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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Open Forum: Gun Control; Recognizing Problems and Possible Solutions

As expected, the horrific tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has sent the country into a whirlwind over gun control versus gun rights. Debates have been conducted on Sunday morning talk shows, Facebook, and social circles. I, for one, have been engaged in numerous Facebook debates since the tragedy unfolded as it seems there is no "waiting period" before starting up a discussion. While monitoring my Facebook feed at noon on Friday, the morning of the attack, I noticed gun control debates already flaring up on the social networking site quickly. Keep in mind, this sad attack on innocent school children was not the final straw that started this debate. It's a debate that happens constantly, and legally, it's debated and ruled upon often:

This Open Forum is dedicated to a discussion on gun control.

It seems that in the wake of a tragedy, everyone quickly becomes an expert. From Constitutional law to policy administration, Facebook and other areas of social gathering alike have become filled with opinionated "pundits" who feel they have the solution.

But what really matters? What are the problems, if any? What are the solutions? That's the purpose of this Open Forum: to debate these very important questions and factors individually.

A Problem? First, I ask, "do we have a gun violence issue in this country?" Well, it depends on whom you ask. With an estimated 248 million guns in our society, some people would say that we don't, and that the only reason it appears we do is because of the over-reporting and sensationalism propagated by the media. I'm certainly not downplaying the significance of mass shootings whatsoever; I'm merely pointing to what many believe, statistically, is a non-issue. They say that with the amount of guns that exist in this country, gun crime is relatively low. Agreement or not, I certainly see the reasoning behind this argument, just as I see the reasoning behind the notion of "one life lost is one too man." But we're not discussing one incident. We are trying to determine if there is a "problem," and that's the question I ask. So does a problem truly exist? Is it over-sensationalism with low statistics, or justified concern as these incidents happen? For those that do feel a problem exists, I'm asking for people to share their opinions as to what the problem really is. Identify it. State its causes. Problem recognition is the first step to resolving an issue.

A Solution? If a problem doesn't exist, the conversation might end here. But assume there is a gun "problem" in this country. If problems aren't served with proper solutions, they persist and become epidemics. So, what is the solution?

Many solutions are rhetorically kicked around from stricter gun laws to permitting citizens to be armed in public. But let's have a sensible debate. Let's throw out the emotions of Aurora and Newtown (this isn't being insensitive; this is being pragmatic... a gun control debate will happen at some point), and focus on real issues. Throw out all the anecdotal, meaningless stats of, "well, in Great Britain, guns are banned," as well as "Switzerland is a heavily armed society with no gun violence." Examples of other countries with different socio-economic, immigration, cultural, income, race, political, etc,. conditions are meaningless. How can anyone logically expect a country with so many differences to magically be a cause for a relation with gun issues. Let's please stick to meaningful information that is relevant to OUR gun culture.

I'm attempting to keep my personal opinions out of this as much as I can since I want this to be an open debate. I will say that I believe that guns will happen, and criminals will be criminals regardless of the law. Disarming citizens who wish to protect themselves give evil-doers an incentive to target areas of congregated disarmed citizens. I, as an economist, believe in incentivization/disincentivization. If a criminal with evil intent wishes to do harm, as was done in Newtown, Connecticut, no law will stop his attempt (Lanza stole firearms, stole a car, brought them into a school, and murdered people - evil intent here, as always, trumped law). Sadly, he will choose an area where he knows he can do the most harm before leaving this world, and that's what we've seen here... again. If an evil-doer (and yes, this IS the problem, to me... evil will ALWAYS exist) is disincentivized by deterrence, the knowledge of his sure failure to reach his goal (in many cases, to kill or injure the most people) because he knows if he starts shooting in a heavily-armed place he will quickly be taken down, perhaps he would be deterred from attacking these areas. Do you think it's a coincidence many of these attacks happen at places where people are defenseless?

Again, let's have a sensible debate. Take a pause and analyze the ramifications of laws or less regulation. For example, if we increased gun regulation laws, what would happen? If we decreased it, or made it easier for regular citizens to carry guns, what would happen? These are fair questions, and they take us from rhetoric to well-thought questions and answers.

Is it us? Is it Society? Blame, if any... where does it fall? The parents? The politicians? Video games and movies? The Constitution? Is there blame? To me, evil will happen... and in my opinion, it's the difference between letting the firecracker fizzle out (waiting for the shooter to finally turn the gun on himself after inflicting maximum damage once it starts), or allowing a civil, trained, armed citizen defend themselves and others when an attack occurs. This certainly won't be the last massive attack. People will become enraged and lash out if they had guns or not. A major question is: should we try to stop it before it starts? Can the government legislate good behavior? Will laws stop it? Is it an issue of mental illness? If so, what happens if a perfectly sane and sound person legally obtains a gun or two and then one day just decides it would be fun to go on a rampage? Should we limit the rights of all to protect against the rampage of a few? As I have said, I think these vicious attacks, large and small, will happen from now until the end of time. Should we accept them? Absolutely not. Can we prevent them? No. So what can we do to ensure that when the do happen (yes, it's a matter of when), lives are saved and not senselessly lost?

I can list questions and issues all day, but those are just my takes. What do YOU think should happen? If this was your world, and you could easily shape it any way you want (realistically... for example, you can't say "there would be no guns" - that just isn't going to happen), how would you do it? More laws? Less laws?  More government agencies? 

Please share your opinions below.

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  1. I think this is a fair debate. Seriously though, what do libs think would happen if we made really really strict gun laws? I want to know. Please dems, answer that.

  2. These 26 children and teachers (and indeed the annual homicide toll of around 9000) are the price society pays for essentially unrestricted access to the roughly 350 million firearms in circulation. It's a price that will continue to be paid until society comes to it's senses and decides to do something about it. This could be the straw that breaks the camel's back but I doubt it. Interestingly Pratt (what an appropriate name) seems to be one of the few visible spokesmen for the status quo. The rest of them at the NRA and in congress seem to have gone into hiding. No doubt they'll emerge from their bunkers into safety when the bodies of these 20 kids are safely six foot under.

    1. Check your numbers, Otto. If the gun-related death rate is, in fact, around 8000, don't forget that a very large percentage is suicides, not homicides. Most people planning suicide will opt for another method, if a gun is not available.

      While I'm curious about your 'statistic' of "roughly 350 million firearms in circulation" that number seems higher than other estimates. (And how do you define a firearm "in circulation" ? Is it anything like a lending library?)

      Finally, how do you figure our society has "essentially unrestricted access" to firearms? I own guns, have bought guns, and once had a Federal Firearms License. I've never seen any evidence of "essentially unrestricted access" to firearms.

  3. This issue comes down to mental illness. Guns should not be restricted, but more people should be committed. If we keep allowing the mentally ill to obtain and use guns, expect more tragedies like these.

  4. If people like Lanza, Holmes, Klebold and Harris don't have guns then they're going to build bombs and use knives. These people aren't stupid. They're intelligent resourceful individuals with a mental illness. The discussion we need to be having is how does our healthcare industry address mental illness. Instead of a system where these people have to have criminal records before their illness is treated why can't they be addressed when their families and doctors recognize the problem. Instead of expending huge amounts of political resources on gun control, why can't we redirect that energy and figure out how to help the mentally ill in this country before they commit these crimes?

    Taking guns away from everyone is a feel good reaction that does nothing to solve the problem.

  5. A few possibly useful numbers to consider, U.S. deaths per year by cause:
    (I extracted these from a list at and from Wikipedia and rounded the values. I don't vouch for the absolute accuracy, but the numbers should be close enough for our purposes.)
    heart disease - 175000
    influenza and pneumonia - 28000
    traffic accidents - 11000
    skin cancer - 4000
    firearms - 3000 (gun homicides from wikipedia, total violence related deaths 3700)
    hiv/aids - 2600
    alcohol - 1400
    fires - 1100
    lightning - 50 (average, last 20 years, from Wikipedia)

    Firearms deaths were ranked number 34th on the list. What this says to me is that, nationally, guns and deaths caused by them are not a huge problem. There is no justification for taking drastic measures that would sacrifice our rights and throw away the deterrent value of would-be tyrants looking at an armed citizenry. Concern for "the victims" would logically lead us to ban private automobiles long before banning guns. Promoting the habitual use of sunscreen would likely save more lives than any gun control law.

    So, what, if anything, should we do in response to this latest tragedy. "We" should do nothing. The federal government for sure should do nothing. The President, while it was nice that he would offer his condolences, beyond that should have kept his mouth shut instead of trying to use the "crisis" to promote his agenda of disarming the populace. Shame on him. Same for "the media". Nutjobs who commit mass murder are looking for attention -- stop giving it to them.

    Schools and similar facilities might wish to take a few practical measures. End the nonsense of trying to declare your facility a "gun-free zone". A couple of trained and armed staff members would be sufficient to deter most people. That's about it. Anything more than that tends to become abusive of the rights of innocent citizens and, in practical terms, is wasteful due to the diminishing returns. It is not possible to create a guaranteed perfectly safe environment, so don't try. Take reasonable, practical steps and get on with your life.

    If you're a state lawmaker wanting to do some "good": make driver's education a mandatory part of your school curriculum.
    If you're a parent concerned about your children: teach them to avoid excessive sun exposure.
    If you're the media: stop sensationalizing and over-publicizing these relatively rare tragedies.
    If you're wringing your hands over the "epidemic" of gun violence: find something better to do with your time.

    1. Couldn't have said it better myself. In fact, there really isn't anything I could add. Thanks for stealing my thunder, Scott ;-)

    2. Hi Scott,

      You said:
      "The President, while it was nice that he would offer his condolences, beyond that should have kept his mouth shut instead of trying to use the "crisis" to promote his agenda of disarming the populace."

      Huh? I've heard all of his speeches since this event, and as far as I’ve seen he has made no announcements on gun policy reform; much less calling for 'disarming the populace.' Obama has actually been incredibly quiet on the gun control issue, and even during this time has refrained from doing much other than repeating the ambiguous "must find ways to prevent this from happening in the future" line (so far).

      Do you have a source for that?

      As far as your main point on the deaths per year, I agree and disagree with your point.

      I agree with you on the point that those numbers are important to consider in assessing what the priorities should be, and how much time/effort is worth spending combating a given issue, but the problem of course is that people draw different lines in how much and how extreme the political action a potential ~3k deaths/year calls for. Additionally, just because a cause of death ranks lower than another, is not reason enough by itself to ignore/dismiss it as 'not important enough.'

      Ultimately though, this isn’t a one-or-the-other situation either. We’re more than capable of having discussions and debating on how to address all of those issues; and again, of course, what these numbers should really be used for is assessing how much priority and how far to go.

    3. You might have missed this, Rken:

      "In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine."

      Read his speech from last night. I think the reaction to his speech is justified.

    4. I appreciate you bringing that forward, Mn4Rick, but it's still not absolutely clear.

      I'm of course able to read between the lines here, in that he likely aims to seriously address gun control. But that’s only implied, and there's no way to tell how or in what ways from that, and jumping to the "he wants to take everyone's guns away!" is a bit unfair and definitely unsubstantiated.

      He has had plenty opportunity in the past four years to try to make a stand or push for legislation on the subject, and hasn't so much as campaigned on it.

      I just don't think we can fairly conclude much at this point, at least not yet.

    5. heart disease - 175000 - health issue compounded by old age

      influenza and pneumonia - 28000 - health issue compounded by old age

      traffic accidents - 11000 - ACCIDENTAL - no malice of forethought, and yet there is an INCREDIBLE amount of money / attention spent to make sure that people understsand texting and driving / drinking and driving etc. are not acceptable. Not to mention countless restrictions on speed, requirements for driver education, periodic renewal of licenses etc. Basically the controls put in place for driving would be viewed by some as draconian if applied to gun ownership. (What if I had to bring my gun in for inspection every year?) Would you say that limits on speed are unwarranted?

      skin cancer - 4000 - health issue compounded by old age

      firearms - 3000 (gun homicides from wikipedia, total violence related deaths 3700)- Hmmmm... this is the ONLY cause of death on this list that is done with malice of forethought. If limits on driving are acceptable why not (reasonable) limits on the responsibility of gun ownership - including periodic renewal of licenses, limits on 'speed' being akin to the power of a weapon? While I readily agree that people with ill intent will not follow any of these rules - it would be a parallel argument to say that people who steal a car will not follow these rules, so might as well eliminate traffic regulations.

      hiv/aids - 2600 - Health issue
      alcohol - 1400 - Health issue
      fires - 1100 - ACCIDENTAL
      lightning - 50 (average, last 20 years, from Wikipedia)- Act of God

      My point - to use these types of deaths to support the argument that deaths caused by guns is 'not a huge problem' is a bit twisted.

      Furthermore - the one example (traffic deaths) that is most analagous to gun deaths (in that they are both untimely - although totally different in motive) typically requires more education and more follow up after the point of purchase to ensure - on an ongoing basis that the person responsible for the machinery - uses that machinery in a responsible way.

  6. **The Problem**
    Is there a gun control problem in the US? Yes.

    I defer purely to statistics when it comes to these issues.
    America ranks horribly in gun death per capita (which accounts for population differences), with the only countries worse than us being nothing that we would ever really want to compare our nation to (no offense to those countries). Third world nations with major mob, cartel, and drug problems scoring slightly worse than America is nothing to brag about.

    That said, there clearly is an issue here if we expect more of our country, which I hope we all do. I don’t even think that should be up for debate.

    Now, how to solve or address the issue, or if we can do anything about it, or how to ensure that we’re not infringing on people’s rights… that’s the real discussion to have.
    **The Solution**
    This is the hard part. I’m still developing my opinions, so I’m open to ideas.

    One thing to keep in mind on this topic though, is that these gun control conversations are often ill-placed for what they seek to accomplish.

    Unfortunately, there isn’t likely to be any form of gun control that could prevent the occasional rampage, or criminal that is absolutely set on their objective. Yet, those incidents are the ones that spark gun control conversations.

    But what gun control does help effect, are the ~12,000 gun-related suicides/homicides/etc that happen a year in America. That is what gun control is most likely to influence and reduce.

    Even though I’m not sure on how best to address this, I will say that I cannot fully agree with the idea “gun control won’t stop people from getting guns.”

    For some people, sure, it will not. But for most people, the harder it gets the less likely it will happen. This is opportunity cost; and everyone has one. There is only a certain amount of difficulty, effort, money, and risk someone will put into a certain goal. That amount is different for everyone. The lower the amount, the more likely it will be within more people’s reach.

    Point being, we shouldn’t be having these conversations because we want to stop a gun rampage, nor should that even be held as some sort of bargaining chip. On the flip side though, it shouldn’t be used as a way to dismiss the debate all together either.

    1. Apparently you didn't get the memo described above: "Throw out all the anecdotal, meaningless stats of, "well, in Great Britain, guns are banned," as well as "Switzerland is a heavily armed society with no gun violence." Examples of other countries with different socio-economic, immigration, cultural, income, race, political, etc,. conditions are meaningless."


      Other than that, it's good to hear you don't go completely off the deep end and are open minded when it comes to this.

      You are right, gun CONTROL does nothing. If someone wants to go through all the hoops and legal fights, they will. These people will be the people who want to use a gun for OFFENSIVE reasons. People that have made up their mind that they want to enact revenge on someone once they get a gun certainly will do it. No law will stop them. What will happen, as you mentioned with opportunity costs, is that people who want to get a gun for DEFENSIVE reasons won't go through the hassle. People who want to use it will, people who hope to never use it won't. What happens? You have people who still get guns (and use them for offensive purposes), but they will also find it easier to do MORE damage with those guns knowing people will be disarmed. They will also have a lot more choices to which places to shoot if more places are off limits for gun carry.

    2. Tea, that memo was in regard to looking to other country's gun control policies for how to shape our own. It said nothing about comparing per capita gun death.

      It’s odd you tried to apply that though, as if you’re implying that our culture, races, immigration, etc, and other policies are simply much more violent than everyone else and we should merely accept it as that.

      Further, it's a bit past disingenuous to try to say that the different cultures, races, socio-economic factors, etc, make all countries impossible to compare on any level and should be dismissed completely.

      No one here abides by that principle for everything, and that being the case it would be a hypocritical to suddenly pretend otherwise.

      Lost count of how many times I've heard people reference universal care, socialism, communism, or the 'socialistic European countries', or Greece, or whatever as reference for why those policies wouldn't work/shouldn’t be tried in America. You can't say all of that, and then turn around and say "but wait, you can't compare the gun-related policies across nations! It ‘working’ in one country doesn’t imply it would work the same here! Too many different cultural/race/etc factors! But oh, yeah, Greece is a great example of how America would end up if we kept spending, and Universal healthcare sucks in Y country, etc"

      I do agree that there is certainly an element of culture, race, socio-economic factors, etc, that will determine how effective certain policies are in different countries. There is no one size fits all. But that’s not a strong enough reason to dismiss all comparisons completely from discussion/debates in itself.

  7. Good afternoon,

    I'm trying to keep my personal opinions out of this to see how this debate plays out, but from reading the various news websites out there this morning, it does seem like the media is not doing their job and objectively discussing news and fact. It appears most media types are going off on their opinions about gun control. This, to me, is a very dangerous game. Passing information regarded as "news" when it's clearly subjective opinion is not the intent of the media. Additionally, what I hope to see is civil, constructive debate. It appears that from the side of the "we need more gun laws" type, the notion is to shoot (pardon the unintentional pun) first and ask questions later. I said above, "Again, let's have a sensible debate. Take a pause and analyze the ramifications of laws or less regulation. For example, if we increased gun regulation laws, what would happen? If we decreased it, or made it easier for regular citizens to carry guns, what would happen? These are fair questions, and they take us from rhetoric to well-thought questions and answers." It seems that, in the main stream at least, we won't get this luxury. It seems that, in almost knee-jerk reaction, people are NOT thinking about the ramifications of change, adaptation or reaction for more gun laws. No one tends to think through scenarios both socially, economically, criminally, etc. I hope people pause in light of this tragedy and think clearly about everything they're saying. At this blog, we do our best to preserve that.

    1. Well said, LME. Though not deep, it's like you're a political scholar.

      LOLOL okay, I'm messing. That's a little asskissish and overboard, but very well said either way.

    2. Hi LME,

      I saw an interview with a friend of the principal of Sandy Hook School. He stated the office personnel had gone through a training program to deal with unwanted intruders to their school.

      He said she was TRAINED to CONFRONT the individual(s)... which is exactly what she did - and was murdered for her heroism... and the shooter STILL got to the kids.

      They HAD a light security system and training that did NOT take into account a possible nut-job with weapons... be they guns, knives, bombs - whatever. When I saw that I asked myself: WHY train these people to CONFRONT with NO self-protection?

      I'm for armed security at all schools... but then what about the movie theaters, the malls, the post offices.. ?

      An honest police officer will tell you - they can NOT prevent murder. In the case of a mass killer, the best they can do is lessen the body count... IF they're called in time. Too often, they're too late to do anything more than gather evidence.

      If you outlaw guns - then only outlaws will be armed...

      The answer lies with responsible gun ownership, expansion of existing concealed carry - for those who choose to take the extensive training involved to get the license - and perhaps ENFORCEMENT of the laws we already have.

      In the hands of a RESPONSIBLE gun owner - the weapon IS a deterrent. There were SIX theaters within the immediate area of the Aurora shooting. He chose the ONLY one posted 'no weapons allowed'. So perhaps - even the POSSIBILITY that someone ELSE might be armed is enough to deter.

      At one time, we had gun clubs in SCHOOLS where students learned the PROPER and SAFE use and care of weapons.

      Someone here suggested trigger locks; ammo and weapon in separate areas; etc. And these are the actual LAWS in some parts of the country... Really?

      Here's how THAT goes:

      Hot Prowl Burglar: I'm here to rob/rape/kill you.
      Victim: Wait, while I go to this closet... and get my gun.
      HPB: Well, hurry up, I don't have all day.
      Victim: Oh, wait, now I have to go to this closet and get my bullets...


      The liberal left is working on their usual knee-jerk reaction and 'never let a crisis go to waste' protocol. The president used a MEMORIAL to spout his: 'I'll do everything in my 'power' to make sure this doesn't happen again' gun 'control' blather. Twitter and FaceBook were alive with 'Repeal the 2nd Amendment.'

      I suggest they research the INTENT of the 2nd Amendment, before they seek to disarm the law abiding gun owners.

      We are NOT China, Belgium, France, etc. We're NOT the UK - where BTW they're reaping the bad from THEIR decision to give up their guns.

      No matter WHAT the left wants you to believe OUR gun crime is DOWN - statistically.

      No murders - EVER - would be a great thing. Unfortunately we can NOT legislate EVIL. Evil exists - always has - always will.

      We The People CAN and DO use our 2nd Amendment right to protect ourselves from it.

    3. Hi LME,

      You said:
      "This, to me, is a very dangerous game. Passing information regarded as "news" when it's clearly subjective opinion is not the intent of the media."

      I actually very much agree with this too. I'm perfectly fine with and actually enjoy reading opinion articles, but the lines drawn between the opinion pieces and the actual news reports are becoming too blurred.

      Particularly upsetting when people start citing opinion articles as sources for their arguments, which I've seen on a few occasions now (on other blogs/websites).

  8. I think the biggest problem with gun violence in America is how it is excepted that people simply involve there everyday life with seeing or hearing gun violence take place. A teenage kid that is up to date with the latest technology ( is what most people try to do for themselves or there children) spends a lot of time in there everyday life listening to music,watching tv, and playing video games. All three of these promote gun violence. Every year or so these three thing get bigger or better and easier to access. Now you take this kid and add a couple of hardships into his life. Being bullied at school, parents devorce, or maybe there bestfriend dies in a car accident. Either way the kid is depressed and the kid is put on depression medication. Like in most gun violence situations the person is deppressed. Now put this all together and what is created......a brain washed person that is taking medicine to alter there thinking and a thought process that sees and hears gun violece on a daily base. I am not saying that this combination is our problem with gun violence, but maybe if negetive music,video games,television and medication with side affects of suiside are cut out of a persons diet it might prevent a lot of the problem. Maybe the creaters of this up to date violence should take there negativity off the market and stop putting into our kids bedroom, and maybe take the time to make something a little more up to date to do outside with to have fun. That's where kids played before gun violence was a problem.

    1. I agree that today's kids see violence projected everywhere... on TV, in their music, in video games. Heck the news replays fights at sporting events over and over.

      I've also been looking at the ages of these individuals - all in their early 20's - and looking back at WHEN our 'educators' and 'doctors' began to medicate kids for ADD and other what they considered behavioral 'abnormalities'.

      There's an interesting documentary 'The War on Kids' that outlines much of what our 'education department' is up to with regard to medicating and or indoctrinating our kids into 'submission.'

  9. SO WHAT ARE THE SOLUTIONS?!!?1? YOU ninnies keep all this spinning talk going back and forth. what are solutions? Which laws, which actions would you take?!?!?

    1. I spun nothing. Action against the shooter? Done! Crazy - not crazy - doesn't matter, he's dead.

      Any attempts to 'do something' about the crazies wandering loose among us will be met with the ACLU and others shrieking about THEIR rights. True - most mentally ill are harmless... but ONE that wasn't JUST murdered a bunch of babies...

      We do NOT need a bunch of new laws - to make the n'er-do-wells in congress feel all warm and gooey that they 'did' something... and that 'something' would likely be both ineffective AND UnConstitutional.

      We need the laws we HAVE to be enforced... which I realize sounds pretty silly, what with the EXECUTIVE BRANCH in violation (Fast and Furious!! Benghazi??) - and ZERO recourse against him or ANYONE in his administration in sight.

      Oh and somebody needs to tell Dopie Dianne (Feinstein) and other 'geniuses' in congress - the 2nd Amendment has NOTHING AT ALL to do with hunting.


      //end of rant//

  10. First of all, let's recognize that "gun control" is not about guns; it's about control.

    Look at how many recent horrific events have occurred in "gun-free zones." I avoid such places as much as possible, since I view them as a government guarantee to criminals that their victims will be unable to defend themselves. (While I sincerely and fervently hope that I will never have the need to defend myself, I do not wish to be in a place where I do not have that ability.)

    Finally, let's not overlook the clear statistical evidence that shows significantly decreased rates of violent crime associated with the passage of concealed carry legislation. No one has mentioned the one or two million times every year that the presence of a legally-carried firearm has prevented a death, injury or otherwise violent crime. (And who knows how many of these events go unreported?)

  11. On the "Is it society? Who is to blame?" question, this post may be interesting to some:

    Figure it still fits in with the gun control discussion, as some do think that this has more to do with how we treat the mentally disabled than guns.

    1. Pure warm and touchey feeley, everyone feels good happy crap. Everything is a "disease" or an "illness" no adays. That gives people the ability to wipe away responsibility. Just as one wouldn't apologize for having diabetes, no one takes responsibility for their actions if they have a "disease." The fact is, since america got soft, kids got worse. Discipline is needed. Maybe a good old fashion ass whoopin would have straighten the aurora shooter and the ct shooter out.

  12. It is my opinion that we have a people problem in America. The violence in this country is way beyond gun violence. You have young people running around assaulting defenseless (the Knock Out Game)victims that never saw it coming, including the elderly. The union members assaulting a reporter last week is another example. When a man is thrown onto the subway tracks peoples first reaction is to grab their phone and video it and take pictures?

    With the exception of the unions most of the violence as of late has been perpetrated by the younger generation (under 25). Why is that? Why does this generation of young people seem more violent? Not only are they violent, they are stupid. They video their crime and then post it on Youtube.

    As far as the gun debate goes; tighter laws on purchasing guns would not have helped the last two shootings (OR & CT) as those guns were stolen from the legal owners.

    Even if we could round up all the weapons and get rid of them, what makes anyone think we could keep them out? We can't keep millions of illegal aliens out of our country or illegal drugs. How would we magically do a better job with guns?

    One of the things that makes me cringe a little in all of the ongoing debates (in the media) is the use of the term "high powered rifle". The Bushmaster .223 is not a weapon that I would take deer hunting. Why? Because it isn't powerful enough. In fact it might be illegal to hunt deer with that low of a caliber in TN. The .223 would be more a weapon I would use to eradicate coyotes and ground hogs from the farm.

    1. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding of the .223 is that it is not a good hunting round. It was designed as a wounding round on the theory that if you kill an enemy soldier all of his buddies keep coming at you, but if you badly wound that same soldier then a couple of his buddies will stop to take care of him.

    2. Correct, Scott. My understand is that it's not a penetrating round, and is meant to distribute the bulk of the force into and throughout the flesh, often fragmentation on impact through the flesh and organs.

    3. Scott & RKen, the .223 is a great round for hunting for smaller game like coyotes (50-60 lbs). Not enough mojo for a deer though (100-200 lbs). Don't get me wrong the deer probably will eventually bleed to death, somewhere, but most people hunt deer to eat them not just to go out and shoot them so they bleed to death without ever being found. Therefore they use bigger guns and bullets.

      As far as the penetrating thing, is it possible that you mean it is not an "over-penetrating" round? I believe SWAT teams (etc) use the AR-15 type weapons in the .223 so that if they shoot a dirt bag in a house it doesn't go through the target and through the wall of the house/apartment and into an innocent bystander.

      The amount of and type of powder in addition to the type and weight of the bullet are all factors in the performance of the round. The options are numerous. Obviously the price changes as the different options are used.

      I do not know the history of the .223 round or whether it was designed to be a wounding round or not, but, I can tell you that it is an old military theory (wounding more beneficial than killing). I heard that same spiel in boot camp many moons ago. I think they figured wounding one neutralized three combatants; the wounded and two to move him to safety. Killing one, neutralized one. My theory is, a dead enemy doesn't live to fight another day. A wounded one might.

      Have a great day gentlemen.

  13. One should keep in mind the intent of the 2nd Amendment. It has little to do with hunting or even an individual's ability to defend himself against criminals. The 2nd Amendment ensures that the People retain the right and the ability to raise an armed militia as needed to defend themselves against any threat. That threat might be a foreign invasion, it might be domestic unrest, it might be an abusive government. Viewed in that light, it becomes obvious that things like assault weapon bans are nonsensical because they directly conflict with the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.
    Bear in mind also that the combination of the 2nd and 14th Amendments makes virtually all gun control laws technically unconstitutional because every such law infringes our right to keep and bear arms.

    1. Assault weapon ban or not, if our government wanted to oppress us, even if every citizen had an assault weapon we wouldn't stand much of a chance at this day in age.

      That concept originated from a time when everyone was on the same basic playing field. The best government offense was a man with a gun, and the best legally-owned citizen offense was a man with a gun.

      Needless to say, the government has far more at its disposal than any standard citizen could legally attain (and as far as I’m concerned, rightfully so… we don’t need every-day people capable of wielding gatling guns, grenades, c4, fighter jets, missile launchers, rockets, etc).

      But, that idea simply didn’t stand the test of time in its application.

  14. On a general note, a few comments I've read have said something along the lines of:
    "If we really want to deter rampages/major acts of violence, we would arm more people and have more armed personnel."

    I can't fully agree with the idea that more guns in more places would deter these acts of violence.

    I don't believe that the same person that would go through any means possible to obtain a gun and kill other people, would be deterred by the potential risk of being shot themselves. Particularly in cases like these school/public shootings and such.

    I mean, most of these people don't ever have any sort of exit strategy. They know the second they start shooting, the cops will come and ultimately, they will likely get taken out. None of them shoot a place up for 30s, and then run for their lives. Or run when someone calls 911, or even when they hear sirens.

    Heck, the majority even kill themselves.

    These people aren't afraid of death, and I can't agree with the notion that the fear of death would completely deter them.

    It would likely make it harder, yeah, but that's a different point.

    1. It has nothing to do with the fear of death. As the author correctly stated, "). Sadly, he will choose an area where he knows he can do the most harm before leaving this world, and that's what we've seen here... again."

      I agree with this. A bad guy is going to try to do the most damage, and I think the argument is to accept that when this happens, we simply don't allow him to kill as many people as he can because of the lack of defense. We take him out before he gets to kill many. He will go to a indefensed place to do the most damage (gun free zones). He cares not if he dies. He cares to do the most harm before he does.

    2. @RKen - So... because the shooter has 'no exit strategy' we shouldn't have a game plan? We should 'just wait for the good guys' to ride in on their white steeds - and save us?

      The saying: When you're seconds from death - the police are mere minutes away - is TRUE. In an incident the police are RE-active. They DON'T respond until something is ALREADY amiss.

      The principal and office staff were TRAINED to CONFRONT an intruder. IGNORED in that training - was as means of self-defense.

      Those people are heroes, they died TRYING to protect those children...I'm sorry, but a DEAD adult is absolutely NO protection for the kids.

      In a 'hot' incident, UNARMED EMT's and First Responders are trained to 'hang back' so as to NOT become PART of the 'problem.'

      Hindsight is always twenty-twenty but, what IF, at the SOUND of gun-shots and breaking glass - even ONE of those adults had been ARMED and TRAINED to take down that intruder?

      Unfortunately, we'll never know.

      Note: Of ALL the mass shooting incidents over the past years - ALL but ONE occurred in a 'gun-free zone.'

    3. @Anonymous I agree 100% with you.

    4. I think you guys missed this part of my post:
      "It would likely make it harder, yeah, but that's a different point."

      I'm not debating whether or not it could make it more difficult, or help keep people safer, or thwart their efforts, or whatever. I'm not even debating whether or not it's worth doing.

      I simply saying don't believe in the idea that people would no longer kill or go on any kind of rampages, in fear of dealing with an armed populace. I strongly believe the same type of person so intent on their objective, that no gun laws or bans would keep them from getting a gun, would likely not be afraid of death or dealing with armed people either.

    5. I think you are missing our point that we don't think it weighs on the killers mind whether he is afraid of death or dealing with armed people or not. What I am saying, what the writer said, what anon said, very clearly, is that these people are done with it all. They're on their way out. Their goal: MAXIMIZE PAIN, SUFFERING, and DEATH. I also agree that people will STILL go on rampages. What we are saying is that since these will still exist, we must be prepared for them. No killer or crazy person will forgo a killing rampage simply because "oh well, there are a lot of people with guns there." That is NOT our argument. We are saying that when he does, he will choose to go to a place where he can accomplish his goal of MAXIMIZING PAIN, SUFFERING, and DEATH. Where are these places? Those areas without a physical defense or resistance - gun free zones. What we are saying is that knowing full well that there will be more, we can try to maintain a deterrence where a killer knows his goal of MAXIMIZING PAIN, SUFFERING, and DEATH will not be met, just maybe, he wouldn't shoot up a school. Now, should he still try, well then he might get off one shot if these places were, yes, defended. He would not have met his goal. Would he still try? Maybe. But he would fail. Most importantly, he might be deterred from trying. Is this clear? Please stop twisting our arguments. Not a single person here said "well, a killer might not show up and start killing if he is afraid of getting shot." No one said this.

    6. @Oben Yes. Soft targets (gun free zones) entice maximum impact (pain/suffering/death)

      UNReported in the MOST of the Lame Stream 'news'. In the Oregon mall shooting, there WAS an ARMED civilian respondent ON SCENE. When the shooter saw this - he killed himself.

      Sadly, aside from the shooter - two people died. BUT - in that packed mall - at rush hour - if NOT for the ARMED CIVILIAN on the scene - who knows how many MORE lives would/could have been lost?

    7. Oben, perhaps I'm mixing up the places I've read people making those arguments (don’t have time to read through all the posts again here at this time), but I've definitely heard some argue that arming more people would keep these things from happening all-together.

      If you also disagree with that, then we’re on the same page.

    8. Fair enough. This is a rather extensive debate. I don't entirely disagree that more armed people would stop these things from happening. Again, I think it would deter them slightly. It won't make them go away altogether. Crazies will still be crazy. What it will do is ensure that when someone tries, they will quickly be stopped. Just like it happened in Oregon a week ago.


      ""He wanted to accomplish maximum lethality," O'Toole said. "He was not out of touch with reality. I think he put some security measures in place so he wouldn't be stopped."

      Which unfortunately meant choosing the most helpless of victims, she added.


  15. LOL liberals. Keep spinning. Keep talking about gun control and restrictions on gun purchases and mental exams and everything of the like. Here is the fact that destroys your argument:

    Adam Lanza did not purchase his guns

    The Columbine boys did not purchase their guns

    So keep talking about how we can solve this problem with more government. The fact is, it would do NOTHING but make ordinary citizens left out in the open. And for those talking about mental health exams and such, and other forms of purchasing restrictions, have you ever heard of a black market? Sure, stop the legal purchase of guns, just like you stop the legal purchase of drugs. Guess what happens?

    So please proceed with your "it sounds wonderful, and I'm sure everyone will think us democrats really care about people" bullshit laws. I'd prefer to have a solution-based debate on pragmatism and sensible options.

    1. Oh yeah, here is the article that made me think of this:

  16. Has anyone noticed today? It's loaded with one sided crap:

    "Newtown residents unite on gun control"
    "Avlon: Don't let this moment pass"
    "Bergen: An issue of national security"
    "Opinion: Two places to start"
    "Opinion: Stop listening to gun lobbyists"
    "NRA laid groundwork against new laws"

    Do you think they balanced this out with an equal number of opinion pieces or stories from the other side?


    Slanted journalism.

    1. Yup - slanted:

      Arianna Huffington: Newtown Massacre: What We Don't Need Is a 'National Conversation' -- We Need Action

      Will Bunch: How to Marginalize an Extreme Fringe Group Called the NRA

      Shock Media Madness from the NewYorkDailyNews:

      HuffPo also has a slideshow -

      Hmmm...All these stats - yet NONE about how many lives were SAVED by the LEGAL use of LEGAL weapons..

  17. Everything that me and LME have said here has been right:

    ""He wanted to accomplish maximum lethality," O'Toole said. "He was not out of touch with reality. I think he put some security measures in place so he wouldn't be stopped."

    Which unfortunately meant choosing the most helpless of victims, she added.



  18. Paul Harvey - 1965