Change starts with Sheriff Hanlin

The shooting at Umpqua Community College was Oregon’s deadliest shooting in history. Nine people were killed. Many more injured. The gunman’s death was declared a suicide.

As with every mass shooting in the U.S., which come at an astonishingly alarming rate (Shooting in Oregon: So far in 2015, we’ve had 274 days and 294 mass shootings), there is a wave of anger that no gun regulation reforms have been undertaken, no matter if the guns were illegally OR legally obtained to commit the crimes. Many books and studies have been written on this issue that goes far beyond the purview of DN, but the interesting side story to emerge out of this incident surround Douglas County, Oregon, Sheriff John Hanlin, who was the police Official responsible for responding to the latest tragedy in a quiet town where no one ever anticipated such an event.

Hanlin was an outspoken opponent of gun control reform. In January 2013, post Sandy Hook, he wrote to Vice President Joe Biden. In the letter, he requested that the federal government “not tamper with” the 2nd Amendment. He states he supports the view that current gun control reform requests exploited “the deaths of innocent victims”. He also stated he would refuse to uphold any such new laws. Here is an excerpt of the letter. (Entire letter here.)
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Hanlin has since declined to comment on that letter.

Three days before the date of the Biden letter, Hanlin also posted a video of Sandy Hook truther propaganda on his Facebook page. The video suggested that the shootings at Sandy Hook (and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001) might have been staged by the federal government as a means to impose gun restrictions on the public.

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The post was taken down. Why? Inappropriate now? I would say Hanlin, who is admirable refusing to call the shooter by name, does have some SERIOUS explaining to do.

CNN covered the story as did many other news outlets due to its ironic nature.

When asked about the video Friday, Hanlin told CNN that “I know what you’re referring to, but that’s not a conspiracy theory that I have.”

Whatever his intentions, the post is one of several provocative moves from Hanlin over the years, ones in which he’s drawn lines in the sand and challenged other authorities — even the highest in the land.

Hanlin told CNN that his position had not changed. What does that mean? It means Hanlin is dealing with some massive cognitive dissonance. It is easy for people to adopt even absurd beliefs if those beliefs are not challenged and are reinforced by those around them. Now, Hanlin has to deal with some stark reality. Some may even accuse HIM of playing a role. How will he deal with that? Welcome to the bizarro world of conspiracy theories.

According to the book American Conspiracy Theories by Uscinski and Parent (2014), American seem to anticipate grievances and complain before they suffer. Thus, Hanlin feared, as do many others, that gun rights would be impinged upon. Gun rights are a value he holds very highly. However, not only were gun rights NOT impinged upon after MANY events, but it does not look like it will happen now, since, even Hanlin admitted, that it seems clear no amount of deaths by shooting will surpass the need to hold the right to bear arms sacred.

This is an ideology – a set of interrelated beliefs that provide a way for people to understand the world. Ideologies we hold dictate our priorities and who are the good or bad guys. Such a framework allows us to categorize and interpret information and then derive meaning from it. What’s also clear is that many people in America hold an ideology that includes massive mistrust of government and other factors that result in adopting such conspiracies to make sense of these heinous shooting events. Does that mean that conspiracies will strengthen as these mass shootings continue? It might. That is unclear. (Commenters are asked to provide additional info on this point.)

The critical thinker can attempt to deal with such outrageous conspiracies by pointing out that the described plot’s cost and risk certainly outweigh any benefits. But then, the believer feels that the government is so evil that it does not value human lives or that the event was faked. So how do you deal with truthers? Sadly, you don’t.

Some just yell.

Since the Sheriff  seems so brave in writing and speaking about his “fucking” gun rights, I wonder if he will have the balls to do the following:

1. Tell the Parents of those slain kids that it is terrible what happened to their children but the right to bear arms is more important than their kids right to live.

2. Tell the parents that though they will miss their kids deeply and have to live in a nightmare for years to come, that the very thought of having to register for his gun is more important than that, and God forbid they might take away a gun from someone, that would be far more terrible than the child that was taken from them.

3. Tell those Parents in his world the only way to make children safe at school is to make the school and armed encampment.

Source: Sheriff John Hanlin…one word..Really?

Or, you keep pushing.

Posted by The White House on Thursday, October 1, 2015:

“This is a political choice that we make to allow this to happen every few months in America. We collectively are answerable to those families who lose their loves ones because of our inaction. When Americans are killed in mine disasters, we work to make mines safer. When Americans are killed in floods and hurricanes, we make communities safer. When roads are unsafe, we fix them to reduce auto fatalities. We have seatbelt laws because we know it saves lives. The notion that gun violence is somehow different—that our freedom and our Constitution prohibits any modest regulation of how we use a deadly weapon, when there are law-abiding gun owners all across the country who could hunt, and protect their families, and do everything they do under such regulations—doesn’t make sense.” —President Obama on the shooting in Roseburg, Oregon: #UCCShooting

What do we do about dealing with these problems of mass shootings and the subtext of the gun rights ideology? “Nothing” is not an acceptable answer.

The facts of gun ownership, use and crime are complex. See this piece on how we can’t make black or white statements so easily. It’s more complicated than that. Should we call for Commission report? Will that do any good in the climate we have regarding conspiracies?

FirearmFactsA start would be finding common ground in admitting the problem, and calling out false flags and fake massacres as ludicrous. Then, as the President says, finding the courage to change. Let’s start with Sheriff Hanlin. What do you say now?

  103 comments for “Change starts with Sheriff Hanlin

  1. October 4, 2015 at 11:59 AM

    Wonderful commentary Sharon. I’m going to have to take some more time to go through the links but you shed some new light on the Oregon sheriff’s history that is surprising and appalling.

    I try to keep up on the gun advocates’ crazy universe of continually retreating and ever-inventive “excuse-ology” (in fact I get a newsletter from Arizona’s leading gun rights explainer) so I can practically quote chapter and verse on how they’ll ‘splain this latest atrocity away. (Hint: it was Obama’s fault).

    But we need to not “do nothing.”

  2. Lagaya1
    October 4, 2015 at 12:36 PM

    The more these things happen, the more afraid people get. The more afraid they get, the more they arm themselves and take those arms to inappropriate places. The more they arm themselves, the more likely that the guns are found by the wrong people- children, mentally ill, angry, criminal. We are saturated with guns, and until the tragedy becomes personal, no one thinks that their child will be the one who shoots his friends, or that their gun will be the one stolen from their car, or their spouse will lose it one day, or their teen experiencing their first heartbreak will shoot themselves. When it happens, society gets more scared. Now Trump wants to arm teachers. Do we think that in schools where students can find test sheets, they can’t find the teacher’s gun? How much will be enough, finally for us to not be afraid? I won’t live that way.

  3. Sean A. Elliott
    October 4, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    Excellent piece.

  4. Phil D.
    October 4, 2015 at 3:50 PM

    There were 30,057 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States in 2013 in which 32,719 deaths occurred. This resulted in national motor vehicle crash death rates of 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people and 1.11 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled. Yet you continue to drive automobiles, and there is no support for taking vehicles out of the hands of civilians to prevent this unacceptable death toll. So is that cognitive dissonance too?

    The reality is that automobiles are far more deadly than guns, despite the safety measures that we have implemented over the years. But because removing them would inconvenience the vast majority of Americans, there is no outcry to ban them or place significant restrictions on who can use them. On the other hand, there are a lot of people out there who don’t own guns, so gun control laws are pushed as a wedge issue to get politicians’ names in the news. But to responsible gun owners, the concept of gun control is no more reasonable than the concept of putting more restrictions on car owners, and for good reason. You wouldn’t support taking everyone’s car away because someone in another state killed 10 people in a car accident; why should responsible gun owners be punished for similar actions by a criminal with a gun?

  5. October 4, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    What ABSOLUTE drivel. What is the purpose of a motor vehicle? To kill? No, to travel. I am well aware of the statistics of traffic accidents and, thus, have little aversion to flying long distances instead.

    Your comment is decidedly shallow and unhelpful.

  6. Lagaya1
    October 4, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    Yes, automobiles are quite dangerous. That’s why there are thousands of laws passed restricting who can use them, what safety features they must be equipped with, and what rules govern their use. When new problems are brought to light, new laws are passed without nearly the outcry that occurs when someone tries to restrict the most deadly and useless (for anyone except criminals) guns. I think American men in particular have their manhood symbolically tied to their guns. Makes them look the more wimpy to me.

  7. Stephen
    October 4, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    Slow down there Idoubtit,

    The man was only pointing out that if you really wanted to save lives cars would be a better starting point.

    Apparently you really want to ban hand guns nothing wrong with that but you may what to take a sceptical look at your motives..

  8. spookyparadigm
    October 4, 2015 at 5:07 PM

    Mandatory licensing of all guns. Criminalization of operating guns without mandatory training/testing by government bureaucrats, including demonstrated capability to use a weapon responsibly and effectively, eyesight tests, and knowledge of laws regarding gun ownership. Regular mandatory renewal of individual gun use licenses by the government. Felony crime to operate guns under the influence. Random street checks to see if one is operating guns under the influence. Heavy policing for minor infractions of gun ownership and use laws. Minimum age levels for operating guns. Mandatory insurance requirements for gun ownership. Individual publicly accessible databases of previous gun-ownership based on object-inscribed serial number, complimented by secondary serial number required by the state. Various states with required yearly inspections of guns. Federal and state regulations on design of guns based on environmental and public safety demands. Varying taxation and regulation of price and nature of ammunition (rather than fuel) required to operate guns.

    Sounds like a start. Thank you for suggesting this.

  9. October 4, 2015 at 5:20 PM

    It was a terrible argument and a diversion from the issues at hand. We have plenty of car safety laws, recalls, fixes and legal routes. For guns, we have few. License to operate a gun? Anyone?

    Note in NO place did I say “ban hand guns”. Look at your own jumping to conclusions.

  10. Stephen
    October 4, 2015 at 5:45 PM

    I Agree, I jumped 🙂

    Its just that I have found a lot of people want gun control because they don’t like guns. (was I wrong ? )

    Now lets be clear control is needed. however it does not solve the issue in my opinion.

    In my country we have strict new gun controls that quite frankly don’t work.

    Once a country is saturated with weapons its almost impossible to turn around.
    Now almost no one legally has a firearm, but they are still everywhere and mainly in the “wrong” hands.
    Its not the solution.

    And I hope America does not find this out the hard way like we did.

    People will find a way to defend themselves when they don’t trust the government to do it for them and that is the real issue in my opinion that’s on the table.

    And no amount of buy backs and controls will help for that.

  11. October 4, 2015 at 5:56 PM

    There is DAMN good reason why we “don’t like guns”. I’m fed up with everyone’s uninformed opinions. A hard discussion is needed.

  12. Stephen
    October 4, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    Uninformed ?

    Again why the attach ?

    You know nothing about me but decide my opinion is uninformed ? or does it just not coincide with yours ?

    please state your DAMN good reason or am I supposed to take it on faith ?

  13. October 4, 2015 at 6:10 PM

    Exactly. Cars and other vehicles serve essential social and economic purposes. Guns have one purpose and one purpose only: to kill. The “cars kill people” argument is one of the old hiding places that gun advocates used to try foisting on us. That dog won’t hunt anymore.

  14. October 4, 2015 at 6:38 PM

    I don’t see an “attach” going on against Stephen. However, it would be helpful if, when he refers to his country, he would say what country that is. Otherwise, we have no way of verifying anything he says about the way his country does things.

    As to whether people will “find a way to defend themselves when they don’t trust the government,” that is both vague and uninformed. I have no idea what that even means. Does it mean we don’t trust the government armed forces to prevent an invasion on our shores? (which is hardly likely to be countered by a bunch of self-styled militia men and women). Or does it mean we don’t trust the government to defend us from…the government? (which leads quickly to the cloud cuckoo land of conspiracists). Or does it mean we don’t trust the govt. to defend our grade school kids from a demented 20-year-old who legally acquired an arsenal of weapons from his mother? Or a demented community college student in Oregon with 14 legally acquired weapons

    The reason why I don’t like guns (and here I speak for myself) is that they have only one purpose: to kill. And innocent people are dying across the nation because as a nation, we don’t have the political will to stop the senseless killing. So, yes, I want gun control because I don’t like guns (though I have no particular objection to hunting rifles, so I guess it’s not all guns. )

    As idoubt it has expressed, this is a damn difficult problem, with no easy solutions. Gun control–strict gun control and strict ammo control too, by the way–is clearly a major part of the solution.

    Personally, I think the whole 2nd Amendment needs to be revisited in light of the original political context and the rather ambiguous wording…but I’m not holding my breath on that.

  15. Lagaya
    October 4, 2015 at 6:44 PM

    Read any newspaper.

  16. Stephen
    October 4, 2015 at 6:46 PM

    In closing let me try and put it another way.

    When you live in an area where crime is high and the police take hours to respond
    you will consider getting a weapon.

    When you live in a rural area where crime is high, you will consider arming yourself.

    What the anti-gun should be looking at is why anyone would want one in the first place!

    fix these issues so that the demand goes down.

    If you have been mugged, robbed or threatened at gun point, you will come to a point when you have to protect yourself ( I have had the Joy of all 3 )

    Just a thought

  17. skeptictmac57
    October 4, 2015 at 6:48 PM

    Hmmmm….I see. Something else is bad, so we cannot talk about or do anything about a thing that is also bad but not quite as bad…yet?
    I guess for efficiency, we need to create a worldwide consensus list of all bad things, then rank them in order, and then work on them starting from the worst bad thing, and fix that, before moving on to the next bad thing.
    And don’t even suggest that we talk about a lesser bad thing until, and only until, the higher ranking bad thing has been completely dealt with, otherwise, you are not really wanting to save lives, and have a hidden agenda vis a vis the lesser offending bad thing.
    Have I got that correct Stephen?

  18. Stephen
    October 4, 2015 at 7:02 PM

    No was just making the point that diverse inclusive discussion of someone pro-gun may not be a bad thing

  19. Stephen
    October 4, 2015 at 7:08 PM

    My Country is South Africa, second or third highest gun related killings in the world.

    To Qualify for a licence you do 3 weeks training and need a spotless police record.
    and requalification every 5 years

    as can be seen from the latest statistics this really worked well.

    All it did was send anyone with a parking ticket to the black market. as there are millions of unregistered weapons floating around. that and tazzer sales went up

  20. October 4, 2015 at 7:12 PM

    Stephen makes some reasonable points, at least for considering a gun (and remember, I have a zero-tolerance for guns these days). I can see someone living on a farm keeping a firearm to shoot marauding predators or harvesting deer in the Pennsylvania woods.

    However, I think if a gunman jumped out of an alley pointing his Glock at me, it wouldn’t much matter if I was carrying. He’d get my money…and probably my gun. This is not to diminish Stephen’s agony and distress at being mugged at gunpoint. I’m just not sure having a gun in my bag or the back of my jeans would help.

    Even people well-trained in the use of firearms — like the retired police captain in Florida who shot a man in a theatre for texting during previews — can’t necessarily be trusted to use their weapons sensibly, much less hit their targets effectively…and not hit other innocent bystanders.

  21. skeptictmac57
    October 4, 2015 at 7:18 PM

    Ok Stephen, I will accept that statement at face value, IF, you in turn re-read your comment, and then apologize for such a mangling of what your supposed original point was, and the presumption of motives and illogical construction of words. Deal?

  22. Stephen
    October 4, 2015 at 7:33 PM

    lol Mangling of words is my dyslexia as is my spelling. Was just disappointed that IDoubtIt jumped on the guy for not sharing the majority view.. then declaring everyone else “uninformed” while wanting HARD discussion with the people who agree with her.. by government in my posts you could substitute police force ( its a government department this side )

  23. skeptictmac57
    October 4, 2015 at 7:37 PM

    So then, I cannot take your statement at face value. Good to know.

  24. stephen
    October 4, 2015 at 7:50 PM

    ? logic of that one went passed me I’m afraid ( its 2 am thought so cut me some slack )

    I gave you the reason I commented at all.
    This is an area we are struggling with in SA and thought I had something to add without the obvious emotion overflow.

    Apparently not

    I will leave you all to agree with each other and have your hard informed and pointless chat 🙂

  25. skeptictmac57
    October 4, 2015 at 8:03 PM

    Stephen, do you disagree with the requirements?
    “To Qualify for a licence you do 3 weeks training and need a spotless police record.
    and requalification every 5 years”

    I would welcome those heartily in the U.S. for private citizens. Too many of our citizens take their duty for firearm safety too lightly, despite their good intentions. Accidental killings and suicides by young people by firearms make up a substantial portion of annual deaths by guns.
    While some gun owners are very educated in firearm safety and training, most purchase their guns for sport or protection, train for a while, but then tuck them away in a closet or shelf, and only use them occasionally, the same way people buy motorcycles and boats, and then lose interest. Those guns need to be either secured and taken out for range practice, cleaning and safety and handling reviewed on a timely basis (5 years sounds good to me), and local, state and federal laws regarding their use needs to be reviewed as well. Almost none of that is done here unless the owner takes it upon themselves, and most do not. This is a problem.
    Most of all, gun owners in the U.S. need to clean up their act, and quit making excuses for the problems that lax gun laws and the cavalier attitudes of some of their fellow owners have taken on due to some cowboy ‘wild west’ political mentality that has tainted the ability of more level headed citizens who need or want guns for reasonable protection and sport to be able to have a rational discussion about what we can do to help curb these tragedies.

  26. Lee
    October 4, 2015 at 10:14 PM

    Cognitive Dissonance is quite interesting. I never taken into account why it would re-enforce a belief in owning firearms? Person’s being pummeled by the media into believing everyone will face violence that only guns can rebuke and really do not occur that often, on top of a Constitutional Amendment loosely allowing owning guns as a militia and being in a household that has owned guns where it is almost traditional, I can see cognitive dissonance working it wonders.

    When I was young(approximately 50 years ago) I lived in a very rural part of Northeastern Ohio. In our household we had a number of shotguns and rifles. Because of lack of money and location sometimes the only sustenance we were provided was that which we hunted. I was very glad to have the means to do so.

    I moved away from home and never looked back at that time. The only reason I would ever own a gun is to hunt with if I was starving and I have never faced that dilemma since being a boy. I had cousins that were incredibly poor that faced the same early in life.

    I do not own a gun now but my younger roommate does. He was with the U.S. Army stationed in Iraq. His rifle is locked in a case and I have never seen it out of it’s case in the 3 plus years he has been here. I believe the rifle gives him psychological comfort from trauma faced. It is my decision whether I accept his having it or not. He has proven to be one of the most stable people I have known so hence he keeps it.

    Studies have been performed and illicit some interesting numbers. I see also a great amount of activity on social media dealing with the issue that seems split evenly. All are diametrically almost evenly opposed.

    I would love to claim it is big business and it does generate about 6 billions a year. That number does not even phase me in the slightest when I know our own government will spend more then that on the most imbecilic causes. So I discount big business. Of course that is minus the amount paid to outfit our military. The six billion is citizen based.

    It will be interesting to see what transgresses due to the polarities in thinking. I actually looked at numbers last night that had been aggregated and collated by the FBI. Interesting to a statistical person.

    Bottom line argument: Is a human life precious enough to attempt to protect it? This is the avoided question. It becomes completely convoluted when it becomes warped by politics, big money, rationalization and the brains incredible capacity to let us believe we are in the drivers seat.

  27. Jim
    October 4, 2015 at 11:48 PM

    In fact, cars do have significant restrictions on them. You have to pass a test before you’re given a licence. You have to register your car before you can drive it, and display the plate at all times while driving. You have to have insurance, both for you and your car, in order to drive it legally. If you drive your car without meeting these requirements, you face legal sanctions. If you harm someone with your car, even if you’re not particularly negligent, you might go to jail, or at least have a driving prohibition. You can’t drive while impaired.

    How many of these restrictions apply to guns?

  28. One Eyed Jack
    October 5, 2015 at 3:44 AM

    Let’s try and avoid making this a sexist issue.

    Depending on the source you consult, 30-45% of US gun owners are female.

  29. One Eyed Jack
    October 5, 2015 at 3:57 AM

    requalification every 5 years

    As a licensed gun owner, I would love to see this added to US gun control. In my state (IN), requirements for CCW permits are very low. You basically pay a fee, make and application, pass background check, and you’re licensed for life unless you commit a crime.

    Just to the North, Michigan requires mandatory firearm safety classes prior to getting a license. This is another good measure.

    Both of these measures (initial firearm safety/responsibility education and periodic certification) are improvements I would like to see in my state and nationally.

    There are other improvements I would back, but more importantly it illustrates how varied the laws are when we leave it to states to set their own regulations on things like gun control. I would like to see more Federal standards so State laws are more universal.

  30. One Eyed Jack
    October 5, 2015 at 4:15 AM

    Note in NO place did I say “ban hand guns”

    This is the crux of the issue. Someone mentions modifying gun control laws and the hard core NRA hear “ban all guns” (quote intentionally modified) . This isn’t just coincidence. Pro-gun lobbies promote that message… the message than any gun reform is an attempt to “ban all guns”. They do so to rally their base and prevent any sort of reasonable discussion.

    So long as the propaganda campaigns are successful, no meaningful discussion will happen. What will happen is that outrage will eventually reach such a point that something knee jerk and overreaching will happen. There will come a point where public outrage will create a political climate where true “ban all gun” legislation will pass.

    In the end, the NRA and similar groups will shoot themselves in the foot (pun only slightly intended). Their refusal to have a reasoned discussion on reasonable measures will ultimately result in backlash legislation of their worst fears.

  31. Phil D.
    October 5, 2015 at 4:27 AM

    Thanks for your reply. I am sorry that you found my opinion shallow and unhelpful, but it did generate some discussion and prompted you to reveal your true feelings about the issue and, more importantly, how you feel about people who don’t agree with you on the topic.

    I realize that the analogy of cars to guns is not perfect, but the details are really not relevant. The issue is that responsible gun owners like myself value gun ownership just as much as drivers value their cars, if not more so. As such, to dismiss us as “gun nuts” and make “think of the children” type arguments is simply never going to fly, any more than such arguments resonate with drivers. Your article and your comment responses show that you don’t respect this viewpoint, and that the “hard discussion” you want is very much one-sided. Fortunately, the real world isn’t like an Internet comment section where you can just shut down dissenting opinions, so if you ever want to make progress on this you’re going to have to be a bit more open minded.

  32. October 5, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    Wow. I never thought of that eventuality. But it makes sense.

  33. October 5, 2015 at 7:56 AM

    This response is also way off the mark. It’s almost like talking to creationists. There is no reasonable discussion allowed. People are dead. Dying every day from preventable gunshots. As I said, to do nothing is a cowards option.

    I would opine that you are also dealing with some cognitive dissonance in the same way the Sheriff is.

  34. October 5, 2015 at 8:18 AM

    I would agree with licensing of gun owners. And, studying gun deaths as the public health problem that it is. I see NO attempt by the gun rights advocates to even discuss this and that makes the majority of America pretty damn upset. We want to do something but we can’t even DISCUSS it. How people can ignore or deny there is a serious problem in the US is ludicrous.

  35. James Wright
    October 5, 2015 at 10:28 AM

    Just a comment I made to my long suffering wife this morning. The gun violence epidemic is not a gun control issue. It’s not a mental health issue. It’s BOTH plus other contributing factors like economics, healthcare and culture. There are many legs on the table. We need to start somewhere so I’m not opposed to plugging the holes in the gun laws. But if we don’t tackle the other issues as well, we won’t be addressing the problem effectively.

    Say we do address the mental health problem. How can we help them afford their medications and treatment? Say we do have tighter control on weapons. How do we improve the economy so that people won’t fall into lives of crime to support themselves?

    Humans like simple answers. It puts a dimension and a face on a problem. When something can be named and measured, it can be dealt with. It is why we love monsters. And again it just becomes clear to me that there are no Halloween horrors as frightening as what people can visit upon other people.

  36. Barn
    October 5, 2015 at 10:58 AM

    Let’s discuss some things we can certainly agree on: 1) There is a problem. 2) NRA has lots of money. 3) In this case especially, if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Put up or shut up, NRA. You are not helping anybody.

  37. October 5, 2015 at 11:33 AM

    Maybe this will be of interest to those who feel a discussion is in order.

    The National Academy of Sciences did a report on Firearms and Violence in 2005. Here is the executive Summary. It states that data is limited to guide policy.

    There have been deliberate efforts to squelch even data collection. That’s unethical.

  38. ApexDisorder
    October 5, 2015 at 11:50 AM

    If you are not a trained weapons “owner” I have a hard time with equal back and forth communication, opinions on the subject.
    Non trained weapons “users” do not carry the same statistical weight in weapon proficincy or responsability.

    Responsable people take responsable action.

    Too much.

  39. Omxqru
    October 5, 2015 at 11:55 AM

    This is thoughtful. Currently, I don’t believe anyone wants to take guns from responsible owners. Some of your suggestions are exaggerations for effect, but certainly registration and safety training should be a minimum requirement. Many other countries that have gun ownership and much lower gun violence rates limit the individual to one gun. OTOH, criminals do not think of consequences. Even if they knew there was a good chance of being caught or killed during their crime, it’s “NOT going to happen to them.” Newer studies show no correlation between concealed carry and crime rates.

  40. Lagaya1
    October 5, 2015 at 11:58 AM

    And only Bigfoot hunters should be discussing whether or not Bigfoot exists. Those not involved just cloud the issues.

  41. Lagaya1
    October 5, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    While 30% of gun owners may be women (i’m not so sure about that), 30% of guns owned are definitely not BY women.

    My comment though not clear, was about the gun stockpilers, the conspiracy nuts, and the “cold dead hands” types. The “any law is a slippery slope” types. Those who would rather die than lose their guns, and really think it will come to that. I think those are mostly men. I could still be wrong, but that’s my impression.

    I have no problem with gun ownership. I have a big problem with unrestricted gun ownership of any type weapon that human genius can construct.

  42. ApexDisorder
    October 5, 2015 at 12:09 PM
  43. Apexdisorder
    October 5, 2015 at 12:23 PM

    Speak out, Im not diminishing the validity of your input.
    Just provide sustainable evidence for your claim.

  44. jockmcdock
    October 5, 2015 at 2:19 PM

    I’m not an American. I’m Australian and I thoroughly supported our then PM John Howard when he bought in gun restrictions. I disagree with him on just about everything else, but I’ll take my hat off to him for that magnificent achievement.

    But I have a question about the second amendment. I believe it refers to a “well regulated militia”. How does individual gun control correlate with the militia aspect? I thought the idea of militia was on a state level and the militia would fight against the feds should the feds try to impose upon the state.

    I realize my question may show my naivety on the fine details of the US system.

    Thank you.

  45. October 5, 2015 at 3:03 PM

    @jockmcdock: that’s exactly the point (about “militia”). And it’s a sticky one to be sure because a lot of the meaning of the amendment rests on the use of a single comma. Larger issues certainly arise including whether we should consider the technological and cultural context in which the 2nd Amendment was written and whether or not American citizens and politicians have the stomach for reviewing and possibly re-interpreting the concept of a well-regulated militia.

    Many gun advocates fear that the “guvmint” is going to come and confiscate their guns so they can start taking away their liberties. Others are concerned about personal safety — on the street or at home, that is, since all or many criminals have guns, they need to be armed. Still others are concerned that Holland or France or Portugal or Russia or some other rogue country is going to mount an armed attack on our homeland, in which case the armed militia will take to the woods, Davy Crockett-style, and prepare to defend their farms.

    So that little phrase about a “militia” is really the key to understanding the 2nd Amendment, one way or the other.

  46. Charles P. Lamb
    October 5, 2015 at 4:01 PM

    Sorry to hear there is no reasonable discussion allowed. I thought that was the whole purpose of comments on this website.

  47. skeptictmac57
    October 5, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    Charles, I think that you took Sharon’s comment the wrong way because of the wording. I’m quite certain that she means that trying to have a discussion on measures to deal with gun violence causes a reactionary response from a large segment of gun owners in which they will allow no reasonable discussion.
    The responses so far from that side here are mostly strawman fallacies and misquotes. That is not reasonable.
    Of course Sharon can speak for herself, but that’s how I took her comment.

  48. October 5, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    Of course I would not reject reasonable discussion. I specifically asked for some additional input! I got a few tired and lazy arguments that I won’t accept.

  49. B Jessee
    October 5, 2015 at 6:23 PM

    First off, I would like to say that I am a gun owner and that I live in an area that is very much a gun culture.

    One commenter referred to guns in the hands of civilians as useless. I don’t agree with that. I grew up extremely poor and if my family hadn’t been able to hunt, we rarely would have had any sort of meat in our diets. I also grew up as an amateur shootist, and view target shooting as a sport.

    That being said, I do agree that stricter gun control and gun safety laws are necessary. There is no good reason for there not to be any sort of reform. Every legal gun owner should be at least required to pass safety classes and get licensed before owning a firearm. And there are some firearms that civilians should never be allowed to own, either for hunting, sport, or recreation.

    The problem with a discussion like this seems to be that any time gun law advocates mention “gun control,” the other side freaks out and assumes that means “we don’t want any civilian owning a gun, ever” and respond to a perceived impingement on our rights. While on the other hand, any time a pro-gun advocate comments the immediate response seems to be “well, he’s just an ignorant, violent redneck” and anything they say is viewed through that lens.

    There are some major misconceptions and stereotypes on both sides of the argument, and only by letting go of these can we start to have any sort of productive discussion.

  50. MisterNeutron
    October 5, 2015 at 6:41 PM

    The Second Amendment was introduced at a time when the U.S. did not have a standing army, and needed to be sure that it could raise a militia if the young nation were threatened by something like a princely usurper, or a gang of treasonous anti-tax rebels. It had nothing to do with the States rising up against the Federal Government (remember, the Framers were the government). It certainly had nothing to do with personal protection or hunting.

    Even when enacted, the Second Amendment was on the brink of being an anachronism. By the early 19th Century, it was clearly a relic of a bygone era, much like the Third Amendment (quick, what does that guarantee?). In the 21st Century, it’s simply laughable. The notion of a bunch of citizen farmers grabbing their muskets to fight off an invasion, or to attack some supposed “tyranny” by the Government, is utterly ridiculous.

    Unfortunately, we have some Supreme Court rulings that fly in the face of the plain language of the Amendment, and have created a Constitutional right that the Framers never intended. It has become a suicide pact.

  51. MisterNeutron
    October 5, 2015 at 6:53 PM

    And there are some firearms that civilians should never be allowed to own, either for hunting, sport, or recreation.

    A year ago, I would have agreed with you, and would have labeled this a reasonable approach to the problem. But every time I have gotten into a debate with a gun enthusiast, he has made a very convincing case that it’s not possible to differentiate between “guns that have a legitimate purpose” and “guns that are good only for killing people.” His argument is, therefore, that no regulation is possible, because you can’t separate the “good guns” from the “bad guns.” My response is that if we can’t draw distinctions, then all of the guns have to go. You like target shooting or hunting? Too bad – find another hobby. The pursuit of your avocation is simply creating an unacceptable danger for everyone around you.

    Frankly, I’ve come to believe that there’s no such thing as a “responsible gun owner.” If you have a gun in your house, you are being irresponsible. The stats are inarguable – having a gun in your house vastly increases the likelihood of you, your spouse, your children, or your neighbors ending up being killed by a gun. The gun in your house is useless for self-defense – if it’s locked away, you won’t be able to get to it in the event of a break-in, and if it’s under your pillow, you’re going to shoot your five-year-old who wanders into your room in the middle of the night because he can’t sleep.

  52. One Eyed Jack
    October 5, 2015 at 8:05 PM

    Frankly, I’ve come to believe that there’s no such thing as a “responsible gun owner. If you have a gun in your house, you are being irresponsible.”

    That is your opinion, and it’s as defeating to meaningful gun reform as the “no gun restrictions” crowd. When there is no middle ground, there is little chance of any change at all.

  53. MisterNeutron
    October 5, 2015 at 8:49 PM

    The gun enthusiasts have eliminated the middle ground. They have taken a “no restriction is reasonable” stance. The rest of us are left with little choice.

  54. MisterNeutron
    October 5, 2015 at 8:52 PM

    But I’m willing to play along. Explain to me how the advantages of having a gun in your home outweigh the risks. Enlighten me.

  55. October 5, 2015 at 9:02 PM

    I’d have to agree, sort of. We have guns of various sizes (not mine) unloaded and locked in a safe – the only responsible place but renders them useless for home invasion scenario (unlikely anyway). It is unreasonable to think that they could be useful in an actual emergency unless we’re talking gangs, zombies, or rabid dogs taking over the neighborhood (pretty damn unlikely). I would be fine with allowing law enforcement to have guns and no one else but I am not foolish enough to think it would ever come to that.

  56. B Jessee
    October 5, 2015 at 9:57 PM

    Please note that I did not list “protection” as a reason for owning a gun. It’s a ridiculous concept for the reasons that you’ve pointed out.

    Accepting that means that differentiating between what firearms should be allowed and what should not a lot easier. A .22 rifle, for example, can be used for hunting and for sport, whereas a semi-automatic assault rifle’s only purpose is to harm another person.

    It also makes responsible gun ownership a heck of a lot easier if you take away the “protection” excuse. There is NO reason to not have your guns locked away where children cannot get to them, and any responsible gun owner (YES, they do exist) knows this.

  57. Lee
    October 5, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    One aspect of this that is of interest to me is I would wish to see people fight so vehemently over other rights I believe outweigh and are much more important then this that are just given away on a daily basis without so much as a word.

  58. El Hanon
    October 6, 2015 at 7:57 AM

    (An awful lot of heat on a site devoted to fact, eh?)

    I always worry about “what happens next.” We outlawed alcohol with the best of intentions. That ended poorly. What does the enraged/crazed person use if a gun is not handy? A car into a crowd of people?

    Irrational, maybe, but I’d rather deal with an active shooter in a theater than the same person with a quart of gasoline and a lighter.

  59. MisterNeutron
    October 6, 2015 at 8:04 AM

    …a semi-automatic assault rifle’s only purpose is to harm another person.

    Try saying that to one of the gun fondlers. The response you’ll get, I guarantee, is something like, “Oh, you silly person. Don’t you know that there’s no such thing as an ‘assault rifle?’ Clearly, you know nothing about firearms, and are therefore not qualified even to discuss the matter.”

    And in an odd way, he’s got a point – look at how much difficulty our legislators have had every time they’ve tried to ban a category of weapons like assault rifles. Coming up with good definitions has proven so difficult, they’ve often had to resort to listing makes and models, instead of defining characteristics.

  60. MisterNeutron
    October 6, 2015 at 8:10 AM

    The counter-argument is simple. Almost every other first-world country places very stringent limitations on private gun ownership. Their rates of gun death are a tiny fraction of ours. The “slack,” if you will, does not get taken up with other weapons. They’re not experiencing mass killings on a weekly basis by people using cars, knives, cans of gasoline, baseball bats, etc., etc. We don’t need to theorize – the controlled experiment has already been carried out, and the empirical evidence is there for anyone who cares to examine it.

    Having a gun makes killing too easy.

  61. El Hanon
    October 6, 2015 at 8:56 AM
  62. MisterNeutron
    October 6, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    The fact remains that it’s very difficult to slaughter twenty school children with a knife.

    A relative once remarked that it’s not the weapon that makes the difference – you can kill someone with a gun or a knife, so it’s the perpetrator who makes the difference. He’s a deer hunter. I asked him if he hunts deer with a knife, and if not, why not? Moment of silence followed….

  63. One Eyed Jack
    October 6, 2015 at 11:00 AM

    The gun enthusiasts have eliminated the middle ground. They have taken a “no restriction is reasonable” stance. The rest of us are left with little choice.

    I already stated such in other parts of this thread. I will give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you haven’t taken the time to read all the postings here.

    You are wrong about your last statement. You always have a choice of how you react. I am a gun owner that fully supports firearm reform, but when you choose to adopt the extremist point opposite the gun lobbies, you are only adding to the divide and alienate people (like me) that would otherwise be your allies.

  64. October 6, 2015 at 11:11 AM

    Red herrings. We are talking about gun violence. Guns – the most efficient way to kill things. Comparisons to other implements cause conflation and are not helpful in solving any problem.

  65. October 6, 2015 at 11:15 AM

    Did all these people minding their own business this year have a choice to be shot? That’s how I took that statement. Sudden death (or injury) by gunshot is not trivial.

    Roughly 400 Americans Will Die in Unintentional Home Shootings This Year.

  66. El Hanon
    October 6, 2015 at 11:51 AM

    Respectfully, I must disagree. You can remove the gun, but you will still have the violence. Where there’s an ill-will, there’s an ill-way.

    Real world example. You might not kill twenty school children with a knife, but two kitchen knives will do a good bit of damage…

    Or one kitchen knife in Japan:

    Both cases involve a disturbed individual wanting to cause great harm, and succeeding with relative ease. It’s naive to think that any of this is going stop just because a popular tool is no longer available.

    You’re expecting a deranged individual to have this thought process: “I’m in pain/have great anger. I want to hurt those responsible. Oh, wait, I can’t get a gun. I guess I’ll get psychiatric help instead.”

  67. Mike C.
    October 6, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    The only “gun control” that these mass shooting cause is that the sale of guns go up. If you want to claim a conspiracy, you might as well claim these shootings were staged by gun manufacturers.

  68. MisterNeutron
    October 6, 2015 at 11:52 AM

    Granted, I didn’t explain myself very well. The gun extremists have so constrained the debate, we would now regard it as a great victory if we succeeded in closing the gun show loophole, or banning magazines over a certain capacity. But these measures would all just be diddling at the margins. What’s really needed are a ban on private ownership of whole categories of firearms, strict registration requirements, regulation of all sales (public and private), a requirement that gun owners carry liability insurance, etc., etc. But we can’t even discuss these measures because we’ve allowed the gun nuts to push the debate so far in one direction.

    Time to push back. Here’s my proposal: no private ownership of any gun for any reason. OK, now let’s talk about finding some middle ground.

  69. Lagaya1
    October 6, 2015 at 12:34 PM

    I think people here have been reasonable and careful NOT to propose banning private ownership, and then you do. I know you’re using it as a point of negotiation, but it’s so unhelpful! That is just what they think we want, and one reason why they hold on so tightly and WON’T negotiate. Wish you hadn’t gone there.

  70. October 6, 2015 at 1:09 PM

    None of us have suggested removing all guns or proposing a solution where all harm stops. So, red herrings, non sequiturs and blah. Not helpful in solving the problem.

  71. MisterNeutron
    October 6, 2015 at 1:43 PM

    The “let’s be reasonable and careful” approach has, so far, gotten us absolutely nowhere. Do you detect any signs that the gun enthusiasts are willing to discuss any proposal, no matter how reasonable? I sure don’t.

    Remember, these are the folks who are convinced that the Government is “coming for our guns,” even though the only change in Federal firearms policy under the Obama Administration has been to allow concealed carry in National Parks. You’re not dealing with normal, rational people here.

  72. Lagaya1
    October 6, 2015 at 2:00 PM

    Proposals like yours just drive more people into their camps, convincing them that the government really is coming for their guns.

  73. One Eyed Jack
    October 6, 2015 at 2:25 PM

    Agreed about the gun show loophole. That is one of many reforms I support.

    Banning magazine size is a political placating measure. I don’t support it because, just like you said, it’s “diddling at the margins”. It allows a politician to say to the public that he/she is doing something, but it really accomplishes nothing of impact. It takes about 1 second to change a magazine… not a big factor for someone intent on mass harm.

    For reasons you mentioned earlier, it is hard to ban categories of guns in any way that makes sense. A semi-automatic hunting rifle is just as lethal as an AR-15 (US laws already prohibit the production, modification, and sale of fully automatic weapons). You could ban all AR style rifles, but an assailant can do just as much damage with a hunting rifle. It will be a tough nut to sell when you tell hunters you’re going to ban hunting rifles.

    Everything else I agree with: strict registration requirements, regulation of all sales (public and private), a requirement that gun owners carry liability insurance… these all make perfect sense. I would also add mandatory safety training and periodic re-certification.

    As you can see, we agree more than we disagree. Despite your truculent stance, there is a lot of middle ground in what I just said.

  74. One Eyed Jack
    October 6, 2015 at 2:33 PM

    You paint with a broad brush. Like any group, gun owners are not all cut from a single cloth.

    It doesn’t help your position when you stereotype a group and then proceed to insult them. It only drives away moderates and makes you look unreasonable.

  75. One Eyed Jack
    October 6, 2015 at 2:38 PM

    There are plenty of conspiracy theorists that claim the government stages these tragedies to push gun legislation. In the age of the internet, there is no position so ludicrous that someone isn’t promoting it.

  76. One Eyed Jack
    October 6, 2015 at 2:45 PM

    I’m not sure what you’re responding to, Sharon. I never said anything about victims choosing to be shot and I hope you aren’t implying that I did.

    My comment about “having a choice” was in response to MisterNeutron, concerning political choice on gun legislation.

  77. October 6, 2015 at 2:51 PM

    I didn’t read that as “political” choice.

  78. Mike C.
    October 6, 2015 at 3:30 PM

    Some of the latest conspiracy lunacy I recently came upon on YouTube are the Flat Earthers. I mean these people are imbeciles.

  79. October 6, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    Number of fatalities in the stabbing incident at Franklin HS: zero.

    In fact, a number of the first victims didn’t even realize they were attacked until they noticed they were bleeding.

    Yes, a good deal of damage was done, but imagine that crazed individual (subdued by the assistant principal with student assistance) with a serious assault rifle — however we want to define that. Number of dead people: Five? Ten? Twenty?

    An ill-will does not necessarily lead to mass deaths. Sure, a person with a baseball bat, knife or frying pan can do some damage…but I can run away from a frying pan.

  80. October 6, 2015 at 5:57 PM

    From Journalists Resource. An interesting collection of results. Difficult to digest, really.

  81. Blacklight
    October 6, 2015 at 8:42 PM

    The problem with discussing changes to gun laws is that we’re dealing with people who have been sold the story, “Be terrified of the government and be terrified of your neighbor. Everyone is out to get you.” to the point that these people think EXACTLY like conspiracy theorists. The level of trust in outsiders is zero and they’re terrified of them. You can’t have a reasoned conversation with a conspiracy theorist. Facts don’t work. They move the goal post or just toss the facts in the trash. They lack any kind of reasoning facilities to actually be able to assess things objectively and assess data without their confirmation bias completely pooping all over it. You absolutely cannot communicate with them. They’re brick walls to outsiders.

  82. B Jessee
    October 6, 2015 at 9:11 PM

    True enough. I can’t disagree with you there. Clearly we need to work more on finding more comprehensive definitions and adjust policy accordingly.

    But it’s my personal opinion that saying “we can’t agree which guns to ban, so let’s ban ’em all” is more than a little extreme.

  83. skeptictmac57
    October 7, 2015 at 11:24 AM

    I think this comment is spot on, based on my admittedly anecdotal observations. I know several people (not nut jobs either) who exemplify that profile. I kinda understand why they think that way, while completely disagreeing with it as a rational world view. It is much like the person who is terrified of dying in a commercial jet crash, while driving a car thousands of miles every year (sometimes recklessly) without a hint of the relative danger.
    My understanding is that on average, gun owners (civilians) are more likely (4.5 to 5.5 times by one study) to be killed or injured by firearms not less likely in the event of an armed assault *.
    Real life-threatening situations are hard to be prepared for and more chaotic and uncertain than how they appear in hindsight, so knowing what to do and being able to do it are often overestimated in the mind of the Monday morning self-styled and imaginary ‘hero’.


  84. Jared
    October 7, 2015 at 11:25 AM

    Hey Phil,

    You’re right that automobile accidents are significant, and that they outnumber gun deaths, but hopefully you would agree that they are not truly analogous to one another. When examining the issue of gun violence, automobile deaths are a red herring that prevent us from analyzing the issue at hand. For example:

    – As others have said, the main purpose of guns and cars are fundamentally different.
    – The proportion of car owners to gun owners is drastically different, as is their frequency of use, among other things.
    – Cars ARE regulated. You must pass a test to be able to drive one, you must have insurance to protect others while you use one, and your right to drive one may be taken away if it’s abused.
    – We already change laws in an attempt to make driving safer, like outlawing texting while driving. And there will surely be changes that reduce automobile deaths in the future: such as increased use of public transportation, a move towards more urbanization to increase population density and reduce transit times/distances, and maybe in the not so distant future self-driving cars will remove human error.

    Regardless, even without the differences listed above, the existence of one problem does not remove the necessity to deal with another. Let’s say people still carried swords, and sword deaths were becoming a big problem. The fact that ninjas with katanas were decapitating people all over the place would not mean that gun violence was not a problem. It would mean that we had two problems worth addressing.

    So even if your automobile analogy were relevant, the other assumption is that we should not worry about dealing with any problems as long as there are other or bigger problems. Surely you don’t think that we should only deal with one problem at a time, or that we should never worry about anything until there are no longer any “bigger” problems left.

    When it comes to gun violence, I would prefer to hear your logic as it pertains to the issue at hand. Let’s assume people should be able to own guns. How could we make it safer for the larger society? There are many responsible gun owners, but are there ways to prevent the irresponsible people from obtaining them? If not, do the hobbies/pleasures of gun owners outweigh the safety of others? Would it actually be safer if guns were banned completely? What is a reasonable level of restriction that would enable responsible gun owners to have guns while making it as hard as possible for the chronically aggressive or mentally ill to obtain guns?

    Maybe there are solutions we haven’t thought of yet. Maybe for the assault weapons, the 50 caliber machine guns and their ilk, there could be places to keep them at shooting ranges, but they had to be kept at those locations in lockers and could not be transported about town. Nobody wants to take away guns just for the sake of doing it. Everyone just wants to find a way to make people safer.

  85. MostLikelySteve
    October 7, 2015 at 4:51 PM

    As someone on the pro gun side I’d like to go over a few points. Concerning cars we have quite a bit of “even though it’s irrelevant, cars are more regulated than guns”. While I don’t know the exact number of specific regulations each has, guns are more regulated in the stated examples. To get a gun you need a valid ID and a background check in addition to state specific requirements which may include permits and licenses. To buy a car all you need is the money to buy a car. To legally drive on public roads you need a license, but that doesn’t apply to the availability of cars. To cover the potential counterargument, individuals can sell guns to each other and skip some regulations. Due to the liability (there are regulations on selling to others) this ends up being almost nonexistent. I’ve gone to several gun shows and every gun purchase has required a background check and ID.

    The new gun regulations in the past have been ridiculous. I don’t mean things like magazine size. Safety features have been banned. Specifically barrel shrouds that prevent contact with a hot barrel or allow heat dissipation depending on the type. There’s been proposed gun legislation to ban specific colors that guns can be. The one that bothered me the most was banning pistol grips on rifles. If you have any wrist problems then you want a pistol grip since the traditional style has your wrist at an angle. No change to the apparent deadliness or purpose to a gun, just an inconvenience to some people.

    The anti gun crowd tends to not have the background or gun knowledge needed for regulations on guns. The people who oppose guns generally don’t have guns and don’t have the experience with the current laws and how guns work. This leads to the previously mentioned silly regulations and to gun supporters ignoring anti gun arguments or gun control arguments. It’s hard to take someone’s position seriously when it’s full of factual errors and they know less about the topic than you do. People who are pro gun are not cut off brick walls set in their ways who refuse to listen to reason. I would change my opinion on gun ownership and regulations if I heard a convincing argument or there were history or facts to support it.

    All of this leads to the current feeling in the pro gun side. It’s all been heard before. “We’re not coming for your guns, now accept this silly legislation from someone who said in the past that they want to get rid of guns. Compromise by only adding more regulations and if you question it you are an irrational gun nut who’s just illogical and set in his ways. You don’t care about dead children.” I have yet to hear something like “This regulation didn’t work, lets get rid of it and try something else” or “Here’s why this person killed several people, lets work on that problem”

    I’d continue on about how if we really cared about preventing death then guns would be low on the list. Guns are simply tools and neither the only in existence or most efficient at killing people. Or how other countries that have heavy regulations or outright bans such as Mexico have had lackluster results. But I don’t want to be called out on having irrelevant arguments or bad grammar.

  86. MisterNeutron
    October 8, 2015 at 9:46 AM

    The anti gun crowd tends to not have the background or gun knowledge needed for regulations on guns.

    This is what we call a “tell.” This is the same BS line that always gets trotted out by the gun people. “If you’ve never been the perpetrator of, or victim of, a homicide, you are not qualified to express an opinion about murder statutes. If you’re not a woman who has been faced with an unwanted pregnancy, you are not qualified to express an opinion about abortion. If you’ve never been a Senator, you’re not allowed to vote for a candidate for the Senate.”

    Not buying any of it.

  87. Lagaya1
    October 8, 2015 at 12:19 PM
  88. MostLikelySteve
    October 8, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    I’m not saying that you can’t have an opinion or need to have guns to talk about gun regulation, but there is a noticeable knowledge gap that’s given a disconnect between both sides of the issue. This is a trend I’ve noticed. People will say we need such and such new regulations and not realize that we either already have those regulations or actually have something more strict in place. People will state that this kind of gun is more accurate than another and needs more regulation when that gun is actually less accurate. While I do tend to get emotional on this topic, I meant this more as a call for those pushing for more gun legislation to spend more time going over the details and that this is a big reason (and cause for aggravation) for when gun legislation discussions fall through. I would say there’s a bit more too this point than homicide victims since a gun owner who is still alive will generally have spent several years learning the details of guns and gun law while a non gun owner would have to catch up. In the same way I wouldn’t be able to jump into discussions on the details of rock climbing safety or aviation safety without having to dump a good amount of time into those areas to gain the general background knowledge that rock climbers or pilots would start with. Personal gun experience is something everyone can get while being a homicide victim, pregnant, or being a senator is not.

    Of course I could be over thinking this part since this involves politics and politicians. Would there be more in depth discussions in politics if the anti gun politicians had spent the time researching guns instead of using regulation as a quick way to say they are doing something? Are they making factual errors out of ignorance or are they just saying what they think the general population wants to hear? That’s hard to say, but I would say this point of a knowledge gap does have relevance and it’s not that you have to be a victim or can’t talk about it.

  89. One Eyed Jack
    October 8, 2015 at 3:10 PM

    I understand what you are saying about useless, ineffective measures, but have you considered that they get passed because it’s the only thing the gun lobbies will allow? Knowing they have no meaningful impact, lobbies give up meaningless carrots so politicians can say they did something.

    As a gun owner I would like to see reforms on stricter licensing, mandatory safety training, and removal of the gun show loophole. I would like to see this at the Federal level so it is universal across states. A responsible gun owner shouldn’t be annoyed by those measures. They should be proud to say they are taking reasonable steps to improve the safety of something they value.

  90. October 8, 2015 at 3:50 PM

    Re: “guns are more regulated in the stated examples. To get a gun you need a valid ID and a background check”

    Well, this is clearly and horrifically not true. All you need is a parent or friend to simply give you a gun…as has happened in some of the major mass murders. A demented parent, relative or friend who somehow legally acquired a gun can just give it to their son…no ID, no background check, no money changes hands, no training is required. All perfectly legal.

    All that’s needed are some victims in a classroom, theatre, or church.

  91. MostLikelySteve
    October 8, 2015 at 5:50 PM

    For gun owners to be proud of and support extra regulations that depends entirely on if the extra regulations actually do something. I’m not going to be proud to jump through several extra hoops if they have been proven not to work. I will support new regulations if they have been proven to work, or haven’t been tried before and would reasonably work without causing other problems.

    I would like to go over how gun show loopholes are actually how it’s legal to own guns and thus legal to own and sell guns as individuals or about extra training and make comparisons to how other countries handle gun ownership and take the conversation further that way. This is only a comments section and I have a bad habit of having a single point turn into an essay and I’ve already gone fairly far from the original topic of conspiracy theories. I’ll leave that as my cop out for not going further on these points. I would like standardization though.

  92. MostLikelySteve
    October 8, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    This is clearly and horrifically true. There are regulations on buying guns on behalf of other people and that it is illegal with jail time and hefty fines. The regulations are out there and have been supported by supreme court rulings. It is true there are more regulations for acquiring a gun than a car legally. You can say you don’t agree with the effectiveness of current gun laws (I do), but the point was that guns have more regulations to buy them. If you want to go just for availability and ignore the law then that’s beyond the point I was making. This does support my point about people saying we need laws that already exist.

    I don’t want to link to outside sources, but here’s a link to the supreme court ruling so we don’t get into a spiral of “yes it is” and “no it’s not”.

  93. One Eyed Jack
    October 8, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    All you need is a parent or friend to simply give you a gun…as has happened in some of the major mass murders.

    To use your words, well, this is clearly and horrifically not true.

    In most states, to legally gift a firearm you generally need three things: 1) recipient must be of legal age to own a firearm, 2) recipient must be licensed, and 3) Transfer must be recorded by the state, usually through a dealer. Unfortunately, not every state has all of those requirements and it’s one of many things I feel should be standardized at the Federal level.

    Now, if you’re talking illegal gifting or theft, then all bets are off. However, that invalidates your point since the OP was discussing legal ownership.

  94. October 9, 2015 at 8:33 PM

    I took a look at the link M.L.S provided and though I could only access the opening paragraph due to publication restrictions, it appears that it is completely irrelevant to the point at hand. The court ruling covers so called “straw” purchases, that is, a legit person buying a gun on behalf of a non-legit person.

    Thus, this has nothing to do with whether a son or other person living in the house has legal access to guns. In fact the Oregon shooter’s household kept 13 firearms handy, all legally purchased by the shooter and relatives, for both of them: “I keep two full mags in my Glock case. And the ARs & AKs all have loaded mags,” the shooter’s mother said in an online post.

    There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state. The Supreme Court decision M.L.S. references involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts. Of course there may be state laws, as noted by a subsequent commenter here.

    As the National Shooting Sports Foundation (the lobby arm for gun makers and retailers) points out, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t give your favorite rifle to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift, but some states require even inter-family transfers to go through a licensed dealer.

    Now, the arsenal of deadly weapons used by the Sandy Hook mass murderer were all legally purchased but were “stolen” by the shooter…though how one “steals” firearms in the house where you live with someone you regularly go target shooting with seems a very fine distinction.

  95. MostLikelySteve
    October 9, 2015 at 9:04 PM

    This is completely relevant to the point at hand which is that guns are more regulated than cars. This is a regulation that guns have that cars do not. You’ve only argued about the effectiveness of it, or the extent it applies to gun transactions, and not if cars have more or less in regards to this specific regulation.

  96. skeptictmac57
    October 10, 2015 at 8:56 AM

    I heard an interesting and relevant interview on NPR’s Morning Edition with a former congressman from Arkansas that talks about one thing that could be done (actually reversed) that seems like common sense to those of us who are open to empirical solutions for gun violence:

    “Former Rep. Jay Dickey of Arkansas authored an amendment that restricted funding for research into gun violence and its effects on public health. Dickey tells Steve Inskeep he now has deep regrets.”

    Question for the pro-gun side of this debate: Would you support a law that would allow the CDC to resume research that would try to get the data that lawmakers could use to craft more effective measures to reduce gun violence?

    Right now the data are so lacking, that each side is just cherry picking the sparse , inconclusive and outdated bits that are out there, and it becomes more about emotional anecdotes, than facts.

  97. MostLikelySteve
    October 10, 2015 at 12:47 PM

    I see the pro gun’s side’s problem with the CDC is that it’s not an organization that deals with crime or crime prevention, but with disease. The anti gun side wants a government study that says gun regulation works, so keep having different government agencies study it until you get the result you want. Perhaps at some point, when we get to the DMV, we’ll get a study supporting heavier regulations. Then the pro gun side says it’s a statistical outlier and the organization didn’t notice because they don’t handle that topic. Then the anti gun side says how dare you dismiss a government study when you liked all those other government studies in the past.

    I would say the data isn’t lacking. The crime rates and gun usage in those rates have been recorded for years and are still being recorded today. If the data was sparse then cherry picking wouldn’t be so easy. Cherry picking is what you usually see because of politics and each side wanting to look as good as possible. “Here’s five states that show gun regulation works and we need more.” “Here’s five states that show gun regulation increases crime and we need less.” No one talks about the bulk of the data because the bulk of the data says no correlation. Neither extreme end likes that result.

    To answer the question of would I put money back into the CDC the answer would be no. I’m not against funding research into the topic, but I’d say the funding should go to places more focused on that field. This is even when the results of CDC funding have so far supported my position.

  98. October 10, 2015 at 4:00 PM

    Guns more regulated than cars! That’s an amazing statement. Not only do you have to be of a certain age to drive, you have to pass an oral and practical driving test and that only lets you start with a “learner’s permit” at the beginning of your driving career if you’re under a certain age. At the other side of your driving career, your license can be taken away as your skills diminish.

    If you wish to buy a car, either used or new, the vehicle is registered with the state (and your bank).

    Throughout your driving career you are required to carry your photo ID any time you’re operating your vehicle. Failure to do so results in stiff penalties. Failure to renew your license every 4-7 years (depending on the state) results in stiff penalties. You need to purchase insurance and show proof of it. Failure to do so results in stiff penalties. You must display your car’s license plate prominently at all times (both front and back in some states). Failure to do so results in stiff penalties. You must get your vehicle’s emissions checked on a regular mandated basis (including VW diesel owners). Failure to do so results in stiff penalties.

    Failure to operate your vehicle in a responsible manner, including speeding, failing to signal, failure to pull over for emergency vehicles, driving while impaired to the slightest degree, failure to keep your vehicle in proper operating condition (tail lights, etc)…all may result in stiff penalties including going back to driving school or spending a day or week in jail.

    All of these could result in loss of license.

    Of course you have to be caught for any of these sanctions to be imposed, but there’s a small army of deputized government operatives not to mention camera-operated devices keeping vigilance for infractions 24×7.

    I’m sure I missed a slew of other regulations–just for day-to-day operation, not even counting extra-ordinary regulations for motorcycles, commercial trucks and oversized “assault” mobile home vehicles.

    And all of this regulation is for a device that is primarily used for social and economic benefit.

    Of course there are a few Federal requirements for buying a rifle or gun:
    – Be 18
    – Undergo a background check (unless you’re buying from a private individual

    And there are state laws. I could list the various rules for Arizona, but the list of permits and requirements is pretty short:
    • Permit to carry handguns? Yes

    In addition, it’s unlawful to sell or give to a minor a firearm or ammunition without written consent of the minor’s parent or legal guardian.

    It’s also unlawful to sell or transfer a firearm to a “prohibited possessor.” (a person found to constitute a danger to himself or others pursuant to a court order )

  99. MostLikelySteve
    October 10, 2015 at 5:21 PM

    My bad, I meant that guns are more regulated than cars for purchasing them. And I do stand by that statement. Car registration is only required if you drive on public roads.

  100. Earl
    October 12, 2015 at 3:29 PM

    For all you folks that don’t think guns can be of value or are too frightened to defend yourself or others, see the link below. Funny how the worst atrocities seem to happen in gun free zones.
    [editor: link removed because that site was a piece of shit I will not publicize]

  101. One Eyed Jack
    October 12, 2015 at 3:55 PM

    OK, so let the BATF do it.

    It wouldn’t change anything. Gun lobbies will do all they can to block any data gathering. History demonstrated this already.

  102. October 13, 2015 at 8:20 AM

    I don’t have the time to address the absurd basis of your article but I will counter with this news from today.

    There are PLENTY of other cases, many of which were available had you looked at the links above, that show that your premise is incorrect. Guns are FAR more likely to be the cause of an accident, suicide or deliberate shooting than successfully used in defense inside a home. This is an evidence-based site.

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