A gun in the first act always goes off in the third

“It’s everywhere and always been recognized: an armed society is a primitive society.”

“An Oklahoma woman arrested Monday on drug charges had a loaded handgun hidden in her vagina, according to police.”

“Not only did police canine Ivan discover a stolen handgun, he fired it too.”

“Police arrested a 61-year-old Florida woman for allegedly pointing a gun at Walmart employees, threatening them after the store refused to honor her coupon for $1 off of a purchase and later attacking authorities.”

“The Tyler Morning Telegraph has learned that a Van Independent School District employee accidentally was shot during a district-sponsored concealed handgun license class on Wednesday.”

“The school district was sponsoring the class as part of its program to arm teachers and other school employees, in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre and the NRA’s call for America to arm its schools.”

“A school district in New York has put a program to put armed officers in schools on hold after a policeman’s handgun went off at Highland High School.”

“The National Rifle Association’s field representative for New York was barred from having guns after an altercation with his wife.”

“A 3-year-old boy from Manchester, Tennessee was left in critical condition over the weekend after being shot while handling a small gun that an adult left sitting on a nearby counter-top.”

“Family and friends in Michigan are mourning the death of a 4-year-old Jackson County deputy’•s son, who accidentally shot and killed himself over the weekend.”

I’m very much on the conservative side of politics, but I just saw this as one of those things that demanded the use of the authority of my office to try and change.”

I know my father is watching us on this journey … to make our community, our state, and our country a safer place.”

You folks in Chicago want me to get castrated because your families are having too many kids. It spells out exactly what is happening here. You want us to get rid of guns.”


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  • SergeantHeretic

    If a country has guns as a widespread fact of life with little to no effort at regulating who can and cannot own them lots and lots of people are going to die, most of the deaths will be due to sheer unabaqshed dumbfuckery. Anyone tut-tutting these tragedies needs to send their grienves to the one group leading the charge to prevent even the most basic and embryonic saftey precautions, the National Rifle Asociation.

  •  Could you possibly be more ignorant? The NRA has been teaching firearm safety since its inception. I haven’t noticed any of its opponents spending time and effort to do so.

  • aunursa
  • While opposing legislation that increases firearm safety nationwide, like background checks, you mean? (that are supported by >90% off all households, including gun-owning homes)



  • Jim Roberts

    The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. The NRA does a bang-up job with its safety courses. I’ve taken two of them – one for light handguns, the other for gun safety* – and they were thorough and complete.

    When it comes to many others parts of gun safety – closing the gun show loophole, for example – they deserve the opprobrium they get.

    * I don’t own a gun, but I’m a writer of fiction and wanted to get a hands-on feel for how a responsible gun owner would handle firearms.

  • I’m sorry to see Fred has definitely joined the anti-2nd Amendment bandwagon. I find his viewpoints on theology very educational, and his compassion for the downtrodden is contagious. I doubt he will listen or change his mind based on anything I say, but I’ll give it a try anyway.

    You do know that the history of gun control in the USA has been a steady drumbeat of efforts to disarm poor and minorities, so that they can’t effectively protest or threaten their “betters”, right?  Ask Diane Feinstein if she’s willing to give up her concealed handgun and  armed bodyguards. Or are senators supposed to have more rights than the rest of us? The people opposed to gun control aren’t the rich and powerful; the rich and powerful can buy all the permits and licenses and bodyguards that they want.  Self-defense is a natural right that should not be exclusive to the privileged.

    Freedom for all is messy and dangerous; people being people, some misuse it or are careless with it. Free speech is also dangerous; people have been abused and bullied to the point of suicide by it, or misled into ignoring back public health, endangering the lives of millions of children.  Freedom of religion is dangerous; people have formed cults and abusive religions, or joined such.  Freedom from arbitrary search and seizure is dangerous; how many criminals have gotten away because they weren’t suspect enough to call for a warrant?  How much safer would we all be if only safe, state-approved religions were allowed, if public speech was carefully regulated for content, and if the police were allowed to do “preventive” searches and detention of possible criminals? Why aren’t you out there encouraging such regulations and policies?

    I would read the proposed so-called “Assault Weapon Ban” bill carefully before cheering it on.  At last reading, it was more a “ban weapons that look scary to the plebes” rather than “ban weapons that are dangerous to public safety” bill.  Did you know that in one case, the exact same weapon, under the proposed bill, is legal if it has a traditional wooden stock and banned if it has a plastic stock?  Yes, the material the stock is made of apparently makes it an Evil Assault Weapon.  That does not strike me as good or sensible law.  “It looks like a military weapon, therefore we’ll treat it as one” is magical thinking, legal voodoo and very bad law. Expect many Unintended Consequences that no one will like.

  • SergeantHeretic

    Is this the same NRA that won’t allow background checks on gun sales, and that is constantly mounting scare campaign against democratic candidates aimed chiefly at ramping up gun sales?

    That NRA?

    Is this the same NRA who’s new york president was just barred from havcing guns to keep him from murdering his wife.?

    Is ths the same NRA that advicates turning schools into gun ranges despite the edident reality that in a gunman versus defender shootout in rea life the gunman wins every time?

    Gun Saftey courses are nice and all, but compared  against everything ELSE that band of gangsters does to prevent gun related saftey and reduce gun fatalities they’ a fucking joke.

    Oughta call them the National Reactionary asociation.

  • Carstonio

    Any good that the NRA does in teaching firearms safety is more than negated by its racial demagoguery. The NRA and the ALEC have long used the Southern Strategy euphemisms “law-abiding citizens” and “criminal element.” They’ve also demonized the UN to pander to Bircher paranoia. 

    At best, the gun manufacturers and their lobbies are selling a John Wayne macho fantasy that has almost nothing to do with the actual statistics. Fred’s inclusion of the Red Ryder ad is appropriate because Jean Shepherd’s story shows the cartoonishness of the fantasy. Wayne LaPierre’s pathetic response to Sandy Hook was merely the fallen-world mythology translated into pseudo-secular terms, the assumption that violence is inevitable, and that serves no one but the folks whose fortunes depend on increasing gun sales.

  • LL

    Yes, the NRA has safety courses. And they advocate taking gun safety/training courses. Those people who choose not to are not following NRA recommendations. And the NRA certainly doesn’t recommend leaving your gun on a countertop so  it can be grabbed by a child. 

  • SergeantHeretic

    Carstonio my man you have said it. My favorite is when they reffer to the “Urban element” (Nudge, nudge, wink wink).

    The National Rifle association in it’s present form is of by and for wealthy white people and all about frightening same into buying more guns because of “The criminal/urban/inner city element”.

  • Jim Roberts

    So, you’re calling on our host to take back things he hasn’t said? That’s . . . interesting.

  • Carstonio

    Thanks. The other part of the demagoguery is the term “gun ban.” No reasonable person wants to take away everyone’s weapons. Even gun owners who support background checks and oppose gun show sales fume against arguments that no one is making. One should be able to point the correlation between gun ownership rates and gun violence rates, and emphasize that fewer guns would result in less violence, without advocating confiscation.

    A key strategy is puncturing the myth of personal protection. A handgun is far more likely to be used in an argument than against an intruder.

  • Jim Roberts

    “A handgun is far more likely to be used in an argument than against an intruder. ”

    Although even this is difficult to determine, what with the NRA et al doing their best to block funding for gathering statistics.

  •  >  At last reading, it was more a “ban weapons that look scary to the plebes” rather than “ban weapons that are dangerous to public safety” bill.

    I agree with this, FWIW, and would be far more supportive of legal measures to control and monitor access to dangerous weapons more broadly than I am of partial measures like the AWB.

    Of course, a big part of that will involve finding ways to overcome the power of lobbying groups resisting such measures. Which, last time I checked, wasn’t the folks you describe here as the “anti-2nd Amendment bandwagon”.

  •  > The NRA does a bang-up job with its safety courses.

    I see what you did there.

  • P J Evans

     The NRA isn’t even run ‘by and for wealthy white people’.
    It’s run by and for the firearms manufacturers, who are making lots of money on semi-automatic weapons. (Hunters aren’t a big part of their market any more.)

  • Jim Roberts

    Another point on this – if the assault weapon ban isn’t going to be effective and isn’t going to effectively reduce the sales of firearms, how can it also be considered to be “anti-2nd Amendment”? (I’m still waiting for how our host posting up a bunch of links constitutes him supporting the assault weapons ban)

  • P J Evans

    There are a hell of a lot of people who don’t know what they’re doing with guns. Including some who should.

  • aunursa

    Congressman Rangel (D-NY): “NRA’s minority outreach plan “an insult” to the American people

    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

  • LL

    This (to the first two paragraphs). That gun show loophole needs to go away right now. And I’m sure there are other loopholes that should as well. 

  • LL

    Yes, agreed. 

  • Baby_Raptor

    Why is it with “pro-Second Amendment” people that anyone who says *anything at all* about limiting guns in this country gets labeled as anti-guns and “trying to take away my rights”? 


    Fred has said *nothing* about wanting to get rid of the Second. He didn’t even offer his own opinion here. He just linked to a bunch of situations gone bad. He does the same thing on abortion and Christianity all the time, and we all know hos stances on those.

    But he starts talking about guns, and suddenly he’s on the “wrong” side. 

    I don’t get it. 

  • People like you are very tiresome. No other Western nation guarantees any kind of interpretable right to own a gun* and yet, surprisingly these Western nations are not intolerable hellpit police states.

    The abstract concept of A Gun (just like the Baby for anti-abortionists) for anti-gun-control advocates has been raised to that of an idol, a worship-altar. It elevates gun ownership to something akin to divine righteousness.

    There is something wrong with that line of thiking. Very wrong.

    * The absurdity of this should be immediately evident as the notion of a Constitutional right to own a car.

  • Foreigner

    But if we can’t have guns, how can we pretend we’re cowboys?

  • hidden_urchin

    It is clear the the Constitutional rights of low income people are being infringed because they do not have the means to purchase guns or practice with them. Therefore, I propose that taxpayer dollars be used to provide every American with one long gun and one handgun and the appropriate training. Skills maintenance will also be subsidized by the government.

    Yeah, somehow I think putting it this way will make people reconsider how much of a right gun ownership in the US is.

  • AnonymousSam

    That’s odd. I’d swear Australia seemed like a much better place to be if you were interested in freedom, and yet you won’t find nearly as many guns there. It’s almost like guns aren’t part of defending freedom.

  • TheBrett

     You say that, but what I see is a whole host of unstable people who now have a better chance of getting away with gun-related violence because of laws pandering to gun-owners in general. People like this woman, George Zimmerman, or that asshole who shot two people next door who were playing their music too loud (and then tried to claim “stand your ground” defense).

    Frankly, if preventing that makes things slightly less convenient for casual gun-owners, I’m still all for it.

  • flat

    interesting opinions, however I am not going to get involved with the discussion because I am not an American, so this gun debate doesn’t concern me personally.

  • AnonymousSam

    No, please do! The problem with the American gun debate is that proponents of greater gun freedom often rely very heavily on the debate being between people who’ve never known any other way of life. Every outside perspective is informative.

  • It should. Gun smuggling in Canada is a problem precisely because there’s so damn many of them in the USA. And the gun folks up here have also purposely worked to sabotage forms of gun control here in Canada by purposely complying with the legislation in a way that drives up costs. (there’s a term for that but I don’t remember it)

    The right-wing parties here in Canada also know a cheap way to get votes is to pander to gun owners here who’ve been told that the federal government is treating them like criminals.

    As you can see the fantasy that gun owners seem to have, that by virtue of saying they’re good people that they have to be, is not far removed from the kinds of thinking that govern some Christians and their heightened offendedness at the notion that anybody would deem it necessary to check up on them.

  • Donalbain

     “Thanks. The other part of the demagoguery is the term “gun ban.” No reasonable person wants to take away everyone’s weapons.”

    Quite a large part of the western world would like a word with you on that one.

  • *hands over a cheap plastic one. You know the ones, the ones with a bright orange dot at the end of the barrel and that break if you look at them too hard*
    Same way the rest of us did.

  • AnonaMiss

    I’m a strong supporter of the second amendment, but most of the gun control stuff that’s being discussed now in the government is fine. The discussion that I’m not OK with has less to do with guns, and more to do with keeping a registry of the mentally ill which could be accessed by any gun seller anywhere (what. the. fuck).

    Personally, I think the best kind of gun control we could implement would be requiring firearms to be fitted with biometric/fingerprint sensors on their grips. If you’re not the person the gun is registered to, the gun won’t fire. That would prevent most accidental discharges and also hamper under-the-table trafficking, guns being turned against their owners, etc., without getting in the way of any legal uses.

  • Isabel C.

    As I’ve said elsewhere: self-defense my ass.

    I can buy self-defense with handguns. That makes handgun ownership a complicated topic that deserves careful debate, and while I’m on the anti side myself, I can see reasonable arguments for allowing handgun ownership.

    Nobody needs assault rifles and high-capacity clips to defend themselves from a mugger. Nobody needs those things to defend themselves from anything short of a rogue grizzly bear.* If you shoot six bullets and are still in danger? *You’re dead anyhow.* It’s possible that there are cases otherwise, but those aren’t statistically significant enough to influence national policy.

    Make a case for a thirty-round rapid-fire weapon. One that does not involve, to quote current memes, ERMEHGERD FREEEDERHM. Ideally one that doesn’t involve tinfoil-hat fantasies about Defending! Your! Properteh! from black helicopters and CIA and the UN forces that are secretly controlled by lizard people, because nobody has any reason to take those arguments seriously. 

    *And even there: my dad went up to the Arctic when he was younger. Polar bears are not your friends, so the authorities–wh0 had supervised a few trips like this before–gave most people a choice between a five-round shotgun and a normal rifle. (They didn’t give Dad a choice: they gave him a shotgun. The man’s eyesight is not good.)

  • I would love to make a calm rational response to this but my brain can’t get past the second link… what the hell? Why would you even…. 

  • For the NRA it’s not really about the 2nd amendment, but about the profits of gun-makers. Who are the NRA’s biggest supporters. So they are perfectly fine with Newtowns, Columbines and all the rest continuing to happen, because it’s not about people, but about profits. And as for safety, all you have to do is a minimal amount of Googling to find stories, every single day, of accidental deaths and injuries happening to cops, whose training is much more extensive than anything your average person gets. Human beings are clumsy, forgetful, and, when it comes to guns, not very good at avoiding danger. 

  • Carstonio

    Are you talking about people who oppose private gun ownership of any sort? That would almost do away with hunting.

  • redsixwing

    Speaking as a gun-owning hunter who lives in bear country, you don’t need fifteen rounds to defend yourself from a rogue grizzly bear either.

    $my_state just tried to pass some legislation about background checks and large-capacity magazines, and people are throwing the biggest hissy fit about even that very small amount of regulation.

    I personally use a gun to feed myself. I do not need a large number of bullets to kill a deer, nor any form of automatic (or even semi-auto) weapon. I am all for the legislation people are trying to pass, and the NRA can bite me.

    Edit: Disqus, WTF?

  • Isabel C.

    Excellent point. I kinda suspected as much, but wasn’t sure.

    You get a lot of people saying that blah blah need to defend themselves from “tyrants”, and I’ve just decided to assume they mean this sort: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrant_(Resident_Evil).Makes more sense, and is just as plausible. 

  • Rhubarbarian82

    I’m a strong supporter of the second amendment, but most of the gun control stuff that’s being discussed now in the government is fine. 

    I feel the same way. Especially since I live in California, where all of the new restrictions being suggested on the national level are already in place (no high cap magazines, no gun show loophole, we have an assault weapons ban). The world hasn’t ended yet, and roving gangs don’t travel the streets of Glendale.

  • Isabel C.


    I try to be witty, Disqus fucks with me. Sigh. 

  • Worthless Beast

    After the Sandy Hook thing, I told my guy:  “You know, I have a solution to this.  I think we should keep the Second Amendment – on the grounds that people are only allowed to bear arms of models that *existed when that Amendment was drafted.*

    Most hunters only need basic guns… or bows.  (A couple of months ago, a man in the Philedelphia area was murdered by arrow, but it made the news precisely because it was so unusual an occurrance – it sticks out in the mind beyond all of the gun-murders that happen every day).  

    And I’ve heard that the best thing for saving your life in the event of home intrustion isn’t a gun – it’s a dog.

    Then again… there are some neighborhoods in the city that my guy does not like to go to because, as he says “I don’t have a gun big enough.”  We don’t have guns at all, and tend to avoid those neighborhoods… it makes me wonder for the people who are forced to live in them.

  • smrnda

     There was just an article in the NY times that the % of households with guns is at an all time low.


    Now, I could imagine that fewer people owning more guns can produce a seemingly high level of gun ownership, but that would still imply that fewer people are gun owners.

  • SergeantHeretic

    This open letter from Vice President Joe Biden is the best rebuttal of the most dangerous and prevelent gun myth I have ever heard. and here it is for your amusement and edification:

    Look, it’s time to grow up. I know you want to get an AR-15 without a background check, plus a huge magazine so you can stop government bad guys and be a Wolverine. You’ve been asking for months. But those things are dangerous. You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!

    You’re not really defending your freedoms. No serious adult thinks that. The United States has the largest, most powerful military in the entire history of the world. And it is led by a group of people who live in fear of bad poll numbers. Do you understand this? Do you see how your militia group does not even begin to pose the kind of threat to the political structure that a guy with a camera or a website or a couple of incriminating documents does? I mean, it’s fun to pretend at war, but it doesn’t do any good, and people are getting hurt. You will really shoot your eye out. I mean it.

    Have you looked at statistics from the CDC? Homicide by firearm and suicide by firearm are each in the top five causes of death for 2010. And in 2006 and 2007, they were each in the top five causes of injury death. We’d know more, but the NRA has been trying to suppress research into gun injuries and fatalities for years. Just like they have been fighting to prevent the ATF from computerizing gun records and making the FBI destroy information on background checks after 24 hours. They won’t even let the ATF make dealers keep an inventory of what they sell. Those dudes want to keep you from knowing how unsafe guns are. But it’s clear that fighting tyranny with Charlene at your side is much, much less likely than plain old shooting your eye out.Is any of this reaching you? The NRA wants you to romanticize guns. They want you to think that with your assault rifle, you’re standing guard against some sort of federal conspiracy. But the thing that stops public officials from doing what they want is the thought of losing an election. I’ve lost a couple of them myself, and it stings like a bastard. The true source of the NRA’s political power  – lobbying and fundraising – is the perfect demonstration of how irrelevant their cause really is. Everything else is fun and games. And you know what they say about fun and games… they stop the moment someone shoots his goddamn eye out.How ’bout a pony?

  • Jenny Islander

    Yes, I live in both deer and bear country too.   Locally, people who play around with semi-auto or automatic weapons are thought of as slightly dangerous dilettantes with too much money, or at best, boys with their toys.  Real hunters own a deer rifle and a bird rifle.  Real smart hunters take every precaution to make sure that they never have to try to take out a bear with a firearm.  

    For non-residents of bear country: It doesn’t matter how many bullets you can fire in one minute.  If you can’t hit the exact right spots with one of those bullets in that minute–and there aren’t very many spots to choose from–then the bear will either be on top of you or running wounded and a danger to everyone in the area.  The smart choice is to prevent violent encounters with bears by practicing good woodcraft.

  • SergeantHeretic

    I found this one in a Slacktivist link and it is SO SO SO Apropriate to the kinds of idiots you’re talking about.

    Hey, guys.

    Pestilence here. The other riders and I are pretty busy lately, but we wanted to take a moment and make something clear. In the days ahead, many of you will be deploying some pretty stupid arguments against gun control in this country. The whole “cars are deadly, knives are deadly, Nazis started this, and anyway, what about abortion?” kind of dealie. God, it makes our heads hurt just thinking about it. When you write this stuff you make the internet even more stupid than it already is. Instead of wading into this nonsense we wanted to just address one very specific notion you’ll be sharing with your friends on Facebook.

    You really think gun ownership protects you from the government taking your rights.

    This isn’t even an argument at all. It’s a poorly-conceived Red Dawn fantasy. You say things like this, because in some ugly part of your brain you want to see yourself fighting the globalist army after the collapse of our country. And you have that particular dream because you’re old and white, and you’re afraid of the way this country is changing. The guns give you a feeling of control.

    Okay, well, first of all… when the balloon really goes up you’re certainly going to die very, very quickly. It won’t be like the movies, trust us. You will lumber down into your basement to start the generator, and you will trip, cut yourself on a rusty lawn mower part, or maybe just have a massive cardiac, because you’re overweight, and the only thing you stand a chance against with that AK-47 is a deer. There’s a whole political party devoted to telling people like you – the most soft and privileged and pampered members of this wonderful country – that you’re some hardy band of rebels fighting oppression. That little fairy tale will evaporate before Glenn Beck collects his gold chips.

    Secondly, there really are people fighting against government tyranny. But they’re unarmed. They’re reporters, and lawyers, and human rights weenies from Europe. They try to make politicians and bureaucrats accountable for the terrible things they can do. Sometimes they even succeed. Occasionally there’s a subcommittee meeting, or a scandal, or a change in the law, or a politician loses his job or even goes to jail. Once upon a time, a couple of commie reporters helped remove a sitting president of the United States. You and your camping buddies playing soldier in the woods have never even come close to that.

    Say what you want about guns… just don’t act like it’s about defending freedom. You’re not defending anything. Your stupid game prevents us from ending a threat to public safety, but it is utterly irrelevant to the struggle for liberty in 21st century America. You want to do something real, start researching campaign donations, make FOIA tougher, call up a Congressman and bitch. Right now your biggest enemy is not a fleet of UN helicopters. It’s an Olive Garden breadstick basket. Cut down on the carbs and grow the hell up.Either way, it’s not really our problem. Be seeing you.

  • Jenny Islander

    Seriously is this from Biden?  It’s AWESOME.

  • fredgiblet

    “One should be able to point the correlation between gun ownership rates and gun violence rates”

    Switzerland would beg to differ I expect.

  • VMink

    To sort of straddle the issue a bit, I would like to ask: “Would Trayvon Martin have been alive the following morning if he had been armed?  Would Matthew Shepherd?”  (I’d choose more names, but those are the ones that would be most likely to be recognized.)

    Interestingly, there’s a U of Texas grad student who is conducting an experiment that does something like that: Giving a shotgun and safety training to certain qualified households in and around, IIRC, Houston.  I would be keenly interested in the demographics of who he’s giving those weapons to, though.  (I’d also be interested in what kind of insurance his experiment has, and who’s underwriting it!)
    While I do believe a person should be able to if necessary own a handgun to defend themselves, I think our society fetishizes guns and violence, and uses guns as a symbol for power, and that’s a problem (to put it lightly.)  I think there are a lot of people who see weapons simply as extensions of their id, and get a high of sorts from carrying.  I believe that there are a lot of loopholes that need to be tied up, and the road to getting a weapon is altogether too short and easy.  I also think that the only reason AR-15 lookalikes and other “imitation mil-spec” weapons are on the market is because they look ‘military’ and somehow ‘cool.’

  • Fusina

    Regarding comment section, TL/DR after the first fifteen or so, but I am so fucking tired of this shit. Truth is, I don’t care if people wanna have guns, all the guns they wanna have. So long as they have them where no one can steal them, no kids can get at them to shoot themselves or other kids, so long as they teach their kids gun safety. And for the love of God, Allah, the FSM, and any other deity anyone wants to name, can we get rid of the gods be damned semi  automatic weapons? I mean, if we really want to go all second amendment, why are all those “gun enthusiasts” not enrolled in the national guard? Is that not the purpose of bearing arms? To have a well regulated militia? While we are at it, rifles were, if existent at all when the constitution was written, very rare, mostly people used muzzle loaders. Hell, y’all can have all the muzzle loading guns ya want. But get real, to protect oneself, does one really need 12 handguns as Virginia allowed up until recently–I think they lifted that restriction. Yeah, I am in favor of restrictions on guns–namely, no more machine gun type things, and also that anyone who wants guns can bloody well serve in the National Guard and be in a real militia.

    Incidentally, my Da collects rifles, and even he thinks the NRA is full of shit.