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It Is Time For A Meaningful Conversation on Reasonable Gun Laws

I hope that the post title at least captured the attention of my anti-gun readers, and keeps you reading.

Those of you who read this blog know my political views. I'm a  socially liberal, fiscally conservative libertarian, although the pelt of my Wookie suit is not quite so full and glossy as some.

I am a Christian who supports the rights of gays to marry. I am a southern white male redneck who believes minorities and women deserve equal treatment, but I also believe that quota systems like Affirmative Action are covert racism, fostering the notion that minorities cannot succeed on their own merits.

I believe in legal immigration, and I devoutly believe in the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

I also believe we should secure our borders, and that there should be an easier avenue toward legal immigration. That does not include blanket amnesty for current illegal aliens.

I believe abortion is a sin, yet I refuse to impose my moral beliefs upon others in the form of laws. I believe religion should stay the hell out of our government, and government should stay the hell out of our religion.

I believe in God, but I distrust preachers. And I believe that most of our Founding Fathers felt the same way.

I believe that any civilized society should take care of its citizens who cannot care for themselves, but I believe government has proven itself incapable of doing so without creating an even larger class of people who won't do for themselves. I believe our government, outside of some very narrow strictures, screws it up more often than it gets it right, and that our system of government is headed for collapse if it continues trying to be all things to all people.

I believe that we owe it to ourselves, and the generations to come, to ensure that does not happen, and that the means to do so is to vote out the politicians who refuse to acknowledge – by word AND deed – that the government cannot keep providing these things for us.

I believe in freedom, and I am a law-abiding man. Yet I also believe that we have too many laws as it is, and that more of them are infringing on our freedoms every day. And there is a limit to how much I will obey. There is a line beyond which I will not be pushed, even by my government.

I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman's back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

I believe that Bull Durham was a heckuva movie, obviously.

I also own a whole bunch of guns, including a few of those so-called "assault weapons" many of you want to ban following the horrible events last Friday.

I know that many of you, hoplophiles and hoplophobes alike, come here for the EMS stories and the medical commentary and the humor. And I know that most of the hoplophobes just ignore the firearms posts when they pop up in their RSS feed.

I hope you keep reading now, because it is indeed time for that meaningful conversation on reasonable gun restrictions.

The problem is, for the conversation to be "meaningful" and the restrictions actually "reasonable," both sides have to be speaking the same language. It is difficult to debate facts when one side operates from a position of monumental ignorance. Knowledge replaces unreasoning fear and emotion with rational thought, and that is what I propose to do here.

I say this because I have spent the last week debating gun control on Facebook with intelligent, college-educated and well-meaning people… who are utterly ignorant of the subject.

I engaged a commenter on a friend's facebook thread who basically called me a liar when I stated that many people hunt with AR15 platform rifles. I was about to offer proof of that, when further in his comment I discovered that he also believes that fully automatic weapons are still available to civilians, that you can buy them without ID or background check, and that they are commonly used in crime, and that you can go to gun stores and gun shows in America and buy a rocket propelled grenade. He then went on to state that three of his friends had converted their AR15's to full-auto fire within the past 10 years, and that he had fired these weapons.

So the anti-gun guy from Arlington, VA aids and abets a Federal felony, and consorts with felons. Good to know.

I was unfriended and banned from further debate after that. He continues to rail on about "Why do you neeeeed to own an AR15?" while owning a whole fleet of expensive, vintage ambulances with no airbags or seatbelts, powered by big gas-guzzling V8 motors with no catalytic converter that he doesn't neeeeeeed, either.

Debate with such people is not possible. I am sorry, but you do not get to characterize your points as rational and the restrictions you propose as reasonable if you debate from a position of such monumental ignorance.

So here is what I propose to do: If you don't know jack shit about guns, or you are afraid of them, or if you think tightening gun restrictions is the answer to prevent further events like the massacre at Sandy Hook School, tell us your concerns right here. Tell us why you hold those beliefs. Tell us why you think it is a good idea.

And I swear to you, we will debate you calmly, rationally, and without belittling you. We will treat you with respect and courtesy. We will afford you the courtesy that is NOT extended to Second Amendment advocates who try to debate on anti-gun forums, because invariably the owners of those forums delete or modify pro-gun comments, or shut down comments entirely when their emotional points are countered with facts. Or unfriend you, like my former friend Steve.

I will not do that here.

I am not the first Second Amendment blogger to make such an offer, but I am one of the few that has a substantial non-gun readership. I'll give you a forum here, to debate the issue, and be educated. We may not change your minds on the issue, but at the end of the day, we hope to educate you enough that you are debating a rationally considered moral principle and not one of unreasoning fear based on ignorance.

If you still believe we shouldn't have guns, then at least we can agree to disagree.

We'll do the debate in the comments. If they get to be too long, I'll put up subsequent posts on the subject.

Before we begin, let's set the ground rules:

  1. No personal attacks. That goes for anti-gunners and pro-gunners alike. Insult someone here, get nasty, and you're banned permanently. That goes for my friends as well. If an anti-gunner insults you, you leave the discipline up to me. Do not take the bait. Anti-gunners, you do likewise. You can attack an argument all you want, but attack a person and you eat ban hammer. Personal attacks and misbehavior will see the commenter banned, and their comments held up for public ridicule and mockery. There will be no warnings.
  2. Anonymous comments are allowed. I realize that many commenters do not wish to engage in public debate under their own names. That's cool, as long as your comments are respectful and constructive. If you attack people from a position of anonymity, that just makes you a coward and a troll, even if you're on my side.
  3. Provide facts and figures wherever possible. If we're going to debate, "I feel" is a weak position. Back up what you say with facts and figures if you can. Not all of the facts and figures are going to agree. And be prepared that when some of you quote figures to support your position, your opponents will point out why your apples don't compare to their oranges.
  4. Ridiculous statements beget ridiculous statements. If your debating position is "Guns only have one purpose, and that is to kill! ZOMG! Eleventy!" then you forfeit the right to dismiss as a non sequitur anyone who counters with other everyday objects that kill more people than guns.
  5. No piling on. Pro-gun people are going to outnumber the anti-gun people here. If another commenter has already adequately countered an anti-gun comment with solid facts and figures, refrain from adding your own comment slightly rephrased purely because you want to get your snark on. On the other hand, anti-gunners, if your response to having your points is refuted is little better than, "Uh uh, did not!" then prepare to have someone else enter the discussion. Stubbornly ignoring the facts is not debate.

Those are the rules. Let the meaningful conversation begin!


Comments - Add Yours

  • Greg Friese

    Thanks Kelly. You are in my head. You and I are more similar than either of us or anyone that knows us both could probably imagine. Now don’t hurt yourself while you are in my head …

    This, obviously, is much more complex than no guns anywhere or all guns everywhere. The conversation I am trying to have and to nurture is how “do we make sure a gun never kills a child.” We can’t accomplish that by simply buying back guns, banning 30 round clips, or allowing the sale of fully automatic weapons anymore than we can stop a building from being blown up by a rental truck of fertilizer by banning the sale of 50 gallon barrels that are used to hold fertilizer.

    The final thought I want to add is … our safety plan for protecting kids from maniacs intent on killing those kids with any actual or improvised weapon has to be more nuanced than a teacher, with or without a gun, being the only line of defense.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      I agree fully, Greg. Arming teachers is not a reasonable answer. The weapon is the mindset, whereas the gun is only the tool, and most teachers do not possess the mindset to use a gun properly.

      Of course, there is the distinction between arming teachers and allowing teachers and school employees to go armed. The latter favors self-selection to those individuals with the proper mindset, and just the possibility that a teacher could be armed is a significant deterrent in itself.

      • James

        When you say “arming teachers” isn’t reasonable many people will stop reading right there. I’ve made the point myself that we are not Israel, there is no compulsory military service in the U.S. so the notion that every teacher should be handed an M4 and sent out to protect kids is a step too far. However, that’s not the whole story.

        You’d be amazed at how many veterans are now in the classrooms. There are programs aimed specifically at recruiting military veterans to become teachers, and in many places they work. I have friends that I served with that are now coaching and teaching in public schools across the nation. These people are highly trained Marines with the ability and mindset to cause severe problems for anyone that would seek to kill innocents. Make no mistake, if they are armed with a textbook and pencil they’ll put up the best fight they can. But given the proper tools I would feel confident that we would never lose 20 kids in a school they were in.

        The problem is that the anti-gun people cannot stop worrying about the cosmetic features that make guns scary or magazine capacity long enough to have the conversation about what to do to stop these attacks. I am of the opinion that placing new restrictions on anyone getting a gun is a false hope. There are simply too many guns out there to assume that we can prevent anyone from obtaining one (or 100) if they choose to own one. While the local FFL may not transfer a gun to them the local gang banger isn’t likely to care whether or not someone has a mental disorder or a criminal record. Thus I believe the only reasonable and rational debate we can have is centered on stopping the shooter at the point of attack. Trained armed individuals located inside hardened facilities would be the logical place to begin in my mind.

        • Ambulance Driver

          When you say “arming teachers” isn’t reasonable many people will stop reading right there.

          As apparently you did yourself. ;)

          You missed the part where I made the distinction between mandating arming of teachers and allowing teachers to go armed.

        • Yrro Simyarin

          That’s one thing I have been surprised never seems to be brought up by many of the anti’s – is that the restriction is always to “active” police officers and military personell. When we have hundreds of thousands of ex military, or ex police, who have the training and mindset that they often say ‘civilians’ lack. Even ignoring the problems with the idea that just having a badge makes you a super hero, if it does, taking it off shouldn’t turn you back into Clark Kent, either.

          I don’t expect the 60-year-old preschool teacher who weighs 90 pounds sopping wet to stop an attacker (although good on her if she wants to try!). But even my tiny rural school had three military veterans teaching at it.

      • Greg Friese

        Now the challenge becomes how we define a “proper mindset” Reasonable and well meaning people will disagree on what constitutes a “proper mindset.” As a Packer fan I have often been told “I must be out of my mind”

        Thus all or nothing solutions are so attractive because we don’t need to try to define a shade of gray or let people define on their own what is a proper mindset.

        I am sure, again me and my hunches, that teachers that had a CCP a week ago either carried into school before last Friday or started on Monday.

  • PJ_Geraghty

    I’ll start. My friendship with you and some others has substantially changed my position on firearm use and ownership. I never felt that firearms should be banned entirely, but growing up in the 1970s/80s in the People’s Republic of Evanston, IL (a city that makes our neighbor to the south, Chicago, look positively Reagan-conservative) I wasn’t convinced that there shouldn’t be regulations that would have largely that effect. Now, having listened to arguments from both sides, I realize that we’re ignoring the root cause of the problem in favor of having an emotional feel-good reaction.

    Guns aren’t the root cause, here. Mental illness (in severe form) is. The gun is a tool, but I’ve been involved in cases where mentally ill people killed others with other weapons (cars, knives, and in one particularly gruesome incident, a baseball bat). None of those victims would be alive today even *with* an effective ban on firearms at the time of their death. Is a firearm a more efficient means of wreaking havoc and death? Yeah, probably so. But it’s not the only means of doing so, and it *may* be the only means of stopping someone who wants to do it with the aforementioned knife/car/baseball bat. Unfortunately, many of those who want to take away our firearms rights are the same ones who want to protect the rights of the mentally ill. Sorry, but I’m not willing to give up my own rights because someone else can’t or won’t exercise his responsibly. They worry about stigmatizing mental illness. Well, that’s an issue. But really, it’s not something that can be handled the same way as, say, cancer. If I have cancer, it’s not going to make me shoot up a school. Some forms of mental illness, though, might do that. But right now, we have no effective way of dealing with that.

    The Tucson guy, the Aurora guy, the Columbine guys, the Blacksburg guy…all were identified prior to the events as being “off” to some degree. In some cases, enough that people actively expressed concern that these individuals would do harm to others. The signs were there. But either no one spoke up, or nothing was done. THAT is the problem we need to solve. Do that, and the gun issue goes away. It’s not as easy as crying “no more guns!” It’s hard to judge how effective it will be. But we know the existing laws don’t work, and we know that past laws have proven ineffective. Yet we think if we try one more time, THIS time, everything will be hunky-dory.

    I still don’t own a gun. I confess that I’ve thought about it more in the last week because I worry that with the level of political idiocy in Washington, I may not still have the option to acquire one in a few months. Odd that I’ve never thought of having to buy a printing press or a microphone because someone might take away my right to free speech because of someone else’s irresponsibility.

  • D Lawrence Barksdale

    OK, Kelly. I’ll jump in. The anti-gun individuals that I’ve spoken with have almost zero understanding of the intent behind the 2nd Amendment. It seems that their paradigm is that hunting and sport is the ONLY acceptable use of a firearm, and that firearms must be judged according to that criteria. Unfortunately, the 2nd Amendment is not about that. It is about allowing us… the sovereign citizenry… to protect ourselves against a tyrannical government… which is becoming more and more believable of a possibility every day, unfortunately. And in that case, I may want more than a handgun to protect my family.

    I believe the real issue that is being vastly overlooked in this debate is the lack of long-term mental health care in this country. To me, as an EMS provider, THAT is the real issue. Those that claim that “there was no warning” before many of the attacks that have been leveled on innocent victims are misled and ignorant of the facts. There WERE signs. There WAS concern. But no mechanism to deal with it. I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve had… chronic, mentally-ill patients… who have NO hope of ever receiving long-term care, UNLESS they commit a violent crime.

    To me, this debate is less about gun control (although that is certainly a worthy topic), but more about improving/overhauling long-term mental health care.

    • Mario T. Leone

      Mental health is absolutely an issue here, but I think a deeper issue is present that kids aren’t taught how to cope with life. Life SUCKS, and we in EMS see a lot of that every day. I’ve gone through bullying in school, I’ve been lonely and depressed, everyone goes through that angsty teenager phase; the difference with those of us not going on killing sprees is that we were taught/given the emotional tools to deal with it. Mostly our parents prepared us (however they chose to do so), but I see a lot of parents now who are too self-absorbed to give a damn, and expect the schools to do the birds-and-bees talk. Bring back real parenting, and maybe we’ll see a drop in mental issues, not all, but hopefully some!

      • Christopher

        Mental health is unfortunately the dead horse being beat here…most mentally ill individuals are not violent and will never be. Most will never shoot anybody…building a system to catch the statistically unlikely event a crazy person kills somebody is going to cost a lot of money and have far too many false positives.

        We should still spend money on the mental health side of the house! We really do need it. It is sad that it takes the fear of our kids being killed by a psychopath to acknowledge we don’t spend enough on mental health care.

        Honest answer: Sandy Hook will always happen, it is going to happen again and again as long as (a) somebody wants to hurt somebody, (b) they have the means to do so. The only question is quantity of bodies.

        We spend money on mental health care because it is the Right thing to do, not because it will stop another Sandy Hook. Because if that is our expectation of the system, we’ll fail every single time.

    • Florida

      The second amendment is not about hunting or even really self-defense against private criminals…Constitutional attorney Stewart Rhodes will explain it for you.

      …”The whole point of the Second Amendment is to preserve the military capacity of the American people – to preserve the ability of the people, who are the militia, to provide for their own security as individuals, as neighborhoods, towns, counties, and states, during any emergency, man-made or natural; to preserve the military capacity of the American people to resist tyranny and violations of their rights by oath breakers within government; and to preserve the military capacity of the people to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, including those oath breaking domestic enemies within government. It is not about hunting, and at its core, the Second Amendment is not really even about self-defense against private criminals. It is about self-defense against public criminals – against tyrants, usurpers, and foreign invaders. (and that is the whole point of the crucial upcoming film, Molon Labe).

      Above all other firearms currently available to the American citizen, modern military pattern, semi-automatic rifles provide that military capacity. Protecting the keeping and bearing of such arms of military utility is the heart and soul of the Second Amendment. Thus, any attempt to ban their possession, sale, purchase, or transfer, is an attempt to disarm the American people.”…t is not about hunting or even really self-defense against private criminals…Constitutional attorney Stewart Rhodes will explain it for you.

      …”The whole point of the Second Amendment is to preserve the military capacity of the American people – to preserve the ability of the people, who are the militia, to provide for their own security as individuals, as neighborhoods, towns, counties, and states, during any emergency, man-made or natural; to preserve the military capacity of the American people to resist tyranny and violations of their rights by oath breakers within government; and to preserve the military capacity of the people to defend the Constitution against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, including those oath breaking domestic enemies within government. It is not about hunting, and at its core, the Second Amendment is not really even about self-defense against private criminals. It is about self-defense against public criminals – against tyrants, usurpers, and foreign invaders. (and that is the whole point of the crucial upcoming film, Molon Labe).

      Above all other firearms currently available to the American citizen, modern military pattern, semi-automatic rifles provide that military capacity. Protecting the keeping and bearing of such arms of military utility is the heart and soul of the Second Amendment. Thus, any attempt to ban their possession, sale, purchase, or transfer, is an attempt to disarm the American people.”…

  • Mario T. Leone

    Jesus Kelly, will you run for President? We need more people who see the gray areas in things!

    My stance on the whole gun thing (coming from someone raised to respect all firearms since I was a wee lad) is that people both need to be exposed to guns in a safe and controlled way very early; and people need to be extensively trained with guns. Switzerland requires all men to serve in the military, and become proficient with several firearms used in combat. They then take their handgun (most “dangerous” and “easily concealed”) home with them. Gun crime rate in Switzerland? .5 per 100,000. Why? Training. Mandatory training and qualification. Every year. Those who are ignorant shall become informed, and much more reasonable expectations can be spread.

  • Justin Schorr

    I’ll jump in here AD. Thanks for opening your site to the discussion, I hope others follow suit. I am a believer in many of the things you mentioned in your post and we have spoken about our disagreements on many occasions, later finding we have more in common than not.

    I have read the second amendment and the opinions of the supreme court when asked to rule on a case from the lower courts. According to the constitution, nothing short of another amendment will remove the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but let us all remember the first part of that sentence when discussing the second amendment. That is an entirely different debate.

    I do not own a gun but was taught to respect their lethality at an early age thanks to scouting.

    I have to disagree with your comment about a gun having only one purpose, since it does. A person who kills with a car is misusing the object to kill. A gun killing something or someone is being used as designed, sold, practiced and intended.

    Fine by me, that’s what it’s for.

    The term “assault weapon” cracks me up since all guns are assault weapons, as are arrows, swords and and even bricks in some circumstances.

    I think current legislation is sufficient.

    However (here he goes) we need to close down gun shows. If a background check is required, why is it that gun show sales by FFL dealers are considered “private” sales in many states? (As far as I can discover this is only strictly enforced in California and Washington). This transaction should either conform to the state law requiring a background check or not be allowed. Internet sales fall into the same category. According to ABC News there are a little over 129,000 registered gun dealers in the USA with the bulk of those being classified as collectors. In comparison there are 30,000 grocery stores and 144,000 gas stations. I had no idea there were so many but knew they had to be registered and meet certain restrictions. Shouldn’t they be required to apply the same standards at the shows as in their shops?

    That is where I stand on the subject. I don’t want your guns, keep’em, you seem happy, but let’s not think that the unregulated market will solve this problem.

    Thanks again.

    • Mario T. Leone

      Perhaps the one purpose thing should be specified. The biggest “point” people make against firearms is that you can only kill *people* with them, and only the military should do that, so they should be squirreled away to kill people who are against our country. There are two other uses here, the first, I guess more popular one, is hunting, killing an animal to eat; yes we have the supermarket, but there are people who do not trust or approve of the methods to get that meat there, and individuals who choose that lifestyle should be afforded that opportunity. The other, more controversial issue, is that of defending oneself against a “tyrannical government”; remember where this country came from, loosely organised *militias* rose up against the oppressing governing body to obtain freedom. I’m pretty sure it won’t be happening in the too-near future, but as Kelly said, this current system of government is not sustainable, and may lead to a point where we are just in a different geographical arrangement of the colonial times.

      As for gun shows, I pretty much agree with you, firearms should not be given to anyone with a pulse and a driver’s license, and *sometimes* this can be the case.

      I was also introduced to firearms through Scouting, and it was the strong role models’ respect for something that transferred to me. My father trained to become a weapons expert during Vietnam (thankfully the conflict ended before his training did), and he taught me to shoot BB guns starting when I was 5. I have the greatest respect for him, and if he takes something seriously like that, I know that it’s a big deal. I think this raises another great point about society on the whole, I don’t know what happened to being a parent and actually teaching your children life lessons, where did schools become the be all end all of our youth’s training for life??? I can tell you that recess is the LAST place I want ANYONE learning about social interactions!

      • Bob Smith


        I don’t agree with your point about “only the military” should do that. Firearms are very effective defensive weapons against criminals. They allow my wife and daughter to effectively protect themselves against a taller, stronger attacker; usually a male.

        No one should have to depend only on the police or less lethal means of defense.

        In your first comment you mentioned training; I also disagree with that requirement. People seeking to drive a car do not have to show training in most cases, they have to demonstrate competency.

        The danger in ‘training’ is some people will think that 10 hours or 1,000 hours isn’t enough. Can you name another specifically enumerated, Constitutionally protected right that requires training before being exercised?

        • Sewmouse


          You must not be from Illinois, because here you most certainly DO have to show proof of training – as did my daughter when she got her license.

          Not to split hairs – but given the huge number of variances between state laws regarding automobiles, that is just one more reason to consider that analogy to be invalid

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Sewmouse, please please start treating our guns like cars and driver’s licenses.

            That way once I purchase my gun, I can take it to any state in the nation that I please, and my CHL will be as valid in one state as another.

          • John Smith

            Realizing that In Congress there are going to be those who want to ban all the
            firearms and those who want to make firearms more accessible I wonder what the
            folks here think of this.
            the 50 plus Concealed carry laws we have from state to state and replace it
            with ONE nationwide set of standards. My
            N.J. Commercial drivers license is valid in all 50 states, the same standard should
            apply to a carry LICENSE No longer a permit. That’s the carrot

            the stick.

            every round sold by somewhere between .01 and .10 cents. I don’t know the
            number of rounds sold nationwide but someone here will do the math and tell us
            I’m sure. But
            John you say; “that’s just another tax we don’t need and can’t afford.” Stay
            with me for a sec, that tax, once collected would go right back to the state
            where it came from. You see the more rounds sold in say AZ. would, in theory suggest
            a higher propensity for being injured with a bullet.In
            short, the revenue would go towards mental health treatment and trauma centers. Arming teachers is folly. Disarming the rest of us would take years of sweat and blood
            and yes only the outlaws would be armed when it was over. I
            think if you can pass a yearly exam both mental and physical and pass a range
            test your LICENSE is just as good in Maine as
            it is in Montana. I also think that we need to do a better job of helping people that can’t or won’t
            help themselves. And, that costs money. Mental health budgets have been slashed
            since the early 80’s and now we are seeing the result. Funding it should be a part
            of any meaningful bill that is coming down the pike.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            I could get behind that, John.

            The shooting and outdoor sports industry has already been doing something similar for many years to fund wildlife habitat restoration via a tax (supported by the industry) on outdoor sporting equipment and ammunition.

            I have contributed many thousands of dollars over the years via the Pittman Robertson Act.

          • mkegal

            National mandatory shall-issue carry license,
            valid everywhere in the USA,
            issued at 18yo,
            training provided at federal facilities & expense,
            no registration scheme for self-defense tools,
            0.01c tax per round (that’s 1/100th of a cent per round), funds to be used for training people to get their license,
            a national Stand Your Ground & Castle Doctrine shield.
            Not too bad.
            I still prefer national Constitutional Carry.

          • tim

            As a liberal, I’ll trade you the right to concealed carry in every state for the repeal of DOMA and recognize the marriage of gays and lesbians in all states. :)

          • Ambulance_Driver

            As a conservative libertarian, no deal.

            Because if you read the entire post, you’ll see that I support all three.

          • tim

            I know that you do, I’m just saying that politically, I’d give you (you being folks interested in such a thing) a nationwide CCW in return for what I’d want, which is the enforcement of Article IV, section 1.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            I have a better idea.

            How about we just vote out the Democrat and Republican assholes that would have us believe we have to choose between the two?

          • mpatk

            Amen to that!!!

          • mpatk

            Seconding Kelly’s remark; guns should ABSOLUTELY be treated like cars and drivers licenses. Demonstrate competence, register so that the gun is identified with the person, and that’s all that is needed.

      • floydf

        There is more to guns than just killing. There is the possibility of being able to kill.

        During the civil rights movement, several of the activists slept with Thompson sub-guns at the foot of the bed. They never took them out and sprayed down hordes of KKK mobs. But they could have, and that possibility allowed them to sleep.

        During the LA riots, some shop owners, mostly Korean and asian immigrants, had military style weapons that potentially could kill dozens of rioters. They didn’t actually have to, but the possibility meant that their shops didn’t get torched.

        After Katrina, numerous rural landowners in Louisiana had similar weapons, and the potential of being able to defend themselves meant they weren’t looted or displaced.

        I live in an urban, mixed race neighborhood in a very large city. We love our neighborhood. But, for instance, if in the case of a financial disruption, EBTs no longer worked for a week or so, I might also be very thankful for having something that could potentially kill very effectively.

        The advantage of the gun goes not to the strong, but to the weak, and a huge amount of this advantage is realized without actually firing a shot. But, take that gun away, and the weak is at the mercy of the strong and ruthless. (And if you don’t believe me, come on over to my neighborhood and gas up some Saturday night after ten.)

        So, given that we know that large numbers of the strong and ruthless don’t care about gun regulations (or really any sort of law), the question really becomes, what sorts of gun regulations are appropriate for the weak and powerless.

        • Ambulance_Driver

          People forget that not so long ago, gun control was used as a tool to disarm black people who dared to stand up for their civil rights.

          In Louisiana, the Deacons for Defense and Justice prevented much of the bloodshed of the Civil Rights Era from touching my hometown of Monroe, LA and surrounding cities.

          The guns wielded by those men prevented a great deal of violence.

          When I was a small child, a major flood along the lower Mississippi basin flooded much of northeast Louisiana. There was looting in black neighborhoods, and the police couldn’t much be bothered.

          My father loaned his Browning A5 to our black handyman, and told him to make sure his neighbors knew he had it. Sonny’s house was one of the few spared of the looting.

          Arming a black man in 1971 was not a popular decision among my father’s peers, but it was the right thing to do.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      Justin, I disagree to a certain point. I have target rifles that are poorly suited for anything other than punching very tightly clustered holes in paper. I have shotguns that are suited primarily for killing birds and clay targets. there are far better means of killing people than using those guns, just like a car is a far better means of mowing down pedestrians than a motorcycle.

      But your point does have merit, and cannot be dismissed out of hand.

      I think the issue here is that people who say that “guns are designed purely to kill” cannot comprehend the moral distinction between offensive violence and defensive violence.

      There is a HUGE moral gulf between “violent and predatory” and “violent and protective.”

      Banning guns only puts the most efficient means of self defense in the hands of the former.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      By the way, Justin, the “gun show loophole” is a myth. All sales by FFL holders require ID, NICS check and so on, whether they occur at gun shows, gun stores, or over the Internet.

      Private sales and trades between non-licensed individuals do occur at gun shows. They also occur in private homes as lawful commerce, and regrettably on street corners and back alleys by criminals.

      Of course, closing the “gun show loophole” will have no effect on the latter two.

    • BH

      Maybe I’m splitting hairs Justin, but strictly speaking, the purpose of a firearm is to propel a bullet from the end of the barrel. Where said bullet goes after that and what happens when it gets there is partially due to physics but largely due to the intent of the user- much like the car analogy, btw.

      Saying the sole purpose of a gun is to kill ignores the human element- who cannot be banned and only partially legislated- in favor of the inanimate object, which can be both. Problem is, the human element can and will always find a way around them.

    • Jeffro

      Justin, I have no idea where you got the idea that FFLs can do “off the books” deals at gun shows. Any time, and that includes trade ins and outright purchasing guns requires them to put the gun’s serial number in their books. If they sell any gun, no matter the source, they are required to do so the proper channels – using the Form 4473 and to call in to the hotline for approval.

      While there is a possibility for abuse, FFLs truly live in fear of not passing an audit, losing their license and spending time in prison for some simple mistake. They just DON’T risk their livelihood and freedom for a sale “off the books.”

      There is no “gun show loophole” for a FFL. If I, as a private citizen, want to sell you, another private citizen, a gun of mine, it is NOT necessary for us to go through the instant check procedure. That is true not only at gunshows, but in ordinary everyday life – perhaps I need a few bucks and have to sell a gun, and you want whatever I am selling. Simple.

      I have even seen private citizens run their gun sale through an FFL just to be sure – they will have a buddy that has the federal license and have them do the paperwork and phone call even on a private sale. Lots of people do this when they do not know the buyer.

  • John

    Awesome idea Kelly! I don’t put a lot on my social media outlets for fear of work reprisal, however, I must admit that I reported a few articles post Sandy Hook when I felt that my God given right (not goverment mandated by the second amendment, which I still support) to protect myself and my family was being attacked. I have no problem debating this or any of my other God given rights, but without attack or malice. Generally we are all friends on Facebook, right?

    Well, I posted an old article about the North Texas school board who voted to allow its employees, with additional training above and beyond a CHL class, the right to protect themselves and their students from evil. I never commented I thought all the employees should be issued a gun. I was simply adding another possible solution to a very real problem.

    I then was actually accused of wanting to make the lunch ladies snipers…..

    Now, I did instantly think of a good friend of mine who has been my kids lunch lady for over a decade. (Her kids are the same age as mine and she followed them through the schools). I visualized in my head an attack in the Elementry lunch room that was immediately stopped by my lunch lady friend. Picture the traditional lunch lady. Now add deer rifle, hair net and cigarette……

    I still can’t think about it without chuckling! (By the way, she is an awesome shot…)

    In answer to Greg, or in possible support. I do NOT want every employee to carry a firearm in schools, however, if you won’t put multiple police officers/military and secure all campuses with real security measures, you have to start looking at other alternatives. Through training MUST be required.

  • Chris Johnson

    There have been studies upon studies that show “gun control” doesn’t work.

    “Anti-gun” advocates will cite Australia, England, and other European
    contries who have banned guns as success stories, however, if you get past the hype and red herrings you’ll see that violent crime rates have actually risen in these countries. The worst mass shooting events have taken place in these countries AFTER gun bans went into effect. Banning specific weapons because of their capacity, or even worse because it looks scary, is a ridiculous response to a serious issue. To put into a phrase that Kelly understands, That Dog Won’t Hunt.

    The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (that bastion of right-wing
    conservatism) published the study below and the researchers arrived at the same conclusion:

    It’s a good read if you can tolerate the academic language. Take a look and
    judge the facts for yourselves. An old friend once said that urgency and emotion are not good tools for emergency response. That seems to be applicable here as well.

    Thanks for taking this on Kelly.

  • Chris Millington


    As a Canadian we are subjected to much stricter controls than our American friends to the south. We are able to hunt and well, we are able to purchase firearms provided we are licensed. (I can’t speak intelligently about the licensing process in the states as I have never had to go through it) We must go through a hunter safety or firearms safety course to be able to proceed with the “Purchase and Acquisition license” (basic license for long-guns), also you need an approval by the RCMP(records check). This license only enables you to buy long-rifles (including semi’s), shot-guns (including semi’s). We have clip size restrictions in place to slow down the killing so to speak. To get a restricted permit (for hand-guns) there is another course and a deeper check conducted by the RCMP.

    We also have in place provisions that police may temporarily confiscate all your weapons if you have a know psych, domestic, other violent situation in current action to further prevent “accidents” from happening.

    You cannot concealed carry in general in Canada. (notable exceptions are made but are statistically rare). You in fact need to carry hand-guns in separate locked containers with ammo locked in separate locked containers when traveling to and from the range and are supposed to inform the police when such travel is taking place.

    Does this work 100% of the time….NO.
    Do criminals and serial killers care about the law….NO.

    We cannot concealed carry as a citizen in Canada. In point of fact you have to have a pretty damn good reason to carry at all in public here. Is it a good system? I think its pretty good, we have less random gun violence here (it still happens though because like I said criminals could care less about laws — that’s why they are criminals)

    Is it a hassle…yes it is. Does it reduce the safety of my home…I am a firm believer that my knives are much more dangerous to a burglar and painful for that matter. My guns are all trigger locked in a locked gun safe…gun accidents will not happen in my home because it is a hassle to get the guns so there has to be premeditation to gun use in my home.

    I think the real discussion that needs to happen is the removal of barriers to health care (specifically psychiatric) most of the psych patients I know can’t work because of their condition. So THEY need subsidized healthcare.

    Thanks for letting me speak about a topic I really have no business in (as it pertains to another sovereign nation).

    • Janelle Mackay Billings

      Health Care here in the United States is a disaster! Being a parent of a child who needed health care and was able to get it (good insurance and knowing how to ask and fight for it). If heath care was more “available” to all then many of our shootings would not be happening. I am in full support of better health care being made available first before any gun laws are discussed. My not be scientific but this person is far more eloquent than I. Just as Kelly has the gift of using words effectively!

    • Ambulance_Driver

      Chris, here in the United States the Second Amendment was put in place by our Founding Fathers, as Darryl Barksdale pointed out, as protection from tyranny, both from our government and foreign invaders.

      It is one of the principles that insures that our government answers to us. In the United States, the government has only the power that we grant it, whereas in many other countries it is exactly the opposite.

      That is the mental disconnect that makes it difficult for foreign citizens, even you nice Canucks, from understanding the American gun culture. Our Constitution is more than the framework of our laws and government. It specifically limits what our government can do.

      As far as gun registration goes, gun owners oppose it because it has historically been the precursor to confiscation. If the government knows where the guns are and who owns them, then it is a very simple step to taking them away at their whim.

      And most gun owners in America vehemently oppose that. It takes away our leverage to remind our government that they work for us.

      • Chris Millington

        Agreed to all the points, I was just pointing out the differences in how we license. BTW we killed the gun registry with the exception of restricted and prohibited weapons…registering a firearm stops nothing…licensing encourages at least a little bit of education.

        • Tavis Steen

          Didn’t California confiscate assault “weapons once”?

      • DinoDocLucy

        I have a question (really; just a question):

        As far as gun registration goes, gun owners oppose it because it has historically been the precursor to confiscation.

        Your use of the the word “historically” implies that this has happened in the past. What items have even been confiscated by the government after requiring registration? I can’t think of any. Why not the same resistance to registering cars? Or dogs? Or businesses? Or anything else?

        • DinoDocLucy

          “…have EVER been…”

          Even skinny fingers can fat-finger some keys.

        • Ambulance_Driver

          I meant in other countries. Sorry for not making that clear.

          And in the interests of clarity so that I can provide a better answer, what do you mean by “registration?”

          • DinoDocLucy

            Whatever you meant when you said,

            As far as gun registration goes, gun owners oppose it because it has historically been the precursor to confiscation.

            Has any other object/commodity/item in this country ever been subject to confiscation after being required to be registered? Otherwise, the fear of registration leading to government confiscation sounds like a reductio ad absurdum argument.

          • mpatk

            I don’t know about the “registration leads to confiscation” argument; but there is plenty of precedent for government entities abusing lists such as a gun registry would create. Take a look at the court battles between the NAACP and Southern states in the 1960s. It’s particularly interesting these days, because the reason that Alabama et. al. were demanding the membership lists of the NAACP was because they were calling that organization a terrorist organization in all but name (terrorist wasn’t such a popular word back then).

          • Ambulance_Driver

            I mean a Federal database that shows the ownership and location of every gun in private hands in this country. There is currently no such database. Records are kept at the individual FFL holder’s place of business, and a log book must reflect every single weapons transfer. FFL holders live in constant fear of an ATF audit, and as such have no reason to risk the loss of their livelihood and felony jail time for doing an off-the-books purchase.

            We have mechanisms in place to be able to trace guns used in crime. The serial number of the weapon is tracked. With a warrant or subpoena, law enforcement officials can trace it to the FFL who originally sold it, pull the ATF 4473 form, and find out who the legal purchaser of the weapon was. They can also do so for any further purchases of the weapon that went through an FFL.

            Unlicensed sales are untraceable, but the burden of proving innocence then falls on the last registered owner of the gun. If one of my weapons gets used in a crime, I had better be able to provide a bill of sale or a police report of it being stolen, or I am in a crack, both civilly if the victims choose to sue, and criminally if the police can provide other evidence to tie me to the crime.

            It is also a Federal felony to sell a firearm to a prohibited person, or to buy one on behalf of a prohibited person. It is for this reason that many private sellers and purchasers of firearms still go through an FFL when dealing with people they do not know personally. I’ve sold guns via an Internet swap meet on a number of occasions. Each time, we had an FFL do the transfer, for legal protection for both of us. It wasn’t required by law, but it’s just smart business.

            Forbidding all private sales of weapons would, on the face of it, seem like a logical solution to the problem of guns getting into the hands of prohibited persons…

            … until you consider the fact that they are criminals, and are willing to ignore the law in the first place.

        • mkegal

          Some places which have first registered and then confiscated firearms:
          Germany – registration law 1928, confiscation under Hitler
          Canada – registration law 1934, confiscation 2001
          New York City, USA – registration law 1967, confiscation starting 1991
          California, USA – registration law 1989, confiscation ongoing
          Australia – 1996 confiscation

          • mkegal

            And registration implies that it’s something the government can & should control. Our civil rights are not in that group.

      • Peter Orlowicz

        I want to comment here briefly on the ‘history of the Second Amendment’ part of the argument. It’s important, and relevant, to remember that only the Federal government is a government of limited powers, and that the Tenth Amendment reserves all non-enumerated powers to the States, or to the people. At the time of the revolution, the colonies all had some form of self-governance in place, including extensive power to legislate independently of Parliament in London. When the Declaration of Independence was signed, the delegates signed it as representatives of their States (i.e. of other, subsidiary political units), not merely as aggrieved individuals. There is at least a strong argument that to whatever extent the Second Amendment was intended to enshrine some sort of insurrectionist guard against tyranny, that it was intended to allow the States to act as political units, not for individuals to make up their minds as a rabble. Militias, which as several folks have pointed out are referred to in the Second Amendment, were organized on the State level at the time of the revolution (the National Guard today is a little more complex because of the possibility of being activated for Federal service, admittedly). Moreover, the recent Supreme Court cases (Heller, McDonald) that recognized a personal right to self defense in one’s home have NOT accepted or embraced this individual insurrectionist rationale. Even in the Civil War, the decision to secede from the Union was made by State assemblies or legislatures for the entire political body, not by individuals.

        Now, the sense I get from most pro-gun lobbying efforts is that the level of government trying to regulate isn’t really the issue, and that if the state of Ohio decided to institute a gun registry to identify and register every gun within its borders, that would be just as objectionable as if the federal government did the exact same thing. If the tyranny of the national government were to become so overwhelming that insurrection became necessary (a point which I personally reject utterly), why would there a) be reason to think that State governments are less apt to be just as tyrranical, and b) that if the States aren’t as problematic, that they will nevertheless be unable or unwilling to act to protect its citizens? A bunch of States seem pretty ready to fight the good fight over laws like the Affordable Care Act, for example.

        As for the larger issue, I’m not even certain this is really the time for the meaningful conversation, much less action. So far, most of what I’ve heard on both sides seems reactionary and wrong; Mr. LaPierre’s proposal today seems to me to lead us toward a TSA for schools, since the airport version (minus the guns) is working so well, and most of the gun control proposals so far focus on prohibitions that wouldn’t have prevented this or many other shooting incidents anyway, but will apparently make us feel better that “we’re doing SOMETHING.” My views at this point, as depressing as it sounds, were pretty well encapsulated by Megan McArdle’s recent piece suggesting there’s really little we can do to prevent another occurrence like this. I guess I’m kind of disgusted with both sides of the debate, and as a result don’t know exactly where I want to stand.

        Oh, and if my bona fides matter to evaluating my opinion, I’m a Navy veteran with two shooting badges any self-respecting Marine would make fun of, but I don’t own a gun myself, I spent five years as a police dispatcher for a university during the time frame of both Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois, and now I’m an attorney. Not a lot of statistics to be had in this post, unfortunately, but I do think I’ve stayed pretty well within my areas of expertise.

        • mkegal

          “only the Federal government is a government of limited powers”

          I think it’s the 14th Amendment (don’t have my pocket Constitution handy where I’m sitting) that makes the Constitution & its limitations on government applicable to the States & lower/smaller bits of gov’t.

          • Peter Orlowicz

            The Fourteenth Amendment extended certain of the Bill of Rights to apply to the States, yes. All of the lower, local levels of government are creations of the State governments, as a matter of fact. That doesn’t change the fact that States have consistently possessed a “general police power” that the Federal government does not. The States are allowed to regulate anything within their borders that doesn’t directly conflict with the U.S. Constitution, and the subject doesn’t have to be tied to anything specific in the State or the Federal constitution. The Federal government is a government of limited powers because Congress has to be able to point to something in Article I that lets them do what they want to do (regulate commerce, or print money, or raise a military, whatever.) This is an oversimplification, but the principle is there. The States don’t have to point to any specific power that has been granted them in order to regulate, and being bound by the Bill of Rights through the Fourteenth Amendment doesn’t change that.

          • mpatk

            Just as the Federal government is restricted by the U.S. Constitution, the several states are restricted by their individual Constitutions.

    • Divemedic

      I think that comparing crime in Canada to crime is the US is an apples and oranges comparison. Canada’s entire population is less than the population of the state of California, and spread across a much larger land mass. In other words, Canada is a largely rural nation, having only 6 cities with a population of over a million people.

      Even so, violent crime rates (per 100,000 population) between Canada and the US will surprise you. The violent crime rate in Canada is 1282 per 100,000. The violent crime rate in the US is 386 per 100,000.

      The murder rate in Canada is lower overall, until you exclude the large urban areas from the US statistics, and compare the areas of the US with similar population density areas of Canada. In this sort of apples to apples comparison, the US actually has a lower murder rate than does Canada.

      I believe that this indicates that we have a problem with culture in our large cities more than it indicates a gun problem, being that our suburban and rural communities have a higher rate of firearms ownership than do the cities.


      FBI Uniform crime report:

      Canada Crime report:

    • Eric Archer


      First, I’ll second what Kelly has already commented, that the Second Amendment was put in place to protect an existing right to protection from tyranny.

      I’d like to specifically address another point that you mentioned though.

      “Is it a hassle…yes it is. Does it reduce the safety of my home…I am a
      firm believer that my knives are much more dangerous to a burglar and
      painful for that matter”

      I’d like to demonstrate the flaws here based on my personal beliefs and experience.

      I’m a martial artist, and have been training in multiple styles for the last 19 years. Currently, I’m studying pekiti tirsia kali, which among other subjects extensively teaches the use of machetes and knives. I carry a fixed blade knife daily as a self-defense weapon, because in Texas I cannot carry a handgun on my university campus, even though I am licensed. I’m fairly confident in my ability to use a knife in self defense, and even unarmed, I am a 6’2″ 220 lb man with nearly 20 years experience in unarmed combat.

      Despite the above, I carry a firearm when not at my workplace for several reasons, and when at home, I would reach for a firearm over a knife for many of the same. The point of a self-defense weapon is to STOP an attack. It isn’t to kill or maim the attacker, but to STOP them. Using a knife, I feel like I would be much more likely to kill someone, due to the differences in wounds. However, my ability to STOP an attacker relies on one of four things happening. My ability to disable the hands or killing potential of the attacker, my ability to blind them, to disable their central nervous system, or to cause them to lose consciousness due to inadequate blood volume. Many anecdotal cases demonstrate that many people are not even aware of injuries caused by a knife until after an attack is over. Further, any ability to stop a determined attacker using a knife relies on significant levels of skill and readiness to fight at “bad breath range” with someone intent on causing me harm.

      In contrast to the above, a person with minimal physical conditioning is capable of training to STOP an attacker using a firearm. This includes small statured teenagers or even children, the elderly, the handicapped and physically disabled, amputees, etc. Futher, people that are shot are likely to hear the report, possibly see the muzzle flash, on top of feeling the actual impact and associated tissue damage from a bullet. This can include broken bones that compromise skeletal structure, muscle impairment due to cavitation and damage adjacent to the wound channel, etc…

      I’d like to find the original study to give exact statistics, but I remember reading an abstract that can be summarized as: People slashed or stabbed with a knife (usually with multiple wounds) are more likely to die, eventually, than people who are shot, but being shot is more likely to immediately end a confrontation.

      As an additional note, my mother is 54 years old and like me has spent 19 years as a martial artist. She is a very capable fighter, but recently underwent abdominal surgery. She purchased her first handgun in preparation for her recovery period, during which time she would have highly limited mobility and ability to defend herself.

      I guess I’ve rambled, but really, my points are:

      1. Guns are more effective at stopping attacks

      2. It doesn’t matter whether YOU are safe, or YOU are capable of protecting yourself without a firearm. The disabled, the elderly, anyone smaller or physically weaker than yourself, and even children are capable of effectively defending themselves with firearms.

  • J

    A person holding a FFL, which makes them a dealer, isn’t allowed to sell a gun to anyone without a background check. So even at a gun show they call in every transaction. The only “private” sales are between gun owners who are not dealers, and they can do that anytime and anywhere. I fall on the side of it’s free commerce and should be just fine, and legal. I feel that the whole debate sort of falls into two camps, you are either a free person who wants more freedom for more people and the responsibilities of that liberty, or you don’t.

  • Chrystoph

    Things I would likme to see come out of this:
    1. Ethics courses should be taught at every even numbered grade starting with 6th grade. This should not be some sort of cover for introducing religion into schools, but should be an actual course on personal best behavior. I would willing to see it incorporated into some sort of social sciences curriculum that includes teaching the concepts of an individual’s rights AND obligations to society, and vice versa, society’s rights and obligations to the citizen, also known as a social contract.
    2. Unarmed combat training should be offered to all students, but not obligatory, starting in 7th grade. Self defense training coupled with education in #1 will reduce bullying and make those inclined to abandon their social contract think twice. Prey that fights back is always less desirable.
    3. A basic firearms course needs to be taught in 9th grade. I won’t say that every citizen needs to be armed, but I do think that every citizen needs to be informed.
    4. Finally, we have laws to control firearms. Enforcing the ones we have will be more than sufficient to prevent most of these problems. Unfunded legislation never does anything, regardless of the intention.

    • Eric Archer

      In regards to 1:
      I agree that formalized ethics training can have a very beneficial role in society. Though I am an atheist, I hypothesize that religions can often play a stabilizing role in society by serving as venues for discussions of ethics and the role of followers in society. In the same way, ethics courses in organized schooling could be used to stabilize society and provide the basis for a more free and just society.

      The problem with this idea, is that in the same way that religion can be a vehicle for hate or social manipulation (examples abound), ethics courses in mandatory public schooling can be a tool for manipulation of the entire society (as can mandatory public schooling itself). By requiring ethics training in primary and secondary education, children can be indoctrinated in the beliefs of whatever philosophical school currently holds sway in educational circles, locally or nationally. This would result in a magnification of the same sort of issues we see today, I.E. the anti-intellectualism of intelligent design proponents, or the liberal progressive propagandizing rampant in other parts of the country.

      On a whole… I would suggest that ethics discussion and training are necessary for a stable and functioning society… but the choice regarding where that education takes place should remain with parents and society as a whole, not with a government institution.

      In regards to points 2 and 3:
      In essence, my thoughts here are similar to above. Maybe the best solution here, is the formation and propagation of non-profit groups designed for the education of children and young adults (or adults), where parents can take their children to learn the ethics and self-defense. Similar groups already exist to teach firearms safety and marksmanship… and I imagine that there is significant discussion of ethics and self-defense in these classes already. Just my two cents worth.

      To point 4:
      Agreed that we have enough laws in place to do everything government is capable of doing to prevent problems. However, many of those laws are ineffectual, and the few laws that DO make sense and have an effect, need to be updated or re-imagined to ensure that the populace can remained well-armed and free.

      • Robert C Roman Jr

        Regarding 1: Part of the problem we are having right now is that parents have been abandoning that role. In my opinion the ‘6th grade’ is a little late, but I could live with that. Of course, some ethics are taught even in grade school (Golden Rule is pretty common) but formalizing it early, especially pre-puberty, would be incredibly useful.

        Re: 2 and 3: I’d be okay with both being electives. The former ought to be an optional replacement for Phys Ed, the latter could easily fit into cirriculum as a tech class (what used to be called ‘shop’), especially if you include in depth maintenance.
        Re: 4: I think the laws we currently have are in need of retooling. We don’t need another layer, but some of the current ones should be dismantled and replaced by more effective ones.

      • Chrystoph

        Eric, you are making a classical mistake in substituting Morality for Ethics. Ethics is the science of personal best behavior. Morality is the social position of acceptable behavior.
        As an example, at the founding of the United States, it was morally acceptable to own slaves. It has never been ethical, but the society of the time accepted it as moral behavior.
        I have not, and will not, condoned morality training in a publically funded venue, but I still believe that ethics training would be a good thing.

    • LL
    • mkegal

      I think that firearm safety needs to be taught/reinforced every year, just like a fire drill or tornado drill. But overall I agree with you.

      • Ambulance_Driver

        I disagree, but then again I have bern shooting firearms for 40 years.
        I could not pick one up for 10 years and still be safe with it. The Four Rules are simple enough that they do not require constant drilling and repetition.

  • Aaron Gibbs

    I’m going to weigh in here because I feel like this is a better forum to express my thoughts rather than the ridiculousness of Facebook.
    I have never owned, shot or even so much as held a firearm outside of the bb gun I had as a child. I have never felt the urge to own a gun and never really understood some people’s fascination with them, and it has long been my opinion that owning weapons is your constitutional right so more power to you, but however, having never been around guns throughout my life, the urge to collect guns or weapons of any kind is something I have never understood.

    So my thoughts on this particular subject are quite simple actually, I am a paramedic, my sister is a preschool teacher. My job is to work on the street and deal with whatever happens to go wrong in my little corner of the world. My sisters job is to sing songs, play games and make sure everyone gets a nap. So why am I more worried about her going to work than she is about me?

    I agree that stricter gun control alone will not fix the problem, but I think that, in light of the events last week and the growing frequency of this sort of incident, compromises need to be made on ALL sides. My opinion is that this is a multifaceted issue with no quick fix. We need to be willing and able to meet each other in the middle.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      It’s a sad day indeed when people think that preschool teacher is a more dangerous profession than paramedic.

      But is it?

      Or is it that we simply hear more readily of these stories due to social media and the 24-hour news cycle?

      I remember someone posting somewhere an analysis of mass shootings and concluded that, contrary to popular belief, they are not on the rise. Nor did they cease or decline when the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was in effect.

      If anyone has a link to that article, please post it.

      I think hardening the schools and removing the specious “gun free zone” designation is a better answer. As last Friday proved, “gun free zone” simply means “no possibility of armed resistance” to a would-be shooter.

      • Aaron Gibbs

        I agree 100% that the media plays a huge factor and that it’s coverage of these events has been irresponsible at best, and I also have seen the same same analysis regarding mass shootings, and while they may not be on the rise, and I think it is safe to say they are becoming deadlier and more destructive.
        I also agree that removing the gun free zone would be a viable option but, how do we do that in a responsible way?
        Also, as a someone who grew up in southern California I remember very clearly quarterly earthquake drills, and in which we were instructed on what to do in the event of “the big one”.. Is it time we start having shooter drills in schools as well?

        • Divemedic

          Actually, it is only the media coverage that makes them seem more deadly. The deadliest school killing in US history was the Bath school in 1927. The weapon used was a bomb. In fact, of the four largest mass killings in US history, no gun was used. If anyone has a longer list, I would appreciate seeing it.

        • AndrewC

          Having graduated from high school in 2005, we did have shooter drills (although they didn’t call them that) in middle and high school. Basically involved hiding in the corner, locking the door, turning the lights off, and pretending we weren’t there.

          • Ambulance Driver

            We need to add fighting back to the curriculum.

          • mkegal

            That is sad. I’d rather kids know that their teacher (or other school staff) can stop a bad guy, instead of having kids fearful of a repeat of Sandy Hook.

        • Ambulance_Driver

          The time to start having active shooter drills in schools was the day before Columbine.

          Here’s what I’d do to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill:

          1. Mandate reporting by psychiatrists to the NICS system for suicidal ideation, homicidal ideation, sociopathic or delusional behavior. This would apply to their office visits as well, but there would have to be adequate safeguards to restore those rights if or when the psychiatrist feels the patient is no longer a threat to himself or others.

          2. Computerized reporting of PEC’s to the NICS system. Fill out a PEC, 5150 or mental health hold, whatever you want to call it, you must upload it to the NICS database before that patient leaves the ED, or before that patient is discharged from the psych unit, and WITH all the safeguards mentioned in #1, and restoration of those rights has to be as timely as the denial of them.

          That does not happen now. A PEC because your girlfriend called you suicidal out of spite can dog you for years. As a medic, I’m sure you’ve seen as many inappropriate psych holds as I have.

          3. No more mental health techs doing intake evaluations. In fact, don’t let the ED physician do it, either. They have enough shit to deal with already. If your facility operates an inpatient psychiatric unit, you should have a psychiatrist on ED call to do PEC’s 24/7/365. If a patient is transported from an ED without an inpatient psych unit to a residential facility or an ED that does, the psychiatrist must countersign the PEC after his own evaluation BEFORE the patient is admitted. If the PEC was done by an ED physician, it should not be uploaded to NICS until the psychiatrist has countersigned.

          Those 3 things would go a long way toward lessening the likelihood of the mentally ill getting their hands on a weapon, and #3 would provide better safeguards against inappropriate psych holds.

          Of course, you will still have some acutely ill (mentally, that is) patients who have access to the weapons they already own.

          And we will never be able to stop those, outside of implementing a full-on police state.

          • Paul Blincow

            Though I can see the benefit of this, what about the chilling effect on people actually seeking treatment if they’re worried their Psych will HAVE to turn them in?

          • Ambulance_Driver

            That is problematic. Mental illness is already stigmatized, and tightening restrictions, no matter how we do it, is going to make it worse.

            However, I think that if we had an organized framework for treatment, and reassured patients that strong safeguards for restoration of rights are built in, it would mitigate their concern to some extent.

          • LL

            We come back to the media. The “crazy vet” meme has already bled into PTSD diagnosis when most of those guys want to stay AWAY from people because large groups alarm them, and yet, if you see the headlines, any veteran, going back decades, will be labeled as such and tied in to a shooting.

          • mkegal

            People simply learn not to discuss certain topics with their doctor. Yes, that impairs their treatment & well-being, leaving the public with greater danger.

          • mpatk

            You’ll need one more thing before those three ideas are implemented. You need enough inpatient beds to handle the holds, and enough psychiatrists/psychologists/counselors to handle the workload (inpatient and outpatient). Otherwise, we’re going to just end up where we are now, transporting the same patients over and over again on psych holds until the patient either does something drastic, or gets lucky enough to find someone who will work with them.

            The system is broken, and has been since Reagan’s time (if it was even working then). Those rules are going to result in fewer holds, and fewer people identified, because if only an inpatient psychiatrist can approve the hold, they won’t be put on holds if there aren’t beds available; and out on the street they’ll go.

          • mkegal

            And enough money for people who need treatment.
            Or national healthcare which provides adequate care for all.
            Oh, wait…

          • mpatk

            Your point? It’s a lot cheaper to have outpatient psychiatric services than to keep recycling the same people over and over through inpatient 72-hour holds.

            “National Healthcare” is a different issue altogether that I don’t care to comment on now; there’s as much ignorance and vitriol in that debate as there is in gun control debates.

      • Greg Friese

        Actual risk and perceived risk to some degree are merely interesting. I can present to my wife the facts that the actual risk of flying is very very very low over and over and over, but she is emotionally connected to the perceived risk. There is not much to be done.

        There are many things, right or wrong, that we manage or legislate based on perceived risk versus the actual risk. Thus we take off our shoes in airports, empty our containers with fluids and other absurdities.

        Guns might be due for some regulation based on the perceived risk. I am not suggesting that is right or wrong. But some things we do to make people feel better. Just the way it is.

        The gun free zone is worthy of its own comment thread so I am going to post another comment.

        • Ambulance Driver

          Yet because of her emotional connection to the perceived risk, we still do not forbid everyone else to fly.

          That is where many gun control proponents go off the rails. They believe they have the right to feel safe, no matter how it infringes on the rights of or inconveniences others, and that is just not so.

          A person’s phobias are their own to master.

        • Robert C Roman Jr

          if we legislate based on perceived risks, when does it end? Will we ever be at a point where everyone perceives themselves to be safe? Or will the lack of actual safety continue to make people perceive themselves as unsafe, causing us to pass more legislation to alter perception without altering actuality?

          Seriously, I think attempting to legislate perception is a mistake. Not only will it not work, it will take time and energy from potentially useful legislation.

          • mpatk

            But screening based on perception rather than reality works so well for the TSA…

      • Paul Blincow
  • Amanda Justice

    I’m admittedly a card-carrying “librul”, but my husband owns a gun, plans to own more (I don’t object), and I’ve owned one in the past. I’m torn, to say the least. Kelly, I just appreciate you opening this up on your blog so I can read more and add to my knowledge base on this issue.

  • diamond dave

    If we’re going to talk about guns, I think the real issue here should not be gun control, but gun responsibility. People should make sure they’re trained to properly use the guns they own, to properly store them, and when NOT to use them, particularly if they are going to carry concealed. And most important, gun owners have a responsibility to make sure their guns are secure from people who have no business near them, including those that may live with them. This is where the mother of the shooter allegedly failed. I once had an emotionally unstable stepson living with us and I ended up totally disassembling and hiding my gun so there would be no chance of him possibly creating any headlines. This was despite the fact I lived in a questionable neighborhood, but I preferred to take my chances than risk a tragedy with my stepson, for I felt that was the greater threat. Each must decide according to their own unique situation. I decided to err on the side of safety.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      Well said, Dave.

      I could support the right to purchase a weapon contingent upon completion of a mandated gun safety course, with the caveat that the completion card not be linked to the purchase in any way that could result in a de facto firearms registry.

      • StevieY43

        I agree with this and Dave 100%. I’d add though that cost should not be an issue when seeking this training. If we accept the assumption that the inner city poor are the most likely to be in need of personal protection, I want to make sure they can get the training without sacrificing food on the table. I don’t want to add another tax though or increase government involvement in everyone’s lives further, so maybe an org. like the NRA could call it charitable outreach to fund classes?

        • Ambulance_Driver

          Hell yes.

          As an NRA Life Member, I’d even be willing to pay higher dues to fund it.

          NRA already has the classes in place, with a much more realistic and practical approach to gun safety than is already advocated by many anti-gun advocates.

          Mandate the Eddie Eagle program in all public schools, and ask NRA to help underwrite the cost.

        • mkegal

          There’s an org in WI that runs free informational classes. Problem is, they’ve done classes so large [800 people] there’s no real learning going on, no validation, & in fact I’ve seen people sleeping through them, yet getting certificates.

          OTOH, open carry in WI requires no license, no training. Why should putting on a coat in the winter require training?

          • Frank Ney

            And on the other side of the coin you have Rhode Island, where the course happens once a year, maximum 30 attendees, minimum political contribution of $50K required.

      • Too Old To Work

        I can support the idea that the right to write a letter to the editor or politician, vote, or speak in public, be tied to passing a literacy and public affairs exam. Oh wait. They used to do that in some southern states to keep black from voting. Ironically, gun control started out as a way to keep blacks in the south from owning guns after the Civil War.


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  • Sewmouse

    I come from a background of complete ignorance about guns, gun culture, &etc. I am a 56 yr old socially liberal, financially conservative person, but I do not share many of the viewpoints of many of the individuals who also self-describe as such.

    I am not happy with the 2nd amendment anymore. I believe it has outlived its usefulness, and should be repealed – AND REPLACED – with something that is more narrowly specific about gun ownership/rights. I do not want to take your gun away from you. I do want our country to be less wide-open regarding a “God-Given Right to Have Guns” attitude that appears to be rampant, particularly in a less-educated portion of our populace.

    I do not believe that gun control, or gun bans, or any other sort of weapons bans/laws will solve 100% of the problems of violent behavior and death-dealing. I do, however, believe that guns make emotional, knee-jerk killing exceptionally easier. I don’t buy into the need to own guns to take on the “Government” – and that kind of thinking is something that I cannot get behind in any way.

    The statement that “guns only have one purpose” is true, however. Their only purpose is to propel objects at high velocity with the intention of putting holes into said objects, the majority of which – if living – really would most likely not enjoy having holes in them.

    And that is the primary, and only, purpose. That doesn’t make it wrong. It is only its purpose.

    But when someone comes back at me, when I suggest that required purchase of liability insurance, training, background checks, licensing, and other possible means of working toward responsible gun-ownership in more than just Kelly’s immediate family, I am usually met with a chorus of “Well, Automobiles….””Well, Spoons…” “So you think we should outlaw spoons and automobiles…”, at which point I can only assume that the other person is not serious about addressing the problem, but only wants to put their right to own a dangerous weapon above my family’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, as it were.

    Please tell me where I’m wrong. Because I’d trust my little 4-month old granddaughter with Kelly – or KB – in a heartbeat. Gun ownership does not make you the Anti-Christ.

    • Ambulance Driver

      Sewmouse, what about the Second Amendment is outdated? How has it outlived it’s usefulness?

    • Ambulance_Driver

      I’ll bite, Sewmouse.

      Just how, exactly, is the Second Amendment outdated?

      • mpatk

        Can I jump in with my reasoning for the 2nd amendment being outdated?

        The real deterrent against tyrannical government IMHO is the “citizen soldier” and the fact that our military members are still integrated into normal life. It’s not like other countries, where the military is an isolated entity that can’t empathize with the citizens they would be oppressing. U.S. soldiers would not follow orders to violently oppress their families, friends, and neighbors.

        An armed U.S. populace would not be able to violently overthrow a repressive government backed by the U.S. military. Even back in the 1780s, with weapons equal to those of the British, the Founding Fathers only won free with the help of the Spanish and French regular navies and material support. An armed U.S. resistance could at best hope to establish some safe zones away from population centers; but if the military doesn’t shy away from bloodbaths, the best the resistance could do is exist and harass the government.

        Certainly I agree that gun ownership is valuable in order to defend ourselves, our families, and our homes; but there is no way that an armed populace could defeat with violence a government willing to slaughter its citizens in order to control them.

        • diamond dave

          Except that our government wouldn’t be able to rely on using the military to oppress its own citizens, because most of the men and women of the U.S. armed forces would refuse to follow such orders. Desertion and mass mutiny would likely be the result of any such attempt. That is why the 2nd amendment is still very valid, our government is forced to realize that any attempt to overexpand its power would result in the loss of that power and quite possibly having it turned against them. I think your reasoning proves that point.

          • mpatk

            Actually, you’ve proved my point. It isn’t the guns that keep our freedom, it’s the soldiers that carry the guns, and their connection to “we the people”. If the military decides to take control regardless of the cost in lives, the best civilians can do is flee to remote regions; a modern army’s firepower is simply too overwhelming. So in truth, it’s fair to say that the 4th amendment (no quartering) is more responsible for our freedom from government than the 2nd amendment.

          • mkegal

            It’s “we the people” who carry the guns,
            and “we the people” who serve in the military.
            Two distinct but overlapping groups – citizens and soldiers.
            As for the military power being overwhelming, look at the door-to-door fighting overseas in the sandbox now. The rebels are holding out remarkably well against us.

          • mpatk

            The fact that the groups overlap is exactly my point. In many other nations, the military is either a privileged class or is otherwise kept isolated from the regular population.

            As for overseas, how many true bloodbaths has the U.S. caused in Iraq and Afghanistan? Not the media-alleged “massacres”, but real slaughters like happen in Syria, Libya, and other oppressive regions of the world. It would be a very different situation if the U.S. were trying to win obedience and fear, rather than “hearts and minds”.

            For that matter, look at the so-called Arab Spring. Fairly well-armed resistance movements in Egypt, Libya, and Syria: NONE of them suceed without either army support or foreign military support. Mubarak was deposed only when the army turned on him. The Libyan resistance, even after being supplied from outside, nearly collapses until NATO starts air strikes. Syria is still in chaos despite outside shipments of modern weapons to the rebels.

            The best a modern armed resistance can hope for if it fights a modern army on its own is chaos; modern armies and governments are too well supplied and too powerful to overthrow with violence. It becomes a battle of wills, and if a military and leadership truly don’t give a damn about “the people”, that isn’t a fight that a typical population will endure for long.

    • Ernest Sharp

      Less educated is something that I take exception to. I have two bachelor’s degrees, three associates degrees, and a year of graduate school under my belt. I am hardly uneducated.

    • floydf

      Bewmouse: my experience has been the opposite. The places with the highest levels of gun violence are those places that have the tightest controls (Chicago, DC). And my personal experience has been that carrying a gun has made me much less likely to any emotional, knee-jerk responses, precisely because it turns those sorts of responses into potentially a life and death situation.

      As has been said, an armed society is a polite society. I think this is true.

      So we need to be very clear about (as you say) what is the actual problem that needs addressing.

      In your opinion, is the problem that of all the legal gun owners, there are only a very few that you would trust your grand-daughter with?

      For example: in conversation at church on morning, one fellow noted that ,in his opinion, there are lots and lots of Americans who lack the moral fiber to own a weapon. I think he was serious. And it seems very sad to me to live with such a poor opinion of one’s fellow citizens. But, if that were my opinion, I’m pretty sure I would want to be armed.

      • mpatk


        With regards to any sort of link between gun control and gun violence, Chicago and DC have never exactly been Mayberry. We need to make sure we’re not seeing correlation and thinking causation. Just because the gun violence numbers went up doesn’t mean that gun control caused it; particularly if the numbers were already trending upward.

        You’re the exception IMHO with regards to emotional responses with guns. Most people’s knee-jerk responses are not going to change based on their environment (by the definition of “knee-jerk reaction”), so the result of making an uncontrollably angry person more lethal is pretty obvious.

        As I said elsewhere, I think there should be “hoops to jump through” before a person can obtain a gun. That allows self-selection of gun owners: the people who are willing to put up with the hassle are more likely to take gun responsibility seriously. My preferred comparison is to a car and driver’s license: show competency, get registered and background check, and you’re good to go.

        • Ambulance_Driver

          You know what happens when the uncontrollaby angry person loses control?
          They lash out. And when they do, they are usually arrested and prosecuted for it. Which would, um, bar them from legally possessing a firearm.
          Most people I know that carry a handgun on their person are the polar opposite of uncontrollably angry.

          • mpatk

            Poor wording on my part, I should have said “lack of discipline”; and your remarks make my point exactly. We currently have some bureaucratic barriers to gun ownership, which serves to select for people with the self-discipline to stick with an annoying process. More impulsive people won’t tend to follow through with the process if it’s annoying enough; and those are the ones who IMHO would be dangerous with a gun.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Good point. I personally have no objections to requiring a class and a permit for concealed carry, provided it is “shall issue” once an applicant has met the requirements.

          • mkegal

            How long was the government class to allow you to run your blog? What was the fee for your speaking license, & for the writing endorsement?

            Since the states with Constitutional Carry haven’t been shown to have a higher rate of crime than the states which require training & a permit to carry, why bother with the beurocracy & expense (& infringement on liberty)?

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Twelve years.

            They called it “primary school.”

            And no, school didn’t grant me the right to write my blog or speak in public or teach, only the ability to do so effectively. And attending (or equivalent structured education at home) has been compulsory all my life, and probably yours as well unless you’re very old.

            Should guns be any different?

            Last I checked, marksmanship and gun safety aren’t a part of standard school curricula, although I think the latter should be. I got competent instruction in both in my home, from early childhood.

            But not everyone who wants or owns a gun has.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            And the aim of gun safety education isn’t to reduce crime. It is intended to reduce accidents involving guns, legally acquired or otherwise.

        • Midwest Medic

          The argument regarding gun control laws in DC, Chicago, and the like isn’t that the laws CAUSE more crime, the argument is that, despite the fact that they have these laws, people STILL commit violent, gun related crime in large, record setting numbers. The gun control laws don’t prevent the crime.

        • mkegal

          “there should be “hoops to jump through” before a person can obtain a gun. That allows self-selection of gun owners: the people who are willing to put up with the hassle are more likely to take gun responsibility seriously”

          What hoops would you be willing to jump through to exercise any of your other civil rights?
          And why do you think that your hoops would apply to criminals (you know, the people who cause the problems)?
          And please show us the multitude of cases of people being irresponsible in states which merely follow federal law, as opposed to setting up more impediments & infringements on the right to self-defense.

          To help you get started, Vermont, Alaska, Arizona, & to some degree Colorado allow people to carry pistols on their person, in usable condition, with no training, license, registration, etc. (beyond the federal background check for purchase from a dealer). Please compare to restrictive states such as CA, NJ, IL, CT…

          • mpatk

            So you disagree with mandatory education? How about we eliminate voter registration, since that’s a “bureaucratic hoop to jump through”?

            How about we eliminate drivers licenses and vehicle registration? No, driving is not a civil right; but the right to free movement throughout the country is, and why should it be restricted by restricting a popular method of travel?

            Hell, for that matter, why CAN’T I shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater?

            As for the comparison of states, seriously? You’re comparing four of the lowest population density states to four with fairly high population density.

      • mkegal

        “carrying a gun has made me much less likely to any emotional, knee-jerk responses, precisely because it turns those sorts of responses into potentially a life and death situation”

        Exactly this!
        Most of the “gun-toting” people I know are the slowest to get into arguments, most likely to back down from a fight or insult, for precisely this reason.

        I am acutely aware that I may not do anything to escalate a bad situation, or I lose my legal protection of self-defense (at least until I clearly withdraw from the conflict).

        This does not mean that we won’t disagree with someone, including another armed citizen, but we are generally more polite & less prone to violence than the average person.

        • mpatk

          Yes, “gun-toting” people UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM tend to be more self-disciplined and less likely to escalate conflicts. That is because they are self-selected by the registration, background check, and paperwork to weed out more impulse-prone people.

    • mkegal

      No, I want my right to life to be equal to yours. Only I protect my life more thoroughly & forcefully, using completely legal means – a tool which in itself is completely safe. Inert even.

      “REPLACED – with something that is more narrowly specific about gun ownership/rights”
      I’d suggest a very very simple, impossible to misunderstand revision:

      “The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation, or any other lawful purpose.”

      That’s the WI Constitutional amendment from (IIRC) 1998, which more clearly, strongly, & recently provides protection for our natural right to self-protection. (Since you seem opposed to people using “god-given right to have guns”… I don’t believe in any gods either.)

      Perhaps adding to that “… anywhere they may legally be.”
      No more of this “gun-free” zone [bleep].

      “attitude that appears to be rampant, particularly in a less-educated portion of our populace”
      Such as the Supreme Court?
      Since you don’t know me I won’t take that as a personal affront, but I will point out that I have 3 college degrees & I still believe self-defense is a natural right.

  • Greg Friese

    A below comment mentioned gun free zones and I wanted to start a new thread on that concept.

    I believe the gun free zone is a myth for good guys and bad guys. I have some searching, but have not found any stats or evidences. Just a few anecdotes.

    A survey from All State Insurance reported that 89% of Americans reported driving above the speed limit. (the other 11% in my opinion are big fat liars, don’t drive, or have such poor vision they can’t see the speedomteter). These are law abiding citizens reporting that they knowingly ignore a sign, plus everyone else is doing. There are even consequences of speeding, but the risk of being caught is very low.

    I believe (I know you wanted facts and stats and not opinions) that placards of weapon free zones are regularly ignored. Perhaps intentionally by good guys as well as bad guys, but also something as simple as I didn’t see the sign, I had to run in real quick, I forgot I was carrying (there seems to be semi-regular news reports of the TSA finding guns on passengers that forgot). I actually believe that people do forget they are carrying. Life is busy. I have searched for my glasses (on my head), my ID and credit card (in my pocket) and my phone (exactly in the pocket I left it in).

    Anecdotally I have had several “good guys” tell me they disregard the no weapons allowed signs. I have also seen docs uses their phones in the ED and ICU and people take flash photos when no flash photography is allowed. For many people the rules don’t apply to them. They are not bad guys. They are just doing their own thing.

    Thus I think we let go of the myth that the only people with guns in a gun free zone are bad guys. A CCP holder in Milwaukee shot an armed robber several years ago in an Aldi’s with a no weapons sign on the door. He was not charged with anything.

    When the defense is “I forgot” and the punishment is nothing or a small misdameanor why wouldn’t you carry? The only bad consequence of significance would an unintended shot (Plaxico Burress). The upside of being a hero probably makes the risk worth it.

    I don’t have a CCP (yet) so I can’t admit to carrying into a gun free zone and I don’t expect any of you to confess, but we can let go of the myth of a gun free zone. There is no such thing.

    • Greg Friese
    • StevieY43

      Exactly, there is no such thing as a gun free zone.

      Interestingly, since getting my LTCF (PA’s nomenclature for CCW), I’ve started looking for these signs. Even at the typical places (malls, movie theatres, etc), I usually can’t spot the signs. At the double gun-free zone where I work (academic medical center), there are only signs at a small portion of entrances.

      Even ignoring the fact that criminals by definition don’t follow laws, how can anyone realistically expect to keep a zone gun-free if they don’t even tell people that it’s supposed to be that way?

      • mkegal

        I like the TX & KS laws that mandate large, plainly visible signs which are able to be seen easily and are uniform.

    • mpatk

      There is only one way to have a true “gun-free zone”; and that is to check AND ENFORCE the zone. Example would be courtrooms, and government buildings. The only way to keep any location gun-free is with armed guards who can contend with violators; otherwise, it’s just wishful thinking.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      Greg, one thing I’ve noticed is a significant shift in your opinion on concealed carry. You were never overtly against it, but I remember you expressing to me your thankfulness that Wisconsin (before they passed the law) did not allow concealed carry of firearms.

      I remember it well, because I chuckled knowing that I was sitting next to you in the Dallas Convention Center carrying a concealed weapon. ;)

      I know in some of our conversations before its implementation, you regarded Wisconsin’s impending concealed carry law with a great deal of trepidation.

      In the year since it went into effect, have any of your fears come to pass?

      • Greg Friese

        I am not sure I have changed much. We might just know each other better.

        At the time of our conversation my wife was an Emergency Dept RN and I was active in the field as a paramedic. Both of us have had job changes that don’t have us every day in an unpredictable environment where violence is not uncommon and can quickly rise from patients or bystanders. More guns or less guns doesn’t make the ED any less dangerous. A gun free zone is a myth without rigorous screening.

        As for fears … my fear is/was mostly that Wisconsin shouldn’t be like every place else. I like things that make us unique – cheese, Packers, political history (McCarthy and LaFollette both were from Wisconsin). Norming to the mean and entering the mediocrity of homogenousness (sp?) with the rest of the country is of little interest to me.

        I think skepticism might be a more healthy description of my trepidation. I didn’t believe then and I don’t believe now that CCP has made Wisconsin “safer” (whatever that means). The Attorney General of WI has said as much as well that he doesn’t know if we are safer and he has no way to know if CCP has reduced crime. Just a few anecdotes. Of course how do you measure the absence of something that didn’t happen. Much liking confirming the absence of a pulse when there is no pulse.

        For better or worse many of us view the world from our experiences. I do. We all do. People I had a personal relationships that have died way to young:

        M. – highschool friend – self inflicted fatal gun shot wound. Maybe a slow attempt of pills and alcohol could have given him some time to remember good times we had and life we were looking forward to.

        S. – Boy Scout friend – self inflicted fatal gun shot wound. Perhaps knotting a noose would have been just enough to jog his memory of his Scout oath and the friends and adults that supported him.

        K. – paramedic student – shot to death by her estranged husband. He was one of us – a firefighter – and generally a law abiding citizen until he wasn’t. Maybe she could have run from a knife or shielded her body from punches. She couldn’t out run a bullet.

        M.’s dad – shot to death in a mass shooting incident. All he did was open a door. He and those with him were dead way before any of them could have reached for a weapon.

        I have lost 3 people I know to guns. A fourth, Mark, lost his father.

        Compared to other relationships

        H. killed in 2 vehicle crash

        M. brain tumor

        T. aeromedical crash (two pilots normalized risk, let their guard down and in the full light of day with the hospital in sight two medical helicopters crashed into one another)

        We are doing a lot and spending a lot – research, education, innovation, advocacy, peer pressure, legislation – to prevent deaths from cancer, vehicle crashes, and aeromedical crashes. The response to reduce unnecessary and premature deaths like M, S, K, and M’s father seems limited to we need more guns or we need no guns. Those are not solutions. They aren’t even good slogans.

        Despite the gnashing of teeth and wailing among 2nd amendment purists I believe we are going to continue to liberalize (odd word huh?) the ownership of guns, the abolishment of gun free zones (that don’t exist anyway), and reduce any barriers to ownership. Fully automatic weapons will soon be for sale. 16 year olds will be able to open carry. And every school, business and public building will have an armed guard at the door. Castle doctrine will extend to anything within my field of vision. (I am hard pressed to think of a less effective lobby than the gun control lobby. So please no one belly ache about the “libs” or “you people” taking your or my guns away.) I am not scared or fearful of these changes. Just resigned to them.

        At some point, after I have lost more friends to guns than cars, cancer, and helicopter crashes combined, we will all take a step back and say, “is this what we really wanted?” Of course I might be the only one that has been repeatedly impacted by gun homicide and gun suicide on a personal level.

    • mkegal

      The Aldi’s thing happened in early 2012, shortly after we got concealed carry (which was also when those stupid “no guns” signs went up). The main reason he wasn’t charged with trespass, which is all it would have been, is because the sign wasn’t placed where someone entering could reasonably be expected to see it. That’s required by the law, in order to prove trespass.
      Believe me, if there were any way they could have charged him, the Milwaukee police & DA would have found it. They’re very anti- armed citizens. Also, racism is alive & well here – the guy who shot the robber is black & hispanic.

      And the upside of ignoring a “no guns” sign isn’t being a hero, it’s being alive.

  • BigPete

    As an outsider (Australian) looking at the issues in the US I have to say that 95% of the rest of the world, in particular the media, have no clue about how entrenched the 2nd amendment is in the fabric of American society or how strongly resisted changed to the constitution will be met – from all sides. Having said that clearly the problem needs some serious addressing and the issues are many and complex. “Removing the guns” is a misguided catch cry, bandied about by people with little or no real understanding of the problem, who naively think that as soon as honest, law abiding citizens surrender their fire arms all crime will stop, shootings will be non existent and fluffy puppies will roam the streets in peace and happiness. The real world is somewhat different. Since the total gun ban in the UK gun related crime is up nearly 90%. In Australia we have seen gun crime rising steadily and “drive by shootings and home invasions with violence” are now almost daily news stories. Tighter gun control simply punishes the law abiding and leaves us at the mercy of the criminal element, who despite what the anti gun lobby think, will not hand in their weapons at the next amnesty. Here in Australia it is illegal for me to use my firearms in self defence. They are all registered, I had to get police permission to purchase them, providing a genuine reason for owning each particular long arm. Rifles are stored in a locked safe, with bolts in a separate compartment, ammunition is stored in another safe. My handguns (It takes a minimum of 6 months to purchase your first one after completing another licence course and qualifying shoots) are stored in yet another safe with more stringent requirements than the long arms – must be trigger locked when out in public, transported to and from the range in a locked gun box and I have to do 6 registered competition shoots for each handgun per year. Despite all this the anti gun lobby here thinks we are all “crazed nut jobs” ready to massacre the public at a drop of a coin. Mean while the thugs and criminals wander the streets with illegally imported hand guns blazing away – the answer from our politicians – tighter gun control! It is not the answer and never will be. Education, training and screening of owners is part of the solution – as is greater identification and treatment of mental health issues and perhaps an armed response in schools. It is a difficult road ahead for all Americans – with the worlds media expecting nothing less than you all handing over your firearms and hugging while they burn. Dont go down that road – you will end up like us – Australian shooters and collectors are treated a social pariahs.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      On the bright side, when you are killed because you observed the law against using your weapon in self defense against the guy who ignored it, the police can prosecute him for murder… if they catch him.

      Doesn’t do much to resurrect you, though.

  • Ambulance_Driver

    Bravo, Ernie.

    That’s the sort of engagement I’m looking for. Courteous, and pointing out how the comparisons break down.

  • Old_NFO

    Well, you kicked over the ant hill with this one Kelly, and concur, there must be a middle ground AND a knowledge of what is actually being talked about… You know where I stand, and yes I HAVE hunted with an AR more than once… When you’re on the hogs, you’re lucky to have 15 seconds to shoot after the first round. It’s also a good varmint gun, especially on small varmints like praire dogs. And the real issue IS mental health… NOT gun bans.

  • Paul Blincow

    I hunted whitetail in MN with an AR specifically to get comments from one retired LEO in the group. predictably, they came … He fell for the cosmetics and had to be convinced that a) the 223 could do the job with shot placement but b) that’s irrelevant because mine is in .300 BLK which is balistically similar to a 30-30 only safer since I don’t have to cycle rounds through the lever action

  • Lexi

    I find myself completely overwhelmed by the sheer scale of what happened at Sandy Hook. I don’t know how to wrap my brain around it…I’m not sure that’s even possible. I think a lot of the BS on the anti-gun side is coming from that place–from a knee-jerk emotional response. People are desperately grabbing for something to blame, preferably something they feel can be fixed. As a species, we like easy answers. Especially in situations where there really aren’t any.

    I’m not going to add to the debate, because my feelings on the matter are quite conflicted and I don’t know enough to be able to add anything constructive. But this is the most informed, rational bunch of people I’ve seen anywhere on the internet since last Friday, so I’d like to pose a question.

    Clearly, there is a problem. This guy managed to walk into an elementary school with a bunch of weapons, and gun down 26 people. This guy who had apparently shown warning signs of serious mental illness for a very long time. The same story we’ve heard so many times, in different variations.

    My question: how do we solve this problem? Is it one that can be solved at all, or is our society just too broken? I think it’s obvious that “ZOMG BAN GUNS” isn’t the answer. Some *reasonable* restrictions might be part of a solution, but only a part.

    What do we do?

    • Lexi

      Apologies for going off-topic, by the way….I just can’t find anyone else reasonable to discuss this with.

      • Ambulance_Driver

        Lexi, see my reply to Aaron Gibbs further down in the comments.

        I’d add to that, 4) harden the schools and mandate active shooter drills which include the adults fighting back, and 5) allowing teachers and school employees to go armed.

        Keep in mind that is not the same thing as requiring teachers to be armed. The first would be problematic because most teachers do not have the mindset to use a weapon properly. The second differs in that the teachers will invariably self-select. Those who already carry weapons and possess the training and will to use them effectively will simply start carrying at work, too.

        Those who don’t, won’t.

    • mkegal

      If you can come up with a restriction which only affects criminals, not law-abiding gun owners, suggest it please. So far, every restriction ever tried or proposed is the other way around, so does nothing toward reducing crime.

      BTW, what reasonable restrictions do you accept on your rights to speak, vote, worship, remain silent, have a lawyer, be confronted with the witnesses against you, have a trial by jury, refuse to quarter gov’t troops, etc.?

  • Ambulance_Driver

    LL, that may be true more often in Texas, but it isn’t universal.

    That is especially true of the large urban centers. Those cities aren’t really Texas anyway. They’re just big old cities that happen to lie within its borders. ;)

    • LL

      For the sake of brevity, I didn’t share my thoughts. What I was implying is that there are a group of teachers willing to be trained properly, to follow current concealed carry laws, and who chose to be the first line of defense in case of a school assault. That is the “proper mindset” to me.

  • B. Maxwell

    Litigation, baby. It’s the American way.

    Remove all legal shields involving firearms except the castle doctrine. Yes, you should be able to shoot an intruder in your home. Otherwise, guns are fair game for lawsuits.

    If you shoot someone, they or their heirs can sue you. If the gun is found, the last legal owner of the gun can be sued as well.

    That way no one’s Second Amendment rights are violated. You can buy all the guns you want, of any kind. You can carry them anywhere. You don’t have to take safety courses or worry about licenses or permits. You can store them anywhere you choose, including right on the front porch. Trigger locks — who needs them? You don’t have to register the gun, so the government won’t have a record of it.

    But you betcha the dealer you got it from will have a record of your purchase, because he doesn’t want to be liable for what you might do. Likewise, the manufacturer will have a record of the dealer’s initial purchase of the gun.

    Responsible gun owners will then be highly motivated to safeguard their weapons. Those who have attachable assets — savings and homes, for instance — will also want insurance. An industry will be born, and pretty soon it will be the insurers battling it out against the NRA. The government will be out of the gun control business entirely.

    This, of course, has the advantage of being entirely consistent with constraints on First Amendment rights. Americans have free speech and the government can’t stop them from saying what they want. But if they start running someone down without having the facts behind them, the target of their talk can sue them. And win. Just ask Miss Pennsylvania.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      And what stops them from pursuing civil litigation right now?

      Nothing that I am aware of.

      They can’t sue the product manufacturer unless the product is actually defective, but that’s about the only limitation. People can and do bring wrongful death lawsuits, even for those that are clear self-defense in the home from an intruder. Castle doctrine limits the threat of criminal prosecution, but that’s all.

      The same is true for sellers. The police can get a crime weapon’s serial number, trace it to an FFL, and pull the 4473 to see who purchased it. If that guy can’t produce an ironclad alibi or solid proof he sold the gun (preferably through an FFL) or reported it stolen, he’s already exposed to potential litigation, not to mention criminal prosecution if the cops can pin more on him.

      We’ve already got the litigation, baby.

      Not that the American way couldn’t use a serious overhaul in that regard…

      • Greg Friese

        Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 became Public Law 109-92.

        “To prohibit civil liability actions from being brought or continued
        against manufacturers, distributors, dealers, or importers of firearms
        or ammunition for damages, injunctive or other relief resulting from the misuse of their products by others.”

    • mkegal

      Why should I be able to be sued by the family of the criminal who attacks me on the street & gets the easily forseeable consequences? (That being an instant & forceful response involving small pieces of hot lead.) My right to be secure in my person is not limited by the walls of my house, or my property line. The criminal should not get any reward for his bad acts.

  • Pingback: Debates on gun control « The Real Dave()

  • Christopher

    Thought experiment:

    If we’ve allowed the scope of constitutional protections in the 1st, 4th, and 14th amendment (et al) to be weakened because of the “War on Terror”, which kills far less Americans than anything other traumatic cause…

    “Emotional knee-jerk reaction,” is what I hear the call to arms (too soon for that pun?) for more gun restrictions…so what do we call all of that after 9/11? All of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan (and the “war on terror”) is an emotional knee-jerk reaction by the statistics. Because, hell, an American is going to kill you before a terrorist ever does.

    So why all the push back to weakening the scope of the constitutional protections in the 2nd amendment?

    • Ambulance_Driver

      The Patriot Act was an emotional knee-jerk reaction to 9/11, and if you took a poll of gun owners I’d imagine you’d find a majority of us oppose it.

      In the case of those of us who are active 2nd Amendment advocates, I’d call it a vast majority, and would like to see it scaled back or repealed outright.

      After all, at what price safety? I’ll spare you the Benjamin Franklin quote because I’m sure you’ve heard it. The Patriot Act gave our government carte blanche to snoop into our lives. greatly expanded the power of the government to infinge on the civil liberties of its citizens, and is not even being used for its intended purpose.

      The vast majority of the warrantless wiretaps and similar types of electronic surveillance are being used in to wage another war entirely: The War On Drugs.

      And we should have accepted defeat in that war long ago, and moved on to better uses for our time and money.

      • Christopher

        Much like you, I don’t see how you can support such a contradiction. One side yells about 1st/4th/14th restrictions being unconstitutional and not enough restriction on the 2nd, while the other does the opposite. Yet we can’t really debate either issue because either lobbying money will shut you up or FoxNews will choke you out for letting the “turrists win” (once they find somebody to read what you said to them).

        I figure it would be best to spell out our goals and what is reality?

        Should we adopt the NRA model and give up, then post armed guards everywhere to protect us from evil people with guns? That sounds kinda unrealistic to me, and I don’t want to live in the wild west. I’d have thought we grew up as a country….something about running water and all that jazz.

        Or do we adopt the bunny-licker model and take away every gun that macho man randy savage has to protect us from evil people with guns? That sounds kinda unrealistic to me too. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to have and own a firearm, and there is no doubt that legal gun owners are just the sort of people who should have guns.

        The percentage that firearms contribute to traumatic death is still unacceptably high, in my opinion. Granted, we don’t know exactly as much as we could thanks to ridiculous appropriation riders (I’m looking at you Tiahrt…). Obviously we have a problem, so ignoring the role firearms play in it seems…biased?

        I can think of 4 truths that get skimmed over in most of these debates:

        (1) We’ve got a ton of weapons at our disposal and firearms by and large are the best way to kill somebody (besides a traffic accident). The fact our military doesn’t stab people with swords anymore is kinda a key indicator at their intended design. “Guns don’t kill people…” is a bit of a joke argument. They only didn’t kill them because you missed.

        (2) You can’t stop every crazy from killing and designing a system to do this will fail. This is such a rare event, spending our time and money on it won’t pan out. If we’re going to fight for mental health change it should be because they’re almost always nonviolent and deserve our help, rather than painting them all as nutbags hellbent on killing our kids. (not meant to state that you believe this to be true)

        (3) Simply adding more laws to the books won’t diminish the number of firearms out there, nor will it stop people who have firearms and wish to use them illegally from using them illegally…because well most everything evil you can do with a firearm is already illegal.

        (4) Our illegal firearm supply has now become a proliferation problem to our neighbor to the South’s…and is now biting us in the ass.

        So is our goal to stop another Sandy Hook? Eh, probably not going to get the needle in the haystack with any one change or anytime soon. Our money and time is best spent focusing on fixing what we can: excess supply (ShotSpotter can help you find them being used), poor records, simplification of laws, and the proliferation to Mexico.

        • Ambulance_Driver

          (4) Our illegal firearm supply has now become a proliferation problem to
          our neighbor to the South’s…and is now biting us in the ass.

          Incorrect. This has been debunked a number of times. The commonly quoted figure is that 19% of guns used in Mexican crime (primarily the drug cartel wars) came from the U.S.

          Only 19% of the traceable guns were American, which both ATF and Mexican law enforcement acknowledge is a very small percentage of the total number.

          And at least 2000 of those guns were walked over to Mexico as part of Operation Fast and Furious, with the full knowledge of ATF and DOJ, but not, apparently, the Mexican government.

          And they ain’t happy about it.

          To date, those guns have been linked to the murders of over 500 Mexicans and U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

          A cynic like myself might say that the real goal of this operation was to bolster the “U.S. guns flooding into Mexico” myth, thereby drumming up support for tighter gun restrictions.

          And people wonder why gun owners and the NRA are distrustful of this administration…

          • Christopher

            Last I’d read the “official” numbers are from the Mexican Gov’t. The DOJ, if you believe them, claimed in 2011 that 70% of the seized firearms–order of magnitude ~40k–used in border-related crimes are from the US. (I don’t believe any figures because the ATF is not allowed to spend money providing traceable firearm figures, re: Tiahrt amendment)

        • mkegal

          “firearms by and large are the best way to kill somebody (besides a traffic accident)”
          Except that baseball bats, knives, feet & fists all – individually – are used to kill more people than firearms, even if you include the lawful-good killings by firearm (as in self-defense).

          • mpatk

            So it’s not easier (less effort, less training needed) to pull a trigger than it is to bludgeon someone with a bat or your bare fists/feet? It’s not easier to move one finger from a distance, than it is to get within arm’s reach of someone and swing hard enough to drive a knife through skin and muscle?

            If we want to look at the “easiest” was to kill someone, look at the fatality rate of the assaults, not the raw number of assaults themselves; there’s a lot more people armed with fists/feet than there are with guns.

  • Joe Blow

    I’m just going to point out that even if every item on the anti-gun wish-list had been in place, it would have had no effect whatever on the Newtown massacre.

    AWB: -pre-ban gun or the same gun without a flash-hider or adjustable stock. Same gun, same results.

    Magazine size restrictions: According to the justice department, they don’t’ make a measurable difference. (source: An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003 Report to the National Institute of Justice, United States Department of Justice)

    Gun registration: the guns were legally owned and registered to the mother, who was murdered and had her stolen guns used.

    Gun show “loophole:” Again, irrelevant. The guns were stolen.

    Safe storage laws: Unless you’re going to require a $10,000 safe for all gun owners, this is meaningless. Even fairly expensive safes can be opened with a crowbar in just a few minutes. What meets the standards of any law on the books anywhere in the country can be opened in 2 minutes with a screw-driver or bolt-cutters. If you’re going to kill 26 people, I don’t think 2 minutes with a screwdriver is any deterrent.

    Training requirements: Again, stolen guns, doesn’t have any effect.

    Microstamping: we already knew whodunnit. Even if this was easy to implement and cheap and worked every time, same results.

    You would literally have to have a complete ban and confiscation of ALL privately owned semi-automatic weapons to have had any effect on this crime whatever. Then again, give me two revolvers and a few speed-loaders, and I could probably do about the same damage in about the same amount of time.

    But this isn’t even being discussed because it has less than zero chance of going anywhere. (constitutional issues aside).

    If the gun-banners were proposing a total ban, it would at least be a rational proposal. Short of that, gun control measures aren’t going to help. Massive increases in funding for mental health care would certainly help in lots of ways for a lot of chronic problems in this country. I’d vote tomorrow to throw a hundred billion dollars at that problem. The gun-control measures proposed are nonsensical. It’s like reacting to 911 by invading Guatemala. It’s illogical and pointless on it’s face.

    It’s not that the proposals out there wouldn’t work 100% of the time, it’s that they wouldn’t work ANY of the time. It’s not a case of marginal improvement, it’s a case of NO improvement.

    • mpatk

      Good point about the magazine sizes and speedloaders. IIRC, federal law enforcement qualifying required 12 shots with a revolver, within 25 seconds, within required accuracy. The difference in time between emptying a 30 round magazine and three 10 round magazines is probably a few seconds at best.

      • Joe Blow

        If that. I’ve trained with a mag pouch and an AR and swap mags in about 1/2 a second. Less than that with a pistol, which is far more commonly used in mass shootings than ARs.

  • Ambulance_Driver

    I suppose the question I am asking is, have there been reports of gun crimes perpetrated by CHL holders? Or shootings that resulted in injuries anyone other than to an assailant?
    I’m guessing none if the stories you linked involved anyone with a CHL?
    Kelly Grayson

    • mkegal

      The only ‘crimes’ I’m aware of have been a couple people who didn’t understand that when they’ve been drinking alcohol they’re not allowed to possess a firearm. Nobody shot or otherwise hurt, just simple possession. In one case, the guy had an unloaded pistol.

    • Greg Friese

      Part of the challenge in this conversation is simply knowing which questions to ask and how to best ask them. I appreciate your persistence in having the conversation and asking questions to keep it moving.

      When you asked “Has it made Wisconsin less safe?” my initial gut reaction was a yell/chorttle/gurgle “It’s a trap!”

      Concealed carry permits are not issued in Wisconsin to criminals. The applicant needs to be legally allowed to posses a firearm and have completed a nominal amount of training or have some prior experience, such as honorable military discharge.

      Also if a crime is committed with a gun why would it matter if the perpetrator had a permit or not for concealed carry? Would it even be relevant to the investigation? To my knowledge their is not a gun crime permit.

      November 1, 2012 was the 1 year anniversary of concealed carry in Wisconsin. To my knowledge/searching year over year statistics have not been published. For the year before and the year with. Plus how do you control all other variables that can impact crime?

      The only injuries I am aware of related to concealed carry have been to the Aldi’s grocery assailant referenced earlier and 1 or 2 assailants that were shot when they attempted a car jacking.

      In Wisconsin’s two nationally noteworthy shootings – the Sikh temple and the spa – I am not sure if any of the targets or bystanders had a concealed hand gun.

      Which brings me to my final question, how likely is it that a concealed carry permit holder would come forward if they witnessed the incident but did not draw and neutralize the shooter? Should we expect concealed carry permit holders to be more likely to intervene in a crime in progress than a bystander to begin CPR for a man down in a public place?

      • Ambulance_Driver

        Me, I regard self-defense as a personal responsibility.

        In other words, other people can fend for themselves. I’d likely not intervene.
        In the case of a mass shooter, I probably would. Hard to say.

        If I were in an Aurora situation with KatyBeth at my side, my priorities would be 1) getting KatyBeth effectively hidden or shielded, and 2) engaging the shooter.

        • Greg Friese

          Can you do the latter while continuing to do the former with 100% effectiveness?

          • Ambulance_Driver

            No, but if escape is not an option, it beats cowering in a corner shielding her with my body.

  • ProdigalSon

    Shamelessly copied from my post on another debate forum:

    I’m not sold on the “no assault weapons” for the simple mathematical reason that you have, given the trends over the last 5 years, approximately a 1 in 840,000 chance of being killed with a rifle OF ANY SORT. The average has been, for the last 5 years, 375 people killed per year using rifles. Out of about 2.4 million total deaths per year (all causes), that is ~0.015% of all deaths. Of specifically firearm-related deaths, that is around 1 in 22, or ~4.5%. Looking at it rationally, rather than emotionally, “assault weapons” are not a problem. Heck, rifles in general aren’t a problem. If one is to take away any sort of firearm due to deaths they’re involved in, it should be handguns (and good luck with that). Not that I support a handgun ban in any way; I’m simply pointing out that the choice of scapegoat is completely illogical.

    So, I’ve established that assault weapons, rifles in general, are not a problem. Looking at the data, it’s about the same for shotguns as well. It’s therefore not a problem of weapons, and I maintain that a country which bills itself as the leader of the free world cannot rationally ban something which causes no significant harm. Any possible solutions? Here’s one, once again shamelessly copied from another of my debates.

    I might get ostracized for saying it, but I would kind of like to see private sales need background checks, if only so that people will shut up about it. I would be fine with it under four conditions:
    1) NICS is available free of charge. If you’re going to force me to use it, don’t make me pay for it. Maybe we could spend some money on that, protecting Americans, instead of giving money to Pakistan. (I’m no fan of foreign aid)
    2) An exception for immediate family. Yes, I know some people will abuse it, but my family knows me better than NICS ever will, and honestly, why the hell should a man have to run a background check on his wife if he buys her a gun as a present? The (rather small) abuse risk is not worth the sheer stupidity and inconvenience of requiring checks on intra-family transfers.
    3) The seller be held completely, undeniably unaccountable for any crime or other actions the buyer commits using the firearm (assuming the sale is legally done, of course).
    4) Seller is only required to keep record of the sale for a limited time. If they want to keep the record forever, that’s fine. It’s in their best interests anyway. But no requirements past, say, six months or so (that’s a debatable number, just a starter).
    Given those four conditions, I would actually be fine with it. Just like the “shout ‘fire’ in a theater” situation, some limits are acceptable. I think that’s one.

    Some limitations are acceptable. That is, in my mind, one of them. Others, such as “assault weapons bans” are not, because not only are they illogical and not founded on real data, they ignore the fact that people owned the same, or better, weapons as police and military when the 2nd Amendment was written. Others, like a 10-round limit, are simply so arbitrary as to be a non-starter. I mean, really, why is a 10-round magazine a tool of a good man, but an 11-round magazine the tool of a criminal? Putting aside preconceptions, it just makes no sense to say something like that.

    Finally, I will only speak to governmental officials that put themselves on equal footing with me, rather than as my superiors. I flat-out refuse to listen to people tell me what guns I can’t have when they have 24-7 armed security (i.e. Bloomberg).

    I welcome any thoughts about my one proposal.

  • mkegal

    Measuring “more safe” or “less safe” can be roughly done by looking at crime rates for the state. Milwaukee PD cooks their crime rates to make themselves look better, so they’re not reliable, so let’s look at WI overall.

    It’s been the experience in other states that the first year-ish after a cc licensing scheme goes into effect shows little to no change (reduction in crime rate). After that, it’s noticable.

  • Bob B

    I see a lot of people saying “Well why can’t I have a stinger missile then?” and other ignorant things. DC vs Heller. “In common use.” “not dangerous and unusual.” The Second Amendment covers firearms that the individual has, not weapons of mass destruction.
    of course the media is now just trying to get the AR-15 called a “weapon of mass destruction.” They cannot engage in any logical debate, so they bring in irrational thought.

  • puffdaddy

    If you think everyone can succeed on their own merits, how do you explain homogeneous cities, states, and even countries that fail compared to cities, states and even countries homogeneous in a different way that succeed? Including various welfare states. Portland is run by Democrats.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      Variables that neither you or I are likely to be able to quantify, or perhaps even identify.
      But I doubt it’s due to lack of a system that places greater value on sex or ethnicity than merit.

      • puffdaddy

        Hmmm….I think it’s rather easy to quantify actually, as long as you have your eyes open and you’re looking around

        • Ambulance_Driver

          So what would you attribute it to?

  • mpatk

    I agree with the idea of requiring background checks for private sales. There is no “gun show” loophole; what DOES exist is a “private sales” loophole, where a private citizen can re-sell a gun without needing to do any sort of background check beforehand. FFLs are held to a high standard; but a private citizen could just tell law enforcement the buyer “used a fake name” or “he told me he had a clean record” since he’s under no legal obligation to confirm the buyer’s identity or background.

    OTOH, I would definitely NOT hold the seller responsible for crimes committed by the purchaser, except in cases where the background check would have barred the sale (already a crime) or the seller has clear knowledge that a crime would be committed (also already a crime: conspiracy to commit a crime).

  • Geekasaurus

    I have one tale to tell. Many years ago, I went to a Houston-area Starbucks. I opened my door part-way because my car was huge, and so was the car next to mine. When I let go of the door, the spring-action opened it the rest of the way, embedding the door edge into the vinyl/chrome strip on the car next to mine. The owner of the car saw this happening, and came up to me in anger and demanded that I make some sort of financial recompense for damaging his car. There was, of course, no damage; that’s why the vinyl strip was there to begin with. But he was ready to start fisticuffs over the matter. I advised him: “Sir, I remind you that in Texas, concealed carry is now the law of the land. You will be well advised as to carefully consider just what it is you are willing to die for”. That is EXACTLY what he did, and I was able to get my Skinny Mocha Latte without further molestation.

    So I can testify that the very EXISTENCE of a concealed carry law does reduce the total amount of violence. But its ability to do so ASSUMES that each person is a “rational actor”, that is; s/he acts at all times in his/her own best interest. As we see in every act of mass murder including this last one, the perpetrator is NOT a rational actor by any stretch of the imagination. He did not act in his own self-interest considering that he killed himself.

    So we have to be very careful in defining our terms. I do not regard this or any other mass murderer as irrational and therefore not responsible for his actions. He was EVIL, not insane. Every detail I have heard about this slaughter revealed the high-order level of his thinking. He planned every detail and carried out his plan. He only ended the slaughter and his own life when he heard the police approaching.

    So it was his moral choice–not neurological dysfunction–to kill those people. He chose evil–a horrible, terrible evil–BECAUSE it was evil. I will not attempt to crawl inside his head and tell you the reasons he did it; but I do know that he chose evil, BECAUSE it is evil.

    The proper term for such people is “monster”. We have devalued this term in making it synonymous with Godzilla or Frankenstein or some sort of Zombie. But a monster is a man like this (whose name I will not mention) or any of many, far too many others who kill BECAUSE it is evil. The list includes Saddam, Hitler, Assad and quite a large number of other people, living and (deservedly) dead. These are the men we should fear, NOT the Kelly Graysons of this world–or any other person who makes positive moral choices.

    So the issue is morality, not legality and not neurology. The next person who says “You can’t legislate morality” needs to be reminded of this tragedy.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      I’ll quibble with that.

      Sociopaths are largely incurable, and there’s no real way to deal with them until they commit a crime.
      Those are your monsters.

      But there are a number of other mental illnesses where a patient is unable to distinguish right and wrong, while still being able to plan and calculate in some detail.
      Some of those patients can be helped, or at the very least identified early on and steps taken to protect them and society.
      And right now, we really don’t know which this kid was. He committed an unspeakably evil act.
      But did he know it was evil? No one can say for sure, especially now.

    • mpatk

      We will never know whether the killer at Sandy Hook was a monster (aka sociopath aka psychopath), or whether he was suffering from a psychosis, which rendered him unable to determine hallucinations, delusions, etc… from reality. The only people who could tell us for certain, the shooter and the closest relative (the mother), are both dead and unable to answer questions.

      People having a psychotic “break from reality” are perfectly capable of making complex plans. There may be nothing wrong with their ability to plan and reason; there is a problem that alters their perception of reality, not how they react to that distorted reality. For all we know, the shooter thought he was “saving” the children from “a fate worse than death”; there are plenty of examples of killers who acted to “save” others, or out of “God’s Will”.

  • Jennifer Reed Mitch

    I’m neither for or against. I don’t believe it can be regulated. To me (this is MY opinion), putting a ban on something just challenges another to come up with the next weapon, etc. Does Prohibition ring any bells? I don’t like guns, Kelly, because frankly I’ve never seen a GSW with a good outcome. I’ve lived 52 years without one and hope to live at least another 20 years without one. Good commentary though.

  • FireFighter Zero

    How do you reason with people who are afraid of guns. Like the tv personality who does not want cops in schools because cops have guns. The fact that the cop has a gun somehow makes her kids unsafe. As if to say that the gun is dangerous not the criminal, or the criminal would not be dangerous if he did not have a gun. Maybe i am rambling?

  • FireFighter Zero

    Furthermore, why is it up to the govt. to tell me that myself or my family is mentally unsound? When did the current generation of parents shed the responsibility of being responsible parents?

  • FireFighter Zero

    Gads! we should consider banning cars, cell phones, swimming pools and playground equipment. Make it a crime with prison time for not haveing smoke detectors, child seats in cars, the ones that dont get banned anyway. Carbon monoxide detectors, sprinkler systems would save kids. Genocide probably should also be rethought. Last post I promise. Oh yeah aslo child immunizations also save kids. ok now im done.

  • Anon.

    This is sever dredging from old old topics and for that i apologies but i am genuinely interested in your views on gun law, specifically handgun/pistols and almost more so from an EMS perspective. To start with, i will give my background; I am a (very) green paramedic who graduated from university in 2011. I have lived and worked in London, England for that time and therefore have very little to do with guns in general except when either myself or fellow EMS staff are threatened with one or attend someone who has been shot with one.

    Handguns have been banned from private ownership, including sporting pieces, in England since 1997 after the Dunblane massacre in 1996. All semi-automatic long barreld firearms have been banned since the hungerford masscre in 1987. From my perspective i would like all guns to go the same way. I understand that many people may not share this view and do enjoy using guns for sport, hunting etc and i make no judgement on you as a person for doing this.

    My reason why i would like all guns to be banned;

    The harder it is for anyone to get their hands on any form of projectile (and please note the use of the word projectile) weapon the better. Especially one which can be The idea of being able to cause massive penetrating trauma from a large distance scares me far more than the idea of a someone having a knife.

    The most common counterargument to this point and my response; “Criminals will still be able to get guns, even if you ban them, and all that will mean is that law abiding people will not have a gun to defend themself with”. It is true that no matter how hard you try, guns will still be in the hands of criminals as they will still be able to get them from somewhere, but let us consider all the people who have been killed by people who own leagal gun licences, such as in the Cumbria shootings in 2010, committed by someone who held a firearms licence.