck with that.


    This is simply not true. Again I'll repeat my post. Even this most conservative Supreme court does not agree with your assessment of the 2nd amendment. 

    In the conservative Supreme Court opinion written by Scalia, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA v. HELLER


     2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose:  For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons. Pp. 54–56.


    There was no reason the Supreme Court had to include this paragraph in striking down DC's hand gun law. But for some reason the most conservative members of the Supreme Court decided to make it clear that while striking down the law that the 2nd amendment is NOT a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. Miller, which effectively banned sawed off shotguns, was affirmed. It decided that the "sorts of weapons protected are those “in common use at the time”"

    Michael Moore was thoughtful, impassioned but common-sensical on CNN yesterday:


    Although Piers Morgan kept doing what CNN anchors always do, which is rudely interrupt their guests' answers to promo their own fascinating questions "coming up after the break." I was going to stick around through the commercials, Piers. Now you've just pissed me off. Where's my gun?


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