Mashed Potato Bulletin

A journal grappling with the mish-mash of American politics

Brian Carter

Brian Carter
Location
Northern, California, USA
Birthday
October 23
Bio
My professional and academic background is fairly broad including a Bachelor's in Cultural Anthropology, a Master's in Environmental Science along with a hefty injection of world history in the mix. Professionally, my experience is in public health and environmental health where I have been lucky enough to work with people from varied backgrounds and cultures. I started the Mashed Potato Bulletin to explore answers to questions not being asked and to insert, hopefully, a broader perspective into the current conversation. ----------------------------------- http://mashedpotatobulletin.com/

Editor’s Pick
FEBRUARY 15, 2012 12:34PM

Gun Control: Where do our priorities lie?

Rate: 6 Flag

     This year’s Superbowl ads plucked at sensitive political tensions more so than previous championship seasons. From an anti-union ad to the auto industry’s America is Recovering, Clint Eastwood, perceived politically-motivated halftime ad, national politics took advantage of one of the election year’s most captive television audiences. Another highly emotional issue regained the spotlight as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino were featured in their own ad promoting gun control reforms.

      Mayors against Illegal Guns, the coalition of more than 600 mayors with Michael Bloomberg at its head, is pursuing a legislative approach to reduce gun violence aimed at addressing gaps in background check reporting through the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011.  The legislation’s purpose is to ensure those who are prohibited from purchasing guns are included in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) through improved reporting requirements for states and requiring all firearm sales be subjected to background checks.

     Across the country states like Mississippi, Alaska, Wyoming and Arizona, have taken the Mutually Assured Destruction approach through loosening of multiple gun laws. The majority of these involved eliminating or reducing limitations for concealed weapon permits. The reasoning behind this shift is proponents see gun owners as “…the last line of defense against unexpected evil”. Born of recent mass shooting events on the campus of Virginia Tech, the Tucson attack on Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her supporters and the Fort Hood shootings, supporters of these loosened weapon laws feel more guns in the hands of average citizens will curtail violence through deterrence or through citizen action during an incident. The logic has its merits in that a person intent on causing harm may reconsider their actions if they believe someone nearby is armed. Additionally, in the event a shooting similar to the Gabrielle Giffords’ incident occurs then citizens can respond. But these incidents, despite their broad media coverage, are rare events. Most gun-related violence is attributed to gang activity, occur in the act of a felony or are related to an argument.

     While proponents do make salient points, serious concerns do come to light when one considers the bigger picture. The Arizona law eliminating the need for concealed weapons also eliminates background checks for carriers as well as an 8 hour education and gun safety training course. According to retired Mesa, Arizona police officer Dan Furbee his biggest concern is the new law allows people with no training, education of state laws and no experience on shooting ranges to carry concealed guns. He states;

“If you are going to carry a concealed weapon, you should have some kind of training and show that you are at least competent to know how the gun works and be able to hit a target,” he said. “You owe the people around you a measure of responsibility.”

Mr. Furbee’s concerns are echoed by many in law enforcement. How will an untrained individual with no experience in a stressful situation, no experience assessing such a situation react if they choose to use their weapon? What will they do? With little shooting experience what is the risk to bystanders, especially in a highly stressful environment?

     Beyond the concerns over inexperienced gun carriers, the issue of information gaps in the current federal background check system presents itself. A number of states, Arizona included, have no laws requiring them to report their criminal and mental health records to the NICS system. Currently, federally licensed gun sellers and pawn dealers, which includes the vast majority of retail sellers, are required to perform background checks prior to the sale of a gun. Guns sold privately or through gun shows are not required to access the instant background check system. The only caveat is these sellers are not to knowingly sell to someone who is prohibited from owning a weapon. This, however, does not always deter such sales as is evident from Mayors against Illegal Guns undercover investigations of gun shows across the country.

     Gaps in the national background check system, inconsistent reporting to the national database, low state involvement in the system and loosened, state gun laws allow those prohibited from owning guns to acquire them. They provide opportunities for individuals with mental health issues similar to Jarod Laughner to purchase a handgun with high-capacity clips. They facilitate gun trafficking from states with lax gun laws to those with more stringent restrictions. They allow U.S purchased weapons to enter into Mexico’s current drug war. They allow private sellers over the internet to legally sell anything from handguns to AK-47 assault rifles to a .50 caliber sniper rifle capable of bringing down a helicopter. They also give opportunity to an ex-law enforcement officer with a history of domestic abuse to purchase a handgun. An ex-law enforcement officer who lost his job after he pistol whipped his wife, her brain left permanently scarred. An ex-law-enforcement officer who pressed his police-issued weapon to his battered wife’s head, threatened to pull the trigger and stopped only when his daughter bravely dialed 911.

      What’s the next step? Which direction does the issue of gun control take from here? One side will undoubtedly present the stalwart argument that the right to bear arms is solidified in the 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, there is no question, gun control of any kind is an attack on that right. Gun control advocates will cede to varying levels of regulation depending on their particular standpoint. In order to mitigate gun violence creation of a middle ground between the sides is necessary. Is the common-sense reform proposed by Mayor Bloomberg attainable? Those against such measures to increase the efficacy and range of background checks will argue it will place too much burden on private citizens or will cause unreasonable delay for law abiding Americans who wish to exercise their constitutional rights. Perhaps. But one who makes such arguments should also ask, is an additional burden or a slight delay worth that trivial inconvenience if it means preventing one innocent person’s injury, one family’s pain over a lost loved one? Is a slight infringement worth alleviating, even by some small measure, that daughter’s persistent fear tugging at her from the back of her mind that her father will one day, in an agitated desperate state, present himself at her mother’s door one final time? If the argument against gun control reform is merely to spare gun owners certain inconveniences it then becomes necessary to ask where do our actual priorities lie.

Additional Readings:

NYC probe in Arizona shows illegal gun sales

Gun used in Tucson was purchased legally; Arizona laws among most lax in nation

Bloomberg: ‘You’d Think That If A Congresswoman Got Shot In The Head,’ That Would Change Congress’ Views On Guns

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A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Gun ownership is both the right and DUTY of every American who is able, and it competence in its use and maintenance is also part of that duty.

The 2nd amendment exists to protect the 1st from standing armies and kings (and banks). Instead of attempting to subvert the constitution, we should be teaching gun safety and operation to children at a young age.

The more guns cease to be taboo, the less people will choose to misuse them.

We have over half the 8.5 million guns manufactured worldwide each year shipped and sold here. It's time to quit whining about it and do something practical that actually addresses the issue.

Attempting to prohibit sales simply pushes them underground, and when they go underground, you ensure that exactly the wrong people will have these guns, and ONLY those people will.

Also, Loughner had no criminal record and no diagnosed mental health issues when he got his gun, so your system, even if it were instituted, would have done a whole lot of dick for the Giffords, and for the other families affected by his rampage.

But, who is gonna know that? Mental health issues are embarrassing and people simply sweep them under the carpet and forget about them...and, so all the supposedly civil liberty loving neo-libs will praise you for writing this, when in fact everything you propose will do more harm and cause more of the problems you are trying to solve.

Let Arizona go. They have a worse Human Rights Index than China. I'm hoping the secede from the Union soon...they are really screwing it up for every other state out there.
I swear...I have no idea what the editors actually edit here, other than spelling errors and titles that don't "POP" enough.

I know you mean well, dude, but your facts are off and your opinions are about as interesting and insightful as the paint drying in my kitchen.

This gun control tactic has been going on for the last 60 years and it has accomplished NOTHING. Maybe a continued fight for a losing policy is a poor strategy. Maybe trying a new strategy based on a root cause analysis of the issue at hand would be a better way to go.

Or, maybe I really am the radical loon that people seem to think I am.
Malcolm:

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State"

Militias served the same purpose back when they existed as the National Guard does now. There is no need for militias these days.

How is gun ownership a duty? I ask because I am curious where this perspective comes from.

"Instead of attempting to subvert the constitution"

There is no attempt or suggestion in this piece to subvert the Constitution nor the 2nd Amendment. I only take the stance here that more effective background checks and reporting would help keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited to own them under the law.

"...we should be teaching gun safety and operation to children at a young age."

I agree but many who own guns do not realize they need to be educated in their use.

"Attempting to prohibit sales simply pushes them underground..."

There is nothing in this piece that suggests sales should be prohibited except to those who are not allowed under the law to purchase guns. And it seems, as I mentioned and cited in the posting, guns initially sold legally are already making their way into illegal markets.

"Also, Loughner had no criminal record and no diagnosed mental health issues...so your system, even if it were instituted, would have done a whole lot of dick "

Actually Loughner was detained a number of times and officially kicked off his school's campus by campus law enforcement because of his mental health/instability issues. If those records, which obviously there were some written reports because we know about the incidents, would have been part of a statewide system and by default a national system because AZ would be required to report to it then it is possible a red flag would have been raised.

"Mental health issues are embarrassing and people simply sweep them under the carpet "

Awareness of mental illness has been growing for years now and it is embedded in much of the public consciousness now. It is now seen as an issue to address if for no other reason than to help those who suffer from those illnesses.

"so all the supposedly civil liberty loving neo-libs will praise you for writing this, when in fact everything you propose will do more harm and cause more of the problems you are trying to solve."

I would be interested in seeing some evidence for this postulation. If one life is saved then I'd be willing to say it does solve some problems.

"I know you mean well, dude, but your facts are off and your opinions are about as interesting and insightful as the paint drying in my kitchen."

Well I do thank you for your opinion but I will let others weigh in before reassessing what was written.
You know, I think it's one of those things that I have the hardest time attempting to debate with anyone and have it end in some sort of reasonable conclusion.

I did a survey of information in the 1988 time frame, when the people were crying out for stronger and more restrictive gun controls. Citing the 2nd Amendment did exactly squat for the arugment, because people just didn't want to hear it. So where do you go from there?

What I did was examine the statistics on gun control, violent crime and gun use. What I found told me all I needed to know. The statistics at the time were this:
The four cities with the strictest gun control laws were:
Los Angeles, CA
Washington D. C.
New York, NY
Houston, TX

In each case, they were also the four cities that experienced the highest rise in violent crime one the controls were put in place. Why?

Because now the folks who will always subvert the law to acquire a gun were more confident that those whom they would accost (the average law abiding citizen) would have no means to defend themselves. I think, irrespective of the desires, the statistics, we must recognize that perception casts a very long shadow.

There was a bumber sticker that was popular at that time:
When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

There's a good deal of truth to that.

Look I know it's not PC, especially for someone who seems as liberal as myself. Guns, in the hands of the wrong people are always going to cause problems in society. How do you prevent that?

The sad fact answer is: You just can't.

You state yourself that the gun incidents that these laws are meant to address are actually only incidental, then you go on and cite an ex-cop as another example as to why we need to be more wary. Wouldn't that be only one more incidental situation? And wouldn't that ex-cop be much more able to figure out where to go to get a black or gray market gun anyway? What good would a background check be in such a situation?

Again, we grasp at extreme examples and both sides do it. And neither side actually seems able to recognize the primary reason the 2nd Amendment was put into place:
The people have a right to defend their homes and they have a right to defend their country, from all threats, foreign and domestic.

I believe if I had the cash and the ability, I should be able to park an M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank in my back yard. If someone robs a bank or a mint, or something similar, I would expect the government to come to my house and inspect my records, my tank and my munitions. And as long as they don't it by surrounding my home with heavy weapons squads, bring in an Apache Longbow or raid me at three in the morning, they can come knock on my door and ask me nicely. Any other action might spark a somewhat less welcome response.

And I would hope that, under such circumstances, people realize that in an armed world, people tend to be more respectful of other people's property, right to speak and come to appreciate our civil liberties as well as our civic responsibilities. After all, if everyone were armed, but there were penalties for being indiscriminate, folks wold be more hesitant to accost each other and cause trouble.

If this sounds incredible to believe check this:
Switzerland has the largest per capita standing army in the world. They have compulsory reserve milirary service.
They keep their weapons at their homes.
They have one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
They are known as friendly, orderly people who don't take sides in a fight.

You tell me, does that sound possible here? I think so.

You, me, and everyone in the country knows we have a problem with crime and that crime involves weapons. It's primarily gang related and it all revolves around illegal drugs.

I ask you, who's winning the War on Drugs? I think that war should be declared Over. We should legalize marijuana completely, release the people we have in jail on those charges and decriminalize possession for personal use all other drugs.

My bet? Crime would take a frickin' nose dive. Drug war today is exactly like Prohibition in the 20s and 30s, only on a much larger scale with better weapons. The Bloods and the Crips or the Cali Cartels didn't invent bombin buildings, gangland shootings or drive bys. They just revived them when the police and government declared war on drugs.

That's my take on it.

Any article dealing with gun control is going to be a hot topic at some point. You'll have heated people on both sides. Not me. I just see how history is repeating. When Prohibition was repealed, all that gangland crime suddenly came to a screeching halt. We end the war on drugs and it will be like ending Prohibition.

At that point, maybe the whole Gun Control issue will suddenly and quietly fade back into the shadows, too?

--r--
A sober, open-minded look at a highly contentious issue. And I like Duniteowl's comment.
1. The National Guard is simply a reserve force for the standing Federal Army. While yes, the states do pay these soldiers until they are called into Federal service, the states have no power to refute the service of these forces from being conscripted into Federal service...like in the cases where we commit acts of war simply on Executive Order and with no war being declared by Congress as is required in Article One of the federal Constitution.

2. None of the times Loughner was detained constitute, or lead to him, being charged with a crime, and as I said, and you affirmed, he had never been diagnosed with a mental illness.

ESPECIALLY given the fact that we are moving toward a police state where one can be charged on evidence which is illegally obtained, held indefinitely without due process, tortured while being held and finally executed, still without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom, to use what could be bogus detainment (and I'm not saying any of them were in the case of Loughner...he was a certifiable paranoid of some sort, though I do not know exactly what disease he had) as a means of restricting someone's gun ownership is as stupid as it is liberty destroying.

3. James Madison was exceedingly Anti-Bank and Anti-Standing Army (more so the former than the latter in his later years, but only because the former was so insidious, but also unfortunately necessary for the fledgling nation at the time).

The 2nd amendment exists for one simple reason - to avoid EVER having a standing army (the navy and air force, assuming they are used to protect US trade interests abroad, are fine per the frderal constitution, as is the Coast Guard, but the Army and Marines are exceedingly illegal and unconstitutional, despite the fact that the Marines are a former wing of the Navy, and the Air Force a former wing of the Army).

To explain exactly why the 2nd Amendment implies, though in and of itself does not directly state, that gun ownership is the duty of every citizen (since the Bill of Rights was an add on to appease some of the delegates at the 1887 Continental Congress) would mean that you have read the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and others of Madison's writings, as well as the writings of Jefferson and Franklin, at the very least. If you have, and if you also understand the overall intent of the US Constitution, given the things these great (and sometimes horrible) men who founded our country were trying to avoid (the same things we seem to face today), I would be happy to explain it to you. If not, I would be wasting my time.

So, if you've got at least some of this reading under your belt, let me know and I will explain why Madison believed the 2nd Amendment to be more of a duty than a right when he was forced to add it in after he had already committed the Constitution to vellum. (and also why he thought it to be the 2nd most important of the rights/duties he was forced to enumerate, given that it would serve to ensure the most important of those rights/duties - the 1st amendment).

4. Evidence of Gun Control Failure - just like the Drug War, the War on Guns has been, by all quantifiable measurements, a complete and massive failure. We still purchase of full 53% of all guns manufactured in the world each year (thus, none of these laws have, in any way, slowed the purchase of guns), we have, as you stated, a poorly trained citizenry purchasing these guns, and we commit more acts of violence amongst our citizenry with these guns as well, both on a overall and per capita basis, than any other nation in the world...BY FAR.

So, given that this gun control strategy is, for the most part, the only tactic that we've been attempting to employ in our efforts to quell the violence that pervades our culture, I have no idea why you are asking for evidence of it. The evidence is at the root of why you are advocating for more of the same failed strategy.

The violence in America stems, as far as I can tell, from a continued, state sanctioned, policy of cultural racism and oppression that has, for instance, Black Males as a demographic of our citizens, facing 61X more lengthy prison sentences for their crimes (that's not a typo, it's sixty-one), 5X more likely to be convicted of those crimes, 4X more likely to face the death penalty, and still dealing with laws that have the drugs associated with their culture penalized more harshly than the ones associated with white culture...even when the 2 drugs are, for all intents and purposes, exactly the same.

Add that to a youth group that is being, in my opinion only, PURPOSEFULLY poorly educated, and then look into these issues for all other minority groups of any size in this country and see that the problems are the same, and you get to the root cause of the violence in our country which has absolutely nothing to do with having more than 10 bullets in your clip (10 at a time, given how quickly you can change a clip if you practice at all, does just as much damage as 20 round clips).

5. So, in conclusion, it is my belief that guns don't kill people - well meaning people who simply react to violence in the simplest way possible, namely, removing the current instruments of that violence (as if a stick of TNT and a remote controlled airplane wouldn't do substantially more damage than an assault weapon could in a much shorter span of time), like you kill people.

But, that's just the opinion of a crazy, long time member of the ACLU, so you should probably ignore it as the ramblings of a gun nut.
Owl - Switzerland, like Finalnd, DOES NOT have a large standing army. They have a LARGE, CITIZEN LEAD MILITIA (in Finland, they even regulate bullet sales, and if you do not have the same amount of bullets for your rifle when you report for your monthly rifle practice and training as you did when you left from your last training, and also do not have documentation why you used these missing pieces of ammunition, you face stiff penalties and fines).

I would argue that Israel does as well, or at least did, but we have supplied them with so many purely offensive weapons, like Trident Submarines, that they now, unfortunately, have a standing army just like our own.



Also, why shouldn't the other drugs that are being "fought against" in the drug war be legalized? Are they too dangerous to be made legal?

Do they cause Reefer Madness?

Finally, the drug you are talking about is Cannabis. Marijuana is Spanish for Mary Jane, and it was a name given to Cannabis by the US Federal Government to associate it with Mexicans and make its prohibition easier to swallow for the white citizens of this country at the time.
dunniteowl> Thank you for the civil post. Sorry I don't have the time at the moment to thoroughly respond to your entire comment but I thought I'd respond to a couple of points.

The survey of the large cities (LA, Houston, etc) with the stricter gun laws that had the highest levels of gun violence... was the survey done immediately or very soon after the implementation of the gun laws? Were they given time to have effect? Also, it'd be worth noting gang violence was and still is a major source for gun-related crimes and those cities you mentioned have significant gang problems. This could be a factor in the survey results.

As far as gun laws that don't work... there are studies that do indicate reductions in homicides after background checks are implemented and/or improved.
Here are a few links;
http://www.center4research.org/2010/08/do-background-checks-on-firearms-really-work/

http://www.expressmilwaukee.com/article-2459-study-suggests-additional-background-checks-deter-gun-deaths.html

This one finds failings in the system due to poor reporting to the background check system.
http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200201/16_olsond_gunsales/

And the CDC's 2003 study found;
"The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes. (Note that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.) "

So obviously there is more study required in this area. Some do show improvement while broader studies like the CDC's are inconclusive.

Still doing nothing is not really an option either, right?

Once again, thank you for keeping it civil and I'll address some of your other points later.
I just read your bio. I cannot believe that I have to point this stuff out to a person who lists Cultural Anthropologist as their profession.

This is insight that you should be providing, not me. Instead, like the others, you react to the loud, shiny boomsticks. It's a bit of a disappointment, I'm not gonna lie.
fix the reason why our country is so violent, rather than ignore it, instead of reacting to the instruments they use to carry out their violent actions which are simply the visceral eventualities of their violent thoughts.

Heal the wounds of the past, or no amount of regulation will stop the wounds of the future. Doing nothing is almost as useful an option as what we do currently.

Background checks are great. They should continue in perpetuity. The rest is useless.
I find it interesting when someone responds to gun control as though the laws refuse gun ownership. Just like with other laws, they are made to protect everyone's rights. Some people simply should not be allowed to own or use a weapon. I do agree with better safety training requirements. Anyone attempting to purchase a weapon should have a certain amount of hours of training and pass shooting qualification. Yes, this will cost money, but we can pay for it ourselves. Also, there is no need for assault weapons the ban should be passed into law again.
Actually Malcolm my response to you was quite the opposite of "react[ing] to the loud, shiny boomsticks"...whatever those may be.

And after reading your last reply, I'd say my Anthropological background is holding up just fine. Much of your response appears to border on conspiracy theory... that is it's venturing beyond reasonable debate. And since you've entered into the realm of person insults there is little reason for me to continue a discussion that has degraded to such a level.

By the way, I noticed you did not volunteer a bio for yourself. You criticize my background and my posting yet offer no credentials to lend support for your (educated) opinion nor any that would lend credence to your judgments of mine.
Lynn> "I find it interesting when someone responds to gun control as though the laws refuse gun ownership."

Precisely! It is only about keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them.

Thank you for an insightful response.
I was not meaning to insult you. I simply am shocked that someone with a cultural anthropology background didn't go to the cultural causes of systemic violence before they went to the instruments of violence.

Is it a conspiracy that blacks face 61X longer jail sentences of crimes in this country (that number is per USBL&S) or are convicted 5X more often?

Is it a conspiracy that schools in areas with high concentrations of blacks seem to do, on average, much worse than their white counterpart schools?

Is it a conspiracy that blacks make (and, this is the ones NOT in jail or dead) only 75% of the wages that their white counterparts do?

Is it conspiracy that black men, 18-34 are the only demographic in this country whose #1 cause of death is not heart disease caused by poor diet, but MURDER?



I don't know. I don't believe in conspiracies, though. I believe in incentive and choices based on those incentives. That's because I studied economics in my academic, collegiate career, as useless as that particular portion of my life was, from a learning standpoint.


Regardless, I posted information about the constitution and the intent of the constitution, into which the 2nd amendment was put in place to specifically fight against the formation of the GIANT AND OVERPOWERING standing army we now have.

I posted information about how little any of this regulation is doing for us as a nation (again, despite the statistics that you linked to, we are almost without question, the greatest nation of killers, who kill more than any other, in all the world).

The laws I spoke about, which are nothing but the laws of an oppressive, powerful pseudo-monarchy now that Obama and Bush have seized so much power for the Executive branch, despite the illegality of both their policies, are recent and highly publicized (NDAA, Patriot Act, Continuing funding of Gitmo. State Sanctioned, and then BRAGGED ABOUT, assassination of American Citizens without any due process, and so on).

No, I don't think these are conspiracies. I think these are the eventuality of quite a few things, few of which were done in concert with one another.

This is relevant to little, however, as it doesn't matter if these things all happened because of a central force working toward them happening, or if the incentives in our society, the nasty side effects of which we failed to think about as we were enacting the exact laws which would destroy our liberty, and cheering as we did so, the guns are meant to stop the destruction of liberty, should no other means of trying to stop it prove successful.


We already had one King George try to rule this country at the expense of its citizens. I don't much like the 2nd one, nor the man to whom he abdicated his throne, Duke Obama.

But, there is little I can do. because the most powerful gun I can buy is no match for one of the guns of the standing army which protects these scum sucking low-lifes and destroys the last resort Check on the balance of their power.

And, since the media is broken in this regard, the Judicial Branch is obviously corrupt and partisan now, the legislature no longer functions in the interest of the people after whom they were named and the Executive branch is grabbing all power in our government in an attempt to consolidate that power and remove anything even somewhat resembling a check or a balance on that power, and they are gloating about it as they do so.

So yeah. I'm a bit concerned when people like you are so willing to thrust restrictions on this particular liberty, because reactionaries like you (and, you do mention restrictions beside just background checks above, many in fact).

Also, while I do not believe that guns are primarily for personal protection, or that they shouldn't be given how the 2nd amendment reads, the issues I believe you have with them, while certainly bothersome, are secondary to the purpose of guns in the country, as intended by our forefathers, and how that purpose has been effectively nullified by the same people who seem so concerned with civil liberties until they decide one or more isn't cool anymore.

If you don't like the fundamental gun laws that are implied as a result of the 2nd amendment, change the constitution.

All you gotta do is get your congressman to propose the amendment and have it approved by 2/3 of the house and then 2/3 of the senate.

Until then, deal with it.
We already had the ban on high-capacity handgun magazines. That ban had two main effects:

1) the price of pre-ban high-capacity handgun magazines increased. But anyone who wanted to purchase a high-capacity magazine could still do so. It just cost more and had to be manufactured prior to the ban.

2) A new generation of sub-compact, highly-concealable handguns was developed, built around the 10-round magazine limit. These included the Glock 26 (and 7 other Glock models in different calibers), in addition to many other semi-auto handguns with magazines of less than 10 round capacity. Many of these had lightweight polymer frames, again, ideal for concealed carry. Virtually every handgun manufacturer -- S&W, HK, Sig, Taurus, Beretta, Ruger, etc. -- got in on the subcompact handgun business.

After the ban on high-capacity handgun magazines ended, everybody with a handgun went out and bought high-capacity magazines. So anyone who didn't have one before has one or more now. If people think there is the smallest hint of a chance that they would be banned again, people will buy even more. So that ship has sailed, that cow has gotten out through the open barn door, that chicken has flown the coop, that dog has hunted, or whatever other metaphor you care to use.

I'm not a rifle man, but my guess is that the same thing has happened with rifle magazines.

If you want to increase the supply of light-weight, high-quality, highly-concealable subcompact handguns with 10-round magazines, a ban on high-capacity magazines is the ideal way to do that. Because if people can't buy new high-capacity handguns, they'll buy the new smaller and lighter 10-round handguns. That's really the only effect the ban will have. So good luck with that. Let us know how it works out for you.

And speaking of handgun training, everyone always talks about training in terms of being able to "hit the target." In my humble opinion, even more important than that is training on the legal use of lethal force in self-defense. Many people, even handgun owners, don't realize this, but the circumstances under which you can legally use or even pull a handgun are extremely rare, and you need to do the right things before, during, and after the encounter in order to make sure that you'll stay out of prison. Anyone with a concealed handgun should have training equivalent to Massad Ayoob's LFI-1 course, in addition to reading all of his books and magazine articles. I'm all in favor of concealed carry, but to be honest the training requirements of most states are inadequate. So I'm all in favor of a lot of HIGHLY-TRAINED people walking around with concealed handguns. But if you don't know the law, you shouldn't be able to walk around with the gun.
Since we have the military and police to deal with external and internal threats, I've been wondering about some practical aspects of the right to bear arms, when it comes to using them against a government gone tyrannical. If the 2nd Amendment is an individual right, can any individual decide when the government has become tyrannical and start shooting?

If not, why not and by what means and by whose authority is it decided when the shooting may commence? Is a vote taken, as to whether tyranny exists? What happens if there is disagreement?

If a government were to become tyrannical and the military in cahoots, would it not, before making its intentions public, prepare itself to deal with gun-toting opponents?
Look, the answer is simple. Let's just make it illegal for citizens to own guns, then we can arrest everyone who has guns and throw them in special "Antifirearms Camps" designed for that segment of our society who don't want to play by the new rules. Once we do that it will make it much easier to deal with the remaining sorry-ass pussies who don't have guns and wouldn't know how to defend their arugula eating selves even if they did have one.
Interestingly, as private gun ownership rates have skyrocketed throughout the United States since the early 1990s, the crime right has also decreased. Currently, crime rates, and even violent crime rates, are at all time lows. In fact, they are as low as they were in the 1950s and 1960s.

It is very hard to argue for gun control, from a policy perspective, at least from a macro-level national crime perspective, when faced with these figures.
Now, I'm not saying that high gun ownership rates cause crime to decline. I think that crime rate drops have more to do with new policing and technological innovations.

What I am saying, though, is that gun-control advocates (and I say this as a left of center progressive) have a very difficult time proving causation, in terms of saying that more guns equal more crime.

There doesn't seem to be a causal link here.

Again, violent crime rates throughout the nation have plummeted while at the same time, gun ownership rates have skyrocketed.
And national law enforcement agencies play a large role in the distribution of illicit handguns in the open market. When certain types of guns are banned by state statute, and requiring a special license, exceptions are made for those who currently own them.

Law enforcement often owns said guns, but then they are encouraged to sell them to independent contractors in exchange for large, generous vouchers with large gun manufacturers. I think Glock was running an infamous program like this.

The result was that outphased, highly dangerous weapons banned by state legislatures were nonetheless finding their way into the hands of criminals, within the same state, because of the short-sighted trade policies and sales policies of police forces.
And then the police department keeps pushing the legislature to ban older forms of guns, claiming they are more dangerous. And the cycle continues. In reality, the police departments can often just be in the business of generating revenue for gun manufacturing, and they utilize periodic bans as a method of clearing stock and repurchasing new inventory, which is a boon to manufacturers and contractors.

And since statutory exceptions often exist for pre-owned guns, especially those owned by Police Departments, and since no prohibitions exist on police departments re-selling these guns to third party vendors, or the original sellers, most of the "banned guns" inevitably, and yet legally, find their way back into the open market.

As such, many gun control laws are not only ineffective, but they perpetuate the problem because they are being hijacked by Police Departments and Gun Manufacturers that know how to game the system.

The anti-gun crowd, deluded by naiive idealism, is too stupid to realize that they are being duped.
From a realpolitik standpoint, going after assault weapons is a no-go. Stick to keeping them away from felons and you're on solid ground. There are too many (I'm one of them) gun-toting liberals and making gun control an issue only weakens what little momentum we have at the moment.

Yes - guns have only one purpose. But if only conservatives have guns...you get the picture.
@Spence Blakely, there's a saying that addresses your comment that we have police and the military to deal with internal and external threats: When seconds count, the police are minutes away.
As a conservative, I will say that I am against most gun control, but there needs to be some sort of reform. It is unexcuseable that a person with a mental illness can get there hands on a gun. This situation is one too dangerous that has manifested with Mr.Laughner. There needs to be a good background check system which prevents criminals and mentally ill people from getting there hands on a weapon. When looking at the second amendmant, many people like to forget the very first part which states "A WELL REGULATED militia...": This points to some type of government intervention in the distribution of firearms. I do believe that the amount of government intervention needs to be minimal, but there needs to be some kind of it, or we'll end having the Wild West all over again.
Nicholas, it appears you never passed basic Egnlish comprehension.

In the english language, there is what is and has always been defined as a complex sentence. Within that complex sentence is at minimum a dependent clause, and an independent clause.

The depednent clause is an incomplete sentence, can not stand by itself, and without the independent clause first existing, has no clear and specified meaning.

The independent clause is a complete sentence by itself, can concvey a meaning by iotself and of course must first exist for the dependent clause to have meaning.

The dependent clause of course is "Well regulated..."

The independent clause is "Shall not be infringed.."

Then you have these other problems to deal with your interpretation.

Congressional writings 1774-1789 & the Federalist papers as recorded in the Karpeles Museum of historical government documents CA, shows over 30 direct references to "well regulated" meaning trained in the arts of war, not to mention all those dictionairies then and now saying the same thing.

Then we can also refer back to the original draft of what became the second amendment, also kept in that same historical government documents repositoRy in Karpeles Museum, CA.

It was clearly written as a collective right, which if that was what the founding fathers wanted, why didnt they keep the original draft? Guess actions do speak louder than wishes and words!

Then of ocurse the massive loigic failure many anti gun extremists always ignore, which came first, the militia, or the armed individual? When you can prove the militia existed first, and the individual was armed only due to the prior existence of the militia, then you will have an arguement. Since that never happened that way, your belief of a collective right is for all intents and purposes screwed.

Funny how in reality, the wild west was actually far safer than todays gun ban paradises like Chicago 12.3 deaths per 100k people, NYC 4.3 deaths per 100k people, Washington D.C. 23.6 deaths per 100k people (per FBI UCR 2008).

Whereas an author, W Eugene Hollon using ogvernment death records in the 1970's, showed only 45 deaths by illegal gun use between 1870-1885, the hey day of the wild west, for a 1 death per 100k people rate.

So much for your belief based on hollywood & and dime store novel fantasies.
Speaking of the background checks, how is it that the BATF fails to enforce these checks more than 1% of the time?

USDOJ National Background Check & Firearm Transfer report 2008 shows since 1994, that less than 1% of the 930,000 felons stopped from attempting to buy from a licensed source were prosecuted?

Dont forget those 750,000 others rejected that included the crazies you are so concerned with?

You do realize that the BATF & Government is in charge of enforcing the existing laws.

You do realize that study reviewed in conjunction with DOJ Firearms use by Offenders Nov 2001 shows that in todays numbers, over 95% of felons dont even attempt to buy from a licensed source.

Shall we even discuss Haynes vs US 390, 85, 1968 where the US Supreme Court ruled that people were not legally hald to obey a law requiring them to violate their 5th amendment right of no self incrimination? That means over 85% of the 20,000 existing gun control laws do apply to felons to begin with.

Shall we review the congressional study from 2001 (frequently repeated with the same results) that shows congressional agents in 5 different states, passing the background check 100% of the time using a fake identification?

Shall we review how that BATF only allows licensed dealers to perform background checks?

Should we review how the BATF changes to their draconian rules in 1994 forced over 70% of the 245,000 licensed dealers between 1994-2004 to not renew their licenses eliminating over 162,000 licensed dealers from having to report sales, such are their unintended consequences.

Shall we review the dozens of court rulings that specially state that police are not legally liable to protect the individual civilian?

Shal we review how well the police are at solving violent crimes?

FBI UCR, Federal Court data, USDOJ National Victimization report 2008 show the following.

1.38 mil violent crimes reported
4.8 mil violent crimes not reported
45.1 % of violent crimes solved to prosecution
80% of prosecutions successful at the federal level (assume state prosecutions at same level, but unlikely)

(1.38 mil x 49%) x 80% /' 1.38 mil + 4.8 mil = 8.06% of violent crimes committed on average solved by police.

Wow, since they have at best 4 minutes response time, but average is 15-20 minutes, the police really suck at protecting the individual civilian.

You do realize criminals do have an inherent right to defend themselves!

You do realize that the US government acknowledges that 80% of all violent crimes are committed by career crimnals/gang members USDOJ National Gang Threat Assessment 2009.

You do realize that over 50% of deaths involving a firearm are suiciders, who by that act commit a felony.

You do realize those two groups combined account for over 95% of illegal firearms deaths in the US on average each year?

Yeah, all that government data, and we are still talking about the violent crime aspect, nothing about civilian sefl defense incidents.

Must really hurt all this data you cant refute much less ignore, but you will try!
Hello Matt Paust,
Thanks for replying to my comment. I agree that privately owned guns may be used for personal protection. But, since the 2nd Amendment is not about protection against common criminals, how would you answer my questions, concerning fighting a supposed tyrannical government?
Hello USMC1982,
How about cutting your fellow commenters some slack on their writing abilities. You, yourself, incorrectly wrote "basic English comprehension," instead of ". . . composition."

Why not simply express your opinions, on the issues, without the personal attacks and put-downs?
Brian -- I am a gun owner and liked your piece and attempt at moderation and constructive dialogue. Those involved in the gun control debate need to take a step back and ask: what are we trying to accomplish? I believe that law abiding gun owners and gun control advocates agree on one critical point: we want to see the level of violence -- all types of violence -- in society reduced to the extent possible. It really is unfortunate and counterproductive that so many gun control advocates denigrate gun owners as uneducated, uncaring and/or shills for the "gun lobby" and seem incapable of acknowledging that we really do want the same thing.

However, there is a second goal -- not incompatible with reducing violence -- that gun owners cherish but gun control advocates such as Michael Bloomberg try to thwart. That goal is the preservation of the right of law abiding citizens to purchase and possess firearms, both inside the home and without, for the purpose of self defense. The Second Amendment is not about target shooting nor is it about hunting. Whether you like it or not, the root of the Second Amendment, recognized by the Supreme Court in Heller/McDonald, is the fundemental, individual right of each human being to defends his or her life from imminent deadly threat and to keep and bear the means to do so.

The real obstacle to constructive dialogue stems primarily from the fact that gun control adovcates such as Michael Bloomberg are liars. There is no nicer way to put it. They believe that repeating words such as "common sense" and "sensible" and professing to "support the Second Amendment" somehow immunizes them from rational scrutiny. The fact is, they aren't fooling people. The goal of Michael Bloomberg, Chuck Schumer, the Brady Center, etc. is not simply to stem the flow of "illegal guns" or to reduce violence. Rather, they work to make it as hard as possible for anyone, not matter how law abiding, to possess firearms for the purpose of self defense.

Ask yourself this: If Michael Bloomberg truly "supports the Second Amendment", why does NY city impose endless delays and layers of red tape on anyone who wants to purchase a firearm? Shouldn't a background check that takes 15 minutes suffice?

You don't like the idea of permitless concealed carry in place in States such as Vermont, Arizona and Alaska? Fine. Allow concealed carry with a background check, license, and 20 hours of classroom and live fire training (as much or more than many police officers go through). But in places like NY and NJ, that isn't possible. NO ONE, other than politically connected people and retired law enforcement can obtain a concealed carry permit in those places. In fact, in NJ, law abiding citizens routinely are arrested for some technical violation of the states draconian and confusing gun laws, and often face long prison sentences for innocent mistakes that do not endanger public safety in any way. One NJ court held that NJ citizens own guns at their own peril.

As for "assault weapons" bans and magazine restrictions, they are simply feel good laws that have absolutely no bearing on public safety or reducing violence. Can you explain to me how cosmetic features such as collapsible stock or flash hiders on a rifle somehow render them more lethal and justify imposing long prison sentences for anyone in possession of them? Do you realize that common deer hunting rifles in calibers such as .30-06 are significantly more lethal than the rounds used in AK-47s and Ar-15s? And why is 10 rounds the magic number that makes firearm magazines safe? Why not 12, or 8? Have any studies shown that 10 round magazines offer any benefit in terms of reducing violence or increasing public safety? If there is a mass shooting by someone with 10 round magazines, will the next proposal to only allow 6 shot reovlvers?

You want constructive dialogue? So do I. I am a gun owner and I support background checks and training requirements for concealed carry. But lets see Michael Bloomberg and Governor Christie advocate for real common sense change in NYC and NJ gun laws. Let them reduce the red tape and endless delays in the firearms purchase process and rationalize concealed carrry laws. If they do that, I'll be the first one to donate to MAIG.
I personally dislike guns, the use of guns, the proliferation of guns, and the need for guns, but I live in Arizona and I have to cohabit with guns and gun owners. Amazingly, I almost never, ever see them. I do know a fair amount of people who own them, shoot regularly, and take a lot of pride in their skills and knowledge- considering I am not a gun person.
I was talking to a client the other day, who had just returned from a home visit in New Jersey. He talked about a fight that broke out in a store, he was on line, between the owner and a patron, that ended up in some slapping and yelling. Not that this doesn't happen here, but he laughingly said, no one here (in Mesa) would ever pull that, because they know everyone else in the room might be packing. I am not sure that "good guns make good neighbors" but that is the law of the land here, and in the rural parts, that may be part of daily life. Considering how common coyotes, rattlers and mountain lions still are (even in the suburbs), and the higher risk of home invasion is, no one is going to vote guns out of office any time soon.
As to Loughner, his background was clean. Thankfully, we knew where and how he got his weapons very quickly, it was tracked through records and film. Had he not had a gun, he could have stolen one or built a bomb, if he was so inclined. Guns are most likely to be abused by angry people on alcohol or drugs, which does little to check or curb gun violence through background checks. The accidental injuries are a problem, and I think all people should have to have a gun safety certificate and a lock box. Recreational gun use is a huge deal here, like gambling, and that creates a lot of revenue.
From some of the street officers I have spoken too, they don't have enough arms compared to the illegal weapons they see around. The border isn't just a two hour drive, it is right here. This is how people who live here really feel about it, and the environment they really live in. Comparing it to NY or DC would be ludicrous, life is not the same (and I grew up in Long Island, near Manhattan). People here, however, are a lot more polite.
And we also can't forget that as gun ownership rates have skyrocketed within the past 20 years, the violent gun-based crime rate has plummeted.

Ergo, you can't argue that an increase in gun ownership causes an increase in violent gun-based crimes.

Gun-based crime rates are at a 50 year low.
I own guns. I believe that guns deter crime and in many cases prevent crime.
There are 2 things I'd like to add to this discussion:
1) My Dad used to say,"It's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it."
2) I watched a recent documentary in which they pointed that the real reason for a lower crime rate is RoevWade.
The contention was unwanted children are more prone to be criminals than children raised in loving homes, that is homes where they were wanted. Statistics seem to back this idea up.
Other than that, the Nat'l Guard is a Gov't function... the purpose of a well armed militia was to keep the Gov't in its place. The Militia the Founders wrote about were citizens who trained together, not under the direct control of any Gov't. History has shown unarmed populations are much easier to control.
@ Brian: Thanks, I do my best not to let polemics get the better of my rationality. Please address each as you come to them as you see fit.

As to the statistics I refer to, the information I dug up at the time (which meant a lot of library time with newspapers, 1988 was not the year of the PC, even though I had one a year earlier, it was the ripe young age of the World Wide Web, it was not yet really called the Internet as it is today) was citing the statistics of the 10 years before the gun control laws were enacted in those cities (they were passed around 1977 or so, during the opening salvos of the War on Drugs, so the previous 10 years of data was salient in that the War on Drugs really began around 1968) and the intervening 10 years since the enactment of those Gun Control Laws.

In each and every case, there were less deaths to gun violence before the Gun Control Laws were enacted and a higher spike in gun related crimes and deaths post enactment.

While I favor registration, background checks and other manner of gun safety, I also advocate for gun training. You know, when I was in high school, and in the Boy Scouts, we could go to the rifle range and learn to shoot? Yup.

At three of my High Schools (I went to eighteen different schools in twelve years -- military brat) they had a Rifle Team, both boys and girls (and you know some of those kids practiced shooting for the biathalon -- an Olympic event.) Public funds were cancelled in California to support both Boy Scouts and High School teams in, guess what, 1977, the same year of greater gun control.

Up to that point, it was relatively common to have shooting teams at high schools around the nation. It was relatively common to see Boy Scouts and Eagle Scouts have Merit Badges and Award Badges for Marksmanship and Rifle Safety.

In today's high schools we have metal detectors and shootouts. Personally I see a direct societal correlation to gun safety, training and firearm use preventing these sorts of things, because when they groundwork was removed to provide these measures the violence in our schools also began to spike upwards.


@ Malcom XY: I didn't say Switzerland has the largest standing army, I said they have the largest PER CAPITA standing army. As you seem to be quite intelligent, then you should understand completely that what that means is that out of every 1000 citizens, Switzerland has the highest Standing Army of any modern nation (and just about any others, too.) In addition, compulsory military service adds to this amount.

That said, the reserve of Switzerland is effectively every single citizen of that country. They get to take their automatic assault weapons, rocket launchers and other assorted equipment to store at home.

You're not going to get away with robbing Kraus' haus, because he's armed. Plus, he'll get on his radio and call his neighbors if it's more than a simple home intruder. They all have guns, too. And radios.

Switzerland is know as the most advanced, peaceful and friendly nations in the world. PER CAPITA, it is also the most highly citizen armed ones, too.


@ Spence Blakely: While the police have effectively removed the "need" for common militia in place in each and every town, do you really want your only defense to come from someone with a badge, a gun and possibly the attitude that they aren't so much serving and protecting as they are accosting and ordering the citizen around?

The entire idea of the "well regulated militia" was not police forces operating for city, county and state to exempt the need for a militia. The idea was the population, in being armed anyway, needed to have access to training and effective use of their weapons en masse to provide for their common defense. See my notes to Malcolm XY re: Switzerlant to see how effective such a policy ends up being when it is rigorously followed.

If the police were more than a complete "after the fact" agency for crime control, it might be different. When I say "after that fact" how many robberies do you honestly think the police actually prevent? How many heated disputes that end in gunshots, knifings, the use of a Louisville Slugger, or fists, teeth and nails, do you think the police services have ever prevented?

They show up after the fact, take notes, and if something's still going on, they may deter further violent action, but, with the attitude and difficulties the police, sadly, and the citizenry in regard to them, more sadly, display, it's just as likely to end in officers killing someone after the fact of more gunshots being fired, hostages taken or something similarly dire.

You really think trusting your safety in that moment is best left for someone else with a badge, gun, radio and car who is, at best, five to ten minutes away with said protective equipment?

I don't own a gun. The other side of statistics is that most home owners of guns end up with a dead kid, a dead spouse, or are themselves killed with their own gun at the hands of those they meant to defend themselves against. If I owned a gun, I would probably have ended up using it in a situation like that, had I ever ended up in a situation like that. Owning a gun, considering my history of relative non-violent incidents (other than the abuse of my father and older brothers) would have resulted in no statistical difference in my life.

But I have had stuff stolen from me. What if they stole my gun?


Like I said, I am pretty liberally minded in a lot of things. I am also quite conservatively minded in other things. IN effect, if someone's going to apelle a label to me and the way I see things, I would prefer Literal Constitutionalist With a Sense of Social Fellowship Capitalist.

I know it won't fit on any T-Shirts or campaign buttons. That could be why there aren't too many like me in any political party. We don't have all the cool sound bytes, slogans and wealth.

An armed population that knows how to use them is a definitely statistically observable deterrent to violent crimes. The other side benefit is, having all those guns actually reduces the need for large standing armies, large police forces and ensures that the government takes a moment to consider how many of their citizens they're going to really annoy with crappy, self-serving legislation.

Think about it. Without large police forces and standing armies, training our citizen militia to use all manner of military grade weaponry, a lot of money is saved. Without large military/police forces, the government has to step a bit more softly on our rights. With most people being armed and likely to be packing (I'm personally in favor of open carry being legal -- check your guns at the door of the establishments who don't want them in their stores, boys, be sure to get your lockbox key) it's a fair bet that violent muggings and such crimes of opportunity will fall to new unexpected lows.

The statistics are in and whether any one wants to claim causality in the sitution, the majority of the statistics, no matter how you look at them, indicates that gun ownership, education and bearing (like open carry) would save us a lot of local, state and federal monies by reducing the need to field a large army, standing pools of gun toting police (who may or may not be your actual protector instead of oppressor) officers and serve to make our government more likely to hear the people and not just the ones with the most money.

Our citizenry are meant to have weaponry on a par with any military, including our own. We're talking about the framers of the Constitution, after they fought a war with a government with weapons that were of lesser or equal power to that government. They hid stolen and crafted cannon in barns, haybales and in the woods, while they stored gunpowder in fake flour sacks, pickle barrels and under floorboards with their illegally owned and obtained muskets.

You'd think they'd expect us to insist on maintaining that august tradition.
Gun control is a loser, and Bloomberg is a statist. The national trend is (and has been, steadily, for years) a dramatic increase in gun ownership and carry permits, most notably increasing in the women's demographic, and state legislatures are overwhelmingly eliminating barriers to the free exercise of the people's fundamental right to arms.

The debate is over. There is no longer a "question". Somebody inform Hizzoner.
@Rw005g: It is important to point out that the observed reduction in crime rate is attributed to the changes in the demographic characteristics of the population (which is getting older). As people get older, they are less likely to commit a crime. If I have the time, I’ll see if I can dig up the studies that examined this issue more closely.

This study somewhat touches this point:

Hidden Homicide Increases in the USA, 1999-2005. Journal of Urban Health Jul2008, Vol. 85 Issue 4, p597-606:

Abstract: Prior to 1999, dramatic fluctuations in homicide rates were driven by changes in the rates of firearm homicide among men aged 15-24. Since 2000, the overall homicide rate has appeared stable, masking any changes in population subgroups. We analyzed recent trends in homicide rates by weapon, age, race, gender, state, and urbanization to determine whether the risk of victimization increased substantially during 1999-2005 for demographic subgroups. The analysis of WISQARS (TM) data and Wonder data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed no trend in the homicide rate nationally between 1999 and 2005; this obscured large increases in firearm homicide rates among black men aged 25-44 and among white men aged 25-34. Between 1999 and 2005, for ages 25-44 combined, the increase for black men was 31% compared with 12% for white men. Significant increases among men aged 25-44 occurred in Alabama, California, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington. The firearm homicide rate increased the most in large central metropolitan areas (+32%) and large fringe metropolitan areas (+30%) for men aged 25-44. We conclude that the recent, unrecognized increases in firearm homicide among men aged 25-44, especially black men, in large metropolitan areas merit the attention of policymakers.

Here’s a very very short sample of what has been previously published on the topic of this post:

Hoskin, A. (2011) Household gun prevalence and rates of violent crime: A test of competing gun theories. Criminal Justice Studies 24 (1), 125-136:

This study analyzes the reciprocal relationship between a direct measure of gun availability and three types of violent crime across the 120 most populous counties in the USA. Survey data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System are used to construct a measure of household gun prevalence. Hypotheses derived from four competing perspectives concerning the role of guns in the production of violence are tested. Strong support is found for the view that easy access to guns raises the risk of serious violence by giving the perpetrator the power to inflict greater victim injury. By contrast, no support is found for the argument that widespread legal gun ownership lowers violent crime by deterring prospective offenders.

Gun control and suicide: The impact of state firearm regulations in the United States, 1995–2004. Health Policy, Volume 101, Issue 1, June 2011, Pages 95–103:

Abstract

Objective: To empirically assess the impact of firearm regulation on male suicides.

Method: A negative binomial regression model was applied by using a panel of state level data for the years 1995–2004. The model was used to identify the association between several firearm regulations and male suicide rates.

Results: Our empirical analysis suggest that firearms regulations which function to reduce overall gun availability have a significant deterrent effect on male suicide, while regulations that seek to prohibit high risk individuals from owning firearms have a lesser effect.

Conclusions: Restricting access to lethal means has been identified as an effective approach to suicide prevention, and firearms regulations are one way to reduce gun availability. The analysis suggests that gun control measures such as permit and licensing requirements have a negative effect on suicide rates among males. Since there is considerable heterogeneity among states with regard to gun control, these results suggest that there are opportunities for many states to reduce suicide by expanding their firearms regulations

Preventing suicide and homicide in the United States: The potential benefit in human lives. Psychiatry Research Sep2009, Vol. 169 Issue 2, p154-158

Abstract: In order to assess the potential benefit in human lives if all geographical regions in the US (Northeast, South, Midwest, and West) achieved the lowest suicide and homicide rates observed within these regions, age-, race- and gender-adjusted suicide and homicide rates for each of the four regions were calculated based on data retrieved using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention database for 1999-2004. Data on known risk factors were retrieved from online sources. Overall suicide rates (10.42 per 100,000) exceeded homicide rates (6.97 per 100,000). Almost 27% (12,942 lives per year) of the 288,222 suicide and homicide deaths during the study period might have been avoided if all US regions achieved the mortality rate reported by the Northeast. A firearm was used in 55% of all suicides and 66% of all homicides. In the total estimate of avoidable deaths, firearm suicides (90%) and firearm homicides (75%) were overrepresented. The Northeast had the lowest access to firearms (20%) contrasted to almost double in the other regions, whereas greater firearms availability was related to unrestricted firearm legislation. Measures to restrict firearms availability should be highly prioritized in the public health agenda in order to achieve an impressive benefit in human lives.

Gun availability and violent death. American Journal of Public Health v. 87 (June 1997) p. 899-901:

The relationship between the availability of guns and violent death is discussed. In this issue, Cummings et al. report the findings of a case-control study to estimate the effects of handgun ownership on a family member's risk of suicide and homicide in a large health maintenance organization population for the period 1980-92. The results, which agree with the findings of other epidemiological studies involving different populations and techniques, indicate that owning a handgun or having a family member who owns a handgun significantly increases the risk of violent death. When all the confounding factors are accounted for, the results of Cummings et al. indicate that although it may be in the interest of particular individuals to purchase a gun to protect their families, it may not be in the interest of society for every family to purchase a gun. Although epidemiology cannot settle the political, ethical, and philosophical dilemma between the individual and society, it can enhance our understanding of violent death and how to prevent it.
Me thinks the moderator is an anti, tsk, tsk, tsk!

Conposition is the act of writing, understanding what the comnposition does and the strcture behind it requires comprehension which without, the person will never get their composition correct so the terms usage was indeed correct as intended as Nicholas obviously passed his english classes, but did not comprehend their meaning.

So explain again how that was a personal attack? Oh thats right, your the PC officer on duty claiming that correcting a fallacy of interpretation is a personal attack, whatever, maybe you should sue me!

Explain again where the right not to be challenged for putting your opinion in public exists? Last we looked, such a right not to be challenged for unsubstantiated beliefs does not exist.

As noted previously, the % of law abiding gun owners are not responsible for the violence, and since the criminals responsible for oh so much of the violence are not held to follow any law requiring them to violate their 5th amendment right, any idea of licensing is obtuse and insane as you want the people not responsible for the acts to pay for the others actions. But facts are apprently lost on people who believe this is a solution so be suprised when those law abiding gun owners tell a person proposing such idiocy to Go Fly a Kite where the sun dont shine!
Since Switzerland was mentioned earlier:

Rosenbaum, Janet E . Gun utopias? Firearm access and ownership in Israel and Switzerland. Journal of Public Health Policy Feb2012, Vol. 33 Issue 1, p46-58.

The 2011 attempted assassination of a US representative renewed the national gun control debate. Gun advocates claim mass-casualty events are mitigated and deterred with three policies: (a) permissive gun laws, (b) widespread gun ownership, (c) and encouragement of armed civilians who can intercept shooters. They cite Switzerland and Israel as exemplars. We evaluate these claims with analysis of International Crime Victimization Survey (ICVS) data and translation of laws and original source material. Swiss and Israeli laws limit firearm ownership and require permit renewal one to four times annually. ICVS analysis finds the United States has more firearms per capita and per household than either country. Switzerland and Israel curtail off-duty soldiers' firearm access to prevent firearm deaths. Suicide among soldiers decreased by 40 per cent after the Israeli army's 2006 reforms. Compared with the United States, Switzerland and Israel have lower gun ownership and stricter gun laws, and their policies discourage personal gun ownership.
Poor Kanuk, you really have swallowed the koolaide havent you.

By the way, would you be kind enough to divuldge who paid for those studies to be performed, The Joyce Foundation, The Brady Bunch, all consistent in their past to pay for a study with predetermined results, hence an academically fraudulent study. Get back to us when you have that data!

You do realize by law that the CDC was not to receive any tax funds for perform health studies on firearms, so how did they fund that study in 2011?

Oh wow, more doctors means more medical malpractice, oh wow, more knives means more knifings, oh wow, more prescription medicines means more overdoses, oh wow, more cars means more car accidents, etc, etc, etc, etc and that is relevant how again?

Such an enlightening causation, guns in the household means they could be used, SO!

Why is it that everytime more guns are put into law abiding citizens hands, the amount of violence never seems to increase?

Why is it since the 1930's that there has been a 100 mil increase in firearms in the public posession, another 26 mil more households with firerarms, an increase in population from 112.8 mil to 302 mil 2007, and a reduction in accidental firearms deaths from over 2,500 to 613 (only 116 of which were age 0-18). Oh and please save the idiocy that if it saves one life it justifies infringing upon everyone else as it doesnt as we can show and prove the numbers saved outweigh those lost to stupidity and accidents.

That is unless you have some method to eliminate stupidity and free will from the human race, naw, Hitler, Stalin, and a host of others have tried such things, how did they do?

Still waiting for that medical study showing a firearm set on the ground, to get up, laod, aim and fire itself. That by the way is a belief of an inanimate object to have supernatural powers called a Fetishism.

Some other people believe an inanimate object has the ability to use esp or voice commands to force a person in close proximity to commit a violent act. Fortunately, most of those people are locked up for being the loveable schizophrenics they are.

Funny how in oh so many other countries who have strict gun control, they have higher suicide rates than the US, Japan, Russia, etc, etc. How can that be when guns to some are the root of all violence? Get back to us when you can show a reduction in suicides in countries Australia, Canada, & England who banned guns in 1997. Who here wants to bet you wont see a reduction eh?

Speaking of suicides, what are the success rates of the other methods, strangulation, falls, suffocation, over doses.....?

The reason we ask is that were you to remove a tool, which has no supernatural powers to change how a person is feeling, thinking, much less a psychotic episode, you can absolutely prove that person would not try to commit suicide eh, uh no you cant.

Since 90% of suicides with firearms are lethal, and you replace that with other methods, you are advocating an incremental increase in survivors, of the other methods, which apparently is morally superior to you. But then as more and more people who survive are brain damaged or physically damaged so as not to be able to survive on their own, what is that cost to society and their families? Unintended consequences really suck. You better have an answer for that otherwise you will deal with that later.

You do realize that an extremely high percentage of people try suicide more than once, so what again by removing a choice of tools or methods would prevent a suicide, uh, NOTHING!

Yeah, havent thought the unintended consequences out very much have you? Get back to us when you have as there are many more instances in this conversation we havent even mentioned.
It is interesting that the same people who clamor for legalizing drugs also clamor for gun control without realizing that neither strategy works.

I can build a credible single shot pistol from the junk lying around my garage. With the tools we have available today, any reasonably skilled person can build a working firearm. Kids do it all the time.

By the same token, it is impossible to interdict marajuana because it can be grown anywhere by anyone, nor is it possible to interdict drugs at our borders without becoming even more of a police state than we are now.

Here's the fact that no one wants to face: you can't control anything. No one can.

Regardless of the arguments for and against drug legalization, or gun control, or abortion, or contraception, or pornography, the fact remains that we are not able to control ANY of these things without creating precisely that draconian, repressive regime we all claim to fear.

Effective gun control efforts would require an enormously represssive political system, but that's also true for drugs, and the other items on this list.

Evidence: we have an enormously repressive system that has been developed precisely to control drugs....but drugs remain out of control.

Represssion doesn't work, regardless of what you may think.'

I carry a gun every day of my life. No one knows about it. No one ever sees it, but it's there. I never leave home without it, but I am under no illusions that possessing a firearm will do me any good in 99.999% of the cases.

It's that remaining .001% that trouble me, that rare occasion when having a gun might have made a difference.

Anyone who thinks that owning a gun makes them safer is an idiot.

Anyone who thinks that trying to disarm America will make America safer is also an idiot.

I carry a gun for two reasons:

I'm Jewish.

I can read history.

In point of fact, however, a well-regulation militia is not equivalent to the National Guard. Read the fucking US Code, which clearly defines the militia as all able-bodied males between the ages of 18 and 65, and requires each of those men to possess a working firearm....but the firearm specified in the law is a single-shot, muzzle loading musket, because that's what's specified by the law and the law has never been changed to include more modern firearms.
InanimateObject: Your comment is so dumb that it’s not even funny. If you don’t know the difference between funding and data collection activities (with regards to the CDC), this tells us everything we need to know about your serious lack intelligence. InanimateObject, you’re a poser and Bozo wannabe; a boring one at that. Go play in the minor league.
InanimateObject: Your comment is so dumb that it’s not even funny. If you don’t know the difference between funding and data collection activities (with regards to the CDC), this tells us everything we need to know about your serious lack of intelligence. InanimateObject, you’re a poser and Bozo wannabe; and a boring one at that. Go play in the minor league.
1. I think restricting guns is too broad and heavy handed, if you merely want to limit suicides. There are other, less intrusive, less overbroad methods of dealing with something that is, for all intents and purposes, a mental health issue.

2. The inner city gunshot issue is very strongly linked with the war on drugs. Foreign Affairs had a good article about how to deal with this, called "Surgical Strikes in the Drug Wars." It would be very easy, the author says, to limit and curtail violence in both the United States and Mexico. That said, such a policy would never include the limitation or curtailing of guns. Why? Its impossible, because gangs never go through lawful procedures to acquire guns to begin with.

I mean, marijuana and heroin are illegal, yet the US still has a major drug epidemic. Being an undocumented illegal immigrant is illegal, yet there is still a major illegal immigration issue in the United States. Prostitution is also illegal, but it still happens.

There are better ways at fighting violent crime, through targeted, surgical deterrence against the most violent offenders, which consists of limited, but consistent, penalties. Consistency is actually more important than the number of penalties, or perhaps even the nastiness of the penalty. There must be swift and certain penalties.

I think, at the end of the day, that many people just dont like guns, because of a deep-seated psychological nervousness about violence and weapons, something that has nothing to do with logic or facts.
I think its a widespread phobia.
And I need to check that age thing out, too, Kanuk. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

If what you say is true, it means we will see a large spike in crime rates when the baby boomers die off, because the proportion of elderly folks to young folks will re-orient to "natural" levels. When the young and middle age once again acquire a predominent share of the population pyramid, it stands to reason, crime may spike again.

So this article may be saying that the current drop in crime is merely due to the fact that all the wild baby boomers, who caused all the crime in the late 60s, 70s and 80s, are now too old to be criminals?

Do you have more evidence than this article?

How do they prove causation? Correlation and causation are distinct, no?
I notice that a great many of the posters who seem to worry about "lax gun laws" are not very informed about the issue: I recommend a scholarly book on the subject of whether gun laws recduce crime, or not . See "More guns, Less Crime" , an academic sturdy of every county in the whole country, and the correlations involved before , during , and after they started with the Carry Laws. Author was a Phd, John Lott. The title says it all. Included are estimates of how many crimes are prevented by the Carryees.
Ooops!

You mentioned "gun control" on the internet.

Anyway, what's always missing from any of these emotionally charged arguments is proportion.

Just how big is the problem we are trying to solve?
(nobody ever seems to ask that).

Let's see: The FBI reported that there were 8,775 deaths due to guns in 2010.

Holy-Moley! 8,775! -- but keep in mind that that's out of the 16 million or so people that die every year.

So we are talking about 0.05% of the people who died - died from guns...

...I think most of you are safe.

(that's 0.0025% of the total US population-BTW)

But wait--there's more: Most of those deaths were drug/ gang related (most of which are committed with guns that are already illegal -- or supplied by the ATF.)

Annnd -- A big slice of those dead guys are people who were shot --- by the police!

So, if we keep the problem in perspective -- it would appear that the best way to reduce gun deaths is to take guns away from the police.

There you go -- problem solved.

.
Kanuks response reads as follows, wahh, wahh, blubber, blubber, wahh, wahh, blubber blubber, wah, wah whine, whine!

You do have more than crying like a child to answer as you refused to answer all those valid points.

Your sense of humor is rather sick if you think pointing out your preference for more suicide survivors is more morally acceptable, you really should see a psychiatrist!

You indeed are a major league anti gun extremist though, no facts other than anti gun sponsored academically fraudulent studies, with a predetermined result about a point of contention that doesnt do anything to reduce violence or accidents, otherwise all those data points referred to, from all that govenrment data wouldnt be refuting your claims or positions.

So please complete your hilarious renditions and parody of the Brady Bunch rhetoric and hurl more insults as the majority of anti gun zealots do when they have reached the end of their limited intelligence and arguement, against people who do not believe or buy into the snake oil that is the lie that gun control reduces violence you few extremists have been selling for over 4 decades.
As someone who lost a son to gun violence, I very much appreciate this post. Where does the escalation stop? Does it make sense for us as a society to have our citizenry armed to the teeth? I think not, especially when it comes to the larger-scale weaponry such as firearms that can shoot down helicopters, etc. I'm also against assault weapons. Weapons of war shouldn't have a place in the average household. Small firearms for personal safety are another issue, and I think may be reasonably owned by those undergoing background checks. Sad to say, in some ways, gun control is a little bit laughable right now because of all the unregulated sales that are taking place on the internet (60 Minutes recently did a piece on this). Criminals and the insane can readily obtain weapons in this manner, no questions asked. Big, dangerous weapons. It's scary, really. To all those who are so enthusiastic about guns, wait until it's YOUR kid who's mortally wounded. How many have to die, as Mayor Bloomberg stated? There seem to be no end of macho men (and a few women) out there who won't be happy until half the people are shot to death.
InanimateObject, you need to stop projecting your own ignorance onto others. Self-projecting is a typical characteristic of people who are delusional like you. Here’s where you can start seeking assistance: mentalhelp.net.

As explained above, you’re not worth anyone’s time. Adios loser!
Rw005g: I was able to find several papers that discussed the demographic changes and crime rates. I also noted recently published ones that cover crime rates and concealed firearms, all them showing that the prevalence of these weapons have no effects on crime rate. When I find the time, I’ll send you a PM, as I don’t intend to post this information here.

reinvented: I’m very sorry about your loss. Your comment is even more relevant after reading your bio.
Sorry, I couldn't pass on this one.

InanimateObject (aka as The loser) writes “Such an enlightening causation, guns in the household means they could be used, SO!

So?

Ohio School Shooter Chose Victims 'Randomly,' Prosecutor Says

Ohio school shooting suspect "not well":

Lane has told investigators he stole the gun he used from his uncle, who had legal ownership of the firearm, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr.
About being "reasonable": there is really a necessity for "Gun ontrol" fans to show at least some evidence that even full fledged Police States can actually accomplish any G.C. It's a lot like the War on Drugs, but more important. When Drug War fans talk about reason, and how their efforts are "at least in the right direction", is there a grown up alive who isn't aware that the main effect of it is free dramatic publicity for politicians who are depicted as "taking drugs off the streets", while they are videotaped preening themselves at some drug seizure site?! Seriously, aside from the obvious negative consequences, has ANYONE ever been able to show any positive result in the Drug War? I guess a positive result in the Gun Control war would be when, as in Britain, a military threat to the government found the population carefully disarmed, as they were in 1940. (They appealed to US hunters, etc , to donate rifles for the Home Guard)
Brian: your comment that the State Army (the National Guard) is the equivalent of the 2nd Amendment" Militia " reveals a profound misunderstanding of US history, as well as contemporary events. The original Militia meant every able bodied male citizen, no more "selected" than voters are, and stricty local. The National Guard is organzied the same way the national army is; that is, no one is automatically a member; they are selected, therefore cannot be said to be "reperesentative". To spell it out: the Militia is a good defense against "Coups", the N.G. is not. It all goes back to the Civil
War; it was found that you couldn't fight a war of aggression with Militiamen; they wanted to stay home. So we started on our path to Empire ,with a national army.
Brian: congrats on the idea of a civil discussion. You seem to be asking for academic studies on the issue ; an excellent place to start would be a study involving every county in the nation following up the events subsequent to adoption of "Right to Carry". It's called "More Guns, Less Crime", by Prof . John Lott. Bad new for G.C. addicts, which is why you never hear of it.