The Single Most Important Fact about our Gun Culture

The Single Most Important Fact about our Gun Culture May 7, 2014

…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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  • Julie

    Sorry but right off the bat, you lie. There were only 8,500 gun related homicides, (7400 were gang related shootings) not 30,000 and NO, i dont want a “Smart gun” that can be disabled at will by our government.

    • Dave G.

      Note the selection of words. He didn’t say 30,000 homicide victims from gun violence. He said 30,000 corpses. That is true. Of course it’s also true that breaking down the numbers might lead to solutions. But he didn’t lie.

      • Jem

        “There were only 8,500 gun related homicides”

        Wow, that’s ‘only’ the death toll of 9/11 plus Katrina, plus Pearl Harbor, plus the Titanic. Every year. Why do Leftists even think this is a big deal?

        In the UK in 2012, there were 30 gun related homicides, 93 gun suicides. That’s with a population of sixty million, not three hundred million, but if the rate was the same in the US, the figure would be 150 and 465. The actual US numbers are 8500 and 19400.

        Do you think the difference can be, in any way, attributed to the difference in firearms legislation?

        If you own a gun, you are five times more likely to commit suicide than if you don’t. Is that a coincidence?

        About 1% of burglaries involve the owner being at home and a burglar with a firearm: That’s about 33000 incidents. 40% of US households have a gun.

        So, in any given year there will be 13000 incidents where someone who owns a gun is at home when a burglar with a gun tries to rob them. Around half of homeowners who are burgled while they are in the house don’t realize at the time.

        Or, in other words, if you own a gun you’re about 3 times more likely to deliberately kill yourself with it than be in a situation when you are aware that you are being burgled, where the burglar has a firearm.

        • Dave G.

          That was a fascinating way to interpret those stats. FWIW, in 2011, the UK had an average of 18.2 suicides per 100K people. The US had 19 suicides per 100K. I suppose no matter what, people find a way. And that’s with no guns and a country willing to take measures against various liberties that would cause riots in the US. I’d say, again, the problems are far deeper and more uncomfortable than simply how to fix the gun problem. Thankfully I’ve noticed a few folks willing to concede the truth of that ugly little observation.

          • Jem

            I’m a medical statistician. I’ve worked on suicide stats in the past. Firearms suicides, of course, include people who buy guns *to* kill themselves. So that’s a valid counterargument.

            It’s a very complex issue. One very simple conclusion, though, is that making suicide even slightly harder will prevent a lot of suicides.

            Comparing suicide rates between countries is trickier than it looks. A lot of deaths are ruled suicide in the UK that would be seen as accidental here. Firearms are a great example of that – a man in a basement sat in a chair and his gun went off, blowing off his head. Accident or suicide? These things are judgement calls far more often than you’d think – people often look fine to even their closest friends and family, they often don’t leave notes.

            It’s a problem in the UK, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think this magically explains it. And you can’t ban everything that people can use to kill themselves, or we’d all live in single story buildings.

            (The best example of the difference in reporting, as I mentioned before is ‘violent crime’. The police arresting you in the UK for something else and finding a knife on you is a ‘violent crime’. In the US, you can shoot a man dead in the street in some places and it doesn’t count as a crime at all.)

            • Dave G.

              If you work statistics, then you know you can’t keep appealing to ‘it’s complex’ when it only benefits one side of the argument. It is complex. Someone two hundred comments ago said China had fewer gun murders than us. Yeah. And I’ll be if we practiced law enforcement like China, we’d have less gun violence, too. Any cross cultural analysis of statistics is usually complex. Same with Europe. Whenever some European country punishes or fines or arrests someone for opposing something like gay marriage, we Americans are quick to say that’s them, not the US that has different ideas about freedom and liberty. Correct.

              So there are many, many factors. As for eliminating suicides, I don’t see how the smart gun technology would help, unless most suicides by gun are using stolen guns. Otherwise, it wouldn’t do anything for suicides. Of course revisiting how we approach mental illness in general could be the question. We could also look at the role illegal drugs play, and why gun crime in minority neighborhoods is disproportionately higher. But in terms of suicide, the smart phone tech would likely solve little, and it hasn’t been demonstrated that it wouldn’t harm law abiding citizens, which is also a consideration.

              • Jem

                “If you work statistics, then you know”

                When you work in statistics, you realize this isn’t about statistics. Owning a gun for defense is not a rational decision, simply because there are 100,000,000 homes in America and 13,000 times a year a gun could even potentially be used for home defense.

                It makes people *feel* safer. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Feeling safe is a good thing. The problem is that if you have a gun in the house, you’re five times more likely to die from accidental gunshot wounds.

                This is a psychological issue, not a statistical one. Gun owners are susceptible to a form of advertising –


                – that basically reassures them that, no, their dick’s huge. And ‘I buy a gun because I feel sexually inadequate’ isn’t something anyone’s ever going to admit, so it has to be a portrayed as a big macho thing about hunting or defending their womenfolk. The gun manufacturers who fund the NRA have convinced them of that, and that buying a gun is some great statement that aligns them with George Washington against ‘the state’. And not, say, a hobby, like photography or fishing.

                Anti smoking advertising that talks about cancer statistics doesn’t work – anti smoking advertising that depicts smokers as anti social losers really does. Smoking bans aren’t the government ‘taking cigarettes away’, they work because you have to go outside to smoke, and for the five minutes you’re doing that, everyone else is having fun without you and some other guy is chatting to that woman you had your eye on.

                The way to disarm America is simple enough: just push the message that the sort of guys who buy guns get a lot less sex because they’re kind of wimpish. Shouldn’t be difficult, based on the sample we’re seeing here.

                • Dave G.

                  At this point you’re moving from any stats at all to simply it being your opinion. And of course that’s part of the problem. There are those who simply want to ban or heavily restrict all guns. Some want to as a way to chisel away at traditional liberties, others because they see guns as an evil. Just three months ago a woman was saved because a man broke into her house and began to assault her. Her neighbor, who owned guns, heard and came to the rescue. Again, you’ve now made the case that makes most gun owners nervous: stats facts data don’t matter, I just don’t like guns and will resort to anything to see it my way done. And that fits like a glove into the modern notion of ‘take away their rights, as long as you don’t take away mine.’ Something found on more than one article on Huff Post, and a growing staple of post-modern America.

                  BTW, your willingness to believe stats twisted to make a group you disagree with seem, shall we say, less ‘hip’ than the rest of us is, statistically speaking, another demonstration of the post-modern era that college educations don’t go far in teaching us not to repeat the problems of the past.

                  • Jem

                    “At this point you’re moving from any stats at all to simply it being your opinion.”

                    It’s like believing in God – there’s not logical or statistical argument for it, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t powerfully appealing reasons people do it.

                    I don’t want to ‘take’ anyone’s gun away. I would like to see the culture change so that far fewer people want to do it. As I say, the number of people who smoke has dropped dramatically, and that was not because the ATF stormed people’s homes and impounded their lighters.

                    I don’t want to ban or heavily restrict guns. I think the solution is going to be achieved socially, the same way the reduction in smoking rates was. There are a lot of people now who wouldn’t date a smoker. Drunk driving used to be something everyone did – now it’s just not acceptable behavior.

                    I think, basically, if we all just start thinking ‘dickless wimp’ every time we see someone with a gun, guns will go away in a generation.

                    In many ways the ‘NRA are powerful’ narrative hurts, it doesn’t help. They’re the Gun Marketing Board, that’s all. They want to persuade people to buy guns, to do that they have to prey on the paranoid, the distrustful, the people who feel powerless. It’s basically the same market as hair loss products – vain white guys who think it’s Hillary Clinton’s fault they can’t get laid.

                    • Dave G.

                      Again, you want an outcome and you want to achieve it. That’s the modern way. We’re about making this a better world for us to live in. Lucy van Pelt. ‘I have high ideals Charlie Brown. I want to make this a better world for me to live in.’

                      Yes, you can say guns, smoking, drunk driving. Just like gay marriage advocates say persecuted Jews, Blacks in America, Gays. It’s a powerful argument. And it shows one of the power forces for progressive change, a cocksure assurance in our own righteous cause of now, an almost contempt for dissenters that would shame a Plymouth Puritan.

                      Of course guns really aren’t the problem. In the end, they’re just the tool. Paranoia isn’t marketed by the NRA as much as it’s aided by the growing popularity of ‘I want you to live the way I say.’ Of course we don’t say it about sex and drugs. In the era of AIDS, those are untouched and promoted. While things like guns and yes, smoking, now sugar, high fats, and most other aspects of life are increasingly targeted for restrictions.

                      As are things like free speech and religious expression. Yes, that’s also a growing trend. Those things never have been absolute (fire in crowded theater, you can’t sacrifice virgins on pagan altars), so why not admit they should never trump absolute rights (reproductive health, gender equality, sexual orientation).

                      Those trends are doing far more to whip up paranoia than the NRA could dream of. And because so many who advocate those ideals (not all, but many) are also the ones pushing ‘can’t we just paint one more group (gun owners) as dickless wimps to engender more control over making them what we want them to be’, I’d say there’s a logic behind the paranoia.

                      But in the end, you’ve shown another post-modern trend. Truth is truth until it no longer helps the cause. You began with Stats! Fair enough.. I pointed out Stats as well. You then appealed to complexities. Fair enough, I pointed out the complexities go both ways. At that point you show your cards: don’t like guns or gun owners, want things to change according to your values..

                      Of course if we *really* cared, we’d ask the hard questions. Why minority communities, why drugs, why the suicides and why the mass killings that suddenly began in numbers in the 80s and not before. But I fear that would force all of us to look at things that would – horror of horrors – apply to ourselves and the culture we’ve all had a hand in building, instead of just keeping the focus on everyone else.

                      Like most things today, we don’t have the guts to ask the tough questions, we just go for the simple ‘how can I change what I didn’t like to begin with in order to avoid looking at problems I might be party to.’ So instead we appeal to ‘sure I have the answers; everyone else needs to do a better job and make the changes so I, and Lucy, can have the world we want it to be.’ It takes a lot to to throw away two hundred years of the struggle for freedom and liberty, but we’re laying the groundwork for that to happen rather nicely.

                    • Jem

                      “At that point you show your cards: don’t like guns or gun owners, want things to change according to your values.”

                      I would like fewer people to be killed by guns. This ought not to be controversial.

                      There are ways to ensure fewer people are killed by guns. The UK, for example, is a society where virtually no one is killed by guns.

                      I have lived in the UK. A country with a police force that demands not to be armed doesn’t seem like tyranny to me. Is the UK a utopian dream? Of course not. But if you go to the UK or Australia, you’re in a country where people drive cars, eat McDonalds and go to watch The Winter Soldier and they manage to get through their day without defending themselves at gunpoint.

                      We live in a big country with lots of different people with lots of different circumstances and values. I have the very modest belief that there are some strategies that would work in American and lead to a situation where fewer people are killed with guns, and where no freedoms whatsoever are violated.

                    • Dave G.

                      Fewer people killed by guns? I dare say just about everyone would like that. It’s not controversial. What is controversial is how we do it. The UK is a society that is also, like most of Europe, demographically dying. Owing to apathy and a latent narcissism with an unhealthy self loathing that is, like with individuals, a toxic combination Likewise the UK, unlike the US, can simply stop or make something illegal that we wouldn’t tolerate here. So when a pastor is arrested for speaking out against homosexuality in the UK, people are quick to say that’s not going to happen here in the US. Because the US has certain rights firmly established that other countries, including European countries, don’t have.

                      There are many reasons for the gun violence, but strip away the suicides, the drugs, the questions regarding how we address certain issues like mental health and applied criminal rights, the numbers in minority communities, and the massive difference between the US and other countries begin to diminish. If we have the guts to look at such things.

                      Whether we do or not is suspect. Clearly not everyone wanting to restrict guns are angels. Some see it as one small step toward crushing this particular right, one giant step toward crushing others. And given the rhetoric and tone of many who jump on ‘limit guns’ as the only feasible alternative, I’m inclined to sympathize with gun owners, of which I am not one.

                      There are unique problems in the US, of that I’m sure. And a couple of those are why the gun violence is now so bad. A few of the issues point to how we have access to guns. Most have nothing to do with guns. And for those who really, really want a solution without a reworking of traditional understandings of liberty and freedom, that’s where I’m inclined to look first.

                    • Jem

                      “The UK is a society that is also, like most of Europe, demographically dying.”

                      Racist dog whistle.

                      Perhaps you aren’t racist. That, though, is (a) nonsense and (b) the sort of nonsense that the far right parties in the UK push to appeal to racists.

                      “when a pastor is arrested for speaking out against homosexuality in the UK”

                      Name and date that happened, please.

                    • Jem

                      OK. I think I’ve found the case you’re referring to:


                      Er, no. The exact opposite of all that:


                      ‘Mr Craven won damages under the Human Rights Act using his entitlement to enjoy the freedom to manifest his religion and freedom of expression, including the freedom to impart ideas without interference by a public authority.’

                    • Dave G.

                      That’s not the one I was thinking of. Nice to see there are more cases than I thought of England arresting people for having the wrong religious beliefs and saying the wrong things, which demonstrates your point how? BTW, the fellow I was thinking of is Dale M-.

                    • Dave G.

                      And goodbye means this thread, too. I love it that you don’t seem to get your own arguments. That has been my favorite part of this. Enjoy your contempt and hatred for those you disagree with, it’s all the rage on the Left side of the aisle.

                    • Dave G.

                      Jem, that is the sort of stuff European countries have been struggling with for years, including, but not limited to, the UK. Decline in population and diminished of the culture, while also appealing to heavy handed means for dealing with terrorist threats or other threats deemed worthy, is a story oft repeated. They’re not hard to locate.

                      As for the pastor arrested, which time? One I remember commenting on at the Huffpost, amid cheers from the left wing peanut gallery, was a Baptist in 2010 who was arrested for handing out leaflets highlighting biblical phrases that speak against homosexuality. Can’t remember his name, but I remember several links and quite the outrage (with the assurances that it’s England, not here, so no need to worry).

              • entonces_99

                Exactly. Some years back, William F. Buckley responded to arguments that claimed that Japanese gun control laws explained the law levels of gun homicide in Japan as compared to the levels in the United States, and pointed out that there were equally low levels of gun violence among Japanese Americans. Culture is often more influential than law. (Or else Mexico, with its strict gun control laws, would have a lower level of gun violence than the United States.)

            • entonces_99

              In the US, you can shoot a man dead in the street in some places and it doesn’t count as a crime at all.

              Has the UK abolished the concept of justifiable homicide? Then why aren’t the cops who gunned down Jean Charles de Menzies in jail (or “gaol,” if you prefer)?

    • chezami

      No. I don’t lie. I’m not simply talking about homicides. Nice paranoia. Thanks for illustrating my point.

  • Donna Woods

    Nobody wants to ask if these were good guys or bad guys that were killed.
    If they were bad guys, how many lives were saved? If they were good guys, how many more guns would we need out there to save them?

    • Jem

      “If they were bad guys, how many lives were saved?”

      Ditto for abortion, presumably. Think of all those sins that won’t now happen. Perhaps we could solve the child abuse problem in the Church by lethally injecting all the seminarians now?

      I think, if I may introduce a British comics reference, that your position isn’t the theology of the Catholic Church so much as is it is that of Judge Death.

      • Benjamin2.0

        If they were bad guys, how many lives were saved?

        Ditto for abortion, presumably. Think of all those sins that won’t now happen.

        Huh? I’m wondering how you make the comparison between “guns save lives” (a pro-gun argument) and “abortions save lives” (a motive for the thing which isn’t used in public, anymore) without drawing moral equivalence. You see, when a gun kills a “bad guy,” according to the pro-gun argument, it’s being used in self defense (I severely doubt anyone (meaning anyone) has ever used a “give the bad guys guns so they’ll kill each other” argument, leastwise anyone who can be taken seriously enough to quote or even remember). Self-defense is morally legitimate. Allowing the “undesirables” to murder their unwanted young rather than raise them to become even less-desirable undesirables for lack of parenting is precisely the idea on which the pro-abortion movement was founded. This is a hopeless trainwreck of immorality from top to bottom, east to west, ever and forever. The distinction between the two positions is in the means rather than the ends. Failure to make this distinction is simply to ignore morality while passing moral judgments, comparing the morality of actions which have no moral equivalence.

        More simply put: the validity of the reductio ad absurdum lies in the reductio.

        • Jem

          I’m simply pointing out that, using the same ridiculous logic, that statistically many of the aborted fetuses would otherwise have gone on to be murderers, rapists, jumpers of stop signs, pirates of music and so on.

      • entonces_99

        I’m pretty sure none of those killed by abortion were “bad guys.” Maybe they’d have grown up to be bad guys, but our criminal law doesn’t engage in or tolerate preemptive strikes. Yet.

    • Dave G.

      Suicide, drug related violence, and criminal on criminal violence round out the majority of the deaths.

  • Donna Woods
  • bohica2

    Mark Shea , I had quite a few neighbors in LA that were just like you ..rabid anti-gun fanatics. During the Rodney King Riots and Northridge Quake , most of them were at MY Door asking to borrow a Gun to protect their Families ….paranoid hypocrites. Remember the old saying “There are no atheists in foxholes” ? Well I’ve seen how your fellow activists with their “Fear of Guns” suddenly brush aside the anti-gun BS when the real world comes to the door.

    • chezami

      Another indication of the crazy? A mild suggestion that we should explore making safer guns instead of threatening people who wish to do so with death is described as “rabid”.

      • Dave G.

        Or perhaps the claim that nobody is insisting there is only one solution while then saying anyone who says anything other than ‘yep’ to a given solution is by definition a gun nut. I’d say the quota on this discussion has hit full.

        • chezami

          I’m not suggesting there is only one solution. So, again, gun culture comes a cropper with irrational arguments and rebuttals.

          • Dave G.

            You may not be suggesting it. But you’re responses suggest otherwise. When you say Either ‘yep’ or gun nut, there isn’t much room for reasoned debate.

            • chezami

              When the mildest suggestion is met with hysteria, cries of “Kommie” and a tidal wave of patently stupid arguments, I do conclude “nuts”, that is true.

              • Ron

                “The mildest suggestion…”

                Interesting. I am usually faced with liberals who refuse to acknowledge the facts when they are provided. Their reaction is usually one of two options: Resort to an emotional argument, or go to a far left web site seeking biased facts that try and support their point of view. Neither of those options gets them anywhere. One of the other options that is fairly common is name calling, not that it is any kind of response to facts, but it is indeed common. If one points out their faulty thinking and erroneous conclusions one usually finds a name calling, blubbering, fool.

              • Dave G.

                I didn’t see that here. Most set out very sane and rational responses, asking fair questions like ‘would it help, would it solve the problem, could it make things worse for the wrong people’? I’m sure there are nuts on both sides. I believe their are gun control ‘nuts’ who see every dead body as a chance to advance their agenda. But most who want solutions aren’t in that camp. Focus on the majority that aren’t crazy,rather the few extremes that are in any camp. Sometimes that’s how solutions can be found.

              • jsmith5893

                RE: “mildest suggestion “

                In 1934, 1968, 1986, 1993 and 1994 I suspect similar “mild suggestions” were made when more restrictive gun laws were passed. Since all of the regulations derived from these laws are apparently not enough, maybe you can understand the reluctance of gun owners to entertain the idea of accepting the latest barrage. The problem is the real agenda of progressives is to ban all guns except for the government and governments (unlike individuals) have the track record for killing people that don’t agree with them. The reality is mandating smart guns or banning semi-automatic rifles (like the AR) or standard capacity magazines has nothing to do with keeping the people safe – it’s about using a horrific crime like Sandy Hook to whip lawmakers into an emotional frenzy to goad them into quickly advancing the agenda of gun control irrespective of any facts in more incremental “progressive” steps in order to set a new baseline and move the goal posts to the point where an unscrupulous government could do what ever they please.

      • bohica2

        Indeed , your side’s “Mild Suggestions” are always rational …and another “rabid” professor — ..or the Liberal who lost it – … and you people keep wondering why there’s no “rational” discussion ? Your Paranoia prevents it

    • Jem

      “Remember the old saying “There are no atheists in foxholes” ?”

      This is, as people have noted over the years, more of an argument against foxholes than atheists.

  • Jude Keck

    What a load of tripe. Just had to stop by and see if this was actually going on. Really hoping Fr. Z will weigh in on this West Coast liberal twisting of the facts. This is why I love living in Texas, among the sane and the armed. This mom of seven makes sure all her sons and daughters know how to handle a firearm responsibly. You know what goes great with a veil and a 1962 Roman Missal? A Glock. And Mother’s Day is just a few days away. ***MOLON LABE***

    • chezami

      What a fascinating muddle of irrationality again illustrating my point.

      • KM

        The Guardian has a new name for this phenomenon: “Glocker Moms.” I didn’t know it even existed until today.

        “…gun manufacturers, which supply much of the NRA’s funding, need to
        appeal to women and minorities to find future growth….”

        • Jem

          Brilliant. The very stupidest thing the gun manufacturers could do is try to make guns appeal to women and minorities. As the Republicans have learned, for every one of those they attract, they’ll lose five of their misogynistic, racist core market.

          • entonces_99

            Racist, huh? “[F]rom the time of Frederick Douglass, who called a ‘good revolver’ the ‘true remedy for the Fugitive Slave Bill,’ to that of civil rights icon Fannie Lou Hamer, who braved the worst of 20th century Jim Crow and declared, ‘I keep a shotgun in every corner of my bedroom,’ armed self-defense has always gone hand in hand with the fight for racial equality in America.”

            I should mention that I was persuaded to come over to the gun-rights position after reading some of the arguments of the Black Panther Party back around 1970. They may, as David Horowitz has pointed out, been little better than gangsters, but on this one point they understood the law and the history better than their opponents.

  • Elmwood

    Thanks for this Mark, keep up the fight for common sense!

    Paranoia about the King of England or the Pope taking away our guns runs deep in the American psyche. This paranoia can trace its roots to the “Glorious Revolution” in England when the Catholic monarch James II attempted to take arms away from protestants. This ultimately was about religious freedom in England which the Anglican Church wanted no part of.

    • Dave G.

      Try engaging with the conversation, you might be amazed at how few on this thread talked of King of England or the Pope taking away guns. Not that I would want to compromise the ‘pox on Protestants’ narrative so beloved on the Catholic blogosphere, but it is worth dealing with the conversation at hand.

  • KM

    Media Matters has an article today about how the NRA has been behind the effort to reject smart gun technology before its even been completed.

    It’s interesting to learn that the goal of smart guns is to get the malfunction rate at the same rate of mechanical failure since mechanical guns can also jam and malfunction.

    Some quotes from the article:

    “The National Rifle Association has used its media arm to dissuade gun owners from embracing “smart gun” technology through falsehoods and the promotion of conspiracy theories about the federal government….

    “In direct contradiction to the NRA’s claims it “never has opposed new technological developments in firearms,” NRA News has offered continual negative — and sometimes false — coverage on the technology behind smart guns. This criticism fails to appreciate that the technology is currently being developed at different levels of sophistication by a variety of stakeholders.

    “During a May 7 discussion of the Armatrix iP1 on NRA News show Cam & Company, host Cam Edwards claimed that “right now, this firearm has a failure rate of about ten percent, which means in every ten-round magazine you’re going to have one failure, right?”

    “In fact, in order to be eligible for sale in California, the iP1 underwent a testing process that required the firearm to discharge 600 rounds with less than six technological malfunctions, or in other words the gun had to possess a 99 percent success rate to be eligible for sale. While the iP1 uses RFID technology, success has also been shown with Dynamic Grip Recognition technology, which uses sensors to read biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints, on an authorized user’s hand. According to its developers the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the grip recognition technology currently has a 99 percent success rate, with an “operational goal” of a one in 1,000 failure rate. As NJIT president Dr. Donald Sebastian noted, the operational failure rate will be “comparable to mechanical failure rate in many consumer side-arms.” ”

    “The National Rifle Association’s Campaign to Stop Smart Guns.”

    • chezami

      That’s because the NRA promotes insanity and regards any change to the status quo (i.e. 30000 dead each year) as acceptable losses. Insane.

      • Benjamin2.0

        It does me great pain to find you making assertions which were all challenged far below as though they weren’t and having not met those challenges. A willful failure to present another’s argument as he would (most importantly, inclusive of the distinctions he would draw – especially if true) can be nothing other than false witness.


        P.S. I owe you more than you’ll ever know, so please don’t read hatred into my echoey disembodied voice. I’m aiming for a Chestertonic “witty inversion” with the use of ‘insane.’ I’ll obviously fall far short of that mark, Mark, hence the disclaimer.

      • KM

        Indeed, because profits matter more than people. Corporate rights trump individual rights. I understand exactly what Pope Francis is getting at when he has been criticizing how market forces are reducing people to monetary units.

  • Justsomeguy

    I and many other shooters/NRA members would have no trouble in letting the market decide the issue. Unfortunately, we cannot trust those on the other side of the issue. The law in New Jersey is an excellent case in point. It states in effect that after smart guns become commercially available, that new guns sold in the state will have to have that technology. The public does not have to use the locks on their car, house or computer, but in New Jersey at least, they would be mandated to use these devices.

    I am also concerned that there could at some point be an Off switch mandated that could render such devices inoperable. You may consider that to be paranoid, but since such things have already been discussed for cell phones and automobiles and in fact are already in some limited use there is justification for concern.

    If you are not concerned about a government that can exercise full control over your communication, transportation and personal defense, you are not a student of history.


    • Jem

      “The public does not have to use the locks on their car, house or
      computer, but in New Jersey at least, they would be mandated to use
      these devices.”

      Yeah, you do have to wear a seatbelt, get car insurance, maintain your brakes and headlights, stop at Stop signs and obey the speed limits. Those are all ‘mandatory’ things.

      As for the ‘the government could render them inoperable’ … here we hit the real issue. Which is that there’s a section of population who believe something very, very crazy, which is that the only thing between ‘government’ and ‘liberty’ is a thin red line of fat white guys.

      • Benjamin2.0

        “A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball, and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be your constant companion of your walks.”
        -Thomas Jefferson

        It seems the nation was founded by gun nuts who formed “a thin red line of fat white guys” for the sake of liberty against an unjust government. You’ve here cast flippant aspersions on that idea itself rather than a particular application where it might stand or fall. The distinctions you’re failing to make are why you can’t quite elevate your comments from snide mockery to cogent arguments which someone might actually find persuasive.

        The self-deputized logic police

        • Jem

          “It seems the nation was founded by gun nuts who formed “a thin red line of fat white guys” for the sake of liberty against an unjust government.”

          It really and truly wasn’t.

          And the Jefferson quote is from a letter to a nephew where he’s advising him to get enough exercise, like walking. Not an address to the NRA where he’s saying people should be able to concealed carry automatic pistols in schools and churches.

          • Benjamin2.0

            It really and truly wasn’t.

            I await with baited breath the much-needed distinction to elevate your assertion to an argument.

            And the Jefferson quote is from a letter to a nephew where he’s advising him to get enough exercise, like walking

            Perhaps I fail to see how the context invalidates the content, or, more importantly, how it demonstrates that Mr. McJefferson fails to achieve a status a modern regulator would describe as “gun nut.” “… the gun… gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind.”

            Not an address to the NRA where he’s saying people should be able to concealed carry automatic pistols in schools and churches

            It’s certainly not not that, either. Where are you going with this?

            • Benjamin2.0


              Now I get why nobody else uses blockquote!

              Eventually, I’ll learn the same lesson with html bolding, etc. It makes my posts look so pretty, though.

            • Benjamin2.0

              I see you typing. But you can’t keep me here! You can’t! I’m leaving!


            • Jem

              “I await with baited breath the much-needed distinction to elevate your assertion to an argument.”

              Then you massively overestimate my level of interest in explaining very simple statements of fact to people unequipped to understand them.

              “Perhaps I fail to see how the context invalidates the content”
              Because he’s not in any way talking about anything the NRA talks about. It’s not an issue of self defense or tyranny or taking a gun to school just in case *another* psychopath shows up. He’s tell a kid that doing a bit of target practice can be a good hobby. He’s talking about the equivalent of BB guns, not recommending that everyone should set up a giant bunker full of machine guns because we should all be paranoid that Queen Elizabeth II is about to lead an army to take Colorado.

          • entonces_99
      • Grits.N.Jowls

        Wearing seatbelts, car insurance, etc. are not mentioned in the US Constitution, GUNS ARE.

        • Jem

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

          The word ‘guns’ does not appear in the Constitution.

          • Grits.N.Jowls

            Okay, it is my opinion and the opinion of a lot of others in the United States that the word “arms” is a reference that means guns, weapons, ordnance, etc.

            Which further means that God gave these arms to us and only he can regulate them. I think that’s plain enough language for anti-gunners like you. Either way we’re not giving up our guns anytime soon nor will we be regulated.

            • Jem

              ‘the word “arms” is a reference that means guns’

              The word ‘guns’ does not appear in the Constitution, which was the claim.

              Clearly ‘arms’ included firearms at the time, and clearly firearms at the time were nothing like as powerful or accurate as they are now.

              As for ‘nor will we be regulated’ … well, again ‘well regulated’ *does* appear in the Second Amendment, and ‘arms’ were regulated by the Founders. The Head Axe was banned.

              As for ‘God gave these arms to us’ … this is the sort of lunatic thinking religion leads to. God didn’t hand you the guns, you bought them, possibly at Wal-Mart. Perhaps if you were taller or better-endowed you wouldn’t have bothered.

              • Grits.N.Jowls

                Fortunately more citizens believe as I do than you. Yes, God told me these are my rights and my guns and to defend them do the death. You and the other anti-gunners are welcome to try to come and take them. So bring it but it might cost you dearly. Are you ready to pay that price? I am.

                • HornOrSilk

                  When and where did God tell you this?

                  • Grits.N.Jowls

                    On or after 21 December 1989 at 0200 hours during the invasion of Panama. I suspect he had a similar conversation with the other 28,000 soldiers who were onsite that day. Were you in the area that day?

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Sounds like you confused Satan for God to me.

                    • Grits.N.Jowls

                      Doesn’t really matter one way or the other; does it?

                    • HornOrSilk

                      Oh yes it does — and your spirit proves the point. “Doesn’t matter if God or Satan.” We get it.

                • Jem

                  “You and the other anti-gunners are welcome to try to come and take them.”

                  Nah. You sit in your bunker on your own. We’ll be over here, enjoying ourselves.

                  • Grits.N.Jowls

                    That’s all we ask; that you mind your own business and leave us and our guns alone.

                    • Jem
                    • Grits.N.Jowls

                      Well, as Walter Cronkite used to say “and that’s the way it is” so shut up and deal with it. You anti-gun types have been out voted, out-lawyered, out-organized and everything else. We gun-owners have won. Any elected politician who threatens our guns will be recalled and destroyed. We don’t care about your “right to feel safe” we care about keeping our guns close for whatever reason we choose and because it’s our God given right that will not be infringed. FROM OUR COLD DEAD HANDS!!!

                      And FYI we’re working on educating the next generation on how to fight anti-gun weasels and wimps when their generation takes over. The attached article is what we really think of you and the geldings you keep company with.


                    • HornOrSilk

                      Lose your soul over a gun. What a shame. It’s not even Mammon anymore. The hatred, the anger, the hostility, the will to power, the will to violence in your posts really expresses why so many want these idols out of the hands of Americans.

                    • Grits.N.Jowls

                      Not gonna happen in this lifetime; if you want to take them you’re gonna have to knock the house down and start over and the only way to do it is thru armed force(like Caesar had to do with the Roman Republic). The open question is do you want to take them badly enough to go that route?

                      Of course such things can go both ways. You see the courts overriding the legislative and political will of the people daily but things haven’t gotten to the shooting stage yet; they almost did out in Nevada with Cliven Bundy and the BLM’s illegal actions but the wimps(lawyers) in DC backed off as was expected. They don’t have the will to fight(literally) here or overseas. All they can do is quote their “rule of law” or threaten to impose “sanctions”, Ooooh.

                      I think you see where we’re going don’t you? It’s just a matter of what sparks it.

                    • HornOrSilk

                      I see where YOU are coming from. Worship of guns, not God. And so if guns are your idol, of course you think it is a “god given right.” However, for any sane person, we realize guns didn’t always exist, so it is not a natural right from the get go. It is an accident of history, created by people for the sake of violence. I worship the God of Life, not death. And I find it is many like you, who cower so much you have to hold a gun and shoot at everyone, that are the true wimps (and why so many women with guns are the worst with them). It’s a pretend courage when the real courage is going forward, and not responding with violence, even if it kills you. That is courage and strength.

                      Oh, and Bundy is the one who is breaking the law. The fact that the feds are trying not to go crazy and shoot to kill those who are threatening everyone, including people who live in the place with their own outlaw behavior, is again, a positive thing.

                    • Grits.N.Jowls

                      Nicely worded platitudes but they don’t really matter outside of your little personal bubble; do they? The people of Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, etc. probably don’t share your “fluffy” and deluded optimism. Their situations will be resolved by fire and steel, not sanctions & baseless threats.

                    • Jem

                      ‘if you want to take them you’re gonna have to knock the house down and start over’

                      Attitudes change. The number of people who smoke was cut dramatically without anyone’s door being kicked in by the Feds. People just realized they were doing something unhealthy and the adverts that said it made them look cool were lying.

                      You sound like a paranoid sissy, and who’d choose to be that, given the choice?

                    • Jem


                      Ooh, what a giveaway.

                      As I say further down, gun ownership is clearly a symptom of sexual inadequacy. They’re worried about virile young black men on one side, and women and gays with the power to get their way on the other.

                    • Grits.N.Jowls

                      No Trayvon Martin and that other one who was shot in Jacksonville is how “virile” young black men will be dealt with if they get too violent outside of their own criminal sub groups; that is after they dismount themselves from between your legs. As for women and fags eventually they’ll fall in line and go back into their closet and the kitchen. Just gonna take a little time.

                    • Jem

                      OK … Poe’s Law states that any sufficiently advanced form of Christianity is indistinguishable from someone deliberately parodying Christianity.

                      I’m calling Poe on GritsNJowls. I would rather live in a world where someone would post this because they’re trolling than because their mind genuinely works that way.

                    • Grits.N.Jowls

                      Oh I’m for real and I’m not alone.

                    • chezami

                      Wow. Definitely proof that gun culture is not insane or anything.

          • entonces_99

            So the second amendment only ensures our rights to carry pikes and halberds?

            • Jem

              The word ‘guns’ does not appear in the Constitution. The word ‘arms’ does, and that was commonly understood at the time to include firearms, but firearms at the time were nothing like as powerful and accurate as the ones we have now. The nascent American government banned certain weapons – the Head Axe, for example. There’s no argument among the sane, for example, that we have a right to own nuclear weapons.

              The reason given in the Amendment itself for the Amendment is now completely obsolete.

              And *the law can be changed to reflect changed circumstances*. If you think that the framers of the Second Amendment thought the Constitution was a perfect, complete, infallible document, I’d draw your attention to the word ‘amendment’.

    • KM

      “I and many other shooters/NRA members would have no trouble in letting the market decide the issue”

      Really? Then why is this going on?:

      “New Jersey Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said in an exclusive interview Friday with msnbc that she will introduce a bill to reverse a 2002 New Jersey “smart gun” law if the National Rifle Association will agree not to stand in the way of smart gun technology.”

      “…If, in fact, the NRA will make a public commitment to not stand in the
      way of the manufacture, distribution or sale of any gun that is limited
      by technology to the use of only its owner,” Weinberg said, “then I will
      ask the New Jersey legislature to amend the law.”

      Weinberg said she was taking the position in an attempt to meet smart gun opponents “right on their own ground,” since “whatever goalposts they set for you, they move them.”

      “I have never been involved in an issue that results in the kind of vitriolic pushback that I get both personally and professionally when I’m involved in something as simple as gun safety,” she added.

      • Benjamin2.0

        if the National Rifle Association will agree not to stand in the way of smart gun technology.

        If, in fact, the NRA will make a public commitment to not stand in the way of the manufacture…

        That’s a lot of ‘ifs.’

        I have never been involved in an issue that results in the kind of vitriolic pushback that I get both personally and professionally when I’m involved in something as simple as gun safety

        It seems the issue isn’t “as simple as gun safety.”
        Vide infra:

        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.

        A major part of my conversion (reversion?… maybe just version) to Catholicism was rooted in the fact that none of its enemies could make a single argument against it which could withstand even a moment’s scrutiny. You can’t be right and that wrong simultaneously. It sounds like the “fallacy fallacy” when I say it, but it works when applied en masse. Don’t do that to me with the NRA.

        I’m begging you.

        I don’t even like guns all that much.

        • KM

          It’s pretty simple: She’s offering to reverse that 2002 NJ law if the NRA agrees to back off and let the free market work. The NRA — which represents the gun manufacturers more than its individual members — isn’t just opposed to smart gun tech in NJ, it’s opposed to it throughout the U.S. as witnessed by the pressure tactics by NRA minions against gun shops that try to sell them.

          • Benjamin2.0

            The NRA — which represents the gun manufacturers more than its individual members — isn’t just opposed to smart gun tech in NJ, it’s opposed to it throughout the U.S.

            So are police officers, if I read this comment section correctly. Perhaps addressing the validity of the stated motives rather than the unsubstantiated ones is in order.

            More importantly, though, how has the NRA actually responded to the law’s proposed reversal, and can one trust that it simply won’t be re-enacted once the NRA has let down it’s opposition? It’s hard to take one side seriously when the nuances are uniformly owned by the other.

            • KM

              You’re now bringing up a whole lot of what ifs in your answer. What if the law is reenacted once the NRA let’s down it’s guard? What if we can’t trust the other side? Well this is what our democracy is about: changing laws we don’t like which requires some negotiation, not bully tactics which is what the NRA has been doing and which rubs people the wrong way.

              Also it’s a fact that the NRA gets most of its funding from the gun manufacturers, and so that’s who it answers to more than its other individual membership. So for instance, although a year ago around 75-80% of the NRA membership was fine with background checks, it made no difference because the NRA was still opposed. I’ve looked around the NRA’s television website and noticed that the video segments are all sponsored by the gun manufacturers, like Sig Sauer for instance. It’s not grassroots anymore.

              • Benjamin2.0

                What if the law is reenacted once the NRA let’s down it’s guard? What if we can’t trust the other side? Well this is what our democracy is about: changing laws we don’t like which requires some negotiation, not bully tactics which is what the NRA has been doing and which rubs people the wrong way.

                I think Mr. Stupak demonstrated once and for all what a Democrat’s promise is worth, but there’s no reason to trust such even in the absence of a stated promise. If the repeal of the law is only a token gesture which with no promise of a bar of future re-enactment, I fail to see a reason the NRA or anyone should regard it as anything but. That’s the sort of logic which wins you a chess game, but maybe not shallow public perception. I have a great deal more respect for the former.

                I’d not be surprised to find that you’re an NRA spokesperson pushing me toward membership with these… arguments. You can’t have my money! I don’t even have any money to have! Leave me alone!

                Also it’s a fact that the NRA gets most of its funding from the gun manufacturers, and so that’s who it answers to more than its other individual membership.

                It’s also a fact that something might be mutually beneficial for members and gun manufacturers. That possibility eliminates the use of funding source as an argument against all arguments. Also, genetic fallacy, but the explanation sounds less lazy.

                • KM

                  No I’m not an NRA spokesperson, not even a member. But you sound like you are an NRA apologist. I’m just trying to point out facts but it seems I’m committing some kind of blasphemy against a sacred organization the way some are defending the NRA.

                  No, I don’t think the NRA is a benign freedom loving organization. It serves as a marketing and lobbying arm for gun manufacturers.

                  “[NRA] Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target
                  Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun
                  industry include Cabala’s, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.”

                  Read more:


                  • Benjamin2.0

                    No I’m not an NRA spokesperson, not even a member. But you sound like you are an NRA apologist.

                    Why? Because right reason has fallen on its side thus far, and I have pointed at that fact? Are you a Democrat apologist for the sake of your opposition to the NRA? How dare you show up here with all that infant blood all over your hands!?

                    Hopefully, the point penetrates the jest. I can’t imagine the tangent, otherwise.

                    “[NRA] Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target
                    Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun
                    industry include Cabala’s, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.”

                    I think the worst way to counter an accusation of having used the genetic fallacy is to simply employ it again.

                    • KM

                      You’re just not making any sense now, and trying to insult me. You just don’t want to believe that NRA members can be corporate tools. And anyone arguing that the NRA just might be an organization that supports corporate interests and profits above the common good must be a Democrat and/or a liberal. So buh-bye.

                    • Benjamin2.0

                      Maybe I could imagine it. I was both right and wrong. that seems like a good place to call it a day.

                  • entonces_99

                    Sure, the NRA gets contributions from gun manufacturers. But out of its $256 million total revenue in 2012 (according to its Form 990, filed with the IRS and which I’m looking at now, courtesy of Guidestar), it got only $73 million from contributions, gifts, grants, etc., from donors other than related organizations. On the other hand, it got $108 million from member dues (not to mention $7.5 million from program fees, $15 million from royalties, $15 million (net) from sale of inventory.) If its corporate donors were pushing the NRA in a direction contrary to the one that its members wanted, then the flow of dues would drop pretty fast, as members abandoned the organization (the way I dropped my membership in the ACLU in 1971 after they came out for abortion rights).

            • entonces_99

              I don’t know how you can substantiate your claim that the NRA “represents gun manufacturers more than its individual members.” You sound like you’re unaware of “the Cincinnati revolution” at the NRA’s national convention in 1977, where a grass-roots effort by NRA members resulted in the expulsion of the organization’s incumbent management and its replacement by leadership that would be much more aggressive in its advocacy for second amendment rights. As a member of the NRA, I regularly receive a ballot, which I can use to vote directly for members of the NRA’s board of directors. There are usually more candidates than open slots, so it isn’t just a case of asking the rank-and-file to rubber-stamp the decisions of the leadership. That’s a lot more real democracy that I’ve seen in other organizations I’ve belonged to (the National Geographic Society, to name one at random), where “membership” really means subscribing to the organization’s magazine and/or being on their fundraising mailing list.

      • Justsomeguy

        It is apparent that you read my first sentence, but either didn’t read the second or chose to ignore it. I and others like me don’t trust the other side. I offered New Jersey as an example, but it isn’t the only place such laws have been discussed or passed. California has a bill that differs a bit in detail, but overall is much the same as New Jerseys.

        It is a commonly known tactic that the anti gun side is now trying to pass a patchwork of laws at whatever level they can, knowing full well that this will make life difficult on gun owners. Even if the New Jerssey politicians were to keep thier bargain – nobody really believes that New jersey politicians are honest do they? – we would simply begin a game of whack a mole. Proposals would likely spring up everywhere.

        I have been diligently working on this issue for over 20 years. Despite the way the other side has changed their names and their language, they are still beating the same drum with the same destination in mind. I will not give them any more room to maneuver than I have to.


    • chezami

      So death threats are fine?

      • entonces_99

        Wow. That’s some pretty powerful strawmanning there. You read Justsomeguy’s calm explanation of some of the problems with “smart guns,” and you conclude that he’s making excuses for death threats. By this kind of reasoning, when you point out everything that’s wrong with abortion, you’re *really* excusing assassinations like that of Barnett Slepian.

      • Dave G.

        I’ve read Justsomeguy’s post several times. Did he say death threats are fine?

        • Justsomeguy

          Others have already answered, but I will speak for myself as well. No where in my statement did I defend death threats.

  • Mark, you’re the one saying now, “What could it hurt?” and ignoring all the warnings. Once it’s enacted and done its damage, you will no doubt be the first to say, “How were we supposed to know?”

    “Smart” guns are not ready for the desktop. They are worse than Windows XP right now. Justsomeguy absolutely nailed why nobody who actually uses guns wants the technology.

    Seriously, what we’re discussing here is the idea that a wireless computer network, made simple enough to be used by Jersey cops, will be secure enough to prevent violent offenders from using anyone else’s guns against them, for as much as a minute after taking them away.

    And, depending on whose projections you believe, it will only keep the cops and people protecting their families from using their guns in 1-20% of cases, and only delay them from doing so …. well, gee, who knows how often? Nobody ever asked. And forcing people to use it will make things BETTER.

    We are talking about failure to fire anywhere from once in a 15 minute shooting session (at measured pace, 6-7 shots a minute) to once per reload of a compact revolver.

    And that’s BEFORE criminals attack them. Once “smart” guns are out, it should take criminal hackers about a day or two to come up with a pushbutton device to crash smartguns by remote control. It could easily be a smartphone app.

    Now, how could it hurt?

    • chezami

      Give up, don’t try, won’t work. Got it. Cuz nobody has ever worked the bugs out of new technology or anything.

      • If it weren’t for the law demanding that everyone buy it and use it, no matter what, as soon as it hits the market, nobody would care. A few would take their chances and pay through the snout to have the latest and greatest, and probably die, much as with aircraft. And much like antilock brakes, over time they’d become safer and cheaper, and replace the old technology.

        But there is such a law, telling New Jerseyites that they may only defend themselves with tools having documented unacceptably high failure rates.

        You normally have no problem recognizing when government grabs power and hands out favors. But right now, you’re suffering from a blind spot.

        Have you missed that this is (a) not proven technology, (b) prone to dangerous failures, (c) the manufacturers expect it to remain so prone even after it hits the market, and (d) *mandated by law*, regardless the bugs?

        Okay. You put The Cuteness in General Motor’s first prototype of a consumer-grade, computer-driven car, and send her out in traffic, without any on board controls, and I’ll agree that this is just reactionary bellyaching.

        Because that’s a fair analogue for what is happening to gun owners in New Jersey. They already know that as soon as some beta-grade level of “smart” gun technology hits the market, their only choices are either to buy and use it (and oh what a boon for the first to market!), no matter how dangerous, or become criminals.

  • KM

    pro-gun enthusiasts try to ban smartguns in the name of safety, would that make
    them “smartgun grabbers?” How are “smartgun grabbers” different from liberals who seek to ban (aka “grab”) certain types of guns in the name of safety?

    • Jem

      I hope they get the Supreme Court to ban them, accidentally setting a precedent.

    • @KM: When “smart” guns expose the legitimate user to risks far greater and more grave than the far simpler all-mechanical guns, and laws are already in place mandating their use as soon as they arrive, will ye or nil ye (rather like Obamacare). For example:

      oh wait… or is that a ritually impure source of information?

      • KM

        Huh? That source doesn’t mention anything about mandating the use of smartguns, just how smartguns might fail. Why not let consumers in the free market decide what they want?

        It seems to me that gun advocates want to restrict or ban sales of smartguns. That is the definition of gun control, something which I thought gun rights advocates were opposed to.

        I can see the future Onion headlines now:

        Gun Rights Advocates Urge Smartgun Control to Prevent Future Gun Control


        Gun Rights Advocates Tyrannize Consumers and Gun Shops in order to Prevent Future Government Tyranny

  • Any opinion but mine is a stupid argument so just STFU.

  • KM

    I cannot imagine there won’t be some type of legal action against the people who are interfering with the sales of smartguns, and not just for the death threats. The NYTimes article cited in Mark’s post shows how people actually caused economic damage by preventing legitimate sales of these smartguns . I’m no lawyer but isn’t this tortious interference? Any lawyers around here who can explain if I’m correct or not?

  • Aristarcus

    How often have I beard nonsense such as the above. Somehow or other, liberal Catholics get to be anti-anti-abortion based on some nonsense about the pro-life community not supporting the secular humanist position on firearms. When, will, the Catholic community ever wise up??!!

    • chezami

      What are you talking about?

  • entonces_99

    The single most important fact about American automobile culture is 34,000 dead
    people each year. Are there other important questions about property,
    safety, and liberty? Sure. But the single most important fact is
    34,000 corpses.

  • entonces_99

    You do know, by the way, that of the 32,000 gun deaths in 2011 (according to, only about 11,000 are homicides? About 20,000 are suicides. (Leaving about 1,000 accidental gun deaths.) If guns could be made to magically disappear, I’d be surprised if that had more than a minimal impact on the suicide numbers. And then we’d be treated to Mr. Shea’s handwringing about “American rope culture” or “American tall building and bridge culture.”

  • Shaun Fellay

    With all the posts that are made on this old (by internet standards) story, does any one actually think THEIR comments will be read?

  • Jill

    I am surprised at this condescending article regarding what is called “gun culture” What the heck is that? I am a proud owner of a few “guns”. which the last time I checked is not a crime. Also, imagine what lives could have been saved in some of these recent mass shootings if someone, yes someone from the gun culture, actually had a conceal permit and stopped the murderer. As Catholics it is not a sin to protect life in such a manner as this, in fact I think it would be a grave error not to if one has the means. Yes, I am a proud owner of firearms, Yes I am a faithful Catholic also. No contradiction here. Mark I remember you starting out many years ago in This Rock mag. I am surprised at the your virulent condescending attitude to anyone who practices their Second Amendment right. I would like to see you make your argument for what you believe here. I think it would be more charitable. I for one am glad that I can protect my family if need be some day.

  • Tom Rowe
  • Dave G.

    Well after 400 comments, the gun owners win hands down. Since the proponents of limiting gun ownership or pushing for new technologies mostly refused to engage those critiquing (or in some cases, merely asking questions about) the proposed solutions, I’m going to give the debate to gun rights advocates. You don’t win arguments by shouting people down and repeatedly accusing them of things they continually insist they aren’t saying. That’s no different than the anti-Catholic who insists Catholics worship Mary no matter how often Catholics insist they don’t. Most weren’t making the arguments they were accused of making on behalf of gun rights. Nonetheless, not only were they continually accused of making such arguments, they were even not-so-subtly accused of racist tendencies and even not caring if innocent people are being murdered. Main Gott. That’s the stuff one finds on a Jack Chick style blog, not one interested in advancing a serious debate for a serious issue. So final conclusion: Gun Rights Advocates: 1. Gun Limitation or Tech Development Advocates: tsk, tsk, tsk.

    • KM

      “…they were even not-so-subtly accused of racist tendencies and
      even not caring if innocent people are being murdered.”

      That’s funny because I saw some pro-gun people below say that gun control is racist due to the history of past gun control which had some racist motivations. Not all past gun control was due to racism. The gangster era of the 1920’s led to gun control due to the public outcry, and the gangsters were generally criminal whites. So it doesn’t follow that today’s efforts to curb gun violence have the same racist motives because this is a different era and the causes and issues are different, just like during the gangster era.

      Adam Winkler, author of “Gun Fight” cautions that despite the history “there’s no doubt we need better and more effective gun safety laws.” But that’s where both sides differ.

      “In the years since, the racial politics of gun control have shifted dramatically. Given the high incidence of crime in some black communities, African-American politicians have sought measures to reduce gun violence. And it is primarily white politicians, representing white communities, that oppose gun control.

      “America’s most recent gun-control efforts, such as requiring federally licensed dealers to conduct background checks, aren’t designed to keep blacks from having guns, only criminals. Of course, the unfortunate reality is that the criminal population in America is disproportionately made up of racial minorities.”

      • Dave G.

        Since the first mention of racism was aimed at those opposing gun control, I’d wager it was a response. Most seem to have no problem looking for solutions, though what they are differ. Many who answer ‘gun control’ like to point out that there are likely societal issues that nobody wants to address. How we deal with criminal rights, mental health, why nobody addresses the reasons for the disproportionate level of gun violence in minority – particularly African American – neighborhoods (not just act like we shouldn’t be surprised), the role of drugs. They’re all issues worth looking at, in addition to regulations and controls put on the purchase of guns or the development of technology. Most here have tried to either point out the flaws in using some of the stats, or the reasons why it’s not enough to just say yes to an idea. And most have been hit with ‘gun nut’, ‘gun owners worship guns’, ‘gun owners likely racist (don’t care if deaths are dark skinned people)’, gun owners willing to let people die because of their gun love.’ If I remember correctly, I knew as many gun owners who wept following Sandy Hook as gun opponents. Pretending anything else does nothing to advance solutions. Which more here seemed willing to do without following gun control calls than those on the other side of the debate. Hence the win.

        • KM

          Both sides have the same arguments I’ve seen on various message boards for the last few years, so there’s no win for anyone. It’s a stalemate. The same arguments have been going around ad nauseum for years, so it’s tiresome which is why people don’t bother answering anymore.

          The only answers I’ve seen to the question: “why try to ban smartguns before they hit the market” has to do with paranoia of the government and distrust of the “other side’s” intentions. Hardly winning arguments to most people who don’t share those fears.

          The last argument against smartguns has to do with fears that the products aren’t ready — fears which are unfounded based on the strict standards placed on smartguns before they’re allowed on the market. Death threats and anti-competitive market interference against people legitimately trying to sell smartguns in the free market aren’t winning arguments either.

          • Benjamin2.0

            You. Just. Can’t make sense, can you? The side which is accused of not addressing the facts claims stalemate for the sake of failure to agree, and pushes a summary of the arguments of his opponents which lacks even verisimilitude. We can’t agree because you’re holding invincibly to a preconceived narrative. You seem to only admit facts presented when convenient to that. That doesn’t describe a winning argument. Therefore, I’m with Dave. Sweeping, uncontested victory. If you want to win a debate, try showing up.

            • KM

              Doesn’t matter how much you all try to argue. Smartguns are coming, whether you like them or not. The free market will eventually win over intimidation. The demand is there, and the supply will be available at some point somewhere. There are people who want to buy them even if you don’t want them.


              • Dave G.

                And as long as it isn’t steam rolled by the government, most won’t mind.

              • Chris

                The problem is not with the smart guns. It is the government trying to MANDATE ONLY smart guns for purchase. NJ law will make all other handguns illegal. Let’s mandate this policy to the police force and see what they say. It is absurd and unproven technology. I could care less if they sell them. I do care when this government mandates which firearm I can use for personal defense. This is nothing more than a gun ban ploy.

                It is a good thing the elections are coming up. We are going to vote all these liberal democrats out.

                • chezami

                  No. The problem is with gun nuts issuing death threats against people selling smart guns. Also with gun nuts who are just fine with 30000 deaths every year, including the ocassional Sandy Hook.

          • Dave G.

            It doesn’t have to be. And I’m not saying there aren’t good arguments for regulating guns differently than we do. But on this thread, those who tried to say ‘let’s look at the stats and facts and consider the pros and cons’ were drowned out – again, on this thread – by accusations of racism, gun worship, stupidity, and not caring about dead people. Even when people tried to correct those, they were just thrown back. Not that all arguing against control and regulation reform were angels. But on the whole, more who were questioning various suggestions seemed infinitely more concerned about facts and reality than too many who looked as if they just wanted to score points.

    • chezami

      Who could possibly have predicted that you would conclude this?

    • Jem

      “they were even not-so-subtly accused of racist tendencies”

      Gosh, wherever did we get that idea from? Oh, wait … this appeared in the comments section here.

      “No Trayvon Martin and that other one who was shot in Jacksonville is how
      “virile” young black men will be dealt with if they get too violent
      outside of their own criminal sub groups; that is after they dismount
      themselves from between your legs.”
      Gun owners, being pussies, are scared of everything. Girls and gays, but most of all they’re scared of black people stealin’ their womenfolk.

      • Dave G.

        Goodbye. I’ve read your posts and realize I’m dealing with a bizarre combination of Glenn Beck and Bill Maher, but without the charm. A big waste of time that was. The only thing my discussions with you accomplished was making just about every gun owner, now matter how loony or paranoid, seem reasonable and mature by comparison.

  • Max Scheck

    It has been my experience…. No, law enforcement officers tell me that people who kill people are rarely “gun people.”