Guns and Gun Rights
Because, you know, they’re no good for anything useful – like defending yourself and your sister:
It’s called a “right” for a reason.
What? You haven’t heard of this incident?
Spread it around.
I’m certainly no fan of David Gregory. I think he is typical of the new breed of “journalist”, more interested in making news than reporting it. But I also think this nonsense about him showing a high capacity magazine on his Sunday show to be just that, nonsense.
Apparently, now we have to go to the police to get permission to show items on television when they are deemed illegal by our authorities, even if the intent is totally benign.
What has this country come to if it is necessary now to clear our speech with the authorities?
NBC was told by the Washington police that it was “not permissible” to show a high-capacity gun magazine on air before Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” according to a statement Wednesday from the cops.
“NBC contacted [the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department] inquiring if they could utilize a high capacity magazine for their segment,” Gwendolyn Crump, a police spokeswoman, said in an email. “NBC was informed that possession of a high capacity magazine is not permissible and their request was denied. This matter is currently being investigated.”
Since when do we need permission from the authorities to exercise our First Amendment rights? Here we have a perfect example of the law making criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens. This is the state of our nation. We no longer enjoy the freedoms we once had, and our rights are fast becoming permission granted by government.
As I’m sure you know, that’s not the way it was supposed to work.
It would be nice for once to learn from the experience of others. However our hubris won’t allow it apparently. Here are a couple of charts which will make the point graphically. We can do all the feel-good legislation we want to, but it’s not going to change a thing.
Note the fact that despite the ban, homicides committed with firearms in England have shown an increase. We’ve talked about why that may be. Part of it is the fact that criminals don’t obey laws or bans. The other part of it has to do with the fact that the ban has created a de facto gun free zone. Therefore, criminals feel “safe” when attacking just about anyone. Thus as noted before, the increase in “hot burglaries”.
Also note that the number of homicides in England has also risen during that time. As we’ve noted before that is likely to change in culture. But there’s no question that the firearms ban has been a total and utter failure.
Will we learn from this?
Of course not. You can see it forming up now. The demand to repeat the failure of England. Apparently, we believe criminals will obey the law. And we also apparently believe that they won’t look for soft targets.
Because, you know, we’re different.
Is it really so horrible to talk about armed law enforcement officers at our schools? Or do we prefer continue to listen to stories and watch video of anguished parents standing outside a school under siege and wondering whether their child made it?
If we really want this “discussion” that the left appears to be craving, this is a viable and practical way to combat such acts of violence in schools. And yes, it means more guns and near a school too. Unless you’re comfortable with a 20 minute wait time for the local cops to arrive. Yeah, not much shooting can happen in 20 minutes, can it?
Of course, we all know what that really means when the left claims to want to have a discusion, don’t we? It means the left getting their way and banning guns. They are really not interested in considering alternatives or actually hearing contrary opinion. And God forbid you should use facts. When the left talks about having a discussion, they’re essentially saying ‘you sit and listen to me talk and then we’ll do it my way’. And if you refuse, they call you every vile name they can think of, and when you answer, they claim you’re being uncivil. Wash, rinse and repeat.
It seems interesting to me that no one had a real problem with air marshals when they were put on aircraft. Remember them? They were a reaction to the fact that government had disarmed everyone that flies on an airplane, and consequently terrorists with box cutters were able to take advantage of that and finally kill 3,000 on 9/11 without anyone on two of the flights being able to put up a defense (except flight 93, of course). The flying public was downright pleased, in fact, to know the marshalls were aboard.
LaPierre discussed in detail an inconvenient fact many in the media and on Capitol Hill have failed to acknowledge: gun free school zones leave children vulnerable to violent attacks carried out by madmen. LaPierre said making schools gun free over the years has simply told “every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with little risk.”
He’s right. You think an “insane killer” would attempt the same thing at a gun show? They are not that insane. Instead they look the place of least resistance. And that would be a “gun free zone”. Schools, unfortunately, are easy targets because they are usually gun free zones.
Right now we have no problem arming guards and stationing them at critical facilities. You read about very few “insane killers” trying to get inside a federal building, at least not anymore. That’s because they know they will meet armed resistance. So why not go to a school instead?
If the left really wants to have a “discussion” about the school shootings in Connecticut, then this must be on the table. The whole point of course is to make those “insane killers” reject schools as an easy target. What better way to do that than to make it clear that they will face well trained armed guards if they try?
It all goes back to the discussion of human nature. Few “insane killers” are going to go somewhere where they may not be able to accomplish their murderous deed in the manner they wish. Instead, they’re going to look for the easiest target. Certainly having armed guards at schools isn’t what we would prefer (and no, it won’t forever traumatize little Johnny and Jane to have them). But reality rarely cares what we prefer.
It is time we deal with reality. Bulletin: we live in a dangerous society that has any number of deranged people in it. I’m not sure how many more school shootings we have to suffer before we get the message. Certainly not an ideal solution, but definitely a very practical solution. It won’t guarantee the safety of our children necessarily, but it certainly will give them a fighting chance. And, probably more importantly, once it becomes known that schools routinely employ armed guards, my guess is the “insane killers” will attempt to find newer and less threatening targets with which to claim their 15 minutes of fame.
In a recent study two Harvard professors determined that banning guns will not solve the violence or murder problem. That in fact, guns really have nothing to do with it. Instead it is instead a matter of culture.
The reason that gun ownership doesn’t correlate with murder rates, the authors show, is that violent crime rates are determined instead by underlying cultural factors. “Ordinary people,” they note, “simply do not murder.” Rather, “the murderers are a small minority of extreme antisocial aberrants who manage to obtain guns whatever the level of gun ownership” in their society.
Therefore, “banning guns cannot alleviate the socio-cultural and economic factors that are the real determinants of violence and crime rates.” According to Dr. Kates and Dr. Mauser, “there is no reason for laws prohibiting gun possession by ordinary, law-abiding, responsible adults because such people virtually never commit murder. If one accepts that such adults are far more likely to be victims of violent crime than to commit it, disarming them becomes not just unproductive but counter-productive.”
The sort of reasoning Kates and Mauser use for seems to be foreign to those who want to ban guns. It is not a problem of law abiding citizens because, as the authors state, law-abiding citizens don’t commit murder. Consequently, taking their guns away will have no fact other than to make them easier victims. The counter gun culture tries very hard to correlate guns with violence and murder. But looking at the number of guns owned in America as well as the number of Americans who own guns (45 – 52 million), we see that in reality gun crime and gun violence are statistically small. As the authors state disarming law-abiding citizens is “not just unproductive but counterproductive.”
Additionally, they use these things called “facts” to gut the myths that have grown up around gun ownership and violence. For instance, the myth surrounding the Soviet Union and its strict gun control.
In their piece entitled Would Banning Firearms Reduce Murder and Suicide? A Review of International and some Domestic Evidence, Don B. Kates and Gary Mauser eviscerate “the mantra that more guns mean more deaths and that fewer guns, therefore, mean fewer deaths.” In so doing, the authors provide fascinating historical insight into astronomical murder rates in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and they dispel the myths that widespread gun ownership is somehow unique to the United States or that America suffers from the developed world’s highest murder rate.
To the contrary, they establish that Soviet murder rates far exceeded American murder rates, and continue to do so today, despite Russia’s extremely stringent gun prohibitions. By 2004, they show, the Russian murder rate was nearly four times higher than the American rate.
The authors also look at the gun control policies in Europe and find evidence that counters the correlation between gun ownership and violence.
More fundamentally, Dr. Kates and Dr. Mauser demonstrate that other developed nations such as Norway, Finland, Germany, France and Denmark maintain high rates of gun ownership, yet possess murder rates lower than other developed nations in which gun ownership is much more restricted.
For example, handguns are outlawed in Luxembourg, and gun ownership extremely rare, yet its murder rate is nine times greater than in Germany, which has one of the highest gun ownership rates in Europe. As another example, Hungary’s murder rate is nearly three times higher than nearby Austria’s, but Austria’s gun ownership rate is over eight times higher than Hungary’s. “Norway,” they note, “has far and away Western Europe’s highest household gun ownership rate (32%), but also its lowest murder rate. The Netherlands,” in contrast, “has the lowest gun ownership rate in Western Europe (1.9%) … yet the Dutch gun murder rate is higher than the Norwegian.”
Dr. Kates and Dr. Mauser proceed to dispel the mainstream misconception that lower rates of violence in Europe are somehow attributable to gun control laws. Instead, they reveal, “murder in Europe was at an all-time low before the gun controls were introduced.” As the authors note, “strict controls did not stem the general trend of ever-growing violent crime throughout the post-WWII industrialized world.”
Citing England, for instance, they reveal that “when it had no firearms restrictions [in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries], England had little violent crime.” By the late 1990s, however, “England moved from stringent controls to a complete ban on all handguns and many types of long guns.” As a result, “by the year 2000, violent crime had so increased that England and Wales had Europe’s highest violent crime rate, far surpassing even the United States.” In America, on the other hand, “despite constant and substantially increasing gun ownership, the United States saw progressive and dramatic reductions in criminal violence in the 1990s.”
So, if one is honest and reads the evidence clearly, they are left with the understanding that the attempted correlation between gun ownership and violence doesn’t really exist. In fact, it appears that it is indeed the culture that is the cause of violence. One could even argue that disarming the public makes them the culture of victims. For example, one of the things we hear about England is that there has been a vast increase in “hot burglaries” since firearms have been banned. That ban has emboldened the criminals. They no longer fear the homeowner. They know the homeowner does not have a gun. Why? Because they’re law-abiding citizens.
Finally, Kates and Mauser talk about the seeming change in American culture and its impact on violent crime.
Critically, Dr. Kates and Dr. Mauser note that “the fall in the American crime rate is even more impressive when compared with the rest of the world,” where 18 of the 25 countries surveyed by the British Home Office suffered violent crime increases during that same period.
Furthermore, the authors highlight the important point that while the American gun murder rate often exceeds that in other nations, the overall per capita murder rate in other nations (including other means such as strangling, stabbing, beating, etc.) is oftentimes much higher than in America.
As should be obvious to anyone, those that are murdered really don’t care about the means that murder. Dead is dead. The key to reducing murder is cultural. It has nothing to do with the weapon involved. As Kates and Mauser pointed out the per capita murder rate in other nations is often higher than ours. And many if not most of those include countries with strict gun bans.
It should seem clear, given the experience of many European countries with strict gun control, that banning guns does not solve the murder and violence problem. It would be nice for a change if we would learn from the experience of others. As horrific as the Newtown massacre was, it wasn’t perpetrated by a person anyone would consider a law-abiding citizen. In fact, he had no concept of the principle of law or his responsibility to abide by it.
If we want to learn from that incident, the lesson isn’t about guns. It’s about how inadequate our means of handling those who pose a danger to society really are. Megan McArdle does a good job of discussing that very important point.
This study seems to point to what many would argue is obvious. However there is a strong, emotional lobby that continues to want to ignore the primary problem in favor of banning the instrument of murder in this particular case. It is foolish and shortsighted. It would be feel-good legislation, made in haste as usual and in the end accomplishing nothing. We have a history of knee jerk legislation made in haste in which the consequences are unforeseen and usually unintended.
What should be clear is we don’t want to end up like England.
What was the time necessary for “first responders” to arrive at the Newtown CT school? 20 minutes?
Unacceptable if, as many want you to believe, you should leave your defense in the hands of others.
Sorry, I simply refuse to be a victim.
What happens when armed people going about their everyday lives are confronted by evil?
Well, things like this:
Police say a gunman, identified as Jesus Manuel Garcia, chased patrons from the nearby China Garden Restaurant into the lobby of the Santikos Mayan 14 movie theater at around 9 p.m. on Sunday. Garcia, an employee of the restaurant, reportedly walked in the establishment looking for a woman.
A gunman retreated from a Casper nail salon last week after realizing one of its customers was packing heat.
Police say about 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, a man walked into Modern Nails at 2645 E. Second St. and asked a female employee if she wanted to buy some diamonds. The man walked toward the front desk area and the woman replied that she had no money to buy diamonds.
A witness said the man then reached into his coat pocket and began to take out a silver-colored pistol.
At that moment, a woman who was getting her nails donereached into her purse and got her own firearm. Police say the man never fully raised the gun and left the building after seeing the customer had her weapon out.
Well, here’s a use of 911 I didn’t foresee:
A suspected burglar called 911 after the owner of the home he broke into caught and held him at gunpoint.
The suspect, Christopher Moore, placed the emergency call in Springtown, Texas, during the botched burglary attempt early Tuesday after James Gerow, the homeowner, and Gerow’s son pointed guns at him as he sat in his pickup truck parked in the driveway.
“I’m out in the country somewhere,” Moore told the 911 operator during the 10-minute call. “Some guy’s got a gun on me.”
Gerow’s wife, Lindy, placed a concurrent call to 911 that confirmed Moore’s account.
“You better come quick,” she said, “or my husband’s going to shoot him.”
“If he gets out of the truck, shoot him in the legs,” James Gerow told his son, according to the Dallas Morning News Crime Blog. “You ain’t gotta kill him—just shoot him in the legs.”
When police arrived, both Moore and Lindy Gerow were still talking to 911 dispatchers.
According to CBS’ Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate, Moore was arrested and charged with burglary. He’s currently being held on a $35,000 bond.
So, uh, Bob Costas, what’s your take on this? These “bitter clingers” just protected themselves and their property and brought a law breaker to justice. All with guns. And not a person was killed … or even shot.
Interested in seeing one of the dumbest attempts to counter an argument against reinstituting the “assault gun” ban?
It’s, well, pretty pathetic, and, coming out of Media Matters, shouldn’t really surprise you.
First the graphic that started it all:
Okay, you’re in the ballpark now.
The Media Matters person (Timothy Johnson) says:
The image was created by a blogger who used it to argue in favor of the ban, writing that “If you can buy the gun on the top, but can’t buy the bottom gun, who cares? You still have a gun.” McArdle responded that “if it makes no difference, than why have the law?” and argued that “‘assault weapon’ is a largely cosmetic rather than functional description.”
But Johnson says there are vast differences which mean that, hey, they’re just not the same. The bottom one, per Johnson, is much more lethal. And he’s got the reasons why:
In fact, the lower pictured weapon, a Mossberg 500 Tactical Persuader, has a number of features that increase its lethality compared to the top pictured shotgun. Contrary to what the graphic suggests, the only difference between the two weapons is not just the pistol grip featured on the Tactical Persuader. The Tactical Persuader also has an adjustable stock that can be removed from the firearm completely, which allows the gun length to be shortened for increased concealability. Furthermore, when combined with a pistol grip, the firearm can be more easily maneuvered, allowing the shooter to fire from the hip and more easily use the weapon from vehicles and in other close quarters situations.
An almost identical configuration was sought out by Suleman Talovic, a teenager who used a Mossberg-derivative pistol grip shotgun during a rampage that killed five and wounded four at the Trolley Square Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah on February 12, 2007. A recent report issued by the John Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research found that firearms with assault weapon features are disproportionally used in mass shootings and that when used result in higher numbers of casualties.
OK? You get my point about silly?
A “pistol grip” doesn’t “increase lethality” unless you beat someone over the head with it (by the way, I can make a pistol grip on the other using a saw in about 5 minutes, or, just buy one aftermarket and install it on the top gun). Pistol grips are non-lethal “features”, not lethal weapons.
Secondly, being able to conceal something doesn’t make it more lethal either. It simply means you can hide it better. How hiding something better becomes “lethal” will have to be answered by Mr. Johnson who seems not to know what “lethal” actually means.
In fact the blogger is correct – they are exactly the same gun where it counts. And to be lethal, you must still load them, point each of them at someone and pull the trigger. One doesn’t shoot more rounds than the other, one doesn’t use a “bigger” round than the other, one won’t shoot faster than the other. They are each 12ga 6 round pump shotguns. Period.
Finally, correlation is not causation (i.e. the gun made him do it where he might not have had he had the top shotgun available instead) and the fact that someone on a rampage chose a shotgun with a pistol grip over a rifle stock doesn’t make the one with the pistol grip more lethal (I do wish this guy would look up “lethal”).
Additionally the fact that one might be able to be used in “close quarters” better than the other again doesn’t make it more lethal. It simply provides a perceived advantage over the other that may or may not, in fact, play out. If, however, it is something anyone would want, it is easily done to the top gun with a minimum of effort or cost.
Then, I assume, thinking he has just nailed it by pointing out the “lethality” of the pistol grip, he throws this up from some activist group that is just about as silly as the rest of his stuff:
All assault weapons–military and civilian alike–incorporate specific features that were designed for laying down a high volume of fire over a wide killing zone. This is sometimes known as “hosing down” an area. Civilian assault weapons feature the specific military design features that make spray-firing easy and distinguish assault weapons from traditional sporting firearms.
Civilian “assault weapons” or those which look like them are “semi-automatic” by law. Military assault weapons usually have the option of automatic fire. It is on the automatic selection that a large volume of fire is going to be projected (and, unless you know what you’re doing, very ineffectively). Civilian guns don’t have that option. They’re not the same freakin’ thing regardless of how they look!
Consequently they’re not going to be doing any “spray firing” or “hosing down” of an area in semi-auto mode. Can a semi-auto put out a decent amount of fire? Yes, especially if it has a large capacity magazine. But those two shotguns in question are pump action and only hold 6 rounds each.
Shotgun A will fire no faster or slower than shotgun B in the picture above. If A can do it, so can B and the reverse is also true. And whatever they do will involve shoot, pump, shoot, pump, shoot, pump etc. The bottom shotgun doesn’t go “boom, boom, boom, boom, boom”. It does exactly what the top one does – “boom, pump, boom …” (I wanted it to make it easy for Johnson to understand).
So, in sum, the blogger is correct, but even more correct is Megan McArdle. What’s the point? They’re pump action shotguns that are, except cosmetically, exactly the same (and each can be modified in any number of ways from their stock appearance). What again is the point of the law?
Uh, control, that’s what.
We’ve been told for some time that violent crime in America is actually at its lowest point since the 1970s.
But we’re also being told by a certain element that gun deaths are out of hand and we need to reconsider tightening our gun laws.
So lets take one of those “perspective” looks shall we?
First a chart that takes us through 2004 showing murders by firearms:
As an aside, the Assault Weapons ban was in effect from 1994 to 2004. Assault weapons would be found under “other guns”. You’ll note that “other methods” and knives, for the most part, were involved in more murders than “assault weapons” (further note that not all “other guns” were “Assault Weapons”, but may have been hunting rifles or shotguns). Rifles of any sort just aren’t the usual weapon of choice for murders.
Also note that murders of all types have been trending down over the years. If you hit the link in the first sentence, it will show you that in 2004 the number of violent crimes per 100,000 was 463.2 and in 2010 it had fallen to 403.6.
If you add handguns and “other guns” from the chart in 2004, you see approximately 10,500 to 11,000 murders by firearms.
The most recent FBI figures show just 358 of the 8,775 murders by firearm in 2010 involved rifles of any type.
By the way, the article that was pulled from noted that in 2010, more people were beaten to death by fists (758) than were killed by “other guns”, aka rifles of any sort.
Michael Wade does the math:
So, based on these two sites (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_households_are_in_the_US)(http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx) there were approximately 115 million households in 2010, and between 41% and 49% (depending on how you do the numbers) had firearms in them.
That’s a minimum of 57.5 million arms (if we assume one firearm per household, which we know isn’t even close to the right number).
If we then assume that each of the 8,775 murders was committed by a separate firearm from a different household each time (again, an assumption we know is wrong but increases the number of households involved), then approximately 0.015% of American households who owned guns were involved with murder by firearm in 2010.
Again, these assumptions make that percentage much higher than it actually is since (a) undoubtedly more households have firearms but don’t report them, (b) households with firearms will typically have more than just one, and may have several, (c) one firearm likely accounted for more than one of the 8,775 murders, and (d) the vast majority of the murders were likely committed with firearms that were illegally possessed!
Even so, slightly more than one one-thousandth of one percent of gun owners is the highest amount you are going to be able to implicate in murder by firearm, despite all the generous assumptions made in favor of the gun control side.
That does not speak to a winning argument IMHO.
No it sure doesn’t, not that they won’t try anyway. Additionally, when you do the math about chances of being a victim of firearm murder, the figure 312.8 million is what you need to divide into the 8,775 yielding a terrifying 0.000028% chance of being a victim of a firearm murder in 2010 (if you’re a gambler, though, move to Chicago and you can quickly reduce the odds).
In fact, you’re much more likely to die from one of these causes than a gunshot murder:
Chance of dying from any kind of injury during the next year: 1 in 1,820
Chance of dying from intentional self-harm: 1 in 9,380
Chance of dying from an assault: 1 in 16,421
Chance of dying from a car accident: 1 in 18,585
Chance of dying from any kind of fall: 1 in 20,666
Chance of dying from accidental drowning: 1 in 79,065
Chance of dying from exposure to smoke, fire, and flames: 1 in 81,524
Chance of dying in an explosion: 1 in 107,787
Life is perilous, but for the most part, not because of guns.
As someone recently said, we don’t need gun control, we need idiot control. Not sure how we control the idiots, but I’m sympathetic to the idea. Statistically though, the number of firearm murders per year simply doesn’t justify any renewed call for banning or restricting the sale or possession of firearms.
I ran across an article in Forbes by Mark Gibbs, a proponent of stricter gun control, in which he thinks, given a certain technology, that gun control in reality may be dead.
That technology? 3D printers. They’ve come a long way and, some of them are able to work in metals. That, apparently led to an experiment:
So, can you print a gun? Yep, you can and that’s exactly what somebody with the alias “HaveBlue” did.
The receiver is, in effect, the framework of a gun and holds the barrel and all of the other parts in place. It’s also the part of the gun that is technically, according to US law, the actual gun and carries the serial number.
When the weapon was assembled with the printed receiver HaveBlue reported he fired 200 rounds and it operated perfectly.
Whether or not this actually happened really isn’t the point. At some point there is no doubt it will. There are all sorts of other things to consider when building a gun receiver (none of which Gibbs goes into), etc., but on a meta level what Gibbs is describing is much like what happened to the news industry when self-publishing (i.e. the birth of the new media) along with the internet became a realities. The monopoly control of the flow of news enjoyed by the traditional media exploded into nothingness. It has never been able to regain that control, and, in fact, has seen it slip even more.
Do 3D printers present the same sort of evolution as well as a threat to government control? Given the obvious possibility, can government exert the same sort of control among the population that it can on gun manufacturers? And these 3D printers work in ceramic too. Certainly ceramic pistols aren’t unheard of. Obviously these printers are going to continue to get better, bigger and work with more materials.
That brings us to Gibb’s inevitable conclusion:
What’s particularly worrisome is that the capability to print metal and ceramic parts will appear in low end printers in the next few years making it feasible to print an entire gun and that will be when gun control becomes a totally different problem.
So what are government’s choices, given its desire to control the manufacture and possession of certain weapons?
Well, given the way it has been going for years, I’d say it isn’t about to give up control. So?
Will there be legislation designed to limit freedom of printing? The old NRA bumper sticker “If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns” will have to be changed to “If guns are outlawed, outlaws will have 3D printers.”
Something to think about. I think we know the answer, but certainly an intriguing thought piece. Registered printers? Black market printers? “Illegal printers” smuggled in to make cheap guns?
The possibilities boggle the mind. But I pretty much agree with Gibbs – given the evolution of this technology, gun control, for all practical purposes, would appear to be dying and on the way to dying.