Open carry makes you safe

Two people out having fun with their friends were murdered yesterday in Texas because their rights, and their friends’ rights, to openly carry adequate firepower have been savaged.  If good guys with guns, trained in using them, had been visibly on the scene, this never would have happened, right?

Comments

  1. Brett Bellmore says

    I don’t think anybody is claiming that carrying a gun gives you Superman levels of invulnerability. I’m puzzled here, do you actually think this proves something? Something that, say, shootings in “Gun free zones” don’t prove?

    • Michael O'Hare says

      Hi, Brett. Glad you’re OK. Another 15 minutes and I would have inferred you had the flu, and posted a get-well-soon message.

      • Brett Bellmore says

        Technically, a prompt reply and the flu are not mutually exclusive. Although I’m guessing from the fact the snot is colored that what I’ve got is bacterial in nature… It’s usually a good indicator.

        It’s a nice day out there, if I weren’t sick, I’d be out at the park.

        No, seriously, does this actually prove anything that a shooting someplace that’s a “gun free zone” doesn’t? Anecdote, utterly devoid of any attempt at statistical significance. Nothing more than, “Ha, ha, ha! Somebody with a gun got shot!”, kind of distasteful, in a juvenile way.

        • Anomalous says

          The snot has caked against my pants
          It has turned into crystal
          There’s a blue bird sitting on a branch
          I guess I’ll take my pistol
          I got it in my hand
          Because he’s on my land
          And so the story ended
          Do you know it oh so well
          Or did I have to tell you
          The end

          by Arthor Lee circa 1967

    • Freeman says

      Exactly. This outlier anecdote has zero statistical significance absent the assertion that this sort of thing is commonplace at shooting ranges. It is my perception that one is statistically far safer from harm caused by someone else at the average shooting range than she is spending the equivalent amount of time in her car getting there and back from her home on the average highway. As always, I’m open to being disabused of my preposterous notions upon presentation of convincing evidence to the contrary.

      • worn says

        As much as I hate to do it, I too must totally agree with Brett on this one. Minus some mitigating factor like wearing body armor and being shot in the torso, there’s very little one can do to defend against a surprise attack at close quarters by someone with a gun. If anything, this story is more a comment on the sorry state of this country’s mental health system, and moreover, the sorry mess we actively chose to put our country & citizens through in opting for that infamous and stupid war of choice in Mesopotamia.* It strikes me somewhat like using Pearl Harbor as an example of the ineffectiveness of having a Navy, perhaps a bit too clever by half.

        The above is not to be construed as a personal position on gun control / safety laws, merely a comment on the logic of the proposition.

        *from the story: “a 25-year-old veteran with a history of mental illness who had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan…”

        • Anomalous says

          …”there’s very little one can do to defend against a surprise attack at close quarters by someone with a gun.”
          This is the very reason the idea of having a gun for self defense is impractical. When is an attack by someone with a gun not a surprise attack at close quarters? The guy won’t give you a call to let you know he’s coming over to shoot you. He won’t yell from across the street to give you warning of his intentions. I know, some people are just so rude. So SURPRISE-BANG!
          So what do ya get with a gun in your house? Little Billy and Little Johnny find a new toy in your drawer. BANG! Your drunk boyfriend is so pissed at you ’cause Bitch. BANG! Your teenager just got massively humiliated in front of the whole school and can’t think of facing another day. BANG! Some asshole breaks into your house and you pull out your gun but you don’t have that cool detachment like Bruce Willis so aiming isn’t quite so easy as it was the couple times you went to the range and the crazy SOB jumps at you when you miss, gets your gun and BANG!
          Notice that all these scenarios involve lack of maturity or mental impairment and are normal states of mind for me, you and people we all know and love. The only thing here controlable is the gun.

      • Anonymous says

        On the contrary, it has great significance. A shooting range in Texas is probably about as close as you can come to a world of maximum guns so it is a real world test of what Brett and the NRA say out to happen when everybody in the place where there’s a shooting is armed. The NRA’s new catch phrase to justify ever more guns in ever more places is that in the world of maximum guns, “good guys with guns” will stop “bad guys with guns”. Here you presumably have a shooting range loaded with armed “good guys” who are actually in the process of practicing with their weapons. Yet, an obviously disturbed man managed to shoot the two victims and leave the area.

        How was that possible? Basically, it happens because nobody ever expects the Spanish Inquisition. That’s why, for example, well-armed uniformed police officers get robbed at gunpoint while making a withdrawal at an ATM. Only gun nuts living out their fantasies of being the star of a Chuck Norris movie go through life on “condition red” giving everyone they meet a “steely eyed look” as they prepare to draw and fire in a heartbeat (or so they think).

        Unusual are, by definition, unusual and an ordinary human being can’t process this kind of event as quickly as the advocates of maximum guns like to pretend. Sometimes the mind plays tricks and sometimes it takes time to realize that maybe it’s not a practical joke and that you’ve just seen something terrible. What’s more, again “gun nuts” who try to go through life at “condition red” notwithstanding a shopping mall, a recreational gun range, a school campus or even a military base stateside are not places where ordinary people expects such events as a shooting and that makes it more difficult and time-consuming for them to react.

        That’s one reason why even trained police officers who find themselves thrust into the middle of a sudden, unexpected event like a takeover robbery in a bank or restaurant (or an active shooter in a shopping mall) typically don’t react like Dirty Harry or Walker, Texas Ranger. The reality is that Brett and the NRA’s world of maximum guns is a nasty, pitiless world where most of us would be perpetually terrified of the people around us and in constant jeopardy of losing our sanity and our humanity.

    • Matt says

      Nothing ever proves anything to you. The deaths in Newtown “proved” nothing to you. That’s why this is an impossible conversation to have. 1,000 six year olds could die tomorrow by random shootings and you would still be discussing how any gun regulation would both trample your your civil liberties and would “never work” (as you’ve said about ANY reasonable gun regulation brought up in this forum.)

  2. Matt says

    Busy building loopholes for your own arguments, eh Brett?

    Every time a new gun murder happens, it seems you invent a new rhetorical loophole for yourself.

    • Brett Bellmore says

      What? My argument is that gun ownership is a civil liberty, and must be treated as one until the 2nd amendment is repealed. My argument is that the proposed measures are not such as would have any significant impact on deaths with firearms, and thus wouldn’t even pass ‘rational basis’ analysis. My argument in no way is premised on carrying a gun making you immortal.

      • Matt says

        At what point does the human cost of a civil liberty become too great? Never? How many senseless gun murders can happen before we reconsider the value and/or wisdom of an amendment? I really want an answer from you on this, not the answer to some other question that wasn’t asked.

        • Brett Bellmore says

          You’re free to reconsider the wisdom of the amendment in question, and I direct you to Article V for the legitimate way of doing something about it. Until then, it’s a civil liberty, and infringing on the right to keep and bear arms is no more a legitimate way to approach attacking violent crime, than press censorship, or doing away with jury trials, or any other civil liberties violation.

          When you come up with proposed laws which are directly addressed to behavior which is, itself, directly harmful, instead of laws directed against actions which are, themselves, harmless, and which thousands of people engage in for every wrongdoer, I might be open to listening.

          • Matt says

            You didn’t answer my question. I suspect you never will. Other civil liberties do not kill tens if thousands of people per year.

            Again, and directly, at what point does the human cost of a civil liberty become too great?

            I don’t care about your facile justifications for why tens if thousands of deaths are ok under the constitution. I only care about your answer to this question: how many deaths/murders of Americans is enough for us to rethink an amendment to the constitution? 20,000? 30,000? 40,000 American lives?

            Is there no number that would cause us to reconsider the wisdom of this amendment? How about 100,000 lives per year?

            You know that if you admit that any number is too high, then it will be hard to rationalize away the 10,000 Americans killed by firearms each year. Which is why you skirt the question and hide behind false equivalencies. How many Americans does the first amendment allow to be killed each year? How about the third? How about the fourth? It’s not ten thousand.

          • Bostonian in Brooklyn says

            But what does “infringe” mean? Apparently it differs from “abridge” and “violate” which are no-nos for other rights. It come from a Latin word meaning break. I do not think that it just means “inconvenience”.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “Other civil liberties do not kill tens if thousands of people per year.”

            Oh, BS. The unstated premise of your argument is this: Laws violating THIS civil liberty will work: They can be enforced, with near 100% efficiency, and no blow-back. Black markets will not arm the criminals. Massive resistance won’t prevent effective enforcement. The laws will simply work, as intended.

            Make that assumption of laws violating other civil liberties. Let’s say we give the police the power to jail people without trial. Based on the above assumption, they’ll jail all the potential murderers, and this means the civil right to due process is killing tens of thousands of people per year..

            See how easy it is, if you just grant a really stupid assumption?

          • Matt says

            Again, you didn’t answer my question. The 2nd Amendment enables the shooting deaths/murders of upwards of 10,000 people per year–a fact. No other Amendment explicitly enables murder.

            How many people can die by gun deaths or murders before we reconsider the wisdom of this amendment? What do you think?

            You know if you answer this question, you have doomed your argument. The NRA also realizes this, which is why they try to blame gun murder on everything but guns. If they acknowledge that guns kill (often innocent) people, they are doomed as an organization.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “The 2nd Amendment enables the shooting deaths/murders of upwards of 10,000 people per year–a fact. No other Amendment explicitly enables murder.”

            I suppose this implies that nobody ever gets shot in any other country. How remarkable, I had no idea this was the case.

          • Ken Rhodes says

            Actually, Matt, he did address your point very directly. He said if you disapprove of the civil liberty granted in the Constitution, then generate some enthusiasm for repealing that specific sentence in the Constitution. Nothing could be more direct than that.

          • Matt says

            Ken, no, he didn’t address either my question or my point. If I had asked “how do I go about repealing the 2nd Amendment?” then I’d agree with you.

            But I am asking how many gun deaths/murders would cause a supporter of the 2nd amendment to reconsider the value of that amendment, or a revision to that amendment, or simply some sensible gun regulations. If a civil liberty creates a system in which tens of thousands of people are shot every year, at what point do we reconsider that civil liberty? I believe that Brett would say that NO number of murders is reasonable to cause us to reconsider the 2nd amendment. 100,000 murders a year would not be grounds for reconsideration. Would 1 million?

            But if he concedes that 100,000 gun deaths a year is too many, then he opens himself up to the question of why 10,000 should be allowed, when countries like Britain or Japan have just a fraction of that (more deaths by scissors in Japan than guns.) Should we call it collateral damage?

          • Betsy says

            Well also, just because a civil liberty is in the Constitution doesn’t mean it’s absolute and can’t be regulated in any way. See “theater, croweded, shouting fire in,” and too many other examples to mention. It’s called … JURISPRUDENCE

            (horrified gasp)

          • Tim says

            Put me down for ‘no more evasive answers from Brett until he answers answers Matt’s question’. It’s a very good one and deserves a serious, forthright answer. Freeman can answer on his behalf if desired (not that I equate him to Brett).

          • Brett Bellmore says

            ““theater, croweded, shouting fire in,” ”

            First off, it’s “The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.”

            Fraudulent speach, under circumstances which would cause severe and imminent threat of harm. To quote myself, “When you come up with proposed laws which are directly addressed to behavior which is, itself, directly harmful, instead of laws directed against actions which are, themselves, harmless, and which thousands of people engage in for every wrongdoer, I might be open to listening.”

            You seem to think that, having established that civil liberties have, in extremity, limits, this frees you to violate civil liberties you don’t like to any extent you find convenient. But, no, that’s NOT how we treat civil liberties, and even Holmes came to repudiate the view that deliberately partial quote defends.

            You want to talk about laws requiring people living in thin walled apartments to only use frangible ammo which won’t pass through the walls to endanger neighbors, I’m open to that. Backstop regulations? Atmospheric lead limits at ranges? There are all sorts of firearms related laws which could actually be justifed by the direct threat of harm to others.

            But gun controllers always go for laws which prohibit innocent acts which themselves harm nobody.

          • Matt says

            Yet again: avoid question. Change the framing of debate. Answer different question that no one asked.

            Typical.

          • Dennis says

            I’m perfectly willing to keep the 2nd amendment under a Scalia-Thomas-Alito-Rogers-esque strict constructionist interpretation. You can have all the muzzleloaders you want, provided they are fired by flintlock or other technology in common use in 1789. You can have swords, spears, pikes, and knives of whatever description.

            Those are the “arms” known to the sacred Framers who endowed you with inalienable right to keep and bear arms, inside or outside a well-regulated militia.

            Anything else (from percussion caps on) requires a Federal permit.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “I’m perfectly willing to keep the 2nd amendment under a Scalia-Thomas-Alito-Rogers-esque strict constructionist interpretation.”

            And then you proceed to demand something much different.

            Does the 1st amendment, in your universe, only guarantee freedom of manual offset printing presses such as Ben Franklin used?

            Screw this, it’s a civil liberty, it gets the full civil liberty treatment until the day you manage to repeal it. You don’t like that? Fine, die of apoplexy for all I care, you can not like it as much as you want, it’s still a civil liberty.

          • Dennis says

            Sorry, Brett. That is strict constructionalism. The words mean precisely what the Sacred Framers (all praise and glory be unto them) meant by them. They were no more capable of imagining a high-capacity semiautomatic rifle than they were capable of imagining manned spaceflight.

            It’s also called a reductio ad absurdum.

            Why don’t you answer Matt’s question?

          • Matt says

            Brett will never answer my question because it dooms his argument, just like it dooms the NRA. To admit that one is fine with the senseless deaths of 10,000 per year in order to preserve one’s right to own and fawn over a Bushmaster rifle is a losing argument. He knows it. Which is why he will not answer.

            So again: How many gun deaths/murders have to happen per year before we reconsider the wisdom of the “civil liberty” offered in the 2nd amendment? 100,000? Is a mere 10,000 innocent Americans acceptable each year?

            “Die of apoplexy for all I care”? Well, in the US it’s far likelier that one will die by being inadvertently shot with a firearm (a civil liberty, Brett reminds us.)

          • Brett Bellmore says

            Matt, are you really trying to argue that the US firearms death rate would drop to zero if we repealed or simply violated the 2nd amendment? Seriously? Because that IS what it means to blame all those deaths on the 2nd amendment; They’d have to NOT happen if there weren’t a 2nd amendment. Other countries without 2nd amendments would have to have NO firearms deaths, at all.

            You’re irrational, that’s all there is to it. And you’re mad that I won’t join in your madness.

          • Matt says

            No, I clearly never argued that the gun death/murder rate would drop to zero, nor did I ask for repeal of the 2nd amendment. Nor am I irrational.

            I suspect that you see yourself as a paragon of ultimate rationality (in the way that most libertarians do) while those of us who actually consider the human consequences of specific civil liberties (e.g. 10,000 gun deaths per year) are regarded somehow as less than rational. But you are wrong.

            Again: you are failing to answer a rational and legitimate question. Instead, as always you are attempting to redirect the debate away from fundamentals and toward obfuscations. Because the questions I am asking would cause your arguments to crumble.

            How many innocent deaths do we allow before we reconsider or regulate a civil liberty? What is the number? If it reached 50,000 per year, would that be enough for you to reconsider or regulate a civil liberty? If it reached 100,000? Currently, 10,000 innocent Americans die each year from handgun deaths–clearly, that number is too low for you to reflect on the worth of a civil liberty. Collateral damage, you’d probably say, without really thinking or caring about the 10,000 that died.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            Look here, see all those countries that don’t have a Second amendment, and still manage to have firearms deaths?

            I’m saying THE SECOND AMENDMENT ISN’T CAUSING THOSE DEATHS. Criminals are, and you have criminals, indeed criminals with guns, even without any constitutional protection of firearms ownership. Evidently, the lack of such protection is entirely consistent with firearms death rates much higher than in the US.

            While if you look at the wide variation in firearms death rates from place to place in the US, you can see that the existance of such protection is quite compatable with low rates of firearms deaths.

            You’ve got one country in the world, essentially, that constitutionally protects the right to keep and bear arms. It has neither the highest nor the lowest rate of firearms death, and those rates vary internally by a huge margin, even in states with the same rate of firearms ownership. (South Dakota, 8/100,000. Arkansaw, 20/100,000. Same rate of gun ownership.) As you drill down to smaller and smaller jurisdictions, the variation in murder rates gets larger and larger.

            There’s something cultural driving murder rates, and it absolutely swamps in magnitude correlated with gun laws. Whatever it is only has to vary a tiny bit between two countries to completely confound any analysis of gun laws.

            Or maybe you want to explain wny the 2nd amendment is causing American to kill each other more often than Europeans without guns, too?

          • Freeman says

            Matt, I’ll answer your question with a question: How many rights will you freely forfeit and demand that your compatriots forfeit as well, before you feel “safe” in a world that’s been brutally fatal to all life forms inhabiting it since long before the advent of the firearm?

          • Matt says

            Freeman, I’d give up just one: the right to stockpile military-grade weapons and high-capacity magazines far beyond any reasonable need for such weapons. I have no need for this “right,” nor does any reasonable person.

            I’ll keep the right to possess a rifle or a small handgun for personal protection.

          • Tim says

            I’d be happy just to add some clarification to the Constitution: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be construed as prohibiting duly elected legislative bodies from enacting laws intended to promote public safety with respect to the manufacture, possession or use of arms. However, no such law may have the effect of generally barring arms from the people.”

  3. Ebenezer Scrooge says

    I’ve noticed that management is intolerant of ad hominems, except when Brett is the target. There’s nothing wrong with the general rule, but I can’t say that its exception is unfair. Even though Brett never engages in ad hominems, he sabotages discourse in just about every other way: cites that don’t say what he says they say, failure to acknowledge strong contrary arguments, complete and utter predictability of positions, rhetorical Calvinball, Constitutional Calvinism (the Constitution must mean what he thinks it means, without regard to any interpretive community), etc.

    (Yes, I’m challenging management to take this post down. Or maybe make its tacit exception explicit. Or maybe figure out what to do in general.)

    • Freeman says

      Even though Brett never engages in ad hominems, he sabotages discourse in just about every other way

      Perhaps you should have chosen another OP in which to lodge this particular complaint; this one is obvious Brett-bait, as evidenced by the timing and nature of the author’s response to Brett’s first comment. He was apparently eagerly awaiting Brett’s response and expressed surprise that it came a mere 40 minutes after his original post instead of even sooner.

      Yes, I’m challenging management to take this post down.

      Wouldn’t you need to break the rules first? I’m not the one who decides, but I don’t see any ad hominem in your post or anything else offensive, except possibly the off-topic nature of the comment, which I wouldn’t expect to warrant removal based on my experience participating in this forum.

      • Ebenezer Scrooge says

        1. Although I can’t speak to Michael’s intent, I agree that Michael’s post was obvious Brett-bait in effect.
        2. If my comment was not ad hominem, I don’t know what is. True, I didn’t exactly attack Brett’s integrity and certainly not his intellect, ancestry or hygiene. But I did attack what I take to be his general notion of discourse. I did not attack the point he made. Smatter of fact, Brett made a perfectly reasonable point with which I mostly agree. I thought that my response was the definition of an ad hominem response: attacking the debater, not the debate point.
        3. Oddly enough, every post after mine was Marquess of Queensberry [sic?]–all to the point, and nothing even faintly resembling a personal attack on anybody.

        • Tim says

          attacking the debater, not the debate point

          Almost: attacking the debater to avoid/deflect the debating point. Plus, a substantive observation is not necessarily an attack.

  4. MikeM says

    I side more with Brett than Michael on this one. It’s a tragedy, one that is repeated all too often. In this case a number of different issues are involved: mental illness, the proliferation of guns, the brutalization of war on its participants. And it has little to do with open carry, since the victims and offender were at a shooting range.

    • Brendan says

      They were carrying in the open, what does the location have to do with it? Is the rhetoric “An armed society is a polite society” constantly appended “…with the exception of shooting ranges”?

      The point is everyone was armed and well trained in their use and it didn’t help them. Yes, this about mental illness and proliferation of gun but it is also fighting the idea that if we put a gun in everyone’s hand and have a 313,914,040 person Mexican standoff, everyone will be safe.

      • Freeman says

        They were carrying in the open, what does the location have to do with it? … The point is everyone was armed and well trained in their use and it didn’t help them.

        It would help me to evaluate your point if you would explain to me how you would apply it to armed and well trained police officers openly carrying guns.

        Yes, this about mental illness and proliferation of gun but it is also fighting the idea that if we put a gun in everyone’s hand and have a 313,914,040 person Mexican standoff, everyone will be safe.

        Looks to me like you’re shooting a paper target here, Brendan. I’ve not seen arguments made that we should “put a gun in everyone’s hand” or that “everyone will be safe” if we do. Would you care to enlighten me with an example or two?

        • Brendan says

          You seem to have an point you want to make about open carry and cops, you can make it instead of trying to ask leading questions. My point is that the myth of an armed society preventing gun violence is just that, the fact that they were carrying in the open is means that it was known the victims were armed. If you’ve never heard any tropes about arming people to protect them, I’d like to live in your bubble.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            And my point is, unless somebody is claiming that protection is 100.000000% reliable, you got nothing if you don’t have statistics and controls. This is on a level with, “My sister got the flu vaccine, and she still got sick. Flu vaccine is a scam!”

          • Freeman says

            If you’ve never heard any tropes about arming people to protect them, I’d like to live in your bubble.

            Sure I’ve heard the “tropes”; Police, soldiers, bank guards, Secret Service, etc., all armed to the teeth to protect themselves and others. Are you saying it doesn’t work and they should all disarm or what? You seem to have a point you want to make about open carry and guns, but I can’t figure out what it’s supposed to prove.

          • Brendan says

            Brett: It is a rhetorical anecdote, much like gun commercials. I am not saying this is definitive proof, the idea that guns increase the rate of death can be found elsewhere, statistically. Since myths aren’t based in fact, anecdotes will be fine.

            Freeman: I said armed society, not armed security. You are now free to take us down the “there is one gun, which we now need to protect against, so we need more guns” slippery slope. Perhaps you’d like the “it works for cops, why not regular people” argument? Because evidence suggests you can have armed security and an unarmed populace and reduce the number of deaths by firearms (see for example, the Western World, included in the link above). There isn’t any evidence that the solution to gun violence is more guns.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            You want to argue statistics, fine. Go look up “confounding variables”, and maybe you’ll understand why those international comparisons are essentially worthless. It’s not like I haven’t explained this at length before.

          • Freeman says

            @Brendan:

            I said armed society, not armed security.

            I’ll take this as “does not apply” in answer to my question about how you would apply your point to police and other armed security. Do you really think police, soldiers, etc., never shoot each other (intentionally as well as inadvertently), or that when they do the ones who get shot are not armed at the time? Does that mean they should disarm? You seem to be saying firearms and training don’t make a member of society any safer — do you say the same about armed security forces? If so, what is your reasoning?

            Perhaps you’d like the “it works for cops, why not regular people” argument? Because evidence suggests you can have armed security and an unarmed populace and reduce the number of deaths by firearms

            I’m interested in seeing evidence that suggests you can disarm millions of Americans who stand ready to defend their Constitution without a bloodbath the likes of which this country has never before seen. Is that what you’re suggesting here?

          • Brendan says

            Brett: All I can find is the confounding variables skunk ape being trotted out to “show” the statistics aren’t reliable, but the due diligence isn’t done. People seem certain they exist, but they can’t name one and provide even the slightest indication that it may actual confound the larger statistic.

            Freeman: Is there any evidence to suggest that disarming intra-country security would make the populace safer, as a whole? Your questions aren’t apt because the evidence I am bringing to the table doesn’t suggest it, and neither am I. If you have evidence that increasing gun ownership makes everyone safe other than some fantasy about defending the Constitution with record level bloodshed, bring it.

            At this point I realize this isn’t actually a discussion but people scared of losing what takes away the fear, so I’ll take my leave.

          • Freeman says

            Your questions aren’t apt because the evidence I am bringing to the table doesn’t suggest it, and neither am I

            Because evidence suggests you can have armed security and an unarmed populace and reduce the number of deaths by firearms

            Perhaps, but how can you have “an unarmed populace” here in the USA? The only way to do that is to disarm a populace that owns about 300 million of them. If that’s not what you were suggesting with this statement, I can’t imagine what you were trying to say.

            I’ll admit I’m having trouble understanding your point — that’s why I’m asking — but it appears to me that you may be as well. Another case in point:

            The point is everyone was armed and well trained in their use and it didn’t help them. Yes, this about mental illness and proliferation of gun but it is also fighting the idea that if we put a gun in everyone’s hand and have a 313,914,040 person Mexican standoff, everyone will be safe.

            If one armed and well trained cop is killed by another armed and well trained cop, does that make a point about fighting the idea that if we put a gun in every cop’s hand every cop will be safe? How is that question (rephrased here for the fourth time) not apt to your statement?

            And this evidence you are bringing to the table? You’ve linked to a gun commercial depicting a lone young woman at home responsibly using a firearm to defend herself (did you catch the part about how she didn’t even need to fire a shot? No bad guys were harmed in the filming of this commercial!) and another link to a snark site in which following the top link there leads to data that does at least as much to prove Brett’s point as yours, kinda like the link to the commercial did.

            At this point I realize this isn’t actually a discussion but people scared of losing what takes away the fear, so I’ll take my leave.

            Projection? I own an old single-shot hunting rifle locked in a closet and keep no ammo. I only have it for the sentimental value — it was a childhood gift from my father. I keep a baseball bat by the front door and two dogs out back (friendly Labs, not Pits, Rots, or even Shepherds). That’s it. I live in a neighborhood that most white guys like me would rather not drive through — I’m definitely a minority in this ‘hood. I’ve returned from a weekend away to find four bullet holes in my house. There have been several gun murder incidents within a block or two in the last decade. I’ve had a .45 pointed at me inches from my forehead and the dude was f’n serious (coke-head needing a fix). I walk these streets unarmed. I neither fear firearms nor need one to “take away the fear” of whatever it is you imagine. I’ve never felt the need to arm myself with a gun against my fellow man, but I reserve the right to keep and bear arms for any lawful purpose I may desire and I’ll always stand up for that right for all Americans, just like I’ll stand up for your right to freely disagree with me.

          • Freeman says

            And now to answer your question:

            Is there any evidence to suggest that disarming intra-country security would make the populace safer, as a whole?

            Read Radley Balko for about a week and get back to me on that one.

            Here’s a thought exercise for your disarmed populace / armed authorities fantasy: The conditions you describe are exactly those you find in prisons, but if I were you I’d talk to someone who’s actually been there before jumping to the conclusion that prisons are a safe place to be.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “Brett: All I can find is the confounding variables skunk ape being trotted out to “show” the statistics aren’t reliable, but the due diligence isn’t done. People seem certain they exist, but they can’t name one and provide even the slightest indication that it may actual confound the larger statistic.”

            Brendan, the existence of confounding variables is not really subject to much doubt. As I pointed out the state of South Dakota has a firearms murder rate of 8/100,000. The state of Arkansas, 20/100,000. They have the same rate of gun ownership, about 60%. What’s your explanation for this? The strict gun laws of South Dakota? And the variations only get larger as you focus on smaller jurisdictions. At the limit there are neighborhoods where the murder rate approaches or exceeds 100/100k. Is this because they have a 60*100/8=750% rate of gun ownership?

            We know for an absolute, indisputable fact, that the rate of homicide with guns varies from place to place within the US independently of gun ownership, by a larger degree than it varies in correlation with gun ownership. This means there are factors which are many times more effective at driving crime rates than gun ownership. And they only have to vary a little between countries to make any correlation you see between national crime rates and gun ownership utterly unreliable.

            Does this mean there isn’t any such correlation? No, of course not. Just that you can’t prove it, until YOU identify those variables, YOU determine their correlation coefficients, and YOU properly compensate for them. I’m on the other side, I’m not going to do your work for you. I’ll tell you who does do that sort of work: Criminologists, not doctors. Which is why the studies gun controllers like are found in medical journals…

            You know what you’re trying to do? You’re trying to use fights between gangs, and turf battles between drug cartels, as an excuse to disarm ordinary people who don’t commit crimes. And I’m not standing for it.

            Because it’s a civil liberty, and you don’t take my civil liberties away because somebody else abuses them.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “He rejects attempts to reduce the number of gun deaths by virtually any means.”

            If the only means you can conceive of to reduce the number of deaths, (I don’t give a darn about the number of “gun” deaths, dead is dead.) is attacking the rights of people who AREN’T killing anyone, either you’ve got a clinically deficient imagination, or the truth is you just don’t like guns, and reducing deaths is just an excuse. I’m betting the latter.

            Bottom line and last word: It’s a civil liberty, and will be until you repeal it. It WILL be treated like a civil liberty, or there will be Hell to pay.

            Now, let’s just get it on, because we’re never going to agree.

    • Matt says

      It may have little to do with open carry, but it has a lot to do with our lack of strong gun regulations, as well as an overly permissive gun culture that glorifies the use of a gun as a solution to problems. The NRA and gun companies heavily promote this idea.

  5. Ed Whitney says

    The actions of the victim can be placed into more than one category to which one can generalize. One category has to do with carrying weapons. Another category has to do with trying to reach out to a fellow human being who is having problems. The single incident can be used to illustrate that action in the category in question is asking for trouble. It is up to the observer to choose which category to generalize to, or to choose not to generalize.

  6. BM says

    If the NRA can cite successful-gun-defense anecdotes, then *I* can darn well cite unsuccessful-gun-defense anecdotes.

    When an unarmed person (or a schoolroom full of them) gets shot, the NRA says “See, this wouldn’t have happened with armed civilians nearby”. Whenever a gun-waving coot scares off a harmless trespasser, the NRA says, “See, this proves that guns *prevent* murder.” I.e., the NRA loves anecdotal evidence that confirms its stance.

    But when an armed person gets shot, the NRA says “armed civilians aren’t invincible.” When a gun-waving coot *shoots* a harmless tresspasser, the NRA says “Clearly this shooter was in the wrong.” I.e., the NRA gets all serious and Popperian when an anecdote *contradicts* its stance.

    Want to skip the anecdotes altogether? By looking at crime stats, for example? How about the statistic that there were a *total* of about 200 “people murdered in homes by strangers” in 2009. If you imagine, generously, that this was due to home-invasion robberies, and that the 200 deaths occurred among the 2/3rds of Americans that don’t own guns, then (again, generously) 300 total home-invasion-robbery *attempts* occurred in 2009. In which gun ownership saved 100 lives. (Also in 2009: ~350 fatal gun accidents! 8000+ non-home murders! etc. Oy.)

    That’s why the NRA relies on anecdotes. Heck, in the absence of real anecdotes, the NRA seems to enjoy *fake* anecdotes—like the *hypothetical* story of what an armed elementary-school principal *might* respond to a gunman.

    • Freeman says

      +1 for being the first to offer an affirmative opinion on the subject backed by relevant statistical data.
      +1 for presenting a convincing case for the citation of anecdotes in rebuttal to same, but -1 for mis-characterizing the NRA’s statements in regard to their anecdotes.

      There’s a difference between saying something could be expected to be less likely vs. saying “See, this wouldn’t have happened”, and there’s a difference between saying guns can be used to prevent murder as well as commit it vs. saying “See, this proves that guns *prevent* murder.” Your point: “I.e., the NRA loves anecdotal evidence that confirms its stance.”, stands just as well without all the hyperbole. Personally, I take issue with LaPierre’s statement that “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. That sort of blanket statement is obviously not true for some instances of “bad guy with a gun” and easily refuted (some gunmen are stopped without the use of a gun), but even that statement doesn’t assert that the bad guy is stopped every time a good guy with a gun is present, or that the Sandy Hook tragedy “wouldn’t have happened” if there were a good guy with a gun on premises. I see little difference between your characterization of the NRA’s stance vs. someone accusing the majority of the commenters here of wanting to “take away all of our guns” — it may be true of a tiny minority, but I rather doubt it of the majority.

      Hyperbolic rhetoric makes for interesting reading and generates lots of comments and page hits, but it doesn’t get us any closer to arriving at a set of “same facts” we can agree to act upon, much less a consensus on how the agreed-upon factual evidence should influence our behavior and public policy.

      • Dennis says

        “…some gunmen are stopped without the use of a gun…”

        Data point: the Taft High School shooter was talked into disarming himself and surrendering to the police.

  7. BM says

    Freeman,

    While it is *possible* to imagine an NRA-like position, held by a reasonable person, for which Michael’s satire is off the mark … well, it doesn’t follow that this is an actual common position. The NRA position is not merely that private guns statistically prevent crime, it’s that guns are *really good at* preventing crime. More guns are even better, as are bigger guns, bigger magazines, “tactical” training, and so on; and gun nuts routinely look at shootings in the news (Newtown, etc.) and *blame the ATF* for creating a liberal weakling not-enough-guns environment where such things can occur. This is a real position, held by real (and vocal) people with a real influence on our gun laws.

    • Freeman says

      Let’s just say most of the guns nuts I know and have lived amongst all my life don’t sound much at all like the gun nuts you depict. I consider myself lucky in that regard — the guys you describe sound like idiotic jerks.

    • Freeman says

      Here’s another similar, if less explosive, example of What Could Go Wrong. I find it interesting to consider the differences in how we react to the two types of tragic events.

      • doretta says

        You think it’s weird that people treat accidents differently from deliberate murders?

        I’d think it was weird if they didn’t.

        Or is the difference you refer to the fact that in the wake of that particular vehicle incident and a couple of others, a number of states have changed their laws on the license renewal process for elderly drivers but we don’t seems to be able to take similar steps to cut down on homicides involving guns?

        • Freeman says

          Not weird, that would mean it’s unusual. Interesting was the word.

          And here’s what I find interesting about it:

          The event you seem to describe as a “deliberate murder” is described in the news article as the result of a mistaken assumption of “an honorably discharged military veteran, a Christian missionary active in his church and a bus driver with no criminal history” who lived in a area with “a pretty high crime rate, a lot of home invasions, drug trafficking”, whose next-door neighbor “had been broken into in the past two weeks” and who “saw two people running by his car and assumed they were up to no good” and is now “distraught over the death” and “has cooperated 100 percent with the investigation and he will continue to cooperate”.

          The one you seem to brush off as a simple “vehicle accident” is described in the news article as the act of a man who showed “indifference to the victims in this case” and “bullheaded refusal to accept responsibility” after having “turned his 1992 Buick LeSabre into the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market and kept pressing on the accelerator even as his car smashed into a crowd of shoppers. In addition to those killed — nine adults and a 2-year-old — more than 70 people were injured”. It wasn’t in the links above, but Weller’s wikipedia page has collected more info from news reports indicating that he “stared straight ahead as he drove through the crowd, with victims flying over his windshield”, “angrily yelled from his car ‘Get out of the way!’ as he hit pedestrians”, “casually asked how many people he had hit” upon exit of his car and then callously asked “If you saw me coming, why didn’t you get out of the way?”.

          Now maybe I’m wrong and you referred to the shooting as accidental and the vehicular manslaughter as a deliberate act of murder, since either event could be seen in either light. I find it interesting how different people view the same event.

          Or is the difference you refer to the fact that in the wake of that particular vehicle incident and a couple of others, a number of states have changed their laws on the license renewal process for elderly drivers but we don’t seems to be able to take similar steps to cut down on homicides involving guns?

          Yes! Why don’t we seem “to be able to take similar steps to cut down on homicides involving guns”? Why don’t we impose the same license renewal process restrictions on everyone that we do on “elderly drivers” — are we concerned about infringing upon those who aren’t perceived as particularly problematic? — and why do so many of us want to impose blanket restrictions on anyone buying anything associated with firearms and don’t seem to be concerned about infringing upon the rights of those who aren’t perceived as particularly problematic in that case?

  8. says

    The whole story is beyond insane…

    A guy who made his living shooting people dead from long distance in the pre-drone era…
    Wants to help out military folk who are suffering from PTSD and so takes them out for a friendly shoot?
    As if there is reams of scientific evidence that more bang-bang is good therapy for PTSD?
    Good lord that is pure dumb…
    And then they give a loaded weapon to someone with a history of mental illness?

    This story is nothing short that an incredible example of the insane faith some have in the curative powers of weaponry.
    Insane…

    • Matt says

      I agree. This is the end result of an insane gun culture. It’s far likelier that a 2nd amendment gun but will die by being shot than will a gun control activist. And yet they never learn, do they?

    • Brett Bellmore says

      “Wants to help out military folk who are suffering from PTSD and so takes them out for a friendly shoot?”

      You ARE aware, right, that exposing phobics to the object of their fear under controlled circumstances, is considered a legitimate treatment?

      • Matt says

        Most PTSD sufferers are not afraid of guns. They are afraid of the thoughts they have of killing people with guns. In this case, the phobic’s fear was borne out. Taking a guy who is afraid he will murder people with guns to a shooting range was unwise: two people are dead.

  9. NY-Paul says

    A billion words evoked about every conceivable tangential issue and yet the most immediate productive action possible, and the one that would reduce gun related deaths starting tomorrow, universal background checks, is dying on some vine out there as we speak.

    Why?

    • Brett Bellmore says

      “and the one that would reduce gun related deaths starting tomorrow,”

      Because you have to be mad to think that’s true. Suppose we institute, tomorrow, instant background checks before you can buy cocaine. Going to stop people from getting it?

      As I’ve pointed out in other threads, black markets exist. Criminals without records exist. These mean that no regulation of legal sales can do much to effect the access of criminals to firearms, and most murders are committed by criminals.

      So it requires a level of magical thinking approaching insanity to believe as small a measure as increasing the sales subject to instant background checks would have an effect on the murder rate.

      Are you going to physically seal the borders, so guns can’t be imported across them?

      Are you going to confiscate all the legally held guns, so they can’t be stolen?

      Are you going to make ownership of milling machines and steel billets illegal, and institute strict security around tool rooms in factories, to make sure no guns are covertly manufactured for a black market?

      No? Then you’re not going to much effect the firearms death rate. When it mostly falls into two categories:

      1. Suicides by people who could pass background checks.

      2. Murders by people who won’t bother getting their gun in a way where you can impose a background check.

      Your proposal is ‘dying on the vine’ because too many people realize it’s stupid to think it would work, and aren’t willing to play along any more with your game of imposing ever harsher laws on the exercise of a civil liberty.

        • Brett Bellmore says

          No, reasonable regulation of firearms isn’t hard. It’s just not what gun controllers want.

          • Pamela D says

            Ooo… what do you consider “reasonable regulation of firearms”? What kind of “isn’t hard” regulation do you support? (I’m less interested in your opinion about what ‘gun controllers want’ that aren’t you.)

          • Brett Bellmore says

            I’ve already cited a few reasonable gun regulations. Regulation of what you can have loaded in an apartment, to prevent you from shooting your neighbor through the wall when you’re plugging a burglar. Health regulation of airborne lead levels at indoor ranges.

            The problem with asking for new reasonable regulations, is that being reasonable, they’ve mostly already been enacted. Most of the gun control proposals only seem reasonable to people with an animus against gun ownership, and who refuse to treat gun ownership as a civil liberty.

            Which it is, no matter how much that torques you.

          • Matt says

            Yes, let’s make sure that when your firearm accidentally discharges, killing you, your spouse, or one of your kids, the rounds doesn’t accidentally penetrate a wall and kill your neighbor. (And the statistics irrefutably prove that it’s far likelier that a firearm will kill an innocent member of your own household than any vague “intruder.” See all of David Hemenway’s research for bulletproof data.) This, as always, is an absolutely crazy form of logic.

            But let’s not even try to prevent high volume mass murder using military grade rifles or high-capacity magazines. No, instead we’ll regulate lead at firing ranges so no one dies of vague symptoms twenty years down the line. And then claim that we’re doing “something.” But it’s actually nothing. Brett, in fact, wants no regulation of firearms. He proposes no sensible regulations that would actually reduce the gun deaths/murders of 10,000 innocent Americans per year.

            The current proposals by the Obama administration are sensible and positive: they allow Brett to keep his many guns, while making us all a bit safer.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “(And the statistics irrefutably prove that it’s far likelier that a firearm will kill an innocent member of your own household than any vague “intruder.”

            Somebody breaks into my home, and I scare them off by racking a shotgun, am I supposed to shoot them in the back as they flee, to make the statistics look ‘better’? How bloodthirsty are you, anyway, that you’d demand a defensive firearms use involve killing somebody before it counts? But that’s the basis of this factoid of yours: Not counting a defensive firearms use unless you kill somebody. Let me repeat that: In Hemenway’s opinion, a defensive firearms use doesn’t count unless you kill somebody!

            That, alone, is enough to demonstrate that Hemenway was manufacturing propaganda. That he’s publishing in medical, not criminological, journals, is another giveaway.

            And, let me ask you a question: Did Hemenway actually bother determining whether members of households who got shot were actually innocent? You are aware that criminals have households, and typically do not exempt them from their predation, right?

            I know that when Kellerman did a similar study, that’s exactly what he did: Counted all deaths of “household” members as innocent, even if they were abusive spouses showing up to attack their wives in violation of a restraining order. Based on a quick reading of this, it appears that Hemenway did the same, and maybe is just referring to Kellerman’s faulty study.

            Frankly, I’m not impressed with Hemenway, given that brief reading. Logic holes you could drive a truck through.

          • worn says

            The ‘Reply’ button is missing on the deeply nested replies; this is actually a response to Brett’s comment on 2/4 at 5:06 pm:

            It makes me a bit sad that seemingly every time I assume a modicum of good faith in reading Brett’s posts, I am made to feel like a sucker.

            To wit, immediately above Brett offers as an example of the futility of enacting universal background check laws a response to NY-Paul that leads with this nugget:

            “Because you have to be mad to think that’s true. Suppose we institute, tomorrow, instant background checks before you can buy cocaine. Going to stop people from getting it?”

            Then 4 a mere posts down, he offers as an example of a “reasonable” gun law that he might approve of: “Regulation of what you can have loaded in an apartment, to prevent you from shooting your neighbor through the wall when you’re plugging a burglar.”

            So…let me see if I understand this correctly: universal background checks for gun purchases would be an unworkable, impractical system, one that people would easily skirt via extralegal means. But a law universally restricting dwellers within multifamily buildings to certain bullet-types is “reasonable”? A number of obvious questions immediately spring to mind:

            1) What kind of gunpowder driven projectile is it you imagine will penetrate bone but not 2 1/2″ of gypsum wall board (typical American code-compliant party wall construction)? And even if we could develop such a bullet, what about densely developed apartment communities where there is as much danger in the burglar-plugging scenario of shooting through a glass window and into another unit?

            2) Furthermore, wouldn’t this law you propose require the establishment of a complete national database of the type of building lived in by each and every American citizen, gun-owning or not, so as to prevent the purchase of this type of ammunition by citizens that rent? Or do we outfit each and every multifamily building in America with some sort of non-apartment bullet sensor (the bullets themselves being RFID-chipped or something) to prevent them from being brought through the front door? What about through the windows?

            3) If we go the national database route, do we have exceptions for those who wish to buy the more powerful ammunition and use it for recreational shooting, hunting, etc.? Is this a second tier database that has to be set up to log these exceptions in real time. Or do we just let the bullet purchasers vouch for their intentions?

            4) I am tempted add in a famous quote from the “The King & I” in this slot for I could easily go on here…

            Good Lord, this strikes me as the very definition of sophistry. And I only write this for it is well apparent to me after reading a voluminous number of comment threads that Brett is an intelligent man who can clearly think through & rebut arguments against his positions. And yet he suggests twice (!) legislation that a moment’s thought would clearly demonstrate to be a completely unworkable in any sort of practical sense. Though obviously it is impossible for me know Brett’s true intentions, I am just finding it exceptionally hard to assume this is not done on purpose. And thus I am left with the conclusion that these exchanges are, intellectually speaking, nothing more than Lucy and the football writ large (& repeated seemingly ad infinitum on this site). And yet so many folks continue to line up for the kick.

          • worn says

            Oops, bollixed up the html italic tags there. “Twice (!)” & “me” were the only things that were supposed to be italicized in that 1:35 response of mine…

          • Brett Bellmore says

            Now, that’s an intelligent attempt at argument.

            So…let me see if I understand this correctly: universal background checks for gun purchases would be an unworkable, impractical system, one that people would easily skirt via extralegal means. But a law universally restricting dwellers within multifamily buildings to certain bullet-types is “reasonable”?

            The background check system is premised on the notion that it stops criminals from buying guns. Criminals are the people it is directed towards. Criminals have this established propensity to violate laws. While a law telling people who live in apartments to use frangible ammo, (Glaser safety slugs, in my case.) is directed mostly at generally law abiding people, and is facially reasonable, giving them no particular reason to resist. It would be obeyed to about the extent traffic laws are.

            “1) What kind of gunpowder driven projectile is it you imagine will penetrate bone but not 2 1/2″ of gypsum wall board (typical American code-compliant party wall construction)? And even if we could develop such a bullet, what about densely developed apartment communities where there is as much danger in the burglar-plugging scenario of shooting through a glass window and into another unit?”

            ‘Safety slug’, aka “frangible ammo”. They’re essentially powdered metal in a thin casing, they travel as a solid mass until they hit their first object, and then disperse, causing massive tissue damage if they hit a person, but dispersing into a cloud of dust if they hit a wall, or yes, glass. No, they won’t break bones, unless close to the surface, but they will drop a burglar. Established tech. been around for years.

            “2) Furthermore, wouldn’t this law you propose require the establishment of a complete national database of the type of building lived in by each and every American citizen, gun-owning or not, so as to prevent the purchase of this type of ammunition by citizens that rent? Or do we outfit each and every multifamily building in America with some sort of non-apartment bullet sensor (the bullets themselves being RFID-chipped or something) to prevent them from being brought through the front door? What about through the windows?”
            “3)… 4)…”

            Right, kind of like we’ve equipped the entire nation with a surveillance system to make sure smoke detector batteries get changed. Look, laws which are facially reasonable tend to get obeyed voluntarily, unlike laws deliberately intended to impose on people, like outlawing normal capacity magazines. Would there be 100% compliance? Does everybody drive under the speed limit?

            I mean, really: Are you incapable of conceiving of laws apart from police state enforcement?

          • navarro says

            here’s the thing brett, the idea behind instituting universal background checks is not intended to immediately stop all purchases of firearms by criminals. what it is intended to do is to close the enormous loophole that allows criminals to freely and easily purchase firearms at gun shows. do you truly oppose making it somewhat more difficult for people with specific types of criminal backgrounds to buy weapons? i can frequently follow the logic of your ideas. i may disagree with them completely but i can, at least, understand the logic behind many of them. here i’m at a loss to understand what you’re thinking. why do you want to make it so easy for violent offenders to purchase weapons when a fairly simple change would make that more difficult without particularly effecting the ability of the law-abiding to do so?

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “here’s the thing brett, the idea behind instituting universal background checks is not intended to immediately stop all purchases of firearms by criminals. what it is intended to do is to close the enormous loophole that allows criminals to freely and easily purchase firearms at gun shows.”

            Because the important thing isn’t that criminals not be able to buy guns, but instead, that they not be able to buy them at gun shows? Look, even universal background checks will be as effective at stopping criminals from buying guns, as current laws are at stopping criminals from buying pot.

            So, what’s the downside of background checks? Aside from inconvenience, (And inconvenience counts, when the only thing the law is doing to the criminals is inconveniencing them.) it’s the government ending up with a record of the purchases. Which is troubling enough when the gun grabbers aren’t on the warpath, but NY just passed a law making already possessed firearms illegal to continue to own, (Almost certainly going to be struck down as unconstitutional.) demonstrating yet again the danger of letting a government hostile to a civil liberty know who is exercising it.

            When you’ve made it so clear you don’t want to let us exercise this civil liberty, and will suborn the Court into pretending it doesn’t exist at the first chance you get, how can you expect us to go along with laws making it easier down the road to attack it?

          • Matt says

            Brett rejects scientific studies based on verifiable data. He rejects studies written for “medical” journals. He rejects attempts to reduce the number of gun deaths by virtually any means. In fact, he rejects any attempt in any way to make the number of people shot in the US lower–except in the very absurd and unlikely case that a bullet might penetrate an apartment building wall, or I might get an illness from atmospheric lead at a gun range. These are his only two contributions to the discussion.

            Brett rejects anything and everything that reasonable people might agree on as a starting point for reducing gun deaths. (But he does heartily endorse his own circumstantial and anecdotal reading of how “culture” works–and faults “culture” entirely for the 10,000+ firearm deaths annually in the US.)

            I’d encourage you all (including myself) to stop worrying about Brett and go read David Hemenway instead [http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/david-hemenway/] Brett argues in a bubble that he himself created.

          • navarro says

            i am delighted to see that you are willing to go on record as wanting the gun show loophole to continue to exist. it sends everyone hear a clear signal as to where you stand.

      • Don says

        Let’s look at that argument in a different subject area. Drunk driving is illegal, and drunk driving will get your license revoked, and driving without a license is illegal. We can talk about whether the threat of sanctions is effective against drunks who drive after they lose their licenses. But the suggestion that driving without a license should be permitted, is out of bounds. Reasonable people know that some drunks will drive on a revoked license, and reasonable people are willing to pay taxes to hire police to catch them at it.

        Only in the domain of gun laws, can you be taken seriously if you suggest that (a) yes, this is antisocial behavior, but (b) criminals will probably do it anyway, therefore (c) we should not make this antisocial behavior illegal.

        • Brett Bellmore says

          Who’s arguing the anti-social behavior shouldn’t be illegal? Simple ownership isn’t anti-social. Shooting people is, usually. But it’s also already illegal.

          Counterfeiting is illegal, and counterfeiting will get your license to own a printer revoked, and printing without a license is illegal… Oh, wait, you don’t need a license to own a printer, because freedom of the press is a civil liberty.

          Well, at least nobody objects to the legally mandated background checks before you buy a printer, (To keep counterfeiters from buying them.) applying to private sales. Oh, wait, no background checks, either.

          Why, it’s almost as though we really DID have different standards for what sorts of laws you can have, where civil liberties are involved!

          • Pamela D says

            Brett, that’s a bad example, straw-man argument. Counterfeiters do not cause the kind of bodily injury that drunk drivers and careless gun owners often do. But even if they did, freedom of the press wouldn’t stop laws restricting printer ownership, any more than they’d stop counterfeiters, for that matter. If licensing printers discouraged counterfeiting, or made counterfeiters easier to catch, you bet we’d have laws to license printers.

            And we do have laws that violate freedom of the press in NDAA and the Patriot Act legislation. Wikileaks, for example. That’s a freedom of the press issue in which the civil right loses to harmful, paranoid, military secrecy.

            All our current civil liberties are curtailed, in fact, *except* bearing arms. Talk about different standards: gun loving NRA fans are the only groups that get a pass.

          • Don says

            Brett, first, you assert that individual gun ownership is a civil liberty, but that’s not the only interpretation of the Second Amendment. In a constitution characterized by extreme economy of language, I find it hard to believe that “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state” refers to exactly nothing, but that is what gun right absolutists would have us believe.

            Second, your argument (among others) was that we shouldn’t pass a law that will be ignored by criminals. In no other arena is that argument considered persuasive. Outlawing undesirable behavior is for deterrence, but not only for deterrence.

            You also assume that by “anti-social behavior” I meant simple gun ownership, which I didn’t, and you know I didn’t. In this context we’re talking about instant background checks: holding up a gun sale until it is demonstrated that the buyer is not someone who would be committing a crime by buying the gun (or even attempting to buy the gun). It’s hardly a sweeping new restriction. It has the same status as making me show a drivers license before I buy a car.

          • Brett Bellmore says

            “but that’s not the only interpretation of the Second Amendment.”

            Yes, I’m aware there are people who “interpret” the Second amendment to mean that you have a right to carry a gun if the government hires you as a soldier or a police officer. I have no interest at all in nonsensical “interpretations” of the amendment which only appeared after a need was seen to explain it away.

          • Don says

            I’m still left with the impression that you think the first “thirteen words” of the Second Amendment are “meaningless” and can be “ignored.”

          • Brett Bellmore says

            Not at all: The purpose of the 2nd amendment is to advance the cause of a “well regulated”, which is to say, well trained and equipped, militia, on the theory that such a militia is necessary to the security of a free state.

            None the less, it does this by guaranteeing a right of the people. How does this work?

            Rights in the Bill of Rights are not predicated on the notion that the government will want to do the right thing, they are a sign of distrust in the government. The distrust in this case, is that not all states want to be free states, and so there’s the posiblity that the government might wish to discontinue the militia system, and make it impossible to raise a militia in the future.

            To safeguard against this possibility, the people of America are guaranteed the right to keep and bear, own and carry, weapons suitable for militia purposes. So that, even if the government doesn’t WANT a militia to exist, the basis for raising one in a hurry will remain: An armed citizenry who know how to use their weapons.

            So the preface is indeed quite important, in that it makes it clear what sort of arms the amendment guarantees the right to: Military arms. And the Heller Court is quite rightly attacked for ignoring this in their ruling, though the minority would have done worse.

          • Don says

            By that logic there’s no basis for restricting your right to own and carry a fully automatic rifle, a grenade, or a Claymore (all illegal at present). Do you really think you have a right to possess such weapons, that need not be balanced against your neighbors’ rights in any way?

      • dn says

        “As I’ve pointed out in other threads, black markets exist. Criminals without records exist. These mean that no regulation of legal sales can do much to effect the access of criminals to firearms, and most murders are committed by criminals.”

        You lose me at “these mean that…”. Actually, you lose me at “criminals without records exist”, because we live in a country where one is presumed innocent until proven guilty. (What happened to “civil liberties”? Work on the internal consistency, man!) Given this, “these mean that…” ought to be considered an obvious non sequitur by your own way of thinking. This, right here, is why you have so much trouble getting respect from the community here – you take hardline “logical” positions when it suits you and then play fast and loose when it doesn’t.

        You can’t be an absolutist on one civil liberty while ignoring the rest. In this case you’ve totally whiffed on one of the most fundamental liberties of all, so please – spare me.

        (Also, drop the “cocaine” non-argument. I’m sure you mean it as a pithy-yet-meaningful contribution, but in truth it’s superfluous to your more substantive argumentation and it makes me less inclined to take you seriously from the beginning.)

        • Brett Bellmore says

          “Actually, you lose me at “criminals without records exist”, because we live in a country where one is presumed innocent until proven guilty”

          Seriously, you’re arguing that if someone were to drop by your house, toss the silver in a bag, rape your wife, and shoot you in the kneecaps, they wouldn’t actually be a “criminal” unless and until convicted? The acts wouldn’t be crimes until the trial was over?

          Gimme a break.

  10. John Herbison says

    I wonder. Have the busybodies who (in another context) blather about the “right to life” weighed in on whether firearms should be more difficult to obtain? Or is Barney Frank right to observe that those folks’ concern about life begins at conception and ends at birth?

    • Freeman says

      I’m guessing they’re going to wait until the busybodies who blather about the “right to be safe from gun violence” weigh in on whether abortions should be more difficult to obtain.

        • Freeman says

          Annie Rae Dixon, a paraplegic, was also bedridden with pneumonia at the time. When Officer Frank Baggett, Jr. kicked open the door to Dixon’s bedroom, he’d say later, he stumbled, causing his gun to accidentally discharge, which sent a bullet directly into Dixon’s chest. She died moments later. There were no drugs in Dixon’s home. The raid team was also out of its jurisdiction. Dixon lived just across the county line in Smith County.

          Once again, an innocent person died in a drug raid that turned up no drugs, weapons, or criminal charges. Once again, no one was held accountable, and no policies were changed.

          More innocent grandmothers will die in drug raids in the coming years, including 57-year-old Alberta Spruill in New York in 2003, and 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta in 2006.

          You wanna play dueling anecdotes, we can do that all week. You wanna reduce gun violence, I’d suggest starting with ending the war on citizens under cover of the “war on (some) drugs”.

          • Freethinker says

            That’s the wrong comparison. You claim these are equivalent:

            “right to be safe from gun violence” = “right to life”

            I showed why I have a legitimate fear of gun violence. There are 85 gun homicides a day in this country. You need to show me why I should fear an abortion equally. I don’t. In fact I’ve never heard anybody being shot in the back while they are walking on the street by an embryo. You can’t can you? That’s why you pulled some dumb sideways anecdote about drugs that’s neither here nor there. But you can’t admit you are wrong either. I get it. It’s not easy be a bullethead….

          • curious says

            I’m confused – how does someone who favors more gun control in any duel (using anecdotes or otherwise) with someone who is against the war on drugs? i for one am for more gun control and opposed to the war on drugs, and i wouldn’t imagine it is that uncommon a position.

      • politicalfootball says

        Freeman: For the record and to be absolutely clear: I favor gun control and absolutely 100% believe that fetuses should be safe from gun violence. While I favor the right to abortion, under no circumstances do I believe abortions should be carried out with shotgun.

        • Freeman says

          “I’m all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.”
          - Frank Lloyd Wright

        • bobbyp says

          Insofar as the foetus shall be considered “life” and having “rights”, then their right to bear arms shall not be infringed. But, but, but….would they require a concealed carry permit?

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