The Single Most Important Fact about our Gun Culture

…is 30,000 corpses each and every year. There are a lot of other secondary considerations. But that is, overwhelmingly, from a prolife perspective, the single most important fact.

My views on our gun culture are fairly simple.  It can be boiled down to this: the human tradition of the second amendment does not trump the divine revelation of the fifth commandment. That’s because, to repeat, the single most important fact of our gun culture is 30,000 corpses each year.

In case that is still fuzzy, allow me to repeat it one more time: The single most important fact about American gun culture is 30,000 dead people each year. Are there other important questions about property, safety, and liberty? Sure. But the single most important fact is 30,000 corpses.

If it were Al-Quaida killing 30,000 Americans each year, it would be treated as a civilizational emergency requiring a national effort to prevent as many of those deaths as possible. But because it is Americans killing themselves and each other, the reply that I consistently get to that fact is a huge amount of fantasizing about the Great Hitler Gun Confiscation that Is To Come, and a kind of terrified paralysis that turns a blind and hostile eye to even the most common sense attempts to effect even the teeniest change to the status quo.

So, for instance, here is a story about a Maryland gun store that was forced to drop plans to sell smart guns due to death threats from some of the more insane members of the gun culture.

Oh, and look, here is another story about somebody, not trying “grab our guns” as the fantasizers perpetually fear, but simply trying to likewise sell a smart gun that can’t be used by people the owner doesn’t want using it–and receiving massive harassment for it.

Note that: these are not people coming to steal our guns and leave us all prostrate before the Nazi, Communists, and criminal hordes who haunt the imagination of the NRA. These are just people who want to sell guns that, like your car, computer, and front door, can’t be used by people you don’t want using them. An eminently common sense effort to make gun security tech better. Who could object to that?

Insane gun culture, that’s who. So instead of supporting smart gun research, insane gun culture makes death threats. And when I pointed this out on Facebook, the response from the gun culture was that the people claiming to be threatened were like abortionists claiming to be threatened by prolifers. That’s a special kind of crazy.

What this does not translate to in any conceivable universe is the conviction that 30,000 deaths each year is the most important fact about our gun culture. Indeed, it looks rather uncommonly like 30,000 deaths every year is perfectly acceptable losses, including the occasional Sandy Hook.

On my planet, Prudence says to pay attention to the real pile of 30,000 corpses and the real Adam Lanza who grabs mom’s gun, kills her, and then slaughters elementary schools full of children. So building guns that simply would not have fired in his hands seems like a very sensible thing to attempt. But in the terrified fantasy world of gun culture, I have been reliably informed that Obama is going to hack into your smart gun and turn it off (despite it not being on a network). Obama is going to initiate the Great EM Pulse to disable our guns and institute sharia law. In the post-apocalyptic hellscape of safe gun Amerika, I am told, the state could (gasp!) mandate safer guns as it mandates safer cars and before you know it we will be herded into FEMA concentration camps and gassed. Somehow, these fantasies always triumph and the annual mountain of real dead bodies?: well, they don’t really matter.

Me: I think he real annual mound of 30,000 dead bodies is the central fact.

Therefore, I think “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. So let’s give Adam Lanza as much access to the technology of mass death as possible because whaddaya gonna do?” is a stupid argument.

I think “Sin begins in the soul, not the gun: therefore murderous sinners should have easy access to the technology of mass death” is a stupid argument.

I think, “Hey! People will use rocks to kill so we might as well let them have easy access to weapons of mass slaughter!” is a stupid argument.

I think “Look at the Chinese guy who stabbed 22 people, let’s ban knives!” is a stupid argument, since the goal is not “banning” guns (an impossible task) but building safer ones that can’t be fired by the wrong hands.

I think “There’s no point in improving gun security tech if it is not 100% effective!” is a stupid argument.

I think “Obama is spying on us through our computers, so that proves computer security tech is worthless and gun security tech is pointless” is a stupid argument.

I think “If we invent safer guns then the government will mandate their manufacture and that would be horrible!” is a stupid argument.

I think “People who are death threatened out of selling smart guns are like abortionists complaining about death threats” is a stupid argument.

And I think the steady drumbeat of “Don’t try. Won’t work. Give up” addressed to advocates of smart gun tech is a stupid, stupid argument. We can put a man on the moon but we can’t invent a gun that won’t fire unless the owner wants it to? And the attempt merits death threats?

And I think all those arguments and thousands more like them that I perpetually run into demonstrate with utter clarity that 30,000 deaths, including the occasional Sandy Hook, are acceptable losses to our gun culture.

Until I hear *something* from the gun culture besides “Meh. 30,000 deaths. Kinda sad I guess, but whaddaya gonna do? BUT IF WE MAKE SAFER GUNS THE GUMMIT WILL DISARM US AND MARCH US INTO CONCENTRATION CAMPS AND RAPE OUR WOMEN!!!!!!” I find it impossible to apply any word but “insane” to that radical refusal of prudence. 30,000 corpses is what matters here, not the endless fantasies that somebody trying to build a more secure gun is a harbinger of the Apocalypse and a stooge or dupe of the Police State.

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  • Joe

    This seems to me a case of the pyromaniac in the field of straw men. Insane gun nuts like me look at the research on concealed carry that show the counties that allow people to carry guns (probably uncommon sense gun control to you) has less crime and thus less of that pile of 30,000 corpses.

    And I’m surprised youvdon’t show a little latitude to us who hesitate to trust a government that conducts a gun running program with Mexican drug cartels and then bemoans the violence that said gun running produces. It’s almost like the government has their own agenda when it comes to guns. But there I go again with those crazy government conspiracies.

    • Jem

      “Insane gun nuts like me look at the research on concealed carry that
      show the counties that allow people to carry guns (probably uncommon
      sense gun control to you) has less crime”

      Ah. I’m afraid you’ve been lied to. You can look at the UK statistics, for example, and say that there’s more ‘violent crime’ there, but you have to understand that if you’re arrested in the UK and the police find a knife in your pocket, that gets counted as a ‘violent crime’. Whereas in the US, you can pull out a gun at a gas station, shoot ten times into a car full of kids, kill one of them, and it’ll take a day for the police to debate whether a crime was committed.

      • RE Hafner

        Or, you can blow up a bunch of people without using a firearm causing massive injuries and death and the gun grabbers turn a blind eye. The our government supplies firearms to the drug cartel resulting in the deaths of border agents and not so much as a yawn from the gun control nuts. About the only repeated result of citizen disarmament has been genocide by government, Can’t happen here you cry, did you forget Ruby Ridge and Waco?

        • everyman

          You’re doing Yeoman work here, RE Hafner, applying common sense to this incendiary topic. It is destined to fail from the outset. When Stalin wanted 30,000 criminals rounded up, his BLM found exactly 30K criminals. Mark wants 30K corpses and voila’! he found them. See… now, all those lovers of humanity who would like nothing better than to see us with our bare hands in our bare pockets, have no issue with “assault” weapons being trained on farmers and ranchers. These goons are their heroes, they enforce “the law”. They know all too well that this cowboy on horseback, with a killer rifle, would like nothing better than to make that number 30,001. That would mess up the round number.

          The diabolical genius of evil is that it accomplishes its dirtiest of tasks with nice, well meaning chumps.

          • chezami

            Fascinating to watch the invocations of Stalin, the auditory hallucinations about “bare hands in bare pockets”, and the flat denial of the fact of 30,000 corpses each year. Even worked in a mention of El Diablo.

            Truly, truly insane.

            • HornOrSilk

              What I find interesting, and is often ignored, is that this is something the Church has consistently fought against (not just guns, but weapons in general). We have many authors speak of the irony to make a weapon, which has an essential purpose which includes killing, and then say we are promoting peace. Of course, secular affairs have often gone the way of ends justifying the means, and promoted constant arms races, which have trickled down to the people as well. I wish more would listen to the Church.

            • everyman

              Fascinating to read the invocations of Lanza, Sandy Hook, the NRA and piles upon piles of those 30K corpses. You grab their arms and I’ll grab their legs and we’ll recount and re stack ‘em. Yep! exactly 30K, thanks to Lanza. No, let’s thank his crazy mom first, postmortem. No, no, let’s thank the school official who banned off-duty police officers from having their guns on their person in the vicinity of our safe, drug free, nut free, sugar free, libby laden schools.
              El Diablo, eh, …sorry, Mr. Shazam in charge here and we are temporarily under a lock-down, we found a bible, I’ll put Captain Marvel right on it and we’ll get to the bottom of this.

              • chezami

                Fascinating. Not a coherent argument in that entire spew of culture war tropes and memes.

        • Jem

          “Or, you can blow up a bunch of people without using a firearm causing
          massive injuries and death and the gun grabbers turn a blind eye.”

          Gun control people don’t comment on *something that isn’t anything to do with gun control*? And that means they’re … pro pipe bomb? Wow, great argument.

          • RE Hafner

            Guess you missed the part of government slaughter at Ruby Ridge and Waco. Government goons disarming citizens. Get your eyes checked.

  • Scott

    Even if we started the technology tomorrow, there are over 400,000,000 firearms in circulation that would not be subject to it. Only newly manufactured guns would have the technology. You also forget that there are 2,000,000 instances each year in which citizens legally protect themselves and loved ones with a firearm. How many lives does that potentially save Mark?

  • BHG

    This column is almost as emotional and one-sided as the “crazed gun culture” Mark attacks. Joe makes the point Mark fails to see. Certainly NO deaths are preferable but it is a fallen world and even in places that outlaw gun ownership, homicide is still a problem. The data on concealed carry (with “dumb” guns, mind you) are very, very compelling and do not require sophisticated adaptations to guns. The Adam Lanzas of the world are not just the result of guns being available but the result of tragic family circumstances, poor human choices and, not incidentally, guns being forbidden on school campuses making it harder to get someone on campus to stop the shooting by stopping the shooter. Lanza represents the general decline of our culture that is NOT just the result of gun ownership and that “smart” guns will not address. Back when I was a kid (back when the earth was cooling and dinosaurs still roamed), shooting clubs were a common extracurricular offering in schools and kids brought their 0.22s to school on club day. And NOBODY got shot. There are crazy gun owners, there are crazy non-owners and there are people who oversimplify a problem and make it worse. Mark dismissed the idea that the government as presently constituted wants to remove guns from the hands of private citizens, but I am not at all convinced he is right nor am I convinced that smart technology is all that is is portrayed. There is a real problem here, of course, and, please God, there is a real solution, but it is not to be found in either extreme.

  • Jem

    “it is a fallen world”

    Odd, then, that it’s only our part of this ‘world’ with so many firearms deaths. In 2011, there were 1100 firearms deaths in the whole of the Eurozone, the 17 countries that have the Euro as their currency, around 330 million people (so roughly as many as the US). That’s total gun deaths – homicide, suicide, accidental.

    In the same year, there were 500 firearm *homicides* in Chicago alone.

    This is not a global problem. This is not an inherent problem of mankind’s nature. This is a peculiarly American problem.

    Mark, I think one of the things that often gets lost in the gun control debate are the suicide numbers. A lot of people kill *themselves* using guns, and this is an area – to put my medical statistician hat on – where we can make meaningful comparisons between countries. And it is very easy to demonstrate that, no, in other countries the same number of people don’t just find other ways to kill themselves, and that the survival rate is a great deal higher from other methods.

    Australia used to have the same sort of gun laws as the US. A right wing government repealed those laws, at great political cost to itself. It worked.

    • jroberts548

      The gun death rate does not matter as much as the violent crime + suicide death rate. The argument for gun control isn’t – or shouldn’t be – that too many people are killed by guns that should be violently killed in some other way.

      • Jem

        “The argument for gun control isn’t – or shouldn’t be – that too many
        people are killed by guns that should be violently killed in some other

        That’s as silly as saying that we shouldn’t try to cure heart disease because people will just end up dying of cancer.

        People in the UK stuck at a petrol station where some black kids are playing loud music don’t pull out a bow and arrow because they don’t have a gun to strafe it with bullets.

        • jroberts548

          Curing heart disease means people live longer. The value of curing heart disease is in the number of people who live longer, relative to the opportunity cost of whatever the people curing heart disease would have done otherwise.

          If banning guns just results in more people hanging themselves, then we haven’t accomplished anything at a national level. Marginal lives saved against marginal costs is the number that matters. It’s the only number that matters when we’re talking about policy in a nation of 300 million people.

          • Jem

            “If banning guns just results in more people hanging themselves, then we haven’t accomplished anything at a national level.”
            Does banning guns do that? Easy enough to find out.

  • Jem

    Also, my grandfather-in-law was convinced there would be hunting in Heaven. He never could explain exactly what they’d be hunting.

  • jroberts548

    1. You’re conflating a lot of different problems. Gun control calculated to prevent or discourage suicides is not going to look the same as gun control aimed at preventing the flow of illegal guns into cities or the same as gun control aimed at preventing the occasional sandy hook. Proposals like an “assault-weapons” ban – the proposals actually being made by politicans – are calculated to prevent nothing at all.

    2. Of course some losses are acceptable. Some people are going to die just because you use electricity to turn your computer on – you know that every marginal kilowatt hour means that much more marginal labor in a coal mine, at a dam, or at nuclear plant; it means marginally more coal emissions or nuclear waste. Every kilowatt hour you use has a small, but real increase in the number of people you kill. Nearly everything you own was shipped, at some point, on a ship, train, or truck. You’ve made the decision that marginal risk to the driver, conductor, or merchant sailors is worth it. That some losses aren’t worth preventing is a decision that should be utterly non-controversial, because it’s how literally every single man, woman, and child today lives, or has ever lived.

    The question for gun control isn’t “is 30,000 deaths too many?” It’s “how many marginal deaths can we prevent, at what marginal costs?” Any gun control proposal (or any proposal, for anything that relates to social goods) that doesn’t answer the second question, at least in principle, isn’t worth taking seriously.

    3. Of course some gun nuts are nuts. These jackasses threatening someone for selling a smart gun pose more of a threat to the second amendment than Obama ever could. They likewise have not asked what the marginal costs and benefits are. Likewise, their policy proposals are not worthy of serious consideration.

  • Jem
    • jroberts548

      Against the cost of banning and confiscating all guns? Probably.

      Against the cost of punishing people like the murderer? Not acceptable.

      Unfortunately, ex post punishments are frequently going to fail to prevent things like that. Making people who commit crimes with guns believe they’re more likely to get caught and punished is vitally important. Stricter punishments for reckless or grossly negligent gun use (including negligent storage) would probably be a good measure, and have greater marginal benefits than costs.

      But no measure is going to prevent everything. If you’re starting point is “X number of deaths is unacceptable,” without any reference to costs and benefits, you’re not going to produce any thing worth serious consideration.

      • Jem

        “Against the cost of banning and confiscating all guns? Probably.”

        It worked in Australia, the costs were negligible.

        • RE Hafner

          No, it did not work in Australia.

          • Jem

            “No, it did not work in Australia.”

            You’re either consciously lying or extremely gullible. So, let’s try and work out which. Let’s dance. What’s your opening gambit, the one where you cut and paste the statistic that confuses number of homicides with the homicide rate, or the one that mixes up homicides with homicide with firearms?

            We can go through the motions if you like. We can discuss public approval, we can discuss the current state of the political debate, we can discuss crime figures, we can discuss gun death figures, we can discuss suicide rates. You are wrong.

            • RE Hafner

              Quite a tap dance, try again when you have facts instead of politically correct hysteria.

              • Jem

                “Quite a tap dance, try again when you have facts instead of politically correct hysteria.’

                Wow, you folded fast. Saves time, so thanks.

                • RE Hafner

                  Guess you ran out of propaganda! Better call Bloomberg for a backup.

        • jroberts548

          The U.S. isn’t Australia. Our cops can’t even raid the wrong house for pot without murdering an old man. A gun ban in the US would be an unmitigated disaster. The costs would be greater than the costs of the war on drugs.

  • kirthigdon

    No problem with smart gun technology for people who want it. But many if not most potential buyers will not want it and hence an enormous market will remain for dumb guns and that demand will be supplied legally or otherwise. I very much support conceal/carry for those who need it. In my experience, that includes women who go out at night either because they have a job that requires it or to socialize, women who live alone, people who live or work in dangerous areas, including disabled veterans and people with families, or people who have to drive through dangerous areas. I’ve known people in all these categories and heard stories of how they have had to use their guns without firing them to protect their own lives. I don’t own or carry a gun myself, but I don’t begrudge this right to people weaker or more vulnerable than myself.

    Kirt Higdon

  • D.T. McCameron

    I rather think that Lanza would have been included in the the list of people allowed to use his mother’s guns. I was at least not given the impression that he had used them on the sly previously, or that his first act with them was to kill her.

    Mark Steyn would also like to see a bit of gun control:

  • JohnE_o

    I’d rather it not be the case that a gun I need to use in a crisis situation have a single point of failure such as ‘smart technology’ built into it. I want my gun to go ‘bang’ when I pull the trigger.

    The concern amongst those who oppose this technology is that if it is available, it will be mandated. We’d rather not see that happen.

  • BruceKrafft

    Personally I think it is highly deceptive to include the 17,500 yearly suicides in your corpse count, since numerous studies have shown that suicide rates remain independent of method (for example when Canada tightened its gun laws a couple of decades ago much was made of the fact that the gun suicide rate dropped markedly, but little was made of the fact that the non-gun suicide rate rose to more than make up the difference). This means that your “30,000 corpses each year” is actually 12,500 (based on the CDC’s suicide numbers from 2001 – 2010).

    Looking at the real numbers from a pro-life perspective I would think that the single most important fact of our gun culture is the 24,000+ lives *saved* each year.

  • Dave

    Impress your friends with statistics! Win every argument with little or no research! Play the game of trumps! I see your 30,000 and raise you 5,900 to total 35,900. What is that figure you ask?

    The last census reporting (2009) of vehicular deaths in the United States of Americ(ar). We need to end this ridiculous car nut culture. It’s not just transportation anymore, these nuts don’t want biometrics allowing them to start their engines, some of them modify these dangerous weapons to have more power and don’t want to retrofit their gas guzzling killing machines with seatbelts and airbags. They must all be crazy Libertarianazi types, and must be stopped.

    After all, the only number that matters is 35,900.

    Yes, all of these are tragedies, but moral arguments are never simple math and there are no simple solutions. As the owner of a significant collection of World War II rifles, and an avid outdoorsman, I would advocate for common sense and intelligent methods of restricting access and improving safety. However, articles like this are merely designed to be incendiary, and you end up as the opposite parody of the ones you are criticizing.

    • Dan C

      The response to vehicular deaths was massive. First, restrictions to the speed of vehicles in the ’70′s and ’80′s. Second, restrictions to age of legal alcohol consumption. Both were responsible to reduce vehicular deaths.

      Also, car seats were added for children, which reduced the brain injury and brain death of children. We have seat belt laws.

      Then, safety engineering was mandated. Cars are not hard metal boxes and are “collapsible” absorbing impact energy. Also, we have air bags.

      The point is simple: regulation and engineering have resulted in aggressive attempts to reduce automotive deaths and increase safety in cars.

      Such is impermissible for guns.

      • Dave

        Then you radically missed my point, and I believe the point of our fair host. The underlying assumption of the post is, “1 is too many”. If that be the case, then the only way to acheive that is to get rid of the cause. Thus, in the case of guns, the gun itself, and in the case of vehicles, the vehicles.

        We can make the case that we “want to change the culture”, but that is not the argument being made here.

        Yes, people did not want regulations. Yes, regulations have reduced fatalities. Yes, I am for, as stated above common sense and intelligent regulations/methods. So please do not use the “bad gun guy” mantra, and the emotional hype that “gun nuts do not want safety” line on me.

        Now, there are ways to change the culture, and I would be open to discussing those in a levelheaded manner.

        However, as long as the underlying assumption of our dear host is that “1 is too many” (and I agree 1 is a tragedy), then the line of thought must be extended to all other realms of human activity. If not, then it is just the writing of a cranky old man. And yes, it takes one to know one

  • JM1001

    From the Reuters article:

    Gun rights activists contend the smart gun violates their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

    Do people just not understand how the Constitution works?

    The Bill of Rights is nothing more than a list of things the government is prohibited from doing. A business owner voluntarily deciding to sell smart guns does not infringe on your Second Amendment rights any more than a business owner deciding to sell computers with password protection somehow infringes on my right to freedom of speech (by scrawling my worthless opinions on the Internet).

    I could just as easily ask why these idiots want to infringe upon this business owner’s right to voluntarily sell a product in the free market that consumers can voluntarily choose to purchase.

    • Dan C

      So…the car industry is the model. Some car makers hated safety features and fought them tooth and nail. Some marketed based on that. Now, entire lines of cars are sold and marketed based on safety parameters. The gun industry has no desire to change like that, so they are propagandizing to avoid it.

      But fear and hate are in the message of the gun advocates. They hate gun grabbers like me, really hate them. They hate “criminals.” Which are featured stereotypically. Animating a certain image in the mind. This propagandistic seed, assisted by conservative language and conservative propaganda on the whole for 25 years, has taken hold and will grow.

      Hate and fear, more than safety, will motivate.

      • JM1001

        If anything, it’s the New Jersey law that would have been triggered if Raymond had sold the smart guns that would have potentially raised a Constitutional issue (I actually think that’s debatable). But the smart guns themselves do not violate anyone’s rights.

      • RE Hafner

        Smart guns are not smart or are they more safe.

        • Dan C

          Oddly, we heard that on air bags.

          • RE Hafner

            Who is we? Do you have a mouse in your pocket? Being around in the pre air bag days I never heard of any objections to air bags or seat belts. However, the objections started when seat belts became mandatory, not voluntary. The same with helmets for motor cycle riders. Thus in some states head gear for the motor cycle crowd is not mandatory.

            • Dan C

              You are both incorrect and insulting.

              The auto industry since the 1960′s opposed air bags and fought against it. The auto industry fought against NIH funding studies to study automobile accidents for decades too. (Wait…that sounds like another advocacy group….)


              • RE Hafner

                The people did not object to the options back then. When seat belts came standard wearing was optional and not mandatory by any state.

                • Dan C

                  Are you objecting to mandatory seat belt laws?

                  • RE Hafner

                    I don’t recall indicating that I was. Are you making assumptions?

                • Dan C

                  And who are “the people?” My take on the past 50 years is that “the people” are fine with mandatory safety regs for automobiles. In fact, they are very popular.

                  • RE Hafner

                    Guess you do not know many people. When you have time research all the laws regarding motor vehicles. There is even one stating you cannot drive without shoes. BTW owning and driving a vehicle is not a right protected by the Constitution.

                    • Dan C

                      Yes. Of course there is a law against bare foot driving.

                      The marketing of cars around the issue of safety is a clear indication of the popularity of safety features.

                      Still insulting and wrong again. And insulting again. Fascinating.

  • RE Hafner

    More mindless ranting by a gun grabber. The fact is that the jurisdictions with the least restrictions on firearms ownership have the lowest crime rate. Additionally the number of incidents involving illegal use of firearms has been decreasing while in contrast firearms ownership has been increasing. Also it is evident the author of this article knows absolutely nothing about the NRA. Gun control has never decreased crime or controlled criminals while it is all about controlling citizens and turning them into subjects of the state. Want proof positive? Check out the gun control paradises of Detroit, Chicago, D.C, etc. The crime rate in Chicago alone completely debunks the authors wild eyed hysterical theories.

    • JM1001

      Please explain to me how it’s “gun grabbing” for a business owner to voluntarily sell a product in the free market that consumers can voluntarily choose to purchase.

      • kenofken

        Because guns are a religion in this country, THE religion in this country, and it’s magisterium is the NRA and gun manufacturers. “Smart gun” technology flies in the face of official doctrine which says nothing is wrong and nothing different can be done, ever, with gun regulation. The technology is therefore evil, and it’s proponents are thus agents of evil and servants of fascism.

        • Dan C

          NRA is the id of the gun manufacturers.

          • RE Hafner

            You have no idea what the NRA is or promotes. Try research prior to posting.

            • CW Betts

              In my stare, the NRA opposes more stringent training before obtaining a CCW permit. This is the opposite of promoting gun safety. In my opinion, the NRA is useless.

              • jack burton

                A dozen states or more have NO training for getting a CCW. Their safety stats with CCW holders are comparable in every way with the states that require much training.

                Why do you want to force citizens to spend money when every bit of evidence and history shows that it is not needed? I would call that pretty useless of you, eh.

              • RE Hafner

                In my stare you know nothing about the NRA. If you researched prior to posting you might have educated yourself to the fact that the NRA is the champion of firearms safety training and has been for over 125 years while your ilk do nothing but offer hot air. The NRA trains law enforcement, the military, provides hunter safety programs and programs for children on firearms safety and accident prevention. Safety is a matter of personal responsibility, not something to be mandated or controlled by the government. The safety record of the American firearms owner is outstanding. There are millions of firearms owners and hardly no accidents. Compare that the vehicle drivers and deaths caused by medical malpractice.

          • Pete the Greek

            Actually, the NRA has clashed with gun manufacturers rather often. The NRA represents the interests of its members, not a vassal of the gun companies, who are often more than willing to bow to or even promote certain gun control laws.

            For example: back in the 90s, Strum Ruger came out in support of the so-called ‘assault weapon’ ban. This was not out of some kind of principle, but as was later admitted because their Mini-14 rifle was being crushed by cheaper Chinese and Eastern European imports.

        • Dave G.

          There is an alternate religion in this country but it ain’t guns. It’s held, in fact, by people on both sides of the debate.

      • RE Hafner

        Do you have a problem with English? I never posted gun grabbing consists of businesses selling a product.

        • JM1001

          Do you have a problem with English?

          Do you?

          The two articles that framed this entire post were about just that: business owners simply trying to sell smart guns. Mark then used those incidents to address the issue of the benefits of smart guns and why opposition to them is foolish. You then responded with the standard knee-jerk insult of “gun grabber.”

          So I ask again: How is it “gun grabbing” simply to advocate for gun-safe technology (as Mark did) and for a business owner to voluntarily sell them?

      • jack burton

        JM, because you post from ignorance instead of malice I will be nice to you.

        New Jersey has a law that states that when a gun with these features are offered for sale ANYWHERE in the country then effective immediately all other types of guns in the state are banned from sale.

        If Fred the Gun Dealer in Montana sells this gun, then NO ONE in NJ can from that point forward buy ANY OTHER HANDGUN. Do you understand that this is outright “gun grabbing”?

        If you do, then you might want to educate yourself further on the subject before posting. If you don’t, then there is no help for you. You’re a flat earther type.

        • JM1001

          I am aware of the New Jersey law, as it was mentioned in the Reuters article. What I didn’t understand was the claim in the article that the guns themselves were somehow an infringement on the Second Amendment. Perhaps that was just poorly written by the writer of the article.

          Why not just let the law go into effect so you can challenge its constitutionality in the courts?

          • Pete the Greek

            “Why not just let the law go into effect so you can challenge its constitutionality in the courts?”
            - Question: Would you be fine with taking this approach to every other type of law, or does it only apply to cases involving firearms? Would it be ok to simply allow the greenlight of a law that curtailed 1st Amendment rights, 4th Amendment rights, etc because, hey, the Supreme Court will sort out what’s best for us?

            Considering recent history of certain supreme court actions, I do not have quite the Faith in them that you do.

            • JM1001

              Fair enough. I’m not sure how likely repeal of the law is, so it only occurred to me as a second option if that’s not viable for people who oppose this.

              • Pete the Greek


                Theoretically the Supreme Court would sagely view such a case and make a wise decision that is in accord with Constitutional Law.

                I reality, we had the Patriot Act and Roe v Wade.

        • jroberts548

          I don’t see how a New Jersey law is a problem for Fred the Gun Dealer in Montana. That’s what federalism is all about.

    • Dan C

      “Gun control laws” are unenforceable in their formulation. These are only enforceable in the “past tense.” Once someone is found with a gun, not in any preventative sense. This is the gift of gun advocacy. Yes, lots of laws are on the books. Few are really able to be enforced.

      Gun access control needs to be in place. But this is where everyone on the right freaks out.

    • Beadgirl

      What about NYC? Major gun control laws, strengthened over the past 12 years, and at the same time crime keeps going down, hitting historic lows. It seems that debunks your implicit statement that the fewest restrictions lead to the lowest crime rates.

      • Pete the Greek

        All over the United States you can find examples of every permutation. Just check out the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics on their website. You will finds states where gun laws have become much more lax and crime has remained constant, some where it has increased and some where it has gone down. You will find similar with those states where laws have been tightened.

        What the blanket statements of both ‘Tougher gun laws mean more safety!’ and ‘More guns, less crime!’ ignore are… everything else: rise in standards of living, job availability, drug laws, illegitimacy rates, etc.

        But then, trying to explain all together doesn’t make a good sound byte.

        • Beadgirl

          Right. My point is that simplistic arguments such as “more guns reduce crime” and “more gun control reduces crime” fail to take into account myriad factors. Which is not to say I am not in favor of more and better gun control.

          • Pete the Greek

            “Which is not to say I am not in favor or more and better gun control.”
            - Understandable. I would point out that looking deeper at the facts and other factors involved is one of the major things that convinced me that constantly trying to ratchet up gun control is not going to have a real, meaningful effect on gun deaths.

            • Andy

              I think what this reflects is that it is easier to debate issues that are unresolvable then to examine issues that cause problems – - as you said above “rise in standards of living, job availability, drug laws, illegitimacy rates, etc.”. These are issues that cause me to examine my life and lifestyle and may cause me discomfort, but hell I can bitch about guns and feel good about my input.
              By the way I own three guns, and favor intelligent controls – background checks and the like. But I also know that reasonable controls will not change crime until we deal with despair, unemployment, how we enforce drug laws and what drug laws we have, education, and so on. All those require a change in how we spend money and egads maybe spending more money in different ways.

      • Patrick Thornton

        And Chicago has equally strict laws (until very recently even stricter) and one of the worst crime rates. So, I’m not sure it’s the gun control laws in NY that are lowering crime.

      • RE Hafner

        I see you swallowed the liberal nonsense. Check on NYC’s crime rate compared to non gun control jurisdictions. Also you might have noticed that NYC’s crime rate is on the rise again since stop and frisk without cause was eliminated. Actually it is not my theory but FBI Uniforms Report stats.

        • Beadgirl

          1) There’s no need to be insulting.

          2) Compare NYC to which non-gun control jurisdictions? Rural areas, suburbs, cities? Densely populated, centralized cities or sprawling ones? Do these studies take into account the different cultures jurisdictions have, as well as differences in police force funding and tactics, preventative measures, poverty and unemployment rates, education, gun availability (regardless of laws), and so on? There are a ton of factors that affect crime rates; gun laws and availability are just two of them.

          3) Assuming that is true that crime is going up (it’s not, according to the quick and dirty research I just did), that point actually works against your argument. Advocates of the stop and frisk laws emphasize that they result in taking more guns off of the streets. That’s what some gun control laws aim to do too.

          • RE Hafner

            Gun control laws never had and never will reduce criminal activity or disarm criminals. The purpose of gun control is simply citizen control. If gun control laws prevented criminal activity Washington, D.C, would be a crime free area. Needless to say D.C. is a prime example of the failures of the gun control premise. Gun control insures a target rich environment for criminals to ply their trade.

            • Beadgirl

              “Gun control laws never had and never will reduce criminal activity or disarm criminals.”

              This statement is way too broad to be accurate; at the very least, I don’t think you can claim to know the future with that degree of certainty. Moreover, not all gun control laws are equal; for example, those that keep guns out of the hands of the insane, felons, or domestic abusers do reduce crime. Nor does your statement about D.C. support it, unless you have controlled for all the factors that affect crime.

              • RE Hafner

                Well, we learned that gun control laws do not prevent felons, the mentally disturbed, or domestic abusers from obtaining firearms. You can never legislature human behavior. You can legislate to pretend you can but it will always come back to bite you. I recall days prior to all this legislative nonsense and the crime rate was a lot lower than it is today and the general populace was armed to the teeth. Also you might take notice that the crime rate is dropping while firearms ownership is immensely increasing. Obama and Clinton proved to be the best salesmen. You can never tell the American people what they can or cannot own.

        • JM1001

          Also you might have noticed that NYC’s crime rate is on the rise again since stop and frisk without cause was eliminated.

          I see. So you care about the Second Amendment, but not about the Fourth. Stop and frisk was an unconstitutional search and seizure of American citizens. Therefore, it was not eliminated without cause — well, unless in your narrow vision Amendment #2 comprises the entire Bill of Rights.

          So, to sum up, in your view, it’s okay to violate the Fourth Amendment if it increases public safety, but it’s not okay to violate the Second Amendment if it increases public safety.

          • Pete the Greek

            “Stop and frisk was an unconstitutional search and seizure of American citizens.”
            - AMEN!!! I honestly don’t understand why people do not understand that.

            • Beadgirl

              Unfortunately, too many people focused on its effectiveness; not surprising, given how most modern Americans tend towards consequentialism. The fact that something is effective does not mean it is either moral or right.

          • RE Hafner

            Actually You see nothing, I never said that violation of the 4th Amendment was acceptable: however, to some the end always justifies the means and to hell With the Constitution and Bill of Rights., the present administration comes sharply into focus.

            • JM1001

              My point was, you went from arguing against infringements on the Second Amendment by people trying to improve public safety, to arguing for (if only implicitly) an infringement on the Fourth Amendment by people trying to improve public safety — all without the slightest awareness of any inconsistency.

              But the result is the same: people pick and choose which Amendments they are willing to sacrifice on the altar of “public safety.” But the Framers understood that free societies are inherently unsafe, and you can never have perfect public safety. ALL of the Amendments of the Bill of Rights must be viewed in that light, not just the ones you pick and choose for your own convenience.

              • RE Hafner

                Actually the framers inferred that the individuals were responsible for their own safety and wellbeing, and government needed controlling restrictions.

                • JM1001

                  When I say that the Framers understood a free society to be inherently unsafe, I only mean that when they restricted the government from, say, searching your home without probable cause and a warrant, that would inevitably entail that some criminals will get away. Therefore, a free society has a certain amount of risk embedded in its very design. But it’s a risk they were willing to take.

                  But, increasingly, people no longer recognize that inherent risk. And so, necessarily, that means infringing upon certain rights for the sake of eliminating that risk.

                  • RE Hafner

                    Which part of “Shall not be infringed”, do you fail to understand? No where does the federal or state have the Constitutional authority to infringe on individual rights although we have four black robbed feces slinging monkeys who are under the false impression that the government can do as it desires and the Constitution be damned.

                    • JM1001

                      Uh, you do realize that we are not in disagreement, right? In my last comment, I was bemoaning the fact that people want to infringe on rights in order to eliminate the inherent risks of a free society. Sorry if that didn’t come across.

                    • chezami

                      Mr. Hafner is built for attack, not for listening.

                    • RE Hafner

                      You would be surprised at how many fools will surrender their liberty for a false sense of security. Ben Franklin made note stating that those who did will have neither!

  • Pete the Greek

    Oh lovely… this topic again.

    I will simply offer a couple of spare thoughts and then go away before the avalanche of responses inferring I don’t care about children come pouring in by reflex.

    Out of the millions of gun owners in the United States (that’s millions), yes, there are a certain number that are truly vile. While I have never met one in my life, I HAVE seen them posting online. They, like those VERY FEW prolifers who have voiced support for violence, are pretty much the only ones that ever get publicity. That’s not an APOLOGY for them.

    Blaming supporters of constitutional rights for all the murders in the United States strikes me as borderline irrational. It does make a good ‘hamburger’ meme though and requires no exercise of rational thought. Ties in nicely with my comments from yesterday.

    Second Amendment supporters are, overwhelmingly, not anarchists. There are actually quite a few gun laws that are supported. Outside of a few really hardcore Libertarians haunting the comment sections of, I don’t think you will find 2nd Amendment supporters who want to throw out laws that state it is illegal for violent felons to have firearms, just as a quick example.

    As much as it seems to stoke some people’s self righteousness to think otherwise, the murder rates in this country are not taken with a ‘meh.’ I think too many of you confuse a disagreement about means with a disagreement about ends. (Again, are there cranks who really don’t care about that? I’ve seen a few online, yes. Overall, from my 30+ years all over the country dealing with people in the ‘gun culture’? No, that’s not a norm at all.)

    “Don’t try. Won’t work. Give up”
    - It’s this kind of hysterics that prevent any meaningful conversation about anything around here. It’s like trying to debate religious topics with a fundamentalist who won’t stop shrieking ‘PAPAL IDOLATER!!’ at you. My position on ‘smart guns’: while I would not object to buying say, a hunting rifle or shotgun equipped with it (provided I actually needed another one), if it was priced reasonably, I would never purchase it for anything I would be potentially relying on to save my life. This is simply due to the fact that I want the minimum of things that can go wrong. On my personal carry firearm now, I don’t even have any form of manual safety. To me it’s like installing a FANTASTIC, ultra futuristic, top of the line set of brakes on your car… BUT they will only work if your hands are exactly at the 10 and 2 position on the steering wheel. Since driving manuals say this is where you’re SUPPOSED to have your hands, who would object to this innovation besides a luddite, amiright? And if you disagree you must love highway fatalities and hate America’s “can do!” spirit…

    I would also mention that Lanza is a poor example to push for this type of tech. Given his family situation. His mother actively took him shooting a lot and let him handle and use all her firearms, so any technology that allows you to specify who is allowed to handle the firearms wouldn’t have prevented his murder spree, as he would already have been keyed to the system.

    I’d love to debate more, but I seriously doubt many will even bother reading past the first four sentences. When people’s outrage meter pegs out at ’11′, the best thing to do is walk away. Not going to bother responding as it is merely an exercise in futility.

  • Dave G.

    I think that some feel those secondary considerations might be pretty important if we want to solve the problem.

    BTW the tone of the rhetoric doesn’t help. Gun grabbing commies versus people willing to accept dead kids in order to keep their guns is the antithesis of “let’s be reasonable.”

    • Jon W

      BTW the tone of the rhetoric doesn’t help.

      You must be new here.

      • Dave G.


    • Dan C

      I am ok with being called a gun grabber.

      • Dave G.

        But are you OK with the problem not being resolved?

        • Dan C

          I think with current gun culture and the current interpretations of the Second Amendment, it cannot be fixed.

          1. Current gun laws are unenforceable unless “stop and frisk” policies are routinely put in place. As such, complaining that “gun laws are not enforced” is like complaining “no texting and driving” laws are not enforced. They are unenforceable. Only after a crime or after an accident can such laws be enforced. As such, these laws impact prevention in no way

          2. There is an army of people who do believe that without guns, liberals like me would do unspeakable things to their family. Supposedly “reasonable” commentators have made such claims as recently as last year.

          3. The propaganda of xenophobia and hate which coincidentally targets gun advocates (liberals are going to force you to gay marry, liberals are imposing Sharia law, elites are going to run the country, liberals are going to allow “urban” violence to run amok and destroy the country) feeds and emphasizes the need for some passionate gun advocates. Like the Palin lecture.

          Wrath as a deadly vice has gripped the gun advocates. It is a common vice these days. Wrath makes these problems unsolvable.

          • Dave G.

            I don’t think everyone sees things in such stark liberal vs conservative contrasts.

            • Dan C

              Everyone does not. But many many do.
              And the “resistance to tyranny” line is common. For those gun advocates, that tyranny is me, and that gun is a defense against me.
              The partisan lines are growing darker and reasonable solutions are truly out of reach.
              Current gun laws that do not restrict access in the beginning will have any impact on prevention. It is not “the gubmint isn’t enforcing the law.” It is unenforceable. This talking point, a common weapon in the arguments of gun advocates, who also hate regulation period, is expected routinely.
              I make my way routinely into rural areas, and am in venues with folks from “Red Counties.” This language and aggressiveness is routine- noted at the beginnings of rodeos or county fairs in talks.
              More than a critical mass can be described by my descriptions.
              I am a proud gun grabber. I am certain it would make us all safer.

              • Dave G.

                Well one does at least. ;)

    • chezami

      Whenever I speak about torture or mass murder and say that endorsement of or passivity in the face of them is radically evil, I can always count on somebody to wring their hands, not about torture and mass slaughter, but about “tone”. The gnat/camel inversion ratio is amazing when it comes to the sacred cows of the Right.

      • Pete the Greek

        Rather two different kinds of things.

        When it comes to torture, it is always and everywhere a moral evil, end of story. The same can NOT be said of firearm ownership. Hence, if we are to debate how certain guaranteed rights are to be limited, a civil tone is very much needed… on both sides.

      • Dave G.

        Maybe because some see that level of campus preacher style rhetoric as counterproductive.

    • jroberts548

      I don’t see what’s wrong with accepting dead kids. I also accept dead truckers, dead coal miners, dead drivers (including possibly myself), etc. Any policy decision or economic practice is going to result in death. You can’t prevent every death. You can’t avoid indirectly causing some and benefiting from others. It’s insane to pretend otherwise.

      • chezami

        And if we were talking about the fantasy of saving every single life, you’d have a real point. But since we are talking about the absolute refusal to save one single life, you don’t.

        • jroberts548

          I’ve noted elsewhere that I’m in favor of measures that will reduce gun deaths (ending the war on drugs, requiring background checks for secondary market sales, and imposing stricter penalties on reckless and grossly negligent gun use and storage that results in injury). These measures are super cheap and will marginally reduce gun violence and violent crime.

          My point only is that you can’t just uncritically love from “x people die” to “we must do this,” and that there’s nothing wrong with accepting some deaths.

        • TMLutas

          Your fantasy is that “smart gun” technology will never cost a life.

        • Mariana Baca

          I don’t think smart guns will save even one life. That is my honest answer. I’ll talk about proposals for improving inner city gang culture. Talk about improving prison conditions to prevent repeat offenders. Talk about improving non-violent crime laws. Talk about improved mental health access to prevent suicide. These are actual problems that could have actual solutions leading to massive decreases in death rate. Smart guns? Not so much. Waste of money for enforcement and implementation with zero perceived benefit.

  • jack burton

    For a more mature answer to the question, “Is the damage to society from the misuse of guns worth the freedom to have guns?” please read the essay at

  • Phil Benny

    The problem with gun regs is that they are written by people who don’t know ANYTHING about guns. I can no longer shoot my 6mm in some states because the “stock” dimensions and the fact that the PPC cartridge was developed from what the AK47 uses makes it an ….. “assault rifle” . Who is going to take this to a playground to shoot up kids??

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      I agree with you, but that is a singularly unattractive firearm.
      Another reason people object to gun regulations is that they only affect people willing to follow the law. People willing to shoot other people aren’t really known as law-abiding types. Regulations that would sensibly somehow prevent guns from being stolen, the black market for guns, etc., might receive more support. Right now, we have a government that is highly untrustworthy, a president who signs an executive order any time he wants his way, an elite rich class who will be protected with guns no matter the regulations, so it;s no wonder people get touchy (and inappropriate) when they see another amendment being fiddled with.
      And can we talk about the number of mass shooters and suicides taking psychotropic drugs?

  • Granny Grunch

    What the antigun nuts never mention is the number of children who die in swimming pools each year which far exceeds the deaths caused by guns. If They were really,really serious about savinf the life of EVEN ONE CHILD, They would fill in that deadly body of water in the back nyard known as The Pool. They won’t,though,and I know there will be somebody reading this who will learn the tragic lesson …the hard way.

    • chezami

      “A lot of people drown, therefore we should make sure that maniacs have easy access to the technology o mass slaughter” is yet another of the many stupid argument of insane gun culture.

  • Phil Benny

    A little moderation please…. Some people should never have guns..

    • chezami

      True. And yet the NRA strives to make sure that they have easy access to them anyway.

    • TMLutas

      Gun culture is a major factor in gun safety. The NRA/conservative gun culture is a lot healthier and leads to a lot less crime than the thug gun culture. The inner city people who are disarmed are exactly the sort of people that tend to join the NRA.

  • KM

    I’ve noted this in a different thread, but what I don’t understand is this:

    If violent crimes have been going down over the last two decades, why are Americans even more afraid than ever of crime? Why have we turned into a nation of whiny thumb-sucking armed-to-the-hilt wussies?

    I think one answer is that we’ve been played for profits. The very effective profit-driven corporate propaganda of the NRA and the conspiracy-driven speech of Fox News have helped create a perpetual climate of fear, hatred, and distrust. Our culture is also steeped in media violence which translates into GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out). You can’t keep feeding garbage into people’s brains without garbage coming out into the broader culture.

    For more about this I recommend the writings of Jim Sleeper, and Mark Fiore’s latest animation called “NRA Hynosis: Guns, Sweet Guns!”.

    • Phil Benny

      Because it is being reported as if it’s going up. Mass shootings are way down thanks to liberalized concealed carry laws.

      • Pete the Greek

        Actually, from my understandings, mass attacks are pretty much stable like they’ve been for many many years, at least if you’re looking at the frequency.

    • KM
    • jroberts548

      Specifically? Boomers are idiots. It’s the same reason Boomer republicans think democrats are soft on crime, despite 3 decades of democrats going out of their way to be hard on crime. It’s the same reason Boomer idiots talk about how bad rap music is for youth culture, even though “Rapper’s Delight” is 35 years old. It’s the same reason Boomers think cartoons are for kids, even though we’re 25 years into The Simpsons. It’s the same reasons Boomers think Schwarzenaeger and Stallone are action movie stars. It’s the same reason Boomers think there isn’t a student loan crisis, cause kids can just work their way through college.

      Boomers just randomly picked some point in their youth and continue to believe that that’s still true. Even though it’s been 20 years since gangsta’ rap was a thing, and even though violent crime, murders, and all manner of other indicators, like teen pregnancy, have consistently been declining for decades, the idiot Boomers in charge keep on believing otherwise.

      (I fully expect my generation to make the same error in the future, but millennials aren’t in charge right now, so my permanent belief in declining rates of violent crime and in skyrocketing tuition will probably survive, even if it stops being true.)

      • Dave G

        No. They’re not idiots. They’re simply the first generation in history that didn’t have to grow up. And it shows in this and a thousand other issues.

    • Pete the Greek

      Terrorism is also pretty much non-existent in the US but you wouldn’t know that from the news.

      I think you make the mistake that every gun purchase is about fear of crime. Not really. Firearms are purchased for many uses: defense, fun, work, etc.

      “Why have we turned into a nation of whiny thumb-sucking armed-to-the-hilt wussies?”
      - I think I would paraphrase another gentleman (I forgot his name) who said: “Paranoid? I carry a gun. What do I possibly have to be afraid of?”

      Are some paranoid? Sure. Some just enjoy them, and many have them because they like to be prepared. For example, I carry a weapon every day. You would never know it, as it’s concealed. It costs me nothing to do so, in no way interferes with my daily life, and only requires an additional 7 seconds in the morning to put it on.

      I also have certain types of disability insurance at my job, even though a way of being disabled without being dead that would prevent me from doing my desk job would be almost impossible to come up with. Why do I have said insurance? Why not, is the answer. It costs, literally, pennies. If it cost a lot more, or caused inconvenience, i wouldn’t bother and it certainly could be considered paranoid to have it.

      The difference between paranoia and preparedness is the degree to which taking steps inconveniences and places burdens upon you compared to the possibility of the prepared for problem from happening.

  • KM


    The reason people don’t seem to care about those 30,000 corpses is quite simple: The ones that aren’t suicides are mostly inner-city brown-skinned people and therefore are likely poor and likely criminal. So they “deserved” it.

    Haven’t you read the latest meme from The Thing That Used to Be Conservatism? There are the Undeserving People (usually poor losers, moochers, takers) and the Deserving People (rich, winners, makers). We only should care about the Deserving People.

    And that thing that Jesus said about love they neighbor? That’s for wusses only.

    • KM

      Oops, that’s Love *Thy* Neighbor.

    • Dan C

      While I criticize the right, I do not think this is exactly fair. I do think that the “automobile accident” attitude is closer to the actual attitude. That there is a risk to “doing business,” playing on a playground, owning a gun. As a consequence, a nanny state shouldn’t be forcing regulation, safety, etc. This is part of the opposition to OSHA, etc.
      Especially with the impending tyranny.

    • jroberts548

      If you care about gun crime in the inner city, how are smart guns goin to help?

      The single biggest, cheapest way to lower violent crime among the poor and among minorities is to end the war on drugs. Of we decriminalized marijuana, and shifted towards a treatment- first approach to harder drugs, the poverty and incarceration rates would plummet overnight.organized crime would lose its source of revenue, and with it, gang membership would evaporate. We also wouldn’t be sending otherwise law abiding people I jorisin where they can join gangs. You get rid of gangs, you get rid of gang violence.

      Or we can just try grabbing all the guns, because drug war tactics are soooo effective.

    • Dave G.

      Dear God that’s a harsh accusation. It’s not just that they don’t care about dead people. It’s that they’re racists as well?

      • KM

        Think about it: If 10,000 people were dying in suburban America each year, it would get more coverage. The fact is that it’s mostly happening in inner cities. Drudge is always playing up the flash mobs and “knock out” games on his website but those are far less frequent than inner-city shootings.

        There are conservatives who *do* care that every weekend there are shootings in Chicago that outpace what happened in Benghazi, but the media don’t mention it much. Yet the latest outrage among conservatives in Congress is Benghazi, not the endless shootings in Chicago and elsewhere.

        • Dave G.

          Maybe there are other reasons. For instance point out the disproportionate level of violence within the minority community and see how long it takes for the term racist to fly.

          • KM

            Dave, What I’m trying to say is that if it doesn’t affect us personally we tend not to worry or think about it. Americans have adopted an attitude of civic disengagement from the broader community (this is what Jim Sleeper notes in his writings), and have insulated ourselves in our own bubbles. (I’m just as guilty of this so am not trying to point fingers.)

            Love Thy Neighbor is another way of saying we need to care about what goes on beyond our selves, and start coming up with solutions as part of a civic responsibility to our families, our communities, and nation.

            • Dave G.

              I don’t think that insight is confined to this issue or a single group.

            • TMLutas

              You know who recently made a call to get out of our bubbles and help where things were worst? Paul Ryan. The left called him a racist for it.

          • Phil Benny

            True. I remember seeing stats for US crime minus that committed by blacks and we were just another W. European country in spite of out liberal gun laws. Take out hispanics too, and we beat everyone.
            But, there are people being killed and the “race problems” are ones we created.

        • Pete the Greek

          Actually, there are quite a few of us who know very well that gun crime affects, overwhelmingly (See the FBI stats) the “inner-city brown-skinned people” as opposed to shiny white people in the suburbs. However, noticing this is considered to be ‘racist’ for some reason.

          There are MANY problems in the inner cities (my side business deals in C and D class real estate, so I see a lot of it too). The problems tend to also exist in the suburbs to a degree, but the poverty in the inner cities exacerbates it.

          These problems, if addressed, would go MUCH FURTHER toward eliminating these deaths then any new gun control would. They will NOT be addressed, however. Why? Because to do so is political suicide for whatever party tries to do so.

          This video makes a similar point.

        • TMLutas

          The murder rate of Chicago is largely a matter for the Illinois legislature, the county of Cook, and the city of Chicago. Conservatives outside of Congress worked long and hard to find Otis McDonald and bring Chicago’s unconstitutional gun control laws to an end. In 1Q2014, when concealed carry came into effect, the Chicago murder rate dropped to level unseen since the 1950s.

          I’m popping metaphorical champagne corks over that and I’ve yet to see a conservative disappointed that the minorities have reduced their internecine carnage. I actually don’t know anybody who even talks about it as a minority thing. Mostly it’s discussed as a municipal reduction, which is what it is.

          Now if they can identify the aldermen who are in the pockets of the gangs and replace them with honest tribunes of the people, Chicago might start to get somewhere.

      • chezami

        O the humanity! Harshness!

        • Dave G.

          Yeah. What was Jesus thinking with all that don’t judge rubbish. Or does that not apply to the internet?

          • chezami

            Actually, Jesus said to look at fruits. A gun culture that gives no indication whatsoever that it cares about the overwhelmingly number of dark skinned victims does look rather like dark skinned victims don’t matter to it. One can notice that fact and yet not pronounce on the eternal destiny of a single human being, which is what “judging” refers to.

            • Dave G.

              Actually I hear more supporters of gun rights bring up things like violence among minorities, and violence linked to drugs and crime versus suicides and mental illness. It’s often the opponents who close the doors on those lines of thinking. With the usual charge of racism typically not far behind.

            • Neihan

              It also refers to judging intention, another’s heart.

              On a nightly basis how much sleep do you lose over the plight of starving children in third world countries? Does the situation of those children stop you from overeating? You don’t lose any sleep most nights? You still overeat? Racist – it’s only because the children starving aren’t white.

              Those sorts of accusations are ridiculous and unhelpful. They’re simply a bit of sophistry used by people who want to demonize the other side without engaging in rational argument. One might as well question the patriotism of people who desire stricter gun laws. That sort of emotional nonsense doesn’t help either side or advance the discussion.

              • KM

                Actually there are people who simultaneously care for starving children in third world countries, victims of war, and shooting victims, and lose sleep at night over these and other problems. They’re usually derisively called damn libruls. :)

                • Neihan

                  That’s certainly the image that “damn libruls” like to believe about themselves and put forward. Still, I’m guessing an honest “damn librul” would probably admit they don’t lay awake tossing and turning over the issues – even if they do speak emotionally about the issues during the day when the topics come up.

                  I don’t think that makes them racist. However, I do think it’s a bit of ignorant sophistry which tries to paint non-liberals or people opposed to stricter gun control laws as racists who don’t care about victims so long as they’re poor and or black.

              • chezami

                “Children are starving, therefore absolutely nothing should be done to prevent maniacs from having easy access to the technology of mass murder” is but one of a gigantic number of painfully stupid fallacies offered by insane gun culture.

                • Neihan

                  A cute deflection, but still a deflection – still sophistry. Notice that nowhere in my post is there an argument for or against stricter gun control laws.

                  Again, my point is that the original post (“People who don’t advocate stricter gun control are racist”) is ridiculous – as ridiculous as “People who want stricter gun control are unpatriotic.”

                  You’re an intelligent man and a Christian; read our posts again and tell me who is employing fallacies.

                  • KM

                    Who’s using sophistry? Did I mention anything about gun control in my post? I was pointing out a fact about who the corpses belong to and an observation about the current conservative mindset, and wondering if this is why nothing gets done to reduce 10,000 deaths each year.

                    • Neihan

                      Good point. My apologies. Given the subject matter of the blog post I assumed, apparently incorrectly, that the point you were making was that “conservatives” don’t want stricter gun control laws because they’re racist and most of the victims of gun violence tend to be black and poor.

                      So I understand, your point was just that “conservatives” probably don’t care about bodies when those bodies are black and poor, since “conservatives” believe being black and poor is deserving of death? My own apparent misunderstanding aside, that’s still an incredibly stupid thing to say.

                    • KM

                      I was referring to The Thing That Used to Be Conservatism. Otherwise known as The Stupid Party. If you haven’t noticed lately, The Stupid Party has been saying a lot more “stupid” things than I have. Case in point: Fox News and Sean Hannity, to name just two.

                    • Neihan

                      That’s the sort of excuse a child gives.

                    • KM

                      Nice. Am loving the insults.

                    • TMLutas

                      If you mean Sean Hannity, say Sean Hannity. If you mean the Republicans, say the Republicans. This dog whistle, wink and nod sort of commentary is what bigots do, which is a major reason why you’re getting the push back that you are getting.

                      Case in point, in this last post, an incautious person person would come away with the impression that you’ve made an assertion that Sean Hannity is indifferent to the suffering of inner city minorities. But you haven’t, have you? It’s all smarmy implication with nothing you can actually be held accountable for if it turns out that you’re wrong, as your first post turned out to be dead wrong.

                    • KM

                      Aww, I’m hurt. If you can’t read my post(s) without feeling indignantly self-righteous and calling me a bigot, I have nothing further to say. Buh-bye.

            • TMLutas

              Unfortunately, you are propagating a falsehood. Please stop.

      • KM

        Ignoring their skin color, the corpses belong to the mostly inner-city poor. The Thing That Used to Be Conservatism has been telling us that the poor are undeserving moochers, so meh it’s just Social Darwinism in action.

        We’re not talking about skin color now, just economic class. Less harsh?

    • Philip Benny

      You are sadly correct (high incarceration rates not withstanding) if you want to get away with murder, being dark and poor are your biggest assets.

    • TMLutas

      Your words are false, cruel, and bigoted. The Armed Citizen Project is giving away shotguns, generally to inner city women who are disproportionately “brown-skinned people” as you put it.

      The NRA isn’t speaking out against this. It’s the gun control groups. In fact, the NRA has a documented history of training and arming blacks during the civil rights era to counteract efforts by the KKK to terrorize blacks into silence.

      • KM

        Nice. (And I appreciate the insults too.)

        Let’s help the inner
        cities by giving away more guns which can be stolen or used against the
        very people they’re trying to help. Of course the NRA wouldn’t be
        against that. Ka-ching.

        Meanwhile, inner city women and children have even more of a chance to be killed within their own homes.

        not forget that when 30 Black Panthers openly and legally carried
        pistols and shotguns outside the California state capitol in Sacramento
        in May 1967, Governor Reagan and the California Republicans immediately
        passed The Mulford Act which prohibited carrying of loaded firearms.

        me add that around where I live there have been more road rage shooting
        incidents. Is the best answer more guns so that drivers can shoot back
        while driving?

        • TMLutas

          I stated that your words were false. In your attempt at rebuttal, you made no attempt to address the well documented record of the NRA on supporting blacks under KKK assault and the ACP attempting to get disproportionately minority victims arms in order to better defend themselves. You walked right by that because there is no rebuttal.

          I stated that what you said was cruel. Unfounded accusations of indifference and racism are cruel. Do you not agree?

          I stated that what you said was bigoted. I stand by those words because you so very clearly have prejudged. The facts are irrelevant to you. There is no need to apologize when your facts are shown to be false. You just go to a new set of arguments.

          Ronald Reagan was wrong to change the gun laws of California based on the provocative actions of the Black Panthers. The Panthers were thugs but were acting legally in that instance so an ill considered law was passed.

          I don’t know where you live (and thus have no way to meaningfully address your situation). Are the guns being used in these road rage shootings legal guns or illegal guns? Without knowing the jurisdiction, I can’t meaningfully comment. Is there a correlation between widespread arms ownership and road rage shootings? What direction is the correlation?

          • KM

            TMLutas, it’s not worth “rebutting” the “NRA supports blacks” meme because it’s an obvious attempt to change the topic and make it look like the NRA is innocently trying to help the situation.

            The Thing That Used to Be Conservatism has shown itself, via its policies and words, to be cruel and indifferent to a large swath of Americans. If that makes my words cruel, bigoted and indifferent, then so be it.

            • TMLutas

              Don’t forget false, because most of all your words are false.

              The NRA supports legal gun owners. You have provided zero evidence that it discriminates by race. Providing evidence is beneath you apparently.

              • KM

                My original post never mentioned the NRA, so really don’t know what you’re talking about, oh great defender of the poor victimized NRA. I was speaking about the Thing That Used to Be Conservatism which has turned into something hideous. It’s definitely not promoting Love Thy Neighbor. Unless “Love Thy Neighbor” means “Lock and Load to Show You Love Your Neighbor.” (BTW this is my lame attempt at humor which will doubtless be called cruel, heartless, bigoted and false.)

                • TMLutas

                  “The thing that used to be conservatism”, when it comes to the gun issue is generally represented by the NRA, which is considered a significant part of the conservative coalition, just like the Brady Campaign is a stand in for the liberals on the same issue.

                  If you wanted to speak about guns but not the NRA, the usual bit is to actually refer to a real non-NRA organization. But that would require you to act in good faith, something that the anti-gun side has had decades of trouble doing. You’ve demonstrated that you’re acting in the mainstream of that tradition.

  • jsmith5893

    Re: “30,000 corpses each and every year”

    The facts are in 2010 there were about 8775 people murdered by firearms in the US which works out to about 24 people per day (See These are the “word doctored” figures the news media and anti-gun folks like to publicize because people relate to the magnitude of those numbers and it sounds like a lot of people until you realize this is out of a population of 310 million Americans. In that context, it works out to about 1 person out of every 35,000 people being murdered by a firearm. Dwell on the magnitude of your individual significance next time you are in a stadium with 35,000 people. To me, 1 in 35,000 is an acceptable cost to help ensure the security of a free state and the right to own a firearm that has harmed no one. If 1 in 35,000 is too high, how about 1 in 860,000. That’s about the number of people that can be accommodated by 10 Dallas Cowboy stadiums. Would that be acceptable? That is the equivalent number of people (358 out of 310 million Americans) that were murdered with a rifle in 2010 (The AR15 is considered a type of rifle for you non-gun folks). To me, 1 in 860,000 is an acceptable cost to help ensure the security of a free state and the right to own a semi-automatic AR15 rifle with a standard 30 round magazine that has harmed no one. If that is not an acceptable cost, than what is? Given the fact that murderers are an intrinsic part of the human race, what number would ever satisfy you? If all the guns were banned, do you really think that would stop a person who is determined to kill a lot of people? Human beings adapt to situations and constraints – it’s called tactics. The Sandy Hook killer probably chose the rifle (AR15) because it was available and met his needs. Ban all the guns and a determined individual could have used something else and there are a lot of other options thanks to the Internet. If you think this was a horrific crime, imagine the carnage and suffering if he had used a homemade flamethrower and accomplished the task in half the time. What would you do then? Ban gasoline and plumbing parts?

  • Theodore Seeber

    I must be too big of a geek. A gun with a bluetooth enabled safety? Where the hell do I sign up? TAKE MY MONEY PLEASE!

    Then sanity takes over and I remind myself that if Adam Lanza could kill his mother and take her guns, he could have just as easily taken her smartwatch as well.

    Of course, I personally want to build the 3700 FPS rooftop mounted remote control BB Machine gun, which is specifically NOT a firearm because it uses centripetal force from an electric motor rather than gunpowder for propellant. Let’s see them ban ball bearings, high speed electric car motors, turntables, and funnels.

    • TMLutas

      Jammers are not hard to build in general. More geeky fun – how to build a bluetooth jammer:

      • Theodore Seeber

        Actually, it’s likely to be NFC, but yeah.

  • KM

    The merger of libertarian individualism with unbridled corporatism have contributed to the state of decay we’re in today.

    Bonus: The article below mentions libertarianism and guns and torture! A three-fer!

    “Guns require a new politics,” by Jim Sleeper

    “[Gun control] won’t happen, unless we dissolve the deep bond between our libertarian individualism and our glorification of runaway corporate engines that
    are disrupting public trust more brutally than their own managers ever intended or know how to stop.

    “The challenge is too deep for law or social science alone. A republic
    can’t shape aggressive, impressionable youngsters into citizens unless
    it can nourish public narratives, myths, or constitutive fictions that
    give kids direction and hope.

    “…We’re so deluged now by “violence without context and sex without
    attachment,” as Sen. Bill Bradley put it in 1995, that more Americans
    accept depictions of torture impassively than would have done so when
    Bradley spoke. And more now think that gun ownership is their only way
    to safety.”

  • KM

    More from “Guns require a new politics” by Jim Sleeper

    “…We can also stop these runaway [corporate] engines from inundating political
    debate about how to cope with this crisis. Their products aren’t advancing freedom. They’re imposing a civic vacuum where the republican virtues and sovereignty that free market champions claim to cherish can only wither.

    “When mistrust and fear proliferate, words become more empty and deeds more brutal. And more people arm themselves against one another and then try to relieve the stress by blaming minorities, saluting demagogues, and embracing frantic solidarities.”

  • Neihan

    Two thirds of gun deaths are due to suicide. Is there a way to make a “smart gun” that doesn’t fire when the intent of the shooter is to take their own life?

    Is there a way to make a “smart gun” that doesn’t fire when the owner is breaking the law? Other than that I’m not sure how it would solve the problem of gun violence. Perhaps I’m wrong, but when shootings take place the shooters usually bring their own firearms to do it.

    So what problem exactly do “smart guns” address, and what sort of impact is that going to have on suicides and shootings carried out in the process of committing another crime?

    • Dave G.

      If I may contribute to the tone of the discussion? They accomplish something so we don’t have to set aside agendas and ask the hard questions. Questions that we, as Catholics, should know the answer to.

      • Thomas Boynton Tucker

        What the heck does that mean? Can you be more plainspoken?

        • Dave G.

          There seems to be a shortage of people who want to analyze things like mental health reform, criminal rights, crime among minorities and the role played by a generation of adult children hellbent on defending our right to be adult children. On the other hand there seems to be no shortage of “we must do anything, case closed”. Which is always a swell way to avoid the tough questions.

    • wineinthewater

      I’d say that’s not a stupid argument.

      So, how many suicides are committed by people with someone else’s gun? How many accidental deaths occur with someone else’s gun? Smart guns could help with the problem of 30,000 deaths, but I think it is very reasonable to ask, “how much?”

      Especially in light of Dave G.’s comment. If smart guns can only solve a small part of the problem, does it make sense to focus our efforts there? Could putting focus there inoculate us against the need to put effort elsewhere?

      I think we should be developing smart gun technology, and Mark makes good points about how unhealthy a culture is that knee-jerk rejects it, but I have questions about whether this solution is enough.

      • chezami

        No. It’s not enough. But it’s something. And the telling thing, for me, is that despite there being no real downside to pursuing it, gun nuts have appeared here to shout it down and to defend gun nuts who threaten death to people who want to pursue it. It’s a culture that would go on saying exactly the same thing if *millions* of corpses, instead of mere 30000 were on the line. It is immune to elementary reason.

        • Dave G.

          Exactly who constitutes these gun nuts here?

          • chezami

            Pretty much everyone responding to the common sense suggestion that building a safer gun is worth attempting with anything other than, “Yep.”

            • Dave G.

              Archie Bunker would be proud. You’re better than this you know.

            • Pete the Greek

              I don’t think it’s people objecting to some company designing a ‘safer’ gun.

              I am not in any way against someone designing a better computer as well. I WOULD, however, be against a situation where once said computer (much more expensive then what is available now) has been made, instantly I am no longer allowed to by any other type of computer, even if it is far beyond my budget and perhaps it suddenly becoming illegal to have the computer I now currently have even though I don’t want to buy a new one. I think most people dislike being in that situation as well. I doubt we would call them ‘computer nuts’.

        • wineinthewater

          I don’t deny at all that this is a technology that we should be developing and that those who oppose its development tend to fall on the bullet train end of the crazy train spectrum.

          However, there is one downside. When posing a solution to a problem, there is a very real tendency to latch on to that solution as *the* solution. When that happens, other solutions, both complementary and superior, frequently do not get the attention they deserve.

          In your posting about this issue, you have really characterized smart guns in a “*the* solution” manner. It may not be intentional, but it is the impression that you have given. When you cry “30,000 corpses!” and then talk pretty much exclusively about the solution of smart guns, you give the impression that you think smart guns could actually prevent a substantial portion of those deaths.

          Smart gun technology may be part of the solution. But it won’t solve a problem that is fundamentally spiritual. And I’m not convinced that it will make a whole lot of difference while it has the potential to cause a whole lot of disruption.

        • TMLutas

          The long history of bad faith on the pro-control side means that you’re starting from a big deficit of trust. Promises have been made, and broken across decades so no, you’re not going to get measured responses dealing with just the merits of the proposal. Why are you surprised? Or were you not aware of the history?

    • chezami

      “Smart gun technology would not be 100% effective in reducing deaths, therefore don’t try, give up, won’t work” is yet another of the vast number of deeply stupid and obviously fallacious arguments insane gun culture specializes in.

      • Pete the Greek

        If I understand Neihan from other posts he’s put up, the point is not that it isn’t 100% effective, but rather are we wasting effort and fighting over something that has an excellent chance of NOT doing what people think it might, particularly when there are other things we CAN do, and in fact SHOULD be doing, that would have a drastically higher impact?

        The point, and please correct me Neihan if I am misunderstanding you, is not ‘DON’T DO ANYTHING!!!’, but rather ‘I don’t think this is the proper thing to do, we should be addressing this problem in a different way.’

        Just because someone disagrees with a means you favor, Mark, doesn’t mean they necessarily disagree with the ends sought (safer society, etc.)

        If they just want to offer it for sale, great! Have at it! Let’s see if people will buy it. We will know it has a good chance of being reliable if the police and law enforcement start taking it seriously.

        • Neihan

          Yes, exactly. Thank you.

      • Neihan

        Is that what I said? Please reread the post.

  • Jason Colby

    My understand is that the objection to the NJ store selling “smart guns” is not due to opposition to “smart guns” themselves, but due to a NJ law saying that, once “smart guns” are sold in NJ, “non-smart” guns will no longer be allowed.

    This, of course, does nothing to excuse the evil of the threateners.

    See, for instance:

  • Sam Schmitt

    1. offer shock statistic (which is a little misleading but no matter)

    2. report the most extreme response to this “fact” (while failing to offer any context, reasons, background, caveats, etc.)

    3. label those who take issue with the first fact (and not just the extremists) as not just mistaken, misguided, or misinformed, but positively wicked (since they’re obviously indifferent to the deaths of 30,000 people)

    4. rinse and repeat (refuse to consider they may be more to the story than the above)

    Am I the only one who finds this method of arguing a point tiresome and unhelpful?

    • Pete the Greek

      No, but I’m not used to seeing it in play outside of the National Catholic Reporter.

  • Willard

    This is such an easy issue….just arm the heck out of black people. Seriously, if the Bundy Ranch was Detroit/Chicago/Philly and the “militia” were New Black Panthers, we could have reasonable gun control passed this year.

    • Pete the Greek

      You DO know that historically it was the NRA that helped arm African Americans against threats from the KKK, right? John C Wright talks about that a bit too.

      • Dave G.

        Your appeal to facts is minimizing the effectiveness of using race to score points on the internet.

      • Willard

        Good because I’m not joking. I remember the total freak out Fox news had when a couple of well armed black men peacefully stood outside of a polling place in Philly. Black men need to walk around and open carry.

        • Pete the Greek

          “couple of well armed black men peacefully stood outside of a polling place in Philly.”
          - I’ve not heard of this situation, but you lost my support when you mentioned ‘polling place’.

          Black, white, brown or purple with green stripes… none of that matters. Opening carrying weapons around by a place where people go on voting day is illegal for a reason: it can very easily lead to voter intimidation. I would be very much against that as well, and I don’t care if it’s the Black Panthers or the Shriners.

        • Dave G.

          If I remember correctly, Fox’s “freak out” was the very sensible outrage that after one election cycle after another insisting that evil right wingers are terrorizing minority voters (often with nothing more than ‘take our word for it’), strangely no media outlet seemed to address the video tape of armed men standing outside a polling place. If a video tape of, say, armed conservatives outside of a polling place, how much time do you think the media would spend on it? Two minutes? Three minutes? Fifteen weeks? In my understanding of our country’s voting rights, nobody of any race should stand outside of a polling place armed with anything. Conservative or liberal, black or white. But that’s just me. And I’d support any group ‘freaking out’ over such a thing.

    • KM

      Indeed as I wrote further below, when 30 Black Panthers openly and legally carried pistols and shotguns outside the California state capitol in Sacramento in May 1967, Governor Reagan and the California Republicans immediately passed The Mulford Act which prohibited carrying of loaded firearms.

  • TMLutas

    The central fact of the gun culture is the lives lost and lives saved by these tools which are, inarguably, a double edged sword. The number of defensive gun uses that reduce deaths cannot be responsibly ignored in any moral calculation about guns. But responsible moral calculation is not what’s being attempted here so defensive gun use is not even brought up as a caricature. Mentioning that would interfere with your narrative.

    Luke 22:36 is also on point. Your simplistic contrast between the 2nd amendment and the 5th commandment is not appropriate. Scripture should be weighed against scripture when possible and here it is clearly possible. The 2nd amendment, from a biblical perspective, is a human written law prohibiting the state from stopping christians from implementing the instructions in Luke 22:36.

    As elsewhere stated, NJ law is primed to illegalize all arms sales except smart weapons once they come on the market in the US. That’s pretty problematic for a number of reasons, the most important being that it is likely to increase gun fatalities in a perverse example of unintended consequences. Law enforcement understands this which is why they negotiated an exemption from the requirements of the law.

    I condemn the death threats and the arson threats. Death threats and arson threats are not the way to go to fix that upcoming train wreck. That doesn’t mean that we’re not headed for a train wreck in NJ.

    • ImTim

      TM, could you talk a little more about how smart guns are “likely to increase gun fatalities…” ?

      • TMLutas

        It is not the gross effect, but the net effect that is important for public policy. We have up to 2.5M defensive gun uses per year. If the lives saved by smart guns are outweighed by a negative effect on those DGUs then smart guns will cost lives.

        The woman who is assaulted and killed because her smart gun wouldn’t work is a victim of the technology as much as the person no longer killed because his assailant tried and failed to make work a locked down smart gun is saved by that technology.

  • Eve Fisher

    Congratulations on opening the hornet’s nest. Of course 30,000+ deaths a year are worth our freedom. The 20 children dead at Sandy Hook are martyrs in the cause of the Second Amendment, otherwise known as Make a Profit for Armaments Companies. Because it’s not about anything real: most of the people screaming for the right to own anything and everything up to and including full-on assault weapons are not hunters, don’t live in dangerous neighborhoods, and have never been personally threatened. They are scared, because they’ve been living on a diet of CSI, Fox News, NCIS, Rush Limbaugh, Grand Theft Auto, and Wayne LaPierre and believe every word they hear. They want to walk around with their guns permanently on display; they want to be able to fire them wherever and whenever they want; they want their rights, and they will and do use the Constitution to achieve their personal satisfaction in the same way that some people misuse the Bible. God have mercy on us all.

    • Pete the Greek

      I was going to respond… but to be honest, what’s the point? It’s been said better in fiction already:

    • RE Hafner

      You can not own a assault weapon. The German WWII Sturmgewehr 44 is not available on the market at your sporting goods store, You really should take an aspirin before you suffer a stroke. Also, the only one scared seems to be you!

  • marflu

    I don’t think that the founding fathers intention for the common citizen being able to own a gun was hunting.

  • Greg Cook

    I have wondered why no astute lawyer has focused on the part of the Second Amendment about well-regulated militias. Sounds to me like the Founders had in mind not a bunch of gun-toting yahoos, but an armed (and virtuous) citizenry free but responsible in some way to authority. Whenever one of the gun nuts spouts off about the Second, I’d like to ask him (or her): so which militia do you belong too, and who is your commanding officer? I know the idea of militia may send the wrong message; however, my point is that the gun nuts (there, I’ve said it again) are anti-authority and they need to be reined in some way. has any court ever ruled on that part of it all?

    • Pete the Greek

      They have, actually. It’s been addressed a lot. You are confusing the old idea of militia with regular army, perhaps confusing them with the modern notion of the National Guard.

      Militia of the time were just citizens that, in time of war, were expected to answer a call to muster for defense. They were to be expected to be able to function as light infantry and have their own personal supply of powder and shot to see them through an engagement. They were NOT to be considered to be what we would consider today as professional Line Infantry.

      “has any court ever ruled on that part of it all?”
      - Yes, several times.

      I would urge you to read what the founders wrote about the concept of the militia. It’s actually a very fascinating topic.

      *On edit* – speaking of the ‘militia’ aspect of the amendment: In the Supreme Court ruling on US v Miller in 1958, the court decided against Miller and one of the primary reasons they did so was not that the that the sawed-off 12 gauge shotgun he was carrying wasn’t a ‘sporting gun’ but rather it was NOT a weapon fit for militia service (ie, not a weapon appropriate for battlefield use).

      • Rebecca Fuentes

        Do you happen to know how this works when a state has, in its state constitution, a line that says every man between 18 and 50 are considered part of the state militia? I recall that being part of my state constitution, but I’m not sure what, if any, bearing it has on current situations in the US.

        • Pete the Greek

          I don’t, sorry. But if it’s anything like my state, it’s simply restating what the U. S. Constitution says and implies and being more detailed about it for local legal reasons.

    • jsmith5893

      In the 1700’s well regulated meant “to make regular” or “be in good working order” which in today’s military parlance is often referred to as maintaining good order and discipline. See

      Also, according to current US law, there are 2 types of militias – see 10 USC 311

    • RE Hafner

      Check your state Constitution, you were probably considered a member of your state’s militia at age 16. I vividly recall my teacher on government reading the NYS militia act that required all able bodied males between 16 and 60 (If I remember correctly) being subject to immediate call by the governor and be self armed in case of a state or national emergency. This applied to all males not in the regular army or national guard. So, therefor you were in the militia and did not know it.

  • Eve Fisher

    Of course, another way of looking at it would be that, since only 0.0001% of the population dies by gun deaths each year, why would anyone would go to the expense of purchasing a gun, since odds are you’re never even going to be around a shooting? And why do some people own so many of them? I know of more than one person, living in the woods, who own literally a bunker’s worth, and one of them actually has land mines on his property. A well regulated militia is a wonderful thing…

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Most owners probably hunt with them or enjoy target practice as recreation.

    • Pete the Greek

      Since a very simple, no frills firearm for the protection of home and family can be had for lest the what some people spend at Starbucks over a three week period (and such tools, if treated with respect and care, never really wear out) the better question is… why NOT?

      As I have mentioned below, I carry a firearm concealed every day. It doesn’t cause any inconvenience to me or anyone else, causes no discomfort and only request 7 seconds in the morning to put on. I willing to bet that you spend a longer time worrying about things that are just as unlikely to happen.

      The point is that the cost to being prepared in my case is negligible. Heck I already own the weapons.

      You also shouldn’t denigrate other peoples hobbies. I know people who think it is a stupid waste of time and money for people to plant gardens because produce is so cheap at the market, particularly when there is a good local farmer’s market. Or, my favorite: what kind of an idiot would by a CD when you can simply search youtube for something to listen to. All of them miss the point.

      “and one of them actually has land mines on his property.”
      - I very much doubt that. I am NOT calling you a liar. I am simply saying I’m willing to bet you misunderstand something about that situation. if it IS an actual minefield, as in he actually has explosive devices set to trigger buried in the ground, you should contact the sheriff’s office at once and report it, as planting explosive devices is 100% illegal, and also a federal crime. Not actually covered under the second amendment, BTW.

      • Eve Fisher

        I’m glad you feel safer carrying a weapon every day. I wouldn’t, but that’s my decision. I’ve never owned a gun. Never felt the need. And I have lived in some major urban centers.

        I try not to denigrate other people’s hobbies. And I have no problem with hunting and target shooting. But let’s admit that that isn’t all that’s going on. Such as the man in Forsyth County, Georgia, who walked around, gun hanging at his side, at a children’s baseball game saying, ‘See my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it.’

        And, according to law enforcement, he was right. Despite obviously taunting parents, and scaring children, and 22 calls to the sheriff, the sheriff said there was nothing they could do to stop him. Imho, he’s a jerk. And, imho, he’s a jerk who some day may decide to shoot someone because he can.

        • Pete the Greek

          “I’m glad you feel safer carrying a weapon every day. I wouldn’t”
          - I can respect that. I don’t think everyone should if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. As for feeling safer, not quite it. If I don’t feel safe going somewhere… I don’t go there, or I leave at once. (that’s one of the first things they teach you.) For me, it’s just that I know that for little to no effort (although I also train on the side) I can handle something unexpected.

          My attitude on this (and you’ll find most others in the gun world) isn’t restricted to firearms. I also make sure my fire extinguishers are in working order and up to date, keep my spare tire inflated and carry a level 1 med pack with me in my car just in case I come upon a situation where aid is needed.

          As for the article you referenced, those are open carry supporters. I can understand their main position, but I think that’s a bad way to carry your firearm. It freaks out the tender minded and causes problems all around. Are they within their rights yeah, but like the Dude says:

          • Eve Fisher

            Amen to the Dude.

    • Frank Bearer

      Of course, another way of looking at it would be that, since only 0.0001% of the population dies by home fires each year, why would anyone would go to the expense of purchasing a smoke detector or fire extinguisher?

      You only need a gun in very rare situations, but when you need one, you REALLY need one. I’ve been there and I was glad I had my gun when I did.

    • RE Hafner

      Well Eve, if one is a skeet shooter he/she will own a 12ga, 20 ga, 28 ga and 410 bore in order to compete. If he/she also shoots trap an additional 12 ga will be in order for trap and sporting clays. If he/she also hunt big game then a medium bore rifle is called for. Small game, add a .22 rim fire. And, if he/she heads of to Alaska for the Alaskan brown bear and/or goes on an African Safari for one or more of the big five a heavy rifle of at least 416 caliber is called for. That’s 8 firearms so far and we have not even started on competition shooting with rifles or handguns. Does that answer your question on why so many?

  • Dave G.

    Well after reading the comments, I give the post match to the gun nuts. Apart from being likely racists who probably would rather let children die than give up their guns that they worship, they’ve tried to use reason, facts, data, analysis and reasoned debate.

  • iamlucky13

    Be very careful about the distinction between a culture that abuses the powers it is given and a culture where almost no government has endured more than a couple hundred years without layers of checks and balances on it before it has committed systematic atrocities far worse than the rate at which people kill themselves (about 2/3 of those deaths) or each other.

  • James in NC`

    I still amazes me the tactics that the anti-gun bunnies like this author will use to try and support a failed argument. And the number of people who accept them without the least attempt to check the facts.

    30,000 corpses. An inflated and completely unrealistic number. According to FBI Homicide Table 8, there were 8.855 gun homicides in 2012, the last year the FBI has published data for. That is a significant difference from 30,000. To get that number Mr. Shea is adding in suicides. But the fact is that study after study and comparisons with other countries show that suicide happens regardless of the presence of guns.

    Do we need to address the problem of violence in America? Yes. But focusing on guns is basically hiding from the issue.

  • Phil Benny
  • an73

    How are 20,000 suicides a year a part of the gun culture? Would you rather they jump out of windows?

  • Rob Crawford

    Why is so much of your “argument” bigotry and bad faith?