Shaming and exposing gun owners

A number of newspapers across the country have been using open records laws to get the names of people who are registered owners of firearms and then publishing their names and addresses.  Why would they do this?  I guess it’s part of the movement to exert social pressure against gun owners, shaming them as smokers are shamed.  That’s the strategy recommended a number of years ago by the man who is now our Attorney General, Eric Holder.

From Tim Brown, “Eric Holder:  Like Smokers, Gun Owners Should “Cower” in Shame”:

In this 1995 footage [follow the link] of Attorney General Eric Holder, when he was Attorney General for the District of Columbia, he remarks before the Woman’s National Democratic Club, broadcast by CSPAN 2, that gun owners should be shamed like smokers who “cower outside of buildings” to smoke.

“What we need to do is change the way in which people think about guns,” said Holder, “especially young people, and make it something that’s not cool, that it’s not acceptable, it’s not hip to carry a gun anymore, in the way in which we’ve changed our attitudes about cigarettes. You know, when I was growing up, people smoked all the time. Both my parents did. But over time, we changed the way that people thought about smoking, so now we have people who cower outside of buildings and kind of smoke in private and don’t want to admit it.” Laughter followed.

This is the same clip in which Holder also stated that we need to “really brainwash people to think about guns in a vastly different way.”

Paul Farhi in the Washington Post seems shocked and indignant that anyone would object to newspapers exposing gun owners:

Routine requests for public records have become anything but routine for some newspapers these days.

For the third time in as many months, a newspaper has faced an angry backlash, including threats of violence, after it sought government data on local gun permit holders. In the two most recent instances, the newspapers rescinded requests for the documents amid the outcry, with one issuing an abject apology to its readers and the local sheriff for daring to seek the information in the first place.

The news media’s attempts to access gun-ownership records have sparked debate over a central question: Do gun owners have a right to privacy, or does the public have a right to know about the guns in a community? The spate of episodes suggests the intensity of passions surrounding the issue after the shootings of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Conn., in December. . . .

Gun permits are public records in many states and counties, much like home sales, driver’s license data and voter-registration rolls. Government officials are required to make them available to anyone who seeks them. However, in some jurisdictions, the records are confidential.

Opponents of public disclosure of gun-ownership data say such information could demonize law-abiding people and jeopardize public safety. Widespread publicity about individual gun owners, they say, could lead to thefts of firearms or enable criminals to target neighborhoods and vulnerable people.

“This is like posting a sign on someone’s lawn saying ‘gun-free zone,’ ” said Mike Thibodeau, a Republican state senator from Maine. “We don’t need lists floating around of who does and does not have a firearm. It’s bad public policy.” . . .

Media advocates cast the issue as one of public safety, arguing that disclosure enables people to know who on their block or in their neighborhood is armed. That could guide parents in making decisions about where their children play or with whom they associate.

via Newspapers face death threats over requests for public records on gun ownership – The Washington Post.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • DonS

    And this is exactly why these types of registration schemes need to be opposed. There is no reason why the government needs to know that a law abiding citizen has a gun. Government registries are almost always a bad idea.

    I guess the “right to privacy” stops with the 2nd Amendment.

  • Rev. Paul T. McCain

    If I’m not mistaken, I think what is happening, to be precise, is some newspapers are publishing the names/addresses of people who are concealed carry permit holders. Not all gun owners have their conceal carry license. Some gun owners believe the government has no right to require a “license” to carry a weapon on one’s person. Some of us regard the Second Amendment to the USA’s Constitution to be our “concealed carry license.”

    Ironically, publishing the names/addresses of people who are known to be armed is a good way to advertise to the criminal element which homes may not be as likely to protected, and may provide a better opportunity for a criminal to break in, rob, rape, kidnap, etc.

  • Pete

    Rev. McCain makes an excellent point regarding the potential increased vulnerability of those identified publicly as not being gun owners (myself, for example) and makes one wonder whether an unintended consequence might then be the unarmed all scurrying out to the local gun shop to get on the “armed” list.

  • Kempin04

    Good point, Pete. Good luck finding a firearm right now, though, since the administration has created a gun buying boom like never before and supplies are very low. I think this technique has an even chance, at least, of backfiring in another way also. I really don’t see a lot of permitted gun owners turning over their firearm in shame because they have been “outed.” Rather, I could see it putting a crack in the demagoguery when people see the names and say, “Hey, I know that guy. (or girl) I know for a fact that he is not a lunatic radical.” I think the anti-gun lobby could actually lose credibility with this strategy.

    But I could be wrong, of course. +1 to Don’s point that this is why the NRA and allies have “unreasonably” objected to the gathering of this sort of information. They knew that sooner or later it would be misused against gun owners.

  • Carl Vehse

    Revealing names and addresses of gun owners gives aid and comfort to criminals and enemies. It is the modus operandi of the traitorous regime of Obama and his leftist oxygen-stealing lackies, including the fifth-column media.

    And the Demonicrats have now revealed the location of every gunowner in Texas on this state map.

  • Tom Hering

    Only 32% of American households have guns (down from 54% at the end of the ’70s). So how much does the public information published by the newspapers add to the criminal’s existing knowledge that most homes are unarmed? As well as their knowledge that guns don’t do homeowners any good when those homeowners – whether they’re identified as gun owners or not – aren’t at home? (Most criminals, like most people, prefer to do things – like robberies – the easy way.)

  • sg

    It makes you long for the days when society shamed people for doing bad things that hurt other people, like shaming women for premarital sex. But no, instead of upstanding gun owners shaming sluts, we have sluts shaming upstanding gun owners. The absurdity of it all is that these stupid women probably favor some fool Democrat’s plan to have all gun owners register not just those with concealed carry permits. Privacy for me, but not for thee. How about gun owners demand a public record registry for everyone who has an abortion? Oh wait, that is from an imaginary right to privacy interpreted to mean the right to conceal murder of one’s own children. Owning a gun to defend the lives of your own children is bad. Killing your own children is good. People criticize muslims who do not loudly condemn their murderous coreligionist. Well how about women who do not loudly condemn proabortion women? Of course the Constitution explicitly states what kind of privacy is protected and what kind isn’t, yet seems to be enforced in the opposite way:

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

  • sg

    @6

    Good point, Tom. By advertising who has guns, they are in effect calling attention to those who don’t, ironically they are advertising who vulnerable and who are less so.

  • sg

    @4

    Oh so true. I took my son to the sporting goods store this week to get some new shoes. While standing in line, the clerk answered the phone 5 times all from people looking for ammo. Meanwhile, my son went to look at the camping section right next to the hunting and fishing section and said that there were folks over there buying guns. This was 9:00 am on a Wednesday!

  • Joe

    What is odd about buying a gun on a Wednesday morning? Why were you buying shoes on a Wednesday morning?

  • Momof3inTenn

    @ Tom – If the gun owners aren’t home, their guns can be stolen, and firearms that were once owned by a law-abiding citizen would fall into the hands of criminals. Another reason the list shouldn’t be published. I would find it ironic, however, for a criminal to use the list to break into someone’s home who was not on the list and find themselves staring down the barrel of grandpa’s shot gun that wasn’t on the list.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    Tom, if I may correct you. The percentage of American’s who own a gun is much, much higher than 32%. It is ultimately unknown, since there is no national data base of gun owners; however, read this:

    How many Americans own guns?

    The short answer: Nobody knows for sure.

    The truth is that there is no national database of who owns a gun. The FBI tracks things such as background checks, which can give a rough estimate of how many firearm sales have been made. But not every exchange of a gun involves a background check. Multiple guns might be purchased following a single background check.

    Individual counties might keep track of firearm permits, but someone who holds a permit does not necessarily own a gun.

    Many major media organizations cite polling statistics in an attempt to estimate how many people own a gun. But self-reported gun ownership relies on participants’ honesty and clear understanding of the questions.

    According to a Gallup Poll taken in December of 2012, 43 percent of Americans answered “yes” when asked if they had a gun in their home.

    An additional 1 percent, however, answered “no” — and were prompted by a follow-up question if a gun was anywhere else on that person’s property, such as the garage, barn or car. After this prompt, they changed their answer to “yes.”

    Meanwhile, 3 percent of participants had “no opinion” regarding the question.

    Fact is that a LOT of people who own guns are NOT going to respond to questions about gun ownership. It is absolutely nobody’s business who owns or does not own guns or how many guns anyone owns.

    Some gunowners are not shy about it, at all. Yours truly included.

    There is no “shame” in owning firearms and everything good about it.

    See:
    http://www.youtube.com/ptmccain

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I kinda feel like a Jew in early 1930s Germany…

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    In a manner of speaking, we should be thankful for two things. First of all, these newspapers are making a very clear case why registration is a bad idea. Hopefully in a few years, we can get it repealed in the benighted states like California, New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts that have it.

    Next, these newspapers are opening themselves up to massive liability lawsuits if and when someone gets robbed or worse due to these. So we could theoretically get some morons out of the mass media, which is also a good thing.

    Regarding buying a gun, I can heartily recommend it. Make sure you get your advice about what to buy and how to use it comes from the shop owner or an accredited trainer, and not Joe Biden, though. His advice will get you arrested for disturbing the peace if you’re lucky, and also has a strong capability of getting innocents killed. I’m no fan of gun control laws, but I have to wonder if we’d drastically reduce firearms accidents and such if we banned people who have cast a ballot for Biden from owning guns.

  • Kempin04

    Great video, Paul, and beautiful rifle.

    I have often thought that as a pastor in the LCMS I should own at least one pistol stamped “Walther.” Or perhaps I should look for two–one for each hip. (I still haven’t worked out how to make one of them “Gospel,” though.) None really appeal to me, though, except perhaps for the p-38.

    It may interest you to know that a kind man at the range let me fire his genuine WW1 luger, which was in the best condition I have ever seen. Not quite as exhilarating as a Garand, but still a thrill if you appreciate the history of firearms.

  • Kempin04

    Bike,

    Don’t forget Michigan. Michigan has handgun registration, though they don’t call it that.

  • Nils

    And to top it off, the Vice President is giving everybody horrible advice on how to use a shotgun for home defense that, if followed, will surely result in criminal charges for everybody involved….

  • Nils

    Ha! @ Bike, I see you already mentioned Biden, so I guess I’m being redundant.

  • Nils

    @ 12

    Good point, Rev. McCain. And let us not forget that you don’t (usually) need a license for long guns (I think California requires one for rifles of a certain caliber/type), so there is no official government-held data as to who owns a shotgun or hunting rifle.

  • Patrick Kyle

    Ah yes, the same Attorney General that presided over the Fast ans Furious operation, funneling illegal guns to Mexican drug cartels. Then Obama declared certain records to be under executive privilege to pull Holder out of the fire of the resulting investigation. These guys are crooks trampling underfoot the laws of the land.

    And no, I am not ashamed.

    As a side note, the last three gun stores I was in I had to take a number and wait in line to even get up to the counter. People are buying guns so quickly that these dealer’s shelves are bare and the guns that arrive have been pre-ordered or are bought up the morning they go out on the shelf.

  • sg

    I kinda feel like a Jew in early 1930s Germany…

    Worth repeating.

  • sg

    As a side note, the last three gun stores I was in I had to take a number and wait in line to even get up to the counter. People are buying guns so quickly that these dealer’s shelves are bare and the guns that arrive have been pre-ordered or are bought up the morning they go out on the shelf.

    Wednesday morning, man. I am telling ya, Wednesday morning.

  • sg

    Can someone remind me of the rationale for concealed carry permits?

  • Pastor Spomer

    Gun owners are saints.
    We must say this candidly lest we be boorish. As Orwell wrote, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”
    People who can, but don’t own firearms are living morally parasitic lives. They demand that others come and do for them what they are unwilling to do for themselves. They ask others to risk themselves so that they may live peaceable enough that they can safely look down on those who pack heat.¬¬¬¬
    Such people should be ashamed, simply ashamed. Modern, civilized society simply has no place for people who don’t appreciate the lifesaving role of civilian gun ownership. It is this hoplophobia which make violent racism, sexism, and homophobia possible. If Matthew Shepherd had been supported by a community which would have encouraged and guided him in the virtues of gun ownership, he would be alive today.
    Tell you friends.

  • SKPeterson

    I wonder at the outrage that would accompany the suggestion that there should be laws requiring newspapers to reveal their anonymous sources pending a public request.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Nils: it deserves repeating. Biden’s advice would lead to criminal charges in most places at best, to heavy damage to one’s house when things got worse, and multiple dead innocents at worst. And this is the kind of voice Mr. Obama is listening to.

    Let the world know…..Biden wants to get you jailed or worse.

  • Abby

    sg @23 Someone, somewhere along the line decided that there was no more reason for us to look like the “wild, wild, West.” Exceptions: Texas, Arizona — do they need concealed, carry permits?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    While I think, as an outsider, that such actions are just wrong, I also call out the folks above that pulled a Godwin: That is just ridiculous, never mind insensitive.

  • sg

    Concealed carry permits are insensitive to the long standing cultural tradition of the people to keep and bears arms.

  • sg

    Eric Holder is insensitive to responsible gun owners.

  • Pete

    I dunno – I’m feeling a little morally parasitic…

  • sg

    Eric Holder is fine with criminals having guns apparently, he just wants to shame those who followed the rules and went through the state mandated process for concealed carry. Basically his is the kind of scum who punishes compliance on the part of those people with good will toward their community and impugns their motives while he himself was involved in arming criminals leading to the death of at least one law enforcement officer and maybe some civilians. Eric Holder should be ashamed. His is a disgrace.

  • sg


    People who can, but don’t own firearms are living morally parasitic lives.

    Maybe a little over stated. How about able bodied men of sound mind. Are women, children, the elderly and disabled living morally parasitic lives because they aren’t armed? While I would encourage able bodied women of sound mind to consider being armed, I would stop short of the moral requirement of women to use violence to defend themselves and their homes.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    The real problem is that people who rant against gun ownership know next to nothing about firearms and say such utterly stupid things about them it boggles the mind.

    I’ve turned many an “anti” people into a “wow, that was fun, I never realized it!” types of people.

    I saw a video where they visited the homes of the staff of the newspaper in New York that printed CCW names and offered to put a sign in their front yards: “No guns here!” … everyone declined.

    Wonder why?

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com Rev. Paul T. McCain

    “I would stop short of the moral requirement of women to use violence to defend themselves and their homes.”

    Huh?

    I supposed they could instead take the government’s advice to try to throw up when attacked.

    I tend to think a few well placed rounds of .45ACP has a much better deterrent effect on a determined rapist.

  • Carl Vehse

    Tom Hering @6 parenthetically stated: (Most criminals, like most people, prefer to do things – like robberies – the easy way.)

    Apparently Tom’s announcement didn’t get out to these robbers: House Identified on NY Paper’s ‘Gun Map’ Burglarized — And the Robbers Went Straight for the Guns.

    In the meantime, while Davy Crockett was happy with his 40-caliber flintlock, which he named “Old Betsy,” I prefer the not-quite-concealable-but who-cares M65 gun, affectionately known as Atomic Annie.

  • Kyralessa

    Judging from the one-sided comments above, I guess it is safe to say that the horror of the sudden shooting deaths of six educators and twenty elementary school children has completely worn off.

    I would like to point out, though, that the only thing that separates a good-guy-with-a-gun from a bad-guy-with-a-gun is what he does with the gun. Anyone with a gun can, in the blink of an eye, turn from a good guy into a bad guy. The proliferation of guns simply allows this opportunity to more people.

    Those of you who own guns for self-defense: It would be interesting to hear a theological defense of this practice. You are a Christian. What part of the Christian faith leads you to purchase a gun and keep it in your home for self-defense against criminals? Is this a part of your faith, or is it merely a part of being an American, which you don’t examine in light of your faith? I’m genuinely curious.

  • Pete

    Kyralessa: how about this one – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” If I were ever to lose my bearings and break into someone’s house or threaten their safety, I would – by the Golden Rule – want them to deter me with whatever force they had at their disposal; the more forceful the better.

  • Steven Bauer

    If there is no accurate data about gun ownership or the relationship of guns in our society to other social realities, it is because the NRA makes darn sure legislatively that people can’t collect that data (except the NRA, of course. They want to know if you own a gun). Then they can continue to say, “there’s no evidence that the ready access to guns in our societyis a public danger”.

    There is no “shame” in owning firearms and everything good about it.
    Then this whole concern about publishing the names of gun owners is a non-issue.

  • Steven Bauer

    Rev. Spomer @ 24,

    Yes, remember that Jesus said, “If someone takes your cloak, take him out with your Smith and Wesson.”

  • DonS

    Kyralessa @ 37:
    You said:

    Those of you who own guns for self-defense: It would be interesting to hear a theological defense of this practice. You are a Christian. What part of the Christian faith leads you to purchase a gun and keep it in your home for self-defense against criminals? Is this a part of your faith, or is it merely a part of being an American, which you don’t examine in light of your faith? I’m genuinely curious.

    I’m genuinely curious: What do you think is the proper response, for a Christian, to a criminal who forcibly invades your home and physically menaces you or your loved ones?

  • DonS

    Steve @ 39: There is plenty of data concerning gun ownership in the U.S. That’s not the point of gun registration lists, or concealed carry permit lists. The problem with these registries is that the government misuses them — as has been evidenced by this invasive and improper release to newspapers under liberal open records laws, and the newspapers’ subsequent publication of these lists, regardless of whether those on the lists object to this very real invasion of their privacy. It is not for you, and other busybodies in government and the media, to decide whether privacy infringements are a “non-issue” or not.

  • Kempin04

    kyralessa, #37

    ‘ . . . the only thing that separates a good-guy-with-a-gun from a bad-guy-with-a-gun is what he does with the gun .”

    Hmm. I suppose that true of pretty much everything. I’m not sure it is helpful.

    “The only thing that separates a good guy with a tire iron from a bad guy with a tire iron is what he does with the tire iron.”

    “The only thing that separates a good doctor with a scalpel from a bad doctor with a scapel is what he does with it.”

    Do doctors ever go bad? Are there cases of malpractice or criminal violence with doctors? Sure. I don’t see anyone blaming scalpels or medical training, though. Not long ago I was present while a man was operating heavy equipment. If he wanted, he could have squashed me like a bug and claimed it was an accident. I trusted him, though. Like my doctor, I trusted him to be safe and, well, to not want to kill me. It never crossed my mind in either case that the person with power over me would suddenly become deranged, which is what you seem to be suggesting happens with guns.

    I’m curious about that, though. Is it your premise that the power a gun provides over another person–I’m willing to be honest about that–is a clear and present temptation? Or do you just think that guns are inherently unsafe? I’d like to do my best to answer your question, but it would help me if you made it a bit more specific.

  • Pastor Spomer

    Steve at 40
    “Yes, remember that Jesus said, “If someone takes your cloak, take him out with your Smith and Wesson.”
    I thought that you were going to quote “He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Luke 22:36

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    “Judging from the one-sided comments above, I guess it is safe to say that the horror of the sudden shooting deaths of six educators and twenty elementary school children has completely worn off.”

    Actually, no, Kyralessa. Just the opposite; that’s why I favor allowing teachers with carry permits to be armed at school. FBI data indicate that most “mass shooters” give up when confronted with lethal force.

    Regarding your question about Biblical reasons to be armed, the Scripture of course makes no mention of weapons invented 1400 years or so after the canon of Scripture was closed. However, we do read in the Old Testament about all of Israel’s men being called to their self-defense, the tragedy that ensued when Israel didn’t take that seriously under the judges, and how God provided deliverance for Israel by allowing them to arm themselves against Persian antisemites at the time of Esther. In the New Testament, we see Christ telling His Disciples to buy a sword, and we also see Paul using his rights as a citizen.

    So given that we are in a republic where the primary Constitutional defense is the militia, I would argue that it is appropriate for citizens to retain militia-type weapons, as is the case in Switzerland as well.

    There is a counter-argument–used by the Quakers and various stripes of Anabaptists–more or less taking an extended view of “turn the other cheek”, but my response to that is that the depth and breadth of Scripture does not tell us to “turn the other cheek” in a case where the lives of others are at stake, just as Paul required the magistrate to release him personally after Paul was illegally whipped without a trial. I don’t think that was about Paul–who rejoiced in being judged worthy of a beating or stoning–but rather because Paul knew that a corrupt magistrate would do it to others if Paul allowed him to get away with it that time.

  • DonS

    To BB’s comment @ 45, it should be noted that Simon Peter apparently had a carry permit for a sword, which he used to slice off Malchus’ ear (John 18:10).

  • Steve Bauer

    And Paul used his sword all the time to keep those people who wanted to imprison unfairly, stone, and otherwise hurt him.O wait, he didn’t do that…he must not have gotten the memo from Jesus.

  • reg

    When my children were little I would love to have known who among their friends parents owned guns. I would have made sure they did not ever go to that child’s house. How many kids have dies because they found a hand gun in a house and were playing with it or the other child was showing it off. So I very much think publishing this information is a public service.

    Also I do not look to my fellow citizen to protect me with their guns. I look to the police appointed by my local, elected officials. The last thing I would want is a bunch of self-perceived Wyatt Earps running around. I am seeing too many testosterone-fueled, adolescent fantasies of Ralphies and their Red Ryder bb guns here.

    And for those of you who compare the plight of Jewss in 1930′s Germany to the trials and tribulations you are going through because there is talk of limiting assault rifles and the size of ammo clips, you need to go back and read some history and then feel deep shame at your preposterous comparison.

  • Patrick Kyle

    reg, you should place signs on your lawn and in your car declaring that you are proudly gun free to show solidarity with those of like mind and as an aid to parents who might want to bring their children to your home.

    I don’t know where you live, but around here the police don’t even stop for car accidents anymore unless there is an injury. 911 calls that don’t include an ‘officer down’ depending on the call, can take 30 to 40 minutes. Even the quickest responses are 10 to 15 minutes out. The courts have agreed that the police are not responsible to protect individual citizens, but ‘protect and serve’ the community ‘at large’ in a general sense. Depending on where you live, this is not good good news. They are not there to stop crimes in progress, but to investigate afterward, and hopefully apprehend the suspect. All this means that you are basically on your own until after something bad has happened.

  • fjsteve

    I’m wondering if all of those here quoting “turn the other cheek” and similar passages are complete pacifists and conscientious objectors, like the Mennonites and Quakers, or if this logic just extends to gun ownership. It strikes me that once you go down the road of saying that some violence is allowable then you blow the whole argument and the only question is what degree of violence is allowable and by whom.

  • reg

    Patrick,
    Come on over to Massachusetts. In my home town, suburbs of Boston, it is quite safe and the police are public servants and responsive.

  • sg

    reg, even Chicago is fairly safe, well, if you are white that is.

    In 2011, in a city of 2.7 million, of 433 murders only 20 victims were white.

    https://portal.chicagopolice.org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath/News/Statistical%20Reports/Murder%20Reports/MA11.pdf

  • sg

    “And for those of you who compare the plight of Jewss in 1930′s Germany to the trials and tribulations you are going through because there is talk of limiting assault rifles and the size of ammo clips, you need to go back and read some history and then feel deep shame at your preposterous comparison.”

    The Jews weren’t suffering at the beginning. It started out very mild and people didn’t resist. It escalated from there until it turned into a holocaust. The point of remembering the holocaust is so we won’t make the same mistakes. I think we all know that humans are still capable of evil. Duh.

  • reg

    Yes SG you gun owners are an oppressed and persecuted group of people. I feel your pain. and acknowledge your….what’s the word…ah yes…chutzpah.

  • fjsteve

    patrick @ 51, yes, I heard Boston suburbs were also very safe places to drive. That’s why the state doesn’t require drivers to have auto insurance.

  • reg

    fjsteve,
    I sense an idea underlying your comment I wholly agree with. Mandatory liability insurance for gun owners. That way the private sector can make risk assessments as to individual gun owners and impose an insurance rate commensurate with their likelihood to have a gun accident or act negligently. That is a perfect way to allow the market to manage the risk and I think it is a brilliant suggestion on your part. Kudos. Let’s get this enacted.

  • Kempin04

    Reg, #46,

    I agree with your theoretical concern as a parent. The risk of irresponsible handling of firearms around children is very significant, and any owner of a handgun has a responsibility to see that it is not accessible to children. A parent has every right to enquire about the safety of their children and possible risks at friends homes, and it is entirely appropriate to raise the awareness of the importance of safety. I assume that you would not send children anywhere that there was a known risk, and improperly handled and stored firearms are definitely a risk to children.

    Also, I believe gun owners are indeed liable for negligence in the use of their firearms, and I would imagine that it is already factored in to insurance coverage. (I don’t know that for a fact.)

    What I think is unfair is your characterization of gun owners as “a bunch of self-perceived Wyatt Earps running around . . . [with] . . . testosterone-fueled, adolescent fantasies of Ralphies and their Red Ryder bb guns. ”

    Seriously, can’t we just talk about this without the invective? On both sides, please?

  • Grace

    Carl makes one of the best comments @ 6 –

    reg @ 48 makes this one:

    And for those of you who compare the plight of Jewss in 1930′s Germany to the trials and tribulations you are going through because there is talk of limiting assault rifles and the size of ammo clips, you need to go back and read some history and then feel deep shame at your preposterous comparison.”

    I suggest you study history, and then get back to us!

    – Just today NEW EVIDENCE has surfaced, published yesterday, in the New York Times

    New York Sunday Times
    The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

    By ERIC LICHTBLAU
    Published: March 1, 2013

    “THIRTEEN years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe

    What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.
    The researchers have cataloged some 42,500 Nazi ghettos and camps throughout Europe, spanning German-controlled areas from France to Russia and Germany itself, during Hitler’s reign of brutality from 1933 to 1945.”

    ANOTHER EXCERPT:

    “When the research began in 2000, Dr. Megargee said he expected to find perhaps 7,000 Nazi camps and ghettos, based on postwar estimates. But the numbers kept climbing — first to 11,500, then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500.

    The numbers astound: 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettos; 980 concentration camps; 1,000 prisoner-of-war camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm, performing forced abortions, “Germanizing” prisoners or transporting victims to killing centers.

    In Berlin alone, researchers have documented some 3,000 camps and so-called Jew houses, while Hamburg held 1,300 sites.

    Dr. Dean, a co-researcher, said the findings left no doubt in his mind that many German citizens, despite the frequent claims of ignorance after the war, must have known about the widespread existence of the Nazi camps at the time.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/sunday-review/the-holocaust-just-got-more-shocking.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1362236748-5jy69MPKaw0svfJWxthXZQ&

  • Grace

    One very important point:

    Most if not all criminals, and thugs, are not going to register their guns, and give their addresses, they are the very people who break the law – why would anyone expect them to honor the laws of Gun Control? What would they do without their guns? Do you expect these low lifes to give out their information, so they can be seen, for just WHO THEY ARE?

  • reg

    Grace,
    The point of your comment being? My point, which you obviously missed is that the holocaust is so far more serious, horrific, etc. than the “threat” to gun rights that even speaking of them in the same breath is offensive. Yours is what? That the holocaust is even worse than you thought? And therefore that this tells us what about melodramatic complaints about gun restrictions? Seriously Grace. Lets quote less, think more and be a little more ad rem in the comments.

  • Grace

    Reg @60

    YOU POSTED

    And for those of you who compare the plight of Jewss in 1930′s Germany to the trials and tribulations you are going through because there is talk of limiting assault rifles and the size of ammo clips, you need to go back and read some history and then feel deep shame at your preposterous comparison.”

    YOU POST
    @ 60

    My point, which you obviously missed is that the holocaust is so far more serious, horrific, etc. than the “threat” to gun rights that even speaking of them in the same breath is offensive.”

    The point you miss reg: the Constitution was written so that citizens could defend themselves.

    Have you ever read of the riots in Los Angeles? IF you haven’t, I suggest you do.

    Amendment II

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

    People came to America to enjoy FREEDOM, and you want that freedom to be subject to your whims – That’s like asking every American to name their religion, because the government ‘needs to know.

    You didn’t make that point at 48 at all, read your own post, then read you latest @ 60. I did not miss a thing. You wrote NOTHING about “serious” “horrific” at all.

  • Grace

    I’m sorry to all commenters for the BOLD – I have no idea how that happend.

  • Kyralessa

    Kempin04, #43,

    Those are interesting analogies you draw. Remember that what the NRA actually said was that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

    How about your analogies? “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a tire iron is a good guy with a tire iron”? No, that’s ridiculous. “The only thing that stops a bad doctor with a scalpel is a good doctor with a scalpel”? No, I’d say lots of things can stop a bad doctor with a scalpel. And yet “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”

    In other words, the NRA is pointing out that guns are fundamentally violent and dangerous in a way that other weapons aren’t. I’d like to thank the NRA for being honest about the extraordinary danger that guns present to society.

    To answer your question: Yes, guns are inherently unsafe. We don’t hear about children every year accidentally bashing themselves or friends to death with tire irons, or accidentally killing themselves or others with scalpels. (We might hear about children accidentally killing themselves or others with heavy construction equipment, sure. But, strangely, we don’t give people easy access to heavy construction equipment the way we do with guns.)

  • Steve Bauer

    There’s a wide chasm between being against self-appointed enforcers looking for every black kid in a hoodie with skittles in his pockets and being a pacifist. I think arguing that one involves the other is called a category mistake.

    To say that bearing arms under orders by being in a police force or a well-regulated militia or a national army necessarily involves ignoring what the New Testament says about taking up the sword on own’s own behalfis unfocused thinking, in my humble opinion.

  • fjsteve

    Steve Bauer @ 64,

    First, what’s the biblical basis for your argument? Second, aren’t you falling into the same “unfocused thinking” when you isolate the purposed of gun-ownership to “taking up the sword on own’s own behalf”?

  • sg


    “The point of your comment being? My point, which you obviously missed is that the holocaust is so far more serious, horrific, etc. than the “threat” to gun rights that even speaking of them in the same breath is offensive.”

    So what if it is offensive? That is irrelevant. This discussion is not about your feelings.

    Anyway. That point about gun rights and the holocaust is that being disarmed left the Jews defenseless. Jews were vulnerable because they didn’t have guns. Got that?

    Don’t go fainting because you are offended, okay?

    The Nazis were all the more powerful against a disarmed citizenry. They outlawed guns so that only Nazis would have guns. Bad plan for everyone else. Better for everyone to have guns.

  • sg

    reg,
    Here is an interesting discussion of gun rights in an international law journal.

    http://www.stephenhalbrook.com/article-nazilaw.pdf

  • kempin04

    Kyralessa, #63,

    I appreciate you telling me what the NRA said, although it is not what YOU said earlier. I’m having a little bit of trouble knowing exactly what you are driving at. I happen to agree with the NRA on this one, that if someone with a gun wants to do harm, pretty much the only way to stop them is with a gun. I’m not sure if you disagree, or if you are just pointing out that firearms are dangerous.

    I will stipulate that guns are dangerous. Of course they are. That is rather the point. They are not inherently violent, though. Violence is something done by people. Violence with guns is especially nasty. I have tremendous respect for the power, and therefore the danger, of firearms.

    What I don’t understand is your apparent divorce between the concept of firearms and the accountability of those who handle them. It is as though a bad person who uses a gun for a crime is not totally responsible; as though a person with a gun can’t help being violent or that a gun cannot be handled safely. I’m pretty sure that’s not what you are saying, but it seems to be a subtext in your comments. Good people don’t do violent crime, with or without guns. Responsible people don’t leave highly dangerous implements in the reach of children.

    Granted, there are tragedies every year when children encounter an unsecured well/pool/firearm/medicine/power tool/busy street. It seems to me that the solution for firearms, just as in each of the other cases, would be increased safety and education rather than an irrational fear of an inanimate object.

  • sg

    To answer your question: Yes, guns are inherently unsafe. We don’t hear about children every year accidentally bashing themselves or friends to death with tire irons, or accidentally killing themselves or others with scalpels. (We might hear about children accidentally killing themselves or others with heavy construction equipment, sure. But, strangely, we don’t give people easy access to heavy construction equipment the way we do with guns.)”

    We do hear about over a million children murdered by abortion each year in the USA. That is the leading cause of death in the USA. So, maybe we are looking at the speck in the eye of gun owners. If there are as many gun owners as their are women between the ages of 15 and 45, then gun owners and users, including criminals using guns to commit crimes are far less lethal to children than women with the help of abortionists.

  • fjsteve

    Kyralessa,

    A child in America is more than 6 times more likely to drown that to die in an accidental shooting. Yet swimming pools don’t have near the regulations as firearms. True that there are no “natural” firearms as there are natural bodies of water but I think it’s safe to say that weapons, being as old as humans themselves, are here to stay. Where I grew up you were more likely to know someone with a gun than a pool anyway. So, wouldn’t it be more prudent to teach children to treat firearms properly, just as we teach them to swim, than just try to avoid guns and large bodies of water?

  • Grace

    sg made TWO VALID POINTS:

    @66 “The Nazis were all the more powerful against a disarmed citizenry. They outlawed guns so that only Nazis would have guns. Bad plan for everyone else. Better for everyone to have guns.”

    @ 69 “We do hear about over a million children murdered by abortion each year in the USA. That is the leading cause of death in the USA. So, maybe we are looking at the speck in the eye of gun owners. If there are as many gun owners as their are women between the ages of 15 and 45, then gun owners and users, including criminals using guns to commit crimes are far less lethal to children than women with the help of abortionists.”

  • Trey

    This is the way of the Bolsheviks. It’s disgusting. They used a similar tactic with financial and petitioner supporters of Prop 8.

  • SKPeterson

    Almost as many kids are killed by farm machinery each year as are killed by firearms. Far more have significant injuries requiring emergency medical attention from farm machinery.

    The context here is that certain machines are dangerous: tractors, combines, handguns, rifles. Yet, we don’t talk about restricting the access of children to farm machinery, or restricting the rights of farmers to have tractors and combine harvesters. Somehow, though, firearms are viewed as a special category.

    Automobiles kill more people ages 1 – 44 than any other cause, including firearms. However, when some idiot decides to drive at a high rate of speed through a crowd (http://fox8.com/2012/08/14/man-accused-of-driving-vehicle-into-crowd-formally-charged/), there aren’t any calls to restrict automobiles or to have stricter licensing controls placed on drivers.

  • sg

    Given that guns are so widely held and so extremely numerous, it is fair to call accidental injuries to children from gus rare.

  • sg

    Okay, it drives me crazy not having the numbers.

    US population is about 300 million, abut 25% under 18. So, 75,000,000 youth and about 4000 gun accidents a year of which 138 were fatal in the year 2009.

    Compare that to well over a million for abortion.

    So, for every kid killed in a gun accident, 10,000 are killed by abortionists.

    gun accident numbers from this report:
    http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/protect-children-not-guns-2012.pdf

  • Kyralessa

    There are a lot of strange spurious “facts” cropping up here. It’s not that hard to find actual statistics.

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/injury.htm

    It’s true, there are more traffic deaths than firearm deaths. How do we deal with traffic deaths? We add seat belts and air bags. We analyze vehicles for crash performance. We create new road signs and signals to make driving easier. And a number of other things.

    There are more poisoning deaths as well. Based on a page linked from the site above, it appears that many, perhaps most of those, are due to abuse of illegal drugs or prescription drugs. It’s worth noting that in most such cases, the person who suffers is the one who chose to take the drugs in the first place.

    And then we have firearms, and apparently there’s absolutely nothing we can do to improve their safety. That is, there are ideas: For instance, only allow the gun to fire if it detects the correct fingerprint. But these ideas are rejected. (And I’d reject them too. As a programmer, I know only too well how easily technology can malfunction. What good is a gun if it won’t fire when you need it to?) When something kills a lot of people, we try to improve its safety (seat belts; war on drugs)…unless it’s a gun. Then we just shrug and accept it.

    As for the notion that there are as many farm-equipment deaths of children as firearm deaths, that is absolute rubbish, SKPeterson, and that’s the politest way I can find to say that. The statistics on this matter are also not hard to find.

    Agriculture deaths: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/aginjury/
    Firearm deaths: http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNSTAT.html
    (in addition to the CDC link above)

    Even if you *meant* to refer to *accidental* firearm deaths, you can see above that there are about five times as many accidental firearm deaths as farm machinery deaths. But of course these “accidental” firearm deaths are a small minority of the total; most are homicides or suicides.

    It seems like the first thing necessary to get anywhere on this subject is for people to look at actual facts. Unfortunately, I’ve seen far and wide that firearm advocates have their own invented “facts” that don’t intersect with the facts of the real world, and they lean on these inventions and ignore everything else.

  • Kyralessa

    fjsteve mentioned drowning. Again, the statistics are readily available:

    http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/water-safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

    From 2005-2009, an average of 3533 drowning deaths each year. Of those, about 1 in 5 are children, so about 707 drowning deaths of children each year. Compare with 600 accidental firearm deaths of *any* age each year. Meanwhile there are over 31,000 total firearm deaths each year.

    Yet we deal with drowning. We have lifeguards on duty at public pools. We make people put fences around their pools at home. We put warning signs (“No lifeguard on duty”) in dangerous areas and count on parents and guardians to watch their children or stay away. And it’s worth considering that a person who chooses to stay away from water can’t drown, whereas a person who chooses to stay away from guns can still be killed in a shooting.

    By the way, did you know that 87.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

    But seriously, people, quit making stuff up.

  • Grace

    Kyralessa @ 76

    By the way, did you know that 87.2% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

    But seriously, people, quit making stuff up.”

    Kyralessa, can you prove that those on this blog are making up statistics? Where did you come up with 87.2%? – did you make that up?

  • Kyralessa

    Grace, the 87.2% thing is known as a tongue-in-cheek remark.

    The burden of proof is not on me to show that the statistics people are supposedly citing are made up. The burden of proof is on them to show that those statistics exist. I’ve already shown that several of those statistics are made up. (Unfortunately, my first post was flagged as awaiting moderation, presumably because it had more than one link in it. Hopefully it will appear tomorrow.)

    Anyone who wishes to cite statistics in support of his/her theses here is welcome to cite sources for those statistics. Otherwise we have no reason to believe the statistics are anything but made up, particularly in light of the fact that 103.6% of all Web posts contain made-up statistics.

  • Grace

    Kyralessa @ 78 – - “Grace, the 87.2% thing is known as a tongue-in-cheek remark.”

    I would have had no way of knowing your remark was “tongue-in-cheek” –

    “The burden of proof is not on me to show that the statistics people are supposedly citing are made up. The burden of proof is on them to show that those statistics exist.’

    That goes without saying. I’m not aware of anyone making up stats.

    @ 78

    “Otherwise we have no reason to believe the statistics are anything but made up, particularly in light of the fact that 103.6% of all Web posts contain made-up statistics.

    This in a game ala, your tongue cheeky? – - “in light of the fact that 103.6% of all Web posts contain made-up statistics.

    :razz:

  • fjsteve

    Kyralessa,

    But seriously, people, quit making stuff up.

    This website collated the data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Is that good enough for you?

    http://www.childdeathreview.org/nationalchildmortalitydata.htm

    Mortality rates per 100,000 children age 0-19 years: drowning 1.3, accidental shooting 0.2.

  • Grace

     ‏

    fjsteve @ 80

    Thanks – very informative site. That should quell a few key strokes.

  • Kyralessa

    The site you posted refers to *accidental* shooting, fjsteve. In other words, a kid found a gun and shot it out of curiosity, or was cleaning it and it went off, or the like.

    It doesn’t account for cases in which children were deliberately shot or in which they committed suicide with guns. There are far more such cases than “accidental” shootings. For instance:

    http://www.publicintegrity.org/2012/03/27/8536/childrens-defense-fund-report-kids-gun-deaths-new-gun-laws

    “More children and teens died from gunfire in 2008 and 2009 — 5,750 — than the number of U.S. military personnel killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

  • SKPeterson

    Suicide by firearms needs to be removed from the discussion. While the use of firearms to commit suicide is well established, it has been found that restricting firearms and access to firearms simply shifts the suicide to other methods such as hanging or train; the suicide rates remain remarkably stable whether or not there are restrictive laws governing access to firearms or not.

  • fjsteve

    Kyralessa @ 82, yes, you brought up accidental shootings here:

    To answer your question: Yes, guns are inherently unsafe. We don’t hear about children every year accidentally bashing themselves or friends to death with tire irons, or accidentally killing themselves or others with scalpels. (We might hear about children accidentally killing themselves or others with heavy construction equipment, sure. But, strangely, we don’t give people easy access to heavy construction equipment the way we do with guns.)

    You were talking about guns being inherently unsafe because of accidental shootings. Now you want to change the topic to all shooting deaths. Okay, that’s fine, but that’s a different discussion than the safety issue. Also, if you separate out children from teens 15 and over I’m pretty sure the incidents of gun-related homicide drops to almost nil. That being because most gang-related deaths are teens and young adults.

  • Kyralessa

    SKPeterson, [citation needed].

    fjsteve, [citation needed].

    Y’all will kindly excuse me for not listening to your unsourced “facts”. Once you can source them, I’ll be happy to take note of them.

  • fjsteve

    Kyralessa, I suspected as much but you’ll note that I didn’t put that forward as a fact. Just for the record. And, just for the record, my previous “unsourced facts” were correct. :)

  • fjsteve

    Although I did notice you glossed over the “fact” that you changed the point of your debate from accidental to all shooting deaths.

  • Kyralessa

    fjsteve, let me make sure I understand what you’re driving at. I believe you’re suggesting that accidental shootings is all we need to be concerned about; that is, it’s OK for children to be shot as long as someone does it on purpose. Is that correct?

    What you didn’t source is your notion that gun-related homicide is almost nil for children under 15. You might be right if you’re talking about the perpetrator, but I doubt you’re right if you’re talking about the victims. But perhaps you are right. Show me the stats.

    What SKPeterson failed to source is his notion that suicides don’t decrease in the absence of firearms. Here’s a study of the Australia gun ban that asserts that the ban reduced both homicides and suicides–the latter by 80%:

    http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/GunBuyback_Panel.pdf

  • sg

    Well, people are entirely capable of having very high murder rates without having as many guns as the people of the US. Canada, Sweden and Norway are well known arms manufacturers and exporters and have far more guns per capita than most third world countries, yet have very low intentional homicide rates. The situation appears to be similar to the situation in Chicago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_industry

  • fjsteve

    Kyralessa, I’m not driving at that at all. I was responding to your post about guns being inherently unsafe and using accidental shootings as an example. That’s all. We do need to be concerned with gun-related deaths of all ages but especially children. However, that is a different question, with a different set of solutions than accidental shootings. As I said before, gun-related deaths among the youth is essentially a problem with gangs and other offenders with previous criminal records. Given that kids can’t legally own firearms and gang members rarely use legally procured and registered weapons, attempts to fix the problem must address how guns fall into the hand of these groups.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States#Violent_crime_related_to_guns

  • kerner

    Kyralessa:

    I found the U.S. statistics for causes of death for 2010. They are broken down by individual cause and age group at table 10 here:

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/dvs/deaths_2010_release.pdf

    Using the age brackets under age 15 as “children”, we find that 62 children were killed by the accidental discharge of firearms. We also see that 1515 children were killed in transport related accidents, and that 2579 (after subtracting 62) children were killed in non-transport, non-firearm accidents. This means that approximately 1.5% of all accidental death of children were due to the accidental discharge of a firearm, but that does not mean that the child was the one who discharged the firearm is every case. These 62 deaths include hunting accidents and other negligent handling of firearms by adults. Therefore, not allowing children to visit the children of gun owners (as reg suggested) is a protecting children from a negligible danger. Reg would be a much more effectively protective parent if she were to keep her children away from motor vehicles or water (drowning).

    As for homicides, 219 children were intentionally killed with a firearm. Whereas, 738 children were intentionaly killed by other means. Which isn’t to suggest that killing children by any means is “alright”. But it IS to suggest that reducing the presence of firearms would not protect children from child murderers, because the preferred methods of child murderers are clearly not shooting them.

  • Steve Bauer

    @73
    Automobiles kill more people ages 1 – 44 than any other cause, including firearms. However, when some idiot decides to drive at a high rate of speed through a crowd (http://fox8.com/2012/08/14/man-accused-of-driving-vehicle-into-crowd-formally-charged/), there aren’t any calls to restrict automobiles or to have stricter licensing controls placed on drivers.

    Sold! I’ll take you up on that offer. Have someone who wants to buy a gun pass a state-run exam, preferably including some sort of psychiatric exam (since the NRA finds this to be the real problem), with the same sort of registration process as that of buying and owning a car, yearly renewal of the registration with payment of a “tax”, and mandatory renewing of the license every ten years.

  • SKPeterson

    Kyralessa – the study does not say what you think it says. What should be noted in that study is that firearms deaths were already decreasing in Australia prior to the enactment of more stringent gun control laws. That downward trend continued. Moreover, the suicide rate in Australia was also on the decline and continued to decline after passage. The existence of a downward trend prior to enactment and a continuing downward trend after, would appear to indicate that the enactment of gun control legislation was able to piggyback on an already transforming Australian society. The study also notes that non-firearm deaths also had a decline which continued past the enactment of the gun control legislation, again pointing out that there are/were likely more broad changes in Australian culture that led to minimization of violence. One indicator would probably be relative economic stability and increasing prosperity over the time of the study. Another Australian study, shows that suicide is most prevalent in marginalized socio-economic groups, particularly indigenous persons. This would correlate with the higher rates of suicide and adverse health outcomes found on U.S. Indian reservations. http://www.wisconsinwatch.org/2010/11/21/a-tribal-tragedy-state%E2%80%99s-native-peoples-have-alarmingly-high-suicide-rates/

    And I generally don’t provide sources that are accessible only to persons who have access to articles beyond firewalls – the study I was referring to was a Canadian study that found no significant change in the rate of suicides post-gun control. The study did find that there was a reduction in the number of suicides using firearms, indicating that those desiring to commit suicide switched methods. There is this one though, that indicates that there was no structural break post-enactment in the http://www.ssaa.org.au/capital-news/2008/2008-09-04_melbourne-uni-paper-Aust-gun-buyback.pdf in firearms death rates. The authors of the study you cite, dispute this saying that a structural break would not necessarily be evident. However, if you’re going to make a strong claim to the working of a law, it’s generally better to have a statistically significant change in the data. That one does not exist again points to the Australian law being the beneficiary of riding an already downward sloping trend and then taking credit for the continuing downward trend. That’s pretty arrogant statistical concluding that has a desired end in mind.

    There is also this chart from Stats Canada: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-624-x/2012001/article/chart/11696-02-chart1-eng.htm which indicates that the suicide rate peaked about 1980, but has remained fairly constant at 10 to 11 per 100,000 per year for over 50 years, again belying the long-term impact on suicide rates due to restrictions to access to firearms. So, despite the fact that firearms laws have reduced the numbers of suicide deaths from firearms by roughly 43% in Canada since ~1991, those laws have not had a substantial long-term impact on the overall rate of suicides in Canada.

    I will say this: firearms are one of the most lethal ways to commit suicide. The other is suicide by train. Both have “success” rates in excess of 90%. Where reductions in suicide deaths in response to restrictions on firearms might occur are in locations that are some distance removed from trains. The notion being that people who are determined to kill themselves will generally opt for the most lethal (and quick) means to do so if they are convenient.

  • SKPeterson

    Steve – Maybe not a bad idea. States do allow for a lot of flexibility in how they handle registration and licensing for a variety of vehicles – though they don’t do much to discourage addicts or the psychologically unstable from actually driving. I’d prefer to such things handled at the local level though, under the “well-regulated” provision of the 2nd Amendment. Now, it should be remembered though, that “regulated” did not mean the same thing as we mean it today. It meant more standardized or regularized. Therefore, if a guy can show up once a year or every 5 years and show that his weapons are in good working order and that he can shoot well at 25 or 100 yards, I would say he then gets a firearms “license” that adheres to him and not necessarily to his weapons. Get a handgun license – you can carry any handgun and any number of them. Get a long-gun license, you can do the same. And no restrictions whatsoever on shotguns – Joe Biden has already said they are the standard weapon for home protection.

  • Steve Bauer

    @65
    I am not against gun ownership. I have never maintained that the only purpose of gun ownership is “self-defense” or taking up arms on own’s own behalf. I am arguing that this one (1) reason, among many, that is advanced for (unfettered) gun owndership should pose a conundrum for Christians, especially when it is used in the context of stopping the government from interfering with one’s religious worship. I am trying to pursue a nuanced anaylsis. You, it seems to me, are insisting on an “all or nothing” approach.
    As far as Scripture is concerned. I would refer you to, “vengence is mine, says the Lord,” the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ reply to Peter after Peter cut’s off Malchus’ ear, Romans 13 (where it says the government is God’s agency for “bearing the sword”, the practice of the early church in which, when persecuted unto death for their faith, Christians did not form rebellions to throw off the Roman tyranny (ala Sparticus) but went to their death in the Coliseum. When Peter and John were hauled before the Sanhedrin and said those famed words, “We should obey God rather than man,” they did not continue in the vaunted “American Way” and pull out Uzi’s from under their robes and spray the room, but were whipped and went home glorifying God that they had been deemed worthy to participate in the sufferings of their Savior. Those are a few of my Biblical warrants.

    There might be justification for a Christian to have a weapon to defend home and hearth but how that is imcompatible with tighter gun restrictions and things like “mandatory insurance” is beyond me.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 92, 94: Well, at least you now seem to be agreeing that the federal government has no business regulating or licensing guns, as you are analogizing to other activities that are regulated at the state and local levels. That is a step in the right direction, for the reasons that SKP discusses at 93. The federal government has not business in this arena.

    The problem with licensing and registries is that government has shown that it cannot be trusted with what is obviously sensitive data. People don’t want to be on publicly available lists for personal reasons, and owning a weapon is a personal, private affair. There is no reason for law-abiding honorable citizens to be subjected to these kinds of privacy invasions and expenses for exercising their constitutional rights.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Steve, thanks for working to bring things back to the Scriptures.

    Now I differ with you on some things. First of all, while Romans 13 does grant the power of the sword to the government, that is not equivalent to saying that the passage grants the EXCLUSIVE power of the sword. Otherwise Jesus’ admonition to Peter to get a sword would qualify as incitement to insurrection, and He then would have deserved to die on the Cross, no?

    And yes, on one side, you have the apparent pacifism of the disciples, on the flip side, you’ve got Peter’s sword and Paul’s refusal to leave the jail without the magistrate coming personally. Absent a clear command that explains both, we are left to contemplate that the disciples did the best they could in the situation they had.

    To borrow our attempted reductios, what would have happened if the apostles had done what you propose. A simple whipping would instantly become a full scale war against the whole church, no? I’d have to suggest that the apostles were simply doing what any good carry permit holder does; understanding the right tactics. Our correct tactics might not be the same.

    In short, you’re going well beyond what the Scripture tells us here.

    Regarding mandatory insurance, it’s useful to look at firearm deaths by cause. If it’s suicide–the large majority of deaths–are we to assume that liability insurance would prevent anything? Or that an insurance payoff would somehow comfort us? The same goes for accidental deaths. If I’m grieving the loss of a family member to a firearm accident, where does insurance come in? Please.

    Now homicides. Most are committed by people who have already committed a crime of violence and are not allowed to own a gun. Are they going to obey one more law requiring them to insure the gun they purchased illegally?

    What mandatory insurance does do, however, is create a database at State Farm and other companies that would act as a registry. It would function much like the German registry (in fact the 1968 Gun Control Act reads much like the German law; I’ve read them myself) that was used to disarm Germany–especially Jews–in last few months before Kristallnacht. If I remember correctly, 2400 firearms were confiscated from Berlin’s Jews in 1938.

    OK, let’s ask a question; do you think that the Sturmabteilung/”brown shirts” would have lost some of their ardor for their pogrom if many of them started contracting “acute lead poisoning”, just as the Sturmstaffel were held at bay weeks in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising due to the same “disease”?

    Put gently, armed resistance to a tyrannical government may or may not be the right tactic, but Esther and Mordicai would tell you from time to time, it’s nice to have the option.

  • kerner

    steve bauer @94:

    Joe biden’s advice is perhaps the worst ever. Taking a “double barrel shotgun” out onto the patio and firing two blasts leaves a one with an empty (i.e. useless) gun, not to mention the danger of firing a gun of anykind out into space without a target. And this video shows another fallacy in his advice to women better than anything I could ever say:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj-WcafGjbM

    I have the ideas, but not the time to say more about this, but others are doing a fine job. Later

  • kerner

    oops. I thought steve bauer cited VP Biden, but it was SKP.

  • SKPeterson

    kerner – my comment on shotguns was a humorous aside subtly poking fun at what or illustrious VP believes constitutes a legitimate use of firearms which is almost completely at odds with what you would hear from any responsible gun owner anywhere.

    That being said, if you cannot appreciate my comedic genius I cannot help you, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Grace

    This is on the front page of DRUDGE –

    Does anyone know more about this? The story is all over the blogsphere.

    Gateway Pundit

    Obama DHS Purchases 2,700 Light-Armored Tanks to Go With Their 1.6 Billion Bullet Stockpile
    Posted by Jim Hoft on Sunday, March 3, 2013, 9:55 PM

    “This is getting a little creepy.
    According to one estimate, since last year the Department of Homeland Security has stockpiled more than 1.6 billion bullets, mainly .40 caliber and 9mm.

    DHS also purchased 2,700 Mine Resistant Armor Protected Vehicles (MRAP).

    Modern Survival Blog reported:

    The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.

    Although I’ve seen and read several online blurbs about this vehicle of late, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself.

    The new DHS sanctioned ‘Street Sweeper’ (my own slang due to the gun ports) is built by Navistar Defense (NavistarDefense.com), a division within the Navistar organization. Under the Navistar umbrella are several other companies including International Trucks, IC Bus (they make school buses), Monaco RV (recreational vehicles), WorkHorse (they make chassis), MaxxForce (diesel engines), and Navistar Financial (the money arm of the company).”

    http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/03/obama-dhs-purchases-2700-light-armored-tanks-to-go-with-their-1-6-billion-bullet-stockpile/

  • Grace
  • kerner

    SKP @99:

    For my failure to appreciate your comic genius, I repent in dust an ashes. :D

  • kerner

    SKP @99:

    For my failure to appreciate your comic genius, I repent in dust and ashes. :D

  • Pete

    sg @66 says, “The Nazis were all the more powerful against a disarmed citizenry. They outlawed guns so that only Nazis would have guns. Bad plan for everyone else. Better for everyone to have guns.”

    I think he makes a good point. Let’s increase the “using force” factor and consider nuclear weapons. I think that, in considering the Cold War, in retrospect it was good that both the Russians and the U.S. had nuclear weapons. “Mutually assured destruction” and all that, it turned out to be a pretty good deterrent and even eventually resulted in the good guy winning without firing a shot.

  • sg

    “I’d prefer to such things handled at the local level though, under the “well-regulated” provision of the 2nd Amendment. Now, it should be remembered though, that “regulated” did not mean the same thing as we mean it today. It meant more standardized or regularized.”

    This point is really interesting. I lean towards thinking that “well regulated” meant well trained, as in the people actually knew how to use firearms/weapons and had practiced with them. Back then, lots of weapons were powder and shot, muzzle-loaded, flintlocks, etc. They were nothing like a modern point-shoot-kill kind of weapon like a 9mm.

  • SKPeterson

    Well trained was part of the concept of standardized or regularized as well, sg. Mostly due to the need for close order drill common with the use of muskets, but also for general marksmanship. Many of the colonials, especially in the western areas had rifled muskets, which meant different training and standards from smooth bore weapons that were standard issue military equipment.


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