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Jan 06 2013

How dishonest can a Breitbart writer get?

This dishonest:

According to the FBI annual crime statistics, the number of murders committed annually with hammers and clubs far outnumbers the number of murders committed with a rifle.

This is an interesting fact, particularly amid the Democrats’ feverish push to ban many different rifles, ostensibly to keep us safe of course.

However, it appears the zeal of Sens. like Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) is misdirected. For in looking at the FBI numbers from 2005 to 2011, the number of murders by hammers and clubs consistently exceeds the number of murders committed with a rifle.

Think about it: In 2005, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 445, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 605. In 2006, the number of murders committed with a rifle was 438, while the number of murders committed with hammers and clubs was 618.

Yeah, think about it. Notice that he specifically compares deaths by blunt instrument to deaths by rifle? That’s so he can leave out the “8,260 firearm-related homicides in 2011 attributed to shotguns, handguns, and other unidentified guns.”

But let’s be charitable. Let’s assume he honestly believes the most dangerous weapon a person can be armed with is a hammer. Then shouldn’t he be advocating that teachers be issued a hammer for each classroom rather than arming the teachers with guns?

267 comments

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  1. 1
    marcus

    Is there such a state as “dishonesty to the nth degree”? If so that is the answer to your question.

  2. 2
    Ing

    And these are not the hammer

  3. 3
    marcus

    @1The value for n being infinity.

  4. 4
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Why are they combining murder by hammer with murder by club. Those are very different tools.

    And while we are at it, how about we parse out those murders by claw hammers, ball peen hammers, sledge hammers and jack hammers.

    Do not expect honesty from Breitbart. The real question is what level of dishonesty do you get.

  5. 5
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Why are they combining murder by hammer with murder by club.

    For the same reason they filtered out rifle from firearms — to give enough of a fig leaf to top-NRA-rated lawmakers so they can vote against, or water down to impotency, any attempt to curb this frightening gun culture.

  6. 6
    Nepenthe

    @marcus

    The title does pose a very interesting mathematical problem. Transfinite numbers may be involved in the solution.

  7. 7
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Guess what?
    The comments after the article are deeeeeeply stoopid.

    I wonder, can I walk into a bar with a hammer?
    I also wonder how many people can be killed in the shortest amount of time with a hammer.

  8. 8
    kayden

    The amount of gun control legislation acceptable to Breitbart and his ilk is zero. I don’t anticipate that this Congress will get any sensible gun control legislation passed. Too bad.

  9. 9
    sadunlap

    One of my favorite political cartoonists did a wonderful take-down of this idiocy with this cartoon from last month:

    From his website: “Every time one of these atrocities has occurred, since the cartoon below first ran in January of 2011, readers have written to suggest that I rerun it with a blank line replacing the name of the town. And in fact, I seriously considered it this time, as a way of driving home the sheer numbing repetition of these massacres. But then I realized I wanted to take the idea a little further than that, so this is where I ended up, with a sort of sequel to the last one.”

    Generic cartoon

  10. 10
    sadunlap

    Doh! I forgot to point out the 3rd panel of that cartoon is the one in particular that speaks to the topic here.

  11. 11
    fecklessflamingo

    There are actually useful distinctions between guns, though. This one is rather bizarre, but it’s normal to have different laws governing handguns vs. long guns, for example. The reason is that handguns are more likely to be used to kill a person than a long gun, and long guns are much more likely to be used for sport (hunting, competition shooting, that sort of thing).

    Personally, if I were doing the grouping, I’d have talked about gun deaths with handguns and carbines in one category, and long rifles and shotguns in another. I have no idea what this guy’s original point was and I don’t really care (I tend not to bother reading idiot republicans on the internet), but I come from a place where a good number of people hunt for their food, and I’d really hope we don’t outlaw relatively safe weapons used for such things when we are taking a close look at the ones that are typically used in crimes.

  12. 12
    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar

    Been saying that for years: if hammers/clubs/knives/swords are so effective for killing, then they are plenty effective for self-defense too, and we can confiscate and melt down ALL the guns currently in civilian hands.

  13. 13
    Bronze Dog

    As I see it right now: One important difference between a gun and a hammer that these sorts like to gloss over is it’s much easier to kill someone with a gun. To kill a person with a hammer, you usually have to put a lot more effort into it.

    1. It’s much easier to kill someone in a sudden rush of anger with a gun than with a hammer. You can’t exactly “take back” a bullet like you can pull back on a hammer pre- or mid-swing. Once you flick the trigger, you no longer have control over the bullet, so there’s no mid-attack window for self-control to be reestablished. With a hammer, you can potentially stop, redirect, or weaken an otherwise lethal attack if you suddenly change your mind.

    2. Range. You can kill someone with a gun from a distance. They are designed to attack from range. A hammer can be thrown, but it’s slow enough to dodge or deflect, and even then, one successful hammer throw is probably less lethal on average than a bullet shot is. A hammer is better suited for melee, anyway. As such, the attacker has to approach his target, which can give him time to rethink his plans. The victim also has a chance to see the attack coming and ready himself, run, negotiate, or plead to prevent the attack from becoming full-blown murder. Or possibly even panic, triggering sympathetic instincts in the attacker, motivating regret and canceling the attack.

    3. Repetition and speed, specifically that of fully-automatic guns, and to a lesser extent, semi-automatics. Someone with a full auto gun can produce multiple attacks with a single held depression of the trigger. With a semi-automatic, multiple trigger pulls are still relatively easy. A person with a hammer typically has to commit a lot of muscle power to each lethal swing. With relatively little effort, a gun wielder can kill multiple people in a short time or fill one person with enough bullets to greatly increase the odds of death. If a person with a hammer goes on a rampage, it’s easier for an unarmed group to overpower him or for a lone defender to survive long enough to turn the tables or escape.

    4. Defense and retaliation. In a hammer attack, defenders can often improvise roughly equivalent weapons from the environment or defenses to shield them from attack. It’s not so easy to improvise countermeasures to gun wielders. It should be noted that having self-defense weapons can also lead to greater death, especially since there are some people who simply shouldn’t have guns because they might draw their “self-defense” gun in a moment of rage and thus be more effective murderers than they would be at preventing murder. One big beef of mine is that the most vocal anti-gun control people don’t seem to acknowledge there’s a difference between responsible gun ownership and irresponsible. Their rhetoric and culture often encourage the latter while only paying lip service to the former.

  14. 14
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Machine hammers combined with barbed wire for a while made for almost impenetrable formation during the Great War.

  15. 15
    Ing

    Well lets see hammers work by applying kinetic force to an object. The downside is how close you have to get…if only if we could devise some way to do that from afar. perhaps some device that just throws the heads at targets!

  16. 16
    jt4014

    In this debate he has a fair point – the current proposed legislation will only ban semi-automatic rifles, not handguns or shotguns so why should he include this data?

    If he were to include the 8,260 deaths caused by these given the current debate about rifles that would be far more dishonest.

    Now if you want to open up a debate/legislation about who can own granddads double barreled shotgun and revolver then that’s a different question and you could then included all this data. What this highlights is how futile this legislation is without regulating gun owners rather than specific firearms.

  17. 17
    fecklessflamingo

    1. It’s much easier to kill someone in a sudden rush of anger with a gun than with a hammer. You can’t exactly “take back” a bullet like you can pull back on a hammer pre- or mid-swing. Once you flick the trigger, you no longer have control over the bullet, so there’s no mid-attack window for self-control to be reestablished. With a hammer, you can potentially stop, redirect, or weaken an otherwise lethal attack if you suddenly change your mind.

    I have to disagree with you here. It’s actually relatively easy to pick up a hammer or other blunt object that may very well happen to be lying around and hit someone with it. It can be a lot more work to find a gun, unlock it (assuming the gun is kept properly locked), load it, aim, and fire. The trigger pull is just a tiny piece of the whole thing and there’s plenty of time for reflection about what you’re about to do.

    I think you also missed an important point related to distance. I think shooting someone with a gun provides a certain amount of distance, psychologically. It seems to me that bashing a head in with a hammer is a much more visceral experience than shooting someone. I’d imagine you’d have to be much more committed to killing a person to do it in such a hands-on way as a hammer or club. Shooting someone, compared to hitting them with a hammer, is a much “cleaner” way to do it and you don’t necessarily have to look them in the eyes as you’re doing it.

  18. 18
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    This debate over the right to bare hammers.

    You can take my hammer when you pry it from my cold dead hand.

  19. 19
    Ing

    It can be a lot more work to find a gun, unlock it (assuming the gun is kept properly locked), load it, aim, and fire.

    That’s quite the assumption. What about conceal carry?

    In this debate he has a fair point – the current proposed legislation will only ban semi-automatic rifles, not handguns or shotguns so why should he include this data?

    No he does not because he’s putting every fucking blunt object against rifle…that’s still massaging the numbers in your favor.

    And it’s ignoring other factors. Such as proportion of attacks with blunt-force are fatal compared to those of gun etc. It’s also ignoring what people are upset at: spree killing not just murder in general. The logistics of going on a killing spree is far different than trying to knock off one person who pissed you off. Regular murder is far more common than mass murder.

    If we want to look at what people want prevented, spree killing, it is simply a fact that hammers and clubs are NOT used. Even knives which occasionally are used in spree crimes are much less likely to be fatal.

  20. 20
    fecklessflamingo

    That’s quite the assumption. What about conceal carry?

    In many places it’s difficult to impossible to get concealed carry licenses, and it’s illegal in many (perhaps even most, I’m not sure) states to carry a weapon that’s loaded.

    But even granting that someones got a CCW and carries the gun loaded (which, I imagine, is a lot less common than having a hammer close at hand), the act of drawing, aiming, and firing, I would argue, allows for as much time to reconsider as swinging a hammer.

  21. 21
    Ing

    In many places it’s difficult to impossible to get concealed carry licenses, and it’s illegal in many (perhaps even most, I’m not sure) states to carry a weapon that’s loaded

    You’re not serious right?

    But even granting that someones got a CCW and carries the gun loaded (which, I imagine, is a lot less common than having a hammer close at hand), the act of drawing, aiming, and firing, I would argue, allows for as much time to reconsider as swinging a hammer.

    I’m just rolling my eyes here

  22. 22
    LykeX

    Defense and retaliation. In a hammer attack, defenders can often improvise roughly equivalent weapons from the environment or defenses to shield them from attack

    Very much this. Looking around me right now, I’ve got three viable defenses within arms reach; a chair, a thick, heavy book and a metal trashcan. Either of those could likely ward off at least one hammer swing and none of them would be the least useful against a firearm.
    On top of that, I have a pair of scissors which would be roughly equivalent weapon. At least with a hammer, anyone who tried to attack me would have to get close enough that I would have a chance at retaliation.

    This is me, sitting at home, with no planning or preparation of any kind. Give me thirty second and I’ll get the crowbar or the big kitchen knife I got last christmas. Armed with those, I’d bet on me over any even-sized guy with a hammer.
    On the other hand, if somebody came at me with a gun, plan A would be to run, plan B to hide, and plan C to try to stall him with talk until the police got here.

    Regarding the OP, I can’t help but notice the discrepancy between the numbers; the 2011 data says 8,583 total deaths by firearms and 323 deaths by rifles. Limiting the number only to the deaths by rifles eliminates over 95% of the total firearms related deaths.

    If you have to ignore 95% of the data in order to make it look like you’re right, then you’re truly, remarkably, astoundingly wrong.

  23. 23
    Zeno

    I am a teacher and I have three hammers, two at home and one in my desk at school. Fear me, for I am a pedagogical bad-ass!

  24. 24
    Ing

    On top of that, I have a pair of scissors which would be roughly equivalent weapon.

    god help you if they have a rock though!

  25. 25
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.
    On top of that, I have a pair of scissors which would be roughly equivalent weapon.

    god help you if they have a rock though!

    No problem. Where there are scissors, there is most likely paper.

    [looks at desk]

    Yup, lotsa paper.

  26. 26
    LykeX

    In many places it’s difficult to impossible to get concealed carry licenses, and it’s illegal in many (perhaps even most, I’m not sure) states to carry a weapon that’s loaded

    From wikipedia

    Among U.S. states, Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming allow residents to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.[19][20][21] These states also allow the open carry of a handgun without a permit.

    A Shall-Issue jurisdiction is one that requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun, but where the granting of such permits is subject only to meeting determinate criteria laid out in the law; the granting authority has no discretion in the awarding of the permits, and there is no requirement of the applicant to demonstrate “good cause”.

    The following are undisputed Shall-Issue states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina,[15] North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee,[16] Texas, Utah,[17] Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming .[10]

    Certain states and jurisdictions, while “may-issue” by law, direct their issuing authorities to issue permits to all or nearly all qualified applicants, and as such they are considered “shall-issue” in practice. Alabama, Connecticut, and certain cities and counties in California and New York are examples

    A May-Issue jurisdiction is one that requires a permit to carry a concealed handgun, and where the granting of such permits is partially at the discretion of local authorities (frequently the sheriff’s department or police)

    The following are “may-issue” states: Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

    A No-Issue jurisdiction is one that – with very limited exceptions – does not allow any private citizen to carry a concealed handgun in public. The term refers to the fact that no concealed carry permits will be issued (or recognized).
    Illinois and the District of Columbia are No-Issue jurisdictions by law, and forbid both open and concealed carry except under a very limited set of circumstances.

    I can’t seem to see any information in concealed carry of loaded/unloaded firearms. From a brief search on survivalist/gun-nut forums, it looks like loaded carry is a real and often exercised option. For example.

  27. 27
    littlejohn

    I think he singled out rifles because many gun-control advocates are singling out rifles. Many want to ban military-style rifles, which are not, in fact, often used in crimes. Criminals tend to favor handguns, which are easily concealed. I’m not taking sides; I just think that’s what he was getting at.

  28. 28
    Jadehawk

    the numbers that i’d find most relevant would probably be deaths (accidental or otherwise) per hammer vs deaths per assault rifle. and, for that matter, deaths per car.

    aside from that, i’d like to know what non-murderous, necessary need a rifle fulfills, to be comparable with a hammer. i mean, you can’t even dig up fossils with an assault rifle, ffs

  29. 29
    Jadehawk

    also, wouldn’t “hammer” be a generic category, like “gun”?

  30. 30
    shouldbeworking

    Why would a person carry a firearm in public? The most common answer I see on the interweb is for self defence. So ‘logic’ would demand that the weapon be loaded at all times.

  31. 31
    johnmarley

    …it’s illegal in many (perhaps even most, I’m not sure) states to carry a weapon that’s loaded

    What? It may be (I can’t be arsed to check) that it is illegal to carry a weapon with a round chambered*, but if it were illegal to carry a weapon that is loaded at all, what would be the point?

    *does not apply in the case of revolvers, obviously.

  32. 32
    johnmarley

    Why would a person carry a firearm in public?

    I live in Wyoming. A lot of people here are fiercely proud of the Wild-West tradition.

  33. 33
    glodson

    You’ll only get my hammer when you take it from my cold, dead hands.

    It is too bad that hammers are machines that only kill and not a tool with multiple uses like a rifle.

  34. 34
    Ing

    Many want to ban military-style rifles, which are not, in fact, often used in crimes.

    but they ARE used in SPECIFIC crimes that the current debate is addressing. That’s what people are ignoring. This gun control debate isn’t about removing hand guns from people per say, it’s about trying to curtail spree killing. The reason they’re focusing on military-style rifles is a) they’re commonly used for said crime and are one of the best choices for it and b) it’s a compromise

  35. 35
    md

    I dont see this as dishonest at all. The issue of the day is banning assault rifles, which are included, though not the totality of, the ‘rifle’ category in the crime statistics. So, how much good will an Assault rifle ban accompish? Statistically speaking, not much.

    Handguns are the issue, really. So be honest, do you want to completely disarm the populace of all guns?
    Pravda has an opinion.

  36. 36
    Ing

    So, how much good will an Assault rifle ban accompish? Statistically speaking, not much.

    What degree of mass murders where done with a hammer?

  37. 37
    DutchA

    Hmm, the obsession with clubs speaks of a caveman-mentality

  38. 38
    fecklessflamingo

    I’m just rolling my eyes here

    Roll your eyes all you like, but the simple truth is that if you have your gun holstered and you’re facing a guy with a knife, if he’s inside 20 feet of you, he can close the distance and attack you before you can unholster your gun and shoot him. That’s what they teach police officers. And that’s for open carry where the gun is on your hip. If it’s concealed, it can be longer to draw it, depending on where it’s concealed.

    So go ahead and roll your eyes. Or learn something about it from people who actually have bothered to look into it. Your choice.

  39. 39
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    If I had a gun
    I’d shoot in the morning
    I’d shoot in the evening
    All over this land
    I’d shoot out danger
    I’d shoot out a warning
    I’d shoot out love between
    My brothers and my sisters
    All over this land.

  40. 40
    Ing

    Roll your eyes all you like, but the simple truth is that if you have your gun holstered and you’re facing a guy with a knife, if he’s inside 20 feet of you, he can close the distance and attack you before you can unholster your gun and shoot him. That’s what they teach police officers. And that’s for open carry where the gun is on your hip. If it’s concealed, it can be longer to draw it, depending on where it’s concealed.

    Yes that’s why police don’t use guns right? I’m always amazed at this magical teleporting knife man who keeps showing up to all these arguments.

  41. 41
    johnmarley

    What degree of mass murders where[sic] done with a hammer?

    Exactly this. The dishonesty in Breitbart’s article is not that the gun data is limited to rifles, which I agree is legitimate. It is that he uses statistics for all murders, and ignores the fact that the specific issue is spree killing/mass murder.

  42. 42
    michaeld

    I’m always amazed at this magical teleporting knife man who keeps showing up to all these arguments.

    Maybe the ninja population is on the rise? ;p

  43. 43
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Roll your eyes all you like, but the simple truth is that if you have your gun holstered and you’re facing a guy with a knife, if he’s inside 20 feet of you, he can close the distance and attack you before you can unholster your gun and shoot him. That’s what they teach police officers. And that’s for open carry where the gun is on your hip. If it’s concealed, it can be longer to draw it, depending on where it’s concealed.

    If only this were the only scenario.

  44. 44
    Ing

    @michaeld

    well if that’s the case we sure are lucky! We’ll be safer thanks to the law of inverse ninjitsu!

  45. 45
    fecklessflamingo

    What? It may be (I can’t be arsed to check) that it is illegal to carry a weapon with a round chambered*, but if it were illegal to carry a weapon that is loaded at all, what would be the point?

    Looking into it a little more, it appears I was wrong about the unloaded thing. It applies only to open carry. CCW generally are allowed to carry with a round chambered. But the idea behind unloaded open carry is that you draw, load, and shoot.

    That said, even for the “unloaded open carry”, the laws are sometimes very odd. For example, in Utah, all that’s required for a gun to be considered unloaded is for it to require two actions to load the gun. That can be removing the safety and chambering a round. So you can have a full magazine in the gun and still have it be considered “unloaded”.

  46. 46
    Ing

    I have to question, in police lore was there an actual bumbling cop that found himself in that situation? Cause this very very specific situation keeps getting cited.

    On the other hand we do get a lot more reports of ACTUAL confrontations in RL where it’s escalated by someone with a CC pulling it in the middle of an argument. Such as the poor bastard who got shot in the gut at Little Caesars.

  47. 47
    dysomniak "They are unanimous in their hate for me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    I’m always amazed at this magical teleporting knife man who keeps showing up to all these arguments.

    *cough* http://youtu.be/ckz7EmDxhtU

  48. 48
    fecklessflamingo

    Yes that’s why police don’t use guns right? I’m always amazed at this magical teleporting knife man who keeps showing up to all these arguments.

    I’m beginning to think you’re just not very smart. The police are trained to shoot an attacker before he can get to that distance away, and they’re taught ways of getting more time. E.g. taking a step or two backwards, holding the gun in ways that make it harder for the assailant to steal it, and so forth.

    Again, the point is not that guns are ineffective, not lethal, or anything like that. The point is that they are not as “instantaneous, pull a trigger and everyone’s dead” that you claimed they were. I have no problems with the rest of your argument. I’m merely trying to point out that one piece of it was flawed and your points about gun violence would come off better if you left out that bit since it makes you sound ill informed.

  49. 49
    chigau (違う)

    I few years a Calgary cop shot a knife-wielding person who was actively engaged in stabbing said cop, while grappling with cop.
    The family of the deceased knife-wielder said the cop should have shot-to-wound rather than shot-to-kill.

  50. 50
    michaeld

    @ing

    Too true. I always forget about that law.

  51. 51
    ck

    md wrote:

    I dont see this as dishonest at all. The issue of the day is banning assault rifles, which are included, though not the totality of, the ‘rifle’ category in the crime statistics.

    It is dishonest. There is no “hammer and club” category. There is only a blunt object category, with the examples of hammer and club in parenthesis. Any object that is heavy, portable and rigid is potentially a blunt object when used as a weapon. My floor lamp is a blunt object. So is my laptop. Same with a large rock. I’m surrounded by blunt objects that could potentially be used as a weapon, including a hammer. Hell, a rifle can and sometimes is used as a blunt weapon. The category is ridiculously large.

  52. 52
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.
    Roll your eyes all you like, but the simple truth is that if you have your gun holstered and you’re facing a guy with a knife, if he’s inside 20 feet of you, he can close the distance and attack you before you can unholster your gun and shoot him. That’s what they teach police officers. And that’s for open carry where the gun is on your hip. If it’s concealed, it can be longer to draw it, depending on where it’s concealed.

    Yes that’s why police don’t use guns right? I’m always amazed at this magical teleporting knife man who keeps showing up to all these arguments.

    I got that in basic training in the Army when they were giving us the (very very very) basic rudiments of unarmed combat and knife/bayonet combat. It was a good way to build our self-esteem. Of course, very few of us were going Rangers or hoping for any other sort of special forces, so the chances of us needing to actually use the rudimentary training was just about zero. Which is about what the training was worth.

    What the DIs never tell you is that this is only applicable for someone who is well trained in knife fighting, is sober, and has no second thoughts about it at all. It does not apply to the man with four beers in his system who has never used a knife for anything other than cutting a a steak and is wondering if he really does want to assault the cop.

  53. 53
    Ing

    I’m beginning to think you’re just not very smart. The police are trained to shoot an attacker before he can get to that distance away, and they’re taught ways of getting more time. E.g. taking a step or two backwards, holding the gun in ways that make it harder for the assailant to steal it, and so forth.

    And when it’s against someone moving at full speed in an unstoppable berserk rage?

    And according to Myth Busters it’s 18-16 feet for a threatening knife range (though given Jamie’s pratfall that also gives an indication of superior tactical advantage of guns).

    I’m seriously questioning how often we get a charging with a knife scenario here? Every time I can think of a knife being draw it hasn’t had that.

  54. 54
    Ing

    What the DIs never tell you is that this is only applicable for someone who is well trained in knife fighting, is sober, and has no second thoughts about it at all. It does not apply to the man with four beers in his system who has never used a knife for anything other than cutting a a steak and is wondering if he really does want to assault the cop.

    Thank you. that’s what I was getting at with “mythical teleporting knife man”. Yes you CAN close the distance in theory…but thinking about it it seems far more likely someone drawing a knife is going to try to try to slowly close the distance rather than charge straight forward. I may be wrong about this but the situation seems unlikely.

  55. 55
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    I’m seriously questioning how often we get a charging with a knife scenario here?

    I really think it keeps coming up because (and this is more than 20 years ago) the US Army used that exact description when telling us dumb recruits why it was important for us to learn the basics of knife fighting.

  56. 56
    machintelligence

    I think the point that the article was trying to make was that even if you could magically make every rifle disappear overnight it would have a very small effect on the firearm death rate. This is not to say that some types of weapon are not worth banning; fully automatic firearms including shotguns are already illegal. Adding high capacity semiautomatic weapons could be worthwhile.

    With regard to concealed carry, I believe Skepticlawer from Australia said it most succinctly :

    The problem of concealed carry

    Concealed carry, one would assume, stands or falls on the evidence. The way people argue over it, one would think that it either works brilliantly (gun rights groups) or generates chaos and crime (law enforcement and gun control groups). In fact, it does neither. Time and again, the enactment of concealed carry laws has not changed the crime rate in either direction. At all. People don’t even get to argue over correlation and causation because the data doesn’t get that far. It’s a wash, indistinguishable from noise.

    You can read the whole post at: http://skepticlawyer.com.au/2012/12/19/so-sandy-hook/
    This post and the followup are the best reasoned and most well thought out that I have encountered.

  57. 57
    Ing

    @Ogvorbis

    Well yeah it makes sense for the fucking army. But when talking about CC laws and all?

  58. 58
    fecklessflamingo

    And when it’s against someone moving at full speed in an unstoppable berserk rage?

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Again, my point is not to the efficacy of guns, the likelihood of this scenario, or anything like that. Rather, as I’ve said already, my point is that your argument that you have more time to reconsider an attack made with a hammer than a gun is bollocks.

    And according to Myth Busters it’s 18-16 feet for a threatening knife range (though given Jamie’s pratfall that also gives an indication of superior tactical advantage of guns).

    Sure. It’ll vary from person to person. Some people have faster reflexes than others. I suspect they say 20 feet because who really wants to cut it that close?

    I’m seriously questioning how often we get a charging with a knife scenario here? Every time I can think of a knife being draw it hasn’t had that.

    Like I said, how often it happens is irrelevant. The point isn’t that it’s common, but rather that the average person trained in the use of a firearm (as are the Mythbusters) would lose in a fight against a guy with a hammer if they were standing next to each other, contrary to your earlier point about “instant kills”.

  59. 59
    michaeld

    There’s also some variation in what happens after that first stabbing by the knife. Really 1 stab wound won’t kill you instantly unless they really get you somewhere critical. More likely the gunman would still be alive after that and could potentially kill or injure his attacker though wounds and proximity make it more difficult.

  60. 60
    Ing

    In fact, it does neither. Time and again, the enactment of concealed carry laws has not changed the crime rate in either direction.

    ok lets take this at face value and think logically about this. It does nothing for crime rate, but definitely if used WILL have people drawing to escalate fights (just like any medicine will have side effects). if using the policy has a guarantee that someone is going to get shot in a situation they wouldn’t and it does nothing for crime, then it is harmful. Much like a medicine that does no help, but rarely does harm is on the whole harmful.

  61. 61
    LykeX

    The police are trained to shoot an attacker before he can get to that distance…

    Anything a cop can be taught, a criminal can learn.

  62. 62
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Well yeah it makes sense for the fucking army. But when talking about CC laws and all?

    I suspect that many of those who bring up this particular point either served in the army or have talked with people who served in the army and they repeat the training pablum of the DIs uncritically because it supports their fantasy world view. There are a shitload of veterans. If ten percent of us remember that part of our training (and I use that word loosely) and indoctrination, that’s a shitload of people in the US who think that a knife will beat a holstered side arm at 20 feet. And some are willing to repeat it without thinking about the non-military aspects of armed combat.

  63. 63
    Ing

    Like I said, how often it happens is irrelevant. The point isn’t that it’s common, but rather that the average person trained in the use of a firearm (as are the Mythbusters) would lose in a fight against a guy with a hammer if they were standing next to each other, contrary to your earlier point about “instant kills”.

    No I’m still calling bullshit about that. Hammer may get first strike but that doesn’t guarantee a win. It’s also presuming average training in fire arm versus seemingly perfect training with hand to hand or weapon combat. The average attack with such an implement is not going to be someone trained in combat like that as said. Plus as said again you can shield yourself from a hammer or knife, even with arms and draw a gun. It has stopping power.

    You seem to be talking about some next to each other ambush scenario where hammer guy gets to bash the other guy over the head in a sneak attack…which um sorry but ANY one who does that regardless of weapon is more likely to win. You’re shifting the goal posts.

  64. 64
    Ing

    Gun doesn’t guarantee a win either with first strike, but is a lot more likely to.

  65. 65
    fecklessflamingo

    I’m moving the goalposts? Let’s take a look at what you said.

    You can’t exactly “take back” a bullet like you can pull back on a hammer pre- or mid-swing.

    That implies to me, at least, that you’re standing next to each other. It also doesn’t mention anything about deciding not to take a second swing, the lethality of the first strike, or being able to defend against said strike. It seems to me that I’m not the one moving goalposts around. If you don’t stand by that statement anymore, and rather want to argue that a hammer strike is not always lethal, and one can stop before the second swing, then I already pointed out earlier in my original response to you something very similar and I shall not reiterate it.

  66. 66
    Ing

    You can’t exactly “take back” a bullet like you can pull back on a hammer pre- or mid-swing.

    I’m very shocked to learn I said that.

    If you don’t stand by that statement anymore, and rather want to argue that a hammer strike is not always lethal, and one can stop before the second swing, then I already pointed out earlier in my original response to you something very similar and I shall not reiterate it.

    I’m very shocked to learn that I apparently said anything OTHER than that the benefit of a gun over hammer was stopping power along with range.

    Cause you know…I didn’t

    I’m starting to think you just aren’t that smart.

  67. 67
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Where can I get my hands on a high capacity hammer?

  68. 68
    fecklessflamingo

    I’m starting to think you just aren’t that smart.

    Never said I was. Sorry for the mixup.

  69. 69
    Ing

    @Fecklessflamingo

    Obviously. I don’t know what else to think if you’re not going to admit that I never said what you quoted me as saying

  70. 70
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Janine:

    Your Sledgehammer!

  71. 71
    fecklessflamingo

    I apologize if I was unclear in my last message. I was apologizing for attributing a quote to you that was, in fact, said by Bronze Dog. As you say, it wasn’t very smart. It was that comment my words in this thread were directed at countering.

  72. 72
    LykeX

    @cough* http://youtu.be/ckz7EmDxhtU

    I notice that they never tested what would happen if the gun got the first move. In other words, they only tested the situation where the knife-wielder got every possible advantage; close range and first move.

    So, if closer than twenty feet and with the advantages of first move, no safety, and no bullet in the chamber, knife wins. In any other circumstance, gun wins.

    That’s not really saying much, is it?

  73. 73
    LykeX

    Goddammit! Warriors, arm yourselves! We’re marching against the city of Blockquote.

  74. 74
    Kagehi

    Bah… All you need to really make a bat lethal, from why wide experience, is a bat, motor, some wire, a battery, and a saw blade! (Dead Island joke, for those not in the know). Obviously we need to ban all of these things, not guns. lol

    Seriously though, I posted over there that this claim was a bit like classifying “drunk driver” as only those people pulled over, or in accidents, while driving a 1960s VW bug, while just flat ignoring every other vehicle on the road. I am surprised, other than maybe they where looking for “close/similar” numbers to compare, they didn’t compare statistics from 1512 using swords, with 1812 statistics, on deaths from rpgs (yeah, they had them, or at least rockets, which is the same thing, right…?).

  75. 75
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Is this thread about that new vibrator? The Hammer?

    I had no idea how dangerous it is.

  76. 76
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Stop!

    Hammer Time!

    (hides in shame)

  77. 77
    ck

    It seems defenestration is less popular than I would’ve guessed. Only two murders committed that was in 2011.

  78. 78
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    It seems defenestration is less popular than I would’ve guessed. Only two murders committed that was in 2011.

    Or only two were caught…
    The draw of defenestration is deniability.

  79. 79
    Gnumann+, out&proud cultural marxist (just don't ask me about Gramsci)

    And the name of course. Best named murder ever.

  80. 80
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    The Defenestration of Prague.

    Also, Angel asking the vampire if he could fly before he pushed him out the window of the skyscraper. Though it was the sunlight that killed him.

  81. 81
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Or only two were caught…
    The draw of defenestration is deniability.

    The problem with defenestration these days is the modern safety codes with thick tempered glass being used in tall buildings. Bodies bounce back as the glass doesn’t break.

  82. 82
    glodson

    Responsible hammer owners secure their hammers with a hammerlock.

  83. 83
    Nepenthe

    fecklessflamingo

    I think shooting someone with a gun provides a certain amount of distance, psychologically. It seems to me that bashing a head in with a hammer is a much more visceral experience than shooting someone. I’d imagine you’d have to be much more committed to killing a person to do it in such a hands-on way as a hammer or club. Shooting someone, compared to hitting them with a hammer, is a much “cleaner” way to do it and you don’t necessarily have to look them in the eyes as you’re doing it.

    QFT. This seems to be glossed over a lot in discussions of gun control, but to me this is the scariest part of guns (and military drones, for that matter). From what I’ve read, distance seems to be the deciding factor on how psychologically easy it is to kill another human in the absence of specialized training. There’s a reason that fewer than 2 percent of murders are done via strangulation/asphyxiation and that very few of those are done via face to face manual strangulation. On Killing, by David Grossman, was very enlightening.

  84. 84
    sharkjack

    @65: I know your message was misdirected but I still wanted to address this.

    Bronze dog was comparing an assailant equipped with a hammer (assailing presumably unarmed people) with an assailant equipped with a gun (assailing presumably unarmed people). The assailant with the hammer is the one who has the time to think after “pulling the trigger” on hir attack, because the force used in the attack can be lessened and the point of impact changed mid swing, while a shooter cannot change anything about the shot once the gun has been fired. This is not a deathbattle between a person with a hammer vs one with a gun. Yes, in a deathbattle between a person armed with a gun vs a person armed with a hammer, the hammer wielder may have the upper hand in a bunch of scenario’s. This has nothing to do with anything though because:

    a: Killing people with hammers consumes a lot of time and energy. when you use nothing but a hammer You’ll get tired fast.
    b: Killing someone with a hammer is extremely visceral, especcially with blunt weapons.
    c: You have a pathetic range with a hammer, so you can’t easily take control over groups of people and running away is more of an option for the person being attacked.
    d: attacking renders the assailant vulnerable to outside interference a significant amount of time per attack.
    e: everyday surroundings are full of objects with roughly the same qualities as a hammer, making defense far more viable
    f: the fear factor of hearing a gun go off creates panics, which are also incredibly dangerous, perhaps moreso than the gun assailant.

    So yeah, guns aren’t instant win machines, but they’re still far more dangerous than knives, hammers or even, dare I say, chainsaws.

  85. 85
    kyoseki

    Why the hell is everyone obsessing over a knife attack?

    Nobody is currently proposing a gun ban and such a ban would never pass anyway, so arguing whether guns are more or less dangerous than knives or improvised weapons is irrelevant.

    The only significant legislation on the table right now is a ban on the sale of semi automatic rifles and a ban on the sale of high capacity magazines, both of these are intended to try to prevent large scale spree killings – bear in mind that neither of these pieces of legislation are going to ban the millions of rifles or magazines already in circulation.

    So the questions that should be getting asked are:
    1: Are semi automatic rifles overrepresented or significantly more effective than handguns in spree killings/mass murder?
    2: Do high capacity magazines have a significant effect on the casualty rate in mass shootings.

    Regarding point 1, while we have had a couple of bad shootings lately where an assault rifle was present, the majority of mass shootings typically use handguns (the deadliest shooting in US history, Virginia Tech, involved 2 handguns with standard 10-15 round magazines).

    Additionally, one thing that isn’t getting much press is that in Aurora, the assault rifle jammed after firing 25-30 rounds. The bulk of the injuries were inflicted using the shotgun and two handguns, so it seems to me that the rifle itself wasn’t a major factor in that attack.

    In Newtown, while an assault rifle was used exclusively, the perpetrator was also armed with two handguns. Without an assault rifle, the attack would have been similar to the Dunblane massacre in the UK, which resulted in 18 dead. However I don’t know whether the reduced number of casualties was caused because of a lack of an assault rifle or simply because Dunblane primary school was likely much smaller than the Sandy Hook school (UK schools typically are much smaller than their US counterparts).

    So I would say the presence of an assault rifle wasn’t significant in either attack, consequently I’m not sure banning them will have any significant effect.

    Now, onto point 2, high capacity magazines. It’s worth noting that high capacity magazines have no bearing on the total number of rounds a shooter carries, it simply means they have to reload more often.

    In theory, reloading should provide victims or first responders a chance to rush the shooter, however, in practice this almost never happens (to my knowledge, the only instance of this being a factor is during the Tucson shootings, when the perpetrator dropped his second magazine).

    Certainly in Aurora, the shooter had enough time to reload his handguns 3 times without anyone tackling him (3 empty handgun magazines were recovered from the theater) and in Newtown I’m doubting that the opportunity presented itself either.

    Bear in mind, of course, that even if one weapon is empty, the majority of mass shooters carry additional firearms that aren’t.

    So I have serious doubts that either of these proposals will do a goddamned thing to reduce the casualties inflicted in mass shootings and obviously neither is going to do anything to curb regular gun deaths which are typically committed with handguns with only a handful of shots fired (whether they be murders or suicides).

    It’s probably also worth noting that because Feinstein’s bill effectively wants registration of all semi automatic firearms, it’s never going to pass (I’m personally ok with registration, even though I don’t think it will be particularly effective, but most people will fight the idea tooth and nail).

    There is other legislation out there like closing the gun show loophole (which I’m totally ok with) and banning online purchasing of ammunition (fuck knows how that’s supposed to stop anything), but I don’t see how either of those is going to do anything to prevent mass shootings either.

    I’d like to see some more creative thinking from our legislators instead of just trying the same old shit that’s been shown to not work. In particular I’d like to see mandatory training and proficiency testing, not least because I’d love to see the NRA try to argue that gun owners don’t need to be able to hit the broad side of a barn.

  86. 86
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    Additionally, one thing that isn’t getting much press is that in Aurora, the assault rifle jammed after firing 25-30 rounds.

    (the deadliest shooting in US history, Virginia Tech, involved 2 handguns with standard 10-15 round magazines).

    25-30 >= 2*(10-15)

  87. 87
    Kagehi

    @85

    Yeah, mandatory training, as long as it doesn’t mean “Ten minutes explaining not to point at your own head, or someone else’s, and a 5 minutes at a gun range.”, like some of the crap that we do now as “training”, would be a start. But, you are right back to “registration”, more or less. Everyone would have to have a license, like a car, to carry, or even own, **at all**, and then, you would need to know where all the damn things where, instead of just waiting around, until someone pulls you over, and upon asking, “Do you have a license for that.”, actually doing something about you not having one. Given that, unlike a car, this isn’t either a) as likely to happen, or b) as practical, it would be far better to penalize anyone selling, to anyone else, without a registration change, and to severely penalize anyone that shows up with one that isn’t registered *period*.

    Not sure what “creative” solutions you imagine anyone is going to come up with, when the main argument from those who have undermined the ability of any of the stuff that has passed to a) work, b) cover everything it needs to, or c) be enforced, is, “Why should we treat all guns the same, or prevent loopholes, unless by doing these two things, you mean, ‘don’t regulate them at all’?” Its pretty hard to make a law work, when you refuse to take steps needed to make sure it *can* work, including ***not grandfathering people in***.

  88. 88
    DrewN

    I think it’s telling that the number of murders committed with hammers/bats/sticks/clubs/blunt objects of any kind, is only slightly more then the number of murders committed with just one “seldom used in crimes” type of firearm.

  89. 89
    kyoseki

    25-30 >= 2*(10-15)

    Your point being what, exactly?

    You are aware then when a magazine is empty, you can pull it out and put a new one in, yes?

  90. 90
    kyoseki

    @kagehi
    In California, you have to pass (an admittedly trivial) test to qualify for a handgun purchase – you cannot pass the background check without a handgun safety certificate, so you can simply put the firearms into different tiers (like they do in New Zealand) and make people qualify for each tier.

    I would propose making those tests a lot tougher, include proficiency testing for handguns & rifles and also make certain tiers dependent on accomplishing the tiers below (along with say a mandatory waiting period – eg. you have to have owned handguns for 2 years without any trouble before you can buy a semiautomatic rifle). I’d really love to see the NRA try to weasel out of regulations that state that you must be able to hit a certain target at a certain distance before you’re allowed to own a certain weapon.

    … and grandfathering is a simple fact of life with these laws, even when the NFA passed rendering automatic weapons illegal, automatic weapons already in private hands were exempted (yes, that means there’s people out there who own fully legal machine guns). No politician is going to pass a bill that will turn law abiding Americans into felons overnight and passing any gun related bill that would mandate anyone to have to turn in a legally acquired weapon is going to turn into a blood bath (bearing in mind, of course, that we have no clue who owns what, so we can’t even guarantee that the weapons are off the streets anyway).

    The only laws we can pass right now are ones that apply to new purchases.

  91. 91
    miles

    “When all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

    Been using that phrase a lot lately in regards to possible motives for firearm rampages (as in, “ARG I’m SO FRUSTRATED and I can’t do anything. I’m so powerless in life and can only rage impotently and -waaaaait…. Why hello there, Mr. BangShootey.”).

    I suppose it could be more literally applied in this case.

  92. 92
    kyoseki

    Sam Harris has written a fairly lengthy piece on the problem;
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-riddle-of-the-gun

  93. 93
    Ing

    Sam Harris is a piece of shit who has no authority on matters of ethics

  94. 94
    michaeld

    @Kyoseki
    Sean Faircloth has written a fairly lengthy counterpoint to Harris.

    http://richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/1/4/sam-harris-neglects-the-most-important-evidence-about-guns#.UOaCS4njluh

  95. 95
    kyoseki

    @michaeld
    Interesting, reading it now.

  96. 96
    What a Maroon, oblivious

    By concentrating on murders, this Breitbart person is actually understating the danger of hammers. In 2010 alone, there were 452 suicides by hammer*, along with 739 deaths attributed to accidental hammering*.

    Of course, if you really want to induce death by blunt force trauma, a hammer has nothing on a frozen leg of lamb.

    *Source: ass, pulled out of my

  97. 97
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Of course, if you really want to induce death by blunt force trauma, a hammer has nothing on a frozen leg of lamb.

    And, of course, have it cooking while the detectives question you per AC…

  98. 98
    Crissa

    How many of those ‘hammer and club’ murders were with a rifle?

    Sheesh.

  99. 99
    John Morales

    Crissa has a point: without ammunition, a rifle is a relatively clumsy club.

  100. 100
    md

    kyosecki,

    That Harris link is excellent, thanks for sharing. Rational people should read it and wrestle with it.

  101. 101
    Matt Penfold

    That Harris link is excellent, thanks for sharing. Rational people should read it and wrestle with it.

    And intelligent people should dismiss it because it fails totally to deal with why the US is so much more violent than other developed countries. And because Harris seems to think that no other developed countries have inner-city problems like they do in the US.

  102. 102
    md

    Penfold,

    You seem dangerously close to making an intellectual connection here. Can you expound a bit more on the US inner city problems you mention? Perhaps im wrong, but im assuming you favor an assualt weapons ban on new sales. How often are assualt weapons used in these inner city problems you mention?

    More from Harris:

    In the weeks since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, advocates of stricter gun control have called for a new federal ban on “assault weapons” and for reductions in the number of concealed-carry permits issued to private citizens. But the murder rate has fallen precipitously since the federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004, and this was also a period in which millions of Americans began to carry their guns in public. Many proponents of gun control have observed that the AR 15, the gun that Adam Lanza used to murder 20 children in Newtown, is now the most popular rifle in America. But only 3 percent of murders in the U.S. are committed with rifles of any type.
    Seventy mass shootings have occurred in the U.S. since 1982, leaving 543 dead. These crimes were horrific, but 564,452 other homicides took place in the U.S. during the same period. Mass shootings scarcely represent 0.1 percent of all murders.

  103. 103
    Matt Penfold

    You seem dangerously close to making an intellectual connection here. Can you expound a bit more on the US inner city problems you mention? Perhaps im wrong, but im assuming you favor an assualt weapons ban on new sales. How often are assualt weapons used in these inner city problems you mention?

    Do you have a point, other than wanting to show us you are somewhat illiterate ?

  104. 104
    md

    Instead of engaging the facts, you get grammarian on me. Weak.

  105. 105
    Matt Penfold

    Instead of engaging the facts, you get grammarian on me. Weak.

    I am waiting for you to make a point. Until you do, what is there to engage ?

    And you did make a reference to my intellect, so it seemed appropriate to point out that yours seems a little on impaired side, given your inability to spell “I’m” correctly. It is something children routinely master after all.

  106. 106
    Alex B

    Sorry for not taking the time to read through this whole comment section. I know that can be annoying.
    I love this blog but this condensed post by PZ, I think misses one point. The old assault weapons ban mainly focused on the scary military looking rifles. I don’t care for breitbart and never been to the site. The point is that by focusing on just assault looking rifles you are just over reacting.
    Now my view is individuals have the right and responsibility to primarily defend themselves.The regulations we have in place are reasonable enough and gun violence is mostly an issue of culture and society. Remember that we in a time of unprecedented gun ownership and also decreasing violent crime rates.
    Guns are not the problem. People are. The fact that killings with bare hands and blunt instruments even compete with any class of firearm tells us something. People suck. And I want the best weapon possible to protect myself and family in the event I become one of the unlucky victims of shitty people. In addition, millions of people are shooting every year for recreation with hardly an incident. Being overprotective is a form of oppression to me. So count me as an atheist and lover of science and still a big fan of PZ who respectfully disagrees.

  107. 107
    Matt Penfold

    Now my view is individuals have the right and responsibility to primarily defend themselves.The regulations we have in place are reasonable enough and gun violence is mostly an issue of culture and society. Remember that we in a time of unprecedented gun ownership and also decreasing violent crime rates.

    The evidence shows that there a correlation between the availability of firearms, and of murders involving the use of firearms. England and Wales had 39 murders involving firearms in 2011. Were it to have deaths at the level in the US it would have been over 1700. The percentage of murders involving firearms is also far less in England and Wales. Data from other developed countries shows a similar correlation.

    Also, if the high level of gun violence is the result social conditions and culture, then that is an argument to impose tighter restrictions on gun ownership, not less.

  108. 108
    Alex B

    I don’t deny there’s evidence showing that a lower availability of guns would have a lower rate of murder with guns after those countries have taken guns away for a period of time. There were initial spikes in violent crime in countries when their governments took away their guns. Sure it will probably wane. But our countries are very different. There are countries in Europe with lower crime and high gun ownership as well to consider. We have a criminal mindset problem. We have a healthcare(esp mental health) problem. We have alcoholic spouse problem. Gang violence problem. But we have had decreasing violent crime rates and increased gun ownership. So our first steps should be to cure societal ills and not to leap to the first chance to deprive the overwhelming vast majority of law abiding gun owners with draconian laws. We may be able to live as safe as the countries without compromising our rights.

  109. 109
    usagichan

    A late question for the “deadly hammer” crowd – how many mass killings (say more than 10 per attack) have used weapons other than guns of any kind? (I’ll accept any other “weapons” – samurai swords, trucks, anything other than guns).

    As to the effectiveness of the proposed legislation – clearly what is being proposed will not be the most effective method of curbing gun attacks, but presumably one has to start somewhere. Perhaps the proposed legislation would provide a platform to build on, a basis for more practical controls the next time a few dozen innocent children are slaughtered and the public are shocked enough to want to pressure the politicians into doing something?

  110. 110
    md

    clearly what is being proposed will not be the most effective method of curbing gun attacks, but presumably one has to start somewhere.

    A thing I like about PZ and most Pharyngulites is that they are usually out front about their political ends.

    And so I ask again, is the complete disarming of Americans of all guns of all types what you desire? If so, how far would you be willing to go in obtaining this end? Round up every American and resident and guest, and go through all their belongings and take all guns and destroy them? I do think that would reduce gun violence. Are you for it?

  111. 111
    LykeX

    Personally, as a non-American, my focus is less on limiting the actual number of guns and more on the question of why Americans are so obsessed with owning guns in the first place. I mean, what the hell is up with that?
    And don’t get me started on the paranoid conspiracy theories about how the evil government is going to take away your guns. It seems that, for whatever reason, guns have some kind of deep emotional significance in American culture, far beyond the simple fact of owning a firearm.

    Is it by any chance related to the Pioneer/self-reliance stereotype and the fact that you have a minimal social safety net? Having a gun implies safety and an ability to deal with anything? I’m speculating, so feel free to correct me on this.

  112. 112
    David Marjanović

    aside from that, i’d like to know what non-murderous, necessary need a rifle fulfills, to be comparable with a hammer. i mean, you can’t even dig up fossils with an assault rifle, ffs

    :-) Well, who knows. I’m immediately reminded of the comic where one of the stupid secret agents uses an assault rifle called the WC-93 to unclog the toilet, with the implication that he routinely does that, though also with the implication that this ruins the gun and makes the boss very, very angry. I forgot what the other stupid secret agent does with the other assault rifle, but it’s similar.

    *cough* http://youtu.be/ckz7EmDxhtU

    Only one click away is this reminder of the difference between handguns and semiautomatic rifles.

    Is this thread about that new vibrator? The Hammer?

    And by “hammer” you mean…

    (Can’t find it on TV Tropes.)

    You are aware then when a magazine is empty, you can pull it out and put a new one in, yes?

    It also takes a while to do that. During that while, you can be attacked and overpowered. If you don’t need to reload, you can just keep shooting… why isn’t this obvious?

    Sorry for not taking the time to read through this whole comment section.

    *sigh* No. No, dude. No. If you haven’t read this thread, you can’t add to it; you’re practically bound to repeat something that has already been said, or already been disproven, or both.

    Now my view is individuals have the right and responsibility to primarily defend themselves.

    Frankly, if it gets that far, your country has failed as a state.

    Guns are not the problem. People are.

    See? You missed the whole discussion in this very thread about how much easier it is to kill people with a gun, especially a semiautomatic (or automatic) one, than with “hammers and clubs”. Shame on you.

    There are countries in Europe with lower crime and high gun ownership as well to consider.

    And guess what, they have much tighter gun control than the US, and their gun-related crime rates are the highest in Europe.

    We have a criminal mindset problem. We have a healthcare(esp mental health) problem. We have alcoholic spouse problem. Gang violence problem.

    And nobody else has that?

  113. 113
    md

    Now my view is individuals have the right and responsibility to primarily defend themselves.

    Frankly, if it gets that far, your country has failed as a state.

    David, how can you make that statement? No state on earth can provide a completely violence free existence for all its citizens. People can break in your home, attack you on the street, with no security/police around. That fact is not a failure of the state. Who is going to defend you in that instance, if not yourself?

  114. 114
    sharculese

    And so I ask again, is the complete disarming of Americans of all guns of all types what you desire? If so, how far would you be willing to go in obtaining this end? Round up every American and resident and guest, and go through all their belongings and take all guns and destroy them? I do think that would reduce gun violence. Are you for it?

    What is this whiny gibberish? It must be fucking tedious wandering into every conversation looking for an excuse to pretend to be a victim.

  115. 115
    David Marjanović

    Argh. I thought about it several times, but in the end I forgot to put in the obligatory reminder that rock hammers look a lot like medieval war hammers. :-)

    Personally, as a non-American, my focus is less on limiting the actual number of guns and more on the question of why Americans are so obsessed with owning guns in the first place. I mean, what the hell is up with that?

    Germans are obsessed with having no speed limit whatsoever on certain highways. It’s considered an issue of freedom: freie Fahrt für freie Bürger, “free driving/passage for free citizens”. When accidents happen, they are spectacular, like a car crashing into a truck and the lower half of the car coming out more or less intact on the other side of the truck…

    Is it by any chance related to the Pioneer/self-reliance stereotype and the fact that you have a minimal social safety net? Having a gun implies safety and an ability to deal with anything?

    Probably.

  116. 116
    David Marjanović

    David, how can you make that statement?

    How can you put “responsibility” in there?

    Who is going to defend you in that instance, if not yourself?

    Well, a gun definitely isn’t.

    See, the chances that I’m faster at the draw are negligible; and if the burglar thinks I’m probably armed, they’re going to pack heat, too, and likely climb in with their gun already drawn. Then they might shoot me preemptively, and in any case they’re going to take my gun and sell it on the black market. (Stolen legal guns are a big source of illegal guns, even in the US.)

  117. 117
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    As a matter of practicality, one is far more likely to injure themselves or someone else (accidentally or unlawfully) than successfully defend themselves with a gun. The feeling of safety that most gun owners share is *in fact* illusory.

    Illusory feelings, if widely held, are often sufficient to affect legislation. I think this is a bad thing.

  118. 118
    kyoseki

    It also takes a while to do that. During that while, you can be attacked and overpowered. If you don’t need to reload, you can just keep shooting… why isn’t this obvious?

    As I stated earlier, any idiot can reload a handgun in a couple of seconds, if you know what you’re doing, that drops to under a second;
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgdq1FBYTUE

    In the absolute best case, you need someone near the shooter who has realized that he’s emptied that magazine and can close the ground and tackle them before they can reload – for example, the Aurora shooter had enough time to swap weapons twice and reload his handguns three times without anyone attacking him.

    The argument that “it gives people a chance to overpower the attacker” is bunk, there’s only been a single mass shooting where it happened (Tucson), because the shooter dropped the magazine and only had a single firearm, and if the victims are kindergarteners, they’re not going to overpower anyone are they?

  119. 119
    WharGarbl

    Hm… got some interesting statistics figured out (using Wikipedia as source).
    Got Gun ownership data here:
    Guns per 100 resident, 2007 data
    Got homicide rate here:
    Homicide per 100,000 inhabitant, 2012 data
    Copy paste data into Excel sheet (copy paste into notepad to remove the images first before pasting to excel sheet).
    Use Excel’s VLOOKUP method to combine the two data set (given the country name, pull the gun-ownership info and homicide rate from both list.
    Remove countries that doesn’t have one of the data set (so if a country has homicide rate but no gun ownership info, it’s removed. Same in reverse, gun info but no homicide rate? Removed.)
    Plot the resulting information (gun-ownership on X-axis, homicide rate on Y-axis), and stick a linear regression on it. This is the result.

    Linear: beta is -0.21, R^2 is 0.05. As given, its claiming that for each percentage increase in gun ownership (increase gun ownership per 100 resident by 1), the homicide rate will reduce by 0.21 per 100,000 inhabitants (or vice versa, the less homicide a country has, the more people like to own gun).
    Yes, I know correlation != causation.
    The reason I use homicide rate is that we are talking about death by hammer/blunt instruments. So I wanted to find out that regardless of method of committing homicides, does gun-ownership increase or reduce homicide rate?
    A lot of caveat on this “analysis” (more back of the envelope thing than a through analysis).
    1. Data set came from two different times (one in 2007, one in 2012).
    2. Data set ignores possibility of gun-control measures (as stated, it includes just gun-ownership data).
    3. A LOT of country (thirds world and first world) falls below the 50/100 gun-ownership threshold. Only 3 countries have >50% gun-ownership (US, Yemen and Serbia). Considering that there’s a lot of third world countries, their homicide statistics may have pushed up the homicide rate at the low-gun ownership range.
    4. Data came from Wikipedia, so the source might not be that good.

    Assuming correlation exists, there are two simplistic (and maybe wrong) explanations.
    1. Gun ownership actually reduces homicide rate.
    2. In country with less homicide rate, the government/citizens are more open to private ownership of guns.

    Going to try to re-run that using only developed countries.

  120. 120
    Alex B

    I live in a pretty nice suburb in the USA. There’s been two home invasions on my block in the last 7 years and a long time ago I saw two random dudes peaking into my window at night, I tapped steel on the window and they left. Most guns used for crime in the states are illegal and used by criminals. Disarming us now will do what? This isn’t a tiny little country. Too many guns already available for violent criminals, and easy for guns to be smuggled into the country. I will be ashamed if we willingly let ourselves be disarmed in the name of a false sense of security. You’re only making it harder for good people to protect themselves.

    Many stories about people using firearms to legitimately defend themselves go unnoticed by mainstream media and that may cause you to think that they are unnecessary for self defense.
    Someone asked, “what is our obsession with guns?” May I ask “what is your obsession with taking them?” There are millions of guns used by millions of people and no harm done.
    Most people that advocate strict gun control aren’t familiar with the large community of gun sports and recreation and easily dismiss it. It’s a legitimate and fun hobby.

  121. 121
    WharGarbl

    Okay, got the list of developed nations.
    Developed Countries
    Yes, it’s from Wikipedia.
    So I just grab the countries in the top quartile of the human development index and use those as developed countries and re-ran the statistics in #119 on just the developed countries.

    Result?
    Linear regression: beta of -0.002 and a R-square of 0.0003
    The R-square indicate that the regression is more than likely to be NOT significant.

    Change the developed countries to use the list by IMF (labeled IMG advanced economies under the wikipedia entry for Developed Countries)

    Result?
    Linear regression: beta of 0.016 and a R-square of 0.06

    So what I learned from this…
    Damn, you can really lie a lot with statistics (pro-gun? cite statistics using either all countries or using countries with high HDI for statistics indicating no correlation between gun-ownership and homicide rate. pro-gun-control? cite same statistic, except use IMF criteria for developed countries).

  122. 122
    kyoseki

    Try plotting firearms murders against poverty rate.

    I know I sat down and compared firearms murders vs brady score, firearm ownership and poverty rate for each of the US states and poverty showed a much greater correlation than either of other two.

  123. 123
    David Marjanović

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgdq1FBYTUE

    Huh. Interesting place to keep the next magazine. Also requires being very calm, doesn’t it?

    In the absolute best case, you need someone near the shooter who has realized that he’s emptied that magazine and can close the ground and tackle them before they can reload – for example, the Aurora shooter had enough time to swap weapons twice and reload his handguns three times without anyone attacking him.

    OK, point taken.

    Data came from Wikipedia, so the source might not be that good.

    You don’t need to guess. Good Wikipedia articles cite their sources.

    There’s been two home invasions on my block in the last 7 years and a long time ago I saw two random dudes peaking into my window at night

    Wow. It’s about time to start asking what your country can do for you.

    Most guns used for crime in the states are illegal and used by criminals. Disarming us now will do what?

    Not much in the short run. The US black market for guns is unusually large. (For comparison, where I come from, guns are so hard to get that most bank robberies are committed with toys or other fakes.)

    In the somewhat longer run, though, keep in mind that stolen legal guns are such a common source for the black market…

    You’re only making it harder for good people to protect themselves.

    Again this assumption that having a gun will actually protect you.

    Most people that advocate strict gun control aren’t familiar with the large community of gun sports and recreation and easily dismiss it. It’s a legitimate and fun hobby.

    How about keeping the guns and the ammo at the range? Or how about at least locking them up in a way that makes them useless for defense or offense?

    And, again… target shooting with a semiautomatic rifle? Really?

  124. 124
    Doug Little

    What’s the suicide rate for hammers/clubs?

  125. 125
    WharGarbl

    @kyoseki
    #122

    Try plotting firearms murders against poverty rate.

    My thought on this subject is why “firearm murders” specifically?
    If you’re murdered, you don’t exactly care whether it’s by firearm or other means.
    Won’t the more relevant question be whether firearm actually contribute to more/less murder?
    And depending on statistics, you can argue either way.
    Another thing of note in the statistics, US is a really large outlier.
    Back to #121, where I use IMF for the list of developed countries. If I remove just US from that list, the linear regression resulted in a beta of -0.019 and an R-square of 0.05.
    US’s inclusion alone push that beta to positive region (from -0.019 to 0.016).

  126. 126
    dianne

    Many stories about people using firearms to legitimately defend themselves go unnoticed by mainstream media and that may cause you to think that they are unnecessary for self defense.

    Citation? Here’s mine countering your claim: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/gun-threats-and-self-defense-gun-use/index.html

  127. 127
    WharGarbl

    @David
    #123

    You don’t need to guess. Good Wikipedia articles cite their sources.

    Yes, I’m aware of that. And I did go through a cursory check at the source, and they look somewhat legit (still, didn’t check through all 100+ numbers).

  128. 128
    md

    There’s been two home invasions on my block in the last 7 years and a long time ago I saw two random dudes peaking into my window at night

    Wow. It’s about time to start asking what your country can do for you.

    So dont be coy, David, what do you want this country to do for us? 24 hour around the clock armed guards on every neighborhood street?

  129. 129
    kyoseki

    How about keeping the guns and the ammo at the range? Or how about at least locking them up in a way that makes them useless for defense or offense?

    Storing them at the range is quite impractical, unless you’re planning on turning every gun range into a bank vault. It might be doable, but then even banks get robbed.

    I’d be ok with forcing people to lock up any weapon not currently being used, but unfortunately that idea was already found unconstitutional in DC vs Heller.

    I’m also not convinced that the firearms used in the majority of murders are illegally obtained, since only about a third of murders occur during the commission of another felony (like rape, robbery etc..), does anyone have any articles on this?

    And, again… target shooting with a semiautomatic rifle? Really?

    Incredibly common actually, any time I go to the rifle range up in the foothills the bulk of the rifles being shot are AR style weapons and this is in California which has supposedly had an assault rifle ban since 94.

  130. 130
    md

    Who is going to defend you in that instance, if not yourself?

    Well, a gun definitely isn’t.

    See, the chances that I’m faster at the draw are negligible; and if the burglar thinks I’m probably armed, they’re going to pack heat, too, and likely climb in with their gun already drawn. Then they might shoot me preemptively, and in any case they’re going to take my gun and sell it on the black market. (Stolen legal guns are a big source of illegal guns, even in the US.)

    Perhaps you can’t draw that fast, but she sure could. Tell her she was wrong for owning a gun and wanting to protect her family. Tell her its her fault she made the country a more dangerous place.

  131. 131
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    @Alex B:

    Most criminals who have guns have them from legitimate sources – stolen from peoples’ homes, purchased from gun shows or gun stores and that sort of thing. For every story of a home invasion stopped by a gun you have one about a person killed by a criminal who got to the gun first, or a person shooting themselves with an improperly stored gun, or a person shooting their spouse because of an altercation, or a person shooting a neighbor or a kid or an animal because of anger, or a drunk person shooting someone who got them pissed off because they demeaned sports team A.

    Why not have gun and ammo stored at the firing range then? If you want to go shooting, you can go over there, check out a gun and a box of ammo, spend your good ole time firing, and when you’re ready to leave, turn in the gun.

  132. 132
    dianne

    And so I ask again, is the complete disarming of Americans of all guns of all types what you desire?

    Ideally, yes. I’d be willing to allow long guns for people who live in rural areas, can pass competency tests and a background check, and demonstrate willingness and ability to keep their guns in a safe place. Additionally, guns kept in gun clubs which have competent security and safety procedures in place seem at least moderately safe to me.

    If so, how far would you be willing to go in obtaining this end?

    And how long do I intend to keep beating my husband? To answer the less inflammatory question hiding in this one, here are my ideas on how to enforce the law: 1. Restrict firearm manufacture and importation highly. Most firearm manufacturing can be discontinued and the factories retooled for something else. I’d suggest funding the retooling to encourage manufacturers to comply. Surely they’d as soon get paid for not making guns as for making them. 2. Illegalize gun shows. Or, if that isn’t possible, at least initially, make it illegal to buy at gun shows. They become demonstration only events. 3. Confiscate any firearm used in a crime to any extent. Including the infamous law abiding citizen shooting a criminal–or person who claims to be such. If it proves that the person really did use the firearm in a responsible manner and had no real choice but to shoot the criminal and the gun is legal, then it can be returned. But quite a number of times people claim to be law abiding citizens shooting a home invader or threatening person and turn out to be, to use an example I happen to know of, parents disapproving of their child’s different raced girlfriend or boyfriend or platonic friend and taking the opportunity to shoot him when he knocks on the door. 4. Buy back period for a “no questions asked” return of now illegal firearms in the first, say, 6 months after the law is passed. 5. Obviously, if a gun is used in a crime, that constitutes reasonable grounds for search of the person owner’s property for further guns.

    Those are my first thoughts about how to enforce the law. Of course, it won’t get every illegal gun. Some people feel insecure without firearms and won’t give them up. But guns, like everything else, have a limited shelf life. Eventually, that illegal arsenal will become an illegal collection of nonworking antiques. And you’ll have to find some other way to feel manly. I understand hammers are very dangerous, perhaps you’d like to invest in one.

  133. 133
    dianne

    So dont be coy, David, what do you want this country to do for us? 24 hour around the clock armed guards on every neighborhood street?

    I had someone trying to break into my house once. Not just “peering at” it, but actually trying to break in. I called 911. The police came. The person trying to break in hasn’t been back. So I don’t know about my country per se, but what my municipality can do for me is keep a responsive and professional police force around.

  134. 134
    kyoseki

    Anything that renders a gun unusable for self defense has already been found unconstitutional in DC vs Heller.

    Semi automatic handguns (the most commonly owned firearm as well as the most common firearm used in murder) are specifically protected under that same decision, you cannot ban them, nor render them single shot, nor force people to use revolvers.

    Neither of those is going to change until the 2nd amendment is repealed or amended and that’s not going to happen any time soon unless society’s attitudes can be changed.

  135. 135
    dianne

    Tell her she was wrong for owning a gun and wanting to protect her family. Tell her its her fault she made the country a more dangerous place.

    But if hammers are more dangerous than automatic weapons, shouldn’t she have grabbed a hammer and knocked him out instead?

    I do think she acted rather foolishly. I’d have exited the house and called 911 from a safe distance. I don’t want my kids mimicking my behavior and ending up shooting someone because they saw me do it.

  136. 136
    WharGarbl

    @kyoseki

    Semi automatic handguns (the most commonly owned firearm as well as the most common firearm used in murder) are specifically protected under that same decision, you cannot ban them, nor render them single shot, nor force people to use revolvers.

    Restricting clip-size might help (okay, no single shot click, but how about restrict it to 2? 3? 5?).

  137. 137
    md

    But if hammers are more dangerous than automatic weapons, shouldn’t she have grabbed a hammer and knocked him out instead?

    I dunno Dianne, perhaps she didnt wanna give the hammer-ban lobby any more free publicity. Or perhaps she felt hammer would’ve been overkill and wanted to engage in responsible, symmetrical self-defense.

    I do think she acted rather foolishly. I’d have exited the house and called 911 from a safe distance.

    Because its safe to always assume you’ll always have that option.

    Fortunately for the sane and rational side of the gun control argument, you are a deeply naive individual and as long as you keep speaking honestly, we dont’ have to worry about you convincing many people to your POV.

  138. 138
    kyoseki

    Restricting clip-size might help (okay, no single shot click, but how about restrict it to 2? 3? 5?)

    As I stated earlier, the advantage that gives the victims is negligible because reloading is so quick, and it requires that the victims be in a condition to overpower the attacker, which is unlikely if the victims are all schoolchildren.

  139. 139
    WharGarbl

    @dianne
    #135

    I do think she acted rather foolishly. I’d have exited the house and called 911 from a safe distance. I don’t want my kids mimicking my behavior and ending up shooting someone because they saw me do it.

    I don’t think leaving your house not knowing what the intruder’s intention is a smart move. As stated in the story, the intruder did took sometime to break in, which gave them time to dial 911 + her husband. She has children, I’m not sure how fast you can move with two kids around. If the intruder’s aim is the mother or her two kids, things could end badly if she leave the house.

    Judging by the story alone, the mother acted responsibly. She used her weapon only as a last resort.

  140. 140
    Pteryxx

    kyoseki:

    Storing them at the range is quite impractical, unless you’re planning on turning every gun range into a bank vault. It might be doable, but then even banks get robbed.

    As opposed to, say, storing guns in sporting goods stores, Wal-Marts, pawnshops, and even specialized gun stores, not to mention private homes. Somehow they seem to manage.

    David M:

    Is this thread about that new vibrator? The Hammer?

    And by “hammer” you mean…

    (Can’t find it on TV Tropes.)

    Ahem.

    http://www.toymakerproject.com/hammer/

    (Why guns get conflated with penis substitutes, I’ll never understand…)

  141. 141
    WharGarbl

    @kyoseki

    As I stated earlier, the advantage that gives the victims is negligible because reloading is so quick, and it requires that the victims be in a condition to overpower the attacker, which is unlikely if the victims are all schoolchildren.

    That may be true. But reducing the magazine-size has several advantages in terms of reducing casualties.
    1. The assailant need to carry more magazines, which may reduce the maximum number of ammunition they can carry.
    2. Unless expertly trained (like in the video you posted), each extra second the assailant is spent not shooting are extra seconds where people are not dying. Or extra seconds for victims to run out of the way.
    Every little bit helps, regardless if other measures are available.

  142. 142
    Alex B

    Diane:
    “Many stories about people using firearms to legitimately defend themselves go unnoticed by mainstream media and that may cause you to think that they are unnecessary for self defense.

    Citation? Here’s mine countering your claim: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/gun-threats-and-self-defense-gun-use/index.html

    That didn’t counter my claim. I said that you don’t hear of the times average people use their guns for self defense. I don’t mean that it happens millions of times.

    Locking my guns at the range.. That would make it so economically hard to own a gun that it would be a luxury of the rich. Look, we have too many people dying from guns. Just as we have many people dying in auto accidents, pools, etc. Our main strategy should be a national awareness raised to increase safety of firearms use, and also other problems in society that lead to violence. Massive education campaign should be the primary strategy, not a direct jump to restricting people’s rights.

  143. 143
    WharGarbl

    @Pteryxx
    #140

    As opposed to, say, storing guns in sporting goods stores, Wal-Marts, pawnshops, and even specialized gun stores, not to mention private homes. Somehow they seem to manage.

    I do see kyoseki’s point.
    Looking at two scenarios: storing guns at home or storing all private guns at gun-range.
    In both scenarios, we can assume that guns at sporting goods stores, WalMarts, pawnshops, etc are a given (neither scenario is going to change that much).
    Guns at home: Less security, but less concentration of guns. Yes, the risk of guns being stolen may be higher, but each point of failure only result in a few illegal guns.
    Guns at gun-range: More security, but higher concentration of guns. Yes, the risk of guns being stole may be lower, but each failure will result in a LOT of illegal guns.

  144. 144
    dianne

    Because its safe to always assume you’ll always have that option.

    And it’s safe to assume that you’ll always have the option of using a gun against a home invader, that the home invader will never sneak in while you’re asleep and find your gun before you do, that you’ll never accidentally shoot your teenager when s/he tries to sneak in late at night to avoid you’re knowing how late s/he was out, that your spouse will never have a moment of anger and shoot you, that your 2 year old can’t get into the gun cabinet…

    If the home invader in question in this story had a gun, it’s not obvious to me. She may well have been escalating. I also wonder why it took the police so long to get there and why the husband jumped to the conclusion that the family needed to hide. Perhaps there’s more to this story, possibly including details that would make her actions seem more reasonable. Did they have known enemies? Were they in the witness protection program? Why did the housebreaker persist in searching the house so thoroughly as opposed to grabbing a few loose valuables and running?

  145. 145
    dianne

    I said that you don’t hear of the times average people use their guns for self defense.

    Perhaps because it just doesn’t happen all that often. I can find zero examples of a bystander who was not a member of the police or military stopping a mass shooter, for example. MD’s story of a woman shooting a home invader is ambiguous at best and you aren’t even trying to come up with an example, just claiming that they might be out there and being ignored by the media. There might be unicorns frolicking on the moon too, but there’s no evidence for either one.

    Just as we have many people dying in auto accidents, pools, etc.

    Much as I honestly detest cars, they have a purpose other than killing people and warming the environment. They get people and stuff from point A to point B. Guns have no purpose but killing. Assault rifles have no purpose but killing people. Seriously, who hunts with an automatic weapon? And there are laws restricting how people use cars: You have to have a license, demonstrate competence in the use of the car and knowledge of the rules of the road to obtain a license, it’s illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol/drugs, etc. If use of guns were as restricted as use of cars, I’d consider that a reasonable start.

  146. 146
    WharGarbl

    @Alex B
    #142

    Look, we have too many people dying from guns. Just as we have many people dying in auto accidents, pools, etc.

    Automobile do have uses other than killing people (and I need a license to drive car, which can be revoked if I’m reckless. Whereas right now, in many places, you don’t need a license to own a gun). While guns, in general, are designed specifically for destruction (whether for killing, hunting, or entertaining).

    Our main strategy should be a national awareness raised to increase safety of firearms use, and also other problems in society that lead to violence.

    There’s no “main strategy” in my own opinion. Increase awareness on the need to better secure one’s firearm and firearms safety is part of it. Better psychiatric help for people with psychiatric issues to help them lead a normal life. Background check to make sure that people who buy guns would likely be responsible owners. Tiered licensing requirement for different type of guns (low tier license allows ownership of single-shot/bolt actions rifles, highest tier allows semi-auto rifles, just as an example). Requiring waiting period for gun/ammo purchases (one or both). Etc.

    not a direct jump to restricting people’s rights.

    Where’s my shoulder launched Javelin missiles?
    Let’s just assume that 2nd amendment grants individual the right to own weapons, then let’s have a look at 1st amendment.
    Even if I’m guaranteed a right to free speech, I cannot…
    1. Deliberate cause panic (shout fire in movie theater).
    2. Incite violent (openly tell people to go somewhere and kill said group of minority).
    3. Publish libel (US has a fairly high bar for what’s considered libel, but it’s still against the law).
    Same thing with gun-right. Yes, you have a right to own weapons, but as you can see in the 1st amendment example, laws can be made to regulate those right for the good of society.
    To put it even simply, you have the right to bear arms, I have the right NOT to get shot by your arms.
    More examples.
    You/I have a right to speech, I/You have the right NOT to have said speech imposed on me.
    You/I have a right to religion, I/You have the right NOT to have said religion imposed on me.

  147. 147
    WharGarbl

    @dianne
    #145

    Seriously, who hunts with an automatic weapon?

    This guy?

  148. 148
    dianne

    Our main strategy should be a national awareness raised to increase safety of firearms use, and also other problems in society that lead to violence.

    Just to point out, the NRA and gun lobby disagree with even this plan. See, for example, http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/15/why-its-now-okay-for-pediatricians-in-florida-to-talk-about-guns/

    In this case they seem to have lost, but it’s crazy that such a law was even proposed. Apparently, to the NRA, the only amendment that counts is the second. Freedom of speech? What freedom of speech?

  149. 149
    dianne

    Where’s my shoulder launched Javelin missiles?

    Now that might actually be useful in a militia. Handguns…not so much.

  150. 150
    Alex B

    Diane, I don’t know of anyone with an automatic rifle. They have been very highly restricted since the days of Reagan. Guns are not just for killing. There are many calibers used for sport target shooting and training not considered useful for self defense. I train a lot so that I’m competent with my firearms.

    Any body with the time to plot a mass killing has the time to make a bomb with a home depot supplies, can make extended magazines from a couple standard ones. Why the arbitrary ’10′ rounds? Who picked that number?

  151. 151
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Tell her she was wrong for owning a gun and wanting to protect her family. Tell her its her fault she made the country a more dangerous place.

    This is non-responsive. Most of the evidence that I have encountered indicates that the danger of owning a gun is greater than the danger of not owning one. When considering laws that apply to everyone, one must consider the entire distribution. Counterevidence wouldn’t be an instance in which one or several people were made safer by a firearm, or even many instances, but rather more instances than the number of situations in which a gun made a situation more dangerous.

    I said that you don’t hear of the times average people use their guns for self defense.

    The simplest explanation is that such incidences are exeedingly rare. Is there a good reason to doubt this explanation?

    ________________________________________
    To me, the safety issue seems empirically decided. Guns don’t make us safer in the limit. But then again, a lot of things that are legal are also dangerous. Some of these things are useful (hammers and automobiles). Depending on the danger that they present, we regulate the manufacture, sale, ownership, and maintenence of such things in a way that seems at least to maintain a balance the dangers that they present with their utility. What regulation is appropriate is not a conversation that I expect to hear very often in regard to firearms until people abandon the notion that “no regulation” is viable.

  152. 152
    LykeX

    Someone asked, “what is our obsession with guns?” May I ask “what is your obsession with taking them?”

    Were you talking about my post here? If so, I must ask, where did I mention anything about taking your guns away?
    I did mention something about the paranoia of gun-nuts and how they’re always afraid of people trying to take away their guns. In that light, one might almost say that your comment proves my point.

  153. 153
    WharGarbl

    @Alex B
    #150

    Any body with the time to plot a mass killing has the time to make a bomb with a home depot supplies, can make extended magazines from a couple standard ones. Why the arbitrary ’10′ rounds? Who picked that number?

    It’s a barrier they have to climb.
    Sure, any body with the time to plot mass killing has the time to make a bomb with a home depot supplies, but we don’t make it easy. Same thing with magazine. Sure, if you got time, you can fashion one yourself, but if we don’t make it easy, people might be less inclined to do it.
    Put it simply, let’s say you have 3 people who want to commit murder.
    1. A highly educated individual well-trained in arms manufacturing.
    2. Random Joe.
    3. An idiot.
    Sure, we can’t stop those in group 1 from committing mass murder. And we probably don’t need to do anything to stop group 3 (who probably will shoot themselves anyway by accident). But sufficient law may stop group 2 from carrying out their mass-murder “dream” effectively.

  154. 154
    dianne

    May I ask “what is your obsession with taking them?”

    A desire not to be murdered or have my kid murdered. I’ve lost enough relatives to murder, thank you very much. I’d like to not lose any more. (I suppose in the interest of full disclosure, I should reveal that one great-uncle murdered another with a hammer. They were both drunk and got into an argument. Somehow, though, he managed to not kill a single bystander, unlike your average raging drunk with a gun.)

  155. 155
    Pteryxx

    Locking my guns at the range.. That would make it so economically hard to own a gun that it would be a luxury of the rich.

    As long as we’re nitpicking here, how do you think that? Seriously, how? Gun storage isn’t driving gun stores and pawnshops out of business, and gun ranges already charge usage or membership fees, plus having a central storage area would save individual owners the costs of secure storage or locking mechanisms for their guns at home. It’d also be more convenient for gun owners in less secure living situations such as shared housing, and reduce the risks of theft or accident from transporting guns back and forth. I’d think if off-site storage generally existed, the potential savings in homeowners’ insurance alone would probably offset the locker fees.

  156. 156
    WharGarbl

    @dianne
    #149
    Screw that, I’m going to go by the LETTER of DA LAW!
    Where’s my bear arm? PZ! Get off your ass and call your colleagues together. Get to work on that bear-human transplant! I want my bear arms!
    Actually, scratch that, I want actual bears transplanted to my arms pronto! Or at least 1 bear on 1 arm. After all, I have the right to BEAR arm!

  157. 157
    WharGarbl

    @Pteryxx
    #155

    Gun storage isn’t driving gun stores and pawnshops out of business, and gun ranges already charge usage or membership fees, plus having a central storage area would save individual owners the costs of secure storage or locking mechanisms for their guns at home.

    Gun range may charge owners the cost of storing their gun, or include it as part of their membership fee. Kind of like how you pay to rent a safety deposit box in banks (or “pay” to be in higher tiered checking/saving account to get a free deposit box).
    Although, assuming equal level of security measures, it would be cheaper to collectively store guns in a central location.
    For example, a new gun-safety law could require all gun above certain calibre or allow certain sized magazine to be kept behind a lock rated, at minimum, 2 hours of security. In that case, it would be cheaper for people to secure all their guns behind 1 lock than to each have to buy a lock.
    Free market would keep the cost down.

    I’d think if off-site storage generally existed, the potential savings in homeowners’ insurance alone would probably offset the locker fees.

    Do home owner insurance differs between gun-owners and non-gun-owners? Personally I won’t know, the only experience I have with guns are guns rented and fired at a gun range.

  158. 158
    LykeX
    Locking my guns at the range.. That would make it so economically hard to own a gun that it would be a luxury of the rich.

    As long as we’re nitpicking here, how do you think that? Seriously, how?

    Even if it did, so what? Paralleling my earlier point, why is gun ownership specifically so important that it must be available for everyone? You don’t relax the rules about car safety just because it would be cheaper not to have any rules, do you? If you want a flying certificate, you still have to go through all the training and lessons, even if it’s expensive. Hell, even running a restaurant, you have to abide by a slew of safety and health regulations that I’m sure cost a bundle.

    Why are guns so different? Why are firearms the only “legitimate and fun hobby” that gets a pass on this?

  159. 159
    WharGarbl

    @LykeX
    #158

    You don’t relax the rules about car safety just because it would be cheaper not to have any rules, do you? If you want a flying certificate, you still have to go through all the training and lessons, even if it’s expensive. Hell, even running a restaurant, you have to abide by a slew of safety and health regulations that I’m sure cost a bundle.

    I think the heart of the matter is that gun-ownership is protected by the 2nd amendment (at least decided by court that it applies to private gun-ownership).
    Driving cars and flying planes are not protected activities under the Constitution.
    A better parallel would be to the freedom of speech, which also has restrictions on it.

  160. 160
    dianne

    @156: Sure, no problem. Just as soon as your insurance company approves the procedure.

  161. 161
    dianne

    I think the heart of the matter is that gun-ownership is protected by the 2nd amendment

    I don’t entirely agree. I think the heart of the matter is at least partially our collective unwillingness to admit that the Constitution was not presented to humanity straight from the FSM’s noodly appendage and that maybe things that made sense in the late 18th century no longer make sense. For example, one driver of the 2nd amendment was Virginia’s desire to make sure that the feds didn’t interfere with their slave catching mobs. Perhaps it should go the way of the 35ths of a person thing.

  162. 162
    Alex B

    What makes people think that we don’t have some good sensible gun regulations already in place?
    We don’t make it hard at all for people that want to make a bomb.
    Joining together magazines wouldn’t take long nor require a lot of skill.
    Diane, our children are still less likely than ever to be killed by armed violence in the US.

    Does anybody not consider than since the assault weapons ban of ’94 to 2004 violent gun crime is still declining and was declining before the ban. The ban didn’t make us safer. It hardly did anything at all except mess with prices. With millions more owning guns than ever and crime still decreasing, why are we still targeting gun ownership as if that will cure the problem of gun violence. I can agree to small incremental sensible regulations such as more in depth training for concealed carry permits (who generally are much less likely to be in a crime anyway.)

  163. 163
    WharGarbl

    @dianne
    #161

    Perhaps it should go the way of the 35ths of a person thing.

    US did fight a fairly bloody civil war over that.

  164. 164
    LykeX

    I think the heart of the matter is that gun-ownership is protected by the 2nd amendment

    Yes, but that only brings us back to the earlier question of why Americans are so obsessed with guns. Sure, it’s in the second amendment, but that could be, you know, amended. So why hasn’t it been? Also, as you mention, a right can have limitations. You have the right to free speech, but you can’t make untrue criminal allegations. You have the right to bear arms, but you have to do so in a responsible manner. That’s perfectly consistent.

    So, we’re back to, what’s so special about guns? It’s a simple fact that guns are treated as a special category and the normal rules do not apply. As a hobby, placing restrictions on guns is consistent with how other hobbies are treated. As a tool, placing restrictions on guns is consistent with how other tools are treated. As a right, placing restrictions on guns is consistent with how other rights are treated.
    Yet, if anyone suggests that restrictions be placed on guns, it’s treated as if it’s completely unreasonable.

  165. 165
    md

    For example, one driver of the 2nd amendment was Virginia’s desire to make sure that the feds didn’t interfere with their slave catching mobs. Perhaps it should go the way of the 35ths of a person thing.

    I’d like to nominate Dianne as the PR spokesperson for gun control.

    The impetus for gun control was to keep guns out of the hands of freed slaves.

  166. 166
    WharGarbl

    @LykeX
    #164

    Yes, but that only brings us back to the earlier question of why Americans are so obsessed with guns. Sure, it’s in the second amendment, but that could be, you know, amended. So why hasn’t it been?

    People like power, and guns give them that (at least the feeling of power)?
    I’m guessing here.

    You have the right to free speech, but you can’t make untrue criminal allegations. You have the right to bear arms, but you have to do so in a responsible manner. That’s perfectly consistent.

    I did state that later in my post. I was just pointing out that for a more consistent analogy, using something like freedom of speech is probably better (both are rights in the Constitution).

  167. 167
    dianne

    our children are still less likely than ever to be killed by armed violence in the US.

    That’s because it’s harder than it used to be to kill someone with violence. If they get to an ER with brain function and at least some cardiac function they’ve got a decent chance of walking out. That didn’t used to be true. Also, legal abortion has cut down on the number of poorly raised young men out there with guns. But the US’s violent death rate is still extremely high for a first world country.

    Does anybody not consider than since the assault weapons ban of ’94 to 2004 violent gun crime is still declining and was declining before the ban.

    I’m not quite sure what you meant by this, but looking at the national murder rate here, it looks like the murder rate took a real nosedive in about 1994-2000 and has been pretty stable since, possibly with a slight decrease in 2008-2011. The decrease years correlate almost perfectly with Democratic presidencies, with the exception of Reagan’s first term (1980-84). Almost as if even the tiny minor restrictions Democrats might put on guns are helpful. Though, admittedly, the better economy under Democratic presidents may also account for the difference.

  168. 168
    md

    As a hobby, placing restrictions on guns is consistent with how other hobbies are treated. As a tool, placing restrictions on guns is consistent with how other tools are treated. As a right, placing restrictions on guns is consistent with how other rights are treated.
    Yet, if anyone suggests that restrictions be placed on guns, it’s treated as if it’s completely unreasonable.

    Yea, people fight against it, but its simply untrue to argue no restrictions exist. Plenty do in cities around the country. And of course, contrary to what some Pharyngulites regularly post out of ignorance or oversight, automatic weapons have been severely restricted since 1934. Most Americans don’t seem to mind this. The Supreme court has of course said many times that some forms of gun control are constitutional.

    I can only speak for myself, a non-NRA member, non-gun owner who thinks the default ought to be freedom, when I ask what good will what you propose actually accomplish?

  169. 169
    Alex B

    There ARE restrictions on guns. That’s not unreasonable. I also agree that there should be reasonable restrictions but we already have pretty darn close to a complete sensible set of regulations. Anything over the top is what people speak out against. As long as it is protected under the constitution, it should not be out of reach of law abiding citizens, much like the right to free speech and the right to vote.

  170. 170
    dianne

    Plenty do in cities around the country.

    It’s true that NYC tries to restrict the number of guns it has within its borders. But it’s hard when the city is being undermined by other governments. For example.

    Really, though, graphs like this say it all. The US has more gun related homicides than ANY other country with an even vague right to call itself “industrialized”. Come on, we’re beating out Chile and Turkey for violence. If this doesn’t suggest a problem in your mind, what would?

  171. 171
    daniellavine

    Whargabi@139:

    I don’t think leaving your house not knowing what the intruder’s intention is a smart move. As stated in the story, the intruder did took sometime to break in, which gave them time to dial 911 + her husband. She has children, I’m not sure how fast you can move with two kids around. If the intruder’s aim is the mother or her two kids, things could end badly if she leave the house.

    This is completely the opposite of correct. Try googling “what should I do if my home is invaded.” Almost every bit of advice is: “Get your family and yourself out of the house.”

    md@137:

    Fortunately for the sane and rational side of the gun control argument, you are a deeply naive individual and as long as you keep speaking honestly, we dont’ have to worry about you convincing many people to your POV.

    You probably shouldn’t be gloating so quickly. You seem to be failing to win over anyone to your “sane and rational” perspective. Perhaps because you have not made a single argument to the effect that the benefits of self-defense using firearms outweighs the massive harm due to accidents and crimes of passion?

    There’s another point you could address as well: we keep hearing about all the illegal guns available in the US and how restricting gun rights just leaves people at the mercy of criminals. Where did these black market guns come from? If the majority are, as I suspect, stolen from legal owners or retailers, then the black market for guns in the US would seem to be caused by the wide and easy availability of firearms in this country. Can you admit this and perhaps pose a solution that doesn’t involve making guns less widely and easily available? If not, I have to assume your position is considerably more biased and less “sane and rational” than you’re letting on.

  172. 172
    kyoseki

    That may be true. But reducing the magazine-size has several advantages in terms of reducing casualties.
    1. The assailant need to carry more magazines, which may reduce the maximum number of ammunition they can carry.

    Not significantly, for example, a 10 round magazine is only marginally larger than a third of the size of a 30 round magazine, so the shooter can simply carry more – because a number of states have 10 round limits, there’s plenty of equipment out there designed to carry 10 round magazines.

    Additionally, it’s very rare that mass shooters run out of ammo (I believe the Aurora shooter did, but in the majority of cases, they’re still carrying a shit ton of the stuff when the first responders arrive.

    2. Unless expertly trained (like in the video you posted)

    Well, that guy is a competitive target shooter, they spend endless hours practicing that kind of thing, but learning to reload efficiently isn’t difficult, and like dry firing can be practiced at home without alerting anyone..

    each extra second the assailant is spent not shooting are extra seconds where people are not dying. Or extra seconds for victims to run out of the way.

    Except the other problem is that mass shooters also invariably carry more than one gun, so even if one is emptied, they just switch to alternate weapons.

    On the face of it, limiting magazine capacity seems like a good idea, but magazine size is rarely a significant factor even in mass shootings.

    … and, of course, it won’t have any effect on the majority of gun murders since most of those only involve a handful of shots getting fired, not pitch battles with the police.

    California has had an assault weapon ban and a 10 round magazine size limit since 94, but our gun murder rate is still well above the national average. We’re only marginally safer than Arizona who have practically no gun laws whatsoever.

  173. 173
    dianne

    what good will what you propose actually accomplish?

    Perhaps the US can accomplish what Australia did.

    Money quote from the article: “Howard cites a study (pdf) by Andrew Leigh of Australian National University and Christine Neill of Wilfrid Laurier University finding that the firearm homicide rate fell by 59 percent, and the firearm suicide rate fell by 65 percent, in the decade after the law was introduced, without a parallel increase in non-firearm homicides and suicides.”

  174. 174
    md

    That didn’t used to be true. Also, legal abortion has cut down on the number of poorly raised young men out there with guns.

    Thats also been refuted. Don’t have time to track it down now, but you can start here:

    That said, a startling admission by you. I thought eugenics was considered in bad taste by modern progressives.

  175. 175
    md
  176. 176
    daniellavine

    To be clear what I mean by the balance of harm vs. good in accidents/crimes of passion vs. self-defense:

    Guns are almost useless for self-defense. Consider a few scenarios:
    -You are mugged by a person with a gun drawn. The attacker has every advantage. Your best bet is to simply hand over your valuables and walk away if you can. Having a weapon on you puts you at greater risk.
    -You are mugged by someone with a knife within 10 feet. Gun people are falling over themselves telling us how much more lethal hammers are than guns at that range. I’ll just take them at their word.
    -Home invasion: most home invaders/burglars try to find houses which are not currently occupied. Less chance of a risky encounter with people, less chance of getting cops called. If you’re not home and your guns are I guess you’ve just contributed to that huge black market for firearms we’ve heard so much about. If you ARE home, chances are you’re learning about the attack by way of sounds emanating from some other part of the house. Without knowing specifically the nature of the threat, going towards the noise firing seems like a pretty stupid idea to me. Better bet would be to escape out a window/back door etc. and call the cops from somewhere safe(r).

    “Self-defense” in the eyes of gun owners seems to me less about maximizing safety — which guns essentially NEVER do, there are simply no or very few situations made safer through possession of a firearm — than it is about “justice”: giving the bad guy what they deserve and showin’ ‘em they can’t pick on us reg’lar folks. I’d love to see more gun owners admit that this is all a bunch of juvenile macho fantasy bullshit and they’re really just hobbyists who like shooting at ranges. I feel like I can reason with hobbyists. I can’t reason with paranoid delusion.

  177. 177
    dianne

    California has had an assault weapon ban and a 10 round magazine size limit since 94, but our gun murder rate is still well above the national average. We’re only marginally safer than Arizona who have practically no gun laws whatsoever.

    Two points: First, it’s easy enough to buy weapons in AZ and then go to CA to use them. If there were a national level ban, getting them would be harder.

    Second, California’s murder rate seems to be dropping more rapidly than AZ’s. CA’s went from 9.1 in 1996 to 4.8 in 2011, as opposed to AZ’s 8.5 to 6.2. This suggests at least marginal effectiveness, although there may be confounding variables.

  178. 178
    daniellavine

    @md:

    The procedure is performed on a voluntary basis. For it to constitute “eugenics” it would have to be performed on the basis of genetic testing of some kind. You see the problem with calling it “eugenics”?

    Don’t expect to get taken very seriously making arguments like this.

  179. 179
    Pteryxx

    @WharGarbl:

    Do home owner insurance differs between gun-owners and non-gun-owners? Personally I won’t know, the only experience I have with guns are guns rented and fired at a gun range.

    I don’t know either, so I did some searching:

    http://money.msn.com/insurance/article.aspx?post=2b771ff7-c577-44cc-b791-de088e4a8e4c

    Safety always an issue for gun insurance

    To keep premiums for the standard policy from soaring, the owner may have to show that the rifles and pistols are properly secured in locked gun cases, have trigger locks, and, of course, are out of the reach of children, says Michael Barry, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute.

    “It’s all about proving to an insurer just how responsible you are when it comes to firearms. It’s clear that insurers are more likely to look favorably on the gun owner if they take special precautions to store the weapon and have a gun lock on the gun,” Moraga says.

    http://www.1stallianceinsurance.com/blog/how_guns_affect_home_insurance.aspx

    If you are a renter or live in a condo or townhouse, make sure that you aren’t violating your lease or association rules by having guns onsite.
    Guns must be properly secured in order to get decent home insurance rates. Your home insurance company will likely favor gun owners who have safety locks and proper storage that helps keep the firearms out of the hands of children and other untrained individuals.
    Expect extensive liability coverage and premiums. One of the biggest risks with insuring gun owners is in facing wrongful death suits due to accidental gun usage. Your policy may even limit gun-related liabilities more aggressively than general home insurance liability coverage.

    Just sayin’. (Frankly, if having guns in the home was such great protection against crime, wouldn’t insurance companies be giving discounts for it?)

    And yeah, I know the gun range storage thing is a minor point, but “economic hardship!” was such a huge non sequitur it awoke my curiosity.

  180. 180
    SallyStrange

    I can only speak for myself, a non-NRA member, non-gun owner who thinks the default ought to be freedom, when I ask what good will what you propose actually accomplish?

    What sort of freedom?

    Personally, I think the freedom from worry about you or your kids being shot, whether on purpose or accidentally, should trump the freedom to own guns.

    Reducing the availability of guns will likely reduce homicides, accidents, and suicides, both successful and attempted.

    I don’t see that reducing the availability of guns restricts anyone’s essential freedoms.

  181. 181
    md

    Dianne,

    the question is moot, as it doesn’t prevent crime anyway.

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/dialogues/features/1999/does_abortion_prevent_crime/_2.html

  182. 182
    dianne

    @174: MD, conflating having the choice of abortion available with eugenics has got to be the stupidest anti-choice argument out there and that includes some really dumb arguments. And the claim that the argument is “refuted” is overblown. However, if the smaller number of unwanted pregnancies ending in the birth of unwanted children isn’t a part of the decrease in the murder rate in the 1990s, that only makes the argument for it being the assault rifle ban all the stronger.

  183. 183
    daniellavine

    I’d like to see anti-gun control folks respond to Pteryxx’s “money where your mouth is” arguments.

    If owning guns makes one safer why does it increase one’s insurance premiums?

  184. 184
    kyoseki

    For example, a new gun-safety law could require all gun above certain calibre or allow certain sized magazine to be kept behind a lock rated, at minimum, 2 hours of security. In that case, it would be cheaper for people to secure all their guns behind 1 lock than to each have to buy a lock.

    The problem with these kinds of laws is that they’ve already been found unconstitutional, principally because a locked gun cannot be used for self defense (DC vs Heller).

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the guys who have loaded guns lying around the house so that they can grab one if someone kicks in the door are all nuts, but unfortunately, it’s their constitutionally protected right to do it.

    Personally, I’d try to change the law and make it such that if you want to keep a weapon for self defense then it needs to be on your person at all times. You can’t leave a loaded firearm just lying around, all unattended weapons should have to be stored in an approved, bolted down gun safe.

    Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen either.

    As for keeping guns at the range, I think everyone is underestimating the sheer size of the storage that would be required, we’re not talking a couple of lockers, we’re talking absolutely gigantic bank vaults – it’s simply not practical. Then, of course, there’s the issue of transporting guns to/from different ranges – I have a local indoor range I go to and a not very local outdoor range, do I have to buy the same gun twice so that I can shoot it at each one?

    … and then, of course, we go back to the self defense argument which is that if a gun is in storage at the range, you can’t use it for self defense and so the law becomes unconstitutional again.

  185. 185
    md

    daniellavine at #176, please read the link at #130 and adjust your post accordingly.

  186. 186
    kyoseki

    Two points: First, it’s easy enough to buy weapons in AZ and then go to CA to use them. If there were a national level ban, getting them would be harder.

    Can you prove that this is the case?

    The guns limited by these restrictions are not typically used in crime, so a flood of illegal guns from across the border seems unlikely (bear in mind that even in Arizona, you still need a background check).

    I’d lay money that the bulk of the murders in California all take place with handguns with 10 round magazines, even the last mass shooting here (Seal beach, I think) used California legal firearms.

    Additionally, what makes you think that even if there were a national ban, illegal magazines and arms wouldn’t simply come up through Mexico or be manufactured here?

    Second, California’s murder rate seems to be dropping more rapidly than AZ’s. CA’s went from 9.1 in 1996 to 4.8 in 2011, as opposed to AZ’s 8.5 to 6.2. This suggests at least marginal effectiveness, although there may be confounding variables.

    As you say, this could easily be tied to things like economic recovery rather than firearms laws.

    Some of California’s laws I’m totally ok with (like mandating that firearms be kept away from minors, a background check on all gun sales and the handgun safety certificate, even though it’s laughably easy), but a lot of them are completely ineffective.

  187. 187
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    MD and Alex B:

    What level of murdered children is “acceptable” for you to feel tough? Is there any limit at all?

  188. 188
    WharGarbl

    @dianne
    #170

    Really, though, graphs like this say it all. The US has more gun related homicides than ANY other country with an even vague right to call itself “industrialized”. Come on, we’re beating out Chile and Turkey for violence. If this doesn’t suggest a problem in your mind, what would?

    Okay, a bit a pet-peeve of mine. Why use gun-related homicides instead of overall homicide rate (other than the fact that on graph, it’s not as pretty looking for gun-control advocates than gun-related homicides)? I mean, if you’re dead, you don’t care if its by gun or other weapons.

    The problem with gun-related homicide statistic is that it doesn’t help against the argument that “If they don’t have gun, they’ll use something else.” or “Gun reduces violent crimes.” or “Gun ownership has no effect on violent crime rate.”

    This is completely the opposite of correct. Try googling “what should I do if my home is invaded.” Almost every bit of advice is: “Get your family and yourself out of the house.”

    Not sure about that search, most talk about having a safe-room of some sort (or something as simple as closing a door a lock it). The only one I can find in the first few pages that talked about leaving your home as first priority comes from ADT. Although I would probably trust ADT’s advice if all else failed.

  189. 189
    Louis

    I wish to answer the question in the title of the OP.

    Is the correct answer: “A lot”?

    Louis

  190. 190
    WharGarbl

    @SallyStrange
    #180

    Reducing the availability of guns will likely reduce homicides, accidents, and suicides, both successful and attempted.

    A very small maybe on homicides (no correlation in general homicide rate versus gun-ownership rate when comparing countries. Especially if you take US out of the equation.)
    A big yes on accident rate, too many story on people shooting themselves or others by accidents (although some accidents are… schadenfreude, like when Dick shot his lawyer).
    Not too sure on suicide, if they don’t use gun, they probably use something else. Probably at best it turns more successful suicide into attempted suicides.

  191. 191
    kyoseki

    Not sure about that search, most talk about having a safe-room of some sort (or something as simple as closing a door a lock it). The only one I can find in the first few pages that talked about leaving your home as first priority comes from ADT. Although I would probably trust ADT’s advice if all else failed.

    I live in townhome that only has one entrance, the only way I’m getting out of the house if it’s invaded is going out of an upstairs window, so it’s really not a particularly practical piece of advice for the most part.

    That said, I do feel that the onus should always be on the gun owner to retreat in the event of a threat, unless retreating is impossible or doing so would endanger others. “Stand your ground” laws should only apply to police as far as I’m concerned.

  192. 192
    WharGarbl

    @kyoseki
    #191

    That said, I do feel that the onus should always be on the gun owner to retreat in the event of a threat, unless retreating is impossible or doing so would endanger others.

    Or have a responsive police that can respond faster than a burglar can breakdown your door.
    Personally I probably feel a lot safer having a well funded, responsive police than owning a gun.
    Probably cheaper too.
    Probably safer to install better interior doors that resist attempt to break it down.

  193. 193
    kyoseki

    A big yes on accident rate, too many story on people shooting themselves or others by accidents (although some accidents are… schadenfreude, like when Dick shot his lawyer).

    Better safety training would achieve the same thing though.

    … bear in mind also that accidental deaths from firearms only number around 600 a year, the vast majority of gun deaths are deliberate.

    Not too sure on suicide, if they don’t use gun, they probably use something else. Probably at best it turns more successful suicide into attempted suicides.

    I think there’s a pretty solid correlation between firearms availability and firearm suicides (ie. if guns are available, they’re more likely to be used), but in terms of overall suicides, I don’t think so – Japan & China, for example, both have suicide rates more than double ours and guns are all but illegal in both countries.

    The US suicide rate is apparently 12 per 100,000 people, the UK’s suicide rate is 11, so firearms availability is not an issue there I would think.

  194. 194
    WharGarbl

    Ugh, hit submit before finishing responding.

    I live in townhome that only has one entrance, the only way I’m getting out of the house if it’s invaded is going out of an upstairs window, so it’s really not a particularly practical piece of advice for the most part.

    I think the advice is more along the line of.
    1. If possible, get out.
    2. If not possible, lock yourself in a room.
    Basically, what ADT was saying is that if you have the option of getting out, then get out.
    I think most of the advice (short of the insane gun-nut respond of confronting the invader and shoot him), is to avoid confrontation, whether it be leaving or locking yourself in a room.

  195. 195
    kyoseki

    Or have a responsive police that can respond faster than a burglar can breakdown your door.

    Personally I probably feel a lot safer having a well funded, responsive police than owning a gun.
    Probably cheaper too.

    That would be nice, but I live in Los Angeles, so I’m not holding my breath.

    Probably safer to install better interior doors that resist attempt to break it down.

    True, but in buildings that are only made from pine & plasterboard, there isn’t all that much you can do.

  196. 196
    michaeld

    @whargarbl

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/mythbusting-israel-and-switzerland-are-not-gun-toting-utopias/
    ctrl+f suicides
    People tend to try to kill themselves with what’s available if something is less available or what is available is less deadly it lowers the suicide rate (successes at the very least). If you have to go further out of your way to attempt suicide it also gives more time for suicidal thoughts to pass etc. That’s my layman’s understanding at the moment anyway.

  197. 197
    Nepenthe

    Not too sure on suicide, if they don’t use gun, they probably use something else. Probably at best it turns more successful suicide into attempted suicides.

    Empirically denied by the case of Australia as noted above. People do not tend to choose other methods and even if they do a firearm is by far the easiest very lethal method of suicide.

  198. 198
    kyoseki

    The US suicide rate is apparently 12 per 100,000 people, the UK’s suicide rate is 11, so firearms availability is not an issue there I would think.

    Ignore this, I misread the table.

    The UK’s suicide rate is around 7 per 100,000 people.

    Australia’s is, however, 9.7 per 100,000 people, only marginally below the US’s rate.

    .. and then you have Japan & China at 20+ per 100,000 people.

  199. 199
    michaeld

    Kyoseki
    Sure it’s because this isn’t a one factored problem, see there terrible working conditions in china for example. There is evidence however that reducing access to guns either by keeping them away from homes or ownership can have a significant effect on suicides (see my link which mentions israeli soldiers).

  200. 200
    WharGarbl

    @michaeld
    #196
    Hm, good point on the transitive nature of suicide.

    @Nepenthe
    #197

    Empirically denied by the case of Australia as noted above. People do not tend to choose other methods and even if they do a firearm is by far the easiest very lethal method of suicide.

    Do you mean Israel? The article points to Israel and Switzerland.

  201. 201
    kyoseki

    @micheald

    Sure it’s because this isn’t a one factored problem, see there terrible working conditions in china for example.

    China, yes, but Japan? South Korea?

    There is evidence however that reducing access to guns either by keeping them away from homes or ownership can have a significant effect on suicides (see my link which mentions israeli soldiers).

    Ok, but the US suicide rate is not radically different to most other industrialized countries.

    The US, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, all have suicide rates around 11-12 per 100,000 people despite varying levels of gun ownership and regulation.

    Sweden, Belgium & France all have substantially higher suicide rates (15+ per 100,000 people) despite lower levels of firearms ownership.

  202. 202
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    Alex B:

    With millions more owning guns than ever and crime still decreasing

    Actually, that’s probably only half right. Fewer households (as a proportion of the US total) own guns compared to 30(ish) years ago, but they own, in total, more guns. A larger number of guns is becoming concentrated in the hands of a smaller number of people.

    http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2011/04/26/One-third-of-US-households-own-guns/UPI-46991303850331/

    I don’t understand how that would translate to a more effective deterrent on the streets. Are they concealed-carrying *all* their Glock 19s and AR15s at the same time?

  203. 203
    kyoseki

    ps. I’ve never been a big fan of pointing to Israel & Switzerland when it comes to gun discussions (like a lot of gun advocates do), just like I don’t point to DC as an instance of failed gun legislation because all three instances have situations that make them outliers in the statistics.

    I do feel that there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn with other European countries that allow firearms ownership for recreation & hunting without anything like the same level of firearms violence that we have here.

    We don’t need to go anywhere near an outright ban on guns or even any types of guns in order to reduce gun violence, such bans wouldn’t do anything anyway (or would even have a significant negative effect – I can pretty much guarantee you that a mandatory buyback program would result in a huge number of deaths as authorities tried to implement it – not from the majority of gun owners, but from the 20% out on the fringe).

    I’m all in favor of maintaining personal freedoms as much as possible, but I’m totally ok with the idea of making people prove that they’re responsible enough to exercise those freedoms.

  204. 204
    Nepenthe

    @WharGarbl

    No, I meant Australia. Dianne gives the link and pull quote in 173.

    It’s useless to compare different country’s suicide rates; cultural factors overwhelm any signal from firearm policy. Comparing the same country before and after a ban is the way we science.

  205. 205
    kyoseki

    Fewer households (as a proportion of the US total) own guns compared to 30(ish) years ago, but they own, in total, more guns.

    Possibly, but bear in mind that we’re also talking about people who are REPORTING that they own a gun.

    Given the increasing level of paranoia on the right about impending gun control legislation, it wouldn’t surprise me if more and more people were simply not admitting to owning firearms.

    .. and, of course, people who own illegal firearms aren’t likely to answer yes to that question either.

  206. 206
    kyoseki

    cultural factors overwhelm any signal from firearm policy

    Can we bear this in mind the next time someone points to the UK and yells “see! see!” ?

  207. 207
    michaeld

    And there are a number of factors (unemployment being a notable one) of which access to firearms is one it would not solve the underlying problems but it can help ameliorate the situation.

    Japan’s an interesting example as the country has a long history of viewing suicide as a moral and respectable action (you may know the words harakiri, seppuku or kamikaze for instance). See:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_Japan

    No one is saying guns are the problem but various gun control methods can affect the suicide rate.

  208. 208
    kyoseki

    No one is saying guns are the problem but various gun control methods can affect the suicide rate.

    I don’t particularly disagree, but I can’t help but feel that as long as someone is allowed to own a firearm, there’s very little that can be done to prevent them taking their own life with it should they so desire.

    I believe this all goes back to better mental health care and prevention rather than simply trying to limit access to the tool involved.

  209. 209
    Anri

    Diane, I don’t know of anyone with an automatic rifle.

    So no-one knows anyone with automatic weapons?
    Or does that statement have no actual application in the discussion?

    They have been very highly restricted since the days of Reagan.

    So, um, gun laws work?
    Or do they not work in some way I’m not getting here?”

    Guns are not just for killing.

    And some cars are also boats.
    Not that many, though.
    So a general law assuming cars can’t be used as river transport is still good, as it covers the vast majority of real-world objects.
    By the same token, laws assuming that guns are deadly weapons instead of charming toys is probably better grounded than the opposite.

    There are many calibers used for sport target shooting and training not considered useful for self defense.

    So, laws against the other calibers would not restrict your hobby?
    Can I presume you’d be in favor of them, then?
    Or at least drop the “But my hobby!” arguments?

    I train a lot so that I’m competent with my firearms.

    But other people shouldn’t?
    Or shouldn’t have to?
    Or shouldn’t have to demonstrate that they are willing to do so?

    Any body with the time to plot a mass killing has the time to make a bomb with a home depot supplies,…

    And yet, strangely, they typically don’t.
    Why is that, I wonder?

    … can make extended magazines from a couple standard ones. Why the arbitrary ’10′ rounds? Who picked that number?

    I dunno.
    Who did?
    Why the arbitrary restriction on caliber?
    Who picked that number?

  210. 210
    kyoseki

    Right, so let’s examine Australia’s suicide rate, here’s the graph for the past 10 years;
    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/7BC79569347A65D5CA2579C6001B6475?opendocument

    There was a large buyback of handguns in 2003, which doesn’t seem to have had a significant impact on the suicide rate overall.

    So let’s consider the gun buyback of 1996 (which targeted semi auto rifles I think – not that the “semi auto” part matters when it comes to suicide, since rate of fire isn’t a significant factor);
    http://www.gunsandcrime.org/suichisty.gif

    Look at the graph – firearms suicides had been dropping from before the gun buyback, and while it’s true that they continued to drop afterwards, I don’t see a significant downward jump or even a change in the existing trend from 96 onwards, do you?

  211. 211
    michaeld

    I don’t see why you can’t do both. Improving mental health access and say keeping at least some types of weapons at gun ranges for example.

  212. 212
    kyoseki

    keeping at least some types of weapons at gun ranges for example.

    Which types? Is there a particular type of firearm that’s less effective at suicide than others?

    The only thing I could think of is mandating that any gun with a barrel length of under say, 4 feet, be kept at a gun range, but even then, it wouldn’t stop someone if they were determined.

    The gun range storage idea is a non starter, it’s logistically implausible and most likely unconstitutional, as well as being ineffective.

  213. 213
    michaeld

    You could start with say the ones used for target practice, you could legislate gun ranges having to have the option to keep guns there as a watered down measure. Frankly who cares about someone who’s “determined” they’re a red herring. This subset of people can’t be stopped by any actions so they’re irrelevant. There are plenty of others who are far less determined that actual measures can help lets stop worrying about saving everyone and take actions to help save some of them. The states had its head up its ass about guns so long that at this point any action is a logistical problem if you want to do something you’ll have to start somewhere and accept it’s going to take time to see results.

  214. 214
    Nepenthe

    @kyoseki 210

    You know that this has already been explained, yes? Go read dianne’s link, but in sum, the buyback was not homogenous across Australia and suicide rates fell faster where more guns were taken out of circulation. To add a bit of evidence, there were specifically fewer suicides using the types of firearms collected and overall suicide rate increases post buyback happened mostly in the states least affected by the buyback.

    Or you could look up a couple low resolution graphs and squint at them yourself.

    In general, your “it’s unconstitutional” argument is rather unconvincing. It used to be unconstitutional to pass laws restricting slavery in federal territories. The constitution changes and interpretations of the constitution change even faster. We get to continue to have opinions regardless of what SCOTUS says. Or perhaps you just sat down and shut up after Citizens United?

  215. 215
    Nepenthe

    it wouldn’t stop someone if they were determined.

    What you don’t apparently understand about suicide is that relatively few people are particularly determined. This is why we have suicide hotlines and netting/rails on bridges and tall buildings rather than throwing up our hands and saying “well, if they’re determined…”.

  216. 216
    SallyStrange

    So, what are the reasons FOR gun ownership again?

    1. Safety – empirically proven to be false. Owning a gun increases your risk of being shot by yourself, a family member, AND a hostile intruder.

    2. Hobby – explain again why your hobby is more important than certain people’s ability to go about their lives without being shot?

    3. Gub’mint tyranny!!111!! – Okay, you’re delusional.

  217. 217
    kyoseki

    Ok, forget the logistical problems which I’ll admit can be worked around if the will is there (although, as I asked earlier, do I have to buy a different gun for each gun range I want to visit?).

    The Supreme Court has already ruled that people have a right to self defense, that right most typically being exercised by the ownership of a semi automatic handgun.

    Any firearm capable of being used for defense, can be used for both murder & suicide (for that matter, almost any firearm capable of being used for hunting can too).

    Consequently, for good or ill, there is a Constitutionally protected right to have a tool perfectly capable of suicide in your home, you aren’t even required to have it locked up.

    I can’t see any measure you could implement that would prevent a suicidal person from shooting themselves with a firearm they already own without falling afoul of that Constitutional provision.

    The only reasonable solutions I can see relate to preventing the desire in the first place, which is certainly far more realistic than attempting to repeal the second amendment, something I can’t see happening for another few decades at least (basically, you’re only going to be able to repeal it once gun crime has ceased to be a problem anyway).

  218. 218
    ck

    I’m just going to have to agree with Bad Lip Reading Michele Bachmann’s position on the right to bear arms here: “If I assault you, your arm wouldn’t defend you. It’s better to not do it. And when I buy stickers for folks in prison, I bring milk, not backyard meth. It’s a prison party.”

  219. 219
    LykeX

    I also agree that there should be reasonable restrictions but we already have pretty darn close to a complete sensible set of regulations.

    Well, apparently some people disagree, hence the debate.

    As long as it is protected under the constitution, it should not be out of reach of law abiding citizens, much like the right to free speech and the right to vote.

    Should it be protected under the constitution? Is it really that important? Is the right to own a firearm actually on the same level as the rights to freedom of speech and the vote?
    Why? Beyond the history, why should it be that way today? Once again, what makes guns so goddamn special?

  220. 220
    kyoseki

    You know that this has already been explained, yes? Go read dianne’s link, but in sum, the buyback was not homogenous across Australia and suicide rates fell faster where more guns were taken out of circulation.

    Except that as I stated, the firearm suicide rate was already falling prior to the buyback, wasn’t it?

    Check the study itself;
    http://andrewleigh.org/pdf/GunBuyback_Panel.pdf

    Look at page 9 of 49, the firearm suicide rate had been consistently falling since the mid 80s.

    Yes in the two years after the ban (which, incidentally only banned things like semi automatic rifles, it didn’t ban handguns, which are the most commonly used gun in US suicides), the firearm suicide rate dropped faster than any other time, but the overall suicide rate spiked, before continuing it’s downward trend.

    Oh, it’s also worth noting that they’re being rather sneaky on the graphs, the vertical scales for firearm/non firearm are different, so while it looks like they’re both decreasing at the same rate after about 1998, the firearms rate is actually decreasing far more slowly than the overall rate – it looks like the overall rate dropped by 4 per 100,000, whereas the firearm suicide rate only dropped by about 0.5 per 100,000.

    You will also notice that after the last buyback in 2003, which DID take handguns out of circulation, that there actually ISN’T much of an effect on the firearm suicide rate.

    That said, there is a reasonable argument to be made that the handgun buyback of 2003 had a significant effect on the firearm homicide rate, but then the firearm homicide rate was already very low, so a small buyback of 50,000 firearms (which is all the 2003 buyback did) would likely have more of an effect than it would here.

  221. 221
    dianne

    @210: The number of people committing suicide in Australia seems to have been fairly steady over time. The population of Australia is increasing. Therefore the suicide rate is…

  222. 222
    Kagehi

    In California, you have to pass (an admittedly trivial) test to qualify for a handgun purchase – you cannot pass the background check without a handgun safety certificate, so you can simply put the firearms into different tiers (like they do in New Zealand) and make people qualify for each tier.

    Except, it would have to be “universal”, or otherwise its pointless to implement at all. Which is why California doing such a thing, when all you have to do is go to some place like Texas, or Arizona, doesn’t do any damn good.

    No politician is going to pass a bill that will turn law abiding Americans into felons overnight and passing any gun related bill that would mandate anyone to have to turn in a legally acquired weapon is going to turn into a blood bath (bearing in mind, of course, that we have no clue who owns what, so we can’t even guarantee that the weapons are off the streets anyway).

    Because, of course, there is no way to put in a grace period, or other method of solving this problem, or otherwise doing something about it. I.e., the people involved a so gutless they won’t even imagine something to solve this issue, never mind implement it.

  223. 223
    SallyStrange

    @ Kagehi

    The utter lack of imagination is the most offensive thing about this whole debate. Well, besides the heedless disregard for human life.

  224. 224
    dianne

    It should also be noted that there was a revision in the data collection methods in 2006 and 2008 that may have resulted in increasing numbers of deaths being classified as suicide where they might not have been previously, so the apparent rise in 2007 and 2008 is probably not a true increase, but a reflection of the change in methodology.

  225. 225
    kyoseki

    Should it be protected under the constitution? Is it really that important? Is the right to own a firearm actually on the same level as the rights to freedom of speech and the vote?
    Why? Beyond the history, why should it be that way today? Once again, what makes guns so goddamn special?

    I’ll admit that the 2nd amendment and it’s associated baggage is making having a rational debate or implementing rational restrictions problematic, but I can guarantee you that if you repealed it now, there’d be absolute fucking chaos as each state tried to implement it’s own bans, the black market in firearms would go through the roof as the unregulated states started shipping firearms to the ones where they’d been banned.

  226. 226
    cm's changeable moniker (quaint, if not charming)

    As long as it is protected under the constitution, it should not be out of reach of law abiding citizens, much like the right to free speech and the right to vote.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/1995/sep/21/to-keep-and-bear-arms/?pagination=false

    (And I say this as a redcoat.)

  227. 227
    kyoseki

    Except, it would have to be “universal”, or otherwise its pointless to implement at all. Which is why California doing such a thing, when all you have to do is go to some place like Texas, or Arizona, doesn’t do any damn good.

    No argument from me, I’ve been in favor of a standardization and simplification of US gun laws nationwide for years. Some of California’s laws could do with going and some of them could do with being implemented nationwide.

    Because, of course, there is no way to put in a grace period, or other method of solving this problem, or otherwise doing something about it. I.e., the people involved a so gutless they won’t even imagine something to solve this issue, never mind implement it.

    Grace period or not, you have to get people to WANT to give up their firearms before you can even think about getting rid of them.

    Pass any law that says someone HAS to surrender something they acquired legally even if they get paid market value for it and you WILL have trouble.

  228. 228
    dianne

    Another look at Australia. Suicide in Australia overall and by method. As you can see, the overall rate of suicide has gone down in the period that includes the ban, but the relative risk of firearms suicide in the period that includes the ban is about 0.4-0.5 versus about 0.8 for all methods, suggesting a decrease in firearms related suicides that is greater than the overall decrease. One could argue with the methodology somewhat, but at least it’s a tad more sophisticated than just linking to the overall number of deaths.

  229. 229
    kyoseki

    It should also be noted that there was a revision in the data collection methods in 2006 and 2008 that may have resulted in increasing numbers of deaths being classified as suicide where they might not have been previously, so the apparent rise in 2007 and 2008 is probably not a true increase, but a reflection of the change in methodology.

    That’s fair enough and certainly accounts for the spike, but it doesn’t address the fact that the overall suicide rate was falling substantially faster than the firearms suicide rate, or that the firearms suicide rate had been dropping consistently for 10 years prior to the buyback.

    Even if we can assert that the buyback saved lives, is that enough of a reason to attempt to institute one here? Do we want to start restricting everyone’s personal liberties across the board in order to attempt to save some people from themselves?

    On that point, I’m not sure, but it goes far beyond the point of this discussion anyway.

  230. 230
    dianne

    Why use gun-related homicides instead of overall homicide rate (other than the fact that on graph, it’s not as pretty looking for gun-control advocates than gun-related homicides)? I mean, if you’re dead, you don’t care if its by gun or other weapons.

    ‘K. If you’d rather…According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the US has an intentional homicide rate of 4.8/100,000, putting it between Belarus and Thailand in homicide rate. That is, however, not including some US colonies, including Puerto Rico, which, at 26.2 beats out Mexico and the Sudan (though I do worry about reporting error for at least the latter) and the US Virgin Islands at a whopping 39.2 per 100,000, beating Uganda and Guatemala and coming in 7th in the world. Chile’s murder rate is 3.2 overall, so we still beat them. Really not seeing a lot of places I’d describe as “industrialized” with higher overall rates. Russia, maybe, at 10.2 per 100,000 and Costa Rica at 10. Just scanning, though, might have missed something.

  231. 231
    dianne

    @229: Check the link in 228. The relative risk of firearms suicide in the post-ban era compared with the pre- is lower than the RR of suicide overall.

  232. 232
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    I wish the second amendment said something about the right to bear weed.

  233. 233
    kyoseki

    @dianne
    Ok, fair enough, let’s say that ready access to firearms has a deleterious effect on the overall suicide rate, we still have a few problems;
    1: You would have to remove ALL firearms from the home (including those used for defense, hunting, target shooting, etc) which isn’t going to happen here for the various reasons I’ve already mentioned.
    2: Is it fair to infringe on the civil liberties of over a hundred million people in order to protect a relatively small percentage of those people from themselves? This is completely aside to the threat to other people argument (which I personally feel is the stronger of the two), but I don’t see how you could propose this as a reason for gun confiscation without also applying the same logic to say, motorcycles, which also have a pretty dreadful safety record ( over 4,000 people were killed on bikes last year, with a further 250,000 injured).

  234. 234
    Nick Gotts

    I do feel that there are plenty of parallels that can be drawn with other European countries that allow firearms ownership for recreation & hunting without anything like the same level of firearms violence that we have here. – kyoseki

    As I’ve already pointed out in previous discussions (but of course gun-nuts never listen), among rich countries, there is a very clear association between high levels of gun ownership, and high levels of gun deaths (including homicides, suicides and accidents). <I.Overall homicide rates correlate well with income inequality, but there are two notable standouts: the USA has far more homicides than it “should” have – and the world’s highest gun possession rate, while Singapore has far fewer than it “should” – and an extremely low rate of gun possession. third furthest from the trend line is Finland, with low inequality but high gun possession. Really, while such issues are always multi-factorial, there’s quite enough evidence to make any decent, rational person support reducing gun possession rates.

  235. 235
    usagichan

    Again, out of sync with the rest of the posters (but I didn’t notice any hammer mass murders put forward), however to answer md @ 110

    Round up every American and resident and guest, and go through all their belongings and take all guns and destroy them? I do think that would reduce gun violence. Are you for it?

    Congratulations – you’re making even Chinese style totalitarian government sound more attractive than democracy. If I hadn’t lived in modern democracies where firearms were strictly regulated (or completely banned) I might well be “for it” as you so eloquently put it…

    Still, I’m sure the right to cling on to your toys is worth every human sacrifice on the alter of your rites (sic).

  236. 236
    daniellavine

    md@185:

    daniellavine at #176, please read the link at #130 and adjust your post accordingly.

    It doesn’t actually impact the argument at all. I think the woman was stupid to confront the home invader with a firearm. It was a stupid risk that did not only endanger herself but her children as well. Suppose she had missed or the burglar had been armed and ready? Then the situation would have been much worse. The woman and children would have been safer escaping the house and calling the cops from a neighbor’s house.

    This is just common fucking sense. The safest way to deal with a home invasion is to try to make sure that the home invader doesn’t even know you’re there; your next best chance is to make sure the home invader never actually gets a line of sight on you. The fact that everything worked out OK is great but it doesn’t demonstrate that what the woman did wasn’t deeply stupid and dangerous for both herself and her children.

    Enough of an adjustment for you?

  237. 237
    WharGarbl

    @dianne
    #231
    I already ran a quick analysis comparing as many countries as I could in #119 and #121 regarding overall homicide rate versus gun-ownership rate.
    A summary of result.
    Using all nation with both data set: There’s a weak negative correlation between gun-ownership rate and homicide rate.
    Using developed nations, as defined by top quartile of human development index: There’s a very, very weak negative correlation between gun-ownership rate and homicide rate (correlation might as well by non-existence).
    Using developed nations, as defined by IMF as having an advanced economy: There a weak, positive correlation (RSQ = 0.06) between gun-ownership rate and homicide rate.
    Using developed nations, as defined by IMF as having an advanced economy, but remove highest outlier (Estonia, Homicide of 5/100k and gun of 9.2/100): A slightly stronger positive correlation (RSQ = 0.15) between gun-ownership rate and homicide rate.
    Using developed nations, as defined by IMF as having an advanced economy, but remove the two highest outliers (Estonia and US): A weak negative correlation between gun-ownership rate and homicide rate.
    Note: Outlier is defined using the squared error of the homicide rate to the linear regression line.
    Also tried messing around with a few arbitrary ways to remove outliers, and the general result is as followed:
    Three countries have fairly high errors (all > 2 in terms of the squared error of the homicide rate). Estonia (low gun, high homocide), Taiwan (low gun, high homocide), and US (high gun, high homicide).
    Keeping US, removing any other outliers (at least one), put the correlation in positive.
    Let US get removed, and correlation goes back to negative.

    @Nick Gotts
    #234
    The overall homicide rate correlation with income inequality is a good data-set. Although I would strongly suggest that you also apply the analysis “deeper” to better support your argument (as oppose to just picking the two~three outliers).
    Since I already got my gun-ownership chart out, let me offer some help. Excluding US, Singapore, five countries significant above the homicide vs poverty line (homicide rate > predicted) and their gun ownership rate (guns per capita, out of 100 resident). In no particular order.

    Finland: 32
    Portugal: 8.5
    Sweden: 31.6
    Israel: 7.3 (huh, I expected that to be higher)
    France: 31

    Five countries significantly below the homicide vs poverty line (Make that 7, I can’t work out which places 5th in terms of deviation from the correlation line):
    New Zealand: 15
    Ireland: 8.6
    Spain: 10.4
    UK: 6.2 (I used England and Wales)
    Switzerland: 45.7
    Greece: 22.5
    Australia: 15

    Hm… perhaps a better/more through statistic analysis is to determine if there’s a correlation between the sq error from the homicide/poverty line versus gun ownership. Going to see if I can get those data!

  238. 238
    md

    Enough of an adjustment for you?

    I can handle arguing with those with an open mind. Disingenuous victim-blamers, not so much.

    Telling victims they ought to flee there own homes is the prime reason liberals are not considered credible on security matters. I do applaud you and encourage you to be continue to be open about your arguments here though, reading this inanity in plain print is the most powerful argument against it.

    She called the police. She did not escalate, she hid. She fired as a last resort, because the police were not there yet. And that is not the fault of the police, they cannot be everywhere all the time. There will be moments between your call and their arrival. Or maybe you don’t get the chance to call. You do not know what that invader was there for. Could’ve been a burglary, could’ve been a kidnap-rape. It has been known to happen. Without a gun he could have overpowered her. If she ran, he could have chased her down. You don’t know what could have happened, neither do I. We can both suppose suppose suppose all day, or we can look at what did happen. She saved herself and her children. Bravo.

  239. 239
    WharGarbl

    Okay, just got it done.
    Methodology: Use the Gini Coefficient from here
    List of countries by income equality
    Use the same data set from homicide in #119. Taking all country.
    Calculate the linear regression of homicide versus income inequality.
    Calculate, for each country, the deviation of homicide rate from the linear regression.
    Perform a linear regression of gun-ownership rate versus deviation of homicide rate.
    The result:
    beta of -0.142 and an Rsq of 0.02.
    There’s a weak negative correlation between gun-ownership and a country’s deviation from the predicted homicide rate based on income inequality.
    Caveat: The data set include all country and did not exclude outliers. Also US actually have a homicide rate less than what the linear regression predicted.

    Next up: Developed country only.

  240. 240
    WharGarbl

    Okay, using Top Quartile of the HDI index as developed countries, same calculation for homicide deviation from the linear regression between homicide rate and GINI coefficient.
    beta of 0.0075 and Rsq of 0.009
    There’s a very weak slight positive correlation between gun-ownership and homicide deviation from prediction based on GINI index.
    Note, a few countries are fairly strong outliers.
    Lithuania – 3/100,000 more homicide than predicted given its near 0 gun ownership rate.
    Estonia – Same story as Lithuania
    Removing them gets a stronger correlation in the positive direction.
    Also problem with this data set. Only US has > 50 gun of out 100 resident. Every other country on the list falls below that.

    Using IMF defined developed countries:
    Okay, this look more like the chart @Nick Gotts #234 posted.
    Linear regression result.
    Beta of 0.015 with Rsq of 0.057
    There’s a weak positive correlation between gun-ownership and homicide deviation from the value predicted by GINI index.
    Estonia, US and Taiwan are clear candidates of being outliers.
    Keeping US keeps positive correlation.
    Removing US result in negative correlation, almost regardless of which “outliers” get removed.
    Removing Estonia and Taiwan increase Rsq to 0.23 with a positive correlation.
    Removing all 3 (Estonia, Taiwan and US) result in a very weak negative correlation.

  241. 241
    daniellavine

    md@238:

    Telling victims they ought to flee there own homes is the prime reason liberals are not considered credible on security matters. I do applaud you and encourage you to be continue to be open about your arguments here though, reading this inanity in plain print is the most powerful argument against it.

    Sorry, you’re simply wrong here.

    This is quite simple. I googled “what do to during home invasion. The advice:

    Link 1: If possible, get outside the house and call police from somewhere safe.

    Link 2: Advises you to “have an escape plan”.

    Link 3:ADT, security firm, advises you to get the hell out of the house.

    There’s plenty of support for the thesis that getting the fuck out of the house is the right thing to do. All you’ve posted in response is an anecdote about a woman who happened to luck out. At this point you’re the one dealing in inanity.

    Incidentally, I wasn’t “victim blaming”. It’s not the woman’s fault she was a victim and I wasn’t blaming her for being victimized — I was blaming her for putting her children in unnecessary risk by failing to get them out of the house.

    Could’ve been a burglary, could’ve been a kidnap-rape. It has been known to happen. Without a gun he could have overpowered her. If she ran, he could have chased her down.

    Woulda, coulda, shoulda. Facts are, most home invasions are simple burglaries. The culprit in this case probably knocked and rang the doorbell because he wanted to make sure no one was home before breaking in (because homeowners seriously complicate what would otherwise be simple burglaries). Before “chasing her down” he would have to have known she was there and had a clear line of sight — exactly the sorts of things you avoid by getting out of the house by an alternate exit.

    One final point: do you think your tone or method of argument are winning you any allies? You dismiss completely valid arguments as “inanity”, you gloat, you insist anyone who disagrees with you is being completely unreasonable. I think there are some reasonable gun control measures that could benefit both gun owners and gun control advocates but people like you are the reason we can’t get that kind of compromise. You’re not trying to be reasonable you’re just trying to win the argument.

    kyoseki has been very reasonable while still essentially arguing against bans on firearms. Try watching what kyoseki is doing. You can learn something.

  242. 242
    daniellavine

    @md:

    I’m going to have to dismiss you as an unreasonable idiot if you can’t back up your claims that escaping the home is the best course of action during a home invasion. Citing a case where someone failed to do that and everything happened to work out doesn’t cut it. I want some real evidence that standing one’s ground is safer than escaping.

    (Although I already know you won’t be able to provide it because there is none because it’s pretty clearly false. Getting into a firefight is always riskier than running away.)

    And you still haven’t addressed the “money where your mouth is” argument: if gun ownership makes one safer, why does owning a gun cause one’s insurance premiums to increase? Insurance companies aren’t in the habit of forgoing profits for the sake of making political statements. If insurance companies increase premiums due to gun ownership the most parsimonious explanation is this: a bunch of actuaries (mortality statistics experts) got together the best data available at any price and crunched the numbers, determining that gun owners are more likely to be injured or killed than non-gun owners. Period. What’s your response to the insurance companies?

  243. 243
    Anthony K

    I’m just gonna leave this here, since it doesn’t seem to have been shared yet: Does Strengthening Self-Defense Law Deter Crime or Escalate Violence? Evidence from Castle Doctrine (PDF)

    From 2000 to 2010, more than 20 states passed laws that make it easier to use lethal force in self-defense. Elements of these laws include removing the duty to retreat in places outside of one’s home, adding a presumption of reasonable belief of imminent harm, and removing civil liability for those acting under the law. This paper examines whether aiding self-defense in this way deters crime or, alternatively, increases homicide. To do so, we apply a difference-in-differences research design by exploiting the within-state variation in law adoption. We find no evidence of deterrence; burglary, robbery, and aggravated assault are unaffected by the laws. On the other hand, we find that homicides are increased by around 8 percent, and that these homicides are largely classified by police as murder. This suggests that a primary consequence of strengthened self-defense law is a net increase in homicide. Finally, we present back-of-the-envelope calculations using evidence on the relative increase in reported justifiable homicide, along with assumptions about the degree and nature of underreporting, to assess whether the entire increase was legally justified.

  244. 244
    kyoseki

    To be fair, you both have a point.

    In an ideal situation, you simply retreat from danger, get the hell out of the house and run to a neighbor’s.

    However, this isn’t always possible – my apartment, for example, only has one door, if someone is coming in through that, the only way I can exit is by kicking out an upstairs window, and the only one of those that wouldn’t involve a 30′ drop is the one directly above the front door.

    None of us were there, so laying the fault clearly on one person’s actions or another isn’t really valid.

    It may be that her home only had one door, it may be that the back door was blocked, it may be that her kids were upstairs and by the time she got to them the guy was already in the house barring egress. We simply don’t know, so it’s impossible to directly apportion blame here.

    There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here, I personally think she did a reasonable thing by hiding, she didn’t escalate the situation until there was no other choice – if she’d gone wandering through the house looking for the guy, then yes, that would have been foolish.

    Now maybe she could have warned the guy while he was downstairs and that would have ended the situation right there, since you are correct that he appears to have wanted to make sure that nobody was in the home. However, this isn’t always the case and expecting untrained people to behave logically in pressure situations isn’t always reasonable – which is why I’m in favor of mandating that anyone who wants to own a gun for self defense better damn well know what they’re doing with it.

  245. 245
    daniellavine

    kyoseki@244:

    However, this isn’t always possible – my apartment, for example, only has one door, if someone is coming in through that, the only way I can exit is by kicking out an upstairs window, and the only one of those that wouldn’t involve a 30′ drop is the one directly above the front door.

    Yes, of course. One would have to be pretty stupid to advocate fleeing in such circumstances. But such circumstances are rare since they violate fire codes in most locales. Frankly, your situation puts you in much more risk of death by fire than death by home invasion.

    None of us were there, so laying the fault clearly on one person’s actions or another isn’t really valid.

    It may be that her home only had one door, it may be that the back door was blocked, it may be that her kids were upstairs and by the time she got to them the guy was already in the house barring egress. We simply don’t know, so it’s impossible to directly apportion blame here.

    Some details can be inferred from the linked story — for example, the children were probably on the first floor based on the details given. But that’s really beside the point. The reason I’ve argued this the way I have is because md was clearly trying to use the emotional impact of the story as part of his argument and I was trying to demonstrate to him that his take on the efficacy of the mother’s actions is based on: 1) unwarranted assumptions about the events in question and 2) value judgments of his own which are, like all value judgments, simply opinions. You’re right that there’s too much armchair quarterbacking these sorts of events — usually by gun control opponents who tend to say stupid stuff like “If someone in Aurora had a gun that James Holmes kid wouldn’t have killed so many people” or “if there had been an armed guard at the school Lanza would have been stopped.”

    Incidentally, I think the sorts of idiots who think opening fire in a dark and crowded theater are the best argument for gun control. I can’t believe I don’t see responsible gun owners shouting these idiots down more often (arguments are soldiers?). Frankly, I feel far more danger from the fact that there are idiots who like guns and probably own them who are more driven by juvenile Clint Eastwood fantasies than by realistic details of gun safety.

  246. 246
    daniellavine

    Now maybe she could have warned the guy while he was downstairs and that would have ended the situation right there, since you are correct that he appears to have wanted to make sure that nobody was in the home. However, this isn’t always the case and expecting untrained people to behave logically in pressure situations isn’t always reasonable – which is why I’m in favor of mandating that anyone who wants to own a gun for self defense better damn well know what they’re doing with it.

    Incidentally, I do agree with this. One shouldn’t take the chance that it’s a simple burglary by announcing one’s presence. Better to escape without the invader knowing you’re there at all, and if worse comes to worse the element of surprise might really be needed (although it could also easily backfire as startling dangerous people in stressful circumstances so often does).

  247. 247
    md

    Danielle, Diane

    Life isn’t statistics. I don’t deny getting away from violence may be statistically the right thing to do. Got no problem with you spreading that information across the land. However, I reject any legal requirement to retreat from inside my own home. People arent’ going to consult an actuarial table on the percentages when they wake up and someone’s in their house and they aren’t sure what to do. Its going to be emotional, fear, anger etc. Some might run, but some will choose to stand up and fight and, within the confines of their own home, and they should be supported legally, not finger wagged after the fact that they didnt do the statistically right thing, because dontcha know, most invaders just want your jewelery and they dont know what they are doing anyway because of inequality, so just hand it over and you’ll probably be unharmed, depending on the mercy of this otherwise upstanding citizen-burglar. No thanks.

    I agree with the, fortunately still, broad consensus supporting castle laws across the U.S., because I believe the ‘stupidity’, to use your word, lies with the invader, and the ‘onus’ was on the invader not to invade another person’s home in the first place and anything that happens from that point on is the invaders fault. I believe that if your ideas were to be translated into legislation, that would be an invite to all invaders to come on in and help themselves, as the occupants now legally have to run and if they don’t run, the Diannes and Danielles of the world will shame them for their stupid acts of defending their family and home. I prefer to live in a world where the victims of home invasion get the legal benefit of the doubt and where potential invaders believe they could be shot if they kick in a window and go in, not that the occupants are legally obligated to retreat.

    I don’t have a lot of faith in majoritarianism in upholding principle, certainly the Constitution isn’t much more than a punch-line these days, but in this one case I remain pretty certain the legal implications of your argument won’t catch on, hence my gloating.

  248. 248
    WharGarbl

    I think emotions are starting to run a bit high between md and daniellavine.
    While we can argue whether or not the case with the woman shooting the intruder is a valid argument in support of private gun ownership, I do have an issue with daniellavine calling said woman an idiot.

    It doesn’t actually impact the argument at all. I think the woman was stupid to confront the home invader with a firearm. It was a stupid risk that did not only endanger herself but her children as well.

    Read the story, she didn’t go and confront the home invader. She tried to avoid the home invader first, it was the home invader that came to her.

    Suppose she had missed or the burglar had been armed and ready?

    If the burglar had been armed and ready, we can’t said the woman and her children would’ve been better off whether armed or not once the burglar found her. Furthermore, she couldn’t have known the burglar’s intention (yes, statistically it may have been as something benign as he just want food. Or he could be a Schrodinger rapist).

    Then the situation would have been much worse. The woman and children would have been safer escaping the house and calling the cops from a neighbor’s house.

    People are not rational, especially when under threat. There are many, many reason why she may have chose to hide instead of running.
    For example, I’ve seen many houses which has a fenced off backyard, with the only exit being the fence door right next to viewing distance of the front door. Leaving the house in that situation would simply take her directly to the burglar.
    Also under duress, it’s probably reasonable for normal people to think barricading themselves indoor is a good tactic. Heck, even with major storm, we still get people who think barricading themselves indoor is a good tactic. Simply because they’ve never encounter that threat before and they operate by instinct.

    This is just common fucking sense. The safest way to deal with a home invasion is to try to make sure that the home invader doesn’t even know you’re there; your next best chance is to make sure the home invader never actually gets a line of sight on you. The fact that everything worked out OK is great but it doesn’t demonstrate that what the woman did wasn’t deeply stupid and dangerous for both herself and her children.

    Have you even read the story. Short of leaving (which, may or may not be possible depending on her house’s layout), she hid her kid out of sight, hid herself in the closet (which, by “common sense” should be out-of-sight). She only “confronted” the invader when said invader opened the closet door and found her.

    I would argue that what the woman did is a textbook case of correct response, whether it be with or without weapon (and a correct response for someone with weapon). She avoided confrontation, and only use her weapon when there’s absolutely no way she could retreat anymore (unless she has a secret passageway behind said closet).

    Again, you may argue whether her story is a good argument for allowing gun ownership. But I don’t see any reason that warrant you calling her an idiot.

  249. 249
    daniellavine

    @md:

    I’m a daniel, numb nuts.

    Note that I haven’t endorsed any particular legislation. I’ve simply effectively argued that guns do not make people any safer. In fact, I’ve argued that guns make their owners less safe. The intent of this was to rebut your arguments that guns make people safer. Guns do not make anyone safer. That is simply a fact.

    What to do about this is a matter of opinion. I still haven’t endorsed any particular policy within the current discussion, so you can cram your crying about how I’m inviting the darkies in to have their way with the white women (sorry, man, your paranoid rambling about defending the homestead calls up these kinds of associations).

    Furthermore, I already explained to kyoseki that my criticism of the woman’s actions was intended to show you that more than one perspective on the incident is possible since you seemed to be taking the incident as a self-evident argument for your side. It is not.

    You have finally employed an argument that I think is reasonable — indeed, life is not statistics and any individual who finds him or herself in a threatening situation does not want to think of him or herself as a statistic. However, you gun nuts undercut this argument by making terrible arguments that demonstrate that most of your love of guns revolves around juvenile cops ‘n robbers fantasies. Frankly, you are your own worst enemies. I don’t trust the people arguing against gun control to own guns because of the words coming out of their own fucking mouths. I’m pretty sure most firearm homicides are crimes of passion — that is, idiots overreacting to otherwise normal circumstances with deadly force. When so many (apparently vindictive, often racist) idiots are so passionate about their need to have guns on them at all times I worry about my safety not from criminals with black market firearms but from the drunken idiot who thought I was looking at him funny.

  250. 250
    daniellavine

    @Whargabi:

    I think emotions are starting to run a bit high between md and daniellavine.

    Whispers: You’re a mind reader?!

    Have you even read the story.

    Yes, and I’ve now twice explained my motivation in being so hard on the woman. It was a rhetorical strategy.

  251. 251
    daniellavine

    Read the story, she didn’t go and confront the home invader. She tried to avoid the home invader first, it was the home invader that came to her.

    She cornered herself. You’re right that people don’t act rationally in emergencies so I don’t really think of this as endangering herself and her children, but instead of getting somewhere with an escape route she cornered herself.

    I’m not an expert on urban tactics but I do understand that putting oneself in a position with no escape route is not necessarily the best way to be safe.

  252. 252
    WharGarbl

    #250

    Yes, and I’ve now twice explained my motivation in being so hard on the woman. It was a rhetorical strategy.

    Could you point out where you explain your motivations? I either have difficulty finding it or I misread them as being explanation for your motivation. The tone I got from your post is that you think said woman is an idiot unfit to be a mother.

    #251

    She cornered herself. You’re right that people don’t act rationally in emergencies so I don’t really think of this as endangering herself and her children, but instead of getting somewhere with an escape route she cornered herself.

    Again, we don’t know the situation at hand. It is likely that due to her home layout, she cannot escape without passing somewhere close to the front door. In short, when the invader start trying to breakdown the door, she may be already be out of escape routes (or at least escape routes that she could assume to be safe).

    I’m not an expert on urban tactics but I do understand that putting oneself in a position with no escape route is not necessarily the best way to be safe.

    Very true, then again, home design could cause that problem. Judging by design of some (actually, quite a lot of houses) I’ve seen, apparently it’s fire-code compliant even when ALL your possible path out of you property funnel through the same outside area. Sure, the house has multiple exits to leave the house itself (for example, front door, garage and backdoor), but all 3 exits ends up taking the resident to the front of the front door.

  253. 253
    daniellavine

    Could you point out where you explain your motivations? I either have difficulty finding it or I misread them as being explanation for your motivation. The tone I got from your post is that you think said woman is an idiot unfit to be a mother.

    245 and 249. If you’re wondering why I went into overheated, moralistic rhetoric, check out some of this stuff from md:

    “Telling victims they ought to flee there own homes is the prime reason liberals are not considered credible on security matters. I do applaud you and encourage you to be continue to be open about your arguments here though, reading this inanity in plain print is the most powerful argument against it.”

    That’s without bothering to provide evidence or argument that escaping is safer than confronting an attacker with a firearm.

    Again, we don’t know the situation at hand. It is likely that due to her home layout, she cannot escape without passing somewhere close to the front door. In short, when the invader start trying to breakdown the door, she may be already be out of escape routes (or at least escape routes that she could assume to be safe).

    I think that’s a stronger assumption than to assume there was at least one door or window near the back of the house, but either way you speculate it’s pointless.

    Do you disagree that holing yourself up in a dead-end with a gun is less safe than hiding somewhere with an escape route?

  254. 254
    daniellavine

    In other words, I’m less concerned about this particular incident than I am with what lessons people draw from it. Would you contend, as a result of reading this article, that most of the time being armed in a dead-end makes you safer than escaping from the house entirely?

    Of course not. And that’s why citing this particular incident is not an argument for anything.

  255. 255
    WharGarbl

    @daniellavine
    #253

    “Telling victims they ought to flee there own homes is the prime reason liberals are not considered credible on security matters. I do applaud you and encourage you to be continue to be open about your arguments here though, reading this inanity in plain print is the most powerful argument against it.”

    Didn’t see that part. I do agree that a bit too ad hominem.

    Do you disagree that holing yourself up in a dead-end with a gun is less safe than hiding somewhere with an escape route?

    I agree that it’s safer to run away if you have the option.

  256. 256
    md

    What to do about this is a matter of opinion. I still haven’t endorsed any particular policy within the current discussion, so you can cram your crying about how I’m inviting the darkies in to have their way with the white women (sorry, man, your paranoid rambling about defending the homestead calls up these kinds of associations).

    Save the apology, please. You don’t mean it. And I’ll save you the trouble of going to the bjs and check the relevant violent crime statistics by race. To get back to the event thats spurred all this discussion, please research total deaths from spree killing vs other violent crime and tell me who’s really being paranoid.

    You reveal yourself here though. You dont really like it that white people are scared of violent crime and sometimes take steps that you don’t approve of. Common othering and tribalism, in other words. Sometimes working class blacks in rough neighborhoods like to defend themselves in there homes also, though. I defend their right to try.

  257. 257
    daniellavine

    Save the apology, please. You don’t mean it.

    Actually, I do mean it. It was a cheap shot and I couldn’t help myself. I knew I was being the asshole there but it just felt right so I apologized pre-emptively.

    I’ll apologize again. i don’t really think you’re a racist and I’m sorry for insinuating you are.

    To get back to the event thats spurred all this discussion, please research total deaths from spree killing vs other violent crime and tell me who’s really being paranoid.

    Since I’ve already stated that I’m pretty sure most homicides by firearm are crimes of passion it’s certainly not me being paranoid.

    You reveal yourself here though. You dont really like it that white people are scared of violent crime and sometimes take steps that you don’t approve of. Common othering and tribalism, in other words. Sometimes working class blacks in rough neighborhoods like to defend themselves in there homes also, though. I defend their right to try.

    Sorry, md. You can’t read my mind. Even if you were telepathic and could prove it I would still doubt you could read my mind — basically because you don’t seem bright enough to do so.

    And this is weird because I’ve already very explicitly explained what it is I “don’t like.” Here it is again:

    However, you gun nuts undercut this argument by making terrible arguments that demonstrate that most of your love of guns revolves around juvenile cops ‘n robbers fantasies. Frankly, you are your own worst enemies. I don’t trust the people arguing against gun control to own guns because of the words coming out of their own fucking mouths. I’m pretty sure most firearm homicides are crimes of passion — that is, idiots overreacting to otherwise normal circumstances with deadly force. When so many (apparently vindictive, often racist) idiots are so passionate about their need to have guns on them at all times I worry about my safety not from criminals with black market firearms but from the drunken idiot who thought I was looking at him funny.

    You don’t even seem to be reading what I’m saying, you haven’t offered a single bit of evidence to support your arguments, and you’re apparently quite fond of putting words in the mouths of anyone who disagrees with you and then dismissing them as unreasonable. I’m wondering at this point why I’m even bothering trying to discuss this with you.

  258. 258
    kyoseki

    @daniellavine

    Yes, of course. One would have to be pretty stupid to advocate fleeing in such circumstances. But such circumstances are rare since they violate fire codes in most locales. Frankly, your situation puts you in much more risk of death by fire than death by home invasion.

    Oh yes, I’m well aware of that, but having a single point of egress is pretty common for apartments, condos, townhomes etc. If my place does catch fire I have no problem going out of window. In the event of a home invasion, that may or may not be an option (not that I’m particularly worried about home invasions, but not all of us are lucky enough to live in safe parts of town).

    You’re right that there’s too much armchair quarterbacking these sorts of events — usually by gun control opponents who tend to say stupid stuff like “If someone in Aurora had a gun that James Holmes kid wouldn’t have killed so many people” or “if there had been an armed guard at the school Lanza would have been stopped.”

    Well there’s two sides to this argument (and I’m not a fan of either of them). One side is the “if only there’d been an armed person there, they could have stopped it! The other side is “if everyone had been armed, it would have turned into a wild west shootout!”.

    In truth, neither of these ever really happens, people with concealed carry permits are invariably running for the door like everyone else, or they just tackle the shooter like they did in Tucson (remember, we’re talking Arizona here, a number of the people in the crowd WERE armed, but didn’t shoot).

    The fact is that neither situation typically plays out, so using it as an argument in favor or against concealed carry really doesn’t fly.

    I’m generally in favor of the idea of concealed carry (even though I’ve never felt the need), but the training involved should be sizable (like police level training), but this is another debate entirely.

    Frankly, I feel far more danger from the fact that there are idiots who like guns and probably own them who are more driven by juvenile Clint Eastwood fantasies than by realistic details of gun safety.

    There is a sizable contingent of gun owners who, no doubt, think they’re Jason Bourne and jerk off to Red Dawn, and they’re also usually the loudest (like the NRA), but we’re really talking about the fringes here.

    Most gun owners I know are generally fine with the idea of mandating training and tiered licensing type systems, but the idea of gun bans or even bans on specific types of firearms get our backs up because we either own the things or know people who do and we know what they are and are not capable of and, most importantly, we know how to use them safely.

    I am completely ok jumping through hoops to prove that I’m responsible enough to own something (reasonable hoops, not “find and kill a minotaur and return it’s head”), just like I’m ok with having to get a motorcycle or commercial license to drive certain types of vehicle.

    I would say that mandating training would go a long way to removing the yahoo element of gun culture and foster a decent respect for the things as well as engendering the idea that gun owners aren’t irresponsible idiots – I mean, fuck, that was the original point of the NRA, to train people in the use of arms, not simply to ensure that any idiot can buy a gun.

  259. 259
    daniellavine

    kyoseki@258:

    I suspect we’re in pretty general agreement on the issue. I think sane gun control consists in verifying that people purchasing guns are responsible and competent enough to do so, not banning guns outright.

    I argue more from the gun control side because I find most of the anti-gun control arguments — like the ones md has been making — deeply disingenuous. As I’ve said before, I can reason with hobbyists. I can’t reason with paranoid delusions.

  260. 260
    daniellavine

    I should be clear. Many pro-gun control arguments are bad, wrong, illogical, and most of all made from ignorance. But they’re at least sincere. People with attitudes like yours can help them be better informed and to understand the issue better and maybe some kind of compromise could come out of that. But people like md who just want to call them clueless and stupid etc. unless they magically change their minds and agree with him just alienate them and make the situation worse.

  261. 261
    daniellavine

    I mean, fuck, that was the original point of the NRA, to train people in the use of arms, not simply to ensure that any idiot can buy a gun.

    And now they’re a lobby for firearm manufacturers. The only people who can do anything about that are NRA members.

  262. 262
    kyoseki

    People with attitudes like yours can help them be better informed and to understand the issue better and maybe some kind of compromise could come out of that.

    This a difficult conversation to have, it invariably degenerates into ranting and name calling on both sides very quickly, and both sides are guilty of this, as soon as people find out you’re not “one of them”, then immediately you become “the enemy”.

    I’m actually pretty glad we had a largely civil debate on the issue here, it at least gives me hope that the situation can be resolved sensibly, but I’m not overly optimistic that a lot of our legislators can do the same and certainly not while everyone is screaming at each other.

    And now they’re a lobby for firearm manufacturers. The only people who can do anything about that are NRA members.

    True, but a lot of gun owners refuse to be a part of the NRA simply because they’re so fucking crazy (or, in some instances, not crazy enough).

    Remember though that there are well over 100 million gun owners in this country and the NRA only has 4 million members, so that’s a lot of unaffiliated people out there.

  263. 263
    kyoseki

    Wow, I completely ballsed up that formatting, oh well.

  264. 264
    md

    You don’t even seem to be reading what I’m saying

    Oh I read it all right, you insinuated I was a racist when I had not discussed race at all. You then followed it right up with what I interpreted to be a disingenuous apology, further angering me.

    Your second attempt sounds true and I accept you at your word. I hope you’ll accept that I truly did not mean to mess up your name in earlier posts and meant to correct the record and did not, I am sorry for that mistake and oversight.

    At this point, I’m letting it go. Its family time.

  265. 265
    Laura Bowyer

    I would like to know a couple of things. 1st.. of all the homicides committed by guns, how many of those were committed by a person who lawfully bought the gun. 2nd of those homicides, I would like to see a break down of the crime on how they were committed. Was it armed robbery, gang shootout or related, etc, People are so quick to blame guns yet if is those behind the gun are the perpetrator, not the gun. We need to look at the society and what it breeds. Some breed good people who turn bad and others breed just plain trouble from the get go. Then others suffer from mental illness which should be looked into.

  266. 266
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    @Laura

    70% of guns used by criminals are stolen (90% of those from gun-owning households).

    See this thread

  267. 267
    NightShadeQueen, resident nutcase

    5 Minutes With: ‘Where More Households Have Guns, the Overall Homicide Rate Goes Up’
    Sieben, Lauren. The Chronicle of Higher Education (Mar 6, 2011): n/a.

    (an interview with criminologist Jens Ludwig from the University of Chicago)

    Q. Does research show that owning guns increases the rate of death by guns?

    A. My friend Phil Cook at Duke and I have done a study that got published in the Journal of Public Economics. We find that in areas where more households have guns, the overall homicide rate goes up. What we are inferring from that is that the costs from increased gun thefts and unregulated gun sales outweigh whatever benefits there are from owning a gun to use against criminals.

    Q. Have researchers compared gun violence in the U.S. with gun violence in other countries? England, for example, has much stricter gun laws than we do–are there fewer crimes committed with guns there?

    A. Frank Zimring is a law professor at Berkeley who wrote a terrific book in the late 90s where he points out that if you look at cities in the United Kingdom and you look at cities in the United States, the overall levels of fights and robberies and other crimes aren’t very different. It’s not that Americans are a lot more violent than the English, but our homicide rate is just off the charts compared with England. Almost all of that difference in homicides is due to gun homicides, which certainly would make you think that gun availability would be implicated as an explanation for the difference.

    (also – I remember a study saying a lot of juvies use the guns their parents legally bought. Let me see if I can find that one).

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