Reporting — 17 December 2012

by

George Allen

Americans are slow to comprehend disturbing trends. After Friday’s awful events in Newtown, CT, gun advocates are once again reminding us that it’s our mental health system that has failed us, not our attitude about guns. Their maxim is: guns don’t kill people, crazy people kill people.

Proponents of this thesis should know that by their own measure, we are the craziest country in the world. By far. Of the 25 mass shootings (defined by 12 deaths or more) in the last 50 years, 15 occurred in the USA. Second place is Finland with two—those crazy Finns. We also make it very easy for crazies to get guns; so easy that 48 of the 61 mass murders since 1982 were committed with lawfully obtained firearms. How did the crazies get those guns? The fact we have over 50,000 gun shops, double the number of Starbucks in the whole world, might have something to do with it. Easily accessed firearms along with that je ne sais quoi American “rugged individualism”, as you might imagine, leads to lots and lots of gun ownershipt: the NRA estimates that near 50% of households own some 300 million firearms (one for every resident!)–by far and away the most gun ownership per capita in the world.

All those guns in the hands of crazy people makes for terrible results—over 30,000 deaths per year caused by guns, which averages to roughly 80 people per day. That’s over 80% of all gun deaths in the 23 richest countries in the world combined—which allows us to claim the title of most gun-violent country in the OECD. Gun advocates like to point out that only 1/3 or so of those 30,000 plus are gun homicides, but compare that number to Germany (168) or Canada (170). It is important to note that our total rates of violent crimes aren’t much higher than other comparable industrialized democracies. In other words, a NYC resident might be statistically safer from burglaries or assault than someone in Santiago, Chile. But the NYC resident is more likely to be a victim of a lethal, gun-related crime by many orders of magnitude.

Now, doesn’t there appear to be a statistical correlation between gun ownership, easy firearm access, and violence? If the other statistics aren’t convincing enough, consider that states with tighter gun regulation have, what would you guessless gun-related violence. The south, as it turns out, the area with the most accessible gun laws, surprise surprise, has the highest incidents of gun violence.1  More interestingly though is what else economist Richard Florida discovered from this study: “Higher populations, more stress, more immigrants, and more mental illness were not correlated with more deaths from gun violence.” In fact, the densest populated areas, the Northeast, have the fewest incidents (per-capita) of gun related violence. Traditionally of course we think of high-stress environments producing more mental illness. That still could be the case but it doesn’t appear to correlate with gun violence.

Of course, these statistics just illustrate correlation not causation. It could be some other factor that is driving the US population to commit so many violent crimes and kill so many of our own citizens. It’s kind of like global warming, right? I mean so what if there’s historic amounts of human produced CO2 in the atmosphere, and it happens to correlate with historic rises in temperature, melting of polar ice caps, and unpredictable weather. That’s just correlation. So what if easy access to guns happens to correlate with ridiculously high incidents of gun violence. It could just as well be something else, right? Maybe we don’t watch enough football or are vitamin D deficient, or maybe we just happen to have lots of crazy people in our country. Judging by the heinous views on gun control espoused by half the country, we certainly have plenty of crazy people.

Even if the country were to wake up to the damning correlation between lax gun laws, ownership, and high rates of violence, what policies to pursue is not entirely clear. There will never be a panacea solution to violence. No matter our policy, people bent on inflicting harm to others will be sometimes be successful. Though it’s true we should reflect on how we treat the mentally ill, we will never have control over human volition. We can however exert a modicum of control over access to tools of violence. For instance, we could follow Great Britain and ban hand-guns–a legislative act that swiftly passed after a mass shooting in a Dunblane school in 1996. Or we could re-institute the assault weapons ban, or make mandated background checks to own or sell guns more rigorous and prevalent. We could institute a “violence tax” similar to excise taxes on items like alcohol and tobacco. Or, god forbid, we could ban further sale of guns to civilians all together.

Unfortunately none of these policies address the guns already out there. And just imagine what would happen if any real gun control legislation were introduced–the run on guns and ammo would make the “shortages” after Obama was elected (and re-elected) look pathetic. In other words, regardless of policy action, we will be reaping what we’ve sewn for a long time. Nevertheless, as the President said, “We can’t tolerate this anymore…These tragedies must end, and to end them we must change.” I hope we can.

 

 

1 Some have said that the South is the only place where “You can buy bullets, bait, and beer all in the same place.”

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(15) Readers Comments

  1. I am for the assault weapons ban but there is one problem with that. Guns last for dozens of years even one hundred. My father, mother, grandfather all gave me guns which belonged to them. So for this ban to work the government would have to require people to hand over certain weapons which they already have. No politician is going to vote for that.

  2. You’re right about that Walker. All the guns in the USA make legislating ANY kind of gun a complicated issue. That said, there is evidence that suggests an assault weapon ban might reduce the kind of mass murder that occurred in CT (http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/12/did-the-assualt-weapons-ban-work.html). We shouldn’t be naive about the effectiveness of legislation, but banning assault weapons might be an important symbolic step towards more sensible gun laws. Furthermore, as demographics change so might American sensibilities about firearms. I’d like to see an unbiased poll about where second and third generation immigrants stand on the gun issue. My bet is that in 50 years there will be fewer and fewer families with gun traditions like yours.

  3. This essay is so full of inaccurate and misleading opinions masquerading as “statistical correlations” that is is difficult to know where to begin.

    First of all, every mass shooting in the U.S. with a high body count has occurred in a “gun free zone.” That is a school or other place where the victims were prohibited from possessing the means to defend themselves. The facts prove beyond a doubt that where citizens are armed, would-be mass killers are stopped early on and there are far fewer victims.

    John Lott settled the question by proving that where citizens are armed, crime rates are lowest. It is clear from studying mass murders that killers gravitate to places where the government prohibits firearms possession. It is fair to say that guns don’t kill people, gun control laws kill people.

    Second, it is not true that violent crime is higher in the U.S. than in countries where guns are more tightly controlled. Since banning private ownership of firearms in England, and Australia, gun crimes have soared. Violent crime in the U.S. is much, much lower than in England (2034/100K citizens), Australia (1677/100K), South Africa (1609/100K), Sweden (1123/100K), Belgium (1006/100K), Canada (935/100k), Finland (738/100k), the Netherlands (676/100k), Luxembourg (565/100k) and France (504/100k). The U.S. – 466/100k.

    It has been documented that as many as 2.5 million times a year people in the U.S. use firearms to protect themselves from criminals, usually without firing the gun. How many of those people would be killed if they were not armed?

    Third, assertions like “All those guns in the hands of crazy people makes for terrible results…” is an opinion with absolutely NO factual basis. In the U.S. a very very small fraction of gun owners ever use their guns in the commission of crimes. By far, most homicides are done to people who are known to their killer, that is, drug dealers or gang members shooting each other, or husbands/wives. Also it should be noted that approximate 40% of murders do NOT involve firearms. The worst school mass killing in the U.S. was done with a bomb. It is absurd to assert that the country is full of crazy people who must be restricted from owning firearms. In fact, it is such a stupid assertion I don’t know why I am bothering to respond to it.

    You state that “over 30,000 deaths per year are caused by guns…” Do you really suppose that guns load themselves and shoot people? What an absurd thing to say – guns are inanimate objects, they are incapable of killing anyone. That includes, by the way, criminals killed by police, suicides, accidents and so forth and by not including those numbers, or the per capital calculation, your use of the number 30,000 is very misleading.

    You have no business writing an essay like this when you clearly don’t know that you are talking about.

  4. Finally! Real disagreement on the pages of SPR. Thanks for your comments Bruce. Vitriol and all, they reflect what an ideologically-infused wedge issue guns have become in the USA. Hopefully, despite your insistence that I have no idea what I’m talking about, you will permit me a short response to several of your critiques.

    I haven’t been able to verify that all of the 61 previous mass murders involving firearms occurred in so called “gun-free zones”. For argument’s sake I’ll give you that. Nevertheless, concluding that arming the citizenry in those gun-free zones would prevent mass shootings assumes too much. Indeed there is zero conclusive evidence that armed citizens prevent mass murder–check out Paul Barrett (who does NOT advocate for gun control). But beyond statistics, consider cops arriving to the confusion of a scene where ten people have their guns drawn. Finding the bad guy might not be so easy.

    Furthermore, what makes you confident that a fellow citizen with potentially zero firearm training would do a decent job protecting you or your hypothetical children in these public spaces? I’m particularly perplexed by the prospect of putting guns in the classroom. When is the last time you stepped foot in a primary or secondary school? I work in the public schools. They are chaotic, unorganized spaces. Inevitably guns would get into the wrong hands.

    All that said, I’m oddly sympathetic with your Hobbsian man vs. man vision of society. The immense quantity of guns already in circulation virtually guarantees firearm access to the most troubled sectors of our society. Maybe we should have a conversation about putting armed guards at our schools. Though I hate the idea of seeing little kindergartners walk past AK-47s on their way to class–maybe it’s a pragmatic step towards reducing mass gun violence.

    As for your second point, I don’t deny that violent crime in GB and other EU countries is high despite restrictive gun laws. If you re-read what I wrote, however, you might notice I argue that LETHAL gun crime, not violent crime, is extremely high in the USA. Just in case you missed it, here’s what I wrote:

    “It is important to note that our total rates of violent crimes aren’t much higher than other comparable industrialized democracies. In other words, a NYC resident might be statistically safer from burglaries or assault than someone in Santiago, Chile. But the NYC resident is more likely to be a victim of a lethal, gun-related crime by many orders of magnitude.”

    Just to illustrate this a little further, I’d point to the same statistics you used from Great Britain. It is indeed the case that violent crime was on the rise in 2007-2008 (the dates cited in the Telegraph article). They are declining now, but that’s beside the point. In 2011 there were 630 murders in GB. Translated to a country the size of the US, that number would be roughly 3000. Of those 630 murders, 58 were committed with a gun–equivalent to 290. What were the homicide rates in the USA in 2011? There were 16,000 reported homicides, 11,500 of which were firearm homicides (which means 30%, not 40% were non-firearm murders). Compare those numbers.

    You appear to have misunderstood my sarcastic use of “crazy”, but even so, would you argue that 11,500 firearm murders per year is not a disastrous result? What makes you think that encouraging more people to own guns would reduce those numbers? Where do you get the statistic that 2.5 million people use guns to protect themselves every year? And why does that statistic even matter if the only reason you have to protect yourself is because your unstable neighbor has a gun and wants to hurt you?

    The fact is there are incredibly suggestive statistics illustrating a correlation between gun access and gun prevalence to gun violence. But, like it or not, we live in a gun society with a long gun history–and as passionate gun advocates like yourself illustrate, that’s not going to change anytime soon. Personally, I would like to see less guns, but I recognize the second amendment gives people the right to bear arms, and I’m not advocating rescinding that right. What I absolutely can’t understand is how the right to bear arms means the right for any individual to access firearms loaded with clips capable of exacting the mass murder witnessed recently in CT, CO, AZ, and VA.

    The only two other industrialized democracies that have near as high per-capita gun-ownership are Switzerland and Israel. As Washington Post’s Ezra Klein has noted (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/mythbusting-israel-and-switzerland-are-not-gun-toting-utopias/), gun ownership is on the decline in both countries, but perhaps more importantly, requirements to own guns are much stricter. Both countries require gun owners to provide a reason for owning a gun, as well as pass regular mental health screenings. Moreover both countries have mandatory military service, which presumably reinforces respectful and responsible use of firearms.

    Truly passionate gun owners should embrace similar legislation here, and begin to view gun-ownership as a right that’s earned, not a right bestowed a priori.

    • But…it IS a right. You might wish otherwise, but the founders wisely took steps to protect our God-given right (not protect a government bestowed right) to protect ourselves. See the second amendment if you doubt me.

      I apologize for the vitriol, I shouldn’t have written my response while I was still angry as your absurd arguments.

      …”concluding that arming the citizenry in those gun-free zones would prevent mass shootings assumes too much. Indeed there is zero conclusive evidence that armed citizens prevent mass murder…” That is incorrect, there have been several such instances in recent years. Has it occurred to you that a lot of “average citizens” are ex-military or ex-cops or are competitive shooters or are simply very competent with firearms? If you depend on the mainstream media for your news and information, you won’t hear about those incidents, but they happen.

      I don’t know about all 61 mass murders but I do know about Ft. Hood, Luby’s in Kileen, Columbine HS, Sandy Hook Elementary, the Long Island Rail Road,the top of the Empire State Bldg and on and on and in every single case, gun ownership was prohibited where the killing took place.

      “Where do you get the statistic that 2.5 million people use guns to protect themselves every year?” Here is one source: http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdguse.html. This gives some of the other side, but I think it is clear that Kleck knows what he is talking about. Gary Kleck is also the guy that interviewed 1000 prison inmates and found that, surprise, they admitted they fear an armed victim and will do whatever they can to avoid them.

      Another resource: http://news.yahoo.com/yes-guns-kill-often-used-self-defense-070000428.html mentions a few different studies including Kleck’s.

      “The fact is there are incredibly suggestive statistics illustrating a correlation between gun access and gun prevalence to gun violence.” Huh? John Lott proved that where citizens carry guns, there is less crime than where they cannot. You suggest that just having guns available leads to more crime, as if somehow the presence of the guns causes otherwise law-abiding people to become criminals. That is absurd. When I was a kid, guns were much more readily available than they are today yet there was very little gun crime.

      I once compared homicide rates between central NY where I lived at the time and Ontario Canada, and some other places. Then, ours was about 5.6/100K, Ontario’s was about the same and Washington D.C.s was 75. Handguns are banned in Ontario and D.C., but concealed carry was common in Onondaga Co. NY. There was no correlation to gun ownership between NY and Ontario, but there was between NY and D.C. and it suggests that an absence of private ownership of guns, crime is higher. Again, John Lott proved that to be the case. Of course, there are cultural influences that should not be ignored. Controlling for those, the correlation you suggest does not exist. The differences between countries also exists between cities and neighborhoods of the U.S. If you take out the inner city, gang and drug related homicides you will find a much different correlation.

      “And why does that statistic even matter if the only reason you have to protect yourself is because your unstable neighbor has a gun and wants to hurt you?”

      If you are going to continue to make silly statements like that, I cannot take you seriously. As I said before, the vast majority of those killings are not middle class folks popping their neighbors because the neighbors dog won’t shut up, but gang members and drug dealers fighting each other. A lot of them are estranged husbands killing their wives and in most cases, themselves immediately thereafter. The head of the NY State police once said that as a group, NY pistol permit holders were the most law abiding of any, or words to that affect. That has been born out time and again…in FL for example. Clearly it is NOT guns, but the people who are misusing them, that are responsible for violent crime – the vast majority of us law abiding gun owners simply recognize that there is evil in the world and since there is zero chance of curbing their violent tendencies with more gun control laws, the best way to defend against it is to be armed.

      I have studied this issue for 30 years and I could debate you endlessly but I don’t have time. I say again, you don’t know what you are talking about – you know some facts and some statistics, but you clearly are trying to make the facts fit your dislike of guns, and they just don’t.

    • This is very interesting. I can’t speak to its accuracy since I found it on wikipedia, but according to this, a 2012 study of intentional homicides around the world put the U.S. at 4.2/100,000, one of the lower numbers – not the lowest, but it compares favorably to most other nations, including many with very tight gun control.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

      I think it is pretty clear that violence and murders are more a factor of culture than gun ownership. Yes, sometimes a nut job commits mass murder, but in every case with a high body count, there was nobody armed to shoot back. Well duh. Why else to the nut jobs go to schools in the first place? They are nuts, not stupid. As to arming teachers, a member of our school board has suggested gun safes that are keyed to only one persons hand – nobody could get the guns but specific teachers who would very possibly be able to save many lives with it. It is simple common sense, but that, sadly, is something mostly lacking in the current debate over firearms.

  5. Again, at issue is not necessarily homicide rates, but rather gun homicide rates. The statistics you cite illustrate that US homicide numbers are similar to Cuba, Yemen, Ukraine, and Estonia. European countries are far below our homicide rate. Look at gun homicide rates. US rates are close to 20 times higher than similarly developed nations. Politifact gives that statistic a “mostly true” rating:

    http://www.politifact.com/virginia/statements/2012/jan/27/jim-moran/rep-jim-moran-says-us-gun-homicide-rate-20-times-h/

    If you’re more of a chart-guy:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/14/chart-the-u-s-has-far-more-gun-related-killings-than-any-other-developed-country/

    Again, there is an undeniable correlation between lax gun laws (ie. what you can own and how you come to own it), gun ownership, and gun violence. As I argued before, what to do about that disturbing trend is up for debate. However, I find it troubling that despite these statistics people like yourself, no doubt taking cues from former Bush drug-czar William Bennett (a guy who said aborting all African-American babies would reduce violence nationally), believe so adamantly that the “common sense” solution is more and more guns.

    Here’s Bennett’s article about guns in schools: http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/19/opinion/bennett-gun-rights/index.html

    Thankfully, not everyone thinks more guns are the solution. Just yesterday conservative, union-busting, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed a bill that would have allowed guns in schools. Superintendents and teachers were staunchly opposed to said bill:

    http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2012/12/17/should-teachers-be-armed-should-parents-be-allowed-to-carry-guns-into-schools/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog

    And there is reason to be skeptical of the “more guns” panacea. Studies have shown that guns in the home increase risk of death and violence.

    “Based on a review of the available scientific data, Dr. Lippmann and co-authors conclude that the dangers of having a gun at home far outweigh the safety benefits. Research shows that access to guns greatly increases the risk of death and firearm-related violence. A gun in the home is twelve times more likely to result in the death of a household member or visitor than an intruder.”

    http://www.news-medical.net/news/20100204/Guns-in-homes-can-increase-risk-of-death-and-firearm-related-violence.aspx

    Granted, the school is different from the home, but gun advocates need to recognize the danger inherent in the presence of guns. That’s why I’d prefer hiring armed guards trained for the express purpose of using weapons, and in NRA lingo “engaging the threat”.

    That said, any real effort to reduce gun related violence needs to involve revising current legislation related to gun access and gun ownership. Closing the so-called “gun-show loop-hole” would help address guns bought and sold without any oversight (purportedly 40% of all guns), and requiring gun owners to pass regular mental health examinations seems like a “common sense” measure. The assault weapons ban probably wouldn’t do much (after all semi-auto hand-guns do virtually the same damage), but banning Rambo-sized clips might.

    To even begin having this conversation though we need to agree on the statistics. Look at gun murder world-wide. Look at gun-ownership and gun-access. Compared to similarly sized industrialized nations the USA is exceptional in all three categories–most guns, easiest gun access, and most gun homicide. Now let’s talk.

  6. “The facts are simple: 83 Americans die every day from gun violence in America. Eight of those people are children or teenagers. Eight a day, every day — thousands a year, tens of thousands in the last decade.” That’s Elizabeth Warren, senator-elect from Massachusetts. And that’s all we need to know.

    The problem is not too many guns but that the gun are in the wrong hands, and that those hands tend to want very lethal weapons. Putting armed guards in schools or arming the populace is missing the point (not to mention being dangerously counter-productive): We need to keep guns out of the hands of the homicidal. It’s a vital matter of public safety (and yes, as George implies, of national self-esteem and world leadership).

    We do that with thorough, onerous, annual gun-owner registry. Why annual? A person’s mental state can change radically in a year. (Assignment: Each reader provide three examples.) We define who can own a gun. (Not use one, own one.) I’d say 21 years old, no felony convictions, no psych medications (because you can go off them at will), no bad credit—no evident signs of mental or emotional instability. (Lawmakers please flesh out.) The annual fee is $500. It goes to a fund for families devastated by gun violence.

    Second, we register every single gun. If you’re found with an unregistered gun after the (relatively short) grace period, you go to jail. Among the general jail population. No exceptions.

    Third, we mark every single bullet, as has been technologically possible for some years now. Self-loaders can only shoot on designated firing ranges.

    Fourth, we make the importation of any firearm illegal, unless it’s of museum quality and permanently inoperable. Which means welded.

    As for the registration process, we are at least as thorough as the armed forces or metropolitan police in making sure we know the mention and emotional state and the intelligence of the applicant. Not everybody qualifies. This is a matter of public safety. We err on the side of safety, not on the side of potential killers. If you fail, you can apply again in 12 months — for $500.

    Right off, you take away the need to regulate military-style weapons. Because those who want them are, by definition, too crazy to own a gun.

    • Tom – I admire your attempt to cover every eventuality, but I’m afraid your ideas are badly flawed.

      The gov’t of the U.S. has proven itself to be the greatest threat there is to our freedom and prosperity and you want it to know where every gun and every bullet is. That is a breathtakingly naive idea.

      Historically, gun registration has always been a precursor to gun confiscation, and gun confiscation has always been a precursor to government sponsored genocide. You probably think it can’t happen here, and it couldn’t have when we were a nation under the rule of law. However, we left the rule of law in the dust awhile ago. We are becoming increasingly socialistic, meaning that individual rights are giving way to collective rights, and our government no longer recognizes any restraints on its power. This is a very dangerous situation. The second amendment was included in the bill of rights with the intent that the people be as well armed as the military (regarding small arms that one can “bear”) just in case the government should ever become tyrannical. This would be a very bad time to let the government know where they can round up every gun and bullet.

      Consider the question: how successful has the federal government been at keeping out recreational drugs? Illegal aliens? Answer: not at all. So we are supposed to imagine that somehow it will be different with guns, if we implement your plan? There is no doubt that criminals will still have guns, unregistered, therefore your draconian registration plan would be for naught, all it would so is set the stage for confiscation, at which point ONLY criminals would have guns, as in England.

      I don’t understand why so many people can’t seem to get it through their heads that these whacko killers will always be able to obtain weapons of some kind, no matter what gun control schemes are implemented, and they will generally do their killing where they know that their victims are not armed. If they can’t obtain firearms, they can always make a fertilizer bomb. Or maybe we can register and tag every bag of fertilizer?

      The worst school killing in our history happened in 1927 when 45 were killed with a bomb:

      http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2012/12/mass-school-bombing-in-1927-puts-sandy-hook-in-context/

      The problems is not now nor has it ever been guns or the availability of guns, and no matter how much liberals try to make it so, strict gun control laws do NOT save lives. If anything, they cost lives.
      There is precisely one way to stop these massacres and that is to do away with stupid “gun free zones.” The only way to effectively deal with active shooters is to be armed and prepared to deal with them, should one appear. They had a problem with school massacres in Israel. They armed the teachers. Problem solved. That might not be appropriate for our society, but it would be the best way to deal with the problem. If we are going to find true solutions, we have to get over the notion that just having guns around is inherently dangerous, they are simply a tool that, like any tool, can be misused by a very small number of criminals.

      One aspect of these murders that might bear more attention is the use of psychotropic drugs. Apparently many, if not most, of the mass killers in recent years have been taking powerful drugs. One can certainly ask, what is different between now and 50 years ago? Guns are more difficult to buy today, not easier, so what else has changed?

      If you folks are going to insist on pontificating on this issue, will you please get educated. I suggest you read John Lott’s More Guns Less Crime. Then perhaps The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer. Then R.J. Rummel’s Death By Government. Also, here are some recent articles that you might find informative, or at least food for thought:

      http://mobile.wnd.com/2012/12/how-to-stop-the-slaughter-of-the-innocents/
      http://mobile.wnd.com/2012/12/gun-control-zealots-rise-again/ by Thomas Sowell.

      I have no more time for this so I am turning off the “notify me” check box, so you guys won’t have me arguing with you again. But please, get some education on this issue before you go around advocating public policy.

  7. Great article, George. Thanks.

  8. I am also appalled by what television does to kids’ vulnerable minds. I don’t watch TV but if I ever turn it on I ALWAYS encounter somebody beating or shooting somebody. Many kids are raised in front of television sets these days. What are we expecting as a society? Anybody who is predisposed to some kind of mental problem will end up willing to shoot people after spending a few hours watching television on a regular basis.

  9. I have a message for the NRA. It is from Albert Einstein:
    “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.

    • “Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.” – Mohandas Gandhi, an Autobiography, page 446.
      NY Sheriffs Response – The new gun laws have nothing to do with criminals or making anyone SAFER. they call it an overreach “• Reduction of ammunition magazine capacity. The new law enacts reductions in the maximum capacity of gun magazines. We believe based on our years of law enforcement experience that this will not reduce gun violence. The new law will unfairly limit the ability of law‐abiding citizens to purchase firearms in New York. It bears repeating that it is our belief that the reduction of magazine capacity will not make New Yorkers or our communities safer.”
      “•Assault weapon ban and definition of assault weapons. We believe that the new definition of assault weapons is too broad, and prevents the possession of many weapons that are legitimately used for hunting, target shooting and self defense. Classifying firearms as assault weapons because of one arbitrary feature effectively deprives people the right to possess firearms which have never before been designated as assault weapons. We are convinced that only law abiding gun owners will be affected by these new provisions, while criminals will still have and use whatever weapons they want.
      “http://www.nysheriffs.org/articles/sheriffs%E2%80%99-response-ny-safe-act

  10. I’m struck by what seems to be a complete lack of interest in who is the target of the “gun violence” in the 30000 cases per year that you cite. Suppose 90% of those are criminals who were shot during the commission of crimes? Would that even matter to you?

    Does that number include shootings perpetrated by law enforcement officers? If so, I’m willing to bet a large percentage of that 30000 were perpetrated by LEOs. If not, where’s that number? And are we going to disarm them as well?

    Let’s include all of government: How many acts of “gun violence” are committed by the various arms of the US Government each year, and how does it compare to those committed by private citizens owning firearms? The question answers itself.

    And we don’t even need to consider military engagements (even though we should, of course). We can look right here at home: How many acts of gun violence are committed by the US Government in execution of the “war on drugs?” And of the civilian count, how many do you think are related to prohibition, and the fact that the US Government has itself introduced gun violence into the drug business by sending in its own agents with guns?

    And, finally, I’ll make the transparency of your bias explicit: If guns were banned, how would it be enforced? Through threats and acts of gun violence by the state.

    You, sir, are not against gun violence, you are for it. You have just so seamlessly integrated into your being the use of state violence on your behalf, that you’re able to pretend to yourself that it isn’t there.

    If you want to reduce gun violence, start by disarming the US Government. Until that’s done the rest of the discussion is nothing more than the babbling of infants playing in a pile of their own drool.

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