Regarding guns

“Well, I like the American culture, such as it is, but let’s get rid of the f–king guns.”
— Kurt Vonnegut

Ezra Klein: “Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States”

If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing. If terrorists were detonating bombs in port after port, you can be sure Congress would be working to upgrade the nation’s security measures. If a plague was ripping through communities, public-health officials would be working feverishly to contain it.

Only with gun violence do we respond to repeated tragedies by saying that mourning is acceptable but discussing how to prevent more tragedies is not. “Too soon,” howl supporters of loose gun laws. But as others have observed, talking about how to stop mass shootings in the aftermath of a string of mass shootings isn’t “too soon.” It’s much too late.

Joshua Holland: “Yes, we can have sane gun control”

Given the rather significant divide between the NRA’s positions and the views held by most of its members, there appears to be ample political space to the organization’s “left” to advocate reasonable gun controls on behalf of American gun owners – people who cherish the basic right to bear arms but also recognize that allowing drunken bar patrons to carry concealed weapons is just stupid.

Such an effort could go a long way toward convincing reasonable gun owners who have been deceived by the NRA’s brazen lies into believing that someone’s out to get their guns, and that’s really the only way that we’ll ever be able to have a serious discussion about safe and responsible gun ownership.

David Frum: “Every Day is the Day to Talk About Gun Control”

I’ll accept no lectures about “sensitivity” on days of tragedy like today from people who work the other 364 days of the year against any attempt to prevent such tragedies.

It’s bad enough to have a gun lobby. It’s the last straw when that lobby also sets up itself as the civility police. It may not be politically possible to do anything about the prevalence of weapons of mass murder. But it damn well ought to be possible to complain about them – and about the people who condone them.

Adam Gopnik: “Newtown and the Madness of Guns”

After the Aurora killings, I did a few debates with advocates for the child-killing lobby — sorry, the gun lobby — and, without exception and with a mad vehemence, they told the same old lies: it doesn’t happen here more often than elsewhere (yes, it does); more people are protected by guns than killed by them (no, they aren’t — that’s a flat-out fabrication); guns don’t kill people, people do; and all the other perverted lies that people who can only be called knowing accessories to murder continue to repeat, people who are in their own way every bit as twisted and crazy as the killers whom they defend. (That they are often the same people who pretend outrage at the loss of a single embryo only makes the craziness still crazier.)

So let’s state the plain facts one more time, so that they can’t be mistaken: Gun massacres have happened many times in many countries, and in every other country, gun laws have been tightened to reflect the tragedy and the tragic knowledge of its citizens afterward. In every other country, gun massacres have subsequently become rare. In America alone, gun massacres, most often of children, happen with hideous regularity, and they happen with hideous regularity because guns are hideously and regularly available.

The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children.

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  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    The people who fight and lobby and legislate to make guns regularly available are complicit in the murder of those children.

    Yes. And none of them can claim the title “pro-life” with any integrity.

  •  And yet today I have seen like a thousand fucking people smugly declare how they can’t understand why a liberal would be upset about a school shooting, since we’re okay with abortion.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    You’re kidding. God, what a horrible culture war.

  • Random_Lurker

    It’s those damn Satanazi’s again.  Everything is their fault…

    too bad they don’t exist.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes, because ripping a loved, wanted, and known-for-several-years child away from zir parents is exactly the same thing as making sure someone can carry on zir life without the burdens to zir physical, mental, and financial health that every child entails, which are triply burdensome when the child is unwanted and unloved.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Ask them how they can claim to be so upset about school shootings when they support candidates who prefer to let people die for lack of healthcare, and let them starve, and let them go without work to continue lining the pockets of the rich, and purposely work to sabotage their education…

  • Dan

    As a liberal gun owner, I can only shrug at these comments from gun grabbers. I understand their emotions since I am a bleeding heart too, and yet I still carry a gun because I think with my brain and not my heart.

  • Daughter

    Before I write this, I want to say that this is very personal. A friend of mine lives in Newtown, CT, and her son was a student at the school. He survived the shootings – her godson did not.

    I’ve always lived in urban communities. I’ve always worked for nonprofits that serve low-income communities, including the homeless and youth involved in the criminal justice system.  I’ve been mugged once in my life -in the early evening in a supposedly “good” neighborhood. I twice had teens pull knives on me. Both times, I responded, “You know you can’t do that. Hand me the knife” – and both times, they did, and ran off.

    My 6’7″ husband worked as a Rent-a-Center repo man in his youth, and was stabbed and shot (two different occasions) at while working. I wouldn’t be surprised if the perpetrators had no prior criminal record before fighting to defend their “stuff.” In any case, he called the police, and his attackers ended up in prison.

    I preface all this to say, I don’t own a gun. I don’t want to own a gun. But I don’t know what the answers are.

    more people are protected by guns than killed by them (no, they aren’t — that’s a flat-out fabrication);

    I want to know more about this. On the last thread, caryjamesbond talked about all these documented cases of people foiling crimes because they had guns. A commenter to the linked article cited this research:

    Well, I have many more questions. Several of the incidents of someone stopping a killer cited by commenters (such as the security guard who took out a spree killer at a church that I mentioned on the last thread) involved people trained in the military or law enforcement. OTOH, Tim Wise cites a few cases in which stopping-the-perpetrator turned fatal for the heroic citizen with a gun:

    I also have questions about some of the research. For example the 1982 study in which a third of prisoners talk about having been shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim, and two-thirds knowing another criminal who had. Were those armed victims ordinary, law-abiding citizens going about their business until they encountered these felons? Or were they other people involved in criminal activity? I very strongly suspect the latter, partly from my experience of working with kids involved in gangs.

    And the millions of people who claim they’ve foiled a robbery or other crime by having a gun – what were the circumstances? Were they facing actual robberies or muggings? Or were they theorizing that, for instance, their home wasn’t broken into while their neighbor’s was because they had a gun on the premise?

    IOW, is Ross right, and that if so many people were foiling killers, it would be on the news, or is cary right, and it’s so common it never makes  the news?

  • Dan

    The thing with defensive gun use (DGU) is that the majority of foiled crimes are prevented just by brandishing the weapon. I wouldn’t be surprised if less than 1/10 of 1% of DGUs actually involved firing the weapon. Sadly, most brandishing DGUs are not reported to the authorities and even less are picked up by the media (too boring), while they are fixated in reporting the 0.1%.

    For me, I would hope I’d never even have to brandish my weapon. But I do hope that if the situation arises, that brandishing is enough to scare away the criminal. I may own a gun, but I am not looking forward to ever using it against another person. Deterrence is good enough for me and my family.

  • Baby_Raptor

    How would a robber know just from scoping out a certain house if the people living inside owned a gun? Yes, there are some people who would advertise it, but probably not enough to make a noticable dent in the figures. 

  • Ross Thompson

    And the millions of people who claim they’ve foiled a robbery or other crime by having a gun – what were the circumstances? Were they facing actual robberies or muggings? Or were they theorizing that, for instance, their home wasn’t broken into while their neighbor’s was because they had a gun on the premise?

    According to the only serious study to have been done on the topic, having a gun in your home makes you 2.7 times more likely to be murdered than not having a gun.

    It doesn’t really matter how many crimes were foiled by gun ownership, unless you compare that number to the number of crimed facilitated by it, and it turns out that second number is far higher, no matter how you slice it.

  • If roads were collapsing all across the United States, killing dozens of drivers, we would surely see that as a moment to talk about what we could do to keep roads from collapsing.

    I’m a little surprised to see that quoted on this blog; considering Fred’s previous dismay over the actual state we’ve let our infrastructure get into, I wouldn’t expect him to agree with this kind of certainty.

  • Daughter

     OK, describe these situations in which someone just brandishes a weapon. Are they home invasions? Attempted muggings? Attempted carjackings?

    I shared my background, because I just don’t see how that happens. I stopped two kids with knives just by asking them to hand them over. I figured (accurately) that they were scared and trying to pretend to be tough, and when I gave them an out, they took it.

    With my mugger, we were walking toward each other from opposite directions. Right after he passed me, he grabbed me from behind. Unless I had some sixth sense (which I suppose some people have), I had no idea he would do that, and no chance to react and brandish a weapon even if I’d had one.

    The person who stabbed my husband did so with a machete, and they ran at him wielding it. He lifted his arm to block the attack and the machete sliced his arm.  Would a gun have stopped someone that crazy? Maybe if he was fast enough on the draw (which isn’t necessarily the case for everyone with a gun). And he would probably have had to kill the culprit, rather than just send them to jail. I think he’d rather have a person in jail than a person dead on  his conscience. When my husband was shot at, it was by another person in the home, not
    the one who answered the door, and he didn’t even see the person until
    he heard the click. Again, no way to avoid that other than run, which he did. (He quit his job after that).

  • stardreamer42

     Liberal or not, by referring to anyone who advocates sane gun laws as a “gun grabber” who “doesn’t think with their brain,” you are part of the problem.

  • Dan

     I wouldn’t call that a “serious study” let alone the only one. Rather than quote this or that “expert” (or whatever ideological authority you subscribe to), I’d rather just use the statistics by the Department of Justice:

    “Applying those restrictions leaves 19 NSPOF
    respondents (0.8 percent of the sample),
    representing 1.5 million defensive users. This
    estimate is directly comparable to the well-known
    estimate of Kleck and Gertz, shown in the last
    column of exhibit 7.”
    “If the DGU numbers are in the right ballpark, millions of attempted
    assaults, thefts, and break-ins were foiled by
    armed citizens during the 12-month period.
    According to these results, guns are used far more
    often to defend against crime than to perpetrate
    crime. (Firearms were used by perpetrators in 1.07
    million incidents of violent crime in 1994,
    according to NCVS data.)” Uhm, care to revise your statistics Ross?

  • Dan

     The same way we demonize pro-lifers by calling them anti-choicers? Gun grabbers is apt for their advocacy.

  • Dan

    I can’t describe them all (over 1.5 million DGU according to the DoJ, see my response to Ross). But I suspect that it’s usually attempted muggings or robberies where the victim was able to brandish a weapon as the criminal was about to accost him/her. For home invasions, I think the difference between brandishing vs shooting the weapon is not too far apart.

    There is very few actually shooting incidents involving a DGU. Heck, we should probably arm all of the citizens with guns but only allow 1% to have bullets. So that any criminal would be playing Russian roulette with his victims. :p

  • Daughter

     The very same article you cite questions those results:

    For example, in only a small fraction of rape and robbery attempts do victims use guns in
    self-defense. It does not make sense, then, that the NSPOF estimate of the number of rapes in which
    a woman defended herself with a gun was more than the total number of rapes estimated from NCVS
    (exhibit 8). For other crimes listed in exhibit 8, the results are almost as absurd: the NSPOF
    estimate of DGU robberies is 36 percent of all NCVS-estimated robberies, while the NSPOF estimate
    of DGU assaults is 19 percent of all aggravated assaults. If those percentages were close to
    accurate, crime would be a risky business indeed!

    NSPOF estimates also suggest that 130,000 criminals are wounded or killed by civilian gun defenders.
    That number also appears completely out of line with other, more reliable statistics on the number
    of gunshot cases.[14]

  • I tried looking it up, and the numbers I found were such a range as to be useless — from a low figure of 3 to a high of 2.5 million. 

    …After reading Dan’s post below, I’ll bet counting/not counting brandishing helps screw up these number totals too.

  • Daughter

     Again, as a mugging victim, I’m skeptical. A mugger is  more likely to grab the purse and run before the person knows what’s happening, or grab them as they did in my case in such a way that the person can’t get to a weapon if they have one.

  • Daughter

    A home invasion, maybe. The person is more likely to have time between realizing a crime is going on (hearing the criminal in the house, for example), and being able to access their gun.

  • Dan

    Question, yes. But even if accounting for the discrepancies, it would not seriously lower the 1.5 million statistic. And they authors were unsure if the 1.5 million (which is their result) is more or less reliable than the other studies. They’re just being cautious like any serious scholar. Unlike Kellerman which Ross quoted, which reads as too certain and triumphalist.

    It’s up to you if the 108,000 (lowest estimate) or 2.5 million (highest estimate) crimes prevented by guns is outweighed by the 10,000 annual murders/suicides using guns. You know which side of the fence I sit on.

  • arcseconds

    I hate to disagree with Ezra Klein here, but there are actually dozens of people dying every day on the roads, albeit not so much from collapsing bridges.

    Between 30,000 and 40,000 people in the USA every year due to motor vehicle accidents[*].

    In 2010,  31,500 people died of gun related deaths in the USA, so that is comparable.  However, only 11,000 were homocides (19,000 were suicides). [†]

    So, leaving aside the suicides, motor vehicles kill 3× as many people as guns, and 10× as many as the worst terrorist attack in the USA ever every year, yet there’s no outcry about this.

    At least some of those road deaths are due to poor infrastructure, too.  Fred had a link to an interesting blog about this once, but I can’t quite find it right now.

    People react according to the romance of the manner of death, it seems to me, not the raw numbers.  Lots of people dying all at once increases the romance (it also increases the impact on a single community).

    However, there is also the question as to where you can expect improvement, and we probably do have to accept that the road fatalities will never be 0.   The USA’s gun homocide rate is about 3 per 100,000, the motor vehicle death rate is around 10.  By comparison, Canada’s are 0.76 and 9, respectively,  and the UK is  0.03 and 3.6.

    Britons probably don’t drive as much as USAians and Canadians, of course. 



  • P J Evans

     They also believe that liberals are all about taking away guns, since none of us can stand them.

  • EllieMurasaki

    The same way we demonize pro-lifers by calling them anti-choicers? Gun grabbers is apt for their advocacy.

    If people who identify pro-life actually were, they would be vehemently in favor of measures that let someone who is unexpectedly pregnant keep the baby without falling into poverty. They are not. They would be vehemently in favor of measures that let someone capable of becoming pregnant and desirous of penis-in-vagina sex but not of pregnancy enjoy that sex without risk of pregnancy. They are not. They would be vehemently in favor of abortion in all cases where the pregnant person’s life or health is at risk and that person prefers to end the pregnancy. Some of them are. Most of them are not. (Ireland. Savita.)

    ‘Pro-life’ is not an accurate label for these people. These people’s actual policy positions make clear that their main concern when it comes to reproductive and sexual freedom is not to let anyone have any, which, concerning the specific issue of abortion, means attempting to deny all pregnant people the ability to choose whether to continue or end the pregnancy. Hence, ‘anti-choice’.

    ‘Gun-grabbers’ is about as apt as ‘pro-life’.

  • Gorgias

    I understand your frustration, let me try to articulate my thoughts a bit more fairly than Dan.  As a gun owner, I fully understand the need for responsible gun laws.  More could be done, for instance, to run instant background checks online to determine whether the person in question does have a history of mental illness.  (You’d think that’s a given, but apparently not always.)  Waiting periods are more of a mixed bag; it might prevent crimes of passion, but premeditated mass killings probably wouldn’t be impacted by such measures.  Honestly, a lot of our society’s problems with guns is the fact that we let people buy guns, but do little to educate them about the proper storage of guns and the hazards of leaving them in a place where unstable individuals could have ready access to them.

    I’m perfectly willing to enter a dialogue about gun laws.  But I tend to distrust people who call for gun control when they’re on record as being anti-gun in general.  It’s the same reason I wouldn’t trust someone who calls for heavier regulations on clinics that perform abortions when, in other circumstances, they’re on the record claiming they want abortion banned entirely; it’s just a ploy to make it harder and harder to have abortions.  Similarly it’s hard to tell apart the people who genuinely merely want to reform dysfunctional gun control laws from the people who see it as the next step to banning guns entirely.

  • Lunch Meat


  • Daughter

     So who are these people who want to ban guns altogether? I’m not talking about random Internet commenters, or pacifist groups. I’m talking about people of influence in politics or the media – the people who would be involved in such dialogues and crafting gun control laws. Can you name anyone in such a position outside of perhaps Dennis Kucinich (who is no longer in office) who has advocated banning all guns?

  • EllieMurasaki

    That’s a word for word of what he put on the NALT thread.

  • AnonymousSam

    Just a troll. Ignore it. It’s been posting garbage all over.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Supposing for a minute that there actually are people who want to take all the guns away.

    Why does that make them untrustworthy on the subject of whether fewer guns would reduce gun violence?

    Your abortion parallel is inaccurate, by the way. People who try to ban abortion are uninterested in reducing abortion; we know this because they overwhelmingly oppose measures to reduce unwanted pregnancy and to reduce the pregnancy-and-childraising-related strains on physical, mental, and financial health that lead to abortion and/or that people have abortions in order to avoid. People who try to instate gun control laws are actually trying to reduce gun violence, though if you have evidence to present that the point of reducing gun access is to increase gun violence, the way not having over-the-counter contraceptive pills or antipoverty programs targeted at pregnant people and parents increases abortion, you go right ahead and present it.

  • Gorgias

    Point taken, I can see how the analogy is imperfect.  Though I will point out that the anti-abortion lobby’s opposition to birth control is perfectly consistent when you realize that their goal isn’t preventing abortions from happening, but from trying to control other people’s sex lives.

    Let me clarify; I’m using the analgoy to  explain why gun-owners bristle when gun control is brought up.  I recognize that it’s a largely a reactionary response, but it’s one that will continue to occur until we can rest assured that the issue is being approached with an eye for reform rather than part of a plan to criminalize.

    And yes, I have indeed encountered people who touted gun reform when, when I probed further, were actually anti-gun in general.   And while it doesn’t take away from the validity of their opinion, I’d prefer they’d be up front about it so a more effective compromise can be reached.  The paranoia about “gun-grabbers” is largely because it’s hard to pick out the reformists from the people who just want guns to go away.  Show me that your approach is based on logic and sanity, and I’ll be right along with you.

  • Lunch Meat

    Ah, good to know. (I haven’t had time lately to keep up with every thread.)

  • arcseconds

    Dan, they don’t just ‘question’ it.  That whole section of the paper is highly sceptical of what those numbers mean.

    Here are some more highlights, beyond the mismatch of DUGs and other data, mentioned by  Daughter:

    *) the studies indicate only a small fraction (between 0.05 % and 1%) of adults have ever used guns defensively. 
    **)  They point out that we could expect a low ‘real’ rate of incidents would result in false positives tending to dominate the evidence.
    **) they discuss reasons for people to give false positives

    *) they point out that a DGu does not mean that the DGUer is innocent themselves.  How many of the real incidents underlying this data were altercations that both parties contributed to, or even were instigated by the DGUer?

    So, the study authors don’t end up drawing the conclusions you seemed to be inclined to draw from this article.  They really conclude very little from this section.   Perhaps they’re bleeding liberals who think with their hearts, rather than their brains, too? 

    Whatever the reason, you’re being pretty disigenuous to quote this study as though it wholeheartedly supports your  case, and then backing down to them being ‘cautious’, when actually ‘highly sceptical’ would be a better description.

    Also,  the numbers in the article are based on a very small number of respondents, just 19 in the case of the attempt to restrict to  ‘genuine’ DGUs, or about a thousanth of the survey study.  I find it quite easy to believe that 1 person in a thousand would be inclined, for whatever reason, to completely misrepresent their involvement in a DGU.

    (In fact, I’d expect a certain percentage to lie completely about this on the basis that the data might be used by ‘gun grabbers’, and they wouldn’t want that.)

    Anyway, what are you doing comparing the number prevented with the number of deaths caused?   I don’t think these simplistic comparisons tell us much, but if you’re going to compare them at all, it should be either the number of prevented deaths by DGU (which we can’t know, it seems to me, but should be a lot less than the total number of crimes prevented) with the number of deaths involving guns, or alternatively the number of crimes prevented with the number of crimes involving. 

    I can’t seem to find a number of crimes involving guns, but there apparently were 52,000 non-fatal deliberate gunshot injuries in 2000 [*].  The number of crimes involving threatening with a firearm should be a lot higher than that.


  • I tend to distrust people who call for gun control when they’re on record as being anti-gun in general.

    That’s your right.

    I suppose ultimately the question is going to be whether we collectively prefer to work with people we don’t trust, whose goals may not perfectly align with ours, in order to improve the system, or whether we collectively prefer to keep the system as it is.

    Thus far, when it comes to encouraging responsible gun ownership and discouraging irresponsible gun ownership, we seem to prefer to keep the system as it is.

  • Gorgias

    That’s just it.  It’s hard to tell when you’re dealing with people of influence in the government and media; they know that the NRA and every redneck in the country will pitch a fit if they out-and-out promoted a full gun ban.  When I talk about people who are anti-gun, I’m talking about people I personally know; my mother, for instance, is extremely anti-gun (and very conservative politically, oddly enough).  And I have friends who, while they are socially as liberal as I am, seem to base their thoughts on gun control laws on their personal phobia of guns rather than on a reasoned response to the issue.  My fear is that the people of influence are using talk of gun control as a front for ultimately making guns, if not out-and-out illegal, at least practically illegal through the amount of red tape it takes to obtain and possess a gun.

    And I know that it’s an unreasonable response.  I’ve seen to many shootings to naively claim that there are no problems with the way things stand, and I also want something done about it.  But what else am I to think when laws are passed that make life more difficult for us legal gun owners, while criminals simply go on the black market and bypass the law altogether?  And is our government in a place fiscally where it can enforce gun laws?  We’re already involved in a disastrous war on drugs that causes more problems than it solves.  (Then again, if drugs were decriminalized, it might free up resources to deal with gun-runners and the black market surrounding guns, but that’s another issue.)  Point is, I just don’t want us to blithely pass laws that not only fail to change things, but cost us extra time and money as well.

  • Daughter

    Ta-Nehisi Coates’ blog post on this topic has a number of interesting points made by commenters. Among them:

    – In a situation in which ordinary citizens are armed and shooting back, how can you be sure that people will clearly distinguish the shooter vs. the defenders? (the armed citizen who almost shot the man who tackled Jared Loughner is instructive here).

    – There have been cases in which an African-American off-duty police officer was killed when he/she was attempting to defend someone with a gun, yet was mistaken for a perpetrator by the police.

    – How much more risky will DWB (“driving while black/brown”) traffic stops be for people of color if those stopped also have weapons on them?

    – Even if we accept “militia” in the 2nd amendment as the equivalent of “ordinary citizen” today, “well-regulated” is still clearly in the wording. Can anyone say that guns in this country are well-regulated today?

  • Gorgias

    I think both “pro-life” and “pro-choice” are misnomers; technically, everyone’s pro-life and pro-choice.  It’s just a matter of how one defines life and how one defines what socially acceptable choice is.

    Personally, I would prefer to use the terms “pro-life” and “pro-choice” to refer to the two sides in conversation because it’s verbally succinct.  “Anti-abortion” is such a mouthful, and calling someone “anti-choice,” despite the fact that I think it’s true, probably isn’t going to make them more likely to listen to you.  Similarly, if someone called me “anti-life” because I want to keep abortion legal, I’d probably lose any interest in taking them seriously.

  • EllieMurasaki

    And is our government in a place fiscally where it can enforce gun laws? We’re already involved in a disastrous war on drugs that causes more problems than it solves.

    Why is ‘transfer resources from apprehending and prosecuting drug offenders to apprehending and prosecuting gun offenders’ not an option?

  • Gorgias

     I never said it wasn’t an option.  I think the drug war is a financially ruinous waste of time, and maybe if we legalized drugs (reasonably so, of course, similar to alcohol laws, with lighter or heavier restrictions based on the substances themselves), then we could more feasibly pursue those who violate gun laws.  Hell, we’d probably see a lot less gun violence when the legalization of drugs caused the drug-dealing culture to collapse.

    This is what I mean about understanding people.  I’m not trying to pick a fight with you.  Honestly, the fact that you apparently read Fred’s blog shows that you and I probably have a number of similar opinions on issues.  You want to pursue drug reform as part of a general social reform that also includes more effective gun laws?  Sounds like we’re on the same page.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Hell, we’d probably see a lot less gun violence when the legalization of drugs caused the drug-dealing culture to collapse.

    Have fun with that. Organized crime sprang up in response to Prohibition, but doing away with Prohibition didn’t do away with organized crime. I don’t see how changing the no-longer-forbidden substance from alcohol to other drugs will change that.

    I’m not trying to fight with you either. Sorry if I come off that way. I should probably just concede that I am not actually writing any story tonight and go the fuck to bed already in hopes of being less grumpy and more creative in the morning-or-preferably-afternoon.

  • (shrug) It cuts both ways, though. Maybe you don’t trust me, because you fear I’m too gun-phobic to be reasonable and will end up supporting bad law. Maybe I don’t trust you, because I fear you’re just concern trolling in an attempt to subvert reasonable gun regulation.

    So, OK, we don’t trust each other. Taking that as a given, can we nevertheless come to agreement about what level of gun regulation is something we would want to see?

    I mean, obviously we can’t if either of our fears are correct. If I’m really an irrational gun-phobe, then I won’t agree to a reasonable position. If you’re really a concern troll, you won’t agree to a reasonable position. But even supposing hypothetically that we’re both people of good will capable of reason, our mutual distrust of one another’s status might still make it impossible for us to agree. One or both of us might reject the other’s proposals in a knee-jerk fashion simply because of that distrust.

    One place we could start, for example: would you suggest that the amount of “red tape” required to obtain and possess a gun should be more or less than the amount of “red tape” required to operate a motor vehicle?

  • Gorgias

    Yeah, I understand.  I probably need to lay off as well.  Glad we could come to to a better understanding.  Would that people of public influence would do likewise.

  • Carstonio

    I admit that I am uncomfortable around guns, but that’s really a fear of people rather than the weapons themselves. I favor tough regulation of gun purchases instead of outright bans. In some areas, one has to go through more red tape to adopt a dog or cat. 

    But most of my opinions about gun control involve disgust at the NRA’s pandering to racism and xenophobia. “Guns in the hands of criminals” is a fallacy on many levels. The shooters in massacres like this aren’t thieves or gang members. Deaths from handguns tend to involve arguments between friends or relatives. Concealed carry laws assume that muggings are commonplace, ignoring not only shootings from domestic disputes but also from drug deals gone bad, and again the mentality sees criminals by skin color.

  • stardreamer42

    Ah, the false-equivalency gambit. We call them “anti-choice” because that’s exactly what they’re about — removing a woman’s right to control her own body. Talking about sane gun regulation is NOT the same thing as wanting to take all your guns away forever, no matter what lies the NRA has told you.

  • arcseconds

    I’m assuming you realise what you’re saying here.

    The pro-gun people hold all the cards politically.  You guys have won.

    Yet you’re still paranoid about crypto-gun-banners, and you’re taking the fact you’ve won as evidence that they could exist in positions of power.

    The ones you know personally (I’m guessing) have no political power, and even if they did, they wouldn’t have any power to do anything for their anti-gun attitudes, and they’re in a small minority.

    But somehow, they’re still so scary that you’re demanding anyone making a pro-gun-contol argument prove that they’re not one of them.  

    (What kind of proof would be acceptable to the gun lobby, do you think?)

    I can’t see how meaningful dialogue can take place with people who have their views prevailing politically, yet respond with such paranoia and suspicion to the slightest talk of the smallest compromise.

  • stardreamer42

     We seem to be mostly in agreement. I do have one question, though — how do you know whether or not I’m “on record as being anti-gun in general”?

  • That bit on homosexuals we got from Mr. Smith reminds me of THE DOSADI EXPERIMENT by Frank Herbert, which sort of tainted him in my eyes the way Orson Scott Card’s editorials did.

  • P J Evans

     I think I’ve heard of more people being killed accidentally by a family member who had a gun to hand, than of burglars being killed by a homeowner.

  • EllieMurasaki

    tw: suicide

    Or thinking the gun was a toy when its owner left it out or its cabinet unlocked, then shooting their small self or equally small sibling or friend. Or successfully suiciding when an attempt using any other method would have had a rather lower chance of success.