Monday, May 26, 2014

An (Un)civil Society

Yet more random deaths.  Yet more tragic loss.

While the United States has seen a steady decline in overall criminal activity, including homicide, over the past 20 years, something rarely reported on by the right-wing media; one specific crime, mass killings by young, troubled minds, has gone up.  During the same period, since a mass killing in Australia prompted the Australians to ban handguns, mass shootings have plummeted to zero.

Why is it we cannot have a literate, meaningful discussion on this subject?

On one side, certain people advocate banning nearly all firearms, an extreme reaction to the above problem.

On the other side, people who oppose doing ANYTHING to curb the violence, make comments like, “Anyone with a knife could have committed the same crimes as those committed in California, so it’s not that guns are the problem,” they claim instead that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

What is missed on the first side is that people do indeed have a right to defend themselves, and firearms do make that easier.

What is missed on the second side isn’t that people who advocate for stronger gun laws are stupid, they understand someone has to pull the trigger.  They also understand that while someone CAN kill with a knife, it’s a helluva lot easier with a gun.  Were it not, cops would carry swords.

Instead of having a real conversation about our obsession with guns and gun violence, we mask our debate in claims that one side loves butchery (or at least is ambivalent), and the other claims it’s only “the bad guys” who are the problem, purposely (seemingly) failing to grasp that it is THEIR friends, THEIR confidants who also take out their guns and kill their wives, sons, husbands, friends, and so on, either on purpose, or accidentally.  They refuse to even discuss the 95% failure rate firearms have in saving versus taking innocent life (the rate of gun deaths due to homicide, suicide and accident by LAWFUL gun owners is 20 times that of lawful self-defense).

So, instead, we fail to do anything to check the backgrounds of the criminally insane when they walk into a gun show and buy a gun.  We fail to do anything to require those who own firearms to turn them over if a restraining order is issued against them.  We fail to ban magazine sizes which only serve to enable mass shootings and truly really no other meaningful purpose.  We fail to act, we continue to glorify gun violence instead.  We hear false claims about how “if only” a person with a firearm had been present at these crimes, when in fact, oft times, there have been, and those people were taken by surprise and wer victims themselves. 

More importantly, we fail to talk about abuse, familial, incestuous, physical, bullying, etc... which so often is at the core of the “disturbed” people’s psyches who commit these horrific bouts of slaughter.  We don’t want to confront how our hyper-aggressive, hyper-violent society is creating monster after monster.  We don’t want to admit our complicity, well, until it strikes one of us directly.

I pray it isn’t you, but for some, it already has been.  Your brother, you daughter, your father, took his/her own life WITH A GUN.  Your mother, your sister, you friend, accidentally died when shot with a weapon that supposedly wasn’t loaded and was owned by a “lawful gun owner.”


There’s a BS line that goes a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged, a lesser well-known but more accurate line goes like this…A liberal is conservative who experienced true injustice.  The parents of those children killed at Sandy Hook cannot fathom how people oppose closing the background check loophole.  The father of one of the recent shooting victims cannot fathom why the NRA promotes buying guns as a solution to violence.  He doesn’t understand the NRA HAS to promote buying more guns because they (its leaders) are the puppets of the gun manufacturers who want ANYTHING to happen other than slowing the tidal wave of gun sales.  If you are a fan of the NRA, if you oppose acting to limit magazines, or acting to restrict weapons which can harness that kind of magazine – ask yourself honestly, why?  The McDonald and Heller decisions settled decisively that you could not possibly lose your right to carry or own, but they also said a reasonable limit on the type of weapon available to you is Constitutional.  Changing the culture of violence is good for the US, not bad, as Australia and Europe prove so conclusively.  So ask yourself, why do you oppose that idea of changing the culture of violence?  Why do you think everyone carrying guns is good?  It didn’t work in 1870, so much so that many towns banned them and, ta da, succeeded in curbing violence.  So why are you so opposed to reasonable discussion on reasonable limits.  Why must you contort the argument to something it’s not about, contorting it from a discussion about the fact that guns make taking life easier, far easier – to a fake argument about whether a gun can pull its own trigger?
Perhaps it’s because you’re afraid of the actual discussion which might lead the nation to conclude reasonable limits are reasonable, and a good idea, necessary, and fair.  Perhaps it’s because you’ve been told it will lead to you losing your guns (not bloody likely), perhaps it’s because you’re not asking who is telling you this.  But then again, perhaps it’s because you don’t care – well, at least until it’s your brother, father, daughter, sister, or son.  Then you will, but then it will be too late for you.
Gunslinger/sheriff Wyatt Earp famously banned carrying firearms openly in Dodge City, KS.  He enforced that law, and gun violence dropped markedly.  A civil society is not that which enables gun barbarism and vigilantism, it is one which seeks solutions outside of angry, violent knee-jerk responses.  It seeks solutions other than killing teenage children in a shooting gallery and then ensuring you've executed them "good and proper" because they broke into your house, as opposed to calling the police.  Instead of killing without pause or remorse, instead of saying "HELL YEAH!" when someone dies, perhaps it's time we learn to cry about how bad we've left the rails of civility and restraint behind.  Killing someone in your own defense is not wrong, it is not immoral, but it sure as hell ought to be your last resort.  We've created a society which thinks pulling out a gun is a first response and solution, not the last.



  1. "An armed society is a polite society" or so say the microcephalic militia of Weenie LaPutrid's NRA.

    As I opined over on Southern Beale's blog...after a few minutes googling--trying to find information about the stupidental Walmart shooting which she mentioned in her "2nd Amendment hero" post--and finding information about LOTS of stupidental shootings over the weekend AND some heinous murders--I concluded that there was a shitload of "polite" goin' on in MurKKKa over the last several days.

    N.B. There is something wrong with your blog that causes it to sign me OUT of google when I try to post here, necessitating a new sign in. If it's a bug, you should fix it. If it's designed to do that, let me know and I'll quit wasting my time here.

  2. Thanks Demo, for showing how interested in having a literate, meaningful discussion on this subject.

    Also we had that discussion, the gun control side was wrong, and they lost.

    You claim you won, and that the majority of Americans agree with this post. That's fine, I call your bet, show your hand and pass those laws. I'll watch!

    1. Report: Special Interests More Influential Than Public Opinion

      New research supports what many Americans already believe – lawmakers are influenced more by special interest groups than their constituents.

      Matt Grossmann, author of the new book, “Artists of the Possible: Governing Networks and American Policy Change Since 1945,” looks at the movers and shakers behind 790 significant domestic policy changes since the 1940s.

      Grossman, an assistant professor of political science at Michigan State University, found that the public plays a surprisingly limited role in legislative outcomes. In fact, he did not find any domestic policy issue area where the public opinion was the leading force in policy results.

      Lots of indicators support Democommie and Pen. We've seen the gun manufacturers organize and operate as a very highly funded and organized - and corrupt - special interest.

      WE will win in the end.

    2. Well if that's all true, then we'll be seeing a huge turn in the tide now that Bloomberg has doubled down on his lobbying.

    3. DemmCom, I don't know if your complaint about having to sign out was directed at this blog. If so, I don't know what's causing it because I don't experience it.

      Beard, First, WHO said the gun control crowd won? In fact my lament is the opposite. It is that propaganda won, it is that stupidity won. We don't enact reasonable limits because we have unreasonable discussion.

      You think you WON the debate? Since when other than by drowning out the voices of reason with your shrill screams that, "Obama is comin' fer yur gunz!" Since when is that debate, or civil, or real?

      So, I call your bet. Justify, please high capacity magazines. When argued in front of Congress the woman who said they were needed cited a case of another woman who confronted multiple (2) intruders to save "her babies!!!!". When asked, when pressed, she refused to answer what kind of weapon was used (a 12 gauge shotgun), she refused to comment on how many intruders (2), she refused to comment how many times the woman fired (twice), she refused to comment on the outcome (one assailant died immediately, the other fled). She repeatedly commented that, "We shouldn't have to justify the weapons we need." Really, Beard? Really? How about if she wants a minigun and blows away a neighborhood through collateral damage? Would an A-10 Warthog be reasonable? Do you care to define what you consider reasonable and why?

      Here's your chance, go to town, but don't like you always do, run away. Because that means you lose the discussion quite simply because you'll have proven that I'm right, we don't have the discussion because we (especially those on the right on this issue) REFUSE to discuss it reasonably.

      My lament is that you'll only care once one of your loved ones dies - maybe not then, but sure as hell, not until - but then it will be too late.

      Next time try reading - it helps, but this time at least, put your money where your mouth is and have the debate. See who wins. I dare you.

    4. I'll play. First up I don't get your assertion that I "Run Away" from debates. I simply don't choose to spend my valuable time on a small blog (that's not a pejorative, my blog is also small) that moderates comments for no rhyme or reason. I say my piece, and I move on when there is nothing more to discuss.

      Now first up, I don't NEED to justify magazine sizes, any more than you need to justify why you let comments that directly violate your commenting policy go, and delete others that don't.

      Still to prove my point, I'll ask you to justify why it is reasonable for lawful citizens who can pass a federal background check to own a semi-automatic firearm with 10-round magazines. (also while we're at it state your feelings on the New York Safe Act's restriction on rifles, and magazines limited to 7 rounds). The talk of an A-10 private ownership is a fallacy of absurdity given that nobody is arguing it. Why not show your logical rationality for the actual laws that are being discussed.

      Also your claims that somehow I don't care about the violent crime issues is deeply disingenuous. The center of the debate on BOTH sides is public safety. I will point out that A) FBI Statistics point out that violent crime is DROPPING in America, while gun laws are being relaxed. Can I claim that relaxing gun laws lowers crime? No, I can't, and I won't. What can be said with much certitude is that relaxing gun laws do NOT cause a rise in death or violent crime. B) There are many well written articles that point out that so-called "Mass Shootings" are NOT on the rise. No matter if that is true or not, if the only murders we had in this country were whatever definition of "Mass Shooting" somebody wants to give, we would be the safest nation in the world.

      Still with mass shooters, all but a few have taken advantage of gun control laws to make sure they had all the advantages in their court, and many of them had documented said observations in their web trail that was examined posthumously.

      As for gun control debates, the issue is entirely on the anti-gun side. Case and point, I have a blog as well, and I have no arbitrary commenting policy. You want to debate an issue, or refute anything I've said there your comment will immediately be posted, and will be answered by myself, or by my readers. My only issue with people leaving comments have been anti-gun people NOT looking to debate. These people have simply dropped fallacy-laden comments and then disappeared, making no attempt to actually counter the rebuttals given against them.

      All of these people have been contacted with email and told to either engage in discourse or refrain from using my blog as their personal soap box. Every email has been met with rude responses, and those emails are published in full on my blog before I took administrative action, and all previous comments remain intact.

      I'll be watching for your response.

    5. I would challenge your contention that your absence is explained by how valuable your time is.

      Every time we see an example of ammosexual stupidity, like the incidents at Chipotle, Chili's, etc. where gun carriers are unwelcome, every time we have an incident like the mass shooting in CA, every time we have the stupidity of people who are tone deaf like (not)Joe-the-(not)Plumber, the intensity of the pro-gun-control movement grows.

      For a long time the radical right thought they had staked out heterosexual marriage exclusivity too.

      Before that racists thought they were going to be calling the shots in perpetuity with segregation, Jim Crow laws, anti-miscegenation laws, and successful voter suppression laws in place.

      All of those changes, all of those changes occurred with a steady building of opposition until it reached a tipping point the other way.

      This is just one more. No one can predict exactly the hour and minute and date on the calendar of that tipping point, but the trend is not in your favor.

      Just as more people began to support gay marriage, just as an increasing number of people supported racial civil rights, fewer people own guns and more people - including those who own gun, and including NRA members, are supporting gun control.

      Tippety tippety tip tip tip.

      The gun-obsessed are clearly scared shitless, they see the writing on the wall; that's why they continue to oppose any research into gun violence as a public health issue, etc.

      You are afraid of what it will show -- that you and your side are dangerous and a little crazy (in some cases a lot crazy).

      You are losing, and you don't have a good outlook long term.

    6. I've stated before, I don't agree. Time will tell. BTW you can also address my rebuttal, you don't need to repeat yourself.

    7. Beard,

      First, it was my original post, I owe you the rebuttal.

      Second, I was out last night, sorry for the delayed response.

      Third, I don't condone uncivil replies to civil comments - nor do I tolerate it very much. DG called you a little crazy, that's not polite. She and DemCom should tone it down - no disagreement. You've said a few things which weren't civil, as I recall, too. So let's just agree that it's not needed in this comment stream. Ok?

      So, as far as "running away", I'll simply say it appeared you were avoiding dealing with very purposeful and effective replies to your comments in the past. You say you weren't, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt until you show otherwise. As far as small, yep, small, probably 100 readers a day on average, but that's 100 readers whose minds you COULD change if you are effective.

      Now, on to my response...

    8. No hurry with your rebuttal. I'll stick around as long as things stay civil.

      As for civility I will say my personal policy for sites with moderation is to take the moral high ground. If my comments don't show, I want it to be the shutting down of honest discussion on behalf of my debate opponent, rather than it be because I'm being crass.

      That being said, the tone of this site does come off as fairly hateful (not that I can blame you, politics get my dander up too....and as somebody who identifies as a libertarian I find myself in the middle of the debate...or on the outside as the Republicans and Democrats do horrible things) and certainly when I see civil comments of mine never show, while democommies comments (if he has made one civil point ever, please point it out to me) get approved, can you blame me for considering there comments being both theirs, but also of the editors, and the owner of this site?

      So while I try not to be hostile (and if you read something that seems hostile from me, please give it a second read) there is a lot of hostility, and worse of a juvenile, so I won't say a barb hasn't flown from my end.

      I will try to avoid it in the future. Just please note how this site appears to those who are not in your camp.

      I appreciate how you have handled this, and I am sad to say I underestimated you as a person. I apologies for that, and will be giving you a lot more credit in the future.

    9. Likewise, that was very well said. I hope you find my comments below to be on point and fair.

      Best - Pat

  3. dog gone:

    I know that I don't HAVE to tell you this but a lot of gunzloonz need their gunz cuz of mouthy women like YOU!

    Deer Weeniebeard:

    Still walkin' the dog in Roxbury and having to carry that 1911 handcannon of yours? Still goin' to area sporting events, strapped? You're soooooooo brave.

    You gunzloonz have made a cottage industry out of touting your superiority and the fact that five ideologues have voted your way, sorta*, in the last ten years at SCotUS. Of course they also think Citizens United is a person, so there's no chance the people who pull your strings are gonna NOT like them. BTW, can we have a promise in writing, from you and your palz that you'll all surrender your gunz the moment that the scales of justice tip the other way? No? Gosh, so it's all bullshit, still. Thanks for playing.

    * As has been pointed out, REPEATEDLY, by other courts and people who ARE legal scholars, your "victory" was hardly as one-sided as you idiotz like to think it was.

    1. "2. Trolls and flamers will be warned; if they continue they will be banned.
      Discourteous behavior discourages discussion and debate, and is contrary to sharing the widest possible range of view points. "

      That's all that needs to be said.

  4. So the answer is that you've been lying to us about that aspect of your life? Good to know. Not that it's any sort of revelation--if there's one thing that gunzloonz like MOAR than Call-of-Duty LARPing, it's having their own version of reality)

  5. Demo and DG, it's not necessary to call people names. Please don't.

  6. Beard,

    You did not so much "rebut" my points as change the topic to one you prefer. I'll dance that dance for a little bit, but do insist you address my points as well. We don't get the luxury in life of only dealing with things the way we WANT them to be, but instead must deal with them AS THEY ARE. The same applies here.

    I asked you if an A10 was a reasonable weapon not because I wanted to leap to an extreme but instead to ESTABLISH an extreme. My guess, though you didn't answer, was that you consider an A10 an extreme. By extreme, I mean you consider a weapon a civilian should not own. Is this true? Not the plane, btw, but rather the weapons along with the plane. Do you feel a civilian should not? If not, please explain why not? What is your limit?

    You then asked me why a person should not own a weapon (M16 I think you said) with a 10 round magazine. I will answer that question in two parts.

    First, the idea of the 2nd amendment was to allow (in it's original intent) for the US to not require a standing army. Subsequent SCOTUS decisions concluded that the federal government could not prevent states from having militia by completely outlawing the ownership of firearms. A different decision defined that civilians were entitled to carry such weapons as those "of a type in common use" - which was understood to mean in common use by civilians, in order to equip such militias. Still another, and somewhat more controversial, decision said that a weapon which could not (or would not) otherwise be used in warfare wasn't lawful to own (a sawed-off shotgun).

    Later of course, the Heller and McDonald decisions, defined an individual's right to own firearms as separate and exclusive from the arming of militia AND importantly, incorporated the 2nd Amendment upon all states. All of this I'm expect you know, but I write it for establishing context. Those decisions, in 'Dicta" stated that these rights included the need to defend oneself and to hunt. While I disagree with the expansion of foundational rights to include the "right to hunt" since such a right does not exist anywhere in the Constitution, I understand that the judges were attempting to define the reason for an "individual right."

    So, we have two purposes for a civilian firearm, one military (militia) the other personal. The military side is to be satisfied by a type in common use. At the time of that decision, common firearms were used for hunting and for, ostensibly, home protection. They were not Gattling guns, nor howitzers, nor multi-barreled rifles (as were invented during the Civil War). The personal side is for the use in self-defense, hunting, and I'll grant a "sporting use" of personal enjoyment, shooting (trap, skeet, targets) etc..

    Let's assume we agree that civilians should not own military grade hardware, like A10's. Do you agree further they should not own automatic weapons? I'm a libertarian, I'm a bit torn, but I recognize the Constitutional limit here, namely that they are not "of the type in common use" and unnecessary to fulfill the personal purposes of self-defense, hunting, or target shooting. They may be "fun", but fun isn't a guaranteed Constitutional right. Moreover, the underlying principle in deciding citizens could not own them included, a VERY IMPORTANT POINT, namely that stripping individuals of any "right", impairing their liberty in any way, must be done only for a good and proper purpose, such as enhancing public safety in an demonstrable way. That was argued, successfully, that machine guns were both a. not needed for self-defense b. not required to arm the militia now that we have a standing army and c. posed a public health risk (with supported facts). So I believe this was rightly decided law.

    So, again, I'll assume you do not believe it is unconstitutional (at least) to bar civilians from owning automatic weapons? Let me know if otherwise.

  7. response continued..

    So then we go to personal use - as we've codified that the military purpose is fulfilled by a "type in common use" as being established law and limit.

    Self Defense:
    In use in self-defense, a multi-round weapon (exceeding 10) has not been, to my knowledge, necessary for any civilian to defend against home invasion. Even if it has been in some extremely remotely isolated case, it can be reasonably argued that a 12 gauge shotgun with .00 buckshot is far more effective as a home defense weapon. It can be further argued (quite convincingly) that a .22 caliber (LR or SR) handgun with hollow-point rounds is a far more effective weapon AND far safer to bystanders (it doesn't go through three walls like a .223 Remington round will). In fact, a 12 gauge is considered THE optimal weapon for home defense IF you have time to get to it because it has the requisite stopping power to drop anyone and anything. it holds enough rounds to deal with more than one assailant and it is almost unheard of to have more than three (and even if four, when the first two fall, the rest flee). Is it guaranteed, no, but nothing in life is. We weigh benefit to cost. The benefit of having 11 rounds at your fingertips in the extremely unlikely event that you'd need it has to be weighed against the cost of continuing to glorify firearms as a an end-all, be all solution to all problems. It has to be weighed against the cost of having to equip law enforcement with higher and higher power weapons to deal with higher and higher power weapons in the hands of criminals, it has to be weighed against the ease/cost we see in deranged civilians being able to shoot 25 people before having to stop to reload. In short, the public benefit outweighs the very small individual good. This is a tremendously important idea, btw, because it is by this same premise, that there actually HAS TO BE a public good that things like banning certain people from marrying inter-racially, was struck down. It was discrimination, but that by itself isn't necessarily compelling - it is also that you can show no public benefit from such a law, and so it cannot stand. Here the opposite is true, you CAN show public benefit, so while taking away large capacity firearms is a very small hit to civil liberty, it is a small hit with serious public safety benefits, just like banning automatic weapons (or A10's or howitzers, or Gatling guns).


  8. continued. part 2..

    Hunting, obviously you CAN hunt with an M16 (or some other large capacity magazine rifle), but they are widely regarded as very poor hunting rifles. The rounds are too light, they kill too slowly, and generally aren't as accurate as long guns. Consequently, you aren't prohibited from hunting with more effective weapons, so these aren't needed to hunt, nor even desirable to hunt with. So, again, what is the harm, very little, people who "like" to hunt with an M16 (AR15 obviously) cannot, but we benefit for the reasons named above.

    Shooting/sport - well, there you have me. You don't get to shoot and shoot and shoot at targets without reloading. Sorry, but you'll be hard-pressed to convince me that you not being able to shoot targets without reloading outweighs the public good.

    You asked me to define why it was OK to ban them, I have. You may not agree with all points, please point out which you don't and we'll continue. The bottom line is, we are a society in the grips of "gun love", in which people believe and romanticize the belief that a gun in the right hands could stop many problems while failing to acknowledge that while that premise is true a little, it has lead to many MANY more instances of guns in the wrong hands. While banning large capacity magazines won't stop that problem - no one said it was the ultimate solution, it starts to create the idea that guns aren't the solution. They aren't because they are far too often misused for each time they are properly used. It starts to move us away from a violence-loving culture. Do I think we should ban all firearms, not hardly, not even close. I think there IS a fundamental, inalienable right to self-defense and firearms are guaranteed to individuals for that purpose, but the implementation of that right has to be done soberly, not romantically. We have to be honest about the costs, the limits, the realities, not argue about fantasy like "taking guns" That is my basic premise, that we have rights, but those rights are also constrained by the public benefit and costs.

    Last, please do identify what limits on firearm ownership by civilians (if any) you feel are ok, and most importantly, why. By doing, you will be establishing a framework for discussion, and hopefully, agreement on basic principles. It is from that which all good discourse arises

  9. First up, great rebuttal. You make some great points and make them clearly and without insults. You've essentially surpasses every gun-control activists I'm aware of in that, with the exception of Paul Helmke of the Brady Campaign who was brave enough to debate Alan Gura during an NRA show one year. (Also note that soon afterwards Halmke was fired from the Brady Campaign)

    I'll try to cover all your points, hopefully I won't miss one because they're split up. I'll make a soft copy of this response in case this is a blogger issue I'm unaware of.

    OK First up, it wasn't my intention to change the subject, just re-direct the debate in a worth-while direction. The A-10 Thunderbolt II costs the DoD $12 Million Dollars, not including ordinance, further while I believe you could build up things like Maverick ATG Missiles and Rockeye cluster bombs under ATF explosive regulations, and possibly have to register them, and potentially the hard-point pylons they mate with as NFA destructive devices, there has never been a GAU-8 cannon registered for civilian sale, and there never will be. Even in a fantasy world where these things could all be acquired and assembled for legal sale it is more expensive than even the wealthiest person in the world could easily afford, let alone use.

    So when I would say that lawful civilian deployment of an A-10 would be very difficult, and it's usefulness unlikely, where does that put us? I simply re-directed us to a reasonable common ground where we could actually have a useful debate. See that really isn't much of a rebuttal, but since we talked about more pressing issues we have more information to exchange.

    (Tho on a side note, I'll point out that several of your co-bloggers have posted images that discuss the full force of the US Armed forces being used against lawful gun owners, so I guess in that sick scenario an A-10 and some SAM installations might come in handy...but again these are stupid arguments not worth either of our time)

    OK so next up I'd like to point out some factual errors you made. (I hope you won't find this pedantic, but when the discussion covers the potential ban or restriction of hardware, I feel we need to have an implicit understanding of the hardware in question) In your response I talked about semi-auto rifles, you spend a bit of time talking about M16s which are select fire guns. Now I do know several people with M16s, and I'm 100% fine with them, and anybody else looking into getting one legally. Of course we're getting into the silly again because the Hughes Amendment means there is a very limited supply, so there really aren't enough to go around, and the ones that ARE around are rather expensive. One friend's cost him about as much (used) as my car did (new).

    Also you talk in several places about Gatling guns, you might be thinking about multi-barrel machine guns, chain guns, and cannons, but true Gatling guns are manually operated repeaters and treated under the law no differently than revolvers or pump action firearms.

    As for people's right to own "Military arms", well we need to look into that. One of my favorite rifles is damn near identical to what Laci carried when he served in the British military, the only difference between my gun and his was his was a "Machine Gun" legally speaking, but the Brits pulled the auto-sears out of their issue L1A1s rendering them identical to the civilian guns sold to Americans. They're accurate, reliable, comfortable to use, and chambered for the .308 Winchester cartridge which is one of the most popular hunting cartridges in the country. Take from that what you will. When I get some time I'd like to harvest a deer with it.

  10. Part II (hopefully the format works)

    Now next up you had some misconceptions of the following rounds. 12 gauge #00 buck, .22 LR, and .223 Rem/5.56x45mm NATO. First up while .22 is noted to be a quite deadly round, it does NOT have great stopping power. Essentially meaning that the wound channels it creates are significant enough to kill a human, and indeed many people are killed with .22, but many of these deaths the person is quite functional for a while before they die. Look at the shooting of Ronald Reagan, The president wasn't even aware he had been shot until he arrived in the hospital. He nearly died that night, but if this had been a self defense scenario rather than an assassination attempt, the attacker could still cause grave injury before those 10 rounds of .22 took effect. The fact that the person died LATER is irrelevant. .22 is not recommended for personal defense by any expert worth their salt. Now on to #00 vs. .223. As you may know a standard 2.75" 12 ga shell contains generally 9 balls approximately 0.32" in diameter, made of a hard-cast lead alloy. Sometimes they are plated with a guiding metal like copper. The alloy and plating are done to make the pellets harder because the firing process can make soft lead balls (like the lead used in bullet slugs) deform causing erratic patterns. Since shotguns have a smooth bore the shot cloud is simply thrown out, imparting no spin on the projectiles. Given their shape, size, and hardness, they penetrate wall board very well, and generally you can penetrate several interior walls of a house with this load, even if they're plaster and lathe walls. .223 being a rifle round, the bullet is smaller, faster, and "bullet shaped", and it is being Gyroscopically stabilized by the rifling. since the nose end of the bullet is pointed, and the tail end is flat the tail is heavier than the nose. This means when the bullet encounters resistance due to hitting a target or building materiel the round becomes unstable and the heavier base attempts to go before the nose, causing a tumble. Due to the length and construction of the bullet, often the bullet will break into two or more pieces as it tumbles, these pieces loose ballistic energy very rapidly. Soft point, or hollow point rounds further accelerate this loss of energy.

    The end result of this has changed the minds of many experts in defensive arms and caused them to recommend shorter barreled .223/5.56 rifles over shotguns for home defense. This has also caused most police forces to exchange the ubiquitous pump shotgun for AR-15 rifles, for both better safety, and greater versatility over the shotgun.

    This seems a bit counter-intuitive until you understand the terminal ballistics. I too was surprised to learn this myself. Feel free to verify my information.

  11. part III

    Next up I'll skip to the end. There is no point arguing "Sporting purposes", as sport by nature uses arbitrary rules. Some states allow you to harvest deer with a .223, others don't. Some allow the use of semi-auto firearms, others don't. Some limit magazines others don't. The same goes for shooting sports. Further if we are discussing public safety vs. fun-and-games, there is no question public safety wins out. So I won't waste either of our time talking fun-and-games. That being said, if you are allowed to own X firearm, you not only should be ALLOWED to practice with it, but it is a bit of a moral imperative if you ask me. I don't think there should be a law mandating training, I just think there should be a culture where we scold the guy who cracks a beer at 10am just as much as we scold the guy who carries a gun he hasn't shot in 5 years. There certainly have been far too many cases of people who obviously haven't logged much range time with their guns deploying them effectively and legally for me to make any sort of blanket declaration. Still all of these people would be better served logging a bit more range time if they can afford it.

    You covered the SCOTUS cases fairly well. There are some nits in there I could pick, but they don't really effect my argument one way or another. I'll touch your question there with your closing question as I find them redundant. Feel free to ask for clarification if you think I missed a key point.

    OK let's get down to self-defense. Personally I think the carry kit of the average beat officer has some interesting comparisons to a civilian self-defense kit. Now first up I will point out that the average citizen is NOT a police officer, but both are civilians and not military personnel. A police officer is called upon to protect and serve the community, while a private citizen is protecting themselves and may elect to protect others. Now things like uniform and handcuffs are specific to police, and use of them outside the privacy of your bedroom are generally illegal to use for a private citizen. Also I personally don't see much use in less-lethal tools. Police can be called upon to deal with combative, but not posing a deadly threat, suspect. To those (such as a naked man of average build walking down the middle of a busy street) pepper spray, and tasers (and to a lesser extent batons, but many forces are phasing those out as well) are great. For a private citizen they are under NO obligation to deal with a scenario like that, and generally should avoid it. So personally my thought is I will be walking away from any potentially dangerous situation. If I am incapable or unable or unable to walk away from the scenario, it is generally MORE dangerous than one that would warrant less lethals. Also the failure rate of these items is far larger than I'm comfortable with.

  12. Part IV

    Still police being called to duty increases the LIKELYHOOD of them being in a deadly scenario, it doesn't necessarily change the scenario. Further the one tool that Police have that civilians don't to handle the more dangerous scenarios is numbers. If an officer thinks he is in a dangerous place he calls for backup, or if a dangerous arrest is going to be made multiple units respond.

    Still police are generally CALLED to a scene by private citizens, so any danger an officer may face is danger faced by private citizens waiting for the police response. I've had some people find this to be a contentious point, but I have yet to been convinced that it is.

    So generally the experts who arm police outfit them in the realm of firearms with a full-size or compact pistol with a capacity between 13-and 18 rounds, and generally every patrol car has an AR-15 or similar rifle with multiple 30 round magazines.

    Now I have no issue with this loadout, and it makes perfect sense to me. Despite most officers never having to fire their weapons in their career, I think this a very reasonable for their safety, and given that a citizen may be calling them, doesn't it seem reasonable for THEIR safety if they can deploy similar reasonable weapons? Police responded around 3 mins to the Santa Barbara shooting, and look at all that mayhem. Also we can note that the shooter was using AWB limited 10 round magazines.

    As for police training, talk to an officer, and look up what your local department does for a qualification course. The bulk of police training is dealing with non-life-threatening scenarios, laws, and how to fill out paperwork. Their firearms training is quite elementary, and if an officer passes the qual with the minimum score they are a HORRIBLE shot.

    While I have no issue with beat cop's gear, I do have issues with SWAT teams and the justifications departments have for maintaining and deploying them. I do have issues with peace officers being issued military hardware. They are PROTECTING and SERVING, not occupying and killing. I'm not against SWAT 100% but I think there are too many teams, and they are too often deployed for unreasonable raids, often drug raids with minimum risk, and the amount of innocent casualties killed by them is really frightening.

  13. Part V
    Now of course if somebody chooses to own or carry LESS than a full-size duty gun and 6 17-round magazines, that's their choice. As Democommie so rudely pointed out, I'm personally a fan of single-stack .45 pistols for both the ease of carry and like the .223 .45 ACP dumps it's ballistic energy FAST so that adds a level of safety I like.

    Also before I get off self defense, you should look into the CDC report commissioned by the Obama administration about the number of defensive gun uses recorded by the FBI. These are very conservative numbers, but even then the number of gun deaths and injuries are less than that number. I'll also note I personally know two people who defensively used a firearm to defend from an attack. Since neither one needed to fire a shot, when they called the police, the police suggested they simply go on with their day rather than bother all parties with a report, so nu-recorded defenses do indeed happen, so it is only reasonable to believe that the CDC numbers are low.

    BTW none of the above is "Glorifying firearms", it is simply raw statement of fact, and the opinions of experts in the field.

    OK so we've come to the end, and the only point I haven't addressed is what I see as limits to firearms ownership. The only law I see as having much effect at all on crime is the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the most recent update of the Brady Bill where the National Instant Check System was created. I would amend that a "felony" was drastically different in the law books in '68, and I think all the non-violent and victimless felonies really seem to have no relation to firearms law. Somebody like Martha Stewart or Alan Gotlieb (who's a friend of mine, and a super nice guy) who cheated on their taxes, or the countless people I know who are prohibited because they got nabbed with a small quantity of marijuana back when they were young adult or in some cases juveniles are NOT dangerous people, or people who any reasonable person would think poses of physical risk to others. The same could be said about sex workers and their Johns. If the law was amended so that only people who have proven themselves to be violent and/or extremely anti-social people were stripped of their rights, you won't get much of a complaint from me. Same goes for an open, independently, or Government run with strong oversight rules access to the NICS system for private sales law. I don't have a problem with that either. Here in Mass you NEED a permit, and while I consider the permit itself to be a direct violation of my rights (no different than towns requiring permits to peacefully assemble if you want to step back to the 1st from a 2nd argument), I do like that when I sell a firearm to a stranger I KNOW with a reasonable level of confidence that I'm not violating federal law comforting.

  14. part Final

    I do have concerns about registrations because they do NOTHING for public safety in this nation or any other who has one, but they have been a useful tool for governments to round up private property. So a system where it only gives a go or no-go signal about an individual is awesome. It can easily be set up to avoid abuse or neglect as well by stating that if it is down for say 48 hours all sales are exempt making sure that sideways controls can't be placed like Chicago and their non-ban gun ban where they simply shut down the permitting office for handguns rather than actually banning handguns.

    Plus such a system has all sorts of other uses. You want to borrow my car? Sure, let's see if you pass a NICS check! You want to work the register in my store? Sure, let's see if you pass a NICS check. This will also add enough noise to the system to prevent any abuse.

    So there you have it. I'm sure you'll have some points to rebut. Also just for clarity how this debate has been going so far, I will further respond to Penigma and Penigma only. Sorry other co-bloggers, but she did it right, you did it wrong.

    Also I don't expect to change any of your minds, so when I feel we've beat this subject to death I'll add final response to point out I've said all I needed to say without repeating myself or beating a dead horse.

    Thanks for supplying such a great debate opportunity and I look forward to at least another round of rebuttals.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Penigma:

    You can ban me any time you like. You cannot make me polite to liars.

    1. No one is banning you, but names aren't needed.

  17. Beard,

    First, I'm a he, not a she. Second, I didn't explain my question correctly or you missed it - sorry. I mean to ask you, what do you consider appropriate to allow civilians to own? It sounds as if you are ok with them owning automatic weapons since you have friends who own an M16.
    I am asking that you define your own limit, what is acceptable, what isn't, and why?

    1. Sorry about the gender confusion.

      Me personally if I owned a nuclear weapon I wouldn't use it, nor anything else of similar destructive power. I prefer semi-automatic firearms, but if I could easily acquire one with select-fire, why not?

      I really don't see the distinction on hardware. A good person with a belt-fed machine gun is of zero threat to the public, and a bad person with a sharp screw driver or carving knife is a menace.

      When there are weaknesses in the police and justice system I see little reason to quibble about hardware details. Hope that better answers your question.


  18. Second, you spent a lot of time talking about ballistics. Honestly, I knew very nearly all of what you wrote already. I spent 12 years in the Army. You commented on the ballistics of .223 (or Nato 5.56mm) rounds and that of .22 LR/SR. Note, I said .22 hollow-point. They're plenty effective at stopping, but I agree they aren't as good as .45 ACP. The point wasn't whether .223 is good at stopping folks, it was that it penetrates soft targets (until a certain range from the weapon/ decreased muzzle velocity is reached - then it fragments, yes). But at engagement ranges for home defense, it goes through people, through walls, usually many, and on out into the yard and into other houses. The point wasn't whether .223 was good at stopping, it was that 12 gauge was better (it is) but MORE importantly, that you don't need 11 rounds. What police officers need is a different matter entirely. Yes, they engage MANY situations not equated to home defense. But then you ask the best question for our debate, IF police can, why not civilians, and the answer to that is the heart of this issue - and I'll get to momentarily but first I want to deal with one more point.

    You also brought up the military and how it practices (and has practiced since the 1860's) to put down civilian insurrection. That is part of it's national security role. That does NOT give civilians the right to arm themselves in the manner of an army. That is long settled law and in my opinion morally right. Unless and until the government fails to respond to the votes of the people (which has not yet happened nor is it likely to) the people are obligated to use peaceful means for change. If they don't like the policy of the other party, and the other party wins and enacts those policies, well, too bad, that's the way it goes in a democracy. It doesn't give anyone the right to "2nd Amendment remedies" and those crazies who think so are EXACTLY the reason the Army practices to put down civil insurrection. IF it comes to pass that the government needs to be changed, here's another point, an army of untrained, even potentially slightly equipped with military light arms, civilians, has Zero out of one billion chances to engage a modern army on the battlefield and win (on the battlefield). They can win at guerilla warfare, but you don't need a .50 caliber M-2 for that. In short, it's pointless and a distraction to talk about needing weapons so that you can fight the Army of any nation. You can't fight it effectively, no matter how you are equipped, unless you engage it in asymmetrical warfare, so there is ZERO need to have such weapons.

    And that brings us back to the point about the police, NO, you do not need the same class of weapons as they have. You have the right to defend yourself. You aren't asked to track down and arrest violent felons. You aren't asked to opposed armed bank robbers holed up in some vault. You don't need their weapons and having them makes them need to get BIGGER weapons, so you have an arms race.

    But, this is all a distraction from the point - you spent a lot of time talking about weapons and ballistics rather than about the reasons to have weapons. You asked me to define why a person didn't need 11 rounds, I have. I also gave you a cogent argument why glorifying guns is bad for society. If you would please, address my question to you - what reasonable rules are you ok with? I'm not asking whether it's realistic to ban A10's, obviously it is - that wasn't the question though. What limit is ok with you?

    As an aside, in 1992 you could be a Mig-21 from the failing Soviet government for a cool $2m. It came with ammo and missiles, so in fact you COULD have owned a combat aircraft IF you had the money.

    So anyway, why should people NOT be limited to 10 rounds? What limits are you ok with?

    That's it - start there if you would please.

    SGT Pat - USA/USAR (ret)

  19. You certainly have done your homework on ballistics. Still I've never seen a ballistics test where .22 hollow point rounds actually expand. I've read some non-scientific accounts that they are more effective in taking small game than the lead round-nose variants, but in calibrated ballistic gel tests I really can't see a scientific reason why they would perform any differently.

    As for .223, yep it penetrates people and walls, but even at near contact ranges tumbling and fragmentation happens very quickly, I've seen this even with .50 BMG rounds hitting fairly minor targets (There's a channel called "Tech Assassin" where he uses high-speed cameras shooting electronic goods, and even a smart phone you can see that heavy fast round getting upset....just an extreme example not as justification for that round in HD scenarios of course), if you have some scientific data that I'm missing, I'd love to see it, but from what I've seen I stand by my assessment. Again use of soft-point or hollow point rifle rounds increase both the safety and stopping power of the rounds.

    I won't argue that a #00 buck load is better, because when it comes to stopping power and terminal ballistics in human flesh it is VERY well documented, and indeed better than a single .223 shot. That being said it isn't as good from all my reading against the less dense building materials for reasons given. Further I don't really like shotguns or recommend them for a few reasons.

  20. Pt II

    #1. All of the best shotguns used by police, military, and competition shooters (action shooting rather than trap and skeet of course) are tube-fed guns of either pump or semi-auto action. Their capacity will be anywhere from 3-9 rounds. The tube-magazine is slow to load, so if the gun is to be deployed quickly in the event of a home invasion the tube should be kept loaded. I personally don't like the idea of keeping a loaded gun (even with an empty chamber) unlocked and unattended, and I don't like the idea of threading a trigger lock inside of a gun with a loaded magazine, even if the chamber is empty for safety reasons. If you can keep a locked rifle safe near your bedroom (where you will likely be in a home invasion statistically speaking) awesome, but for many this isn't practical.

    #2. Recoil for shotguns are punishing. The recoil impulse measurements have been recorded to levels of African big-game rifles. For experienced shooters like myself (and likely you) we can shoot full-power 12 ga rounds all day long, and deal with the bruised shoulder, but for many it is a LOT of physical discomfort which will lead to less training, and less confidence. Also that recoil can lead to difficulty in keeping the gun on target. Low capacity, and potential for missed shots and/or stray pellets is bad ju-ju. Many love their shotguns, me personally, I don't like them or recommend them. Many good instructors also see this. For somebody who is not a super gun-nut, I think the best firearm for home defense is a pistol-caliber carbine, or a rifle in an intermediate caliber, either loaded with hollow-point ammo from a reputable maker. The recoil is mild, and the rifle platform means shots will hit their intended target with more ease.

    As for the military and "Second Amendment Remedies", we're on the same page. Nobody wants a civil war, or the military being deployed weapons-hot for "peace keeping". Ballot Box, Soap Box, and Jury box, before one reaches for the ammo box. So far these are working very well. Please note we are arguing our differences in text rather than lead. I find that MUCH more pleasurable, and effective, don't you? :)

  21. part III

    I think you missed my point about the police comparison. I agree with you, private citizens should not be apprehending bunkered robbers, or clearing drug houses or other such dangerous tasks. That being said when banks are robbed they are FILLED with citizens conducting their business. When gangs have their turf wars there are innocent people in the cross fire. The list goes on. The people that CALL the police are not the police, and they call because they are in imminent danger. I see no reason why these people shouldn't be able to defend themselves. My argument is simply if the police carry X to defend the population from danger, it is reasonable for the population to be allowed to carry X to defend themselves before the police can arrive. (I'm sure we're not done with this one yet, but I'll leave that there until you respond.) Still there really isn't any "Arms Race" in the Police or civilian world. I see that as a fallacy. Police upgraded from revolvers and shotguns to semi-autos pistols and rifles because they are simply better tools for the job. The same goes for the armed citizen.

    Self defense is not an "honor battle", and we do not have a Proportional Force law once the threshold for deadly force is breached. If somebody breaks into my home with force I will defend myself with the best tools I feel comfortable deploying. If a mugger threatens a peaceful citizen with a knife they have the right to defend themselves with the best tool they are comfortable carrying. If an unarmed man attempts to forcibly rape a woman, she has the right to defend themselves with the best tool she is comfortable carrying. That's the law, and not only is it just, it is moral as far as I'm concerned. If you are attacked not only are you not obligated to "Fight Fair" as an innocent and reluctant party (if either are proven to not be true in a court of law we're in a different ball game) it is foolish NOT to fight back swiftly and effectively.

    There is no "glory" in any of this, and I hope beyond all hope there is never a need for me, or any of my loved ones to resort to this.

  22. Part Final:

    I think we're getting a little clearer on the A-10 question, but I'm still not 100% on what you're expecting. No worries we'll get there eventually. Still avoiding the gossamer of laws that may-or-may-not get a MiG onto my private air strip, let's say next to a fully operational Sherman tank (why not?), I think your question is more of software question rather than hardware. Driving an operational tank down a public road, or flying an armed fighter jet over civilian air space could easily be considered brandishing a deadly weapon under the law. No different than the fellows who have felt the need to carry their rifles in-hand into public businesses. I also don't like seeing police with rifles in hand walking down the street in the same fashion. IMHO opinion it would be no different than me running errands with my 1911 in my hand rather than secured in a holster. It's brandishing, and carrying a weapon (or flying or driving one) in such a way does imply preparation for immediate use. There was a recent photo of a Texas Open Carry member holding what might have been a loaded and primed 19th Century cap-and-ball revolver in hand. Doesn't matter if it's civil-war era firearm, or a war-on-terror era weapon, the behavior is the concern, not the hardware.

    I hope this and my above response clears some of this up. Also as a suggestion to keep things from being lost in the shuffle if you have another multi-part rebuttal, maybe pick a favorite and we can hash that out, then move on. I think it will keep things more concise and also avoid us having to split our comments up when blogger pukes them out.

    I think this is going swimmingly, and I'm having a good time with this, and I hope the same to you, so I'll be sticking around in this thread.

    Also thanks for your service.

  23. I read through your various replies. As always, thanks for keeping it civil.

    My impression of your replies comes down to a few key points. If I miss one, remind me and apologies in advance.

    First, I take it from your comments you don't have any limit you'd enforce on weapon ownership. To you it is the actor, not the tool, that is in question. If I'm wrong about that, let me know, but it seems as if you'd be ok with someone owning automatic weapons, artillery, a grenade launcher, what have you..

    Second, it seems as if you want to say, "I should be allowed to have the tools I need to do the job" in terms of personal defense. People aren't police you admit, but they also don't know the situation they may encounter.

    Third that you feel a 12 gauge shotgun isn't a perfect or even best choice weapon for home defense.

    I will respond to these in reverse order because the first couple of responses build to the last.

    First, while a 12 gauge has significant recoil, it still has vast stopping power. The likelihood (and again, I'm going to use the cost/benefit analysis here) of needing to fire more than a couple of times is very low. A woman successfully defended her family with a Mossberg (sic?) pump action shotgun, firing twice. Even so, if you want another weapon, ok by me, that doesn't deny the point that multiple rounds (exceeding 10) aren't necessary. We can't predict the future, but the harm done by allowing deranged people to fire without the need to reload has been proven to FAR exceed the "good" done by allowing someone many rounds in a home defense/personal defense weapon. In truth, I know of no self-defense or home defense situations which required more than 5, let alone 10 rounds. So, again, we look at cost to benefit. You are FULLY able to defend yourself with a weapon which has "limited" ammo capacity (10 or fewer). If you don't like a 12-gauge, then use a lever action .45-70 or a any other of a host of heavy hitting slower speed high caliber rifles. Multiple rounds aren't required.

    On point two, the response is essentially the same as point one only more ubiquitous in nature. Your need to defend yourself on the street is in a pretty narrow regime'. While we can't perfectly predict the future, evidence, mountains of it for that matter, suggests that in fact it is rare to have to fire more than a few rounds. Furthermore, to your point about FBI self-defense data, please be aware it includes police discharge of weapons in their own defense, a statistic which takes up the vast majority of self-defense cases. We can't know the exact data about personal defense because federal law prohibits gathering that data quite simply because the NRA got a law in place TO prevent it. Still, by inversion we can postulate (since police involved shootings ARE reported) that it is HIGHLY likely that fewer than 20% and likely fewer that 10% of self-defense discharges are civilian. We contrast that number with 15,000 homicides and 25,000 (iirc) gun aided suicides (and several thousand more attempts). We get figures where unlawful discharge of a firearm FAR exceeds lawful discharge by civilians. The vast majority of homicides are not gang-related. Most recent statistics suggest it is as few as 2000 and not more than 3000 of all homicides nationally. Meaning that "fit of rage" homicides outnumber criminal homicides by probably 4:1 and maybe as high as 5:1. Throw in suicides and it's likely 10:1.

    SCOTUS decided in Heller and McDonald reasonable limits are constitutional, so a limit of 10 rounds or less is constitutional and furthermore, it can be argued such a limit provides for adequate (even more than adequate) defense in nearly all situations. Such a limit provides the benefit of requiring those who might engage in mass shootings to reload. It also, should you ban the manufacture and sale of high-cap magazines, eventually takes them off the streets making police safer.

  24. So, this brings us to your first and my last point. Good people with a gun will stop bad people with a gun. This is a nice idea, but it does not actually work that way. The vast majority of people behave morally the vast majority of time. Yet, in a fit of rage, in a down moment, in a psychotic episode, when REALLY mad at their girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife, they act out. They plant bombs (Timothy McVeigh), they shoot doctors, they blow up buildings. The point is, your idea simply is untrue. People can be trusted right up to the point they decide to act. The best people you know can be pushed to the brink. Most people who commit crimes in all other areas of their lives are "upstanding." Your idea, without meaning to be rude, is quaint but false, and our courts, even if those on the right, do not agree that the average person has a need, even IF they could be trusted, to own an A10, an automatic weapon, or the like. The risk to public safety is too high. We have 330m people in this country which means conservatively that 3.3m are schizophrenic, another 27m are seriously mentally ill in some other manner (depression, etc).. This isn't a question of trust, it's a matter of being realistic that the best person may act badly. I know you trust YOU, but do you trust your neighbor with sarin gas, with a nuclear bomb? Would you trust Eric William Rudolph?

    The bottom line is this line of discussion isn't about trust anyway, it's about being able to fulfill your constitutional right to self-defense. You've agreed it can be done with a 12 gauge. I say the evidence is without refutation that it can be done in all but the most remote of circumstances with 10 rounds or fewer and you (nor I) have no evidence to suggest otherwise.

    This is the crux of the difference between center and far right on guns. The far right says, "Trust us to have anything we want (though they say need)", while the center says, "We do, with that which you NEED, but not that which you want." The source of difference is that the average person and the courts agree people should not be allowed to own anything they want, certainly not biological or chemical weapons. The right says, if given their voice on it, that NO weapon should be banned - it's all about the actor. They also say things like, "I should be allowed any tool I need." but the problem is, it isn't about need, it's about want. You NEED only a 12 gauge, you NEED only a 45 ACP, you may want more, but you definitely do not need it (not often enough to justify the cost).

    But in the end, the actor, in a nation of 330,000,000 can far too easily be someone whom you should never give Sarin, or VX, or Small Pox, or an A10, or an AK-47 with a banana clip. By limiting their ownership to that which provides MORE than reasonable ability to fulfill your constitutional right, you change the environment. You make police less jumpy, you make it possible to stop the mass shooter more easily, and most importantly, you start to break up the myth that guns solve all crimes. We are in love with guns, and this love affair with unbridled firepower is killing us far faster than it is saving us. To that end, the costs do not justify the benefits. The courts agree and nothing you've said so far justifies a need for a 30 round magazine, nor even really, for gas-fed/recoil fed, semi-automatic rifles. Since you haven't, it certainly seems to restrictions are reasonable.

  25. Yeah this is going really well.

    Ok maybe here I can put the military weapons bit to bed. Yeah I think it is nearly impossible to use explosive ordinance legally in all the avenues of civilian lives. A bunch of this stuff is legal to those with means, some of it like Naplam bombs and dispensers (flame throwers) are super cheap and easy to make and use, and generally as legal as owning a BBQ Grill. To use these arms defensively will generally be illegal, and the people who use them (with the exception of rioters who lob molotov cocktails) do it as expensive playthings and there is no problem.

    My point is, yeah there probably is a limit, but honestly we really aren't in a place where even contemplating this limit is realistic. As far as I'm concerned all conventional small arms are reasonable enough for anybody who is not in violation of GCA '68 (even with my above mentioned addenda) is fine. Case-and-point, our military issues a full-auto M4 or M16 to most soldiers, and yet train them to use them in all but certain scenarios exactly like an AR-15 you can buy at Wal Mart today. Full-auto is the only legitimate part of the GCA, as short-rifles and shotguns are silly because we have handguns as powerful as rifles, and those handguns are more concealable than a shotgun or a rifle with a 10" barrel. Still if our military does a lot to train soldiers to NOT constantly resort to full-auto fire when going weapons hot, it shows that while full-auto DOES give a different functionality to the weapons, it isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

    What is being debated today is not the repeal of the Hughes Amendment, or the NFA so I can buy a M70 LAW and a 6-pack of HEAT rounds at my local store. What IS being debated is if I can buy new made 20-round FAL magazines, or if I can put a folding stock on my FAL so it doesn't take up so much room in the trunk of my car, or in my checked luggage on an airplane.

    So yeah, you make great points about nukes and artillery and NBC weapons. I honestly haven't contemplated that line. When we get there we can debate that here, or over at my blog (where you are always welcome, you conduct yourself HALF as admirably as you do here, It would only help everybody present) but for now I'll focus on your next point.

  26. Ok now onto the body of my rebuttal.

    First up, could you post your reference where Law Enforcement in the line of duty is the bulk of defensive gunfire? Just haven't read that, and given how smart on the issue you've proven yourself to be on the issue, I'd like to read it.

    Still I would point out that you do appear to be focused on shots fired, rather than firearms deployed in defense. The numbers I've read and trust point out that the bulk of defensive uses of guns no shots are fired.

    Ok now let's dive onto the 10-round limit. You are 100% correct most shootings, legal or not, law enforcement or not, very few shots are fired, and in many of the law enforcement shootings the number of shots fired have often been found to be well in excess, and there are vastly too many collateral injuries of bystanders in LEO shootings.

    Still this problem is being fixed with software (training) not hardware, and police still are lugging around multiple large magazines.

    Now before I jump over to private citizens, let's look at the bad guys. In spree killings you really can't point to magazine capacity and the number of dead. Shootings like Columbine, The Washington Navy Yard, Virginia Tech, and University of Texas all made use of small-magazines. This is not an inclusive list of course, but when you mix areas where people are disarmed and dependent on police response, and somebody spending time planning a wide-scale killing you get lots of dead bodies no matter what their hardware.

    Still the sensational spree killings are outliers, most of the murder and violent crime victims are single or double victims with a small number of shots fired.

    So what we can't say is smaller magazines means a safer America. Heck the pro-gun side is touting the note that we haven't seen violent crime as low as today since the 1960s and 70s. Back then we didn't have nearly the options of magazine capacity, and most of that violence was was non-firearm weapons, and guns with lower capacity than 10.

    Also, this may not be your personal beliefs, but as we can see from things like the New York SAFE act, there is no anti-gun person saying that 10 is indeed a sacred number. It isn't, it's a random number picked for political expediency. Even if the pro-gun side compromises with the idea that you don't NEED magazines holding more than 10, there is nothing saying it ends there.

    Ok now we head to the private citizen. Even with police being admonished for putting too much lead downrange in defensive shootings, they aren't switching to smaller magazines, because it is known that more shots before a reload is an advantage, and no matter how small that advantage is, they're worth it. Given that I'm saying that smaller magazines doesn't mean a safer America, I think our private citizens are worth whatever magazine sizes they can lug around or tuck into a night stand.

  27. Now I'll go into the mental illness thing.

    First up your numbers are very good, and very conservative from my understanding. Yep there are a TON of people who are "Mentally Ill" in America. Still they aren't all hurting people, be it with guns, or with knives or other weapons. Further it's not like every person in prison for murder is mentally ill. I'd say it skews heavily to mental illness compared to the general population.

    Further many of these mentally ill people who commit these horrible crimes are diagnosed after the fact. Sure there were warning signs when we look back, but these signs are rarely documented in a professional setting with full due-process.

    This again is NOT a hardware issue, but a software one. Families of dangerous people stay silent until too late, or even enable the issue. Mental health professionals have their hands tied when they see a serious problem. And of course we have the dangerous people themselves, I don't know at what level they know it, but they avoid help and scrutiny.

    There are things we can do to make this system better, but we also have to avoid the horrible mental health system that existed in this country before the reforms in the 1970s and 80s. Of course this means that dangerous people will slip between the cracks, and I don't see this as a bad thing because you can't go locking up millions of people to save tens of thousands.

    I'm sure we're not done yet, so I'll be awaiting the next round of this. (also I really want to read that bit about the number of LEO defensive gun use)

  28. Oh I forgot to touch on Heller and McDonald stated that restrictions of "firearms in Common Use" was unconstitutional. It's hard to say that magazines holding more than 10 rounds aren't in "Common Use" as well as so-called "Assault Weapons" by any definition.

  29. Beard, I didn't know McDonald spoke to "common use." It doesn't surprise me, but wasn't the point of my comment anyway. I brought it up to discuss chronology more than utility. The point it was most impactful about was to establish that the SCOTUS doesn't agree civilians need military hardware. That part of the concept WASN'T overturned by either Heller or McDonald.

    In the end, as I said, this comes down to one key point. You (and those on the far right) feel anyone should be able to own anything, to you it's the person, not the tool. To the rest of the citizens, they recognize that the tool makes a difference, it makes it far easier to do harm and do harm far more often than do good. From a legal standpoint, there's no question it is settled law that civilians don't get to have "anything they want." From an honest standpoint, the fact remains that all of the "good people" are only "good" to themselves, to others they're "others." The same "others" you don't trust. Moreover, and more importantly, the facts are irrefutable that people who otherwise INTEND to be good, are the exact ones who behave bad. So this really comes down to your belief you won't behave badly, exactly the same as the people who eventually used a gun to kill themselves, their wife, their boss... and so on. There is no way to know when the "software" will go bad.

    Last, the hardware matters. First, it makes the taking of life when software goes bad, far easier. Second, where we started is this, what hardware do you need to achieve your liberties? And you've answered, your liberties don't include enjoying shooting, they come down essentially to self-defense and hunting. And I believe we've (or at least I) have made a serious case that you don't need an AR-15, an M-14, or anything which could hold more than 10 rounds and fire one round per trigger pull without actuating the bolt, recocking the hammer, etc.. ISN'T needed, and the facts overwhelmingly support that as well. Is there some extreme circumstance, sure, but. and that goes to the last point..that extreme circumstance doesn't justify the cost of having a nation in love with firepower.

    To tie it all together in a bow is simply this. Our national conversation isn't about what you and I have just talked about. Our nation doesn't look at your "software vs. hardware" argument and my argument that achieving liberties is both possible and OPTIMALLY done (in nearly all case) with lower ammunition loads. It hears nonsense about a woman saving "her babies" as justification for banana-clips - even though she did so with a Mossberg. We don't have real discussion. I do not agree that you can just trust the "good" people and weed out the bad, it doesn't work, it hasn't worked. It hasn't worked because you can't know who the bad people are, in fact, it could BE you. So, since we can't know, and you are entitled to defend yourself, then the only weapon necessary and ONLY the weapon necessary is that which ensures your rights (self-defense and hunting), not a cannon. And letting you/anyone have a cannon IF you "go bad" means many more people die needlessly.

    Last part 2, we need to stop glorifying the falseness that an armed person could stop the "bad" guy IF ONLY one was there. We have them there, in their homes, 50% of American homes own firearms. But we see shootouts between bystanders, we see homeowners who do not have time to get to their guns, in short, it rarely works, but the promotion of the idea makes it more likely we'll have more shootings.

  30. Your comment is a good one, and has some very heart-felt points, still your points seem more emotionally driven than factually so. Especially the bit where you said "the facts are irrefutable that people who otherwise INTEND to be good, are the exact ones who behave bad." I can't even make heads or tails of it.

    You talk about not NEEDING XYZ gun, but as I've pointed out above that these are the firearms chosen by beat cops to protect themselves and others, and while Police indeed are called TO danger, they are called there by people who ARE in danger, and the idea that they can't make the exact same justifications as the police do at that moment. Frequency of use is irrelevant.

    As for the "Danger" of magazines holding more than X rounds, have a look at the data. The vast majority of people who are killed with firearms are single-victim crimes, occasionally double-victim. When you go into the rare "Spree Shooter" there have been just as many who were limited in their magazine size as there were who weren't, and the number of victims has no relevance to the type or capacity of the weapon used.

    So as I said above, if we can't show that firearm X, or Magazine Y is a greater danger to the public, then why limit good people from the advantages they do give?

    What has been very consistent is that the shooters always choose a location where they have a reasonable assumption they will have the ONLY gun on the scene when they start shooting. there have actually been several cases where the shooter factored wrong and was soon met by an armed citizen or a police officer (or in the case of the Trolly Square Mall, an off-duty armed officer) where they were stopped short.

    So if there are some major facts I've overlooked, please present them and we can move forward.

  31. Beard,

    We CAN show that having more rounds is danger.

    This person, like the one in Aurora, CO, was stopped when he had to reload. I believe the same was true in Arizona.

    I absolutely refute your assertion, and you have no facts to back it up, that the shooters always chose a place where there will be only one gun. It wasn't true in Red Lake, it wasn't true in Arizona, it wasn't true at the Navy Yard, in fact, you can't be certain of that anywhere in the US other than maybe inside of a federal building with metal detectors AND where, for some unknown reason, there aren't security guards.

    So, I think you've over looked those facts. Furthermore, you didn't actually present facts about the "spree shooter" having few rounds, you just said it happens as often that they do. That clearly wasn't true in AZ, Colorado, CT, Columbine, VA Tech, and i'll bet if I asked, many others. Even IF true, it doesn't mitigate the fact that quite a number WERE with high capacity weapons. Just because an evil doesn't always get compounded by bad multipliers doesn't mean you don't address the bad multipliers. Going on, you yourself have confirmed that nearly all shootings are of a single victim, so why the need for a high capacity weapon? It's one shooter.

    But let's go on, 80% of homicides are committed as a rage event. Meaning, it's a spur of the moment crime, many, MANY of those by people who are the lawful owners of their guns. So, it's not "heart felt" as much as it's fact that guns are used far more often improperly than properly when talking about discharge of the weapon AT a human being at least.


  32. The bottom line is, Beard, you've not established a need for the weapon or the capacity. You've said you're different and should be trusted, or I suppose to be more fair, everyone should be trusted until they prove otherwise. The issue with that, and I say this as a staunch civil libertarian, is you have no need for the weapon you want to be trusted with. Consequently, given that the weapon you want causes additional harm and real risk, and so there is a public good in keeping it from you, so it is fully Constitutional to do so. On a morals question, while I understand you should be trusted, it is a cost/benefit outcome here. While it may be fun to shoot an M-2 HB, there is no way to predict when the "good" guy will decide to become the "bad" guy, just like the guy yesterday. Up until yesterday, you'd have described him as perhaps a little goofey, but otherwise deserving of trust. Imagine if he'd had an M-60? Would the student who subdued him WITHOUT A GUN I might add, would he have had a chance? What about if the guy only had a M-5 or an AK? I think not, and I think many more would have died. It is not refutable and it is factual this man was stopped when he had to reload. It is a fact and not refutable that 50% (or more) of American homes own firearms and yet we have among the highest rates of violent crime. It is not refutable and it is a fact that we have MANY people now carrying firearms in a concealed holster, yet we have among the highest rates of violent crimes. It is not refutable and it is a fact that when asked, the average American feels a firearm makes him/her safer when study after study says that it doesn't when factoring accidental shooting and the ease it makes suicide alone, let alone other crimes.

    Sorry Beard, but I have to say, you are the one offering up simply emotion of "I should be trusted", "It's the actor that's the issue, let them have nuclear weapons" without offering reasons to trust that, in a nation of 330m people, there are many people who will lose their temper, are not mentally well, and almost NONE of those people can or will be predicted. Allowing them weapons which gives them the greatest opportunity for carnage is foolish niavete' at best, not allowing isn't emotion, it's recognizing the vast factual evidence of the incidence of improper gun use vs. proper, and putting a limit on just how much damage the "good" guy can do before people can try to stop him.

  33. Ok First some factual errors, while the Arizona shooter was tackled while he attempted to reload his second magazine, the Aurora shooter was finished shooting by the time police arrived and had discarded his weapons and peacefully surrendered to police.

    Also in Virgina tech the shooter had two 15 round Glock 19 magazines, but the bulk of his ammo both carried and shot were from 10-round magazines.

    As for "Gun Free Zones" mentioned I am NOT talking about places with metal detectors, as those detectors are manned by armed guards and those areas supply a reasonable level of security, as well. What I am talking about are areas like Military Bases, Schools, posted businesses and heavily restricted states where the shooter can reasonably assume the first armed resistance will be police responding to 911 reports. Arizona and a few minor shootings are the exceptions that prove the rule that these areas are the ones that spree killers seek out.

    Also I've never seen the "80% of homicides are committed as a rage event." can you supply data?

  34. Your second point is a little hard to follow.

    First this isn't about me, I'm just a guy, like most people. I've done nothing special except follow the rules and go about my life in a way that supports the lives of me and ones dear to me, and minimizes harm to others.

    Still you point out what may be a software difference from us. You talk about me trusting others until they PROVE themselves under due process to be untrustworthy. Of course you do this as well. Think of every time you walk on a sidewalk. Every car passing you must trust that the person driving isn't going to swerve and intentionally jump the curb to harm you.

    Further you talk about the US having "among the highest rates of violent crimes.", it just isn't true, and further our violent crime is dropping, and at the same time when more people than ever before in history are going about armed. Are the two causative or coincidental, certainly the converse of this is false.

    Last you talk of being a staunch civil libertarian, and claim to want to ban magazines and various weapons. I've given reasons and support for why I think this is wrong. You haven't accepted my reasons, and that's your right. You also haven't refuted why these items pose such a public threat besides speculation that borders on hyperbole. BTW in the recent shooting you cite about the reload the far more deadly navy yard shooting used a similar shotgun that needed multiple reloads. So again the difference seems to be the tactics used by both the shooters and the victims rather than the hardware. Again some of the more deadly mass shootings (like Virginia Tech, Columbine and Texas University) were all accomplished with limited magazines as well as the tactics chosen by the shooter, the victims, and law enforcement

    Still as a libertarian one must note the difference between malum in se and malum prohibitum. As a libertarian I am against malum prohibitum laws because of their arbitrary nature. Malum in se laws carry a lot more weight with me do to their interest in public safety.

  35. Sorry if my post was hard to follow, I've been travelling and had to write quickly (between hops essentially), plus, sometimes my writing is hard to follow :). Trying again, trusting people with weapons they don't need isn't prudent or sound. It isn't because those weapons cause needless harm without substantial benefit. You believe, by contrast, that people should be trusted until they prove otherwise. While that is a good, general civil liberties premise, the 14th amendment makes plain that the government cannot intrude into privacy (or our business) without a good (due) cause. Prohibiting high capacity magazines and semi-automatic rifles for that matter, meets that good/due cause standard.

    Moreover, you contend that it's the "bad" people who are the issue. The bottom line being, you cannot predict when someone you would define as "good" will become bad. It is my guess that you'd have otherwise defined the people who stood around with Cliven Bundy as good, yet it may be the case that two of them just murdered three people (two police officers) before taking their own lives.

    A friend of mine is a counselor. For many years he was a counselor to those convicted of capital crimes. He is right when he points out that 80% of murders are not only crimes of passion, but by one person upon one other person whom they know well (friend, family member). Those acts are committed by those whom we would, up until that point under your general trust approach, define as good. Now, I have to support the idea (because I DO support the idea AND because it's Constitutional Law) that people are allowed to own firearms, but there is no requirement to allow them to own firepower far in excess of that which is practically needed. Doing so isn't just imprudent, it's a foolish, needless risk.

  36. Your comments regarding tactics are at best, tangential because they fail to see the forest for the trees (imho). Getting bogged down in the tactics may mean you miss the broader point - Irwin Rommel (for example) once famously quipped, "Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics" and that lesson applies here when we talk about the broader context of what you are facing. Sure, perfect tactics might have stopped certain assailants, but generally, if it were easy, it would have been done since Columbine. In fact, the evolution of the assailants recognizing the "static" nature of defenses proves the point. No defense is perfect, and known defenses are relatively easily defeated. Saying "you can't know who has a gun in a crowd" doesn't cover it either because surprising an untrained (or even trained) civilian isn't hard and can lead to collateral deaths far more easily than simply stopping the assailant. Specifically, though, to your points, the Aurora shooter (taking one point you rightly made) while he didn't have to stop to reload, it WAS true that his higher capacity weapon jammed, had it not, more deaths would have ensued. Second, there were and have been law enforcement (good guys with guns) available. The examples are REPLEAT that this alone did not/does not stop the antagonist by itself. Yesterday two policemen were ambushed, one tried to return fire. Both died, neither stopped the assailant, so a "good guy with a gun" isn't what stopped the bad guy. So, tactically, it's simply a fact that it's not hard to "get the drop" on others if you are striking with the element of surprise. AND if it turns out to be hard, they'll start wearing body armor (like in Aurora) or they'll use bombs, or machine guns, and on and on... the point being, while it is the actor, the tool makes a helluva difference, and it isn't about tactics after all, since you can't develop an effective static defense so long as people want to do bad things AND have easy access to firepower. This isn't about walking on a sidewalk, and that is a point that libertarians frequently miss, it's not about whether you can be trusted individually, and never was, it's about whether you need to be trusted in this way with a dangerous thing. You have a good and proper purpose to walking on the sidewalk and trusting you to do so presents no public risk. Letting you own a tank does AND you don't need one.

    In the end, as a CIVIL libertarian, one concerned with many broad liberties of the right to vote, the right to equal and fair representation, to protest, to speak, to earn a fair wage, to collectively bargain, not just the right to carry a gun around - I have to disagree. malum prohibitum isn't arbitrary, it's ubiquitous, and so is fair. If you can't show a good and proper purpose, and the state CAN show a public good, you lose the point. You don't have a NEED for botulinum, whether or not you should be trusted with it is not material, it represents a public hazard, even if you don't do anything bad with it - all you have to do is store it badly, leave it unattended, and so on. Consequently, it, like ricin or anthrax, are rightly banned from civilian possession. You have no good need, and the other side can show fully that allowing you to have such is a safety hazard. We can see in example after example that waiting until you decide to actually explode the bomb you built isn't wise. Each person MAY be trustworthy, but as a collective, there are simply far too many situations where the person becomes no longer trustworthy and you cannot know WHEN that will happen, so since you can't, and they certainly don't need that bomb, you tell them "No" you cannot have it.

  37. Well I think we've reached the terminus of our debate because I'll simply be repeating myself at this point. First you mention the 14th Amendment, but again recent court rulings have stated the 2nd Amendment stated that it was unconstitutional to ban firearms "In common use".

    As for tactics, and stating that effective tactics would have been put in place since Columbine. The only issue with that is the reaction to Columbine was more gun control, and specifically in a format that had not bearing or relevance to the crimes committed. Until recently it really hasn't been in public interest in making soft targets safer, more doing actions that make people FEEL safer without actually increasing safety.

    As for pointing out instances where tactics failed, that's really a dead-end argument. There are lots of people who die in auto accidents every year with vehicles equipped with air bags and seat belts. That's not a reason to ban these devices, as nothing is 100%. Airbags, like firearms do indeed save lives, and therefore their ownership should be, and will be protected.

    Conversely you have stated several times that the US has very high crime, and mate statements to the effect that we are MORE in danger due to more people owning, and carrying high-capacity weapons. It simply isn't true. Crime rates are down, and further for the first time ever crime rates are down during a recession. Those numbers are pretty powerful for my side of the argument.

    Lastly you talk about malum prohibitum and reference biological agents. Now I don't disagree with those bans, but it isn't about NEED, but the amount of danger they pose without any other value, and the indiscriminate nature of them. The ban on chemical weapons is indeed malum in se. Again, high-capacity semi-auto firearms are not indiscriminate, and not inherently dangerous, and give a lot of practical value to those who use them. This is again why we aren't arguing about police carrying them.

    In the end you seem to have a massive distrust of your fellow man that I don't think is 100% rational, further the idea of simply allowing them to get off 11 shots before reloading doesn't seem to be much of a reassurance. If you can't trust ANYBODY to behave, then we're really trusting nobody, and so really the only logical argument is to ban ALL firearms with any practical defensive use.

    Given the amount of good they do, I can't side with that, nor do I side with your assessment.

    I'm still waiting on some hard data on that "80% Crimes of passion", I don't buy it (not saying it isn't true) as most of the crimes in this country are violent felons against violent felons, generally with some involvement in the illegal drug trade, or the gangs that are fueled with that money. While I'm sure there is always SOME hot tempers at the moment of clashing, these attacks are still calculated and planned.

    I'm not sure how much further we can go with these arguments, but it was nice having a civil discussion.

    1. Beard,

      None of your replies have been more than simply, "It's the actor, not the tool" in an aggregate analysis at least. Further, I think it has to be conservatives who must take the mantle of not trusting. You don't trust the poor to not cheat you with respect to benefits they receive and think they're cheating, you don't trust the government not misuse data about gun violence, you don't trust Obama to not come "take your guns", you don't trust women to not indiscriminately have abortions, and so on.

      In short, Beard, your complaint about my level of trust is both misplaced and seems to be projection. You want to be trusted personally, but don't trust "others" to not cheat, lie, steal and so on. In short, you seem struck and stuck in a hypocritical cycle. I mean no offense, but it is what I observe. You want trust, but will not give it.

      I fully trust my neighbors, I don't feel I need a gun to feel safe. I trust them to the limit they need trusting, but not needlessly further. Thought of another way, you obviously know you cannot shout fire in a theatre. Clearly I trust you to not. No one is going to surgically silence you, that would be an unfair infringement on your rights. What this comes down to isn't that issue, it's that by contrast, neither do you need a bullhorn in a theatre to shout fire if a fire should break out. Demanding that you might need one on some rare occasion doesn't mean it's necessary for you to have one in a theatre. While you perhaps care enough not to screw around, what about the 18 year old high school senior? What about the drunk? Shall we make it easier for them to cause panic without need to make it easier? That's the best analogy I can give you.

    2. As for higher crime related to more available high cap weapons or assault rifles, I never said it, so please don't argue against a straw man.

      So, the issue isn't my trust, it's that there isn't a need. You claim "they do enormous good", but now who is making a claim that isn't backed up by facts? Where is the data about the dozens of lives saved by high cap magazines and semi auto rifles? You know it doesn't exist because their use is rare compared to handguns.

      In the end, though, this is about a conversation. You been pretty respectful, and I appreciate it. Would that it were we could have a reasonable conversation like this among ALL politicos. Would that it were we could have a debate where people could hear both sides and decide.

      I believe your side is, and I'm trying to quote it faithfully, feel free to correct me, but it goes, "Weapons aren't the issue, the issue is the people, stop the people. Banning a certain kind of firearm is like banning the hammer because it was used to pound a nail." A reasonable argument, and true as far as it goes.

      My argument is, "It's very nearly impossible to stop the people, moreover the right doesn't want the laws we have NOW, so their request to use those laws seems disingenuous, but even so, while people ARE the actors, the type of weapon makes a real difference. Since there is no need (and the right agrees defense can be accomplished without it), and they making doing more harm easier, it's time to restrict them. Lastly, we need to start grasping the fact that doing nothing isn't working. Glorifying guns isn't working, hasn't worked. We have many more mass shootings here than anywhere else in the western world, we have many more than we had 20 years ago, more guns isn't deterring anything, and it's probably contributing as we create copycats."

      I'd love for each side to present their cases that way without the hyperbole, without saying things like "you have a deep (irrational) distrust of your neighbors (as you said)."- it's rude, it's wrong, and it solves nothing. I'm sure you didn't mean to offend me so I'm not offended, but you can also see just how easily we diverge into rancor. If we are to avoid violence in solving our national issues, that kind of hyperbole must stop.

  38. Oh and no, he wasn't a "Good Guy"

    1. Jerad Miller was not a good guy with a gun, but the Walmart victim who was a cc permit gun guy was a good guy --- and all HE stopped was a bullet. All the cops stopped was a bullet for that matter.

      Oh, look -- we make guns to easily available to bad guys (and bad women). GUNS are the problem.

    2. You're right, so thanks for correcting me, but here's my question, was Jerrod Lee Loughner someone who was banned from owning firearms? Was Adam Lanza? Was his mother? Was James Holmes, how about the navy yard shooter? Was the guy in PacU California shooter? No? See the problem? Your objection proved the point. Damned few of the people are prevented due to lax laws.

  39. Dog Gone, your argument is because something isn't 100% effective it should be banned. Still I haven't seen if the killers left any writing about their plans. If their target was just the two cops, then yes, he died in vain, if they had plans to massacre everybody they could his sacrifice might have gotten into their OODA loop enough for them to go right to the suicide.

    Penigma, Loughner had a serious drug problem and was arrested several times for what could have been charged as felony possession. The police declined to prosecute so his infractions were not on his record. Lanza was underage and so could not posses weapons, it was also illegal for him to murder his mother and everybody else. Holmes revealed his plan to his therapist, who contacted police who took no action. The navy yard shooter indeed was a well vetted guy, given his government clearance which is vastly more strict than the NICS check. He also accomplished all his damage with an 8-shot shotgun. Not sure which shooting is the "PacU", but again California has the toughest gun laws in the country, seems you'd support all of them, for as little good as they do.

    I agree, damned few people are prevented by laws, even the crazy strict ones. This is not a glowing recommendation of more of the same.

    1. Beard,

      First, Loughner wasn't stopped, fact. Second, Lanza was 20, not underage. Either point by itself is immaterial. The facts also are that the kid who used an AR-15 to kill his fellow student this week WAS underage, BUT, he got access to firearms at his house. Wonder how? The same way so many people can and do, because it was readily at hand, because his dad/mom did/didn't secure it but he still took them/broke in/asked for them.. whatever. When you were a youth, did your dad let you have a squirrel rifle? Mine did...

      The point being, guns are easily at hand, they make killing far easier. That's always been the point. Inadequate laws exist, but inadequate ENFORCEMENT is more the issue right now anyway. We have inadequate background checks, we have cops in Texas who turn a blind-eye when someone pisses around with a gun - boys will be boys is the attitude, right up until someone gets shot.

      The point still remains, the point you didn't speak to, is that if you don't need a bullhorn to yell fire in a theartre when it's on fire, why give an 18 year old, a drunk, anyone, a bullhorn? You wouldn't. You want to suggest everyone is fine, right up until they aren't when there's no need to give them the bullhorn in the first place. That's your argument and I respect your argument, though I don't agree with it. I won't characterize it as something it isn't. My issue is that sooooo many on the "pro-gun" side will characterize my argument as "they think getting rid of guns will stop crime/get rid of murder" which is NOT what I've said - and I'd appreciate you acknowledging that. I've said what is true, firearms make taking life MUCH easier, and ready firearms at hand make it MORE likely, MUCH more likely in fact. While we cannot ban and should not ban firearms, we certainly are right to and have the right to, keep the damage to a minimum - and it is damage, because they are far more often used to do bad than good. A side benefit of that will be that we'll put lie to the myth that "a good guy with a gun will stop the bad guy with a gun." It's so rare as to be meaningless and as the civilian at Walmart proved, it's at least as likely to be that the "good guy" will simply be another victim.

      Whether the laws work as currently formulated in certain parts of the country doesn't have piss all, btw, to do with whether better laws will, because conformity to law has MUCH more to do with attitudes about what is legal or illegal than the law itself. If we continue to glorify the use of guns as a solution, no law will stop the epidemic. By contrast, if we pass laws to start to stigmatize their wreckless use, just like we did successfully with drunken driving, we will begin to change our society from a violent one (as we have) to one where, like much of Europe, the use of firearms is rare, as is violence itself. Comparing laws which are intentionally unenforced to a situation where such laws buttress a broader attitude of disdain toward violence and imaginings of guns as a cure all, is like comparing the stone axe to a diamond bladed saw.

      So, please, just to entertain me, consider the bullhorn analogy. Would you willfully go into a movie theatre where they handed out bullhorns to the drunks they pulled out of the nearest bar? If not, why not, don't you trust them?

    2. First up Loughner was tackled by the crowd when his first magazine went dry. Further there was a legally armed man in the crowed who was ready to act if the unarmed restraints didn't work. I'm not an expert in Connecticut law because I don't live there, and I have no valid permits for that state, but federally people under the age of 21 are prohibited from possessing handguns, which Lanza had two of. Also the Oregon shooting is still fresh enough that not all the facts are known. The best information we have is this statement that has been widely distributed:

      "Police Chief Scott Anderson said Padgett had taken the weapons used in the attack from his family home. "The weapons had been secured, but he defeated the security measures," the chief said."

      Guns do make killing easier, this is precisely the reason I support people owning them. We have a very good legal system for use of deadly force. In the event somebody is in one of those circumstances they should have the best tool for that grave extreme. As for the presence of firearms making it "much more likely" for taking of life, see my below response to Dog Gone for links of FBI crime statistics. It just isn't true.

      When it comes to guns doing more harm than good, I referenced the CDC and FBI data on defensive gun use. You claimed that most of those were law enforcement interactions. I said I hadn't read that, and would like to read your sources. I'm still waiting for that. Until I read your source we're at an impasse.

      As for the Bullhorn Analogy. All public movie theaters are equipped with fire alarms. Everybody has access to them. I think that proves my point quite well. They're far louder than bullhorns and they have strobe lights too!

      Last up, I see nothing wrong with our current background check laws, if you'd like to discuss your issues with that further we can. As for Texas open carry, I have above expressed my concern with the more radical fringe of these activists. So has the NRA, as well just about everybody worth listening to in the 2nd Amendment activist field. Still the cops aren't "turning a blind eye", what those activists are doing is 100% legal under Texas law. It's not "Boys will be boys" it's "We can't enforce laws that don't exist". More laws might be passed. I'm hoping Texas will remove their ban of open carry of handguns, which is what spurred the whole thing in the first place. Most states allow people to open carry hand guns and except in the most extreme anti-gun circles it's accepted and isn't news worthy.

      As for the "Good Guy With a Gun" argument, it is true. In most cases the "Good Guy" is an armed law enforcement officer. There have also been several cases where a potential rampage shooter has been stopped by an armed civilian. There is a catch 22 created by the anti-gun activists here. If a rampage shooter is stopped by an armed civilian before they commit a mass killing, then it was never a rampage shooting, and if the killer does kill multiple people then the "Good Guy" didn't really help the case. Using those metrics there is NO way the armed citizen can do good in that light, no matter how beneficial their actions were.

    3. "Guns do make killing easier, this is precisely the reason I support people owning them. We have a very good legal system for use of deadly force. In the event somebody is in one of those circumstances they should have the best tool for that grave extreme."

      Beard, this is exact kind of silly rhetoric which I have to point out as hyperbole and the kind that gets us nowhere. The BEST tool? Well, the BEST tool might well have been an M1-A2 Abrams, after all, the person shooting would be in no danger that way, would they?

      No, they deserve to have the tool which meets the situation, nothing more. They do not need the best, optimal tool in all situations, because that definition is at best, subjective, and puts is in a situation where nothing is limited.

      You've sidestepped my question. I asked you to address the bullhorn scenario quite exactly because it's apropos.

      As regards Loughner, his weapon jammed as I recall, not ran out, and if the civilian who was going to shoot had started, how do you know he wouldn't have been seen as another assailant by another bystander or by the law enforcement personal who were responding? Quite possibly he would have and would have been shot. Leave the policing to the police.

      As regards our laws on self defense and backround checks, honestly, that's a different debate. I'm not shocked you think they're "Ok" with regards to self-defense laws, but that wasn't my point. I wonder if you think the laws restricting ownership are "ok"? I'll bet not and THAT was my question. You said they don't work well so we shouldn't compound them, I said they don't work well due to enforcement so you changed the topic to self-defense. I wonder if you think the laws around background checks are adequately enforced? Pretty obviously they're not complied with very broadly.

      Lastly, to DG and to you -

      DG - I engaged Beard here. This is my debate/discussion. I didn't talk about gun laws ON PURPOSE, please don't change the subject. I don't need you to. I want to stay on the need for guns vs. the want of firepower ON PURPOSE.

      Beard, while I agree you don't owe DG an answer, being respectful never hurts. You've followed our rules, we'll do the same of course.

      Either way, if you two want to have a debate, have it elsewhere please, you're hijacking the discussion and that's NOT ok with me.

    4. First up on the DG issue. I will 100% comply with your wishes. I appreciate the forum you've offered here, and the respect you've given me. As for my Attitude to DG, I will be polite, but she has shown me nothing but contempt and disrespect, as well as shown what I consider very bad conduct. She does not have my respect and has gone a long way from earning it. I will be polite, I will comply by the rules, but I will not ignore crass behavior of her or others. Still This is also the last time I'm going to mention her, or directly comment to her on this blog in this thread or any others, so I suspect moving forward it shouldn't be an issue. If she'd like to debate me, I have no direct commenting policy on my blog nor any moderation. She is welcome to contact me there.

      Ok I'll start with the Bullhorn topic. I didn't dodge it, but I'll expand on my thinking a bit more in your analogy to Bullhorn for Fire Prevention Vs. Firearm for Protection against Assault.

      How would the Bullhorn be utilized. Well the person would call out a vocal alarm in the event of a fire or other hazard. Now that lead me directly to the in-house fire alarm system in most public cineplex. The fire alarm system is both louder, gives more sensory cues with the strobes, and is VERY unambiguous with it's message. They aren't just used for fire, they can also be used for other hazards. The message is clear: "Danger is Close, exit with caution, and haste".

      Now everybody has access to this device, be they children, drunks, or Church Deacons, and whether they are employees or customers. As far as I know there isn't a major problem with shows being disrupted for illegal reasons. I'm sure it happens, but it's rare. It IS more common in public schools from my own personal experience, but also from my experience for a poor student with a bad disciplinary record and a bad home life there is almost NO downside to NOT pulling the alarm, at least in the penal code in my school back in the 90s.

    5. Pt 2
      Now for firearms the penal code is SEVERE. Drawing a firearm (not shooting, and the arm does not need to be even loaded, or in many circumstances a REAL gun) on a person who is not posing a threat to you is considered Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and it is generally a felony. This not only means jail time, court time, loss of the firearm used, but also loss of all firearms privileges for the remainder of that person's life. I'm sure you've seen the statistics where states graph their general population and find those with CCW permits commit crimes of any sort at a much lower incidence than the general population. This is NOT because gun owners are angels or hold a certain ideology, or are of a certain race or socio-economic level. It's because the punishment is SO severe. You can go out in any state in the union today and get caught operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, plead no contest to these charges, and at some point you will get your driver's license back. Meanwhile if I were to be out walking drunk in any state in the union and through my intoxication EXPOSE my firearm to a law enforcement officer (not draw, nor threaten anybody, just an armed drunk walking home or getting some fresh air to clear his addled mind) I will NEVER own a gun EVER again in my life.

      So if we were to impose felony jail time for people inciting a panic with a false alarm, and anybody walking drunk with a bullhorn in their possession, I think we know how the analogy plays out.

      Next up, can we stop being counter-productive with the hyperbole? I was not intentionally being hyperbolic, and hopefully I will clarify that below, but your M1 Abram's analogy is nothing but counter-productive. Still now I must address it.

    6. Pt 3
      The M1 Abrams (which ever variant, or any other battle tank, or light or armored assault vehicle) is a VERY specific tool for a very specific job. You will first note we do not issue a tank, or vehicle to EVERY combat soldier, and as much as science fiction loves powered armor, I have my doubts even those will be issued on a "Starship Troopers" level. It is very good at a few things and very bad at a lot of things. I will talk about the bad things because they are relevant.
      A) They don't easily travel on public roads or are able to comply with traffic laws due to it's size, weight, lack or marker lights, and the damage those treads to asphalt and concrete roads. B) Their weapons incur great collateral damage without the ability to target a single human threat. They're good against OTHER tanks and large military targets, but that isn't what we're talking about here. C) Their weapons systems are always deployed, making an operational tank ALWAYS in a condition of brandishing, and therefore implying an immediate deadly threat at all times. Also on a lesser note D) Their Gas Turbine engine coupled with the vehicle's weight and it's preference for JP1 Fuel, even without the cost of the unit, it is not an affordable or practical tool.

    7. Pt 4
      What you then go on to discuss is what is called in law "Proportional Force", which exists in some nations but NOT in America. While the court systems with plea bargaining and such might not treat these laws as such an absolute, "Proportional force" implies that that if somebody attacks you with bare firsts, your only legal response is with fists, with a knife, you may deploy your knife ect. We simply judge use of force in our legal system as "Force" or "Deadly Force". So if a drunk on the street starts shoving or swinging at me, but because of my size, his size, lack of weapons, and his impairment and my sobriety, I likely cannot consider him to have Means, motive,and opportunity to cause me grave bodily harm. I may legally make contact with him in only such a way to deescalate the encounter, and I may not employ any means that are considered "deadly" under the law, be they weapons, or even certain martial arts techniques. Now if this same scenario changes to my wife who is much smaller and weaker than I, this very well could be a deadly force scenario (again Means, motive,and opportunity need to be observed on the behalf of the aggressor), or if the drunk pulls a knife, bat, or picks up a hefty rock. At this point a person who is otherwise a reluctant victim of this assault with Means, motive,and opportunity of grave bodily harm may use any form of deadly force until the means, the motive, or the opportunity stops. This can be at the death or mortal wound of the attacker, or it can be when the attacker flees, or surrenders. At that point the deadly force situation is over and no further deadly force may be employed.

      Now going back to law enforcement a very generic scenario would be a man with a knife advancing on an officer while making threats or gestures that they are not chopping vegetables this evening. At that point the officer can 100% legally shoot that man with as many 9x19 +P JHP rounds as it takes to stop him from being a further threat. The officer might also choose to enter the scenario with his patrol rifle or shotgun, but those implements, while more effective and accurate, take two hands and add a considerable bulk.

    8. Part Final

      So no, an item like an Abrams or an M2 are not ideal weapons for self defense, nor is a belt fed medium machine gun. These are not arms I'm debating with you, nor are being debated on the national level. But again a Glock 17 is no different in the hands of a person with a CCW permit, as it is with a person with a badge, nor is an AR-15. A person is no more or less allowed to attack a uniformed officer as an innocent bystander, and both people have the same right to self defense, and police do NOT have their firearms because of some mythical "arms race" with the criminal element, they have them because they are, as I said before the best tools.

      Sorry I missed your question about the background check laws and enforcement. These long-form rebuttals can get shuffled up sometimes. As I said above, I have no issue with the '68 GCA with the exception of inter-state commerce of handguns (you can buy a rifle or shotgun in another state but only from an FFL, it's the same federal system, so why are handguns restricted as they are?) and the blanket restrictions on Felons. Turn it to "Violent Felons" and we're golden. As for enforcement my big issue is the "Criminal Revolving Door". A known gang banger in Boston will get caught beating on somebody, and they'll find he doesn't have a Mass FID, he has a lengthy rap sheet, and an unregistered, stolen gun. So much of it gets plead away for the sake of brevity of a trial, but what it means is violent felons are out on the streets unsupervised.
      S Friend compiles cases in North Carolina if you want a sample. A big issue is when somebody starts shooting they are already known as violent offenders to the police.

      As for ACTUAL background check laws, some states are behind on their crime and mental illness reporting, and both the NRA and Brady Campaign are all for making sure reporting is complete. As for background checks on the FFL level, they're awesome. An FFL would be a fool to knowingly sell a gun to somebody who can't pass the check, or knowingly sell to a straw buyer. Getting pinched pulling that crap generally means loss of license and often forfeiture of merchandise, that's a one-way ticket to bankruptcy before we even get to criminal charges.

      Hope I got them all this time

    9. Oh and on an unrelated note a friend sent me this video series on a South African Liberal and his views on gun control.

      Overall my feelings are quite similar to his.

      You might enjoy it.

  40. No, that is not my argument.

    And no, Jared Loughner suffered from schizophrenia; not so far as I can find out had he been using either drugs or alcohol in the period leading up to his shooting. Lanza's mother had bought him firerms, and he had possession of those firearms in his bedroom. It is not at this point clear when or what Holmes revealed, and staff at his school were in the process of taking action. No, the navy yard shooter was NOT well vetted. It should have been a careful security check but it was not. Pac U is the Elliot Rodgers shooting.

    What we do know is that stricter gun laws work, and more lax gun laws do not, and the lax gun law jurisdictions create problems for the better / stricter regulated zones.

    1. Except they don't, but that's why I'm debating Penigma and not you.

    2. It is well established fact that gun control works, and that people want it.

      It is abundantly clear that a lack of gun control is a disaster, and uncivilized.

    3. I'm debating with Penigma, I am not ARGUING with you.

    4. Weer'd, since I'm an equal partner with Pen, and the person who has been moderating your comments, you need seriously to rethink that last comment.

      You have not been factual. That is a requirement for a debate; you are the one 'arguing', and that can end at any time if that is how you want it.

  41. Dog Gone, I owe you exactly nothing. As for your partnerships and arrangements with Penigma that's between you and him and has nothing to do with me.

    As for the comment moderation, I've been following the rules listed in the sidebar, and some comments get through and others do not. I appreciate that my longer posts have been published just because it takes time to write them and deal with the blogger limitations. Still I've noted that many comments that appear on this site do NOT meet the code of conduct listed.

    So if you want to moderate out my comments for your own personal reason, that's your business, and I will assume any moderation privileges Penigma has given you imply his blessing, and it means that you do NOT want debate on the issue to occur. And this debate will stop at that moment due to the Penigma Blog's default. If I see further activity after that fact I'll shoot Pen a simple email of the circumstances just to know I didn't "run away".

    You claim I am the one arguing, and that you have approved my above rebuttals, yet you only respond to them with glib unsupported answers.

    I will give you three links to review to support my statements:

    And I will ask you one question: What would you need to see to be persuaded that my arguments against gun control are true?

    1. Incorrect Weerd Beerd. Telling me - effectively - to butt out of a discussion on my own blog (as much as it is Pen's) is akin to coming to my house and telling me to leave the room; my moderating your comments is much like me being the one to open the door to the house.

      You would need to prove to me that gun control and fewer number of guns has not been effective, when it clearly has, and you would need to prove to me that gun owners are sufficiently trustworthy and reliable that we do not have a gun problem.

      Clearly we have a gun problem, and clearly people who may be safe and trustworthy at some times are not reliably so at others, therefore citizens do not have a reason to trust their fellow citizens wandering around with guns --- and do have a reason to distrust them for wanting to do so.

    2. When has gun control been clearly effective?

      Please cite your sources.

  42. Beard,

    You made a number of points, I hope to reply to each, but if I miss one, let me know. Also, as said before, I travel a lot, so appreciate your patience with any delays in my replies.

    First, your reply about the Bullhorn unfortunately didn't address it. You said, "Don't need a bullhorn, use the fire alarm (e.g. the best tool)." That is conflating the actual question with another. It DOES, though, point out that you should use the official, systemic response, such as, calling the police, just like a the coincidental call to the fire department which will normally occur if you pull the fire alarm in a modern building. On that score, I agree, call the police, don't use too much tool. My point was about the practicality of the tool and the excess a bullhorn represents. It was that lack of practicality, and more importantly the risk of needless misuse. Would you hand a 12 pound sledge hammer to someone to drive a tack nail? Obviously not. That was the point, you've conflated it into correcting that if you could only buy a nail gun, why even raise the question. That's not the point and never was. My point to you was, and which you've not answered, do you give someone far more tool than necessary IF it poses a needless risk? I used the bullhorn analogy to try to disarm any provincialism/bias which would arise out of any discussion of guns. I might get the same sort of bias if I start talking to someone about pro-choice issues.

    Part 2: Penalty for gun misuse wasn't the issue. Clearly there are severe penalties. Never disputed it so your point, to me, is unfortunately not germane. Penalty, though, as we can well see, does not equate to prevention. Conservatives have, for many years, argued greater penalties were needed to curb crime. Other than simply putting people in jail, it has not worked, People still deal drugs, commit murder, without fear of penalty AT THE TIME, which is the exact problem. People are fine, good, law abiding, until they are pushed to a breaking point in some internal way, then ACCESS=USE, not Penalty or no Penalty=prevention. Penalty and prevention outside incarceration, never equaled prevention. Are we to jail everyone? Clearly neither you nor I think so, so, the only way then to prevent IS TO LIMIT ACCESS.

    Also, I wasn't talking about CCW, I've not argued about it, for it, against it, anything, it's irrelevant what the crime stats are. You may have argued with DG about it, but not with me. I think we over-issue CCW, but my concern there is simply it leads to an "armed camp" mentality, not that the CCW holders are more (or less likely) to commit crimes. Sorry, but that whole line is not germane.

    1. Part 3 - I spoke about hyperbole in your comment about "the best tool." I pointed out it was subjective, and your reply clearly proved that. I FELT it was an M1 (or a Bradley, or BMP, or a Merkava, or a T-55, or a Leapard II, or a LAV-25) - btw, Beard, I taught vehicle recognition in the service, I'm pretty familiar with their abilities, weights, limitations, deployment characteristics, and firepower. I made the point that it protected the shooter and so, "was the best tool." You rightly point out the issues of impracticality, and maybe even more importantly, collateral damage probability. I agree, though of course I could simply set the M-2 to single fire mode and take out "the bad guy", but you are exactly right that the M1 is FAR too much tool for the job. I know you may not have meant to, but you make my point in spades here. An AR-15 penetrates far too much, and a high cap magazine makes the probability of firing far too many rounds far more likely, so=collateral risk is exponentially increased. But let's stay on point, it's a needlessly too powerful tool, just less powerful than an M1. You agree an M1 isn't needed or desirable. You also make a second point for me, you talk about ease of deployment, that's the exact problem with so many theories of "armed citizenry" dealing with crime. Guns may be carried, but we are, comparatively, an armed society with high crime. In part that's because carrying doesn't equate to rapid deployment, and certainly not to skillful use. It has, too often, equated to fratricide/friendly fire and unskillful use, and absolutely has promoted an idea among police that they cannot trust any situation. We've created the armed camp we would otherwise look to avoid. None of this was originally part of the discussion, but since you brought it up, let's dispense with it. We have a myth in the US that a gun in the house will be a. easily available and b. still safe. Stats show exactly the opposite, to be safe it cannot realistically be easily accessible.

      To be continued..

    2. First up nobody is talking vigilantism. Of course police should be called and allowed to handle crime whenever possible. Still if fire alarms were just to summon the FD then we wouldn't need to have those obnoxious klaxons and strobes. The alarm BOTH signals the authorities AND alerts the people who are in danger to take the appropriate action. In a movie theater that alarm meant EXIT THE BUILDING, but when I worked on boats it meant START FIGHTING THAT FIRE AS HARD AS YOU CAN! because escape is one of the worst options.

      Next you talk about limited access and then point out drug dealing. Nope "Limiting Access" is prohibition, which is really just a synonym of failure. We have laws, some are really good, some are lame, and others are bad. Weed them out, and actually ENFORCE them. I'm against the War on Drugs(tm) because A) it has caused a lot of social problems like militarized police, violent drug gangs and international wars, and B) while the actual use of recreational drugs has some very ugly sides I don't see them as worse or as dangerous to society as SWAT teams kicking down doors and killing the people inside because there are a few pot plants in the greenhouse, or the turmoil that is the failed state of Mexico.

      But yeah, violent people should be in prison. Taking the gun away from a gang member who would kill another human being over an insult doesn't make him any safer a person to be around.

      Again we're at an impasse, because the root of your statement is an AR-15 is too dangerous for a lawful citizen to have. Again why do we issue them to beat cops? Why do we issue high-capacity semi-auto handguns to them? Police do tend to have issues with discharging too many rounds in firefights, but studies have shown that police and military over-shoot often in team scenarios. The other guy is shooting, so I should be shooting, despite the lack of sight-picture on a known threat. This can be trained against, and is less of an issue with a citizen carrying a defensive gun, or home defense.

      I've posted data showing the 5.56x45 is not an excessive perpetrator, either post some conflicting data and we'll talk or we're done on that one.

      Also the "Stats" that show guns in the house are not accessible or safe are crap. Studies like Branas and Kellermann made their numbers look "good" for their gun control grants by counting criminals engaged in criminal acts with guns as equivalent to lawful citizens using firearms for self defense. If you have other data we can look at it together.

  43. Either way, you agree that it is not a proportional tool. It is impractical, it may not be deployable, it may cause unintended casualties. Precisely the arguments against semi-auto assault weapons and high cap magazines. A 12 gauge shotgun is almost undeniably the best tool for home defense (not personal defense walking the streets). Yes it has recoil, yes it hurts, but in an emergency, that's not the immediate concern. The immediate concern is stopping the intruder, without question and without causing further casualties. Buckshot doesn't penetrate 4 walls, you aren't likely to fire off 25 rounds indiscriminately. For the reasons you stated above, an AR-15 isn't a practical tool (due to it's intimidation/stigma) for carrying around for personal defense, so it's not "the best (practical) tool" for self-defense away from home. Consequently, since it's not practical, it has the risk of collateral damage, it may not be easily deployable, and so on, it's not the best tool (it also doesn't provide the user ballistic protection like an M-2 Bradley would). To sum up, the point here in 3 is therefore twofold, first, you made the argument into something it wasn't - whether the M1 was a practical tool, when my original point was that talking about "best tool" is subjective and open to vast interpretation. Consequently it's an unproductive discussion because it creates an ephemeral view which is simply in the "eye of the beholder" as opposed to being concrete. But, since you decided to go there, that further review using your own barometer suggests that again, semi-auto/high-cap weapons aren't the best tool for the exact reasons the M1 fails in your analysis.

    Point 4 - Proportional Force - again here you have brought up a non-sequitor. I didn't bring up the concept of proportionality. It wasn't really germane to the discussion either. I wasn't saying that because John Doe (perpetrator) used a machine gun, I should get to use overwhelming firepower (an M1), nor was I saying that I (or the police) should be limited to the same class of weapon as the perp. This is an irrelevancy from that perspective. What US law says or doesn't say is as well since it wasn't part of the discussion. I didn't dispute what US law provides, nor do I personally believe you are obligated to use only an equivalent weapon.

  44. Rather, I believe you have need to use the weapon which is sufficient, but sufficient in nearly all, but not all possible, situations, quite simply because providing that which is sufficient in all possible situations is too costly to society. That's the root of the argument - soup to nuts, of our whole exchange here. So, I'd ask you to focus on that if you don't mind. You've brought up three irrelevancies, some of which actually buttress my argument rather than sublimate it, but I don't want to get off topic. This is about what is required to meet your "rights" as we have defined them in society, and how does that balance against possible harm (the metric against which protecting your rights must be measured to be permissible to be restricted). That's all. I want to keep that focus because it's like solving a complex problem. In problem solving one of the first things you do is remove the extraneous variables in order to better understand the root of the problem. Laws are manifestations of societal more's and collective morality. They represent, according to philosophical theory, the baseline of morals, the lowest rung, not the penultimate. Consequently, they are the tail of the dog. So, I asked DG to stay out of discussing the effectiveness of laws (and for you to do so as well), because they are effects, not causes (by and large). I didn't discuss proportionality, I didn't discuss practicality. I kept it on the root, the basic right and accomplishing that right, because that's the heart of, the underlying premise of, what is acceptable legally, what drives whether proportionality applies, whether the practicality of a weapon is even germane. So, I strive to/strove to keep on that point.

    You've addressed some of those things without actually answering many of the directly germane questions, instead you've (quite innocently I'm sure) diverged into other subjects (legality, effectiveness of law, proportion, utility, etc)..but I've been able to gleen from your answer some things. Tell me if I'm wrong here...

    1. By and large, you don't support limitations on firearms. You don't believe machine guns are a practical tool, and it seems you might even agree because they aren't practical it might be ok to restrict them, but at your core you don't support a limit.

    2. You agree that self-defense and hunting are the core rights identified through Heller and McDonald (separate from any discussions of militia).

    3. You agree "pleasure" isn't a right - e.g. shooting a machine gun, while fun, isn't a right

    4. You agree using the most effective tool may include using law enforcement (e.g.. using the fire alarm)

    5. You agree that collateral damage is meaningful to avoid (isn't part of the original point, but is germane to the cost/benefit question)

    6. You agree that practical employment is a reasonable consideration (wasn't my point, but I'll agree with you on it easily and without reservation)

    7. You agree that in a nation of 300 million plus people there are a considerable number of people who cannot be advance-predicted WHEN they may act using firearms in a negative way.

    The rest is mostly noise, whether there is recoil in a 12 gauge, or whether people who have CCW licenses are more law-abiding, isn't germane. I didn't suggest they weren't.

  45. So, that brings us full circle. Here's what I believe I can say based on what I believe you've said.

    1. Machine guns, or other impractical tools, aren't required to hunt or for self-defense. Consquently, while fun, aren't protected under the Constitution. They further fail the test of cost/benefit analysis. Their potential to ASSIST in creating harm far exceeds their positive value in supporting those rights.

    2. All firearms must be weighed using that same scale. Their propensity for collateral damage must be considered against how well they enhance/support the rights of self-defense and to hunt. Virtually all semi-auto rifles equipped with high cap magazines fail this test. They do not enhance the chance of self-defense in any meaningful way when weighed against the enormous firepower assistance they provide to those who would seek to do harm. Those who seek to defend themselves (not police) are rarely opposing more than 2 people, but those who seek to do harm often are seeking to harm more than 2. So, those arms, while sexy, aren't required to support those core rights. Yes, they would, in rare, to very rare situations help a little bit, but that rarity, with which you agree was rare, is not common enough to outweigh their opportunity to ASSIST in causing harm that would otherwise be more difficult to achieve without them.

    That is the bell-weather. There is no argument here that the guns fire themselves, this isn't a trust issue, this isn't a legal issue (other than a Constitutional rights issue), it's not about good law vs. bad law, it's not about CCW (except tangentially). We're not saying we don't trust, we're saying there isn't a NEED to trust with these kinds of weapons because these kinds of weapons aren't needed for defense AND their availability has massive (comparatively/relatively) negative consequence when weighed against their positives in supporting rights. If you want to argue they are vastly positive in supporting those rights, ok, but I suspect you already know you don't have the data to support that claim or you'd have made it, nor do you have data which suggests that massive quantities of ammunition are expended (or more correctly necessary to expend) in self-defense situations with routine, or again, you'd have made it and we'd have then argued those points.

    Which brings me back to where we started. You and I had a civil discussion, a few posts ago I defined the landscape fairly succinctly, yet, it seems to me, rather than remain on that landscape and come to some meeting of the minds about what is right and necessary to provide, we leapt into tangent. We did so because, to me at least, it seemed you didn't want to talk about the discussion in a concrete way (of my framing), yet you declined to argue why it should no be so framed and instead changed the subject to that which you WANTED to talk about. That's what politicians do, and that's why we don't make progress on these kinds of topics.

    Until we, as a society, agree we should have and respect meaningful discussions which MUST first start with a fundamental definition of the landcape/topic, goals, framework and theorhetical rights, and then proceed to discuss the impactful points, until we agree to have what I think we all would recognize as the way we talk to each other inside our families and circle of friends to decide on something, rather than shifting the topic constantly just so we can say we won while never doing anything, we will continue down the path of being a less civil society. More guns waiving around does NOT, imho, make us more civilized, but what's worse is insisting on screaming and refusing to seek a constructive solution makes us even less so.

    1. Sorry somehow I missed this batch, I think I still covered most of your points.

      You state that semi-auto high-cap rifles fail the test. I disagree. You note that people rarely defend themselves against more than two people which is true. But also people on an individual basis rarely defend themselves PERIOD, as most police officer rarely need to discharge their firearms in the line of duty in a life-long career. So that's a moot point. I've been in a few vehicle accidents, but I've never seen an airbag deployed nor ever was restrained by my seat-belt in a meaningful way. This neither justifies nor condemns those devices.

      You state that people looking to harm lots of people go for these weapons, but when you look at the data it really isn't true. The #1 Spree killing in America is still Virginia Tech with 10-round limited magazines, and #2 being Charles Whitman in the Texas Bell Tower with a bolt-action hunting rifle. Sure there are other sprees with AR-15s and AK patterns, but there are lots of others with your beloved 12 ga. You state it like it is a given, and the media agrees with you, but in numbers and on paper it just isn't true, nor is it true on the streets with gang killings.

      So you're going to have to show your work before we can accept this point.

  46. Beard, seat belts don't otherwise needlessly result in additional loss of life, your analogy is misplaced and incorrect. Same with air bags (which frankly deploy quite often). These are passive and supplemental restraints which do not otherwise do bystanders any harm.

    Clearly far more people are killed by handguns than by semi-autos or people equipped with high cap magazine weapons, there is no dispute there, and I said the same before. But equally clearly, we know that prohibiting such weapons would be a violation of Constitutional liberty and so is intolerable. Equally clearly, prohibiting semi-auto rifles and high capacity weapons would NOT be because your liberties are still quite well protected by the access to handguns and shotguns.

    Your essential argument seems to come down to, "Well, they MIGHT be needed and you should trust the person until proven otherwise, it's not the tool."

    Reiterating what was said before, and so is not repetitive and not getting us anywhere further quite simply because you appear unwilling to address the key thrust of the discussion, but I'll give it another go...

    First, while the highly improbable situation CAN occur that a high-cap weapon would be necessary, the OTHER costs, greater loss off life than the number otherwise saved, means these weapons fail a basic moral test, do they cost us more than they save? The answer is an unequivocal "yes." Whether they are the dominant mass spree weapons was not the question, clearly they ARE used quite often, since when does only killing 20 people instead of 25 mean you should not act to stop the 20? These weapons cost society more than they are worth.

    Beyond that, the attitudinal adjustment that taking these steps represent, means beginning the change away from believing that arms create civility, that they solve things, when the evidence is overwhelming that ready access to firearms does the exact opposite. We are among the most heavily armed societies in the world, we are not peaceful (another highly armed society, btw, is Iraq). When I said access=use, I was countering your point about law being a preventative, which it is not (and about which we both agree), I was making the point that having laws against owning weapons does not prevent use, only changing access does. I was NOT suggesting changing access to all firearms, only to those which I've already named (semi-auto rifles and magazines with capacity of 10 or more rounds). We cannot go further without crossing into violating Constitutional and fundamental rights, even IF doing so might well promote a safer society, unless we amend the Constitution - and that is not going to happen, clearly.

    1. Sorry, ended too soon, so, the point is, we're talking about one thing and one thing only, the moral imperative to address access to needlessly dangerous weapons. let's not continue to stray into areas which are either not germane nor part of the discussion.

    2. Again, you state that they are "Needlessly dangerous weapons" yet I've pointed out (and you as well with your note that most homicides are done with handguns of various sizes and capacities) that really the numbers don't point to that.

      So, I don't accept your core postulate. If you can better support that postulate we'll have more to talk about. If not, we're done here.

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. Ok so I have a little .25, it's a cute antique that I have as a collector's item and a piece of history (this little colt rolled off the line in Hartford while John Browning was still alive!!!), I never carry it. Still I also have an FAL with 20 round magazines that I don't carry because it's a big chunk of steel. M60 is worse.

    Still I have to wonder about your debating style, it's starting to look intentional.

    When talking about political action you focus on semi-auto rifles with >10 round magazines, yet you continuously bring up military hardware nobody is talking about. It's not only foolishly hyperbolic, but it's starting to look disingenuous.

    This is also the second time you've accused me of "Glorifying Violence", of which I've done nothing of the sort. Look at the FBI Data, America is SAFER than it has been since before I was born, and unless you're MUCH older than me, before you were born, and unless you are over the age of 70 we haven't been this safe since you were a child.

    Now the media doesn't LIKE that fact and attempts to portray the streets as violent lawless places loaded with war-zone shootouts. It just isn't true. Seems you don't like that fact either.

    So much less violent crime, yet the most popular rifles sold today are semi-auto rifles with larger magazines, as with handguns sold (unless you dive into the concealed carry market, where the vogue gun is major pistol caliber pocket-sized guns with slim profiles and single-stack magazines).

    Access to these firearms has NOT increased violence, and has not decreased public safety. PERIOD (I posted the FBI stats earlier if you don't want to look them up yourself).

    In your final point again you focus on military arms, and I agree with you. Still this is NOT an issue. Meanwhile you point out that the US Army doesn't issue M4s (only the marines still issue the M16, and possibly the Navy...not that Navy or Air Force do many small-arms fire-fights ) M249 SAWs, and M203 40mm Grenade Launchers because they don't do a LOT of damage.

    Again I agree with you, and while we may disagree how those arms should be handled in civilian hands, it has NEVER been what we were debating.

    What we have been debating is that Police Forces issue their beat officers Glocks, SIG Saures, M&P Pistols, and AR-15 rifles. They do NOT do this because Police are bloody murder squads looking to depopulate whole housing blocks or because they're interested in racking up massive collateral damage and "Shock and Awe".

    Police are civilians who's job is to protect the public and uphold the law. 99% of their job is done without even drawing a firearm, and their training also reflects this. Still when a firearm is deployed by an peace officer it is done to protect the officer's life, and much more rarely innocent lives, which is exactly the reason why I have guns as well.

    I have been running from NOTHING here, and I don't appreciate the tone you're starting to take with what has been a very civil and reasonable debate.

    So let's shelf the military arms talk, since no matter what we both feel about it, neither of us is going to be able to walk into a gun shop and buy an M16, or a SAW, or an A-10, or an Apache Attack helicopter without going through a mountain of paperwork both with the BATFE and our banks for loans (or I guess my spouse as I probably COULD re-appropriate the money for a new home renovation project for a Viet Nam Era M16)

    And shelf the "Glorifying Violence" crap too, as my primary focus and drive as a 2nd Amendment advocate is on public safety. I COULD spend my time arguing my point by referencing documents written by the founding fathers who wrote the 2nd Amendment, or court rulings, but I think that would be a waste of both of our time, when I think we can BOTH agree that safer streets is a good common goal, of which I have supported my point.

  49. Beard,

    I wrote a less concise reply than I wanted, and so am trying again.

    The disconnect here is that you desire to focus the debate around use in criminal (activity as a percentage of that activity) as a way to measure whether it's needed and more importantly, appropriate when weighed against risk.

    I get that you are gauging risk by way of whether or not it is a statistically large percentage of use. However, that was never in dispute, and I've said that a number of times before. Yet, you keep coming back to it. It appears you keep doing so because you don't want to address my points (though I've addressed yours).

    Succinctly then in response to your point and so that we can move past it, saying that simply because something isn't a large number relative to an even LARGER number isn't justification to allow their use. The number of air planes destroyed by explosives is very small when compared to the number of total air flights or when compared to all other crimes on air planes, should we therefore simply TRUST that that, since the vast number of passengers are both not suicidal nor interested in committing acts of terrorism, that no one will use explosives? You seem to be trying to change this discussion from one of need vs. cost, to trying to say that since the RELATIVE cost is low, there's no need to consider the cost/need contrast. I disagree entirely, as do the courts. There aren't 10 instances per year that I can find where some civilian successfully saves their life with a semi-auto rifle and/or using a high-capacity magazine. There are MANY more than 10 lives lost per year to these weapons. Let's keep the apples total lives saved, to apples, total lives lost, comparisons in place please, rather than changing the subject to the percentage of crimes committed with these weapons.

    On to my primary point (once again) and which it seems once again you've ducked. The "danger" element here is about the excessive firepower of these weapons and the inherent prospect of collateral/additional damage that extra firepower represents. As a contrast for you consider two things, farmers from time to time need to blow up/remove stumps from fields. To do so they commonly use black powder. Black powder is fully sufficient for the job. Some farmers might WANT to use Semtex, however, Semtex is a controlled explosive because it is quite powerful (as compared to black powder), but more importantly cannot be smelled by bomb sniffing dogs. Consequently, since there is no NEED for the firepower, and the access to that firepower enhances the relative and inherent risk, the explosive is controlled. Do you think it should not be? Would you trust 330m Americans to NOT use Semtex, including religious radicals, to engage in acts of terror? Why? Is there any need to allow them? The answer is no, just like the answer to allowing Americans to have semi-auto rifles does not meet the inherent (and well proven) risk. More lives are lost by far than are saved, not more lives are lost (or less) than to handguns, more lives are in absolute terms, than are saved. Since the basic right of self-defense can be met with less firepower, your NEED is not proven sufficient to overcome that greater risk. That's the point. If you want to somehow argue the need is sufficient, great, please do. If you want to somehow argue there is no risk, again, please do - but argue it in absolute, because simply saying that only 200 people die vs. 15,000 isn't adequate, because to allow 200 to die to save 5 is wholly out of balance and it is the latter that is the point.

  50. Beard,

    First, I use military hardware to make a point because you chose to not consider the point when using something less. You preferred to instead discuss crime statistics rather than the fairly obvious fact that weapons capable of high rates of fire and of firing many rounds before reloading are inherently more capable of causing damage and therefore MORE DANGEROUS.

    No one, least of all me, has been disingenuous. I have, unlike you, discussed every point you've made, and I'd like to think, discharged each.

    By contrast, I'm unclear how you could possible confuse the idea of "needlessly dangerous" with "causing more deaths", those aren't synonymous, one might be causational to the other were there an equivalent number in use, but there aren't.

    Further, as you said, it's easier to carry a .25 than an AR15, but I've already stipulated that it is obvious that banning a .25 would violate constitutional protections, even if it would, in aggregate save lives. I will even agree banning handguns would save FAR more lives than banning semi-auto rifles and high capacity magazines, but do you honestly want to try to say a .25 is a more dangerous weapon than an AR-15? We both know it is not.

    Further still, while I understand you think it's not feasible to own an M16, that isn't the same thing as or correct or proper (or improper or incorrect). You clearly feel it is proper, just not practical. I heard you, and I already knew it's not practical, telling me several times doesn't make your point any better, it just means you prefer to talk about that point rather than acknowledge the point being made that such a weapon represents firepower. You've even acknowledged it represents a higher risk of collateral damage, which essentially makes the point anyway. So, clearly, there's a needless risk of collateral damage with a semi-auto rifle or a weapon with a high capacity magazine. The very slim chance it may prove useful, but that risk doesn't mitigate the additional loss of life which far exceeds the number of lives saved.

    Last, the "glorifying violence" isn't crap - it's really the root of the issue in many respects. Changing the tone on firearms is essential to changing the level of firearm violence. You may not agree, but that does not make it untrue. You may not want to discuss it, but again, that doesn't make it untrue. If you want to argue that having more guns in the US makes us more safe, please cite facts that support this contention.

  51. Beard, the streets aren't safer by having semi-automatic rifles, that point has not been supported. Neither, frankly are they safer by having numerous armed, relatively unrestrained civilians walking them. That point has not been argued, nor has it been made, by you or anyone else.

    1. I think this is the disconnect we're stuck on. All I am talking about is net harm vs. Net gain for society. Seems you're looking for some line in the sand that simply doesn't exist on gun greater than X is too powerful, so anything greater than X should be banned/restricted.

      Meanwhile, you observations are not untrue, but your point that say a semi-automatic rifle does more harm to society than benefits is indeed untrue. Same with having more armed people being a net harm.


      More guns in the public, lower crime rate. Is it causative? Maybe not, but the argument that a net harm is happening CANNOT be made.

      Now I'm not saying any one factor is 100% harmless. I see this more of prohibition of alcohol. During that time period there was less causal drinking, which few could argue was BAD for society. Still studies showed that dangerous alcoholics didn't slow their consumption by much. Also you had unskilled people cooking up their own booze, sometimes to disastrous effect such as people accidentally distilling shine mostly of methanol, or cooking up "bathtub gin" in lead-painted tubs with toxic effects. Further you had the moonshiners of the south and the Rum Runners of the north, and the violent reign of Al Capone.

      As it turned out the problems with allowing people to drink and get drunk were far more benign than the unintended consequences of prohibition.

      So maybe we're arguing past each other here.

  52. Yes, Beard, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is that you feel/believe facts support that semi-auto rifles and weapons with high cap magazines do less net harm than they provide in gain. I think that this is both untrue in the absolute and equally importantly, in the analysis of firepower required, not just instance of use.

    First, the evidence suggests there are almost zero instances of semi-auto rifles being used in self-defense (note, by civilians, we've already agreed the police are a different matter). So, the NET gain is very nearly zero. Yet, the most conservative of crime stats suggest that semi-auto weapons are used to commit not less than 200 murders a year (let alone accidental shootings, suicides, etc..). Other analysis pegs the number closer to 1000/year all-in (suicides, etc..) and that's JUST deaths, not including accidental wounds, shootings which are not fatal, etc..

    However, that's only in the absolute, in the only VERY slightly more abstract, the question isn't about the weapons themselves anyway, but the firepower they provide. Both categories are almost never (close enough to zero to be zero) necessary for self-defense, meaning the high rate of fire and high number of rounds are just about NEVER (as far as I know, NEVER) required, which is where we started. Consequently, virtually ANY improper use, since these weapons aren't necessary to secure your rights, make it almost imperative that they should not be available. They cost us far more in lives than they save.

    Last, and I get you don't want to go here, so feel free to ignore, but on a higher order scale, the people walking around with these weapons strapped to their backs while confronting law enforcement sends a message that they are on the edge of needing to use them (which they aren't). It creates in the minds of a small number of "militia types" a feeling that they should start (perhaps) not just carrying, but acting out. We've seen evidence of this in shootings around the country (in Pennsylvania and New York). it also promotes the idea that we should walk around armed to "intimidate" and from that we see some people who cannot stop there, who think taking out their arms is ok, waving them around is OK, and that frankly makes law enforcement nervous AND, more importantly, sends a message that guns and the threat of violence they carry, is a reasonable solution to fear, crime, etc.. when it virtually NEVER is. Not never, just very rarely. When you weigh the gun deaths in society against those rare circumstances, the justification for carrying guns around all over fades to foolishness. It's a right, but it's a right that we are killing ourselves in believing works very well, and semi-auto and high capacity weapons are used in about 80% of mass shootings, whatever the other relatively comparatively minor use data shows. In summary, there is no need for the firepower, and their net loss far exceeds any nearly non-existent net gain.

  53. On a second point you made, and briefly as I want to stay on point. You are, imho, making an assertion which isn't valid. You agree it MIGHT not be true, I assert it's not true at all. Gun ownership isn't markedly different today than it was in 2001, yet violent crime has fallen since 1995. Gun ownership in 1990 was HIGHER than in 1970, yet gun violence sky-rocketed in the 1980's (due to drug related violence). Further, the experience of other nations suggest it is quite effective in reducing gun violence to reduce gun ownership, and nearly no evidence exists to the contrary (where an increase in ownership decreased crime). In short, gun ownership not only ISN'T causational to lower crime, it's not really even correlated unless you take a very narrow slice of time. There is also no relationship to prohibition other than you MAY see some effort to skirt the law as you did when the Brady ban on assault rifles was in place. One point for you to consider as well, Beard, the crime rate in the US started falling sharply even WHILE the Brady ban on assault weapons was in effect, and the removal of the ban has not materially affected the crime rate curve. The bottom line is that crime relates to something OTHER than gun ownership, always has, and clearly has no relation to semi-auto weapon access or access to high capacity magazines.

  54. Sorry for the delay, Pen, the Holiday Weekend was busy for me. Hope you had a happy Independence day. I sure did.

    I think the crux of our debate rests with exactly what you said here in noting that the rise and fall of violent crime around the time of the 1994 Federal Assault Weapons ban (which essentially covers the firearms and accessories we're debating) had nothing to do with the weapons, but with the popularity of Crack Cocaine in America, the drug trade and gangs to make import and distribute it, and the police tactics to uphold the law.

    In the ten years where semi-auto rifles were heavily restricted, and magazines that held more than 10 rounds were banned from production, there was a drop in crime, but we both know this was a factor in police stepping up their game to fight gang-related and drug related crime. Further when the AWB was allowed to Sunset in 2004 crime continued to fall, and has continued to do so.

    Debating the gun issue is pointless when we should be talking about the REAL cause of violent crime in America which is the war on drugs.

    This response was intentionally short, it wasn't because I was ignoring any of your points (well except for the Open carry one, which is a topic for another day) but I'm trying to stay short and to the point so we don't end up beating around the issue.

  55. Beard, I appreciate your concise reply. I agree with you that access to guns really has no bearing on reducing crime. I would disagree with your third paragraph (at least in part). I agree that without question the rise in the trafficking of crack lead to a sharp rise in violent crime in the inner cities of the United States from 1985 through 1999 (or so), and then a fall off following various changes in the law (including very importantly community policing), but that is hardly all violent crime, nor even the major source of violent crime. At least based on current date, the rough numbers are that 2000 of the 15000 or so homicides in the US each year are related to gang activity, with the remaining 13000 simply a wife shooting her husband, or the reverse, and so on. In short, that level of crime has stayed fairly constant, regardless of the Brady bill, but mass shootings have become more common, I believe MUCH more common, and assault weapons and high capacity magazines are used in 80% of those. The point being that violent crime really is not at all restricted to gang activity. I know much of rural America believes this is the case, but it's not really true. Crimes "of passion" are far more commonly the source of murder. Such crimes are MUCH more easily committed to the point of being fatal by access to firearms. Still, that's not the point. Mass shootings are very rarely crimes of passion.

    Instead, mass shootings are enabled to be more impactful by access to such weapons. Since we can agree those weapons are an very small portion of total crime usage, and an even lower percentage of self-defense needs, the point ultimately is that these weapons provide an inadequate positive value to offset their avoidable collateral/additional opportunity for harm. They aren't an absolutely large portion of crimes (obviously), but neither do they lower crime. They simply make it much easier to do more damage. Consequently, since they're not needed to secure your rights, they're not needed nor should they be desired, in a larger society. They are open to be restricted because they don't meet a basic right and they fail the positive benefit test, while passing a ban meets the positive benefit test without unduly (or even at all) restricting your basic rights.

  56. Also Beard, your point and my reply, didn't even come CLOSE to touching on all gun related deaths. There are, best guess, 30,000 or so suicides and fatal accidental shootings in the US each year, While semi-auto rifles and large capacity magazines have little bearing on those numbers, their access is a reflection of the glorification of such firepower, and THAT glorification leads to larger levels of gun ownership, which leads to greater access during fits of despair or access by children and so on. THAT is the larger point, that the glorification of such "military style" hardware has lead to a fatuous belief that firepower solves problems. Far from it, in fact lower levels of gun ownership, both in the US and worldwide, GENERALLY correlates very strongly to lower levels of crime, of successful suicide and obviously of accidental shootings. In looking at the impact of semi-auto rifles and high capacity magazines on our society, no look is complete without evaluating that perspective, such perspective being that it is our love affair with guns which, in part at least, fuels greater violence, not retards it.

  57. Your statements above simply aren't true or supported. You've noted that "military Style Weapons" are somehow a menace, yet you note that laws against them had no effect, nor do they really show up in the day-to-day crimes.

    Your postulate that mass shootings are on the rise is patently false, and I have presented data showing that. You have not made any effort to disprove that, nor could you as the sources I've cited are rock solid.

    Also you're hitting on one of my huge pet-peeves in this (globally, not locally) debate, which is conflating "Gun Death" with "Violent Crime". That's really a hard number to discuss globally as many nations have vastly different definitions to crimes we have a set idea on. In the united states when a body is found with stab wounds or bullet wounds, or a stomped-in head, once police confirm the injuries were not self-inflicted, nor caused by accident or negligence of another this case is classified as a "Murder". In the UK this EXACT same body would be classified as a "Homicide of Interest". Only once a person has been convicted of the crime of "Murder", does this death get classified as "Murder" over there. Seems like a moot point, but when you look at gang killings in the US which make up a bulk of the dead bodies we find, the vast majority of them are forever unsolved cases. In Boston I know the number is approximately 70% of all murder victims never have a conviction. Also when you look at individual state data, really the numbers only correlate with population density. Northern New England most people have at least one gun, but violent crime rates are very small, same with many of the Western States.

    Meanwhile states where gun ownership is smaller due to regulation, but population density is high, you have high homicides.

    The idea that guns cause suicide is pure foolishness. Yes 50% of all suicides in the US are by gun, still the US suicide rate isn't much high or lower than similar high-income countries, even ones where gun ownership is VERY small.

    So you may FEEL that ownership of certain guns (or guns in general) have a negative impact on society, but they simply don't. I'll again ask you to present some data if you have any, but as of yet you have presented none.

    1. Point of fact here, 'military style weapons', as in the assault-style weapons, show up in crime on a daily basis.

    2. And yes, it is a matter of well-researched fact that guns DO cause suicide, in so far as it is documented that having a gun appears to lead to the more impulsive patterns of suicide, where NOT having that particular method of suicide available decreases suicides. Other methods of committing suicide are in contrast associated with long term planning and much greater determination, but are less frequently successful because the methods are less reliably lethal. Since so many people recover from the mental illness or oppressive circumstances that lead them to attempt or commit suicide, and can go forward leading successful and productive lives, these should be considered as avoidable deaths by people having more restrictive access to firearms.

      Contrary to the ignorant impression of many people, suicides tend to be method-specific. In some cases, for example, simply making a certain bridge unavailable to people to commit suicides -- suicide 'proofing' them, as is currently being contemplated for the Golden Gate Bridge for example' -- leads to marked reductions in incidences of suicide, even when another bridge might be available nearby.

      And yes, our gun culture has a hugely negative effect on our society, and the relative success in avoiding gun violence in other countries with more restrictive gun laws demonstrates that.

    3. Penigma has requested you stay out of this debate, Dog Gone, and requested I not directly address your points.

      I will hold to his request.

    4. No. Pen has NOT requested I stay out of this debate. In phone conversations, he's made it quite clear that I'm welcome.

    5. WB,

      If I said mass shootings were on the rise inaccurately, I'll apologize, but it's my impression they are based on past discussions and data I've seen elsewhere. Perhaps it was deaths related to mass shootings. It is further my impression suicide rates in the US are higher than in other countries of a similar background on a per capita basis. I'll check that of course. If it is true that it's equal, you'll get one point. Given your down three or four, you need it, but I'll give it to you certainly either way.

      The fact that 80% of mass shootings involved high capacity magazine equipped weapons is NOT in dispute. Moreover, you agree the potential for multiple shootings and collateral damage is enhanced by higher firepower. You agree further such firepower is rarely (if nearly never) necessary for self defense. I postulate, and feel it's indisputable, that such firepower leads to more deaths. Point one for me.

      Going further, there is little available comprehensive data on crime in the US, in part due to handcuffs laid on the federal government by the NRA. So we can't measure some things, such as, for example, the number of semi-auto weapons used in home defense because, as far as I can find, there are NO such stats on a federal level and many states also don't keep that data. Not point two for me, as we haven't been arguing this, but I will say that point two for me is that semi-auto weapons aren't necessary for defense (point two).

      Whether our crime stats are measurable versus other nations I think is a canard. Yes, they measure things differently in one way or another, the baseline overall data, deaths by unnatural reasons, IS measured, it's measured by the likes of the WHO. I think your point here is obfuscation, not purposeful, but obfuscation. There ARE comprehensive measuring organizations which can provide some baseline data. I think you cannot possibly suggest with a straight face that there is lower gun violence in the US than in Germany or the UK or France, would you like to try? Point three, we have higher rates of gun crime, despite having more guns. Do you want to attempt to argue we have lower crime?

  58. All I have to go from this this request:

    Lastly, to DG and to you -

    DG - I engaged Beard here. This is my debate/discussion. I didn't talk about gun laws ON PURPOSE, please don't change the subject. I don't need you to. I want to stay on the need for guns vs. the want of firepower ON PURPOSE.

    Beard, while I agree you don't owe DG an answer, being respectful never hurts. You've followed our rules, we'll do the same of course.

    Either way, if you two want to have a debate, have it elsewhere please, you're hijacking the discussion and that's NOT ok with me. "

    I am still honoring it, and whatever you two have discussed did not include me.

    1. I believe that has been superseded when I provided content on topic in rebutting you.

    2. This seems to be a more accurate identification- Reem Saleh Al-Riyashi, a Palestinian

    3. Not how I read it, so I will respectfully wait for Penigma to return to this thread.

    4. The invitation back into the discussion came when I provided Pen with the court decision upholding the DC ban on both assault and assault style weapons and large capacity magazines, from the New York Times, Oct. 2011.

      The presumption was that I had specific reference material to offer that was useful and germain to the discussion that he did not have as readily to hand.

  59. You also, incorrectly, equated the majority of crime statistics as being primarily traceable to urban/gang violence. That's patently untrue. Point four (or maybe five, see below).

    Those who tote around semi-auto weapons on their backs are championing a false idea that their weapons make them more safe. There is NO evidence that is true. While there is the remote chance they'll use those weapons in self-defense, there is VAST evidence that it is far more likely, on an empirically measured basis, not individual anecdote (e.g. the non-evidenciary and therefore meaningless level), that such a weapon (or just easy access to weapons) will be used ON them or someone they love (at a rate of 20:1). So, weapons do not equate to greater safety, not by a darned site (point 5). So while you "don't like" equating gun violence to violent crime, that's too bad, but there's plenty of evidence that many violent crimes are committed with firearms, in fact, one of the definitional concepts of what constitutes a violent crime is the use of a deadly weapon, most of the time that being a firearm.

    The broader point still remains. There is no need for these weapons or magazine capacity. They DO allow for greater carnage/collateral damage. They DO allow those interested in killing more people to do so more easily, in fact as I recall one of the comments by a judge on this point is that the only need for high capacity magazines was to shoot (and kill) more people more easily. Since they don't meet any necessary constitutional standard (a point you have not disputed successfully), they can AND SHOULD be restricted. They are needless and they reduce, not enhance, public safety, even if only on a small level The ONLY argument I've heard which carried any weight with me was that if the number of deaths attributable to semi-auto weapons or high cap magazines were 10 (or 1) would it be worth the time or effort? If it were only 10, I'd say no, but it isn't. It's maybe 400, maybe 1000, and yes, that's enough. It's also a contributing factor toward our self-destructive attitude that guns save lives. On a broad level, they do not. We cannot strip them from the people, but we can work to change that foolish perception.

    I'll be back to you on suicide and mass shootings.

  60. WB,

    Ok, you get one (suicide rates) in the US are roughly comparable to other nations. I'll go one further, that undermines my statement that access to firearms makes suicide more prevalent. Unlike you, I'll even modify my stance on this point. Clearly access to firearms here isn't the driving point on suicide rates.

    However, on the rate of mass shootings, you are dead wrong, at least over the past 20 years, and especially not true with respect to mass shooting deaths. Those have gone up.

  61. WB, you're right on one, wrong on the other.

    Suicide rates are comparable in the US, so I'll drop that point and modify my thinking entirely. Would you do the same?

    Mass shootings ARE higher, and deaths are far higher,

  62. In the period from 2003-2013, there were 33 mass shootings, from 1991 to 2002, there were 24, from 1982 to 1990, there were 9. That's thirty years of data. Our gun love affair is not helping.

  63. I'm glad we're getting away from the suicides.

    As for the Mass Shootings, all you can present is data from the extremely anti-gun to a fault Mother Jones, who has been willing to bend numbers and use bad data to support their agenda. I've posted other data that says otherwise. Sorry I can't concede that point.

    Ok I guess you REALLY want to have a debate about the open carry of Rifles in Texas. This is NOT about self defense. This is about the open carry laws in Texas. It is illegal to carry a firearm in Texas (or Florida for that matter). Florida has exceptions to "Sporting purposes" so a Florida pro-gun group every month holds a fishing trip where people string their rods in public places and open carry their guns. Texas has an exemption to antique handguns and all rifles, so this is where the protests have gone. While we can agree the etiquette and safety practices are dead wrong with this action, there have been NO (ZERO) violent incidents.

    Also there have been several cases where the Bloomberg counter-protests have overstepped their bounds and been barred from the private establishment.

    It's a mess, but the key point is that Texas and Florida are hot, sub-tropical states that require firearms lawfully carried (barring the few narrow exceptions) to be concealed. This is as restrictive as the recent laws in Wisconsin where firearms were required to be carried ONLY openly, even in the depths of their frigid winter. There were also protests there, but since their concealed carry laws have been passed that has stopped. The same will happen when these states join the rest of America and enact more reasonable laws.

    Lastly, you talk about there being "no need" for these rifles. That isn't how the laws work. Again the supreme court has ruled that your desires are illegal at the federal level, and we don't base our laws on NEED. So that's not a valid argument in this country.

  64. I posted the other videos in this series here. I really think his points really tie into the argument we're having. So here's the latest video


  65. Also just found this DOJ study

    On page 10 it indeed states that the majority of homicides in this country are male-on-male, and over 90% of those crimes are "Drug or Gang Related".

  66. Beard,

    You need to learn how to read tables, it says no such thing. It says that 93.4% of GANG RELATED homicides were committed by males. Please learn how to observe the data. The tables on page 10 are PURELY about how the crimes break down by sex, nothing else. Your read of the data is utterly and incredibly wrong.

    I'll post more momentarily, but let me elucidate you on what that report ACTUALLY says for a moment.

    It says the rate of murder for 18-24 year olds has fallen since 1993 by from 43.1/100k to 26.2/100k or a drop of 40% (rough guess).

    It says that your need to "protect yourself" has fallen dramatically since 1993, a period during which there was an assault weapons ban, and a period during which FEWER not more people were armed.

    It says that over 50% of murders were known to each other (well in fact), not strangers, which account for a much smaller percentage of murders overall (22%)

    Please go back and read the report more carefully, this time recognizing the tables (by and large) aren't talking about total numbers of homicides, but rather total for that particular type of evaluation (i.e. the number of black males kill by firearms was X%, by arson Y%, by poison Z%), not that the number of blacks killed by firearms represented X% of all homicides.

  67. If you look on page 25, you'll see that in fact, of the circumstances where the nature of the homicide was determined, only about 1000 were gang related, not 90%, 1000 doesn't even come to 10% You are quite incorrect

  68. As for being done, in all honesty WB, I'm weary of replying to the same, often incorrect and nearly always tangential points. I thought we'd long moved past whether guns were relevant to crime prevention, yet apparently in your zeal, you bring up crime data again, without being careful enough to have read the report thoroughly enough to understand it. It seems you cherry-picked the data, sought what you were looking for, without comprehending it.

    As far as Mother Jones goes, if you have other data, present it. If you have proof Mother Jones is factual wrong, show it. I couldn't find anything which refuted it, and attacking the data simply because of the source is nothing more than worthless ad hominem and suggests you don't have proof to refute it.

    I did not and do not care to debate open carry. I think people who feel the need to walk around openly displaying firearms are craven, but I didn't bring it up to debate whether they have the right. Personally, I think that but for the likes of Antonin Scalia (the most judicially activist judge on the bench), the 2nd Amendment wouldn't have been incorporated and so, NO, you wouldn't have that right, but it has been and you do and I've been ABUNDENTLY clear that I accept it. I'm not sure why you feel compelled to keep arguing points not in contention.

    However, I do most certainly feel that these displays of weapons are intentionally done to attempt to intimidate, if nothing else to "let people know" the people walking around with an AK aren't going to stop doing so peaceably, or so they'd like to think of themselves. Regardless, it doesn't promote any sense of calm, peacefulness or civility. It doesn't make for a "polite" society, in fact, quite the opposite.

    Back on point then, whether suicide in the US is on par with peer nations doesn't mitigate the rate of accidental shootings, and it most certainly doesn't address the fact that semi-auto rifles and high capacity magazines represent needless firepower, needless to support your constitutional liberties. That they don't cause great harm by themselves is no defense. As a way of illustrating that point, I'd ask you to consider pool drains. Several years ago there were a number (quite small number) of high profile cases of children being killed when they became stuck to the bottom of a pool by the force of the suction of the pump attached to the drain on the bottom of the pool. NO ONE complained when the laws were changed and the rules were updated to make pool drains and pumps come up to a new code. The total number of deaths were trivial when compared to the total number of drownings or deaths of children. The point was that the protection of the "property rights" of pool owners did not trump the public good of preventing easily preventable deaths. The public good FAR exceeded the rather marginal cost to pool operators to install either better drain covers, pumps with obstruction detection, or both. These weapons you say are "not the problem" simply don't pass the sniff test of not causing FAR more harm (not far more relative harm - relative to total crime or firearms) but absolute harm, than they provide benefit and every benefit they supposedly provide can be achieved by other weapons.

  69. The point in the end being, by STARTING to reverse the trend of greater levels of weaponry, perhaps we can also reverse the penchant to use such weapons. You can say they aren't related, but the fact is that lower levels of people owning guns has coincidentally aligned with lower levels of death by guns. Not causal, no, but not unrelated either.

    So yes, if you insist on not attempting to show a positive value or insist on not attempting to argue these guns represent a constitutionally protected and necessary class, we're done, because that was the premise of the argument started some 115 posts ago and for which you agreed to try to argue, rather than arguing about crime rates, including arguing them incorrectly as you most recently did.

    1. You keep saying the same things that are untrue. I've said it all before and Put lots of links above that you have ignored.

      This has stopped being a debate.

    2. No, Beard, you posted a link to a crime report. Then you made a comment which was not correct, saying that 90% plus of murders were gang related, when in fact what that page on that report said was that 90% plus of gang related murders were committed by men. I then pointed out that ON YOUR LINK, on the report you cited, it showed that roughly 1000 murders per year are gang related, or less than 10% of the cases of murder for which they know the cause.

      The only person who seems to be repeating things, true or otherwise, is you. You insist on pointing to crime, when we (BOTH you and I) stipulate that crime isn't the issue and never was the issue. Semi-auto weapons don't get used that much in crime.

      You cannot, and have not, argued for a good reason to allow people to have semi-auto weapons or high capacity magazines. That was the fundamental premise of the discussion which has never been much of a debate (other than a brief debate about suicide where I FREELY conceded your point after doing my own research to confirm your point). I've been very open to the things you say and have not, not at all, said something which wasn't true after you pointed out it was not true (which has only happened on that one point). Yet, you continue to ignore (seemingly) accidental shootings and our very high rate of gun violence (in general). I've also debated with you (and won) that semi-auto weapons have unintended collateral effects which you agreed, just like a tank, make them impractical and poor choices for defense.

      So, in truth, no, I've not repeated things which aren't true (unless you care to point out other cases).

      But, YES, in truth, you insist on ONLY discussing crime - I COULD, quite easily, beat you about the face and neck with crime data about semi-auto weapons which would show they ARE used in crime far more often than they save lives, but that wasn't the debate, the debate was, are they used to save lives in a proportion which justifies their legality.

      So, if you want to get off the crime debate, unless you want me to beat you up on that point, and get back to the thing you were asked to do and agreed to do when we started, namely, justifying their legality on a constitutional level, rather than insisting on pointing out how little they're used in crimes, then we can have a debate, finally, for the first time.

      Otherwise, you're wrong, it hasn't stopped being a debate, it never WAS a debate. You did exactly what all right-wingers do on this subject, you ducked it, over and over again.